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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-MUXWWOMEN’ S EMPLOYMENTbyLoraine LittlefieldB.A. Hons. Carleton University, 1982M.A. Carleton University, 1987A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OFTHE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREES OFDOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHYinTHE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIESDepartment of Sociology and AnthropologyW ccept thit.esis as conformingth,edstandar..NIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIAOctober 1995© Loraine LittlefieldIn presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanceddegree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make itfreely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensivecopying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of mydepartment or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying orpublication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my writtenpermission.(Signature)____________________________Department of 4The University of British ColumbiaVancouver, CanadaDate Qc.*1f (?(DE.6 (2/88)IIkBSTRACTThis thesis documents the employment history of Sne-nay-muxw women. The Snenay-muxw, a Coast Salish peoples, live on the southeast coast ofVancouver Island closeto the city ofNanaimo. Nanaimo was established by the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1852as coal mining town. Coal dominated the economy until the early 20th century whenforestry related production became important. Today a service economy has eclipsed boththe primary and secondary industries. Within these economies a distinct gender, race andclass segregation structured Sne-nay-muxw women’s employment opportunities. Thisstudy examines the nature of this segregation, the Sne-nay-muxw domestic economy andthe 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 theirtraditional roles to be within the home despite their historical participation in the labourforce.Feminist anthropology provides the theoretical and methodological approach used forthis study. It is accepted that women’s experiences in the labour force are different notonly from men but also from other women based upon relational inequalities ofrace andclass. Historical data was collected from a variety of sources; published and unpublishedgovernment reports, missionary accounts, letters and journals. Nineteen women and eightmen were interviewed in the community for both historic and contemporary accounts ofemployment experiences.History reveals that during the mining economy Sne-nay-muxw women were excludedfrom working in the mines and limited to employment as domestic servants. The111introduction of Chinese labour, decreasing coal demands and increased technology forcedmany women to migrate with their families to the canneries on the Fraser river and the hopfields in Washington state. In the forestry related production economy, Sne-nay-muxwwomen’s opportunities were limited despite the expansion of employment for women inthe service sector. State policies and inferior education were significant factors in thisexclusion. At this time Sne-nay-muxw women continued to migrate with their families tothe fish camps on Rivers Inlet and the berry fields in Washington state. In the last twodecades the service economy has dominated in Nanaimo. Sne-nay-muxw women havefound increasing job opportunities on and off reserve in administration, management andprofessional service delivery programs. While this employment is part of the wider trendfor women in the service economy, Sne-nay-muxw women’s opportunities remainsegregated by gender, race and class.Women’s participation in the labour force is shown to be linked to the organization oftheir domestic economy. Before 1920 this economy incorporated both subsistenceproduction and farming with seasonal wage labour. After this time the Sne-nay-muxwbecame increasingly dependent upon wage labour. However, extended family and kinshipnetworks have remained important for support and cooperation. This form ofhouseholdorganization did not constrain women’s participation in the labour force. Today extendedfamilies remain the central organizing principle in Sne-nay-muxw lives. Sne-nay-muxwwomen’s identity and opportunities for education and employment remain linked to theirmembership in these families.Shifts in women’s participation in the labour force is shown to be accompanied byacceptance of a domestic ideology. During the mining economy when women activelyivsought wage labour, they acquired domestic skills needed for wage labour but did notaccept an ideology that promoted their dependency upon men. Historical evidenceindicates that they retained a significant degree of autonomy in their lives. With men’sincreased security of employment in the forestry economy, the idealized role ofwomen ashousewives was promoted. Families that were able to realize women’s exclusion from thelabour 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 force tooccupations linked to their domestic and nurturing roles.VTABLE OF CONTENTSAbstract iiTable of ContentsvList of TablesviiiFiguresxAcknowledgements xiCHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION 1Research Problem 1Literature Review 5Theory 13Gender, Race and Class 13Domestic Economy, the Family and Gender Ideology 17Methodology 21Organization of Thesis 26CHAPTER 2 ETHNOGRAPI]IC AN]) BISTORICAL BACKGROUND 31Introduction 31Ethnographic Background 31Sources 31The Sne-nay-muxw 33Pre-Contact Economy 40Subsistence Round 40Division of Labour 46Ownership and Distribution ofWealth 50Early Contact 56Demographic Change 57The Fur Trade 61Summary and Conclusion 70CHAPTER 3 ESTABLISBMENT OF NANA]MO: 1852-1862 71Introduction 71NanaimoCoalCompany 71Treatyof 1854 77Sne-nay-muxw Employment 84Wage Labour 84Provisioning the Settlement 91Socio-Economic Adaptation 94Subsistence Production 95Conflict and Compromise 98Wealth and Exchange 101viGender Relations 104Summary and Conclusion 108CHAPTER 4 EMPLOYMENT IN A MINING COMMIJNLTY: 1863 -1920 110Introduction 110The Mining Economy 110Segregated Labour Force 114Men’s Employment 118Women’s Employment 122Labour Conditions 128Depressions, Strikes and Accidents 128Competition 132Mechanization and Resegmentation 140Domestic Economy 144Subsistence Production 145Farming 150Kinship Networks and Extended Families 158Household Organization and Production 165Domestic Ideology 174Mining Community 175Missionaries and Early Education 178State Policies 183Accommodation and Resistance 185Summary and Conclusions 190CHAPTER 5 EMPLOYMENT IN A LOGGING COMMUNITY: 1921-1970 193Introduction 193The Logging Economy 193Segregated Labour Force 196Men’s Employment 198Women’s Employment 206Labour Conditions 215Depression and World War II 215Unionization and Labour Laws 220Education and Employment Training 225Domestic Economy 232Subsistence Production and Farming 233Family Production to ‘Family Wage’ 237Family Networks and Exchange 242Gender Ideology 249Housewifization 249Family Status and Class 253Summary and Conclusions 259viiCHAPTER 6 EMPLOYMENT IN A SERVICE COMMUNITY: 1971 toPRESENT 262Introduction 262The Service Economy 262Segregated Labour Force 265Men’s Employment 268Women’s Employment 273Labour Conditions 281Recession and Economic Restructuring 281Education and Employment Training 283Government Policies and Employment Equity Legislation 287Domestic Economy 292Subsistence Production 293Household Organization and Income 295Community and Family Networks 301Gender Ideology 307Women’s Wage Employment 308Status and Political Power 314Summary and Conclusions 319CHAPTER 7 CONCLUSIONS 321BIBLIOGRAPHY 325Manuscript Sources 325Government Publications 327Newspapers 328Secondary Sources 329APPENDIX A 365APPENDIX B 366APPENDIX C 367viiiLIST OF TABLESTable 3:1 Exchange Rates in Monetary Value for Food and Crafts, 1858 106Table 4:1 Average Wages, Vancouver Coal Mining and Land Company,1874-1890 134Table 4:2 Population and Sex Ratio ofMen and Women in Nanaimo andSuburbs, 1881-1921 143Table 4:3 Estimated Income in Dollars by Source for the Sne-nay-muxwBand, 1899-1914 155Table 4:4 Sne-nay-muxw Households Based on Generation and AverageHousehold Size 167Table 4:5 Age Distribution of the Sne-nay-muxw, 1881, 1891 and 1901 168Table 4:6 Sne-nay-muxwAge Distribution 1881, 1901, 1911 and 1924 173Table 5:1 Labour Force 14 Years and Over by Education and Occupationin British Columbia, 1951 230Table 6:1 Employment and Income Characteristics of Sne-nay-muxw Men OnReserve and Non-Native Men 15 Years and Older in Nanaimo 272Table 6:2 Employment and Income Characteristics of Sne-nay-muxw WomenOn Reserve and Non-Native Women 15 Years and Older inNanaimo 280Table 6:3 Unemployment Rte inNanaimo, 1981, 1986, 1991 281Table 6:4 Highest Level of Schooling for Sne-nay-muxw On Reserve and Non-Native Population in Nanaimo 15 Years and Over 285Table 6:5 Participation and Employment Rate in the Labour Force Accordingto Education for On Reserve Population in British Columbia, 1986 287Table 6:6 Age/Sex Structure of On Reserve Residents, 1991 296Table 6:7 Sne-nay-muxw and Non-Native Family and Household Incomein Nanairno, 1991 299Table 6:8 Households by Number ofEarners 301Table 6:9 Sne-nay-muxw Families by Age and Household Size 303Table 6:10 Family Affiliation of Sne-nay-muxw Women Employed On andOff Reserve 306ixxFIGURES1. Map of Sne-nay-muxw Traditional Tenitory and Reserves 36xiACKNOWLEDGEMENTSI must first thank the Sne-nay-muxw for allowing me to conduct this research in theircommunity. I especially want to thank the Elders: Emily Manson, Mamie Frenchie, HazelGood, Eva Thomas, Margaret James, Mildred Simpson, Hanna White, Bill Seward,Chester Thomas, Larry White, George Wyse, Norm and Louise Johnnie, Robert andLouise Peters, Doug and Ellen White, and Don and Dora White for sharing stories abouttheir 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 policies andprograms that influence Sne-nay-muxw women’s employment and education. Thanks tooto Linda Dorricott for her interest in my work and our lively discussions about the earlyhistory of the Sne-nay-muxw.I wish to acknowledge the financial support of the Social Sciences and HumanitiesResearch Council of Canada and the Melville Jacobs Research Grant. My committee,Mike Kew, Bruce Miller and Gillian Creese remained supportive throughout. I am alsoindebted to Robin Ridington for his insightful comments on my proposal; John Barker forhis critique and help in the initial organization of an early draft; and Ken Burridge for histimely 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 graduatesecretary Margaret Baskett, for many kinds of assistance, direct and indirect. Specialthanks to my ffiends Virginia Appefi, Susan Moogk, Evelyn Nodwell and Dawn Faroughfor their encouragement and advice. Also I extend my gratitude to Jim Sutton for hisongoing support, editing and computer assistance.Finally, I would like to thank the staff at the British Columbia Archives and RecordsServices; Special Collections at the University ofBritish Columbia Library; and NanaimoDistrict Museum Archives for their patience and interest in my work.CHAPTER 1INTRODUCTIONResearch ProblemIn a survey taken in 1991 to assess the community needs of women in Nanaimo, ayoung 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 thehome. Traditionally women’s role was to stay home and look after thehouse and the children. 1This statement is problematic for such a description ofwomen’s roles is incompatiblewith accounts in the ethnographic literature about the sexual division of labour in CoastSalish economy. According to this literature, there was great flexibility in gender roles andwomen were not restricted solely to work within the home. The segregation of men andwomen into two distinct spheres ofwork is in fact a product of the historicaltransformation 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-muxwwomen were not segregated into the domestic sphere when wage labour was initiallyintroduced. They, like men, were an important part of the early economy in the provincethat depended upon a cheap and unskilled labour force. Nonetheless, their participationdid change and steadily declined after the Great Depression of the 193 0’s. Only within thelast two decades are Sne-nay-muxw women again seeking wage employment to a1 This survey was undertaking for the Nanaimo Women’s Resource Center.2significant degree. Thus the statement above is a description of women’s lives in theimmediate past when their participation in the labour force was low. It would seem that acorresponding 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 inthe labour force changed and how a gender ideology supported this change. Severalstudies have analyzed the impact of a wage economy upon Coast Salish peoples but few,with the exceptions ofMitchell (1976) and Sparrow (1976), have examined how thiseconomy specifically affected women’s employment. 2 It is clear from their work thatCoast Salish women had similar experiences in the labour force. Nonetheless, despite thissimilarity there were differences produced by local economy demands, women’s ownfamily situation, and a gender ideology that either supported their participation orexclusion from wage labour. To understand the history of Sne-nay-muxw women’semployment this thesis raises these central questions: 1) How did the local economy ofNanaimo structure Sne.-nay-muxw women’s employment opportunities? 2) How did Snenay-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) Whatchanges in the economy have encouraged Sne-nay-muxw women to seek wageemployment today?2 See Collins 1952, 1974; Robinson 1963; Kew 1970; Jilek 1974; Mooney 1976, 1978;Amoss 1978.3The Sne-nay-muxw are a Coast Salish people who live on the southeastern coast ofVancouver Island in British Columbia. Traditionally their territory encompassed varioushunting and fishing resource sites on Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands, and the mainlandof Vancouver Today they live on four of their six reserves in close proximity toNanaimo, one of the large urban centers on Vancouver Island. This community beganwhen the Hudson’s Bay Company established a coal mine on the site in the mid 19thCentury. Over the next half century the prosperity of the town was linked to coalproduction and the monopoly of a single mining company, the Vancouver Coal Miningand Land Company. The decline in coal demands by the early 20th Century and theDepression of the 193 0’s forced the community to turn to forestry related production, andlater to retail and service industries. This transition from a coal mining industry to the welldeveloped secondary and tertiary economy of today, produced a variety of wageopportunities for both Sne-nay-muxw men and women. These opportunities weredetermined by a segregated labour force that was intrinsic to the specific industries foundin Nanaimo. Understanding Sne-nay-muxw women’s employment experiences and thegender ideology that supported this participation demands situating women within thislocal economic context.Discerning how the particular economic structure ofNanaimo shaped Sne-naymuxw women’s employment experiences I propose to use the theoretical andmethodological approach developed in feminist anthropology. This approach hasundergone several developmental phases. It began with what has become known as the‘anthropology ofwomen’ which explicitly focused on women to combat the previous bias4in the discipline that centered on men. However, it soon became clear that this approachsegregated and marginalized the study of women. Understanding women and women’slives demands more than singling women out or adding women to a study. This criticismled feminist anthropology to move away from studying women as indMduals orcategories, to the study of gender, an analytical concept that describes the interrelations ofmen and women. The recognition that gender is both a cultural construction and a socialrelation that determines what men and women do in their society places the emphasis uponcultural and historical specificity of gender. This leads to increasing concern todeconstruct gender in order to understand the meaning of ‘women’ but also to understandthe comparative differences among women. Understanding how the social relations ofgender, race and class intersect to produce differences in women’s experiences is thechallenge now faced by both anthropology and feminist theory. One objective of thisthesis is to provide an empirical example of this articulation.For the Sne-nay-muxw the issue of employment is a primary concern today. Despitetheir close proximity to Nanaimo, a large urban center, they suffer high unemployment likemany other Native peoples living on more isolated reserves (see Canada, Department ofIndian Affairs 1980, Powless 1985). Recent fIi.nding for education and job trainingprograms, and the hiring of an employment counselor have enabled them to make somegains, but the future remains bleak for changes in this employment situation. It is the hopeof this thesis to be more than an academic exercise and to offer the Sne-nay-muxw ameans ofunderstanding their o contribution to the local economy as well as theFor a discussion of this development in the discipline see Shapiro 1983, Lamphere 1987,Moore 1988, and Morgen 1989.5structural barriers that have conditioned their employment. As they seek new directions intheir relationship with the capitalist economy through various economic developmentinitiatives and land claims, consideration of the limitations capitalist division of labourimposed in the past, and continues to impose in the present, may help them to fomiulatenew solutions. It is with this in mind that I have undertaken this research.Literature ReviewThe literature on Native American women is extensive as revealed in severalbibliographies published since the 1980’s (Koehier 1982; Green 1983; Bataille & Sands1991). Until recently most of this work was highly descriptive and heavily influenced bythe stereotypical myths and images drawn from European ideas about Native women’sroles in society. However recent work has applied a more theoretical approach exposingthese previous biases. Perhaps the most important finding of this literature is that theimpact of capitalism has had varying affects upon Native women’s lives. The followingliterature review discusses some of the important insights of this literature as it bears uponthe historical experiences ofwomen in the fbr trade, the early industrial period of the 19thCentury, and the contemporary employment situation on the Northwest Coast.Several historical studies of the für trade have confirmed that Native women played avital role in this mercantilist economy. They were an essential labour force in the dailyoperations of the für trade, processing firs, acting as translators and middlemen, as well astaking on roles as political affies and wives (Van Kirk 1980). However, the impact of thisNorthwest Coast is defied here as the Northwest Coast Cultural region as identified byKroeber (1923).6economy varied with the intensity of the interaction. Women who lived close to the furtrading posts and within the sphere of intense trading had different experiences thanwomen who lived greater distances away. This uneven impact is evident in the history ofthe fur trade on the Northwest coast. The maritime fur trade which began after 1775 andended in 1825, had a regional impact that was limited to areas where sea otter furs wereabundant. Communities on the northern outer coasts were drawn into an intense tradingsphere that only ended with the scarcity of firs (Wike 1951). On the other hand the landfur trade drew upon trade from interior groups and intensely affected those groups thatwere strategically placed close to the fur trading posts. The ‘homeguard’ and the fur tradesociety 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 roleson the Northwest coast is one of the key questions addressed in the literature. Elsewherethere is agreement that the level of stratification in Native society is a factor. For examplein egalitarian hunting and gathering societies it is argued that the complementary genderrelations characteristic of these societies was eroded leaving women in subordinate rolesand wealth concentrated in men’s hands (see Perry 1979; Leacock 1978, 1980; Klein1983; Bourgeault 1983, Anderson 1985). However in stratified societies, the impact ofthe fir trade was easily incorporated into the existing class structure. Women were able totake advantage of the new wealth and prestige that the introduction ofnew trade goodsproduced (see Brown 1975, Grumet 1980, Rothenberg 1980). This was most certainlythe case on the Northwest coast where women were noted to have considerable power7and wealth in their societies (Klein 1980, Blackman 1982, Cooper 1992). Theirbehaviour in trade transactions was often viewed as an anomaly to the fir traders whowere unaccustomed to women in such public roles (Littlefleld 1988).However, this argument is not supported in all the literature. As Albers (1989) pointsout the decline in women’s status in egalitarian societies is far from uniforim Plains Indianliterature reveals that some women retained a great deal ofpower and autonomy in theirlives during the fur trade ( see Schneider 1983, Medicine 1983, Buffalohead 1983, Kehoe1976, 1983). While women’s roles became more circumscribed there is significantevidence that indicates that some women achieved wealth and prestige in their societies.In the same respects there is caution in accepting that women in stratified societies werenot adversely affected. Increased class differentiation and emphasis upon slavery on theNorthwest coast most certainly had a negative impact upon women who were not of theelite class (see Mitchell 1984, 1985). The issue, as Albers (1989) rightly summarizes, isnot the level of stratification in Native society but whether women retained control overproduction and property during the fur trade. If shifts in demands of production or newdemands upon production favoured men’s ownership, then women’s ability to maintainpower and influence in their society was jeopardized.Many studies comfirm that important role ofNative women as a vital work force in theearly industrialization and capitalist agricultural economy (Gonzalez 1982, Klein 1980,Albers 1983, Knack 1988). Despite recognition ofthis role in other parts ofNorthAmerica there is little material that documents the initial experiences of women of theNorthwest Coast in the early industrial period. Much of the history written of the late819th Century focuses upon the relationship ofNative people with the state, theirplacement on reserves, their alienation from resource sites and land, and the impact ofgovernment policies that left them impoverished (LaViolette 1961, Duff 1977, Fisher1977). How Native people interacted with the early economy received little attention untilthe seminal work by Knight (1978) who documented their participation in the early labourforce ofBritish Columbia. He acknowledged that Native people were an important sourceof 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 interaction asworkers in the early economy (see Mackie 1985; Burrows 1986; Lutz 1992, 1994).Although Knight (1978) recognized women’s active role in this labour force heprincipally emphasized the employment experiences of men. Aside from an article byMitchell & Franklin (1984) a counterpart history ofNative women’s labour in theprovince has not been written. This is not to say that the experience ofNative women inthe early labour force have been totally ignored. Various studies have documented theimportant use of their labour in the cannery (see Muszynski 1986, 1987) or the sealingindustry (Crockford 1991). Other studies have included women’s individual workexperiences through life histories (Sparrow 1976, Mitchell 1976, Blackman 1982).Together these studies have offered important insights into the use ofNative women as acheap labour force for the regional economy.Studies about Native women’s contemporary involvement in the labour force are moresparse. Several surveys undertaken in British Columbia during the 1950’s and 1960’s arenot very enlightening as they underreport Native women’s employment (Thompson 1951,9Hawthorn, Beishaw & Jamieson 1958; Hawthorn 1968). It was not until the 1970’s thatthe issue ofwomen’s employment was studied as part of the interest in the growing trendofNative urbanization (Stanbury, Fields & Stevenson 1972, 1972a; Stanbury & Siegel1975). Since this time much of the documentation ofNative women’s employment hascome from Department of Indian Affairs or Census statistics. Apart from a recent paperby Smelser (1991) there has been little analysis ofwhat these statistics mean or howwomen’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 several reportson Native women in the Winnipeg labour force (see Clatworthy 1981, Hull 1982, Peters1984, Kariya 1989). These studies have revealed the importance ofunderstanding theparticular demands of an urban versus rural economy upon women’s employment. Alsosignificantly they have shown that women’s experiences in the labour force are differentthan Native men’s. Native women find employment in the service sector of the economywhile men’s employment opportunities are linked to the primary and secondary sectors.This is also the recent conclusions of Satzewich and Wotherspoon (1993) for Nativewomen’s employment in Canada in general. Nonetheless, despite their participation in anexpanding sector of the economy their income remains low and they suffer highunemployment (see Canada, Department of Indian Affairs 1983).How women’s contemporary employment affects their relationship within their owncommunities has been the focus of several studies. Despite their marginalization in thelabour force many authors observe that within specific Native communities women have asubstantial degree of status and