M.A. Theses: Michelle Lynch, 2015


Heiltsuk Adoption of Euro-American Material Culture at Old Bella Bella, British Columbia, 1833-1899


The contact-era Heiltsuk settlement of Old Bella Bella, British Columbia, site of both HBC Fort McLoughlin (1833-1843) and a Methodist mission (1880-1890), existed during a time of rapid change resulting from interactions with Euro-American groups. Notable among these changes is a shift from traditional plank houses to European-style single-family frame houses that occurred shortly after missionary arrival. Using data collected during a 1982 excavation, this study compares the artifact assemblages from Fort McLoughlin, one contact-era traditional plank house, and one frame house to analyze changes in the frequencies of various artifact types between the two contact periods. By looking at how European goods were incorporated by the Heiltsuk into their culture over time, this research examines the process of adoption of Euro-American material culture on the Northwest Coast and explores the idea that material culture was actively used by the missionaries as a tool of enculturation.

Keywords:     Heiltsuk; Historical Archaeology; Hudson’s Bay Company; Material Culture; Methodists; Northwest Coast