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Pacific Northwest

Pacific Northwest. Geography. 1500-200 miles long Only 100 miles wide Rich marine and forest biome Redwood and cedars common Surprisingly warm coastal water Bounded by coast range to the east. Subsistence. Primarily marine (H&G) Halibut Whale Salmon Sturgeon

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Pacific Northwest

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  1. Pacific Northwest

  2. Geography • 1500-200 miles long • Only 100 miles wide • Rich marine and forest biome • Redwood and cedars common • Surprisingly warm coastal water • Bounded by coast range to the east

  3. Subsistence • Primarily marine (H&G) • Halibut • Whale • Salmon • Sturgeon • Eulachon (smelt) aka candlefish • But also… • Otter • Seal • Deer • Bear • Mountain Goat • Other forest animals

  4. Technology • Utilized available woods to the extreme • Boxes • Totem Poles • Plankhouses • Clothing and Hats • Masks • Dugout Canoes

  5. Social Organization • Not bands as one might expect • Dense, sedentary population • Organized at the “Kon” • Central village and its controlled area • Could conflict with same “tribe” if they were in a different Kon • Violating could lead to war, death, or slavery • Kon leadership by multiple clan chiefs • Leadership based on heritage and wealth • Leads to a ranked society

  6. Social Organization • Further organized in exogamous clans and moieties • Matrilineal in the north • More patrilineal in the south • Moieties were Raven and Eagle (north) • Raven and Wolf in the south • Rights of access to resources to clans, personal/intellectual property to individuals • Clan property marked by totem poles, could also be erected to mark offenses (shame poles) • Homes (plankhouses) owned by the clan

  7. Social Organization • Patrilocal and avuncolocal residency • Daily life handled at the extended household level • Clan chiefs organize their clan’s labor for major salmon runs, etc.

  8. Beliefs • Animatism and animism common • Individuals gain power, male or female, through visions and demonstration • Shamanism only, no priests • Some specialized societies of shamans, e.g. Hamatsa cannibals • Elaborate performances

  9. Languages • Northern: Athabascan • Central: Salishan and Wakashan (isolates) • Southern: Salishan and Penutian, some Athabascan

  10. Additional Issues • Potlatches: Why and What • Funerary • Birth • Death • Status Change • Leveling • Redistribution • Affirmation • Alliances • Outlawed & reinstated

  11. Plateau

  12. Plateau: area of integrations • Riverine settlement: large winter villages in the river valleys. • Diverse subsistence base: anadromous and local fish, extensive game, and root resources (camas). • Complex fishing technology: harpoons, nets, net weights, weirs, storage. • Foodsharing between groups: many groups fish one area of the river during salmon runs., through sodalities • Kinship ties between groups: intermarriage of groups in and outside of Plateau. • Large trade networks: institutionalized trading partners and regional trade fairs (Chinook trade jargon). • Limited political integration: village to village organization. • Uniform mythology and art styles: e.g., vision quest, shamanism (salmon shaman), spirit helpers for all. • Blending of traits from surrounding areas • Salish (north) and Sahaptin/Penutian (south)

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