“Four Million Salmon Call Her Mama,” Ensign, July 1990, 73
Upriver from the Puget Sound in Washington State, the Puyallup Tribe of native American Indians has a fish hatchery on an artesian well beside the Puyallup River. Connie Rae Matheson’s computer controls the hourly feedings for between four and five million salmon at the tribal hatchery. These coho, chum, steelhead, and chinook salmon enjoy the equivalent of three years’ growth in a single year because of the controlled environment. “The chances for survival of my little babies once they’re released in the open waters are vastly greater since they get the added growth here,” Connie says. “So I like to think of myself as their mom.” She’s referring to the value of her precise computerized feedings as well as the effect of the artesian water in which they develop.
A member of the Church since July 1987, Connie has begun “sharing the Book of Mormon with my tribe and my family. And some have shown interest.” She recently received her endowment in the Seattle Temple. “It was so beautiful, so peaceful, so reassuring,” she comments. She serves as first counselor in the Young Women presidency in the Tacoma Third Ward, Tacoma South Stake, where she enjoys playing the guitar and singing with the girls. She also writes poetry and has begun a narrative about her experience as a Native American on the Puyallup Indian Reservation.