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History of The Pacific Northwest and Land Rights

Over the course of our history in the Pacific Northwest, there have been various cultural expectations that have influence the encounters between various groups of northwest people. The Mexican born Spanish people, British and Native American people have encountered each others’ cultural differences for several centuries.

According to Weber (1998), the Spanish, mostly from Mexico were “the first non-Indian settlements in the region. Many of them resided on Vancouver Island and in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Research suggests that relations between the Spain and Britain have improved over the years.

Over the course of our history in the Pacific Northwest, there have been various cultural expectations that have influence the encounters between various groups of northwest people. The Mexican born Spanish people, British and Native American people have encountered each others’ cultural differences for several centuries.

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According to Weber (1998), the Spanish, mostly from Mexico were “the first non-Indian settlements in the region. Many of them resided on Vancouver Island and in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Research suggests that relations between the Spain and Britain have improved over the years. There was a plaque in Vancouver that read;

“It was dawn for Britain, but twilight for Spain”…King Juan Carlos and Queen Sophia of Spain spent several days in Vancouver. In anticipation of their visit, the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada removed the plaque and replaced it with a new one designed to give no offense to Iberian sensibilities. The Board had thoughtfully removed the words “dawn for Britain, but twilight for Spain” (p. 1).

Weber (1998) claims that Spain’s fall from power had minimal influence in the shaping of the Pacific Northwest territories. Spain lost land claim rights to England, France, Russia and the United States, but never the less was the first non-Indian settlers to inhabit our region.

With various diverse cultures came misunderstandings and conflicts. Schwantes (2006) claims the Nootkas tossed features into the water and paddled their boats around ships. Unfortunately, the Europeans thought this was a “sign of hostility” (p.26)…”

Euro-Americans also had difficulty grasping the fact that many Indian cultures had no set territorial boundaries. Tribes had concepts of territory, but their idea of the “ownership” of village, hunting, and berry-picking sites were very different from that of Euro-Americans. In traditional times, land was sacred to the natives, something never to be actually owned, although human occupants might serve as its guardians or custodians. Herein too lay the seeds of misunderstanding and conflict when Indians signed treaties with whites (28).

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  1. Butterfly Musings

    On September 25, 2009 at 6:47 pm


    a great article!

  2. CHAN LEE PENG

    On September 25, 2009 at 7:36 pm


    Interesting article. You wrote this pretty well! I clicked you “liked it”.

  3. Goodselfme

    On September 25, 2009 at 9:09 pm


    I can see your passion in this well written article. Well done.

  4. martinpm

    On September 25, 2009 at 9:45 pm


    Very interesting, thanks for sharing the culture.

  5. Melody SJAL

    On September 25, 2009 at 10:01 pm


    Interesting piece of history and culture.

  6. Jo Oliver

    On September 26, 2009 at 6:00 pm


    Love history. Very interesting read.

  7. Judy Sheldon

    On September 29, 2009 at 7:49 pm


    Thank you for the interesting history lesson. I can see your point and have long thought our settlers were wrong for the many travesties they committed against the native settlers. They then committed atrocities against blacks. Unfortunately there are those individuals who feel that they need to elevate themselves by putting others down.

    Thanks, Chris for an interesting article. Take care & God bless.

  8. Jane Jane

    On October 9, 2009 at 10:25 am


    I’ve learned from you.=)

  9. Mr Ghaz

    On October 22, 2009 at 8:17 pm


    Excellent! very interesting story. I loved history stuff..Thanks for this great piece..Cheers :)

  10. Chris Stonecipher

    On October 22, 2009 at 8:33 pm


    Thank you Jane and Mr. Ghaz for your kind comments.

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