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Gender and politics in a Carrier Indian community Fiske, Jo-Anne 1989

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GENDER AND POLITICS IN A CARRIER INDIAN COMMUNITY By JO-ANNE FISKE B.Ed., The University of British Columbia 1969 M.A., The University of British Columbia 1981 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Department of Anthropology and Sociology) We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA September, 1989 © Jo-Anne Fiske, 1989  In  presenting  degree freely  at  this  the  thesis  University  in of  partial  fulfilment  British  Columbia, I agree that  available for reference and  copying  of  department publication  this or of  thesis by  this  for  his thesis  her  Anthropology  The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada  Date  DE-6  (2/88)  September 25,  1989  purposes  the  gain shall  requirements  agree that  may  representatives.  for financial  permission.  Department of  study. I further  scholarly  or  of  be It not  the  be  an  advanced  Library shall  permission  granted  is  for  by  the  for  make it extensive  head  understood  that  allowed  without  of  my  copying  or  my  written  ABSTRACT  This thesis presents a study of the political p r o c e s s e s of S t o n e y C r e e k , Saik'uz, a Carrier Indian community in British  Columbia.  T h e primary g o a l is to  a c c o u n t for the central role of w o m e n in public decision m a k i n g .  T h e f o c u s is o n  the political significance of w o m e n ' s domestic authority, of their influence in kinship g r o u p s , of their social rank in the clan/potlatch c o m p l e x , a n d of their roles in the elected council a n d the administrative structure, a n d of their voluntary associaticns. T h e s t u d y is a p p r o a c h e d from three directions. s o c i o - e c o n o m i c position is d e s c r i b e d a n d analyzed.  First, w o m e n ' s c h a n g i n g S e c o n d , the influence of  traditional culture o n m o d e r n life is c o n s i d e r e d . Third, the current socio-political organization of the community is examined in relation to prevailing conditions of economic dependency.  Here the f o c u s is o n the m a n a g e m e n t of s c a r c e s o c i a l  a n d e c o n o m i c r e s o u r c e s a n d on the competition for d e c i s i o n - m a k i n g positions. This study a r g u e s that w o m e n ' s public p r e s e n c e is the result of three tightly interwoven factors: w o m e n ' s e c o n o m i c autonomy (which includes control over critical d o m e s t i c r e s o u r c e s ) ; the prevailing ideology of respect for older w o m e n ' s k n o w l e d g e a n d w i s d o m ; a n d the s o c i o - e c o n o m i c structure, in which public a n d private interests are essentially undifferentiated. T h e s e factors c o a l e s c e to provide e c o n o m i c a n d cultural foundations for w o m e n ' s unique political strategy: the formation of voluntary a s s o c i a t i o n s that  ii  interact successfully with the formal political structure to influence public d e c i s i o n s a n d to a d v a n c e family a n d community interests.  W o m e n ' s voluntary associations  c o m p e t e successfully with the elected council in obtaining limited e c o n o m i c a n d political r e s o u r c e s a n d provide a special forum in which w o m e n c a n retain a n d a d v a n c e family h o n o u r a n d political fortunes. T h e study also examines a n u m b e r of a p p r o a c h e s to the impact of colonization a n d capitalism o n indigenous w o m e n .  T h e findings refute the  argument the capitalism automatically e r o d e s the position of w o m e n in indigenous communities.  T h e y s u p p o r t the contrary view that in conditions of  political-economic marginality, a d o m e s t i c sector of p r o d u c t i o n exists a l o n g side capitalist production.  B e c a u s e the d o m e s t i c s e c t o r is o r g a n i z e d a r o u n d kinship  a n d the creation of use-values, this m o d e of p r o d u c t i o n protects or even e n h a n c e s w o m e n ' s personal autonomy a n d social influence. T h e analysis of political p r o c e s s e s in which w o m e n are equal participants requires moving away from c o m m o n a s s u m p t i o n s of female subordination to analytical m o d e l s that reveal the complex, a n d often contradictory, structural relations that d e v e l o p between w o m e n a n d m e n a s w o m e n c o m e to o c c u p y a variety of social positions.  In seeking to u n d e r s t a n d w o m e n ' s central position in  this community, this study points to the n e e d for theoretical m o d e l s g r o u n d e d in the routines of social relations. Theoretical formulations are n e e d e d that will take into a c c o u n t the simple fact that w o m e n a n d m e n are visible a n d active in the public d o m a i n .  In c o n c l u s i o n , it is a r g u e d that a p p r o a c h i n g w o m e n ' s political iii  participation through theoretical perspectives that stress female subordination o b s c u r e s the relative p o w e r available to indigenous w o m e n a s a c o n s e q u e n c e of ascribed rank a n d p e r s o n a l c o m p e t e n c e .  iv  TABLE OF CONTENTS ABSTRACT  .  ii  TABLE OF CONTENTS  v  ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS  xii  ORTHOGRAPHY  xiii  CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION  1  T h e R e s e a r c h Problem  1  T h e Ethnographic R e c o r d  11  W o m e n a n d Politics  20  Methodology  25  Organization  30  CHAPTER TWO SAIK'UZ T O D A Y  32  Introduction  32  The People  32  The Land  37  T h e Village  39  T h e E c o n o m i c s of D e p e n d e n c y  47  T h e Administrative Structure  50  T h e Political Issues  54  . . .  CHAPTER THREE HISTORY O F T H E SAIK'UZ W H U T ' E N N E Introduction  60 60  Aboriginal Social Organization  62  The'Uda'Dune  64  T h e Fur T r a d e 1806-1862  69  Settlement 1862-1910  72  C h u r c h a n d State Intervention  76  E c o n o m i c E x p a n s i o n a n d Settlement 1911-1950  80  i) E c o n o m i c Diversity  80  ii) C h a n g e s in Subsistence Production  83  iii) C h a n g e s in Fur Trapping  85  iv) T h e D e p r e s s i o n Years  87  v  Modernization  90  i) T h e War Y e a r s 1939-1945  90  ii) T h e Post-War Y e a r s 1946-1960  91  iii) T h e Present  99  Summary and Conclusions  100  CHAPTER FOUR A S A I K ' U Z VIEW O F H I S T O R Y  102  Introduction  102  T h e C o s m o l o g i c a l Matrix  104  i) Selection a n d Analysis of the Narratives ii) W o m e n in Mythology  105 107  iii) Rites of P a s s a g e  109  iv) Social Context  119  T h e G o o d Times a n d the H a r d T i m e s  126  G e n d e r in the Political Context  141  Summary and Conclusions  145  C H A P T E R FIVE W O M E N ' S LIVES: DAUGHTERS, MOTHERS, LEADERS  147  Introduction  147  "A Little Girl is Not for Nothing"  148  i) Birth a n d C h i l d h o o d  148  ii) M o t h e r h o o d  154  "Unless There is a W o m a n "  161  G o o d a n d Strong W o m e n  165  i) T h e G o o d W o m e n  166  ii) T h e Strong W o m e n  175  Summary and Conclusions  182  C H A P T E R SIX D O M E S T I C LIFE A N D KINSHIP O R G A N I Z A T I O N  184  Introduction  184  Welfare Colonialism  184  Household Composition  188  Family a n d Kinship Organization  194  i) T h e Family a n d E x t e n d e d Family  194  ii) Domestic Responsibilities  196  vi  T h e Outfit  207  i) Organization  207  ii) T h e A d a m s Outfit  220  iii) T h e Baptiste Outfit  226  iv) T h e C h a r l e s Outfit  228  v) T h e Daniels Outfit  231  Summary and Conclusions  236  CHAPTER SEVEN SOCIAL ORGANIZATION A N D C O M M U N I T Y LIFE  238  Introduction  238  The Clans  238  T h e Potlatch  245  S o c i a l Status  r  249  Gender  256  C l a n s a n d Outfits  264  Voluntary A s s o c i a t i o n  267  Public Events  272  Summary and Conclusions  274  C H A P T E R EIGHT W O M E N A N D T H E POLITICAL P R O C E S S Introduction  .  276 . '.  276  Positions of Power a n d Powerful People  277  T h e Political Units  291  i) T h e Voluntary A s s o c i a t i o n s  291  ii) T h e Administrative Structure  305  Summary and Conclusions  314  C H A P T E R NINE W O M E N ' S SOCIO-POLITICAL STATUS: REGIONAL AND C O N C E P T U A L ISSUES  VARIATIONS 317  Introduction  317  C h a n g i n g S o c i a l a n d E c o n o m i c Relations  318  i) Precapitalist G e n d e r Relations  319  ii) T h e Impact of Mercantile Capitalism  322  iii) W a g e L a b o u r a n d W o m e n ' s S u b s i s t e n c e Production  324  iv) C o n t e m p o r a r y Conditions  326  vii  Theoretical Implications  332  i) Historical Materialism  332  ii) Cultural Explanations  341  iii) P r o c e s s u a l A n a l y s e s  347  Conclusions  350  CHAPTER TEN SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS  352  Summary  352  Carrier E t h n o g r a p h y  360  i) T h e Past  360  ii) T h e Present  364  Conclusions BIBLIOGRAPHY  366 :  viii  371  LIST O F M A P S M A P 1:  Indians of British C o l u m b i a  33  M A P 2:  Internal Divisions of the Carrier  35  M A P 3:  Indian Reserves N o . 1 to 8 of Stoney C r e e k B a n d  M A P 4:  .  41  Fishing Sites Utilized by W o m e n of Saik'uz  222  ix  LIST O F C H A R T S C H A R T 1:  S e l e c t e d D e s c e n d a n t s of the Referent Males a n d their S p o u s e s  216  C H A R T 2:  C o r e M e m b e r s of the F o u r Outfits  C H A R T 3:  T h e Outfits with Third a n d Fourth Generations a n d Peripheral M e m b e r s  217 218  C H A R T 4:  Workers at Potlatch I  252  C H A R T 5:  Workers at Potlatch II  255  C H A R T 6:  Holders of Potlatch S e a t s b y Outfit  259  C H A R T 7:  Elected Office Holders in A d a m s a n d Baptiste  C H A R T 8:  A p p o i n t e d a n d Parapolitical  Outfits  281  Office Holders  285  x  LIST O F T A B L E S TABLE  1:  Department of Indian Affairs' Population Estimates for Stoney C r e e k Indian B a n d 1891-1920 b y Five Year Averages  75  TABLE  2:  Population T r e n d s of C e n s u s Division 8, Central  TABLE  3:  Adult Population of C e n s u s Division 8, Central  Interior of British C o l u m b i a 1901-1961 Interior of British C o l u m b i a 1961  by A g e G r o u p  and Sex TABLE  4:  94  A List of Selected Tales from J e n n e s s a n d from Fieldwork  TABLE  5:  93  106  N u m b e r of Generations Living in H o u s e h o l d b y Marital Status of H o u s e h o l d H e a d  189  TABLE  6:  H o u s e O w n e r s by Marital Status  TABLE  7:  P r e s e n c e of Dependent Children by G e n d e r C o m p o s i t i o n of  TABLE  8:  Balhats Attendance by Clan a n d G e n d e r  TABLE  9:  N u m b e r of Positions Held by Elected Personnel  278  Multiple Office Holders 1974-1983  287  and Gender  192  Adult Residents of H o u s e h o l d  T A B L E 10:  xi  203 257  ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I a m indebted to the m e m b e r s of my dissertation committee for their painstaking g u i d a n c e of this study: Dr. Robin Ridington, Dr. David F. A b e r l e , Dr. Michael Kew, a n d Dr. T h e l m a S h a r p C o o k .  I have benefited greatly from  Aberle's careful, incisive, a n d detailed commentary. University also provided useful criticism a n d insights.  Dr.  C o l l e a g u e s at Saint Mary's Dr. Harold M c G e e  read  portions of earlier drafts a n d Professor S u s a n Walters g a v e useful a d v i c e a n d stimulating d i s c u s s i o n . I wish to thank the many friends who e n c o u r a g e d me throughout the work a n d who provided numerous personal services:  Pat Berringer, Terry Smith, J a n  Gray, Kuldip Gill, Elena Perkins, J o a n n e R i c h a r d s o n , J o a n n e Sinclair, a n d Judith Rose.  Evelyn Legare offered useful criticisms a n d spent m a n y d a y s a n d e v e n i n g s  in helpful d i s c u s s i o n s .  G r e g S c h w a n n gave generously of his time a n d s o l v e d  dilemmas with the computer.  Gwynetth Matthews edited an earlier version a n d  p r o v i d e d invaluable advice throughout the final draft.  I a m most grateful to Marie  Paturel who cheerfully a n d patiently t y p e d a n d p h o t o c o p i e d two drafts.  Linda  Nieuwenstein also provided assistance with word p r o c e s s i n g a n d p h o t o c o p y i n g . I wish to thank the Social S c i e n c e a n d Humanities R e s e a r c h C o u n c i l for the doctoral fellowship 453-83-0163. M a n y w o m e n a n d m e n at Stoney C r e e k provided hours of a s s i s t a n c e , g u i d a n c e with the language a n d linguistic p r o b l e m s , a n d g a v e their time generously.  T h e y are too n u m e r o u s to mention, but special thanks is d u e to  Miss Bertha T h o m a s a n d Mrs. Cecile Patrick who kindly s h a r e d their h o m e s with me.  T h e staff of the b a n d office s h a r e d their offices a n d assisted m e in m a n y  ways.  I have deliberately mentioned no n a m e s of the m a n y w o m e n a n d m e n  w h o contributed their life stories, historical knowledge, a n d p e r s o n a l views for fear that identifying individuals might jeopardize their privacy.  My gratitude for their  a n o n y m o u s assistance is immeasurable. I owe a special debt to  Dr. J o h n McMullan who read a n d c o m m e n t e d o n  e a c h draft. Without his patience a n d encouragement, the study c o u l d not have been completed.  xii  ORTHOGRAPHY This study u s e s the orthography a n d pronunciation key (Walker et al. 1974:343ff) d e v e l o p e d by Richard Walker a n d David B. Wilkinson of the S u m m e r Institute of Linguistics. Variations of their renderings in T h e Central Carrier Bilingual Dictionary reflect dialectal differences between the p e o p l e of this study, Saik'uz Whut'enne, or S t o n e y C r e e k B a n d , a n d the Stuart Lake Carrier with w h o m Walker a n d Wilkinson w o r k e d . T h e spellings a n d translations of Carrier terminology u s e d here have b e e n p r o v i d e d b y w o m e n of Saik'uz who have received linguistic training from the S u m m e r Institute of Linguistics. A n example of their role in the development of Carrier linguistic materials is the literacy materials (workbook a n d primers) in 1976 by the S t o n e y C r e e k Indian B a n d .  Key To Pronunciation Carrier s o u n d  English equivalent of s o u n d said with a s t o p p a g e in the throat  a  like a in father  b  like b in ball  ch  like c h in chicken  ch'  like c h said with a catch  d  like d in d o g  dl  like dl in landlord in rapid s p e e c h  dz  like d s in N e d ' s  dz  s a m e as d s said in front of mouth  e  like ay in s a y  9  like g in g o o d  gh gw  like g said in b a c k of mouth  h  like h in hen  like gw in G w e n like i in link like j in job  k  like k in key  k'  like k said with a catch  kh  like k said in b a c k of mouth  kw  like q u in q u e e n  kw'  like q u said with a catch like I in leaf  Ih  resembles I in clean but not v o i c e d  m  like m in m o o n xiii  printed  n ng  0  OO s s sh t f tl  tr  ts ts' ts ts' u w wh y z z  like n in nut like ng in song like o in toe like oo in boot like s in saw like s said in front of mouth like sh in shoe like t in tea like t said with a catch like tl in throttling like tl said with a catch like ts in sits like ts said with a catch like ts said in front of mouth like ts said with a catch like u in but like w in wander like w in where like y in young like z in fuzz like z said in front of mouth  xiv  CHAPTER ONE  INTRODUCTION The Research Problem I p r o p o s e to examine w o m e n ' s political strategies in the context of g e n d e r relations in Saik'uz, a Carrier Indian reserve of central British C o l u m b i a . W o m e n of this native Indian b a n d have e a r n e d a local reputation a s prominent community leaders. Indeed, within Saik'uz a n d the neighbouring white community, female elders are s a i d to b e "in control of the reserve." B e c a u s e my earlier research (Fiske 1981) confirmed the importance of female leadership in community politics but did not analyze either the contemporary social context or the specific nature of w o m e n ' s political participation, I have now c h o s e n to d o s o . I raise three questions: What are the political strategies of female leaders? H o w have they c o m e to o c c u p y a central position within the decision-making p r o c e s s ?  What cultural, material, a n d social  factors a c c o u n t for their p r o m i n e n c e ? The  prominent position that Saik'uz w o m e n  especially interesting; o n the  hold in community affairs is  o n e h a n d , it contradicts a widely-held belief that  everywhere w o m e n are s e c o n d a r y to m e n (Rosaldo 1974; Ortner a n d Whitehead 1981), while o n the other, it is consistent with the known position of w o m e n in other native societies of western North A m e r i c a , for example, the Tlingit of H o o n a h , A l a s k a (L. Klein 1975), a n d the Colville a n d Puyallup of Washington State (Green 1983:15). It is of particular interest a s well in light of the scant but contradictory literature 1  o n Carrier w o m e n ' s traditional roles. While earlier o b s e r v e r s reported that Carrier w o m e n routinely held decision-making positions within their settlements a n d clans ( G o l d m a n 1963:358; Morice 1893:175; J e n n e s s 1943:489; 521) general  high esteem  (Mclean  a n d were held in  1932:180), they a l s o a r g u e d that Carrier  women  o c c u p i e d a s e c o n d a r y social position a n d were s u b j e c t e d to particular hardships justified by culturally p r e s c r i b e d rituals a n d physical isolation (Morice 1890:124; M c L e a n 1932:155).  1930:57-58;  In order to fulfill the g o a l s of this study it will b e  n e c e s s a r y to provide an account of the social responsibilities a n d powers of Carrier w o m e n a n d to redress the ethnographic neglect of Carrier w o m e n by offering an a c c o u n t that accurately reflects their world view. T h e Carrier are an A t h a p a s k a n g r o u p of central British C o l u m b i a . Traditionally, they have o c c u p i e d large tracts of hunting a n d fishing territories stretching from the R o c k y Mountains westward to the C o a s t Mountain R a n g e a n d lying between 53 a n d 55 d e g r e e s of latitude.  Saik'uz is f o u n d at the centre of this region, which is  c o n n e c t e d to the periphery of Carrier territory a n d b e y o n d to adjacent tribal areas with a long established network of trails. Over the last century, Saik'uz jural authority h a s shifted from matrilineal clans (which regulated marriage, resource production, a n d  ceremonial exchange), a n d  patrilineal village chieftainship, to a state i m p o s e d s y s t e m of b a n d chief a n d council. Initially, the federal state a n d the Catholic c h u r c h directly controlled  appointments  to these positions, which they restricted to m e n of their o w n c h o i c e .  Democratic  election of m e n by m e n d i s p l a c e d direct outside control b y 1930, but it was not until 2  1951, with revisions to the Indian Act, that w o m e n were granted formal d e m o c r a t i c participation. W o m e n have always b e e n active in the Carrier e c o n o m y a n d in m a n a g i n g the affairs of their settlements a n d clans.  G o l d m a n tells us that e x t e n d e d family  units of the A l g a t c h o were h e a d e d by the first born, female or male 1963:358).  (Goldman  Saik'uz elders claim that in indigenous times an extended family unit  h a d two "bosses," the eldest male a n d female.  They further c o n t e n d that their clans  were led in a similar fashion, by a "clan father" a n d a "clan mother."  W o m e n were  e n g a g e d in s u b s i s t e n c e activities of fishing, gathering, snaring, a n d later trapping for the fur trade.  T o d a y w o m e n work a s w a g e labourers, p r o d u c e the bulk of b u s h  s u b s i s t e n c e , a n d m a n a g e affairs of the community through participation in the b a n d council, its administrative staff, a n d voluntary associations. With the e m e r g e n c e of feminist perspectives in anthropology in the decade,  the  study  of w o m e n ' s  ethnographic attention relations.  lives a n d  a n d is generating  social relations new debates  is receiving  concerning  past  greater  female-male  Feminist studies in particular f o c u s on w o m e n ' s socio-political status,  culminating in extensive efforts to m e a s u r e the relative status of w o m e n vis-a-vis m e n in pre-industrial a n d c o n t e m p o r a r y social formations (for example Whyte 1978; S a c k s 1979;  L e a c o c k 1978;  S c h l e g e l 1972).  Studies of native American w o m e n  have  followed a l o n g this path (Brown 1975; L e g a r e 1986; Albers 1983; A . Klein 1983). Nevertheless,  anthropological  w o m e n ' s u s e of social power.  literature  is s p a r s e when  it c o m e s to  analyzing  It is particularly lacking in studies of native A m e r i c a n 3  w o m e n ' s d e c i s i o n making within b a n d a n d tribal c o u n c i l s . A  number  of  factors  interventions in public life. each  were  a  contribute  to  this  disregard  for  women's  routine  A tendency to write life stories of female leaders a s if  remarkable  exception  and  without  due  consideration  of  the  c i r c u m s t a n c e s that foster female leadership b i a s e s our u n d e r s t a n d i n g of female leadership.  T h u s , what is m i s s e d is a complete picture of female leadership in  relation to c o m m o n a n d enduring political struggles of the (Bonnin 1900; Nelson 1972; Stewart 1980).  majority  of  women  Not surprisingly, efforts to u n d e r s t a n d  1  b r o a d e r issues a n d strategies underlying community a n d national leadership are few a n d all too frequently lack depth a n d analysis (see, for e x a m p l e , Indian Rights A s s o c i a t i o n 1981; Kidwell 1979; Miller 1978). G r e e n attributes this overall neglect to a n a c a d e m i c preference for theory over the details of daily life: If we  know  little about the  ways  functioned in Iroquois daily life, we theory,  rather  than  the  actual  in which the  must s u s p e c t that only  practice  making, is of interest to scholars.  matriarchy  of female  decision  Little w o n d e r that few have  written about m o d e r n female leadership in tribes which have been  female  g o v e r n e d for  a  long  time-Puyallup,  Colville,  Y a v a p a i , M e n o m i n e e - o r about those w o m e n w h o s e r v e d a s national a n d tribal political leaders in the last three d e c a d e s . Little w o n d e r again that a fixation with the traditional evolved into  1  studies  of  nonthreatening  older  women,  artists,  and  I d o not intend to s u g g e s t that these female leaders were not remarkable or  e v e n that they were not the exception of their culture a n d time.  Rather, I a m arguing  that without comparative studies of their "experiences a n d c i r c u m s t a n c e s we cannot further our understanding of the social p r o c e s s e s underlying s u c c e s s f u l leadership. . 4  female  relatives of f a m o u s male leaders, rather than into studies of the old w o m e n who tell male m e m b e r s of the A m e r i c a n Indian Movement  what  to  do  in the  next  militant  action  (Green  1983:15). But at the s a m e time, we find detailed descriptions of the actual practice of male decision making (Dyck, 1983; Larsen 1983). C o n s e q u e n t l y , feminist anthropologists s u g g e s t that this neglect is more directly the o u t c o m e of s e x i s m .  Ethnographic  descriptions, they argue, are b i a s e d by a prevailing androcentricism that  either  misrepresents w o m e n ' s lives or neglects d e s c r i b i n g them altogether (Reiter  1975;  S a c k s 1979; S c h e p e r - H u g h e s 1983).  T h e general d i s r e g a r d for w o m e n ' s lives a s a  subject of legitimate inquiry has b e e n e x a c e r b a t e d further b y c o m m o n a c c e p t a n c e of the  a s s u m p t i o n that everywhere  L a m p h e r e 1974).  men  are  politically dominant  (Rosaldo  and  This contributes to the neglect of w o m e n ' s participation in the  public d o m a i n a n d results in elaborate cultural m o d e l s of universal g e n d e r hierarchy (Ortner a n d Whitehead 1981; Collier a n d R o s a l d o 1981). T h e ideology of fieldwork as an intellectual a n d heroic adventure m a y s h a p e male c o n s c i o u s n e s s a n d promote male bias. A s s o c i a t i o n of fieldwork with hardiness, physical deprivation, a n d personal c o u r a g e may d o m i n a n c e a n d p e r s o n a l superiority  magnify  (Fiske 1986:68).  a s s u m p t i o n s of  male  Given the p r e d o m i n a n c e of  androcentric orientations within anthropology, it is not surprising that  women's  perspectives a s well a s those of m e n will reflect male bias. S t a n d a r d definitions a n d c o n c e p t s , after all, have b e e n framed a n d refined by this o n e viewpoint. feminist  scholars,  anxious to  revise a n d  5  amend  the  ethnographic  Even  record,  are  c o n s t r a i n e d in their  efforts.  F a c e d with traditional  male  audiences, s o m e  find  t h e m s e l v e s u n d e r p r e s s u r e to shift their f o c u s from the reality of w o m e n ' s daily lives to the m o r e conventional c o n c e r n s of abstract theory (Morgen 1983). T h e r e are, of c o u r s e , studies of w o m e n ' s lives a n d w o m e n ' s involvement in local-level politics. influence  in  T h e s e have f o c u s s e d primarily u p o n w o m e n ' s covert political  communities  where  women's  d o m e s t i c tasks  and  authority  have  c o n s i d e r a b l e impact o n the community as a whole rather than o n w o m e n ' s direct political action (Albers 1983;  Powers 1986;  L a m p h e r e 1977a).  Unhappily these  studies fail to c o n s i d e r the limits of covert power a n d the political significance of w o m e n ' s organizations. Although a number of ethnographers have r e m a r k e d u p o n the influence of w o m e n ' s voluntary associations within community politics, there have b e e n few attempts to analyze their full significance.  Balikci, for example, mentions  that the w o m e n ' s auxiliary of O l d C r o w intervened in public d e c i s i o n s . S a d i y , he fails to elaborate o n either the frequency or the extent of this influence (Balikci 1963:143). In her a c c o u n t of Tlingit town politics in H o o n a h (1975:225ff), Klein offers greater insights.  S h e notes that voluntary organizations are central to Tlingit  political c a r e e r s .  women's  Within them w o m e n are leaders, c o r e m e m b e r s , a n d followers  (ibid.:290). More  recently,  Powers  a d d r e s s e s the  a s s o c i a t i o n s of Oglala w o m e n .  issue  of  reservation-wide  voluntary  S h e notes that these organizations serve  two  p u r p o s e s : to fight the specific problems of w o m e n vis-a-vis d o m e s t i c violence a n d sexual discrimination o n the reservation, a n d to unite with m e n to c o m b a t state 6  manipulations a n d political interventions (Powers 1986:126).  But s h e , too, fails to  e x p a n d o n either the s u c c e s s of these associations or o n the strategies of their members.  In fact,  b e y o n d several short studies a n d journalists' a c c o u n t s of  w o m e n ' s activism, the structures a n d political significance of w o m e n ' s  voluntary  a s s o c i a t i o n s at both the local a n d pan-tribal level generally h a s b e e n o v e r l o o k e d (e.g. B o m b e r r y 1981; B o o n e y 1976;  Morrow 1970; Steiner 1960; Temkin et al. 1981;  T h o r p e 1981). Clearly, theoretical a d v a n c e s cannot be a c h i e v e d without a s o u n d e t h n o g r a p h i c record.  T h e o n g o i n g debate o n w o m e n ' s socio-political status is strengthened if it  is f o u n d e d o n c a s e studies of w o m e n ' s a c c e s s to a n d manipulation of  power.  A l t h o u g h attempts have been m a d e to extend a n d revise the ethnohistorical r e c o r d in this  r e g a r d , there are  few  studies of contemporary  native  women's  direct  involvement in the political p r o c e s s . This study a d d r e s s e s that ethnographic lacuna. It f o c u s s e s o n a s p e c t s of w o m e n ' s political struggles a n d strategies that have b e e n hitherto  neglected.  It g o e s b e y o n d generalized d e b a t e s o n w o m e n ' s status to  c o n s i d e r specific configurations of w o m e n ' s social relationships in order to c o n s i d e r the political significance of their influence in kin networks a n d of their  voluntary  associations. I a p p r o a c h my study of w o m e n ' s political participation from three directions. First, I d e s c r i b e a n d analyze w o m e n ' s c h a n g i n g s o c i o - e c o n o m i c position.  