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Editor(s): James P. Spradley

Synopsis: The story of James Sewid, a twentieth-century Kwakiutl Indian Chieftain, brings experience of one man caught in the conflict as the traditional Kwakiutl culture gave way to the demands of an expanding Western society in British Columbia. Born in 1910 into a rapidly disintegrating Indian culture, Sewid as a young child received unusually intensive training and special treatment from his elders because he was heir to many “names”, which he early learned carried great responsibility with them. In spite of poverty, illiteracy, family breakdown, and social conflict, he emerged as a leader of the progressive Indians of the Kwakiutl Reserve in Alert Bay, becoming their first elected chief when the traditional system of hereditary chiefs was replaced. In vivid detail he describes his years of intermittent schooling, his entry into life in the fishing industry at the age of ten, his marriage at thirteen, to a high-ranking Kwakiutl girl, and his life in a remote Indian villages before moving to the reserve.

ISBN: 0-7735-0134-7


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