AskDefine | Define potlatch

User Contributed Dictionary



Chinook jargon potlatch ("gift") < Nuu-chah-nulth patshatl ("giving", "gift").


  1. a ceremony amongst certain Native American peoples of the Pacific northwest in which gifts are bestowed upon guests and personal property is given in a show of wealth and generosity.


Extensive Definition

A potlatch is a festival ceremony practiced by Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast in North America, along Pacific Northwest coast of the United States and the Canadian province of British Columbia. This includes Haida, Nuxalk, Tlingit, Tsimshian, Nuu-chah-nulth, Kwakwaka'wakw and Coast Salish cultures. The word comes from the Chinook Jargon, meaning "to give away" or "a gift". It is a vital part of indigenous cultures of the Pacific Northwest. It went through a history of rigorous ban by the Canadian government, and has been the study of many anthropologists.




External links

  • U'mista Museum of potlatch artifacts.
  • The Potlatch Longhouse (Haida potlatches and longhouses)
  • Potlatch An exhibition from the Peabody Museum, Harvard University.
  • Money An analysis of Potlatch and modern versions of the same from a psychohistorical perspective. Not neutral point of view, but does provide references.
  • University of Washington Libraries Digital Collections – Oliver S. Van Olinda Photographs A collection of 420 photographs depicting life on Vashon Island, Whidbey Island, Seattle and other communities around Puget Sound, Washington, from the 1880s through the 1930s. This collection provides a glimpse of early pioneer activities, industries and occupations, recreation, street scenes, ferries and boat traffic at the turn of the century. Also included are a few photographs of Native American activities such as documentation of a potlatch on Whidbey Island.
  • Anash Interactive - An online destination where users create comics, write stories, watch webisodes, download podcasts, play games, read stories and comics by other members, and find out about the Tlingit people of Canada.
potlatch in Catalan: Potlatch
potlatch in German: Potlatch
potlatch in Spanish: Potlatch
potlatch in French: Potlatch (anthropologie)
potlatch in Croatian: Potlač
potlatch in Italian: Potlatch
potlatch in Dutch: Potlatch
potlatch in Polish: Potlacz
potlatch in Portuguese: Potlatch
potlatch in Russian: Потлач
potlatch in Swedish: Potlatch
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