OLSON, Ronald L.




Author Tags: Anthropology, First Nations

In 1881, Johan Adrian Jacobsen made a cursory visit to Bella Bella (Wáglísla) and concluded it was "not a real Indian village." The Methodist minister Richard Whitfield Large from Ontario arrived at Bella Bella on McLoughlin Bay, Campbell Island in December of 1898 and became the only outsider to continuously observe and document the community during the first half of the 20th century. He sent 145 artifacts to the Provincial Museum in Toronto in 1901 and 1906, entrenching Methodism which had been introduced in the 1880s. By the time Franz Boas arrived in 1928, he observed, "The whole culture of the Bella Bella has practically disappeared." Nonetheless photographer and ethnologist Ronald Leroy Olson visited the area in 1935 and 1949 and produced The Social Organization of the Haisla (1940), The Social Life of the Owikeno Kwakiutl (1954) and Notes on the Bella Bella Kwakiutl (1955). Earlier Olson had combined his study of the Quinault Indians on the Olympic Peninsula with a separate work entitled Adze, Canoe, and House Types of the Northwest Coast (1927) which examines and compares Nootka, Kwakiutl and Haida cultures in terms of their construction technology and methods. After serving in World War I, Olson received his M.A. from the University of Washington in 1926, publishing his thesis on the Quinalt. He completed his doctorate at Berkeley in 1929, joining that university's department of anthropology in 1931. Born on December 8, 1895, Olson died in California on August 1, 1979. He is chiefly known for expanding the University of California's anthropology department.

BOOKS:

Olson, Ronald L. Quinault Indians on the Olympic Peninsula & Adze, Canoe, and House Types of the Northwest Coast (University of Washington Publications in Anthropology, 1927; 1936; 1967).

Olson, Ronald L. Clan and Moiety in Native America (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1933).

Olson, Ronald L. The Social Organization of the Haisla (Berkeley, University of California Press, 1940)

Olson, Ronald L. Social Life of the Owikeno Kwakiutl (Anthropological Records 14:3. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1954).

Olson, Ronald L. Notes on the Bella Bella Kwakiutl (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1955).

[BCBW 2005] "Anthropology" "First Nations"