Kwakiutl Indian Life

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For the Kwakiutl People of the northern part of Vancouver Island, Canada, and the adjacent mainland, recorded history starts approximately in the year of 1792 when Capitan George Vancouver first made contact. As with many first encounters with Europeans, disease developed and drastically reduced the population of the Kwakiutl by an estimated 75% from the time of 1830 to 1880. In 1990, the Kwakiutl was around 1500 and pre-contact estimates are in the range of ten times that (Native Languages of the Americas website 1998). No other accounts had been made on the Kwakiutl for almost the next century and knowledge in that time must be gathered from the Hudson's Bay Company and the reports of the Canadian government and British Colombia even though in 1849 a trading post was established in their territory (Codere 1950). On Vancouver island, Fort Rupert was built and four Kwakiutl groups moved their winter towns there, “establishing the largest largest of the Kwakiutl settlements and becoming the center of Kwakiutl culture.” (Native Languages of the Americas website 1998) Beginning around the 1880's, Franz Boas, George Dawson and other notable early anthropologists began an effort to collect and catalog ethnographic field work on the tribe because they “feared that Indians were “vanishing” as a consequence of the colonial legacy of genocide, Christian evangelization, and legislation that sought to displace indigenous traditions and assimilate native peoples into settler society.” (Zovar 2010) Because of this “salvage anthropology,” after that period, they are well documented and many artistic examples are now in museums. The environment that the Kwakiutl lived in is a temperate rain forest biome and is regulated by the Japan cur... ... middle of paper ... ...a 1932 Review of Religion of the Kwakiutl Indians. Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland 32:243-244 Angelbeck, Bill, and Eric McLay 2011 The Battle at Maple Bay: The Dynamics of Coast Salish Political Organization through Oral Histories 58(3):359-392. Codere, Helen 1950 Fighting with Property; a Study of Kwakiutl Potlatching and Warfare. New York: J. J. Augustin Native Languages of the Americas website 1998 Kwakiutl Indian Culture and History. Electronic document,, accessed November 8. Rohner, Ronald Preston, and Evelyn C. Rohner 1970 The Kwakiutl: Indians of British Columbia. New York: Holt Zovar, Joel 2010 Kwakiutl. Electronic document,, accessed November 7.

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