power. As well as considerable autonomy in their families10and households they are actively involved in the social and political life of theircommunity. The question why Native women have such power has led to variousexplanations. Kidwell (1979) and Powers (1986) argue that the high status ofNativewomen in their societies is based on persistent traditional cultural values that always placesthe role of mothers and wives in high esteem. It is women’s association with this role thathas enabled them to move into political roles in dealing with the welfare of theircommunities. Niethammer (1977), Allen (1986) and LaFromboise, Heyle & Ozer(1990) point to women’s spiritual association with the Spirit or Earth Mother as the key totheir 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 theirimportant roles as caretakers and transmitters of culture.This explanation that women’s status is linked to their real or spiritual roles as mothersand wives is not supported by others who link women’s power and status in theircommunities to their contribution and control ofproduction within the household. Thiswas noted in the early work ofHamamsy (1957) on Navajo women. Despite men’s accessto wage employment, women’s ownership of sheep, essential for the well-being ofherfamily, guaranteed her power and wealth in her society. Conte (1982) in her later study ofthe Navajo concurred. The insecurity of men’s employment in wage labour increased theimportance of women’s control and distribution over the resources in the traditionalsectors of the economy. This gave women considerable status and power in thehousehold. This was also the conclusion Fiske (1988) made in her study of Athpaskanspeaking people much further north. The high status of Carrier women in their society11was linked to their traditional control of fishing resources which remained essential tohousehold income.However, other work points to wage income as the key to women’s influence andcontrol in their communities. Albers (1985) maintains that the large contribution made bywomen ofboth wage income and traditional resources, gives Dakota women considerableautonomy and power in their households and reservation politics. This is also theconclusion reached by Knack (1989) about the source ofpower for Paiute women in theircommunity. She contends that this power has notably increased in the last decade with therise ofwomen’s wage employment. Ackerman (1988) agrees that the high employmentof women on the Colville reservation provides them a significant degree of autonomy andequality 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 intheir society, they alone fail to explain the great variability in Native women’s lives. Inseeking an explanation through the continuity of traditional roles or ownership and controlofproduction within the household, little is understood about the differences that existamong women. This was first described by Hamamasy (1957) and Spindler (1962) whonoted that Navajo and Menomini women respectively, experienced the impact ofwagelabour differently within the same community. Aside from the level of regionaldevelopment near their communities, age, marital status and place in traditional kinshipnetworks were important variables in women’s lives. Conte (1982) in her study ofNavajowomen on Black Mesa, observed that the penetration of capitalism created significantstratification among women and their households. As work and resources remained12organized along family kinship lines, women in key positions in these kinship networkswere able to control the flow of resources and labour. This was at times to the detrimentof other women and households. As Lamphere (1989) discovered in her work with theNavajo, status for women was not a unidimensional issue. The incorporation ofNavajofamilies into the capitalist wage economy revealed a complex situation which was not beenthe same across time, between communities, or even within communities. She writes:The experience ofNavajo women in the past and in the contemporaryperiod is certainly not “one thing” Further attention to the determinants ofvariability, both on the reservation and in border communities, is importantifwe 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 situationand even a tendency towards polarization along class lines. The determinants ofthisvariability are women’s position within their families, the regional development that eitherexcludes or draws women into wage labour, and the specific relationship of the communitywith this economy.Identifying the factors that influence the variability in women’s lives is also important toMiller’s (1992) study in his analysis of the political roles of Coast Salish women. Incomparing the incidence of women’s success for elective political positions among variousCoast Salish bands of western Washington and British Columbia, he noted that there arehighly localized notions of politics and gender. Some communities associated politics withwomen while others did not. While there was some correlation with low householdmedian 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 only13variable to consider. Women’s access to political power was also linked to their positionin families. It was through their membership in a family that women were able to accesseducation and job training. This gave selected women the skills to be activists andmanagers in their communities.To summarize there is a general agreement by the above authors that there is greatvariability in the life experiences ofNative women in their communities. Much ofthisvariability 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 opportunitiesto both men and women is essential in understanding how this variability occurred in Snenay-muxw women’s lives. In this thesis I hope to add to these previous insights byshowing that historical and cultural factors explain the employment situation of Sne-naymuxw women today. These factors are revealed in the gender, race and class segregationof the local economy ofNanaimo, the organization of Sne-nay-muxw families, and agender ideology that either endorses or excludes their participation in wage labour.TheoryGender, Race and ClassVarious theories have been used for understanding the historical position ofNativepeoples’ in the labour force, their poor participation rate and segregation into the mostexploited sectors of the economy. The earliest theories such as human capital theory,culture of poverty, and modernization theory placed the blame upon indigenous culturalvalues and behaviours that were incompatible to a capitalist economy (see Thompson141951, Nagler 1975, Zentner 1973). These theories were easily challenged by the historicaland contemporary data that showed that Native peoples attitudes and values aboutemployment differed insignificantly from the wider Canadian society (see Duprez andSigurdon 1969, Smith 1975, and Knight 1978). Other theories pointed to the structure ofthe labour force itself The dual economy perspective linked Native peoples marginalizedemployment to the historical forces that place them in the secondary segment of theeconomy. In this segment jobs are low paying and insecure, in contrast to the primarysegment (see Wien 1986, Clatworthy 1981, Hull 1982, Stabler 1989). Dependencytheory located the problem in capitalism and its creation ofNative peoples as an internalcolony. From this position it was argued that colonization ofNative peoples has created acheap labour force and simultaneously drained off raw resources from their traditionallands and reserves (Jorgenson 1968, Mitchell 1976, Mooney 1978, Hudson 1989, Carsten1991, Frideres 1993). Finally, the Marxist approach situated Native peoples employmenthistory within the class structure of the economy. Native people form an underclass inCanadian society and as a consequence of this position are marginalized into the leastsecure employment (see Forcese 1975, Elias 1975, Pritchard 1977, Adams 1990). 6While these theories in turn offer some significant insights into employment conditionsofNative people, they fail to explain the variability in Native communities and the culturaland historical conditions specific to them. For example they do not explain the uniqueemployment experiences of the Sne-nay-muxw vis a vis other Coast Salish communities asWhile this theoretical approach has been challenged present programs and policiescontinue to endorse this perspective.6 See Peters & Rosenberg (1992) for a more detailed discussion of these theories as theyapply to Native people in the labour force.15they treat all Native peoples as a homogenous group. Also they do not account for thedifferent participation of Sne-nay-muxw men and women in the labour force today and inthe 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 localemployment? Such questions are unanswered in theories that only address the issues ofrace and class and not the gender discrimination in the labour force.Understanding the gender discrimination within the labour force has been one ofthegreat challenges for Marxist feminists. An early answer focused upon ‘patriarchy’ auniversal system of oppression that preceded capitalism and guaranteed male dominationboth in the domestic sphere and the labour force. This led the analysis to focus upon therole of the family as the mechanism for transmitting a patriarchal ideology, and theeconomic practices of the labour force that excluded women from the same opportunitiesas men. However the concept ofpatriarchy proved problematic (see Beechey 1979). Thealiistorical nature ofpatriarchy had limited value in exploring the nature ofwomen’ssubordination in capitalism. While an attempt to see patriarchy as a system that combinedwith capitalism to segregate women both in domestic labour and in the labour forceseemed promising, the synthesis failed to show how the two systems were relatedhistorically and conceptually (see Eisenstein 1979, Hartmann 1979, 1981 for thissynthesis). Significantly too in trying to articulate the relationship between gender andclass such a synthesis had ignored the relations of race. Treating all women as ahomogenous racial category neglected a thudamental division of labour that is integral tothe capitalist economy.16Such criticism has called for a unified theory of gender, race and class that incorporatesthe three systems of domination that women experience in their lives. Developing such atheoretical 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 theorizethese interconnections. Are they three distinct relations interconnected in some essentialway and thus can be analyzed separately, or are they so intermeshed that analysis demandstheir incorporation simultaneously? I maintain that analyzing gender, race and classseparately as autonomous conditions ofproduction is not possible or desirable inunderstanding the history of Sne-nay-muxw women’s employment for these three socialrelations are embedded throughout the economic systeul To separate them is to distortthe 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 otherwithin a particular context (see Stasiulis 1990 for this argument). As is shown in thehistory of Sne-nay-muxw women’s employment, wage opportunities were at various timesinfluenced 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 ofgender is taken from the insights of anthropology andfeminist studies that gender is both a social construct and social relation (see Lamphere1987, Moore 1988). As a social construct it is derived not from the biological differencesbetween men and women but from an ongoing consciousness produced by everydaysocialization. This socialization, which defines what is masculine/feminine or male/female,is realized through the social functions ofwhat men and women do (see Bourdieu171977:93). Thus gender relations are those social relations that arise between men andwomen 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 differencelinked to a biological or cultural group. Social relations of inequality are ascribed to thosedifferences. On the other hand, class is a social construct based upon an individual’srelative position in a stratified society. As a social relation it is derived from how peoplerelate to one another economically through productive and reproductive activities. Incapitalist societies class is determined by those who produce surplus (the proletariat) andthose who appropriate or control it (the bourgeoisie). Thus class is determined not by aperson’s prestige or status but a person’s control or non-control of the means ofproduction (see Marx 1968:181-185).Domestic Economy, the Family and Gender IdeologyAs well as locating women in the labour force, gender, race and class segregation alsosituates women within a distinct domestic economy. How a domestic economy articulateswith capitalism, and how women’s position within it defines their status in society, hasbeen at the forefront of feminist theoretical debates. The debate initially began with aconceptual separation of the domestic economy from the wage economy. The domesticeconomy was associated with the household and the domestic labour ofwomen. An earlydebate 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 agree18that women’s non-wage labour was functional to the perpetuation of capitalism. Women’sdomestic labour within the household was necessary to reproduce the conditions for thelabour force. Others furthered this argument by pointing to the advantages for the labourforce in segregating women within the household. This guaranteed a cheap and availablelabour force that could be used at times of economic expansion. The position of marriedwomen as a reserve labour force was analogous to that of semi-proletarianized or migrantworkers whose labour was partially dependent upon non-wage sources to meet the cost ofreproduction of labour power.These early authors agreed that it was women’s segregation in the domestic economythat subordinated their status in capitalist society. Furthermore, this subordination wasguaranteed through the nuclear family with women and children dependent upon a malewage earner. When capitalism articulated with other pre-capitalist economies itsubsequently segregated and transformed women’s labour. The making of women intohousewives is, according to one author, an integral part of the colonial process thatensures capital accumulation:...these two processes of colonization and housewifization are closely andcausally interlinked. Without the ongoing exploitation of externalcolonies... .the establishment of the ‘internal colony’, that is, a nuclearfamily and a woman maintained by a male ‘breadwinner,’ would not havebeen possible (Mies 1986:142-3).Whether this process occurs as filly as described and whether women’s oppression lieswithin their roles in the family as housewives is now a disputed point. Several critics haveobserved that the creation ofwomen as housewives and the nuclear family is moreideological than an empirical reality (Carby 1982, hooks 1984, Glen 1993). Many studies,19both historical and contemporary, show gender, race and class segregation in the labourforce drives many women to seek wage labour to support their families. This is certainlythe case when examining the employment history of Sne-nay-muxw and other Nativewomen. The inability of Sne-nay-muxw men to make an adequate wage that wouldsupport women and children because of discrimination in the labour force compelled Snenay-muxw women to seek wage employment.Furthermore studies show that the nuclear family is not the only form ofhouseholdorganization that exists within capitalism (see Stoler 1977, Mueller 1977, Agonja 1981,MacGaffey 1986). A variety of indigenous family organizations that existed prior tocapitalism continue to be adaptive with the introduction of wage labour. This is mostcertainly found in many Native communities where extended families based upontraditional 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 ( seeKnack 1980, Medicine 1982, Albers 1985). Despite the appearance ofnuclear familiesinterfamily cooperation and sharing remains an important factor in the survival of manyNative households.This leads to the question ofwhether the family is the site of women’s oppression asargued by many feminists (see Kuim and Wolpe 1978, Engels 1884/1981). Many studiesthat have examined Native women in their communities have linked their power and statusto 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 to20move into the wider economic and political arena of the community. This has reached anacceptance in some Native communities that managing the affairs of the reserve is deemedto be the role of women (Miller 1992).Such empirical reality raises several questions about how gender roles are defined inNative communities. Historically through missionary teachings, a segregated labour force,and the state, Native peoples have been exposed to a gender ideology that promotedexclusive domestic roles for women. Studies confirm that there was some accommodationto this ideology in Native communities with their conversion to Christianity, shifts inresidence to nuclear families, and the learning ofnew domestic skills ( see Leacock 1980,Ackerman 1987, Shoemaker 1991, Devens 1992). However the presence ofwomen inpublic roles and positions of economic and political power in Native communities todayindicates that this ideology was either not fhlly accepted or resisted.Elsewhere studies have shown that changing economic circumstances can eitherencourage such ideology or discourage its acceptance (Mann 1985, Effis 1986, Liddle andJoshi 1986). It is encouraged when men are able to make a ‘family wage’ that can supportwomen and children. Women are more likely to accept their roles solely within thedomestic 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 womenaccepted that their traditional roles were in the home because previously they were limitedopportunities for them in wage employment. With the expansion ofjob opportunities forwomen, are we witnessing a change in ideology that now redefines women’s roles toinclude their participation in the labour force? In this study I examine these questions. By21tracing the historical employment ofboth men and women I trace how a gender ideologywas either accommodated or resisted in light of the opportunities in wage labour.MethodologyThe research for this thesis was divided into two parts. The &st required a search ofthe ethnographic material and the historical records relevant to the region. Due to thepaucity of material on the Sne-nay-muxw the reconstruction of gender roles and ideologywas obtained through a number of Coast Salish ethnographies. Much of this material wascollected long after the introduction of wage labour and many of the principal informantsfor these ethnographies were men. This is problematic for understanding indigenousgender relations. However, acknowledging both the historical nature ofthe data and itsmale-centered bias does allow for some reinterpretation as well as reconstruction ofthepast. While we can never know with any certainly what was the true nature of theindigenous economy and gender relations, I believe that the richness of the ethnographicmaterial collected at the turn of the Century on Coast Salish peoples and the insightsoffered in the comparative studies of gender relations in anthropology, can offer someunderstanding of Sne-nay-muxw society before contact.The most helpful historical material for understanding the early economic and socialhistory of the Sne-nay-muxw was found in the form ofunpublished government reports,letters and journals. Hudson’s Bay Company records were helpful in documenting theearly use of their labour in the community. After 1862 the history of Sne-nay-muxwemployment was derived from a number of sources such as visitor’s journals, missionaryaccounts, and settlers’ recollections. Indian Agent’s reports and letters from the22Cowichan agency proved to be a rich resource for understanding the socio-culturalchanges of the Sne-nay-muxw between 1881 and 1920. Census records from theDepartment of Indian Affairs as well as three nominal Census offered information aboutthe household organization and changing demographic patterns. These records are inmanuscript 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 oraccess due to the issue ofprivacy. Generally there is a paucity ofhistorical material on theSne-nay-muxw between 1920 and 1960 as these records are still held by the Departmentof Indian Affairs. Statistical studies of the socio-economic status of Sne-nay-muxwwomen vis a vis men, and the wider Canadian society in terms of employment,unemployment, income, and other factors are more readily available after 1960 throughboth Statistics Canada and the Statistics branch of Department of Indian Affairs andNorthern Development.The second part ofthe research involved fieldwork. Permission by the Sne-nay-muxwChief and Council was granted in the early summer of 1991. An initial six weeks wasspent in the community followed by a number of shorter visits over the next two years. Inthe first few weeks of fieldwork a short survey form was drawn up and published in theweekly band newsletter. The response was poor but the survey served as an introductionwhen personally visiting homes on the reserve. At this time nineteen women and eightmen were interviewed. In order to compare changes in both men and women’s workinglives I selected individuals who covered the widest age range possible. Respondents whowere sixty-five and older were important for understanding Sne-nay-muxw work23experiences between 1920 and 1970. Younger individuals offered work histories of themore recent period. While a general schedule of questions was drawn up respondentswere encouraged to digress and expand on their answers. In many cases spouses, orchildren, were present during the interviews. The general focus of the questions centeredupon their employment history and their general understanding of the present situation ofwomen in the labour force. Although interested in documenting wage income anddistribution within the household I was aware that these question were of an intrusivenature 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 culturalcenter once a week. I was given permission to attend the band’s annual general meetingsin order to learn the current issues for the band. Also I attended a workshop for the SouthIsland District Advisory Board on the new federal initiative, Pathways to Success.Members of several organizations in. Nanaimo that offer educational upgrading and jobtraining to Native women were also contacted to detennine how accessible such programswere to Sne-nay-muxw women.I have delined the community in this study to be the Sne-nay-muxw band. The band isa group ofNative people who are registered by the Indian Act, share the right to reside onparticular reserves and hold a common interest in both land and money. This concept ofcommunity has been imposed upon the Sne-nay-muxw by the federal government ofCanada. No such community identity existed before contact as the Sne-nay-muxw, likeother Coast Salish peoples, lived in. villages and identified themselves as members ofthosevillages. With the creation of reserves and the introduction of the Indian Act, the concept24of the band has become both the social and political identity of Sne-nay-muxw peopletoday.Having said this it should also be acknowledged that this sense of community haschanged since the 1970’s. Until this time the band membership and community weresynonymous with on reserve residence but today half of the band membership lives offreserve. While some off reserve members live only a few streets away from the reservesothers are as far away as the United States. However family ties and not geographicdistance, determines a members closeness to the community. Members who live in Seattleand California may be far more active members of the community because of their closeties to their families on reserve than some members who live in Nanaimo or other closeurban centers. This is particularly evident since the introduction of Bifi C-3 1 that hasallowed a number ofmembers to regain their band membership. Despite their geographiccloseness to the reserves, these members often have few interactions with the on reservecommunity.While the band is the dominant community for this study I would like to acknowledgetwo other senses of community that the Sne-nay-muxw experience. One is the widerCoast Salish community that includes the southeastern region of Vancouver Island, themainland ofBritish Columbia and coastal Washington State. This wider community isactivated during the bighouse season when the Sne-nay-muxw travel to the neighbouringreserves to witness the ceremonies linked to naming, memorials and new dancers. Duringthe summer months, the canoe races held on the different reserves bring this communitytogether again. The second community is the non-Native community ofNanaimo. As this25study 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 labourstrikes, parades, sports teams, and other community events. I maintain that the Sne-naymuxw identity with the non-Native community was strongest during its early years.Significant factors that increased this sense ofbelonging to this community were: workingas miners and other occupations linked to the mines; accepting Methodism thepredominant religion of the miners in Nanaimo and not Catholicism, the religion of otherCoast Salish peoples; and intermarriage with the early settlers in the region. In later yearsthe links to the non-Native community were not as strong but there continued social tiesto families that lived on streets bordering the town reserve or on farms close to the Riverreserves. Today that sense of community has changed again to include the growing Nativepopulation (non- Sne-nay-muxw) that live in Nanaimo. Discrimination, poverty, andservice delivery programs for Native peoples has strengthen this community sense.Before closing this section on methodology I