Cultural change as reflected in the dress and accessories of the Indian tribes on the Pacific Northwest coast Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/1g05fg22v

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  • This thesis is a study of the dress and accessories of the Indians on the Pacific Northwest Coast at the time contact with white man was made, and during the period following contact, until cultural disintegration was complete. Information was obtained from historic accounts by early explorers, and books written by anthropologists. Examination of items in the Portland Art Museum, The Thomas Burke Memorial Washington State Museum, and Victoria Provincial Museum provided necessary association with the clothing and accessories worn at the time. Several conversations with Dr. Erna Gunther were of invaluable assistance. A study of clothing and accessories has value as it is related to the cultural achievements of the people, for viewed in isolation, these items played only a minor role in the total cultural development. Consequently, this study has been correlated to the history, religion, social structure, artistic accomplishments, and aspects of daily living of the Pacific Northwest Coast peoples. Shredded cedarbark clothing was worn by the Indians on the Pacific Northwest Coast from the Columbia River area to Alaska. These garments were mainly conical flaring capes for both sexes, or dresses and aprons for the women, and finely-woven rain hats. Fur robes, worn mainly by the northerners, and skin clothing by the mainland groups, were a part of the clothing pattern. Dentalia, abalone, copper, iron, and other materials were worn both for personal ornaments and for decoration on garments. Dress for ceremonial occasions was more elaborate, that of the chiefs with the Chilkat blanket, ornate headdress, and other clothing items, designed to command respect and indicate rank. The "button" blanket and dance shirt were developments of the Indian's clothing resulting from the use of goods brought by traders. Pacific Northwest Coast art was revealed in all aspects of the Indians' daily lives. Closely related to nature, the art was encouraged by the Indian's religious beliefs and system of social organization. Influence of the white man's culture at first spurred the Indian to achieve new heights in cultural attainment. A brief period of cultural glory was followed by cultural disintegration when the Indian was unable to adapt to the new system imposed by the white man.
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