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Gender, class and community: the history of Sne-nay-muxw women’s employment Littlefield, Loraine 1995

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GENDER, CLASS AND COMMUKITY: THE HISTORY OF SNE-NAY-MUXW WOMEN’ S EMPLOYMENT by Loraine Littlefield B.A. Hons. Carleton University, 1982 M.A. Carleton University, 1987 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREES OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES Department of Sociology and Anthropology W  ccept thit.esis as conforming th,edstandar  NIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA October 1995 © Loraine Littlefield  In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department  or  by  his  or  her  representatives.  It  is  understood  that  copying  or  publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission.  (Signature)  Department of The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada  Date  DE.6 (2/88)  Qc.*1f (?(  4  II  kBSTRACT  This thesis documents the employment history of Sne-nay-muxw women. The Sne nay-muxw, a Coast Salish peoples, live on the southeast coast of Vancouver Island close to the city of Nanaimo. Nanaimo was established by the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1852 as coal mining town. Coal dominated the economy until the early 20th century when forestry related production became important. Today a service economy has eclipsed both the primary and secondary industries. Within these economies a distinct gender, race and class segregation structured Sne-nay-muxw women’s employment opportunities. This study examines the nature of this segregation, the Sne-nay-muxw domestic economy and the gender ideology that promoted both women’s inclusion and exclusion in. wage labour. A central question posed in this thesis is why Sne-nay-muxw women today perceive their traditional roles to be within the home despite their historical participation in the labour force. Feminist anthropology provides the theoretical and methodological approach used for this study. It is accepted that women’s experiences in the labour force are different not only from men but also from other women based upon relational inequalities of race and class. Historical data was collected from a variety of sources; published and unpublished government reports, missionary accounts, letters and journals. Nineteen women and eight men were interviewed in the community for both historic and contemporary accounts of employment experiences. History reveals that during the mining economy Sne-nay-muxw women were excluded from working in the mines and limited to employment as domestic servants. The  111  introduction of Chinese labour, decreasing coal demands and increased technology forced many women to migrate with their families to the canneries on the Fraser river and the hop fields in Washington state. In the forestry related production economy, Sne-nay-muxw women’s opportunities were limited despite the expansion of employment for women in the service sector. State policies and inferior education were significant factors in this exclusion. At this time Sne-nay-muxw women continued to migrate with their families to the fish camps on Rivers Inlet and the berry fields in Washington state. In the last two decades the service economy has dominated in Nanaimo. Sne-nay-muxw women have found increasing job opportunities on and off reserve in administration, management and professional service delivery programs. While this employment is part of the wider trend for women in the service economy, Sne-nay-muxw women’s opportunities remain segregated by gender, race and class. Women’s participation in the labour force is shown to be linked to the organization of their domestic economy. Before 1920 this economy incorporated both subsistence production and farming with seasonal wage labour. After this time the Sne-nay-muxw became increasingly dependent upon wage labour. However, extended family and kinship networks have remained important for support and cooperation. This form ofhousehold organization did not constrain women’s participation in the labour force. Today extended families remain the central organizing principle in Sne-nay-muxw lives. Sne-nay-muxw women’s identity and opportunities for education and employment remain linked to their membership in these families. Shifts in women’s participation in the labour force is shown to be accompanied by acceptance of a domestic ideology. During the mining economy when women actively  iv  sought wage labour, they acquired domestic skills needed for wage labour but did not accept an ideology that promoted their dependency upon men. Histor ical evidence indicates that they retained a significant degree of autonomy in their lives. With men’s increased security of employment in the forestry economy, the idealiz ed role of women as housewives was promoted. Families that were able to realize women ’s exclusion from the labour force gained status and prestige in the community. Finally, in the service economy, the Sne-nay-muxw gender ideology includes women’s participation in the labour occupations linked to their domestic and nurturing roles.  force to  V  TABLE OF CONTENTS Abstract  ii  Table of Contents List of Tables  v viii  Figures Acknowledgements  x xi  CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Research Problem Literature Review Theory Gender, Race and Class Domestic Economy, the Family and Gender Ideology Methodology Organization of Thesis  1 1 5 13 13 17 21 26  CHAPTER 2 ETHNOGRAPI]IC AN]) BISTORICAL BACKGROUND Introduction Ethnographic Background Sources The Sne-nay-muxw Pre-Contact Economy Subsistence Round Division of Labour Ownership and Distribution of Wealth Early Contact Demographic Change The Fur Trade Summary and Conclusion  31 31 31 31 33 40 40 46 50 56 57 61 70  CHAPTER 3 ESTABLISBMENT OF NANA]MO: 1852-1862 Introduction NanaimoCoalCompany Treatyof 1854 Sne-nay-muxw Employment Wage Labour Provisioning the Settlement Socio-Economic Adaptation Subsistence Production Conflict and Compromise Wealth and Exchange  71 71 71 77 84 84 91 94 95 98 101  vi Gender Relations Summary and Conclusion  104 108  CHAPTER 4 EMPLOYMENT IN A MINING COMMIJNLTY: 1863 -1920 110 Introduction 110 The Mining Economy 110 Segregated Labour Force 114 Men’s Employment 118 Women’s Employment 122 Labour Conditions 128 Depressions, Strikes and Accidents 128 Competition 132 Mechanization and Resegmentation 140 Domestic Economy 144 Subsistence Production 145 Farming 150 Kinship Networks and Extended Families 158 Household Organization and Production 165 Domestic Ideology 174 Mining Community 175 Missionaries and Early Education 178 State Policies 183 Accommodation and Resistance 185 Summary and Conclusions 190 CHAPTER 5 EMPLOYMENT IN A LOGGING COMMUNITY: 1921-1 970 Introduction The Logging Economy Segregated Labour Force Men’s Employment Women’s Employment Labour Conditions Depression and World War II Unionization and Labour Laws Education and Employment Training Domestic Economy Subsistence Production and Farming Family Production to ‘Family Wage’ Family Networks and Exchange Gender Ideology Housewifization Family Status and Class Summary and Conclusions  193 193 193 196 198 206 215 215 220 225 232 233 237 242 249 249 253 259  vii  CHAPTER 6 EMPLOYMENT IN A SERVICE COMMUNITY: 1971 to PRESENT Introduction The Service Economy Segregated Labour Force Men’s Employment Women’s Employment Labour Conditions Recession and Economic Restructuring Education and Employment Training Government Policies and Employment Equity Legislation Domestic Economy Subsistence Production Household Organization and Income Community and Family Networks Gender Ideology Women’s Wage Employment Status and Political Power Summary and Conclusions  262 262 262 265 268 273  281 281 283 287 292 293 295 301 307 308 314 319  CHAPTER 7 CONCLUSIONS  321  BIBLIOGRAPHY Manuscript Sources Government Publications Newspapers Secondary Sources  325 325 327 328 329  APPENDIX A  365  APPENDIX B  366  APPENDIX C  367  viii  LIST OF TABLES Table 3:1  Exchange Rates in Monetary Value for Food and Crafts, 1858  106  Table 4:1  Average Wages, Vancouver Coal Mining and Land Company, 1874-1890  134  Population and Sex Ratio of Men and Women in Nanaimo and Suburbs, 1881-1921  143  Estimated Income in Dollars by Source for the Sne-nay-muxw Band, 1899-1914  155  Sne-nay-muxw Households Based on Generation and Average Household Size  167  Table 4:5  Age Distribution of the Sne-nay-muxw, 1881, 1891 and 1901  168  Table 4:6  Sne-nay-muxwAge Distribution 1881, 1901, 1911 and 1924  173  Table 5:1  Labour Force 14 Years and Over by Education and Occupation in British Columbia, 1951  230  Table 4:2  Table 4:3  Table 4:4  Table 6:1  Employment and Income Characteristics of Sne-nay-muxw Men On Reserve and Non-Native Men 15 Years and Older in Nanaimo 272  Table 6:2  Employment and Income Characteristics of Sne-nay-muxw Women On Reserve and Non-Native Women 15 Years and Older in Nanaimo 280  Table 6:3  Unemployment Rte inNanaimo, 1981, 1986, 1991  Table 6:4  Highest Level of Schooling for Sne-nay-muxw On Reserve and NonNative Population in Nanaimo 15 Years and Over 285  Table 6:5  Participation and Employment Rate in the Labour Force According to Education for On Reserve Population in British Columbia, 1986 287  Table 6:6  Age/Sex Structure of On Reserve Residents, 1991  296  Table 6:7  Sne-nay-muxw and Non-Native Family and Household Income in Nanairno, 1991  299  Households by Number of Earners  301  Table 6:8  281  ix  Table 6:9  Sne-nay-muxw Families by Age and Household Size  303  Table 6:10  Family Affiliation of Sne-nay-muxw Women Employed On and Off Reserve  306  x  FIGURES 1. Map of Sne-nay-muxw Traditional Tenitory and Reserves  36  xi  ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS  I must first thank the Sne-nay-muxw for allowing me to conduct this research in their community. I especially want to thank the Elders: Emily Manson, Mamie French ie, Hazel Good, Eva Thomas, Margaret James, Mildred Simpson, Hanna White, Bill Seward , Chester Thomas, Larry White, George Wyse, Norm and Louise Johnnie, Robert and Louise Peters, Doug and Ellen White, and Don and Dora White for sharing stories about their working lives. I am also grateflul for the time that Sandra Good, Michelle Hillier , Marina White, Arlene White and Barb White spent with me explaining the policie s and programs that influence Sne-nay-muxw women’s employment and education. Thank s too to Linda Dorricott for her interest in my work and our lively discussions about the early history of the Sne-nay-muxw. I wish to acknowledge the financial support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the Melville Jacobs Research Grant. My commi ttee, Mike Kew, Bruce Miller and Gillian Creese remained supportive throughout. I am also indebted to Robin Ridington for his insightful comments on my proposal; John Barker for his critique and help in the initial organization of an early draft; and Ken Burridge for his timely advice about fieldwork during my first visit among the Sne-nay-muxw. I also wish to thank my friends and colleagues in the department, including the gradua te secretary Margaret Baskett, for many kinds of assistance, direct and indirect. Specia l thanks to my ffiends Virginia Appefi, Susan Moogk, Evelyn Nodwell and Dawn Faroug h for their encouragement and advice. Also I extend my gratitude to Jim Sutton for his ongoing support, editing and computer assistance. Finally, I would like to thank the staff at the British Columbia Archives and Record s Services; Special Collections at the University of British Columbia Library; and Nanaimo District Museum Archives for their patience and interest in my work.  CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Research Problem  In a survey taken in 1991 to assess the community needs of women in Nanaimo, a young Sne-nay-muxw woman when asked about her problems finding employment said: It has not been the traditional way for Salish women to work outside the home. Traditionally women’s role was to stay home and look after the house and the children. 1 This statement is problematic for such a description of women’s roles is incompatible with accounts in the ethnographic literature about the sexual division of labour in Coast Salish economy. According to this literature, there was great flexibility in gender roles and women were not restricted solely to work within the home. The segregation of men and women into two distinct spheres of work is in fact a product of the historical transformation produced with the introduction of wage labour, and was not found in ‘traditional’ economies. Furthermore, the historical material as well as oral accounts reveal that Sne-nay-mux w women were not segregated into the domestic sphere when wage labour was initially introduced. They, like men, were an important part of the early economy in the provin ce that depended upon a cheap and unskilled labour force. Nonetheless, their participation did change and steadily declined after the Great Depression of the 193 0’s. Only within the last two decades are Sne-nay-muxw women again seeking wage employment to a 1  This survey was undertaking for the Nanaimo Women’s Resource Center.  2  significant degree. Thus the statement above is a description of women’s lives in the immediate past when their participation in the labour force was low. It would seem that a corresponding ideology accommodated this change and became accepted as the ‘traditional way.’ The focus of this study is to understand why Sne-nay-muxw women’s participation in the labour force changed and how a gender ideology supported this change. Several studies have analyzed the impact of a wage economy upon Coast Salish peoples but few, with the exceptions of Mitchell (1976) and Sparrow (1976), have examined how this economy specifically affected women’s employment.  2  It is clear from their work that  Coast Salish women had similar experiences in the labour force. Nonetheless, despite this similarity there were differences produced by local economy demands, women’s own family situation, and a gender ideology that either supported their participation or exclusion from wage labour. To understand the history of Sne-nay-muxw women’s employment this thesis raises these central questions: 1) How did the local economy of Nanaimo structure Sne.-nay-muxw women’s employment opportunities? 2) How did Sne nay-muxw family organization help or hinder women’s participation in the labour force? 3) What was the gender ideology that accommodated this participation? and 4) What changes in the economy have encouraged Sne-nay-muxw women to seek wage employment today?  2  See Collins 1952, 1974; Robinson 1963; Kew 1970; Jilek 1974; Mooney 1976, 1978; Amoss 1978.  3  The Sne-nay-muxw are a Coast Salish people who live on the southeastern coast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia. Traditionally their territory encom passed various hunting and fishing resource sites on Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands , and the mainland of Vancouver Today they live on four of their six reserves in close proximity to Nanaimo, one of the large urban centers on Vancouver Island. This comm unity began when the Hudson’s Bay Company established a coal mine on the site in the mid 19th Century. Over the next half century the prosperity of the town was linked to coal production and the monopoly of a single mining company, the Vancouver Coal Mining and Land Company. The decline in coal demands by the early 20th Centur y and the Depression of the 193 0’s forced the community to turn to forestry related production, and later to retail and service industries. This transition from a coal mining industr y to the well developed secondary and tertiary economy of today, produced a variety of wage opportunities for both Sne-nay-muxw men and women. These opportunities were determined by a segregated labour force that was intrinsic to the specific industries found in Nanaimo. Understanding Sne-nay-muxw women’s employment experiences and the gender ideology that supported this participation demands situating women within this local economic context. Discerning how the particular economic structure of Nanaimo shaped Sne-na y muxw women’s employment experiences I propose to use the theoretical and methodological approach developed in feminist anthropology. This approa ch has undergone several developmental phases. It began with what has become known as the ‘anthropology of women’ which explicitly focused on women to combat the previous bias  4  in the discipline that centered on men. However, it soon became clear that this approa ch segregated and marginalized the study of women. Understanding women and women ’s lives demands more than singling women out or adding women to a study. This criticis m led feminist anthropology to move away from studying women as indMduals or categories, to the study of gender, an analytical concept that describes the interrelations of men and women.  The recognition that gender is both a cultural construction and a social  relation that determines what men and women do in their society places the emphasis upon cultural and historical specificity of gender. This leads to increasing concern to deconstruct gender in order to understand the meaning of ‘women’ but also to understand the comparative differences among women. Understanding how the social relations of gender, race and class intersect to produce differences in women’s experiences is the challenge now faced by both anthropology and feminist theory. One objective of this thesis is to provide an empirical example of this articulation. For the Sne-nay-muxw the issue of employment is a primary concern today. Despite their close proximity to Nanaimo, a large urban center, they suffer high unemployment like many other Native peoples living on more isolated reserves (see Canada, Department of Indian Affairs 1980, Powless 1985). Recent fIi.nding for education and job training programs, and the hiring of an employment counselor have enabled them to make some gains, but the future remains bleak for changes in this employment situation. It is the hope of this thesis to be more than an academic exercise and to offer the Sne-nay-muxw a means of understanding their o contribution to the local economy as well as the  For a discussion of this development in the discipline see Shapiro 1983, Lamphere 1987, Moore 1988, and Morgen 1989.  5  structural barriers that have conditioned their employment. As they seek new directions in their relationship with the capitalist economy through various economic development initiatives and land claims, consideration of the limitations capitalist division of labour imposed in the past, and continues to impose in the present, may help them to fomiulate new solutions. It is with this in mind that I have undertaken this research. Literature Review The literature on Native American women is extensive as revealed in several bibliographies published since the 1980’s (Koehier 1982; Green 1983; Bataille & Sands 1991). Until recently most of this work was highly descriptive and heavily influenced by the stereotypical myths and images drawn from European ideas about Native women’s roles in society. However recent work has applied a more theoretical approach exposing these previous biases. Perhaps the most important finding of this literature is that the impact of capitalism has had varying affects upon Native women’s lives. The following literature review discusses some of the important insights of this literature as it bears upon the historical experiences ofwomen in the fbr trade, the early industrial period of the 19th Century, and the contemporary employment situation on the Northwest Coast. Several historical studies of the für trade have confirmed that Native women played a vital role in this mercantilist economy. They were an essential labour force in the daily operations of the für trade, processing firs, acting as translators and middlemen, as well as taking on roles as political affies and wives (Van Kirk 1980). However, the impact of this  Northwest Coast is defied here as the Northwest Coast Cultural region as identified by Kroeber (1923).  6  economy varied with the intensity of the interaction. Women who lived close to the fur trading posts and within the sphere of intense trading had different experiences than women who lived greater distances away. This uneven impact is evident in the history of the fur trade on the Northwest coast. The maritime fur trade which began after 1775 and ended in 1825, had a regional impact that was limited to areas where sea otter furs were abundant. Communities on the northern outer coasts were drawn into an intense trading sphere that only ended with the scarcity of firs (Wike 1951). On the other hand the land fur trade drew upon trade from interior groups and intensely affected those groups that were strategically placed close to the fur trading posts. The ‘homeguard’ and the fur trade society that sprang up around the posts was distinctly intermeshed and interdependent (see McNeil 1982). Whether the fur trade undermined or expanded women’s economic and political roles on the Northwest coast is one of the key questions addressed in the literature. Elsewhere there is agreement that the level of stratification in Native society is a factor. For example in egalitarian hunting and gathering societies it is argued that the complementary gender relations characteristic of these societies was eroded leaving women in subordinate roles and wealth concentrated in men’s hands (see Perry 1979; Leacock 1978, 1980; Klein 1983; Bourgeault 1983, Anderson 1985). However in stratified societies, the impact of the fir trade was easily incorporated into the existing class structure. Women were able to take advantage of the new wealth and prestige that the introduction of new trade goods produced (see Brown 1975, Grumet 1980, Rothenberg 1980). This was most certainly the case on the Northwest coast where women were noted to have considerable power  7  and wealth in their societies (Klein 1980, Blackman 1982, Cooper 1992). Their behaviour in trade transactions was often viewed as an anomaly to the fir traders who were unaccustomed to women in such public roles (Littlefleld 1988). However, this argument is not supported in all the literature. As Albers (1989) points out the decline in women’s status in egalitarian societies is far from uniforim Plains Indian literature reveals that some women retained a great deal ofpower and autonomy in their lives during the fur trade ( see Schneider 1983, Medicine 1983, Buffalohead 1983, Kehoe 1976, 1983). While women’s roles became more circumscribed there is significant evidence that indicates that some women achieved wealth and prestige in their societi es. In the same respects there is caution in accepting that women in stratified societies were not adversely affected. Increased class differentiation and emphasis upon slavery on the Northwest coast most certainly had a negative impact upon women who were not of the elite class (see Mitchell 1984, 1985). The issue, as Albers (1989) rightly summarizes, is not the level of stratification in Native society but whether women retained control over production and property during the fur trade. If shifts in demands of production or new demands upon production favoured men’s ownership, then women’s ability to mainta in power and influence in their society was jeopardized. Many studies comfirm that important role of Native women as a vital work force in the early industrialization and capitalist agricultural economy (Gonzalez 1982, Klein 1980, Albers 1983, Knack 1988). Despite recognition of this role in other parts of North America there is little material that documents the initial experiences of women of the Northwest Coast in the early industrial period. Much of the history written of the late  8  19th Century focuses upon the relationship of Native people with the state, their placement on reserves, their alienation from resource sites and land, and the impact of government policies that left them impoverished (LaViolette 1961, Duff 1977, Fisher 1977). How Native people interacted with the early economy received little attenti on until the seminal work by Knight (1978) who documented their participation in the early labour force of British Columbia. He acknowledged that Native people were an import ant source of cheap labour for a number of industries that developed in the province before 1930. Since his study a revisionist history has begun documenting Native peoples interac tion as workers in the early economy (see Mackie 1985; Burrows 1986; Lutz 1992, 1994). Although Knight (1978) recognized women’s active role in this labour force he principally emphasized the employment experiences of men. Aside from an article by Mitchell & Franklin (1984) a counterpart history of Native women’s labour in the province has not been written. This is not to say that the experience of Native women in the early labour force have been totally ignored. Various studies have docum ented the important use of their labour in the cannery (see Muszynski 1986, 1987) or the sealing industry (Crockford 1991). Other studies have included women’s individual work experiences through life histories (Sparrow 1976, Mitchell 1976, Blackman 1982). Together these studies have offered important insights into the use of Native women as a cheap labour force for the regional economy. Studies about Native women’s contemporary involvement in the labour force are more sparse. Several surveys undertaken in British Columbia during the 1950’s and 1960’s are not very enlightening as they underreport Native women’s employment (Thompson 1951,  9  Hawthorn, Beishaw & Jamieson 1958; Hawthorn 1968). It was not until the 1970’s that the issue of women’s employment was studied as part of the interest in the growin g trend ofNative urbanization (Stanbury, Fields & Stevenson 1972, 1972a; Stanbury & Siegel 1975). Since this time much of the documentation of Native women’s emplo yment has come from Department of Indian Affairs or Census statistics. Apart from recent a paper by Smelser (1991) there has been little analysis of what these statistics mean or how women’s employment varies from region to region. This has not been the case elsewhere. The Institute of Urban Studies at the University of Winnipeg has published severa l reports on Native women in the Winnipeg labour force (see Clatworthy 1981, Hull 1982, Peters 1984, Kariya 1989). These studies have revealed the importance ofundersta nding the particular demands of an urban versus rural economy upon women’s employment . Also significantly they have shown that women’s experiences in the labour force are different than Native men’s. Native women find employment in the service sector of the economy while men’s employment opportunities are linked to the primary and second ary sectors. This is also the recent conclusions of Satzewich and Wotherspoon (1993) for Native women’s employment in Canada in general. Nonetheless, despite their partici pation in an expanding sector of the economy their income remains low and they suffer high unemployment (see Canada, Department of Indian Affairs 1983). How women’s contemporary employment affects their relationship within their own communities has been the focus of several studies. Despite their marginalizatio n in the labour force many authors observe that within specific Native communities women have a substantial degree of status and power. As well as considerable autonomy in their families  10  and households they are actively involved in the social and political life of their community. The question why Native women have such power has led to various explanations. Kidwell (1979) and Powers (1986) argue that the high status ofNative women in their societies is based on persistent traditional cultural values that always places the role of mothers and wives in high esteem. It is women’s association with this role that has enabled them to move into political roles in dealing with the welfare of their communities. Niethammer (1977), Allen (1986) and LaFromboise, Heyle & Ozer (1990) point to women’s spiritual association with the Spirit or Earth Mother as the key to their power in Native societies. They insist that despite the loss of much Native peoples’ spiritual base, women have retained positions of authority and prominence in their important roles as caretakers and transmitters of culture. This explanation that women’s status is linked to their real or spiritual roles as mothers and wives is not supported by others who link women’s power and status in their communities to their contribution and control ofproduction within the household. This was noted in the early work of Hamamsy (1957) on Navajo women. Despite men’s access to wage employment, women’s ownership of sheep, essential for the well-being ofher family, guaranteed her power and wealth in her society. Conte (1982) in her later study of the Navajo concurred. The insecurity of men’s employment in wage labour increased the importance of women’s control and distribution over the resources in the traditional sectors of the economy. This gave women considerable status and power in the household. This was also the conclusion Fiske (1988) made in her study of Athpaskan speaking people much further north. The high status of Carrier women in their society  11  was linked to their traditional control of fishing resources which remained essential to household income. However, other work points to wage income as the key to women’s influence and control in their communities. Albers (1985) maintains that the large contribution made by women ofboth wage income and traditional resources, gives Dakota women considerable autonomy and power in their households and reservation politics. This is also the conclusion reached by Knack (1989) about the source of power for Paiute women in their community. She contends that this power has notably increased in the last decade with the rise of women’s wage employment. Ackerman (1988) agrees that the high employment of women on the Colville reservation provides them a significant degree of autonomy and equality in their lives that is reflected in their public roles in their community. While these arguments are insightful about the sources ofNative women’s status in their society, they alone fail to explain the great variability in Native women’s lives. In seeking an explanation through the continuity of traditional roles or ownership and control of production within the household, little is understood about the differences that exist among women. This was first described by Hamamasy (1957) and Spindler (1962) who noted that Navajo and Menomini women respectively, experienced the impact ofwage labour differently within the same community. Aside from the level of regional development near their communities, age, marital status and place in traditional kinship networks were important variables in women’s lives. Conte (1982) in her study ofNavajo women on Black Mesa, observed that the penetration of capitalism created significant stratification among women and their households. As work and resources remained  12  organized along family kinship lines, women in key positions in these kinship networks were able to control the flow of resources and labour. This was at times to the detriment of other women and households. As Lamphere (1989) discovered in her work with the Navajo, status for women was not a unidimensional issue. The incorporation ofNavajo families into the capitalist wage economy revealed a complex situation which was not been the same across time, between communities, or even within communities. She writes: The experience of Navajo women in the past and in the contemporary period is certainly not “one thing” Further attention to the determinants of variability, both on the reservation and in border communities, is important if we are to isolate the factors that have shaped Navajo women’s lives (Lamphere 1989: 453). According to Lamphere (1989) there is a great diversity in Navajo women’s situation and even a tendency towards polarization along class lines. The determinants ofthis variability are women’s position within their families, the regional development that either excludes or draws women into wage labour, and the specific relationship of the community with this economy. Identifying the factors that influence the variability in women’s lives is also important to Miller’s (1992) study in his analysis of the political roles of Coast Salish women. In comparing the incidence of women’s success for elective political positions among various Coast Salish bands of western Washington and British Columbia, he noted that there are highly localized notions of politics and gender. Some communities associated politics with women while others did not. While there was some correlation with low household median income, indicating that women’s relative wage income was a factor, Miller (1992) acknowledged that women’s employment in the labour force was not the only  13  variable to consider. Women’s access to political power was also linked to their position in families. It was through their membership in a family that women were able to access education and job training. This gave selected women the skills to be activists and managers in their communities. To summarize there is a general agreement by the above authors that there is great variability in the life experiences ofNative women in their communities. Much ofthis variability now centers upon the access women have to wage employment vis a vis men. Documenting the history of the regional economy and how it offered distinct opportunities to both men and women is essential in understanding how this variability occurred in Sne nay-muxw women’s lives. In this thesis I hope to add to these previous insights by showing that historical and cultural factors explain the employment situation of Sne-nay muxw women today. These factors are revealed in the gender, race and class segregation of the local economy of Nanaimo, the organization of Sne-nay-muxw families, and a gender ideology that either endorses or excludes their participation in wage labour. Theory Gender, Race and Class Various theories have been used for understanding the historical position of Native peoples’ in the labour force, their poor participation rate and segregation into the most exploited sectors of the economy. The earliest theories such as human capital theory, culture of poverty, and modernization theory placed the blame upon indigenous cultural values and behaviours that were incompatible to a capitalist economy (see Thompson  14  1951, Nagler 1975, Zentner 1973). These theories were easily challenged by the historical and contemporary data that showed that Native peoples attitudes and values about employment differed insignificantly from the wider Canadian society (see Duprez and Sigurdon 1969, Smith 1975, and Knight 1978). Other theories pointed to the structure of the labour force itself The dual economy perspective linked Native peoples marginalized employment to the historical forces that place them in the secondary segment of the economy. In this segment jobs are low paying and insecure, in contrast to the primary segment (see Wien 1986, Clatworthy 1981, Hull 1982, Stabler 1989). Dependency theory located the problem in capitalism and its creation ofNative peoples as an internal colony. From this position it was argued that colonization of Native peoples has created a cheap labour force and simultaneously drained off raw resources from their traditional lands and reserves (Jorgenson 1968, Mitchell 1976, Mooney 1978, Hudson 1989, Carsten 1991, Frideres 1993). Finally, the Marxist approach situated Native peoples employment history within the class structure of the economy. Native people form an underclass in Canadian society and as a consequence of this position are marginalized into the least secure employment (see Forcese 1975, Elias 1975, Pritchard 1977, Adams 1990).  