Here I  concentrate o n the historical transformation of the aboriginal s u b s i s t e n c e e c o n o m y through  the penetration of mercantile capitalism, the introduction of w a g e 7  and  contract  labour,  which  primarily  favoured  men,  the  development  of  industrial  capitalism, which d i s p l a c e d male Carrier labour but which simultaneously created service a n d d o m e s t i c j o b s for w o m e n , a n d , finally, the current position of e c o n o m i c d e p e n d e n c y u p o n state administered welfare a n d short term e m p l o y m e n t p r o g r a m s . I stress w o m e n ' s traditional a n d m o d e r n participation in e c o n o m i c activities a n d their.. a c c e s s to a n d control over r e s o u r c e s a n d the fruits of others' labour.  In o r d e r to  attain a s full an understanding as possible, I view the historical context from two perspectives: the written record of primary a n d s e c o n d a r y s o u r c e s , a n d the oral history of the Saik'uz elders. Second, S a i k ' u z life.  I c o n s i d e r the influence of traditional  Saik'uz culture o n  modem  In particular, I investigate the extent to which w o m e n ' s c o n t e m p o r a r y  behaviour is influenced b y traditional role m o d e l s . Saik'uz elders m a k e clear differenc e s between what they c o n s i d e r traditional a n d what they think of a s m o d e r n .  From  their perspective, the traditional, which they often categorize a s "the Indian way," e m b o d i e s all a s p e c t s of culture a n d social order perceived to have existed before E u r o - C a n a d i a n contact.  Precisely what this includes c a n b e verified t h r o u g h myth  a n d history a s related by the elders.  Behaviour a n d cultural p e r c e p t i o n s that are  labelled m o d e r n , "the white man's way," are s a i d to have e m e r g e d with the establishment of reserves in 1894, the intervention of the c h u r c h , the disruption of t r a p p i n g , a n d the discontinuance of s a l m o n fishing b y traditional weir t e c h n o l o g y early in this century. For the p u r p o s e s of this research, the f o c u s is o n elders' p e r c e p t i o n s of 8  traditional female  roles a s defined b y  a c c o u n t s of idealized behaviour of their  foremothers a n d a s e m b o d i e d in mythology. degree  of c o n g r u e n c e between  traditional  I will s h o w that there exists a high a n d m o d e r n values with respect  to  w o m e n ' s familial roles a n d community responsibilities. Elderly w o m e n s e e n o conflict between  traditional  ideals  of  nurture  c o n t e m p o r a r y family responsibilities.  and  domestic  obligations  and  Nor d o these elders s e e conflict  their  between  family responsibilities a n d intervention in community affairs. Finally,  I examine  the  current  socio-political organization  in  light  of  the  e c o n o m i c c i r c u m s t a n c e s of the reserve community. Here I explore two b a s i c i s s u e s : the  m a n a g e m e n t of e c o n o m i c a n d social r e s o u r c e s , a n d the competition for control  over executive offices within the formal political structure, the elected b a n d council a n d its administrative staff, a n d within the parapolitical structure of w o m e n ' s voluntary associations. T h e f o c u s o n local-level politics a n d community description is timely. Ponting explains,  As  with respect to consitutional reform, c o n s e n s u s d o e s not exist  between leaders of Indian b a n d s a n d their tribal councils, or between tribal councils a n d their provincial a n d national umbrella associations.  L a c k of a unified view  a m o n g representative g r o u p s h a s led the state towards a piecemeal practice of negotiating with individual b a n d s (Ponting 1986:38).  More likely than not, following  the example of the Sechelt B a n d , future state e m p h a s i s will b e u p o n negotiation of 2  2  Sechelt B a n d of British C o l u m b i a has negotiated a form of self-administration  which r e m o v e s it from many prescriptions of the Indian Act. 9  Known a s the Sechelt  band  level  self-administration,  with  community level receiving priority. level  leadership,  economic and  at  the  W e c a n expect i n c r e a s e d e m p h a s i s o n local-  g r a s s r o o t s organization,  community a n d regional i s s u e s .  social development  and  public agitation  with r e s p e c t  to  This transition c o m e s at a time of fiscal restraint  a n d a state e m p h a s i s o n the past failures of e c o n o m i c policies to alleviate dire social L  circumstances.  Therefore it is equally likely that reserves will face a period of  decreased economic support. It must also b e kept in m i n d that native Indian w o m e n ' s associations are not f u n d e d b y the Department of Indian Affairs a n d Northern Development (DIAND), a s are elected c o u n c i l s a n d their umbrella organizations, but by a n u m b e r of other federal a g e n c i e s including the Secretary of State's W o m e n ' s P r o g r a m , Health a n d Welfare  programs,  and  Canadian  Employment  and  Immigration  (CEIC).  C o n s e q u e n t l y , w o m e n face unique p r o b l e m s in their struggle for e c o n o m i c s u p p o r t a n d for state recognition of their contributions to native Indian communities a n d social development. T o date, there are neither studies of the relevance of w o m e n ' s associations a n d political leadership within this s p h e r e nor analyses of the particular social a n d political p r o b l e m s they confront. This dissertation breaks new g r o u n d by a d d r e s s i n g these issues. a  small  Indian  While I f o c u s entirely u p o n o n e c a s e , which admittedly c o n c e r n s only  population,  the  B a n d Act, this  situation  statute  addressed  grants  limited,  municipal government. 10  is  representative  delegated  power  of  nationwide  comparable  to  c i r c u m s t a n c e s with respect to urgent community p r o b l e m s of health, i n c o m e , a n d employment (Jamieson, 1978; Ponting 1986; Shkilnyk 1985).  The Ethnographic Record A s stated a b o v e , in order to achieve my b a s i c g o a l s I find it n e c e s s a r y to a d d r e s s the limits of Carrier ethnography.  T h e r e is very little p u b l i s h e d material o n  the Carrier, a n d what d o e s exist fails to provide a c c u r a t e , in-depth descriptions of w o m e n ' s lives.  Adrian Morice, a nineteenth century Oblate missionary, provides  relatively  detailed a c c o u n t s of Carrier life.  [Upper]  Carrier,  in  particular  the  C o n s e q u e n t l y , differences between  people  Morice concentrates o n the of  Necoslie  local g r o u p s are  at  Fort  St.  not e x a m i n e d  James.  adequately.  Moreover, Morice's work is characterized by a n androcentric view of w o m e n . d o e s he report their views, a n d in the main he d e p i c t s them  Central  Rarely  a s subservient d r u d g e s  (e.g., 1892:118; 1930:57-58) who h a d little if any s a y in community affairs (1930:60). Although he occasionally contradicts himself b y remarking  upon women's access  to noble titles a n d chiefly positions (1889:124), he m a k e s n o effort to fully d e s c r i b e or understand their social position. Morice's work is more s u s p e c t where he a d d r e s s e s the intimate side of w o m e n ' s lives.  His interpretation  pejorative,  his portrayal  and  of  of menstrual t a b o o s a n d puberty s e c l u s i o n is Carrier  women's  perceptions  procreation, a n d mothering is o v e r s h a d o w e d b y his o w n views.  of  menstruation,  H e claims hunting  proscriptions were b a s e d o n "excessive r e p u g n a n c e for, a n d d r e a d of, menstruating w o m e n " (1892:118) a n d he g o e s o n to d e s c r i b e the p u b e s c e n t girl a s "that most 11  d r e a d e d creature" w h o p o s s e s s e d "baleful influences" a s a c o n s e q u e n c e of her "terrible  infirmity"  (1892:165).  Nowhere  constrained by menstrual t a b o o s  does  (after all, they  he  emphasize  that  men  were responsible for  avoiding  u n n e c e s s a r y a n d careless interactions with s e c l u d e d women) or that w o m e n girls did not share this negative perception of themselves.  were  and  In short, Morice's work  must be u s e d with great care. G o l d m a n ' s (1963) description of the Lower Carrier of the A l g a t c h o is relevant, since s o m e m e m b e r s of the c o n t e m p o r a r y Saik'uz b a n d d e s c e n d from Lower Carrier bands.  Yet again, this work p a y s scant attention to the particulars of w o m e n ' s lives  a n d g e n d e r relations.  Despite his o w n a c k n o w l e d g e m e n t that the norm of sexual  equality mitigated sexual differences in leadership (1963:358), elsewhere G o l d m a n s p e a k s of male chiefs a n d "siblings a n d their wives"(ibid.:348) rather than including complete a n d a d e q u a t e descriptions of w o m e n ' s leadership.  The same problems  are f o u n d in J e n n e s s ' s (1943) work o n the Carrier of the Bulkley River.  W o m e n are  mentioned infrequently a n d are characterized a s s e c o n d a r y p e r s o n s in relation to men.  This  prerogatives (1943:521).  is best  evidenced  a s relatively  in  his  unimportant  dismissal of  noble  women's  titles  simply b e c a u s e they b e l o n g e d to  and  women  Similarly Duff (1951) offers little analysis of w o m e n ' s position in Carrier  social organization, while Steward  (1960) p a y s n o attention either to the social  position or to the e c o n o m i c contributions of w o m e n . Unpublished works have little more to offer. G o l d m a n ' s unpublished work  contains 12  Legare  (1986:123) points out that  inconsistencies a n d contradictions that  prevent clear interpretation of crucial a s p e c t s of g e n d e r roles. T h e h a r s h  treatment  of Carrier w i d o w s at the h u s b a n d ' s cremation has long b e e n given a s e v i d e n c e of w o m e n ' s inferior social value  (Morice  1889:146).  This understanding h a s  e n h a n c e d b y the fact that c o m p a r a b l e treatment for m e n is not d e s c r i b e d .  been As  L e g a r e explains, however, G o l d m a n ' s unpublished work d o e s contain s u c h e v i d e n c e , which he later d e n i e s (Legare 1986:123) a n d which, I might a d d , is e x c l u d e d from his earlier,  p u b l i s h e d work (Goldman  interpretation servitude.  of  widow's  1963:335).  service arises when  A further  3  one  difficulty with this  considers periods  of  male  At marriage a y o u n g man was expected to offer the fruits of his labour  to his bride's parents.  A s G o l d m a n states,  T h e behaviour of a man towards his parents-in-law w a s very clearly expressive of d o m i n a n c e relations.  F o r at  least the first  two years of matrilocal residence the g r o o m was a c o m p l e t e subordinate in the h o m e of his father-in-law.  H e a s s i s t e d him  in every way, yielding up his entire fishing a n d hunting c a t c h (1963:359). T w o points must b e noted. First, despite the d e p t h of servitude to his parentsin-law,  the  groom's  position  is  not  perceived  as  evidence  of  overall  male  subordination, whereas the latter period of widow's servitude is taken to demonstrate w o m e n ' s subordination.  S e c o n d , G o l d m a n is again ambivalent about the p r e c i s e  nature of g e n d e r roles: initially he refers to a period of subordination to both parents-  3  It is important to note that G o l d m a n is a m b i g u o u s in this later work a s well.  While he specifically d e s c r i b e s the hostility e n d u r e d b y widows a n d their subjugation to the d e c e a s e d ' s family, he later generalizes his statement to "the hostility already d e s c r i b e d with which the surviving s p o u s e was treated" ( G o l d m a n 1963:355). 13  in-law,  then  quickly  generations of m e n .  moves  to  s u g g e s t that this  existed  only  between  two  In my view neither period of service is indicative of g e n d e r or  generation inequality.  Rather, e a c h m a r k e d a c h a n g e in relations between families.  Bride service initiated formal relations, widow service s e v e r e d t h e m . While G o l d m a n a n d Morice present b i a s e d a c c o u n t s , Hackler (1958), H u d s o n (1972, 1983), a n d Kobrinsky (1973) p a s s by the  issue of g e n d e r relations to  concentrate almost solely o n male activities a n d male perceptions of cultural values a n d social structure. cultural  T h e y make few references to w o m e n ' s work, social roles, or  contributions.  Moreover,  these  androcentric bias in c h o i c e of wording.  accounts  also  are  plagued  by  For example, Kobrinsky attributes  reluctance to net s a l m o n (commonly viewed a s w o m e n ' s work) a s a n  an male  anxiety  equivalent to a white m a n ' s fear of "being caught in the kitchen with a n a p r o n on." In a different vein, H u d s o n (1983) refers to the important transition from a r e s o u r c e e c o n o m y b a s e d o n clan production to o n e b a s e d o n d o m e s t i c or family p r o d u c t i o n . Yet nowhere d o e s he d e s c r i b e in detail w o m e n ' s productive labour or analyze its contribution  to  the  1983:106,108,152).  (undefined)  domestic  or  household  unit  (Hudson  Moreover, even in the face of his own descriptions of female  b u s h activities, past a n d present, H u d s o n has analyzed the s y m b o l i c importance of community a n d d o m e s t i c e c o n o m i e s strictly as replication of "activities carried out by  their  male  ancestors" (1983:164). T h e  cumulative  effect  of this  quality  of  e t h n o g r a p h i c reporting is to discount w o m e n a n d their work. Other types of descriptions of contemporary life a d d to the 14  ethnographic  record.  G i b s o n ' s (1972) vignettes of Carrier communities offer a more p e r s o n a l  glimpse into the p e o p l e ' s lives a n d a better g e n d e r b a l a n c e than f o u n d elsewhere. B e c a u s e G i b s o n ' s p u r p o s e is to present a subjective, c o m p a s s i o n a t e a c c o u n t of individuals with w h o m  he  s y m p a t h i z e d or w h o m  he  admired,  he  accentuates  personalities a n d inter-personal relationships. His rich a n d sensitive descriptions are carefully detailed to e x p o s e the "bitter-sweet texture of Indian life" (1972:72).  In  c o n s e q u e n c e , he provides valuable insights about village society a n d family life, especially the strong position of w o m e n within it (1972:36,37,63).  Nevertheless,  G i b s o n ' s work must b e a p p r o a c h e d with caution b e c a u s e at the s a m e time his ethnographic a n d historical details are v a g u e a n d at times erroneous (for examples see  1972:56,71,91). It must b e kept in mind that apart from Hackler's ethnographic description of  Western  Carrier  community  ethnographies d o not exist.  life  in  the  mid  twentieth  century,  community  T h e f o c u s of r e s e a r c h h a s b e e n o n the reconstruction  of past social structures a n d e c o n o m i c s y s t e m s a n d o n broader analyses of the political e c o n o m y ( H u d s o n 1 9 7 2 , 1 9 8 3 ; Kobrinsky 1973). N o n e of these a p p r o a c h e s allows for detailed descriptions of daily life a n d p e r s o n a l interaction. it is important  Consequently  to point out that the a b s e n c e of details about individual w o m e n a n d  their position in the social structure is in s o m e r e g a r d paralleled by a similar lack of attention to  m e n ' s routine  affairs.  In  general terms, there exists a  need  for  community ethnography in order to further our understanding of Carrier society. A s indicated a b o v e , I a m c o n c e r n e d to present an ethnographic description ,15  that accurately reflects the world view of Saik'uz w o m e n a n d m e n .  T o this e n d , I  have a d h e r e d to their terms of reference where possible. This presents particular problems. (matriarchy,  Informants n o w e m p l o y c o n c e p t s c o m m o n to anthropological d i s c o u r s e extended  family, clan,  and  lineage),  while  at the  s a m e time  they  interchangeably u s e vernacular terms of reference (clan mothers, outfit, a n d party, s i d e or c o m p a n y ) .  Neither set of terms h a s precise definition or stringent u s a g e .  What is a n outfit to o n e m a y b e either a family or an extended family to another, or a "trapping c o m p a n y " (if u s e d in reference to a g r o u p sharing r e s o u r c e areas) to a third. G e n e a l o g i c a l ties are not always reliable indicators of m e m b e r s h i p in putative extended families or the larger kin units often labelled outfits. G r a n t e d , m e m b e r s h i p in an outfit is s a i d to b e determined b y kinship ties, a n d great value is p l a c e d o n kinship relations; nevertheless, d i s s e n s i o n d o e s o c c u r over who is a n d w h o is not a m e m b e r of any given outfit. U s i n g the term c l a n to indicate the two matrilineal d e s c e n t g r o u p s also h a s its o w n complications. In local u s a g e it c a n indicate either all the p e o p l e entitled to m e m b e r s h i p b y birth or only those entitled by birth a n d also initiated into the potlatch seating s y s t e m .  Although local u s a g e is not wholly congruent  with  anthropological definition, I refer to two clans at Saik'uz, since this term d o e s carry a specific anthropological m e a n i n g (a unilineal d e s c e n t group) applicable to S a i k ' u z , while it also reflects Carrier preference. to m e m b e r s h i p by birth.  I include in the term clan all p e o p l e entitled  S i n c e Saik'uz is the only Carrier subdivision to have only  two clans, moiety is not u s e d .  Other b a n d s have three or four a n d a m e m o r y of 16  five, while Southern Carrier have n o n e . With these ambiguities a n d constraints in m i n d , the following terminology will be employed.  Insofar a s possible, a n d specifically where the designation is mine  a n d not local u s a g e , the term family will b e u s e d to refer to the smallest kinship g r o u p , whether co-residential or not, that is e n g a g e d in daily d e c i s i o n making with r e g a r d to d o m e s t i c affairs.  T h e limits of the term are established b y the notion that  kinship g r o u p s share decision making. H e n c e , a family might c o n s i s t of two siblings, if t h o s e two operate as a decision-making g r o u p , or it might include a n u m b e r of primary a n d s e c o n d a r y kin. operation  and  that  include  d e s i g n a t e d extended family.  Kinship g r o u p s that are not b o u n d b y daily c o primary,  secondary,  and  higher  order  kin  will  be  S h a r e d residence c a n n o t b e c o n f u s e d with family.  As  clarified by B e n d e r (cited in Klein 1975:206), the c o n c e p t of h o u s e h o l d incorporates two  distinct  and  independent  phenomena:  domestic  functions  and  common  r e s i d e n c e , a n d , as will b e d e s c r i b e d later, d o m e s t i c functions are not necessarily s h a r e d by all residents in a h o u s e . H o u s e h o l d activities will not be c o n s i d e r e d solely functions of the d o m e s t i c d o m a i n a s it is c o m m o n l y u n d e r s t o o d .  S a n d a y (1974:190) offers a  distinction  between d o m e s t i c a n d public that is often a s s u m e d to b e universal: T h e domestic d o m a i n includes activities p e r f o r m e d within the realm of the localized family unit.  T h e public d o m a i n includes  political a n d e c o n o m i c activities that take p l a c e or have impact b e y o n d the localized family unit a n d that relate to control of p e r s o n s or control of things. Albers offers the  s a m e view: the  domestic d o m a i n 17  is "identified  by  domestic  relations  which  are  community-wide  familial  in  character"  associations of  and  a jural-political  the  public  nature"  realm  is " b a s e d  on  (1983:177). A s will  be  d i s c u s s e d , this sectoral split d o e s not apply to Saik'uz b e c a u s e community politics a n d d o m e s t i c politics are largely the s a m e .  A s we shall s e e , intrafamily d e c i s i o n  making a n d allocation of material r e s o u r c e s are closely integrated into community politics.  Issues confronting the  community  administration  overlap with  private  c o n c e r n s , for example, the provision of h o u s i n g a n d h o u s e h o l d equipment a c c e s s to adequate i n c o m e s .  and  In a village with a h o u s i n g shortage, conflicts over  residential rights, a n d prevailing underemployment, there c a n b e no clear b o u n d a r y between d o m e s t i c ordering of residence or a c c e s s to limited h o u s e h o l d r e s o u r c e s a n d the political a n d e c o n o m i c c o n c e r n s of the s o - c a l l e d public realm.  Household  relationships a n d d e c i s i o n s have ramifications for the community at large. T o provide shelter is to make a political d e c i s i o n with considerable e c o n o m i c implications both for the h o u s e h o l d m e m b e r s a n d for those d e n i e d h o u s i n g . A s others have d e m o n s t r a t e d , c o n c e p t u a l opposition of d o m e s t i c a n d public affairs is not applicable to communities where a d o m e s t i c sector of production is n e c e s s a r y for survival; there w o m e n ' s d o m e s t i c work a n d their activities outside the h o u s e h o l d are almost a n extension of o n e another (Deere a n d L e o n d e L e a l 1981). Neither is the conceptual opposition applicable to communities where w o m e n , acting as h o u s e h o l d h e a d s , are active in community decision making (Albers 1983, Klein 1975;  Powers  1986).  domestic management  Albers a n d  Powers demonstrate  the continuity  between  a n d community, leadership a m o n g the Sioux a n d Oglala 18  respectively.  S p e a k i n g of the Devil's Lake Sioux, A l b e r s (1983:216) states:  [Women's]  influence in mobilizing a n d monitoring political s u p p o r t is  inseparable from their contributions in ceremonial a n d interhousehold provisioning.  This is b e c a u s e the social arena where kin share a n d  collaborate in their d o m e s t i c a n d ceremonial affairs overlaps, a n d in s o m e instances is nearly identical with, the major fields of political action o n the reservation. Therefore, it is n e c e s s a r y to ask, What is the relationship, if any, between d o m e s t i c authority a n d public p o w e r ? B e c a u s e I intend to analyze decision making, I have f o u n d it best to a d h e r e to terminology that stresses social units a s d e c i s i o n - m a k i n g g r o u p s .  I follow D.  S c h n e i d e r w h o defines a d e s c e n t group a s a d e c i s i o n - m a k i n g d e s c e n t unit or portion of o n e , within which authority is differentially distributed (1973:4). however, that I d o not agree that s u c h inequity applies only to m e n .  It is clear,  I d i s a g r e e with  S c h n e i d e r ' s assertion that "It is sufficient, then, to define the male sex role a s having authority over the statuses o c c u p i e d by women..." (ibid.:7).  A s will b e m a d e clear,  w o m e n d o have authority within kinship g r o u p s , a n d like their male p e e r s they have differential abilities a n d rights to wield authority. Family d e c i s i o n making is not necessarily egalitarian. N o r d o e s it automatically entail w o m e n a n d m e n . W o m e n who h e a d families in the a b s e n c e of m e n exercise d o m e s t i c authority that d o e s not automatically affect m e n . male  h o u s e h o l d s are free  from direct female  M e n who reside in all-  intervention.  Authority  devolves  differently for the y o u n g a n d old; older w o m e n have c o n s i d e r a b l e authority over y o u n g e r w o m e n a n d m e n , but y o u n g w o m e n have little s c o p e to influence the lives  19  of older m e n . Similarly, older m e n exercise influence over y o u n g e r w o m e n a n d m e n , but y o u n g m e n have n o authority over older w o m e n . This leads m e to question D. S c h n e i d e r ' s assertion that "the role of w o m e n a s w o m e n [can be] defined a s that of responsibility for the care of children" (ibid.:6). While I, t o o , stress that most w o m e n a s s u m e this responsibility r e g a r d l e s s of kinship statuses, I d o not a c c e p t the notion that this o n e s h a r e d responsibility, which is after all only o n e of m a n y , defines w o m e n a s w o m e n . W o m e n a n d Politics In d i s c u s s i n g political structures a n d manipulations of power, clear definitions of the relevant analytical terms are critical.  I have a d o p t e d Swartz's definitions of  politics, the  events  which  are  involved  in  the  determination  and  implementation of public g o a l s a n d / o r the differential distribution a n d u s e of power within the g r o u p or g r o u p s c o n c e r n e d with the g o a l s being c o n s i d e r e d (1969:1), a n d "local-level" politics, [that] o c c u r s in communities where relations are  "multiplex"  rather than "simplex"... a n d where politics is incomplete in the s e n s e that actors a n d g r o u p s outside the range of the local, multiplex relationships are vitally a n d directly involved in the political p r o c e s s e s of that g r o u p (1969:1). A s Swartz indicates, politics are not always divisive. Rather they m a y b e c o operative,  entail universal agreement,  and  require  c o m m o n action that is  not  characterized by the use of personal will a n d conflict. In other w o r d s , political action n e e d not b e s y n o n y m o u s with a struggle to wield power a s it is habitually d e f i n e d ,  20  that is, a s the ability to exercise o n e ' s will in the face of r e s i s t a n c e .  4  This being the  c a s e , rather than a d o p t this definition of p o w e r I s u g g e s t that power b e viewed along two d i m e n s i o n s : the ability to direct d e c i s i o n making a s well a s the ability to gain a c c e s s to a n d control over the allocation of crucial material a n d nonmaterial r e s o u r c e s , however they may b e defined (Bourque a n d Warren 1981:53). T h e ability to direct d e c i s i o n making includes the capacity to determine what issues b e c o m e relevant for political d i s c u s s i o n a n d to define a n d enforce the  rules that guide  political d i s c u s s i o n a n d decision making (ibid.). This b r o a d e r definition incorporates two important features of Carrier w o m e n ' s public participation: their struggle for improvement of the immediate h u m a n condition, which is central to  determining  critical political issues, a n d their a c c e s s to a n d political manipulation of traditional ideologies of nurture, which Clearly the Swartz.  A  constitute a crucial nonmaterial resource.  politics of Saik'uz c a n b e c o n s i d e r e d local-level a s define  small reserve  community  subordinate to federal authority  of fewer  than  400  under the direction of the  e c o n o m i c i n d e p e n d e n c e , Saik'uz is subjected to the  permanent DIAND,  intervention  by  residents,  a n d without of two  larger  political entities, namely, the province of British C o l u m b i a a n d the C a n a d i a n state.  4  T h e c o n c e p t of power has b e e n called a n " 'essentially contested c o n c e p t ' -  - o n e of t h o s e c o n c e p t s which 'inevitably involves e n d l e s s disputes about their p r o p e r u s e s o n the part of their users'....  W e b e r ' s definition, 'the c h a n c e of a m a n or a  n u m b e r of m e n [sic] to realize their o w n will in a c o m m u n a l action even against the resistance of others' ... has h a d a major influence o n recent d e v e l o p m e n t s of the concept.  Another  c o m m o n characteristic of definitions of power is the s u g g e s t i o n  of the ability to limit c h o i c e s for others" (Eisenstein 1984:33). 21  Nevertheless, the p e o p l e of S a i k ' u z struggle to retain control over their immediate interests.  Insofar a s p o s s i b l e , they attempt to direct community affairs t h r o u g h their  elected b a n d council a n d its administrative staff or through kinship networks a n d voluntary associations. Yet internal community politics, the f o c u s of this study, are constrained b y outside intervention. curtailed  by the  direct,  overriding  Not only is the formal, elected leadership authority  of the  state,  but the  informal,  or  "parapolitical," structure of voluntary associations is c u r b e d by its d e p e n d e n c e u p o n the state for a c c e s s to the s c a r c e r e s o u r c e s that c o m e to Saik'uz  in the form of  government s u b s i d i e s . M o r e generally, of c o u r s e , provincial a n d federal policies a n d practices impinge a s heavily here a s anywhere else in their jurisdictions. I u s e Swartz's definition of politics for two r e a s o n s . First, it f o c u s e s o n events a n d , therefore, o n the actions of t h o s e involved in the public realm whether they b e divisive.or co-operative.  This well suits my p u r p o s e with regard to presenting  w o m e n ' s political strategies a s a focal point for analyzing the relations  between  g e n d e r a n d politics. S e c o n d , it permits m e to follow F . G . Bailey's view of politics a s a  "competitive  game"  competing teams.  (1969a:1)  marked  by  contests  involving  well  matched  B e i n g a g a m e , political contestation is g u i d e d by rules, directed  by leaders, a n d motivated b y the desire to win prizes a n d rewards.  T e a m leaders  call u p o n two discrete g r o u p s of s u p p o r t e r s : a core personnel morally tied to the leader through "multiplex relationships"  (1969a:45) a n d teams of followers w h o  constitute either a moral following, w h o share c o m m o n sentiments a n d  ethical  precepts a n d w h o s e loyalty, therefore, c a n b e taken for granted, or a contract t e a m , 22  w h o s e interests are instrumental a n d self-centered (1969a:28).  T h e c o n c e r n s of  contract team m e m b e r s may well f o c u s o n material a n d s o c i a l benefits s u c h a s w o u l d derive from patronage for material g o o d s , e m p l o y m e n t , s o c i a l recognition, etc. T h e political contest is g u i d e d by two sets of rules, the normative, which  are  p r o f e s s e d publicly, stated vaguely, a n d predicated u p o n ethical a n d moral p r e c e p t s ; a n d pragmatic rules, which, in contrast, are private a n d have to d o with effective strategies (1969a:5). In my analysis I g o further to s u g g e s t that within the political struggles of Saik'uz, a further element e m e r g e s , a proclivity for w o m e n to form their o w n political teams.  A s I will demonstrate, in circumstances where the interests of w o m e n a n d  m e n conflict, w o m e n break rank with dual g e n d e r t e a m s b a s e d o n kinship.  When  they perceive the n e e d to c o m p e t e directly with m e n or to confront male challenges to their public participation, w o m e n form their o w n t e a m s of moral a n d contract followers. T h e s e teams momentarily create their o w n rules a n d priorities in order to gain a n advantage or public g o a l . In short, the p a r a d i g m of political t e a m s permits analysis of w o m e n ' s involvement a s core m e m b e r s , leaders, a n d followers of political groups. In this regard Bailey's political p a r a d i g m is applicable a s well.  His m o d e l of  the "parapolitical" structure provides a useful unit of analysis for the political role of w o m e n ' s voluntary associations in local-level politics.  He  defines  parapolitical  structures a s those which are partly regulated by, a n d partly i n d e p e n d e n t 23  of, larger encapsulating political structures, a n d which, s o to s p e a k , fight battles with these larger structures in a way w h i c h for them s e l d o m e n d s in victory, rarely in dramatic defeat, but usually in a  long drawn  stalemate  and  defeat  by  attrition  (1969b:281). A s Eidheim reminds us, voluntary associations c o a l e s c e into a parapolitical structure when a constituted public a p p a r a t u s cannot adequately a c c o m m o d a t e either certain local interests or d i s p e r s e d interests (1969:210). political  struggles  within  women's  voluntary  associations  and  Analysis of the between  the  parapolitical a n d formal structure is important not only to u n d e r s t a n d i n g the political lives of w o m e n but to c o m p r e h e n s i o n of the public realm in its entirety.  While it is  a useful heuristic device to i m p o s e artificial separations between the parapolitical a n d the political, ultimately they must b e reunited.  W h e n both a s p e c t s are viewed a s  c o m p o n e n t s within o n e central competition for the s a m e r e s o u r c e s , rewards, a n d positions of influence, this unity is p o s s i b l e . Finally, it must be kept in mind that w o m e n ' s political involvement d o e s not exist apart from their participation in a wide range of social institutions a n d situations that involve m e n a n d w o m e n .  Analysis of organizations at the c o m m u n i t y level  7  entails consideration of the b a s e s of w o m e n ' s support within family a n d kin g r o u p s . W h e r e politics are closely tied to kin networks, a s in this c a s e , w o m e n a n d m e n e n g a g e in c o m m o n political struggles a n d  e m p l o y c o m m o n political strategies.  Nevertheless, contradictions between male interests a n d female interests also c o exist.  Analysis must p r o c e e d with the coexistence of g e n d e r unity a n d g e n d e r  conflicts in mind.  Political m o d e l s that allow for consideration of the full range of 24  w o m e n ' s political actions a n d loyalties in relation to male political a g e n d a s  are  essential. C o n s e q u e n t l y , this study employs an analytical framework that, o n the o n e h a n d , illuminates a political p r o c e s s c o m m o n to w o m e n a n d m e n , while o n the other hand,  identifies  the  opportunities, constraints a n d  political obligations that  are  particular to w o m e n ' s experiences. A s indicated earlier, contemporary c a s e studies of indigenous w o m e n ' s social position have not concentrated either on their direct political involvement or o n their exercising of public power.  Rather, they have f o c u s s e d o n analysis of w o m e n ' s  position vis-a-vis m e n . T w o trends in theoretical explanations of w o m e n ' status have developed.  Historical materialists  debate  whether  or not capitalism is directly  r e s p o n s i b l e for w o m e n ' s position, a n d , if s o , whether  subjugation of c o l o n i z e d ,  i n d i g e n o u s w o m e n is inevitable (Anderson 1985; Albers 1983; Etienne a n d L e a c o c k 1980; L e a c o c k 1978; 1986). Others argue that cultural a n d social traditions u p h o l d precapitalist relationships (Sanday 1981; Klein 1975; P o w e r s 1986). This study takes both views into a c c o u n t .  I maintain that in order to understand fully w o m e n ' s  political involvement we n e e d to identify the material a n d nonmaterial r e s o u r c e s available to t h e m , their ability to control these r e s o u r c e s , a n d the cultural matrix which values or devalues w o m e n ' s reproductive, e c o n o m i c , a n d social roles. Methodology This study "community  is b a s e d primarily  studies."  My  objective,  u p o n field r e s e a r c h within the in A r e n s b e r g ' s terms  is to  tradition  study  of  social  conditions in "their full natural, living setting a n d relationship" (1954:111). While this 25  s t u d y c o n c e r n s itself with the over-all picture of community life, its particular f o c u s is u p o n the lives of w o m e n , especially w o m e n who form, or w h o are p e r c e i v e d to form, a n elite c o r e of community leaders.  I did not, however, confine myself to the  situations or social interpretations of female leaders, or even to t h o s e of w o m e n m o r e generally.  I s o u g h t a s well views of m e n . W h e n dealing with w o m e n a n d m e n ,  I attempted to identify  informants w h o s e understanding of the  extensive  participation  and  whose  a d v a n t a g e s of insight a n d experience. informants.  within  the  political  structures  most  gave  them  Nevertheless, there is a bias towards female  A m o n g s t the elders, w o m e n outnumber m e n .  administrative  past w a s  Few m e n w o r k e d at the  office during the research period, a n d these individuals were  necessarily the best informants.  not  O n e was a white m a n , another a y o u n g m a n w h o  d i d not b e l o n g to the b a n d but who resided there a s a c o n s e q u e n c e of his p e r s o n a l relationships. In  general,  ethnographer.  access  to  women's  views  is  much  easier  for  the  female  A s I have stated elsewhere (Fiske 1986), a n d a s I will elaborate  below, female elders are h o n o u r e d for their cultural a n d historical k n o w l e d g e .  Men  turn to well- informed w o m e n for their own understanding a n d direct the outsider to t h e s e s a m e w o m e n w h e n a s k e d questions they cannot or prefer not to answer.  The  female perspective of this study, therefore, not only c o m e s from the preference of the researcher, but also reflects attitudes of the informants. C o m m u n i t y study requires several complementary forms of d a t a collection. Observation of a n d participation in routine events lie at its heart. 26  Complementing  observational learning are d a t a collected through formal a n d informal interviews, c e n s u s data, a n d archival s e a r c h e s . I s p e n t a year, 1983-84, d o i n g field r e s e a r c h during which time 9 months were spent living o n the reserve in the h o m e of a mother a n d her t e e n a g e d daughter. Return visits were m a d e during the early winter through to the s u m m e r of 1985, the latter being a two month stay at the h o m e of another w o m a n w h o then lived o n her own.  F o r several months I w a s hired b y the b a n d council to r e s e a r c h historical land  u s e a n d settlement patterns. one Saik'uz woman.  I w o r k e d out of the b a n d office with the assistance of  This project e n a b l e d m e to interview m e n more easily than  otherwise w o u l d have b e e n the c a s e a n d to participate m o r e fully in village affairs. A s a hired researcher I was able to attend important political meetings within the region, to represent b a n d interests at the  provincial level, a n d to s e a r c h state  d o c u m e n t s which otherwise would have b e e n c l o s e d to m e .  I participated in  w o m e n ' s voluntary association activities a n d in w o m e n ' s fishing, family celebrations, a n d community events. T h e last point raises questions of ethics.  Given the current political climate  regarding land claims a n d aboriginal rights, k n o w l e d g e of land u s e a n d territorial claims is sensitive. C o n s e q u e n t l y , this dissertation provides few specifics with regard to r e s o u r c e u s e a n d land tenure.  In order to h o n o u r expectations of confidentiality  (throughout all n a m e s u s e d are fictitious), I have f o c u s s e d primarily u p o n w o m e n ' s political strategies, paying less attention to specific details of political issues related to r e s o u r c e management, aboriginal rights, a n d land claims. 27  T h e n e e d to appreciate the sensitivity of resource related p r o b l e m s is but o n e of several factors that direct the way r e s e a r c h c a n b e d o n e in Saik'uz. First, Carrier tradition p l a c e s a priority o n observational learning. inquiries are participation. Women  not  appreciated.  Second,  Direct questions a n d intensive  observation g o e s h a n d  in h a n d  with  Learning is not d i s c o n n e c t e d from involvement in community life.  in particular  accomplishments.  stress a  holistic view  of learning that leads to  particular  F o r t h e m , to u n d e r s t a n d the technology a n d p r o c e d u r e s of  netting s a l m o n , for example, is to enter freely into the work a n d thus to contribute to a h o u s e h o l d a n d / o r community e c o n o m i c activity.  Third, it is e x p e c t e d that  outsiders w h o o b s e r v e a n d r e c o r d community life or who r e c o r d oral histories will in their turn, contribute to the community.  E n g a g e m e n t in community projects or  contribution of relevant work from outside the community is s o u g h t as a r e a s o n a b l e e x c h a n g e for what is taken from the p e o p l e , particularly from the elders.  Fourth,  there are i s s u e s other than t h o s e related to confidential research o n the r e s o u r c e b a s e that are sensitive in nature.  S o c i a l behaviours a n d attitudes which meet with  general disapproval or which are ill u n d e r s t o o d or stigmatized by outsiders are d i s c u s s e d reluctantly, if at all. P r o b l e m s of family violence, alcohol d e p e n d e n c y , a n d adolescent rebellion are only occasionally d i s c u s s e d .  Similarly, knowledge d e e m e d  "precious" has b e e n kept confidential, particularly with respect to spiritual beliefs, w o m e n ' s fertility, a n d menstruation.  Although these matters  may b e d i s c u s s e d  privately, they cannot b e related to a larger, more o p e n a u d i e n c e for fear they will be either m i s c o n s t r u e d or m o c k e d . 28  T h e s e c o n c e r n s are not rare. Increasingly, e t h n o g r a p h e r s d e s c r i b e the distrust and  e v e n displeasure e x p r e s s e d towards outsiders w h o write a b o u t native Indian  communities.  (Blackman 1982:16; C o l s o n 1953:xii; Klein 1975:30; Mitchell 1976).  A s Klein points out, studied communities are justifiably c o n c e r n e d that their i m a g e s not b e  c a s t negatively (1975:30-31).  This creates a particular p r o b l e m s for the  researcher a n d c a n limit the nature of ethnographic d o c u m e n t a t i o n .  With this in  m i n d , I have confined d i s c u s s i o n of s u c h sensitive material in two w a y s . "Precious" - k n o w l e d g e is referred to categorically, but without inclusion of details c o n s i d e r e d private.  For  example,  experiences are not.  female  puberty  s e c l u s i o n is  mentioned,  but  personal  Reference to socially sensitive behaviours s u c h a s alcohol  d e p e n d e n c y a n d family violence  o c c u r s primarily within the context of informants'  statements a n d only where s u c h behaviours impinge u p o n the subjects of analysis: w o m e n ' s public roles a n d political strategies. T h e understanding of the elders a n d councillors w h o a p p r o v e d this r e s e a r c h w a s clear: I would f o c u s on two issues, namely, the historical transformation  of  w o m e n ' s daily lives a n d their present day a c c o m p l i s h m e n t s . In c o n s e q u e n c e I have not collected the s a m e detailed data about m e n ' s lives a s I have a b o u t w o m e n .  The  lack of detail about m e n also reflects s o m e c o n c e r n s of the female elders.  They  often feel that men have suffered differently from w o m e n u n d e r colonialism.  The  social  and  frustrations  faced  by  men  who  encounter  unending  poverty  unemployment have led to behaviours c o n s i d e r e d inappropriate, a n d this acutely distresses the Carrier p e o p l e . They are also disturbed b y the negative stereotypes 29  a n d unsympathetic r e s p o n s e s of the dominant society.  M y undertaking with the  community, therefore, w a s to limit my r e s e a r c h a s far a s p o s s i b l e to the  more  immediate issues of the political p r o c e s s a n d to accentuate the underlying i s s u e s of family a n d community responsibility. Organization This study begins with an introduction to the p e o p l e a n d their environment. T h e next chapter provides a description of c o n t e m p o r a r y life from the outsider's perspective. T h e n , working from the written historical r e c o r d , I s u m m a r i z e the history of the Central Carrier. In Chapter 3 I f o c u s o n c h a n g e s in the g e n d e r division of labour a n d social responsibilities within a transformed material a n d s o c i a l context. In C h a p t e r 4, I offer a short d i s c u s s i o n of outsiders' views of w o m e n menstrual pollution.  I then investigate  Carrier perspectives.  analysis of sexual m e a n i n g s a n d s y m b o l s in Carrier myth.  First, I turn to  and an  T h e early myths depict  strong i m a g e s of r e s p e c t e d a n d h o n o u r e d w o m e n ; old w o m a n u p o n w h o m  the  creator heroes were d e p e n d e n t , a n d y o u n g medicine w o m e n a n d a d o l e s c e n t s w h o confronted a n d d e s t r o y e d uncontrolled male powers. This is the c o s m o l o g i c a l matrix from which the contemporary w o m e n e m e r g e .  It holds the ideological b a s e for  w o m e n ' s current ideals a n d personal survival strategies. I then look at the various interpretations given to the past a n d to the c h a n g e s in w o m e n ' s social, e c o n o m i c , a n d political status. This leads to an investigation of w o m e n ' s lives a n d their p e r c e p t i o n s of their social a n d domestic responsibilities. C o n t e m p o r a r y w o m e n are motivated to political 30  action b y traditional ideals of feminine achievement a n d by strong commitment to their families' well b e i n g . Therefore  in Chapter 5, I concentrate  on how  family  d e c i s i o n m a k i n g a n d d o m e s t i c authority facilitate female leaders' entry in the s o c i o political structure i m p o s e d by E u r o - C a n a d i a n society. C h a p t e r s 6 a n d 7 provide an analysis of social organization in relation to w o m e n ' s d o m e s t i c a n d  community  responsibilities.  T h e ability  W o m e n ' s political strategies are analyzed in C h a p t e r 8.  of female leaders to a s s u m e a key role in the internal politics of Saik'uz is a n a l y z e d a n d then situated within the broader political forces which encapsulate reserve life. C h a p t e r 9 turns to other studies of native Indian w o m e n ' s participation in local-level politics.  In this chapter, I present a s u m m a r y of the major findings of these studies  in o r d e r to draw out the theoretical implications of my o w n c a s e study. chapter I present my s u m m a r y a n d conclusions.  31  In the final  CHAPTER TWO  SAIK'UZ TODAY Introduction This chapter offers a brief introduction to the Carrier p e o p l e , their land, a n d the village life of the S t o n e y C r e e k b a n d .  The p u r p o s e is to introduce the s o c i a l a n d  e c o n o m i c issues central to political decision-making.  I d e s c r i b e the village,  its  e c o n o m i c situation, a n d its administrative structure. I then outline the major political i s s u e s that tie Saik'uz to the larger political structures a n d s h a p e intravillage political life.  The People T h e Carrier Indians are an A t h a p a s k a n - s p e a k i n g p e o p l e with cultural traditions similar to o n e s of their A t h a p a s k a n neighbours, the Sekani to the north, the B e a v e r to the north east, a n d the Chilcotin to the southwest (Map 1). Anthropologists a n d linguists have divided the Carrier p e o p l e s dialect a n d social organization.  into three g r o u p s o n the b a s i s of similar  Morice offers a tripartite linguistic division of the  Carrier: the Western or Babine Carrier of the Bulkley Valley a n d Babine L a k e , the U p p e r Carrier of the N e c h a k o Plateau, a n d the Lower Carrier south of the N e c h a k o Plateau.  Duff a n d H u d s o n also provide a tripartite division.  G o l d m a n m a k e s a sociopolitical division between U p p e r a n d Lower Carrier. T h e U p p e r Carrier include all g r o u p s influenced by the Gitksan sociopolitical s y s t e m , 32  Map  1  Indians of B r i t i s h Duff 1964:14).  33  Columbia  (Adapted  from  a n d the Lower Carrier c o m p r i s e the southern g r o u p s w h o remained outside this influence. T o b e y avoids using a tripartite division, referring instead to the Carrier a s a tribe, a "linguistic grouping," a n d to fourteen  subtribes, which s h e defines a s  "named a n d localized socioterritorial units (1981:413)."  O n the basis of linguistic  similarities, Walker a n d Wilkinson also offer a tripartite division (Walker et al. 1974). T h e y label the north eastern b a n d s of the Stuart Tremblay region a s well a s those centrally located o n the N e c h a k o River a s Central Carrier (Map 1).  Kari points out  that linguistic differences between the Carrier of the Babine a n d Bulkley regions a n d the remainder of the Carrier are sufficiently distinct to c o n s i d e r the dialect of the Babine a n d Bulkley areas to b e a distinct l a n g u a g e . M a p 2 s h o w s the Carrier internal divisions a n d their subdivisions of the late nineteenth century a c c o r d i n g to T o b e y a n d H u d s o n .  1  At the time of contact with  E u r o p e a n s , the Carrier p e o p l e s c o n s i s t e d of twelve localized units; e a c h was n a m e d after a g e o g r a p h i c a l feature a n d e a c h h a d o n e or more semi-permanent (Hudson  1972).  villages  T h e subdivisions of the Carrier were labelled septs by  Morice  (1893), subtribes by J e n n e s s (1943) a n d Duff (1951), a n d b a n d s b y H u d s o n (1972). T h e localized units were not unified political entities.  A c o m m o n dialect,  marriage  a n d kinship ties, a n d a n interest in c o m m o n r e s o u r c e s underlay the social c o h e s i o n of e a c h subdivision. Relations between the divisions were amicable (Tobey  1  T o b e y ' s classification has b e e n altered with respect to the Tl'azt'enne (Stuart-  Trembleur Band).  S h e identifies them as the Tachiwoten, but a c c o r d i n g to H u d s o n  (1983:49) the Tachiwoten were a village g r o u p of the Tl'azt'enne. 34  Map  2  D i v i s i o n s o f t h e C a r r i e r ( A d a p t e d f r o m Tobey 1 9 7 2 : 1 7 3 ; Hudson 1 9 8 3 : 4 9 ) .  Internal  Hudson  1981:414;  1981:415).  Economic,  kinship,  and  ceremonial  relations  were  independently  established by e a c h village ( H u d s o n 1972:100). T h e social organization a n d ceremonial behaviour of various subdivisions were m o s t readily distinguished by the varying p r e s e n c e of coastal cultural traits. to  Prior  E u r o p e a n contact, the Lower Carrier e n g a g e d in regular trade a n d ceremonial  e x c h a n g e s with the Bella C o o l a , while the Central Carrier of the N e c h a k o River turned to the Gitksan. T h e term Carrier is a misnomer.  It is a n English g l o s s for a term applied by  the neighbouring g r o u p s in reference to a cultural practice not known  amongst  t h e m s e l v e s , namely, widows carrying on their b a c k s the relics of their d e c e a s e d h u s b a n d s throughout a lengthy mourning period (Morice 1892:111). T h e origins of other terms applied by the E u r o p e a n s , Negailer (Alexander Mackenzie) a n d Tacuilies (Harmon) are o b s c u r e a n d have fallen into d i s u s e .  Although the collective term  Carrier continues to b e r e c o g n i z e d , there is a growing preference o n their part for reverting  to the  aboriginal  practice  of designating  social identity  a c c o r d i n g to  m e m b e r s h i p in the indigenous subdivisions, indicated by the suffix tenne ( g l o s s e d a s "people"), a n d by reference to an individual's village, indicated by the suffix woten ( g l o s s e d a s "people of..."  [cf. H u d s o n 1983:49]). T h e three labels given to indicate  linguistic distinctions are rarely u s e d by the Carrier. This study is c o n c e r n e d with the Carrier w h o are known a s the S t o n e y C r e e k B a n d or the Saik'uz Whut'enne, "people of S t o n e y Creek," a n aggregation of the Nulkiwoten a n d Tachickwoten shown on M a p 2. T h e dialect of the S a i k ' u z Whut'enne 36  h a s b e e n categorized a s Central (Walker et al. 1974) a n d the p e o p l e a s a b a n d of the  Upper  Carrier  contemporary  (Hudson  population  1972:13).  It  d e s c e n d s from  must  be  Lower  noted,  and  however,  Central  that  Carrier  the  groups.  A c c o r d i n g to the Saik'uz Whut'enne, depopulation a n d e c o n o m i c c h a n g e s in the nineteenth  century f o r c e d several d i s p e r s e d populations to S a i k ' u z , w h e r e  m e r g e d with the Tachickwoten a n d Nulkiwoten  w h o were established  nearby.  C o n s e q u e n t l y , the cultural traditions of c o n t e m p o r a r y Saik'uz W h u t ' e n n e features  drawn from  several aboriginal g r o u p s .  The  constitute a n "Indian b a n d " a s defined in the Indian Act.  they 2  contain  p e o p l e of S t o n e y  Creek  At the time of r e s e a r c h ,  b a n d m e m b e r s h i p was 465, with s o m e 360 residing regularly o n the reserve. The Land Prior to E u r o - C a n a d i a n contact, the territory of the Carrier e n c o m p a s s e d a large portion of the region now known as the central interior of British C o l u m b i a .  It  is a r u g g e d region m a r k e d by n u m e r o u s rivers, streams, lakes, a n d s w a m p s that lie between a series of high plateaus a n d r a n g e s of low mountains a n d hills. climate throughout the area is reasonably uniform.  The  S u m m e r s are c o o l a n d short.  Frost free periods rarely e x c e e d more than six weeks. Winters are l o n g .  Although  very c o l d periods d o o c c u r in mid-winter, they are not overly s e v e r e o r of l o n g duration.  2  J e n n e s s informs us of the merging of the villages of Nulki L a k e a n d T a c h i c k  L a k e but m a k e s no mention  of the aggregation of p e o p l e s from further  (1943:586). 37  away  T h e forests c o n s i s t primarily of s p r u c e , fir, a n d l o d g e p o l e pine, the former two n o w b e i n g of c o n s i d e r a b l e importance to the forest industry.  Birch, northern black  c o t t o n w o o d , a n d a s p e n are also c o m m o n s p e c i e s . S t a n d s of willow a n d a variety of low lying s h r u b s line the river b e d s a n d lake s h o r e s . A m o n g t h o s e important to the Carrier are the huckleberry, raspberry, blueberry, s a s k a t o o n berry, a n d s o a p berry. A variety of g r a s s e s a n d flowering plants are also f o u n d throughout the area. T h e region s u p p o r t s a variety of m a m m a l s a n d waterfowl.  Prior to  c a r i b o u were f o u n d in the area, apparently never in large n u m b e r s .  1850,  The moose,  which d i d not a p p e a r until early in this century, is now c o m m o n ( H u d s o n 1983:65; C r a n n y 1986:22). A c c o r d i n g to Cranny, the mule deer is increasing a n d e x p a n d i n g its territory.  Other sizeable m a m m a l s to b e found are the wolf, c o y o t e , lynx, black  bear, a n d grizzly. arrived in 1805,  Small fur bearing m a m m a l s were a b u n d a n t w h e n E u r o p e a n s  a n d beaver, mink, muskrat, fisher, marten, otter, w e a s e l , hare,  marmot, a n d fox are all still f o u n d within the area. T h e region is s u m m e r h o m e to a variety of migrating waterfowl, several of which were o n c e important to the Carrier.  T h e whistling s w a n , C a n a d a g o o s e ,  several s p e c i e s of d u c k , g r e b e s , a n d loon are still f o u n d in large n u m b e r s . A wide variety of fishes are also found within this region. include two  Fish r e s o u r c e s  s p e c i e s of s a l m o n : the s o c k e y e , which h a s b e e n a primary  r e s o u r c e , a n d the spring or chinook.  food  Sturgeon are known in the large lakes a n d  rivers, a n d char, k o k a n e e , rainbow trout, s u c k e r s , C o l u m b i a River d a c e , burbot, a n d mountain white fish are f o u n d throughout the region. 38  A c c o r d i n g to C r a n n y (1986)  a n d H u d s o n (1983), fish p r o v i d e d the b a s i c s u b s i s t e n c e of the aboriginal Carrier. Although early o b s e r v e r s (Harmon 1957:152, 247-48; H B C A B.188/a/2 fo.56d, cited by C r a n n y 1986:53) stress the importance of s o c k e y e s a l m o n a s the dietary staple, there is e v i d e n c e that other fish s p e c i e s were of considerable significance a s well. Dramatic fluctuations in s a l m o n migrations s u g g e s t that the s o c k e y e w a s not always sufficient to s u b s i s t e n c e n e e d s (Cranny 1986:18; H u d s o n 1983:46-47). Since  1805,  when  the  first fur trading  posts were established, r e s o u r c e  exploitation h a s b e e n s h a p e d by capitalist interests in a series of staple r e s o u r c e s exploited for distant markets. were the staple r e s o u r c e . 1880.  During the first half of the nineteenth century, furs  G o l d was significant for a few years between 1860 a n d  Settlement a n d agricultural development in the N e c h a k o River Valley b e g a n  in the last quarter of the nineteenth century, but it did not b l o s s o m until the G r a n d Trunk Railway w a s c o m p l e t e d in 1914.  T h e forestry industry has e x p a n d e d rapidly  s i n c e 1940.  L a r g e pulp a n d p a p e r mills a n d sawmills, o w n e d by  corporations,  have o p e r a t e d  mainstay  of the  since the  Central Interior.  1960s a n d  now  transnational  provide the  Large-scale resource development  economic and  state  limitations o n a c c e s s to crown lands have r e d u c e d the resource areas of the Carrier to lands set a s i d e a s Indian reserves.  R e s i d e n c e in a reserve village is n o w central  to Carrier social identity. T h e Village T h e c o n t e m p o r a r y village of Saik'uz (Stoney Creek)  is located in R e s e r v e  N u m b e r 1, the largest of the Stoney C r e e k B a n d ' s reserves, a short distance from 39  Nulki a n d T a c h i c k L a k e s (Map 3).  It is difficult to determine precisely how long a  village h a s s t o o d here or what its relations were to the settlements of the Nulkiwoten and Tachickwoten.  