Tradition and Change on the Northwest Coast
The Makah, Nuu-chah-nulth, Southern Kwakiutl, and Nuxalk
- PUBLISHED: July 1988
- SUBJECT LISTING: Native American and Indigenous Studies, History / Western History
- BIBLIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION: 200 illus., 40 in color
- ISBN: 9780295966281
- Publisher: University of Washington Press
Native elders remember well the last of the old days. They are living links to the past and their stories have the vitality and immediacy--as well as the authenticity--of those who have lived in the traditional way and experienced the transition to the new. In the short space of two generations, elders have gone from traveling the coast in canoes to flying in float planes.
Four representative groups of the Northwest Coast are the focus of this book: the Makah, Nuu-chah-nulth (Nootka), Southern Kwakiutl, and Nuxalk (Bella Coola). These people speak closely related languages and have strong cultural ties. In these pages they speak both of tradition and of an embattled present together with dreams of the future.
In many ways this book is a native chronicle about being native. First-person accounts drawn from archival tapes and manuscripts plus scores of direct interviews enliven every facet of life described here: ceremonials and gathering; artwork and potlatch; trade and conflict; the environment, prehistory, and archaeological discoveries; the arrival of Whites and the fur trade, followed by settlement, and the consequence of change, including loss of lands. Woven throughout are reminiscences of the past, assessments of the present, and hopes and fears of the future.
Stunning photographs, including rare historic photographs and contemporary pictures specifically taken for this book, and drawings present telling images of native people and show their links with the land and their adherence to tradition in the midst of change.
Authors & Contributors
Ruth Kirk wrote the informed and lively text with the cooperation of both native people and anthropologists at the British Columbia Provincial Museum. This book admirably fills a longstanding need for a popular and up-to-date account of native life and traditions on the Northwest Coast.