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The Bella Coola Indians
     

The Bella Coola Indians

by T.F. McIlwraith, John Barker
 

The classic ethnographic study of the Bella Coola (Nuxalk) Indians of British Columbia, originally published in 1948 and long out of print, is now available again. It is both a comprehensive guide to Nuxalk culture and a central document in the study of ethnographic methods.

Between 1922 and 1924, T.F. McIlwraith, then an anthropologist with the National Museum

Overview

The classic ethnographic study of the Bella Coola (Nuxalk) Indians of British Columbia, originally published in 1948 and long out of print, is now available again. It is both a comprehensive guide to Nuxalk culture and a central document in the study of ethnographic methods.

Between 1922 and 1924, T.F. McIlwraith, then an anthropologist with the National Museum of Canada, spent part of each year with the Nuxalk, acquiring an exhaustive knowledge of their culture. In these volumes he documented the structure of Nuxalk society, the practice of religion, and the role of mythology and the supernatural. He discussed the potlatch and described ceremonies and beliefs surrounding birth, adolescence, marriage, and death. Separate chapters deal with warfare, games, and songs.

Of particular interest is a lengthy and detailed description of the winter ceremonial. That McIlwraith was granted the unprecedented privilege of participation in one of these is an indication of the high esteem in which the Nuxalk held him.

The two-volume set now contains a new introduction by John Barker which places the work in its historical context and reveals new information about McIlwraith's methods.

Editorial Reviews

Ramsay Cook
‘In the history of Canadian anthropology, T.F. McIlwraith’s The Bella Coola Indians occupies a place similar to that of H.A. Innis’s The Fur Trade in Canada in Canadian historical writing’
Booknews
First published in 1948, McIlwraith's definitive ethnic study of the Nuxalk Indians of British Columbia is both a comprehensive guide to Nuxalk culture and a central document in the study of ethnographic methods. A new introduction by John Barker places the work in its historical context. Barker charts McIlwraith's career, reveals new information about his methods, and recounts the fascinating publishing history of the first edition of this landmark work. Paper edition (unseen), $60. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780802076922
Publisher:
University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division
Publication date:
11/03/1992
Pages:
1435
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.24(h) x 3.60(d)

Meet the Author

T. F. McIlwraith was a Professor of Anthropology at the University of Toronto.

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