Stories about the past offer important clues for understanding how people articulate the role of history within different cultural contexts. Coast Salish narratives collected by John P. Harrington concerning early colonial encounters on the Olympic Peninsula reveal indigenous methods for engaging and representing the past. Telling stories about the colonial period enabled Klallam people to frame traumatic cultural ruptures on their own terms. Two brief narratives analyzed here illustrate that such stories are not raw data to be turned into “real” history by Western academics but instead are evidence of a coeval Coast Salish historiography.

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