Bellingham Herald: At Lummi, low tide means horse clams and a chance to reconnect

The Bellingham Herald reports on a Lummi Nation clam dig:

Recent low tides drew many Lummis to the sandy flats on and around Portage Island for harvest of horse clams, an important part of Coast Salish diet and culture.

Today’s generation of Lummis uses them fried, in chowder or chopped fine for fritters. Those that aren’t eaten soon after digging will be frozen for later use. But some of the elders still do what their ancestors did.

“They were very good dried, wind-dried” said Victoria Washington-Mamac. “They used to give them to the babies for teething.”

The big, ugly bivalves live farther out than the more familiar “steamer” clams that hug the tide lines. They bear some resemblance to geoducks, but they are smaller, with more of a conventional clam shape.