Historical Context

The story of each tribe and First Nation has its own complexities and idiosyncrasies. This said, general themes can be observed of migration, adaptation, development of a patterned way of life with the formation of unique culture, contact with European expansionists, encroachment, varying degrees of conflict, marginalization, cultural and political oppression, assimilation, extinction or near extinction of tradition, and most recently a path of revitalization in the era of self-determination.

Particularly in terms of recent history, there are notable differences between the stories of the lower forty-eight, British Columbia and Alaska. In short, many tribes of the lower forty-eight have a documented history of legal relations with the U.S. federal government that grant rights of sovereignty as well as access to traditional lands and resources. In Alaska, with statehood occurring just in the mid 20th century, a model of organizing Alaskan Natives into regional corporations has been imposed. The model enables pursuit of economic profit, but at the expense of sovereignty and often ecological and cultural integrity. In B.C., relations between First Nation peoples and the Canadian government have yet to be formalized with treaties in active negotiation across the province.

The reader is highly encouraged to read more about the recent history of Native peoples in the region as this is a subject of widespread ignorance: Dissertation_Hall_2008.pdf (see p. 30, pp. 35-41)

Biogeographic Context: Salmon Nation