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Traditional Salmon Harvesting with Christina White and Native Candy

Updated: Feb 14


Christina White at the Native Food Fair

Speaking with the strength of her Caddo, Chitimacha, and Yakama ancestors, Native Farm Bill Coalition (NFBC) member Christina White stands proudly on the lawn in front of the Capitol building. She is the co-owner of Native Candy, a seafood business that sells quality fresh and smoked salmon at farmers’ markets throughout the Pacific Northwest, including Portland, Seattle, the Columbia Gorge, and from a storefront in Bingen, Washington. “Our company supports Tribal fishermen on the Columbia River,” Christina said. “We harvest salmon and steelhead in traditional ways, and we process them traditionally, and we handle them according to traditional ecological knowledge in a sustainable way.” During last year’s NFBC fly-in event, Christina met with legislative leaders to advocate for Farm Bill provisions that increase access to traditional food sources, ensuring that Tribal voices are heard and the priorities of Tribal producers are included in decision-making processes that protect culturally relevant foods and food systems.


Christina’s Tribal roots span from the south to the northwest, where she and her family currently reside on the ancestral lands of the Yakima Tribe in the State of Washington. Christina traveled to D.C. to advocate for the needs of her people and Tribal producers like herself saying,


“I really feel like the time is now for us to begin to speak up and integrate our traditional ways of land management and environmental sustainability to begin to mend the hoop so that we can survive as human beings here.”


Native Candy is a Made/Produced by American Indians trademarked producer and a family business. Christina understands how important it is to transfer her traditional ecological knowledge on to future generations. “My children are reliant on these foods for their health and wellbeing,” she said. “This is for my children and with my children to help them to understand how critical our connection to legislature is if we're going to continue to be able to practice these traditional ways and harvest our traditional foods into perpetuity.”


Tribal producers operating in Indian Country face unique challenges in the agriculture sector and maintain deep and significant connections to the land they steward and the food they tend. Food is not simply food but a sacred connection to ancestral ties and Indigenous worldviews. Christina emphasized that represented more than just Native Candy in D.C., saying, “To be able to bring along with us the spirit of the traditional foods of the Yakama people and to steward their presence at the Native Food Fair, to be able to introduce them, and to speak for them on Capitol Hill.”


As a Tribal producer impacted by Farm Bill policies, her livelihood depends on harvesting and processing Tribal traditional foods. Tribal producers like Christina rely on the 2024 Farm Bill to expand food sovereignty and self-governance opportunities. White has a vision for progress in Indian Country agriculture. “I hope congress will include opportunities for Tribal producers,” Christina said, “to be able to bridge the gaps that institutionalized oppression has created in terms of market access and processing of traditional foods.”

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