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Cultural Coherency and Resistance in Historic-Period Northwest-Coast Mortuary Practices at Kimsquit

Paul Prince
Historical Archaeology
Vol. 36, No. 4 (2002), pp. 50-65
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25617024
Page Count: 16
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Abstract

This paper analyzes the mortuary practices of the Kimsquit people of the central coast of British Columbia as seen at a cemetery dating approximately A.D. 1850-1927. The cemetery gives the outward appearance of rapid change in burial mode, grave goods, and grave monuments, coincident with increasing acculturative pressures. When considered within the context of written records of the Kimsquit people's attitude to Euro-Canadian culture, the use of manufactured goods evident at associated domestic sites, and the ideology behind mortuary practices, it can be argued that there was a continuance of attitudes towards death, wealth, and descent in the mortuary complex. The patterns observed here support the position that creative changes may occur under conditions of intense colonial pressure, and they are directed by underlying structures of long-term history, such that change can be a more effective strategy towards cultural survival than extreme conservatism.

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