LANGUAGE DIVISIONS OF THE NORTHWEST COAST

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Geographical Considerations
Last updated 26 AUG 2017


PACIFIC NORTHWEST COAST TOPOGRAPHY
 

LAND OF PLENTY ~ LAND OF ISOLATION

 The northern northwest coast is a land where rugged mountains meet the water in a complex pattern of ridges that march off into the sea to create hundreds of islands, large and small. Forest comes down to the water's edge. The magnitude of the tides is great, but tidal zones are small because the land drops rapidly into the sea. This also means that, even though rivers and streams are many, their deltas and estuaries are relatively small.
   These features combine to produce a very productive intertidal zone, limited but rich shallow water fisheries, extensive deep-water marine resources including whales, and abundant riverine resources, especially salmon. Settlements, however, must be dispersed and isolated.

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TYPICAL FORREST-SEA INTERFACE IN THE STRAITS OF GEORGIA


CIRCUMPACIFIC TOPOGRAPHY
 

  The North Pacific region showing the terrain and coastal waters over which successive migrations of people entered the North America and repeatedly populated the Northwest Coast. Archaeologists, biologists and linguists are still sorting out the details of this process.

  To the right is what Carl Borden made of this process back in 1978. We've learned quite a lot since and the story is, of course, a bit more complex.

DOWNLOAD BORDEN'S PAPER

CURRENT COASTAL PERSPECTIVE BY WADE


Click on image to enlarge.

COHEN'S KILGII GWAAY THESIS

SETTLEMENT PATTERNS BY TOBIASZ

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  PACIFIC NORTHWEST COAST TOPOGRAPHY

PRECOLUMBIAN LANGUAGES OF WESTERN NORTH AMERICA

  These are the language families found along the Northwest Coast. The main thing to take away from this image is the incredible diversity of unrelated languages that you find here. Every one of the dark gray, numbered places is a language that is not related to any other known language.     VIEW THE WHOLE OF NORTH AMERICA.

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PACIFIC NORTHWEST COAST TOPOGRAPHY
 

  To the left are the principle languages spoken along the Northwest Coast. Note that Kwakiutl is spoken in two places - in northern and southern territories separated by the Bella Coola, as shown on the map below. On the map just above, the brick red area marks the southern Kwakiutl, of Kwakwakawakw. It is this group that is the main focus of this presentation.

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LANGUAGE DIVISIONS OF THE NORTHWEST COAST

BOREAL FORESTS IN CANADA

  This illustration shows the Boreal Forest stretching across Canada in a broad green ribbon along with other forest types along the Northwest Coast. What do forests have to do with Cannibal Woman. Well, in different cultures, people go insane in predictable, culturally correct ways. Indians in the Boreal Zone go insane becoming cannibals, or by fearing they are becoming cannibals, or by being possessed by cannibal spirits. The folk tales and myths surrounding the Wendigo are all about this avenue to insanity, and the Cannibal Woman Society is one way of addressing this problem and harnessing its social and economic potential.

Read about the Wendigo psychosis.   

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MAP SHOWING DISTRIBUTION OF ALGONQUIAN AND SALISHAN LANGUAGES

  Map showing the distribution of Algonquian languages the northern tier of which is associated with communities that have well developed Wendigo traditions, and Salishan languages that are commonly associated with Cannibal Woman traditions.

Read about the Wendigo psychosis.   

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