Ethnoecology Digital Resources (searchable)

Museums with Ethnology and Archaeology Collections from the Pacific Northwest:

 Royal BC Museum in Victoria BC has a multistep search tool, but with a little patience, you can view photographs of their extensive ethnology and archaeology collections.

Burke Museum Ethnology Collection in Seattle WA has a nice historical image archive and ethnology collection that you can browse or search. The Archaeology Collection isn’t very accessible from the internet, but includes collections from the Pacific Northwest.

UBC Museumof Anthropology in Vancouver BC has an easily searchable collection with high quality images of most items.

Manitoba Museum in Winnipeg MB has both ethnology and archaeology collections.  I find the search tools cumbersome, but when I get results, they have nice pictures.

The Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in New York NY and Washington DC has a nice online collection that is very easy to search.

The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History: Anthropology Collections in Washington DC has an extensive inventory of ethnological and archaeological collections from the Pacific Northwest that may be searched online, but images of the items are not yet available.

The Harvard Peabody Museum in Boston MA has a large online collection.  It is searchable by several variables including keyword, location, cultural group, and more.  If all else fails, browse through alphabetical listings of possible search strings until you find something pertinent, or search “northwest coast” in the “who” category (and you will get close to 2500 items).

The Field Museum in Chicago IL has a library and large number of collections related to ethnography and archaeology, but it is not accessible online.  Franz Boas worked here in the early 1890s, shortly after it opened. Maybe they will get with the program in the coming years.

The Glenbo Museum in Calbary AB has a library and ethnology collection with materials from the Pacific Northwest.  Some of the material is digital, but the search functions are difficult to use.

Digital Books, Articles, and Archives:

Society of Ethnobiology has three publications.  The “Journal of Ethnobiology” is the flagship journal of the society with 28 years of publication history.  Members get online access.  “Contributions in Ethnobiology” is a digital monograph series for book length research, and “Ethnobiology Letters” is an open-access fully online journal for shorter publications.  All Society of Ethnobiology publications are peer reviewed.

The New York Botanical Garden publishes the “Journal of Economic Botany” for the Society of Economic Botany.  This is a peer reviewed journal that comes out quarterly.  Society membership or membership to Springer is needed to access the articles.

American Museum of Natural History Research Library has a collection of anthropological papers that you can search and download for free.

Internet Archive is a great place to search for scans of out of print books and articles that are in the public domain.  No subscription is required and you can often select from a variety of download formats.

Google Books is free, easily searchable, and very fast.  Only books that in the public domain (old) can be downloaded but some new books have extensive previews or sell e-book versions.

Google Scholar is a free easy way to start searching for articles.  Newer articles often require payment to view unless you can get access from an institution that already has a memebership (all major universities).  Older articles often have pdf downloads.

Northwest Coast Archaeology is UVic professor Dr. Quentin Mackie’s Blog.  He hosts theses (some of them hard to find elsewhere) that are related to archaeology, anthropology, First Nation studies, and History.  His blog is a great place to stay up to date on archaeology news and events.

Edward Curtis’s, The North American Indian is a massive 20 volume collection of ethnographic books about Native Americans that was compiled between 1907 and 1930.  Curtis devotes particular attention to the Pacific Northwest.  Accounts are filled with spectacular photographs and often very detailed information on the food systems of each Nation he visited.  The entire collection of texts and ancillary photographs is hosted by Northwestern University and is freely searchable.

McKenna-McBride Royal Commission collection is a body of carefully transcribed testimonies from First Peoples in the Province of British Columbia to the Royal Commission of Indian Affairs.  The Commission lasted from 1913 until 1916 and records the words of First Nation leaders struggling with early colonial policies some of which severely restricted ancestral food systems.  Searchable by keyword, region, subject, band, and more.  Hosted by the Union of BC Indian Chiefs.

Sacred Texts Archive has a collection of texts dating from the 1890s to 1930s related to the mythology of several Native American groups in the Pacific Northwest.

ACLS Humanities E-Book is a collection of over 3 thousand books related to the humanities.  A subscription is required for full access, but you can view search results (Title and Table of Contents) for free.  Many universities have institutional subscriptions. is the worlds largest online collection of books.

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