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Kimsqualhine Joe Baulne Talks of Traditional Native Foods

Salmon Bake at Tillicum Village. Source: State Library Photograph Collection, 1851-1990.

In 2015 Eastern Washington University graduate student Casey Baulne, an enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, interviewed her father Kimsqualhine Joe Baulne as part of her thesis project. Casey’s research focused on the changes in the foodways of the Colvilles from the precontact era to the present. She uncovered three periods--traditional foodways, the changes in diet that came with the reservation era and commodity foods, and the adoption of a more mainstream “American” diet after the Second World War. It was a wide-ranging project that included research in archives and conducting oral histories. This interview between father Joe and daughter Casey highlights many important changes in diet patterns among interior Salish people. Joe Baulne describes a childhood of eating primarily game animals, fish, foraged vegetation, and home garden and orchard produce. As an adult, he witnessed a shift from local to processed food. Joe has his suspicions that many modern ailments that plague Native people, including diabetes, stem from this change in diet. Listen to his oral history here, or read the transcript here.

Written by Alex Mikinaak