McIlwraith, T. F. (Thomas Forsyth), 1899-1964. The Bella Coola Indians: volume one

Table of Contents

Publication Information

Chapter 1 Location And Environment


Bella Coola Villages

Villages On South Bentinck Arm

Villages At Kimsquit

Tribal Organization

Neighbouring Tribes

The Carriers

The Bella Bella

The Istäm□ 1

Chapter Ii Religion

The Universe

Supernatural Beings

Anthropomorphic Beings

Zoomorphic Beings

The Raven

Supernatural Beings Of The Vegetable And Mineral Kingdoms

Supernatural Elements In Human Beings

The Spirit

The Life

The Tally Post

The Wash-basin

Means Of Propitiation



The Observance Of Ceremonial Chastity

Chapter Iii Social Organization

Ancestral Family



The Village Community

The Family

Kinship Terms


Chapter Iv Rank




Power Of Chiefs


Sısaok Society

The Potlatch

General Observations


The Initiation Of Sısaok Neophytes

The Validation Of Sısaok Names

Delivering Of Invitations

Arrival Of The Guests

Ritual Carried Out By The Guests

The Potlatch: First Day

The Potlatch: Second Day

The Potlatch: Third Day

Concluding Ceremonies And Observations

Chapter V Features Associated With The Potlatch




Professional Prerogatives

The Profession Of River Guardian

The Profession Of Uttering A Droning Cry

The Profession Of First Berry Picker

The Profession Of Warrior

The Profession Of Singer

The Profession Of Carpenter

The Profession Of Hunter

A'αlk Dances

A'αlk Origin Myths

Early History Of The Society

Miscellaneous Ceremonies

Chapter Vi Origin Myths


Bella Coola Origin Myths

Origin Myth Of Äłqäläxł 3

Second Origin Myth Of Äłqäläxł 7

Origin Myth Of S□skiıtł 9

Fragment Of A □omqo˙ts Origin Myth 10

Origin Myth Of Snu□(ə)li 11

Second Origin Myth Of Snu□(ə)li 13

Third Origin Myth Of Snu□(ə)li 14

Origin Myth Of Nus□αlst 15

Origin Myth Of Nus□αlst

Fragment Of An Origin Myth Of Nu□łeαx 19

Fragment Of An Origin Myth Of Nu□łeαx 20

Origin Myth Of Stuıx 21

Second Origin Myth Of Stuıx 22

Third Origin Myth Of Stuıx 23

Fourth Origin Myth Of Stuıx 26

Fragment Of A Snu□łε˙tł Origin Myth 27

Origin Myth Of Nusxeq 30

Origin Myth Of Nusxeq

Origin Myth Of Sätłia 31

Second Origin Myth Of Sätłia 32

Origin Myth Of Täl˙io 33

Second Origin Myth Of Täl˙io 34

Third Origin Myth Of Täl˙io 37

Fourth Origin Myth Of Täl˙io 38

Origin Myth Of Nu□(ə)l 39

Origin Myth Of Ä□εt˙i 40

Origin Myth Of Nutsqwałt 43

Origin Myth Of Siwal˙os 45

Origin Myth Of Äskłta 46

Origin Myth Of Sä˙tsk□ 51

Origin Myth Of Nuxwılst 56

Origin Myth Of An Unidentified Town 57

A Fragmentary Origin Myth 59

Origin Myths Of Other Tribes

Origin Myth Of Owiki 60

An Early Bella Bella Myth Transmitted By Marriage To Bella Coola 61

Fragmentary Myth Of A Bella Bella Town 65

The Home Of The Dogs

Fragment Of A Kwatna Origin Myth 66

Origin Myth Of Schooner Pass 67

Origin Myth Of Qotłnεlos 68

Origin Myth Of Suxwılk 70

An Origin Myth Of □wiyai 71

Early Traditions Having The Ceremonial Significance Of Origin Myths

An Early Istäm□ Myth 72

A Myth Of Sea-lion Island 78

An Early Myth Of Kılde˙t 79

Sısaok Origin Myths

The Origin Of The Sısaok Name, Spuxpux□ä˙mpdimut 80

A Sınxł Sısaok Myth

A Bella Bella Sısaok Myth 83

Chapter Vii Birth, Adolescence, Marriage


Childhood Instruction

Puberty Rites


Choice Of Mate

Period Of Engagement

Marriage Rites

Married Life


Discreditable Marriages

Repurchase Of The Wife

Dissolution Of Marriage

Ceremonial Marriage

Extra-marital Relations

Chapter Viii Death

Death Rites

Omens Of Death

Causes Of Death

Rites Following Death

Disposal Of The Body

Rites Following Disposal Of The Body

Memorial Rites

The Memorial Potlatch

Detailed Account Of A Funeral

Fate Of The Dead

Life Of The Dead

Accounts Of Experiences With Ghosts

A Rescue From Ghosts

An Attempt To Rescue A Dead Wife

An Inadvertent Visit To The Land Of Ghosts

A Kitlobe Story Of A Descent To The Land Of Ghosts

A Carrier Story Of An Ascent To The Land Of The Dead

Chapter Ix Relations With The Supernatural


Sterile Apparitions 1

Supernatural Aid Granted To The Unfortunate

The Good Fortune Of 'yeäxdji

Supernatural Good Luck

Supernatural Good Luck From Stones


Shamanism In The Distant Past

The Adventures Of Waowal˙is

Modern Shamanism

The Obtaining Of Shamanistic Power

The Curing Of The Sick

Shamanistic Ceremonies

The Power Of Shamans

Shamans From The Dead

The Lads Who Visited The Home Of The Dead

Direct Revelations From The Supreme God

A Snä□om

A Potential Sna□om

The Woman Who Could Call Thunder

A Kimsquit Snä□om

Power Localized In Certain Spots


Chapter X Stories Illustrating The Supernatural

Stories Illustrating Supernatural Aid Granted To The Unfortunate

The Gambler's Success

The Lad Who Was Helped By Mountain Goat

The Fortunate Glutton 4

The Good Fortune Of □saixłitł

The Good Fortune Of Yεlhal˙a

The Two Ugly Brothers

The Man Who Married A Copper Wife

The Man Who Married Wolf 8

