Wild Salmon Potlatch

Several years ago EPC founder Dune Lankard started commercially fishing again, after having been a subsistence fisherman only since the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989. Instead of selling all of his salmon, he started this unprecedented program. EPC catches, processes, ships, and gives salmon away to other non-profits for fundraisers, events, and people in need of food. The response has been amazingly receptive, and local fishermen have begun to participate by donating their own fish and becoming environmentally aware stewards of this world class, threatened resource.

EPC’s Salmon Potlatch program is an opportunity for concerned friends and stakeholders to celebrate the land and culture of the Copper River, and to help EPC raise awareness regarding the region. Traditionally, potlatches (Eyak Potlatch, 1994) were social occasions given by a host to establish or uphold his status position in society. Often they were held to mark a significant event in his family where guests are invited to share food and receive gifts or payment. They acted to cement social relationships and community integration.

In the last year, this program distributed over 2,000 meals of Copper River and Prince William Sound King, Red and Silver salmon. The upcoming year is an exciting one, as we have entered into discussions with other Indigenous food programs to develop bartering opportunities.

Email eyak@redzone.org to learn more about participating in our Wild Salmon Potlatch program! 

From Ocean to the Smokehouse: A Copper River Salmon Story on YouTube