George Hunt

The ethnologist Franz Boaz collected extensive information about the Kwakuitl Indians in 1893 and 1887 which was published in the famous paper _The Social Organization and the Secret Societies of the Kwakuitl Indians_ published in 1885.

Franz Boaz's main Indian contact was George Hunt. In the following decades, George Hunt recorded other ethnographic information most notably his work _The Ethnology of the Kwakuitl_ which was edited by Franz Boaz and published in an annual report of the Smithsonian Institution dated 1914.

This second paper, in my opinion, is the most interesting because it focuses on the context of daily life of the Kwakuitl. Also, I find it interesting because it, to a large extent focuses on a woman's life with much of the paper being the recollections and explanations of Mrs. Elie Hunt.

In 1900, the linguistic group collectively known as the Kwakuitl totaled 2,173 people, and were declining in number. The Kwakuitl are a loose collection of "tribes" living more or less on the inside passage near the north end of what is now called Vancouver Island in British Columbia Canada.

I think that the Hunt's could see that their society was changed, and changing, and that they wanted to record what they knew before it passed away. Also, I think that George Hunt preferred a "desk job" as a translator for ethnologists and later as an ethnologist in his own right.

His original paper is written in the Kwakuitl language which uses a phonetic alphabet which does not translate well into "computer" text. George Hunt also wrote a seemingly literal English translation of the paper.


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