B.C First Nations Studies by Kenneth Campbell, Charles Menzies, Brent Peacock

By Kenneth Campbell, Charles Menzies, Brent Peacock

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Training begins at birth and proceeds through the stages of life. As people mature, they take on more responsibilities in teaching. The extended family took responsibility for caring for children and encouraging them to discover and learn about life. In most First Nations societies, children were raised in an atmosphere of tolerance, without criticism or direct control of the child’s behaviour. In this way, young children learned to think independently and become self-sufficient.

Most plants could be easily harvested by hand or with simple tools. Berries were picked and placed in woven baskets. Digging sticks were made to collect root vegetables and trees were felled by chopping with adzes or controlled burning around the base. In some areas, plants were tended to ensure a better crop; for example, on southern Vancouver Island, where camas fields were maintained by controlled burning. Sometimes materials were harvested from living trees. One cedar plank might be split off a standing tree.

C. First Nations Studies Peak in the Ulkatcho. The third is in Oregon. Scientists can analyze obsidian samples and identify the source of obsidian found in archeological sites. With carbon dating, they can tell when the rock was traded and how far it travelled. The study of obsidian tells us that goods have been traded throughout British Columbia for 8,000 years. Most trade was probably between neighbouring nations for items that were less accessible or unavailable in their home territories. For example, the Nuu-chah-nulth traded dried halibut, herring, and cedar baskets to the Coast Salish of Vancouver Island in exchange for camas bulbs and swamp rushes for mats.

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