By Andrew Fleming
Paddling through choppy water off the west coast of Vancouver Island, I don’t hear the powerboat approach until she was almost upon us.
“Hey, do you guys want some fish?” the skipper says. One of four fiftysomething women aboard the small runabout, she explains they’ve caught more seafood than they can eat.
Shortly into a four-day sea kayaking excursion with Wild Root Journeys, our group of mostly novice paddlers still has plenty of food stashed in our hatches, but it’s hard to turn down freshly caught salmon and prawns.
“Don’t let them be too generous,” owner Silke Hockemeyer shouts over the wind as lead guide Agnes Seaweed Wisden heads off to secure the bounty to her bow.
This is good advice when visiting the territorial home of the Tseshaht First Nation, where the gift-giving tradition of potlatching – meaning “to give away” in Chinook jargon – remains alive.
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