Tribal ceremonial locker explained
Tribal members have been asking questions regarding the Tribes’ Ceremonial Locker such as how it’s used, when it began and who can benefit from it, the Colville Fish and Wildlife department state last week.
The department seeks to manage the big game population for the benefit of the membership for subsistence and cultural needs.
“One of the things that the tribe recognizes is the need to give the animals a rest in the winter months, to survive and reproduce in the spring,” said Randy Friedlander, interim Fish and Wildlife director.
The “Ceremonial Locker” was developed with the idea in mind that animals and fish could be collected during the appropriate harvest periods, then stored during the winter and spring months.
The Ceremonial Locker is in its second year. Last year, the locker mainly held beef with a little deer and elk. There were also six “trespass beef” placed in the locker, as well as one that was donated from a tribal rancher -- Mike Marcellay.
“Any animal that is poached and confiscated also goes into this locker,” Friedlander said. “In 2011, that was a rough year for getting enough fish to put in the locker, but that wasn’t the case in 2012. We have a lot of sockeye and Chinook in the freezer this year for ceremonies.”
Tribal members can request meat from the Tribes’ Food Distribution Center for ceremonies as well as other items that may be available. There is some meat and plenty of fish available for subsistence purposes.
“There aren’t that many requests for subsistence, though, as most people have seven months to prepare for the winter and harvest their meats throughout the season,” Friedlander said.
Subsistence meat and ceremonial tags can be requested through the main Fish and Wildlife office at 634-2110. Those with questions can call Friedlander at 634-2113.