Diversity and Development of Property Rights and Money in the Southern Pacific Northwest Coast

Author(s): Shannon Tushingham; Robert Bettinger

Year: 2017


At contact, property rights systems in northwestern California and southwestern Oregon were complex and diverse, and applied to a wide range of sacred places and items as well as use rights to foods and materials associated with a highly productive (yet very patchy) resource base. Use rights and possession extended from property that was commonly owned (e.g., game, line fishing locations) to individually owned property (e.g., productive salmon weir locations and acorn groves, dance rights, formulae). Individually owned items were easily negotiated with money, while other property less so. Despite similarities with the northern/central NWC, resource privatization was the norm, and household production remained on the family level operating within the "sweathouse group". Property rights and human-environmental relationships changed fundamentally at 1300 BP when plank house villages spread throughout the region. This time is characterized by a rapid, qualitative shift in adaptive strategies—including an expansion in diet that included back loaded staples (e.g., salmon) in addition to previously intensified front-loaded foods (e.g., acorns)—and likely involved an expansion and/or formalization of money use, resource privatization, and individually negotiated items.

Cite this Record

Diversity and Development of Property Rights and Money in the Southern Pacific Northwest Coast. Shannon Tushingham, Robert Bettinger. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430894)

Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 17631