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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



two related Indian tribes, the Nootka and the Kwakiutl, on the northwest coast of North America (the present-day province of British Columbia in Canada). Total population is 7,700 (1967, estimate). They are united on the basis of language (the Wakashan languages). The Wakashans are Protestants, although they retain elements of pre-Christian religious beliefs. Before European colonization (since the mid-19th century) the Wakashans engaged in maritime hunting and fishing, and in social structure they reached a transitional stage between a tribal and a class society. European colonization, which was accompanied by the expropriation of fishing and hunting lands and the settlement of the Wakashans on a reservation, put an end to their distinctive development. Working for hire is the chief occupation of the modern Wakashans.


Averkieva, Iu. P. Razlozhenie rodovoi obshchiny i formirovanie ranneklassovykh otnoshenii v obshchestve indeitsev severo-zapadnogo poberezh’ia Severnoi Ameriki. Moscow, 1961.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.