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ARCH 100 - April 4, 2011.docx

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ARCH 100
Ross Jamieson

th ARCH 100 – April 4 , 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 19 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 - Coast Salish people of Strait of Georgia, Fraser Valley, and Puget Sound - Many Coast Salish nations have recorded oral history of epidemics - Twana (Hood Canal); Lummi (SE Strait of Georgia); Kwantlen, Squamish and Sto:lo (Fraser River); Katzie (Pitt River); Cowichan (Gulf Islands) How can we evaluate oral history of epidemic disease? - All these oral traditions may not refer to the same epidemic - Many suggest (through $ of generations that had passed, etc) that we are dealing with late 18 century - Many state that this epidemic predated white peoples’ arrival by some years European entry into Strait of Georgia - 1774 Spanish at Nootka on west coast Vancouver Island - 1790 Manuel Quimper (Spain) exploration - 1791 Francisco Eliza (Spain) exploration - 1792 large-scale mapping by George Vancouver (England), Galiano and Valdes (Speain Vancouver’s description of Coast Salish territory - From Clallam (Southeast Strait of Juan de Fuca) began to encounter deserted villages, continued all the way north to Toba Inlet - human skeletons scattered around the beach “in great numbers” - Houses with weeds, nettles, and brush that the explorers estimated had been abandoned “five or six years” The Survivors - Vancouver reported over and over again encountering people in the villages with old smallpox scars, often blind in one eye from the disease - As we look at later records (Simon Fraser 1808, Fort Langley Journal 1827-30, etc) we see decreasing mention of pockmarked individuals over time by w
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