Be of Good Mind

Essays on the Coast Salish

Edited by Bruce Granville Miller

  • Published: 2007. Paperback 2008
  • Subject Listing: Native American and Indigenous Studies
  • Bibliographic information: 336 pp., 7 photos, 6 x 9 in.
  • Territorial rights: US rights only
  • Distributed for: UBC Press
  • Contents

The Coast Salish peoples of western Washington and British Columbia have never been subjected to the same concerted anthropological scrutiny as have their Northwest Coast counterparts. For a long time they were viewed simply as a subset of the Northwest Coast culture area, and because they underwent assimilative pressures early on it was thought that little of their culture remained to be preserved. In the early 1950s, however, anthropologist Wayne Suttles was among the first to publish pioneering and sustained research about the Coast Salish, contending that they were worthy of study in their own right.

Be of Good Mind is a necessary follow-up to Suttles' seminal work. This is the first book-length effort to incorporate Aboriginal perspectives directly. It offers a broad interdisciplinary approach, bringing together the views of Aboriginal leaders, anthropologists, historians, archaeologists, and linguists. Be of Good Mind reveals how Coast Salish lives and identities have been reshaped by two colonizing nations and by networks of kinfolk, spiritual practices, and ways of understanding landscape.

Contributors point to the continual transformation of Coast Salish identities through litigation and language revitalization and to community efforts to reclaim long-held cultural connections with the environment. Equally important is the development of detailed local and regional history and archaeology. Seamlessly edited by Bruce Granville Miller, this collection teases apart the received wisdom of earlier studies and brings the scholarship on the Coast Salish up to date.

Readers interested in First Nations history and contemporary issues in Canada and Aboriginal-academic relations will find this essential reading, as will scholars interested in ethnographic methods and interdisciplinary inquiry.
Bruce Granville Miller is a professor of anthropology at the University of British Columbia. Contributors include Bill Angelbeck, Crisca Bierwert, Daniel Boxberger, Keith Thor Carlson, Brent Galloway, Colin Grier, Alexandra Harmon, Nxaxalhts'I (Sonny McHalsie), Dave Schaepe, and Raymond (Rocky) Wilson.
List of Illustrations
Bruce Granville Miller
1. Coast Salish History / Alexandra Harmon
2. The Not So Common / Daniel L. Boxberger
3. We Have to Take Care of Everything That Belongs to Us / Naxaxalhts'i, Albert (Sonny) McHalsie
4. To Honour Our Ancestors We Become Visible Again / Raymond (Rocky) Wilson
5. Toward an Indigenous Historiography: Events, Migrations, and the Formation of "Post-Contact" Coast Salish Collective Identities / Keith Thor Carlson
6. "I Can Lift Her Up . . . ": Fred Ewen's Narrative Complexity / Crisca Bierwert
7. Language Revival Programs of the Nooksack Tribe and the St:lo Identity and the Cultural Landscape of S'méxw / David M. Schaepe
9. Conceptions of Coast Salish Warfare, or Coast Salish Pacifism Reconsidered: Archaeology, Ethnohistory, and Ethnography / Bill Angelbeck
10. Consuming the Recent for Constructing the Ancient: The Role of Ethnography in Coast Salish Archaeological Interpretation / Colin Grier

"The collection . . . makes a strong contribution to the emerging literature on indigenous histories that seeks to uncover local understandings of culture, identity, and social change. In addition, Be of Good Mind examines the changes occurring in the field of Coast Salish studies, by taking stock of its historical roots, by grappling with the opportunities of the present, and by commenting on the challenges that lie ahead."
-H-Net Reviews, H-Canada May 2009