SocietySee also: Coast Salish#Culture group or ethnography
There is very little information prior to the 1850s about ancestors of today's Duwamish people, for a mix of reasons. The anthropological societal descriptions we have snapshot structures in the second quarter of the 19th century and a little after. European contact and changes began accelerating greatly from 1833.
For 500 generations they flourished until newcomers came... much was lost; much was devalued, but much was also hidden away in the hearts of the dispossessed.
Their voices insist upon a hearing and the cumulative wisdom of their long residence in this land offers rich insights to those willing to listen. The challenge now is to find a way to make knowledge of the ancient traditions, the experience of change and the living reality accessible and available.
- David M. Buerge, "Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest: An Introduction"
Each village had one or more cedar plank longhouse (khwaac'ál'al or syúdəbàl?txʷ) containing extended families in a social structure that foreshadowed cohousing of today. Tens of people lived in each one. There are several reasonable approximations to longhouses in Seattle today. The entry and beam architecture of restaurateur Ivar Haglund's Salmon House Restaurant (1969) beside Lake Union in Northlake is as authentically accurate as building codes allowed. Another example is actual, on the north face of the Burke Museum at the University of Washington. More recently, the design of the main hall of the Duwamish Longhouse and Cultural Center (opened 2009) closely echoes a traditional longhouse.
Villages were usually located facing a beach and body of water or river navigable by canoe, near a creek and drinking water source. Beyond the diffuse villages and anthropogenic grasslands, most land was heavily forested. Understory tended to be dense along the edges; travel by canoe was generally far more practical than by land. The nearby creek (dᶻəlíxʷ) would often be called Little Water(stútələkʷ), an endearing familiar.
The People of the Inside and the People of the Large Lake, like other Salish, were more a collection of villages linked by language and family ties than a nation or state. Relationships and stature among family and community were important measures or goals in life.
The People of the Inside, the People of the Large Lake, the People of Lake Sammamish and to a little lesser extent, the People of the Snoqualmie were all closely interrelated in a daisy chain following the geography. The Suquamish were also related. Of these, the first two, today's Duwamish, were a relatively dense population on prime real estate, and were the most immediately dispossessed at the time of Whites settlement.
Trading relationships and privileges were extensive between peoples of the entire Pacific Northwest (or "Cascadia"), including over the passes to what is now Eastern Washington. Relationships and trade were often cemented with the world-wide practice of intermarriage. Villages were linked to others through intermarriage, which also carried status and trading privileges; the wife usually went to live at the husband's village. While each extended family village might have their own customs, there were strong commonalities, particularly in language but also including philosophical beliefs, economic conditions, and ceremonial practices. The central and southern part of Puget Sound was the primary waterway connecting the greater Lushootseed (Skagit-Nisqually) Coast Salish Nations. Environmental resources were so abundant that the Skagit-Nisqually Salish had one of the world's few sedentary hunter-gatherer societies. Life before the arrival of Europeans revolved around a social organization based on house groupings within a village, and reciprocal hospitality within and between villages.
Society was divided into upper class, lower class, and slaves, all largely hereditary. Nobility was based on impeccable genealogy, inter-tribal kinship, wise use of resources, and possession of esoteric knowledge about the workings of spirits and the spirit world, making an effective marriage of class, secular, religious, and economic power. Like some other Native American Nations, the People of the Inside and the People of the Large Lake made their free-born look different: mothers carefully shaped the heads of their young babies, binding them with cradle boards just long enough to produce a steep sloping forehead. Traditionally there was no recognized permanent political leadership, which confused and frustrated people of European ancestry when they began to trade and settle in the area. There was little political organization that was understood by Europeans. The highest-ranking appropriate male would assume the role of ceremonial leader for some timely purpose, but rank could be variable and was determined by different standards.
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... Since the Elder Brain contains the essence of every illithid that died in its community, it functions in part as a vast library of knowledge that a mind flayer can call upon with a simple telepathic call ... The Elder Brain in turn can communicate telepathically with anyone in its community, issuing orders and ensuring everyone conforms ...
Famous quotes containing the word society:
“Hardly ever can a youth transferred to the society of his betters unlearn the nasality and other vices of speech bred in him by the associations of his growing years. Hardly ever, indeed, no matter how much money there be in his pocket, can he ever learn to dress like a gentleman-born. The merchants offer their wares as eagerly to him as to the veriest swell, but he simply cannot buy the right things.”
—William James (18421910)
“The professional celebrity, male and female, is the crowning result of the star system of a society that makes a fetish of competition. In America, this system is carried to the point where a man who can knock a small white ball into a series of holes in the ground with more efficiency than anyone else thereby gains social access to the President of the United States.”
—C. Wright Mills (19161962)
“A society which is clamoring for choice, which is filled with many articulate groups, each urging its own brand of salvation, its own variety of economic philosophy, will give each new generation no peace until all have chosen or gone under, unable to bear the conditions of choice. The stress is in our civilization.”
—Margaret Mead (19011978)