6  While these theories in turn offer some significant insights into employment conditions ofNative people, they fail to explain the variability in Native communities and the cultural and historical conditions specific to them. For example they do not explain the unique employment experiences of the Sne-nay-muxw vis a vis other Coast Salish communities as  While this theoretical approach has been challenged present programs and policies continue to endorse this perspective. 6 See Peters & Rosenberg (1992) for a more detailed discussion of these theories as they apply to Native people in the labour force.  15  they treat all Native peoples as a homogenous group. Also they do not account for the different participation of Sne-nay-muxw men and women in the labour force today and in the past. Why were Sne-nay-muxw men and women segregated into distinct occupations? Why were Sne-nay-muxw women at specific historical periods displaced from local employment? Such questions are unanswered in theories that only address the issues of race and class and not the gender discrimination in the labour force. Understanding the gender discrimination within the labour force has been one ofthe great challenges for Marxist feminists. An early answer focused upon ‘patriarchy’ a universal system of oppression that preceded capitalism and guaranteed male domination both in the domestic sphere and the labour force. This led the analysis to focus upon the role of the family as the mechanism for transmitting a patriarchal ideology, and the economic practices of the labour force that excluded women from the same opportunities as men. However the concept ofpatriarchy proved problematic (see Beechey 1979). The aliistorical nature of patriarchy had limited value in exploring the nature of women’s subordination in capitalism. While an attempt to see patriarchy as a system that combined with capitalism to segregate women both in domestic labour and in the labour force seemed promising, the synthesis failed to show how the two systems were related historically and conceptually (see Eisenstein 1979, Hartmann 1979, 1981 for this synthesis). Significantly too in trying to articulate the relationship between gender and class such a synthesis had ignored the relations of race. Treating all women as a homogenous racial category neglected a thudamental division of labour that is integral to the capitalist economy.  16  Such criticism has called for a unified theory of gender, race and class that incorporates the three systems of domination that women experience in their lives. Developing such a theoretical framework has been the focus of recent work (see Parmar 1982, Creese 1986, Sacks 1989, Ng 1993). However, one of the outstanding questions, is how to theorize these interconnections. Are they three distinct relations interconnected in some essential way and thus can be analyzed separately, or are they so intermeshed that analysis demands their incorporation simultaneously? I maintain that analyzing gender, race and class separately as autonomous conditions of production is not possible or desirable in understanding the history of Sne-nay-muxw women’s employment for these three social relations are embedded throughout the economic systeul To separate them is to distort the reality and conditions that influenced Sne-nay-muxw women’s employment history. Nonetheless, this is not to contend that one relation is not more salient than the other within a particular context (see Stasiulis 1990 for this argument). As is shown in the history of Sne-nay-muxw women’s employment, wage opportunities were at various times influenced more by race than gender and vice versa. To this point I have discussed gender, race and class without delining these concepts. For this study the definition of gender is taken from the insights of anthropology and feminist studies that gender is both a social construct and social relation (see Lamphere 1987, Moore 1988). As a social construct it is derived not from the biological differences between men and women but from an ongoing consciousness produced by everyday socialization. This socialization, which defines what is masculine/feminine or male/female, is realized through the social functions of what men and women do (see Bourdieu  17  1977:93). Thus gender relations are those social relations that arise between men and women and are specific to the historical and cultural context in which they are found. In the same respects race and class are also historically and culturally specific. Race, like gender, is a social construction based upon some notion of an immutable difference linked to a biological or cultural group. Social relations of inequality are ascribed to those differences. On the other hand, class is a social construct based upon an individual’s relative position in a stratified society. As a social relation it is derived from how people relate to one another economically through productive and reproductive activities. In capitalist societies class is determined by those who produce surplus (the proletariat) and those who appropriate or control it (the bourgeoisie). Thus class is determined not by a person’s prestige or status but a person’s control or non-control of the means of production (see Marx 1968:181-185).  Domestic Economy, the Family and Gender Ideology As well as locating women in the labour force, gender, race and class segregation also situates women within a distinct domestic economy. How a domestic economy articulates with capitalism, and how women’s position within it defines their status in society, has been at the forefront of feminist theoretical debates. The debate initially began with a conceptual separation of the domestic economy from the wage economy. The domestic economy was associated with the household and the domestic labour of women. An early debate ensued to discover the structural relationship between the two (see Benson 1969, Fox 1980). While there was no consensus on this relationship, these authors did agree  18  that women’s non-wage labour was functional to the perpetuation of capitalism. Women’s domestic labour within the household was necessary to reproduce the conditions for the labour force. Others furthered this argument by pointing to the advantages for the labour force in segregating women within the household. This guaranteed a cheap and available labour force that could be used at times of economic expansion. The position of married women as a reserve labour force was analogous to that of semi-proletarianized or migrant workers whose labour was partially dependent upon non-wage sources to meet the cost of reproduction of labour power. These early authors agreed that it was women’s segregation in the domestic economy that subordinated their status in capitalist society. Furthermore, this subordination was guaranteed through the nuclear family with women and children dependent upon a male wage earner. When capitalism articulated with other pre-capitalist economies it subsequently segregated and transformed women’s labour. The making of women into housewives is, according to one author, an integral part of the colonial process that ensures capital accumulation: ...these two processes of colonization and housewifization are closely and causally interlinked. Without the ongoing exploitation of external colonies... .the establishment of the ‘internal colony’, that is, a nuclear family and a woman maintained by a male ‘breadwinner,’ would not have been possible (Mies 1986:142-3). Whether this process occurs as filly as described and whether women’s oppression lies within their roles in the family as housewives is now a disputed point. Several critics have observed that the creation of women as housewives and the nuclear family is more ideological than an empirical reality (Carby 1982, hooks 1984, Glen 1993). Many studies,  19  both historical and contemporary, show gender, race and class segregation in the labour force drives many women to seek wage labour to support their families. This is certainly the case when examining the employment history of Sne-nay-muxw and other Native women. The inability of Sne-nay-muxw men to make an adequate wage that would support women and children because of discrimination in the labour force compelled Sne nay-muxw women to seek wage employment. Furthermore studies show that the nuclear family is not the only form ofhousehold organization that exists within capitalism (see Stoler 1977, Mueller 1977, Agonja 1981, MacGaffey 1986). A variety of indigenous family organizations that existed prior to capitalism continue to be adaptive with the introduction of wage labour. This is most certainly found in many Native communities where extended families based upon traditional kinship networks remains evident. Extended families and kin networks, important for support and access to a wide range of resources in the pre-contact economy, continue to offer security to family members at times of employment instability ( see Knack 1980, Medicine 1982, Albers 1985). Despite the appearance of nuclear families interfamily cooperation and sharing remains an important factor in the survival of many Native households.  This leads to the question of whether the family is the site of women’s oppression as argued by many feminists (see Kuim and Wolpe 1978, Engels 1884/1981). Many studies that have examined Native women in their communities have linked their power and status to their position in their families (Albers 1985, Lynch 1986, Knack 1989, Miller 1992). The influence and control that women have in their own families gives them the ability to  20  move into the wider economic and political arena of the community. This has reached an acceptance in some Native communities that managing the affairs of the reserve is deemed to be the role of women (Miller 1992). Such empirical reality raises several questions about how gender roles are defined in Native communities. Historically through missionary teachings, a segregated labour force,  and the state, Native peoples have been exposed to a gender ideology that promoted exclusive domestic roles for women. Studies confirm that there was some accommodation to this ideology in Native communities with their conversion to Christianity, shifts in residence to nuclear families, and the learning of new domestic skills ( see Leacock 1980, Ackerman 1987, Shoemaker 1991, Devens 1992). However the presence of women in public roles and positions of economic and political power in Native communities today indicates that this ideology was either not fhlly accepted or resisted. Elsewhere studies have shown that changing economic circumstances can either encourage such ideology or discourage its acceptance (Mann 1985, Effis 1986, Liddle and Joshi 1986). It is encouraged when men are able to make a ‘family wage’ that can support women and children. Women are more likely to accept their roles solely within the domestic domain when there are limited opportunities for women in the labour force. Does this then explain the statement that opens this study? Sne-nay-muxw women accepted that their traditional roles were in the home because previously they were limited opportunities for them in wage employment. With the expansion ofjob opportunities for women, are we witnessing a change in ideology that now redefines women’s roles to include their participation in the labour force? In this study I examine these questions. By  21  tracing the historical employment of both men and women I trace how a gender ideology was either accommodated or resisted in light of the opportunities in wage labour. Methodology The research for this thesis was divided into two parts. The &st required a search of the ethnographic material and the historical records relevant to the region. Due to the paucity of material on the Sne-nay-muxw the reconstruction of gender roles and ideology was obtained through a number of Coast Salish ethnographies. Much of this material was collected long after the introduction of wage labour and many of the principal informants for these ethnographies were men. This is problematic for understanding indigenous gender relations. However, acknowledging both the historical nature ofthe data and its male-centered bias does allow for some reinterpretation as well as reconstruction ofthe past. While we can never know with any certainly what was the true nature of the indigenous economy and gender relations, I believe that the richness of the ethnographic material collected at the turn of the Century on Coast Salish peoples and the insights offered in the comparative studies of gender relations in anthropology, can offer some understanding of Sne-nay-muxw society before contact. The most helpful historical material for understanding the early economic and social history of the Sne-nay-muxw was found in the form of unpublished government reports, letters and journals. Hudson’s Bay Company records were helpful in documenting the early use of their labour in the community. After 1862 the history of Sne-nay-muxw employment was derived from a number of sources such as visitor’s journals, missionary accounts, and settlers’ recollections. Indian Agent’s reports and letters from the  22  Cowichan agency proved to be a rich resource for understanding the socio-cultural changes of the Sne-nay-muxw between 1881 and 1920. Census records from the Department of Indian Affairs as well as three nominal Census offered information about the household organization and changing demographic patterns. These records are in manuscript form and accessible in the various archives and libraries in the province. Government records on the Sne-nay-muxw after 1920 were more difficult to find or access due to the issue of privacy. Generally there is a paucity ofhistorical material on the Sne-nay-muxw between 1920 and 1960 as these records are still held by the Department of Indian Affairs. Statistical studies of the socio-economic status of Sne-nay-muxw women vis a vis men, and the wider Canadian society in terms of employment, unemployment, income, and other factors are more readily available after 1960 through both Statistics Canada and the Statistics branch of Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development. The second part of the research involved fieldwork. Permission by the Sne-nay-muxw Chief and Council was granted in the early summer of 1991. An initial six weeks was spent in the community followed by a number of shorter visits over the next two years. In the first few weeks of fieldwork a short survey form was drawn up and published in the weekly band newsletter. The response was poor but the survey served as an introduction when personally visiting homes on the reserve. At this time nineteen women and eight men were interviewed. In order to compare changes in both men and women’s working lives I selected individuals who covered the widest age range possible. Respondents who were sixty-five and older were important for understanding Sne-nay-muxw work  23  experiences between 1920 and 1970. Younger individuals offered work histories of the more recent period. While a general schedule of questions was drawn up respondents were encouraged to digress and expand on their answers. In many cases spouses, or children, were present during the interviews. The general focus of the questions centered upon their employment history and their general understanding of the present situation of women in the labour force. Although interested in documenting wage income and distribution within the household I was aware that these question were of an intrusive nature so I did not pursue them if respondents were not readily forth coming. During the fall of 1991 I attended a language session given by the elders at the cultural center once a week. I was given permission to attend the band’s annual general meetings in order to learn the current issues for the band. Also I attended a workshop for the South Island District Advisory Board on the new federal initiative, Pathways to Success. Members of several organizations in. Nanaimo that offer educational upgrading and job training to Native women were also contacted to detennine how accessible such programs were to Sne-nay-muxw women. I have delined the community in this study to be the Sne-nay-muxw band. The band is a group ofNative people who are registered by the Indian Act, share the right to reside on particular reserves and hold a common interest in both land and money. This concept of community has been imposed upon the Sne-nay-muxw by the federal government of Canada. No such community identity existed before contact as the Sne-nay-muxw, like other Coast Salish peoples, lived in. villages and identified themselves as members ofthose villages. With the creation of reserves and the introduction of the Indian Act, the concept  24  of the band has become both the social and political identity of Sne-nay-muxw people today. Having said this it should also be acknowledged that this sense of community has changed since the 1970’s. Until this time the band membership and community were synonymous with on reserve residence but today half of the band membership lives off reserve. While some off reserve members live only a few streets away from the reserves others are as far away as the United States. However family ties and not geographic distance, determines a members closeness to the community. Members who live in Seattle and California may be far more active members of the community because of their close ties to their families on reserve than some members who live in Nanaimo or other close urban centers. This is particularly evident since the introduction of Bifi C-3 1 that has allowed a number of members to regain their band membership. Despite their geographic closeness to the reserves, these members often have few interactions with the on reserve community. While the band is the dominant community for this study I would like to acknowledge two other senses of community that the Sne-nay-muxw experience. One is the wider Coast Salish community that includes the southeastern region of Vancouver Island, the mainland of British Columbia and coastal Washington State. This wider community is activated during the bighouse season when the Sne-nay-muxw travel to the neighbouring reserves to witness the ceremonies linked to naming, memorials and new dancers. During the summer months, the canoe races held on the different reserves bring this community together again. The second community is the non-Native community of Nanaimo. As this  25  study shows the Sne-nay-muxw actively participated in this community in various ways. Not only were they workers in the local economy, but they participated in the labour strikes, parades, sports teams, and other community events. I maintain that the Sne-nay muxw identity with the non-Native community was strongest during its early years. Significant factors that increased this sense of belonging to this community were: working as miners and other occupations linked to the mines; accepting Methodism the predominant religion of the miners in Nanaimo and not Catholicism, the religion of other Coast Salish peoples; and intermarriage with the early settlers in the region. In later years the links to the non-Native community were not as strong but there continued social ties to families that lived on streets bordering the town reserve or on farms close to the River reserves. Today that sense of community has changed again to include the growing Native population (non- Sne-nay-muxw) that live in Nanaimo. Discrimination, poverty, and service delivery programs for Native peoples has strengthen this community sense. Before closing this section on methodology I would like to address a reflexive process that occurred in the writing of this thesis.  With the present political climate in the  province in British Columbia surrounding land claims, I was aware that this thesis, like other work of anthropologists, could be used as a document in a legal setting to either support or not support Sne-nay-muxw claims. This awareness did lead to a conscious selection of document material that I felt best described the history of the Sne-nay-muxw  The issue of reflexivity is one that the discipline of anthropology as a whole is now facing (see Marcus and Fisher 1986, Clifford 1988). That anthropologists have in the past selected or omitted material in their studies ofNative peoples is now readily acknowledged. For a discussion ofthe important implications of this selection for public policy see Dyck (1993).  26  people. In writing this history I have tried to omit any ambiguous statements that might be misinterpreted to the real intent of the meaning I am trying to mike. However, I admit that I have on many occasions simplified what are at times very complex and interconnected phenomena. It is impossible to give a complete account of the complex history of the Sne-nay-muxw within this single study. As well as declaring that this is my interpretation of Sne-nay-muxw history I also want to acknowledge the academic constraints of the discipline of anthropology that upholds a moral and ethical obligation to the people one studies. My obligation to the Sne-nay-muxw people to tell their history as they wanted it told did influence my selection of particular documents to describe their history. However, their concern to show their role as wage workers in the economy, the forced dependency upon wage employment with the alienation of their resources and land, and the discrimination they experienced in finding employment, were not contrary to my own interpretation of their labour history. That I was able to set it within the context of a theoretical interpretation linked to the social relations of gender, race and class is most certainly my contribution.  Organization of Thesis The following chapters are divided chronological and are dictated by both the type of data available as well as the distinct economic periods that shaped Sne-nay-muxw women’s employment. Chapter two provides the cultural and historical context in which Sne-nay-muxw women entered the labour force. Through a reconstruction of the pre contact economy I identi1y several important features of Sne-nay-muxw economic and social organization as they pertain to women. One of the most important features is that  27  the Sne-nay-muxw had a distinct division of labour determined by sex but there was a degree of flexibility based upon the task at hand. This enabled both men and women to share tasks preparing food when necessary. Women had significant economic autonomy in their lives that was assured with a bilateral kinship system, gender related ownership of production, and relationships within the household based upon exchange. The early contact period and the fur trade is described to show how demographic change and new trade goods began to transform Sne-nay-muxw women’s lives. In Chapter three I describe the establishment ofNanaimo and the initial experiences of the Sne-nay-muxw in wage labour with the Hudson’s Bay Company between 1852 and 1862. The history of the Hudson’s Bay Company coal operation in Nanaimo and the Treaty of 1854 that effectively alienate the Sne-nay-muxw from coal deposits in their territory is first summarized. This is followed with a description of employment in an economy that segregated labour upon gender, race and class lines. Sne-nay-muxw men worked in the mines digging shafts and transporting coal to the pit face, while women conveyed coal to the ships. Other employment around the post was similarly segregated so that Sne-nay-muxw men and women were given the poorest paid and least desirable employment. In the final section I discuss the impact of this wage economy upon Sne nay-muxw lives. Not only were the Sne-nay-muxw moved off many of their village sites, but the arrival of European settlers and other Native peoples in the region began to alienate them from their traditional resource sites. On the other hand the Sne-nay-muxw gained wealth and prestige because of the coal operation in their territory. However this increased wealth was not equally accessible to Sne-nay-muxw men and women. The  28  different value placed upon men and women’s production encouraged women to seek wage labour in order to maintain their economic autonomy within their households. Between 1862 and 1920 the coal mining industry dominated the economic and social life ofNanaimo. This is the focus of Chapter four. In the Iirst section I describe the mining economy and the nature of its segregated labour force. This sets the context for understanding the employment history of Sne-nay-muxw men and women during this period. This history reveals that Sne-nay-muxw men were employed in the local economy as casual labourers in the mines while women worked as domestic servants in the community. Despite this early integration into the labour force variable market demands for coal, increased competition by Chinese workers, and changing technology left both Sne-nay-muxw men and women the most vulnerable workers to unemployment. During this period the Sne-nay-muxw continued to integrate wage labour with subsistence production and farming. Although faced with the lack of arable land and the increasing encroachment upon their traditional resource sites, the Sne-nay-muxw had relative success integrating these incompatible productive activities. An important part ofthis strategy was the retention of kinship networks and extended families that allowed for cooperation and exchange between and within households. The sharing of food and labour between kin enabled women to pursue wage labour when opportunities arose. In the final section I examine how a gender ideology that promoted domestic roles for women was imposed upon the Sne-nay-muxw by the mining community, missionaries and state policies. I document how Sne-nay-muxw women both accommodated and resisted this ideology. Women acquired the domestic skills related to this ideology but continued to maintain  29  considerable autonomy in their lives. This is evident in the control and distribution of wage and non-wage production within the household and in formal exchanges. The employment history of the Sne-nay-muxw in the logging economy ofNanaimo between 1920 and 1970 is described in Chapter five. For the Sne-nay-muxw this was a time of increasing dependence upon wage labour as subsistence production and farming declined. Gender, race and class segregation that structured the mining industry changed to accommodate the shift to logging and related industries. Although this gave some Sne nay-muxw men greater security in the labour force women’s employment remained limited. With reduced employment in the local economy women’s only access to wage income was to accompany their husbands fishing or to migrate to the berry fields in Washington. Despite the preference to live in nuclear families, extended families and kinship networks remained important for support and cooperation to offset the poverty many Sne-nay-muxw families experienced. In this last section I show that throughout this period, women’s roles became increasingly circumscribed to the domestic sphere despite their participation in the labour force. At this time the acceptance of a gender ideology that promoted domestic roles for women gained strength in families headed by men in secure jobs. These families supported the exclusion of women from paid labour. How filly families were able to meet this ideal became a mark of class and status in the community. In Chapter six I examine the changing participation of Sne-nay-muxw men and women in the service economy of Nanaimo from 1971 to the present time. This economy continues to segregate along gender, race and class lines. This restructuring has given  30  Sne-nay-muxw women advantages vis a vis men in employment. It is women not men who seek employment in the service economy as men remain committed to shrinking jobs in the primary and secondary industries. Women have been successful in finding employment because they now have equal access to education and employment training. With men’s insecure employment women’s income contribution to the household has become increasingly important to supplement the shrinking wages of men. Family status and wealth is now linked to women’s employment. Those families that in the previous period embraced the exclusion of women from wage labour, now support their inclusion into the labour force. A gender ideology to accommodate this inclusion now redefines women’s roles to include employment in the gendered jobs of the economy. However, the increased income contribution women in their households has not allowed women to gain formal political power. Despite considerable autonomy in their family lives women’s power continues to be vested in men and their association with a specific extended family. Chapter seven presents the conclusions and the broader implications of this study for understanding the employment situation of Native women elsewhere. The question of whether wage employment increases women’s power in their communities and the role of gender ideology in promoting women’s inclusion into wage labour are also discussed.  31  CHAPTER 2 ETHNOGRAPHIC AND HISTORICAL BA CKGROUND Introduction This chapter provides the cultural and historical context in which the Sne’-nay-muxw entered the labour force. The first section begins with a brief discussion of the sources available and the problems in reconstructing the Sne-nay-muxw pre-contact economy and gender roles. This is followed by a description of the Sne-nay-muxw as known through the ethnographic accounts. Special attention is paid to the role of women in the division of labour, their access to wealth, and the importance of exchange within the household. The final section examines the effects of early contact and the für trade upon Sne-nay muxw life.  Ethnographic Background Sources Little ethnographic work has been published about the Sne-nay-muxw. One of the earliest anthropologists to visit the region was Franz Boas who arrived in the vnter of 1886-87. Unlike other Coast Salish communities on Vancouver Island he found the Sne nay-muxw very cooperative (Rohner 1969:72). In a short article he included information about marriage and mortuary customs as well as the history of a series of battles with the northern Lekwiltok (Boas 1889). Boas’ other references to the Sne-nay-muxw are either unpublished or in passing including no details of their traditional economic activities  32  (Boas n.d.a; n.d.b; 1887; 1895). Considering that the Sne-nay-muxw traditional cycle of exploiting local resources was still evident at this time Boas’ neglect is truly unfortunate. In the 1930’s both Homer Barnett and Diamond Jenness visited the Sne-nay-muxw. Barnett’s research was included within a wider study of the Coast Salish and remains one of the most important sources for understanding Sne-nay-muxw economic life. His informant Albert Wesley was born in the 1860’s and was quite knowledgeable about traditional life. Jenness also used Albert Wesley as an informant but his work to date is unpublished (see n.d.; 1934-36). Tn the late 1940’s and early 1950’s Wayne Suttles conducted fieldwork with the Sne-nay-muxw. He has published a series of articles on the Coast Salish that include this work (Suttles 1987). More recent ethnographic work has been done by Sarah Robinson (1963), Ted Little (1981), Marjorie Mitchell (1984) and Randy Bouchard (1992). Robinson (1963) examined the historical change in Sne-nay-muxw spirit dancing. Little (1981), taking an educational focus, used Sne-nay-muxw archaeological data and place names to create a Native studies curriculum. Mitchell (1984) completed an oral history of the life experiences of the six Sne-nay-muxw elders. Finally, Bouchard (1992) in conjunction with the archaeological project at Departure Bay, included information about subsistence practices as revealed from the early ethnographic studies as well as material from recent informants. Aside from Mitchell’s (1984) rich contribution, the lives of Sne-nay-muxw women is poorly documented. This is a product of the male bias that existed in the work of male ethnographers who visited the region. In seeking out male informants they omitted  33  important aspects of Sne-naymuxw culture that included activities important to women. This omission was based on an assumption that men and their roles were the dominant ones in Coast Salish society. Interestingly in a letter to his family Franz Boas acknowledged that Coast Salish women he encountered were far more knowledgeable about traditional customs than men. However despite this insight he continued to use men as his principal informants (Rohner 1969:23). During his brief visit to Nanaimo he used Amos Cusheon, a lay minister, and his nephew, Daniel Cusheon for his work on the Sne nay-muxw (Rohner 1969:72). A noted exception in the early work is found in the writings of Beryl Cryer, a journalist who interviewed two Sne-nay-muxw women during the 1930’s: Jenny Wyse was born at Departure Bay and the daughter of Quen-es-then, a principle Sne-nay-muxw leader; and Mary Rice, while originally from Kuper Island, married into the band and lived here later years with the Sne-nay-muxw. Both were prominent women in the community and very knowledgeable about Sne-nay-muxw history. Their stories, as told by Cryer, offer important insights into Sne-nay-muxw history as well as the daily lives of these women during the 1930’s (Cryer F8.2/C88 BCARS).  The Sne-nay-muxw The Sne-nay-muxw live along the central east coast region of Vancouver Island, British Columbia.’ They are part of the linguistic group known as Coast Salish who are found on  There are various spellings and translations for Sne-nay-muxw in the historical and ethnographic material (see Rozen 1985:43)). The spelling in this thesis is not linguistically correct but is presently used by the band. In terms of interpretation, Suttles (1990:473) notes that the translation ‘the whole’ or ‘big strong tribe’ which is most  34  the southern coast of British Columbia and parts of Washington State. Like their immediate neighbours, the Nanoose, the Chemainus and the Cowic han, they are Island Halkomelem speakers. This is one of the three dialects of Halkomelem which is spoken on Vancouver Island from Northwest Bay to Saanich Inlet.  2  They, like other speakers of  Halkomelem, comprise the Central Coast Salish which also include the Clallam, Northern Straits, Nooksack and Squamish. Northern Coast Salish, the Sechelt, Comox and Pentlatch live in the northern half of the Straits of Georgia and the Lushootseed and Twana speaking peoples who are the Southern Coast Salish live in the drainage ofPuget Sound and Hood Canal. The Southwestern Coast Salish, Quinault, Lower Chehalis, Upper Chehalis and Cowlitz, live on the Washington Coast and in the river drainage’s of Queets River to the north and Cowlitz River in the south. Traditionally the Sne-nay-muxw territory extended from several kilome ters north of Neck Point in the north to Boat Harbour in the south (Bouchard l992). Gabriola Island and other adjacent islands constituted the eastern boundary and the waters hed of the Nanaimo river, the western boundary. While it is unknown how long they have lived in this region the area is rich in archaeological sites which several surveys have confirmed frequently found (e.g.Walbran 1909:348) is not linguistically supported as the prefix is an unidentifiable root. The other two dialects, upriver and downriver Halkomelem, are found on 2 the mainland from the mouth of the Fraser River to Harrison Lake and the lower reache s of the Fraser Canyon. Hill-Tout (1902:3 56) translates Halkomelem as “those who speak the same language.” There is some dispute in the literature of the northern and southern bounda ries of Sue nay-muxw territory. Boas (1889) designates Horsewell Bluff and Five Finger Island as the northern boundary, Dodd Narrows the southern. Bouchard’s (1990) recent research indicates that it is two miles further north at Neck Point and that the southe rn boundary is three miles south of Dodd Narrows at Boat Harbour. His conclusion on this southern limit coincide with both Duff (n.d.) and Rozen (1985).  