First Nations History - Linking oral tradition with science
Scientific knowledge of past earthquake and tsunami events is relatively recent, however native peoples have lived on the Cascadia coast for thousands of years, transferring information on coastal earthquakes by the tradition of storytelling from generation to generation.
Although many First Nations languages and oral traditions have been lost, numerous stories describing shaking and marine flooding have been preserved. Artifacts, dances, songs, ceremonies and personal and place names are part of the preserved traditions that are consistent with earthquake and tsunami events documented by science.
The First Nations oral tradition continues today.
Hot Springs Cove following the 1964 Tsunami
photo taken by Charles Ford, used with permission of John Clague
Read the First Nations story of the 1964 Hot Springs Cove Tsunami (pdf)
The Kwakwak'wakw Earthquake mask (left) was made by John Davis, Kingcome Inlet in the late 19th century. It was last used in a potlatch in 1916.
Image used by permission from the UBC Museum of Anthropology.
Teacher Resources (downloadable pdf's):
"Dating the 1700 Cascadia Earthquake; Great Coastal Earthquakes in Native Stories"
"First Nations Earthquake Timeline" - references and summary information
"Things to consider" - document of guidelines for instruction of First Nations material.
First Nations Traditions Lesson Plan; (or click here for PDF version)
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