Web List: Native Americans of the Northwest Myths and Cultural Information
When searching online for sources for myths, begin with Native American cultural centers and tribal Web sites, museums, universities, and academic presses. Many people post personal pages in which the myths recounted may be overly simplified versions of oral traditions that bear little relationship to authentic stories. Significant changes to the language, style, or plot of a myth can completely alter its meaning. Look for authentic oral traditions to provide a richer experience for your students.
American Memory from the Library of Congress
Visit a digital collection of more than 2,300 photographs and 7,700 pages of text relating to the American Indians in two cultural areas of the Pacific Northwest, the coast and the plateau. These resources document traditional life and are drawn from the collections of the University of Washington libraries, the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture, and the Museum of History and Industry. Ten scholarly essays are also included.
Canadian Museum of Civilization
Find stories about Raven and other characters as part of the Canadian Museum of Civilization's exhibit People of the Salmon, which includes the Salish, Nuu-Chah-Nulth, and Kwakwaka'wakw, Tsimshian, and Haida peoples. The site is also useful for general tribal information.
Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska
Explore the links to research neighboring Northwest groups such as the Tsimshian.
Kwagiutl Collection of British Columbia Native Art
An article by anthropologist Karen Duffek discusses the symbolic significance of the animals depicted in Northwest Indian art. The site also provides a brief introduction to artistic creations such as totem poles, coppers, feast dishes, and chilkat blankets. To do additional research on Northwest tribal groups, try entering the name of the tribe in your search engine.
U'mista Cultural Society
Dedicated to the preservation of Kwakwaka'wakw culture, the U'mista Cultural Society has posted short origin myths drawn from late 19th- and early 20th-century sources.
Copyright © 2004 American Museum of Natural History. All rights reserved.
More About This Resource...
This reference list contains five Web sites with Northwest Coast resources. It also includes general tips about searching for myths and cultural information online. The featured sites include:
- origin myths and creation stories
- general tribal information
- a discussion of significant animals and creatures
- a digital collection of photographs and text
Supplement a study of cultural anthropology with a classroom activity drawn from this library of Web links.
- Ask students: What role does food play in holidays and other cultural celebrations?
- Share the information about feast dishes found on the Kwagiutl Collection of British Columbia Native Art site (http://www.bcnativeindianart.com/history.htm) with students.
- Plan a classroom feast where each student brings a culturally significant feasting dish. If you don't want to actually host a feast, you can have students write a brief description of the dish they'd bring.
OriginTotems to Turquoise
SubtopicMagic, Ritual and, Belief