The ocean was the major source of food for the Pacific Coast Natives, providing salmon, halibut and other fishes, shellfish, smelt, crabs, seaweed, and whale. Shellfish like clams, oysters and mussels would be gathered by women, or by the slaves of the higher ranking individuals. Fishing was the occupation of the men of the tribe. Smaller fish were often caught by means of small nets woven of nettle fibres attached to a wooden frame. Other fishing methods include underwater traps, bone and wood hooks, and harpoons.
Once fish were caught a small amount were eaten fresh but the largest proportion would be cleaned by the women and hung out to dry in smokehouses to preserve them for use during the winter months. Meals: Each family was allowed a small fire in their area, to prepare meals, inside the longhouse. There was a good deal of food to eat, without departing the longhouse to refurbish, a family eat many meals, and even invite guests into their area, for weeks, without running out of food. Their cooking was varied and clever.
They were good cooks. They used whale or fish or salmon oil, they broiled some of food over low fires. They baked and steamed and boiled their food without using any pots or pans. To do this, first they heated rocks in the fire. When the rocks were hot, they were carefully lifted with utensils and dropped into a thick wooden cedar box or a thickly woven cattail basket full of water. When the rocks cooled, they lifted them out and replaced them with hot rocks. They kept this up until the water boiled.