Browsing All Posts filed under »culture & ethnography«

Meeting the Haida Fleet by WH Collison

May 19, 2013


William  Henry Collison arrived on the Northwest Coast in 1873 to begin work as a missionary for the Church Missionary Society.  He learned Tsimshian while teaching at the Utopian (and totalitarian) Tsimshian community of Metlakatla, which was then under the management of the famous William Duncan.  He also worked with the Nass River Nisga’a at the beginning […]

Racism Is Not White

December 30, 2012


Racism is characteristically a function of colonialism.  Thus racism was olive-skinned during the long era of Greek colonialism in the Eastern Mediterranean.  It was the colour of the Japanese during the era of Japanese expansionism into Korea and China.  It was Aryan during the era of Nazi Germany.  It is pale-skinned here and now in […]

Some Notes on Indigenous California

December 5, 2012


If you look at the Aboriginal people of California through the lens of a language map, you get one notion of cultural organization, but it’s hardly the most important one in respect of understanding California Aboriginal culture.  Because of linguistically determined relationships between language stocks, a map of indigenous languages can give us useful hints […]

Mocha Dick, or the White Whale of the Pacific

November 12, 2012


A Tale of the Original Moby Dick From the era when whales were monsters, and their hunters were heroes.  As they thought.  The original story as presented below is not for the tender-hearted.  It was a brutal era. Of course everybody is familiar, in one way or other, with the most famous of whaling stories, […]

Democracy Arrives in the USA

November 8, 2012


War Chiefs, Peace Chiefs and the Zero-Sum Game There’s a scene in “A Beautiful Mind” where the hero provides mathematical proof that everybody does better if they don’t all go for the win (the win being in the movie a blonde, but with much broader application than that.)  This is the issue of the zero-sum […]

Whitestream Attitudes and the Fate of Aboriginal Education

November 4, 2012


Aboriginal Education in the City, Part 3 I suppose it was in the late 1990s when the provincial government introduced the grade twelve First Nations Studies course.  The Vancouver School Board duly put together a training workshop for Social Studies instructors on how to teach the course, which, rather than being an actual set curriculum, […]

Missions in Spanish California, 1769-1836

October 23, 2012


The 21 missions established after 1769 in Spanish California were, in fact, the primary economic engines of Spanish and then Mexican California.  The mission lands comprised hundreds of hectares of fields where wheat, barley, corn and other crops were grown and where orchards were cultivated. Within their acreages were also thousands of head of cattle […]

The Measure of Stone Age Skulls

September 10, 2012


The following is an exerpt from Featherfolk, a work in progress.  Computers in the Jungle:  A Perspective on Civilization Pt 1 Civilized is superior to savage, the rich more important than the poor, and moderns more clever than the prehistoric.  And today—because of the obscure machinations of progress—is much better than yesterday. We may believe […]

White Is Right for Canadian Money

August 17, 2012


It happened with crayons.  “Flesh toned” used to mean pink, like White people’s skin.  Until recently, other people’s skins, black, brown and golden, didn’t come in “flesh tones.” Well, they changed the crayon boxes after awhile. Simone de Beauvoir discussed a related idea in 1949 in her book, The Second Sex.  She argued that woman […]

The Vindication of Comic Sans

July 4, 2012


If WordPress is capable of accommodating Comic Sans, I don’t know how to make it.  The Higgs boson has finally been discovered.  Maybe scientists can now turn their efforts to this other problem.   In the meantime, a message from a much-abused typeface…