Item 03 - Relevant Dates of Kwakwakawakw History

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Relevant Dates of Kwakwakawakw History

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03

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0.1 cm of textual records

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(1938)

Biographical history

Daisy May Sewid-Smith (née Sewid) was born in Alert Bay, BC, on November 28, 1938, daughter of Chief James Sewid and Flora Violet Alfred, and granddaughter of Agnes Alfred. After graduating school, she took a secretarial course at Vancouver College and worked for the Indian Affairs Branch in Alert Bay. During her time in Alert Bay, she published several articles and books about the prosecution of potlatches and the confiscation and return of artifacts by the Canadian government.
Daisy Sewid-Smith is one of the leading linguistic experts in the Kwakwakka’wakw community, teaching the language and developing a method to transcribe it. She wrote a grammar book for the Kwak’wala language. She also translated some of Franz Boas’ texts in the context of land claim issues and contributed to the UN convention on the rights of the child. Sewid-Smith works in the Faculty of Education at the University of Victoria and was a member of the Advisory Council for the Centre for Studies in Religion and Society.
In the late 1970s, her grandmother, Agnes Alfred, introduced her to Martine J. de Widerspach-Thor (later Martine J. Reid) with whom she recorded and translated her grandmother’s memoirs between 1979 and 1985. From then until the late 1990s, they put a hold in their project for personal and work-related reasons. In the late 1990s, they resumed their work, which lead to the publication of the book Paddling to Where I Stand in 2004.

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([ca. 1950s])

Biographical history

Martine J. Reid (née de Widerspach-Thor) was born in France. After completing her Master’s thesis on the role of salmon on the nineteenth- and twentieth-century Kwakwaka'wakw communities, she moved to British Columbia. While studying at the University of British Columbia, she started learning Kwakwala from Katherine Ferry Adams, who introduced her to the language and culture and adopted her into her family in 1978.
From 1976 to 1978 she attended several potlatches in the area of Alert Bay (BC). There, she came in contact with Kwakwakka’wakw communities, which would lead her to write and defend her doctoral dissertation about the Kwakwakka’wakw hamaca (Man-Eater) ritual in 1981.
In the 1970s, Dr. Reid received funding from the Urgent Ethnology Program of the Museum of Man in Ottawa to record languages and customs to prevent their loss. As part of this project, Dr. Reid came in contact with Agnes Alfred (or Axuw or Axuwaw) with whom she travelled to different Kwakwakka’wakw communities. As part of these visits, she met Agnes’ granddaughter, Daisy Sewid-Smith.
Between 1979 and 1980, and in 1983 and 1985 Sewid-Smith and Reid recorded and translated Agnes’ memoirs. From then until the late 1990s, they put a hold in their project for personal and work-related reasons. In the late 1990s, they resumed their work, which lead to the publication of Paddling to Where I Stand in 2004.
Between 1979 and 1983, Dr. Reid worked at the Department of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia. There, she lectured in the areas of Anthropology, Ethnography, and First Nations studies. She also participated in several art-related projects in the 1980s, 1990s, and early 2000s, while consulting projects for the Ministry of Indian and Northern Affairs and for the Native Investment Trade Association.
From 2008 to 2012, Dr. Reid was the Director of Content and Research, and Curator at the Bill Reid Gallery. Then, she became the Honorary Chair of the Bill Reid Foundation.

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Item is a 4 pages-long document with relevant dates of Kwakwakawakw History.
Item includes typed information and handwritten annotations and grammar corrections.

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Box 1-13

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