35  (Abbott 1963, Mitchell 1971, Cassidy, Cranny and Murton 1974, Will and Cassidy 1975, Acheson and Riley 1977, Apland 1977, Murray 1982, Wilson 1987, and Burley 1988). Many of these sites reveal short term and seasonal occupations, howev er three sites that have been extensively excavated at Duke Point (Murray 1982), False Narrow s (Burley 1988) and Departure Bay (Arcas 1994, Wilson 1994) indicate that there has been a continuous in situ cultural development in this region for at least four thousa nd years. Excavations at these shell middens have yielded a diverse array of artifacts that testify not only to the specialization to the rich resources in the area but the presence of a highly developed stratified society that is identified with the Northwest Coast cultura l pattern. This cultural pattern, while distinctive, exhibits a substantial degree of variati on and complexity which is attributed to interregional contact and variable feature s of the habitat (Suttles 1987). The Sne-nay-muxw like other Northwest coast peoples depended upon salmon and other marine resources for their principal food source. They were highly mobile as they followed their seasonal round, fishing, hunting and gathering. Traveling as much as 500 kilometers on an annual basis, their traditional movement included not only the immediate territory but also the annual crossing of the Strait of Georgia to the Fraser River and as far north as Qualicum River(Mitchell 197 1:27; Sproat 1876). This high degree of mobility was most apparent during the spring and summer months for during the fall and ‘vinter months they lived in permanent villages on the Nanaimo river, Nanaimo harbou r and Departure Bay.  Cybulski (1994:80) concludes that archaeological data on the Northwest Coast suggests that the social system in the southern region was present 5,000 years ago.  Hammond ‘Bay  Sne-nay-muxw Territory and Reserves A  0 Known Village  5km  Strait of Georgia  Vancouver Island & Mainland  0  37  Like other Northwest Coast peoples in the winter months they lived in large loughouses that were made of cedar planks. Most of them were gabled but some shed types were also found that were long enough to accommodate an extended family or an entire village. 5 Inside these longhouses were a number of lirepits around the sides and storage platforms that were also used as beds along the walls. Sections inhabited by individual families were separated by plank partitions or mats. Generally the houses were unpainted but a few, due to northern influence, did have crests on the front and carved, painted interior posts (Barnett 1955:43,322; Stenzel 1975:110,112).  6  In the summer months the Sne-nay  muxw made lean-to structures of mats and some planks from their winter homes (Barnett 1955: 43-44). The Sne-nay-muxw were comprised of five known named groups. Boas (1889) identified them as “clans,” Hill-Tout (1904) “septs,” Jenness (n.d) “communities,” Barriett (1955) “tribes,” and Duff (1969) “families.” More recently Suttles (1990:464) maintains that they are best identified as local groups” which consist of an established kin group and several dependent households. A local group may have its own winter village or may live with other local groups in separate longhouses in the same village. In the case of the Sne-nay-muxw four ofthe local groups” lived in a winter village called stE ‘ilup at Departure Bay, while the 111th had its winter village on Nanaimo Harbour. In the fall all five “local groups” had distinctive fishing sites and houses on the Nanaimo river. Bouchard (1992:6-7) has identified the names of these known five groups through the  See Suttles (1990:7) for a descriptive comparison of these two types ofhouse styles. Stenzel (1975:110,112) offers two pictures of the Sne-nay-muxw villages painted in 1858. A composite photograph taken in 1858 from the Newcombe collection is published inBarnett (1955:322). 6  38  ethnographic and historical literature as “kwelsiwlh,” teytexen,” ‘yeshexen,” “enwines,” and “xwsol 7 ‘exwel.” It was the “xwsol ‘exwel” that remained separate with their winter village on the Nanaimo Harbour (Bamett 195 5:22).  8  Generally social organization was not as rigid as that found in Northw est Coast groups further to the north. The Sne-nay-muxw lacked clans, phratries, and clear-cut class distinctions. There was however some stratification in that people were divided between upper class or worthy, “si?ém,” lower class and worthless people, “stéxem ,” and slaves. The distinction between worthy and worthless people was based on possession of private or guarded knowledge concerning family traditions, and the absence of slavery ancestry (Suttles 1958). Worthless people were individuals who had no inheren t access to resource sites and a blemished past. Their status was apparent in their behavi our and 9 poverty. In any village the proportion ofworthy was much higher than the propor tion of worthless people. Thus class hierarchy was not a pyramid as found in the more rigidly ranked societies ofthe north, but an inverted pear with the greater number of individuals considered upper class. Also within this upper class there was a degree of individual ranking that was expressed in both social and material ways (Snyde r 1964:170). But  unlike their northern neighbours, there were no formal chiefs but an ‘inform al’ leader of a  Suttles in a personal communication to Bouchard (1992:5)jioted that several of these local group names are translated into directional terms, north, middle and south which probably indicates their position in the winter village at Departure Bay. Bamett (1955:22) believed that this local group was higher ranked 8 than the others but this is disputed by the Sne-nay-muxw. Also they dispute Jenness’ (195 5:86) assertion that the Nanoose village to the north of the Sne-nay-muxw was a tributa ry village of the Sne-nay-muxw. Drucker (1983) believes that this class is a product of contact and not found in the indigenous social structure.  39  household group (Miller and Boxberger 1994). High ranked individ uals had great advantage to assume this leadership but relative merits as revealed in individual ability and wealth remained as important as heredity. Beneath the worthless people s was a class of slaves which were acquired through trade or warfare. Slaves had no status in the society and were considered outcasts. Only the wealthiest people owned slaves and it is believed that they were not numerous in Sne-nay-muxw villages. Descent for the Sne-nay-muxw was reckoned bilaterally with an emphasis upon patrilineal ties. Kinship terms distinguished between order of birth in collate ral lineage but not between lineal and collateral relatives beyond the first ascending and descending generations. Thus there was no distinction between a mother’s or father’ s relatives. Village exogamy and patrilocal residence was the preferred marriage pattern but it was not obligatory. There was a great deal of flexibility in the residence pattern that allowed a couple to choose to live with the bride’s parents if they had no son, had a higher rank in their community than the husband’s family, or might need someone to care for them (Duff 1952:79). Nonetheless, it was considered incestuous to marry between close or “blood” kin which was determined as distantly as third or fourth cousins (Barnett 1955:1 84; Suttles 1990:463-4). Polygyny, sororate, and levirate were also common marria ge arrangements. For the Sne-nay-muxw, like many Northwest Coast groups, the winter was a time for ceremonial exchanges, wealth displays and interaction with the supernatural world. However, the Sne-nay-muxw and other Coast Salish emphasized the acquisition of a guardian spirit through a personal vision quest and not through public and theatri cal  40  displays. Spiritual power was acquired privately after ritual fasting and purification. It was only expressed or hinted at by songs and dancing as it was dangerous to do otherwise (Barnett 1955:146; Collins 1974:145; Suttles 1984:69). With the exception of the srwaixwe mask and rattles, the Sne-nay-muxw lacked the elaborate ceremonial regalia found elsewhere on the coast.  One theory to explain this difference is put forward by  Suttles (1984) who believes that due to the association of representation with spiritual power art as a decorative medium was limited. Nonetheless, despite the scarcity in decorative items the Sne-nay-muxw like other Haikomelem speakers had a distinctive art style that was evident on spindle whorls, rattles, combs, houseposts, and grave figures (Kew 1980; Feder 1983; Sullies 1984).  Pre-Contact Economy Subsistence Round The Sne-nay-muxw, like other Coast Salish and Northwest Coast groups, were primarily dependent upon salmon and other marine resources for food. The first principle food activity of the year began in March with the arrival of the herring into Departure Bay and Hammond Bay.” Herring was caught in great quantities using a herring rake, dried on racks, and cured by roasting on cedar splints. Also herring roe was collected by placing fir branches at different locations along the shore. Herring deposited their spawn  10  The myth explaining the origin of the mask for the Sne-nay-muxw is presented in Jenness (1955:91-2). “One important site for the earliest herring fishing was approximately three and a half miles northwest of Departure Bay known as sk ‘ol ‘em (Bouchard 1992:9).  41  on the branches which could then be dried in the sun and the leaves and eggs stripped off. The roe was either eaten fresh or dried. The spring was also an important time for hunting ducks and other waterfowl that returned from their winter feeding grounds. Waterfowl were abundant in the Nanaimo River estuary and shoreline of Gabriola Island. While many species of ducks were hunted the most important duck for the Sne-nay-muxw was the scoter duck or as commonly kn.own, the black duck. This duck was plentiful in Sne-nay-muxw territory all year round. A variety of hunting techniques were used to hunt these ducks, such as snares, nets, and duck spears. Eagles were caught using a dead fish as bait and a foot hook on a pole (Bamett 195 5:98). Their feathers and down were used for ritual costumes. Egg gathering was an additional source of food. By the end of April the Sne-nay-muxw moved to False Narrows and Gabriola Island to fish for cod, grilse’ 2 and other species during the summer months (Jenness n.d.; Bamett 195 5:22). Most of these fish were caught by trolling. Clams were the principal reason the  Sne-nay-muxw went to this location. False Narrows on Gabriola Island was one of the most important clam beds of the region and clams were gathered here with digging sticks at low tide (Thompson 1913:155-6). Clams were either steamed and eaten fresh or dried on withes shaped into circular strings for later consumption. Dried clams were also an important trade item (Bayley BCARS; Fraser 1906:102; Barnett 1955:6 1; Suttles 195 la:69; Smith 1940a:245; Aswell 1978:44; Norton 1985:129). Other shellfish gathered at this time were mussels, cookies, littlenecks, oysters, crabs, and sea urchin which were  12  Immature, half grown salmon.  42  all steamed and in some cases dried. Generally shellfish was available throughout the year and was an important resource to supplement stores in the winter months (Beicher 1985). Shellfish, next to fish, was a highly desirable food resource that was reliable and plentif ul in Sne-nay-muxw territory. Also important during the summer months was the gathering of plant foods such as roots, bulbs and berries. Camas, a bulbous root similar to an onion was a preferred food and grew extensively on the bluffs of Gabriola Island (Jenness n.d.). It was dug for about three weeks in May before the bulbs seeded and a single family could fill 10 to 12 cattail bags in a season (Jenness n.d). While they could be stored raw they were most often steamed in pits and then dried into cakes. Berries were also plentiful throughout Sne-nay muxw territory and beginning with wild strawberries in May numerous berries such as salmonberries, thimbleberries, blackberries and bog cranberries were picked through to the late fall and winter. Berries were either eaten fresh or dried into cakes. They were stored in little crates made of dried alder, and pieces were soaked in water before eating (Suttles 195 la:63). Sometimes eulachon oil which was traded frOm the north was mixed with them. In July the Sne-nay-muxw moved to the Fraser river to fish for sockeye (0. nerka) and in alternating years humpbacked salmon (0. gorbuscha). Their fishing site was located several miles from the mouth of the river near Barnston Island. One historic source noted that they had a permanent village at this site to accommodate 400 “Nanaimooch” (Ft. Langley Journal 1827-1830). Here salmon was dried on open racks and stored in baskets. As well as salmon they also fished for sturgeon in the river using a harpoon. They also  43  had a fishing site for sturgeon on Lulu Island (Bamett 195 5:34). As the salmon run diminished in September women gathered cranberries that were abundant in bogs at the mouths of small tributaries to the Fraser river. Wapato, an aquatic plant was also available on the Fraser river particularly at the fork of the Pitt River. Here the Sne-nay-muxw with other Fraser river peoples harvested this root for several weeks in late September and early October.’ 3 By mid October many of the Sne-nay-muxw returned to their fall villages on the Nanaimo River in time for the chum salmon run. Chum, or dog-salmon (O.keta), was the last of the salmon species to return to the rivers in October and November. It was an important source of food for the winter months because it was a much leaner species of salmon that could be dried for longer lasting preservation. The fall run of salmon in the Nanaimo River was therefore an important one for the Sne-nay-muxw to supplement the summer provisions to last until the spring when food getting activities began again.’ 4 Sockeye and humpbacks fished on the Fraser river were dried outside while chum on the Nanaimo river were smoked in smokehouses.  13  The Ft. Langley journal reports that the Sne-nay-muxw with 5000 others assembled at Pitt River forks to harvest this root. Jenness (1955:76) notes that the Sne-nay-muxw had strong marital affiances with the Katzie which would give them rights to such resource sites on the Fraser River. They also had rights to the chum run on the Qualicum river through such affiances(Sproat 1876). ‘ Suttles (ms) has calculated the annual consumption of salmon for the Sne-nay-muxw as similar to those estimated by Schaik (1986) for the Chinook on the Lower Columbia river. Thus a given population of 500 with a consumption rate of annually 600 lbs of salmon per person gives a total of 300,000 lbs. a year.  44  The Sne-nay-muxw caught chum on the Nanaimo iiver using a weir that was described in some detail by an early visitor, John Keast Lord, a naturalist in the late 1850’s. He wrote: On the Nanainio River the Indians have a very ingenious contrivance for taking salmon, by constructing a weir; but, instead ofputting baskets they pave a square place, about six feet wide and fourteen feet long with white or light-coloured stones. This pavement is always on the lower side of the weir, leading to an opening. A stage is erected between two of these paved ways, where Indians lying on their stomachs, can in an instant see if a salmon is traversing the white paved way. A long spear, barbed at the end is held in readiness, and woe betide the adventurous fish that runs the gauntlet of this perilous passage! (Lord 1866:76-77) Most salmon fishing was done in the night or on dark rainy days so that the white rocks as a background was an ingenious way to see the fish. According to Bamett (1955:22) this weir was owned by the ‘5cwsol ‘exwel” but Suttles (ms) maintains that all the local groups were given access to it. Rituals that regulated the run of salmon on the river were performed by a shaman they included singing a special song, marking male and female salmon with paint and down feathers, and applying red ochre to designs etched on the rocks (Barnett 1955:89-9 1).  ‘  The designs on the petroglyph at Jack Point consists of  various fish which Jenness (n.d:84) has identified as dog salmon, cohoe, spring salmon, humpbacked salmon, and flounder.’ 6 Until this ritual had been completed the Sne-nay  ‘ B 5 amett (1955:91) believes that the right to perform the ceremony was more of a personal family prerogative than a true first-salmon rite because of the passive participation of other families. Suttles (ms) disagrees and maintains that the ritual was performed on behalf ofthe tribe. To think of a single family having a monopoly on this ceremony negates the Salish concept of community interest. 16 There are many petroglyphs throughout Sne-nay-muxw territory (see Leechman 1952, Bentley& Bentley 1981 and Hill & HIll 1974)  45  muxw were limited to roasting the fish for immediate consumption and only after the ceremony had been performed were they able to cure them. Land animals was also an important source of food for the Sne-nay-muxw.  17  Deer  were plentiful in the region. Bucks were hunted in the spring and early summer, does in the fall. Either they were hunted individually with bow and arrow or through drives using deer nets. One source indicates that they hunted deer in canoes as they crossed to the small islands (Bouchard 1992:23). Elk were also hunted using these techniques. Smaller animals such as raccoons, minks, martens and beavers were trapped. Food gathering activities ended in the winter months when the Sne-nay-muxw depended upon their stored foods. This was the time for ritual give-a-ways and spiritual renewals. These winter ceremonials validated the successes of summer food getting activities in potlatches. An individual’s spiritual power which enabled this success was reaffirmed so that the fii.ture year would be as successfhl. The winter ceremonials conceptually unified the religious and material elements of Coast Salish life (Snyder 1964:96). Although the Sne-nay-muxw had a rich and varied food supply, there was great seasonal differences in the availability and abundance of resources in their territory. To  Mitchell (1990:239-47) maintains that it is difficult to determine the relative importance 7 ‘ of particular food sources from the ethnographies or archaeological sites in the region as various methodologies produced different results. The recent use of bone weight as a fraction of live weight, and classifying according to broad taxonomic categories, reveals a stronger dependence upon land mammals than previously acknowledged for Coast Salish peoples. Bamett (1955:79) notes the importance of supernatural helpers to catch fish and relates 8 ‘ a story ofhow one Sne-nay-muxw fisherman acquired the supernatural helper to be a good fisherman.  46  some extent food resources were regular and predictable but fluctuations did occur and subsistence strategies changed to accommodate them. What was important throug hout the year was that the Sne-nay-muxw monitor their resource sites to ensure exploitation at optimal times and preserve and store food when possible. The diversity in resourc es and in particular the abundance of ducks, shellfish and herring in their territoiy gave the Sne nay-muxw a security in food resources that only few Northwest coast groups experienced.  19  Their ability to access these resource sites was assured with a bilateral  kinship system that traced rights through both men and women. This gave the Sne-na y muxw a wide circle of kinship networks that could be used to optimize individual family rights to food sources. The following discusses the role of women in the divisio n of labour and how their rights to resource sites, as well as wealth property, gave women economic and political power in Sne-nay-muxw society. Division of Labour As noted above the Sne-nay-muxw were divided into local groups which consisted of an established kin group and several dependent households. A household was comprised of several nuclear families usually a set of brothers with their wives, children and slaves. Married sisters with their husbands and other relatives could also be included. Each nuclear fàmilyto a certain degree was self-sufficient and responsible for its own food requirements. The individuality of the family was maintained by their separate storage and  19  For a discussion of the importance of shell fish for the Puget Sound region see Beiche r (1985). This was a rich food source that was available year round and an alterna tive to offset any conditions of scarcity.  47  consumption of food within partitioned sections of the longhouse. Sharin g of food between families occurred but only at times of ceremonial feasting and scarcity. The autonomy of the nuclear family was stressed by the fact that much of the food getting activities such as gathering shellfish, certain types of fishing and hunting could be done on an individual or two person basis (Snyder 1964:69). Families, however, did work cooperatively in activities such as building weirs, constructing houses , or participating in deer drives and duck hunting. Shared ventures occurred more frequently in the fall and winter months when families lived together in the communal longhouses. However food taken in this manner was apportioned immediately and equally among families. In the summer months individual families dispersed to the variou s resource sites and while several might work together in collecting roots, berries, or shellfi sh this was primarily for sociability and not a necessity. The division of labour within families was based on sex. ° Men were the fishermen and 2 hunters while women gathered, processed and preserved foods. There was some degree of flexibility between men and women’s labour in that women helped men fish and men helped women gather and process food. Both men and women cooked and did chores such as carry wood and water. Also both cared for children. In many respec ts the division of labour in. food production was based more on convenience and upon the needs of the task at hand (Smith 1940a: 139;1969: 10; Collins 1974:75). Howev er there were  20  Slaves were also part ofthe labour force and generally used for menial tasks such as carrying firewood and water (Suttles 195 la:305; Elmendorf 1960:345). However, they did not constitute a large proportion of the Sne-nay-muxw population and thus their economic contribution was not significant.  48  exceptions, one of which was hunting. Hunting taboos not only restrict ed women from this activity but also comined their behaviour while men hunted (Elmen dorf 1960:59,101; Barnett 1955:105; Suttles 195 la:97-8; Haberlin & Gunther 1930:49-50; Jenness n.d:910). This loose gender assigmnent of labour did not occur in more specialized activities such as craft production. Generally men were the carvers and worked bone, shell and wood. As well as hunting and fishing tools, they made a variety of household utensil s, furnishings and canoes. They also carved houseposts, grave figures and other ritual paraphernalia such as the sxwaixwe masks and rattles. Sne-nay-muxw women, like other Salish women in the region, were the weavers and wove blankets, baskets, and mats. They were very proficient in weaving blankets out of a combination of a domestic dog hair and a variety of other materials such as fireweed and down from geese and ducks.  21  A few Sne-nay-muxw blankets were also mixed with  mountain goat wool which was not available locally except through trade from groups on the mainland.  22  Baskets, important for gathering and storing food ,were made out of split  cedar roots or limbs and cedar bark. Mats used to cover stored foods and for furnishings were also made out of flat leaves of cattails and tule stems which were gathere d in the late spring or early summer (Stem 1934:93). Women also made a variety of clothin g such as  21 domestic dog resembling a small white haired Pomeranian was observ A ed by many of the early visitors to the area. 22 Sne-nay-muxw traded from the Katzie on the Fraser river (Suttles 195 5:25) and the Sliammon from Squirrel Cove and Cortez Island (Barraclough 1979:1 6). Barnett’s (1955:120) informants date the introduction of greater quantities of mount ain goat wool to more recent times with the marriage alliance of a Sechelt woman with a Sne-nay-muxw man.  49  skirts, aprons and robes out of cedar bark, deer and elk skins, and cattail rushes. Cedar bark hats were also woven 23. Both men and women made various types of cordag e used for lines and nets. Men and women’s specialization was to a large extent more import ant to the economics of production than the question of the division of labour. The degree of autonomy for a household, or a local group, depended upon its ability to include all the expertise needed to make it independent as well as competitive with other local groups. Women who were good blanket weavers and basket makers were accord ed great status and honour. Similarly men who were good carvers and canoe makers were also given high standing in the community. However not all men and women could be specialists for such skills often monopolized an individual’s time to the exclusion of other tasks. Thus an individual’s contribution was not always measured by their expertise but also by their productivity. The work ethic was very much entrenched in the Sne-nay-muxw value system. The habits of hard work were the most highly prized of any personal characteristic and men and women were praised for continually working (Collins 1974:82). Laziness was the worst of all faults and most despised (Bamett 1955:141). It was an accepted justification for marria ge dissolution. An individual’s self-worth was thus linked to what they did and their produc tivity. Children from an early age were impressed with the importance of industr y and ambition. This emphasis was evident in the puberty ceremonies. When a young girl sought a supernatural helper it was not only to make her attractive but industr ious. 23  A picture of a Sne-nay-muxw basketry hat is presented in Eells (1985:116).  50  During her days of seclusion she was kept busy at wool carding and twisting or making  baskets (Jenness n.d:5 6).24 Women acquired spirit helpers to increase skills at weaving or luck in such things as root digging (Ehnendorf 1960:396). The acquisition of spirit power was thus linked to productivity and the accumulation of wealth. This account of the division of labour reveals the important contrib ution of women to the maintenance of the household group. Not only were women essential for the gathering, processing and preserving of food but for their special ized skills that made a household selfsufficient. The value placed on women’s work increased with productivity and skill. Often this coincided with age as older women perfected weaving skills that were highly admired. Women’s exclusion from economic activities that men did was often linked to taboos and their inability to acquire spiritual helpers linked to those activities. However, as the following section shows this did not exclude women from the ownership and distribution of wealth.  Ownership and Distribution of Wealth The concept of property and wealth was well developed among the Sne-nay-muxw as it was for all peoples on the Northwest Coast. Property was acquired in two ways, inheritance or one’s own production. Inherited property was obtaine d by virtue of one’s membership in a descent line. Descent was traced bilaterally but there was some preference in emphasizing patrilineage descent due to the presence of a patrilocal 24  According to Bamett (1955:180) the Sne-nay-muxw also practiced “conspicuous leisure” for the well born girl who was expected to do nothing to the point that she became pale and weak and incompetent to perform any physical task. It is hard to judge if this was an indigenous custom or a product of the Victorian ideal “woman” which the Sne-nay-muxw were trying to emulate.  51  residence pattern. Inherited property included resource sites, house planks, and fishing weirs, as well as intangible property such as personal names, songs, dances, spirit powers and other ceremonial prerogatives. This property remained the inalien able right of an individual and could be passed on to anyone of their choosing howev er most frequently it was passed on to one’s own children. Marriages were arranged to give access to this property. Either men or women could inherit property (Boas 1889). While women could inherit any or all of their family’s property there was certain property that was gender linked. Resource sites such as clam and camas beds, as well as berry patches were often the sole possession of women and inherited from mother to daughter (Elmendorf 1960; Collins 1974:5 5). Intangible property such as spiritual powers and ceremonial prerogatives could also be inherited from mother to daughter. While women generally seemed to inherit spiritual powers associated with femininity some women did have ceremo nial prerogatives that were considered masculine (Snyder 1964:). In some households this gender related ownership was extended to the point that they possessed two sets of titles, one for women and the other for men (Jenness n.d. :40).25 As well as inherited wealth, property such as tools, clothing, furnishings and food were acquired through one’s own individual production. Women owned the blanke ts, baskets and mats they wove, while men owned their tools and canoes. Thus within a household  25  One of Barnett’s informants noted that titles could be feminized for a girl child and the reverse. A title also skipped a generation (Barnett papers, Box 1, folder 1).  52  there was distinct property owned by men and women (Stern 1934:33). This gender related ownership of property was noted by Gibbs: The maker of anything is its necessary owner.... Not only do the men own property distinct from their wives, but their wives own each her private effects, separate from her husband as well as from the others. He has his own blankets, she her mats and baskets and generally speaking her earnings belong to her (Gibbs 1877: 187) Women’s ability to both inherit and create wealth through their own labour enable d women to attain almost unlimited status and authority in Coast Salish society (Snyde r 1964:255).26  Indicative of this are the historical accounts that attest to the presence of  women leaders amongst the Coast Salish. For example, two observers noted the power of one particular woman encountered in Puget Sound: she seemed to exercise more authority than any that had been met with; indeed her character and conduct placed her much above those around her.. .Although her husband was present, he seemed under such good discipline, as to warrant the belief that the wife was the ruling power, or, to express it in more homely language, “wore the breeches” (Wilkes 1845 (4): 124). • .  ...a woman of great energy of character, and exerts greater authority over those round her than any man chief I have met with since I have been in the country. She is about 50 years of age, and dresses very neatly for an Indian woman... .Her canoe was large and handsomely painted, and was paddled by five slaves, two ofthem women (Colvocoresses 1842:243). Women in upper class families secured a great amount of wealth through inheritance alone. They inherited wealth from both their mother’s or father’s side of the family. This wealth was inherited at the time of a woman’s marriage or when her parents died. It was not shared with her husband but inherited by her children. A dowry given to women at the 26  This is disputed by Smith (1940:48) who argues that while the Puyallup and Nisqua lly women acquired prestige in their society they were excluded from public author ity.  53  time of marriage was her property and remained so (Elmendo rf 1960:363). Other women who did not inherit wealth, could through their own industry create wealth. All the products of one’s labour had wealth value. Specialization as noted above gave women status for the need such specialization fulfilled within the local group. But specialization also gave individual women wealth from their own production as their products had great wealth value in the various levels of exchanges. Women’s economic autonomy was emphasized in the informal and formal exchanges that occurred within and without the nuclear family and household unit. At its most informal were the exchanges that occurred at the family level betwee n husband and wife. While sharing was essential for the well being of a family, prop erty was not pooled but exchanged to a point of a recognized balance of give and take. Any misbalance could produce divorce and the loss of prestige for the household. Smith explains how this balance worked between men and women amongst the Puyullup and the Nisqually: If a woman sewed upon hide which she had gotten in exchange for her own labour, or the product of her labour, the garment belonged to her. Ifher husband had tanned the hide she had to sew it for him and it belong ed to him. If she worked on her own hide and let his lay, he could raise hell. If she needed a mat creaser and he wouldn’t make it for her, she could raise hell (Smith 1940a: 142). As well as this informal exchange, women also participated in other informal exchanges with their affines in the household group and own kin outside. Within the household group exchanges were generally reciprocal and were expressions of friendly feeling. These exchanges were an important way for women to consolidate their relationships with their in-laws as patrilocal residence pattern placed them in the same household.  54  Exchanges outside the household group occurred with one’s own kin and were an important part of a network of relations that solidified women’s claim to resources owned by her kin. More formal exchanges occurred in three kinds of named gatherings: taking food to affines or ‘paddle’; household feasts where a family feasted other household members and other households in the village; and the ‘true potlatch’ that was given with invited guests from other households in nearby villages (Suttles 1960, Amoss 1978). Aflinal exchanges from the men’s position were more than balancing of exchanges that occurred with marriage. They were an important means of directly converting food to wealth as well as creating mutual support during warfare (Suttles 1960). From a woman’s perspective they continued to substantiate her claim to her natal village and her use of kin group resources. This relationship was essential to a woman as a form of economic insurance for those times when a marriage dissolved through incompatibility or death. While levirate and sororate were commonly practiced among the Coast Salish, aThnal exchanges were an additional measure of security for women. They reaffirmed her connection with her own kin and their resource sites. Feasting of the household occurred when one household feasted another household in the same village. These feasts occurred when there was a surplus of food and were an occasion to validate changes in status on a small scale. For example, one such occasion was when a child was given a name (Amoss 1978:11). The ‘true potlatch’ occurred less frequently and was given on the occasion ofnamings, memorials, transfer of property, paying of debts and other important life events. Such  55  formal exchanges of wealth occurred in the spring and early summer month s before intensive food getting activities occurred. The primary object of accum ulating and distributing wealth in this exchange system was to validate status and rank. This was equally important to both men and women as women exchanged their wealth either in their own name or through their husbands (Stem 1934:33). For a woman howev er, contributing to a husbands ‘potlatch’ to validate his status had the potential to be at the expense of her own kin. Affinal exchanges were a means of reconciling this conflicting situation. From the ethnographic material it is evident that Sne-nay-muxw women’s roles were multi-faceted. Not only were women mothers and wives, but major contrib utors to the household economy through their daily work. From an early age young women were socialized to believe that their worth was linked to work. Work was delined as both that which reproduced the family and that which created wealth. Women were not alienated from either production. Through their work women could acquire considerable power and status in the household which was validated through their hereditary rights. The importance of exchange on both an informal and formal level within and betwee n households emphasized women’s economic and political autonomy. How wage labour affected this division of labour and autonomy is examined in the following chapte rs. The immediate section describes the early contact and für trade period that was to begin a transformation in the nature of gender relations.  