T h e r e is evidence to s u g g e s t that unlike m o s t Carrier villages,  S t o n e y C r e e k , also known a s S y - c u z in the e m e r g e d a s a permanent  settlement  nineteenth  century  (Morice  1892),  at its present site only after it b e c a m e  a  s t o p p i n g place for itinerant travellers, s u c h a s priests a n d traders. The  village  appears  to  have  grown  established a temporary trading post there.  when  the  Hudson  Bay  Company  B y the mid-nineteenth century, it h a d  e c l i p s e d the settlements o n the s h o r e s of Nulki L a k e (then known a s Laketown) a n d T a c h i c k Lake.  O v e r the past century, the population at Laketown has dwindled to  fewer than 20 regular residents.  Other former fishing stations a n d settlements are  now visited only for s e a s o n a l resource exploitation. T o d a y , Saik'uz is a small reserve village with a permanent population of s o m e 360 residents. Partially sheltered from the adjacent r a n c h e s b y the forested reserve that s u r r o u n d s it, the village is divided by a b u s y highway, formerly an aboriginal trading route known a s the "grease trail."  T h e creek from which the village a n d its  p e o p l e take their n a m e s m e a n d e r s between the h o u s e s a n d links Nulki a n d T a c h i c k Lakes. There is little to attract the attention of c a s u a l visitors or strangers p a s s i n g through the reserve.  Apart from  the h o u s e s , there is little development.  social life revolves a r o u n d the community hall a n d baseball d i a m o n d .  T h e hall, a  plain, simple, frame building with adjacent "totem poles" c o m m e m o r a t i n g the 40  Village  Scale is also applicable to inset.  Map  3  Indian  Reserves  N o . 1-8 o f  41  Stoney  Creek  Band  provincial centennial of confederation is rarely empty.  H e r e the p e o p l e  gather  regularly for meetings, potlatches, in Carrier balhats (from the C h i n o o k jargon for giving away), children's d a n c e practices, a n d weekly b i n g o g a m e s , a s well a s for private celebrations of birthdays a n d anniversaries. s p r i n g the  elders a n d  children gather  weekly  for  T h r o u g h o u t the winter a n d Indian d a n c i n g , a  blend  competitive C r e e d a n c e s popular at intertribal p o w w o w s , a n d traditional  of  Carrier  social d a n c e s with their attendant singing a n d d r u m m i n g . In front of the hall is o n e of the two baseball d i a m o n d s .  F r o m early s p r i n g ,  to S e p t e m b e r the baseball d i a m o n d is the focus of social activity. T h e village b o a s t s three ball teams (two w o m e n ' s a n d one men's) that play in regional native mixed l e a g u e s . tournaments.  and  The m e n ' s team is a serious c o n t e n d e r in regional a n d provincial Their g a m e s attract c r o w d s of s u p p o r t e r s w h o c o m e to enjoy the  festive a t m o s p h e r e of the tournaments a n d to demonstrate their pride in their athletic ambassadors. Other public buildings serve more serious interests.  T h e craft centre, a single  r o o m , log building is u s e d for adult education c l a s s e s , spiritual meetings, a n d a miscellany of social gatherings.  Saturday a n d S u n d a y m a s s e s are held in the small  c l a p b o a r d c h u r c h . Otherwise it stands empty except for funerals a n d the o c c a s i o n a l wedding.  T h e laundromat, not easily r e c o g n i z e d a s s u c h , for it, too, is a n attractive  log structure, is in continuous u s e a n d offers an opportunity for p e o p l e to visit while tending to routine domestic tasks.  Further into the village, a c r o s s the creek, o n e  finds a new health clinic, the b a n d administrative offices, a n d a two 42  room school.  T h e r e kindergarten, alternate s e c o n d a r y ,  a n d adult c l a s s e s are h e l d .  y a r d h a s few items of p l a y g r o u n d equipment for the y o u n g children.  The school B e y o n d the  s c h o o l lie a few rather isolated h o m e s s e p a r a t e d b y o p e n fields a n d w o o d s . A short distance from the village centre s t a n d s a small store, o w n e d b y a w o m a n resident on the reserve. Here o n e c a n buy c a n d y , s u n d r i e s , c a n n e d g o o d s , a n d souvenirs either m a r k e d S t o n e y C r e e k or "Sai Kuz."  T h e store s e r v e s the  o c c a s i o n a l n e e d s of most villagers, white families w h o live nearby, a n d p a s s e r s by. A b o v e the store counter is a h a n d printed sign s a y i n g "No Credit," but in fact few reserve residents are without a c c o u n t s here.  F o r s o m e , w h o s e i n c o m e is pitifully  small a n d who are p l a g u e d by constant shortfalls in c a s h , credit is essential. A s the reserve s l o p e s downward to the western s h o r e of Nulki L a k e a n d away from the village there are few h o m e s , a n d these are s u r r o u n d e d b y o p e n fields. Privately o w n e d ranches separate the main reserve from Laketown (Reserve 3, M a p 3). Laketown was o n c e a separate community of family farms a n d fishing stations with its own c h u r c h .  All that remains are four h o m e s a n d a large c r o s s of p e e l e d  logs marking the former cemetery.  T o d a y , o n e older w o m a n dwells at Laketown.  S h e s h a r e s her h o m e with grandchildren a n d great grandchildren, a n d infrequently her s o n . T h e other h o u s e s are u s e d  intermittently, two b y brothers w h o alternate  residence between Laketown a n d V a n c o u v e r , five h u n d r e d miles to the s o u t h . A footpath c o n n e c t s this cluster of h o m e s to two other h o m e s o n the lake shore. trees  O w n e d by a brother a n d his sister, they are sheltered from the r o a d b y and  invisible  to  the  p a s s i n g traffic. 43  Maps  from  the  Stoney  Creek  administration  office  include  one  more  homesite  in the  although it falls outside of designated reserve boundaries.  Laketown  community,  This property is o w n e d  by a nonstatus m e m b e r of Saik'uz who was enfranchised in the 1950s, but who remains active in the c o m m u n i t y .  3  T h e federal government did not establish reserve lands for the S t o n e y C r e e k b a n d until 1892.  B y then white settlers h a d established themselves o n lands situated  a r o u n d the fishing sites o n Nulki a n d Tachick L a k e s .  H e n c e the b a n d n o longer  p o s s e s s e s its former unbroken tract of territory that o n c e c o n n e c t e d the T a c h i c k a n d Nulki fishing sites. shores.  In all, five discrete reserves were allotted between the lakes'  O n the fifth, a n d most remote, lives a solitary family, a y o u n g w o m a n , her  white h u s b a n d , a n d infant child. More distant reserves are u s e d for pasture, fishing, a n d hunting. S o c i a l p l e a s u r e s are concentrated in the reserve village or are p u r s u e d in nearby  Vanderhoof.  Organized  E u r o - C a n a d i a n families.  social activities  rarely  involve the  surrounding  Individuals develop friendships or affinal kin relations with  m e m b e r s of the dominant population. T h e s e relationships, however, d o not w e a k e n the social c o h e s i o n of the village or intrude into its ties to  3  neighbouring Carrier  Enfranchisement or loss of Indian status refers to the p r o c e s s whereby.  Indians (primarily men) were granted full C a n a d i a n citizenship while simultaneously loosing their rights to residence o n a reserve, to share in a b a n d ' s r e s o u r c e s , a n d to benefit from the services offered by DIAND. voluntary.  Enfranchisement w a s not always  Rather u n d e r conditions specified by the Indian A c t (1951) it c o u l d b e  i m p o s e d b y the state.  M e n lost status (i.e., b e c a m e enfranchised) w h e n , a s adults,  they were enfranchised or when, as minor children their fathers were enfranchised. Others are nonstatus b e c a u s e their status Indian mothers married 44  non-Indians.  b a n d s a n d the d i s p e r s e d native populations either of V a n d e r h o o f 20 kilometers to the north or of Prince G e o r g e s o m e 90 kilometers to the east. A s for the E u r o - C a n a d i a n s , few apart from state a n d s c h o o l representatives or affinal kin visit the village. Infrequently, w e e k e n d b e a c h parties attract a c r o w d from town, but these events d o not lead to lasting social relations.  S p o r t s fishers a n d  hunters have little social interaction with the reserve m e m b e r s . S a i k ' u z suffers visibly from a chronic shortage of m o n e y .  F o r the m o s t part  the h o m e s are small with few comforts b e y o n d the b a s i c necessities. still without water.  For the individual h o m e o w n e r s , outbuildings are rare.  h o u s e s have a w o o d s h e d , storage s h e d , a n d perhaps a s m o k e construction. unknown.  With two  exceptions, g a r a g e s or  T h e newer h o u s e s , now built  small lots a l o n g the village provision of water  S e v e r a l are T h e older  h o u s e of simple  carports a n d w o r k s h o p s  are  with basements, have b e e n p l a c e d o n  r o a d s a n d clustered together for the most e c o n o m i c a l  a n d s e w a g e services. Their small lots look bare a n d empty in  c o m p a r i s o n to the y a r d s of the older h o m e s , which a p p e a r cluttered a n d disorderly to the c a s u a l visitor. w o m e n ' s work.  T h e untutored eye fails to recognize them a s the centre of  With their variety of equipment, work tables,  g a r d e n plots, s m o k e  h o u s e s , boats a n d c a n o e s , as well as laundry facilities s u c h a s basins a n d lines, the y a r d s contain  what is n e c e s s a r y for the w o m e n to provide for their families.  In the  y a r d s , m e n ' s p o s s e s s i o n s also accumulate: car a n d truck parts a n d b o d i e s , always n e e d e d for repairs, a n d miscellaneous machinery a n d equipment are kept o n h a n d .  45  T h e federal government finances the c o s t s of h o u s e s , which are allocated to the S a i k ' u z b a n d council through the Carrier S e k a n i Tribal C o u n c i l .  But the housing  allocation is woefully inadequate, a n d e a c h y e a r the new h o m e s a d d e d s e e m only to k e e p p a c e with the loss of c o n d e m n e d buildings a n d the increased requests of nonresidents  to  return  to  the  reserve,  so  that  the  annual  improvement  in  a c c o m m o d a t i o n is negligible. M e m b e r s of the b a n d w h o reside elsewhere but would prefer to live o n the  reserve have little h o p e of d o i n g s o b e c a u s e of lack of  a c c o m m o d a t i o n a n d reliable employment. C o m p o u n d i n g the problems of housing is the residents' inability to maintain a n d improve existing h o m e s . B e c a u s e older h o m e s , even t h o s e built a s recently a s fifteen years a g o , were not constructed a c c o r d i n g to r e a s o n a b l e s t a n d a r d s for heavy family use in a harsh climate, they not only deteriorate  quickly, they lack m a n y of the  amenities a n d extras that would make them m o r e suitable for the large families which inhabit them.  Repair a n d remodelling c o s t s are b e y o n d the i n c o m e s of most  residents;  only  the  alternative  is  homeowner's assistance program.  to  seek  government  aid  through  a  rural  T h e s e funds are insufficient to meet the n e e d s  of all villagers, s o e a c h year many must g o without.  S u b s t a n d a r d h o u s i n g quickly  takes o n a n a p p e a r a n c e of neglect a n d m i s u s e that contrasts sharply with the newer h o m e s with their m o d e r n , s u b u r b a n image.  T h e shortage of m o n e y is further revealed b y the lack of community facilities, services, a n d maintenance.  A quonset hut, o n c e intended  c r u m p l e d o n its side, a victim of  high winds. 46  as a fire hall, lies  T h e street pavement has b e e n raised  by frost only to sink d e e p l y into its gravel b e d .  Playground equipment for  the  children is minimal a n d a g i n g , while indoor recreational facilities are nonexistent. B e y o n d the village, at the Nulki lake s h o r e , a partially c o m p l e t e d log building, a potlatch h o u s e that is intended to  serve a s a cultural centre, s p e a k s to  the  aspirations of a village frustrated b y inadequate r e s o u r c e s a n d d e p e n d e n c y u p o n irregular a n d unpredictable state  financing.  The Economics of Dependency T h e s o c i o - e c o n o m i c conditions of Saik'uz are best characterized a s "welfare colonialism" or "welfare d e p e n d e n c y " (Tanner 1983:2). management,  from  personal  reliance  on  At all levels of e c o n o m i c  social assistance payments  to  the  d e v e l o p m e n t of small enterprises, the p e o p l e are d e p e n d e n t u p o n funding from the federal government. T h e Department of Indian a n d Northern Affairs provides m o n i e s for community administration, e d u c a t i o n , social assistance, h o u s i n g a n d maintenance of community services.  Other federal  departments  contribute  lesser a m o u n t s .  Health a n d Welfare, Secretary of State, a n d C a n a d i a n E m p l o y m e n t a n d Immigration contribute to community services, adult training, job creation s c h e m e s , a n d cultural programs. Most of the funds p a s s directly from the state a g e n c i e s to the b a n d ' s elected council, to be m a n a g e d by the council's administrative staff.  S o m e , however,  circulate through the administration of the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council, an umbrella association with fourteen m e m b e r b a n d s .  H o u s i n g funds, for example, are h a n d e d  over to the tribal council to b e redistributed a m o n g the competing b a n d s . 47  Other  f u n d s , e a r m a r k e d for small community d e v e l o p m e n t  s c h e m e s a n d job  creation  p r o g r a m s , are obtained by voluntary associations. T h e federal government's dominant position in the local e c o n o m y is strengthened by the community's inability to raise its o w n taxes or to freely exploit its natural resources.  U n d e r the provisions of the Indian Act, the Minister of Indian Affairs  retains the right to control exploitation of natural r e s o u r c e s .  Without either a land  b a s e large e n o u g h for self- sufficiency or adequate r e s o u r c e s n e c e s s a r y to create i n d e p e n d e n t , small b u s i n e s s e s , capital that d o e s c o m e to S a i k ' u z immediately flows out to neighbouring commercial centres. T h e small store p r o v i d e s n o revenue to the band, and  currently it is the only b u s i n e s s enterprise o n reserve land.  T h e majority of adults are directly a n d immediately s u b s i d i e s a n d i n c o m e support, whether d e p e n d e n t u p o n social assistance. the  they  d e p e n d e n t u p o n state  are e m p l o y e d o n the  reserve  or  Only three w o m e n are e m p l o y e d steadily off  reserve, o n e a s a c o o k in a parochial s c h o o l , o n e a s a t e a c h i n g  assistant in  adult education at the local college, a n d o n e as a Carrier l a n g u a g e instructor in the Catholic s c h o o l s y s t e m . Permanent jobs on the reserve are p r o v i d e d b y the elected b a n d council. Twelve w o m e n , eight working full time, are e m p l o y e d a s administrative a n d s u p p o r t staff.  Another six w o m e n work a few hours a w e e k providing h o m e  services to the elders, but this offers only a minimum w a g e a n d a n insecure s o u r c e of employment. T h e m e n fare n o better. In fact they are not s o fortunate.  It is rare to find  more than three m e n e m p l o y e d steadily o n the reserve. During the spring a n d 48  s u m m e r months, when federal a g e n c i e s fund short term employment, m o r e m e n are working.  H o u s i n g construction a n d repair, a n d forestry work c a n e m p l o y u p to  twenty individuals for twenty w e e k s , the minimum period of e m p l o y m e n t required to receive unemployment insurance.  In addition to work o n the reserve, a handful of  m e n are e m p l o y e d elsewhere. T w o work in a sawmill, three with the department of highways, a n d o n e with a small logging firm that h a s a permit to harvest timber o n lands d e s i g n a t e d for agricultural development.  T h e last m a n also traps a n d works  as a casual ranch-hand. B u s h activities for the m e n remain severely limited. of  income  and  independently.  requires  a  capital  investment  that  T r a p p i n g is a p o o r s o u r c e men  are  unable  to  raise  T h e largest line, o n c e s h a r e d by a n u m b e r of trappers but now  w o r k e d by o n e m a n , offers a g r o s s i n c o m e of no more than  $20,000.00 if w o r k e d  to its total potential-an impossible task given that the provincial g o v e r n m e n t h a s i s s u e d permits for two d e c a d e s of continuous logging within its b o u n d a r i e s .  Other  lines are either too small to provide a d e q u a t e returns or have b e e n d e p l e t e d by l o g g i n g , recreational u s e , a n d nearby residential development. The  current  regional  e c o n o m i c situation  is grim.  international markets, forestry is experiencing hard times.  Due  to the  failure  For those w o m e n  of and  m e n who desire work, the p r o s p e c t s are very p o o r i n d e e d . Opportunities are limited to c a s u a l labour o n s u c h short-term  projects as forestry maintenance  projects,  s u m m e r fire fighting, a n d fruit picking in the O k a n a g a n o r c h a r d s to the s o u t h . In the  49  face of u n d e r e m p l o y m e n t , d e p e n d e n c e u p o n the federal government for p e r s o n a l i n c o m e is i n e s c a p a b l e for the majority.  The Administrative Structure A n o t h e r c o n s e q u e n c e of a state controlled e c o n o m y has b e e n the creation of  a  small  bureaucracy  at  the  band  level.  As  indicated  above,  the  band  administrative structure, consisting of an elected b a n d council a n d its hired staff, acts in a c c o r d a n c e with state policies. are elected every two years.  Five councillors, o n e of them a chief councillor,  T h e y administer the Saik'uz b a n d a c c o r d i n g to the  m a n d a t e set out in the Indian Act.  Eligible electors include all the listed m e m b e r s  over the a g e of twenty-one. (Prior to 1984 only reserve residents were eligible to vote a n d / o r run for office.  Thereafter, the b a n d received ministerial approval to include  nonresidents.) T h e b a n d council has limited powers. Indian monitor  With the approval of the minister of  Affairs, it c a n establish by-laws regulating u s e of reserve lands. s o m e a s p e c t s of personal behaviour  (such a s property  It c a n also  maintenance),  administer the b a n d budget, a n d allocate community r e s o u r c e s : h o u s i n g , e d u c a t i o n assistance, a n d f u n d s for h o m e repairs, for example.  B e y o n d these limited p o w e r s ,  the council d o e s not have a clearly defined social or e c o n o m i c function. T h e chief, or  a councillor a p p o i n t e d by her/him, acts as the b a n d delegate to the  Carrier  S e k a n i Tribal  Council and  as the  delegate  to  monthly  provincial  organizations  representing s u c h specific interests as fisheries, forestry, or trapping.  Other council  m e m b e r s are involved in extra-community affairs as alternate delegates for the chief 50  councillor a n d / o r a s representatives o n a variety of associations pertaining to i s s u e s of e c o n o m i c development, social welfare, education, a n d b a n d m a n a g e m e n t  and  planning. In practice, the elected council is a n extension of state b u r e a u c r a c y .  T h e main  function of the administrative structure is to d i s p e n s e g o o d s a n d services flowing from the state. ultimately Frequently  H e n c e , the elected council is subject to outside authorities that  determine the  acceptable  council  contradictory information.  must  act  distribution within  an  of  its  subsidies  atmosphere  of  and  programs.  confusion  and  A s formulated by DIAND, state policies not only c h a n g e  in a seemingly arbitrary a n d confusing manner, they are fully c o m m u n i c a t e d neither to the council nor to its committees. Advisory notices are received from the regional DIAND office b y the administrative staff a n d duplicated for e a c h b a n d councillor. But these circulars are of a bureaucratic nature. not u n d e r s t o o d readily.  Their jargon a n d cryptic l a n g u a g e are  Moreover, their significance is buried b e n e a t h  vague  references to established policy mandates a n d Other circulars, often referred to only by a file n u m b e r . C o n f u s i o n results in considerable dissension over what the state intends a n d what it will permit t h e . c o u n c i l to d o . council's actions c a n b e justified  Within this atmosphere of uncertainty,  either  as an appropriate  r e s p o n s e to  a  state  articulated rules a n d regulations or, alternatively, a s the "Indian Way" of looking after one's people.  The  elected  council d o e s not operate  alone.  Three  advisory  committees are a p p o i n t e d by the council. They offer advice o n h o u s i n g allocation, 51  o n e d u c a t i o n policies, s u c h a s student/teacher relationships a n d education b u d g e t administration,  and  on  child welfare,  including  emergency  care  and  parental  w o r k s h o p s . It is generally a c c e p t e d that the council s h o u l d take directions from its advisory  committees  which  are  appointed  to  ensure  that the  administration  u n d e r s t a n d s a n d a d h e r e s to traditional c o n c e p t s of leadership. All too frequently the two are contradictory. Advisory committees, particularly those dominated by elders, call u p o n the chief a n d council to intervene in family disputes, to control a c c e s s to alcohol, to provide services to nonstatus residents, a n d to e n c o u r a g e self-help a n d community sharing.  S i n c e the council lacks the authority to act in this regard, it  often yields to the expectations of government p e r s o n n e l , being careful to act within the minor powers permitted by the Indian Act. Self-administration was introduced to Saik'uz b y DIAND in the early 1970s. administrative education  staff c o m p r i s e s five  co-ordinator,  maintenance supervisor.  social  administrative  welfare  worker,  positions: the b a n d child  welfare  The  manager,  worker,  and  a  In addition, it e m p l o y s a community health representative  plus two alcohol a n d d r u g counsellors. T h e b a n d m a n a g e r a n d her staff administer an annual b u d g e t of approximately  $800,000.00.  A l t h o u g h the staff has s o m e  discretionary powers in its budgetary expenditures, the weight of responsibility lies with the regional DIAND office, which initially sets the departmental allocations for education, social assistance, maintenance, etc.  T h e chief councillor has  limited  administrative privileges, however, all u s e s of f u n d s not specifically m a n d a t e d by DIAND--for example personal l o a n s - m u s t be a p p r o v e d b y the b a n d council. 52  T h e funds themselves are s u p e r v i s e d closely by the state.  In addition to  routine review of the b o o k s by DIAND accountants, an independent monthly audit is required.  Despite external a n d internal controls over the budget, its adminstration  a p p e a r s to b e the most significant s o u r c e of tension between the community at large, the  b a n d council, a n d the  administrative  staff.  Dissension over  budget  allocation arises over welfare a s s e s s m e n t s , employment, recreation funds (primarily in support of the ball teams) a n d miscellaneous personal e x p e n s e s . Each member  of the  administrative  staff  is responsible for  decisions that directly affect individual m e m b e r s of  the community.  independent T h e y classify  the qualifications of e a c h social a s s i s t a n c e recipient a n d h e n c e determine the rate of monthly assistance p a y m e n t s , allocate educational allowances for post s e c o n d a r y students, a n d determine other n u m e r o u s but small, financial matters.  A s well, the  b a n d m a n a g e r is responsible for hiring s e a s o n a l a n d part-time workers, which is always a b o n e of contention s i n c e the jobs are few a n d short term, while  the  u n e m p l o y e d are many. Sharing a c o m m o n work place draws the staff together a s a distinct social unit that s h a r e s interests a n d c o n c e r n s not f a c e d by other reserve residents.  T h e social unity of the administrators is strengthened by their c o m m o n  a t t e n d a n c e - a t the e x p e n s e of the b a n d ~ a t political a n d cultural events s p o n s o r e d by  the  tribal  council a n d  other  bands.  They  attend  education  and  health  c o n f e r e n c e s , inter-tribal alcohol a n d d r u g a b u s e events, a n d local w o r k s h o p s run b y both native a n d nonnative organizations.  53  T h e social unity of the administrative a n d s u p p o r t staff is e n h a n c e d b y the fact that m o s t are w o m e n .  Clerical a n d service work is viewed a s female work in the  s a m e way a s in the dominant society.  This m e a n s that w o m e n are far m o r e likely  than m e n to b e hired by the b a n d council. It also m e a n s that m o s t e m p l o y e e s will b e y o u n g or middle a g e d w o m e n with s e c o n d a r y or p o s t - s e c o n d a r y e d u c a t i o n . T h e c o n s e q u e n c e s of underdevelopment r e a c h b e y o n d the e m e r g e n c e of a b u r e a u c r a c y to penetrate the most intimate d e c i s i o n s a n d s o c i a l interactions of the band members.  T h e e c o n o m i c s of welfare colonialism m e a n s that the b a n d council  a n d administrators a s s u m e control over r e s o u r c e s a n d d e c i s i o n s that elsewhere would b e c o n s i d e r e d private.  Furthermore, these d e c i s i o n s never rest solely in the  h a n d s of the b a n d ' s administrative structure but are subject to state intervention. T h e Political i s s u e s T h e Saik'uz Whut'enne confront the s a m e critical political i s s u e s a s d o other aboriginal  people  a c r o s s C a n a d a : land  claims,  environmental  protection  and  m a n a g e m e n t , self-determination a n d self-defined b a n d m e m b e r s h i p , a n d a continual, struggle against poverty a n d its attendant social crises, s u c h a s , alcohol a n d d r u g a b u s e a n d family conflict.  T h e b a n d council d o e s not act independently o n many  of these issues. Instead its interests are represented to the state through the Carrier S e k a n i Tribal C o u n c i l under the direction of the C o u n c i l ' s elected executive a n d its administrative officers. C o n c e r n s over regional e c o n o m i c development council into confrontations with the  draw the  provincial a n d federal 54  b a n d a n d tribal  governments.  Few  e c o n o m i c or environmental issues are a c t e d o n independently at the b a n d level. Moreover, neither the b a n d council nor the tribal council represents all Carrier interest g r o u p s . At the time of r e s e a r c h , major e c o n o m i c d e v e l o p m e n t in the region was being p r o p o s e d by the A l c a n corporation, a C a n a d i a n b a s e d  multinational  aluminum c o m p a n y . A l c a n wished to e x p a n d its production of h y d r o electric p o w e r by further d a m m i n g of the N e c h a k o river (it h a d built K e n n y D a m in 1952 to power its smelter in Kitimat o n the Pacific coast). It has now p r o p o s e d constructing a new aluminum smelter in central British C o l u m b i a .  O n e of its c o n t e m p l a t e d sites is  located within the traditional trapping a n d hunting territory of the Saik'uz W h u t ' e n n e .  A l c a n ' s p r o p o s e d development has b e e n resisted by the Carrier S e k a n i Tribal C o u n c i l , which fears that, a m o n g other long term effects, the lower water tables resulting from further hydro electric development will threaten the annual s o c k e y e run.  C o n s e q u e n t l y , study of the  environmental a n d social impacts of A l c a n ' s  e x p a n s i o n was co-ordinated by the tribal council o n behalf of its m e m b e r b a n d s . Nonetheless, the environment.  Carrier are  not united in their strategies to protect  the  Individual w o m e n of Saik'uz have joined local environmental activists  struggling to minimize rather than to prevent entirely further d a m a g e to the N e c h a k o River, a strategy d i s a p p r o v e d of b y the tribal council leaders.  A l s o divisive at both  the b a n d a n d tribal levels is support for A l c a n development v o i c e d b y individuals who h o p e that it may lead to employment for Carrier m e n .  