ABORIGINAL HOUSES OF
THE NORTHWEST PACIFIC COAST
Inst. Phillip Wisely
HOUSES OF THE NORTHWEST COAST
The people of the Northwest Coast were noted for their advanced state
of culture as compared to other aboriginal cultures of North America. A
thin strip of land from Northern California to Southern Alaska comprised
the home of these people. This area was rich in timber and food supplies
which had a very strong effect on the development of this culture.
The large easily accessible food supply from the ocean allowed the
people to remain in one location instead of moving about in the search for
food. This stationary attitude gave the incentive to devise a more perma-
nent structure then that which is usually associated with the North American
One of the notable developments was the heavy timber dwelling which
was almost universally used in this area.
Large forests in the area with easily worked wood coupled with the
more permanent dwelling location and a people with abundant liesure time
gave way to the development of the heavy timber house of this area.
This report will show how and why the timber house was developed
from this culture. A description of the dwellings used by the various tribes
that make up the culture of this area will show how nature worked with the
inhabitants towards this development.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
II. Wood of the Area
IV. Wood Working
V. Design Characteristics
VI. The Traditional House
A. Northern Type
B. Wakashan Type
C. Shed Roof Type
D. Oregon Coast Type
E. Three-Pitch Roof Type
VII. Laying out house plan
IX. Erecting House Structures
The cultures of the North Pacific Coast were to become notable
because of two important factors which set them apart from most other
North American aboriginal societies. An advance native culture developed
with little outside influence or help, they took over primitive native elements
and advanced on their own. This differed from a primitive people affected
by contact with a far more advanced society which acted as a stimulus for
development. The close proximity to the sea and its abundance of food lead
to a culture with more liesure time and a non-transient attitude As a
result of this the people had more time for creativity and inventiveness.
Land conditions of the area were to directly effect the development
of the inhabitants. The Pacific West Coast from southern Alaska to
northern California was known for its rugged conditions which were similar
to the climatic and geological conditions in the country of Norway.
The people took advantage of the surrounding forest of abundant ever-
greens, particularly red cedar and redwood. The readily available wood
supply had a definite effect on the development of the dwelling of these
The area had a surprisingly stable climate for such northern latitudes
This was due to the warm Japanese Current that ran along the coast and
the topography of the land with the Cascade Mountains as an eastern bound-
The cultures close proximity to the sea lead to a strong association
with the water and its food supply. The inhabitants mastered techniques
of fishing and trapping of salmon which was to become a large part of
their diet. Commonly used techniques were trapping, spearing, netting,
clubbing, and the use of bow and arrows.
A notable advancement was the development of techniques which allowed
the preservation of food for reasonable lengths of time. This development
greatly decreased the need of the people to move about in a constant search
for food. This important factor contributed to the inhabitants evolving a
more permanent type of structure.
Unlike most other American Indians, the cultures of the North Paci-
fic Coast developed an aristocracy. This was to be one of the key social
developments that gives an idea of the advanced state of these people.
Position in the classes was usually dictated by birthright or some other
The highest class was reserved for chiefs of royal blood and carried
with it certain privileges. Control of wealth and social rank were equated
with the right to rule, as were exclusive rights to practice certain crafts
reserved for nobility and privileges such as exclusive use of the best fish-
ing grounds and in some tribes the honor of hurling the whaling harpoon.
Members of nobility made up the next highest class, followed by the class
of the common people. Slaves, captives, and their offspring were to
represent the lowest class.
A social ritual common to most of these cultures was known as potlatch.
It was a ceremony of feasting and gift giving that took many forms, but its
purpose and nature was always the same. A show of social rank, wealth,
and status that generated into a lavish and prestigious affair. It was
given to mark birthdays, adoptions, and marriages or to impress someone
of particular importance. It occasionally was held to save face after
embarrassing failures or disappointments.
II. WOOD OF THE AREA
Evergreen forest covered most of the land inhabited by these cultures
and was to be a factor which allowed the development of their particular
type of dwelling. Two types of wood, red cedar in the north and redwood
in the south were used for dwellings due to their favorable properties. The
two similar types of wood were easily split into wide straight planks be-
cause of their easily opened cleavage planes. The wood was soft and
tractable which made it easy to work with native tools.
