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First Nations Peoples gathering during a 'Potlatch' : 'Indian Potlach [sic], at the Songish Rancherie, Victoria Harbour, Vancouver Island'
6.8 x 20.7 cm (image)
The Royal Collection
Photograph of a Potlach in which large numbers of First Nations Peoples are congregated in the middle ground outside wooden buildings. On the right, people are sitting on the roof of one of the buildings. In the foreground are boats, one of which displays a carved figurehead on its prow.
A Potlach is an event that takes place in which titles are conferred on family members and gifts are distributed. These events were often held at a time when family gatherings would take place such as births, deaths and marriages. In 1884, The Indian Act attempted to ban, albeit unsuccessfully, the practice of the Potlach as something that was viewed as a barrier to integration.