Motor Sequints carries his grandson on his back.
By DANA HERNANDEZ
FORT HALL — The Sequints family are Shoshone-Bannock tribal members who traditionally hunt salmon and are teaching their youngest family members how to hunt salmon using the traditional spear pole method.
The Shoshone and Bannock people have historically hunted fish in the areas of central and southern Idaho since time immemorial.
Leslie “Motor” Sequints Jr. said he has been fishing since he was a little boy. His father taught him along with other people who are now gone and said he was only nine years old when he caught his first salmon. Growing up, he said they would go fishing with other families and that it was just one big camp where the men went out to fish and afterwards a big dinner followed. He also remembers being a young kid and walking along with the men and when the men would see a fish they would yell at the kids to chase the fish and to get in front of them.
“That’s the way we learned how to spear, was to run down the bank and if you fall over, you get up and go again,” said Sequints.
Motor Sequints has taught his two sons Payton and Layne how to use a spear pole to traditionally hunt fish and is now teaching his three grandchildren. He said, “It feels good to see them out there grabbing a pole and wanting to fix a pole for them. That’s what we do, we’re teaching these younger people.”
Sequints said they carry the children on their backs because this allows the kids to see first hand what they do. They get to see how the spear poles are used to poke the banks, they get to see the fish, and they get to see them take off running.
Kyson Farmer holds his spear pole.
Motor’s oldest son Payton is currently teaching his four year old daughter Taylee, who says she gets to see front row center how the fish are pulled out of the creek. Payton said, “In the end, using a spear pole is more rewarding. It just feels better when you have it speared rather than having it snagged. You have a closer encounter with it.”
Payton said he was always told to use a spear pole and that they do it in the most traditional way possible because his grandmother the late Elizabeth Sequints said one day the people are going to lose their way and forget their traditional fishing methods. Payton said, “Where we are as of today, I see that coming out to be. A lot of people would rather go to these holes and snag out all these fish. We don’t do that, we save that for the last day if we didn’t catch nothing and even then we’re still jumping in the water and stuff.”
Motor’s youngest son, Layne Sequints, said he caught his first fish when he was about nine years old when he was with his dad, grandma Elizabeth, and uncle Rick Yellowhair. He said his dad spotted a fish and told him he had to get it. The salmon was big and took off with him. He being a little guy held on until his hooks happen to come out. “Me and that fish were wrestling. It was a big green and it had big teeth. My grandma was proud.” Layne said he has been going fishing with his family since he was a baby and every year they go it is always fun. He also said it would be better if there were more young people that would hunt because it requires walking. “It’s better when you have nieces and nephews there to watch and to show them how to fish. It kind of feels like they’re my own. I am their teacher and their uncle,” said Layne.
Motor said he has always had his sons with him whether that be hunting fish or game. He also teaches other friends and families who have kids how to hunt traditionally. He said they fix the kids a pole or show them how to fix themselves a pole. “I am open to show whoever, how to fix a pole, how to fix your hooks, and how to straighten your pole and keep it that way. Don’t hesitate to ask, just say hey, I want to learn,” Motor said.
The Sequints family make new poles every year and it is like a competition to see who can make the lightest, skinniest, and longest pole.
Equally important, is the family’s concern to take only what they need. Motor said some people can go and yank out 15-30 fish and to him that is ridiculous. The family tries to go spear fishing multiple times a year or when they feel like they’ve caught enough. Payton said, “It’s not about who can catch the most fish, it’s more like, did everybody get a fish this year.”
Motor said, “We just hunt for what we can, if we catch them then we catch them. We’re happy with one or two fish and that’s rewarding enough to us. Basically, it’s about being together as a family and going out there hunting together,” said Motor.