Salmon hash, herring eggs and kelp are among the traditional dishes made by the Clifton family. (Shannon Lough / The Northern View)

Salmon hash, herring eggs and kelp are among the traditional dishes made by the Clifton family. (Shannon Lough / The Northern View)

The flavours of All Native

The All Native Basketball Tournament serves up traditional food to players and fans alike.

Food as fuel

Clam fritters, cockles chow mein, fish hash, herring eggs and kelp and frothy soapberries.

Traditional foods whipped up and sold at the tournament offer much-needed fuel for the athletes and their observers.

The main canteen is a family affair run by Arnold Clifton, hereditary chief of the Gitga’at First Nation, who has a recipe for clam fritters he won’t divulge with anyone.

“That was my grandfather’s recipe and a lot of people have been asking for it. He doesn’t give it out. As soon as it’s there it’s gone,” he said.

Every day during the tournament, the Clifton family brings in 32 large Ziploc bags of raw clams to fry up a batch.

Preparation begins the night before. The family gathers all the vegetables, meat and other ingredients for the dish they plan to cook the next day. The dishes are ready by noon.

People often ask Clifton if they’ll open for breakfast but he said lunch and dinner are more than enough work for them.

The family has been doing the canteen for so long they can’t remember when they started. But by now they know what people want and how to prepare and harvest the seafood for the dishes each and every year.

“We don’t do clams and cockles until October when it’s cold. It’s a family thing too. Our family goes out and harvests this stuff. A lot is from Hartley Bay and we get a lot of donations from family in Bella Bella,” Clifton said.

READ MORE: Heart Of Our City — Canneries and canteens

Another big seller is fried octopus, but the dish is a lot of work, and they don’t always have time for it.

All the dishes are available on different days, so you have to swing by around lunch or dinner for each day of the tournament to experience Coastal First Nation cuisine.

Plates can cost between $5-10 dollars with a combination. Prices have gone up over the years due to the rising cost of harvesting and gas, Clifton said.

Soapberries

Once you’ve tasted the savoury side of the local First Nations foods, the Nisga’a run a table selling Indigenous ice cream, Sxusem, a treat made from soapberries.

No dairy is involved. The berries are whipped up with a mixer until the mix foams and stiffens. One bottle of water is added for every half pint of berries and 2.5 cups of sugar to cut the bitterness.

“Traditionally it’s always mixed with water and add sugar to taste but now they’ve added Kool-Aid and bananas and other berries after it’s whipped,” said Sabrina Clifton, program manager at the Nisga’a Hall.

READ MORE: Day 4 of the All Native Basketball Tournament

They go through well over a case a day of soapberries a day.

This is the biggest fundraiser of Gitmaxmak’ay Nisga’a Dancers who take turns whipping up the berries between 11 a.m. and serving the last bowl at 7 p.m.

Last year, the dancers picked the berries as a group, but typically they trade or purchase from people in the Kitwanga or Aiyansh area where the berries are found.

The money raised from the tournament is for travel. After the 2017 tournament, the dancers went to Hoobiyee in Vancouver. They raised $54,000 to take 88 dancers to the new year celebration.



shannon.lough@thenorthernview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

All Native Basketball Tournament

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Staff at Acropolis Manor, a Prince Rupert long-term health care facility in April 2020 where no cases of COVID-19 were reported until an outbreak on Jan. 19, 2021. As of Jan. 25th, 32 people associated with the residence have tested positive for the virus. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Staff at Acropolis Manor a Prince Rupert long term health care facility, take pride in their work place that no COVID-19 cases have been reported in the facility during the pandemic.This photo taken, April 20, from outside, looking through a window shows staff adhering to strict protocols and best practices to keep residents happy and healthy. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
COVID-19 numbers increase at Acropolis Manor – 32 infected

Prince Rupert man concerned about temp. staff from out of region working at long-term care facility

Ken Veldman vice president, public affairs and sustainability, at Prince Port Port Authority on Jan. 21 addressed local employers in an online presentation about a new community recruitment program to attract employees to Prince Rupert. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
New recruitment campaign to be launched in Prince Rupert

Web platform will use community collaboration to attract new employees to Prince Rupert

People skate on a lake in a city park in Montreal, Sunday, January 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
The end of hugs: How COVID-19 has changed daily life a year after Canada’s 1st case

Today marks the one year anniversary of COVID-19 landing in Canada

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Employers might be able to require COVID-19 vaccination from employees: B.C. lawyer

‘An employer must make the case’ using expert science, explains lawyer David Mardiros

Crews with Discovery Channel film as an Aggressive Towing driver moves a Grumman S2F Tracker aircraft around a 90-degree turn from its compound and onto the road on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. It was the “most difficult” part of the move for the airplane, one organizer said. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Vintage military plane gets towed from Chilliwack to Greater Victoria

Grumman CP-121 Tracker’s eventual home the British Columbia Aviation Museum on Vancouver Island

Rolling seven-day average of cases by B.C. health authority to Jan. 21. Fraser Health in purple, Vancouver Coastal red, Interior Health orange, Northern Health green and Vancouver Island blue. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
2nd COVID vaccine doses on hold as B.C. delivery delayed again

New COVID-19 cases slowing in Fraser Health region

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. Two more cases of the COVID-19 strain first identified in South Africa have been diagnosed in British Columbia, bringing the total to three as of Jan. 16.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. now has three cases of South African COVID-19 variant, six of U.K. strain

Both variants are thought to spread faster than earlier strains

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker in an undated photo from social media. The couple has been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
Great Canadian Gaming CEO resigns after being accused of sneaking into Yukon for vaccine

Rod Baker and Ekaterina Baker were charged with two CEMA violations each

Police discovered a makeshift nightclub in a Vancouver apartment on Jan. 23, 2021, and say it wasn’t the first time this month officers have been called to the unit over social gathering concerns. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Doorman of makeshift ‘booze-can’ in Vancouver apartment fined; police look to court order

This marks the fourth complaint about social gatherings inside the apartment in January

A Kelowna couple welcomed their Nooner baby in December. (Flytographer)
Kelowna couple welcomes baby girl from Hotel Zed Nooner campaign

Nicole and Alex will now have 18 years of free stays at the hotel

Kyrell Sopotyk was drafted by the Kamloops Blazers in 2016 and played two seasons with the Western Hockey League club. (Photograph By ALLEN DOUGLAS/KTW)
Kamloops Blazer paralyzed in snowboarding accident sparks fundraiser for family

As of Jan. 24, more than $68,000 had been raised to help Kamloops Blazers’ forward Kyrell Sopotyk

(Pixhere photo)
B.C. dentists argue for COVID-19 vaccine priority after ‘disappointing’ exclusion from plan

Vaccines are essential for dentists as patients cannot wear masks during treatment, argues BCDA

The fine for changing lanes or merging over a solid line costs drivers $109 and two penalty points in B.C. (Screenshot via Google Street View)
B.C. drivers caught crossing, merging over solid white lines face hefty fine

Ticket for $109, two penalty points issued under Motor Vehicle Act for crossing solid lines

Most Read