Be of Good Mind: Essays on the Coast Salish

Author: Bruce Granville Miller

Publisher: UBC Press

Year: 2011

Genre: Social Science

336 pages

The Coast Salish peoples of western Washington and British Columbia have never been subjected to the same concerted anthropological scrutiny as have their Northwest Coast counterparts. For a long time they were viewed simply as a subset of the Northwest Coast culture area, and because they underwent assimilative pressures early on it was thought that little of their culture remained to be preserved. In the early 1950s, however, anthropologist Wayne Suttles was among the first to publish pioneering and sustained research about the Coast Salish, contending that they were worthy of study in their own right.

Be of Good Mind is a necessary follow-up to Suttles’ seminal work. This is the first book-length effort to incorporate Aboriginal perspectives directly. It offers a broad interdisciplinary approach, bringing together the views of Aboriginal leaders, anthropologists, historians, archaeologists, and linguists. Be of Good Mind reveals how Coast Salish lives and identities have been reshaped by two colonizing nations and by networks of kinfolk, spiritual practices, and ways of understanding landscape.

Contributors point to the continual transformation of Coast Salish identities through litigation and language revitalization and to community efforts to reclaim long-held cultural connections with the environment. Equally important is the development of detailed local and regional history and archaeology. Seamlessly edited by Bruce Granville Miller, this collection teases apart the received wisdom of earlier studies and brings the scholarship on the Coast Salish up to date.

Readers interested in First Nations history and contemporary issues in Canada and Aboriginal-academic relations will find this essential reading, as will scholars interested in ethnographic methods and interdisciplinary inquiry.