BARBEAU, Marius (1883-1969)




Author Tags: 1900-1950, Anthropology, First Nations, Haida Gwaii

QUICK REFERENCE ENTRY:

Marius Barbeau is considered the founder of folklore studies in Canada. After studying anthropology at Oxford as the first French-Canadian Rhodes scholar, he was hired as an ethnologist at the Museum Branch of the Geological Survey of Canada in Ottawa and first visited B.C. for ethnology research in 1914. As one of Canada’s first two full-time professional anthropologists (the other was Edward Sapir), he conducted groundbreaking fieldwork among the Tsimshian of northern British Columbia and assisted William Beynon in his research in the Nass and Skeena River valleys in 1920s, leading to his 1928 novel The Downfall of Temlaham and Totem Poles of the Gitksan, Upper Skeena River, British Columbia (1929). Barbeau’s two publications about totem poles in 1950 became extremely influential in spreading the word about Pacific Northwest totem poles around the world. These are Totem Poles: Vol. I According to Crests and Topics (1950) and Totem Poles: Vol. II According to Location (1950). As well, Marius Barbeau’s Photographic Collection: The Nass River (1988), edited by Linda Riley, reproduces 294 photographs that were taken between 1927 and 1929, along the Nass River, of people, totem poles, grave monuments, masks and rituals, etc.

Although he incorrectly theorized that poles were only erected after contact with Europeans, Barbeau was one of the first ethnographers to document seriously the accomplishments of individual Haida artists, primarily in his book Haida Carvers in Argillite 2 (1957), a follow-up to Haida Myths: Illustrated Argillite Carvings (1953). In the former he wrote, “The present Haida Carvers further sets forth the names and achievements of more than forty Skidegate and Masset artisans and illustrates their extraordinary progress within the memory of man. If one decides to learn at first hand about them, nothing will be out of focus, for neither would anonymity satisfy a French historian of the Barbizon school of painters concerning Millet, Rousseau and their impressionistic contemporaries. Likewise, in this book on Haida argillite work, we shall look into the recent lives and achievements of William Dixon, Tom Price, John Cross, Charlie Edenshaw, Isaac Chapman and others of the same school. All of them were contemporaries of our own Constable, Turner, Courbet, Millet, Gauguin and Cézanne.”

A contemporary of Diamond Jenness, Barbeau became one of the first recipients of the Order of Canada. Born south of Quebec City in 1883, he died in Ottawa in 1969.