56  Early Contact The earliest contact of the Sne-nay-muxw was made by an expedition led by the Spanish explorers Alcala Galiano and Cayetano Valdes in 1792. While exploring the islands in the Strait of Georgia, a part of the expedition anchored off the northwest end of Gabriola Island at Descanso Bay. They were met by several canoes of Sne-nay-muxw people who eagerly traded dried herring and other trade goods for iron, shells and beads. 27 A small party explored a few miles south and discovered what they thought was an abandoned village as the houses were stripped of their planks (Kendrick 1991:1 18223).28  While the location ofthis village is unknown it is likely to have been a permanent village site at False Narrows. This site was not abandoned but Sne-nay-muxw customarily moved to more temporary fishing sites during the summer months. Planks were often taken to help construct their make shift summer houses giving winter villages an abandoned appearance. The Spanish themselves noted four canoes loaded with house planks while anchored in Descanso Bay (Kendrick 1991:118-223; Burley 1988:11,48; Wagner 1933:258).  The arrival of the Spanish in 1792 was probably not a great surprise to the Sne-nay muxw as first contact on the coast had occurred two decades earlier and new trade goods had already found their way by intertribal trade throughout the coast. 29 This Spanish visit  27  Spanish artist Jose Cardero rendered three drawings of this first encounter, two of which are of Sne-nay-muxw chiefs (Kendrick 1991:117). 28 A year earlier Jose Narvaez anchored in the vicinity and noted a village on the southeast end of Gabriola Island. However, it is unknown if contact was made at this time (Wagner 1933:40). Burley (1988:131-2) notes the presence of Russian beads in the historic deposits of 29 Senewelets at False Narrows. It is assumed these were acquired through intertribal trade.  57  coincided with the peak of the maritime fur trade that had developed on the west coast of Vancouver Island and the northern region of the coast. However the lack of sea otters in the Strait of Georgia had excluded maritime traders in this region. The eagerness of the Sne-nay-muxw to trade for Spanish goods indicates that they were not ignorant of them despite no evidence of European goods amongst them (Wagner 1933:256). After this visit the Sne-nay-muxw experienced occasional visitors to their region but it was not until the establishment of Hudson’s Bay Company posts in the region that any regular contact was made. The presence of these posts was to produce a new era for the Sne-nay-muxw but before discussing how this mercantilist economy affected their lives some consideration should be given to the demographic changes that occurred with the introduction of new diseases at the time of initial contact.  Demographic Change The introduction of infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, syphilis, smallpox, and measles, to name a few, had a drastic impact upon the Sne-nay-muxw as it did upon other indigenous people who had no immunity to them (Newman 1976). Our understanding of the effects of these diseases upon Sne-nay-muxw population is limited as estimates of their pre-contact population have varied from 2000 to 5000 people (Duff 1961; Johnson 1958; Nanaimo and District Museum Society 1987:3). While a population of 5000 is considered high, the multiplicity of archaeological sites and the recognition that Sne-nay-muxw territory included one of the largest river estuaries in the province, indicates that this area did have the potential to support a large population (Bell & Kallman 1976).  58  The first smallpox epidemic occurred simultaneously with the first Spanish expeditions to the Northwest Coast and the settlement of Kamchatka Peninsula in Eastern Siberia around 1775 (Boyd 1994:19). It was not witnessed by Europeans but observations of pockmarked individuals throughout Coast Salish territory several decades later were noted by many explorers (Puget 1939; Vancouver 1798,1:217,241; Menzies 1923:29,35). This first epidemic reduced the population throughout the coastal region by more than a third (Boyd 1990, 1994).  30  Duff (1961) taking the precontact population of the Sne-nay  muxw at 2000 estimates that the first epidemic reduced them to 1100 individuals. Several other smallpox epidemics occurred on the Coast but Duff believes were not as devastating as the first as not all of these later epidemics reached the Sne-nay-muxw. ’ By the end of 3 the third epidemic in the mid 183 0’s he estimates they numbered 800 individuals. 32 After this period the population seems to have remained fairly stable. A Hudson’s Bay Company census taken in 1853 enumerates the Sne-nay-muxw with a total of 943 which includes 159 men with beards, 160 women, 300 boys, and 324 girls (Douglas Private Papers, BCARS). If these figures are correct two outbreaks of smallpox on the coast, one in 1836 and the other in 1853 had minimal impact upon the Sne-nay-muxw. This fits with Boyd’s (1990:141) theory that the 1836 epidemic was confined to the northern and southern regions while the 1853 was primarily in Washington State and the  30  There is no consensus in the literature about the effects of each of these epidemics. It is highly conceivable that each epidemic had varying effects throughout the region. 31 These epidemics occurred in 1801-2, 1836-38, 1853, and 1862-63. 32 Suttles (1987:4) maintains that at this time the Sne-nay-muxw population was four to five hundred people. A Hudson’s Bay Company census taken of the Sne-nay-muxw on the Fraser River in 1839 enumerated 477 individuals, (23 leading men, 37 wives, 35 sons, and 27 daughters, with 355 followers).  59  West Coast of Vancouver Island. He attributes the reduced impact of these epidemics to a discontinuity in population and communication, and to the dissemination of smallpox vaccine from the mid coast forts. Both his reasons are questionable in light of the historic and archaeological evidence of the Sne-nay-muxw. Not only did they have a great degree of interaction between peoples the length of the coast but there is no evidence of the posts giving out vaccinations to the Sne-nay-muxw at these times. u Nevertheless, there is no indication in the historical literature of any smallpox epidemics affecting the Sne-nay muxw during this period of time. Yet, the establishment of Hudson’s Bay Company posts in the region did introduced a variety of new diseases to the region, such as measles, influenza and tuberculosis. These diseases had a substantial impact upon Sne-nay-muxw population particularly in the later years. A census taken in 1860 lists the population of Sne-nay-muxw at 399 which included 50 old men and women, 211 young men and women, and 138 children (Heaton BCARS). This is considered a low estimate as it was taken during the summer when many of the Sne-nay-muxw were away fishing on the Fraser River. In 1876 when the Sne-nay-muxw reserves were officially set out by the Reserve Commission they were enumerated at 223. If this figure is accurate it indicates a substantial decline in population from 1853. Aside from disease, another factor that affected Sne-nay-muxw population was warfare. It is unknown if the high frequency of warfare witnessed by the early fur traders and settlers occurred during traditional times but skeletal remains in archaeological sites in the Central coast region, unlike the Northern region, provides little evidence of warfare u• Vacines were given out to the Sne-nay-muxw in 1862 and this did save the Sne-nay muxw from one of the most devasting smallpox epidemics in British Columbia.  60  before contact. Warfare in pre-contact times is believed to have been a result of conflict over the critical resources produced by population pressure, temporal and spatial availability, trade demands, and labour requirements for production and exchange (Ferguson 1984). These factors were more critical in the northern region than in Sne-nay muxw territory where there was a great diversity and fluctuation of food resources. However, warfare did become endemic after contact and is believed to have been a product of the für trade and the demand for trade goods and slaves (Donald 1987). At this time the traditional enemies of the Sne-nay-muxw were the Lekwiltok, or as they were commonly known a century ago the Yucultas or Euclataws. They lived in and around Cape Mudge and were estimated to number about 4000 at the end of the 18th Century. When the Hudson’s Bay Company established posts in the region they noted that the Lekwiltok annually raided the southern regions of the Strait of Georgia as well as Puget Sound (Douglas Private Papers, BCARS). They fought to control territory on the northeastern coast of Vancouver Island and eventually displaced the northern Coast Salish from Qualicum Beach and Comox (Taylor and Duff 1956:63; Boas 1969:93,105). Shell mounds in the woods where women and children hid, fortified villages, and tales of battles during this period are evidence of their incursions into Sne-nay-muxw territory (Matthew 1955:188,273; Boas 1889; Robson 1950).  Depopulation from disease and warfare greatly altered Sne-nay-muxw movement and exploitation of their territory. A decline of more than half the population from disease in a short period oftime left villages deserted and resource sites unused. Endemic warfare shifted preferences for habitation and resource locations that offered protection and were  61  easy to defend. As well as these changes we can only guess at the extent of social disorganization that followed such depopulation. Family histories would have been lost as many of the elders died. New leaders may have arisen emphasizing new skills such as warriors and shamans. Shamans for example, may have exercised more power in their society with their connection to cleansing ceremonies and death (Guilmet et al 1991). Despite these changes, it is believed that the Sne-nay-muxw lived in an area of the coast that experienced the greatest cultural continuity (Boyd 1990: 147). This is supported by early historical accounts when the Hudson’s Bay Company sent a reconnaissance party to the region in 1824 they reported that Native people in this region had few European trade goods and no experience with white men (HBCA D 4/121,15d). While depopulation produced change, it is easily assumed that this change occurred along indigenous lines of development intrinsic to Sne-nay-muxw culture. Yet, more changes were to occur with the arrival of the Hudson’s Bay Company and the establishment of fur trading posts in their midst. By 1850 the Sne-nay-muxw had adapted to new trade goods and made some shifts in subsistence production to accommodate the fur trade. The following section examines this change.  The Fur Trade As noted above, before the establishment of the Hudson’s Bay Company posts in the area the Sne-nay-muxw had little contact with maritime für traders or other visitors to the region. This was to quickly change with the establishment oftwo für trading posts in the region, first Ft. Langley on the Fraser River in 1827 and Ft. Victoria at the southern tip of  62  Vancouver Island in 1843. Ft. Langley was established quite close to the Sne-nay-muxw summer village on the Fraser River. In the summer of 1827 when the Hudson’s Bay Company schooner, the Cadboro, sailed up the Fraser River seeking an ideal location for the post, it passed a large Sne-nay-muxw village situated at a site on the south shore of the Fraser River across from the present day Barnstone Island (see map Simpson 1827). This was one of the largest settlements on the river as it contained “400 souls.” Immediately a number of canoes containing 150 Sne-nay-muxw men came out to greet them. Their iirst meeting with the Hudson’s Bay fur traders however was an inauspicious one as noted in the Ft. Langley journal: They occasioned us a little annoyance by repeatedly and obstinately attempting to come on board and it was not till all were under arms that they desisted from their purpose. They were urged forward by an elderly man who gave out orders with a loud voice and in a very determined tone. Finding their efforts of no avail they went quickly away and soon afterwards the vessel came to an anchor (Ft. Langley Journal, July 25, 1827, BCARS). Relations with the Sne-nay-muxw quickly became more amicable as the “chiefs” Punnis and Squatches, were finally allowed on board the schooner. It took the Hudson’s Bay several months to build the post and during that time many Sne-nay-muxw came to the post to visit as well as to trade. They traded a number of items but most specifically fish, which they often caught within view of the post. Women also came to trade berries for rings, buttons and other trade goods. By the first week of September visits to the post declined as many of the Sne-nay-muxw left for Pitt River to collect wapato (ibid Sept 5th, 1827). They returned to their summer village briefly before they left at the end of September for their winter residence on the Island. The journal kept at Ft. Langley in  63  these early years notes their presence again in the following spring when a small party of Sne-nay-muxw came to the post to trade sturgeon and report that their “chiefs” had furs to exchange (ibid May 4th, 1828). However it was not until the beginning of July that the whole tribe appeared again at their summer village site (ibid June 26th, 1828; July 4th, 1828). When they returned the following summer the Sne-nay-muxw possessed a number of  furs to exchange. The first to bring furs to the post was a Sne-nay-muxw woman who brought five skins which she traded for a blanket. She assured the post she had more to bring but unfortunately there is no further record of this woman returning to trade (ibid July 7th, 1828).  After these initial transactions other individual Sne-nay-muxw traded a  number of furs throughout the summer (ibid Aug 23rd, 1828). While not all entries indicate what type of skins the Sne-nay-muxw were trading, many were beaver and land otters which were traded at a rate of five skins for a  2’/2  point blanket.  As well as furs  the Sne-nay-muxw also traded fish and berries for which they received knives and other small trade goods. The quantity of furs traded during the summer months indicates a new interest in trapping fur bearing animals that had not been important to the Sne-nay-muxw subsistence economy. These furs were probably obtained during the winter months in Sne-nay-muxw territory on Vancouver Island but may also have been trapped during their summer stay on  The journal does not identifS’ her but it is assumed that she was a woman of some importance to be the first the Sne-nay-muxw to come to trade. The Hudson’s Bay Company’s had various grades ofblankets with the 2’/z point blanket 35 demanding the highest number of furs.  64  the Fraser River (ibid May 4th, 1828). Despite this initial trade in furs für bearing animals were not numerous on Vancouver Island or in the Fraser river drainage region around the post. The Hudson’s Bay Company aware of the limited stock in the area had primarily established Ft. Langley to intercept the furs from the interior. What little game was available on Vancouver Island and the Fraser River drainage was quickly depleted within the first decade. Sne-nay-muxw access to any great wealth of trade goods through furs was greatly limited. By the 1840’s fur returns had dwindled from the interior and Ft. Langley turned to a more lucrative industry in salting salmon. This became an important export product for the post and many local tribes on the river began to trade salmon during the peak runs. One observer at this time noted how fish was traded at the post from the Sne-nay-muxw and other tribes on the Fraser River through a single trader: Orvid Allard did all the trading with the natives for their salmon. He used to stand at the wharf with two or three trunks full of the Indians favorite stuff such as vermilion for the women to give themselves rosy cheeks and tobacco for the men (Manson BCARS). The Sne-nay-muxw had a distinct advantage in trading salmon as their fishing site was only a few miles from the post. Trade however was limited in the early years as only 400 barrels were prepared annually between 1831 and 1840. However, by the early 1840’s Ft. Langley was exporting one to two thousand barrels of salmon a year (Nelson 1927:17; Cullen 1979:96-97; Mackie 1985:27). After 1848 production exceeded 2000 barrels and profits from salmon exceeded furs at the post (Mackie 1985:27).  65  As well as catching fish, Native labour was also used for cleaning and salting fish. Principally this labour was drawn upon Native women and children. Aurelia Manson, the daughter of the Chief Factor of the post gives a description of how Native women helped clean and salt fish for barreling: The boys of the fort with 2 or 3 native lads from the Indian village did the running with the fish from the wharf which they piled up before the women of the fort, and others who seated in a circle in the shed, where they were salting the salmon. And so they worked all day, early in the morning until late at night, till the salmon run was over (Manson BCARS). While it is unknown if Sne-nay-muxw women were directly involved in this production certainly they observed other Native women employed in this occupation. Native women were also used for other labour around the post. How successful the Sne-nay-muxw were in acquiring goods through trade of furs and fish is difficult to assess. A Census taken by the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1839 reveals that the Sne-nay-muxw had acquired a number of guns in a decade of trade. Guns were a desired trade good not only for hunting but also for protection against the raiding northern tribes. Before 1825 the Hudson’s Bay Company estimated that very few Native groups around Juan de Fuca Strait and the Strait of Georgia owned guns. Yet by 1839 all tribes on the river and on the southeast coast of Vancouver Island had acquired a considerable number. The Sne-nay-muxw had in their possession at this time 56 guns or one gun for every eight individuals (Douglas Private Papers BCARS). While a crude measure of trade wealth it does indicate that in just over a decade the Sne-nay-muxw were  66  successfully in acquiring a number of wealth goods such as guns for furs, fish and other trade goods.  36  While there were small shifts in subsistence production to accommodate the für trade there was little change in the yearly subsistence round. The Sne-nay-muxw continued to come to the Fraser river to fish in the summer months and returned to Vancouver Island for the fall fishing and winter ceremonials. The spring was a time for herring and movement to Gabriola Island to gather camas and shellfish. The interest in trapping and hunting increased but not to any extent that changed the traditional movement through their territory. There was however one substantial change in food getting activities that affected the labour of women. It was the cultivation of potatoes. While potatoes on the coast were first introduced by maritime fir traders and present at the Russian settlement at Kodiak as early as 1783, it is probable that the Sne-nay-muxw had not seen potatoes until the establishment of Ft. Langley in 1827 (Suttles 195 ib). Posts were expected to be selfsufficient and it was customary to set out extensive gardens ofvarious crops to feed their employees. Potatoes because of their short growing season and easy maintenance were one of the first crops extensively planted at Ft. Langley in the fall of 1827. While it is unknown if the Hudson’s Bay Company encouraged the local women to plant potatoes, evidence of extensive potato fields in the 1830’s attest to the quick diffusion of this food throughout the region (McKelvie 1947:57). It is believed that  36  The Hudson’s Bay Company Census of 1839 included the number of guns owned by the various tribes in the region. The Musqueam had more guns than any other group on the Fraser River, one gun for ever five people. On the coast of Vancouver Island both the Comox and the Nanoose had more guns per capita than the Sne-nay-muxw.  67  this quick diffusion was due to the fact that potatoes were well adapted to the traditional marine economy as they could be planted in the spring and left to harvest in the fall. Potatoes too were like local gathered roots in that if kept cool and dry they could be stored for a long time. They were to become an important staple for the Sne-nay-muxw, replacing camas which became more of a delicacy in the diet (Grant 1857:290). Sne-nay-muxw women planted their potatoes in several areas but principally along the banks of the Nanaimo river. Not only was soil good here for cultivation but it was close to their fall fishing area so that harvesting potatoes could occur either before or after the peak chum run. Each local group or village had its own potato fields and like camas patches and clam beds they were maintained and owned by women. Douglas (1854:246247) in his visit to the region in 1852 commented on the extensive potato fields under cultivation along the river: They live chiefly by fishing, and also grow large quantities of potatoes in fields which they have brought into cultivation earn (near) their villages. These are built chiefly on a river named [Nanaimo], which falls into the inlet, and is navigable for canoes to the distance of 40 miles from the sea coast. Food is cheap and abundant, and we were plentifully supplied with fresh salmon and excellent potatoes during our stay there. The introduction of potatoes as a staple in the diet gave the Sne-nay-muxw an additional commodity for trade. In the northern regions a high volume of potatoes were traded to the posts (Ft. Simpson Journal BCARS; Dunn 1844:249; Gibson 1978:54). The demand for potatoes by Ft. Langley was not as extensive as the northern posts but once Ft. Victoria was established and settlement began potatoes were an important trade commodity throughout the region.  68  Other significant changes in the lives of the Sne-nay-muxw at this time was the forging of new political alliances with visitors that arrived at the post. Tribes from both the northern and southern regions of the coast made annual trips through Sne-nay-muxw territory to reach Ft. Langley and later Ft. Victoria. Initiall y the Sne-nay-muxw were vulnerable to raids by these visitors, particularly by the northe rn tribes who had access to guns from the earlier maritime fur trade. Once the Sne-nay-mux w rectified this balance through trade at Ft. Langley they began to seek peace agreem ents with various Lekwiltok groups. By 1839 the Sne-nay-muxw used one group of Lekwiltok as middlemen to trade their furs to Ft. Simpson (Douglas Private Papers, BCARS). This was a profitable arrangement as Ft. Simpson was offering higher prices than Ft. Langley in order to stave off the competition by American maritime traders who season ally visited the area. In the Sne-nay-muxw oral history there are many stories of the interm arriage of Sne-nay-muxw with the Lekwiltok in attempts to maintain trade and peacef ul affiances. Such intermarriage would have extended resource sites for specifi c Sne-nay-muxw households. Sne-nay-muxw movement to Qualicum Beach and Comox, which are noted in later historic records, were assured through these marriage arrang ements during this period. Much has been written about the effects of the fur trade upon Northwest Coast social organization. However, to date there is no consensus whether the introduction ofnew wealth goods intensified class distinction (Collins 1950; Ostens tad 1976; Donald 1983) or Qualicum Beach and Comox fall within the Coast Salish culture area, but by the mid 1800’s this territory was under the control of the Lekwiltok (Bamett 1955:25; Taylor and Duff 1956). Some Sne-nay-muxw families, through interm arriage with the Qualicum and Comox, had always exploited these resource sites before Lekwi ltok control (Cryer BCARS, v.3, p78-80). When Sproat visited Qualicum in 1876 he found Sne-nay-muxw people living there (see Sproat in RG1O, Vol. 3611, file 3756-4 ).  69  produced more equitable social relations (Drucker 1939). Most certainly new trade goods reemphasized the importance of wealth and the validation of status through exchange. Sne-nay-muxw leaders are well noted in the Hudson’s Bay Company accounts but whether these leaders gained increasing status in their society because of the fir trade is difficult to judge. In the same respects it is difficult to know how the fir trade affected gender relations. If women’s access to wealth through their own production and bilateral kinship ties continued it is assumed that gender relations would have remained intact. Nonetheless, the value of women’s production did begin to change with the introduction of new trade goods. Most notedly the introduction of the Hudson’s Bay blanket as a medium of exchange and measure of wealth gradually replaced the production of indigenous blankets. Also trade for clothing, iron kettles and other utilitarian goods replaced many of the other goods both men and women made. Such a shill in production altered the exchange relations between men and women as many of these goods could now be acquired through trade. However, while women’s production of goods had less utility they remained important in ceremonial exchanges. This is evident in later historic times when indigenous blankets, mats and baskets were accorded great value in potlatches and other formal exchanges. This retention of value placed upon women’s production maintained the indigenous gender relations found before contact. A woman’s status and economic power remained linked to her inherited property as well as production ofwealth through her own ability and skill.  70  Summary and Conclusion This chapter reconstructs the pre-capitalist economy of the Sne-nay-muxw throug h Coast Salish ethnographic material. The division of labour, while based on sex, exhibi ted a degree of flexibility in food production. Women helped men fish and men helped women gather plant foods and shellfish. Areas ofnon-flexibility and specialization were in craft production and offered important means for both men and women to gain status. The presence of a gender related ownership of production as well as a bilateral inherit ance system gave women access to resources and wealth. This fostered women’s econom ic autonomy that was evident in the exchange rather than the pooling of goods within the household. The support of extended family was assured through aflinal exchanges that occurred throughout both men and women’s lives. For a woman they also affirme d her links to her natal kin and their resource sites. In the early contact and maritime fir trade interactions were only brief and episodic but there was substantial depopulation and a new interest to acquire European trade goods. With the establishment of posts in the area there were some shifts in subsistence production and movement throughout their territory. The establishment of Ft. Langle y and later Ft. Victoria increased the emphasis upon the hunting of fur bearing animals. Also the introduction of potatoes introduced a new food source. However, gender relations continued to maintain women’s ownership and distribution of wealth. Despit e the shift in the value of both men and women’s production women’s economic autonomy remained intact.  71  CHAPTER 3 ESTABLISHMENT OF NANAIMO: 1852-1862 Introduction During this decade the Sne-nay-muxw were drawn into wage labour by the Hudson’s Bay Company mining operation that was established at Nanaimo. This was their first exposure to a segregated economy that was to separate men and women’s labour into distinct occupations. The immediate sections outline the history ofthe Hudson’s Bay Company coal operation and the Treaty of 1854 that was to effectively alienate the Sne nay-muxw from the coal deposits in their territory. This is followed with a description of Sne-nay-muxw men and women’s experiences in wage labour and their important role outside of wage earning in provisioning the new settlement. The last section examines the socio-economic adaptation to this new economy.  Nanaimo Coal Company Nanaimo was founded in 1852 by the Hudson’s Bay Company solely for the exploitation of coal. This interest in coal by a fur trading Company was part of the policy of economic diversification that had been actively pursued in the region for several decades. As noted in the previous chapter, since the 1830’s the declining fur returns in the southern region of British Columbia and the low fur prices on the London market had forced the Company to exploit other resources in the area. Agricultural products, salted salmon, spars, and shingles were some of the commercial enterprises initiated by the  72  Hudson’s Bay Company at this time (Ormsby 1971; Mackie 1985). The establishment of Nanaimo and coal mining was a product of this economic expansion.’ The Hudson’s Bay Company’s experience in coal mining began as early as 1835 when coal was first discovered near Beaver Harbour on the northeastern end of Vancouver Island. For several years a local group of the Kwakwaka’wakw (Kwakiutl) surface mined  the coal to include with furs in their trade at Ft. McLoughlin. 2 Initially the Hudson’s Bay Company’s only interest in the coal was to supply their blacksmith shops at the various posts, or to combine with imported coal to fuel the Company’s only steamer the Beaver. However, by 1846 the Company’s interest was heightened by the increasing demand for coal by steam vessels and the growing American settlements to the South. The Hudson’s Bay Company established Ft. Rupert in 1849 to begin mining the coal in earnest. As a compliment to the regular post personnel a small group of experienced miners were contracted from Britain to begin underground mining. Plagued by a lack of mining equipment and discovering that much of the deposits were lined with sandstone and shale, these miners had little success in finding productive seams. A second contingent of miners arrived in 1850 but their attempt only conlirmed that the coal deposits were not of sufficient quality to mine. A decision to abandon the coal operation at Ft. Rupert was made when more productive coal deposits were found at Nanaimo in 1852.  1 O rigilly Nanainao was called Colville. The name Nanaimo is attributed to the surveyor J.D. Pemberton who corrupted the name of Sne-nay-muxw. the beginning the Kwakwaka’wakw were quite accommodating and helped the Company mine the coal (see Vaughan 1978). ‘ The Ft. Rupert post continued operation concentrating on fish and furs until it closed in 1878 (Healy 1958: 19).  73  There are several stories of the discovery of coal at Nanaimo (Bancroft 1890:196; Waibran 1909). The one related by Joseph William McKay tells a colourful story of a Sne-nay-muxw chief; known hereafter as Coal Tyee, arriving in Victoria in the winter of 1849 to have his gun repaired. While observing the operation of the blacksmith the chief noted the use ofthe coal in the fire and made the comment that this stone was plentiful in his territory. The blacksmith relayed the information to McKay, the acting Clerk, who promised the chief a bottle of rum and free gun repair if he brought some to the post. In the following spring of 1850, when the chief returned with a canoe load of fine quality coal, McKay quickly organized an expedition into the region to assess the discovery. 4 However it was not until two years later that James Douglas, the Chief Factor at Fort Victoria, after a personal visit to the region, dispatched McKay to Nanaimo to begin the mining operation. On August 24, 1852 he instructed McKay to formally take possession of the region on behalf ofthe Hudson’s Bay Company. The establishment of Nanaimo for coal production was unlike other Hudson’s Bay posts in that it was established specifically for its coal and not for fbrs or other resources. Although the exploitation of other resources was encouraged, as is noted below, it was solely the commodity of coal that governed the operation of this post. This is reflected in the appointment of McKay, a clerk, as a manager of the post rather than a chief trader. McKay was to remain under the direct supervision of Douglas, who oversaw all aspects of the operation. While initially part of the general organization of the Hudson’s Bay  There are many renditions of this story (see Waibran 1909:, Johnson 1958:9, Akrigg and Akrigg 1977:36). Lillard (1986: 102) believes that this story has little factual basis and is practically identical to the discovery of coal at Ft. Rupert. Knight (1978:135) agrees.  74  Company, over the next ten years the coal operation at Nanaimo eventually evolved into a separate organization lmoi as the Nanaimo Coal Company (Ralston 1983). The Hudson’s Bay company’s coal operation at Nanaimo began immediately with McKay’s arrival. Like their experience at Ft. Rupert with the Kwakwaka’wakw, the Company found the Sne-nay-muxw eager to accommodate their interest in coal. As well as pointing out where various exposed seams of coal were in the region, they dug at surface seams and traded several thousand tons of coal in the lirst few years. However the Hudson’s Bay Company’s interest was to develop underground mining. Several British miners were sent to Nanaimo to begin shaft construction and underground work. By the fall of 1854, 22 Staffordshire miners and their families arrived on the Princess Royal and the work on a number of shafts began in earnest. Within a ten year period several mines were started in the area bounded by present day Wharf St., Front St., and Commercial St. and included the No. 1 pit, the Douglas mine, No.3 pit, the Newcastle mine, and other minor workings including the small islands (Leynard BeARS). During the Ilrst few years production remained limited. By November 1859, only 25,398 tons of coal had been exported by the Company (Macfie 1865:143). Part of the  reason for the low productivity was the nature of the coal seams found at Nanaimo. The coal was found in three seams which were subject to strong faults or “pitches” that caused serious set backs as once productive seams either abruptly ended or petered out. This forced miners to search for fresh seams and construct new shafts which slowed the production of coal (Buckham 1947:463-69; Gallacher 1970:10-17). As well the continual flooding in the shafts and mechanical breakdowns of the single steam engine owned by the  75  Company produced difficult conditions for working at the face and hauling the coal. On top of these problems, the primitive loading operations whereby coal had to be transported by canoe to anchored ships in the harbour, severely limited the Company’s ability to export large quantities of coal. One observer was to note how inadequate these loading facilities were when he visited Nanaimo in 1859: The appliances for delivering the coal, for instance, were so faulty that a ship had to lie there often for three or four weeks before she could take in a load (Mayne 1862:35). At this time the Company began to make increasing improvements, another steam engine was added, a new wharf; and a coal tramway. These improvements helped to double the production of the previous seven years. Between November 1859 and December 1862 a total of 48,128 tons was produced and the Nanaimo Coal Company was shipping over 18,000 tons of year (Geological Survey of Canada, Annual Report 1886:65-69; Macfie 1865:146). Loading coals was no longer a problem as a single vessel could take on 150 tons of coal a day and several vessels could be loaded at one time (Macfie 1865:144). However aside from technological limitations, the Company also suffered from labour shortages and low worker moral. Coal mining was not only a labour intensive industry but demanded both a skilled and unskilled labour force to sink shafts and work the coal face. To acquire the skilled labour of miners the Hudson’s Bay Company imported experienced coffiers from Britain. These men became indentured labourers by signing an agreement for  76  a five year period to become Company servants. 