Thursday, June 1, 2017

Miss Barbara Savadkin and Miss Barbara Lane - Cowichan Knitting - Mountain Goat Hair for blankets

British Columbia Provincial Museum
Anthropology in British Columbia 

No. 1, 1950

 Page 8 of  48

1. Report by Miss Barbara Savadkin

I am sending you a statement of my field work thus far with the Cowichan Indians around Koksilah, Vancouver Island.  To date I have spent three months in the field collecting ethnographic data and information on the Cowichan knitting industry.

The ethnographic data are still in unworked field notes.  I have written a report of about thirty pages on the knitting industry and submitted it to the competition sponsored by the Seattle Anthropological Society.

The knitting industry is of anthropological interest for several reasons.  It is of interest to students of material culture because it involves a combination of aboriginal and European techniques and the invention of new techniques stimulated by this fusion.  The patterns knitted in the older sweaters are aboriginal basketry designs, while the actual knitting technique is European.  The machines on which the wool is now spun seem to be local inventions based on the aboriginal spindle used in the preparation of mountain goat hair for blankets and on the European sewing machine.

Cowichan knitting further deserve the attention of those who are interested in the practical problems of economic and social adjustments on the party of native peoples living under foreign administration.  The knitting industry represents a fairly wide-spread and intensive effort on the part of Coast Salish peoples to make an economic adjustment to the contact situation both in Canada and the United States.

The efforts of this attempt at economic adjustment on the social organization of the Indians, especially as regards the status of women, marriage patterns, and family life, have yet to be thoroughly investigated.

No. 2, 1951

 Report by Miss Barbara Lane

No. 3, 1952

No. 4, 1953-54

No. 5, 1956

Anthropology in British Columbia 

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