Indigenous KnowledgeInstructor: Nene Kraneveldt MA 1
Pre-Contact In a Pre-Contact context, culture couldbe best described as being embeddedwithin our rich language. Our languagecaptures our identity, our belief systems,and our connections to lands andresources. This is exemplified through thetranslation of the word ―Nuu-chah-nulth,‖
Pre-Contact ―Nuu-chah-nulth,‖ translates to ―peoplewho dwell along the mountains‖(Umeek, 2004, p. 1). The word Nuu-chah-nulth links us to ourgeographic location
Pre-Contact Our language is a reflection of ourculture and identity; who we are a Nuu-chah-nulth Our language is linked to our world view Our language explains our strongrelationship to our lands and resources
Pre-Contact―I descend from a people who knew how tolook after one another, who knew how tobalance individual with group rights,without violating the rights of either. Myheritage, of which my language is anexpression, provides an important part ofmy identity.‖ UMEEK (Dr. Richard Atleo)
Pre-ContactNo Poverty! Steckley and Cummins (2001) notedobservations from the Maquinna era(1786–1825): “Nuu-chah-nulth society,even in Maquinna’s day, did not havethe poverty or starvation of Europeanmonarchies” (p. 117).
Pre-ContactNo Poverty!―Observations of early explorers said thatNuu-chah-nulth was one of the wealthiestpeople on this planet‖Nelson Keitlah (www.nuuchanulth.org)
Pre-Contact Pre-Contact Nuu-chah-nulth Nations canbe described as healthy, thrivingpeoples rich in culture, language, andresources. Traditional systems,knowledge, and ceremonies connectedus with our Creator and each other inorder to distribute our wealth andsustain our ways of life.
Pre-Contact Using education, health, housing, andeconomic activity as indicators ofhealthy community and Nationhood,indeed Nuu-chah-nulth were rich beyondmeasure—until contact.
Historical Events Timeline1800’s 1860s Tsimshian leader Paul is pressuredinto giving up sacred potlatch goods as acondition of becoming a Christian. 1884 The potlatch is banned in Canada. 1889 Kwakiutl Chief Hamasak is convictedand sentenced to the maximum sentenceof six months, but is discharged on atechnicality. 1895 The Sun Dance is banned in Canada.
Historical Events Timeline 1914 -1975 1914 Natives are prohibited from wearingtraditional clothing or performing dancespublicly without the written permission ofthe Indian agent. 1921 Forty-five of the highest-rankingKwakiutl are arrested. Twenty-two aresentenced to prison terms of two to threemonths. 1951 The ban of the potlatch is repealed. 1975 The National Museum of Mandeclares it will return sacred items on thecondition they are kept in museums.
Historical Events Timeline 1979-1988 1979 The Kwakiutl Museum of CapeMudge is built and receives sacred potlatchitems. 1980 The U’mista Cultural Centre is builtand receives sacred potlatch items. 1988 The Royal Ontario Museum returnssacred potlatch items.
Historical Events Timeline 1993-1999 1993 The National Museum of theAmerican Indian in New York Returnssacred potlatch items. 1999 A descendent of the missionary whoreceived sacred potlatch items from Legaicputs together, with Sotherby’s, a travellingshow of the collection with the aim ofselling the items at auction.Note: Derived from Steckley and Cummins(2001, p. 175)
References Umeek. (2004). Tsawalk: A Nuu-chah-nulth worldview. Vancouver, BC,Canada: UBC Press. Steckley, J. L., & Cummins, B. D.(2001). Full circle: Canada’s FirstNations. Toronto, ON, Canada: PearsonEducation Canada. www.nuuchahnulth.org