Wood used for small carvings was usually yellow cedar and alder, be-
cause it was easy to carve and did not have prominent cleavage lines.
Wood that was readily available, but not commonly used, was Douglas
fir, true firs, spruce, and hemlock. These varieties made up the major
portion of the forest, but were too difficult to handle with native tools due
to their tough and cross fibered characteristics.
III. NATIVE TOOLS
The native workmen possessed a wide variety of tools which were a
definite factor in attaining their high degree of wood working development.
A. MAU L
The maul was a hammering device of stone used to drive adzes,
chisels or vdges. It was used in two varies, either the mounted or the
unhafted unmountedd) type. The unhafted maul was the most commonly
used of the two types, with almost exclusive use in the Southern areas.
A mounted maul consisted of a stone head affixed to a long wooden handle
which was used with a full two handed swing. It saw wide spread use in
the Northern tribes such as the Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian, Bella Coola
and the Heiltsuk.
B. CUTTING BLADES
The cutting blades for adzes and other tools were found in the immed-
iate area by the native workmen. A great variety of blade types were used
such as; elkhorn, bone, strong shells, beaver incisors, tough grained igneous
rock and occasionally pieces of iron.
Chisels took the place of the saw and axe which were unknown to work-
men of these cultures. The blade was usually made of tough stone nephritee),
elkhorn or the dense shell of the deep water clam. It was mounted in a
hardwood shaft that was usually driven by a unhafted pear shaped maul.
The wedge was driven with a maul and used to split planks from logs.
They were used in a variety of sizes and degrees of taper, with one flat and
one curved surface to allow the workmen to control the direction of the
clevage. Hardwoods such as yew were used for the wedge with a grommet
of tough spruce root wrapped around the butt end to prevent splitting.
A few of the Northern tribes of California and their immediate neighbors
used elkhorn for their wedges.
The adze was used for the removal of wood in the shaping of beams,
canoes and other large wooden articles. Two styles were commonly used
either heavy or light depending on the type of woik to be done.
1. Heavy Adze
The heavy adze was a relatively long handled implement with a
blade set at an angle to the axMis of the wooden shaft. It was used in'
in place of the saw or axes which were unfamiliar to the native work-
men. I t was driven with a maul and used for large work, such as
felling trees or planning large surfaces.
'7 2. Light Adze
The light adze was used for fine work such as the finishing of a
surface to remove the marks left by the heavy adze. A beaver in-
cisor was often used for the blade due to its naturally keen edge and
was mounted in a variety of handle styles. The type of handle used
depended on the tribe and their preference, but their was evidence of
overlapping usage of the different styles in one tribe.
The elbow adze was used in the area from the Northern tungit tribes
to the Southern Kwakiutls and were characterized by a cutting blade
lashed to a "T" shaped wooden handle.
A "D" shaped handle of wood or whalebone was used for a "D"
adze which saw wide spread use in the central region by the Southern
Kwakiutls and down the Washington coast by the Nootkas.
The straight adze resembled a chisel with a slightly curve handle
and was common in the area south of the Columbia River.
Drills were used to produce holes for joining of wood by means of
dowels and a native style of tying or sewing. It consisted of a bit of a
hard material mounted in a straight wooden shaft that was rotated between
the workmen' s palms.
G. SANDING MATERIAL
Sanding material was used to remove adze marks to produce a smooth
finish. Fine sandstone and scouring rushes were used for rough work,
then finished with sharkskin to produce a smooth surface.
IV. WOOD WORKING
Products of Northwest carpentry were distinguished by neatness of
finish and developed to an extent unrivaled elsewhere in native North Amer-
ica. The fine elaborate carvings and painted decorations were accomplished
with rather crude and limited tools.
Within limits of functional design they strived for symmetry of form.
Corner s were squared, although they did not have the benefit of a tri-
square. Surfaces were carefully smoothed and polished far beyond ulitarian
needs and very often highly decorated.
Giant red cedar and other large trees were felled by laboriously chip-
ping away with adzes and chisels around the trunk. Adzes and chisels
were the primary tools for tree felling, because axes and saws were un-
known to the native craftsman. Occasionally fire was used for tree felling,
but not often, due to the difficulty of controlling burning of green wood.