[For other authors pertaining to B.C. anthropology, see abcbookworld entries for Abbott, Donald; Adamson, Thelma; Allen, D.; Ames, Kenneth; Ames, Michael; Amoss, Pamela; Anderson, E.N.; Anderson, Margaret Seguin; Arima, E.Y.; Bancroft-Hunt, Norman; Barbeau, Marius; Barker, John; Barnett, Homer G.; Beck, Mary; Belshaw, Cyril; Bentley, Mary; Bentley, Ted; Bierwert, Crisca; Black, Martha; Blake, Michael; Bloch, Alexia; Bolanz, Maria; Bolin, Inge; Bouchard, Randy; Bringhurst, Robert; Brody, Hugh; Brown, Steven; Burridge, Kenelm; Castile, George; Chamberlain, Alexander Francis; Codere, Helen; Coe, Ralph; Cogo, Robert; Colson, Elizabeth; Crosby, Thomas; Cruikshank, Julie; Crumrine, N. Ross; Culhane, Dara; Cybulski, Jerome; Dauenhauer, Nora Marks; Davidson, Florence; Davis, Philip; Davis, Wade; Dawson, George M.; Dossa, Parin; Drew, Leslie; Drucker, Philip; Durlach, Theresa Mayer; Eijk, Jan van; Emmons, George Thornton; Ernst, Alice; Farrand, Livingston; Galloway, Brent; Galois, Robert; Garfield, Viola; Goddard, Pliney Earle; Goldman, Irving; Good, John Booth; Gunn, S.W.A.; Gunther, Erna; Gustafson, Paula; Halliday, W.M.; Halpin, Marjorie; Harkin, Michael; Harrison, Charles; Hayden, Brian; Hays, H.R.; Hilbert, Vi; Hill, Beth; Hill, Ray; Hill-Tout, Charles; Holm, Bill; Hoover, Allan; Hymes, Dell; Inverarity, R.B.; Jacobs, Melville; Jenness, Diamond; Jensen, Vickie; Jilek, Wolfgang G.; Jonaitis, Aldona; Jones, Joan Meagan; Kaiper, Dan; Keddie, Grant; Keithahn, Edward; Kew, Della; Kew, J.E. Michael; Keyser, J.D.; Krause, Aurel; Lopatin, Ivan Alexis; Lotz, Pat; MacDonald, George F.; Macnair, Peter; Malin, Edward; Matson, R.G.; Maud, Ralph; McCullagh, James B.; McFeat, Tom; McIlwraith, T.F.; McMillan, Alan; Meade, Edward; Miller, Bruce G.; Miller, Jay; Mills, Antonia; Muckle, Robert J.; Nankivell, Simon; Niblack, Albert; Oberg, Kalervo; Olson, Ronald; Phillips, W.S.; Pierce, William H.; Ravenhill, Alice; Reid, Martine; Ridington, Robin; Ritzenthaler, Robert; Robinson, Michael; Rohner, Ronald; Roquefeuil, Camille (de); Rosman, Abraham; Samuel, Cheryl; Sanger, David; Sendey, John; Stewart, Hilary; Strong-Boag, Veronica; Stuart, Wendy Bross; Suttles, Wayne; Swanton, John Alexander; Van den Brink, J.H.; van Deusen, Kira; Walens, Stanley; Wells, Oliver; Wherry, Joseph; Williams, Judith; Wright, Robin K.; Wyatt, Gary; Wyse, David; Zagoskin, Lavrentii Alekseevich.]

FULL ENTRY:

Considered the founder of folklore studies in Canada, Charles Marius Barbeau was a native of the Beauce region south of Quebec City, born on March 5, 1883. After studying anthropology at Oxford as the first French-Canadian Rhodes scholar, he returned to Canada and got a job as an ethnologist at the Victoria Memorial Museum (now the Canadian Museum of Civilization) in Ottawa. Barbeau conducted groundbreaking fieldwork among the Huron of Lorette, and later among the Tsimshian of northern British Columbia. He first came to B.C. in 1914. In the 1920s he assisted William Beynon in his research in the Nass and Skeena River valleys. This led to his 1928 novel The Downfall of Temlaham. Barbeau's publications about totem poles in the 1950s were extremely influential in spreading the word about Pacific Northwest totem poles around the world. Marius Barbeau's Photographic Collection: The Nass River reproduces 294 photographs that were taken between 1927 and 1929 along the Nass River of people, totem poles, grave monuments, masks and rituals, etc. He incorrectly theorized that poles were only erected after contact with Europeans. Barbeau was one of the first ethnographers to seriously attempt to document the accomplishments of individual Haida artists, primarily in his book Haida Carvers in Argillite 2. A contemporary of Diamond Jenness, Barbeau became one of the first recipients of the Order of Canada. He died on February 27, 1969 in Ottawa.