5 While successflil in acquiring this labour, from the start the Company had difficulty contracting the unskilled labour of assistant miners. More lucrative wages were offered for unskilled labour in American settlements and young men in Britain were drawn to Australia. Even with the inducement of 25 acres of free land at the end of a five year contract the Hudson’s Bay Company had difficulty linding unskilled labour for the mines (Burrill 1987: 8). Labour problems did not end for the Hudson’s Bay Company once adequate labour was recruited as there was increasing dissatisfaction with the original contracts once the miners arrived in Nanaimo. These contracts based on an annual salary and a bonus over a certain tonnage ofproduction, while acceptable in a developed mining industry were not satisfactory to either miners or their assistants. 6 Plagued by a series of strikes and desertions the Company was able to shift payment to piece rate by 1855 which to some extent reduced labour dissent and increased productivity. 7 Labour relations remained an issue throughout this period. One historian (Ralston 1983) argues that the difficulty stemmed from recruiting skilled colliers from a developed mining industry who bad to adapt to frontier mining. Men whose specialty was to work the coal face were now expected to locate productive coal seams, dig shafts and timber them, as well as load coal wagons. Another historian attributes the labour conflicts to the  The conditions of their employment stipulated that they would be paid seventy-eight pounds sterling a year to produce forty-five tons of clean coal a month. 6 Originally miners were given an annual salary of5O and a bonus of 2s6d a ton for every ton over 30 a month. Assistant miners were paid £17 a year and inducements of 25 acres free land after five years service (Burrill 1988:8). This piece rate was set at 4 shillings and 2 pence per ton, plus 1 shilling and 4 pence per day in lieu of rations.  77  changing relations between the Hudson’s Bay Company and their employees as they shifted from a paternalistic relationship developed in the fir trade to one of a free labour market based on the law of supply and demand (Burrill 1987;1988). Whatever the reason the persistence of labour shortages and labour conflicts ensured the employment of Sue nay-muxw and other Native peoples to work as casual labourers for the struggling industry. Their labour remained essential to the operation until the arrival of a casual labour force to the region with the gold rush of 1858. In 1862 the Hudson’s Bay Company sold the Nanaimo Coal Company to the Vancouver Coal Mining and Land Company for the price of25,000 cash and £15,000 mortgage. The Hudson’s Bay Company’s removal from the coal operation was to end this distinctive period of Sue-nay muxw labour history. Before describing in some detail the employment opportunities of the Sne-nay-muxw during this decade, the following discusses the Douglas Treaty of 1854 and its implications for the history of Sne-nay-muxw people as wage earners.  Treaty of 1854 On December 23rd, 1854 James Douglas reported that a treaty had been signed by the Sne-nay-muxw. This treaty was last of the fourteen treaties that were negotiated on Vancouver Island between 1850 and 1854: nine were made in 1850 to cover land around Victoria, Metchosin and Sooke; two in 1851 to include land around the Ft. Rupert region; two more in 1852 for the region on the Saanich peninsula; and the final treaty in 1854 at Nanaimo. These treaties, apart from Treaty 8 that included a portion of northeastern British Columbia, are the only treaties made in British Columbia. Referred to as the Douglas Treaties they cover only a small portion of Vancouver Island, three hundred and  78  fifty nine square miles or three percent. These treaties were an outcome of the ongoing Indian policy observed by the British Crown since the Royal Proclamation of 1763. The Royal Proclamation recognized aboriginal rights to the land and pursued treaties in order to alienate those rights to the possession of the Crown. The incentive of the Hudson’s Bay Company to negotiate these treaties was in part a concern to flulfill their obligation to colonize Vancouver Island as stipulated in the Royal Grant signed in 1849. In order to prepare land for settlement the Hudson’s Bay Company supported the colonial policy that recognized the implicit idea that Native peoples had rights to the land (Mactill 1981:12; Tennant 1990:20). Archibald Barclay, the Company Secretary, in a directive to Douglas outlined the general principles upon which these treaties on Vancouver Island were to be based: With respect to the rights of the natives, you will confer with the chiefs of the tribes on that subject, and in your negotiations with them you are to consider the natives as the rightful possessors of such lands only as they are occupied by cultivation, or had houses built on, at the time when the Island came under the individual sovereignty of Great Britain in 1846. All other land is to be regarded as waste, and applicable to the purposes of colonization. Where any annual tribute has been paid by the natives to the chiefs, a fair compensation for such payment is to be allowed (Barclay to Douglas, December 1849). Douglas was also directed that he was to use his own discretion for settlement depending upon the character of the tribe and the circumstances. It is from these instructions that Douglas attempted to negotiate a treaty with the Sne-nay-muxw.  79  The Sne-nay-muxw treaty was the last treaty to be directed by Douglas.  8  The primary  incentive by the Hudson’s Bay Company to negotiate this treaty was not land for settlement as much as formalizing ownership of the coal deposits. Although the Sne-nay muxw had accommodated the Hudson’s Bay Company’s mining operation in their territory, experience with the Kwakwaka’wakw at Ft. Rupert who resented white miners working their coal deposits, made it imperative that the Nanaimo coal deposits be 9 In January 1853 Douglas was instructed by the Board of Management of the secured. Hudson’s Bay Company to extinguish “the Indian claim to the coal district” (Barclay to Douglas, Jan 14, 1853). In July 1853 he assured them that in doing so he would include the land which contained the most valuable seams of coal. However negotiations with the Sne-nay-muxw were more difficult than they had been with the other tribes. To explain the delay in procuring a settlement, Douglas, in a letter Barclay dated Sept. 3, 1853 noted his problem: I observe the request of the Governor and Committee that I should take an early opportunity to extinguish the Indian claim in the coal district and I shall attend to their instruction as soon as I think it safe, and prudent to renew the question of Indian rights, which always gives rise to troublesome excitements, and has on every occasion been productive of serious disturbances (Douglas to Barclay, Sept. 3, 1853). 10  document title erroneously refers to the Sne-nay-muxw as the Sarlequin Tribe which describes only one local group. Vaughan (1978) contends that the lack of conflict between the Sne-nay-muxw and miners was that their presence did not pose a visible threat to the cooperative economic relationship. I would argue that unlike the Kwakwaka’wakw the Sne-nay-muxw had more experience with the various economic enterprises of the Hudson’s Bay Company and were well aware of the benefits peacefhl and amiable relations produced. ‘°Ft. Victoria Correspondence Outward on the Affairs of Vancouver Island, May 16,1850-May 6, 1855, BCARS  80  The resistance on the part of the Sne-nay-muxw to negotiate a treaty is perhaps understandable in light of the loss of rights to their coal deposits. In their experience of mining and trading coal to the post they were well aware of its value as an important trade good. A second consideration that may have hindered negotiations was the hanging of a young Sne-nay-muxw, Siam-a-sit, for the murder of a sheep herder during the winter of 1852-5 3. Crew members of the ‘Virago’ while coaling at Nanaimo the following spring of 1853 noted that several Sne-nay-muxw held a grudge against the ‘King George men’ and that the Sne-nay-muxw were still actively mouming his death (Hills BCARS; Jnskip ’ 1 BCARS). Why the Sne-nay-muxw would willingly agree to a treaty that would alienate them from the coal resources and a portion of their territory is only conjecture. Most certainly it is questionable that they understood the full import of such a treaty. Duff (1969:51) points out that legal concepts of sovereignty over the land, recognition of aboriginal title, and treaties that relinquished this title, were foreign ideas to indigenous people. How Douglas interpreted these concepts or convinced the Sne-nay-muxw to sign the document is not explained in his correspondence. The only historical evidence that the treaty was signed is in a postscript in his letter to London. The treaty document itself is a list of 159 names of Sne-nay-muxw men with 160 x marks. These marks appear to have been made by a single clerical hand. The document is signed by James Douglas and three other Hudson’s Bay Company employees. Like the  see Bayley (fol 9, BCARS), Moresby (BCARS) and Lamb (1942) for further description of the events of this incident.  81  other thirteen treaties, it had no text attached to it. In all previous Douglas treaties the appended text is the same text used by the New Zealand Company in their treaties with the Maori (Hendrickson 1988).  12  In this text all the land was to be alienated and transferred  to the Crown aside from “our village sites and enclosed fields” to become “the Entire property of White people for ever.” Also in the text was the right “to hunt over the unoccupied lands” and to carry on “fisheries as formerly.  “13  Interestingly, for the Sne  nay-muxw this text was never appended to their treaty. At the bottom of the document the words ‘636 white’, ‘12 blue’, and ‘20 inferior’ are written. This may pertain to the 668 blankets that Douglas states were distributed at this time (see Smith 1971:60; Madill 1975; Fisher 1977:67; I{BC F/53/H86 BCARS). In reasons for Judgment in Bartleman vs. the Queen, the Honorable Mr. Justice Esson recognized that Native peoples at the time could not read, write or speak English, and as they did not personally apply their signature to the treaty, it is likely that Native peoples themselves attached little significance to it. The uncertainty of this treaty is evident in an account recorded by Beryl Cryer. She records the Sne-nay-muxw understanding of this treaty through Tstass-Aya (Jenny Wise) who interprets for her husband, Joe Wyse, the son of Squoniston, the first name on the treaty document: Well, one day a Hudson’s Bay man came to see my father. “We want to talk to you and your people about this coal,” he said. We will have a meeting. You and your people, and you must get another chief and his people, and on a certain day we will all talk this thing over.” “So my father, 12  See Appendix A. Duff (1969:52) contends that in light of Coast Salish exploitation of widely dispersed seasonal sites the treaty reflects an ‘ethnographic absurdity.’ Also such wording assumes that a particular family or tribe owned specific tracts of land. This is in effect land ownership in terms of European conceptions and not Coast Salish. 13  82  Chief Suquen-Es-Then[aka Squoniston’ J, called his people, and he told 4 another chief; whose name was Chief Schuwn-Schn[aka Wunwunchen’ ], 5 to call all his tribe, and together they went to the meeting. “Now you know, where the big wharf is now—where the steamers come? Well, down there is a rock, in the water. In those old days it was part of the land, and at that place was a very big house. To that house there went all the Hudson’s Bay men, and the two chiefs with their people. “I was at that meeting.” “I can remember all the people in that house, and lots outside, but I was only a small boy standing beside my father.” “Then the Hudson’s Bay men talked to the Indians. “This coal that is here, “they said, “it is no good to you, and we would like it, but we want to be friends, so if you will let us come and take as much of the black rock as we want, we will be good to you.” They told my father,” The good Queen, our great white chief; far over the water, will look after your people for all time, and they will be given much money so that they will never be poor.” “Then they gave each chief a bale of Hudson’s Bay blankets, and a lot of shirts and tobacco, just like rope!” “These are presents for you and your people, to show we are your good ffiends”, they said. “The chiefs took the things, and they cut the blankets, which were double ones, in half; to make more, and gave one to every chief man, then the shirts, and to those who were left they gave pieces of the rope tobacco; so that every man in the tribes had a present (Cryer BCARS, F8.2/C88.l/vol. 3/pp. 11-14). According to this account the treaty conferred a right to the coal resource and not to the land itself Sharing resources in their territory was not a foreign idea to Coast Salish peoples and not doubt was not a new idea to the Sne-nay-muxw. That this meeting was linked to the coal resources and not their traditional land is confirmed by an additional comment made by Tstass-Aya (Jenny Wyse): Now you know”... “we think there was some mistake made at that meeting, or, maybe, the people could not understand properly what was said; but later, when our people asked for some of the money for their coal, the Hudson’s Bay men said to them, “Oh, we paid you when we gave you those good blankets!” But those two chiefs knew that the men had said,” The Queen will give you money” (Cryer BCARS, F8.2/C88. 1/vol. 3/pp. 11-14).  14  This is the name used on the treaty document. ibid.  83  This interpretation was further confirmed several decades later in the evidence given May 28, 1913 to the Royal Commission on Indian Affairs for B.C. Dick Whoakum recollects when Governor Douglas came to visit them to see the coal: He asked if there was any more of this coal, and we told him “yes” just a little way off. We mentioned a place a little way from here, Departure Bay, and told him there was coal there. About a week later a crowd of white people came here when they came they started working on it. Two months later, Sir James Douglas himself came over to see where the coal was. Sir James Douglas said “I will buy this coal but he said “I will not buy anything but the coal”. “All the wood and the land is yours”. “The land where the coal is, is yours, and the land up the River is yours.” (Royal Commission of Indian Affairs Evidence 1913:5 1). ,  In May of 1855 the Hudson’s Bay Company purchased from the Crown 6,193 acres for their coal operation. This purchase included Cameron, Newcastle, and Douglas Island. In addition to the 6,193 acres another 1,074 acres were set aside: 724 acres for public use, 100 acres for roads, and 250 acres for Indian reserves. Whatever the Sne-nay-muxw understanding of the treaty the subsequent purchase ofthe coal fields by the Hudson’s Bay Company from the Crown was to forever change the relationship between the Sne-nay muxw and coal production. The Hudson’s Bay Company no longer traded for coal from the Sne-nay-muxw. The Sne-nay-muxw were effectively alienated from ownership of coal resources in their territory and their participation in the coal operation defined solely as wage earners. The following section examines Sne-nay-muxw experience as wage earners during this decade.  84  Sne-nay-muxw Employment Wage Labour  Before the establishment of Nanaimo, the Hudson’s Bay Company had successfully employed Native labour for various occupations in and around their establishments (Mackie 1985). As the Company began to diversify into various economic endeavors the  demand for skilled and unskilled labour increased. Skilled labourers, such as carpenters, blacksmiths and coopers, had to be imported, but casual unskilled labour was readily available in the local Native population. The hiring ofNative labour was a preferred option by the Company as their wages were substantially lower than that needed to entice imported labour. The payment in trade goods, rather than moneys, had an additional advantage for imported labour was not necessarily interested in patronizing the Company’s stores. Hiring the Sne-nay-muxw as unskilled casual workers for the mines and other labour about Nanaimo was a continuation ofthe policy adopted at other establishments.  When the Hudson’s Bay Company established its post at Nanaimo the Sne-nay-muxw proved to be as enthusiastic as the Kwakwaka’wakw at Ft. Rupert to work in the coal operation. This was evident to Douglas on his initial visit in 1852, for they helped to dig up 50 tons of coal in a single day (Douglas to Barclay, August 18, 1852). Surface mining was very labour intensive and before the Sne-nay-muxw were supplied with light pick axes and miners’ shovels they used their own axes and wedges to dig up the coal. A description by Douglas of the method used by the Kwakwaka’wakw at Ft. Rupert reveals the extent and commitment the Sne-nay-muxw miners must have had to this labour:  85  Their mode of working, is to remove the trees and overlaying earth, until they hit the coal from two to five feet below the surface. The labour involved by that process is excessive, and the quantity produced extremely limited, for the number of Indians employed (Douglas to Barclay, April 3, 1850). The surface coal deposits were far more abundant at Nanaimo than at Ft. Rupert so the Sne-nay-muxw were from the onset more productive than the Kwakwaka’wakw. After two weeks the Sne-nay-muxw produced 480 barrels of coal from a surface seam near the harbour. A week later a more productive seam was found below a bluff slightly north of the harbour.’ 6 From this seam several thousands tons of coal were raised in a short time (McKay to Douglas, Sept. 16, 1852). By the end of September, the Sne-nay-muxw were producing 20 tons of coal a day. By November, just two months after production had begun, the Sne-nay-muxw had produced a total of 1315 tons of coal from the surface seams (Vaughan 1978:20). Payment to the Sne-nay-muxw for this surface coal was originally set at the same rate oftrade established at Ft. Rupert for coal; a shirt for every ton of coal and a  2’/2  point  blanket or equivalent amount of gray cotton for every two tons. While this rate did not initially please the Sne-nay-muxw they were convinced by McKay that this was a fair payment. However these terms were to prove an initial problem to the operation which was unprepared for a great demand on their trade goods. While labour was initially plentiful the Hudson’s Bay Company was limited by the terms ofthe Sne-nay-muxw cash  16  This seam was located at the location of’Pemberton’s Encampment” which McKelvie (1944:178) notes is a steep bluffjust south of present day Comox Road.  86  and carry policy. Acute shortages in trade goods were lamented for the first few years of operation.  17  When production switched to underground mining in 1855 Sne-nay-muxw men were hired to help build the shafts and push the coal wagons from the face to the pit entrance. Also they were used to pump out the water, and wind out the refuse (Robinson to Douglas, Jan 23, 1858, A.1l/76, #976). When the price of coal fell in 1858 and white labour in the mines was reduced, Sne-nay-muxw men were subcontracted by the coal miners to clean the coal (Burrill 1987:128). There are no accounts to indicate that women helped dig up the surface coal, but there are several accounts that coafirm that women’s labour was used to convey coal to the ships. When the ‘Virago’ moored at Nanaimo to take on coal in the spring and summer of 1853 it was women and young girls who brought several hundred tons of coal in their canoes out to the ship (Jnskip BCARS; Hills BCARS). This method of conveying coal to the ships by women was noted by many other observers during this decade. The process itself was very labour intensive. Initially all the coal was hauled in baskets from the pit site to the weigh station. It was then transferred to the canoes and then up to the ships to be stored in barrels. Later small barges or lighters were used and by 1858 when a wharfwas built ships were loaded right from shore. Charles Bayley, the first school teacher who arrived at Nanaimo in 1854, offers a very descriptive account of women’s labour: Loading ships was done in a very primitive manner in early days. Hundreds of natives, mostly women, being employed who conveyed the coal alongside the ships in canoes .it was a curious sight to see the string of . . .  17  By 1855 the acute shortage in trade gods ended as there is no thither mention of this problem in the correspondence.  87  natives of both sexes working like ants in one continuous line over the trail to where they deposited their loads (Bayley BCARS). Bayley also noted that women were given tickets for every tub of coal they carried. These tickets were then exchanged at the Company store for a variety of trade goods. According to another source one tin tally was given for every tub of coal and a hundred tubs of coal equaled a ton for which they were paid a blanket (Mayne BCARS). A Hudson’s Bay Company employee, Mark Bate, in his reminiscences of this period, maintained that women earned more wages than men for doing this sort of work. He writes: Coal was conveyed in canoes for shipment—whether to a Man o War, a San Francisco freighter, or a coaster—thrown into a lighter made fast alongside a vessel, thence hoisted or shoveled on board. In this work of conveyance, the Indian women, as well as the men were engaged—the former as a rule, earning the most wages or goods. Payment was made at the Hudson’s Bay Company’s store in blankets, beads, shirts and other articles (Nanaimo Free Press, Feb. 16, 1907). While there is no clear account how many women were employed at one time loading coal, the Nanaimo Wastebook lists the type of goods women exchanged for their coal tallies. For coaling the ‘Prince Albert’ in November of 1854 women received the following: 51 Blankets 21/2 pts, 11 bunches trade beads, 28 yards salempore cotton, 15 yards 26 inch gray cotton, 9 common cotton shirts, 15 lbs tobacco, 54 yards Baize, 2 metal frame looking glasses, 3 pair dung trousers, 20 yards red ribbons In the same month for coaling the ‘Rose’, ‘Otter’ and the ‘Cadboro’ women were paid in the following goods:  88  2 Blankets 2Y2 pts best, 13 lbs tobacco, 13 yards Baize, 20 bunches transparent beads, 1 doz. Tky red handkerchiefs, 3’/2 doz. linger rings, 2’/2 doz. brass thimbles, one eighth lb. vermilion, 1 horn comb, 2 common cotton shirts, 1 scotch bonnet, 1 pr dung trousers, 7 yds printed cotton, 27 yards salem cotton, 1 ‘/2 doz. ball buttons. From the type of work men and women were assigned in the coal operation it is evident that the Hudson’s Bay Company had very distinct ideas of what constituted men and women’s work. Men were employed to help construct the shafts and transport the coal to the pit head, women were employed above ground to transport the coal to the ships. This segregated ideology was also applied to other work around the post. For example only Sne-nay-muxw men were hired to work in the sawmill which was built in 1854. The sawmill produced a variety of finished lumber products to meet the lumbering demands for 8 Aside from working inside the sawmill, pit props in the mines and the miners’ houses.’ Sne-nay-muxw men supplied the mill with logs. Between 1855 and 1857 the Sne-nay muxw transported a total of 2,715 logs to the mill at a going rate of a blanket for eight 15 foot logs or sixteen undersized logs (Aug. 29, 1855). Other labour assigned to men was the cutting and stacking hay, tending and transporting the horses, and assisting the carpenters in repairs and building the miners’ houses. Women were primarily assigned work as domestic servants. They were hired on a daily basis to clean, cook, wash clothes and sew. While hired to work in the cook house and for general domestic chores around the post by the Company itsell much of their domestic labour was hired individually by the post personnel. In the fall of 1855 women were hired as manual labourers to dig up clay and build a dam for the sawmill. They also weeded the  18  Between the year 1855 and 1857, the sawmill produced 140,175 feet of assorted lumber and 33,750 shingles (Mackie 1985: 148-9).  89  gardens as well as collected seaweed and manure for fertilizer. Women were also directed to gather shells off the beaches. Shells were important for making lime which was then mixed with water and sand to produce mortar for the chimneys and house foundations. How many Sne-nay-muxw were employed for the coal operation and daily chores at the post is difficult to determine from the records. When the operation first began McKay noted that in light of the shortage of trade goods he was forced to decrease the number of Native workers around the post to twenty. At other posts in the region the workforce varied from 50 to 100 casual workers depending upon the season and the industries initiated. This was probably the number regularly employed at Nanaimo. After five years of operation the total amount ofNative labour used at Nanaimo is noted in the account books for the winter of 1857 and 1858. Labour was recorded not by the number of workers employed but by the number of fill days worked. For the months of January 1857 and February 1858 is the following list:  (January 1857) 62 days at the cook house, 53 days on the garden, 55 days attending oxen, 152 days at the saltspring, 56 days on the slope mine, 140 days at the sawmill, 117 days at the establishment, 11 days general mining purposes, 73 days George Baker and Co., 20 days at the blacksmith shop, 28 days shipping coal, 11 days at No 3 pit, and 40 days carrying coal. (February 1858) 84 days at the cook house, 47 days on the garden, 52 days driving oxen, 197 days at the sawmill, 26 days at the establishment, 52 days carrying coal, 62 days on no3 shaft, 24 days at Park head mine, 24 days at the carpenter shop, 29 days on Cameron wharfe, 35 days at the loading wharfe, 59 days shipping coals, 63 days on the coal tramway, and 48 days loading ‘George Krill” During these two months it is evident that an average of 400 days ofNative labour was needed a month for a variety of occupations in the coal operation and around the  90  settlement. Wages in trade goods for this labour were less than a shilling a day. Considering that miners and assistant miners at this time were making five to nine shillings 19 a day one can see that Sne-nay-muxw served as a cheap labour force for the Company. As noted above after the gold rush of 1858 there was an abundance of casual labour in the form of white miners to work in the mines. Also the building of a wharf and coal tramway displaced Sne-nay-muxw women from hauling coal to the boats. Despite these changes both Sne-nay-muxw men and women continued to find employment in the settlement. Sne-nay-muxw men worked as casual labourers in and about the mines while women were increasingly hired for domestic work. A surveyor in the region in 1859 was to comment on the importance of Sne-nay-muxw labour as wage earners at Nanaimo. He wrote: The Indians are numerous, are perfectly peaceful, and are made use ofby the whites as ploughmen, servants, voyagers, in fact, labourers of all kinds of work. Their pay and rations amount to little, and if kindly treated and properly superintended, the results of their labour are profitable to the employer (RO 10, VoL 3609, file 3316- 1, June 11, 1859). As noted in the following chapter these occupations remained important to the Sne nay-muxw throughout the 19th Century. Nonetheless, as the immediate section reveals, aside from wage earning, Sne-nay-muxw labour was also in great demand for provisioning the settlement. This demand enabled many Sne-nay-muxw, both men and women, to acquire trade goods without fully committing to wage labour during the initial years of the Nanaimo establishment.  19  Four years earlier the wages were for Native labour was set at two 2 1/2 point blankets a month. These blankets were valued at 2 shillings or $4.00 a piece (Douglas to Barclay, Aug. 24, 1854).  91  Provisioning the Settlement Ensuring an adequate food supply for the growing settlement was a paramount concern of the Hudson’s Bay Company particularly in the early years of the mming operation. To feed the miners, extensive gardens were planted and staples of flour, sugar and tea sent from Ft. Victoria. Yet despite these measures the settlement remained heavily dependent upon the Sne-nay-muxw and other Native peoples for meat, fish and other local foods. Correspondence in the first few years reveals the extent of this dependency. The primary foods traded to the post were deer and waterfowl which were abundant in the area. Fish such as salmon, cod, and herring were also supplied. When the Virago arrived in the spring of 1853 the Sne-nay-muxw were noted to be trading salmon and other provisions on a daily basis. One observer noted that they preferred trade with the Company despite the better price offered by the ship’s crew. W.H. Hills, the paymaster, writes of his trade experience with them: We experienced here the curious feeling of the Indians showing their desire to get property, and the influence the Company have over them. Several canoes would come alongside with salmon for barter, which they offered at 4 for a shirt. But as we know the Company’s taiifl from which they never depart, to be 8 or 10 for a shirt we would not trade at this rate; they would remain bargaining alongside half a day, and after refusing to sell us 6 for which a shirt was offered, would go alongside the Company’s schooner and give 8 or 10. So with grouse and one or two deer that were brought in (Hills UBCL, fol 162). As the above indicates the Sne-nay-muxw were very accommodating in providing fish for inexpensive trade items. Two later observers, who worked for the Hudson’s Bay Company, noted that these provisions were traded at a set cost:  92  Deer and game of all kinds abound and could be bought for some trifle. Such as tobacco powder and shot; the price of a grouse in those days being two charges or twice as much as it was supposed it cost to kill it (Bayley BCARS). A whole carcass (of deer) could be bought for two shillings and a penny half for one shilling and four pence a quarter for eight pence (Bate in Nanaimo Free Press Feb. 16, 1907).  -  -  Provisioning the post was not exclusive to men’s hunting and fishing, for women traded berries, shellfish, birds eggs, and potatoes. Potatoes as noted above, were grown on the Nanaimo river and by the time of the establishment of the post were an important food staple for the Sne-nay-muxw. Potatoes were in high demand by the post. From the start the Sne-nay-muxw were unable to meet the demand forcing the Company to send trading expeditions south to the Cowichan who had extensive acreage’s of potatoes at this time. Food quantities needed to sustain the settlement were sizable. At the beginning of the operation the Hudson’s Bay Company took on the responsibility of feeding the miners and their families. This was part ofthe contract signed before they arrived and was the standard practice of the Company during its fur trading history. For the month of November 1854, the Nanaimo daily account book notes that 25 deer, 89 ducks, 9 geese and 2 bushels of potatoes were traded to the post. This was probably only a partial list of what was consumed as Company employees also hunted but their catch is not included in this record. Considering that the population at this time was only fifty people which grew to approximately four hundred by 1862 the amount of food needed to provision the settlement was substantiaL  20  20 large contingent of miners and families from Staffordshire arrived at the end of this A month. It is feasible to assume that the post was preserving food for their arrivaL  93  It is not surprising that the demand for provisions far outstripped what the Sue-nay muxw could produce particularly when their labour was also needed for the coaling operation.  21  This problem was noted from the start in the correspondence. Once the  Sne-nay-muxw were used for loading and shipping coal their ability to supply provisions decreased drastically. This encouraged other groups besides the Sne-nay-muxw to bring food to the post. The Comox were important for supplying elk to the post. The Sechelt, who lived on the Mainland, were also regular visitors who brought deer across the Strait. One source noted that at one time they arrived with as many as 63 deer in one day (Grant 1857:268).  22  As well as food, other items were traded to the settlement. Women traded their baskets, blankets, and mats which were used for a variety ofpurposes. Baskets were important as storage containers as well as to transport coal to the ships. Mats were used to line the floors and walls of the miners houses while blankets were used for bedding and rugs. Under the heading of country produce the Nanaimo account book notes that a substantial number ofbaskets, dog hair blankets, blanket rugs, cedar mats and rush mats were kept in stock for use in the post and trade. As well as these goods, men traded canoes and deer skins. Their canoes were in great demand during the gold rush of 1858. By the end of 1855 miners bought their own food for their families from the Company store. In 1859 the Company abolished the officers’ mess so that personnel had to buy and  21  It is estimated at this time that the population at the post was approximately 50 individuals, which included the post personal, and the miners from Ft. Rupert and their Native wives and children. 22 According to Homer Bamett’s fieldnotes some Sne-nay-muxw families had fishing rights on Jervis Inlet.  94  prepare their o food. What effect this had upon the provisioning by the Sne-nay-muxw is unclear. Nonetheless, the role of providing fresh fish and game to the settlement continued for the Sne-nay-muxw and was always an important alternative to wage labour. Trading food and other items first to the Hudson’s Bay Company and then to individual households created a relationship between the Sne-nay-muxw and the settlement that was to foster an economic interdependence. Hudson’s Bay Company personnel and miners’ families forged close links to the Sne-nay-muxw who lived in their midst. Chinook was the language of the settlement and intermarriage was common. This interdependence was to continue to some extent throughout the 19th Century. However, as the settlement grew and the Sne-nay-muxw population proportionately declined this interdependence was never as obvious as it was during this first decade of Nanaimo’s economic history.  