Potlatch!

Sorry for the blog silence – been busy with other things this month.  I recently returned from a weeklong trip to Coos Bay.  Mostly I was there to do storytelling for 4th graders on a field trip to the Coquille plank house, and to attend a talk and book signing with my dad on Sunday afternoon, but I also got a chance to do a bit more word hunting in Hanis.

I got a cleaner photocopy of Frachtenberg’s ethnography – copies of two little notebooks of notes he took from interviewing Jim Buchanan about CLUS culture (Buchanan was familiar with all three, having spent many years of his life at Yachats and then the Siuslaw River).  I knew there was a word in there for ‘a feast and giving of presents’ to people invited to the feast – essentially a potlatch (a word that, per Wikipedia, originated in Nuu-chah-nulth and entered Chinook jargon, where it has become one of jargon’s best known words)- and I wanted to find this word.  And I did – it is kwinatl.  Buchanan said a feast and giveaway was held for the following occasions:  a young woman’s puberty ceremony, maturity of a boy, graduation of a medicine person, funeral, marriage, birth of a child, and becoming a chief.

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About shichils

Just sharing some fun on language
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