would like to address a reflexive processthat occurred in the writing of this thesis. With the present political climate in theprovince in British Columbia surrounding land claims, I was aware that this thesis, likeother work of anthropologists, could be used as a document in a legal setting to eithersupport or not support Sne-nay-muxw claims. This awareness did lead to a consciousselection of document material that I felt best described the history of the Sne-nay-muxwThe 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 pastselected or omitted material in their studies ofNative peoples is now readilyacknowledged. For a discussion ofthe important implications of this selection for publicpolicy see Dyck (1993).26people. In writing this history I have tried to omit any ambiguous statements that might bemisinterpreted to the real intent of the meaning I am trying to mike. However, I admitthat I have on many occasions simplified what are at times very complex andinterconnected phenomena. It is impossible to give a complete account of the complexhistory of the Sne-nay-muxw within this single study. As well as declaring that this is myinterpretation of Sne-nay-muxw history I also want to acknowledge the academicconstraints of the discipline of anthropology that upholds a moral and ethical obligation tothe people one studies. My obligation to the Sne-nay-muxw people to tell their history asthey wanted it told did influence my selection ofparticular documents to describe theirhistory. However, their concern to show their role as wage workers in the economy, theforced dependency upon wage employment with the alienation of their resources and land,and the discrimination they experienced in finding employment, were not contrary to myown interpretation of their labour history. That I was able to set it within the context of atheoretical interpretation linked to the social relations of gender, race and class is mostcertainly my contribution.Organization of ThesisThe following chapters are divided chronological and are dictated by both the type ofdata available as well as the distinct economic periods that shaped Sne-nay-muxwwomen’s employment. Chapter two provides the cultural and historical context in whichSne-nay-muxw women entered the labour force. Through a reconstruction of the precontact economy I identi1y several important features of Sne-nay-muxw economic andsocial organization as they pertain to women. One of the most important features is that27the Sne-nay-muxw had a distinct division of labour determined by sex but there was adegree of flexibility based upon the task at hand. This enabled both men and women toshare tasks preparing food when necessary. Women had significant economic autonomyin their lives that was assured with a bilateral kinship system, gender related ownership ofproduction, and relationships within the household based upon exchange. The earlycontact period and the fur trade is described to show how demographic change and newtrade goods began to transform Sne-nay-muxw women’s lives.In Chapter three I describe the establishment ofNanaimo and the initial experiences ofthe Sne-nay-muxw in wage labour with the Hudson’s Bay Company between 1852 and1862. The history of the Hudson’s Bay Company coal operation in Nanaimo and theTreaty of 1854 that effectively alienate the Sne-nay-muxw from coal deposits in theirterritory is first summarized. This is followed with a description of employment in aneconomy that segregated labour upon gender, race and class lines. Sne-nay-muxw menworked in the mines digging shafts and transporting coal to the pit face, while womenconveyed coal to the ships. Other employment around the post was similarly segregatedso that Sne-nay-muxw men and women were given the poorest paid and least desirableemployment. In the final section I discuss the impact of this wage economy upon Snenay-muxw lives. Not only were the Sne-nay-muxw moved off many of their village sites,but the arrival ofEuropean settlers and other Native peoples in the region began toalienate them from their traditional resource sites. On the other hand the Sne-nay-muxwgained wealth and prestige because of the coal operation in their territory. However thisincreased wealth was not equally accessible to Sne-nay-muxw men and women. The28different value placed upon men and women’s production encouraged women to seekwage labour in order to maintain their economic autonomy within their households.Between 1862 and 1920 the coal mining industry dominated the economic and sociallife ofNanaimo. This is the focus of Chapter four. In the Iirst section I describe themining economy and the nature of its segregated labour force. This sets the context forunderstanding the employment history of Sne-nay-muxw men and women during thisperiod. This history reveals that Sne-nay-muxw men were employed in the local economyas casual labourers in the mines while women worked as domestic servants in thecommunity. Despite this early integration into the labour force variable market demandsfor coal, increased competition by Chinese workers, and changing technology left bothSne-nay-muxw men and women the most vulnerable workers to unemployment. Duringthis period the Sne-nay-muxw continued to integrate wage labour with subsistenceproduction and farming. Although faced with the lack of arable land and the increasingencroachment upon their traditional resource sites, the Sne-nay-muxw had relative successintegrating these incompatible productive activities. An important part ofthis strategy wasthe retention of kinship networks and extended families that allowed for cooperation andexchange between and within households. The sharing of food and labour between kinenabled women to pursue wage labour when opportunities arose. In the final section Iexamine how a gender ideology that promoted domestic roles for women was imposedupon the Sne-nay-muxw by the mining community, missionaries and state policies. Idocument how Sne-nay-muxw women both accommodated and resisted this ideology.Women acquired the domestic skills related to this ideology but continued to maintain29considerable autonomy in their lives. This is evident in the control and distribution ofwage and non-wage production within the household and in formal exchanges.The employment history of the Sne-nay-muxw in the logging economy ofNanaimobetween 1920 and 1970 is described in Chapter five. For the Sne-nay-muxw this was atime of increasing dependence upon wage labour as subsistence production and farmingdeclined. Gender, race and class segregation that structured the mining industry changedto accommodate the shift to logging and related industries. Although this gave some Snenay-muxw men greater security in the labour force women’s employment remainedlimited. With reduced employment in the local economy women’s only access to wageincome was to accompany their husbands fishing or to migrate to the berry fields inWashington. Despite the preference to live in nuclear families, extended families andkinship networks remained important for support and cooperation to offset the povertymany Sne-nay-muxw families experienced. In this last section I show that throughout thisperiod, women’s roles became increasingly circumscribed to the domestic sphere despitetheir participation in the labour force. At this time the acceptance of a gender ideologythat promoted domestic roles for women gained strength in families headed by men insecure jobs. These families supported the exclusion ofwomen from paid labour. Howfilly families were able to meet this ideal became a mark of class and status in thecommunity.In Chapter six I examine the changing participation of Sne-nay-muxw men and womenin the service economy ofNanaimo from 1971 to the present time. This economycontinues to segregate along gender, race and class lines. This restructuring has given30Sne-nay-muxw women advantages vis a vis men in employment. It is women not menwho seek employment in the service economy as men remain committed to shrinking jobsin the primary and secondary industries. Women have been successful in findingemployment because they now have equal access to education and employment training.With men’s insecure employment women’s income contribution to the household hasbecome increasingly important to supplement the shrinking wages of men. Family statusand wealth is now linked to women’s employment. Those families that in the previousperiod embraced the exclusion of women from wage labour, now support their inclusioninto the labour force. A gender ideology to accommodate this inclusion now redefineswomen’s roles to include employment in the gendered jobs of the economy. However, theincreased income contribution women in their households has not allowed women to gainformal political power. Despite considerable autonomy in their family lives women’spower 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 forunderstanding the employment situation ofNative women elsewhere. The question ofwhether wage employment increases women’s power in their communities and the role ofgender ideology in promoting women’s inclusion into wage labour are also discussed.31CHAPTER 2ETHNOGRAPHIC AND HISTORICAL BA CKGROUNDIntroductionThis chapter provides the cultural and historical context in which the Sne’-nay-muxwentered the labour force. The first section begins with a brief discussion of the sourcesavailable and the problems in reconstructing the Sne-nay-muxw pre-contact economy andgender roles. This is followed by a description of the Sne-nay-muxw as known throughthe ethnographic accounts. Special attention is paid to the role of women in the divisionof 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-naymuxw life.Ethnographic BackgroundSourcesLittle ethnographic work has been published about the Sne-nay-muxw. One of theearliest anthropologists to visit the region was Franz Boas who arrived in the vnter of1886-87. Unlike other Coast Salish communities on Vancouver Island he found the Snenay-muxw very cooperative (Rohner 1969:72). In a short article he included informationabout marriage and mortuary customs as well as the history of a series ofbattles with thenorthern Lekwiltok (Boas 1889). Boas’ other references to the Sne-nay-muxw are eitherunpublished or in passing including no details of their traditional economic activities32(Boas n.d.a; n.d.b; 1887; 1895). Considering that the Sne-nay-muxw traditional cycle ofexploiting 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 oneof the most important sources for understanding Sne-nay-muxw economic life. Hisinformant Albert Wesley was born in the 1860’s and was quite knowledgeable abouttraditional life. Jenness also used Albert Wesley as an informant but his work to date isunpublished (see n.d.; 1934-36). Tn the late 1940’s and early 1950’s Wayne Suttlesconducted fieldwork with the Sne-nay-muxw. He has published a series of articles on theCoast 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 aneducational focus, used Sne-nay-muxw archaeological data and place names to create aNative studies curriculum. Mitchell (1984) completed an oral history of the lifeexperiences of the six Sne-nay-muxw elders. Finally, Bouchard (1992) in conjunctionwith the archaeological project at Departure Bay, included information about subsistencepractices as revealed from the early ethnographic studies as well as material from recentinformants.Aside from Mitchell’s (1984) rich contribution, the lives of Sne-nay-muxw women ispoorly documented. This is a product of the male bias that existed in the work of maleethnographers who visited the region. In seeking out male informants they omitted33important 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 dominantones in Coast Salish society. Interestingly in a letter to his family Franz Boasacknowledged that Coast Salish women he encountered were far more knowledgeableabout traditional customs than men. However despite this insight he continued to use menas his principal informants (Rohner 1969:23). During his briefvisit to Nanaimo he usedAmos Cusheon, a lay minister, and his nephew, Daniel Cusheon for his work on the Snenay-muxw (Rohner 1969:72). A noted exception in the early work is found in thewritings of Beryl Cryer, a journalist who interviewed two Sne-nay-muxw women duringthe 1930’s: Jenny Wyse was born at Departure Bay and the daughter of Quen-es-then, aprinciple 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 wereprominent women in the community and very knowledgeable about Sne-nay-muxwhistory. Their stories, as told by Cryer, offer important insights into Sne-nay-muxwhistory as well as the daily lives of these women during the 1930’s (Cryer F8.2/C88BCARS).The Sne-nay-muxwThe Sne-nay-muxw live along the central east coast region ofVancouver Island, BritishColumbia.’ They are part of the linguistic group known as Coast Salish who are found onThere are various spellings and translations for Sne-nay-muxw in the historical andethnographic material (see Rozen 1985:43)). The spelling in this thesis is notlinguistically 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 most34the southern coast of British Columbia and parts ofWashington State. Like theirimmediate neighbours, the Nanoose, the Chemainus and the Cowichan, they are IslandHalkomelem speakers. This is one of the three dialects of Halkomelem which is spokenon Vancouver Island from Northwest Bay to Saanich Inlet. 2 They, like other speakers ofHalkomelem, comprise the Central Coast Salish which also include the Clallam, NorthernStraits, Nooksack and Squamish. Northern Coast Salish, the Sechelt, Comox andPentlatch live in the northern half of the Straits of Georgia and the Lushootseed andTwana speaking peoples who are the Southern Coast Salish live in the drainage ofPugetSound 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 ofQueets River to the north and Cowlitz River in the south.Traditionally the Sne-nay-muxw territory extended from several kilometers north ofNeck Point in the north to Boat Harbour in the south (Bouchard l992). Gabriola Islandand other adjacent islands constituted the eastern boundary and the watershed of theNanaimo river, the western boundary. While it is unknown how long they have lived inthis region the area is rich in archaeological sites which several surveys have confirmedfrequently found (e.g.Walbran 1909:348) is not linguistically supported as the prefix is anunidentifiable root.2The other two dialects, upriver and downriver Halkomelem, are found on the mainlandfrom the mouth of the Fraser River to Harrison Lake and the lower reaches of the FraserCanyon. Hill-Tout (1902:3 56) translates Halkomelem as “those who speak the samelanguage.”There is some dispute in the literature of the northern and southern boundaries of Suenay-muxw territory. Boas (1889) designates Horsewell Bluff and Five Finger Island asthe northern boundary, Dodd Narrows the southern. Bouchard’s (1990) recent researchindicates that it is two miles further north at Neck Point and that the southern boundary isthree miles south ofDodd Narrows at Boat Harbour. His conclusion on this southernlimit 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, however three sites thathave been extensively excavated at Duke Point (Murray 1982), False Narrows (Burley1988) and Departure Bay (Arcas 1994, Wilson 1994) indicate that there has been acontinuous in situ cultural development in this region for at least four thousand years.Excavations at these shell middens have yielded a diverse array of artifacts that testify notonly to the specialization to the rich resources in the area but the presence of a highlydeveloped stratified society that is identified with the Northwest Coast cultural pattern.This cultural pattern, while distinctive, exhibits a substantial degree ofvariation andcomplexity which is attributed to interregional contact and variable features of the habitat(Suttles 1987).The Sne-nay-muxw like other Northwest coast peoples depended upon salmon andother marine resources for their principal food source. They were highly mobile as theyfollowed their seasonal round, fishing, hunting and gathering. Traveling as much as 500kilometers on an annual basis, their traditional movement included not only the immediateterritory but also the annual crossing of the Strait of Georgia to the Fraser River and as farnorth as Qualicum River(Mitchell 197 1:27; Sproat 1876). This high degree ofmobilitywas most apparent during the spring and summer months for during the fall and ‘vintermonths they lived in permanent villages on the Nanaimo river, Nanaimo harbour andDeparture Bay.Cybulski (1994:80) concludes that archaeological data on the Northwest Coast suggeststhat the social system in the southern region was present 5,000 years ago.VancouverIsland&MainlandStraitofGeorgiaSne-nay-muxwTerritoryandReservesHammond‘Bay05kmAKnownVillage037Like other Northwest Coast peoples in the winter months they lived in large loughousesthat were made of cedar planks. Most of them were gabled but some shed types were alsofound that were long enough to accommodate an extended family or an entire village.5Inside these longhouses were a number of lirepits around the sides and storage platformsthat were also used as beds along the walls. Sections inhabited by individual families wereseparated by plank partitions or mats. Generally the houses were unpainted but a few, dueto 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-naymuxw made lean-to structures of mats and some planks from their winter homes (Barnett1955: 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) maintainsthat they are best identified as local groups” which consist of an established kin groupand several dependent households. A local group may have its own winter village or maylive with other local groups in separate longhouses in the same village. In the case of theSne-nay-muxw four ofthe local groups” lived in a winter village called stE ‘ilup atDeparture Bay, while the 111th had its winter village on Nanaimo Harbour. In the fall allfive “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 theSee Suttles (1990:7) for a descriptive comparison of these two types ofhouse styles.6 Stenzel (1975:110,112) offers two pictures of the Sne-nay-muxw villages painted in1858. A composite photograph taken in 1858 from the Newcombe collection is publishedinBarnett (1955:322).38ethnographic and historical literature as “kwelsiwlh,” teytexen,” ‘yeshexen,” “enwines,”and “xwsol ‘exwel.”7 It was the “xwsol ‘exwel” that remained separate with their wintervillage on the Nanaimo Harbour (Bamett 195 5:22). 8Generally social organization was not as rigid as that found in Northwest Coast groupsfurther to the north. The Sne-nay-muxw lacked clans, phratries, and clear-cut classdistinctions. There was however some stratification in that people were divided betweenupper class or worthy, “si?ém,” lower class and worthless people, “stéxem,” and slaves.The distinction between worthy and worthless people was based on possession ofprivateor guarded knowledge concerning family traditions, and the absence of slavery ancestry(Suttles 1958). Worthless people were individuals who had no inherent access to resourcesites and a blemished past. Their status was apparent in their behaviour and poverty.9 Inany village the proportion ofworthy was much higher than the proportion of worthlesspeople. Thus class hierarchy was not a pyramid as found in the more rigidly rankedsocieties ofthe north, but an inverted pear with the greater number of individualsconsidered upper class. Also within this upper class there was a degree of individualranking that was expressed in both social and material ways (Snyder 1964:170). Butunlike their northern neighbours, there were no formal chiefs but an ‘informal’ leader of aSuttles in a personal communication to Bouchard (1992:5)jioted that several of theselocal group names are translated into directional terms, north, middle and south whichprobably indicates their position in the winter village at Departure Bay.8Bamett (1955:22) believed that this local group was higher ranked than the others butthis is disputed by the Sne-nay-muxw. Also they dispute Jenness’ (195 5:86) assertionthat the Nanoose village to the north of the Sne-nay-muxw was a tributary village of theSne-nay-muxw.Drucker (1983) believes that this class is a product of contact and not found in theindigenous social structure.39household group (Miller and Boxberger 1994). High ranked individuals had greatadvantage to assume this leadership but relative merits as revealed in individual ability andwealth remained as important as heredity. Beneath the worthless peoples was a class ofslaves which were acquired through trade or warfare. Slaves had no status in the societyand were considered outcasts. Only the wealthiest people owned slaves and it is believedthat they were not numerous in Sne-nay-muxw villages.Descent for the Sne-nay-muxw was reckoned bilaterally with an emphasis uponpatrilineal ties. Kinship terms distinguished between order ofbirth in collateral lineage butnot between lineal and collateral relatives beyond the first ascending and descendinggenerations. 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 notobligatory. There was a great deal of flexibility in the residence pattern that allowed acouple to choose to live with the bride’s parents if they had no son, had a higher rank intheir community than the husband’s family, or might need someone to care for them (Duff1952:79). Nonetheless, it was considered incestuous to marry between close or “blood”kin which was determined as distantly as third or fourth cousins (Barnett 1955:184;Suttles 1990:463-4). Polygyny, sororate, and levirate were also common marriagearrangements.For the Sne-nay-muxw, like many Northwest Coast groups, the winter was a time forceremonial exchanges, wealth displays and interaction with the supernatural world.However, the Sne-nay-muxw and other Coast Salish emphasized the acquisition of aguardian spirit through a personal vision quest and not through public and theatrical40displays. Spiritual power was acquired privately after ritual fasting and purification. Itwas 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 thesrwaixwe mask and rattles, the Sne-nay-muxw lacked the elaborate ceremonial regaliafound elsewhere on the coast. One theory to explain this difference is put forward bySuttles (1984) who believes that due to the association of representation with spiritualpower art as a decorative medium was limited. Nonetheless, despite the scarcity indecorative items the Sne-nay-muxw like other Haikomelem speakers had a distinctive artstyle that was evident on spindle whorls, rattles, combs, houseposts, and grave figures(Kew 1980; Feder 1983; Sullies 1984).Pre-Contact EconomySubsistence RoundThe Sne-nay-muxw, like other Coast Salish and Northwest Coast groups, wereprimarily dependent upon salmon and other marine resources for food. The first principlefood activity of the year began in March with the arrival of the herring into Departure Bayand Hammond Bay.” Herring was caught in great quantities using a herring rake, driedon racks, and cured by roasting on cedar splints. Also herring roe was collected byplacing fir branches at different locations along the shore. Herring deposited their spawn10 The myth explaining the origin of the mask for the Sne-nay-muxw is presented inJenness (1955:91-2).“One important site for the earliest herring fishing was approximately three and a halfmiles northwest of Departure Bay known as sk ‘ol ‘em (Bouchard 1992:9).41on 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 thatreturned from their winter feeding grounds. Waterfowl were abundant in the NanaimoRiver estuary and shoreline of Gabriola Island. While many species of ducks were huntedthe most important duck for the Sne-nay-muxw was the scoter duck or as commonlykn.own, the black duck. This duck was plentiful in Sne-nay-muxw territory all year round.A variety ofhunting techniques were used to hunt these ducks, such as snares, nets, andduck 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 gatheringwas an additional source of food.By the end ofApril the Sne-nay-muxw moved to False Narrows and Gabriola Island tofish for cod, grilse’2 and other species during the summer months (Jenness n.d.; Bamett195 5:22). Most of these fish were caught by trolling. Clams were the principal reason theSne-nay-muxw went to this location. False Narrows on Gabriola Island was one of themost important clam beds of the region and clams were gathered here with digging sticksat low tide (Thompson 1913:155-6). Clams were either steamed and eaten fresh or driedon withes shaped into circular strings for later consumption. Dried clams were also animportant trade item (Bayley BCARS; Fraser 1906:102; Barnett 1955:6 1; Suttles195 la:69; Smith 1940a:245; Aswell 1978:44; Norton 1985:129). Other shellfish gatheredat this time were mussels, cookies, littlenecks, oysters, crabs, and sea urchin which were12 Immature, half grown salmon.42all steamed and in some cases dried. Generally shellfish was available throughout the yearand 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 plentifulin Sne-nay-muxw territory.Also important during the summer months was the gathering ofplant foods such asroots, bulbs and berries. Camas, a bulbous root similar to an onion was a preferred foodand grew extensively on the bluffs of Gabriola Island (Jenness n.d.). It was dug for aboutthree weeks in May before the bulbs seeded and a single family could fill 10 to 12 cattailbags in a season (Jenness n.d). While they could be stored raw they were most oftensteamed in pits and then dried into cakes. Berries were also plentiful throughout Sne-naymuxw territory and beginning with wild strawberries in May numerous berries such assalmonberries, thimbleberries, blackberries and bog cranberries were picked through to thelate fall and winter. Berries were either eaten fresh or dried into cakes. They were storedin little crates made of dried alder, and pieces were soaked in water before eating (Suttles195 la:63). Sometimes eulachon oil which was traded frOm the north was mixed withthem.In July the Sne-nay-muxw moved to the Fraser river to fish for sockeye (0. nerka) andin alternating years humpbacked salmon (0. gorbuscha). Their fishing site was locatedseveral miles from the mouth of the river near Barnston Island. One historic source notedthat 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 also43had a fishing site for sturgeon on Lulu Island (Bamett 195 5:34). As the salmon rundiminished in September women gathered cranberries that were abundant in bogs at themouths of small tributaries to the Fraser river. Wapato, an aquatic plant was also availableon the Fraser river particularly at the fork of the Pitt River. Here the Sne-nay-muxw withother Fraser river peoples harvested this root for several weeks in late September andearly October.’3By mid October many of the Sne-nay-muxw returned to their fall villages on theNanaimo River in time for the chum salmon run. Chum, or dog-salmon (O.keta), was thelast of the salmon species to return to the rivers in October and November. It was animportant source of food for the winter months because it was a much leaner species ofsalmon that could be dried for longer lasting preservation. The fall run of salmon in theNanaimo River was therefore an important one for the Sne-nay-muxw to supplement thesummer provisions to last until the spring when food getting activities began again.’4Sockeye and humpbacks fished on the Fraser river were dried outside while chum on theNanaimo river were smoked in smokehouses.13 The Ft. Langley journal reports that the Sne-nay-muxw with 5000 others assembled atPitt River forks to harvest this root. Jenness (1955:76) notes that the Sne-nay-muxw hadstrong marital affiances with the Katzie which would give them rights to such resourcesites on the Fraser River. They also had rights to the chum run on the Qualicum riverthrough such affiances(Sproat 1876).