First Nations woman carrying a sturgeon on a stick

First Nations

Historically Sturgeon had many uses by First Nations peoples. Some First Nation groups called them the Buffalo of the Water. Over 100 uses of sturgeon have been identified. Such as:

  • flesh for food,
  • oil for medicinal purposes,
  • bones for needles,
  • spears and arrow heads,
  • stomach linings for drum coverings, and
  • “isinglass” from the swim bladders for making glue and paint for teepees.

Sturgeon harvesting activities also created a valuable cultural meeting place as many different first nations congregated in the spring at sturgeon spawning sites to share in the harvest. Some traditional sturgeon spawning sites have been used by first nations for over 3000 years.

Domestic fishing for food by First Nations peoples continues today. These rights are protected under Canada's Constitution.