The fonds consists of records created and/or accumulated by Sawyer, predominately during his time as a professor and as a researcher at the University of British Columbia. Presently, there are two series in this fonds reflecting Sawyer’s research on the artifacts of Northwest Coast First Nation communities, including the: Tlingit; Haida; Tsimshian; Gitxsan; Nisga’a; Kwakwaka’wakw (formerly Kwakiutl); Nuxalk; Nuu-chah-nulth (formerly Nootka); and Coast Salish First Nations. The series contains slides, scrapbooks, photographs, textual records, and ephemera.
The collection consists of eight photographs likely taken in the Nuu-chah-nulth community in the 1920's. Some of the photographs may have been taken by Catherine, the daughter of an early Indian Agent named Augustus Cox. They include a number of images that appear to be a Samiilth or Saatlsaach ceremony, with K'aanaatla mimicking wolves. Some of these images are taken near a seaside village, which shows various types of structures and canoes. Other images taken on a beach show canoe runs, as well as two images of individuals in robes and headdresses. Another image shows a detailed view of two headdresses. There are also images of what seem to be preparations for a parade, with individuals dressed in costumes and decorated motorcars nearby.