Download Potlatch at Gitsegukla: William Beynon’s 1945 Field by Margaret J. Anderson PDF

By Margaret J. Anderson

William Beynon had a protracted occupation documenting the historical past and customs of the Tsmimshian, Nisga'a and Gitksan indigenous Canadian tribes. this article brings jointly his box notebooks written in the course of the elevating of 5 totem poles at Gitsegukla in 1945.

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Miller (1997) suggests that the southern Tsimshian were close to the supernaturally very powerful central coast peoples, but if our suggestion here is correct, then the locus of power was the boundary, with its potential for back-and-forth exchanges of ideas and privileges, not the intrinsic supernatural potency of any one of the groups. Adams (1973: 47) claims that when presented in complete shows the order of naxnox names usually follows an order of appearance that is the same as the order of ranking of the names in the House, though there is variation in the presentations of different Houses.

IV, 1 5) Molxan's speech both affirms the rights that were displayed by Han'amux and subtly augments and amends the information provided in his speech by pointing out that many Houses share these histories, crests, and names (though she does not say whether the particular crest that Han'amux referred to as exclusive is among those shared by other groups). Since the management of this complex system of rights and privileges depends on its presentation to and validation by an informed public at feasts, the wide dispersal of people to urban centres makes it difficult for claims, often asserted outside the context of the feast system, to be addressed and corrected by elders.

In 1952, when Wilson Duff (1952: 21) conducted the next survey of Gitksan totem poles, he found that in the twenty-five years since Barbeau and Beynon did their original work, twenty-eight poles had undergone restoration and seventeen new poles had been carved and raised. " From the Citksan perspective, however, a pole is a carrier of social, spiritual, territorial, and economic rights and privileges. This is not to say that individuals do not see or respond to aesthetic form, but only that it is not what totem poles are about.

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