55  Further conflict is generated when voluntary associations take up the issue, a s I will d i s c u s s later. corporations  and  Suffice it to say here that in 1983, A l c a n , along with other  community  service g r o u p s , p r o v i d e d funds for j o b  creation  s c h e m e s directed towards status a n d nonstatus youth w h o h a d particular difficulty obtaining j o b s . A c c e p t a n c e of these jobs by a voluntary association with executive m e m b e r s from S a i k ' u z created further tensions with the tribal council. T h e Carrier S e k a n i tribal council also co-ordinates research a n d negotiations for the Carrier's specific a n d comprehensive land claims.  DIAND policy is to fund  the collective claims of a n u m b e r of small b a n d s rather than to c o n s i d e r e a c h b a n d ' s claims independently.  T h e Saik'uz Whut'enne, therefore, d o not negotiate  their  claims directly with DIAND, or with any other federal or provincial a g e n c y including the courts, but act through the tribal council's consultants a n d legal advisers. N o r d o e s the  b a n d council have autonomy with respect to  negotiations s u r r o u n d i n g aboriginal political rights.  constitutional  A g a i n , representation of b a n d  c o n c e r n s is in the h a n d s of the tribal council. At the time of r e s e a r c h , the only issue affecting constitutional negotiations for aboriginal rights that a b a n d c o u l d confront independently w a s the question of women's Indian status a n d b a n d m e m b e r s h i p . At that time, the Indian Act, Section 12(1)(b), ruled that a w o m a n lost her status a n d b a n d m e m b e r s h i p u p o n marriage to a non-Indian. also c o n s i d e r e d nonstatus Indians.  Children of the marriage were  The reverse was not true.  Non-Indian  women  married to Indian m e n were granted Indian status, a n d s o were the children of the marriage.  56  L o s s of status a n d b a n d m e m b e r s h i p created social tensions. W o m e n without status were stripped of their right to reserve residence, to burial in the cemetery, a n d to the social services offered by DIAND.  reserve  For many nonstatus S a i k ' u z  W h u t ' e n n e , the m o s t bitter loss was free a c c e s s to their traditional f o o d r e s o u r c e s . T h e p r e s e n c e of nonstatus Indians o n the Saik'uz reserve a n d their struggle to regain rights divides families a n d the community. S o m e families s u p p o r t the struggle for reinstatement a n d argue for provision of housing a n d other privileges to s e l e c t e d nonstatus families.  Others o p p o s e the residence of nonstatus w o m e n a n d u p h o l d  the Indian A c t o n the g r o u n d s that w o m e n should join their h u s b a n d s ' communities a n d raise their children there. Following years of protest from appeal  for  international  intervention  Indian w o m e n a c r o s s C a n a d a a n d  from  the  Human  Rights Committee  their under  Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil a n d Political Rights,  the  federal g o v e r n m e n t m o v e d to e n d the discriminatory practice set out in 12(1)(b). In 1982, b y m e a n s of a G o v e r n o r General's proclamation, the federal g o v e r n m e n t g r a n t e d s u s p e n s i o n of Section 12(1)(b) to individual b a n d s u p o n their (Schwartz  1986:330-31).  e x e r c i s e d this option.  It was  not until  1984,  that the  request  Saik'uz b a n d council  Exemption from Section 12(1)(b) did not, of c o u r s e , e n d the  controversy over status a n d  m e m b e r s h i p issues.  Individual  and  b a n d council  interventions are affected by political lobbying g r o u p s , including the tribal c o u n c i l ' s delegations to constitutional debates a n d u r b a n - b a s e d native w o m e n ' s g r o u p s w h o  57  are l o c k e d  in a contest with o n e another over constitutionally guaranteed sexual  equality a n d a b a n d ' s right to determine its m e m b e r s h i p (ibid.). Political d e c i s i o n making pertaining to widely-shared social p r o b l e m s is also influenced by the p r e s e n c e of community a s s o c i a t i o n s a s well a s b y chapters of provincial voluntary associations. voluntary  associations m u c h  A s this study will s h o w , w o m e n have relied o n  more  frequently  than  men.  In  some  instances,  particularly w h e n the provincial government must b e confronted o n environmental, educational, a n d social issues, the w o m e n join intercultural associations a n d / o r work closely with native w o m e n ' s organizations. W o m e n join national organizations f u n d e d b y federal a g e n c i e s s u c h as Health a n d Welfare a n d the W o m e n ' s p r o g r a m of the Secretary of State. in the  struggle  to  T h e s e organizations operate independently of elected councils transform  the  social conditions of  economic dependency:  unemployment, alcohol a n d d r u g a b u s e , s u b s t a n d a r d educational achievement, a n d family crises including child a p p r e h e n s i o n a n d conflict. T h e political issues confronting the S a i k ' u z W h u t ' e n n e are complex.  Like any  other community, Saik'uz is subordinated to provincial a n d federal mandates. b a n d council, c a n n o t effect decisions of major importance.  The  Environmental c o n c e r n s ,  land claims, a n d e c o n o m i c development are mediated through the Carrier Sekani Tribal C o u n c i l . W h e r e b a n d council decisions c a n b e e x e c u t e d , in matters of purely local c o n c e r n s u c h a s housing allocation a n d employment, personal a n d public interests flow together in a c o m p l e x interchange of individual, family, a n d community competition for s c a r c e r e s o u r c e s . 58  T h e character of Saik'uz politics is further c o m p l i c a t e d by the interventions of the council's administrative staff a n d advisory committees a n d by the interventions of voluntary associations. T h r o u g h this intricate w e b of bureaucratic structures a n d voluntary associations, Saik'uz W h u t ' e n n e attempt to maintain control over their o w n lives.  Before p r o c e e d i n g with a n analysis of this p r o c e s s , a n d the particulars of  w o m e n ' s involvement within it, it will b e useful to c o n s i d e r the historical d e v e l o p m e n t of the Saik'uz b a n d , paying particular attention to c h a n g i n g g e n d e r relations a n d the differential impact of colonization a n d industrialization u p o n w o m e n a n d m e n .  59  CHAPTER THREE  HISTORY O F T H E SAIK'UZ W H U T ' E N N E  Introduction Although my c o n c e r n is with the contemporary, political c i r c u m s t a n c e s of Carrier w o m e n , a review of early Carrier history a n d culture is required in order to u n d e r s t a n d current world views a n d social interactions. This chapter aims to reveal the historical transformation of e c o n o m i c relationships that have b e e n a major factor in  shaping  the  nature  and  quality  of  gender  relationships.  As  others  have  d e m o n s t r a t e d , the c a u s e s of w o m e n ' s equality or subordination are internal to social s y s t e m s ( S a c k s 1979:104-05; Albers 1983:179; B o u r q u e a n d Warren 1981:82,211; L e a c o c k 1986). H e n c e , w o m e n ' s roles must b e analyzed in their historical a n d social contexts. T h e view is taken that this e c o n o m i c history is best s e e n in terms of the shifting  fortunes  of female  versus male  dominated  institutions  and  economic  a d v a n t a g e s b e c a u s e , a s this chapter will illustrate, from the d e m i s e of aboriginal s u b s i s t e n c e e c o n o m y to the present, e c o n o m i c a d v a n t a g e s have a c c r u e d to w o m e n a n d m e n unequally.  1  While  1  I s u g g e s t that this swing in relative fortunes of w o m e n a n d  Margaret Blackman demonstrated a similar p r o c e s s for the H a i d a w o m e n . she  dominance, colonialism  never she and  argues does  that e c o n o m i c advantages  illustrate  suffered from  that others  women  benefited  (Blackman 60  resulted  1982).  from  in  clear  some  Albers  political  stages  analyzes  of the  m e n h a s p l a y e d an important role in s h a p i n g w o m e n ' s current socio-political position. T h e elders' a c c o u n t s in this chapter are taken from p e r s o n s b o r n in the first 15 y e a r s of the twentieth century or earlier.  T a p e d oral histories of o n e former  village chief, n o w d e c e a s e d , were m a d e available from his daughter.  T h e excerpts  of informants' statements are taken from t a p e d interviews with nine elders: four w o m e n w h o s e parent or grandparents lived at C h e s l a t t a , o n e w o m a n with a parent 2  from Shelley, a m a n a n d a w o m a n who identify t h e m s e l v e s a s Tatukwoten,  one  w o m a n with a parent from Nadleh, a n d o n e m a n with parents from Nulki  and  T a c h i c k . Information from these elders was s u p p l e m e n t e d with interviews of two N a d l e h elders (sisters) w h o s e parents h a d b e e n raised at Saik'uz. A n o t h e r elderly w o m a n , w h o preferred not to be taped, provided s o m e stories of her g r a n d m o t h e r a n d great-grandmother, both of w h o m lived at Nulki during the nineteenth century. T h r e e of the  narrators d e s c e n d from families without claims to high status  a s c r i b e d b y traditional  culture; the  remaining  either  are  direct  as  d e s c e n d a n t s of  nineteenth century clan leaders a n d village chiefs, or are w o m e n married to m e n directly d e s c e n d e d from clan leaders a n d village chiefs. T h e chapter begins with a brief d i s c u s s i o n of aboriginal social organization  contradictions of colonialism for Sioux w o m e n a n d c o n c l u d e s that during p e r i o d s of female e c o n o m i c advantages the balance of p o w e r shifts in favour of w o m e n (Albers 1983).  2  O n e elder s p o k e only Carrier, therefore t a p e d translations were p r o v i d e d by  her daughter. 61  and  the  impact  of  the  fur  trade.  It  concentrates  on  the  ramifications  of  settlement/missionization, a n d modernization. Aboriginal Social Organization Northern A t h a p a s k a n social organization w a s not uniform; diversity not only existed  between  various A t h a p a s k a n g r o u p s , but  between  the  localized s o c i o -  territorial units, b a n d s , of e a c h g r o u p . Although it w a s earlier a s s u m e d that Eastern Athapaskan  bands  were  patrilineal  and  patrilocal  (Steward,  1961),  it  is  now  c o m m o n l y a r g u e d that bilateral kinship ties p r o v i d e d the b a s i c social unit through which  critical  social obligations  were  instituted.  (Helm  1965;  Riches  1981:18;  V a n s t o n e 1974:46; Wilson 1987:239). T h e Western A t h a p a s k a n of British C o l u m b i a , Y u k o n Territory, a n d A l a s k a h a d matrilineal d e s c e n t g r o u p s (sibs a n d / o r moieties or phratries) with hereditary leaders. Carrier s o c i o - e c o n o m i c organization was  equally diverse.  The Algatcho,  a c c o r d i n g to G o l d m a n (1963), were essentially egalitarian with s u p e r i m p o s e d ranked patrilineal crest g r o u p s borrowed from the  Bella C o o l a .  T h e Lower Carrier of  Kluskus a n d N a z k o were neither stratified nor divided into clans (Kew, cited in T o b e y 1981:419).  T h e Babine (Western) Carrier, however, were o r g a n i z e d into ranked  matriclans that controlled resource areas a n d w h o s e m e m b e r s publicized their social status by potlatching (Jenness 1943).  Saik'uz Whut'enne a l s o h a d matriclans a n d  potlatching, as did the Central Carrier of Stuart Lake. T h e theoretical implications of this diversity are significant. and  Steward  (1961)  argue  that  matrilineal 62  organization  and  G o l d m a n (1963) potlatching  were  borrowed  from  coastal societies.  H u d s o n d i s a g r e e s ; he  asserts that  ranked  matriclan organization p r o v i d e d the framework for local r e s o u r c e control a n d a c c e s s to r e s o u r c e s of other productive g r o u p s (1983:71).  Conversely, Matson suggests  few r e s o u r c e s c o u l d have b e e n easily controlled, a n d community ownership of fishing weirs w a s m o r e likely than clan ownership (Matson 1985:250). K e w (cited b y Tobey  1981:419) s u g g e s t s organizational diversity may b e the c o n s e q u e n c e of  environmental variation. De L a g u n a (1971) asserts that matrilineality was very ancient a m o n g the A t h a p a s k a n s .  Dyen a n d Aberle (1974:410,418) postulate that most  A t h a p a s k a n s , including the Carrier, were originally matrilineal. Aberle believes "that rank w a s a feature of early A t h a p a s k a n social organization in the linguistic s u b g r o u p that D y e n a n d he label ' C a n a d i a n , ' a n d that where egalitarian b a n d organization is f o u n d , it is a s e c o n d a r y development" (personal communication J u n e 14, 1989). L e g r o s f o u n d that nineteenth century Tutchone society  was stratified; rich families  m o n o p o l i z e d trading relations a n d the best resource areas; p o o r families lived a s social inferiors or inhabited the  poorest ecological z o n e s (Legros  1985:38,62).  Aberle points to the fact that the Tutchone r e c o g n i z e d a hereditary nobility, the d a n n o z h i . while the Carrier use d u n e z a h to  designate their nobility.  Conversely,  Ridington points out that a m o n g the egalitarian Beaver, w h o u s e d u n n e - z a to refer to t h e m s e l v e s a s a p e o p l e , the term has no connotation of nobility  (Ridington  1978:iii). T h e alternative hypotheses are either the term was applied first b y ProtoA t h a p a s k a n s to a high ranking social division a n d u s e d later by s o m e g r o u p s a s a self-identifying reference, or the reverse obtained.  63  Its use to indicate stratification  a m o n g the Northern T u t c h o n e a n d the Carrier, however, s u g g e s t s its reference to a r a n k e d position is earlier.  3  The 'Uda' Dune A c c o r d i n g to creation stories of the Saik'uz Whut'enne, the ' u d a ' d u n e , or "first people," settled at Tatuk.  4  Stas, the creator, g a v e e a c h family a k e v o h .  5  a hunting  territory, a n d taught the p e o p l e to m a n a g e the land a n d r e s o u r c e s . E a c h k e v o h w a s o c c u p i e d by a s a d e k u . a bilateral extended family.  6  R e s i d e n c e patterns a p p e a r to  have b e e n neolocal, although there may have b e e n a virilocal preference ( G o l d m a n 1963:335). T h e first gathering of the ' u d a ' d u n e , called by Stas, is said to h a v e p r o v i d e d  3  I a m grateful to Dr. Aberle for bringing this to my attention.  4  T h e r e are two s o u r c e s for these stories: t a p e d oral histories dictated b y a  m a n , n o w d e c e a s e d , w h o was born in the 1880s a n d w h o is c o n s i d e r e d to have b e e n well-informed about his parents' a n d grandparents' eras, a n d a m a n s o m e 20 years younger  whose  ancestors are  from  Tatuk.  He, too, h a s  an  extensive  k n o w l e d g e or oral history a n d a large repertoire of traditional stories. 5  T h e term k e y o h is s a i d by the elders of Saik'uz to take its m e a n i n g from y o h .  h o u s e , but in fact the term most frequently indicates the hunting a r e a a n d fishing sites of the residential g r o u p . Walker et al.(1974:117) provide two m e a n i n g s for k e y o h : town a n d country.  Aberle (personal communication 1988)  Navajo k e v a h is a c o g n a t e with the  Carrier term.  n o t e s that the  T h e Navajo k e y a h refers to a  "person's place," that is o n e ' s "home a n d surroundings." This c o r r e s p o n d s to the m e a n i n g of the Carrier k e y o h .  Navajos offer a very different folk e t y m o l o g y for the  term; they "gloss the ke of kevah as foot, a n d thus o n e ' s h o m e is the p l a c e where o n e p l a c e s o n e ' s foot." 6  G o l d m a n states that the Algatcho s a d e k u consisted of "a g r o u p of siblings  [sic], their wives a n d children" (1963:334).  He argues that residential g r o u p s were  bilateral. Following G o l d m a n , G r o s s m a n (1965) d e s c r i b e s the residential g r o u p s a s non-unilineal d e s c e n t g r o u p s . 64  the  prototype for s u b s e q u e n t gatherings, the  gathering."  du qhe  hu'telh-dulh. or "the  big  E a c h family a p p o i n t e d a buts' owhudilhzulh-un. the "first person," to  mediate interfamily disputes a n d to negotiate  intergroup relations.  Oral tradition  states  found  a  that  as  the  people  multiplied,  they  they  needed  system  of  "government" with undisputed leaders to mediate "all the p r o b l e m s of the people." T h u s , s a y the elders, the big gathering was transformed to the potlatch, balhats. where authority resided with the clan leaders. W e cannot b e certain when the matrilineal s y s t e m with its ranked positions a n d potlatches first a p p e a r e d a m o n g the Saik'uz W h u t ' e n n e . existed by the mid-nineteenth  century.  W e d o know that it  7  By then, if not m u c h earlier, they were  divided into matrilineal clans, e a c h with n a m e s , crests, a n d other intangible property held by its m e m b e r s .  T h e Central Carrier were incorporated into the  potlatch  c o m p l e x e s of their coastal neighbours ( G o l d m a n 1963; 1941; H u d s o n 1972). Early o b s e r v e r s have left us contradictory a c c o u n t s of w o m e n ' s relative  to  men.  Nevertheless,  there  exists  considerable  evidence  8  position strongly  s u g g e s t i n g that to a large d e g r e e w o m e n enjoyed the s a m e social opportunities as  7  T o b e y (1981) provides a succinct statement o n the debate c o n c e r n i n g the  antiquity of the potlatch a n d matrilineality a m o n g the Carrier.  S e e , a s well, B i s h o p  (1983), Dyen a n d Aberle (1974), a n d H u d s o n (1983). 8  Whether or not the term balhats (balhach Walker et al.) d i s p l a c e d the u s e of  d u q h e hu'telh-dulh to refer to ceremonial feasts is unclear.  Making a  statement  general to the Northwest C o a s t , J o r g e n s e n (1980:145) states, "It is very likely that the development of the potlatch from distributions was a rather recent p h e n o m e n o n stimulated by the desire of E u r o p e a n s for furs a n d hides a n d the desire of Northwest C o a s t natives for trade goods...." 65  did m e n .  G o l d m a n unequivocally d e s c r i b e s the  Lower  Carrier a s  egalitarian.  " B e c a u s e of a relatively strong stress u p o n sex equality, the sex factor w a s of little significance" (1963:356). Within the s a d e k u . "the first b o r n of a line of siblings, male or female, was the ' b o s s ' " ( G o l d m a n 1963:358). was  achieved; women  and  men  became  Leadership b e y o n d the s a d e k u  known  as  meotih. "chief  (Goldman  1963:360,362). S p e a k i n g of the Stuart Lake Carrier, M c L e a n maintains that, b e c a u s e of their significant e c o n o m i c contributions, w o m e n enjoyed a higher social e s t e e m a n d greater privileges than known a m o n g s t other native g r o u p s (1932:180). The  residential  consumption.  group  formed  an  independent  T h e g e n d e r division of labour was flexible.  unit  of  production  and  MacKenzie commented  that "[men] take a greater share in the labour of w o m e n than is c o m m o n a m o n g the s a v a g e tribes" (MacKenzie July 16; q u o t e d by S h e p p e 1962:210; a l s o s e e H a r m o n 1903:249). Productive activities were o r g a n i z e d by senior w o m e n a n d m e n . Women  gained prestige a n d e c o n o m i c importance with a g e as they  assumed  responsibilities for organizing w o m e n ' s task g r o u p s . A male elder states,  E a c h family h a d two p e o p l e in c h a r g e , like a b o s s .  The  mother w a s in c h a r g e of the girls a n d the father was in c h a r g e of the b o y s .  A n d they trained them how to prepare  f o o d for drying a n d storage. That's what the mothers teach their daughters. hunt.  A n d the b o y s learn how to trap a n d how to  W o o d w a s their c h o r e a n d they were taught by their  fathers. It a p p e a r s that the flexible g e n d e r division of labour permitted work to b e s h a r e d by a marital c o u p l e a n d militated against the denigration of routine c h o r e s within the  66  c a m p , while at the s a m e time, gender-discrete work g r o u p s p r o v i d e d a b a s i s for gender autonomy. A c c o r d i n g to H u d s o n (1983:58) a n d C r a n n y (1986), primary r e s o u r c e s , in order of importance, were fish, small g a m e , a n d berries. relatively  Large mammals,  s c a r c e a n d difficult to obtain, were of minor significance. It  being  appears,  therefore, that w o m e n may have contributed the bulk of s u b s i s t e n c e f o o d s . l n s p r i n g , women  netted a n d trapped spawning fish a n d returning waterfowl.  During  the  s u m m e r s a l m o n run, they fished with dip nets, usually u p s t r e a m of the barricades or traps utilized by m e n , a n d split, cleaned a n d dried the s a l m o n .  W h e n not b u s y  with the s a l m o n , w o m e n foraged for berries, which they also dried a n d stored for winter c o n s u m p t i o n .  At the e n d of the s a l m o n run, they travelled to their lakeside  fishing sites (Morice 1904:21), to harvest a n d preserve R o c k y Mountain white fish a n d char.  Throughout the winter months, w o m e n a n d m e n s n a r e d , fished, a n d  t r a p p e d , the w o m e n working close to h o m e , the m e n further afield.  W o m e n stored  the winter provisions in c a c h e s over which they exercised the rights of distribution. A c c o r d i n g to o n e elderly m a n : T h e w o m e n dried it a n d then put it in their c a c h e s . . . . I g u e s s the w o m e n h a d their own b o s s .  But the w o m e n  worked  together a n d they s h a r e d what they put u p , just like we d o today. A c c o r d i n g to Morice, netting fish was a s s o c i a t e d with w o m e n ' s  supernatural  p o w e r s (1910:141), while berry production was highly prized (1910:21; n.d.:192,198). Very likely association of supernatural  powers with w o m e n ' s fishing reflects  67  the  importance of fresh water fish to the diet a n d the significance of w o m e n ' s work. M c L e a n correctly links the high status of w o m e n to their s u b s i s t e n c e production: A m o n g this tribe ... the w o m e n  are held in m u c h higher  consideration than a m o n g other Indians: they assist at the councils, a n d s o m e ladies of distinction are even admitted to the feasts. efficient  aid  This consideration they d o u b t l e s s owe to the they  afford  in  procuring  the  means  of  subsistence. T h e o n e sex is a s actively e m p l o y e d during the fishing s e a s o n a s the other. repair them women  when  split them  T h e m e n construct the weirs,  necessary, and up-a  most  capture  the  fish;  laborious operation  the  when  s a l m o n is p l e n t i f u l - s u s p e n d them o n the scaffolds, attend to the drying, &c.  T h e y also collect berries, a n d dig u p the  edible roots that are found in the country, a n d which are of great service in years of scarcity.  T h u s the labour of the  w o m e n contributes a s m u c h to the support of the community a s that of the m e n (1932:180).  9  W o m e n a n d m e n h a d equal a c c e s s to valued r e s o u r c e s .  Although the data are  sketchy o n the question of inheritance, it s e e m s w o m e n a n d m e n inherited different r e s o u r c e tracts a n d o w n e d different p r o p e r t y .  10  Morice s t r e s s e s w o m e n ' s ownership  of fishing a n d berry g r o u n d s a n d fish nets (1904:21; 1907:187; 1910:427;421). There is no indication that the development of r a n k e d society d i s a d v a n t a g e d  J o r g e n s e n (1980: 151) states that "men d o m i n a t e d fishing pursuits everywhere  9  in western North America," a n d a r g u e s further that m e n wove the basketry traps attached to weirs.  This statement contradicts M c L e a n a n d H a r m o n w h o d e s c r i b e  w o m e n making fishing baskets a n d nets. 1 0  G o o d y has c o i n e d the term " h o m o g e n e o u s inheritance" to d e n o t e sex-linked  transmission  of  property.  He  argues  that  modes  arrangement of marriages a n d the nature of clans.  of  inheritance  affect  the  While the Carrier data are not  clear o n inheritance practices, sex-linked property transmission d o e s not a p p e a r to have alienated w o m e n from their fathers' resource areas a s G o o d y s u g g e s t s is the n o r m in Africa ( G o o d y 1976:6-7). Apparently, w o m e n (or their h u s b a n d s ) were free to take resources in their fathers' territories after marriage. 68  w o m e n vis-a-vis m e n .  N a m e s a n d titles p a s s e d through the matriline to w o m e n a n d  m e n , although m e n  may have  M c L e a n 1932:180).  S p e a k i n g of the Lower Carrier, G o l d m a n d e c l a r e s ,  social status  been favoured  did not  imply  (Morice  1889:125; 142;  political power,  [and]  1906:202;  it is  evident that rank distinctions were for the most part of n o extraordinary social significance Morice  s u g g e s t s that  (1889:143).  leaders'  authority  (1963:359).  was  more  persuasive than  obligatory  Evidently, high ranking w o m e n a n d m e n exercised similar influence  (ibid.:124). H a r m o n (1903:209,261), J e n n e s s (1943:501,521), M c L e a n (1932:180,182) a n d Morice (1932:41; 1889:150) all mention the active participation of high ranking women  at  feasts  and  potlatches, a n d  McLean and  Morice stress the  privileges t h e s e w o m e n enjoyed vis-a-vis lower ranking m e n a n d w o m e n  relative (McLean  1932:182; M o r i c e 1889:151). T h e F u r T r a d e 1806-1862 T h e Northwest C o m p a n y brought the fur trade directly to the Carrier in 1806. individuals o b t a i n e d  personal credit from  a n d traded  directly with the  c o m p a n i e s , trapping technology b e c a m e available to all a n d its returns viewed  as  individual  property  (Hudson  1983:85,86,88,103).  As  trading became  Individualized  d e p e n d e n c e o n a n outside e c o n o m i c institution l a u n c h e d fundamental c h a n g e s in social organization a n d resource management.  H u d s o n s u g g e s t s individual a c c e s s  to trapping t e c h n o l o g y undermined d u n e z a h control over fur production (1983:86). B i s h o p a r g u e s that ... "the atomizing effect of the fur trade ... m a d e it difficult for n o b l e s to a c c r u e m u c h power" (1983:154-155). 69  C r a n n y c o n c u r s , asserting that a s  early  a s the  1820s, depopulation  in conjunction with individualized  production  resulted in smaller s o c i o - e c o n o m i c units, undermining the influence of the d u n e z a h (1986:80). T h e traders attempted to manipulate own end.  indigenous social hierarchies to  their  While they s o u g h t personal relations with w o m e n , in h o p e of gaining  influence over their  male kin, the traders  granted special social a n d e c o n o m i c  privileges to influential m e n w h o m they d u b b e d "chiefs." T h e s e m e n received annual gratuities  (Mulhall 1980:193), the  1983:94).  Nonetheless, neither the village chief nor the d u n e z a h h a d m u c h control  over production have  been  best jobs  and  deferential  treatment  (Hudson  (Morice 1978:199; H u d s o n 1983:90,94). Whatever the effects m a y  o n d u n e z a h control of production, potlatching  persisted, a n d  high  ranking w o m e n lost neither social prestige nor a c c e s s to n a m e s a n d titles. T h e impact of c o m m o d i t y production on the g e n d e r division of labour is not clear.  T h e residential unit remained the subsistence production unit, a n d female  leaders c o n t i n u e d to organize w o m e n ' s collective labour. enhanced women's  productive significance.  T h e fur trade m a y have  For even a s they, t o o ,  trapped,  1 1  w o m e n a s s u m e d greater responsibility for f o o d production in order to c o m p e n s a t e  1 1  Women  speak  a l o n g s i d e the m e n .  of their  mothers  and  grandmothers  routinely  trapping  T h e most c o m m o n practice for married w o m e n w a s to set u p  a line leading out of a c a m p they s h a r e d with her h u s b a n d a n d children.  Children  were left in the c a m p if sufficiently independent or if an older sibling w a s able to a s s u m e responsibility. 70  for male reductions in h u n t i n g .  12  T h e fur traders d e p e n d e d u p o n fish p u r c h a s e d from the Carrier 1903:177; B i s h o p 1983:155).  (Harmon  If, as C r a n n y (1986:71) p r o p o s e s , fur production was  in conflict with fish production, it is plausible that w o m e n e n g a g e d in greater fish production than formerly the c a s e .  Given their traditional control over s u r p l u s e s of  dried f o o d s , they may have traded it as w e l l . the extent of independent female trade.  