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list price: $29.95
edition:Paperback
category: Social Science
published: Mar 1995
ISBN:9781550544060
publisher: Douglas & McIntyre

Cedar

Tree of Life to the Northwest Coast Indians

by Hilary Stewart

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native american studies
5 of 5
2 ratings
rated!
rated!
list price: $29.95
edition:Paperback
category: Social Science
published: Mar 1995
ISBN:9781550544060
publisher: Douglas & McIntyre
Description

From the mighty cedar of the rainforest came a wealth of raw materials vital to the early Northwest Coast Indian way of life, its art and culture. For thousands of years these people developed the tools and technologies to fell the giant cedars that grew in profusion. They used the rot-resistant wood for graceful dugout canoes to travel the coastal waters, massive post-and-beam houses in which to live, steam bent boxes for storage, monumental carved poles to declare their lineage and dramatic dance masks to evoke the spirit world.

Every part of the cedar had a use. The versatile inner bark they wove into intricately patterned mats and baskets, plied into rope and processed to make the soft, warm, yet water-repellent clothing so well suited to the raincoast. Tough but flexible withes made lashing and heavy-duty rope. The roots they wove into watertight baskets embellished with strong designs. For all these gifts, the Northwest Coast peoples held the cedar and its spirit in high regard, believing deeply in its healing and spiritual powers. Respectfully, they addressed the cedar as Long Life Maker, Life Giver and Healing Woman.

Anecdotes, oral history and the accounts of early explorers, traders and missionaries highlight the text of Cedar. Hilary Stewart's 550 drawings and a selection of 50 photographs depict how the people made and used the finished products of the incomparable tree of life to the Northwest Coast Indians -- the cedar.

About the Author
Hilary Stewart is an award-winning author best known for her books on Northwest Coast First Nations cultures. She has also been involved in teaching outdoor education and wilderness survival courses for many years, as well as studying the ethnobotany of the coast First Nations, and has an extensive practical experience in the use of plants. She lives on Quadra Island in British Columbia.
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Editorial Review

"...a beautifully written, beautifully illustrated, beautiful book."

— SOS Forests - Save Our Sacred Forests (website)

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Reader Reviews

Association of Book Publishers of BC
Librarian review

Cedar: Tree of Life to the Northwest Coast Indians

Originally published in 1984, Cedar is still germane to the study of the Northwest Coast people and their traditional uses of the cedar tree. In clear language and with 550 of her own drawings as well as fifty photographs Stewart covers botanical descriptions of the cedar, the spiritual realm in terms of beliefs, taboos, rituals, healing and prayers, and also traditional uses such as canoes, housing, totem poles, ceremonial uses, basket weaving and clothing.

Other books either written or illustrated by Stewart include Indian Fishing, Looking at Totem Poles and Looking at Indian Art of the Northwest Coast. Cedar received one of the first BC Book Prizes in 1985.

Source: The Association of Book Publishers of BC. Canadian Aboriginal Books for Schools. 2009-2010.

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