The native carpenters had two methods of splitting planks from large
trees. The first and most common delt with trees that had been previously
cut down or felled by an act of nature.
The horizontal trunk was marked with a wedge along the desired cut
line, then a set of seven yew wood wedges were driven along this line. The
wedges were of increasing length and so placed that the shortest was nearest
the workman so all could be reached by him in order without changing his
position. As the wood began to split, spreading sticks were inserted to
speed the process. Throughout the procedure care is taken to keep the split-
ting surface on a straight plane by regulating the stresses in the wood by
ballasting or support.
The second method required less work, but was not as widely used as
the first. This procedure delt with trees that were still standing. The
tree was notched horizontally at two places to produce a plank of desired
length. Wedges were driven into the trunk to start the split between the
two marks. A log was then placed in the split to take advantage of wind
effects and tree movement to split off the plank.
Excellent workmanship was exhibited in finishing articles manufactured
from wood. Carvings were often used to finish the surface of large members
as was a native style of fluting, The final adzing was done so as to leave
marks in rows which resembled fluting. This was done the entire lengthof
the member to produce an interesting aesthetic effect.
V. DESIGN CHARACTERISTICS
Two main design styles used, one being a simple and pure art while
the other was an expression of formal decorative schemes.
The pure and simple applied art dealt with realistic images with the
interpretation striving to deplict accurate figures within the knowledge of
The stylized and represental art was in a high state of abstraction
and was more widely used than the pure form. A common practice of the
stylized design was to split the figure of an animal in half, showing both
the right and left profile at the same time. The head or iust the body may
be split in a similar fashion to form a variation of the above practice.
The abstraction may be to the point that the animal can only be easily
identified by a peculiar beak, tooth formation or other distinguishing
Symbolic design was widely used in house painting and on house posts
with a strong mythological influence. The central portion of the design
was usually occupied by the figures head.
Figure relations of simple figures used in house pole designs were in
two forms either interlocking or separated. The Southern tribes had fig-
ures placed one on top of another instead of interrelated This is thought
to be the result of horizontal overlapping siding boards which did not give
a smooth continuous painting surface. This caused separation of the figures
on house paintings which were carried over to the figures of totem poles.
VI. THE TRADITIONAL HOUSE OF THE
NORTH PACIFIC COAST CULTURES
Traditionally the house was a rectangular plank structure with heavy
post and roof beams. These were universally used at winter villages and
other important localities.
Several varients of the basic pattern were used, each with definite
geographical distributions and with only a minor degree of overlapping
styles. Deviation from the main form is suggested by a number of dis-
tinctive features shared by two or more sub-types such as:
1. Double ridge pole
2. Carved posts and roof timber
3. Walls separate from the roof supports
4. Gabled, shed and flat roofs
5. Central pits
6. Multi-family occupancy
7. Basic outline and material
On the basi s of overlapping distribution of these features it seems
reasonable to assume that the varients of the rectangular plank house
represented local modifications of a single ancestrial plan. Regardless of
which house type was used, the north Pacific coast cultures had sufficient
mechanical ingenuity to adapt their dwelling to any peculiar local needs.
The construction process for the dwellings among the different tribes
was basically the same, Mortise and tendon along with tied connections
were used to join the heavy members among the different cultures.
/6. A. NORTHERN TYPE
Tlingit, Tsimshian and Haida used the Northern type of structure for
housing. This was a large rectangular gable roofed house made of massive
timbers of red cedar. Averaging in size of 50 feet by 55 feet. Four square
corner posts were slotted to receive plates or side beams. Corner posts
also supported paired plates that formed low gables in the front and rear.
Elaborately carved subsidiary posts, supported typical double ridge poles.
Posts and beams were often provided to divide the span between the paired
/ 7. ridge posts and side plates. Sills were mortised into the bases of corner
posts at the front and sides. Upper sill faces and undersides of roof plates
had matching slots. These slots provided the support to form walls using
/ 8 vertical planks. The roofing consisted of double rows of overlapping
planks on a low pitch.
/ c, A central pit was provided that was approximately five feet in depth
and 30 feet square. The pit was dug only a short distance inside the walls,
and used as a central fire place where the people ate. Usually several steps
led into this area; however, tradition tells of houses of renowned chiefs
that had a series of four or five benches leading into the pit.
