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RE: Potlach

Poster: Gregory Stapleton <gregsta@MICROSOFT.com>

Greetings and good day to you, Mi'lord Alfredo,

You pose some excellent questions and I appreciate them and your
interest.  Firstly, let me state that I did not mean to imply that the
event should be done as "a period thing that might have happened."  I
was just trying to propose a way of eventing that would raise the level
of fun and companionship between our many and diverse kingdoms.

My responses are mixed in with your queries, below.
>My questions are these:
>Is there evidence that the Kwakutels practiced this custom
>as long ago as the Period?

The paper I wrote was done about ten or eleven years ago, I'm going to
have to go to my sources to get a definitive answer to this one.  I'll
have you an answer within a week.
>Was there contact, direct or indirect, between the Kwakutels
>and Europeans in the Period?

Again, I'm going to have to check to be sure of dates, but I seem to
remember that there was definately contact between Russia and
Alaska/eskimos during period.  I don't know if the Russians had gotten
down to the Washington State area by 1600, though I am sure that they
had by a slightly later date.

>Was Kwakutel society feudalistic, like the societies of
>Europe and Japan?

No.  Definately not.  They had a chiefdom/village structure as opposed
to fifedoms.

>Are there any examples of intense conspicuous consumption
>and redistribution of wealth in any societies within the
>usual scope of the SCA?

Well......yes and no.  Depends on how far you want to stretch it.  Was
there anything, to my knowledge, like a Potlatch in Western Europe,
Eastern Europe or Asia.  No.  (Although there seems to be a tickle in
the back of my mind saying that there was something like this in Asia.
Anyone out here know anything along these lines?) Was there conspicuous
consumption and redistribution of wealth.  Yes.  There were times when
Royalty (special feast days as I understand it) would give gifts to the
poor, etc..  Also, in Judaism, they had the concept of every X number of
years (seems like it was 50) they would have a complete redistribution
of wealth, where everyone was made equal.  Though, I don't know if that
carried into what we would consider period, as I believe my references
are primarily from the Old Testament for this.

>My uncertainty about the answers to these questions does
>tend to make me resist your proposal, and other people
>with similar uncertainties may feel much the same; therefore,
>I urge you to address these questions in a posting to the
>Merry Rose.
>Yours In Service,
>-- Alfredo

It has been my pleasure to answer your queries.

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