Matrix: A Journal for Matricultural Studies

Volume 2, Issue I (Nov 2021)

Originally scheduled for May 2021, publication of this issue has been delayed until November 2021 due to difficulties relating to the Covid-19 pandemic.


SUBMISSION DEADLINE: the deadline for abstract submissions to this issue has been extended until 15 September 2020.

On the Pacific Coast of North America, ranging from Chinookan peoples of Oregon to the Yakutat Tlingit and Eyak communities in Alaska, British Columbia, and the Yukon Territory, many Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest share common features of matriculture, particularly matrilineal kinship systems with clan identity transmitted through one’s mother. Mostly based around the ocean (the only exception being the Inland Tlingit), these cultures also share ancestral heritage that spans millennia. This issue of Matrix will feature two aspects of matriculture among Pacific Northwest communities, the first being historical accounts of pre-colonial protocols for life-cycle passages and the second being the revitalization of these protocols and their meaning to the youth of today.

Today there is a revitalization of Pacific Northwest Indigenous cultures, one led by young people who are reviving their community’s ancient ceremonies and protocols, along with the associated songs, arts, and stories. This revitalization leads to heightened levels of social well-being in their clans and communities, and, for themselves, a strengthened personal identity and more knowledge of their role in their ancestral culture. Unhappily, there are gaps in knowledge transmitted from elders, due to the effects of colonization, and in the ethnographic record, particularly around rites of passage such as birthing rituals, coming of age ceremonies, healing rituals, matrimonial practices, or funerary rites. We invite contributions from community members of these societies, as well as scholars (ethnologists, historians, anthropologists, and linguists, among others) who have worked with them, which describe or recount historical protocols and ceremonies, especially coming of age rituals.

At the same time, we also invite youth to speak to the manner in which traditional matricultural ways support them, inspire them, and/or challenge them. We invite contributions of any media (including print, audio, or audio-visual) from young Indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest, both in essay-style and/or in any art form (visual arts, photographs, poetry, etc) which address this topic.

Potential topics include both aspects of cultural systems in the past and their present fate in contemporary Northwest Pacific Indigenous cultures. Possibilities include but are not limited to the following:

  • the link between celebrations, festivals, ritual life, and matriculture, especially coming-of-age ceremonies

  • traditional plants, food, medicines, and matriculture

  • potlatch and matriculture

  • the role of the brother/sister relationship in social and ritual life

  • ethnographic or ethnohistorical accounts

  • linguistic markers which support matrilineality

  • economic development and matrilineal society

  • the articulation between matriculturality and subsistence patterns

Issue Editor: Judith Ramos (Yakutat Tlingit; Alaska)

Submission via email to: (subject line: Matrix Vol.2, Iss.I) Please submit a 300-word abstract (max) to the attention of the Issue Editor.

About Matrix

Matrix: a Journal for Matricultural Studies is an open access, peer-reviewed and refereed journal published by the International Network for Training, Education, and Research on Culture (Network on Culture), Canada. Matrix is published online twice yearly (May and November).

For many years, scholarship has explored the expression and role of women in culture from various perspectives such as kinship, economics, ritual, etc, but so far, the idea of approaching culture as a whole, taking the female world as primary, as a cultural system in Geertz’ classical sense of the term – a matriculture – has gone unnoticed. Some cultures have a weakly defined matricultural system; others have strong matricultural systems with various ramifications that may include, but are not limited to, matrilineal kinship, matrilocality, matriarchal governance features – all of which have serious consequences relative to the socio-cultural status of women, men, children, and the entire community of humans, animals, and the environment.

The main objective of Matrix is to provide a forum for those who are working from this theoretical stance. We encourage submissions from scholars from around the world who are ready to take a new look at the ways in which people, historically and currently, have organized themselves into meaningful relationships; the myths, customs, and laws which support these relationships; and the ways in which researchers have documented and perhaps mis-labeled the matricultures they encounter.

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