Sleeping compartments were provided in the houses for important
families. These were small cubicles built of planks which were minatures
even to their gabled roofs of the houses. Most often these compartmenrts
were located in the rear of the house on a bench at ground level. The space
between the pit and the wall was generally used for this purpose as well as
for storage. The front of the house-chiefs compartment was often painted
with elaborate designs.
The doorway was cut through the large center post of the house located
at. the gable end and was often oval or rectangular in shape.
The tlingit culture had a varient of the above house in the form of
structures built on very narrow strips of beach in steep inland fjord. These
were pilling dwellers who built houses on pile foundations partly or entirely
The Haida tribe had the distinctive feature of using an elaborately
carved exterior house post that extended high above the roof. It was set
in front of the house and had a gapeing hole in the mouth of one of the crest
figures which was to act as the entry.
Unlike other houses of this area, the Haida dwelling's did not have
a distinguishable sleeping such as the common bed platform. Instead
partition walls 6 to 8 feet high divided the space randomly to fit the varying
A uniform size and style of house construction was more evident
among this culture. The houses were 45 to 50 feet long and 25 feet wide
with a roof height of 10 to 12 feet high with very little slope.
The Tsimshian people utilized a modification of the pile dwelling which
was to raise the house above the high tide level on a cribwork foundation.
Large house poles were occasionally used at the front of the house to
depict the inhabitants major ancestral crests.
22. B. WAKASHAN TYPE
The area for this type of house is just South of the far Northern group
of tribes, consisting of the Kwakiutl, Bella Coola, Nootka and Coast
Tsimshain tribes. Their houses were constructed somewhat differently
than those in the North.
23. The walls f each house were structurally separate from the rest of
the framework whose fiction was to support the roof. The massive house
frames consisted of four huge corner posts which formed a rectangle
measuring 20 feet or more wide and 50 to 100 feet long.
Double or single ridgeposts were supported at either ends by pairs of
posts with cross supports. Ridgepoles raised the centerline of the roof
* and gave a slight pitch from the center to the eaves. Over this a secondary
set of beams and rafters of large poles was set to support the roof. Roof
planks of red cedar from one to five feet in width were laid over the frame-
work. Usually the length of these planks was two fathoms. Roof boards were
often left loose to enable the control of rain and smoke. In these houses the
roof slope was so low that early sources described these houses as flat roofed.
The Nootkan's life style was especially suitable for this type of house.
This tribe moved to several locations throughout the year- therefore, living
quarters had to be provided at each location.
The inhabitants resolved the problem of the need for a number of
L structures by erecting permanent frames at their three most widely used
camps; 1) summer fishing, 2) winter village, 3) salmon stream. The wall
and roof boards were removable so they could be moved- from frame to
frame; therefore, a singel set of planks served them year round. In route
to a different site the planks were used to construct temporary makeshift
Principle houseposts of this area were sometimes left in the natural
round of the log from which they were cut. Hereditary privilidges often
called for the ridgepole to extend above the facade of the house. These
ridgepoles were often carved with designs of local animals such as sea
lion heads. Carved crests were on the house fronts to represent crests and
B-2 Bella Coola
Frequently this group had an unusual feature of having three separate
dwellings placed inside one structure. To obtain access, one would remove
a loose board on the top of each compartment. The house usually pro-
truded out from an enbankment with the front and sides on pole foundations.
In recent times this group copied the practices of Northern tribes
in the construction of plank walled sleeping compartments inside the house.
The Kwakiutl often used carved house posts with a crotch to carry their
C. SHED TYPE
This type of housing was most common among the Coastal Salish
tribes of the Gulf of Georgia and Puget Sound. This house most resembled
that of the "Wakashan" type of the tribes to the North. Horizontal siding
was structurally separate from the house frame.
The major feature which distinguished this house from others was its
roof. A shed roof was used instead of the conventional gable roof.
The plan of this house was narrower and much longer than the gable
roof houses. As a result of this length, wide raised shelves were made along
the sides and back walls to serve as sleeping and storage areas. Often a
single village might occupy one house of this type.
Overlapping with other tribe sections was evident in the use of shed
roofs by the Southern Kwakiutl and Nootkans to the North. Several Gulf
of Georgia Salish groups built gable roof and shed roof houses together.
