The Tlingit Indians

Overview

Lieutenant George Thornton Emmons, U.S.N., was station in Alaska during the 1880s and 1890s, a time when the Navy was largely responsible for law and stability in the Territory. His duties brought him into close contact with the Tlingit Indians, whose respect he won and from whom he gained an understanding of and respect for their culture. He became a friend of many Tlingit leaders, visited their homes, traveled in their canoes when on leave, purchased native artifacts, and recorded native traditions. In addition...

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Overview

Lieutenant George Thornton Emmons, U.S.N., was station in Alaska during the 1880s and 1890s, a time when the Navy was largely responsible for law and stability in the Territory. His duties brought him into close contact with the Tlingit Indians, whose respect he won and from whom he gained an understanding of and respect for their culture. He became a friend of many Tlingit leaders, visited their homes, traveled in their canoes when on leave, purchased native artifacts, and recorded native traditions. In addition to an interest in native manufacturing and in the more spectacular aspects of native life - such as bear hunting, Chilkat blankets, feuds, and the potlatch - Emmons showed the ethnographer’s devotion to recording all aspects of the culture together with the Tlingit terms, and came to understand Tlingit beliefs and values better than did any of his nonnative contemporaries. He was widely recognized for his extensive collections of Tlingit artifacts and art, and for the detailed notes that accompanied them.

At the request of Morris K. Jesup, president of the American Museum of Natural History (which had purchased Emmons’s first two Tlingit collections), and on the recommendation of Franz Boas, Emmons began to organize his notes and prepare a manuscript on the Tlingit. During his retirement, he published several articles and monographs and continued to study and work on his comprehensive book. But when he died in 1945, the book was still unfinished, and he left several drafts in the museum and also in the provincial archives of British Columbia in Victoria, where he had been writing during the last decades of his life.

Frederica de Laguna, eminent ethnologist and archaeologist with long personal experience with the Tlingit, was asked by the museum to edit The Tlingit Indians for publication. Over the past thirty years she has worked to organize Emmons’s materials, scrupulously following his plan of including extracts from the earliest historical sources. She also has made significant additions from contemporary or more recent authors, and from works unknown ton Emmons or unavailable to him, and has given the ethnography greater historical depth by presenting this information in chronological order. She has also added relevant commentary of her own based on her encyclopedic information about past and present Tlingit culture.

With the help of Jeff Leer of the Alaskan Native Language Center, an expert on Tlingit, she has provided modern phonetic transcriptions of Tlingit words whenever Emmons has given native terms in his own idiosyncratic and inconsistent versions of Tlingit.

This major contribution to the ethnography of the Northwest Coast also includes a meticulously researched biography of Lieutenant Emmons by Jean Low, an extensive bibliography, and thirty-seven tables in which de Laguna draws together and tightens Emmons’s materials on topics such as census data, names of clans and houses, species of plants and their uses, native calendars, and names of gambling sticks. Illustrations include numerous photographs and sketches made and annotated by Emmons.

This volume will be invaluable to anthropologists, historians, and the general public - including the Tlingit Indians themselves, to whom it is dedicated.

Frederica de Laguna , professor emeritus of anthropology at Bryn Mawr College, is the author of the three-volume Under Mount Saint Elias (on the Tlingit of Yakutat) and numerous other works on Alaska archaeology and ethnography.

University of Washington Press

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
When Emmons died in 1945, he left behind a mass of materials for a 65 line drawings, and 127 b&w photos. book on the Tlingit which he had begun as early as the 1880s, when he was stationed in Alaska with the US Navy. Ethnologist and archaeologist Frederica de Laguna has spent 30 years organizing Emmons ethnographic data, notes, drawings, sketches, and manuscripts, and has made significant additions from other sources and her own information, putting the entirety in chronological order, to present this invaluable ethnography of the Northwest Coast. Includes a biography of Emmons by Jean Low, as well as an extensive bibliography, 37 tables, Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR booknews.com
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Frederica de Laguna , professor emeritus of anthropology at Bryn Mawr College, is the author of the three-volume Under Mount Saint Elias (on the Tlingit of Yakutat) and numerous other works on Alaska archaeology and ethnography.

