Synopses & Reviews
Extending some 1,400 miles from Alaska to northern California, America's Northwest Coast is one of the richest and most distinct cultural areas on earth. The region is famous for its magnificent art -- masks, totem poles, woven blankets -- produced by the world's most politically and economically complex hunters and gatherers.
As this pioneering account shows, the history of settlement on the Northwest Coast stretches back some 11,000 years. With the stabilization of sea levels and salmon runs after 4000 B.C., many of the region's salient features began to emerge. Salmon fishing supported rapid population growth to a peak over 1,000 years ago. The spread of rain forest made available trees such as red cedar that could be turned into vast houses and seaworthy canoes. Large households and permanent villages emerged alongside slavery and a hereditary nobility. Warfare became epidemic, initially hand to hand but later characterized by the development of fortresses and the bow and arrow. Art evolved from simple carvings and geometric designs 5,000 years ago to the specialized crafts of the modern era.
Written by noted experts and profusely illustrated, this is an essential reference for scholars and students of Native American archaeology and anthropology as well as travelers to the region.