13  Unfortunately, there is no r e c o r d of  T h e fur traders' r e c o r d s s p e a k only of a  general category of "women"; individual transactions are not listed.  Studies of  trading practices elsewhere, however, reveal that m e n often acted as brokers for w o m e n in the face of E u r o p e a n preference for negotiating with m e n (Klein  1980;  Littlefield 1987). In short, the shift to individualized d e p e n d e n c e o n trade d o e s not a p p e a r to have c r e a t e d a s h a r p division between a male/public a n d female/private T h e collective a n d public nature  of w o m e n ' s work persisted.  economy.  Neither  women's  leadership within the residential g r o u p nor their participation in e c o n o m i c e x c h a n g e  1 2  Others have a r g u e d that w o m e n ' s i n c r e a s e d s u b s i s t e n c e production h a s  led to the creation of a private/public division of production a n d resulted in w o m e n ' s subordination.  L e a c o c k g o e s s o far as to c o n c l u d e that universally  commodity  production benefits m e n at the e x p e n s e of w o m e n , but the b a s i s of her claim has been  questioned  by  Anderson, who  M o n t a g n a i s - N a s k a p i (Anderson 1985;  re-examined  L e a c o c k 1980;  L e a c o c k ' s analysis  of  the  1986), a n d has b e e n f o u n d  inapplicable to the colonial experience of the C o a s t a l Algonkian (Rothenberg 1980). 1 3  It is interesting to c o m p a r e the Carrier with neighbouring g r o u p s . M a c D o n a l d  provides ethnographic evidence for Gitksan w o m e n controlling c a c h e pits, particularly during periods of hostility (1984:70-71).  Littlefield (1987) demonstrates that o n the  c o a s t female trade was far more extensive than previously realized. 71  a n d distribution, w a s u n d e r m i n e d directly.  Settlement  1862-1910  T h e last third of the nineteenth century a n d the first d e c a d e s of the twentieth, w a s an era of rapid flux between p e r i o d s of relative prosperity a n d c o n s i d e r a b l e hardship.  T h e C a r i b o o G o l d R u s h of 1858 created a brief period of prosperity.  Enterprising w o m e n  and  men  established  Q u e s n e l to Saik'uz a n d b e y o n d (Knight  pack  services, hauling  1978:245).  goods  from  W h e n the b u s i n e s s of free  traders,, w h o c a m e to c o m p e t e with the H u d s o n Bay C o m p a n y failed, m e n from Saik'uz established their o w n "stores a n d trading posts" to serve the Indian a n d n o n Indian populations. Before  A male elder recollects:  my  time  r e m e m b e r it.  they  had  I w a s told.  put up a store.  Hudson  Bay  here.  Another B o s t o n man  I don't r e m e m b e r his name.  I  don't  [American]  He is the o n e  who m a d e the H u d s o n B a y broke b e c a u s e he was putting u p sales.  H e went broke a n d everything quit.  [Then] the  Indian p e o p l e themselves h a d little stores. T h e y u s e d to get their stock from Q u e s n e l . . . . T o get their supplies they u s e d boat a n d h o r s e s to g o to Q u e s n e l . All the stores were quite a distance from here a n d b y d o i n g that, getting supplies at Q u e s n e l , they got better prices for their furs. A s the s a m e m a n recalls, w h e n transportation services were taken over by white m e n , Carrier m e n b e c a m e the e m p l o y e e s . At last there c a m e a s c o w to get supplies a n d it e m p l o y e d eleven m e n .  My d a d built that s c o w a n d they m a d e two or  three trips to Q u e s n e l in the s u m m e r .  He u s e d to bring in  supplies for the white settlers w h o m o v e d in around here. O n e aftermath of the C a r i b o o g o l d rush was the influx of  white settlers.  They  c a m e to settle a n d farm, a n d in their first years e m p l o y e d Carrier m e n to s a w timber, 72  to p a c k g o o d s , to clear land, a n d to tend livestock.  Apparently the village chief  directed the labour contracted to the settlers o n a piece-work b a s i s , for example, a set s u m per acre cleared. T h e d e m i s e of the H u d s o n Bay m o n o p o l y u n d e r m i n e d w o m e n ' s roles.  Native f o o d a n d hand-crafted  p r o d u c t s d e c l i n e d in value a s free traders  imported E u r o p e a n f o o d a n d g o o d s (Fisher 1977:111; Elliot 1958:155). traders d i s m i s s e d female Carrier labourers. generated  interracial  tensions.  productive  H u d s o n Bay  T h e influx of miners a n d free traders  Euro-Canadian men  a s s u m e d "rights" to  Carrier  w o m e n ; frequently mistreated them; a n d a b a n d o n e d w o m e n a n d children without provision for their welfare (Fisher 1977:100,113; cf. Morice 1905:316).  Carrier m e n  c o m p l a i n e d to the colonial authorities that "miners a b u s e d their w o m e n a n d were generally insulting-accusations corroborated by E u r o - C a n a d i a n o b s e r v e r s (Fisher 1977:100). In the midst of e c o n o m i c expansion, the Saik'uz W h u t ' e n n e e x p e r i e n c e d rapid depopulation; the 1862 smallpox epidemic wiped out their southern n e i g h b o u r s at Blackwater a n d decimated the Tatukwoten a n d other southern residential g r o u p s of the Nulkiwoten.  14  It is not clear if the s u b s e q u e n t m o v e m e n t to the permanent village  of Saik'uz e n h a n c e d the authority of male leaders, in particular the village chiefs who mediated community relationships with E u r o - C a n a d i a n s . B y 1890, the entire r e s o u r c e area surrounding Saik'uz was associated with Chief Paul (Kelcho). A d e s c e n d a n t of  1 4  in 1835.  A c c o r d i n g to Duff, the entire A t h a p a s k a n population of B . C . s t o o d at 8,800 By 1885, it was r e d u c e d to 3,750 (1964: 39). 73  Paul offered the following description of his ancestor's role: All this was anything headman.  Chief Paul's territory.  went  wrong.  For  the  H e was traplines  in c h a r g e there  was  if a  T h e h e a d m a n invited t h o s e who h a d n o line to  trap, with him.  S o m e t i m e s a line w a s no g o o d .  T h e n that  guy went to the h e a d m a n a n d he [the h e a d m a n ] fixed him up. T h e chief's influence, however, may have b e e n limited b y the e c o n o m i c crisis of the 1890s a n d further depopulation.  Although the population c o u n t s of Indian  agents s h o w only minor increases a n d d e c r e a s e s from 1891 to 1910 (Table 1), there is evidence that a series of e p i d e m i c s struck Saik'uz (Morice 1978:195).  Saik'uz  Whut'enne tell us that residential g r o u p s were r e d u c e d to a few m e m b e r s , making their continued i n d e p e n d e n c e as productive units impossible, a n d altering resource exploitation patterns.  Fur r e s o u r c e s were seriously d e p l e t e d .  their  Low salmon  runs threatened survival a n d created new n e e d s for imported provisions ( H B C A B. 188/b/15, fo. 285 cited by H u d s o n 1983:97). P e o p l e worked out various c o m p r o m i s e s between s u b s i s t e n c e a n d c o m m o d i t y production a n d w a g e labour. T o diversify their e c o n o m i c b a s e , the Carrier of Saik'uz turned to agricultural production, a n d m e n travelled further afield in s e a r c h of w a g e s . Families  either  settlements  left to join  where they  (Cranny 1986:90).  relatives  h a d their  elsewhere  g a r d e n s , hay  or  retreated to  meadows,  their  lakeshore  a n d fishing  stations  Where s o m e families h a d b e e n wiped out or f o r c e d to m o v e  elsewhere, resource areas remained u n u s e d . Furthermore, the turn to migrant w a g e labour meant that s o m e m e n who h a d routinely a n d intensely t r a p p e d a n d hunted  74  Table 1  Department of Indian Affairs' Population Estimates for the S t o n e y C r e e k Indian B a n d 1891-1920 b y 5 Y e a r A v e r a g e s Population  Years  97  1891-1895 1896-1900  97  1901-1905  103 110  1906-1910  1.  In 1911  1911-1915  1  161  1916-1920  2  109  a n Indian A g e n t was stationed in V a n d e r h o o f .  T h e large increase in  population undoubtedly reflects greater a c c u r a c y in recording the true population. Prior to 1911, the estimates were derived from various s o u r c e s by the Indian A g e n t s at the W e s t C o a s t A g e n c y . 2.  In 1918 o n e third of the b a n d died from S p a n i s h influenza.  Source:  All data are taken from DIAND Annual Reports apart from 1916-1920 which  includes figures reported by Father C o c c o l a OMI in R e c o r d s of the Oblate M i s s i o n s of British C o l u m b i a (Microfilm U B C L ) .  75  were n o longer d o i n g s o . men.  In s o m e instances, w o m e n took over from the a b s e n t  In other c a s e s , b e c a u s e of the declining fur r e s o u r c e s , this m a d e n o s e n s e .  Although trapping was less intense, it was n o less valued, a s o n e w o m a n explains. T h e y still went out. T h e y t r a p p e d just a little m a y b e to m a k e a bit of m o n e y a n d to teach the kids.  That way the kids  would b e able to survive a n d to be trappers later. K n o w l e d g e of trapping a n d b u s h remained "precious" a n d was s e e n a s the birthright for future generations. All that time, the old timers didn't make m u c h of a living just trapping. S i n c e then they started d o i n g other things, but the lines are still there for the y o u n g generations.  When  don't hunt out there, the animals regenerate for the b u n c h to c o m e a l o n g .  we next  T h e b u s h is always there, a n d its  o w n e d just like before. During this period, status-bearing g o o d s p u r c h a s e d from traders a n d c o m m e r c i a l centres were not a s readily available to w o m e n as to m e n .  While m e n l a b o u r e d  directly for c a s h , w o m e n p r o d u c e d primarily for domestic use.  O n the whole, it  w a s m e n who participated in the emerging public e c o n o m i c sector a n d in the mediating institutions i m p o s e d by missionaries a n d government officials. C h u r c h a n d State Intervention At the s a m e time that they f a c e d grave e c o n o m i c a n d social disruptions from r e s o u r c e scarcity a n d depopulation, the Saik'uz Whut'enne converted to C a t h o l i c i s m . M e m b e r s of the O r d e r of T h e Oblates of Mary Immaculate b e g a n regular visits to S a i k ' u z in 1868.  T o strengthen their own authority, the priests created a q u a s i -  military hierarchy that would adhere first to church law a n d s e c o n d either to the state  76  or to i n d i g e n o u s tradition.  High ranking m e n were s e l e c t e d a s "chiefs," "captains,"  "subcaptains," "watchmen," a n d "soldiers" (Morice 1930:54). It n o w b e c a m e possible for the m e n of o n e family to a s s u m e several influential positions: b r o k e r s with the fur traders a n d settlers, c h u r c h chief or captain, a n d village chief.  Often, a s was the c a s e with Chief Paul (circa 1892), o n e m a n acted  in all these capacities.  Patrilineal s u c c e s s i o n to the positions b e c a m e the general  rule a n d continues to the present.  D e s c e n d a n t s of the first c h u r c h chiefs of the  Nulkiwoten a n d Tachickwoten continue to hold these honorary positions. C o n v e r s i o n to Catholicism h a d far reaching c o n s e q u e n c e s for Carrier w o m e n . T h e y were barred from public meetings, c h a s t i s e d for intervening in community affairs, a n d e n c o u r a g e d to a b a n d o n w a g e labour a n d trapping when it took them from the village. M e n were e n c o u r a g e d to a s s u m e authoritarian roles. For example, two Oblate priests, Fathers Morice a n d C o c c o l a , c h a s t i s e d the m e n of Stoney C r e e k a n d Fraser L a k e for being too easily led by w o m e n  (Fiske 1981:100).  In other  w o r d s , the Oblates struggled to i m p o s e a strict d i c h o t o m y between female a n d male labour a n d a clear hierarchy of male authority a n d female s u b m i s s i o n . the potlatch, outlawed in 1884, u n d e r g r o u n d , a n d further  Moreover,  was c e n s u r e d by the c h u r c h chiefs, forcing it  reducing w o m e n ' s  a c c e s s to public acclamation  and  leadership roles. In the e y e s of the state, the c h u r c h , a n d the general public, Indians were never p e r c e i v e d a s b u s i n e s s m e n nor even primarily a s labourers. church  policies  concentrated  on  transforming 77  their  Rather, state a n d  subsistence/commodity  production e c o n o m y to o n e of s u b s i s t e n c e agriculture.  W h e n reserves for the  S a i k ' u z Whut'enne were established in 1892, a prime consideration was the inclusion of sufficient agricultural land (Report of Indian Reserve C o m m i s s i o n e r , Department of Indian Affairs Annual Report 1892:265). In fact, farming efforts h a d p r e c e d e d both the Oblate missionaries a n d the Indian A g e n t s , who did not b e g i n regular visits to the area until the 1890s.  Under  state policy a n d c h u r c h influence, agricultural efforts i n c r e a s e d , a n d the Saik'uz m e n were  soon  known  a s "progressive" a n d  excellent farmers.  Despite  small  land  holdings, limited tools a n d draught animals, as well as the extended a b s e n c e s of m e n w h o were working elsewhere, initial attempts at agriculture were s u c c e s s f u l .  In  1893, a provincial survey team noted that "The Indians in the N e c h a c o raise potatoes of a very g o o d quality, turnips, c a b b a g e s , a n d onions" a n d reported that their livestock "was generally in first c l a s s condition in the spring" ( B . C . S e s s i o n a l P a p e r s 1894:992,996).  In fact, their competitive rearing a n d selling of livestock incited envy  a n d resentment a m o n g their white competitors (Allard 1913: Oblate R e c o r d s , U B C L AW1  R4664).  In 1916,  the  Indian A g e n t d e s c r i b e d the Saik'uz Whut'enne  as  "industrious; progressive a n d provident," a n d "the most highly a d v a n c e d Indians in the A g e n c y " (Department of Indian Affairs Annual Report 1916). E a g e r to e x p a n d their farms, the p e o p l e sought additional aid in the form of implements, supplies, stock, a n d instruction from the government. r e m e m b e r s that "everyone wanted to farm. way."  A n elderly m a n  They were all g o i n g to m a k e it in this  Agricultural work was adjusted to the existing s e a s o n a l round of the m e n , 78  w h o undertook heavy farm labour only in the late s p r i n g a n d fall. At other times they were away, trapping or working for w a g e s .  C o n s e q u e n t l y , the w o m e n ' s s e a s o n a l  r o u n d w a s also transformed. W o m e n a n d elders were left to tend the livestock a n d fields.  W o m e n w h o h a d o n c e m e r g e d child care with b u s h activities were now  b o u n d to the village. In the a b s e n c e of m e n , w o m e n s h a r e d responsibilities a n d the fruits of their labour. Co-operatively, they p r o d u c e d items for trade with the settlers a n d provided care to o r p h a n s a n d elders who h a d lost their families in e p i d e m i c s .  A n elderly  w o m a n d e s c r i b e s how her own grandmother m a n a g e d . G r a n n y raised her kids here [at Saik'uz]. Auntie went out o n the trapline a n d s h e never married until there weren't no little kids left.  Granny h a d a g a r d e n a n d s h e went to C o r k s c r e w  [fishing site not far from the village o n the o p p o s i t e lake shore] to dip the s u c k e r s . In that way s h e kept e v e r y b o d y . A n d it w a s only then that the men went away to work, d o w n to Q u e s n e l with the p a c k horses a n d over to the other s i d e of Fort G e o r g e . While the m e n were away the w o m e n took c a r e of all the business.  E v e r y b o d y they l o o k e d after, the  old p e o p l e , the sick, a n d the b a b i e s .  T h e y got  together,  those w o m a n s [sic], a n d worked a n d s h a r e d out s o n o o n e went hungry. A n d the kids, they hauled the water a n d m a d e the w o o d for the old folks. Although farming c o u l d never have s u c c e e d e d without the labour of w o m e n , their critical contribution was recognized neither by the state nor b y the c h u r c h . T h e Indian agent s u b d i v i d e d farming allotments a c c o r d i n g to the notion of m a l e - h e a d e d nuclear families. Initially, w o m e n gained p o s s e s s i o n rights only w h e n  w i d o w e d or  w h e n in the a b s e n c e of male heirs, they inherited from their parents. This s e x - b i a s e d land appropriation clearly benefited m e n . Farming c r e a t e d new role relationships 79  a m o n g m e n . S u c c e s s f u l farmers, who were rewarded by greater state a s s i s t a n c e than w a s granted to others, c o u l d extract labour from other m e n , a practice which further e n h a n c e d social differences a m o n g m e n a n d which c r e a t e d  asymmetrical  relations of prestige between m e n a n d w o m e n . In spite of the Carriers' e a g e r n e s s to farm a n d the a s s i s t a n c e of the state, agriculture remained limited. Climate, a lack of capital, the a b s e n c e of local markets, a n d high transportation costs prevented the development of large-scale p r o d u c t i o n . It is not surprising, therefore, that the Carrier s o u g h t greater e c o n o m i c diversity. E c o n o m i c E x p a n s i o n a n d Settlement i)  E c o n o m i c Diversity  1911-1950  15  T h e arrival of the G r a n d Trunk Pacific Railway in 1914 a n d state  intervention  into fishing a n d trapping created more dramatic c h a n g e s in productive relations. A s early a s 1911, the m e n of Saik'uz were e n g a g e d in contract work for the railroad company.  In 1913, the Stuart Lake Indian A g e n t noted that O n recommendation contractors did not hesitate to  give  contracts of clearing right of way, ties a n d c o r d w o o d cutting, a n d freighting to the Indians who in every c a s e m a d e g o o d (Department of Indian Affairs, Annual Report 1913:269). Although they f a c e d s o m e competition from white settlers a n d transients, Carrier m e n were at an advantage: they were s u p p o r t e d by the s u b s i s t e n c e p r o d u c t i o n of w o m e n a n d children. railway line.  1 5  Entire families gathered at the tie c a m p s scattered a l o n g the  Working b e s i d e the m e n , w o m e n p e e l e d , h e w e d , a n d hauled the ties.  T h e patterns of labour d e s c r i b e d here were c o m m o n throughout  Columbia.  For comparative a c c o u n t s s e e Knight 1978, M c D o n a l d 1987. 80  British  A s s i s t e d by their children, they also hunted, fished, s n a r e d , a n d p e r f o r m e d routine domestic c h o r e s . During W o r l d W a r I, with most of the settlers away, the Carrier g a i n e d a virtual m o n o p o l y in the tie b u s i n e s s . With m e n e m p l o y e d at r a n c h e s , m o r e w o m e n entered into tie production. "Why we h a c k e d all t h o s e ties, our m o t h e r s a n d aunties went to work there w h e n the m e n went away," explained a w o m a n . A n o t h e r s a i d , "If the m e n weren't here to d o it, we did." Despite their active involvement in tie production, w o m e n never h a d the s a m e e c o n o m i c opportunities a s men did.  W o m e n were unable to bid o n production  contracts a n d , w h e n working with their h u s b a n d s or other male kin, they received individual w a g e s .  rarely  Nevertheless, w o m e n were not f o r c e d into a subordinate  position within the Saik'uz e c o n o m y . Tie production c o u l d neither sustain all families through its earnings, nor ensure a relatively egalitarian redistribution of its wealth throughout the community. T h r o u g h control of their f o o d distribution, w o m e n e a r n e d prestige a s providers a n d influenced community decision m a k i n g . Their s u b s i s t e n c e production, m o r e than c a s h the community at large.  earnings, remained critical for the overall well being of  O n e elderly w o m a n recalls her a d o l e s c e n t y e a r s , w h e n s h e  w o r k e d alongside her mother a n d grandmother. In the twenties the m e n w o r k e d out every-where. we were left alone for a long time.  Sometimes  T h e w o m e n did it all then,  a n d they fed everybody. If they [the men] c a m e b a c k without m o n e y or supplies we fed them too. W e fed e v e r y b o d y in this way. Other a v e n u e s were o p e n to w o m e n s e e k i n g an independent  81  income.  Fur  prices  rose, and women  trapped  h u s b a n d s , a s two w o m e n r e c a l l . My  mom  was  an  their  own  lines or those  b e l o n g i n g to  their  16  expert  trapping just like a m a n .  trapper  a n d did  her s h a r e  of  I learned how to trap by watching  what my Mother a n d Auntie d o n e .  W h e n I got married n o  o n e h a d to teach me.... My mother-in-law c a m e here from Cheslatta when s h e got married.  Right from then to an old w o m a n s h e t r a p p e d .  Following completion of the established  small  G r a n d Trunk Pacific Railroad in  b u s i n e s s e s that would  serve  settlers'  needs:  1914,  men  transportation  services, lumber supplies, a n d sundry labour including blacksmithing a n d carpentry. T h e s e b u s i n e s s e s were short lived.  T h e town of V a n d e r h o o f e x p a n d e d quickly.  White b u s i n e s s e s s o o n d i s p l a c e d Carrier entrepreneurs a n d f o r c e d them into manual labour.  M e n were granted contracts to clear large tracts of land but, a s at the tie  c a m p s , the work w a s carried o n by entire families. Mothers p a c k i n g y o u n g children, older children, a n d related single adults all w o r k e d together. As  with tie  production, farm  labour  and  land  clearing  offered  little  opportunity for w o m e n who sought an independent income. Frequently, m e n alone received payment for the work performed by their wives a n d families. rare c a s e s where directly.  were not  hired  At the s a m e time, w o m e n who independently sought w a g e labour were  T r a p p i n g w a s c o m m o n to the Carrier w o m e n of Moricetown a n d Cheslatta  1 6  also.  the settlers n e e d e d domestic labour, w o m e n  E x c e p t in the  S e e Niezel a n d Niezel (1978) for the reminiscences of s o m e  women. 82  Moricetown  c e n s u r e d by the priests.  Although w o m e n were o n c e again d i s a d v a n t a g e d by  exclusion from w a g e earnings, they were not f o r c e d into e c o n o m i c d e p e n d e n c y . Despite w a g e  and  contract labour, the  Carrier  s u b s i s t e n c e production of w o m e n a n d children. were e c o n o m i c d e p e n d e n t s . ii)  remained  dependent  upon  the  Often m e n , rather than w o m e n ,  1 7  C h a n g e s in S u b s i s t e n c e P r o d u c t i o n  In the first quarter of the twentieth century, the state extended its control over the  p e o p l e a n d r e s o u r c e s of the  Central  Interior.  In the  p r o c e s s , the  Saik'uz  Whut'enne lost control over their traditional m e a n s of production a n d experienced dramatic c h a n g e s in the g e n d e r division of labour. Bowing to popular opinion a n d p r e s s u r e from the c o m m e r c i a l s a l m o n industry, which h a d g r o w n rapidly from 1880 to 1900 a n d which feared over-exploitation of the resource, the Federal Department of Fisheries m o v e d to abolish native u s e of fish weirs a n d traps throughout the province. Fort St. J a m e s b a n d s s i g n e d the  In 1911, the chiefs of the Fort Fraser a n d  Barricade A g r e e m e n t , which  promised  state  delivery of nets to e a c h family, farming implements, protection of fishing sites, a n d a vocational s c h o o l .  T h e agreement stipulated that the weirs b e d e s t r o y e d a n d that  nets b e u s e d only under conditions set forth b y T h e Department of Fisheries (Lane  1 7  H u d s o n m a k e s the  same  point with r e s p e c t to the  Tl 'azt  'enne. "no  Tl'azt'enne c o u l d afford to b e c o m e d e p e n d e n t o n w a g e labour.... the w o m e n a n d children fished a n d ran small traplines to support the families (1983:135; s e e also 1979:4).  Knight s p e a k s of similar situations elsewhere (1978:35). 83  1978).  18  T h e transition from barricades to family o w n e d nets brought a n e n d to  collective labour required for weirs a n d reinforced the shift to d o m e s t i c production units  (cf.  Hudson  1983:108).  Furthermore,  since m e n  no  longer  constructed  c o m m u n a l weirs a n d s i n c e net fishing w a s traditionally w o m e n ' s work, m e n were marginalized. ancillary  While w o m e n set the nets a n d p r o c e s s e d all the fish, m e n p e r f o r m e d  work:  transportation.  carrying  heavy  loads,  providing  firewood,  and  helping  with  H e n c e , s a l m o n fishing c a m e to b e viewed as "women's work"; with  this new g e n d e r division of labour, s a l m o n were distributed, e x c h a n g e d , a n d s o l d at the discretion of the w o m e n . Transition to net fishing r e d u c e d the fishery.  Not only were insufficient nets  initially s u p p l i e d , but by 1914, the state h a d r e n e g e d on its p r o m i s e d delivery. the s a m e time, the s a l m o n runs failed.  At  In 1914, the catch was r e d u c e d to fewer than  400 at Nadleh ( H u d s o n 1983:110). The fishery c o u l d no longer be d e p e n d e d u p o n , a n d the Carrier turned to other fish r e s o u r c e s a n d g a m e (moose were just entering  1 8  Imposition  of state authority  over  ambiguity for the chief a n d the d u n e z a h .  resource  use created  These men  tensions  and  were called u p o n to s i g n  agreements with the government no matter how strongly they objected to the terms. S p e a k i n g of her father-in-law, a w o m a n stated, His father, that's w h e n he was chief.  He s i g n e d that fishing treaty.  Couldn't even read it.... it has his mark there.  But he didn't want to.  never thought he w a s putting to a stop our fishing. that....  H e never  I g u e s s the b i s h o p , him he told the chiefs to sign.  84  He  meant  the region) for their subsistence. T h e c o l l a p s e of the s a l m o n run did not diminish its cultural significance.  By  the mid-century, when the runs were o n c e again reliable, w o m e n w h o were skilled in the u s e a n d care of their nets gained prestige. T o d a y , elders recall with pride the skills of their mothers a n d grandmothers, explaining that it w a s from t h e s e w o m e n that they learned to fish: G r a n d m o t h e r taught patient. right.  me how to set net.  She was  very  S h e just sat a n d watched m e p r e p a r e it until it w a s  S h e knew what to d o a n d everyone r e s p e c t e d her for  it. iii)  C h a n g e s in F u r T r a p p i n g  Just a s state a n d church agents h a d negotiated solely with m e n in matters of reserve allotments, the barricade agreement, a n d the establishment of e d u c a t i o n , they  a g a i n i g n o r e d w o m e n when they introduced registered traplines in  1926.  Although w o m e n h a d always trapped a n d h a d enjoyed the s a m e r e s o u r c e rights a s m e n , they were not registered with the men as trapline o w n e r s .  Initially, all traplines  were registered to m e n . With the approval of the Indian agent, widows were granted lines only in the a b s e n c e of adult male heirs.  Officially, at least, state seizure of  animal r e s o u r c e management excluded w o m e n from inheriting property of mothers, fathers, a n d brothers.  At the s a m e time, men were d e n i e d inheritance of their  mothers' or sisters' lines. A s a c o n s e q u e n c e of trapline registration, the S a i k ' u z W h u t ' e n n e lost trapping  85  a r e a s . T h e state transferred lines temporarily lying empty b e c a u s e of d e p o p u l a t i o n  19  or male a b s e n c e to white trappers, many of w h o m n e e d e d a c a s h return to maintain their farms.  A s a m e a n s to control production ( H u d s o n 1983:136), the provincial  government ignored longstanding corporate interests of e x t e n d e d families a n d clans a n d strove for individual ownership with father-to-son government  officials  c o n c e d e d to  "company"  inheritance.  (shared)  lines;  a c c o m m o d a t e d patrilineal families rather than the matriclans.  Reluctantly,  these,  however,  Other forms of control  over fur production included quotas a n d s e a s o n a l c l o s u r e s .  In 1919  and  1920  beaver trapping was prohibited. Ironically, the barriers to w o m e n ' s trapping were erected at the s a m e time w o m e n b e c a m e freer to trap.  In 1922, the Lejac Residential S c h o o l , run by the  Sisters of Child J e s u s a n d the Oblates, o p e n e d at Fraser L a k e . Parents w h o p l a c e d their children in the s c h o o l were now freer to trap a n d hunt than w h e n they h a d b e e n a c c o m p a n i e d by y o u n g children.  