Since the Time of the Transformers: The Ancient Heritage of - download pdf or read online

By Alan D. McMillan

ISBN-10: 0774807008

ISBN-13: 9780774807005

The Nuu-chah-nulth, Ditidaht and Makah occupy western Vancouver Island and the northern tip of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington. This historical past of the realm integrates assets of knowledge right into a unmarried account, tracing the historical past of those peoples from 4000 years in the past to at the present time.

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Extra resources for Since the Time of the Transformers: The Ancient Heritage of the Nuu-Chah-Nulth, Ditidaht and Makah

Sample text

A legend, however, is family property. Only those may tell it who have an inherited right to it, who trace descent ... from the hero of the legend, the ancestor who has met one or more supernatural beings, has gained "power" from them, and has bequeathed to his descendants not only this "power" but a number of privileges, such as names, songs, and dances, which derive from the ancestral experiences. Franz Boas (1974:159-160), working in the late nineteenth century with Tseshaht and Hupacasath informants in the Alberni area, collected a typical example of a Nuu-chah-nulth origin myth: In the beginning only the ky'aimi'mit,1 birds and other animals lived on the earth.

Very similar stories were told among the Makah, where the trickster figure was called Kwahtie (Swan 1870:64). It was Kwahtie who arranged the present landscape, stealing the daylight from its owner and timing the tides so that people could gather shellfish (Colson 1953:47). Much later, another powerful transformer came along and changed all the people he met into animals. In some versions of the stories, Kwahtie was changed into a mink and, in this guise, continues to play his tricks. Among the northern Nuu-chah-nulth, Kwatyat played a buffoon's role, while Andaokot was the primary transformer and culture hero (Drucker 1951:452).

It was Nuu-chah-nulth whaling that attracted particular anthropological attention. Of all historic Northwest Coast peoples, only the Nuu-chah-nulth, Ditidaht, Makah, Quileute, and Quinault actively hunted whales, and the latter two groups most likely derived this practice from contact with the Makah. Along the coast to the north the nearest whalers were the Koniaq and Aleut peoples (of Eskimo-Aleut stock) in southern Alaska, and this left a distributional gap that cried out for explanation. In a diffusionist argument characteristic of the time, Lantis (1938) prepared a detailed list of parallels in whaling practices in the two areas and proposed a formerly continuous distribution that was later broken by the arrival of the northern Northwest Coast groups from the interior.

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Since the Time of the Transformers: The Ancient Heritage of the Nuu-Chah-Nulth, Ditidaht and Makah by Alan D. McMillan

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