Tlingit "Streamscaping" as Landesque Capital Formation

Author(s): Steve Langdon

Year: 2017


The Tlingit heen sati ("stream master") was responsible for establishing and maintaining respectful relations with salmon as a trustee for his clan. The portfolio of obligations included both pragmatic duties controlling access and harvests and ritual responsibilities, such as greeting the arrival of salmon each year with welcoming ceremonies, practices anchored to the Salmon Boy mythic charter that identified the fundamental similarity of humans to salmon as persons. Another dimension of Tlingit interaction with salmon was the modification of in-stream features that was intended to accomplish different purposes through a variety of forms. The term "landesque capital" is a conceptual frame formulated to characterize landscape modifications among agriculturalists but is here utilized to examine the range of in-stream modifications developed by Tlingit through which to interact with salmon. It will be suggested that a particular form of landesque capital formation was motivated by Tlingit understanding of the "ish", a deep pool of slowly moving water in a stream, as a location of special importance to salmon as persons and beings. The long term consequences of in-stream modifications to create other features similar to the "ish" will be highlighted, particularly as related to increasing and regularizing salmon productivity.

Cite this Record

Tlingit "Streamscaping" as Landesque Capital Formation. Steve Langdon. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430931)

Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16202