During the nineteenth century, the Nuu-chah-nulth of Barkley Sound on Vancouver Island were severely reduced by disease, transformed by political amalgamation, and constrained through reserve allocation. Trade waxed and waned in successive fur, logging, and fishing industries. Yet, through these episodic social and economic shifts, the Nuu-chah-nulth continued to use their traditional territories and resources in creative ways. This thesis evaluates ethnohistorical descriptions of material change through an analysis of post-contact contexts at six village sites in Barkley Sound. Although the Nuu-chah-nulth were engaged in trade with Europeans from the 1780s onward, their material culture did not change dramatically until the last decades of the nineteenth century. The influx of glass, metal, and ceramic goods during this time represents new modes of engagement with non-indigenous economies, but the assemblage remained distinctly Nuu-chah-nulth, as it was reconstituted within sites defined over thousands of years of continuous occupation.
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Thesis advisor: McMillan, Alan
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