‘ Suttles (ms) has calculated the annual consumption of salmon for the Sne-nay-muxw assimilar to those estimated by Schaik (1986) for the Chinook on the Lower Columbiariver. Thus a given population of 500 with a consumption rate of annually 600 lbs ofsalmon per person gives a total of 300,000 lbs. a year.44The Sne-nay-muxw caught chum on the Nanaimo iiver using a weir that was describedin some detail by an early visitor, John Keast Lord, a naturalist in the late 1850’s. Hewrote:On the Nanainio River the Indians have a very ingenious contrivance fortaking salmon, by constructing a weir; but, instead ofputting baskets theypave a square place, about six feet wide and fourteen feet long with whiteor light-coloured stones. This pavement is always on the lower side of theweir, leading to an opening. A stage is erected between two of thesepaved ways, where Indians lying on their stomachs, can in an instant see ifa salmon is traversing the white paved way. A long spear, barbed at theend is held in readiness, and woe betide the adventurous fish that runs thegauntlet 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 rocksas 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 localgroups were given access to it. Rituals that regulated the run of salmon on the river wereperformed by a shaman they included singing a special song, marking male and femalesalmon with paint and down feathers, and applying red ochre to designs etched on therocks (Barnett 1955:89-9 1). ‘ The designs on the petroglyph at Jack Point consists ofvarious 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‘5Bamett (1955:91) believes that the right to perform the ceremony was more of apersonal family prerogative than a true first-salmon rite because of the passiveparticipation of other families. Suttles (ms) disagrees and maintains that the ritual wasperformed on behalf ofthe tribe. To think of a single family having a monopoly on thisceremony 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)45muxw were limited to roasting the fish for immediate consumption and only after theceremony had been performed were they able to cure them.Land animals was also an important source of food for the Sne-nay-muxw. 17 Deerwere plentiful in the region. Bucks were hunted in the spring and early summer, does inthe fall. Either they were hunted individually with bow and arrow or through drives usingdeer nets. One source indicates that they hunted deer in canoes as they crossed to thesmall islands (Bouchard 1992:23). Elk were also hunted using these techniques. Smalleranimals such as raccoons, minks, martens and beavers were trapped.Food gathering activities ended in the winter months when the Sne-nay-muxwdepended upon their stored foods. This was the time for ritual give-a-ways and spiritualrenewals. These winter ceremonials validated the successes of summer food gettingactivities in potlatches. An individual’s spiritual power which enabled this success wasreaffirmed so that the fii.ture year would be as successfhl. The winter ceremonialsconceptually unified the religious and material elements of Coast Salish life (Snyder1964:96).Although the Sne-nay-muxw had a rich and varied food supply, there was greatseasonal differences in the availability and abundance of resources in their territory. To‘7Mitchell (1990:239-47) maintains that it is difficult to determine the relative importanceofparticular food sources from the ethnographies or archaeological sites in the region asvarious methodologies produced different results. The recent use ofbone weight as afraction of live weight, and classifying according to broad taxonomic categories, reveals astronger dependence upon land mammals than previously acknowledged for Coast Salishpeoples.‘8Bamett (1955:79) notes the importance of supernatural helpers to catch fish and relatesa story ofhow one Sne-nay-muxw fisherman acquired the supernatural helper to be agood fisherman.46some extent food resources were regular and predictable but fluctuations did occur andsubsistence strategies changed to accommodate them. What was important throughoutthe year was that the Sne-nay-muxw monitor their resource sites to ensure exploitation atoptimal times and preserve and store food when possible. The diversity in resources andin particular the abundance of ducks, shellfish and herring in their territoiy gave the Snenay-muxw a security in food resources that only few Northwest coast groupsexperienced. 19 Their ability to access these resource sites was assured with a bilateralkinship system that traced rights through both men and women. This gave the Sne-naymuxw a wide circle ofkinship networks that could be used to optimize individual familyrights to food sources. The following discusses the role ofwomen in the division oflabour and how their rights to resource sites, as well as wealth property, gave womeneconomic and political power in Sne-nay-muxw society.Division of LabourAs noted above the Sne-nay-muxw were divided into local groups which consisted ofan established kin group and several dependent households. A household was comprisedof several nuclear families usually a set ofbrothers with their wives, children and slaves.Married sisters with their husbands and other relatives could also be included. Eachnuclear fàmilyto a certain degree was self-sufficient and responsible for its own foodrequirements. The individuality ofthe family was maintained by their separate storage and19 For a discussion of the importance of shell fish for the Puget Sound region see Beicher(1985). This was a rich food source that was available year round and an alternative tooffset any conditions of scarcity.47consumption of food within partitioned sections of the longhouse. Sharing of foodbetween 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 foodgetting activities such as gathering shellfish, certain types of fishing and hunting could bedone on an individual or two person basis (Snyder 1964:69). Families, however, didwork cooperatively in activities such as building weirs, constructing houses, orparticipating in deer drives and duck hunting. Shared ventures occurred more frequentlyin the fall and winter months when families lived together in the communal longhouses.However food taken in this manner was apportioned immediately and equally amongfamilies. In the summer months individual families dispersed to the various resource sitesand while several might work together in collecting roots, berries, or shellfish this wasprimarily for sociability and not a necessity.The division of labour within families was based on sex.2° Men were the fishermen andhunters while women gathered, processed and preserved foods. There was some degreeof flexibility between men and women’s labour in that women helped men fish and menhelped women gather and process food. Both men and women cooked and did choressuch as carry wood and water. Also both cared for children. In many respects thedivision of labour in. food production was based more on convenience and upon the needsof the task at hand (Smith 1940a: 139;1969: 10; Collins 1974:75). However there were20 Slaves were also part ofthe labour force and generally used for menial tasks such ascarrying firewood and water (Suttles 195 la:305; Elmendorf 1960:345). However, theydid not constitute a large proportion of the Sne-nay-muxw population and thus theireconomic contribution was not significant.48exceptions, one ofwhich was hunting. Hunting taboos not only restricted women fromthis activity but also comined their behaviour while men hunted (Elmendorf 1960:59,101;Barnett 1955:105; Suttles 195 la:97-8; Haberlin & Gunther 1930:49-50; Jenness n.d:9-10).This loose gender assigmnent of labour did not occur in more specialized activities suchas craft production. Generally men were the carvers and worked bone, shell and wood.As well as hunting and fishing tools, they made a variety ofhousehold utensils, furnishingsand canoes. They also carved houseposts, grave figures and other ritual paraphernaliasuch as the sxwaixwe masks and rattles.Sne-nay-muxw women, like other Salish women in the region, were the weavers andwove blankets, baskets, and mats. They were very proficient in weaving blankets out of acombination of a domestic dog hair and a variety of other materials such as fireweed anddown from geese and ducks. 21 A few Sne-nay-muxw blankets were also mixed withmountain goat wool which was not available locally except through trade from groups onthe mainland. 22 Baskets, important for gathering and storing food ,were made out of splitcedar roots or limbs and cedar bark. Mats used to cover stored foods and for furnishingswere also made out of flat leaves of cattails and tule stems which were gathered in the latespring or early summer (Stem 1934:93). Women also made a variety of clothing such as21A domestic dog resembling a small white haired Pomeranian was observed by many ofthe early visitors to the area.22 Sne-nay-muxw traded from the Katzie on the Fraser river (Suttles 195 5:25) andthe Sliammon from Squirrel Cove and Cortez Island (Barraclough 1979:16). Barnett’s(1955:120) informants date the introduction of greater quantities of mountain goat woolto more recent times with the marriage alliance of a Sechelt woman with a Sne-nay-muxwman.49skirts, aprons and robes out of cedar bark, deer and elk skins, and cattail rushes. Cedarbark hats were also woven.23 Both men and women made various types of cordage usedfor lines and nets.Men and women’s specialization was to a large extent more important to theeconomics ofproduction than the question of the division of labour. The degree ofautonomy for a household, or a local group, depended upon its ability to include all theexpertise needed to make it independent as well as competitive with other local groups.Women who were good blanket weavers and basket makers were accorded great statusand honour. Similarly men who were good carvers and canoe makers were also givenhigh standing in the community.However not all men and women could be specialists for such skills often monopolizedan individual’s time to the exclusion of other tasks. Thus an individual’s contribution wasnot always measured by their expertise but also by their productivity. The work ethic wasvery much entrenched in the Sne-nay-muxw value system. The habits ofhard work werethe most highly prized of any personal characteristic and men and women were praised forcontinually working (Collins 1974:82). Laziness was the worst of all faults and mostdespised (Bamett 1955:141). It was an accepted justification for marriage dissolution.An individual’s self-worth was thus linked to what they did and their productivity.Children from an early age were impressed with the importance of industry andambition. This emphasis was evident in the puberty ceremonies. When a young girlsought a supernatural helper it was not only to make her attractive but industrious.23 A picture of a Sne-nay-muxw basketry hat is presented in Eells (1985:116).50During her days of seclusion she was kept busy at wool carding and twisting or makingbaskets (Jenness n.d:5 6).24 Women acquired spirit helpers to increase skills at weaving orluck in such things as root digging (Ehnendorf 1960:396). The acquisition of spirit powerwas thus linked to productivity and the accumulation of wealth.This account of the division of labour reveals the important contribution ofwomen tothe maintenance of the household group. Not only were women essential for thegathering, processing and preserving of food but for their specialized skills that made ahousehold selfsufficient. The value placed on women’s work increased with productivityand skill. Often this coincided with age as older women perfected weaving skills that werehighly admired. Women’s exclusion from economic activities that men did was oftenlinked 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 ownershipand distribution ofwealth.Ownership and Distribution of WealthThe concept ofproperty and wealth was well developed among the Sne-nay-muxw as itwas for all peoples on the Northwest Coast. Property was acquired in two ways,inheritance or one’s own production. Inherited property was obtained by virtue of one’smembership in a descent line. Descent was traced bilaterally but there was somepreference in emphasizing patrilineage descent due to the presence of a patrilocal24 According to Bamett (1955:180) the Sne-nay-muxw also practiced “conspicuousleisure” for the well born girl who was expected to do nothing to the point that shebecame pale and weak and incompetent to perform any physical task. It is hard to judge ifthis was an indigenous custom or a product of the Victorian ideal “woman” which theSne-nay-muxw were trying to emulate.51residence pattern. Inherited property included resource sites, house planks, and fishingweirs, as well as intangible property such as personal names, songs, dances, spirit powersand other ceremonial prerogatives. This property remained the inalienable right of anindividual and could be passed on to anyone of their choosing however most frequently itwas passed on to one’s own children. Marriages were arranged to give access to thisproperty.Either men or women could inherit property (Boas 1889). While women could inheritany 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 solepossession ofwomen and inherited from mother to daughter (Elmendorf 1960; Collins1974:5 5). Intangible property such as spiritual powers and ceremonial prerogatives couldalso be inherited from mother to daughter. While women generally seemed to inheritspiritual powers associated with femininity some women did have ceremonial prerogativesthat were considered masculine (Snyder 1964:). In some households this gender relatedownership was extended to the point that they possessed two sets of titles, one for womenand the other for men (Jenness n.d. :40).25As well as inherited wealth, property such as tools, clothing, furnishings and food wereacquired through one’s own individual production. Women owned the blankets, basketsand mats they wove, while men owned their tools and canoes. Thus within a household25 One ofBarnett’s informants noted that titles could be feminized for a girl child and thereverse. A title also skipped a generation (Barnett papers, Box 1, folder 1).52there was distinct property owned by men and women (Stern 1934:33). This genderrelated ownership ofproperty was noted by Gibbs:The maker of anything is its necessary owner.... Not only do the men ownproperty distinct from their wives, but their wives own each her privateeffects, separate from her husband as well as from the others. He has hisown blankets, she her mats and baskets and generally speaking her earningsbelong to her (Gibbs 1877: 187)Women’s ability to both inherit and create wealth through their own labour enabledwomen to attain almost unlimited status and authority in Coast Salish society (Snyder1964:255).26 Indicative of this are the historical accounts that attest to the presence ofwomen leaders amongst the Coast Salish. For example, two observers noted the power ofone 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 aroundher.. .Although her husband was present, he seemed under such gooddiscipline, as to warrant the belief that the wife was the ruling power, or, toexpress it in more homely language, “wore the breeches” (Wilkes 1845(4): 124)....a woman ofgreat energy of character, and exerts greater authority overthose round her than any man chief I have met with since I have been in thecountry. She is about 50 years of age, and dresses very neatly for an Indianwoman... .Her canoe was large and handsomely painted, and was paddledby five slaves, two ofthem women (Colvocoresses 1842:243).Women in upper class families secured a great amount of wealth through inheritancealone. They inherited wealth from both their mother’s or father’s side of the family. Thiswealth was inherited at the time of a woman’s marriage or when her parents died. It wasnot shared with her husband but inherited by her children. A dowry given to women at the26 This is disputed by Smith (1940:48) who argues that while the Puyallup and Nisquallywomen acquired prestige in their society they were excluded from public authority.53time of marriage was her property and remained so (Elmendorf 1960:363). Other womenwho did not inherit wealth, could through their own industry create wealth. All theproducts of one’s labour had wealth value. Specialization as noted above gave womenstatus for the need such specialization fulfilled within the local group. But specializationalso gave individual women wealth from their own production as their products had greatwealth value in the various levels of exchanges.Women’s economic autonomy was emphasized in the informal and formal exchangesthat occurred within and without the nuclear family and household unit. At its mostinformal were the exchanges that occurred at the family level between husband and wife.While sharing was essential for the well being of a family, property was not pooled butexchanged to a point of a recognized balance of give and take. Any misbalance couldproduce divorce and the loss ofprestige for the household. Smith explains how thisbalance 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 ownlabour, or the product ofher labour, the garment belonged to her. Ifherhusband had tanned the hide she had to sew it for him and it belonged tohim. If she worked on her own hide and let his lay, he could raise hell. Ifshe needed a mat creaser and he wouldn’t make it for her, she could raisehell (Smith 1940a: 142).As well as this informal exchange, women also participated in other informal exchangeswith their affines in the household group and own kin outside. Within the householdgroup exchanges were generally reciprocal and were expressions of friendly feeling.These exchanges were an important way for women to consolidate their relationships withtheir in-laws as patrilocal residence pattern placed them in the same household.54Exchanges outside the household group occurred with one’s own kin and were animportant part of a network of relations that solidified women’s claim to resources ownedby her kin.More formal exchanges occurred in three kinds ofnamed gatherings: taking food toaffines or ‘paddle’; household feasts where a family feasted other household members andother households in the village; and the ‘true potlatch’ that was given with invited guestsfrom other households in nearby villages (Suttles 1960, Amoss 1978). Aflinal exchangesfrom the men’s position were more than balancing of exchanges that occurred withmarriage. They were an important means of directly converting food to wealth as well ascreating mutual support during warfare (Suttles 1960). From a woman’s perspective theycontinued 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 thosetimes when a marriage dissolved through incompatibility or death. While levirate andsororate were commonly practiced among the Coast Salish, aThnal exchanges were anadditional measure of security for women. They reaffirmed her connection with her ownkin and their resource sites.Feasting of the household occurred when one household feasted another household inthe same village. These feasts occurred when there was a surplus of food and were anoccasion to validate changes in status on a small scale. For example, one such occasionwas 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. Such55formal exchanges ofwealth occurred in the spring and early summer months beforeintensive food getting activities occurred. The primary object of accumulating anddistributing wealth in this exchange system was to validate status and rank. This wasequally important to both men and women as women exchanged their wealth either in theirown name or through their husbands (Stem 1934:33). For a woman however,contributing to a husbands ‘potlatch’ to validate his status had the potential to be at theexpense ofher own kin. Affinal exchanges were a means of reconciling this conflictingsituation.From the ethnographic material it is evident that Sne-nay-muxw women’s roles weremulti-faceted. Not only were women mothers and wives, but major contributors to thehousehold economy through their daily work. From an early age young women weresocialized to believe that their worth was linked to work. Work was delined as both thatwhich reproduced the family and that which created wealth. Women were not alienatedfrom either production. Through their work women could acquire considerable powerand status in the household which was validated through their hereditary rights. Theimportance of exchange on both an informal and formal level within and betweenhouseholds emphasized women’s economic and political autonomy. How wage labouraffected this division of labour and autonomy is examined in the following chapters. Theimmediate section describes the early contact and für trade period that was to begin atransformation in the nature of gender relations.56Early ContactThe earliest contact of the Sne-nay-muxw was made by an expedition led by theSpanish explorers Alcala Galiano and Cayetano Valdes in 1792. While exploring theislands in the Strait of Georgia, a part of the expedition anchored off the northwest end ofGabriola Island at Descanso Bay. They were met by several canoes of Sne-nay-muxwpeople who eagerly traded dried herring and other trade goods for iron, shells and beads.27A small party explored a few miles south and discovered what they thought was anabandoned village as the houses were stripped of their planks (Kendrick 1991:1 18223).28While the location ofthis village is unknown it is likely to have been a permanent villagesite at False Narrows. This site was not abandoned but Sne-nay-muxw customarily movedto more temporary fishing sites during the summer months. Planks were often taken tohelp construct their make shift summer houses giving winter villages an abandonedappearance. The Spanish themselves noted four canoes loaded with house planks whileanchored in Descanso Bay (Kendrick 1991:118-223; Burley 1988:11,48; Wagner1933:258).The arrival of the Spanish in 1792 was probably not a great surprise to the Sne-naymuxw as first contact on the coast had occurred two decades earlier and new trade goodshad already found their way by intertribal trade throughout the coast.29 This Spanish visit27 Spanish artist Jose Cardero rendered three drawings of this first encounter, two ofwhich 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 southeastend of Gabriola Island. However, it is unknown if contact was made at this time(Wagner 1933:40).29Burley (1988:131-2) notes the presence ofRussian beads in the historic deposits ofSenewelets at False Narrows. It is assumed these were acquired through intertribal trade.57coincided with the peak of the maritime fur trade that had developed on the west coast ofVancouver Island and the northern region of the coast. However the lack of sea otters inthe Strait of Georgia had excluded maritime traders in this region. The eagerness of theSne-nay-muxw to trade for Spanish goods indicates that they were not ignorant of themdespite no evidence ofEuropean goods amongst them (Wagner 1933:256). After thisvisit the Sne-nay-muxw experienced occasional visitors to their region but it was not untilthe establishment of Hudson’s Bay Company posts in the region that any regular contactwas made. The presence of these posts was to produce a new era for the Sne-nay-muxwbut before discussing how this mercantilist economy affected their lives someconsideration should be given to the demographic changes that occurred with theintroduction of new diseases at the time of initial contact.Demographic ChangeThe introduction of infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, syphilis, smallpox, andmeasles, to name a few, had a drastic impact upon the Sne-nay-muxw as it did upon otherindigenous people who had no immunity to them (Newman 1976). Our understanding ofthe effects of these