36. D. OREGON COAST TYPE
This type of dwelling was found along the lower Columbian River, the
coast of Washington and Oregon. These structures were used by the Chinook
and most Oregon tribes and were commonly large enough to house a
number of family units.
Although similar to the previously discussed structures, it was a
varient unlike those commonly seen before. The distinctive feature was
a deep rectangular pit which was lined with vertically set planks which
acted as the total of the siding dwelling. Corner posts and ridgeposts sup-
ported long heavy timbers on which the roof planks were laid to form a
steep slipping gabled roof with it's eaves just above ground level.
Raised shelve like platforms three feet above the floor ran on both
side walls and along the back wall. The platforms were used for sleeping
The doorway was a round hole cut through a wide plank a little above
ground level at one of the gable ends. This small doorway which was
3K designed for protection lead to a notched log ladder where the occupants
descended to the floor level.
38. E. THREE-PITCH ROOF TYPE
This distinctive feature was prevalent among the Yurok, Kapok, Lower
Klamath and Hupa tribes and was to set this type of dwelling apart from
those commonly used on the North Pacific Coast. A functional purpose
could not be found for the three-pitch roof; therefore, it was concluded
to be a form of local elaboration.
The structural system of the dwelling in some respects was more like
that used at the Northern end of the Pacific Coast than the type prevalent
among their immediate neighbors directly to the North. The house had
a deep central pit which started two or three feet from the wall. This left
a step or bench at ground level which was used as a storage area. The pit
itself formed the main living space of the structure.
A round doorway just big enough to squeeze through was cut into a
large redwood plank and was located on one of the gabled ends of dwelling.
Sc. The dwelling of the Yurok's differed from those of its neighbors although
they were of similar location in the area.
The layout of the small villages of these people did not follow a dis-
tinctive plan. The houses were randomly located unlike the well ordered
beach layouts of the coastal tribes to the North. The dwelling was smaller
in contrast to the size used by other tribes of the area.
The major difference between the Yuroks house and the houses of the
other cultures of the area was the manner in which the entry was handled.
The round doorway was cut through a plank located near a corner at one of
the gable ends. Behind this doorway stood an interior partition near the
edge of the pit. The small space that was formed had no particular
purpose except for storage. This chamber was probably the survivor of
a long forgotten structure of a different type and time.
Small terraced platforms of flat river cobble stones were commonly
laid along the house front. This small area was for lounging or as a place
to do small tasks.
House sites of men of good standing were frequently named since this
culture did not use family crest. House names usually had geographical
references such as "By the trail house. Since the house site was given
the name instead of the house itself, a new house built on an old site
acquired the same name as its predecessor.
VII. LAYING OUT THE PLAN OF THE HOUSE
Elementary geometric principles were used to lay out the ground plan
of a dwelling. A method using these principles proved to be an efficient and
convenient means to assure accurate right angles. This procedure is known
to have been used by a number of the cultures of the North Pacific Coast.
The front of the dwelling usually faced a rough street or a body of
water such as the ocean or a river. A stake was driven in the ground at a
point that was to be the mid-point of the intended location for the house front.
A rope the length of the house front is tied to the stake at the ropes center.
The rope is then stretched out to mark the location of the house front and
staked off at each end. Two long ropes to give the sidewall locations are
marked in the middle, then one end of each rope is tied to each corner stake
and pulled taut. The marked middles of each side rope are connected by a
rope that is the same length as the house front. The unattached ends of the
long side ropes are pulled to the back and connected with another rope the
same length as the house front. When pulled taut, this will give the location
of the back wall, which is then staked off.
Plank houses of the Northvest Coast were most commonly built on
piling or cribwork foundations which represented the ability of these
cultures to adapt to varying local needs.
The interlocking beam or cribwork foundation was used when a house
was on uneven ground or on the edge of an embankment. The embankment
was built up to form a foundation which was similar in construction to
our log labin. Heavy short logs are placed in the embankment with notched
ends sticking out. Another series of heavy logs are laid across the notched
ends to form the front of the embankment foundation. These beams are
also notched to form an interlocking system with the other logs. The space
in the center of the foundation is then filled with hemlock branches and soil.
