Editor’s  note: This post was authored by Pat Ford. Many years  ago, Pat served as the executive director of ICL. Most recently, he was  the executive director for Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition. Pat lives in  Boise, Idaho, and periodically contributes to the ICL blog.

212 years ago today, in 1805, the first white person entered what is now Idaho. Meriwether Lewis came over Lemhi Pass.

212 years ago tomorrow, August 13, Lewis became the first white person to receive the gift of salmon in Idaho, from a Lemhi Shoshone Indian: "On my return to my lodge an Indian called me into his bower and gave me a small morsel of the flesh of antelope boiled, and a peice [his spelling] of fresh salmon roasted; both which I eat with a very good relish. This was the first salmon I had seen and perfectly convinced me that we were on the waters of the Pacific Ocean."

Multiply my lifetime by three, add five, and you have 212 years. It’s not a long time. The bond between native people and salmon in our state is a long time, at least 10,000 years and counting. We newcomers are fortunate for their example of why and how to live here durably.

But from our alive-right-now perspective 212 years is not a short time. It’s enough to set keels, form habits, shift cultures, to begin becoming native ourselves. So I take heart to discover that salmon started nourishing white Idahoans one day after there was a white Idahoan.

-Pat Ford