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Making choices : examining Musqueam agency at Stselax village during the post-contact period

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Title: Making choices : examining Musqueam agency at Stselax village during the post-contact period
Author: Poulsen, Michelle Diane
Degree Master of Arts - MA
Program Anthropology
Copyright Date: 2000
Abstract: Musqueam East or DhRt2 is the archaeological remains of the Musqueam village of Stselax. The site is located on the west coast of mainland British Columbia, and the original excavation was carried out by Charles Borden in the 1950's-60's. Dating from AD 1250 to late contact times, Musqueam East provides an uninterrupted archaeological record of the contact period from indirect contact through the fur trade and European colonization. This record allows an examination of the European goods Musqueam people chose to use at this village. This thesis examines the glass, metal, and ceramic artifacts from the Charles House excavation at Musqueam East. Using manufacturing and decoration techniques as temporal markers, the artifacts are assigned to a time range during the post-contact period. This data is compared to explorers 'journals and the Fort Langley journals in order to explore Musqueam agency through time. Three periods of contact are examined: Years of Exploration (1774-1826), The Fur Trade Years (1827-1857), and European Colonization and Settlement (1858 onwards). A pattern emerges showing that the earliest European goods and ideas integrated into Musqueam culture were used in ways consistent with Musqueam values, beliefs, and practices. This includes household items and blankets. Only in the last period of contact, when Europeans are colonizing and settling the Fraser Delta, is there a change in the material record showing European impact on fundamentally Musqueam activities and the material goods associated with those activities including ceremonialism, woodworking, and fishing. By comparing what is preserved at the site with what was available to Musqueam people at different times throughout the contact period, Musqueam actions and decisions are given a voice beyond the written records of European traders.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/16382
Series/Report no. UBC Retrospective Theses Digitization Project [http://www.library.ubc.ca/archives/retro_theses/]

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