Emotions are an important, but hitherto underexplored, component of historical consciousness and ethnohistorical practice. Extreme negative emotions evoked by traumatic historical events have strongly shaped collective memories of those events, occasionally repressing the memory altogether. More generally, understanding the past requires comprehending emotion and its cultural component. Two schools of thought in psychological anthropology,ethnopsychology and psychodynamic approaches, are discussed, with the applicability of each to ethnohistorical scholarship evaluated. Two examples drawn from the Northwest Coast illustrate the significance of emotion to ethnohistorical analysis.

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