Author Tags: First Nations, Haida Gwaii

Marianne Boelscher drew upon data she collected during fieldwork with the Masset Haida in the late 1970s and early 1980s for The Curtain Within: Haida Social and Mythical Discourse (1988), an examination of moiety and lineage, social rank, the rules of entitlement to inherited property, and the mode of thought encoded in mythology in Haida society. Boelscher suggests that intentional ambiguity in rhetoric regarding rank, kinship categories, marital alliances, names and crests has permitted these symbols to be continuously renegotiated and redefined. When the book appeared, Boelscher was a researcher with the Shuswap Nation Tribal Council and a visiting assistant professor of sociology and anthropology at Simon Fraser University. Having received her M.A. in Anthropology and Linguistics from Georg August Universitaet in Goettingen/Germany and her Ph.D. in Anthropology from SFU, she has concentrated her research on the Secwepemc (Shuswap) people and has married Ron Ignace, former Chief of the Skeetchestn Band. Together they launched an educational partnership program between SFU and the Shuswap Nation for Aboriginal learners in the B.C. Interior. In 2005 she received a career achievement award from the Confederation of University Faculty Associations of B.C. for her work in preserving some of the 30 Aboriginal languages belonging to eight separate linguistic families in B.C. She has also taught her eight children the Secwepemc language.

Marianne Ignace again teamed up with her husband, Chief Ronald E. Ignace, to produce an authoritative tome on the 10,000-year history of the First Nations people who live in the Interior Plateau of B.C. Secwépemc People, Land, and Laws (McGill-Queen’s $39.95) has contributions from ethnobotanist Nancy Turner, archaeologist Mike Rousseau, and geographer Ken Favrholdt that weave together Secwépemc narratives about their ancestors’ deeds. Hence the book’s stories are filtered through past and present Secwépemc storytellers. The information not only details land stewardship, social order, and spiritual concepts, it relates how the Secwépemc peoples resisted oppression and the theft of their land, and how they fought to retain political autonomy between the mid-1800s and the 1920s.

Marianne Ignace is professor of linguistics and First Nations studies at SFU.

Review of the author's work by BC Studies:
The Curtain Within: Haida Social and Mythical Discourse


Secwépemc People, Land, and Laws (McGill-Queen’s) Co-author Chief Ron Ignace. $39.95 978-0-7735-5130-5

Boelscher, Marianne. The Curtain Within: Haida Social and Mythical Discourse (UBC Press, 1988).

[BCBW 2017] "QCI" "First Nations" "Ethnology"