Book

The Bella Coola Indians: volume one

University of Toronto PressToronto • Published In 1948 • Pages:

By: McIlwraith, T. F. (Thomas Forsyth).

Abstract
This source, vol. 1 of two volumes, is a 'classic' in the field of ethnographic writing, and was compiled by the author, a well-known ethnologist, from extensive notes taken in the field during his two visits to the Bellacoola from March to August 1922, and from September 1923 to February 1924. The source attempts to record as far as possible the sum total of the Bellacoola culture complex and interwoven social life before the complete breakdown of the society had taken place, a definite factor to be considered in any data collected after 1924. After a short section on the location of the Bellacoola and their natural environment, the author strikes off on rather lengthy discussions of religion, social organization, rank (including much detailed information on the potlatch system), and additional chapters on other aspects and features of the potlatch, Bellacoola mythology as revealed in their origin myths, the life cycle from birth to marriage, death, relations with the supernatural and various stories illustrating the same, and a final chapter on medicine, magic and taboo, which includes among other things 'cures' for anything from baldness to whooping cough. This chapter also includes valuable data on sorcery. Despite the well rounded and highly detailed presentation of Bellacoola social organization, religion, etc., as outlined above, the source lacks information on the material culture of the people. Appendices and an index will be found in the second volume of this work, appearing as 2: McIlwraith in this collection.
Subjects
Settlement patterns
Spirits and gods
Ethnozoology
Clans
Accumulation of wealth
Community heads
Mythology
Literary texts
Death
Sickness
Revelation and divination
Development and maturation
Magic
culture
Nuxalk
HRAF PubDate
2010
Region
North America
Sub Region
Northwest Coast and California
Document Type
Book
Evaluation
Ethnologist-5
Analyst
John Beierle ; 1963: John Beierle; 2010
Coverage Date
1840s-1924
Coverage Place
Bella Coola Reserve, Bella Coola Valley, British Columbia, Canada
Notes
by T. F. McIlwraith
LCSH
Bella Coola Indians