At Home With the Bella Coola Indians
T.F. McIlwraith's Field Letters, 1922-4Book - 2003
Between 1922 and 1924, the young anthropologist T. F. McIlwraith spent eleven months in the isolated community of Bella Coola, British Columbia, living among the people now known as the Nuxalk First Nation. During his time there, McIlwraith gained intimate knowledge of the Nuxalk culture and of their struggle to survive in the face of massive depopulation, loss of traditional lands, and the efforts of the Canadian government to ban the potlatch.
This volume is a rich complement to McIlwraith’s classic ethnography The Bella Coola Indians (1948), incorporating his letters from the field as well as previously unpublished essays on the Nuxalk. Vivid and lively, the letters show the human side of the anthropologist, and provide a fascinating insight into the famous Northwest winter ceremonials and potlatch--events in which McIlwraith was one of the few white men privileged to participate.