Essays for the American Indians of the Pacific Northwest Collection

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Ten essays on specific tribal groups and on cross-cultural topics were commissioned from anthropologists, historians, and teachers who have studied the rich heritage of Pacific Northwest Native Americans. These essays are intended to provide some context for K-12 students and teachers in using the primary sources found in the collection. The essays include some suggested study questions and bibliographies of additional resources.

The essays include an overview essay called "Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest: An Introduction." Five of the essays are on specific tribal/cultural groups while the other essays are on cross-cultural topics. There is also an additional section which highlights some of the collection's maps which show traditional territories or reservation boundaries.

Tribal/cultural groups:

Alaskan Tlingit and Tsimshian - Dr. Jay Miller of the University of Washington examines the Tlingit of the Alaskan panhandle and neighboring Tsimshian of the British Columbia coast.

Coeur d'Alene (Schitsu'umsh) - In the essay on the Coeur d'Alene of eastern Washington, northern Idaho and western Montana, written by Dr. Rodney Frey, associate professor of anthropology at the University of Idaho, the importance of mythology and religious teachings is reiterated.

The Lushootseed Peoples of Puget Sound Country - The meaning and value of some traditions are described in the essay written by Coll-Peter Thrush, an historian at the University of Washington, on the Lushootseed peoples of Puget Sound, the native speakers of the Lushootseed language.

The Makah Tribe: People of the Sea and the Forest - Dr. Ann M. Renker, who is the principal of Neah Bay High School and Markishstum Middle School, examines how non-native influences affected the Makah.

The Nez Perce - Revival of traditional culture has marked the recent history of the Nez Perce, described in the essay co-authored by Dr. Deward E. Walker, Jr. and Peter Jones, of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Cross-cultural topics:

Assimilation Through Education: Indian Boarding Schools in the Pacific Northwest - Carolyn J. Marr , Librarian at the Museum of History and Industry in Seattle, examines the operation of northwestern Indian schools in her essay on one of the most effective means government officials used in their attempt to eradicate traditional native institutions.

Chief Seattle and Chief Joseph: From Indians to Icons - David Buerge's essay on Chief Seattle and Chief Joseph examines the impact of western history on the lives of two prominent native leaders - and their impact upon it.

Salmon, the Lifegiving Gift - Dr. Jay Miller's second essay examines the salmon, once the daily bread of groups throughout the region, but now an endangered resource and an icon of environmental fragility.

Totem Poles: Heraldic Columns of the Northwest - Dr. Robin K. Wright, curator of Native American art at the University of Washington's Burke Museum, looks to folklore for clues to the origin of their form and examines the impact of western influence upon their development.


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