If I went to a doctor and said “Tell me how to diagnose a patient,” or I went to a judge and said “Tell me how to interpret the law,” or I went to an artist and said “Tell me how to be creative,” do you think they would be able give me a few sentences that completely answer my question and prepare me for professional work as a doctor, judge, or artist? If they had spent years as students learning their subject matter, and additional years teaching or writing a textbook on their specialty, they might be very good in their professions but I’d bet they’d all find it tough to answer such a question in any meaningful way.
Contemporary folklore and stereotypes that we are exposed to contribute to a lack of knowledge concerning native American fishing practices. Brumbach (1986:36) noted that "popular folklore emphasizes fertilizer value of the fish but seems vague about their consumption as food." Perhaps the stereotype of the "hunter/gatherer" among anthropologists similarly attenuated a focus on fishing, as the word "fishing" is not included in the phrase "hunting/gathering." Despite this fact, in some societies, the role of fishing may have been equal to or surpassed that of hunting and/or gathering.