Socio-Economic Adaptation From the above history there are several questions raised about Sne-nay-muxw women’s participation in wage labour. What drew women into wage labour? Why were Sne-nay-muxw women willing to participate in such labour intensive activity such as hauling coal to the ships, working as domestic servants, building dams, labouring in the gardens, and collecting shells? Did all Sne-nay-muxw women have equal access to employment in the settlement? Were younger women more employable than older women? Did women access wage labour individually or as a family group? How was women’s wage labour integrated with non-wage labour? Finally, how did gender relations change with increased access to wealth goods through wage labour? Specifically how did the informal exchange relationship between men and women change with segregated wage  95  labour opportunities? Unfortunately there is very little in the historical material to help us answer these questions. Visitors to the region were more concerned with reporting the progress of the coal operation than the behaviour of the Sne-nay-muxw. Nonetheless, the reports on the mining industry do offer some glimpses into Sne-nay-muxw socio-economic adaptation at this time. From these observations we can infer changes in women’s lives and the motivation for their participation in wage labour.  Subsistence Production As the above has shown the introduction of wage labour and the demands of the new settlement for fish and game provided the Sne-nay-muxw with new opportunities to acquire trade goods. Despite their commitment to these new activities the Sne-nay-muxw remained dependent upon their subsistence economy. Aside from sugar and molasses, the Snenay-muxw were not trading or exchanging their labour for food. In this respect the Hudson’s Bay Company thd not have the means or the desire to make the Sne-nay-muxw replace subsistence production with wage labour. On the contrary, as noted earlier, their continued participation in subsistence production guaranteed their labour as cheap labour force. However the indigenous economy demanded a great degree of seasonal mobility as well as periods of intensive exploitation of resources to assure sufficient food during the winter months. Such engagement was far from compatible with the demands of a wage economy that needed labour all year round. Evidence ofthis incompatibility is found in the early correspondence between McKay and Douglas between 1852 and 1853, and later a journal of the mining operation between 1.855 and 1857.  96  As noted above during the first month of the establishment of Nanaimo the Sne-nay  muxw were very accommodating, working the surface coal and loading the coal on the ships as they anived. In fact they were so accommodating that the Hudson’s Bay Company quickly ran out of trade goods to pay them. However, at the end of the first week in October McKay noted to Douglas that all the Sne-nay-muxw had moved away to their fall fishing sites on the Nanaimo river. This migration away from the settlement greatly hindered loading coal on the waiting ship, which was of great concern to the early success of the operation: Oct. 6, 1852: Most of the Native Coffiers are now engaged in laying in a winter stock of salmon. 15 tons of Coals per diem may still be depended on. Oct. 7, 1852: Most of the Indians have left for their fisheries up the Nanaimo River. Oct. 22, 1852: The Cadboro is now loading, the coals come in very slowly, partly owing to the inclemency of the weather and principally because most of the Indians are still employed laying in winter stock of salmon. This fall migration was part of the important seasonal movement to fish for chum on the Nanaimo River. Chum were the last fish of the season and important for maintaining the Sne-nay-muxw throughout the winter months. To have foregone this important subsistence production would have left the Sne-nay-muxw in great need. McKay, a seasoned Hudson’s Bay Company employee on the Northwest Coast, was probably very aware of this seasonal migration and the importance of this food for winter supplies. However it was inconvenient to the coaling operation. It is unknown when the Sne-nay muxw returned to help again to work the coal and load the ships as the correspondence  97  from November 6th to April 4th 1853 are missing. By April 4th McKay reports that the Sne-nay-muxw were again living in their midst and helping to work the coal as well as provision the post for fish and game. Another important migration occurred during the summer months when the Sne-nay muxw went to Fraser River for the sockeye runs. Two years later in August 1855 when the journal of Capt. Stuart begins this migration is noted. While some Sne-nay-muxw are present working at various occupations around the post, such as in the pits, sawing logs for the sawmill, and cutting hay at Nanaimo river to feed the livestock, it is quite clear that the establishment is short of Native labour and feeling some “difficulties for want of Indian assistance” (Aug. 22, 1855). This was in fact the first summer for the new contingent of Staffordshire miners and work in the pits had just begun to gear up when the Sne-nay-muxw left for the fishing season. Without Native labour to carry the coal out of the pits, the miners were reduced to searching for new coal seams until they returned. There was a brief respite when they returned in September but by October the Sne-nay muxw had again left for their fishing sites on the Nanaimo river. It was clear to the Company that this was going to be a problem every year and plans were made to alleviate this dependence by widening the shafts in order to use horses to draw out the coal wagons. By the following year this had been accomplished however it seems to have done little to prevent a slowdown in coal production, for during the summer months of 1857 the coal operation ceased completely (Robinson to Douglas, Dec. 20, 1856, A. 11/76, #446). The closure of the mines forced many of the miners to seek  98  employment in Victoria.  23  Douglas wrote to London of the inconvenience of Sne-nay  muxw labour to the coal operation: The want of Indian labour is certainly a great inconvenience for the miners, but really they must learn to be independent of Indians for our work will otherwise be subject to continual stoppages (Douglas to Stuart, Aug. 22,1857). The Sne-nay-muxw commitment to subsistence production remained an inconvenience to the Hudson’s Bay Company until the arrival of casual labour with the gold rush in 1858. Their seasonal movements, an essential part of their subsistence production, was highly incompatible to the demands of the mining operation. For the Sne-nay-muxw these years were a new experience in choosing the options of wage labour over subsistence production. Subsistence production however remained paramount as at no time did the Hudson’s Bay Company consider paying for their labour at the same rate as white miners. The segregated nature of the labour force ultimately determined the choices the Sne-nay muxw were to make.  Conifict and Compromise While the Sne-nay-muxw maintained a considerable degree of mobility during the summer months, during the winter months many abandoned their winter villages to live even closer to the establishment. When Reverend J. B. Good, an Anglican missionary, arrived in 1861 he noted that many of the Sne-nay-muxw were living in and around the  23  By this time many of the imported miners had renegotiated their contracts for a piece rate. This began a new practice of individual miners hiring Sne-nay-muxw labour when coal seams were wide and productive. This sub-contracting out enabled the Sne-nay muxw to negotiate their labour with individual miners.  99  settlement. Part of this shift in winter residence was due to the desire to be close to their employment, the pits, the wharves, the sawmill, and part was due to coercion of the coal Company to move the Sne-nay-muxw away from areas they planned to develop. By 1862 the Sne-nay-muxw had been convinced to abandon their village sites nearest the town so that a tramway could be built from the mines to the loading wharves.  24  Despite the Sne-nay-muxw displacement from their traditional village sites they remained committed to their precontact ideas of ownership and control of resources in their territory. This included rights to work the coal in the settlement. The Hudson’s Bay Company was well aware that resource sites as well as wage opportunities in the coaling operation were jealously guarded by the Sne-nay-muxw. McKay in his correspondence noted that the Sne-nay-muxw were very protective of their rights to work the coal. Other visitors to the post were often forced to seek other employment opportunities. For example, the Squamish and Sechelt entered the shingle business as the Sne-nay-muxw initially restricted them from working the coal: Sept. 16,1852: A number of Shusuhomis and Shesalls arrived here last week. They are anxious to enter into the shingle business as the Nanaimoes will not allow them to work the coal. In the first year it is evident that outside Native labour was only present with the permission of the Sne-nay-muxw. One incident observed by a crew member on the ‘Virago’ in the summer of 1853 noted that there was a falling out between the Sne-nay  muxw and one group of Comox who originally were given permission to work the coal.  24  There is some indication that the housing built close to the mining sites were not of the longhouse type but of small more temporary housing.  100  McKay with great difficulty prevented the Sne-nay-muxw from shooting them while they worked (Jnskip, Aug. 1st, 1853, BCARS). Another incident that ended less amicably occurred two years later over rights to employment at the sawmill. In the summer of 1855 two Lekwiltoks were hired to log timber for the sawmill. Several Sne-nay-muxw took exception to their employment and after warning them to leave, which they refused to do, shot both ofthem. This resulted in large number of Lewiltok descending upon the establishment seeking revenge. Only after taking the life of one of the Sne-nay-muxw leaders, Wunwunsen, was this volatile situation resolved peacefully (Robinson to Douglas, Aug. 20, 1855). Such confrontations were of great concern to the Hudson’s Bay Company not only for their employees safety, but for the disruptive effect on the business of the post. From the start other groups were encouraged to come to the post and work in order to offset the labour shortages that occurred when the Sne-nay-muxw were absent. However intertuibal warfare was endemic at this time and many of the groups who sought employment at the post had long histories of hostile relations with the Sne-nay-muxw. Complying with the Company’s wishes to maintain peace forced the Sne-nay-muxw to accept enemies living in their midst. Understandably, relations between the groups were far from amicable, but by the end ofthe Hudson’s Bay Company tenure the few reports of hostility indicate that the Sne-nay-muxw had acquired a certain resignation to visitors in their territory. This resignation perhaps was due to Sne-nay-muxw interest to maintain good relations with the Hudson’s Bay Company and thus comfirm their access to wages and trade goods.  101  Wealth and Exchange Elsewhere in the literature it is argued that the primary incentive for the initial participation ofNative people in wage labour was the acquisition of wealth (Codere 1966, Vaughan 1978, Lutz 1992). Most certainly wealth was an important incentive for the Sue nay-muxw as it was linked to social status and prestige. The redistribution of wealth through formal gatherings continued to be a feature of Sne-nay-muxw life. This was noted by many visitors to the post (Hills BCARS; Bryant’s BCARS; Nanaimo Day Book NCA; Mayne 1862). One account notes that such activities at times even hindered the coaling of the ships: We had to coal ourselves from the pits mouth, all the Indians still suffering from the effects of a grand feast giving[sic] lately by the chief of the Tribe (Mayne, Oct. 28th, 1859, BCARS). It is unknown whether these formal exchanges of wealth increased in frequency during this period but additional wealth as well as the presence of competing tribes may have increased their occurrence. This is the argument proposed by Codere (1966) for the Kwakwaka’wakw. She argues that with increased wealth and the presence of competing tribes, potlatching replaced intertribal warfare. While this interpretation is highly contentious there is some evidence that Coast Salish potlatches did portray elements of mock battles during the formal presentations (Smith 1940; Snyder 1975). Most certainly, endemic warfare did end for the Sne-nay-muxw and they were forced in a very short period of time to live in close proximity to enemy tribes and to compete with them for employment. It is feasible to assume that formal exchanges were an important part of substantiating their claims to their tenitory and as well as their rights to employment at the  102  post. One particular potlatch was noted to include a large number of visitors from various tribes: These few days there is a grand assemblage of Indians at a feast in Sewet’s camp at Nanaimo, consisting of Indians of the “Comuck,” “Ses-shelts,” “Lummy,” “Cowitchan,” “Songish” and other tribes (Bryant, Oct. 18, 1859). While we are unsure if formal exchanges occurred more frequently most certainly the amount of wealth distributed in them did increase. Albert Wesley, a Sne-nay-muxw informant, remarked on the change that had occurred since contact in the formal gift distributions. He pointed out that before the establishment ofNanaimo Sne-nay-muxw gatherings were small and included only a few men from each village. Fifty blankets, or fifty goat skins, was considered a tremendous amount of wealth and often at these exchanges blankets were torn into strips so that everyone could receive a portion. After the establishment of the settlement the gatherings grew in size as whole villages were invited to witness the distribution of wealth. The amount of wealth exchanged at these gatherings increased to such a level that blankets were bought in bales of fifty and given to individuals in tens and twenties (Barnett 195 5:256). What changes this new access to wealth produced in the social life of the Sne-nay muxw is only speculation but for other Coast Salish there have been several theories. Collins (1950) for example, argues that the social ranking among the Upper Skagit became more marked as access to wealth was not equally distributed. This unequal distribution created greater class differentiation. Those leaders who lived closest to the white settlements and established themselves as traders benefited the most. Through their daily  103  dealings with the settlements these entrepreneurial leaders came to represent the interests of the village. In many respects there is evidence that this also occurred for the Sne-nay muxw. Several leaders are noted in the historical data who were attached to the villages in the area. One such leader was Wunwunsen who was highly regarded by the Hudson’s Bay Company and used as interpreter. As the above discussion has shown there were significant changes in the lives of the Sne-nay-muxw during this decade. Not only was wage labour an added option to be integrated with subsistence production, but the Sne-nay-muxw were moved off their traditional winter sites in order to oblige the mining operation. Also within a few short years they found their traditional enemies living in their midst. In order to maintain good relations with the Hudson’s Bay Company and assure themselves employment at the establishment they were forced to tolerate outsiders’ presence. Why the Sne-nay-muxw were willing to accommodate these changes is unknown. However, I speculate that from their observations and experiences at Ft. Langley and Ft. Victoria the Sne-nay-muxw were perhaps well aware of the benefits which a trading post in their territory could bring. Increased access to wealth goods as well as the protection the Hudson’s Bay Company establishment provided in their territory would also have been a significant factor. However the coal operation at Nanaimo placed distinct demands upon Sne-nay-muxw labour that were different from either Ft. Langley or Ft. Victoria. The following section discusses the implications of these demands upon gender relations.  104  Gender Relations The preoccupation with the mining operation by the Hudson’s Bay Company personnel and the visitors to the region leave little detail in the historical accounts about the Sne-nay muxw and their lives at this time. Exceptions are the journal accounts written by the crew of the ‘Virago’who visited Nanaimo in the spring of 1853. At this time the Sne-nay muxw were still mourning the death of Siam-a-sit, who was hanged for the murder of a sheep herder on the Saanich peninsula. Several crew members noted that one of the most conspicuous objects found at Nanaimo at this time was a large wooden monument in the shape of an urn, painted red and white, built to commemorate this young man. This urn contained several guns with ammunition while food and water were replenished regularly. As the crew wandered around the small settlement they visited several Sne-nay-muxw dwellings, In one account William Hills, the paymaster, describes the mourning ritual he observed: I was much struck by a peculiar song several were singing. About a dozen men sit together each with two sticks in his hands with which they beat time. One commences the song in a low note key and voice, then another joins in, and then another, and so on, the key gradually rising and the song becoming louder, and gradually dying away by the singers leaving off one by one; all the time they keep beating time with their sticks. The same air and words are repeated over again and again, and at a short distance the effect is both pleasing and melancholy... (Hills, UBCL, fol 158). Hills was informed by McKay that these mourning ceremonies were for the benefit of the ‘Virago’ crew who the Sne-nay-muxw viewed as a separate tribe of King George men “who go about punishing all who offend the other tribes” (Hills UBCL, fol 158). The ‘Virago’ a warship in Her Majesty’s Service with uniformed officers and crew was linked  105  to the ‘Thetis’ that had arrived early in the new year to capture Siam-a sit. Hills also noted that the mother and the young widow were prominent in these mourning rituals. These women were constant visitors to their vessel as well as other visiting ships to the harbour. On one occasion he remarked on the behaviour of the young widow which the crew nicknamed the ‘Gallows Widow:’ The Company’s steamer Beaver arrived from Victoria on her way to the Northern trading posts. The Gallows Widow.. .was alongside in a bran (d) new green blanket, with lots of beads, smiling and skylarking, and looking quite pleased with the small presents of biscuit she received in virtue ofthe interest to her story (Hills UBCL, fol 160). The hanging of this young man was viewed as a great injustice by the Sne-nay-muxw. From the above observation it is evident that the widow expected compensation for the loss ofher young husband. Her husband had been the son of a principle leader and it is likely she was a woman of equal status. Her visits to the ships indicates that she had considerable freedom to interact with visitors to the establishment. It is unknown who accompanied her however young women were often chaperoned by their mother-in-laws and other family members. The accounts from the Virago also noted that the young widow was soon to marry her husband’s brother once the mourning period was concluded. This followed the practice of levirate which was a common marriage custom for the Coast Salish. Aside from these accounts we have little description ofwomen during this decade. The continuation of subsistence production indicates that women’s labour in preparing and preserving food remained important to their families. However, as noted in the earlier chapter a shift in the value placed on women’s production began with the fur trade and  106  many of the introduced trade goods replaced their indigenous production. The access to wealth goods through labour about the mines and the Hudson’s Bay Company post continued that trend. Increasingly women found the product of their labour vis a vis men devalued when trading at the post. This is evident in the Hudson’s Bay Company account books. As table 3: 1 reveals trading a single deer brought the same return as a woven blanket that took a woman weeks or months to complete. Similarly food that women gathered and traded to the post did not give the same return as food hunted by men. Table 3:1 Exchange Rates in Monetary Value for Food and Crafts, 1858 Crafts  Value  Food  Value  4 baskets 3 baskets 7 baskets 10 mats 1 blanket  6d 3s4d is 5s6d 2s8d  1 1 1 6 1 4  is 2s6d is ls6d 4d ls6d  goose deer doz. hen’s eggs gal oysters qt berries ducks  Source: Nanaimo Day Book NCA  How this affected the exchange relationship between men and women within the household is unknown but the lower trade values placed upon women’s production would have up set the informal exchange relations between men and women. This imbalance had the potential to change the economic autonomy women experienced in the households. Perhaps this is why Sne-nay-muxw women were drawn into wage labour, first to convey coal to the ships and later other labour around the post. Women did not have the  107  opportunity to gain as much wealth goods from trade as men. This encouraged them to seek trade goods through the sale of their labour as wage earners. This may explain the above observation by Mark Bate, a Hudson’s Bay employee, that women were better wage earners than men. The ability of Sne-nay-muxw women to increase their wealth through wage earnings would have maintained their autonomy within their family. As noted above much of the goods given to women were primarily luxury goods. These goods were important for an individual as well as family wealth and status. Another means by which women could gain status was through marriage with Hudson’s Bay Company officers and staff. As noted earlier, intermarriage was endorsed by the Company to guarantee trade goods as well as labour around the post. At Ft. Langley intermarriage with various personnel had occurred with Kwantlen and Cowichan women. According to one source there were at one time as many as seventeen women attached to this post (Allard BCARS).  25  This practice of intermarriage also occurred at  Nanaimo with both the Hudson’s Bay Company personnel and the immigrant miners. At Nanaimo one observer noted that many of the first miners to the settlement lived with Native women (Inskip Oct. 6, 1853, fol 231 BCARS).  26  Such marriages offered distinct  advantages for employment in the coal operation. One important alliance at this time was the marriage of Ellen with the stone mason, William Isbister. In 1858 he became the Indian labour organizer and a lively “pushing” boss after the departure of Orvid Allard (Bate NFP April 16,1907). This marriage guaranteed employment for Ellen’s family and  25  Also see Morton (1980). Some of these women were from Ft Rupert where a small contingent of Scottish miners were first sent. 26  108  kin as well as other Sne-nay-muxw. Another notable marriage occurred between Sarah and John Doiholt who piloted the coal ships in the harbour. His knowledge of the coaling needs of each ship was an asset in knowing the daily labour requirements in the coal operation. Sne-nay-muxw women’s lives changed with the establishment of Nanaimo in their midst. Although their experiences with the Hudson’s Bay Company at Ft. Langley and later at Ft. Victoria prepared them to some extent for these changes, the mining operation was distinctly different from other Hudson’s Bay Company settlements with new demands on their labour. The arrival of miners and their families from England in 1854 exposed them to new gender roles and standards of domesticity.  27  As the next chapter reveals  Sne-nay-muxw women were to experience an ideology of domesticity that was to determine not only their roles within the family but their employment in the labour force.  Summary and Conclusion The arrival of the Hudson’s Bay Company at Nanaimo was to mark the initial transformation of the Sne-nay-muxw from traders to wage earners. Both Sne-nay-muxw men and women were an important part of the labour force in the early coal operation. However, women’s employment was assigned according to the gender linked pattern of employment developed in the mining industry elsewhere. While there is some indication in the historical literature that Native women in the early economy ofthe province did find employment outside of the specific gender linked occupations, (i.e. sealers, boat pullers, packers and guides), this was not the case for Sne-nay-muxw women in their initial 27  Several stories in the Cryer material describe how women acquired these new skills.  109  experience in wage labour. Work above the pits had traditionally been assigned to women in the British mining industry. Segregation based on race was also evident as it was Sue nay-muxw women and not the British miners’ wives who were hired as wage earners in these early years. During this decade the Sne-nay-muxw were compelled to adapt to various socio economic changes in order to participate in this new economy. While they remained committed to subsistence production they were obliged to shifi their winter residence and accommodate the Hudson’s Bay Company labour demands needed for the miniiig operation. Although we have limited data for understanding gender relations during this decade, increased wealth women acquired through wage earning would have enabled them to maintain a significant degree of economic autonomy that was fimdamental to gender relations. However, as the following chapters reveal women’s access to wage labour was increasingly segregated along gender, race and class lines.  110  CHAPTER 4 EMPLOYMENT IN A MINING COMMUNITY: 1863 -1920 Introduction The period from 1862 to 1920 was one of great change for the Sne-nay-muxw. The colon zation of Vancouver Island occurred rapidly and Nanaimo grew from a settlement of 400 in 1862 to over 6,000 by the turn of the Century. The coal mining industry dominated the local economy during this period. Within this economy there was a distinct gender, race and class segregation that determined Sne-nay-muxw wage labour opportunities. This segregation left Sne-nay-muxw men and women highly vulnerable to unemployment in the community. This chapter examines this employment history and the nature of a domestic economy that accommodated both women’s insecure employment and a conflicting gender ideology that excluded women’s labour from wage production. The Mining Economy Once the Hudson’s Bay Company relinquished control over their coal operation the settlement ofNanaimo grew quickly.  The primary industry remained coal mining and,  while several companies mined the region, the industry was generally monopolized by the Vancouver Coal Mining and Land Company and the Dunsmuir, Diggle and Company Ltd. which had begun operation in 1871.  2  In the beginning mines clustered around the  ‘There are several general histories about the early history of Nanaimo (see Johnson 1958; Bowen 1982) 2 The Vancouver Coal Mining and Land Company was reorganized in 1889 to be known as the New Vancouver Coal Mining and Land Company. In 1903 it was sold to the Western Fuel Company which reorganized in 1918 and later in 1928 bought out the  111  waterfront and the northern district of the city but later they were opened in the southern district around Chase river and Ladysmith. Both Companies opened many mines but due to irregularities in the seams they were short lived and few operated for more than 15 or 20 3 years. The exception and most productive mine was Esplanade located on the waterfront within Nanaimo city limits and on the north ern outskirts of the Sne-nay-muxw Town. Reserve. This mine was active from 1883 to 1938 and closed due to the lack of market demand not exhaustion of coal deposits. The demand for coal by the American market as well as the growing local need made Nanaimo a prosperous city in the later half ofthe nine teenth Century. The Black Diamond City, as it became known, was incorporated in 1874 and by this time was considered the most important coal producing centre on the Pacific Coast. Between 1880 and 1900 Nanaimo experienced a boom and rate of growth that was to be unequaled in its history. Yearly coal production rose from 18,000 tons in 1863 to a million tons a year with a record of 1,298,445 tons in 1923 (B.C., Ministry of Mines Annual Report, 1923). The labour force grew with this increase in production. Tn 1874 there were an estimated 400 workers in the mines but by the turn of the century this number was close to 3,000 with a peak of 3,345 workers in 1921 (ibid 1921).  competing Dunsmuir interests. Dunsmuir organization beca me Dunsmuir and Sons in 1883 and was reorganized in 1899 as the Wellington Coffiers. Tn 1910 it was reorganized again as the Canadian Colliers (Dunsmuir) Ltd. and purchased by the Western Fuel Company in 1928 (see Leyland PABC; Johnson 1958). Around some of these mines other small communities arose, such as Wellington, East Wellington and Extension. These communities, unlik e Nanaimo, were abandoned once the coal seams ran out. As an indication of the productivity of this mine, it is estimated that this mine alone contributed 18 million tons to the 50 million tons of coal produced locally by all the mines (Leynard PABC).  112  As well as employment in and around the mines, servicing the mines generated other forms of employment. Several sawmills were established to produce the timbers for the mines and housing materials for the settlement. These sawmills were genera lly small, as demand for finished wood was restricted to local supply. With the buildin g of the Esquimault & Nanaimo Railway in 1886 the demand expanded for ties, trestles and bridges (Lawrence 1957). By the turn of the century there were severa l sawmills in and around Nanaimo that cut anywhere between 5,000 and 40,000 board feet daily. Other industries linked to the prosperity of the mining industiy arose in Nanaimo. By 1894 there were two breweries, a tannery, an explosives factory, a cigar factory, two foundries, a carriage and wagon works, machine shops, and gas and electric light works (British Columbia Annual 1894). A number ofhotels, boarding houses , saloons and restaurants were also established to accommodate the hundreds of young , single men employed in the mines. Farms were started on the outskirts of the town to supply feed for the mine livestock as well as fresh produce for the commu 5 nity. Good arable land was to be found around the Nanaimo river and Cedar districts where hay and oats were grown with some success. At the turn of the century dairy farms were started and a creamery opened in 1905. The only industry of note that was independent of mining in Nanaimo was the herring industry. In 1905 there were six companies engaged in herring fishing that employed 150 men but this increased to 43 companies that employed close to 1,500 worker s by 1910  The Company itself maintained a large farm, known as Wakesiali farm, to feed the Company livestock.  113  (Norcross 1979:7 1).6 The majority of herring were salted and several salteries were established in and around Nanaimo. By 1914 there were 15 herring salteries within the district, three of which were located near Cowichan gap (Porlier Pass). Besides salteries other fish processing plants were opened in and around Nanaimo for the manufacture of fish meal and fish oil. For a short period of time a whaling station, employing close to 300 workers was established on Hammond Bay just north of the city at Pages Lagoon. 7 Between 1911 and 1912 Nanaimo had a clam cannery and 36 smoke and fish houses that employed 400 workers (Canada: Marine and Fisheries, 1911-12). The First World War created a heavy demand for caimed herring and pilchards and coupled with a developing market for the cheaper fall salmon, many canneries opened on Vancouver Island. After the war all three markets collapsed. While a record amount of coal was mined in 1923, the demand for coal began to decline long before the First World War. The shift to oil, a more efficient thel, and the larger coal seams discovered in Northern British Columbia spelled the end ofthis industry for Nanaimo. The First World War gave the industry a reprieve but by the 1920’s the end was in sight. Only twenty-five percent of the Nanaimo labour force worked in the mining industry at this time (Gidney 1978:21).  6  In 1903-4 it was noted that herring was so plentiflul ‘that large numbers were washed upon the beaches by the waves of the passing steamer’ (Department of Fisheries, AR 1905-07:46). Whales were not plentiflil in the Strait and after one successflil season the station turned to processing dogfish oil before it was finally closed(Henderson 1984).  114  Segregated Labour Force The labour force in Nanaimo had a distinct class, race and gender segregation that was linked to the labour intensive demands of an underground mining industr y and the services it generated. Class lines were sharply drawn between those who owned or managed the mines, and those who worked in the mines (see Phillips 1988). Most visible in the class of owners was Robert Dunsmuir the owner of Dunsmuir, Diggle and Co. Ltd. and later a member of the Provincial Legislature as Nanaimo’s representative. Also visible was the various mine managers of the Vancouver Coal Mining and Land Compa ny who were sent directly from England to manage the interests ofthe Company. These men. and their families constituted a small class of bourgeoisie whose economic and social life was quite distinct from the rest of the community. Much has been written about the different managing techniques and policies of these two companies that often reflect ed the personality of these two leading men (Phillips 1967; Gailacher 1979; Mouat 1988). Dunsmuir arrived in Nanaimo in the 185 0’s to work for the Hudson’s Bay Company. He began as a coal miner, a supervisor for the VCMLC and then an owner of his own mines. He was an entrepreneur in the truest sense and often had an adversarial relatio nship with his workers. On the other hand, the mine managers for the VCMLC were part of the bourgeois class in Britain and had never worked as miners or labourers. While they offered a more paternalistic approach, their limited understanding ofthe workin g conditions in the mines often led to their share of conflicts with their work force. The class of men who worked in the mines was divided into skilled and unskill ed workers. Skilled workers were the miners or hewers who worked directl y on the coal  115  face. Attached to them were assistants who through various grades of apprenticeship eventually reached the senior positions of hewer. Unskilled workers were the labourers who were responsible for loading coal on cars to transport to the surface, cleaning coal, and surface work. These men worked as teams with productivity determined by both the physical geology of the coal seams and the level of technology used to extract it.  8  This dichotomy of skilled and unskilled labour was to fall along three racial lines, White, Chinese and Native. Skilled labour was assigned to White miners and their Sons. Most of these miners were of British extraction but other ethnicity’s appear around the turn ofthe Century such as Italians, Croatians, Swedes and Belgians. Unskilled labour was either Chinese or Native workers. This racial segmentation in the mines was reflected in a three tiered wage structure (see table 4:1). White miners were paid the highest wages, while Native workers and young boys were paid at times less than halfthe average wages ofWhite skilled miners. Chinese workers, were an indentured labour force and paid the lowest wages. In looking specifically at the labour force of the Vancouver Coal Mining and Land Company, White labour was by far the most abundant except for specific years when Chinese labour in the mines exceeded fifty percent ofthe labour force. Native labour in the mines never exceeded more than 13% of the labour force (see Appendix B). There was also racial segregation in other employment in the community. Both Native and Chinese workers worked as casual labourers in a variety of industries. They were  8  Small groups of men worked together; two hewers or those who worked the coal face, and two or three unskilled labourers who transported the coal away from the face. Beishaw (1986) maintains that this division of labour in the mines allowed for greater solidarity during labour disputes.  