BOOKS:

Barbeau, Marius. Indian Days in the Canadian Rockies (Toronto: The Macmillan Company. 1923).
Barbeau, Marius. The Downfall of Temlaham (Toronto: Macmillan Company of Canada, 1928; reprinted, Edmonton: Hurtig Publishers, 1973).
Barbeau, Marius. Totem Poles of the Gitksan, Upper Skeena River, British Columbia (National Museum of Ottawa, 1929; reprinted, Ottawa: National Museum of Man, 1973).
Barbeau, Marius. Mountain Cloud (Caldwell, Idaho: Caxton, 1944). A novel, with woodcuts by Thoreau MacDonald.
Barbeau, Marius. Totem Poles: Vol. I According to Crests and Topics (Ottawa: National Museum of Canada, 1950).
Barbeau, Marius. Totem Poles: Vol. II According to Location (Ottawa: National Museum of Canada, 1950).
Barbeau, Marius. Haida Myths in Argillite Carvings (National Museum of Canada, 1953).
Barbeau, Marius. Haida Carvers in Argillite 2 (National Museum of Canada, 1957, 1974).
Barbeau, Marius. Medicine Men on the North Pacific Coast (National Museum of Canada, 1958, 1973).
Barbeau, Marius. Pathfinders in the North Pacific (Caxton & Ryerson; Toronto: Ryerson Press, 1958). Illustrations by Tom Price.
Barbeau, Marius. Art of the Totem (Hancock House, 1983). A reprint of Totem Poles: A Recent Native Art of the Northwest Coast of America, in Geographical Review, 20: 258-272. 1930. [Reprinted: pp. 559-570 in Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution for the Year 1931, Washington.] Reprinted in 2008 (listed as 2006) with an introduction by publisher David Hancock.
Coast Salish (978-0-88839-620-1)
Linda Riley (editor) Marius Barbeau's Photographic Collection: The Nass River (Hull, Quebec: Canadian Museum of Ethnology Mercury Series Paper No. 109, Canadian Museum of Civilization, 1988)

Selected Publications:

Raven-Clan Outlaws On the North Pacific Coast, Unpublished Manuscript, Folklore Division, National Museum of Man, Ottawa. N.D.

Temlarh'am: the Land of Plenty On the North Pacific Coast, Unpublished Manuscript, Folklore Division, National Museum of Man, Ottawa. N.D.

Wolf-Clan Invaders From the Northern Plateaux Among the Tsimsyans, Unpublished Manuscript, Folklore Division, National Museum of Man, Ottawa. N.D.

The Gwenhoot of Alaska in Search of A Bounteous Land, Unpublished Manuscript, Folklore Division, National Museum of Man, Ottawa. N.D.

The Bearing of the Heraldry of the Indians of the North-West Coast of America upon their Social Organization, Man 12:83-90. 1912.

Growth and Federation in the Tsimshian Phratries, Proceedings of the 19th International Congress of Americanists, 1915, Pages 402-408. 1917.

Parallel Between the Northwest Coast and Iroquoian Clans and Phratries, American Anthropologist, New Series, 19, pp. 403-405. 1917.

A Forgotten Project of the Far West, The Historic Landmarks Association of Canada, Annual Report, Pages 39-41. 1921.

Fort Simpson, On the Northwest Coast, in the Canadian Historical Association, Annual Report, Page 84. 1923.

Fort Simpson, On the Northwest Coast, the Canadian Historical Association, Annual Report, 1923, Pages 84-89. 1923.

Totem Pole Restoration, Smithers Division C.N,R., Season 1927-1928, Kitselas Canyon, Public Archives of Canada, R.G. 10, Vol. 4087, Ottawa. 1928.

Totem Poles of the Gitksan, Upper Skeena River, British Columbia, National Museum of Canada, Bulletin No. 61, Anthropological Series, No. 12, Ottawa: Department of Mines. 1929. [re-issued 1973]

Totem Poles: A Recent Native Art of the Northwest Coast of America, in Geographical Review, 20: 258-272. 1930. [Reprinted: pp. 559-570 in Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution for the Year 1931, Washington.]

An Indian Paradise Lost, Canadian Geographical Journal, Ottawa, 1(2): 133-148. 1930.

Asiatic Migrations into America, Canadian Historical Review 13:403-417. 1932.

Songs of the Northwest, in Musical Quarterly, 19: 191-111. 1933.

