Tracing the World’s Edge:Northwest Coast interactions with the external world

Author(s): Colin Grier; Grant Keddie

Year: 2017


In this paper, we address the extent to which Northwest Coast societies, and specifically those of the Salish Sea, were engaged in, participated in, or were connected to an external world beyond their own perceived borders. We consider four elements of the problem. First, we examine ethnographic data pertaining to the spatial extent of the known world, and trace its borders. We then consider the flow of exogenous and exotic materials into the Northwest Coast over time, and assess the significance and role of these items in local contexts. We also consider these materials from the perspective of movement of ideas and symbolic frameworks, and address whether they were utilized in specific ways in the construction of status, power and inequality. Finally, we assess the degree to which it can be argued that external connections mattered for cultural change on the Northwest Coast, and whether there is a case that Northwest Coast societies exported materials or concepts to other regions. All tolled, data suggest that while external connections were evident, the Northwest Coast may have been quite locally focused through its long history, reflecting the strong role of place in cultural frameworks of the region.

Cite this Record

Tracing the World’s Edge:Northwest Coast interactions with the external world. Colin Grier, Grant Keddie. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429413)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -169.717; min lat: 42.553 ; max long: -122.607; max lat: 71.301 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16295