116  employed in the local sawmills, worked on the roads and helped build the E & N railway from Victoria to Nanaimo. The Chinese also worked as domestics in private households and hotels and they opened a number of laundries in the community. The Japanese were later arrivals at the turn of the century and worked predominately in the herring industry. 9 This racial segmentation, coupled with poor working conditions and wages in the mines, led to considerable class conflict in the community and to the growth of unions early in Nanaimo’s history.’° The Miners’ Mutual Protective Association, appeared as early as 1877 (Phillips 1967:7). Later the Miners’ and Mine Labourers’ Protective Association with unions for Coal Trimmers, Carpenters, Engineers, and Tailors formed one of the earliest labour councils in the province, the Nanaimo Labour Council in 1891 (Phillips 1967:20). This early unionization of the white Nanaimo work force was to produce a solidarity that was not experienced in other communities in British Columbia at this time. Like all coal mining communities there was a very gender specific link between men and women’s work. Men were wage earners who worked in the mines while women’s work was in the home. Women’s exclusion from the mines was not only an accepted practice but enforced through legislation. This legislation had its precedence in the British  Only one herring company in Nanaimo was not owned by Japanese families. The Nanaimo Fish and Bait Company was an amalgamation of Robinson & Stanall and Johnston & Rudd, who had both been engaged in the herring industry since 1896. These companies practiced a racist policy of excluding Japanese labour (Brown 1912). ° Much has been written of the struggle and radicalism of the unions in the labour history of British Columbia (see Bergren 1966; Phillips 1967; Scott 1974).  117  Mines Act of 1842, which restricted women from working underground. ” Until this time women had worked in the mines giving assistance to their menfolk as part of a family economy (see John 1980; Huinphries 1981).12 A similar Act was passed in British Columbia in 1877 but women’s exclusion from underground work in the mines was accepted practice in the community from the start.  13  This exclusion from employment in the mines left few women in the paid labour force in Nanaimo before the turn of the Century. By 1881 only 33 women were listed as “gainfully employed” in occupations such as dressmakers, milliners, and domestic servants (Census 1881; Baskerville et al 1990). It was not until the turn ofthe century that this began to change when professional occupations such as teachers, nurses , clerks and bookkeepers became available to women (see Lowe 1980, Warburton & Coburn 1988). The segregated labour force in Nanaimo was a product of the economic demands of a mining industry. It is within the context ofthis gendered and racially segreg ated economy that the Sne-nay-muxw were to interact and seek employment. In the follow ing sections, I describe their employment history and the labour conditions that structured their participation.  This Act also limited boys under fourteen to work only five days of the week and for a maximum of six hours daily. 12 Women were limited to surface work but with the introduction of automa tic machines for cleaning and sorting coal at the pithead were excluded entirely from employ ment in this industry before the turn of the Century. 13 While women only represented a fraction of the coffier labour force in Britain by 1842 areas of concentration were South Staffordshire, Shropshire, Cumberland, South Wales, Scotland and West Lancashire. It was from these areas that most of the miners in Nanaimo emigrated.  118  Men’s Employment There are no records to indicate that Sne-naymuxw women worked in the mines or continued to convey coal to the ships after the Hudson’s Bay Company sold its concern to the Vancouver Coal Mining and Land Company in 1862. Women, from the onset of this period, were excluded due to the prevalent gend er segregated ideology of the mining industry. However it is evident that in the early years this industry remained an important source of employment for Sne-nay-muxw men. Many visitors to Nanaimo noted that in the early years of the coal operation that man y young Sne-nay-muxw men were hired as coal pushers, cleaning the coal, or on the wharves a& coal 4 trimmers.’ Nonetheless, how many Sne-nay-muxw men worked in the mines or trimmed coal during this period is unclear. In the Vancouver Coal Mining and Land Company records, Native labour only constituted a small percentage of the total labo ur force and after 1891 none were recorded. These figures, however, only report the number ofNative workers employed directly by the mining company and do not indic ate the number subcontracted by individual 5 miners.’ Despite generations of Sne-nay-muxw men work ing in the mines, only a few were employed as skilled labour or hewers. The majo rity remained on a casual basis as  ‘  Knight (1978) maintains that coal trimming rema ined an important occupation for the Sne-nay-muxw until the strike of 1913. “It should be noted that some of the Native work ers reported were not necessarily Sue nay-muxw, as many northern peoples such as the Comox, Qualicum and Kwakwaka’wakw from Ft Rupert came to Nanaimo seeking work (Codere 1966; RG 10, voL 1331, Feb. 29,1884, July 6, 1884; vol. 1334, April 4, 1888 ). A site north ofthe city on the Milistream River was set aside primarily for these northern visitors and many camped here until 1899 when the city removed theni  119  unskilled 6 labour.’ In spite of a lack of formal employm ent records after 1890, there is safficient evidence to indicate that Sne-nay-mux w men continued to work in and around the mines (Department of Indian Affairs, AR 190 1-1 1). They were given employment sinking shafts for the mine opened on the Reserve at the turn of the century (RG 10, vol. 6404, file 832-1, pt.). Also evidence given in the hearings for the Royal Commission of Indian Affairs in 1913, reveals that many Sne-naymuxw men considered mining a preferred occupation to any other in the commun ity. Today only a few individuals are remembered to have worked steadily in the mine s before and after World War 1.17 In addition to mining, men worked as casual labo ur in a number of other occupations in Nanaimo. During the 1870’s several small sawm ills in Nanaimo offered casual work to individual Sne-nay-muxw men (Tate, Feb. 2, 1872 ; Sproat in RG 10, vol. 3611, ifie 37568, DEC 20, 1876). The largest sawmill in the area was at Chemainus which began operation in 1883. A few Sne-nay-muxw reloc ated close to this mill while there was steady employment. Longshoring at Chemainus became an important occupation for some Sne-nay-muxw as well as other Native men in the region. Native gangs in the region were known to be good workers as longshoremen and noted for their ability to load a 8 ship.’ H. R. MacMillan (1963) in his Reminiscences wrote ofhis observations of the native gangs he saw at Chemainus during World War I:  16  The 1881 Nominal Census lists 10 Sne-nay-mux w household heads as miners while listing others as labourers or fishermen. 17 Some casual work in the mines was available to some band members when the Reserve mine opened on reserve land in 1910 and closed 1930. It was again opened in 1934 to 1939. gangs from the Squanñsh band, the Bow and Arro ws were known for their skill in loading lumber (ILWU Local 500 Pensioners 1975 ).  120  The Chemainus stevedores included a large number of Indian blood. They lived within ten miles of Chemainus and were very much inter-re lated. They were competent and proud of loading a sailing ship so well and careful ly that almost without exception more lumber was put on any specifi c ship at Chemainus than at any other port at which she loaded (MacMillan 1963: 58). Timber legislation restricted entrepreneurial hand logging but two Sne-nay-muxw men obtained contracts with Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway Company to provide railway pilings (RG 10, vol. 1335, Feb. 4, 1889).’ There was also employment clearing land and building roads as the community grew and expanded. Several Sne-na y-muxw men owned their own teams of horses which were hired out to clear stumps as well as annually plow the small five acre plots that were common in the area. Other men worked as porters for the local stores and hotels, and worked on the steamers that plied from Nanaimo to Vancouver and Victoria. Sne-nay-muxw men also worked in the commercial fishing industry as simple commodity producers and as wage workers. Before the 1880’s their participation was limited to meeting the local demand for fish and fish oil by the commu nity. Early pioneers of Nanaimo remember that Sne-nay-muxw men fished on a daily basis and peddled their catch from door to door as well as supplying the local fish market on Victoria Crescent and the City Fish Market that opened later in 1903 (Nanaimo Free Press, Dec. 9,1903, 1907, Noroross 1979: 103). Dogfish oil was also a source of income. Dogfish oil was an important commodity in Nanaimo because it was used for the miners lamps as well as greasin g skid roads for the  ‘ T 9 he grant of land given to the E & N effectively ended available Crown land to log. Chemainus mill company bought timber rights in 1889 for the E & N lands.  121  20 logg ers. While the oil was not a traditional part of their diet, the petty commodity production of dogfish oil by Native peoples began as early as the 1850’s (Stacey 1982). Sne-nay-muxw participation in the manufacture of dogfish oil was assured with their access to dogfish schools in March near Nanoose Bay. Other groups such as the Nanoose and Penelakuts also made a good living selling dogfish oil to the mining community ofNanaimo (DIA, AR 1889; RG 10, vol. 3662, file 9756, pt 3)  21  At the turn  of the century dogfish was also dry salted (Victoria Colonist, Sept. 6, 1902). Afier the 1880’s commercial fishing expanded in the province and some Sne-nay-muxw men who did not have steady employment during the summer month s were hired as fishermen for the salmon canneries on the Fraser River. Fraser River canneries were established as early as the 1870’s and by 1900 there were over forty canneries in this region (Lyons  1969).22  It is estimated that 1300 Native fishermen were employed on the  Fraser river in 1882 (DIA, AR 1883:6 1). Like many other bands on the southeast coast of Vancouver Island, working for the canneries on the Fraser River became an important seasonal income for the Sne-nay-muxw. Fish ledgers and missio nary records reveal that the Sne-nay-muxw frequented several canneries on the Fraser River during this time.  20  Dogfish oil was used to fhel miners lamps until the turn of the century when safety lamps and electricity were introduced. According to one source during the months of March, August and December individuals could earn as much as $4 to $6 a day (Stacey 1982). 21 of the large dogfish oil producers in the region had marriage links to the Sne-nay muxw (RG 10, vol. 1332, May 4, 1886). According to a local Nanaim o historian, the local supply of dogfish oil for Nanaimo was in the hands ofNano ose Bob who was married to a Sne-nay-muxw woman, Mary. 22 have been several good histories of the cannery industry in the provin ce. One of the early definitive works is Lyons (1969). A recent study by Newel l (1993) documents the history of Native peoples in the commercial fishing industry of British Columbia.  122  Initially they went to the Ewen cannery and later the Imperial, Terra Nova, Pacific Coast and Vancouver Cannery. 23 As well as fishing for the canneries, Sne-nay-muxw men worked inside the canneries hauling and stacking cases. However, after the Hell’s Gate slide of 1914, salmon runs on the Fraser River decreased drastically and the Sne-nay muxw were forced to move to more lucrative fishing areas in the north. 24 While they continued to go to the Fraser River dining the summer months many began to fish chum and pinks during the fall months for the Quathiaski cannery at Campbell River (DIA, AR 1915; Tate, 1917). Sne-nay-muxw men were active participants in the local economy. While individual men were able to find steady employment in the local economy, employment generally remained highly seasonal and casual as Sne-nay-muxw men were excluded from the higher paid employment in the mines. The poor wages coupled with the poor working conditions in the mines encouraged many Sne-nay-muxw to migrate to the canneries or seek employment at Chemainus in the sawmills. Few Sne-nay-muxw men were able to find secure employment in the local economy.  Women’s Employment After their displacement from the mining industry Sne-nay-muxw women’s access to wage employment was severely limited in Nanaimo. Excluded from employment in the  23  The Ewen cannery opened on the Fraser River in 1876 and remained in operation until 1930. This afliliation however was not always secure as canneries changed ownership, did not open some years, and in some cases burnt down. 24 Gate is a narrow gorge on the Fraser River that was damaged with railway construction. Several slides occurred here that prevented sockeye and pinks from spawning.  123  mines, women were also excluded from work in the sawmills and the majori ty of other occupations in the community. However, their labour remained in great deman d as domestic servants in the hotels and boarding houses that opened to accommodat e the rising number of young single men working in the mines. Sne-nay-muxw women were hired as maids, cooks, and serving staff on a permanent as well as casual basis. As well as in commercial establishments hired domestic labour was also used in private homes . This demand for domestic service in commercial establishments as well as private homes ensured Sne-nay-muxw women’s participation in the early labour force of the settlement. The most demanding domestic work in the mining community was washing and women who ran boarding houses or had large families hired domestic help for this labour intensive and time consuming domestic chore. Washing clothes took a fill day to compl ete. In the early years in Nanaimo, water had to be carried in buckets from springs which were found under the rocks of the tidal ravine (Bowen 1987:134). In 1883 piped water was drawn out of Hamilton Creek. The actual washing required that water be heated on stoves , clothes were then rubbed on washboards, wrung, rinsed, wrung, and then hung to dry. Ironing was done with flat irons heated on a stove. The demand for this labour in the mining community was exceptionally high, and hiring Sne-nay-muxw women to help with the washing was well established throughout the latter half ofthe nineteenth Century (Gordon, Methodist Scrapbook). As well as private households, Sne-nay-muxw women also worked for various hotels and boarding houses. Both forms of domestic service remained important after the turn of the century.  124  Another source of employment available to Sne-nay-muxw women was work in the local canneries. A few canneries opened in the community by the turn of the century . This employment was far from secure from year to year as these canneries failed to open some years and on occasion burnt down (Nanaimo Free Press, March 28, 1910). Nanaimo Canning Company opened in 1914 and canned both sockeye and chum during the war. However, a Sne-nay-muxw informant maintains that by the turn of the century the majority of people who worked in this cannery were people from the north who camped out on Newcastle Island. When the canneries began operation on the Fraser River, Sne-nay-muxw women began to accompany their husbands to work inside the canneries cleaning fish and stacking the empty boxes. 25 On occasion women were also used as boat pullers and a few women were hired to fix the nets before the canneries began operation. With the introduction of manufactured nets at the turn of the century this employment ended. The success of women’s adaptability to the cannery industry was noted by Lonias in his first report to the Department of Tndian Affairs in 1881: There is no class of labourers to compete with them at the fisheries Their women also, who are very industrious, are profitably employed at the fisheries during the fishing season, making nets and cleaning fish for the canneries... (DIA, AR 1882: 166). . . .  At this time Sne-nay-muxw women were part of an estimated labour force of 400 Native women in the canneries on the Fraser River earning $1.00 a day (DIA, AR  25  According to one source Native women were not hired as fillers in the Fraser River canneries as they were on the Skeena river (Ladner 1979:56).  125  1882:61). By 1901 they were paid 15 cents an hour (RG 10, vol. 1359, July 29, 1901, #382). Working in the clam cannery was also an important source of incom e for Sue-nay muxw women. There was a small cannery at Departure Bay, Nanaim o Herring Canning and Packing that was formerly conducted on a barge and towed from place to place. Several Sne-nay-muxw women worked in this clam cannery which emplo yed as many as 30 people (Thompson 1913). As noted earlier, Sne-nay-muxw territory contained one of the richest clam beds on Vancouver Island. The clam industry in the provin ce began slowly but by 1914 had increased to a value of $84,097. In the year 191112 more clams were harvested in the Nanaimo district than any other district in British Colum bia. Fisheries Reports note that on average 1500 sacks of clams were collect ed yearly at this time from this district. (Canada: Marine and Fisheries 1912, 1914). The principle clam diggers in the Nanaimo district were Sne-nay-muxw women and children but men often accompanied their wives if they had no steady emplo yment in the local sawmills or mines. Several elders remember that families would camp out for days at a time to gather clams. In the early 1900’s a clam buyer would pick up the clams for which the Sne-nay-muxw were paid seventy five cents to $1.00 for a 125 pound sack. According to one source two persons were able to gather as many as six sacks of clams at one low tide (Thompson 1913). Digging clams was most productive during low tide. Low tide occurred twice during the lunar month but the lowest tides of the year occurred during the summer and winter soistices.  126  The anival of Chinese in larger numbers after the 1880’s guaranteed a demand for various types of seaweed which were used as food and medicine. Sne-nay-muxw women’s knowledge of the coast and the location of good seaweed patches helped them to supplement their incomes selling seaweed. Alth ough the demand for seaweed decreased in Nanaimo after the turn of the century as the Chinese population declined, buyers from both Vancouver and Victoria stifi mad e frequent visits to Nanaimo to buy seaweed from Sne-nay-muxw women. In the fall, many Sne-nay-muxw women went to pick hops in Washington or the Fraser Valley. Men accompanied their mothers, wives or sisters if they could not find local jobs. The first hop fields were established on White Rive r in Washington State as early as the 1860’s. Vancouver Island people went to the hop farms in the Puyullup River Valley in Washington State as early as 1880’s (RG 10, voL 1331 , Aug. 15,1884). A steamer left from Victoria on a regular basis but many paddled dow n in their canoes where they were met a the mouth of the river by the field bosses and directed to the farms (RG 10, vol. 1334, Aug. 17, 1889). Going to the hop fields was an established practice for many Sne nay-muxw families by 1886 as it was for other band s in the area. A missionary who accompanied them and other Cowichan agency band s noted that the lower deck of the steamer from Victoria to Seattle was so full that peop le could barely lie down (Tate Sept. 1, 1905 BCARS). Local hop production began on the Saanich peninsul a in the 1870’s and employed over 200 Indian pickers from the local villages (Victoria Colonist, July 9, 1922; Victoria Times, Sept. 16, 1955). At the turn of the century hop fields were established in the  127  Fraser Valley around Chilliwack and Agassiz, but the initial production was limited and variable from year to year 26. The United States placed a duty on hops to prote ct their market, limiting the provincial hop production to local brew eries in Nanaimo, Victoria and New Westminister (Victoria Colonist Oct. 7, 1928). It was only after 1910 and particularly during the first World War that production incre ased and remained consistent. At this time some Sne-nay-muxw women made the annual migr ation to the Fraser Valley to pick hops as the local growers paid out advances and fares to guarantee their participation. For women who accompanied their husbands’ fishing on the Fraser River, going to the hop fields in the Fraser Valley was more convenien t than Washington despite better wages paid there. Other agricultural labour was also available to Sne-naymuxw women on local farms in and around Nanaimo. Women were hired for weeding or pick ing berries and potatoes (RG 10, vol. 1357, July 29, 1901, no 382). From the historical material it is evident that the Sne-naymuxw women were actively involved in the wage economy throughout this period. Living in close proximity to the mining town ofNanaiino was an important advantage for finding employment as domestic workers in private households and local hotels. However Sne-nay-muxw women also gathered local foods such as clams and seaweed to sell to the canneries and the Chinese markets. Seasonally they moved to the canneries on the Fras er River and the hop fields in Washington and the Fraser Valley. The variety of means by which women participated in  26  In 1891 only 48 acres in B.C. were devoted to hops which produced 55,288 bushels. Ten years later this had increased to 262 acres producing 299, 717 bushels (Census 1901).  128  wage labour reveals the nature of the economy that, on one hand demanded seasonal labour, and on the other, guaranteed this labour through a racially and gender segregated labour force. The following section examines the labour conditions that reinforced this segregation.  Labour Conditions Depressions, Strikes and Accidents Aside from the technical problems of producing coal, uneven market demands, strikes and accidents affected both Sne-nay-muxw men and women’s employment in the mining industry in Nanaimo. While there was great expansion in the coal industry from the mid 1870’s on there were several depressions in the coal trade. Several small depressions occurred in every decade but a severe economic depression hit the industry at the turn of the century. These economic slumps were caused by various fItctors such as unsteady demand for coal from the San Francisco market, competition from other coal fields, transportation costs, and high tariffs that protected American coal producers. As well as these recessions, numerous strikes and accidents closed the mines for days, weeks and sometimes months. Strikes plagued the industry and, while some were reconciled quickly and amicably, others were more extensive. One of the longest and most bitter strikes in Nanaimo’s history lasted two years between 1912 and 1914 during which the mines were only operated with the aid of the militia. The ‘Big Strike’ as it was known, crippled the community and left many families destitute (Mathews 1955: 176-177; Bowen 1987:187).  129  Accidents were also a cause of work stoppages for weeks or months at a time. Fire, flooding, and gas explosions were all hazards faced in the mines. In order to get out as much coal as possible both the company and the miners cut corners, a practice which often led to serious accidents. While deaths occurred annually from falling rocks and small explosions, the worst disaster occurred in 1887 when 148 men died in one large explosion in the Number One Mine that bordered the Sne-nay-muxw town 27 reserve. A year later another explosion in the Number Five Mine at Wellington claimed another 77 lives. Such devastating losses led to the reputation that Nanaimo mines were among the most dangerous mines in the world (Griffin 1958; Gallacher 1979). This insecure employment in Nanaimo was in fact a consistent feature of the early economy in British Columbia (see Sager & Baskerville 1990). Even in the most productive years miners did not work all year round. In assessing the working days of a single miner, it is estimated that in one of the most productive years, 1890, a thU-time miner only worked approximately 222 days a year (Belshaw 1988). This would indicate that miners were often faced with part-time employment or unemployment for months at a time. This continued after the turn of the Century. It was reported to the Labour Commission in 1912 that miners in Nanaimo, on average, were unemployed two to three months a year. Working as casual workers in and around the mines the Sne-nay-muxw were the first to be displaced when there was a shortage of employment in the community. When labour was scarce there was a preference to give available jobs to skilled White miners. The  27  This disaster left 46 widows and 146 orphans in the community.  130  Vancouver Coal Mining and Land Company extended this preference to the hiring of married White men first. This was a standard policy follo wed in many mining towns to maintain a secure and reliable labour force. While som e Sne-nay-muxw miners were favoured because of their good work records and com mitment to mining, increasingly others were displaced from the mines as casual labourers . During the economic depressions the Indian agents were to note the difficulty the Sne-nay-muxw experienced in finding adequate wage labour in the community. While labour shortages were few and far between durin g this period there were occasions when Sne-nay-muxw labour was actively soug ht. One such demand occurred after the large explosion at the Number One mine that kille d a hundred and forty-eight miners. This mine was closed for three months and when it opened there was a shortage of miners and unskilled labour in the community. The loss of such a large number of men enabled some Sne-nay-muxw to find employment in the mines at this time. The banning by the VCMLC of Chinese miners underground after this accident ensured that unskilled labour was available. Many ofthe accidents in the mines was blamed upon Chinese miners  who, it was argued, could not read important instructions post ed in the mines. In hindsight it is more likely that the Chinese were placed in more hazardous working conditions and this may have also been the situation for Sne-nay-muxw workers as well (see Bowen 1987:273). The economic cycles in the mining industry also impacted Sne-nay-muxw women’s employment as domestic workers in the community. With no work in the mines, hotels and restaurants that catered to the single male population, either closed or reduced their  131  employment demands. The shortage of income for many families in the community also ended their means of hiring Sne-nay-muxw women to do washing and other chores. Such insecure employment produced by this racially segregated labour force obliged both Sne-nay-muxw men and women to seek employment outside the local economy. One such opportunity was the growing caiming industry on the Fraser River that began to expand during one of the recession periods in the 1880’s. Although seasonal wages of the canneries were far from secure due to cyclical salmon runs and market demands, the number of canneries increased on the river. During the years of peak runs labour was in high demand but it dropped off significantly for other years. While not all Sne-nay-muxw were committed to going to the canneries the majority did go for these peak runs (Lyons 1969). In 1913 during the ‘Big Strike’ in Nanaimo, most Sne-nay-muxw worked at the Pacific Coast Cannery, which was only open for the peak runs at this time. The end of productive runs on the Fraser river after 1913 saw fewer Sne-nay-muxw going to the canneries. By 1920 they had moved north to Quathiaski cannery for the fall fishing and canning of chum. Another option for employment during poor employment periods in Nanaimo was harvesting hops in the fall months. Like the canneries however hop production was also variable in its demand for labour. During the periods of economic depressions many farmers did not bother to plant or harvest hops. It was only after the turn of the century that hop production began to steadily increase particularly in the Fraser Valley.  132  Competition Another factor that affected Sne-nay-muxw participation in the local labour force during this period was the competition by Chinese workers and non-Native women. The history of Chinese immigration to this province and the discriminatory practices by both the labour market and the state have been well documented by both historians and sociologists (Ward 1978; Roy 1980; Creese 1986, 1988, 1988_89).28 Chinese workers were imported to the province to work as cheap unskilled labour in the least desirable employment. Primarily men, they were recruited under a contract system of indentured labour. This subjected them to the lowest standards of living, denied them rights to citizenship, and prohibited them from bringing their families and settling as other 29 immig rants. As a cheap unskilled labour force they were in direct competition for the employment opportunities available to Sne-nay-muxw men and women in the community. The first Chinese labourers were brought to Nanaimo by the Vancouver Coal Mining and Land Company in 1867 to work in the mines. Initially their arrival did not replace Sne-nay-muxw labour as they were believed to be unsuitable as pushers and drivers of the coal tubs (White’s diary, Dec. 14, 1867; Sproat 1876). However by the 1880’s Chinese labourers were employed in greater numbers in all the mines and used in a variety of underground and surface work. The Vancouver Coal Mining and Land Company 28 the literature there is disagreement on what motivated this race segregation in the Within economy, an idealist (Ward 1980) or economic motivation (Creese 1988, Li 1979, and Warburton 1981). COmpies in San Francisco contracted individual Chinese labour to mining companies 29 for a five or ten year period. This indentured labour was cheaper to employ as the contract companies were responsible for housing and food. Indentured labour persisted until 1949 when legislation introduced during the Second World War required that each employee have individual wage records.  133  employed 61 Chinese workers in 1880 but by 1885 this number had tripled. The Dunsmuir’s Mines had even higher numbers of Chinese working in their mines. They constituted as much as a third of the workforce by the turn of the Century (B.C. Minister of Mines, AR. 1899). This increased presence of Chinese labour in the mines coincided with the expanding demand for unskilled labour as coal production began to escalate. At the same time records from both the Vancouver Coal Mining and Land Co. and the nominal Census indicate that Sne-nay-muxw participation in mining declined (Census 1881, 1891). In 1881 a third of Sne-nay-muxw household heads reported mining as their principal occupation however only two household heads were enumerated as miners by 1891 (Census 189 i).° The primary reason for this decline was that Chinese labour was cheaper than Sne-nay muxw labour. As table 4:1 showed there was a three tiered salary offered to workers by the VCMLC. Chinese unskilled labour was far cheaper and more economical for the company than Native labour. With the exception of four years, Chinese average wages remained at $1.13 a day, while White labour rose to a high of $3.50 and Native labour to $2.50. As unskilled labour Sne-nay-muxw workers were placed in direct competition for work in the mines by the cheaper Chinese workforce.  1t should be noted that one of the miners also listed farming as a part-time occupation. 30  134  Table 4:1 Average Wages Per Day, Vancouver Coal Mining and Land Company, 1874-1890 Year 1874 1875 1876 1877 1878 1879 1880 1881 1882 1883 1884 1885 1886 1887 1888 1889 1890 Mean  White $2.75 $3.50 $3.00 $3.00 $2.75 $2.88 $2.88 $2.88 $3.00 $3.00 $3.00 $2.88 $2.88 $2.88 $3.00 $3.00 $3.00 $2.78  Chinese $1.19 $1.19 $1.13 $1.13 $1.13 $1.13 $1.13 $1.13 $1.25 $1.25 $1.13 $1.13 $1.13 $1.13 $1.13 $1.13 $1.13 $1.15  Native $1.38 $1.25 $1.25 $1.25 $1.25 $1.25 $1.25 $1.25 $1.25 $1.88 $1.88 $1.69 $1.50 $2.00 $2.00 $2.00 $2.50 $1.58  Source: B.C. Ministry ofMines Annual Report 1874-1890  It is in the first Royal Commission on Chinese Immigration in 1885 that the preference for Chinese over Native workers in the mines was voiced. This preference, according to Dunsmuir, the owner ofthe Wellington mines, was not due to the economic benefits of cheaper wages but to the perception of Native labour itself as undependable (Canada, Royal Commission on Chinese Tmmigration. 1885:129). His testimony and others before the Commission maintained that the problem with Native labour was that Native people were prone to “nomadic propensities” and were not suitable for any permanent work  135  (ibid. 1885:142). Chinese labour, it was argued was far more reliable and suitable for the highly labour intensive industries. This view ofNative labour was not shared by all, but this racist ideology that legitimized a cheaper labour force was a common one found throughout the province at this time (ibid. 1885:108). However testimonies also reveal that Native labour was readily available and always willing to work (ibid. 1885:xliii). The mines manager of the Vancouver Coal Mining and Land Company noted to the Commission that Native labour was always a potential labour force that could be tapped as strike breakers to use in the mines (ibid. 1885:118). The Commission concluded that cheap Chinese labour would not displace skilled labour and endorsed their continual use in the mines. Such a decision was to effectively limit an important source of wage employment for many Sne-nay-muxw men. Unable to compete for skilled employment which was limited to White miners only, they were simultaneously curbed from unskilled employment unless they accepted the poorest wages and conditions. ’ After the mining disaster of 1887 in the Esplanade mine, 3 Chinese labour was excluded from underground work by the Vancouver Coal Mining and Land Company. At this time there was active recruitment ofNative labour to work in the mines(RG1O, vol. 1334, March 24, 1888; April 18, 1888). However, this recruitment only increased their number in the mines for that year only as Appendix B shows. All underground work from 1889 on became the principal domain of white workers.  31  The Nanaimo mines were estimated to be among the most dangerous mines in the world (Griffin 1958; Gallacher 1979).  136  Chinese competition was also felt by Sne-nay-muxw women for work in domestic service and in the canneries. The establishment of several Chinese laundries in the community paralleled their occupational specialization in other communities throughout North America (see Ong 1981). The demand for this service was great in a mining community with a large number of single men and was one of the few businesses that was 32 Chinese laundries sprang up immediately on the arrival of not coveted by Whites. Chinese miners and by 1881 there were ten establishments operating in the town (Census 188  Chinese men were also hired as servants in private households and hotels. By  1901 forty-two were employed in this capacity (Census 1901). The presence of Chinese laundries and the employment of Chinese as domestic servants was a direct competition for Sne-nay-muxw women who depended upon this labour for an income. A brief delivered by the Knights of Labour to the Royal Commission in 1885 acknowledged that Chinese labour had displaced women from employment in domestic service in Nanairno (ibid. 1885:158). This brief was primarily concerned with the displacement of White women but it reveals the competition that Sne-nay-muxw women must have faced at this time. Although wages were the same other testimony to the Commission noted that there was a racial preference for Chinese servants over Native women in the colony (ibid. 1885:xx).  