S'abadeb / The Gifts

Pacific Coast Salish Art and Artists

Barbara Brotherton

  • $39.95 paperback (9780295988634) Add to Cart
  • hardcover not available
  • Published: 2008
  • Subject Listing: Native American and Indigenous Studies; Art History / Native American and Indigenous Art
  • Bibliographic information: 240 pp., 225 illus., 200 in color, 9 x 12 in.
  • Territorial rights: N/A in Canada
  • Published with: Seattle Art Museum
  • Contents

S'abadeb, The Gifts captures the essence of Coast Salish culture through its artistry, oral traditions, and history. Developed in conjunction with the first extensive exhibition of the art and culture of the Coast Salish peoples of Washington State and British Columbia, the book traces the development of Salish art from prehistory to the present. Sculpture in wood, stone, and bone - including monumental house posts - as well as expertly crafted basketry, woven regalia, and contemporary works in glass, print media, and painting showcase a sweeping artistic tradition and its contemporary vibrant manifestations.

S'abadeb is the Lushootseed term for "gifts" and invokes a principle at the heart of Salish sculpture: reciprocity, both in the public and spiritual domains. This richly symbolic word expresses the importance of giving gifts at potlatches, of giving thanks during first food ceremonies, of the creativity bestowed upon artists and other leaders, and of the roles of the master artists, oral historians, and cultural leaders in passing vital cultural information to the next generations. The theme of S'abadeb and practices of reciprocal exchange in Salish society are illuminated here through the intersection of art with ceremony, oral traditions, the land, and contemporary realities.
Barbara Brotherton is curator of Native American art at the Seattle art Museum. Other contributors are Crisca Biewert, Steven C. Brown, Sharon Fortney, Vi taqseblu Hilbert, Michael Kew, Carolyn J. Marr, Gerald Bruce subiyay Miller, Jay Miller, Astrida Blukis Onat, C. Michael CHiXapkaid Pavel, Qwalsius Shaun Peterson, Susan Point, Wayne Suttles, and Ellen White.
Foreword by Mimi Gardner Gates
Welcome from the Tribal Chairs
Pronunciation Guide
Salishan Languages
Introduction by Barbara Brotherton

The Gifts

Storied Arts: Lushootseed Gifting Across Time and Space / Vi taqwseblu Hilbert and Jay Miller

Kwulasulwut: Teachings of the Past, Treasures of the Future / Ellen White Kwulasulwut

Traditional Teachings about Coast Salish Art / Gerald Bruce subiyay Miller and D. Michael CHiXapkaid Pavel

The Recognition of Coast Salish Art / Wayne Suttles

How Did It All Get There? Tracing the Path of Salish Art in Collections / Barbara Brotherton

A Dialogue about Coast Salish Aesthetics / Michael Kew and Susan Point

Remembrance / Astrida Blukis Onat

Symbols of Identity, Containers for Knowledge and Memories / Sharon Fortney

Objects of Function and Beauty: Basketry of the Southern Coast Salish / Carolyn J. Marr

Weaving in Beauty, Weaving in Time / Crisca Bierwert

More than Transportation: The Traditional Canoes of Puget Sound / Steven C. Brown

The Journey Has Just Begun / Qwalsius Shaun Peterson


"The illustrations in this book are splendid, and extensively interpreted. It is a pleasure to turn each page and discover archaeological, early contact, 19th and 20th century works, contemporary baskets, textiles, paintings, carvings, and prints by the ever-growing number of Salish artists who work in their traditions, as well as innovative creations by artists such as Lawrence Paul Yuxwelupton and Marvin Oliver. Far more important is my overall judgment that this stunning and substantial catalogue will educate a great number of people who have not yet recognized the impressive quality of Coast Salish art. Brotherton, the Seattle Art Museum, and the group of individuals who together assembled the exhibit and wrote essays for the catalogue have done a great service to Native American art history and ethnology by presenting an exceptional Northwest Coast tradition."
-Museum Anthropology Review

"We might keep in mind that scholars, until very recently, relegated Coast Salish art to the bottom of the totem, hardly worth footnoting, they claimed. Thanks to S'abadeb, the tide has turned, and Coast Salish art and artists are being recognized for generating art that can stand the test of time and public and scholarly scrutiny."
-American Book Review

"An extraordinary book. . . . [the contributors] have quite simply taken back their own history. . . . Now, with generosity, hospitality and honesty, these artists, scholars and community leaders are inviting us to share their cultural offerings, old and new."
-Seattle Times