Slow Fish 2021: The Fate of the Abalone and Indigenous Cultures

The stretch of California coast in the counties of Sonoma, Marin and Mendocino has a unique place in the history of colonialism, being perhaps the only place on earth contested simultaneously by the Spanish and Russian empires—all this decades after the United States had declared independence.

Of course, as with every land claimed by the colonists, there were indigenous people living there already. People whose traditions grew out of their symbiotic relationships with the land and sea. In this case it was the Pomo and Coast Miwok people, who still live in the area. We spoke to Jacquelyn Ross, a Pomo and Coast Miwok woman who comes from a long line of fishers, about how things have changed in recent decades, and the impact of these changes on the health of the ocean and indigenous cultures, particularly with regards to the abalone.

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