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Pacific Coast Natives

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Pacific Coast Natives - Page Text Content

BC: Thank you for reading our book. We hope that you learned about the Pacific Coast Natives.

FC: Pacific Coast Natives | Maor Ben-Izhak, Noah Mondrow, Rachel Offenheim, Sivan Hayek

1: Table of Contents: Totem Poles................Pg 3 Art.............................Pgs 4-5 Food...........................Pgs 6-7 Shelter......................Pgs 8-9 Potlatch....................Pgs 10-11 Transportation.........Pgs 12-13

3: One of the things that the Pacific Coast Natives were known for was their totem poles. Totem poles were made to commemorate different occasions such as births, weddings, successful hunts and potlatches. Totem poles were made to serve different purposes like shame poles and welcoming poles. Totem poles usually had animal faces on them. These faces can be wolves, bears, owls, orcas, eagles or thunder bird faces. Some totem poles even served as graves. The carvers hollowed out the top of the poles to put the persons remains in. Totem poles are still made today and some still stand in national parks. | Totem Poles

4: Art

5: The Pacific Coast Natives made many different pieces of art. Some were made of wood and others made of clay. Huge masks were worn during ceremonies like potlatches. Masks were decorated with feathers and leaves. Paints used to colour masks and totem poles were made of berries.

6: Food

7: The Haida ate all types of fish, shellfish, seal, sea lion, goat, whale, bear, sea otter, deer, elk, moose, beaver, wolf and fox. The most important fish was the salmon which returned to the coast every summer. They caught enough fish to last them the whole year. If they didn't do this, they would only have salmon is the summer and they wouldn't eat it all year round. Since they only caught salmon in the summer, they needed a way to preserve it. They let the salmon dry in the sun or smoked it over a fire. They also ate the silvery eulachon. In the spring the fish swarmed at the edge of the river. This fish was very useful because it was so greasy. They traded the oil from the fish with people from further inland. They had many ways of catching fish. We use many of the same methods today such as hook, line and nets. Other ways were less common like woven baskets which were placed in the water and the fish would swim in. They used spears to kill fish in the water and women stuck sticks in the sand to collect shellfish. Seals were much harder to kill because they were very smart. The hunter would need to sneak up behind them and hit them in the head with a club in order to kill them. The Haida found berries around their land such as cranberries and huckleberries. These were a great source of vitamins. They also ate birds, roots, shoots and bark from cedar trees. They prepared food by sticking it in a bent box filled with boiling water. They boiled the water by sticking rocks in the fire and then putting them in the water. Food was also roasted over an open fire.

8: The Pacific Coast Natives lived in longhouses. A longhouse was a big house that separated into different parts- each family had one part; each family had sleeping bunks and storage places. Some dug storage pits in the ground. It was 160 metres by 20 metres. 100 people lived in one longhouse. Usually, relatives lived in the same longhouse, which was made out of cedar trees because they were strong and easy to carve. The most important family slept furthest from the doorway. The highest chief owned the biggest house in the village. Their house was in the middle of the village. They painted symbols and animals (real and mythical) on the house to protect them. They also made totem poles and attached them to the front of the house to symbolize the people living inside. There were fire -places to keep them warm and smoke holes on top of them to let out the smoke. When it rained or snowed they closed the smoke holes and the house got filled with smoke so it was hard to breathe. They did many things in the longhouse such as playing games and having ceremonies. Some families hung mats or hides in front of their bunks for extra privacy. They hung food on the rafters to dry them. Longhouses were a great place to live because you were never alone. | Homes

10: Potlatch

11: A potlatch is a special ceremony confirming any public changes in status such as marriage, birth, death, and coming of age. During this celebration, guests eat, sing, dance and speeches are made. The word potlatch means “to give”. It has different names such as: The Feast and the Great Deed; these names came from different languages and cultures. The potlatch was a way to give presents to the villagers. The villagers got different presents according to their social rank. In the days of the Natives, each potlatch lasted 2 or 3 weeks. Presents could include: canoes, slaves, carved dishes and eulachon oil. The host could expect to be invited to many other potlatches in return for his potlatch. Potlatches were outlawed by the Canadian government in 1884 because the people who were at the potlatch spent so much money that they couldn't pay their taxes. Even though it was illegal, many communities still made potlatches. In 1951 the law was overturned and the Natives could make potlatches without being scared. Today potlatch hosts give money or household items and potlatches usually last a weekend. Based on what I read, the potlatch sounds like a lot of fun.

12: Transportation

13: Coastal Natives had to travel from place to place by water. Fish was their major food source. They needed boats that could be paddled far out to sea in order to catch the fish and to travel up and down the coast to trade. Canoes were often destroyed to show how wealthy the owner was and they were used to attend religious ceremonies, weddings, and funerals. The canoes were made from the tall cedar trees. In order for the tree not to tip over, woodworking tools were used such as the saw and axe, which we use today. The cedar was hollowed by lighting a small fire at the base of it and the fire was fed with cedar bark until a large hole was hollowed inside the tree. When the tree was on the ground it was slowly shaped with a small hand tool called an "adze". The wood was also shaped by using hot water and cross pieces of wood in order to make the canoe wider in the middle and narrow at the ends. In order to make the canoe as smooth as possible, the rough skin of the dogfish (which acted like sandpaper) was used to “sand” it. The canoe was greased with whale oil to preserve it and ensure it a long life. The canoe may sound complicated but in the end hard work pays off and you get a canoe that lasts a lifetime.

14: Bibliography Pages 4-5: Francis, Daniel. First Peoples and First Contacts. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 2000 Pages 1-3,6-11

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