The Man Who Married Wolf

The Orphan Hunter

The Orphan Hunter

The Boy Who Was Befriended By Grizzly Bear

The Dog's Wife 14

Qwinao 's Revenge

A Neglected Opportunity

The Man Who Slew Äłquntäm 's Son

The Man Who Was Helped By Grizzly Bear

The Lad Who Visited The Home Of The Fish

The Successful Sealer

Stories Illustrating Supernatural Good Luck

The Mätsqus

The Mätsqus That Was Caught In A Net

The Man Who Accidentally Killed A Mätsqus

The Man Who Hooked A Mätsqus

The Trapping Of A Mätsqus

The Man Who Ate A Sısiutł

The Catching Of A Sısiutł

Stories Illustrating Shamanism

The Fortunes Of Qwvn˙a

The Lad Who Was Made A Shaman By The Salmon

The Lad Who Was Helped By A Salmon

The Man Who Was Helped By A Raven

A Bella Bella Shaman

The Youth Whom Sä˙□ma Befriended

The Four Brothers

The Four Brothers

The Four Brothers

Why Winter Comes

The Man Who Received Power From The Moon 26

The Woman Who Married A Bear 27

The Woman Who Married A Bear

The Marriage Of Tłitcäpliłän˙a 's Daughter

The Marriage Of □łitcäpliłän˙a 's Daughter

The Death Of Nunusxwmołεk 31

The □łäqmä˙ks

The Goat Hunters

The Woman Who Befriended A Wolf

Chapter Xi Medicine, Magic, Taboo 1


Causative Medicines

Medicines Of Infancy

Medicines Of Childhood

Medicines Applied To Young Dogs

Medicines Pertaining To Love, Marriage, And Childbirth

Miscellaneous Medicines Used By Adults

Malevolent Medicines

Preventive And Curative Medicines

Medicines Of Infancy And Childhood

Medicines For Ordinary Diseases

Remedies For Ailments Caused By Supernatural Or Human Beings


A Bella Bella Sorcerer

The Outwitting Of A Sorcerer

The Discovery Of Two Sorcerers

A Family Of Kwatna Sorcerers

A Bella Coola Sorcerer


Food Taboos Observed By Women

Taboos Observed By Hunters

Ritual Acts

Rites Connected With The First Olachen

Rites Connected With The First Spring Salmon 8

Miscellaneous Beliefs

Publication Information

Paragraph Subjects (OCM)

Publication Information The main body of the Publication Information page contains all the metadata that HRAF holds for that document.

Author: Author's name as listed in Library of Congress records

Title: The Bella Coola Indians: volume one

Published By: Original publisher Toronto: University of Toronto Press. 1948. xxi, 763 p., 24 plates map

By line: Author's name as appearing in the actual publication by T. F. McIlwraith

HRAF Publication Information: New Haven, Conn.: Human Relations Area Files, 2010. Computer File

Culture: Culture name from the Outline of World Cultures (OWC) with the alphanumberic OWC identifier in parenthesis. Nuxalk (NE06)

Subjects: Document-level OCM identifiers given by the anthropology subject indexers at HRAF Settlement patterns (361); Spirits and gods (776); Ethnozoology (825); Clans (614); Accumulation of wealth (556); Community heads (622); Mythology (773); Literary texts (539); Death (760); Sickness (750); Revelation and divination (787); Development and maturation (856); Magic (789);

Abstract: Brief abstract written by HRAF anthropologists who have done the subject indexing for the document 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.

Document Number: HRAF's in-house numbering system derived from the processing order of documents 1

Document ID: HRAF's unique document identifier. The first part is the OWC identifier and the second part is the document number in three digits. ne06-001

Document Type: May include journal articles, essays, collections of essays, monographs or chapters/parts of monographs. Monograph

Language: Language that the document is written in English

Field Date: The date the researcher conducted the fieldwork or archival research that produced the document 1922-1924

Evaluation: In this alphanumeric code, the first part designates the type of person writing the document, e.g. Ethnographer, Missionary, Archaeologist, Folklorist, Linguist, Indigene, and so on. The second part is a ranking done by HRAF anthropologists based on the strength of the source material on a scale of 1 to 5, as follows: 1 - poor; 2 - fair; 3 - good, useful data, but not uniformly excellent; 4 - excellent secondary data; 5 - excellent primary data Ethnologist-5

Analyst: The HRAF anthropologist who subject indexed the document and prepared other materials for the eHRAF culture/tradition collection. John Beierle ; 1963: John Beierle; 2010

Coverage Date: The date or dates that the information in the document pertains to (often not the same as the field date). 1840s-1924

Coverage Place: Location of the research culture or tradition (often a smaller unit such as a band, community, or archaeological site) Bella Coola Reserve, Bella Coola Valley, British Columbia, Canada

LCSH: Library of Congress Subject Headings Bella Coola Indians


Copy and paste a formatted citation or use one of the links below to export the citation to your chosen bibliographic manager.

Export a Citation