Oh, Snap! (kutsuwamushi) wrote in little_details,
Oh, Snap!

[ANON POST] 14th-16th-century Northwest Native/First Nations tech and social customs


Puget Sound, 1300s-1500s. Posits that small Japanese and Russian exploration fleets reached the PNW coast during this time and made first contact with the Coast Salish tribes living there. This is a fantasy story, rather than historical-revision fiction, so some artistic license is expected. The story itself is set long after this first contact has been made, and after the three cultures have been coexisting in this region for 100-200 years. This detail--of how these tribes would have lived and interacted under these circumstances--isn't the point of the book. Just a small part of the foundation for the world-building.

The two key questions:

-How would the Salish have handled small groups of foreign visitors who wanted to settle on their lands because they didn't have the means to return to their own home countries across the sea?

This assumes that the Japanese and Russian groups (which came at different times; the Japanese about 100 years before the Russians) were small, and not bent on conquering or otherwise subduing the native peoples, but also wouldn't be comfortable simply assimilating into the existing native cultures. They'd want their own spaces in which to continue their own ways of life and culture, but would generally have friendly trade, etc., relations with the natives. There is a rogue group of the Japanese settlers who become problematic, but they're subdued in other ways. Also, the two foreign cultures eventually clash, but they leave the natives out of it (or, perhaps more accurately (?), the natives decide to stay out of someone else's war.)

-How much of the other cultures' advanced technology and different social and economic customs would these tribes have adopted?

Since they weren't forced into assimilation, as happened with the much larger and more powerful Western European settlers of 200 years later, would they have continued to live basically the same as they did before contact, or would they have voluntarily taken on aspects of the other cultures, such as advanced tools, hunting techniques, shelter building, etc.?

Previous research

Have looked up several sites on Salish customs and tribal history, including sites for individual tribes such as the Suquamish and Nisqually, and have scraped all I can from Wikipedia's entries on the Salish and individual tribes. Have also visited museums with historical artifacts to suss out their tech and culture from that era, but have seen very little that dates back earlier than the real-world first contact from Western Europeans in the 1700s/1800s. Looks like the same is true for the commercially available books on the subject.

Thusfar, I've been assuming that the tech and social customs of these tribes weren't signficantly different 200 years prior to their actual first contact, and that, were they to have encountered other visitors to their nations then, things would have gone about the same as they did before the WEs became obnoxious: generally friendly, trade lines opened, etc.

It's important to me to respect the folks I'm writing about here, so I'm hoping I can get this as accurate as possible, instead of merrily going in and drastically changing their culture or assuming they'd remain primitive in the face of more-advanced tech.

Thanks in advance. :)</cut>
Tags: usa: history (misc), ~native americans

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