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Item # M11020 Price: C$1,850
Subject: Potlatch Offering Dated: 2011 - Signed
Artist: Appodaca, Eddie     
Community:  Squamish      
Size: inches/cm 66" x 7" x 0.75"
167.6 cm x 17.8 cm x 1.9 cm
Description: The potlatch is a traditional gathering held by many of the coastal aboriginal groups. The word itself (may be derived from the Nootka word pachitle) is a Chinook Jargon word that means "to give".

The Gitskan today call the same event The Feast, and the Cowichan know it as the Great Deed. The different names of the potlatch reflect both the different languages and cultures which share this tradition, as well as indicating some of the different occasions for which a potlatch is held.

A potlatch was the primary means for the Pacific Coast tribes to bear witness, a means of confirming in public any changes in status such as marriages, birth, death, and coming of age.

The potlatch was also a primary means of distributing wealth. The ceremony culminated with the host presenting gifts to every guest which strictly corresponded with each individual's social rank. Gifts could include canoes, slaves, carved dishes and eulachon oil.

The more wealth distributed the greater prestige was conferred upon the host. In return, the higher status guests were expected to hold their own potlatches where they would give even more lavishly. Thus, even if an individual hosting a potlatch completely impoverished himself, he could expect the return of wealth when he attended subsequent potlatches as a guest.

The federal government outlawed potlatches in 1884 but the ceremony continued in many communities, and in 1951 the law was deleted from the revised Indian Act. Today potlatches still occur, but the gifts tend to be money or practical household items and they usually last only a weekend, while in the past they may have gone on for two or three weeks.

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