KUOW interviewed Lummi fisherman and tribal council member Cliff Cultee for a story about fishing for Fraser River sockeye:
Cultee: “My grandfather and uncles, they all had their own purse seiners, like 58–foot boats. The routine was, after school, we’d get up, go to the web locker in Bellingham, we’d put the nets together with all the uncles and grandfather and crews, do all the nets all at once, everybody’s nets, everybody help each other, and go out fishing. We didn’t really have so many restrictions on our fishery. We just went fishing.”
Cultee says the runs started declining in the 1980s. Many Lummi fishermen had to turn to something besides sockeye.
Cultee: “Because we just couldn’t make it on salmon fishing alone anymore. Things started dwindling and we had to find other opportunities to make money and keep lights on, food on the table for our families.”
Cultee: “When fishing comes around, everybody drops what they’re doing. They get ready and go out. That’s just who we are. When fishing season’s here, you see people with that look in their eye, going down the road, or you see them at the hardware store or at the net store or hydraulic place, and they’re getting their stuff ready for their boats. And everybody’s got that gleam in their eye, you know, we’re getting ready to go fishing. I’ve seen it.”