Conclusion
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Authenticity’sCall
During the late nineteenth century, Aboriginal people–not just on the
Northwest Coast, but throughout North America–faced contradictory
thicketsoftourism,anthropology,andcolonialism.Notionsofauthenticity
thatwerecloselyrelatedtothemythofthevanishingIndiansimultaneously
generated and delimited opportunities for Aboriginal people. Aboriginal
people did not exercise much control over the terms of this discourse, but
theyoftenmanipulatedittotheirbenefit.Thegrowthofbothanthropology
andtourismprovidedopportunitiesthathelpedAboriginalpeoplemakea
livingunderthedifficulteconomicandpoliticalconditionscreatedbylate-
nineteenth-century colonialism. On the Northwest Coast, the economic
opportunities that arose from playing Indian augmented the income Ab-
original people derived from other sectors of the colonial economy, such
assalmoncanning,hoppicking,andsealing.Aboriginalworkerscombined
thesesourcesof incomewithhistoricallyentrenchedsubsistenceactivities.
Aboriginal lives were complicated and hard-won blends of indigenous
and colonial practices, but this fact was lost on authenticity-seeking view-
ers.Aboriginalpeopledidnotevenhavetosteponstagetobecastasstars
in colonial spectacles of authenticity.The Aboriginal hop pickers in Puget
SoundandTlingitresidentsoftheSitkamissionandRanchewere‘‘onstage’’
everyday.TheexperiencesoftheKwakwaka’wakwattheChicagoWorld’s
FairweremoretypicalofAboriginallifeontheNorthwestCoastthanthey
firstappear.Theexhibitionaryoppositionbetweenthe‘‘authentic’’Aborigi-
nalencampmentandthecivilizedresidentialschoolexhibitsreproducedthe
late-nineteenth-centurycoloniallandscapeinmicrocosm.Indian-watchers
in Puget Sound saw this same opposition when they went on excursions
from town to see the hop pickers. Pickers were aware that even as they
worked for wages within a capitalist economy, they performed versions
of their authentic selves. Sightseers viewed Aboriginal pickers as features
of the hop fields’ ‘‘natural’’ rural setting that had theircounterpoint in the
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