Bákvḷa means to harvest and prepare food for the winter, in line with Heiltsuk laws that maintain the natural balance of the world.
Through a series of stunning images, the Bákvḷa exhibition focuses on the Heiltsuk herring roe-on-kelp fishery — in the pristine waters along British Columbia’s central coast — and the healthy food it produces. Using a sustainable approach, the fishery harvests eggs, or roe, that have been deposited on kelp and hemlock branches. The harvest doesn’t kill the fish, which can go on to spawn in future seasons. Following the spring arrival of the herring and the fishery’s time-honoured process, the exhibition explores the theme of renewal — and the start of the Bákvḷa cycle.
Bákvḷa is a co-curated, collaborative exhibition between the Heiltsuk Nation and the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum. Presented in the Heiltsuk language, English, and French, Bákvḷa is the first exhibition in the museum’s Indigenous Foodways initiative.