How Asia Used to Drip at the Spout into America, Washington Historical Quarterly 24:163-173. 1933.

The Siberian Origin of our Northwestern Indians, Proceedings of the Fifth Pacific Science Congress 1933:2777-2789. 1934.

Volcanoes On the Nass, in Canadian Geographical Journal, X (5): 215-225. 1935.

How Totem Poles Originated, Queens Quarterly 46(3):304-311. 1939.

Old Port Simpson, in Beaver, 271:2: 20-23. 1940.

The North Pacific Coast - Its Human Mosaic, in Canadian Geographical Journal, XX (3): 143-155. 1940.

The Modern Growth of the Totem Pole on the Northwest Coast, Smithsonian Institution Annual Report 1939:491-498. 1940. (reprinted by Shorey Book Store, Seattle, 1965).

Old Canadian Silver, in Canadian Geographical Journal, 22: 150-162. 1941.

Totem Poles: A By-Product of the Fur Trade, Scientific Monthly, December, 507-514. 1942.

Tsimsyan Songs, Publication of the American Ethnological Society, (Ed., Marian W. Smith). 1942.

Totemism, a Modern Growth on the North Pacific Coast, Journal of American Folklore 57, 223. 1944.

How the Raven Stole the Sun [Charles Edensaw's Argillite Carvings]. Transactions of the Royal Society of Canada, 3rd ser., Vol. 38 (sect. 2): 59-69. Ottawa. 1944.

The Aleutian Route of Migration into America, Geographical Review 35(3):424-443. 1945.

Totem Poles, 2 Volumes, National Museum of Canada, Bulletin No. 119, Anthropological Series, No. 30, Ottawa: Department of The Secretary of State. 1950.

Haida Myths Illustrated in Argillite Carvings. Anthropological Series 32, National Museum of Canada Bulletin 127. Ottawa. 1953.

Haida Carvers in Argillite, National Museum of Canada Anthropological Series no. 38, Bulletin 139, Ottawa: National Museums of Canada, 1957. Reprinted, 1974.

Tsimshian Songs, in The Tsimshian: Their Arts and Music, pp. 97-280, American Ethnological Society, 18, Seattle: University of Washington Press; New York: J.J. Augustin. 1951.

Haida Myths Illustrated in Argillite Carvings, National Museum of Canada, Bulletin No. 127, Anthropological Series, No. 32, Ottawa: Department of Northern Affairs and National Resources. 1953.

Totemic Atmosphere on the North Pacific Coast, Journal of American Folklore 67:103-122. 1954.

Totems and Songs, Canadian Geographical Journal, 50: 176-181. 1955.

Haida Carvers in Argillite, National Museum of Canada Bulletin 139, Ottawa. 1957.

Medicine-Men of the North Pacific Coast, National Museum of Canada, Bulletin No. 152, Anthropological Series, No. 42, Ottawa. 1958. [reprinted 1973].

Tsimsyan Myths, National Museum of Canada, Bulletin No. 174, Anthropological Series, No. 51, Ottawa. 1961.

Buddhist Dirges On the North Pacific Coast, in International Folk Music Council Journal, 14: 16-21. 1962.

Also: The Marius Barbeau and William Beynon Field Notes, Archives, Canadian Centre For Folk Culture Studies, National Museum of Man, Ottawa.

-- Tsimshian Narratives I: Tricksters, Shamans and Heroes, edited by John Cove and George F. MacDonald, Canadian Museum of Civilization, Mercury Series Directorate Paper Number 3, Ottawa. 1987.

-- Tsimshian Narratives 2: Trade and Warfare, edited by George F. MacDonald and John Cove, Canadian Museum of Civilization, Mercury Series, paper number 3, Ottawa. 1987.

[Alan Twigg / BCBW 2004 / 2008] "Anthropology" "Classic" "1900-1950" "QCI" "First Nations"