The First Nations of British Columbia, Third Edition
184 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/2
full colour throughout,16 colour photos, 9 b&w photos, 3 maps, 1 chart
Release Date:15 Oct 2014
Release Date:15 Oct 2014
Release Date:15 Oct 2014

The First Nations of British Columbia, Third Edition

An Anthropological Overview

UBC Press

Since it was first published in 1998, The First Nations of British Columbia has been an essential introduction to the province’s first peoples. Written within an anthropological framework, it familiarizes readers with the history and cultures of First Nations in the province and provides a fundamental understanding of current affairs and concerns. This fully revised third edition includes:

  • an all new introduction and conclusion
  • updated information and references
  • sidebars on topics of interest such as totem poles, sasquatch, and Chinook jargon
  • discussions of enduring stereotypes and misperceptions of First Nations
  • excerpts from important historical documents, including the Canadian government’s Apology for Residential Schools

Concise and accessibly written, this book is essential reading for anyone who wants to deepen their understanding of First Nations in what is now British Columbia.

The First Nations of British Columbia is an indispensable resource for teachers, students, and anyone who wants to deepen their understanding of First Nations in this province.

While following in the footsteps of Wilson Duff’s seminal Indian History of British Columbia, Robert Muckle’s overview of BC’s First Nations from an anthropological perspective has won praise for being ‘unhindered by old-fashioned and insensitive anthropology.’ This updated version shines as a perfect example of the constructive work done by many authors over several decades to build a viable bridge of understanding with First Nations. It represents BC publishing at its essential best. Alan Twigg, BC BookWorld
This book provides an interesting perspective on BC First Nations culture. It gives us a view into First Nations communities, past and present, and helps to dispel some of the myths that still exist. Having worked as a cultural tourism manager, I find it an appealing book that will encourage readers who are curious to learn more about First Nations culture in British Columbia. Lillian Hunt, Cultural & Island Tour Guide, 'Namgis First Nation, Alert Bay

Robert J. Muckle has been involved in numerous anthropological research projects, served as a consultant to several First Nations, and taught at postsecondary institutions throughout British Columbia. He currently teaches anthropology at Capilano University in North Vancouver.


Part 1: Introducing First Nations, Popular Perceptions, and the Anthropological Perspective

Popular Perceptions

Through the Lens of Anthropology

Overview of Chapters

Recommended Readings and Resources

Part 2: Defining and Situating First Nations Today

Understanding Labels: First Nations, Aboriginal, Indian, and More

Population, Reserves, Settlements, and Lands

Bands, Ethnic Groups, Tribal Councils, and Other Affiliations

Situating BC First Nations within Canada, in North America, and around the World

Recommended Readings and Resources

Part 3: Archaeology and First Nations

First Nations and Archaeological Perceptions of the Past

The Nature of Archaeological Research in British Columbia

Early Migrations through British Columbia

Here to Stay

Settling Down

Prominent Sites

Tracing Ancestry

Recommended Readings and Resources

Part 4: Languages, Population Estimates, and Traditional Lifeways

Traditional Culture Areas of British Columbia



Settlement Patterns



Social Organization

Myths, Spirits, and Shamans

Health and Healing


The Potlatch and Other Important Ceremonies

Trade, Slavery, and Warfare

Recommended Readings and Resources

Part 5: From the Late 1700s through the Twentieth Century

Population Loss

The Impact of the Fur Trade

The Impact of the Gold Rushes

The Impact of Non-Indigenous Settlement

Missionaries and Residential Schools

First Nations and Wage Labour

Government Relations with First Nations

Assertions of Aboriginal Rights

Negotiations in the Late 1900s

Anthropology in the Late 1900s

Recommended Readings and Resources

Part 6: First Nations and Anthropology in the Twenty-First Century

Living in the Twenty-First Century

Economic and Cultural Initiatives

Treaty Negotiations

Outstanding Issues

Asserting Rights and Identity

First Nations and Anthropology in the Twenty-First Century

First Nations Cultures Still Exist

Final Comments: Things to Remember

Recommended Readings and Resources


1 The First Nations of British Columbia

2 Major Ethnic Groups

3 Excerpts from the British Columbia Heritage Conservation Act, 1996

4 Apology for Residential Schools

5 Excerpts from the Royal Proclamation, 1763


Selected Bibliography

Find what you’re looking for...
Stay Informed

Receive the latest UBC Press news, including events, catalogues, and announcements.

Read past newsletters

Free shipping on online orders over $40

Publishers Represented
UBC Press is the Canadian agent for several international publishers. Visit our Publishers Represented page to learn more.