W o m e n generally w e l c o m e d the  greater  mobility a n d a c c e s s to independent earnings, as o n e explains, All that time we  were there,  Granny was  out  trapping.  Auntie, too, s h e t r a p p e d all over just like the m e n . W e didn't go  h o m e then.  Not  until the  s u m m e r when  they  were  fishing. Overall,  the  interventions  of  the  state  and  church  had  contradictory  c o n s e q u e n c e s for w o m e n . T h e state's insistence on a net s a l m o n fishery d i s p l a c e d  1 9  T h e S p a n i s h influenza epidemic of 1918 devastated the S a i k u z Whut'enne.  Between 1915 a n d 1920 the population d e c r e a s e was 32 percent (see T a b l e 1 p a g e 82). 86  male collective labour a n d reinforced the importance of female d o m e s t i c production units.  Moreover,  the  move  towards  completely thwart w o m e n ' s influence.  a  male  hierarchy  of  leadership  did  not  A s the c a s h e c o n o m y drew m e n away from  the c o m m u n i t y , w o m e n were left to m a n a g e on their own a n d to take c h a r g e of c o m m u n i t y affairs, frustrating the Oblate priests' desire for male domination.  The  strength of w o m e n ' s e c o n o m i c position was, however, b a l a n c e d by male control of cash  i n c o m e s a s the  e c o n o m y shifted away from s u b s i s t e n c e a n d  p r o d u c t i o n to w a g e labour. social  position  if  the  commodity  W o m e n might well have f a c e d serious erosion of their  depression  of  the  1930s  had  not  virtually  wiped  out  opportunities for w a g e labour. iv)  T h e D e p r e s s i o n Y e a r s 1929-1939  T h e d e p r e s s e d state of the e c o n o m y brought Carrier m e n into unfavourable rivalry for work a n d r e s o u r c e s .  Competition for tie contracts w a s fierce.  A s one  long-time nonnative resident of the region stated, W h e n w e first c a m e here [in the 1920s], my h u s b a n d hired the Indians to clear the land.  But after the c r a s h [1929] he  couldn't hire them anymore.  H e went out looking for work  a n d got a tie contract. S o m e white m e n viewed their Indian competition with hostility, s p e a k i n g of them a s "enemies"; others tried to obtain the sub-contracts a n d hire Indian m e n a s c h e a p labour.  In the w o r d s of o n e w o m a n , then the white men got those contracts a n d our m e n went to work for them. until the war.  W e didn't get any contracts of our own  But in the thirties we still got that work, even  then we h a c k e d for the white contractors. 87  B e c a u s e the e c o n o m i c impact of the d e p r e s s i o n was farmers, they n o longer hired Carrier farmhands. Everything g r o u n d to a halt then. a n d s t o p p e d clearing the land.  as devastating  for white  O n e nonnative w o m a n recalls,  W e got rid of livestock E v e r y b o d y suffered, the  whites a n d the Indians, a n d all the men were off looking for work.  Tie contracts in the winter kept everyone g o i n g .  M e n left S a i k ' u z to seek work.  T h e y found little, however, a n d f a c e d h a r s h  discrimination a s white m e n c o m p l a i n e d to the government a n d c h u r c h leaders that they were "left out b e c a u s e of those Indians who take our jobs" ( P . A . B . C . R e c o r d s of the Oblates).  T h e best Carrier m e n c o u l d d o was to work elsewhere at any type  of s e a s o n a l l a b o u r .  20  S o m e f o u n d short-term employment in the Fraser Valley h o p  fields, s o m e in the O k a n a g a n orchards, a n d s o m e in Prince G e o r g e a n d Prince Rupert.  T h e few skilled workers were more fortunate than most, a s o n e recalls. Me and M  , we did okay even then b e c a u s e we were  carpenters.  W e got s o m e work at the s c h o o l [Lejac] a n d  for the priests too. Generally everyone suffered. Insufficient capital a n d external market conditions u n d e r m i n e d their farming efforts. women.  There were few employment  opportunities  for  S o m e did g o to the Prince Rupert fish canneries or to the Fraser Valley  h o p fields. T h e y m a d e "a very little bit of money," however, a n d taking their y o u n g children p r o v e d too b u r d e n s o m e . couldn't work fast.  2 0  "We p a c k e d all those kids with us a n d s o w e  T h e little bit of money we m a d e didn't help."  Most  women  Figures from the Stuart Lake A g e n c y reveal the abrupt decline in  earnings from a regional total of $22,635 in 1929 to nothing at all in 1933 a n d (cited by H u d s o n 1983:143). 88  wage 1934  stayed home.  O n e w o m e n explained,  N o , we didn't d o anything different.  It w a s just harder.  I told  y o u we went h o u s e to h o u s e p e d d l i n g , that's all. It was hard times b e c a u s e we h a d s u c h a little bit of m o n e y . She added, W e s t a y e d put while the m e n went all over for work.  We  did the fishing, h a d our big g a r d e n s in them d a y s too.  You  bet, them d a y s we fed the m e n . women.  T h e y sure were glad for us  It was our c a c h e s that kept their bellies full.  Reliance o n s u b s i s t e n c e activities of w o m e n  increased.  Women  continued to  s u p p o r t their families a n d to p r o d u c e f o o d for general distribution.  One  woman  stated, Whatever  extra we h a d we s h a r e d .  When S  had  the only s o a p in Saik'uz s h e s h a r e d that with everybody. S a m e thing with extra rice, oats, flour, fish; we s h a r e d that. S  women  a n d me, we get together with our fish,  g o to town a n d c o m e back to give out the flour, tea, a n d sugar. Women  supplemented  their  subsistence  production  through  trade  with  neighbouring farm w o m e n , e x c h a n g i n g f o o d a n d hand-crafted items for clothing, p a t c h e s for quilts, a n d E u r o - C a n a d i a n f o o d items. w o m e n g a v e gifts of f o o d to the farm w o m e n .  Additionally, Saik'uz Whut'enne  A w o m a n recalls how s h e a n d a  friend ... went to the white ladies who were having a hard time. E v e r y o n e was in a b a d way a n d we h e l p e d e a c h other out. Fish a n d dried meat, that's what we would give to them. T h e y suffered too, p o o r things a n d we h e l p e d them just like they h e l p e d us. T h e deprivation of these years undermined male control over wealth. 89  Trapping  i n c o m e s p l u m m e t e d a l o n g with w a g e s .  T h e e c o n o m i c situation was, of c o u r s e , too  d e p r e s s e d for w o m e n to gain lasting e c o n o m i c advantage,  but the  temporary  reliance o n their d o m e s t i c production meant w o m e n o n c e again controlled the critical resources. M o d e r n i z a t i o n 1939-1985 i)  T h e W a r Y e a r s 1939-1945  T h e entry of C a n a d a into an international war brought a new burst of prosperity to the regional e c o n o m y of central British C o l u m b i a . Farmers easily f o u n d markets for their p r o d u c e , a n d local farms o n c e again hired Carrier m e n . for metals also created jobs.  Military d e m a n d  M e n obtained contracts to clear land a n d cut pit poles  for a mercury mine near Fort St. J a m e s . Fur prices held steady, allowing w o m e n a n d m e n to earn a regular  seasonal income.  t r a d e s m e n f o u n d "there was no e n d of work.  E x p e r i e n c e d carpenters  a n d skilled  Whatever job we wanted we got."  O n c e again, they were drawn to distant parts of the province where they w o r k e d o n r o a d construction, farms, a n d timber production. Me, I went all over to work. spring  we  highway]  cleared  land  A n elderly m a n r e m e m b e r s ,  Lots of work them d a y s . for  that  past Prince G e o r g e .  new  highway  In the [Alaska  In the winter we hack ties  a n d cut pit p r o p s . T h e others, they went up to that mine at the fort [Fort St. J a m e s ] . At Saik'uz, land clearing d o m i n a t e d the spring a n d  s u m m e r months.  Men  a n d w o m e n , a c c o m p a n i e d by all their children a n d c a m p i n g wherever they w o r k e d , cleared land for the V a n d e r h o o f airport, for service r o a d s , for telecommunication services.  Contracts were still given to men on a per acre basis, a n d , 90  while  w o m e n ' s labour w a s essential, w o m e n failed to receive  individual w a g e s .  W e h a d to clear land to get m o n e y .  T h e airport land in  V a n d e r h o o f was cleared by us Indians.  All the lands a c r o s s  V a n d e r h o o f - Mrs. McKetchi, also J e a n F r e n c h ' s m o m . cleared their land.  A l s o C a m e r o n we c l e a r e d .  w a g e s we laboured. had  to  pack  them  We  For c h e a p  I h a d children while I w a s working. everywhere  I worked,  c h o p p e d a tree, I h a d o n e on my b a c k .  even  I  when  I  (Sophie T h o m a s in  S t o n e y C r e e k Indian B a n d 1984:11). Several m e n volunteered for the forces.  S o m e went n o  b a s e s in southern British C o l u m b i a , where they  further than military  were f o u n d unfit for active duty.  T h r e e m e n s e r v e d o v e r s e a s a n d o n e returned a d e c o r a t e d war hero.  In the w o r d s  of o n e w o m a n , Lots of men g o , they volunteer.  Lots of them c o m e b a c k  b e c a u s e something wrong with them....  [My h u s b a n d ] went  o v e r s e a s for four a n d a half years.... Dick Patrick was a war bravery,  for  running  hero.  He  behind them  got them enemy  medals  lines.  He  for let  everyone know what a g o o d Indian is, a warrior just like the old timers. ii)  T h e P o s t - W a r Y e a r s 1946-1960  For a few years following the war, the Saik'uz Whut'enne c o n t i n u e d to p r o s p e r . T h e tie industry continued to bring lucrative contracts. At the s a m e time, the forestry industry e x p a n d e d , creating a d e m a n d for native labour.  By the mid 1950s, several  h u n d r e d mills were operating in the region ( H u d s o n 1983:142). W o m e n were hired a s c o o k s a n d laundresses in the forestry c a m p s , while m e n contracted  hauling  services. E c o n o m i c expansion o n c e again p r o v e d unreliable. 91  H a r d times followed the  temporary  prosperity.  ( H u d s o n 1983:132).  Fur prices declined in 1952  a n d c o m m o d i t y prices r o s e  T h e regional population, which h a d b e e n rising rapidly s i n c e  the beginning of the century (in the first two d e c a d e s it i n c r e a s e d 195.5 p e r cent), swelled o n c e again.. Between 1941 a n d 1951 it increased b e 59.3 p e r cent, a n d in the following ten years another 84.3 per cent (Table 2).  T h e forestry industry w a s  transformed b y mechanization, which d i s p l a c e d the small sawmills hiring labour a n d attracted a large labour force of white m e n . few, then d i s a p p e a r e d altogether.  native  Tie c a m p s dwindled to a  Highway development brought s o m e new j o b s ,  but never replaced the tie industry.  A w o m e n sadly recollects,  That's all there was after the tie c a m p s , the highways a n d a little bit of land clearing.  O u r m e n didn't get the j o b s , the  whites did. Just a few went to work, a n d they kept the j o b s . My husband, M  , S  , a few others did that.  But  there wasn't work for everybody. M e n continued to s e e k work elsewhere, with irregular results. Forestry training c a m p s , s p o n s o r e d by the Department of Indian Affairs, p r o v i d e d s o m e work, which c o n t i n u e d into the next d e c a d e .  M e n turned to unskilled labour elsewhere, in the  O k a n a g a n fruit o r c h a r d s , in the Chilcotin forests a n d r a n c h e s , a n d in m o r e remote forest areas.  Unfortunately, none of these jobs paid well or p r o v i d e d m u c h security.  With the m e n either u n e m p l o y e d or l o c k e d into low paying short-term j o b s , w o m e n entered the labour market in greater n u m b e r s than before. The  regional white population h a d a larger portion of m e n than w o m e n .  As  T a b l e 3 s h o w s , m e n between the a g e s of 25 a n d 44 years o u t n u m b e r e d w o m e n of the s a m e a g e s by 2,287.  Of all adults over 15 years of a g e , w o m e n f o r m e d only 92  Table 2 Population T r e n d s of C e n s u s Division 8, Central Interior of British C o l u m b i a 1901-1961 Year  Population  Increase Over T e n Y e a r s Number  1901  Percent  4,523  1911  8,411  3,888  85.9  1921  17,631  9,200  109.6  1931  21,534  3,903  22.1  1941  25,276  3,742  17.4  1951  40,276  15,000  59.3  1961  74,240  33,964  84.3  S o u r c e : Regional Index of British C o l u m b i a 1966:424  93  Table 3 Adult Population of C e n s u s Division 8, • Central Interior of British C o l u m b i a 1961 By A g e G r o u p a n d S e x Aqe Group 15-19  Male 2,749  Female  Total  2,499  5,248  20-24  2,716  2,503  5,219  25-29  3,225  2,503  5,728  30-34  3,332  2,565  5,897  35-39  2,832  2,340  5,172  40-44  2,289  1,983  4,272  45-49  2,034  3,604  50-54  1,731  1,570 1,107  2,838  55-59  1,442  756  2,198  60-64  1,002  557  1,559  65 & over  1,953  1,069  3,022  Total  25,303  19,452  44,755  S o u r c e : Regional Index of British C o l u m b i a 1966:425  94  43.9 per cent of the population. example  d o m e s t i c services or  available to Carrier w o m e n .  H e n c e , work that typically falls to w o m e n , janitorial work in the service industries,  for  became  In the 1950s, the new hospital in V a n d e r h o o f  hired  native w o m e n for its laundry a n d cleaning staff. Despite being gruelling, ill paid, a n d undertaken in the poorest of working conditions, this work w a s eagerly s o u g h t by w o m e n with large families to raise.  O n e w o m a n m o v e d from the reserve to town in  order to work in the laundry a n d recalls: I w o r k e d in the hospital for thirteen y e a r s .  In 1958 he  h u s b a n d ] lost his tie contracts s o I went to work. out in the  laundry.  All the sheets, pillow c a s e s ,  everything h a d to be w a s h e d a n d ironed.  [her  I helped gowns,  W e w o r k e d in  pairs at the mangles.  W e put through the s h e e t s together.  That was hard work.  I started at 7:30 in the morning that's  why I m o v e d to town with my children. low roof a n d is full of steam.  T h e laundry has a  W e w o r k e d like that from first  thing in the morning until evening. T h e hospital administrators were p l e a s e d with her work a n d treated her well.  After  several years: I w a s transferred to the sewing r o o m .  I c o u l d sit all day  m e n d i n g or I c o u l d help out elsewhere.  For a while I was  in c h a r g e of the first floor [cleaning staff].... I walked to work in the morning a n d b a c k h o m e at 4:30.... After a while I invested in a better  truck.  A nurse told m e we would lose  our medical if we were off the reserve for too long, s o I invested in a better truck a n d m o v e d b a c k . At least one other w o m a n went to work for a long period in the laundry.  Still another b e c a m e a practical nurse.  fishing resorts.  hospital  Others did similar work at nearby  O n e w o m a n worked full time at the hospital a n d spent her holidays  working at the resort adjacent to the reserve: 95  "I s p e n t my holidays at that fishing  l o d g e even though the w a g e s were s o small. After a c o u p l e of years I quit that." F r o m the e n d of the war through to 1970, w o m e n f o u n d d o m e s t i c work  in  private h o m e s , motels, s c h o o l s , a n d other public institutions. S o m e w o r k e d steadily for ten to fifteen years, but only a very few e a r n e d sufficient w a g e s to b e able to save  for  future  needs  or  for  investment.  a c c u m u l a t e d sufficient capital to start her o w n  One  exceptional  woman  actually  ranch. S h e l e a s e d reserve land, held  by a male cousin, for grazing her s t o c k a n d raising hay.  A i d e d by her h u s b a n d ,  daughters, a n d s o n s , s h e e x p a n d e d the r a n c h . In time, s h e was in a position to hire other m e n .  O n e of the m e n explained,  [she]  h a d a ranch here.  S h e got s o m e help from  husband] but s h e hired us m e n to work too. clearing a n d the haying, any work for her. g o o d to us.  [her  W e did the S h e was real  I always w o r k e d for her.  At that time, w o m e n were able not only to work for w a g e s , but to find g o o d markets for their handicrafts.  F r o m the late 1930s through to the e n d of the 1950s,  the Department of Indian Affairs p r o v i d e d support for Indian fairs a n d f o u n d other markets for the w o m a n ' s work. A w o m a n recalls that, Mr.  c a m e a n d p i c k e d up all our m o c c a s i n s , mukluks,  everything we h a d ready. what the w o m e n m a d e .  H e went to every reserve a n d got H e took it to Victoria, to the fair, to  sell it for us. After the fair he c a m e b a c k with the money. At the s a m e time, s o m e w o m e n lost their f r e e d o m to fish a n d trap as they chose.  In 1949, the establishment of a d a y s c h o o l o n the reserve r e d u c e d y o u n g  w o m e n ' s mobility.  Three w o m e n recall its effect on their lives.  I still s n a r e d a n d t r a p p e d right here, but most of the time I 96  didn't  go  far.  In the  fall to fish for  char  and  whitefish  s o m e t i m e s but not like before. W e didn't g o to C l u c u z Lake a n y m o r e . After that we kids at h o m e everyday.  had  I sure m i s s e d that, we h a d a harder  time getting whitefish 'cuz that was our place a n d we didn't h a v e o n e here. W e m o v e d here from N o o n l a b e c a u s e of the s c h o o l , away from our berry patch a n d everything. M o m s t o p p e d trapping then. I don't think s h e went out after the war.  T h e n she leased her line. S h e still h o l d s onto it,  a n d m y sister will get it after her. In 1944, mothers.  the federal government introduced family allowances, p a y a b l e to  This partially offset their loss of a trapping i n c o m e a n d s u b s i s t e n c e  production.  T h e small but regular payments meant that w o m e n w h o were in a  position to share a n d lend this income c o u l d exert s o m e influence over others. situation of the  The  d e p r e s s i o n had e m e r g e d o n c e again as w o m e n ' s s u b s i s t e n c e  production a n d c a s h earnings b e c a m e the mainstay of the S a i k ' u z W h u t ' e n n e . This s w i n g in relative female a n d male fortunes w a s a c c e n t u a t e d b y further incursions of the state into resource u s e a n d m a n a g e m e n t .  With the i n c r e a s e d  settlement, c a m e new conflicts over land a n d r e s o u r c e s , a n d with that, rising state intervention in the management of natural, renewable r e s o u r c e s . In a c c o r d a n c e with advice of a provincial wildlife official, harvesting limits were trapline, a n d  "tags" were issued to control beaver exploitation.  placed upon each F r o m early in the  1950s through to 1972, an Indian agent annually renewed the ownership a n d use of traplines registered to Indians.  It was the department's policy to e n c o u r a g e m e n  w h o h a d not regularly u s e d their lines either to transfer them to another  97  band  member,  as a p p r o v e d by the  department  or, failing that, to sell their  lines to  non-Indians. E v i d e n c e of the efforts of the state officials to control u s e of the lines is f o u n d in the individual r e c o r d s DIAND maintained for e a c h trapline registered to S a i k ' u z trappers.  Prior to 1959,  all enfranchised trappers were  deleted  routinely  from  m e m b e r s h i p in a "trapline c o m p a n y " (shared line); all line owners w h o h a d b e e n a b s e n t to work were requested to transfer their lines; a n d all those w h o a p p e a r e d to the agent to have permanently left the reserve were either struck from c o m p a n y m e m b e r s h i p or h a d their lines transferred to another  m a n at the a g e n t s ' discretion.  F r o m 1959 to 1975, only one w o m a n inherited a n d retained o w n e r s h i p of a line. Lines that h a d formerly p a s s e d between sisters were arbitrarily p a s s e d from mother to s o n , a n d lines held by w o m e n , but not u s e d by them, were p a s s e d to s o n s e v e n when the brother a n d / o r other matrilineal relatives r e q u e s t e d a c c e s s to them. Reaction to these interventions varied.  S o m e men c o m p l a i n e d that the white  m a n ' s notions of private property a n d ownership c o u l d not be applied to "Indian land," which was held by the present generation for the benefit of all the generations.  future  Traplines were to the Indians what "money in the bank" w o u l d b e to  a white m a n o n e a r g u e d , something which would be u s e d for survival in the future. T r a p p e r s pointed out that it was only b e c a u s e of p o o r prices a n d of the n e e d to work elsewhere that they were not trapping. W h e n the right time c a m e they, or their 98  s u c c e s s o r s , would u s e the lines.  T o avoid losing their lines either by default or by  transfer, several m e n c h o s e to rent the lines to white m e n .  However, these rentals,  as with all a s p e c t s of trapping, were subject to the agent's approval. In s o m e c a s e s the agent c o n c l u d e d that the line "would be best u s e d " by another Indian, while in other instances leasing was e n c o u r a g e d . For those registered owners who did lease their lines, greater protection over them resulted. T o d a y , these lines tend to remain in Indian h a n d s a n d to b e leased to whites.  Others, attracted by immediate c a s h  gains, s o l d their lines to white trappers. Population growth continued through the 1970s a n d 1980s, but at a slower p a c e than formerly.  Between 1971  a n d 1986, the population of the B u l k l e y - N e c h a c k o  C e n s u s division, in which Saik'uz is located, i n c r e a s e d from 27,145 to 37,470, a growth of 27.2 per cent (Statistics C a n a d a , C e n s u s of C a n a d a 1971, 1986).  21  continuing e x p a n s i o n of the E u r o - C a n a d i a n labour force further exacerbated  The the  u n d e r e m p l o y m e n t of the Carrier. A s with other Carrier b a n d s , the Saik'uz Whut'enne b e c a m e irrelevant to the industrial labour force (cf. H u d s o n 1983:151). iii)  T h e Present  Industrial development continued at a steady p a c e into the alienated the Carrier p e o p l e from their land a n d their past. work in the  1970s a n d further  W o m e n continued to  b u s h , albeit o n a smaller scale a n d closer to h o m e , to provide  fish,  meat (small m a m m a l s , fowl etc.), a n d berries, but with d e c r e a s i n g returns. T h e m e n  2 1  C e n s u s division boundaries c h a n g e d between  data in T a b l e s 2 a n d 3 d o not extend into the 99  1970s..  1966 a n d 1971,  therefore  also hunted, but n o w in competition with white m e n , who h a d the a d v a n t a g e of better transportation a n d w h o r e g a r d e d hunting a s a sport to which they h a d a right. A s g a m e d e c r e a s e d , state intervention into the native hunting practices g r e w by m e a n s of i n c r e a s e d enforcement of s e a s o n a l regulations a n d c a t c h limits.  The  traumatic turn of events in the 1950s a n d 1960s set the stage for the present d a y economic  situation,  production,  and  an  high  unemployment,  overwhelming  sense  decreased of  access  alienation  from  to the  subsistence work  of  the  surrounding white communities. Summary and Conclusions T o p a r a p h r a s e L e a c o c k (1981:140): With regard to the autonomy of w o m e n , nothing in the structure of aboriginal Carrier society necessitated special deference to  men.  During  the  precontract  era  women  and  men  had  equal  access  to  s u b s i s t e n c e r e s o u r c e s a n d exercised control over their own labour. Local leadership rested o n p e r s o n a l negotiation a n d the abilities of senior male a n d female m e m b e r s of the resident g r o u p .  O n a wider level, w o m e n a n d men of distinction enjoyed  public acclaim a n d opportunities to wield influence from  prominent positions within  the clan s y s t e m . T h e situation of e c o n o m i c hardship that prevails today has its origins in the c h a n g i n g nature of the regional political e c o n o m y of three d e c a d e s earlier. Although traumatic c h a n g e s p u s h e d w o m e n a n d men out of the labour force, a n d e r o d e d the basis of their  s u b s i s t e n c e e c o n o m y , the e c o n o m i c autonomy  w e a k e n e d a n d threatened, was not utterly destroyed. 100  of w o m e n ,  while  T o d a y , a s in the past, the Saik'uz W h u t ' e n n e subsistence. goods,  to  In a highly-limited way, w o m e n control  food  allocation,  and  to  rely o n family production of  continue to obtain  and  p r o d u c e subsistence control  cash  income  independently of m e n . T w o important conclusions c a n b e drawn from the data p r e s e n t e d here.  First,  w o m e n ' s control over domestic provisions c o u n t e r b a l a n c e d the negative effects of d e p e n d e n c y u p o n male c a s h earnings.  S e c o n d , efforts b y the c h u r c h a n d state to  displace w o m e n from public affairs a n d to subordinate them to male domination were not s u c c e s s f u l . While w o m e n ' s material c i r c u m s t a n c e s have b e e n sufficient for them to retain a high m e a s u r e of personal autonomy, w o m e n ' s roles in social production a n d domestic provisioning are neither the only nor necessarily the most significant factors contributing  to  their  contemporary  political  circumstances.  Patterns  of social  interactions a n d e c o n o m i c specialization also have an ideological d i m e n s i o n . In the next chapter, I look b e y o n d material conditions to c o n s i d e r the role of cultural values a n d sexual stereotypes in reinforcing a n d transforming g e n d e r relations.  101  CHAPTER  FOUR  A SAIK'UZ VIEW O F C H A N G I N G G E N D E R R E L A T I O N S Introduction G e n d e r relations are a s m u c h a matter of cultural tradition as they are of material circumstances.  In this chapter,  I look at various interpretations  transformations of w o m e n ' s social, e c o n o m i c a n d political status.  given to  past  My goal is to a d d  w o m e n ' s views of Carrier culture a n d history to the ethnographic r e c o r d .  My  e m p h a s i s is on the meanings w o m e n attribute to Carrier c o s m o l o g y a n d to historical events. I believe that a better appreciation of the Carrier c o n c e p t i o n of the spiritual, sexual, a n d social condition of w o m e n will generate a clearer understanding of the way Carrier s e e g e n d e r relations in real life.  I illustrate w o m e n ' s use of myths a n d  historical narratives to legitimate their current political practices a n d c o n s i d e r how this  shapes  gender  interaction.  Two  levels  of  interpretation  are  needed:  an  exploration of traditional g e n d e r c o d e s e m b e d d e d in myth a n d ritual traditions, a n d an interpretation of the way in which these cultural elements are taken out of their original context a n d given a new significance within contemporary political relations (cf. Larsen 1983:39). This chapter is organized into four sections.  First, I turn to Carrier myth for the  symbolic representation of female roles a n d cultural ideals. S e c o n d , I look at cultural traditions of the aboriginal period, concentrating o n the ritual behaviours a n d social proscriptions attached to rites of p a s s a g e .  102  Outside o b s e r v e r s ' explanations  are  c o n t r a s t e d with contemporary  elderly w o m e n ' s views.  Third, I d e s c r i b e social  contexts in which w o m e n manipulate cultural elements that define traditional gender. relations history,  a n d responsibilities. paying  particular  Finally, I turn to w o m e n ' s  attention  to  their  interpretations  understandings  of  the  of their  impact  of  missionaries, state intrusions, a n d e c o n o m i c upheavals. Before beginning, it is necessary to make a statement a b o u t g e n d e r - d i s c r e t e interpretations  of female sexuality a n d physiology.  It h a s b e e n pointed out that  androcentric b i a s e s concerning female physiology have unfavourably c o l o u r e d the e t h n o g r a p h y of native w o m e n .  Goldenweiser's attitude towards w o m e n typifies the  Euro-centric male biases pervading observers' a c c o u n t s : ... W o m a n is h a n d i c a p p e d in matters s a c r e d by the fact that s h e herself is not merely a human but also a w o m a n - a peculiar creature with a distracting a n d at times repulsive  [emphasis  a d d e d ] periodicity in her life cycle, a peculiar a n d only partly u n d e r s t o o d relationship to the fact of birth, a n d a fascinating a n d always disturbing influence on m a n via sex (Goldenweiser 1937:140-142 quoted in Kehoe 1983:61). Driver, w h o provides the most extensive account of girls' puberty rites, m a k e s similar assumptions.  