Work on the log begins. Source: Yukon Canoe Project.
I just found an interesting blog that traces a community project to carve a Tlingit style dugout canoe on the banks of the Yukon River near Whitehorse:
Nineteen young Yukon carvers made history by creating a 30-foot red cedar dugout canoe. Under the leadership of Tlingit Master Carver Wayne Price, the carvers went on a journey of discovery.
An island on the east side of the Yukon River became their home for the next two months as went go back on the land to learn the traditional techniques for carving a dugout canoe.
Pulling a cedar bark strip. The scarred face will heal in a highly characteristic way. Source: In-SHUCK-ch live.com (click)
I came across a nice set of 18 pictures of members of the In-SHUCK-ch First Nation stripping cedar bark for use in traditional manufactures, especially basketry, cordage, matting, and clothing. This nation is on the lower Fraser in the general Lillooet-Harrison Lake area. It’s true you have to turn your head sideways on a lot of the pictures, but at the same time you would have to crane your head way back if you were stripping bark, so that’s ok. Continue reading
Posted in anthropology, Archaeology, Northwest Interior, pics
Tagged anthropology, Archaeology, cedar, CMT, Culturally Modified Tree, First Nations, In-SHUCK-ch First Nation, organic technology, Salish
Cover of Dan Savard's new book. The RBCM caption reads: "This man has been variously identified as a chief from four different areas of BC’s interior, including possibly Tyee Jim from the central interior (tyee means “chief” in Chinook, a trade language). John Wallace Jones or Thomas McNabb Jones photograph, about 1897." Source of this photo: Amazon.ca
There is an exciting new book in the pipeline on early photography and First Nations of the historic period. The author, Dan Savard, is senior collections manager of the Royal BC Museum’s anthropology audio and visual collection. The promotional blurb reads:
On a winter’s day in 1889, Tsimshian Chief Arthur Wellington Clah visited Hannah and Richard Maynard’s photography studio in Victoria to have his portrait taken. “Rebekah ask if I going likeness house,” Chief Clah wrote in his diary, “So I go, to give myself likeness. Rebekah stand longside me.” In Images from the Likeness House, Dan Savard explores the relationship between First Peoples in British Columbia, Alaska and Washington and the photographers who made images of them from the late 1850s to the 1920s.
I won’t be here (have some bottom sampling to attend to in Haida Gwaii), but Dan is giving a free public lecture and will sign copies of his book next week at the RBCM.
Posted in anthropology, archives, First Nations, history, Northwest Interior, Northwest Coast, pics
Tagged First Nations, photography, Public Education, RBCM, Royal BC Museum, Victoria, Victoria BC
Sign at the Horsehoe bay kiosk. Source: tad McIlwraith flickr.com account.
A month or two ago I commented on the Squamish and Lil’wat Cultural Journey website, which explores oral history and place names in the traditional territory of these two southwestern British Columbia First Nations. I was really happy to see that Douglas College Anthropologist (and occasional commenter here) Dr. Tad McIlwraith has carried the review much further. He’s even taken it into the field, so to speak, by documenting and discussing the actual cultural centre itself, and also the roadside kiosks which bring Squamish and Lil’wat histories to the travelling public.
Tad’s review has two parts.
Posted in anthropology, Archaeology, Cultural Resource Management, First Nations, history, Lower Mainland, Northwest Coast, pics, Uncategorized
Tagged Cultural Tourism, Lil'wat, Public Archaeology, Public Education, Sea to Sky, Squamish, Vancouver, Whistler
Village of the Friendly Indians near Bute's Canal. Watercolour by William Alexander. Source: University of Illinois.
Yesterday I posted an engraved view of a village near the entrance to Bute Inlet, the view seen in 1792 during the voyage of Captain Vancouver. Much as with the earlier posts on John Webber (1, 2, 3), there are multiple versions of these scenes. The above shows a watercolour rendering made by William Alexander, a well known artist and draughtsman of the late 18th century. It seems his series of works on the NW Coast was not done from life but was a commissioned finalization of the drawings of William Daniell, who was actually on Vancouver’s voyages, and perhaps other artists/oficer’s sketches. At least that is the story I’ve been able to winkle out, starting from a position of sheer ignorance. Nicely, though, Alexander’s watercolours from the Vancouver Voyage series, covering Alaska, the Northwest Coast and some views of California and Chile, are all available online through the Newberry Library at the University of Illinois. These renderings were not familiar to me and perhaps not to you, either.
