Lushootseed Culture and the Shamanic Odyssey
An Anchored Radiance
This is the first comprehensive overview of the Native people of Puget Sound, who speak a Coast Salishan language called Lushootseed. They originally lived in communal cedar plank houses clustered along rivers and bays. Their complex, continually evolving religious attitudes and rituals were woven into daily life, the cycle of seasons, and long-term activities. Despite changes brought on by modern influences and Christianity, traditional beliefs still infuse Lushootseed life.
Drawing on established written sources and his own two decades of fieldwork, Miller depicts the Lushootseed people in an innovative way, building his cultural representation around the grand ritual known as the Shamanic Odyssey. In this ritual cooperating shamans journeyed together to the land of the dead to recover some kind of vitality stolen from the living. Miller sees the Shamanic Odyssey as a central lens on Lushootseed culture, epitomizing and validating in a public setting many of its important concerns and themes. In particular, the rite brought together a number of distinct aspects or "vehicles" of culture, including the cosmos, canoe, house, body, and the network of social relations radiating across the Lushootseed waterscape.
177 pp ~ illustrated — ©1999