Haisla (American Indians Ready Reference)
The technology of the Haisla and their annual migration pattern reflected their dependence upon fish. Women gathered shellfish and various types of berries and fruits. The basic social units were five matrilineal exogamous clans, each with territorial rights; they formed alliances for ceremonial purposes. Haisla society was ranked into nobles, commoners, and slaves. Numerous ceremonies existed; the potlatch was important for redistribution of traditional wealth and recognition of status change.
Contact was made by Juan Zayas in 1792, and again the following year by Joseph Whidbey of the George Vancouver expedition. Hudson's Bay Company established a fur-trading post at Fort McLoughlin in 1833 near Dean Channel. Breakdown of traditional culture began to occur after the arrival of Christian missionaries in 1833. Government banning of potlatches and dancing societies brought further breakdown of Haisla culture. In 1916, the Haisla had fourteen reserves with 1,432 allotted acres. By the mid-twentieth century, many Haisla were working in the fishing and logging industries, but by the 1970's, a shift had occurred, and working in aluminum smelting had become the primary source of income.
(The entire section is 174 words.)
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