The Yuquot Whalers' Shrine

The Yuquot Whalers' Shrine

by Aldona Jonaitis
     
 

In 1905 George Hunt, at the insistence of anthropologist Franz Boas, acquired a remarkable collection of materials from the Mowachaht band of the Nuu-chah-nulth (Nootka) for the American Museum of Natural History. An assemblage of 92 carved wooden figures and whales, 16 human skulls, and the small building that sheltered them, the shrine had for centuries stood in

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Overview

In 1905 George Hunt, at the insistence of anthropologist Franz Boas, acquired a remarkable collection of materials from the Mowachaht band of the Nuu-chah-nulth (Nootka) for the American Museum of Natural History. An assemblage of 92 carved wooden figures and whales, 16 human skulls, and the small building that sheltered them, the shrine had for centuries stood in Yuquot, or Friendly Cove, on the remote west coast of Vancouver Island, visited only by chiefs and their wives. Since its removal to New York, it has been represented in anthropological and historical writings, film, television, and newspapers.

In this fascinating study, Aldona Jonaitis investigates and reconstructs the history of the shrine both before and after it was acquired for the museum. Clues to the shrine’s complex history—traced to the mid-17th century—and meaning are provided by historical and anthropological writings, photographs, stories, the Hunt-Boas correspondence, and the artifacts themselves. Jonaitis addresses important contemporary issues, including the Mowachaht band’s desire to have the shrine repatriated for display in Yuquot.

University of Washington Press

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Providing as much a historical monograph as an anthropological study, Jonaitis, director of the University of Alaska Museum and professor of anthropology at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, details the history of the Nootka Whalers' Shrine, from its origins in Yuquot (Friendly Cove), to its acquisition by George Hunt in 1905, for the American Museum of Natural History, and its subsequent interest to anthropologists, historians, and even film makers. This book is full of b&w photographs and drawings, including several from 1904 of the shrine as well as each of the pieces it contained. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780295978284
Publisher:
University of Washington Press
Publication date:
09/28/1999
Pages:
260
Product dimensions:
7.33(w) x 9.81(h) x 0.95(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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