Jacob Beaton reaped a bounty of Ozette potatoes from his Tea Creek Farm in Kitwanga in northwest B.C. -but they aren’t the kind of potatoes you’d find at the supermarket. He says they are one of the oldest kinds of potatoes that Indigenous people grew in the coastal areas currently known as British Columbia, as Winston Szeto reports for CBC News.
Beaton (Dzap’l Gye’a̱win Skiik), a member of the Eagle Clan of the Tsimshian First Nations, says until recently he believed settlers had introduced potatoes directly from Europe. “It turns out the Haida, Tsimshian [and] Tlingit people all up and down the coast, [and] the Makah people and Coast Salish…were all farming potatoes hundreds of years ago.”
The fingerling Ozette potatoes had been grown and used by the Makah Nation in what is now the northwest tip of Washington State for about 200 years after they were likely brought from South America by Spanish settlers, according to Slow Food Seattle. It was named after the Ozette Lake in Washington State.