BARNETT, Homer G.




Author Tags: Anthropology, First Nations

Homer Garner Barnett conducted the first intensive anthropological study of the Coast Salish, gathering materials from 13 communities between 1934 and 1936. His findings were originally published by the Anthropological Records of the University of California as Culture Element Distribution Number 9: Gulf of Georgia Salish (1939). This detailed work was revised and appeared in a more accessible form as The Coast Salish of British Columbia (1955), an outstanding work that benefitted from collaborators such as Tommy Paul of Tsartlip and Johnny Dominick of Squirrel Cove. Barnett's other important Pacific Northwest study is Indian Shakers: A Messianic Cult of the Pacific Northwest (1957), plus The Nature and Function of the Potlatch (1968). The Homer Garner Barnett Papers at UBC Special Collections contain his 1935-1936 Coast Salish Fieldnotes and 1940 Tsimshian Fieldnotes, plus a manuscript version of The Nature and Function of the Potlatch. In this book Barnett aims to clarify the essential facts of the potlatch and address misunderstandings, since the potlatch of the Northwest Coast tribes has been written on extensively and with that has come the confusion of different angles and points of reference.

Born in 1906, he received his Ph.D. from the University of California in 1938 with a thesis on the potlatch. During World War II he served as an ethnology expert for the armed services, training soldiers on how to extract information from ‘native informants’. After the war he was chiefly associated with the University of Oregon. He also directed a research program concerning Pacific communities that were displaced due to natural disasters or atomic bomb testing.

BOOKS:

Barnett, Homer G. Culture Element Distribution Number 9: Gulf of Georgia Salish (Anthropological Records of the University of California, 1939).

Barnett, Homer G. The Coast Salish of British Columbia (Eugene: University of Oregon Press, 1955; Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1975; University of Oregon Press, 2001).

Barnett, Homer G. Indian Shakers: A Messianic Cult of the Pacific Northwest (Carbondale: Illinois: Southern Illinois University Press, 1957).

Barnett, Homer G. The Nature and Function of the Potlatch (University of Oregon, Department of Anthropology, 1968).

[BCBW 2016] "Anthropology" "First Nations"