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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
Fluent Selves examines narrative practices throughout lowland South America focusing on indigenous communities in Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, and Peru, illuminating the social and cultural processes that make the past as important as the present for these peoples. This collection brings together leading scholars in the fields of anthropology and linguistics to examine the intersection of these narratives of the past with the construction of personhood. The volumeand#8217;s exploration of autobiographical and biographical accounts raises questions about fieldwork, ethical practices, and cultural boundaries in the study of anthropology.
Rather than relying on a simple opposition between the and#8220;Western individualand#8221; and the non-Western rest, contributors to Fluent Selves explore the complex interplay of both individualizing as well as relational personhood in these practices. Transcending classic debates over the categorization of and#8220;mythand#8221; and and#8220;history,and#8221; the autobiographical and biographical narratives in Fluent Selves illustrate the very medium in which several modes of engaging with the past meet, are reconciled, and reemerge.and#160;
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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