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Lecture

ARCH 100 Lecture Notes - Manuel Quimper, Salish Sea, Toba Inlet


Department
Archaeology
Course Code
ARCH 100
Professor
Ross Jamieson

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ARCH 100 April 4th, 2011
Quiz 4: Week 11 13, Cracking the Maya Code, Opening the Eyes (Films on Demand)
Death in the Salish Sea: Virgin Soil Epidemics in the Northwest Coast Culture Area
“To enquire where people lived in what is now southern BC at the beginning of the 19th century is to
encounter smallpox; ongoing continental debates about disease, depopulation and the contact
process; and the politics of land in contemporary British Columbia” – Cole Harris 1992 “Voices of
Disaster”
Virgin Soil Epidemic
- diseases are “endemic” to a population if they are present often enough to build childhood
immunities, thus impacting fewer adults of reproductive age
- Introduction of an epidemic disease to a population with no previous exposure is a “virgin
soil epidemic”
Demography and Colonization
- Estimates suggest that in the century after Columbus’ arrival in the Western Hemisphere
the Native American population may have declined by 90%
- Demographics: study of trends in populations
- archaeology, historical documentation, oral history
Contact Period in British Columbia
- Recent land claims litigation and negotiations mean that disease and depopulation have
been re-politicized
- Those wishing to deny land claims push for small contact populations, those who push for
larger land claims push for larger estimates
- Can there be an objective estimate?
The Diseases
- Measles, influenza, dysentery, whooping cough, and malaria were all part of the death of
many First Nations people in contact/early historic Northwest Coast
- but small pox was most deadly
The Salish Sea
- Idea of marine ecologists, looking at one ecological zone in BC and Washington state
- Huge inland “sea”
- Vancouver BC and Seattle WA dominate modern population structure
1782 smallpox epidemic
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