The relationships of place : a study of change and continuity in Stó:lõ understandings of I:yem
Fehr, Amanda Beth
Building out of recent scholarship that examines the way colonialism has altered Aboriginal people’s relationships with the land, this thesis employs the theories of historical anthropologist Marshall Sahlins, historical philosopher R.G. Collingwood, and historical consciousness with ethnohistorical methods to explore the ways Native people have worked to protect and regain their connections with certain places. In particular, it examines change and continuity in the ways that the Stó:lõ Coast Salish in South Western British Columbia have understood and continue to understand a place called I:yem, located four kilometres north of Yale in the Fraser Canyon. Following a historiographical chapter, two case studies are used to access past and present Stó:lõ understandings of I:yem. The first case study examines the 1938 erection of a memorial there (which incorporated and blended aspects of Roman Catholicism with an articulation of a distinct Stó:lõ identity and assertion of rights) to see how I:yem was understood at the time. The creation of the I:yem Memorial illuminates those aspects of Stó:lõ relationships with I:yem that were considered non-negotiable in the face of rapid change and conflict, namely the continued importance of fishing and ancestors. The second case study, based on oral interviews that I conducted during the joint University of Victoria/University of Saskatchewan Stó:lõ Ethnohistory Fieldschool in June 2007, focuses on the current significance of I:yem and its memorial. Today the Stó:lõ place a greater emphasis on the importance of re-establishing personal connections with the Fraser Canyon in general, rather than in identifying those specific aspects of the relationships that are collectively and communally non-negotiable and in need of being preserved. Over the past seventy years the Aboriginal people of the Fraser Canyon and Valley have employed innovative means to regain and preserve attachments to their places. This thesis explores these processes, fundamentally demonstrating the importance Stó:lõ people attribute to maintaining relationships with place in the face of change.
DegreeMaster of Arts (M.A.)
SupervisorCarlson, Keith Thor
CommitteeKorinek, Valerie J.; Fagan, Kristina; Cunfer, Geoff; Cottrell, Michael