People of the Totem: The Indians of the Pacific Northwest

Norman Bancroft Hunt, Author, Werner Forman, Photographer
Norman Bancroft Hunt, Author, Werner Forman, Photographer University of Oklahoma Press $24.95 (128p) ISBN 978-0-8061-2145-1
Reviewed on: 09/01/1988
Release date: 09/01/1988
The Native American peoples of the Pacific Northwest coast of Canada and AlaskaTlingit, Kwakiutl et al.developed a remarkable civilization. In the wake of their ``discovery'' in the 18th century by Europeans, diseases decimated their populations, legislature outlawed their ceremonies, the church condemned their customs and their land was appropriated. Firsthand accounts of native societies, made while they were still largely intact, have survived however, and the coauthors of The Indians of the Great Plains here offer a clear, informative and entertaining introduction, including descriptions of dances, marriages, myths and totems, how the peoples built canoes, what they used for currency, the iconography of their nightmares, and the architecture and decor of their homes. One pivotal societal tenet was that of wealth. Status was gained by showing a disregard for material considerations and a ceremony called the potlatch was held for the purpose of disposing of and destroying possessions. Vivid photographs of masks, totem poles, clothing and implements of everyday and ceremonial use are professionally executed, carefully chosen and articulately interpreted. (September)
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