HIST 202 – Survey: Canada to 1867
(November 28 2011)
The West Beyond the West
story of empire formation is different than elsewhere, largely
because of timing
British empire reaches this part of the world in the 18hcentury
settlement begins in mid 19 thcentury
1. Aboriginal British Columbia
Material abundance (salmon; cedar); diversity
o These two products/natural resources mean there is an
abundance of wealth here year round that you wont find
o Considerable material abundance.
o Has a number of consequences
The densest aboriginal populations in north America.
Bulk of pre-contact population is mostly found in
It is unique in the sense that this population is not
being supported by faming but by fishing.
Most of the population lives on the coast, and coastal
sites get washed away by the ocean.
o Oldest settled areas; we’re not sure by almost 12,000 years
o One of the indexes that suggests that this is an area that has
been settled for a long time is the incredible array of
o Sometimes linguists suggest that the more languages you
have and the more complex they are, the more people in a
society are interacting and must have done so for a long
o 34 languages THAT WE KNOW OF.
o Language Groups:
Nuxalt (Bella Coola)
3 main cultural areas NW coastal,
o Southern Plateau; Northern Subarctic
2. People of NorthWest Coast linguistic groups
material culture (housing/fishing/cooking);
o people are fishers, whalers.
o Eating clams and oysters
o Women are harvesting shellfish, men are fishing
o Women weave the nets that the men use to fish. They also
use underwater traps and harpoons. Only a small amount of
the fish is eaten fresh
o The largest amount of fish is dried or smoked
o There’s a candlefish out there just saying (????)
o One the food is gathered, a lot of the work is done by
Cooking done inside, in cooking baskets. Tightly
woven baskets, filled with hot water and rocks rather
than putting it on the fire. The food is then put inside.
o a chiefs position determined by family position and heredity
o some family’s rank higher others in villages
o one of the chief’s main roles is making sure that everyone is
taken care of. He had to have enough material to spread
around (Food, etc.)
potlatch (“to give” in Chinook jargon)
o common ritual among people of the Northwest but it could
look different according to the village.
o Echo for the Nook’s word “Putchitle” – to give.
o Chinook Jargon originally seems to have been a language
that pacific-northwest people came up with.
o One of the derivations of potchlatch is in the Chinook Jargon,
which just means to give.
o Goods given away and circulated
o There is a lot more as well, anthropologists say that it’s a
time and place where life changing moments (death,
marriages) are brought to the public and celebrated.
o Typical ritual part of pacific-northwest life that is shared by
everyone, but is also one of many.