“First Fisherman is part of a series of prints that explore the relationship between the first peoples of the Pacific Northwest coast and the salmon. This particular print is partly based on an existing theme of a bird catching a marine animal; in some cases it is Thunderbird catching a Whale. However, in this print it is Eagle catching salmon. I grew up on the Puyallup River spending much time there with my grandfather and though the sight of an Eagle wasn’t common it made the experience that much more significant when you did. I used to ride my bike along the river in the summertime when the sun was setting a lot.
One particular evening the distance I looked down to the sand bar. I could see this massive eagle feasting on a salmon. It seemed momentous and being that I was only around ten or eleven at the time made that eagle seem that much bigger when I see it in my mind now. I think about the Salmon and what it has long provided for our people not only as food but as a source of art and appreciation of life.
This particular design was used in a different version for a blanket produced by the Pendleton Company for the Puyallup Tribe to represent the people and what seemed most appropriate as a theme was this very idea. Eagle is honored for his power and skills, as he is the First Fisherman.”
-Shaun Peterson / Qwalsius