Northwest Coast. Introduction Natural Environment Northwest Coast Culture History. The Natural Environment. The North West Coast one of richest marine environments on earth. Northwest Coast a damp, lush forest belt bordered by coastal mountains.
Northwest Coast Culture History
"Interior of Habitation at Nootka Sound"John Webber (British), April 1778PMAE # 41-72-10/499
Considered characteristic of the cultural developments of the prehistoric Northwest Coast.
Argument over origins of technologies of the tradition.
Cedar dug-out canoe from the Ozette site
Feast Dish; HaidaPMAE # 31-63-10/K92
Wood whale dorsal w/ 700 otter's teeth
Items lined up for a potlatch near Victoria, British Columbia, 1865PMAE # 2004.1.806
This map shows the approximate tribal boundaries of the Northwest Coast Indians. (Handbook of North American Indians, Volume 7 Northwest Coast 1990: ix) http://www.peabody.harvard.edu/potlatch/page6.html
Achomawi basket-maker (The North American Indian; v.13) Edward Curtis photos, LOC
Cowichan canoes (The North American Indian; v.09) Edward Curtis photos, LOC
Whale ceremonial - Clayoquot (The North American Indian; v.11) Edward Curtis photos, LOC
“Before daring to practise his dangerous art, the whaler subjects himself to a long and rigorous course of ceremonial purification in order to render himself pleasing to the spirit whale. He bathes frequently, rubs his body vigorously with hemlock sprigs, dives, and imitates the movements of a whale.”
The much greater focus on acorn harvesting, fishing, sea mammal hunting, and shellfish collecting that appears in these early cultures set the stage for the appearance of some of the most sophisticated and densely packed hunter-gatherer societies.