Monday, May 19, 2008


From 1884 to 1951, it was a crime in Canada (and the US) for First Nations to potlatch; dancing, singing, and gift-giving -- in ceremonies comprising the system of redistributing wealth among the coastal aboriginal peoples -- was punishable by two to six months in jail. Today, the indigenous tribes of the Pacific Northwest have rebounded from this missionary-inspired punishment, and taken potlatch to a new level. Lucky for us, the Native tradition of giving is alive and well.

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