Author Tags: Anthropology, First Nations

Born in 1935, Eugene Yuji Arima is an ethnologist specializing in Arctic and Northwest Coast culture areas. He has written, edited and contributed to several books on the whaling people. Arima lives in Ottawa, where he recently retired as ethnohistorian for National Historic Parks and Sites, Parks Canada.

Review of the author's work by BC Studies:
The West Coast (Nootka) People
The Whaling People of the West Coast of Vancouver Island and Cape Flattery


A Report on the West Coast Whaling Canoe Reconstructed at Port Renfrew, B.C. (History and Archaeology, Vol. 5, Ottawa: National Historic Parks and Sites Branch, Parks Canada, Department of Indian and Northern Affairs, 1975).

A CONTEXTUAL STUDY OF THE CARIBOU ESKIMO KAYAK by Eugene Y. Arima (Ottawa, Mercury Series No. 25, National Museum 1975).

The West Coast People: The Nootka of Vancouver Island and Cape Flattery (Victoria: BC Provincial Museum, 1983). Special Publications #6. The Nootka are the native people who inhabit Vancouver Islandís outer coast and the tip of the Olympic Peninsula, or as they are now collectively referred to as the Nuu-chah-nulth. The book explores multiple topics including ethnographic topics such as making a living, organization into social groups and the spirit world around them, while other chapters take a historical perspective from pre-history to the modern age for the peoples of the West Coast.

Between Ports Alberni and Renfrew: Notes on West Coast Peoples (Hull, Quebec: Canadian Museum of Civilization, 1991). Co-author. A collection of essays on the indigenous peoples of West Coast, including the descriptions and oral history of the Nootka, Aht, West Coast, Nuu-chah-nulth, Tseshaht, Ohiaht, Ditidaht and Pacheedaht peoples and while they may be culturally similar they are politically unique. Oral history accounts are included in this book, along with tables and maps of place names and territories in the Barkley Sound and Alberni Inlet areas

The Whaling People of the West Coast of Vancouver Island and Cape Flattery (Royal BC Museum 2011). With Alan Hoover. Focusing on the Nuu-chah-nulth of B.C. and the Makah of Washington, this book explores the cultural importance of whaling in the spiritual, ceremonial, and artistic traditions of these coastal tribes. Stories and other oral traditions from ethnographic sources, particularly Edward Sapir and Philip Drucker, compose the majority of the book and work to present information from a Nuu-chah-nulth perspective.†

[BCBW 2016] "Anthropology" "First Nations"

The Whaling People
Publisher's promo (2011)

The Whaling People
of the West Coast of Vancouver Island and Cape Flattery

by Eugene Arima and Alan Hoover

The Whaling People live along the west coast of Vancouver Island and Cape Flattery in Washington. They comprise more than 20 First Nations, including the Nuu-chah-nulth (formerly called Nootka), Dididaht, Pacheedaht and Makah. These socially related peoples enjoyed a highly organized, tradition-based culture for centuries before Europeans arrived. As whaling societies, they had a unique relationship with the sea.

In The Whaling People, Eugene Arima and Alan Hoover give an intimate account of the traditional ways in which these coastal people looked at and understood the world they lived in. They present the activities, technologies and rituals that the Whaling People used to make a living in their complex coastal environments, and their beliefs about the natural and supernatural forces that affected their lives. The book features 12 narratives collected from First Nations elders, each illustrated with original drawings by the celebrated Hesquiaht artist, Tim Paul.

This informative and entertaining book celebrates the still-thriving cultures of the Whaling People, who survived the devastating effects of colonial power and influences. It includes a history of treaty making in BC, leading up to the just ratified Maa-nulth Treaty signed by five First Nations of the Whaling People.

Co-author Alan Hoover has written widely on the material culture and art of Northwest Coast peoples. He is co-author of the Royal BC Museum books The Legacy (1984) and The Magic Leaves (2002), and editor of Nuu-chah-nulth Voices, Histories, Objects & Journeys (2000).


Ethnology / History
November 2011
paperback, 256 pages, 6 x 9, 70 b/w photographs and drawings