UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Sts'ailes-Coast Salish ethnohistory and settlement archaeology Ritchie, Patrick Morgan


This Dissertation weaves together interrelated ethnohistoric and archaeological evidence to provide an empirical basis for examining and interpreting the relationship between Coast Salish history and society at a range of spatial and temporal scales. Together, the evidence reveals long term interconnectivity between people in the Salish Sea, so that social transformations which reverberated across the region are observable in the flexible social strategies and organizing principles that both defined and reinforced distinctive place-based social identities over millennia. The first study is a biographical and network analysis to establish the basis for the social and political influence and authority of emergent Indigenous leaders that reshaped the social geography of the Salish Sea region during the socially tumultuous mid-nineteenth century. The second study is an in-depth analysis of a Sts’ailes-Coast Salish lineage, spanning more than ten generations, from around AD 1750 – 1890. Information for this study was obtained from previously untranslated field notebooks of Franz Boas, which contain detailed genealogical data that reveal insights into intergenerational histories and marriage alliances that underpin Sts’ailes identity and territoriality. The third study is a meta-analysis of geographically wide-spread and cross-cultural oral narratives that relate to the releases of salmon into the rivers of the Pacific Northwest through the destruction of weir-dams. Key themes in these narratives provide insights into Indigenous concepts of ownership, sustainability, and social relationships both within and between communities. The fourth study tracks 3,000 years of unbroken occupation on the middle Harrison River, documenting trends in settlement and demographic growth. The analysis moves between social, spatial, and temporal scales to examine how households, local groups, and settlement clusters were woven together in a highly interconnected and integrated settlement constellation. The fifth study focuses on changes within the Sts’ailes settlement of Hiqelem from 1,500 to 1,000 years ago to examine how households link micro and macro scales of social interactions, and both reflect and initiate broader social transformations. The sixth study is an examination of household specialization, focusing on the social relations of lithic acquisition, production, exchange, and consumption of large bifaces. Linking each of these studies is an examination of contemporary implications.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International