Indian Myths and Legends From the North Pacific Coast of America: A Translation of Franz Boas' 1895 Edition of «Indianische Sagen von der Nord-Pacifischen Küste-Amerikas».

Description

704 pages
Contains Photos, Bibliography
$39.95
ISBN 978-0-88922-458-2
DDC 398.2'089'970711

Author

Publisher

Year

2006

Contributor

Edited by Randy Bouchard and Dorothy Kennedy
Translated by Dietrich Bertz
Reviewed by Joan A. Lovisek

Joan A. Lovisek, Ph.D., is a consulting anthropologist and
ethnohistorian in British Columbia.

Review

Originally published in 2002, this new soft cover reprint contains a valuable collection of myths and legends of various Northwest Coast Native peoples. How this publication came into existence is almost as interesting as the myths and legends collected by Franz Boas during his four trips to British Columbia in 1886, 1888, 1889, and 1890. After multiple rejections, parts of the collection were published piecemeal until 1895, when the entire collection was published in German. Although it has taken more than 20 years to republish the work in English, editors Kennedy and Bouchard, with translator Dietrich Bertz, have translated, edited, and annotated this important collection, which is supported by numerous maps and illustrations. The international scope and importance of Boas’s work has attracted interest from such scholars as Claude Lévi- Strauss, who wrote a personal foreword to the book.

 

Although it is still a mystery where and when Boas collected the myths and legends, editors Kennedy and Bouchard have diligently scoured the scholarly literature and archives to provide missing data to assist the reader to assess the authenticity and historicity of the myths and legends. To their credit, Kennedy and Bouchard do not uncritically accept Boas’s work and are not reluctant to identify Boas’s shortcomings. The editors point out inconsistencies throughout the collection and direct the reader to appropriate references. The collection concludes with an essay by Boas on the development of mythologies of the Northwest Coast Natives in which he compares the legends with specific groups and draws inferences about cultural diffusion, contact, and the origin of groups. Now in its soft cover format, this rich collection will be even more accessible to students and scholars of Native American studies.

Citation

Boas, Franz., “Indian Myths and Legends From the North Pacific Coast of America: A Translation of Franz Boas' 1895 Edition of «Indianische Sagen von der Nord-Pacifischen Küste-Amerikas».,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 24, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/28091.