UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Local-level politics in a rural B.C. community : community life under the metropolis-satellite system Halverson, Douglas Andrew


The nature of local-level political activity in the rural community of Bella Coola is shaped by the satellite relationship of the community to national and international economy, society and culture. Foremost, Bella Coola is economically a satellite in that (1) it lacks local capital and (2) all the products and nearly all the profit of local industry leave the valley. It is not within the power of the local community members to make major economic decisions. Rather, they must constantly respond to external initiatives. Bella Coola occupies a satellite position in regard to formal social institutions in that the community itself supplies only the lowest level functionaries and workers. Its members have no control on major social policy and implementation. Bella Coola is a cultural satellite in that its members do not participate in the creation of the dominant culture but rather consume it. Local ideals of the good life, music, art, drama, and technical implements are all independent of local creation. The satellite nature of Bella Coola affects local level political activity in (1) regard to goals that succeed and (2) leadership and participation. The political goals that succeed in Bella Coola are those that increase access to the economic, social, and cultural centre (the metropolis). Successful local level political leaders come from those occupations that provide the highest contact with persons and institutions outside the community.

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