Non-Fiction Books:


Sorry, this product is not currently available to order

Here are some other products you might consider...


The Enigma of Cannibalism on the Pacific Northwest Coast



Customer rating

Click to share your rating 0 ratings (0.0/5.0 average) Thanks for your vote!

Share this product

Hamatsa by Jim McDowell
Sorry, this product is not currently available to order


For over 200 years, controversy has simmered over the subject of cannibalism on the Pacific Northwest Coast. So heated has the topic become that many scholars have hesitated to engage in the debate. Now, using an interdisciplinary, cross-cultural approach, historian Jim McDowell offers a comprehensive study of cannibalism on the coast. Beginning with the many supposed 'man-eating' incidents recorded by European and American explorers and traders who visited Nootka Sound between 1744 and 1884, McDowell shows how the accounts were coloured by a 'cannibal complex' among the Western observers. McDowell then revisits the ground-breaking work of Franz Boas and other anthropologists to reinterpret cannibalism as it was practised in the secret 'Hamatsa' ceremony -- ritual cannibalism designed to strengthen and perpetuate Native communities. Presenting the most complete discussion of the 'Hamatsa' to date, McDowell demonstrates the spiritual profundity of the ceremony (which continues today in various forms) and its intended purpose in coping with the dark forces of the world. Whereas the early explorers abhorred the gustatory cannibalism they believed they were observing, McDowell reveals that the ritual cannibalism of the 'Hamatsa' has much to teach the West in its present spiritual uncertainty and confusion.

Author Biography

AUTHOR INFORMATION: Jim McDowell is a veteran British Columbia historian. His first career was teaching, which took him into classrooms from northern California to Seattle, New York City, and Vancouver. He taught elementary school in California and Washington, worked as an inner-city education consultant in Harlem and Brooklyn, and educated teachers at Simon Fraser University. McDowell also worked for 20 years as a freelance writer and independent reporter; he wrote hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles for Canadian and U.S. publications. McDowell has three published books: Peace Conspiracy: The Story of Warrior-Businessman Yoshiro Fujimura (McBo, Irvine, CA 1993), a partial biography of a once obscure Japanese naval commander; Hamatsa: The Enigma of Cannibalism on the Pacific Northwest Coast (Ronsdale, Vancouver, BC 1997), an investigation of the existence of cannibalism among early Northwest Coast Native people; Jose Maria Narvaez: The Forgotten Explore (Arthur H. Clark, Spokane, WA 1998), the first full life story of the Spanish-Mexican navigator. This year, McDowell is looking forward to the publication of Father Augustin Brabant: Saviour or Scourge? by Ronsdale. It will present a thorough, unvarnished biography of the first Catholic missionary to work on Vancouver Island during the colonial period. McDowell is also working on two other books: one about birdsong, which uses folktales from around the world to probe the possible psychological significance of bird song
Release date NZ
March 1st, 1997
Country of Publication
Ronsdale Press
Product ID

Customer reviews

Nobody has reviewed this product yet. You could be the first!

Write a Review

Marketplace listings

There are no Marketplace listings available for this product currently.
Already own it? Create a free listing and pay just 9% commission when it sells!

Sell Yours Here

Help & options

  • If you think we've made a mistake or omitted details, please send us your feedback. Send Feedback
  • If you have a question or problem with this product, visit our Help section. Get Help
Filed under...

Buy this and earn 174 Banana Points