diseases upon Sne-nay-muxw population is limited as estimates of theirpre-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 consideredhigh, the multiplicity of archaeological sites and the recognition that Sne-nay-muxwterritory included one of the largest river estuaries in the province, indicates that this areadid have the potential to support a large population (Bell & Kallman 1976).58The first smallpox epidemic occurred simultaneously with the first Spanish expeditionsto the Northwest Coast and the settlement ofKamchatka Peninsula in Eastern Siberiaaround 1775 (Boyd 1994:19). It was not witnessed by Europeans but observations ofpockmarked individuals throughout Coast Salish territory several decades later were notedby many explorers (Puget 1939; Vancouver 1798,1:217,241; Menzies 1923:29,35). Thisfirst 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-naymuxw at 2000 estimates that the first epidemic reduced them to 1100 individuals. Severalother smallpox epidemics occurred on the Coast but Duffbelieves were not as devastatingas the first as not all of these later epidemics reached the Sne-nay-muxw.3’By the end ofthe third epidemic in the mid 183 0’s he estimates they numbered 800 individuals.32 Afterthis period the population seems to have remained fairly stable. A Hudson’s BayCompany census taken in 1853 enumerates the Sne-nay-muxw with a total of 943 whichincludes 159 men with beards, 160 women, 300 boys, and 324 girls (Douglas PrivatePapers, BCARS). If these figures are correct two outbreaks of smallpox on the coast, onein 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 thenorthern and southern regions while the 1853 was primarily in Washington State and the30 There is no consensus in the literature about the effects of each of these epidemics. It ishighly 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 tofive hundred people. A Hudson’s Bay Company census taken of the Sne-nay-muxw onthe Fraser River in 1839 enumerated 477 individuals, (23 leading men, 37 wives, 35 sons,and 27 daughters, with 355 followers).59West Coast of Vancouver Island. He attributes the reduced impact of these epidemics toa discontinuity in population and communication, and to the dissemination of smallpoxvaccine from the mid coast forts. Both his reasons are questionable in light of the historicand archaeological evidence of the Sne-nay-muxw. Not only did they have a great degreeof interaction between peoples the length of the coast but there is no evidence of the postsgiving out vaccinations to the Sne-nay-muxw at these times. u Nevertheless, there is noindication in the historical literature of any smallpox epidemics affecting the Sne-naymuxw during this period of time. Yet, the establishment ofHudson’s Bay Company postsin the region did introduced a variety ofnew diseases to the region, such as measles,influenza and tuberculosis. These diseases had a substantial impact upon Sne-nay-muxwpopulation particularly in the later years. A census taken in 1860 lists the population ofSne-nay-muxw at 399 which included 50 old men and women, 211 young men andwomen, and 138 children (Heaton BCARS). This is considered a low estimate as it wastaken during the summer when many of the Sne-nay-muxw were away fishing on theFraser River. In 1876 when the Sne-nay-muxw reserves were officially set out by theReserve Commission they were enumerated at 223. If this figure is accurate it indicates asubstantial decline in population from 1853.Aside from disease, another factor that affected Sne-nay-muxw population waswarfare. It is unknown if the high frequency ofwarfare witnessed by the early fur tradersand settlers occurred during traditional times but skeletal remains in archaeological sites inthe Central coast region, unlike the Northern region, provides little evidence of warfareu• Vacines were given out to the Sne-nay-muxw in 1862 and this did save the Sne-naymuxw from one of the most devasting smallpox epidemics in British Columbia.60before contact. Warfare in pre-contact times is believed to have been a result of conflictover the critical resources produced by population pressure, temporal and spatialavailability, trade demands, and labour requirements for production and exchange(Ferguson 1984). These factors were more critical in the northern region than in Sne-naymuxw 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 aproduct of the für trade and the demand for trade goods and slaves (Donald 1987). Atthis time the traditional enemies of the Sne-nay-muxw were the Lekwiltok, or as they werecommonly known a century ago the Yucultas or Euclataws. They lived in and aroundCape 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 theLekwiltok annually raided the southern regions of the Strait of Georgia as well as PugetSound (Douglas Private Papers, BCARS). They fought to control territory on thenortheastern coast ofVancouver Island and eventually displaced the northern Coast Salishfrom Qualicum Beach and Comox (Taylor and Duff 1956:63; Boas 1969:93,105). Shellmounds in the woods where women and children hid, fortified villages, and tales ofbattlesduring this period are evidence of their incursions into Sne-nay-muxw territory (Matthew1955:188,273; Boas 1889; Robson 1950).Depopulation from disease and warfare greatly altered Sne-nay-muxw movement andexploitation of their territory. A decline of more than half the population from disease in ashort period oftime left villages deserted and resource sites unused. Endemic warfareshifted preferences for habitation and resource locations that offered protection and were61easy to defend. As well as these changes we can only guess at the extent of socialdisorganization that followed such depopulation. Family histories would have been lost asmany of the elders died. New leaders may have arisen emphasizing new skills such aswarriors and shamans. Shamans for example, may have exercised more power in theirsociety 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 thecoast that experienced the greatest cultural continuity (Boyd 1990: 147). This issupported by early historical accounts when the Hudson’s Bay Company sent areconnaissance party to the region in 1824 they reported that Native people in this regionhad 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 alongindigenous lines of development intrinsic to Sne-nay-muxw culture. Yet, more changeswere to occur with the arrival of the Hudson’s Bay Company and the establishment of furtrading posts in their midst. By 1850 the Sne-nay-muxw had adapted to new trade goodsand made some shifts in subsistence production to accommodate the fur trade. Thefollowing section examines this change.The Fur TradeAs noted above, before the establishment of the Hudson’s Bay Company posts in thearea the Sne-nay-muxw had little contact with maritime für traders or other visitors to theregion. This was to quickly change with the establishment oftwo für trading posts in theregion, first Ft. Langley on the Fraser River in 1827 and Ft. Victoria at the southern tip of62Vancouver Island in 1843. Ft. Langley was established quite close to the Sne-nay-muxwsummer village on the Fraser River. In the summer of 1827 when the Hudson’s BayCompany schooner, the Cadboro, sailed up the Fraser River seeking an ideal location forthe post, it passed a large Sne-nay-muxw village situated at a site on the south shore of theFraser River across from the present day Barnstone Island (see map Simpson 1827). Thiswas one of the largest settlements on the river as it contained “400 souls.” Immediately anumber of canoes containing 150 Sne-nay-muxw men came out to greet them. Their iirstmeeting with the Hudson’s Bay fur traders however was an inauspicious one as noted inthe Ft. Langley journal:They occasioned us a little annoyance by repeatedly and obstinatelyattempting to come on board and it was not till all were under arms thatthey desisted from their purpose. They were urged forward by an elderlyman who gave out orders with a loud voice and in a very determined tone.Finding their efforts ofno avail they went quickly away and soonafterwards 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” Punnisand Squatches, were finally allowed on board the schooner. It took the Hudson’s Bayseveral months to build the post and during that time many Sne-nay-muxw came to thepost 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 forrings, buttons and other trade goods. By the first week of September visits to the postdeclined 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 ofSeptember for their winter residence on the Island. The journal kept at Ft. Langley in63these early years notes their presence again in the following spring when a small party ofSne-nay-muxw came to the post to trade sturgeon and report that their “chiefs” had fursto exchange (ibid May 4th, 1828). However it was not until the beginning of July that thewhole 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 offurs to exchange. The first to bring furs to the post was a Sne-nay-muxw woman whobrought five skins which she traded for a blanket. She assured the post she had more tobring but unfortunately there is no further record of this woman returning to trade (ibidJuly 7th, 1828). After these initial transactions other individual Sne-nay-muxw traded anumber of furs throughout the summer (ibid Aug 23rd, 1828). While not all entriesindicate what type of skins the Sne-nay-muxw were trading, many were beaver and landotters which were traded at a rate of five skins for a 2’/2 point blanket. As well as fursthe Sne-nay-muxw also traded fish and berries for which they received knives and othersmall trade goods.The quantity of furs traded during the summer months indicates a new interest intrapping fur bearing animals that had not been important to the Sne-nay-muxw subsistenceeconomy. These furs were probably obtained during the winter months in Sne-nay-muxwterritory on Vancouver Island but may also have been trapped during their summer stay onThe journal does not identifS’ her but it is assumed that she was a woman of someimportance to be the first the Sne-nay-muxw to come to trade.35The Hudson’s Bay Company’s had various grades ofblankets with the 2’/z point blanketdemanding the highest number of furs.64the Fraser River (ibid May 4th, 1828). Despite this initial trade in furs für bearing animalswere not numerous on Vancouver Island or in the Fraser river drainage region around thepost. The Hudson’s Bay Company aware of the limited stock in the area had primarilyestablished Ft. Langley to intercept the furs from the interior. What little game wasavailable on Vancouver Island and the Fraser River drainage was quickly depleted withinthe first decade. Sne-nay-muxw access to any great wealth of trade goods through furswas greatly limited.By the 1840’s fur returns had dwindled from the interior and Ft. Langley turned to amore lucrative industry in salting salmon. This became an important export product forthe 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-muxwand other tribes on the Fraser River through a single trader:Orvid Allard did all the trading with the natives for their salmon. He usedto stand at the wharf with two or three trunks full of the Indians favoritestuff such as vermilion for the women to give themselves rosy cheeks andtobacco for the men (Manson BCARS).The Sne-nay-muxw had a distinct advantage in trading salmon as their fishing site wasonly a few miles from the post. Trade however was limited in the early years as only 400barrels 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 andprofits from salmon exceeded furs at the post (Mackie 1985:27).65As 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, thedaughter of the Chief Factor of the post gives a description of how Native women helpedclean and salt fish for barreling:The boys of the fort with 2 or 3 native lads from the Indian village did therunning with the fish from the wharf which they piled up before thewomen of the fort, and others who seated in a circle in the shed, wherethey were salting the salmon. And so they worked all day, early in themorning 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 productioncertainly they observed other Native women employed in this occupation. Native womenwere also used for other labour around the post.How successful the Sne-nay-muxw were in acquiring goods through trade of furs andfish is difficult to assess. A Census taken by the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1839 revealsthat the Sne-nay-muxw had acquired a number of guns in a decade of trade. Guns were adesired trade good not only for hunting but also for protection against the raiding northerntribes. Before 1825 the Hudson’s Bay Company estimated that very few Native groupsaround Juan de Fuca Strait and the Strait of Georgia owned guns. Yet by 1839 all tribeson the river and on the southeast coast of Vancouver Island had acquired a considerablenumber. The Sne-nay-muxw had in their possession at this time 56 guns or one gun forevery eight individuals (Douglas Private Papers BCARS). While a crude measure oftrade wealth it does indicate that in just over a decade the Sne-nay-muxw were66successfully in acquiring a number ofwealth goods such as guns for furs, fish and othertrade goods. 36While there were small shifts in subsistence production to accommodate the für tradethere was little change in the yearly subsistence round. The Sne-nay-muxw continued tocome to the Fraser river to fish in the summer months and returned to Vancouver Islandfor the fall fishing and winter ceremonials. The spring was a time for herring andmovement to Gabriola Island to gather camas and shellfish. The interest in trapping andhunting increased but not to any extent that changed the traditional movement throughtheir territory. There was however one substantial change in food getting activities thataffected the labour of women. It was the cultivation ofpotatoes.While potatoes on the coast were first introduced by maritime fir traders and present atthe Russian settlement at Kodiak as early as 1783, it is probable that the Sne-nay-muxwhad not seen potatoes until the establishment ofFt. Langley in 1827 (Suttles 195 ib).Posts were expected to be selfsufficient and it was customary to set out extensive gardensofvarious crops to feed their employees. Potatoes because of their short growing seasonand easy maintenance were one of the first crops extensively planted at Ft. Langley in thefall of 1827. While it is unknown ifthe Hudson’s Bay Company encouraged the localwomen to plant potatoes, evidence of extensive potato fields in the 1830’s attest to thequick diffusion of this food throughout the region (McKelvie 1947:57). It is believed that36 The Hudson’s Bay Company Census of 1839 included the number ofguns owned by thevarious tribes in the region. The Musqueam had more guns than any other group on theFraser River, one gun for ever five people. On the coast of Vancouver Island both theComox and the Nanoose had more guns per capita than the Sne-nay-muxw.67this quick diffusion was due to the fact that potatoes were well adapted to the traditionalmarine 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 bestored 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 thebanks of the Nanaimo river. Not only was soil good here for cultivation but it was closeto their fall fishing area so that harvesting potatoes could occur either before or after thepeak chum run. Each local group or village had its own potato fields and like camaspatches and clam beds they were maintained and owned by women. Douglas (1854:246-247) in his visit to the region in 1852 commented on the extensive potato fields undercultivation along the river:They live chiefly by fishing, and also grow large quantities ofpotatoes infields which they have brought into cultivation earn (near) their villages.These are built chiefly on a river named [Nanaimo], which falls into theinlet, and is navigable for canoes to the distance of 40 miles from the seacoast. Food is cheap and abundant, and we were plentifully supplied withfresh salmon and excellent potatoes during our stay there.The introduction ofpotatoes as a staple in the diet gave the Sne-nay-muxw anadditional commodity for trade. In the northern regions a high volume ofpotatoes weretraded 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 butonce Ft. Victoria was established and settlement began potatoes were an important tradecommodity throughout the region.68Other significant changes in the lives of the Sne-nay-muxw at this time was the forgingofnew political alliances with visitors that arrived at the post. Tribes from both thenorthern and southern regions of the coast made annual trips through Sne-nay-muxwterritory to reach Ft. Langley and later Ft. Victoria. Initially the Sne-nay-muxw werevulnerable to raids by these visitors, particularly by the northern tribes who had access toguns from the earlier maritime fur trade. Once the Sne-nay-muxw rectified this balancethrough trade at Ft. Langley they began to seek peace agreements with various Lekwiltokgroups. By 1839 the Sne-nay-muxw used one group ofLekwiltok as middlemen to tradetheir furs to Ft. Simpson (Douglas Private Papers, BCARS). This was a profitablearrangement as Ft. Simpson was offering higher prices than Ft. Langley in order to staveoff the competition by American maritime traders who seasonally visited the area. In theSne-nay-muxw oral history there are many stories of the intermarriage of Sne-nay-muxwwith the Lekwiltok in attempts to maintain trade and peaceful affiances. Suchintermarriage would have extended resource sites for specific Sne-nay-muxw households.Sne-nay-muxw movement to Qualicum Beach and Comox, which are noted in laterhistoric records, were assured through these marriage arrangements during this period.Much has been written about the effects of the fur trade upon Northwest Coast socialorganization. However, to date there is no consensus whether the introduction ofnewwealth goods intensified class distinction (Collins 1950; Ostenstad 1976; Donald 1983) orQualicum Beach and Comox fall within the Coast Salish culture area, but by the mid1800’s this territory was under the control of the Lekwiltok (Bamett 1955:25; Taylor andDuff 1956). Some Sne-nay-muxw families, through intermarriage with the Qualicum andComox, had always exploited these resource sites before Lekwiltok control (CryerBCARS, v.3, p78-80). When Sproat visited Qualicum in 1876 he found Sne-nay-muxwpeople living there (see Sproat in RG1O, Vol. 3611, file 3756-4).69produced more equitable social relations (Drucker 1939). Most certainly new tradegoods reemphasized the importance of wealth and the validation of status throughexchange. Sne-nay-muxw leaders are well noted in the Hudson’s Bay Company accountsbut whether these leaders gained increasing status in their society because of the fir tradeis 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 tiescontinued it is assumed that gender relations would have remained intact. Nonetheless,the value ofwomen’s production did begin to change with the introduction of new tradegoods. Most notedly the introduction of the Hudson’s Bay blanket as a medium ofexchange and measure ofwealth gradually replaced the production of indigenous blankets.Also trade for clothing, iron kettles and other utilitarian goods replaced many of the othergoods both men and women made. Such a shill in production altered the exchangerelations between men and women as many of these goods could now be acquired throughtrade. However, while women’s production of goods had less utility they remainedimportant in ceremonial exchanges. This is evident in later historic times when indigenousblankets, mats and baskets were accorded great value in potlatches and other formalexchanges. This retention ofvalue placed upon women’s production maintained theindigenous gender relations found before contact. A woman’s status and economic powerremained linked to her inherited property as well as production ofwealth through her ownability and skill.70Summary and ConclusionThis chapter reconstructs the pre-capitalist economy of the Sne-nay-muxw throughCoast Salish ethnographic material. The division of labour, while based on sex, exhibiteda degree offlexibility in food production. Women helped men fish and men helped womengather plant foods and shellfish. Areas ofnon-flexibility and specialization were in craftproduction and offered important means for both men and women to gain status. Thepresence of a gender related ownership ofproduction as well as a bilateral inheritancesystem gave women access to resources and wealth. This fostered women’s economicautonomy that was evident in the exchange rather than the pooling of goods within thehousehold. The support of extended family was assured through aflinal exchanges thatoccurred throughout both men and women’s lives. For a woman they also affirmed herlinks to her natal kin and their resource sites.In the early contact and maritime fir trade interactions were only brief and episodic butthere was substantial depopulation and a new interest to acquire European trade goods.With the establishment ofposts in the area there were some shifts in subsistenceproduction and movement throughout their territory. The establishment ofFt. Langleyand later Ft. Victoria increased the emphasis upon the hunting of fur bearing animals.Also the introduction ofpotatoes introduced a new food source. However, genderrelations continued to maintain women’s ownership and distribution ofwealth. Despitethe shift in the value ofboth men and women’s production women’s economic autonomyremained intact.71CHAPTER 3ESTABLISHMENT OF NANAIMO: 1852-1862IntroductionDuring this decade the Sne-nay-muxw were drawn into wage labour by the Hudson’sBay Company mining operation that was established at Nanaimo. This was their firstexposure to a segregated economy that was to separate men and women’s labour intodistinct occupations. The immediate sections outline the history ofthe Hudson’s BayCompany coal operation and the Treaty of 1854 that was to effectively alienate the Snenay-muxw from the coal deposits in their territory. This is followed with a description ofSne-nay-muxw men and women’s experiences in wage labour and their important roleoutside ofwage earning in provisioning the new settlement. The last section examines thesocio-economic adaptation to this new economy.Nanaimo Coal CompanyNanaimo was founded in 1852 by the Hudson’s Bay Company solely for theexploitation of coal. This interest in coal by a fur trading Company was part of the policyof economic diversification that had been actively pursued in the region for severaldecades. As noted in the previous chapter, since the 1830’s the declining fur returns in thesouthern region ofBritish Columbia and the low fur prices on the London market hadforced the Company to exploit other resources in the area. Agricultural products, saltedsalmon, spars, and shingles were some of the commercial enterprises initiated by the72Hudson’s Bay Company at this time (Ormsby 1971; Mackie 1985). The establishment ofNanaimo and coal mining was a product ofthis economic expansion.’The Hudson’s Bay Company’s experience in coal mining began as early as 1835 whencoal was first discovered near Beaver Harbour on the northeastern end of VancouverIsland. For several years a local group of the Kwakwaka’wakw (Kwakiutl) surface minedthe coal to include with furs in their trade at Ft. McLoughlin.2 Initially the Hudson’s BayCompany’s only interest in the coal was to supply their blacksmith shops at the variousposts, 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 forcoal by steam vessels and the growing American settlements to the South. The Hudson’sBay Company established Ft. Rupert in 1849 to begin mining the coal in earnest. As acompliment to the regular post personnel a small group of experienced miners werecontracted from Britain to begin underground mining. Plagued by a lack of miningequipment 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 ofminersarrived in 1850 but their attempt only conlirmed that the coal deposits were not ofsufficient quality to mine. A decision to abandon the coal operation at Ft. Rupert wasmade when more productive coal deposits were found at Nanaimo in 1852.1Origilly Nanainao was called Colville. The name Nanaimo is attributed to the surveyorJ.D. Pemberton who corrupted the name of Sne-nay-muxw.the beginning the Kwakwaka’wakw were quite accommodating and helped theCompany mine the coal (see Vaughan 1978).