32  Ong (1981) maintains that Chinese success in operating laundries was due to their own social ties and institutions. Retaining reliable labour was only assured through lineal or locality lines. Two decades later this number decreased to seven with the competition from a White laundry (Census 1901). The white laundry known as Imperial continued operation on Comox Street in the early 1900’s (Directory 1910).  137  Sne-nay-muxw women also had to face increasing competition for employment from non-Native women in the community. Many young women, in order to support themselves or supplement their families incomes, were forced to seek such employment. Wbile domestic work was the most common employment for women in the community it was not the most desired and became less so by the turn of the century. This attitude was noted by a local doctor in Nanaimo in 1902: The men of this town earn fairly good wages, and as soon as they are able to give their children an education they do not care for their girls going out to domestic service (ibid 1902:170). The need for young women to contribute to family incomes was important particularly during times of men’s unemployment (see Tilly & Scott l987). Women were often forced into domestic service to support their families during periods of economic depression.  While at the same time as these women sought increased employment the  economic stress within the community simultaneously decreased the number of households with disposable income that could hire domestic help. For Sne-nay-muxw women such economic depression meant fewer employment opportunities and increasing competition by non-Native women who needed to supplement family incomes. During the strike of 1912-1914 that placed many families in Nanaimo in great distress, Sne-nay-muxw women’s access to domestic labour was diminished substantially.  34 & Tilly (1975) document the importance of young single women’s income to the Scott maintenance of the family in the 19th Century. u Beishaw (1988) argues that Chinese presence in the mines reduced overall household income as young boys were not employed.  138  Competition was also a factor for Sne-nay-muxw women in the canneries. The introduction of Chinese male workers in the canneries occurred early in the industry’s history as the demand for labour exceeded the available Native labour (Lyons 1969: 181). By 1884, there were far more Chinese men working in the canneries than Native women. 36 This employment, according to the Indian agent at the Fraser River agency displaced the labour ofNative women: The Indians from all parts ofthis agency complain very much this spring and summer ofhow they are undermined in the labour market by Chinamen, especially in all kinds of light work, where the Indian women and their boys and girls used to be employed (DIA, AR 1885:104). By the turn of the century Chinese labour had more than doubled in the canneries (Royal Commission 1902:143-45, Gladstone 1959:121). Their initial introduction did not displace Sne-nay-muxw women entirely as a distinctive division of labour arose along racial and gender lines. Sne-nay-muxw women were hired primarily to clean fish and fill the cans, while Chinese men made the cans, soldered the tops, boiled and cooled them and packed them in the boxes. This racial and gender division of labour suited cannery operators as it guaranteed a seasonal labour force within and without the cannery as Sne nay-muxw and other Native women accompanied their husbands who fished for the cannery. After 1890 the introduction of the Japanese in the commercial fishing industry created further competition for both Sne-nay-muxw men and women in this industry. Japanese immigration began during the 1890’s and escalated particularly between 1896 and 1901  36  At this time 1,157 Chinese were employed in the canneries while Native employment for both men and women was 1,280 (Royal Commission on Chinese Tmmigration 1885).  139  when it is estimated that 13,913 immigrated to the province. The majority of Japanese entered the fishing industry and in a short period became the dominant ethnic group in the industry (Rounsefell & Keles 1938; Canada, Report of Fisheries Commission 1905-07:23; Gladstone 1972: 170)). Such competition was to adversely effect Sne-nay-muxw fishermen. By 1902 the Sne-nay-muxw no longer made the money from the canneries they made eight or nine years earlier. They reported that they were lucky now to go home with $100 (News Advertiser, Feb. 7, 1902). The introduction of Japanese in the commercial fishing industry also affected Sne-nay muxw women. Unlike the Chinese, the Japanese were not indentured labourers. Initially immigrants were primarily men, but at the beginning of the century a ‘family building’ phase began through a picture bride marriage system (Adachi 1976:87-108). This was highly successfhl and by 1921 out of 15,868 Japanese living in Canada, 5,348 were female (Cheng 1931). This new population of Japanese women in the province became an increasing threat to the security of Sne-nay-muxw women’s jobs in the canneries. As early as 1901 canners were well aware of an additional growing labour pool attached to Japanese fishermen. During a labour dispute in that year they were quick to point out that they no longer needed Native labour in the canneries as they could always hire Japanese women (Vancouver Daily Province, June 22, 1901, p1). By 1920 Japanese women were a significant part of the labour force for the canneries on the Fraser River.  37 presence of Japanese fishermen on the Fraser River encouraged Native fishermen to The align with white fishermen and support the fishermen’s union, the Fraser River Fishermen’s Protective and Benevolent Association (Gladstone 1972).  140  Regardless of the presence of Asian and other immigrant workers, the Sne-nay-muxw were not displaced from employment in the hop harvesting. While there were attempts to encourage white pickers during times of depression, this never proved successfiul because of the poor wages and living conditions. Before the turn of the century hop picking in Washington was taken up by white workers however one observer noted that Native workers maintained their monopoly despite this competition as they were preferred by some of the farmers themselves: Many growers prefer them as they are more willing to live out doors, begin early, and complain less than most whites (Eells 1985:305). Nonetheless, White workers did displaced Native hop pickers in the Fraser Valley during the economic depression that followed World War I but this labour force did not remain committed to this seasonal and insecure employment. By the 1920’s hop picking in this region was again monopolized by Native workers.  Mechanization and Resegmentation In addition to variability in demand for labour and competition produced by other marginalized workers, Sne-nay-muxw employment was also affected by increased mechanization, a product of management’s ongoing efforts to reduce labour costs. As noted in chapter three, coal extraction in Nanaimo began with primitive mining techniques that were highly labour intensive. During this period, considerable technological advances increased coal output and decreased the need for unskilled labour. 38 The introduction of  The major technological innovations in coal mining did not occur until the 20th Century when continuous mining was introduced that cut and transported coal in a continuous non stop operation.  141  steam powered machines reduced the number of coal pushers needed in the mines (Gallacher 1979:229,259). However it was the introduction of electric cars in 1890 that made coal pushers and mule skinners redundant. The first electric cars, which were used at the Esplanade mine, allowed 60 tons of coal to be brought to the surface at one time. By the turn of the century this had increased to ninety-six fifteen ton cars (Belshaw 1986:49-50; BC, Minister of Mines AR 1899:834-5). This improved technology shifted  coal haulage to machines operated by white workers. One occupation that remained highly labour intensive was coal trimming and longshoring. While coal chutes were devised to swing over the hatches of coal ships, the coal had to be trimmed to make the load secure. Loading before the turn of the Century took anywhere from two to three days. When coal was not readily available it might take as long as a week. Coal trimming however was not steady employment and considered one of the least secure forms of employment around the mines. When loading coal became more mechanized the number of coal trimmers was substantially reduced. Women’s paid employment was also affected by increased technology. The most dramatic mechanization to affect women occurred in the canning industry. Initially the entire canning process was dependent upon their manual labour. However, the early introduction of the gang knives and circular blades increased productivity substantially so that by the turn of the century labour work that had previously required 300 to 400 people in the cannery could now be performed by 120 people (Royal Commission on Chinese and Japanese Immigration 1902:136). After the turn of the century the introduction of the fish butchering machine (known derogatorily as the “Iron Chink”) and the solderless  142  and sanitary can reduced the labour force by another 30 to 35 percent (Stacey 1982:23). Further refinements of the butchering machines enabled two operators to do the work of a crew of fifty-one butchers. Despite these technological advances not all canneries mechanized to such an extent. Small canneries still existed as late as the 1920’s that did not have iron butchers and ran only one or two lines (Muszynski 1987:5 6). Also washing the fish remained labour intensive and continued the demand for Native women’s labour. Technology also entered the private household and changed the demand for paid domestic service. As part of the growing consumer orientated economy, new technological devices became available and affordable to the majority ofhouseholds by the turn of the century. Perhaps the most labour saving device and one that was to influence Sne-nay-muxw women’s employment was the introduction of the washing machine. In the 1890’s the first hand operated rotary washing machines began to appear in Nanaimo. 39 The washing machine quickly transferred the responsibility of laundering from paid domestic labour to the housewife (see Cowen 1983:248). This self.sufficiency was further assisted when the arduous chore of heating water on top of the stove was eventually replaced with the hot water tank at the turn of the century  The first electric washing machines however were not available until after 1920.  143  Table 4:2 Population and Sex Ratio of Men and Women in Nanaimo and Suburbs, 1881-1921. Year  Population  Male  Female  Ratio  1881 1891 1901 1911 1921  1645 6512 6130 8168 9088  1033 4217 3488 4877 4874  612 2295 2642 3291 4214  1.7 1.8 1.3 1.5 1.1  Source: Census 1921, Table no 12, p235, Table no 16, . 338 p  The introduction of ready made clothing, the availability of canned fruits and vegetables, as well as meats and fish lIirther reduced the need for domestic help. While women’s allocated time for such activities in the household did not decrease, it became differently distributed. Increasingly such labour could be managed by a single housewife ending the need for domestic servants. Along with these technological improvements the decreasing number of single men in the community lessened the demand for paid domestic labour. As table 4:2 shows the sex ratio in Nanaimo and corresponding suburbs equalized by 1921. The demand for domestic labour was now readily available to most men through the labour of a single housewife. Hiring domestic servants remained the custom for the rich and upper classes which were limited in number in this working class mining community.  144  Domestic Economy Labour conditions such as economic depressions, strikes, competition and increased mechanization reinforced a segregated labour force that placed Sne-nay-m uxw men and women in the least secure and desirab le occupations in the mining eco nomy. Several questions arise about the effects of this segregated economy upon Sne -nay-muxw domestic economy. How was wage labour integrated with subsistence production? How did the social organization based upo n kinship networks and extended families adapt to this change? Much of the literature that examines the effects of contact upon Coast Salish peoples argues that while they easily adapted to the new economy they suffered great social disorganization. Not only did the traditional household organizatio n that centered upon sets of brothers, their wives and children breakdown into smaller nuc lear families living in separate residences, but kin ship was no longer the central org ani7iilg principle of their lives (see Smith 1940, Robinso n 1963, Lewis 1970). In the following section I show that kinship networks and extended fam ilies were an integral part of Sne-nay-muxw life at this time and that the continuity of this social organization was important for integra ting wage labour with non-wage labour. Although gender, race and class segregation lim ited women’s options in paid employ ment, this social organization played a crucial role in determining women’s participation in the labour force. The immediate sections describe the importance ofnon-wage labour in the form of subsistence production and farming to supplement the insecure wage labour available to the Sne-nay-muxw. How kinship networks, extended families and exc hange remained an integral part of Sne-nay-muxw eco nomic strategy is then examined.  145  Subsistence Production The importance of subsistence production to supp lement wage labour was evident to many observers who noted the continual movemen t of the Sne-nay-muxw families to their various resource sites. They fished for herring in the spring, sockeye salmon in the summer on the Fraser River, and chum in the fall on the Nanaimo River. Hunting of deer and other animals occurred in the spring and fall months. Berries were gathered during the summer months and shell fish remained an impo rtant staple all year round. Men and women’s roles in the production of these food s continued as it had in pre-contact times. Men fished and hunted while women gathered shell fish and plant foods as well as preserved fish. In addition to drying and smoking fish, canning became popular by the turn of the Century when home canning materials became available. As families moved together to their resource sites there persisted a flexibility in the division of labour that enabled men and women to help each other when the need arose. However, men and women continued to form separate work parties depending upon the task at hand. Several women would go darning or berry picking together while men formed small work parties to build houses or othe r joint ventures. Craft production remained more circumscribed but this activity increasingly declined as European materials replaced indigenous goods. Nonetheless, som e women, particularly older women, did continue to weave blankets, mats and baskets. Integrating subsistence production with wage labour demanded adaptable seasonal strategies by each family as very few food getti ng activities could occur at the same time. Local wage labour in the mines or domestic servi ce limited the time spent at local resource  146  sites, but the insecurity of such employment encouraged Sne-nay-muxw to remain committed to fishing, hunting and gathering shell fish. One of the complaints voiced about Native labour in the province was that they preferred to pursue subsistence production to wage labour. Most assuredly this was a preferred pursuit by many Sne-nay-mux w families but the limited options in wage labour made it a necessity. The nature of the segregated labour force in Nanaimo compelled the Sne-nay-muxw to integrate this produc tion with wage labour. Nevertheless, the seasonal demands of subsistence production placed constra ints upon wage labour and vice versa. The Sne-nay-muxw made active choices for wage labour over subsistence production in their migration to the canneries and the hop fields. Although the cannery season corresponded with Sne-nay-muxw traditional times of fishing on the Fraser River, the demands of cannery production limited subsist ence production. There is some evidence that while camped at the cannery sites on the Fraser River the Sne nay-muxw and other Native peoples were able to fish for their own daily needs. Unlike the Chinese who were supplied with daily rations from their contractors, the Sne-nay muxw were expected to supply their own food. Despite the fact that many families brought their own provisions and supplies such as flour, sugar and tea could be debited at the cannery store, they needed daily supplies of fresh fish. Cannery operato rs, in order to assure Native labour for the season, promised access to fish around the 40 canner ies. Those  40  One of the large cannery operators on the Fraser River, assured the Indian agent that he would allow his workers to have all the fish they wanted RG1O, Vol. 1332, June 2, ( 1886). The only restriction at the canneries was that smokehouses could not be used as they were considered a fire hazard.  147  canners who restricted fish often lost thei r labour force in mid season (RG1O, Vol. 1332, June 2, 1886; Lyons 1969:181). While access to fish was promised, it is questionable how much time the Sne -nay-muxw had to preserve fish for later subsistence nee ds. There were slow periods in canner y work before the peak runs began but canneries often operated twenty four hours a day with sixteen hour shifts common during the pea k ofthe runs. Such conditions were far from conducive to integration with the labour inte nsive food getting activities needed to preserve 4 fish. Few men or women had the time or ’ energy to process their own fish. during these periods. Some preservation of fish did occur as drying racks were a common feature of the camps around the canneries. Later, when home canning equipment was available this became a preferred method of preserving fish as it was far less tim e consuming. Subsistence production was not pursued whe  n the Sne-nay-muxw worked in the hop  fields. The hop farms were not close to any of their traditional resource sites and harvesting demanded that picking begin early in the day and continue until dus k for three to six weeks. The end of hop harvesting coin cided with the peak chum runs on the Nanaimo River and the Sne-nay-muxw retu rned to fish. This pattern of seasonal exploitation varied with each year. When employment in the community was meager the Sne-nay-m uxw spent more time pursuing subsistenc e  41  Later conservation measures on the Fraser River did close the canneries for thirty-s ix hours on the weekends however mission aries and food fishing permits introdu ced in 1894 , restricted the time and quantity of fish that the Sne-nay-muxw could take on the Fra ser River.  148  production. This option became increasingly more constrained after the 1880’s when resource legislation and settling of the land in and around Nanaimo limited access to resource sites. A land grant to the Esquinialt and Nanaiino Railway Compa ny in 1884 alienated a large corridor of land on the southeastern portion of Vancouver Island where many of the Sne-nay-muxw traditional resource sites were located. This laud was subjected to logging and settlement throughout the latter part of the Century. Aware of the effects of the alienation of resource sites W. Lomas, the Indian agent, wrote of the hardship that this land settlement had upon the older peoples more committed to subsistence production: All the young men can lind employment on farms or at the sawmills and canneries, and many families are about leaving for the hop fields of Washington Territory; but the very old people who formerly lived entirely on fish, berries and roots, suffer a good deal of hardship through the settling up ofthe country. The lands that once yielded berries and roots are now fenced and cultivated, and even on the hills the sheep have destroyed them. Then again, the game laws restrict the time for the killing deer and grouse, and the fishery regulations interfere with their old methods of taking salmon and trout (DIA, AR 1888:105). As the Indian agent noted such legislation began to limit Sne-nay-muxw access to resource sites in their territory. This legislation was introduced to protect over-e xploited fish and game which had come under increased pressure from the growing popula tion and commercial interests. Sne-nay-muxw treaty rights ‘to hunt and fish on unoccupied laud’ were ignored as both federal and provincial officials redefined how they could use these resources. While recognizing the importance of fishing and hunting for their food, restrictions were placed upon the use of aboriginal technology, Jimits and season of s procurement. For example, the Dominion Fisheries Act, extended into the provin ce in  149  1874, restricted salmon spearing without spec ial license and stipulated the times that traps and weirs could be used on the Nanaimo Rive r. An Order in Council in 1888 restricted outright both nets and spears for food fishing on the river. Sne-nay-muxw fishermen were lined as much as five to six dollars for spearing chum on the Nanaimo river (Kelly in Conference of Allied Indian Tribes 1923:136-37). A similar Act, the Provincial Game Act, came into force in 1887 with subsequent amendments that restricted the hunting of deer, grouse, ducks, rabbits and many birds. Unlike more isolated parts of the province wher e enforcement of these regulations was difficult, the immediate proximity of the Sne-naymuxw to the white community placed them under close surveillance early on. Deer hunt ing, always an important food source for the Sne-nay-muxw, was restricted by season and bag limits. The Dominion’s Migration Bird Convention Act of 1917 extended the hunt ing restriction of ducks and birds in the Provincial Game Act to include all migratory birds , cranes, and other shorebirds. Birds still available for food and for gathering eggs were herons, loons, grebes, and gulls (Gottesman 1983). Despite exemptions to the Fisheries and Game Acts to allow the Sne-nay-muxw to continue fishing and hunting for food, the appl ication of these exemptions was left to the discretion of fish and game wardens. This led to considerable frustration for the Sne-nay muxw as these laws did not recognize their abor iginal rights. In one particular incident a Sne-nay-muxw was fined $25 and $3 court costs for shooting a duck. It was argued that the duck was not shot for food because the indiv idual had in his canoe “an orange, a bag  150  of sugar and a bucket of herring.” Understa ndably the Sne-nay-muxw were “very much agitated over this” (RG 10, vol. 1340, March 12, 1896, no.54,5 5). Farming Many Sne-nay-muxw turned to farming to supp lement wage earnings and subsistence production. As noted in Chapter three, the Sne-nay-muxw grew potatoes and hay alon g the Nanaimo River during the 1850’s. Througho ut the 1860’s and 1870’s fkrming was further encouraged by the missionaries. The desir e to have suitable land to farm was part of the compensation demanded by the Sne-naymuxw for moving from their traditional village sites. This was expressed in their addr ess to the new governor ofthe colony in 1864: We want to keep our land here and up the river . Some white men tell us we shall soon have to remove again; but we don’ t want to lose these reserves. All our other land is gone, and we have been paid very little for it. God gave it to us a long time ago, and now we are very poor, and do not know where our homes will be if we leave this. We want our land up the river to plant for food. Mr. Douglas said it should be ours, and our children’s after we are gone. We hope you our new chief; will say the same. We have over 300 people in our tribe, though a number are away fishing now. Many are old and not able to work, and some of our children, who have neither father nor mother, have no clothes. We hope you will be kind to them. Our hearts are good to all white peop le and to you, our great white chief. We hope you will send our word s to the great Queen. We pray that the Great Spirit may bless her and you. This is all our hearts today. At this time they had been moved from their wint er village site at Departure Bay and the village site on the 79 acre reserve set out by the Hudson’s Bay Company (White, BCARS May 30, 1864). When Gilbert Sproat, the Reserve Commissioner, set out the reserves in 1876 the Sne-nay-muxw were insis tent that their reserves include land to farm .  151  The most suitable land was on the river, but the relaxed regulations for preemption and the purchase of land without adequate surveys had increased the number of trespassers on their 4 reserve 2 s. The Sne-nay-muxw not only requested that these trespassers be removed but that more land be allocated to them (RG 10, vol. 3611, file 3756-8, Dec. 20, 1876 ). At this time Sproat noted that on the river rese rves there were substantial fields ofhay and oats and that many Sne-nay-muxw continued to plant potatoes. He also recorded that another 10 acres were fenced and cultivated on the town reserve. In his report he liste d their total livestock to include: 3 horses, 29 head of cattle, 3 pigs, 141 hens and 6 duck s. In setting out their reserves, Sproat recogni zed the importance of the town reserve to the Sne-nay-muxw for its close proximity to employment. He included this reserve as one of the six for a total of 637 acres. These rese rves were finally tabled in 1887 (DIA, AR Sessional Papers, 6th parl.,Ist sess, 1887, no. 6, p59). They were, in relation to the size of Sne-nay-muxw population, one of the smal lest reserves given to a band in British Columbia. The adaptation to farming by some Sne-na y-muxw introduced a new division of labo ur in the family. Men worked outside with the machinery and livestock, while women wer e primarily confined to the interior household activities. As well as cooking, cleanin g and sewing, women made butter, soap and cand les. Children were an important source of 42  The Sne-nay-muxw, like all Native peoples in British Columbia, were restricted from pre-emptying land in the same manner as whi te settlers. Colonial land policy stipulated in 1865 that Indians could only pre-empt land with the consent of the governor. This was further complicated by a required Minute in Council to authorize the transaction (Se e Report on Indian Reserves, Appendix A:6 5; Cail 1974:178, 20 1-8). That no consen t was given effectively barred the Sne-nay-muxw from staking out lands and territory importa nt for their use.  152  labour for the multitude of chores that farm ing demanded. Both men and women shared garden work such as planting, weeding and harvesting. After the establishment of the Cowichan agency the Indian agent was dire cted to monitor the success of farming in his agency (DIA, AR 1881:160). The success of Sne-nay-muxw farmers was noted in the 1900 report that listed a total of 400 acres of cultivated land. From this land Sne-na y muxw farmers produced 175 bushels of wheat, 8820 bushels of oats, 79 bushels ofpeas , 560 bushels of potatoes, and 130 tons ofhay. Livestock at this time consisted of 28 horses, 35 cattle including milking cows, and 200 poultry. Farming not only produc ed food to be consumed by the family but also produce to sell in the town and to other loca l mining communities. The Indian agent in 1900 observed these farmers were doing relatively well. He wrote: The (Sne-nay-muxw) make good return on agr icultural products, such as oats, roots, fruit, etc.; they being near town and therefore having no difficulty in obtaining a market for their pro duce. Eager to expand their farms they requested aid in the form of machinery. The Iirst threshing machine and baler in the area was owned by Sne-nay-muxw farmers and hire d out to the surrounding white farms at harves t time. When coal was discovered on Riv er reserve the primary concern was to save thei r good farm land. When several compan ies expressed interest in mining on the reserve the Sne-nay-muxw wrote to the Department of Indian Affairs of their wishes: That in signing this surrender we would beg to express our wish, that if as good terms can be made with the New Van couver Coal Mining and Land Company as with other parties, we would mu ch rather that they become the purchasers, as from the position of their shafts they could work the coal without damaging our surface land to the exte nt that other companies would be obliged to do (RG1O, vol. 3903, ifie 102,301).  153  Before the turn of the century only a few families lived on the farms all year round as they moved back to the town reserve in the winter months (B.C., Royal Commission on Indian Affairs, Evidence, 19 13:65-66, 74-75). This gave both men and women access to wage employment in the town or freedom to mov e to clam beds and other resource sites. By the 1890’s several families moved to the Rive r reserve to live permanently and farm fall time (DIA, AR, 1897). Not surprisingly a close relationship developed between these families who farmed full time on the River reserves with non-native farming  families in the  surrounding district. At this time a community of approximately three hundred  people  composed of intermarried families lived on the outskirts of the town in what is known as Cedar district today. Despite this initial success federal government polic ies increasingly restricted the ability of Sne-nay-muxw farmers to compete with local farm3 4 ers. Department of Indian Affairs records indicate that between 1900 to 1915 farm ing income decreased (see table 4:3). Although sheep were introduced in 1906, othe r livestock declined as did wheat production which ceased completely in 1912. The majority of Sne-nay-muxw farms were less than five acres with the exception of one that was appr oximately 100 acres. The inability of Sne-nay-muxw farmers to increase their farm hold ings forced many of them to either hire out their labour to surrounding farmers or to work for the local mines or canneries. One source noted that these families would return for a few days between the canneries and the ‘  Contrary to the myth Native peoples did embrace farming as an alternative way of life. Recent work has pointed the failure of farming to government policies and not Native peoples lack of interest (see Knight 1978, Cart er 1990, Buckley 1993). This farm was owned by Louis Good, the desig 44 nated chief of the Sne-nay-muxw. His success in farming is noted in an auction notice of 1906 which included 30 head of prime cattle, 6 good working horses, 25 calves, and 4 good milching cows(NFP, Oct. 26, 1906).  154  hops to check their gardens and farms (RG 10, vol. 1343, Oct. 5, 1905). Evi dence given for the Royal Commission of Indian Aff airs in 1913 noted that one of the mo st successful farms on the reserve only produced $30 0 yearly income. The significance of farming to supplem ent income from wage labour is reveale d in the income estimates in the Department of Ind ian Affairs Reports. As table 4:3 sho ws, between the period of 1899 to 1914 Sne-na y-muxw income was generated from three sources, farming, wages earned, and 4 fishing 5. Within this period there is a slig ht change in the relative distribution between the three sources. In the year 1899-1900 farming constituted 60%, wages earned 23% and fishing 16%. By 1913- 1914 this rose to 66% (includes farm produce and beef), while wag es and fishing were 26% and 11% respectively. The importance of farming to their econom y is also evident in the Sne-nay-muxw per capita income. While the Sne-nay-muxw do not have the highest per capita inco me in the Cowichan agency in earned wages during this period (the Songhees do) they hav e almost double the per capita in total income of any other band in the agency. This rev eals the success the Sne-nay-muxw achieved in com bining wage earning with farming and subsistence production. However, the tota l per capita income for all bands in the agency decreased during this fifteen year period . The Songhees income decreased as mu ch as 45% while the Sne-nay-muxw only 12%. The Songhees were more reliant upo n wage  Estima 4 5 ting the value of fishing for sale or foo d was actually based on a formula. See Appendix C.  155  labour than the Sne-nay-nauxw wh ich again attests to the importan ce of this combined economic strategy.  Table 4:3 Estimated Income in Dollars by Source for the Sne-nay-muxw Band, 1899-1914. Year Farm Beef Wages Fishing Hunting Total Produce and sold/food Ea rned Inc ome Hay 1899-1900 1900-1901 1901-1902 1902-1903 1903-1904 1904-1905 1905-1906 1906-1907 1907-1908 1908-1909 1909-1910 1910-1911 1911-1912 1912-1913 1913-1914  $7530 $8100 $8100 $8200 $8000 $7500 $7500 $7500 $7000 $7000 $7000 $6500 $6000 $6000 $6500  $400 $400 $500 $500 $400 $400 $200 $200  $2900 $3100 $3000 $3000 $2500 $2500 $2500 $3000 $3000 $3000 $3000 $3000 $3000 $3000 $2700  $2000 $2100 $2000 $1500 $1200 $1000 $1000 $1000 $1000 $1000 $1000 $1000 $1000 $1000 $1100  $12,430 $13,300 $13,100 $12,700 $11,700 $11,000 $11,000 $11,900 $11,400 $11,500 $11,500 $10,900 $10,400 $10,200 $10,500  Source: DIA, RG 10, volume 139 1.  That the Sne-nay-muxw did not hav e enough land to fanu is eviden t in the conflict that land played within and without fam ily relationships on the reserves. Less than half the reserve land was suitable for farmi ng and what arable land was fou nd on the River reserves had to be extensively dyked and cleared (DIA, AR 1886/87). 46 Thi s lack of land was a In 1913 the British Columbia Ro yal Commission of Indian Affairs noted that the Sne nay-muxw had cultivated 405.5 acr es of their reserves, 195 acres we re under wood, and 37 acres were not cultivated. In terms of farming land they noted that Wi had 47 acres  156  divisive issue for the band as the land was not distributed equally among the families. Allotment of land on the reserve began informally by the early missionaries but more formally by the Indian Agent after 1881. In the 1880’s an exchange of reserve land for more productive farming land on the Nanaimo River was made with the Vancouver Coal and Land Company. However, this exchange was never formalized by the Department of Indian Affairs and led to great misunderstanding and concern on the part of several Sne nay-muxw families who farmed this land. Despite this increase of arable land, in 1913 a third of the Sne-nay-muxw families did not own land (Royal Commission Aboriginal Affairs Evidence, 1913). An increasing dissatisfaction with reserve allocations, fishery and game laws, and the Indian Act prompted the Sne-nay-muxw, with other Coast and Interior Salish in the region, to support a delegation to London to outline their grievances in 1906 (LaViolette 1973:127; Shankel 1945:193). While not successfiul, their discontent forced the appointment of a joint commission between provincial and federal governments in September 1912. The McKenna-McBride Commission, as it became known, held hearings in Nanaimo to hear the Sne-nay-muxw grievances in 1913. Despite the testimony from the Indian agent and the Superintendent of Indian Affairs that Sne-nay-muxw reserves were far from adequate to accommodate their population, no fbrther lands were added and no  which were classified as good land for farming; 1R2 had 200 acres of second class land of which 128 acres was heavy timber; and 1R3 had 260 acres, all of which was considered nearly good land(BCRC 1913-1916).  157  concessions for fishing and hunting rights given (Royal Commission of Aboriginal Affairs Evidence 1913:326-27). The Sne-nay-muxw were increasingly alienated from their subsistence resource sites and land for farming during this time. Increased settl ement in the region and the limited land given them for reserves left them little land to use. Yet the Sne-nay-m