ANTH 422/522, AIST 422, RELS 422 - Fall 2012
Overview and Study Questions
The materials on this page are intended for use by students enrolled in
ANTH 422/522 Plateau Indians. This page and its references are periodically up-dated.
"In the Round" Recitation Dates: TBS after
completion of sections A. "Methodology" and B. "Winds of Change." To be held following
class or at a time convenient for all participants (chatq’ele’, waĺáwa, lé·pwey and q’emiln families).
Should take approximately 90 minutes - Study
"In the Round" Recitation Dates: on all of
section C. "The World of the Nimíipuu (Nez Perce) and Schitsu’umsh
(Coeur d’Alene) - (Indigenous - Animal Peoples Riverbed)," during week of
December 10 - 14. To be held following class or at a time
convenient for all participants (chatq’ele’, waĺáwa, lé·pwey and q’emiln
families). Should take no longer than 90 minutes - Study Guide
For grading criteria, see Evaluative
To return to ANTH 422/522 Course Syllabus
Salmon Fishing at Kettle Falls - ca. 1930s
The Plateau culture area extends from the Cascade Mountains of Washington and British
Columbia in the west to the Rocky Mountains of Montana in the east, encompassing the
entirety of the Columbia River basin. The Fraser River valley of British Columbia marks
the northern boundary, while the Columbia and Salmon Rivers of Oregon and Idaho mark the
southern reaches of the Plateau.
In the example of Coeur d'Alene we have a wonderful illustration of how the oral
traditions have helped mold the customs and lives of a particular tribe. After a brief
consideration of pre-contact Coeur d'Alene society and of the historical changes brought
by contact with Euro-American society, this lesson will focus on the continuity and
continued importance of such cultural expressions as the "First Peoples," root
gathering and deer hunting, traditional land tenure practices, the powwow, the ceremonies
of the Sweat House and Jump Dance, and the Memorial Give Away. Like other Plateau peoples,
the Coeur d'Alene lived a semi-nomadic, transhumance pattern, moving with the
seasonal-round to specific localities within their home territory for salmon fishing or
trading with other tribes, root digging, berry gathering, deer hunting, and finally winter
encampment. They lived in a fundamentally equalitarian society, with relatively little
warfare between tribes. Spiritual guidance was gained in vision questing.
General Study Guide Questions, focusing primarily on the Coeur d'Alene
and Nez Perce. Additional questions
will be added.
For the "in the round recitations," refer to the Study Guides
- How would you characterize the particular approach/methodology taken in
this course and articulated in Landscape Traveled by Coyote and Crane (2001)
and in the Hackberries: Stories from the American Indian Experience
(2012) in pursuit of the goal of understanding and appreciating Plateau Indians?
What are some of the implications for the student-participant in pursuit of
this goals? Consider advantages and disadvantages of such an approach.
- Identify the approximate aboriginal territory of the Coeur d'Alene and the
- How was intertribal conflict often resolved prior to European contact?
- Outline the traditional seasonal-round of the Coeur d'Alene, Nez Perce and
- What were fishing techniques and technologies were used by the Nez Perce
and mid-Columbia Peoples?
- What was the nature of pre-contact Coeur d'Alene social organization (the band) and
political power (the chief)?
- What role did the shaman play in pre-contact Coeur d'Alene society?
- Identify and discuss the prevailing Euro-American cultural values of the
- Identify and discuss the types and forms of contact pluralism and
- Develop an outline identifying how each of the following Euro-American influences
effected Coeur d'Alene and Nez Perce cultures: the horse, diseases such as smallpox, the fur trade, the
Jesuits and Presbyterians , military engagement with the United States,
Treaties, Executive Orders and the Allotment
Act, and mining.
- Identify the principle contemporary expressions of Coeur d'Alene and Nez
Perce self-determination and
the ways the tribes are attempting to re-establishing its sovereignty.
- Contrast the character of Coyote with that of Crane and Chief Child of the Yellow Root.
How are they similar and how are they different?
- What are the five fundamental "teachings" of the Coeur d'Alene?
Based upon the specific story narratives offered in Landscape Traveled
by Coyote and Crane: The World of the Coeur d'Alene
Indians, provide references from those stories that illustrate each of the five
- Why do the elders continue telling the oral traditions? What are
- What is in the nature of the various techniques of storytelling and of
native languages and the spoken word that effects the significance of the
- What are camas and water potato, and what role do they play in Coeur d'Alene culture
- How would you characterize a family's relationship with their "home
- Define the concepts of Suumesh and Amotqen. Of what significance do they
play in contemporary Coeur d'Alene?
|Nez Perce Earthen-Sweat Lodge - ca. 1890 - Photographer: E. Jane
Gay (Idaho State Historical Society)
- What is the meaning of the phrase, "then, the end of the trail," traditionally
heard at the conclusion of the telling of a story? What are the implications of this
phrase for the meaning and role of the oral traditions?
- Discuss the role of sharing in plant and animal rituals, offering examples to illustrate
- Outline the general features and procedures you might experience at a Coeur d'Alene powwow. What is the meaning often associated with the songs and dance associated with the powwow?
- What are the purposes of the Sweat House Ceremony?
- What are the purposes of the Jump Dance Ceremony, and what does it mean to Blue Jay?
- What are the purposes of the Memorial Give Away, and what is the meaning in the phrase,
the deceased go on ahead of us to have a big tipi camp ready for us?
- When a Coeur d'Alene speaks of "home," what might the concept mean?
- According to the Nez Perce, what can be in a thought?
- Who was Smohalla, and what were the central doctrines of the Dreamers?
- Identify and discuss the Indigenous cultural values of Plateau Peoples.
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