The whole floor or just a portion of it could be supported on a pile type
foundation. When this type of foundation was used to support only a por-
tion of the floor the remainder usually rested on a high bank. The pile was
buried deep in the ground by a simple method. The front side of the hole in
which the pole is to stand was protected by heavy planks driven into the
ground. The pile is then shoved into the hole and gradually shored up.
IX. ERECTING HOUSE STRUCTURES
Erecting heavy timber members requires considerable skill and
knowledge of structural work which was exhibited by these cultures.
In heavy structural work where simultaneous effort was required, the
crew used rhythmic cries to time their movements. As an example, in the
raising of the roof beam the leader gives the signal for his men by shouting,
"Wo". The men in reply yell, "We, we, we" in quick succession. On
this cue the men would then shove the beam in place as they shouted "Ho"
with each effort. As soon as the beam was in position on the post the
leader shouts, "Ha, ha, ha" which indicates the work is finished.
The workmen devised simple machinery for raising a heavy roof beam
which could be 8 to 10 fathoms in length and 5 spans thick at the front and
4 3 spans at the rear end. The main apparatus required is a lever arm and
a set of guides. A large pole is tied to the house post to form a ramp along
which the beam is to be raised. The beam is placed at the footing of the
slanting pole, resting on a log placed at the middle of the beam. This log
will serve as a pivot point for the lever arm. The lever has a mortis near
its short end into which the lifter fits. The tip of which fits the round surface
for the beam.
The lever is then pressed down to guide the beam along the slanting
pole towards the top of the post. The raised end is held in place by a tem-
porary support which will allow for final adjustments later. Sometimes
two poles tied together near their upper ends are used as guides. Their
lower ends which rest on the ground are brought nearer together as the beam
is raised higher. The other end of the beam is raised in a similar manner.
Precautions must be taken to assure the beam will not fall from the top
of the post while it is to be manuvered about. As the beam approaches the top
of the post a stout plank is tied on the opposite side of the post reaching
about two feet higher than the top. When the beam is in place a similar plank
is tied on the other side of the post to hold it securely in place.
Wall beams which are not as heavy as roof beams do not require large
devices for placement. Ropes and a group of men are all that is required for
installation. The beams are guided in position by men standing on top of the
post with help from a team below.
The cross piece over the door posts has another method of installation.
The cross piece is placed on boxes covered with planks. The member is
raised as more boxes and planks are stacked on top of one another until it
achieves sufficient height to be installed.
Boas, Frank. Kwakiutal Ethnography, University of Chicago Press. Chicago,
Drucker, Phillip. Cultures of the Northwest Pacific Coast. Chandler
Publishing Co. San Franisco, Calif. 1965.
Drucker, Philip. Indians of the Northwest Coast. McGraw-Hill Book Co. Inc.,
N. Y. 1955.
Gunther, Erna. Indian Life on the Northwest Coast of NortAmerican,. Univ.
of Chicago Press. Chicaho, Ill. and,London, 1972.
LaFarge, Oliver. A Pictorial History of the American Indian. Crown Pub-
lishers Inc., N. Y., 1957.
McFeat, Tom. Indians of the North Pacific Coast. University of Washington
Press, Seattle and London, 1966.
Marquis, Arnold. A Guide to American Indians, University of Oklahoma
Stirling, Matthew. Indians of the Americans National Geographic Society.
Washington D. C., 1955.
