By Robert Galois
The magazine of James Colnett is the final unpublished account of the early maritime fur alternate at the Northwest Coast. among 1786 and 1789, Colnett’s day trip traversed the coast from Prince William Sound to the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Its participants have been the 1st Europeans to come across the Tsimshian and the southern Heiltsuk, and the 1st to land at the southern Queen Charlotte Islands. The magazine is reproduced with complete scholarly equipment, in addition to with extracts from a moment magazine by way of Andrew Bracey Taylor, third mate on one of many ships in Colnett’s command. concentrating on the expedition’s notable encounters with the local peoples of the Northwest Coast, Galois’ introductory essay additionally addresses the geopolitical context of the voyage and the highbrow heritage that formed the writing of the journals. This attention-grabbing account provides us a brand new realizing of early eu presence within the Northwest and of local responses to those advancements. it is going to curiosity historians, geographers, and ethnographers of the Northwest Coast and past.
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Extra resources for A voyage to the North West Side of America: the Journals of James Colnett, 1786-89
In this section I begin an examination of these encounters with a discussion of the intellectual context of trade and exploration on the Northwest Coast. This is to establish, in general terms, the ideas and attitudes that Colnett and his party brought with them; ideas and attitudes that shaped what they observed and what they recorded. This leads into a discussion of the parameters of early contact encounters. These encounters, I believe, have to be understood within the context of Native geopolitical landscapes.
Early Encounters on the Northwest Coast and Hawaiian Islands If Colnett and his men had the benefit of considerable personal and secondary experience of encounters with indigenous peoples, the converse did not hold for Northwest Coast peoples. For them, initial contact was largely adventitious. Each group, to a considerable extent, had to work out for itself the parameters and procedures of the encounter with Europeans. Once begun, however, information, rumour, artifacts, and diseases spread ahead of physical encounters.
Taylor, too, thought that Northwest Coast societies were capable of improvement. ”182 Differences between Europeans and indigenous peoples were a matter of culture, not biology – an innovation of a subsequent era. The Northwest Coast and its population were also inserted into a comparative context that embraced the emerging hierarchy of Pacific peoples. Here, the extremes were marked by Polynesian societies, viewed most favourably, and the peoples of Tierra del Fuego and Australia. ”183 More often the context was unacknowledged, but it contributed to unfavourable evaluations of the Northwest Coast and its peoples.