Description of Figure/Doll

Hand made American Indian male doll. His body is stuffed fabric. He is wearing a long shirt, shawl and long pants. His clothing is decorated with cross-stitched Indian symbols. His face (eyes, nose, and mouth) are also created with cross-stitch. He has a colorful crocheted bag on his side.

USA: Alaska

Location: Northwest United States

Capital: Juneau

Main language: English

Currency: US Dollar

Figure/Doll

Construction: cloth, yarn

Height in Centimeters: 30

Height in Inches: 12

Fishing in Alaska: The Exhausting Life of Salmon Fish

Reading Level: 5.10

As an Tsimshian Indian, salmon fishing has always been important to my family. In fact, my friends call me “Fish.” We live near Ketchikan, Alaska, which is known as the “Salmon Capital of the World.”

Last week when I was fishing in a nearby stream, I started thinking about what it must be like to be a salmon fish. Next thing you know, I fell asleep. I dreamt that one of the salmon starting telling me his life’s story. This is what he said:

My life began as a small egg at the bottom of a fresh water stream. The egg was round and about the size of a pencil eraser. I lived in this clear egg shell for about three months before I hatched.

I lived in the stream for about three months and slowly grew in size. Finally my body took the shape of a tiny fish. At that point, I began my journey down stream with the current. On the way, I had to hide under rocks and among weeds to avoid predators such as birds and other fish. As I grew to about six inches, I developed vertical markings on the sides of my body. These stripes helped camouflage me from my enemies. I knew that I was heading towards the ocean and would live in salt water. Just before I got there, I lost my vertical markings and my body became a shiny silvery grey.  

You must remember that I was not alone on this journey. Thousands of other salmon kept me company. When we finally reached the Pacific Ocean and the Bering Sea, we knew that we would spend time in the ocean swimming, eating, and growing. Danger was everywhere because we were constantly hunted by seals, whales and fishermen.

After a few years in salt water, I felt an inner urge to go back to the original waters of my birth. I realized that the return journey would be a dangerous and very strenuous. I had to swim up-stream and adjust my body to fresh water. It was really difficult because I had to leap over rocky waterfalls, avoid fishermen nets, and stay clear of hungry bears. I lost many of my salmon friends along the way.

When I finally reached my birthplace stream I was exhausted. However, I still had work to do. First, I looked for a female salmon who was laying her eggs in the gravel. Now it was my turn to fertilize the eggs. My second task was to remain nearby to protect the eggs. Two weeks have passed, and I realize now that my life will soon be coming to an end. I’ll die soon, but the tiny eggs are just beginning their journeys.               


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