‘ The Ft. Rupert post continued operation concentrating on fish and furs until it closed in1878 (Healy 1958: 19).73There 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 aSne-nay-muxw chief; known hereafter as Coal Tyee, arriving in Victoria in the winter of1849 to have his gun repaired. While observing the operation of the blacksmith the chiefnoted the use ofthe coal in the fire and made the comment that this stone was plentiful inhis territory. The blacksmith relayed the information to McKay, the acting Clerk, whopromised the chief a bottle of rum and free gun repair ifhe brought some to the post. Inthe following spring of 1850, when the chief returned with a canoe load of fine qualitycoal, McKay quickly organized an expedition into the region to assess the discovery.4However it was not until two years later that James Douglas, the Chief Factor at FortVictoria, after a personal visit to the region, dispatched McKay to Nanaimo to begin themining operation. On August 24, 1852 he instructed McKay to formally take possessionof the region on behalf ofthe Hudson’s Bay Company.The establishment ofNanaimo for coal production was unlike other Hudson’s Bayposts 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 wassolely the commodity of coal that governed the operation of this post. This is reflected inthe 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 ofthe operation. While initially part of the general organization of the Hudson’s BayThere are many renditions of this story (see Waibran 1909:, Johnson 1958:9, Akrigg andAkrigg 1977:36). Lillard (1986: 102) believes that this story has little factual basis and ispractically identical to the discovery of coal at Ft. Rupert. Knight (1978:135) agrees.74Company, over the next ten years the coal operation at Nanaimo eventually evolved into aseparate organization lmoi as the Nanaimo Coal Company (Ralston 1983).The Hudson’s Bay company’s coal operation at Nanaimo began immediately withMcKay’s arrival. Like their experience at Ft. Rupert with the Kwakwaka’wakw, theCompany found the Sne-nay-muxw eager to accommodate their interest in coal. As wellas pointing out where various exposed seams of coal were in the region, they dug atsurface seams and traded several thousand tons of coal in the lirst few years. However theHudson’s Bay Company’s interest was to develop underground mining. Several Britishminers were sent to Nanaimo to begin shaft construction and underground work. By thefall of 1854, 22 Staffordshire miners and their families arrived on the Princess Royal andthe work on a number of shafts began in earnest. Within a ten year period several mineswere 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 otherminor workings including the small islands (Leynard BeARS).During the Ilrst few years production remained limited. By November 1859, only25,398 tons of coal had been exported by the Company (Macfie 1865:143). Part of thereason for the low productivity was the nature of the coal seams found at Nanaimo. Thecoal was found in three seams which were subject to strong faults or “pitches” that causedserious set backs as once productive seams either abruptly ended or petered out. Thisforced miners to search for fresh seams and construct new shafts which slowed theproduction of coal (Buckham 1947:463-69; Gallacher 1970:10-17). As well the continualflooding in the shafts and mechanical breakdowns of the single steam engine owned by the75Company produced difficult conditions for working at the face and hauling the coal. Ontop of these problems, the primitive loading operations whereby coal had to be transportedby canoe to anchored ships in the harbour, severely limited the Company’s ability toexport large quantities of coal. One observer was to note how inadequate these loadingfacilities were when he visited Nanaimo in 1859:The appliances for delivering the coal, for instance, were so faulty that aship had to lie there often for three or four weeks before she could take in aload (Mayne 1862:35).At this time the Company began to make increasing improvements, another steamengine was added, a new wharf; and a coal tramway. These improvements helped todouble the production of the previous seven years. Between November 1859 andDecember 1862 a total of 48,128 tons was produced and the Nanaimo Coal Company wasshipping over 18,000 tons ofyear (Geological Survey of Canada, Annual Report1886:65-69; Macfie 1865:146). Loading coals was no longer a problem as a single vesselcould 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 labourshortages and low worker moral. Coal mining was not only a labour intensive industry butdemanded 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 experiencedcoffiers from Britain. These men became indentured labourers by signing an agreement for76a five year period to become Company servants.5 While successflil in acquiring thislabour, from the start the Company had difficulty contracting the unskilled labour ofassistant miners. More lucrative wages were offered for unskilled labour in Americansettlements and young men in Britain were drawn to Australia. Even with the inducementof 25 acres of free land at the end of a five year contract the Hudson’s Bay Company haddifficulty linding unskilled labour for the mines (Burrill 1987: 8).Labour problems did not end for the Hudson’s Bay Company once adequate labourwas recruited as there was increasing dissatisfaction with the original contracts once theminers arrived in Nanaimo. These contracts based on an annual salary and a bonus over acertain tonnage ofproduction, while acceptable in a developed mining industry were notsatisfactory to either miners or their assistants.6 Plagued by a series of strikes anddesertions the Company was able to shift payment to piece rate by 1855 which to someextent reduced labour dissent and increased productivity.7Labour relations remained an issue throughout this period. One historian (Ralston1983) argues that the difficulty stemmed from recruiting skilled colliers from a developedmining industry who bad to adapt to frontier mining. Men whose specialty was to workthe coal face were now expected to locate productive coal seams, dig shafts and timberthem, as well as load coal wagons. Another historian attributes the labour conflicts to theThe conditions of their employment stipulated that they would be paid seventy-eightpounds 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 everyton over 30 a month. Assistant miners were paid £17 a year and inducements of 25 acresfree 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 perday in lieu of rations.77changing relations between the Hudson’s Bay Company and their employees as theyshifted from a paternalistic relationship developed in the fir trade to one of a free labourmarket based on the law of supply and demand (Burrill 1987;1988). Whatever the reasonthe persistence of labour shortages and labour conflicts ensured the employment of Suenay-muxw and other Native peoples to work as casual labourers for the strugglingindustry. Their labour remained essential to the operation until the arrival of a casuallabour force to the region with the gold rush of 1858. In 1862 the Hudson’s BayCompany sold the Nanaimo Coal Company to the Vancouver Coal Mining and LandCompany for the price of25,000 cash and £15,000 mortgage. The Hudson’s BayCompany’s removal from the coal operation was to end this distinctive period of Sue-naymuxw labour history. Before describing in some detail the employment opportunities ofthe Sne-nay-muxw during this decade, the following discusses the Douglas Treaty of 1854and its implications for the history of Sne-nay-muxw people as wage earners.Treaty of 1854On December 23rd, 1854 James Douglas reported that a treaty had been signed by theSne-nay-muxw. This treaty was last of the fourteen treaties that were negotiated onVancouver Island between 1850 and 1854: nine were made in 1850 to cover land aroundVictoria, 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 atNanaimo. These treaties, apart from Treaty 8 that included a portion ofnortheasternBritish Columbia, are the only treaties made in British Columbia. Referred to as theDouglas Treaties they cover only a small portion of Vancouver Island, three hundred and78fifty nine square miles or three percent. These treaties were an outcome ofthe ongoingIndian policy observed by the British Crown since the Royal Proclamation of 1763. TheRoyal Proclamation recognized aboriginal rights to the land and pursued treaties in orderto alienate those rights to the possession of the Crown.The incentive of the Hudson’s Bay Company to negotiate these treaties was in part aconcern to flulfill their obligation to colonize Vancouver Island as stipulated in the RoyalGrant signed in 1849. In order to prepare land for settlement the Hudson’s Bay Companysupported the colonial policy that recognized the implicit idea that Native peoples hadrights to the land (Mactill 1981:12; Tennant 1990:20). Archibald Barclay, the CompanySecretary, in a directive to Douglas outlined the general principles upon which thesetreaties on Vancouver Island were to be based:With respect to the rights of the natives, you will confer with the chiefs ofthe tribes on that subject, and in your negotiations with them you are toconsider the natives as the rightful possessors of such lands only as they areoccupied by cultivation, or had houses built on, at the time when the Islandcame under the individual sovereignty of Great Britain in 1846. All otherland is to be regarded as waste, and applicable to the purposes ofcolonization. Where any annual tribute has been paid by the natives to thechiefs, a fair compensation for such payment is to be allowed (Barclay toDouglas, December 1849).Douglas was also directed that he was to use his own discretion for settlementdepending upon the character of the tribe and the circumstances. It is from theseinstructions that Douglas attempted to negotiate a treaty with the Sne-nay-muxw.79The Sne-nay-muxw treaty was the last treaty to be directed by Douglas. 8 The primaryincentive by the Hudson’s Bay Company to negotiate this treaty was not land forsettlement as much as formalizing ownership of the coal deposits. Although the Sne-naymuxw had accommodated the Hudson’s Bay Company’s mining operation in theirterritory, experience with the Kwakwaka’wakw at Ft. Rupert who resented white minersworking their coal deposits, made it imperative that the Nanaimo coal deposits besecured.9 In January 1853 Douglas was instructed by the Board ofManagement of theHudson’s Bay Company to extinguish “the Indian claim to the coal district” (Barclay toDouglas, Jan 14, 1853). In July 1853 he assured them that in doing so he would includethe land which contained the most valuable seams of coal. However negotiations with theSne-nay-muxw were more difficult than they had been with the other tribes. To explainthe delay in procuring a settlement, Douglas, in a letter Barclay dated Sept. 3, 1853 notedhis problem:I observe the request of the Governor and Committee that I should take anearly opportunity to extinguish the Indian claim in the coal district and Ishall attend to their instruction as soon as I think it safe, and prudent torenew the question of Indian rights, which always gives rise to troublesomeexcitements, and has on every occasion been productive of seriousdisturbances (Douglas to Barclay, Sept. 3, 1853). 10document title erroneously refers to the Sne-nay-muxw as the Sarlequin Tribe whichdescribes only one local group.Vaughan (1978) contends that the lack of conflict between the Sne-nay-muxw andminers was that their presence did not pose a visible threat to the cooperative economicrelationship. I would argue that unlike the Kwakwaka’wakw the Sne-nay-muxw had moreexperience with the various economic enterprises of the Hudson’s Bay Company and werewell aware of the benefits peacefhl and amiable relations produced.‘°Ft. Victoria Correspondence Outward on the Affairs of Vancouver Island, May16,1850-May 6, 1855, BCARS80The resistance on the part of the Sne-nay-muxw to negotiate a treaty is perhapsunderstandable in light of the loss of rights to their coal deposits. In their experience ofmining and trading coal to the post they were well aware of its value as an important tradegood. A second consideration that may have hindered negotiations was the hanging of ayoung Sne-nay-muxw, Siam-a-sit, for the murder of a sheep herder during the winter of1852-5 3. Crew members of the ‘Virago’ while coaling at Nanaimo the following spring of1853 noted that several Sne-nay-muxw held a grudge against the ‘King George men’ andthat the Sne-nay-muxw were still actively mouming his death (Hills BCARS; JnskipBCARS).1’Why the Sne-nay-muxw would willingly agree to a treaty that would alienate them fromthe coal resources and a portion of their territory is only conjecture. Most certainly it isquestionable that they understood the full import of such a treaty. Duff (1969:51) pointsout that legal concepts of sovereignty over the land, recognition of aboriginal title, andtreaties that relinquished this title, were foreign ideas to indigenous people. How Douglasinterpreted these concepts or convinced the Sne-nay-muxw to sign the document is notexplained in his correspondence. The only historical evidence that the treaty was signed isin a postscript in his letter to London.The treaty document itself is a list of 159 names of Sne-nay-muxw men with 160 xmarks. These marks appear to have been made by a single clerical hand. The document issigned by James Douglas and three other Hudson’s Bay Company employees. Like thesee Bayley (fol 9, BCARS), Moresby (BCARS) and Lamb (1942) for furtherdescription of the events of this incident.81other thirteen treaties, it had no text attached to it. In all previous Douglas treaties theappended text is the same text used by the New Zealand Company in their treaties with theMaori (Hendrickson 1988). 12 In this text all the land was to be alienated and transferredto the Crown aside from “our village sites and enclosed fields” to become “the Entireproperty ofWhite people for ever.” Also in the text was the right “to hunt over theunoccupied lands” and to carry on “fisheries as formerly. “13 Interestingly, for the Snenay-muxw this text was never appended to their treaty. At the bottom of the documentthe words ‘636 white’, ‘12 blue’, and ‘20 inferior’ are written. This may pertain to the668 blankets that Douglas states were distributed at this time (see Smith 1971:60; Madill1975; Fisher 1977:67; I{BC F/53/H86 BCARS).In reasons for Judgment in Bartleman vs. the Queen, the Honorable Mr. Justice Essonrecognized that Native peoples at the time could not read, write or speak English, and asthey did not personally apply their signature to the treaty, it is likely that Native peoplesthemselves attached little significance to it. The uncertainty of this treaty is evident in anaccount recorded by Beryl Cryer. She records the Sne-nay-muxw understanding of thistreaty through Tstass-Aya (Jenny Wise) who interprets for her husband, Joe Wyse, the sonof Squoniston, the first name on the treaty document:Well, one day a Hudson’s Bay man came to see my father. “We want totalk to you and your people about this coal,” he said. We will have ameeting. You and your people, and you must get another chief and hispeople, and on a certain day we will all talk this thing over.” “So my father,12 See Appendix A.13 Duff (1969:52) contends that in light of Coast Salish exploitation ofwidely dispersedseasonal sites the treaty reflects an ‘ethnographic absurdity.’ Also such wording assumesthat a particular family or tribe owned specific tracts of land. This is in effect landownership in terms of European conceptions and not Coast Salish.82Chief Suquen-Es-Then[aka Squoniston’4J,called his people, and he toldanother 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 isa rock, in the water. In those old days it was part of the land, and at thatplace was a very big house. To that house there went all the Hudson’s Baymen, and the two chiefs with their people. “I was at that meeting.” “I canremember all the people in that house, and lots outside, but I was only asmall boy standing beside my father.” “Then the Hudson’s Bay men talkedto 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 ifyou will let us comeand 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 thewater, will look after your people for all time, and they will be given muchmoney so that they will never be poor.” “Then they gave each chief a baleofHudson’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 goodffiends”, 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 chiefman, then the shirts, and to those who were left they gave pieces of therope 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 tothe land itself Sharing resources in their territory was not a foreign idea to Coast Salishpeoples and not doubt was not a new idea to the Sne-nay-muxw. That this meeting waslinked to the coal resources and not their traditional land is confirmed by an additionalcomment 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; butlater, when our people asked for some of the money for their coal, theHudson’s Bay men said to them, “Oh, we paid you when we gave youthose 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.83This interpretation was further confirmed several decades later in the evidence givenMay 28, 1913 to the Royal Commission on Indian Affairs for B.C. Dick Whoakumrecollects 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 alittle 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 ofwhitepeople came here when they came they started working on it. Two monthslater, Sir James Douglas himself came over to see where the coal was. SirJames Douglas said “I will buy this coal but he said “I will not buy anythingbut the coal”. “All the wood and the land is yours”. “The land where thecoal is, is yours, and the land up the River is yours.” (Royal Commission ofIndian Affairs Evidence 1913:5 1).In May of 1855 the Hudson’s Bay Company purchased from the Crown 6,193 acres fortheir coal operation. This purchase included Cameron, Newcastle, and Douglas Island. Inaddition 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-muxwunderstanding of the treaty the subsequent purchase ofthe coal fields by the Hudson’s BayCompany from the Crown was to forever change the relationship between the Sne-naymuxw and coal production. The Hudson’s Bay Company no longer traded for coal fromthe Sne-nay-muxw. The Sne-nay-muxw were effectively alienated from ownership of coalresources in their territory and their participation in the coal operation defined solely aswage earners. The following section examines Sne-nay-muxw experience as wage earnersduring this decade.84Sne-nay-muxw EmploymentWage LabourBefore the establishment ofNanaimo, the Hudson’s Bay Company had successfullyemployed Native labour for various occupations in and around their establishments(Mackie 1985). As the Company began to diversify into various economic endeavors thedemand for skilled and unskilled labour increased. Skilled labourers, such as carpenters,blacksmiths and coopers, had to be imported, but casual unskilled labour was readilyavailable in the local Native population. The hiring ofNative labour was a preferredoption by the Company as their wages were substantially lower than that needed to enticeimported labour. The payment in trade goods, rather than moneys, had an additionaladvantage for imported labour was not necessarily interested in patronizing the Company’sstores. Hiring the Sne-nay-muxw as unskilled casual workers for the mines and otherlabour 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-muxwproved to be as enthusiastic as the Kwakwaka’wakw at Ft. Rupert to work in the coaloperation. This was evident to Douglas on his initial visit in 1852, for they helped to digup 50 tons of coal in a single day (Douglas to Barclay, August 18, 1852). Surface miningwas very labour intensive and before the Sne-nay-muxw were supplied with light pick axesand miners’ shovels they used their own axes and wedges to dig up the coal. Adescription by Douglas of the method used by the Kwakwaka’wakw at Ft. Rupert revealsthe extent and commitment the Sne-nay-muxw miners must have had to this labour:85Their mode of working, is to remove the trees and overlaying earth, untilthey hit the coal from two to five feet below the surface. The labourinvolved by that process is excessive, and the quantity produced extremelylimited, 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 theSne-nay-muxw were from the onset more productive than the Kwakwaka’wakw. Aftertwo weeks the Sne-nay-muxw produced 480 barrels of coal from a surface seam near theharbour. A week later a more productive seam was found below a bluff slightly north ofthe 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 wereproducing 20 tons of coal a day. By November, just two months after production hadbegun, the Sne-nay-muxw had produced a total of 1315 tons of coal from the surfaceseams (Vaughan 1978:20).Payment to the Sne-nay-muxw for this surface coal was originally set at the same rateoftrade established at Ft. Rupert for coal; a shirt for every ton of coal and a 2’/2 pointblanket or equivalent amount of gray cotton for every two tons. While this rate did notinitially please the Sne-nay-muxw they were convinced by McKay that this was a fairpayment. However these terms were to prove an initial problem to the operation whichwas unprepared for a great demand on their trade goods. While labour was initiallyplentiful the Hudson’s Bay Company was limited by the terms ofthe Sne-nay-muxw cash16 This seam was located at the location of’Pemberton’s Encampment” which McKelvie(1944:178) notes is a steep bluffjust south ofpresent day Comox Road.86and carry policy. Acute shortages in trade goods were lamented for the first few years ofoperation. 17When production switched to underground mining in 1855 Sne-nay-muxw men werehired 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 toDouglas, Jan 23, 1858, A.1l/76, #976). When the price of coal fell in 1858 and whitelabour in the mines was reduced, Sne-nay-muxw men were subcontracted by the coalminers to clean the coal (Burrill 1987:128).There are no accounts to indicate that women helped dig up the surface coal, but thereare several accounts that coafirm that women’s labour was used to convey coal to theships. When the ‘Virago’ moored at Nanaimo to take on coal in the spring and summer of1853 it was women and young girls who brought several hundred tons of coal in theircanoes out to the ship (Jnskip BCARS; Hills BCARS). This method of conveying coal tothe ships by women was noted by many other observers during this decade. The processitselfwas very labour intensive. Initially all the coal was hauled in baskets from the pit siteto the weigh station. It was then transferred to the canoes and then up to the ships to bestored in barrels. Later small barges or lighters were used and by 1858 when a wharfwasbuilt ships were loaded right from shore. Charles Bayley, the first school teacher whoarrived at Nanaimo in 1854, offers a very descriptive account ofwomen’s labour:Loading ships was done in a very primitive manner in early days. Hundredsofnatives, mostly women, being employed who conveyed the coalalongside the ships in canoes . . . .it was a curious sight to see the string of17 By 1855 the acute shortage in trade gods ended as there is no thither mention ofthisproblem in the correspondence.87natives ofboth sexes working like ants in one continuous line over the trailto 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 hundredtubs of coal equaled a ton for which they were paid a blanket (Mayne BCARS). AHudson’s Bay Company employee, Mark Bate, in his reminiscences of this period,maintained that women earned more wages than men for doing this sort ofwork. Hewrites:Coal was conveyed in canoes for shipment—whether to a Man o War, aSan Francisco freighter, or a coaster—thrown into a lighter made fastalongside a vessel, thence hoisted or shoveled on board. In this work ofconveyance, the Indian women, as well as the men were engaged—theformer as a rule, earning the most wages or goods. Payment was made atthe Hudson’s Bay Company’s store in blankets, beads, shirts and otherarticles (Nanaimo Free Press, Feb. 16, 1907).While there is no clear account how many women were employed at one time loadingcoal, the Nanaimo Wastebook lists the type of goods women exchanged for their coaltallies. For coaling the ‘Prince Albert’ in November of 1854 women received thefollowing:51 Blankets 21/2 pts, 11 bunches trade beads, 28 yards salempore cotton, 15yards 26 inch gray cotton, 9 common cotton shirts, 15 lbs tobacco, 54yards Baize, 2 metal frame looking glasses, 3 pair dung trousers, 20 yardsred ribbonsIn the same month for coaling the ‘Rose’, ‘Otter’ and the ‘Cadboro’ women were paidin the following goods:882 Blankets 2Y2 pts best, 13 lbs tobacco, 13 yards Baize, 20 bunchestransparent beads, 1 doz. Tky red handkerchiefs, 3’/2 doz. linger rings, 2’/2doz. brass thimbles, one eighth lb. vermilion, 1 horn comb, 2 commoncotton shirts, 1 scotch bonnet, 1 pr dung trousers, 7 yds printed cotton, 27yards salem cotton, 1 ‘/2 doz. ball buttons.From the type ofwork men and women were assigned in the coal operation it is evidentthat the Hudson’s Bay Company had very distinct ideas ofwhat constituted men andwomen’s work. Men were employed to help construct the shafts and transport the coal tothe pit head, women were employed above ground to transport the coal to the ships. Thissegregated ideology was also applied to other work around the post. For example onlySne-nay-muxw men were hired to work in the sawmill which was built in 1854. Thesawmill produced a variety of finished lumber products to meet the lumbering demands forpit props in the mines and the miners’ houses.’8 Aside from working inside the sawmill,Sne-nay-muxw men supplied the mill with logs. Between 1855 and 1857 the Sne-naymuxw transported a total of 2,715 logs to the mill at a going rate of a blanket for eight 15foot logs or sixteen undersized logs (Aug. 29, 1855). Other labour assigned to men wasthe cutting and stacking hay, tending and transporting the horses, and assisting thecarpenters in repairs and building the miners’ houses.Women were primarily assigned work as domestic servants. They were hired on a dailybasis to clean, cook, wash clothes and sew. While hired to work in the cook house and forgeneral domestic chores around the post by the Company itsell much of their domesticlabour was hired individually by the post personnel. In the fall of 1855 women were hiredas manual labourers to dig up clay and build a dam for the sawmill. They also weeded the18 Between the year 1855 and 1857, the sawmill produced 140,175 feet of assorted lumberand 33,750 shingles (Mackie 1985: 148-9).89gardens as well as collected seaweed and manure for fertilizer. Women were also directedto gather shells off the beaches. Shells were important for making lime which was thenmixed 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 atthe post is difficult to determine from the records. When the operation first began McKaynoted that in light of the shortage of trade goods he was forced to decrease the number ofNative workers around the post to twenty. At other posts in the region the workforcevaried from 50 to 100 casual workers depending upon the season and the industriesinitiated. This was probably the number regularly employed at Nanaimo. After five yearsof operation the total amount ofNative labour used at Nanaimo is noted in the accountbooks for the winter of 1857 and 1858. Labour was recorded not by the number ofworkers employed but by the number of fill days worked. For the months of January1857 and February 1858 is the following list:(January 1857) 62 days at the cook house, 53 days on the garden, 55 daysattending oxen, 152 days at the saltspring, 56 days on the slope mine, 140days at the sawmill, 117 days at the establishment, 11 days general miningpurposes, 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, 52days driving oxen, 197 days at the sawmill, 26 days at the establishment, 52days carrying coal, 62 days on no3 shaft, 24 days at Park head mine, 24days at the carpenter shop, 29 days on Cameron wharfe, 35 days at theloading wharfe, 59 days shipping coals, 63 days on the coal tramway, and48 days loading ‘George Krill”During these two months it is evident that an average of 400 days ofNative labour wasneeded a month for a variety of occupations in the coal operation and around the90settlement. 