University of Washington Press

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Table of Contents

AbbreviationsPreface: Editing The Tlingit IndiansTransliteration of TlingitAcknowledgmentsEditor’s Introduction: George Thornton Emmons as EthnographerA Biography by Jean Low: Lieutenant George Thornton Emmons, USN, 1852-1945THE LAND AND THE PEOPLEPhysical Features of Tlingit TerritoryClimateFlora and FaunaThe TlingitNameOrigin of the TlingitPhysical AppearanceCharacterHealth and DiseasePopulationSOCIAL ORGANIZATIONIntroductionTlingit TribesPhratry or MoietyClanHouse and HouseholdKinship CrestsDisplay of the CrestPainting of the FaceNamesSocial Classes ChiefsAuthority of ChiefsSlavesLawTradeVILLAGES, HOUSES, FORTS, AND OTHER WORKSVillagesHousesDomestic LifeOther Houses and SheltersFortsPetroglyphsStone CairnsTRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATIONCanoesManufacture and Repair of CanoesAppurtenances of the CanoeHandling the CanoeSnowshoesBags, Packs, Boxes and SledsFISHING AND HUNTINGIntroductionReligious Aspects of the Food QuestSalmon FishingHalibut FishingHerring FishingEulachon FishingTrout FishingOther Fish and Marine InvertebratesSeal HuntingPorpoise, Sea Lion, and WhaleSea Otter HuntingLand Animal Hunting: Aboriginal WeaponsFirearmsLand Animal Hunting: Traps and SnaresBird HuntingHunting DogsFOOD AND ITS PREPARATIONIntroductionSalmonHalibutHerring and EulachonOther Fish and ShellfishLand AnimalsSea MammalsBirdsBerries and Other Plant FoodsTobaccoDrinkFire MakingDomestic UtensilsARTS AND INDUSTRIES: MEN’S WORKSDivision of LaborWork in Stone"Jade"Men’s ToolsWork in Horn, Ivory, Shell, and InlaysWork in CopperCopper Neck Rings"Coppers"Work in IronWork in Silver and GoldWork in WoodMeasurementsTotem PolesPaintingArtARTS AND INDUSTRIES: WOMEN’S WORKSkin DressingSinew and IntestinesBasketrySpruce Root HatsBasketry DesignsSpruce Root MatsCedar Bark WeavingThe Chilkat BlanketDRESS AND DECORATIONPersonal CleanlinessClothingHair DressingEar and Nose OrnamentsLabretsBracelets and NecklacesFace PaintingTattooingTHE LIFE CYCLEBirthInfancy and ChildhoodNamingGirl’s PubertyMarriageDeathCremationCeremonies after the FuneralShaman’s GravesVarious Other Forms of Disposal of the DeadRecent GraveyardsInheritance of PropertyAfterlife, Spirits, Souls, ReincarnationCEREMONIESMusic and DanceTlingit Ceremonialism in the Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth CenturiesHouse-Building CeremoniesDedication of the House and Raising a Totem PoleDick Sa-tan’s Potlatch, 1891A Major PotlatchCeremony for the ChildrenThe Berry Potlatch DanceWAR AND PEACEEarly Encounters with EuropeansInterclan WarfareEncounters with AmericansAboriginal WarfareAboriginal Arms and ArmorArms, Armor, and Tactics, Described by the Early ExplorersMaking PeaceEarly Accounts of Peace CeremoniesPeace Ceremonies in 1891 and 1877ILLNESS AND MEDICINEDiagnosis of IllnessCures for External AilmentsMedicines for internal UseOther "Medicines"Omens and AmuletsSHAMANISMSpiritsThe ShamanBecoming a ShamanThe Shaman’s OutfitThe Shaman’s practiceStories about ShamansDeath of a ShamanWITCHCRAFTThe Origin of WitchesShaman and WitchWitches, Shamans, and the AuthoritiesGAMES AND GAMBLINGThe Stick GameThe Toggle (or Hand) GameThe Dice GameSpinnerGambling in the Russian EraTIME, TIDES, AND WINDSCountTime: Seasons and Days"Moons" of the YearTidesWindsTablesBibliographyIndex

University of Washington Press

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