The Social Life of Names
Becoming Tsimshian examines the way in which names link members of a lineage to a past and to the places where that past unfolded. At traditional potlatch feasts, for example, collective social and symbolic behavior “gives the person to the name.” Oral histories recounted at a potlatch describe the origins of the name, of the house lineage, and of the lineage's rights to territories, resources, and heraldic privileges. This ownership is renewed and recognized by successive generations, and the historical relationship to the land is remembered and recounted in the lineage's chronicles, or adawx.
In investigating the different dimensions of the Tsimshian naming system, Christopher F. Roth draws extensively on recent literature, archival reference, and elders in Tsimshian communities. Becoming Tsimshian, which covers important themes in linguistic and cultural anthropology and ethnic studies, will be of great value to scholars in Native American studies and Northwest Coast anthropology, as well as in linguistics.
About the Author
"This is an important work that combines extensive ethnographic fieldwork with sophisticated theoretical analysis of cultural, historical, and linguistic data. It will be valued by scholars of the region, as well as those interested in such issues as cultural continuity, naming practices, and traditional land tenure. It should be the new gold standard for Tsimshian studies."—Michael HarkinUniversity of Wyoming;, author of Heiltsuks: Dialogues of Culture and History on the Northwest Coast
"Roth provides a major new contribution to Tsimshian, Northwest, and personhood studies. His argument is persuasive and well written and is likely to appeal to a wide readership because it includes vivid examples."—Jay MillerOhio State University;, author of Lushootseed Culture and the Shamanic Odyssey and Tsimshian Culture: A Light Through the Ages
Other Titles in SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / Cultural & Social
Other Titles in Ethnic minorities & multicultural studies