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The Nature of Borders: Salmon, Boundaries, and Bandits on the Salish Sea


The Nature of Borders: Salmon, Boundaries, and Bandits on the Salish Sea



For centuries, borders have been central to salmon management customs on the Salish Sea, but how those borders were drawn has had very different effects on the Northwest salmon fishery. Native peoples who fished the Salish Sea drew social and cultural borders around salmon fishing locations and found ways to administer the resource in a sustainable way. Nineteenth-century European settlers took a different approach and drew the Anglo-American border along the forty-ninth parallel, ignoring the salmon’s patterns and life cycle. As the canned salmon industry grew and more people moved into the region, class and ethnic relations changed. The Nature of Borders is about the ecological effects of creating cultural and political borders.



Publication Date



University of Washington Press




Cultural History | Political History


Description, cover image, and reviews courtesy of University of Washington Press.

Subject Areas

Salmon fisheries -- Salish Sea (B.C. and Wash.); Indians of North America -- Fishing -- Salish Sea (B.C. and Wash.); Washington (State) -- Boundaries -- British Columbia; British Columbia -- Boundaries -- Washington (State); Borderlands -- Salish Sea Region (B.C. and Wash.); Pirates -- Salish Sea (B.C. and Wash.); Fishery law and legislation -- Washington (State); Fishery law and legislation -- British Columbia; Salish Sea (B.C. and Wash.) -- Environmental conditions; Salish Sea Region (B.C. and Wash.) -- Ethnic relations

Author/Editor Bio

Lissa Wadewitz is Assistant Professor of History at Linfield College. She holds a Ph.D. in U.S. History from UCLA, an M.A. in U.S. History from UCLA, and a B.A. in Asian Studies from Pomona College.

Series Information

Emil and Kathleen Sick lecture-book series in western history and biography


"Wadewitz identifies an important environmental historical problem - how people make and challenge boundaries - and situates her investigation in a rich and complex case. It would be hard to imagine a site better suited to a transnational investigation in environmental history than the Salish Sea." - Matthew Evenden, author of Fish versus Power: An Environmental History of the Fraser River

"An excellent and timely examination of how humans have organized ecological and social space across time, and of the implications of boundary making processes on people and nature alike." - Joseph E. Taylor III, author of Making Salmon: An Environmental History of the Northwest Fishery Crisis

The Nature of Borders: Salmon, Boundaries, and Bandits on the Salish Sea