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Breaking Ground: The Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe and the Unearthing of Tse-Whit-Zen Village (Capell Family Book)by Lynda V. Mapes
Synopses & Reviews
In 2003, a backhoe operator hired by the state of Washington to work on the Port Angeles waterfront discovered what a larger world would soon learn. The place chosen to dig a massive dry dock was atop one of the largest and oldest Indian village sites ever found in the region. Yet the state continued its project, disturbing hundreds of burials and unearthing more than 10,000 artifacts at Tse-whit-zen village, the heart of the long-buried homeland of the Klallam people.
Excitement at the archaeological find of a generation gave way to anguish as tribal members working alongside state construction workers encountered more and more human remains, including many intact burials. Finally, tribal members said the words that stopped the project: "Enough is enough."
Soon after, Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe chairwoman Frances Charles asked the state to walk away from more than $70 million in public money already spent on the project and find a new site. The state, in an unprecedented and controversial decision that reverberated around the nation, agreed.
In search of the story behind the story, Seattle Times reporter Lynda V. Mapes spent more than a year interviewing tribal members, archaeologists, historians, city and state officials, and local residents and business leaders. Her account begins with the history of Tse-whit-zen village, and the nineteenth- and twentieth-century impacts of contact, forced assimilation, and industrialization. She then engages all the voices involved in the dry dock controversy to explore how the site was chosen, and how the decisions were made first to proceed and then to abandon the project, as well as the aftermath and implications of those controversial choices.
This beautifully crafted and compassionate account, illustrated with nearly 100 photographs, illuminates the collective amnesia that led to the choice of the Port Angeles construction site. "You have to know your past in order to build your future," Charles says, recounting the words of tribal elders. Breaking Ground takes that teaching to heart, demonstrating that the lessons of Tse-whit-zen are teachings from which we all may benefit.
Lynda V. Mapes is an award-winning journalist with a twenty-year career in newspaper reporting, much of it with the Seattle Times. She is the author of Washington: The Spirit of the Land.
"Compelling, moving, inspirational, and profound. This is a captivating human interest story brought to life by a fascinating historical subplot, juxtaposed with a modern tragedy." - CHiXapkaid (Michael Pavel), Skokomish, Traditional Bearer of Southern Puget Salish cultures
"A wonderful project . . . both because of the author's passion and accessible style and her attention to critical issues of ethics and relationship-building. A significant contribution to the region and to scholarship more broadly." - Coll Thrush, author of Native Seattle
In colonial North and South America, print was only one way of communicating. Information in various forms flowed across the boundaries between indigenous groups and early imperial settlements. Natives and newcomers made speeches, exchanged gifts, invented gestures, and inscribed their intentions on paper, bark, skins, and many other kinds of surfaces. No one method of conveying meaning was privileged, and written texts often relied on nonwritten modes of communication.
Colonial Mediascapes examines how textual and nontextual literatures interacted in colonial North and South America. Extending the textual foundations of early American literary history, the editors bring a wide range of media to the attention of scholars and show how struggles over modes of communication intersected with conflicts over religion, politics, race, and gender. This collection of essays by major historians, anthropologists, and literary scholars demonstrates that the European settlement of the Americas and European interaction with Native peoples were shaped just as much by communication challenges as by traditional concerns such as religion, economics, and resources.
When the U.S. government ended its relationship with dozens of Native American tribes and bands between 1953 and 1966, it was in fact engaging in a massive social experiment. Congress enacted the program, known as termination, in the name of and#8220;freeingand#8221; the Indians from government restrictions and improving their quality of life. Eliminating the federal status of more than nine dozen tribes across the country, however, plunged many of their nearly thirteen thousand members into even deeper levels of poverty and eroded the tribal peopleand#8217;s sense of Native identity. Beginning in 1973 and extending over a twenty-year period, the terminated tribes, one by one, persuaded Congress to restore their ties to the federal government. Nonetheless, so much damage had been done that even today the restored tribes struggle to overcome the problems created by those terminations more than half a century ago.
Roberta Ulrich provides a concise overview of all the terminations and restorations of Native American tribes from 1953 to 2006 and explores the enduring policy implications for Native peoples. This is the first book to consider all the terminations and restorations in the twentieth century as part of continuing policy while simultaneously detailing some of the individual tribal differences. Drawing from congressional records, interviews with tribal members, and other primary sources, Ulrich examines the causes and effects of termination and restoration from both sides.
About the Author
Suzanne Oakdale is an associate professor of anthropology at the University of New Mexico. She is the author of I Foresee My Life: The Ritual Performance of Autobiography in an Amazonian Community (Nebraska, 2005). Magnus Course is a senior lecturer in social anthropology at the University of Edinburgh. He is the author of Becoming Mapuche: Person and Ritual in Indigenous Chile.
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