Coast Salish Ethnographic Essays

As an anthropologist working in Coast Salish communities I have been honoured and grateful to come to learn something about the cultural practices and traditions that are central to community life, and to Indigenous legal orders.

I have also had an interest in older ethnographies written by anthropologists who spent time in Coast Salish communities in the 19th and 20th centuries, and the stories they shared.

Indigenous Legal and Political Orders

Thom, Brian (2022) Encountering Indigenous Legal Orders in Canada. Invited contribution to Oxford Handbook of Law and Anthropology.  Marie-Claire Foblets, editor.  Oxford: Oxford University Press. OR [Open Access Version]

Sarah Morales and Brian Thom (2020) The Principle of Sharing and the Shadow of Canadian Property Law.  Pp. 120-162 in Creating Indigenous Property: Power, Rights, and Relationships, edited by Angela Cameron, Sari Graben, and Val Napoleon.  Toronto, University of Toronto Press. 

Thom, Brian (2017) Entanglements in Coast Salish Ancestral Territories. In Entangled Territorialities: Negotiating Indigenous Lands in Australia and Canada, edited by Françoise Dussart & Sylvie Poirier.  Pp. 140-162. Anthropological Horizons Series, University of Toronto Press, Toronto. OR OR 

Thom, Brian (2010) The Anathema of Aggregation: Towards 21st Century Self-Government in the Coast Salish World.  Anthropologica. 52(1):33-48. OR 

McLay, Eric, Kelly Bannister, Lea Joe, Brian Thom, and George Nicholas (2008) ‘A’lhut tu tet Sul’hweentst [Respecting the Ancestors]: Understanding Hul’qumi’num Heritage Laws and Concerns for the Protection of Archaeological Heritage.  In First Nations Cultural Heritage and Law: Case Studies, Voices and Perspectives, edited by Catherine Bell and Val Napoleon, pp.150-202. Vancouver: UBC Press. OR OR [Open Access Preliminary Version]

Thom, Brian (2005) Coast Salish Land Tenure. In Coast Salish Senses of Place, Doctoral Dissertation, McGill University. [PDF] [Open Access]

Thom, Brian (2005) Coast Salish Territories. In Coast Salish Senses of Place, Doctoral Dissertation, McGill University. [PDF] [Open Access]

Coast Salish Senses of Place 

Thom, Brian (2005) Coast Salish Senses of Place: Dwelling, Meaning, Power, Property and Territory in the Coast Salish World. Doctoral Dissertation. 473 pgs. 

Thom, Brian (2006) Place, personhood and claims in the contemporary Coast Salish world.   Paper presented at the 2006 Annual Meeting of the Canadian Anthropology Society Concordia University, Montréal, Québec, May 9-14, 2006 [Open Access]

Thom, Brian (2004) Le sens du lieu et les revendications territoriales contemporaines des Salishs de la Côte.  Recherches Amérindiennes au Québec, 34(3):59-74. [libre accès] [English Version]

The Transformer and First Ancestors

Thom, Brian (2005) Myth, First Ancestors, and The Transformer. In Coast Salish Senses of Place. Doctoral Dissertation, McGill University [PDF] [Open Access]

Thom, Brian (1998) Coast Salish Transformation Stories: Kinship, Place And Aboriginal Rights And Title in Canada.  Paper Presented at the Annual Meetings of the Canadian Anthropology Society, Toronto. [PDF] [Open Access]

Thom, Brian (19997) Sxwoxwiyám Xéyt te Xwélmexw (Central Coast Salish Transformation Stories): Connecting Humans and Non-humans through Kinship and Place. Draft working paper. [Open Access]

Coast Salish Oral Traditions and Histories

Thom, Brian (2024) Leaving Valdes, Staying Lyackson:  Voices of the Indigenous Community of Valdes Island. Pp. 273-290 in Salish Archipelago: Environment and Society in the Islands Within and Adjacent to the Salish Sea, edited by Moshe Rapaport.  Canberra: ANU Press. [Open Access]

Thom, Brian (2005) Local Histories of Land Alienation and Coast Salish Resistance. In Coast Salish Senses of Place, Doctoral Dissertation, McGill U. [PDF] [Open Access]

Thom, Brian (2003) The Anthropology of Northwest Coast Oral Traditions.  Arctic Anthropology.  40(1):1-28. [Open Access] [HTML

Thom, Brian (1995) Ethnographic Overview of Stó:lō People and the Traditional Use of the Hudson's Bay Company Brigade Trail Area. Prepared for: Chilliwack Forest District, Ministry of Forests, Chilliwack. [Open Access]

Thom, Brian  (1994) Narratives of Leadership:  Oral History and the (Re)production of Tradition.  Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Canadian Anthropology Society, Vancouver. [Open Access]

Thom, Brian (1994) Telling Stories: the Life of Chief Richard Malloway.  Research Report Prepared for: Stó:lō Tribal Council, Chilliwack. [Open Access]

School Curriculum

Commemorating Ye'yumnuts

A major collaboration I have led between Cowichan Tribes, UVic Anthropology and School District 79 to provide curriculum resources for place-based learning about a remarkable ancestral sites in the Cowichan Valley 

Stó:lо̄ Curriculum Consortium Project

These essays and lesson plans were produced as a part of the Stó:lо̄ Curriculum Consortium Project (1995-96) for which I worked as a researcher and writer. Most of this work circulated amongst teachers in binders produced for the school district. Open Access version are provided here.