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As Indians were exposed to traders and settlers, they gradually adopted many of white man’s habits, among them, soap. In mid 1800s, among West Coast Indians, a piece of soap of a finger’s thickness was worth four marten pelts. Translated, this was a high price, since a blanket could be had for ten. A sliver of soap was often coveted prize for schoolyard games in mission settlements.
History of Soap Making & Soap Factory:
In biography of William Duncan, a lay preacher, soap was an accessory to convert natives of Fort Simpson on Northwest Pacific Coast. This zealous Christian persuaded Indians to renounce their rich heritage and relocate in a European style village.
Gone were medicine men, moccasins, potlatches and totems. The members of village had to vow to be clean. The Indians renounced their spirit-gods and eagerly embraced European way of life. Duncan encouraged his charges to plant garden plots and build frame houses. In late 1800s, together with a forge, carpentry shop, sawmill, and brick kiln, he started a soap factory.
Christians and History of Soap Making:
Christians viewed body as a temporary vessel for soul. Concerning oneself with bodily functions was considered bad for spirit. As time went on, fundamentalist sects warned body was a source of evil. This caused an over concern with modesty. Even disrobing in private was sinful. Bathing was discouraged.
Romans and History of Soap Making:
Romans, along with Jews and Greeks, were opposite. They held body in great regard, a gift from gods. Cleanliness and sanitation began outgrowth of public toilets and baths.
Archaeologists believe that Egypt’s Queen Nefertiti used facial masks of honey, milk, and flower pollen to cleanse her pores while in her bath went 80 herbs and fruits.
© Copyright Rachael Wilson, All Rights Reserved.
Rachael is owner of Making Homemade Soap, her dad is Randy Wilson.