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 shillingsa day one can see that Sne-nay-muxw served as a cheap labour force for the Company.19As noted above after the gold rush of 1858 there was an abundance of casual labour inthe form of white miners to work in the mines. Also the building of a wharf and coaltramway displaced Sne-nay-muxw women from hauling coal to the boats. Despite thesechanges both Sne-nay-muxw men and women continued to find employment in thesettlement. Sne-nay-muxw men worked as casual labourers in and about the mines whilewomen were increasingly hired for domestic work. A surveyor in the region in 1859 wasto comment on the importance of Sne-nay-muxw labour as wage earners at Nanaimo. Hewrote:The Indians are numerous, are perfectly peaceful, and are made use ofbythe whites as ploughmen, servants, voyagers, in fact, labourers of all kindsof work. Their pay and rations amount to little, and ifkindly treated andproperly superintended, the results of their labour are profitable to theemployer (RO 10, VoL 3609, file 3316- 1, June 11, 1859).As noted in the following chapter these occupations remained important to the Snenay-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 provisioningthe settlement. This demand enabled many Sne-nay-muxw, both men and women, toacquire trade goods without fully committing to wage labour during the initial years oftheNanaimo establishment.19 Four years earlier the wages were for Native labour was set at two 2 1/2 point blanketsa month. These blankets were valued at 2 shillings or $4.00 a piece (Douglas to Barclay,Aug. 24, 1854).91Provisioning the SettlementEnsuring an adequate food supply for the growing settlement was a paramount concernof the Hudson’s Bay Company particularly in the early years of the mming operation. Tofeed the miners, extensive gardens were planted and staples offlour, sugar and tea sentfrom Ft. Victoria. Yet despite these measures the settlement remained heavily dependentupon 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 inthe area. Fish such as salmon, cod, and herring were also supplied. When the Viragoarrived in the spring of 1853 the Sne-nay-muxw were noted to be trading salmon andother provisions on a daily basis. One observer noted that they preferred trade with theCompany despite the better price offered by the ship’s crew. W.H. Hills, the paymaster,writes ofhis trade experience with them:We experienced here the curious feeling of the Indians showing their desireto get property, and the influence the Company have over them. Severalcanoes would come alongside with salmon for barter, which they offered at4 for a shirt. But as we know the Company’s taiifl from which they neverdepart, to be 8 or 10 for a shirt we would not trade at this rate; they wouldremain bargaining alongside half a day, and after refusing to sell us 6 forwhich a shirt was offered, would go alongside the Company’s schooner andgive 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 fishfor inexpensive trade items. Two later observers, who worked for the Hudson’s BayCompany, noted that these provisions were traded at a set cost:92Deer 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 beingtwo charges or twice as much as it was supposed it cost to kill it (BayleyBCARS).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 inNanaimo Free Press Feb. 16, 1907).Provisioning the post was not exclusive to men’s hunting and fishing, for women tradedberries, shellfish, birds eggs, and potatoes. Potatoes as noted above, were grown on theNanaimo river and by the time of the establishment of the post were an important foodstaple for the Sne-nay-muxw. Potatoes were in high demand by the post. From the startthe Sne-nay-muxw were unable to meet the demand forcing the Company to send tradingexpeditions south to the Cowichan who had extensive acreage’s ofpotatoes at this time.Food quantities needed to sustain the settlement were sizable. At the beginning oftheoperation the Hudson’s Bay Company took on the responsibility of feeding the miners andtheir families. This was part ofthe contract signed before they arrived and was thestandard practice of the Company during its fur trading history. For the month ofNovember 1854, the Nanaimo daily account book notes that 25 deer, 89 ducks, 9 geeseand 2 bushels ofpotatoes were traded to the post. This was probably only a partial list ofwhat was consumed as Company employees also hunted but their catch is not included inthis record. Considering that the population at this time was only fifty people which grewto approximately four hundred by 1862 the amount of food needed to provision thesettlement was substantiaL 2020A large contingent ofminers and families from Staffordshire arrived at the end of thismonth. It is feasible to assume that the post was preserving food for their arrivaL93It is not surprising that the demand for provisions far outstripped what the Sue-naymuxw could produce particularly when their labour was also needed for the coalingoperation. 21 This problem was noted from the start in the correspondence. Once theSne-nay-muxw were used for loading and shipping coal their ability to supply provisionsdecreased drastically. This encouraged other groups besides the Sne-nay-muxw to bringfood 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 (Grant1857:268). 22As well as food, other items were traded to the settlement. Women traded theirbaskets, blankets, and mats which were used for a variety ofpurposes. Baskets wereimportant as storage containers as well as to transport coal to the ships. Mats were usedto line the floors and walls of the miners houses while blankets were used for bedding andrugs. Under the heading of country produce the Nanaimo account book notes that asubstantial number ofbaskets, dog hair blankets, blanket rugs, cedar mats and rush matswere kept in stock for use in the post and trade. As well as these goods, men tradedcanoes 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 Companystore. In 1859 the Company abolished the officers’ mess so that personnel had to buy and21 It is estimated at this time that the population at the post was approximately 50individuals, which included the post personal, and the miners from Ft. Rupert and theirNative wives and children.22 According to Homer Bamett’s fieldnotes some Sne-nay-muxw families had fishingrights on Jervis Inlet.94prepare their o food. What effect this had upon the provisioning by the Sne-nay-muxwis unclear. Nonetheless, the role of providing fresh fish and game to the settlementcontinued 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 individualhouseholds created a relationship between the Sne-nay-muxw and the settlement that wasto 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 wasthe language of the settlement and intermarriage was common. This interdependence wasto continue to some extent throughout the 19th Century. However, as the settlementgrew and the Sne-nay-muxw population proportionately declined this interdependence wasnever as obvious as it was during this first decade ofNanaimo’s economic history.Socio-Economic AdaptationFrom the above history there are several questions raised about Sne-nay-muxwwomen’s participation in wage labour. What drew women into wage labour? Why wereSne-nay-muxw women willing to participate in such labour intensive activity such ashauling coal to the ships, working as domestic servants, building dams, labouring in thegardens, and collecting shells? Did all Sne-nay-muxw women have equal access toemployment in the settlement? Were younger women more employable than olderwomen? Did women access wage labour individually or as a family group? How waswomen’s wage labour integrated with non-wage labour? Finally, how did gender relationschange with increased access to wealth goods through wage labour? Specifically how didthe informal exchange relationship between men and women change with segregated wage95labour opportunities? Unfortunately there is very little in the historical material to help usanswer these questions. Visitors to the region were more concerned with reporting theprogress of the coal operation than the behaviour of the Sne-nay-muxw. Nonetheless, thereports on the mining industry do offer some glimpses into Sne-nay-muxw socio-economicadaptation at this time. From these observations we can infer changes in women’s livesand the motivation for their participation in wage labour.Subsistence ProductionAs the above has shown the introduction of wage labour and the demands of the newsettlement for fish and game provided the Sne-nay-muxw with new opportunities toacquire trade goods. Despite their commitment to these new activities the Sne-nay-muxwremained dependent upon their subsistence economy. Aside from sugar and molasses, theSnenay-muxw were not trading or exchanging their labour for food. In this respect theHudson’s Bay Company thd not have the means or the desire to make the Sne-nay-muxwreplace subsistence production with wage labour. On the contrary, as noted earlier, theircontinued participation in subsistence production guaranteed their labour as cheap labourforce. However the indigenous economy demanded a great degree of seasonal mobility aswell as periods of intensive exploitation of resources to assure sufficient food during thewinter months. Such engagement was far from compatible with the demands of a wageeconomy that needed labour all year round. Evidence ofthis incompatibility is found inthe early correspondence between McKay and Douglas between 1852 and 1853, and latera journal of the mining operation between 1.855 and 1857.96As noted above during the first month of the establishment ofNanaimo the Sne-naymuxw were very accommodating, working the surface coal and loading the coal on theships as they anived. In fact they were so accommodating that the Hudson’s BayCompany quickly ran out of trade goods to pay them. However, at the end of the firstweek in October McKay noted to Douglas that all the Sne-nay-muxw had moved away totheir fall fishing sites on the Nanaimo river. This migration away from the settlementgreatly hindered loading coal on the waiting ship, which was of great concern to the earlysuccess ofthe operation:Oct. 6, 1852: Most of the Native Coffiers are now engaged in laying in awinter stock of salmon. 15 tons of Coals per diem may still be dependedon.Oct. 7, 1852: Most of the Indians have left for their fisheries up theNanaimo 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 mostof 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 onthe Nanaimo River. Chum were the last fish of the season and important for maintainingthe Sne-nay-muxw throughout the winter months. To have foregone this importantsubsistence production would have left the Sne-nay-muxw in great need. McKay, aseasoned Hudson’s Bay Company employee on the Northwest Coast, was probably veryaware 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-naymuxw returned to help again to work the coal and load the ships as the correspondence97from November 6th to April 4th 1853 are missing. By April 4th McKay reports that theSne-nay-muxw were again living in their midst and helping to work the coal as well asprovision the post for fish and game.Another important migration occurred during the summer months when the Sne-naymuxw went to Fraser River for the sockeye runs. Two years later in August 1855 whenthe journal of Capt. Stuart begins this migration is noted. While some Sne-nay-muxw arepresent working at various occupations around the post, such as in the pits, sawing logsfor the sawmill, and cutting hay at Nanaimo river to feed the livestock, it is quite clearthat the establishment is short ofNative labour and feeling some “difficulties for want ofIndian assistance” (Aug. 22, 1855). This was in fact the first summer for the newcontingent of Staffordshire miners and work in the pits had just begun to gear up when theSne-nay-muxw left for the fishing season. Without Native labour to carry the coal out ofthe 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-naymuxw 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 planswere made to alleviate this dependence by widening the shafts in order to use horses todraw out the coal wagons. By the following year this had been accomplished however itseems to have done little to prevent a slowdown in coal production, for during the summermonths 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 seek98employment in Victoria. 23 Douglas wrote to London of the inconvenience of Sne-naymuxw 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 willotherwise be subject to continual stoppages (Douglas to Stuart, Aug.22,1857).The Sne-nay-muxw commitment to subsistence production remained an inconvenienceto 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 highlyincompatible to the demands of the mining operation. For the Sne-nay-muxw these yearswere a new experience in choosing the options of wage labour over subsistenceproduction. Subsistence production however remained paramount as at no time did theHudson’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-naymuxw were to make.Conifict and CompromiseWhile the Sne-nay-muxw maintained a considerable degree ofmobility during thesummer months, during the winter months many abandoned their winter villages to liveeven 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 the23 By this time many of the imported miners had renegotiated their contracts for a piecerate. This began a new practice of individual miners hiring Sne-nay-muxw labour whencoal seams were wide and productive. This sub-contracting out enabled the Sne-naymuxw to negotiate their labour with individual miners.99settlement. Part of this shift in winter residence was due to the desire to be close to theiremployment, the pits, the wharves, the sawmill, and part was due to coercion of the coalCompany to move the Sne-nay-muxw away from areas they planned to develop. By 1862the Sne-nay-muxw had been convinced to abandon their village sites nearest the town sothat a tramway could be built from the mines to the loading wharves. 24Despite the Sne-nay-muxw displacement from their traditional village sites theyremained committed to their precontact ideas of ownership and control of resources intheir territory. This included rights to work the coal in the settlement. The Hudson’s BayCompany was well aware that resource sites as well as wage opportunities in the coalingoperation were jealously guarded by the Sne-nay-muxw. McKay in his correspondencenoted that the Sne-nay-muxw were very protective of their rights to work the coal. Othervisitors to the post were often forced to seek other employment opportunities. Forexample, the Squamish and Sechelt entered the shingle business as the Sne-nay-muxwinitially restricted them from working the coal:Sept. 16,1852: A number of Shusuhomis and Shesalls arrived here lastweek. They are anxious to enter into the shingle business as theNanaimoes will not allow them to work the coal.In the first year it is evident that outside Native labour was only present with thepermission 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-naymuxw 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 thelonghouse type but of small more temporary housing.100McKay with great difficulty prevented the Sne-nay-muxw from shooting them while theyworked (Jnskip, Aug. 1st, 1853, BCARS). Another incident that ended less amicablyoccurred two years later over rights to employment at the sawmill. In the summer of 1855two Lekwiltoks were hired to log timber for the sawmill. Several Sne-nay-muxw tookexception to their employment and after warning them to leave, which they refused to do,shot both ofthem. This resulted in large number ofLewiltok descending upon theestablishment seeking revenge. Only after taking the life of one of the Sne-nay-muxwleaders, Wunwunsen, was this volatile situation resolved peacefully (Robinson toDouglas, Aug. 20, 1855).Such confrontations were of great concern to the Hudson’s Bay Company not only fortheir employees safety, but for the disruptive effect on the business ofthe post. From thestart other groups were encouraged to come to the post and work in order to offset thelabour shortages that occurred when the Sne-nay-muxw were absent. However intertuibalwarfare was endemic at this time and many of the groups who sought employment at thepost had long histories ofhostile relations with the Sne-nay-muxw. Complying with theCompany’s wishes to maintain peace forced the Sne-nay-muxw to accept enemies living intheir midst. Understandably, relations between the groups were far from amicable, but bythe end ofthe Hudson’s Bay Company tenure the few reports ofhostility indicate that theSne-nay-muxw had acquired a certain resignation to visitors in their territory. Thisresignation perhaps was due to Sne-nay-muxw interest to maintain good relations with theHudson’s Bay Company and thus comfirm their access to wages and trade goods.101Wealth and ExchangeElsewhere in the literature it is argued that the primary incentive for the initialparticipation ofNative people in wage labour was the acquisition ofwealth (Codere 1966,Vaughan 1978, Lutz 1992). Most certainly wealth was an important incentive for the Suenay-muxw as it was linked to social status and prestige. The redistribution ofwealththrough formal gatherings continued to be a feature of Sne-nay-muxw life. This wasnoted by many visitors to the post (Hills BCARS; Bryant’s BCARS; Nanaimo Day BookNCA; Mayne 1862). One account notes that such activities at times even hindered thecoaling of the ships:We had to coal ourselves from the pits mouth, all the Indians still sufferingfrom 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 ofwealth increased in frequency duringthis period but additional wealth as well as the presence of competing tribes may haveincreased their occurrence. This is the argument proposed by Codere (1966) for theKwakwaka’wakw. She argues that with increased wealth and the presence of competingtribes, potlatching replaced intertribal warfare. While this interpretation is highlycontentious there is some evidence that Coast Salish potlatches did portray elements ofmock 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 shortperiod of time to live in close proximity to enemy tribes and to compete with them foremployment. It is feasible to assume that formal exchanges were an important part ofsubstantiating their claims to their tenitory and as well as their rights to employment at the102post. One particular potlatch was noted to include a large number ofvisitors from varioustribes:These few days there is a grand assemblage of Indians at a feast in Sewet’scamp 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 theamount ofwealth distributed in them did increase. Albert Wesley, a Sne-nay-muxwinformant, remarked on the change that had occurred since contact in the formal giftdistributions. He pointed out that before the establishment ofNanaimo Sne-nay-muxwgatherings were small and included only a few men from each village. Fifty blankets, orfifty goat skins, was considered a tremendous amount ofwealth and often at theseexchanges blankets were torn into strips so that everyone could receive a portion. Afterthe establishment of the settlement the gatherings grew in size as whole villages wereinvited to witness the distribution of wealth. The amount ofwealth exchanged at thesegatherings increased to such a level that blankets were bought in bales of fifty and given toindividuals in tens and twenties (Barnett 195 5:256).What changes this new access to wealth produced in the social life of the Sne-naymuxw 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 becamemore marked as access to wealth was not equally distributed. This unequal distributioncreated greater class differentiation. Those leaders who lived closest to the whitesettlements and established themselves as traders benefited the most. Through their daily103dealings with the settlements these entrepreneurial leaders came to represent the interestsof the village. In many respects there is evidence that this also occurred for the Sne-naymuxw. Several leaders are noted in the historical data who were attached to the villages inthe area. One such leader was Wunwunsen who was highly regarded by the Hudson’s BayCompany and used as interpreter.As the above discussion has shown there were significant changes in the lives of theSne-nay-muxw during this decade. Not only was wage labour an added option to beintegrated with subsistence production, but the Sne-nay-muxw were moved off theirtraditional winter sites in order to oblige the mining operation. Also within a few shortyears they found their traditional enemies living in their midst. In order to maintain goodrelations with the Hudson’s Bay Company and assure themselves employment at theestablishment they were forced to tolerate outsiders’ presence. Why the Sne-nay-muxwwere willing to accommodate these changes is unknown. However, I speculate that fromtheir observations and experiences at Ft. Langley and Ft. Victoria the Sne-nay-muxw wereperhaps 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 Companyestablishment provided in their territory would also have been a significant factor.However the coal operation at Nanaimo placed distinct demands upon Sne-nay-muxwlabour that were different from either Ft. Langley or Ft. Victoria. The following sectiondiscusses the implications of these demands upon gender relations.104Gender RelationsThe preoccupation with the mining operation by the Hudson’s Bay Company personneland the visitors to the region leave little detail in the historical accounts about the Sne-naymuxw and their lives at this time. Exceptions are the journal accounts written by the crewof the ‘Virago’who visited Nanaimo in the spring of 1853. At this time the Sne-naymuxw were still mourning the death of Siam-a-sit, who was hanged for the murder of asheep herder on the Saanich peninsula. Several crew members noted that one of the mostconspicuous objects found at Nanaimo at this time was a large wooden monument in theshape of an urn, painted red and white, built to commemorate this young man. This urncontained several guns with ammunition while food and water were replenished regularly.As the crew wandered around the small settlement they visited several Sne-nay-muxwdwellings, In one account William Hills, the paymaster, describes the mourning ritual heobserved:I was much struck by a peculiar song several were singing. About a dozenmen sit together each with two sticks in his hands with which they beattime. One commences the song in a low note key and voice, then anotherjoins in, and then another, and so on, the key gradually rising and the songbecoming louder, and gradually dying away by the singers leaving off oneby one; all the time they keep beating time with their sticks. The same airand words are repeated over again and again, and at a short distance theeffect is both pleasing and melancholy... (Hills, UBCL, fol 158).Hills was informed by McKay that these mourning ceremonies were for the benefit ofthe ‘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 linked105to the ‘Thetis’ that had arrived early in the new year to capture Siam-a sit. Hills alsonoted 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 theharbour. On one occasion he remarked on the behaviour of the young widow which thecrew nicknamed the ‘Gallows Widow:’The Company’s steamer Beaver arrived from Victoria on her way to theNorthern trading posts. The Gallows Widow.. .was alongside in a bran (d)new green blanket, with lots ofbeads, smiling and skylarking, and lookingquite pleased with the small presents ofbiscuit she received in virtue oftheinterest 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 theloss ofher young husband. Her husband had been the son of a principle leader and it islikely she was a woman of equal status. Her visits to the ships indicates that she hadconsiderable freedom to interact with visitors to the establishment. It is unknown whoaccompanied her however young women were often chaperoned by their mother-in-lawsand other family members. The accounts from the Virago also noted that the youngwidow was soon to marry her husband’s brother once the mourning period wasconcluded. This followed the practice of levirate which was a common marriage customfor the Coast Salish.Aside from these accounts we have little description ofwomen during this decade. Thecontinuation of subsistence production indicates that women’s labour in preparing andpreserving food remained important to their families. However, as noted in the earlierchapter a shift in the value placed on women’s production began with the fur trade and106many of the introduced trade goods replaced their indigenous production. The access towealth goods through labour about the mines and the Hudson’s Bay Company postcontinued that trend. Increasingly women found the product of their labour vis a vis mendevalued when trading at the post. This is evident in the Hudson’s Bay Company accountbooks. As table 3: 1 reveals trading a single deer brought the same return as a wovenblanket that took a woman weeks or months to complete. Similarly food that womengathered and traded to the post did not give the same return as food hunted by men.Table 3:1Exchange Rates in Monetary Value for Food and Crafts, 1858Crafts Value Food Value4 baskets 6d 1 goose is3 baskets 3s4d 1 deer 2s6d7 baskets is 1 doz. hen’s eggs is10 mats 5s6d 6 gal oysters ls6d1 blanket 2s8d 1 qt berries 4d4 ducks ls6dSource: Nanaimo Day Book NCAHow this affected the exchange relationship between men and women within thehousehold is unknown but the lower trade values placed upon women’s production wouldhave up set the informal exchange relations between men and women. This imbalance hadthe 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 conveycoal to the ships and later other labour around the post. Women did not have the107opportunity to gain as much wealth goods from trade as men. This encouraged them toseek trade goods through the sale of their labour as wage earners. This may explain theabove observation by Mark Bate, a Hudson’s Bay employee, that women were betterwage earners than men. The ability of Sne-nay-muxw women to increase their wealththrough wage earnings would have maintained their autonomy within their family. Asnoted above much of the goods given to women were primarily luxury goods. Thesegoods were important for an individual as well as family wealth and status.Another means by which women could gain status was through marriage withHudson’s Bay Company officers and staff. As noted earlier, intermarriage was endorsedby 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 Cowichanwomen. According to one source there were at one time as many as seventeen womenattached to this post (Allard BCARS). 