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Article
Rethinking Precolonial Plant Cultivation on the Northwest Coast of North America
Professional Geographer (2002)
  • Douglas Deur, Portland State University
Abstract
The indigenous peoples of the Northwest Coast of North America are widely believed to have been true “hunter-fisher-gatherers,” lacking plant cultivation of any kind. This depiction of the region's indigenous inhabitants emerged within early colonial accounts and was perpetuated within the literatures of geography, anthropology, and archaeology. Still, there is ample evidence of plant cultivation available from archival, archaeological, and ethnographic sources. In particular, the peoples of coastal British Columbia created large gardens of edible estuarine plants, using sophisticated indigenous technologies. The oversight of these practices in written representations of the region reveals consistent patterns of bias, emanating from the agendas of colonial agents and early academics alike. In turn, this bias has undermined aboriginal traditions of cultivation and indigenous land claims.
Keywords
  • Ethnographic study
Publication Date
2002
DOI
10.1111/0033-0124.00322
Publisher Statement
PSU Professor Douglas Deur received the Association of American Geographers’ Warren J. Nystrom Award for this article.
Citation Information
Douglas Deur (2002) Rethinking Precolonial Plant Cultivation on the Northwest Coast of North America, The Professional Geographer, 54:2, 140-157