Potlach is a noun used in anthropology and other social sciences to designate a feast, ceremony, or system of gift exchange, collective consumption, and the destruction of wealth. The less common verb to potlatch signifies the activity of hosting or participating in such a feast. The term potlatch derives from the Native American Chinook words for “gift” and “giving.” Potlatches are chiefly associated with the indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest coast of America, including the Tlingit, Haïda, Tsimshian, Nuxalk, Kwakiutl, Nuu-chah-nulth, and Coast Salish. Similar practices and institutions have also been studied in other parts of the world, for example, in eastern Siberia and Melanesia. Among the most influential examinations of potlatch are the works of Franz Boas, Helen Codere, Philip Drucker and Robert ...

  • Loading...
locked icon

Sign in to access this content

Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

  • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
  • Read modern, diverse business cases
  • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles