Black Seaweed (SG̱iw) - P.O.W. Report

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Black Seaweed (SG̱iw)

As Told by Dr. Robert Cogo by Woodrow Ḵáawan Sangáa Morrison

There is no Native home (na) that does not have some form of Native food (Táaw). There is a variety of Native Foods kept in stock and in refrigerators. One important Native food is Black Seaweed (SG̱iw). This is gathered locally in the month of May (SG̱iwnuut). Black Seaweed (SG̱iw) grows on smooth rocks (Kwaa) close to the ocean (Síigaay) side.

The ribbons are pulled off the rocks by hand and put into clean flour sacks (Gwaahl) or old pillow (Ts’̱ahl) cases. After you gather about 4 or 6 bags you have about enough seaweed for drying and curing in the Sun (Júuyaay).

A good way of preliminary drying was done on the beach, on nice sunny days (sáng ’láa). After drying awhile a person takes a handful and would twist up the Seaweed into sppirals and stored for future use - Seaweed Twists. This preliminary drying prevented it from turning White and Sour.
The next process was drying and curing the seaweed into one half inch thick cakes about 9 inches square. Fresh clam juice (K’yúu’ X̱áw) was sprinkled over each cake and layer. A square board (K’aw) was placed over the stack of seaweed and pressed with stone weighs. This gave the cakes consistency. Another process involved grinding the seaweed (SG̱iw) in a meat grinder.

After being ground, the seaweed is placed and spread out over a clean sheet or table cover which is spread over wide boards of plywood. This process gives it the right amount of drying and the seaweed (SG̱iw) is put into large coffee cans (Xahl Tawt) for storage.

Many non-Natives buy and chew on seaweed (SG̱iw). It is beneficial in Iodine and has a pleasant taste.

NOTE: When I was in the Navy my mother used to send me dried Seaweed and Dried salmon. I didn’t want my shipmates to know I was eating "kelp" so I told them it was Black Popcorn. They liked it so much, I revealed the secret; no one asked after that. I knew they would want some of my smoked or Dried Salmon so I told them it was Whale Meat... no one asked for some...

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