H e states that universally "menstruation, a n d p r o b a b l y everything to  d o with sex, is unclean" (1941:56). Perry offers a m o r e sophisticated a n d useful u n d e r s t a n d i n g in his discussion of the variations of the female referent in A t h a p a s k a n cultures. H e conceptualized femaleness as "an abstract quality with an existence i n d e p e n d e n t of discrete p e r s o n s a n d c a p a b l e of imbuing a n d affecting individuals to varying degrees" (1977:99). He rightly s u g g e s t s that "it c a n b e h a n d l e d in the s a m e m a n n e r a s other A t h a b a s k a n c o n c e p t s involving power. It was neither g o o d 103  nor b a d inherently, but potentially d a n g e r o u s when present in e x c e s s i v e d e g r e e s " (ibid.:105). Efforts to e x p o s e the intellectual limits of androcentric interpretations are undercut by the continuing reluctance of observers to a c c e p t indigenous w o m e n ' s p e r c e p t i o n s of their  lives a n d  of the  s a c r e d or  esoteric significance of their  reproductive  capacities. Buckley, for example, readily d i s m i s s e d a y o u n g Yurok w o m a n ' s positive interpretation of menstrual rules as "incredible" a n d as an indication that tradition h a d b e e n "rationalized a n d reinterpreted" to conform with "modern notions of w o m e n ' s rights" (Buckley 1982:49). Kroeber's unpublished  1  It was not until he found c o m p a r a b l e interpretations in  Yurok data that Buckley a c c e p t e d the y o u n g  explications of her ritual practices. women  woman's  This led Buckley to argue that Yurok m e n a n d  h a d discrete views o n s a c r e d powers: m e n feared menstrual  pollution;  w o m e n celebrated menstrual purity (ibid.:52). Wisely, he asserts, "Clearly then, there are two gender-specific views, of which only o n e , that of the male, h a s b e c o m e known through published ethnographies" a n d that serious consideration of  the  contemporary feminine perspective is salient to understanding the complexities of aboriginal c o s m o l o g i e s (ibid.:52, 57). T h e C o s m o l o q i c a l Matrix  1  A c c o r d i n g to  Buckley, Yurok  women  provided  Kroeber  with  detailed,  unequivocally positive a c c o u n t s of menstruation as a time of purity a n d menstrual rites a s a s o u r c e of personal strength a n d spiritual development.  Yet  Kroeber  omitted all reference to them in his publications a n d never c h a l l e n g e d male notions of female pollution a n d d e b a s e m e n t .  In fact, he m a k e s regular reference to female  "periodic illnesses" (e.g., 1925:80). 104  i) Selection a n d Analysis of the Narratives It  is b e y o n d the  scope  of this work  to provide a detailed  a c c o u n t of  the  p r o c e d u r e s followed in the content analysis of the s e l e c t e d myths a n d to provide a c o m p r e h e n s i v e d i s c u s s i o n of the plots a n d themes of the selected myths. Briefly, the following portrait of mythological female character is drawn from an analysis of twenty-two narratives r e c o r d e d by J e n n e s s (1934), twenty of them attributed to Fort Fraser narrators (Nadleh), a n d two attributed to Stoney C r e e k (Saik'uz) a n d ten  narratives  r e c o r d e d during  my  own field work  (Table  4).  narrators, Jenness's  collection is salient since elders a n d others e n g a g e d in cultural a n d educational activities p o s s e s s c o p i e s of them. Included in my collection are popular stories of w o m e n humiliating federal fisheries officers by sitting on them. V e r s i o n s of these tales are c o m m o n a m o n g the Carrier; Saik'uz Whut'enne have their favourite renditions that locate incidents within their own territory. M y analysis of the narratives f o c u s e s primarily o n the representation of female characters a n d appropriate feminine behaviour as these c o m p a r e to male characters a n d masculinity. I ask: H o w are w o m e n d e p i c t e d , a n d what is their relation to m e n ? I organize my d i s c u s s i o n a c c o r d i n g to the following criteria: 1) personality characteristics of female actors; 2) appropriate a n d inappropriate social behaviour; 3) acquisition a n d u s e of medicine power; a n d 4) portrayal of sexuality a n d procreation, Personalities are evaluated a c c o r d i n g to their display of passivity, assertiveness, self 105  Table 4  Selection of Tales from J e n n e s s a n d from Fieldwork Jenness 1. T h e Giant's G r a n d s o n or the S a l m o n B o y (Fort Fraser) 3. T h e O r p h a n B o y as a Culture H e r o (Fort Fraser) 4. Variant (Fort Fraser) 6. T h e W o m a n W h o Married a Grizzly (Fort Fraser) 7. T h e D o g Children (Hagwilget a n d Fort Fraser) 13. T h e T w o Lost Sisters (Fort Fraser) 17. T h e S k y B o y a n d the M a g i c Arrows (Hagwilgate a n d Fort Fraser) 20. T h e B o y w h o h a d Medicine for Fish (Fort Fraser) 21. T h e M a n w h o Ate his Wives (Fort Fraser) 22. T h e Girl w h o Married the S e k a n i (Fort Fraser) 23. T h e B o y s ' V e n g e a n c e (Fort Fraser) 30. A y a s u (Fort Fraser) 31. C h i c k e n Hawk (Fort Fraser) 32. T h e M o n s t r o u s Bear (Fort Fraser) 33. T h e O r p h a n ' s R e v e n g e (Fort Fraser) 34. T h e M a g i c Arrows (Fort Fraser) 35. T h e Bear Wife (Fort Fraser) 36. T h e Girls w h o were Carried into the S k y (Fort Fraser) 38. T h e Swift Runner (Fort Fraser) 40. Another Trickster Story (Stony Creek) 64. Dwarfs (a. Stony Creek) (b. Fort Fraser) Fiske I. II.  Estas, T h e Culture Hero (male narrator) T h e O r p h a n B o y who Married the Chief's Daughter (male narrator)  III.  Galbaniyeh (female narrator)  IV.  Girl who Married Bear (male narrator)  V. VI.  Girl w h o Married D o g (male narrator) T h e Daughter-in-Law (female narrator)  VII.  B o p a the Prophet (two versions, a male a n d a female narrator)  VIII.  T h e Starving Brothers (male narrator)  IX. X.  Chinlac M a s s a c r e (male narrator) T h e Fisheries Officer (three versions, female narrators)  106  reliance,  wilfulness,  competence,  behaviour is characterized  by  and  wisdom.  Appropriate  and  inappropriate  kindness, altruism, selfishness, a n d w i c k e d n e s s .  Recurring characters include O l d W o m a n , w h o  is both a creator figure a n d an  influential advisor to male creator heroes. Other characters include a d o l e s c e n t girls, female guardian animals, a n d wives of brutal h u s b a n d s . Prominent male characters are chiefs, s h a m a n s , culture heroes,  ii) Women in Mythology In order to understand the way the  Carrier a s s e s s the  role of w o m e n  it is  n e c e s s a r y to begin with what the Carrier perceive to b e the beginning: the stories of the creation of the Carrier lands a n d social s y s t e m . strong i m a g e s of r e s p e c t e d a n d h o n o u r e d w o m e n .  T h e creation myths depict  Like other creators, O l d W o m a n  is instrumental in transforming an inchoate world to its present form. S h e transforms a tiny creek into the N e c h a k o river a n d extends a mere five minutes of light into daytime.  O l d W o m a n is a critical intermediary between male creator heroes a n d  their adversaries.  S h e s a v e s the y o u n g , a n d often arrogant or brash male culture  h e r o e s from the powers of S a (the "sky god") a n d intervenes between evil chiefs a n d vulnerable youngsters. O l d W o m a n is a fountain of w i s d o m . their medicine powers.  S h e t e a c h e s y o u n g heroes to develop  S h e provides the k n o w l e d g e to u n d o the w i c k e d n e s s of  chiefs who no longer control their medicine p o w e r s a n d s h e intervenes in the vision q u e s t s of y o u n g girls.  S h e is helpful to the y o u n g a n d vulnerable, a caring  grandmother to o r p h a n e d children, a n d a counsellor to willful children a n d y o u n g 107  women.  T h e c o s m o l o g y of the Saik'uz Whut'enne has no male counterpart to the  Old Woman. a n d kind.  There is no male figure, y o u n g or old, w h o is consistently g o o d , wise,  In myth, O l d W o m a n is the sole m o d e l of steadfast character, nurture,  and wisdom. Primeval w o m e n  of Carrier myth are assertive, self-reliant,  and courageous.  Assertive behaviour is marked by pragmatic action u n d e r s c o r e d by clever strategy a n d artifice.  W o m e n are competent in the skills of survival.  difficult situations are particularly adept at subterfuge.  W o m e n who face  T h r o u g h clever deception  w o m e n rid themselves of brutal h u s b a n d s a n d overpower cannibals.  Others risk  their own lives to help the less fortunate. It is interesting to note that medicine power is represented by female a n d male animals.  Young  men  are  aided  by  female  c o r r e s p o n d to those of male guardians. bears.  guardian  animals  whose  powers  There are parallel stories of marriages to  A y o u n g girl takes a bear h u s b a n d a n d a y o u n g m a n takes a bear wife.  W o m e n in myth independently act a s s h a m a n s . In this respect they d o not differ from male characters.  M e m b e r s of both s e x e s are a c c l a i m e d for their proficiency  with medicine powers.  Female a n d male characters gain medicine power in the  same  fashion, but  only  male  characters  use  it  unwisely  or  cruelly.  Female  characters, o n the other h a n d , invoke medicine p o w e r for personal benefit a n d the common good.  In o n e e p i s o d e a y o u n g girl frees Stas, the creator hero, w h o is  t r a p p e d in ice.  In another myth, an a d o l e s c e n t girl u s e s her power to create a  stream teaming with fish a n d thus s a v e s a village from starvation. 108  A d o l e s c e n t girls are also called u p o n to mediate between w i c k e d males a n d their victims. F o r example, a group of y o u n g virgins destroy the p o w e r of two y o u n g m e d i c i n e m e n w h o wantonly kill their fellow villagers. association protective  between  female's  adolescent sexuality,  There is a clear a n d strong indicated  clothing, a n d proficiency with medicine power.  by  seclusion and  Consistently, p o w e r s  a s s o c i a t e d with female p u b e s c e n c e are cast in a positive light. Other  images  of female  sexuality,  however,  potential r a n g e of actual h u m a n behaviour.  are  equivocal, symbolizing  the  That is, references to improper sexual  action r a n g e from e p i s o d e s of female infidelity to s u g g e s t i o n s of s e d u c t i o n .  These  however, are b a l a n c e d by accounts of faithful wives a n d m o d e s t virgins. The  fact  that w o m e n  understanding  Carrier  are  not  presented  in subordinate  ideals,  for  in  life  actual  cultural  roles  practices  is critical were  to  more  a m b i g u o u s a n d d e s i g n e d to articulate very forcibly the power of w o m e n ' s fecundity. It is important to understand how Carrier w o m e n view their cultural tradition in this r e g a r d , for the written ethnographic record offers a n unrelenting a n d harsh view of female sexuality.  iii) Rites of Passage W h e n outside observers d i s c u s s Carrier w o m e n ' s sexuality a n d life crises two stereotypes e m e r g e : o n e portrays adolescents a n d menstruating w o m e n a s d r e a d e d , repugnant s o u r c e s of defilement; the other envisions w o m e n a s servile b e a s t s of b u r d e n victimized by hostile affines a n d rejected by a n unfeeling community w h e n widowed. 109  Traditionally,  Carrier w o m e n  were perceived to b e  inherently  endowed  supernatural powers that were manifested by menstruation a n d procreation.  with From  the onset of their first m e n s e s , adolescent girls were subjected to a p e r i o d of s e c l u s i o n ranging from several months to three years.  A n a d o l e s c e n t girl was  referred to as s a k - o e s t a , "one who stays apart" (Morice n.d.:235) or a s a-asta, "she 2  w h o stays in a hole" (ibid.:236). While s e q u e s t e r e d , either singly or with other girls, the menstruant lived in a subterranean h o m e c o n n e c t e d to the village only b y two strings with which they called for f o o d or water.  During this p e r i o d , the girls wore  a s p e c i a l bonnet that s h a d e d their e y e s a n d prevented them from g a z i n g directly into the face of another.  3  F e m a l e kin visited p u b e s c e n t girls to teach them d o m e s t i c crafts, herbal lore, spiritual knowledge, a n d a wide range of practical skiils. future  m e n s e s a n d p r e g n a n c i e s were learned.  Prohibitions g o v e r n i n g  At no time s h o u l d menstruating  w o m e n step over any item of male technology, nor s h o u l d they look directly at e q u i p m e n t u s e d for hunting or trapping or at fresh running water. were also instructed  in correct deportment  and  modesty.  A d o l e s c e n t girls  High  born  girls in  particular were cautioned to behave in a manner appropriate to their social status. At the e n d of their seclusion, the p u b e s c e n t girl were ceremoniously reintegrated into the community.  2  3  Noble families held large potlatches to c o m m e m o r a t e the event.  Elsewhere (1893:80) Morice g l o s s e s sak-oesta a s virgin. It s h o u l d be noted that while Morice provides the fullest description of the  ritual attire, he admits to never having s e e n it (Morice 1893:165). 110  The  girl s h e d her  ritually  p r e s c r i b e d bonnet  and  mantle  and  received a  new  ceremonial h e a d d r e s s from her father's sister (Morice 1893:165). All menstruants  o b s e r v e d strict dietary a n d behavioural proscriptions.  Fresh  meats a n d berries were a v o i d e d , direct contact with water a n d hunting a n d fishing equipment prohibited, a n d personal movement restricted. Childbirth c o m m o n l y took place in an isolated location in the p r e s e n c e of other w o m e n . Interpretation of these cultural practices has b e e n b a s e d o n androcentric notions of a universal a b h o r r e n c e of menstrual b l o o d a n d its association with profanity a n d defilement.  Morice links Carrier views to biblical depictions of feminine defilement  a n d pollution (Morice n.d.:235). He a r g u e s that the term for menstrual b l o o d , hwotsi. was also u s e d to designate "evil" (1910:971).  H e n c e , he portrays the adolescent  girl a s that m o s t d r e a d e d creature....  S h e was  c o n s i d e r e d by  the  Carrier s o m u c h an etre a part, that s h e must constantly wear s o m e b a d g e to remind the p e o p l e of her terrible infirmity, a n d thereby  g u a r d them  against the  baleful influences s h e  was  s u p p o s e d to p o s s e s s (ibid.). Elsewhere, he refers to an "excessive r e p u g n a n c e for, a n d d r e a d of, menstruating women"  (ibid.: 107)  and  s u g g e s t s that w o m e n ' s  avoidance  of a  hunter's  path  indicated that "the hunter would also prefer to s e e her tear herself up o n the b u s h a n d thorn than to let her p a s s in the narrow trail wherein he may have d e p o s i t e d his snares...." b e c a u s e the animals would be "offended" by her defilement a n d avoid his s n a r e s (ibid.; n.d.:236).  Morice g o e s o n to state, "a w o m a n having her m e n s e s is  legally impure, a n d must be deprived even of the sight of any object e n d o w e d with 111  m a g i c properties" (ibid.: 195). In  k e e p i n g with his notions of  Carrier w o m e n  miserable lives, Morice perceives female  as lowly  persons  suffering  seclusion to be a "very trying  ordeal"  a c c o m p a n i e d by "bodily mortifications a n d penitential privations" (1892:112)  and  interprets the proscriptions guiding w o m e n ' s movement as indications of deliberate ill treatment (1893:107).  H e presents w o m e n ' s work from the s a m e perspective.  Heavy labour is "drudgery," an indication of w o m e n ' s lowly self-esteem a n d social inferiority (1893:118,124,148,164; 1910:983; 1889:122). Morice's interpretation of puberty rites a n d menstrual proscriptions has not b e e n overtly challenged by other o b s e r v e r s , even though their data indicate disagreement. J e n n e s s , for example, remarks that the powers of p u b e s c e n t girls were for " g o o d a n d evil" (1943:525), but he holds to the c o n c e p t of menstrual pollution (ibid.).  4  G o l d m a n s p e a k s of girls a n d b o y s u n d e r g o i n g puberty rites calculated to d e v e l o p practical  motor  industriousness.  skills, to  gain  a  guardian  spirit,  and  to  enhance  health  and  Without elaborating, he states that menstruants were " d a n g e r o u s  to the f o o d s u p p l y a n d practised the usual avoidance of contact with hunters, their equipment, the paths hunters followed, etc." (1963:335). A c c o u n t s of death a n d mourning rituals reinforce images of female misery a n d  4  Driver r e c o r d s few instances of the girls' curing power outside of the North  Pacific C o a s t a n d the A t h a p a s k a n Southwest where he found it to b e the  most  distinct ideological feature of puberty rites (1941:34). While he did not c o n s i d e r the possibility that this feature might b e more w i d e s p r e a d , even if not r e c o r d e d , he d o e s infer that the notion of pollution was more c o m m o n than generally known (ibid.:29).  112  lowly status.  Prior to E u r o p e a n influence the Carrier c r e m a t e d their d e a d .  At the  cremation of their h u s b a n d s , widows were f o r c e d by affinal relatives into the funeral pyre to anoint themselves a n d the b o d y with its dripping fat. h u s b a n d ' s family were particularly  It is s a i d that the  cruel if they s u s p e c t e d the widow  unfaithful or r e g a r d e d her as lazy, u n g e n e r o u s , or a p o o r mother.  had  been  Evidently s o m e  were f o r c e d repeatedly into the flames until they b e c a m e ill a n d thoroughly s i n g e d (Morice 1889:145).  Following the cremation, the widow p a c k e d the b o n e s in a skin  b a g u p o n her b a c k .  Until released from her mourning several years later, s h e h a d  her face s m e a r e d with charcoal a n d pitch, her hair s h o r n , a n d her clothes torn to rags.  Her official mourning e n d e d either when the d e c e a s e d ' s heir c o m p l e t e d his  s u c c e s s i o n potlatches or when she was d e e m e d to have p r o v i d e d sufficient g o o d s a n d services to his family. Although it is certain that men were not subjected to carrying the relics of their d e c e a s e d wives, the extent to which Carrier m e n e x p e r i e n c e d similar ordeals is unclear.  mourning  G o l d m a n contradicts himself with regard to the cremation rituals.  O n the o n e h a n d , he declares that these were reserved for w o m e n , o n the other, he records two incidents of men enduring similar rites (Legare  1986:123).  Morice's  a c c o u n t s are also equivocal. He g o e s to great lengths to s u g g e s t that widows were a c c o r d e d the lowest social esteem a n d subjected to harsh if not brutal treatment from their h u s b a n d s ' brothers a n d sisters.  In only o n e of his various a c c o u n t s of  mourning d o e s he s p e a k of male experiences. from that of w o m e n .  In m o s t r e s p e c t s this differed little  S p o u s e s did not hold property in c o m m o n ; with w i d o w h o o d 113  property reverted to the d e c e a s e d ' s kin. W i d o w e r s g a v e up personal property, offered  gifts to the  d e c e a s e d ' s kin, a d o p t e d  services to affinal kin (Morice 1889:144-46).  mourning  clothing, a n d  provided  Despite the parallel situations, Morice  d o e s not s u g g e s t that the male experience constituted the "miserable lot" tolerated by w o m e n . T h e earliest available a c c o u n t s s h e d little light o n the situation. O g d e n d e s c r i b e s a m a n ' s cremation a n d the mourning ordeals of his wife but m a k e s no mention of o b s e r v i n g a w o m a n ' s cremation ( O g d e n 1853:130).  M c L e a n asserts that widows  withstood extreme degradation from the entire community, including children: every child in the village might c o m m a n d her a n d beat her unmercifully if they c h o s e , no o n e interfered (1932:155). H a r m o n , who elsewhere c o m m e n t s o n m e n ' s o p e n affection for their wives, s u g g e s t s that widows, especially y o u n g o n e s , would rather  commit suicide than  remarry  (Harmon 1903:232; cf. M c L e a n 1932:182). Despite the statements of Morice a n d others, there is.little reason to c o n c l u d e that either connotations of female sexuality or life crisis rituals s y m b o l i z e d social inferiority or sexual pollution. T o clarify, it is n e c e s s a r y to turn again to mythological a c c o u n t s . J e n n e s s narrates e p i s o d e s of medicine m e n employing b o n e tubes of the s a m e type u s e d by menstruants, a d o l e s c e n t girls destroying evil medicine m e n , a n d p u b e s c e n t girls exercising medicine powers (1934:176,177,158,200).  A c c o r d i n g to  Saik'uz Whut'enne stories, during their vision q u e s t s or w h e n facing extraordinary challenges, culture heroes a d o p t e d the s a m e f o o d proscriptions as p u b e s c e n t girls.  114  For example, G a l b a n i y e h , the swift runner of S a i k ' u z narratives, fed solely o n dried roe and salmon. Since these similarities existed in practice a s well a s in myth, it is insufficient a n d erroneous to dismiss ritual a n d prescribed separation solely o n the a s s u m p t i o n that the female is polluting or defiling.  M a n y of the proscriptions required of p u b e s c e n t  girls applied equally during the b o y ' s vision quest. A c c o r d i n g to S a i k ' u z elders, during a vision quest the youth would eat only dried f o o d s , primarily dried fish a n d fish roe, a n d at all c o s t s would avoid fresh meat a n d g r e a s e .  5  Morice tells us that p u b e s c e n t b o y s a n d girls u s e d b o n e drinking tubes a n d avoided touching their hair, for, "immediate contact between the fingers a n d the h e a d were then reputed productive of fatal diseases" (1892:82).  Hunters also carried a  b o n e c o m b (Morice 1893:108). M e n were held responsible, independently of w o m e n , for sexual abstinence prior to a hunt, a n d , a s well, were required to fast, sweat, a n d thirst in order to maintain harmonious relations with other p o w e r s .  6  M c K e n n a n tells us that adolescent b o y s of the C h a n d a l a r Kutchin o b s e r v e d puberty rituals similar to t h o s e of girls. "When the b o y ' s nipples b e g a n to harden a n d his voice b e g a n to c h a n g e ... he wore a short, conical c a p w h o s e fringe h u n g d o w n over his e y e s ... [and] mittens." H e took precautions to avoid future ill luck a n d , in seclusion with other youths, under went rigourous training directed by an older m a n (1965:59). , . 5  B o c k points out that a m o n g North A m e r i c a n Indians, "in their special relationship to hunting, menstruants were not a separate class." Rather, a n y o n e who was ill, was a s s o c i a t e d with illness, or who w a s acquiring or practicing medicine powers was thought to be potentially d a n g e r o u s to hunting power (4967:215). Writing o n the T a n a n a , G u e d o n states that potlatch hosts were "vulnerable to b a d luck" a n d avoided behaviors that might "draw attention of the norihuman powers to the participants." T o avoid repercussions, for two 30 day periods, the host s h o u l d 6  115  Equally significant is the fact that p u b e s c e n t girls performed services calculated to increase  personal well being  adolescent  b o y s (no  doubt a  and  g o o d fortune.  painful  For example,  they  p r o c e d u r e , which, interestingly,  tattooed is  never  d e s c r i b e d a s an ordeal or bodily mortification), performed healing rituals, a n d u s e d their p o w e r s to neutralize malevolent behaviour (Jenness 1934:176; 1943:525; Morice 1893:166). Countervailing negative stereotypes of w o m e n ' s b o d i e s a n d supernatural p o w e r s is the ceremonial association of w o m e n ' s hair with the status a n d p o w e r of the dunezah.  T h e d u n e z a h ' s ceremonial wig, m a d e entirely of the hair of the t s ' e k e z a h  (Morice 1893:176), is d e s c r i b e d by Morice a s a beautiful h e a d a p p e n d a g e , m a d e women  interspersed with  numerous  up of the hair of Dentalium  three  shells, etc.,  which the tenezas wore o n g r a n d o c c a s i o n s (Morice 1932:642): Of all ceremonial attire, the wig was most important to the wearer's identity.  As  Morice explains, "[the wigs] s h a r e d with him the traditional n a m e which they were intended to honour." 1893:175).  T o part with it meant "forfeiting o n e ' s rank a n d title" (Morice  It is interesting to note that wigs of w o m a n ' s hair were customarily  d u n e z a h attire; ts'ekezah wore h e a d - d r e s s e s of colourful feathers a n d shells. Carrier w o m e n d o not share the negative views of outside o b s e r v e r s .  O n the  contrary, the majority of elders regard p u b e s c e n t seclusion a s a r e s p e c t e d tradition vital to individual c o m p e t e n c e a n d community well being. While reluctant to provide  practice the s a m e ritual t a b o o s as a girl reaching her puberty... (1981: 581). 116  details about s e c l u s i o n practices, female elders insist that it was a period of intense instruction a n d learning. Without it, y o u n g girls were unlikely to develop strong characters a n d healthy b o d i e s . W h e n a y o u n g girl gets her menstruation s h e has to stay in a b u s h no matter how many they are even the single o n e has to stay in the b u s h . T h e r e ' s a shelter m a d e for them they stay in there a n d there's a white string g o i n g to them  a n d another  string painted red a n d these two strings they pull, the white string they want water a n d the red string they pull if they want f o o d , they don't g o in public when they're menstruation.  They  h a d to be dry to g o in the public, that's how strict they were with their  health  and  that's  why  they're  healthy  (Veronica  G e o r g e , Stoney C r e e k Indian B a n d 1984:19). S e c l u s i o n was a time to develop spiritual awareness a n d a time for y o u n g girls to learn to control their inherent powers a n d to live in balance with the animals. Indiscriminate  behaviour offended animals, a n d any careless or arrogant  display w a s offensive to all.  sexual  A n elderly m a n explained,  G r a n n y , s h e u s e d to tell them girls how to b e h a v e . That's what they did in there all that time.  T h e y learned to b e strong, how  to get along, not to offend the animals or m a k e s i c k n e s s . It a p p e a r s that at this time girls acquired medicine power a n d learned herbal c u r e s . O n e w o m a n reluctantly offered, T h e old timers who went that way, they c u r e d the people.... can't  tell y o u  nothing  knowledge anywhere.  more.  Y o u don't  just  I  spill all that  It's precious, a n d whites, them,  they  m a k e fun of us.... Great care w a s taken to provide s e c l u d e d girls with rigorous instruction in material arts, cultural ideals, a n d esoteric knowledge.  It was believed that the quality of the  girls' c o n d u c t during seclusion would influence their adult character. 117  If the s e c l u d e d  girls  were  virtuous,  industrious, a n d  attentive  to  the  teachings  of  their  older  k i n s w o m e n they w o u l d remain s o throughout their lives. Although these views are not elaborated u p o n publicly, they are revealed in elders' criticisms of alleged inappropriate m o d e r n behaviour. O n e w o m a n , particularly o p p o s e d to rock m u s i c , c o m p l a i n e d that without the old ways of t e a c h i n g , y o u n g girls c o u l d not d e v e l o p strong characters. "Them girls, they don't grow up right, not like the old timers w h o s t a y e d apart."  7  A similar perception was v o i c e d b y the male  elder. H e feared that a d o l e s c e n t girls would ignore their grandmothers' teachings a n d remain lazy all their lives. T h e m , they're all c r o o k e d . E v e r y o n e ' s haywire they h a n g out with.  It's no g o o d now ... they s h o u l d stay away from them  wild b o y s ... [they should] b e off by themselves.... T h e reluctance of informed elders to d i s c u s s menstrual seclusion m a k e s analyses limited.  It is worth noting, however, that Carrier practices are c o m p a r a b l e in m a n y  r e s p e c t s to  Yurok o b s e r v a n c e s , a n d may well have h a d similar significance. F r o m  Buckley, we learn that Yurok w o m e n view their menstruation as a time of purity.  He  tells us that dietary a n d behavioural proscriptions force them to be fully c o n s c i o u s of their b o d i e s a n d consequently of their spiritual powers. W o m e n s e c l u d e d themselves to avoid disrupting their spiritual meditation with m u n d a n e tasks. T h e menstrual hut offered an isolated place for a w o m a n to "go into [her]self  and make  [her]self  stronger" (Buckley 1982:49).  7  Saik'uz elders u s e the