1. Culture location map
Indians of the Northwest Coast, P. 7
2. Man of Nootka Sound
Cultures of North Pacific Coast, P. 39
3. Potlatch Ceremony of the Southern Kwakiutl
Indians of the Northwest Coast, P. 149
4. Hand Mauls (Hammer)
IBID, P. 43
5. Hand Mauls
Kwakiutl Ethnography, P. 18
6. Woodworking Tools (Chisels & Wedges)
Indian of the Northwest Coast, P. 43
Kwakiutl Ethnography, P 19
8. House Front Design (Beaver)
IBID, P. 332
9. House Front Design (Raven)
IBID, P. 332
10. House Front Design (Thunderbird)
IBID, P. 333
11. House Front Design (Killer Whale)
12. Northern Design
Indians of the Northwest Coast, P. 31
13. House Front Design (Raven, Whale)
Kwakiutl Ethnography, P. 334
14. Carved Clubs
Indians of the Northwest Coast, P. 31
15. House Types
Cultures of the North Pacific Coast, P. 26
16. Northern House Type
Indians of the Northwest Coast, P. 55
17. Northern House Type
Cultures of the North Pacific Coast, P. 26
18. Haida Village
Indians of the Northwest Coast, P. 56
19. Tungit House Interior
Indians of the Americas, P. 158
20. Haida House Model
Pictorial History of American Indians, P. 217
21. Haida Village
Indians of the Northwest Coast, P. 56
22. Wakashan House Type
Cultures of the North Pacific Coast, P. 26
23. Partial Construction (Southern Kwakiutl Village)
Indians of the Northwest Coast, P. 58
24. Kwakiutl Village Model
Pictorial History of the American Indians, P. 199
25. Kwakiutl Village
Kwakiutl Ethnography, P. 11
26. Southern Kwakiutl Village
Indians of the Northwest Coast, P. 58
27. Temporary House (Southern Kwakiutl)
IBID, P. 57
28. House Posts
IBID, P. 177
29. Nootkan House Post
IBID, P. 173
30. House Front Design
Kwakiutl Ethnography, P. 9
31. Kwakiutl Painted House Front
Pictorial History of the American Indians, P. 209
32. House of Nootka Sound
Cultures of the North Pacific Coast, P. 147
33. Kwakiutl House Posts
Pictorial History of the American Indians, P. 219
34. Coast Salish Shed Roof
Indians of the Northwest Coast, P. 61
35. Coast Salish Shed Roof House Type
Cultures of the Northwest Pacific Coast, P. 26
36. Chinook-Oregon House Type
IBID, P. 26
37. House Interior (Notched Ladder)
Indians of the Americas, P. 139
38. Lower Klamath Type (3-pitch roof)
Cultures of the Northwest Pacific Coast, P. 26
39. Yurok Houses (3-Pitch Roof)
Indians of the Northwest Coast, P. 62
40. Raising Roof Beam
Kwakiutl Ethnography, P. 22
41. Pole Foundation
IBID, P. 23
42. Raising the House Post
IBID, P. 22
Inst. _. il ,,ire y
TEXT BOOK ANALYSIS
"Cultures of the North Pacific Coast"
Chandler Pub]ishing Company
A description of the area occupied by these
cultures is the first thing the author presents.
This sets up &r immediate far.ilialization of what
kind of culture can be expected to be int-roduced
as the ook pr. gress,.s. Knowing the title and the
area description at the on set allows one to almost
draw a reasonably accurate idea of what the culture
of this area is like.
The author used this as a starting point to
describe the entire aspect of a cultural area
instead of the study of a specific aboriginal
culture. The area description was built upcr by
the otner cultural aspect.: as cne moved through
th e book. Interrelations between these asp-cts
increased ..s more Ntre a aed to v, rk in an o eir-
Many times through the text, reference is made
to a modern day place or feature as a ccnparision
tu an aspect of oine of the cultures. This corpar-
ision gives a better understa.ilin, of the point
being irpadc oy the author because, it gave the
rea-cr e scnetning he ;s mo:-,e familiar with to use
as a guide or reference poirt. Inis allows the
point to Le easily and quickly grasped.
The usual cut and .iry fact giving attitude of
a general text book is reduced further by the addition
of a fiction story. This story is used very effective-
ly to give a good account of how the Nootkan hunters
seek -,nd kill whles. The facts are there but placed
in 3 inure natural and life like form, this helps Lo
put the reader in the action and allows him to grasp
the addel feeling" how these people really lived.
This technique was used vith restraint, which
is pocbabls oezt for an informative text, but it
would be nice to ,^e t-is method of presenting facts
used m,-re often in other texts. It take away the
sterile type reading of textsbooks and gives a
change of pace for the reader.
The o.ily drawLack of the material was sentences
which tried to give too much material. Ideas were
combined in one sentence that should have been
broken down into two or more sentenves. These
overburdened sentences lead Lo confusion on tne
rearcr- "---t r ne '.riec Lt associate the different
points. T'-is cause the materiall 'o movt along
at a -lower pace.
On the wh.l the book was "ery enjoyable to
reaa and Dresented the fact effectively. This tevt
would maKe pleasu able leading a, well as a good
fact filled reference book.