Posted in alaska, Archaeology, California, First Nations, history, Northwest Coast, pics, Vancouver Island
Tagged art, Captain Vancouver, Coast Salish, Salish Sea, watercolours, William Alexander
Maxillae of the Great Sculpin. Source: PSU
OK, I have written more exciting headlines in my life. But as I noted before, zooarchaeologists – the specialists in identifying and interpreting animal remains – are some of the unsung heroes of archaeology. The discipline requires encyclopedic knowledge of hundreds of animal skeletons, the ability to relate even small fragments from archaeological contexts back to whole specimens of known species, and a thorough understanding of both culture and ecology – all this in addition to the normal skill set of a typical archaeologist. Master all this, and your reward is to be called “Bone Guy” (or worse) for the rest of your professional life.
Anyway, it is welcome to find another online guide to some common archaeological animal remains from the Northwest. While I know it is a bit too much information for many readers of this web site, it is important to share the link and information, since considerable time and effort was put into this admittedly niche set of illustrated fish bones, and archaeologists need to be aware of it.
Ground stone celts (adze and chisel blades). Source: Katzie.ca
Hmmm: the pictures are low resolution, there isn’t much annotation, many are of replicas, and the page design HTML is wonky, causing a lot of sideways scrolling. Yet I really like the Katzie First Nation’s artifact gallery. And no, its not only because they give ground stone its rightful pride of place. Though, in the image above, feast your eyes on the uppermost left specimen – an unusual yet definitive example of a broad celt being bisected to form two narrow ones. In essence, an adze is being turned into two chisels. Chew on that, Spaulding and Ford. Also check out the specimens in the centre-right, where the sharpened bits differ in colour from the bodies. These are either patinated specimens subsequently reground and recycled, or speak to a process of heat treating or oiling or similar to enhance the raw material. You could read all about this in my M.A. thesis if it were online, which it isn’t. Or wasn’t until five minutes ago. But I digress.
What I like is the text associated with these images.
Posted in Archaeology, First Nations, Lower Mainland, Northwest Coast, pics
Tagged british columbia, Coast Salish, Fraser River, Fraser Valley, Katzie, Katzie First Nation, museums
Stone artifact recently donated to the Sealaska Heritage Institute Special Collections. Source: SHI.
Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) is a regional Native nonprofit organization founded for the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian people of Southeast Alaska. SHI was established in 1981 by Sealaska Corp., a for-profit company formed under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA). SHI, formerly Sealaska Heritage Foundation, administers Sealaska Corp.’s cultural and educational programs.
I know this because I got linked the other day by SHI’s Special Collections Research Center Blog, which I hadn’t seen before. While not updated as frequently as this corner of the internavel is, it contains a lot of great posts going back to 2007 – you can see links to their archives down on the lower right hand side of their front page.
The most recent post concerns the artifact shown above. It looks to my eye like a, possibly unfinished, hand maul. They seem a little uncertain about the function though, so someone should go over to their site and give some opinions – they take comments. People with dirty minds are excluded from this request.
Posted in alaska, anthropology, Archaeology, Cultural Resource Management, First Nations, history, Northwest Coast, pics
Tagged alaska, Haida, Sealaska, Sealaska blog, Southeast, tlingit
Coast Salish Cod Lure. Source: NMAI
“Listening to Our Ancestors” is a nice online exhibit which resulted from a process by which 11 west coast First Nations and Tribes came to the National Museum of the American Indian (a fairly recent, major addition to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C.) and created mini-exhibits reflecting their own worldviews and the categories they deemed important. As such, each community’s sub-page is a glimpse into their specific cultural heritage and priorities – indigenous curation, you could say.
While much of the focus is on ceremonial items, some communities also choose to focus some attention on their more everyday technology, which is more in line with my own interests.
Posted in alaska, anthropology, Archaeology, First Nations, Haida Gwaii, Northwest Coast, pics, Washington State
Tagged Coast Salish, museums, National Museum of the American Indian, NMAI, Northwest Coast, smithsonian