The Franz Boas Papers, Volume 2


The Franz Boas Papers, Volume 2

Franz Boas, James Teit, and Early Twentieth-Century Salish Ethnography

Franz Boas
Edited by Andrea Laforet, Angie Bain, John Haugen, Sarah Moritz, and Andie Diane Palmer
Regna Darnell, General Editor

Franz Boas Papers Documentary Edition Series

1056 pages
9 photographs, 13 illustrations, 4 maps, 44 figures, index


April 2024


$120.00 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
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April 2024


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About the Book

The Franz Boas Papers, Volume 2 explores the development of the ethnography of Salishan-speaking societies on the North American Plateau as revealed through the correspondence between Franz Boas and the Scottish-born James Teit, who married into an Interior Salish family and community and became fluent in the Nlaka’pamux language. The letters between Teit (1864–1922) and Boas (1858–1942) chronicle Teit’s varied career as an ethnographer, from shortly after his initial meeting with Boas in 1894 until Teit’s death at the age of fifty-eight. A postscript documents Boas’s contribution to Teit’s legacy through the posthumous publication of the manuscripts Teit left unfinished at his death.

Teit made significant contributions to ethnography and the history of southern British Columbia through his photography of the people with whom he worked, his contributions to ethnomusicology and ethnobotany, his anthologies of mythic narrative, and his collections of Interior Salish—primarily Nlaka’pamux—material culture. In addition to collaborating with Boas in the development of Interior Salish ethnography, between 1909 and 1922 Teit worked to support Indigenous groups in British Columbia who were seeking recognition of Aboriginal title and resolution of their outstanding land claims.

The Franz Boas Papers, Volume 2 meticulously tracks the impact of the differing career trajectories of Teit and Boas on the primary product of their collaboration—the initial development of the ethnography of societies speaking Interior Salish languages. This second volume of the Franz Boas Papers Documentary Edition is an essential primary source of archival materials for research libraries and for students and scholars of Northwest Coast and Interior Mountain West ethnohistory, Native American and Indigenous studies, history of anthropology, and modern U.S. history. It is also an essential source for Indigenous and settler descendant communities.

Author Bio

Franz Boas (1858–1942) was a professor of anthropology at Columbia University and a public intellectual and advocate for social justice. He is the author of The Mind of Primitive Man; Primitive Art; Anthropology and Modern Life; and Race, Language, and Culture, among other books. Andrea Laforet formerly served as director of ethnology and cultural studies at the Canadian Museum of Civilization and is adjunct research professor in the School for Studies in Art and Culture, Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario. Angie Bain is a researcher, analyst, and oral historian with the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs and the Lower Nicola Indian Band in Merritt, British Columbia, specializing in land claims, litigation, and community histories. John Haugen holds a certificate in research from Simon Fraser University, is a Nlaka’pamux Knowledge Keeper, and is a researcher at Nlaka’pamux Nation Tribal Council in British Columbia. Sarah Moritz is an assistant professor of anthropology at Thompson Rivers University. Andie Diane Palmer is an associate professor of anthropology and interim director of the Kule Folklore Centre at the University of Alberta.


“This book was compiled by an amazing research team with collective multidisciplinary expertise. It focuses on the lives and work of two extraordinary ethnographers, James Teit and Franz Boas, with the common goal of understanding and documenting the languages and rich cultural knowledge of Salishan and other Indigenous peoples of British Columbia. The insights about these men, their dedication, and their contributions to humanity shine through in their words, as does their remarkable friendship.”—Nancy J. Turner, author of Ancient Pathways, Ancestral Knowledge

“The editors graciously illuminate an important professional relationship behind the curtain of Franz Boas’s towering reputation. James Teit, a prolific yet lesser-known ethnographer, provided voluminous information from the field, directly to Boas. . . . Most impressive is [the book’s] ability to respectfully differentiate the gifts of these two scholars. In aligning them, this work sheds new light on the complexities of early twentieth-century academic studies of Indigenous people.”—Eileen Delehanty Pearkes, author of The Geography of Memory

Table of Contents

General Editor’s Preface
Regna Darnell
Editorial Method
Introduction by Andrea Laforet

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