• The changing vista of the northern Northwest Coast Indian Deer Ritual

      Austin, Kenneth Frank (1999-08)
      From time immemorial until the start of the 20th century, when disputing Tlingits decided to end a conflict, Tlingit clan leaders and elders met in council and negotiated an equitable peace settlement. After reaching a satisfactory negotiation, a peace dance took place to validate the settlement. Besides the Tlingits, the neighboring Indian groups in Southeast Alaska and British Columbia practiced this custom. When the European and Western powers assumed governance, the deer ritual--a judicial function of the Pacific Northwest Coast Indians--was modified, and new forms appeared. Presently, while elders know their regional history, many do not remember the protocol and formalities of the rite that was performed. This thesis undertakes a step into the past when the rite had an active and viable purpose in settling disputes and validating agreements