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Smoke from Their Fires:
First published more than a half century ago, this book documents the remarkable life story of a chief of the once-powerful Kwakiutl Indian nation that lived on the northwest coast of Vancouver Island. Told in the first person, readers are not only introduced to the life history of a highly intelligent Kwakiutl individual from the cradle almost to the grave, but are also presented with a complete sketch of indigenous culture as seen through the eyes of the informant. Accounts such as this are valuable. In no other way can a reader today achieve such deep insight into the actual functioning of a now-vanished culture. Charley Nowell's fascinating story, told at the age of 70, is prefaced by a useful forty-page introduction to Kwakiutl society. [via]