A question asked of Beach Naturalists: "Does anybody eat this stuff?" Referring to the various marine invertebrates found on our beaches that are not on your local seafood restaurant menu. Clams, mussels,
scallops, oysters, seaweed, snails, octopus, squid, crab, shrimp, all favorites of many seafood lovers. But what about sea slugs, moon snails, worms, sea anemones, sea cucumbers, urchins, sand dollars, sea stars, chitons, etc.? My knowledge is limited on this subject, but I know somebody somewhere likely eats all this stuff; sea stars in China. A beach goer asked me if I knew what the Native Americans might have eaten....and luckily I did have an old reference for him....well not exactly..more like First Nation tribe on Vancouver Island, B.C.
The reference is, "Teachings of the Tides, David Ellis and Luke Swan, Theytus Books Limited, Namimo, B.C. Canada 1981. Sadly the book, to my knowledge, is out of print but is available through Amazon used books....at a price.
This 181 page paperback is a collection of the recollections of Luke Swan of the Manhousat (Maan'u7is7ath) tribe, Flores Island on the west side of Vancouver Island. Luke Swan was born in 1893 and passed on the information to David Ellis. The book covers native names of various marine invertebrates, collecting methods, cooking methods for each animal as well as native names for certain parts of the animals. Ever wonder what a "p'a7am" was....or why it was considered a "dirty word" by the natives? Well you will find out in this book....plus lots of other cool stuff; like did you know eating "humam" would make you stupid. At least I have an excuse.