25 This practice of intermarriage also occurred atNanaimo with both the Hudson’s Bay Company personnel and the immigrant miners. AtNanaimo one observer noted that many of the first miners to the settlement lived withNative women (Inskip Oct. 6, 1853, fol 231 BCARS). 26 Such marriages offered distinctadvantages for employment in the coal operation. One important alliance at this time wasthe marriage ofEllen with the stone mason, William Isbister. In 1858 he became theIndian 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 and25 Also see Morton (1980).26 Some ofthese women were from Ft Rupert where a small contingent of Scottish minerswere first sent.108kin as well as other Sne-nay-muxw. Another notable marriage occurred between Sarahand John Doiholt who piloted the coal ships in the harbour. His knowledge of the coalingneeds of each ship was an asset in knowing the daily labour requirements in the coaloperation.Sne-nay-muxw women’s lives changed with the establishment ofNanaimo in theirmidst. Although their experiences with the Hudson’s Bay Company at Ft. Langley andlater at Ft. Victoria prepared them to some extent for these changes, the mining operationwas distinctly different from other Hudson’s Bay Company settlements with new demandson their labour. The arrival of miners and their families from England in 1854 exposedthem to new gender roles and standards of domesticity. 27 As the next chapter revealsSne-nay-muxw women were to experience an ideology of domesticity that was todetermine not only their roles within the family but their employment in the labour force.Summary and ConclusionThe arrival of the Hudson’s Bay Company at Nanaimo was to mark the initialtransformation of the Sne-nay-muxw from traders to wage earners. Both Sne-nay-muxwmen and women were an important part ofthe labour force in the early coal operation.However, women’s employment was assigned according to the gender linked pattern ofemployment developed in the mining industry elsewhere. While there is some indication inthe historical literature that Native women in the early economy ofthe province did findemployment 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 initial27 Several stories in the Cryer material describe how women acquired these new skills.109experience in wage labour. Work above the pits had traditionally been assigned to womenin the British mining industry. Segregation based on race was also evident as it was Suenay-muxw women and not the British miners’ wives who were hired as wage earners inthese early years.During this decade the Sne-nay-muxw were compelled to adapt to various socioeconomic changes in order to participate in this new economy. While they remainedcommitted to subsistence production they were obliged to shifi their winter residence andaccommodate the Hudson’s Bay Company labour demands needed for the miniiigoperation. Although we have limited data for understanding gender relations during thisdecade, increased wealth women acquired through wage earning would have enabled themto maintain a significant degree of economic autonomy that was fimdamental to genderrelations. However, as the following chapters reveal women’s access to wage labour wasincreasingly segregated along gender, race and class lines.110CHAPTER 4EMPLOYMENT IN A MINING COMMUNITY: 1863 -1920IntroductionThe period from 1862 to 1920 was one of great change for the Sne-nay-muxw. Thecolon zation ofVancouver Island occurred rapidly and Nanaimo grew from a settlement of400 in 1862 to over 6,000 by the turn of the Century. The coal mining industry dominatedthe 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 unemploymentin the community. This chapter examines this employment history and the nature of adomestic economy that accommodated both women’s insecure employment and aconflicting gender ideology that excluded women’s labour from wage production.The Mining EconomyOnce the Hudson’s Bay Company relinquished control over their coal operation thesettlement ofNanaimo grew quickly. The primary industry remained coal mining and,while several companies mined the region, the industry was generally monopolized by theVancouver 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 ofNanaimo (see Johnson 1958;Bowen 1982)2 The Vancouver Coal Mining and Land Company was reorganized in 1889 to be knownas the New Vancouver Coal Mining and Land Company. In 1903 it was sold to theWestern Fuel Company which reorganized in 1918 and later in 1928 bought out the111waterfront and the northern district of the city but later they were opened in the southerndistrict around Chase river and Ladysmith. Both Companies opened many mines but dueto irregularities in the seams they were short lived and few operated for more than 15 or20 years.3 The exception and most productive mine was Esplanade located on thewaterfront within Nanaimo city limits and on the northern outskirts of the Sne-nay-muxwTown. Reserve. This mine was active from 1883 to 1938 and closed due to the lack ofmarket demand not exhaustion of coal deposits.The demand for coal by the American market as well as the growing local need madeNanaimo a prosperous city in the later half ofthe nineteenth Century. The Black DiamondCity, as it became known, was incorporated in 1874 and by this time was considered themost important coal producing centre on the Pacific Coast. Between 1880 and 1900Nanaimo experienced a boom and rate ofgrowth 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 arecord of 1,298,445 tons in 1923 (B.C., Ministry ofMines Annual Report, 1923). Thelabour force grew with this increase in production. Tn 1874 there were an estimated 400workers in the mines but by the turn of the century this number was close to 3,000 with apeak of 3,345 workers in 1921 (ibid 1921).competing Dunsmuir interests. Dunsmuir organization became Dunsmuir and Sons in 1883and was reorganized in 1899 as the Wellington Coffiers. Tn 1910 it was reorganized againas the Canadian Colliers (Dunsmuir) Ltd. and purchased by the Western Fuel Company in1928 (see Leyland PABC; Johnson 1958).Around some of these mines other small communities arose, such as Wellington, EastWellington and Extension. These communities, unlike Nanaimo, were abandoned oncethe coal seams ran out.As an indication of the productivity of this mine, it is estimated that this mine alonecontributed 18 million tons to the 50 million tons of coal produced locally by all the mines(Leynard PABC).112As well as employment in and around the mines, servicing the mines generated otherforms of employment. Several sawmills were established to produce the timbers for themines and housing materials for the settlement. These sawmills were generally small, asdemand for finished wood was restricted to local supply. With the building of theEsquimault & Nanaimo Railway in 1886 the demand expanded for ties, trestles andbridges (Lawrence 1957). By the turn of the century there were several sawmills in andaround 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. By1894 there were two breweries, a tannery, an explosives factory, a cigar factory, twofoundries, a carriage and wagon works, machine shops, and gas and electric light works(British Columbia Annual 1894). A number ofhotels, boarding houses, saloons andrestaurants were also established to accommodate the hundreds ofyoung, single menemployed in the mines. Farms were started on the outskirts of the town to supply feed forthe mine livestock as well as fresh produce for the community.5 Good arable land was tobe found around the Nanaimo river and Cedar districts where hay and oats were grownwith some success. At the turn of the century dairy farms were started and a creameryopened in 1905.The only industry ofnote that was independent ofmining in Nanaimo was the herringindustry. In 1905 there were six companies engaged in herring fishing that employed 150men but this increased to 43 companies that employed close to 1,500 workers by 1910The Company itself maintained a large farm, known as Wakesiali farm, to feed theCompany livestock.113(Norcross 1979:7 1).6 The majority ofherring were salted and several salteries wereestablished in and around Nanaimo. By 1914 there were 15 herring salteries within thedistrict, three ofwhich were located near Cowichan gap (Porlier Pass). Besides salteriesother fish processing plants were opened in and around Nanaimo for the manufacture offish meal and fish oil. For a short period of time a whaling station, employing close to 300workers was established on Hammond Bay just north of the city at Pages Lagoon.7Between 1911 and 1912 Nanaimo had a clam cannery and 36 smoke and fish houses thatemployed 400 workers (Canada: Marine and Fisheries, 1911-12). The First World Warcreated a heavy demand for caimed herring and pilchards and coupled with a developingmarket for the cheaper fall salmon, many canneries opened on Vancouver Island. Afterthe war all three markets collapsed.While a record amount of coal was mined in 1923, the demand for coal began todecline long before the First World War. The shift to oil, a more efficient thel, and thelarger coal seams discovered in Northern British Columbia spelled the end ofthis industryfor Nanaimo. The First World War gave the industry a reprieve but by the 1920’s the endwas in sight. Only twenty-five percent of the Nanaimo labour force worked in the miningindustry at this time (Gidney 1978:21).6 In 1903-4 it was noted that herring was so plentiflul ‘that large numbers were washedupon the beaches by the waves of the passing steamer’ (Department ofFisheries, AR1905-07:46).Whales were not plentiflil in the Strait and after one successflil season the station turnedto processing dogfish oil before it was finally closed(Henderson 1984).114Segregated Labour ForceThe labour force in Nanaimo had a distinct class, race and gender segregation that waslinked to the labour intensive demands of an underground mining industry and the servicesit generated. Class lines were sharply drawn between those who owned or managed themines, and those who worked in the mines (see Phillips 1988). Most visible in the class ofowners was Robert Dunsmuir the owner ofDunsmuir, Diggle and Co. Ltd. and later amember of the Provincial Legislature as Nanaimo’s representative. Also visible was thevarious mine managers of the Vancouver Coal Mining and Land Company who were sentdirectly from England to manage the interests ofthe Company. These men. and theirfamilies constituted a small class ofbourgeoisie whose economic and social life was quitedistinct from the rest of the community. Much has been written about the differentmanaging techniques and policies of these two companies that often reflected thepersonality 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. Hebegan as a coal miner, a supervisor for the VCMLC and then an owner ofhis own mines.He was an entrepreneur in the truest sense and often had an adversarial relationship withhis workers. On the other hand, the mine managers for the VCMLC were part of thebourgeois class in Britain and had never worked as miners or labourers. While theyoffered a more paternalistic approach, their limited understanding ofthe workingconditions in the mines often led to their share of conflicts with their work force.The class ofmen who worked in the mines was divided into skilled and unskilledworkers. Skilled workers were the miners or hewers who worked directly on the coal115face. Attached to them were assistants who through various grades of apprenticeshipeventually reached the senior positions ofhewer. Unskilled workers were the labourerswho 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 thephysical geology of the coal seams and the level of technology used to extract it. 8This 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 ofthese miners were of British extraction but other ethnicity’s appear around theturn ofthe Century such as Italians, Croatians, Swedes and Belgians. Unskilled labourwas either Chinese or Native workers. This racial segmentation in the mines was reflectedin a three tiered wage structure (see table 4:1). White miners were paid the highestwages, while Native workers and young boys were paid at times less than halfthe averagewages ofWhite skilled miners. Chinese workers, were an indentured labour force andpaid the lowest wages. In looking specifically at the labour force of the Vancouver CoalMining and Land Company, White labour was by far the most abundant except for specificyears when Chinese labour in the mines exceeded fifty percent ofthe labour force. Nativelabour in the mines never exceeded more than 13% ofthe labour force (see Appendix B).There was also racial segregation in other employment in the community. Both Nativeand Chinese workers worked as casual labourers in a variety of industries. They were8 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 greatersolidarity during labour disputes.116employed in the local sawmills, worked on the roads and helped build the E & N railwayfrom Victoria to Nanaimo. The Chinese also worked as domestics in private householdsand hotels and they opened a number of laundries in the community. The Japanese werelater arrivals at the turn of the century and worked predominately in the herring industry.9This racial segmentation, coupled with poor working conditions and wages in themines, led to considerable class conflict in the community and to the growth ofunionsearly in Nanaimo’s history.’° The Miners’ Mutual Protective Association, appeared asearly as 1877 (Phillips 1967:7). Later the Miners’ and Mine Labourers’ ProtectiveAssociation with unions for Coal Trimmers, Carpenters, Engineers, and Tailors formedone 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 toproduce a solidarity that was not experienced in other communities in British Columbia atthis time.Like all coal mining communities there was a very gender specific link between menand women’s work. Men were wage earners who worked in the mines while women’swork was in the home. Women’s exclusion from the mines was not only an acceptedpractice but enforced through legislation. This legislation had its precedence in the BritishOnly one herring company in Nanaimo was not owned by Japanese families. TheNanaimo Fish and Bait Company was an amalgamation ofRobinson & Stanall andJohnston & Rudd, who had both been engaged in the herring industry since 1896. Thesecompanies 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 historyofBritish Columbia (see Bergren 1966; Phillips 1967; Scott 1974).117Mines Act of 1842, which restricted women from working underground.” Until this timewomen had worked in the mines giving assistance to their menfolk as part of a familyeconomy (see John 1980; Huinphries 1981).12 A similar Act was passed in BritishColumbia in 1877 but women’s exclusion from underground work in the mines wasaccepted practice in the community from the start. 13This exclusion from employment in the mines left few women in the paid labour force inNanaimo 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 thisbegan to change when professional occupations such as teachers, nurses, clerks andbookkeepers became available to women (see Lowe 1980, Warburton & Coburn 1988).The segregated labour force in Nanaimo was a product of the economic demands of amining industry. It is within the context ofthis gendered and racially segregated economythat the Sne-nay-muxw were to interact and seek employment. In the following sections, Idescribe their employment history and the labour conditions that structured theirparticipation.This Act also limited boys under fourteen to work only five days of the week and for amaximum of six hours daily.12 Women were limited to surface work but with the introduction of automatic machinesfor cleaning and sorting coal at the pithead were excluded entirely from employment in thisindustry before the turn of the Century.13 While women only represented a fraction of the coffier labour force in Britain by 1842areas of concentration were South Staffordshire, Shropshire, Cumberland, South Wales,Scotland and West Lancashire. It was from these areas that most of the miners inNanaimo emigrated.118Men’s EmploymentThere are no records to indicate that Sne-nay-muxw women worked in the mines orcontinued to convey coal to the ships after the Hudson’s Bay Company sold its concern tothe Vancouver Coal Mining and Land Company in 1862. Women, from the onset of thisperiod, were excluded due to the prevalent gender segregated ideology of the miningindustry. However it is evident that in the early years this industry remained an importantsource of employment for Sne-nay-muxw men. Many visitors to Nanaimo noted that inthe early years of the coal operation that many young Sne-nay-muxw men were hired ascoal pushers, cleaning the coal, or on the wharves a& coal trimmers.’4 Nonetheless, howmany Sne-nay-muxw men worked in the mines or trimmed coal during this period isunclear. In the Vancouver Coal Mining and Land Company records, Native labour onlyconstituted a small percentage of the total labour force and after 1891 none wererecorded. These figures, however, only report the number ofNative workers employeddirectly by the mining company and do not indicate the number subcontracted byindividual miners.’5Despite generations of Sne-nay-muxw men working in the mines, only a few wereemployed as skilled labour or hewers. The majority remained on a casual basis as‘ Knight (1978) maintains that coal trimming remained an important occupation for theSne-nay-muxw until the strike of 1913.“It should be noted that some of the Native workers reported were not necessarily Suenay-muxw, as many northern peoples such as the Comox, Qualicum and Kwakwaka’wakwfrom 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 theMilistream River was set aside primarily for these northern visitors and many camped hereuntil 1899 when the city removed theni119unskilled labour.’6 In spite of a lack of formal employment records after 1890, there issafficient evidence to indicate that Sne-nay-muxw men continued to work in and aroundthe mines (Department of Indian Affairs, AR 190 1-1 1). They were given employmentsinking 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 ofIndian Affairs in 1913, reveals that many Sne-nay-muxw men considered mining apreferred occupation to any other in the community. Today only a few individuals areremembered to have worked steadily in the mines before and after World War 1.17In addition to mining, men worked as casual labour in a number of other occupations inNanaimo. During the 1870’s several small sawmills in Nanaimo offered casual work toindividual Sne-nay-muxw men (Tate, Feb. 2, 1872; Sproat in RG 10, vol. 3611, ifie 3756-8, DEC 20, 1876). The largest sawmill in the area was at Chemainus which beganoperation in 1883. A few Sne-nay-muxw relocated close to this mill while there wassteady employment. Longshoring at Chemainus became an important occupation for someSne-nay-muxw as well as other Native men in the region. Native gangs in the region wereknown to be good workers as longshoremen and noted for their ability to load a ship.’8 H.R. MacMillan (1963) in his Reminiscences wrote ofhis observations of the native gangs hesaw at Chemainus during World War I:16 The 1881 Nominal Census lists 10 Sne-nay-muxw household heads as miners whilelisting others as labourers or fishermen.17 Some casual work in the mines was available to some band members when the Reservemine opened on reserve land in 1910 and closed 1930. It was again opened in 1934 to1939.gangs from the Squanñsh band, the Bow and Arrows were known for their skill inloading lumber (ILWU Local 500 Pensioners 1975).120The Chemainus stevedores included a large number of Indian blood. Theylived within ten miles of Chemainus and were very much inter-related. Theywere competent and proud of loading a sailing ship so well and carefullythat almost without exception more lumber was put on any specific ship atChemainus than at any other port at which she loaded (MacMillan1963: 58).Timber legislation restricted entrepreneurial hand logging but two Sne-nay-muxw menobtained contracts with Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway Company to provide railwaypilings (RG 10, vol. 1335, Feb. 4, 1889).’ There was also employment clearing land andbuilding roads as the community grew and expanded. Several Sne-nay-muxw men ownedtheir own teams ofhorses which were hired out to clear stumps as well as annually plowthe small five acre plots that were common in the area. Other men worked as porters forthe local stores and hotels, and worked on the steamers that plied from Nanaimo toVancouver and Victoria.Sne-nay-muxw men also worked in the commercial fishing industry as simplecommodity producers and as wage workers. Before the 1880’s their participation waslimited to meeting the local demand for fish and fish oil by the community. Early pioneersofNanaimo remember that Sne-nay-muxw men fished on a daily basis and peddled theircatch from door to door as well as supplying the local fish market on Victoria Crescentand 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 inNanaimo because it was used for the miners lamps as well as greasing skid roads for the‘9The 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.121loggers.20 While the oil was not a traditional part of their diet, the petty commodityproduction 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 theiraccess to dogfish schools in March near Nanoose Bay. Other groups such as theNanoose and Penelakuts also made a good living selling dogfish oil to the miningcommunity ofNanaimo (DIA, AR 1889; RG 10, vol. 3662, file 9756, pt 3) 21 At the turnof 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-muxwmen who did not have steady employment during the summer months were hired asfishermen for the salmon canneries on the Fraser River. Fraser River canneries wereestablished as early as the 1870’s and by 1900 there were over forty canneries in thisregion (Lyons 1969).22 It is estimated that 1300 Native fishermen were employed on theFraser river in 1882 (DIA, AR 1883:6 1). Like many other bands on the southeast coastofVancouver Island, working for the canneries on the Fraser River became an importantseasonal income for the Sne-nay-muxw. Fish ledgers and missionary records reveal thatthe 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 safetylamps and electricity were introduced. According to one source during the months ofMarch, August and December individuals could earn as much as $4 to $6 a day (Stacey1982).21of the large dogfish oil producers in the region had marriage links to the Sne-naymuxw (RG 10, vol. 1332, May 4, 1886). According to a local Nanaimo historian, thelocal supply of dogfish oil for Nanaimo was in the hands ofNanoose Bob who wasmarried to a Sne-nay-muxw woman, Mary.22 have been several good histories of the cannery industry in the province. One ofthe early definitive works is Lyons (1969). A recent study by Newell (1993) documentsthe history ofNative peoples in the commercial fishing industry ofBritish Columbia.122Initially they went to the Ewen cannery and later the Imperial, Terra Nova, Pacific Coastand Vancouver Cannery.23 As well as fishing for the canneries, Sne-nay-muxw menworked inside the canneries hauling and stacking cases. However, after the Hell’s Gateslide of 1914, salmon runs on the Fraser River decreased drastically and the Sne-naymuxw were forced to move to more lucrative fishing areas in the north.24 While theycontinued to go to the Fraser River dining the summer months many began to fish chumand pinks during the fall months for the Quathiaski cannery at Campbell River (DIA, AR1915; Tate, 1917).Sne-nay-muxw men were active participants in the local economy. While individualmen were able to find steady employment in the local economy, employment generallyremained highly seasonal and casual as Sne-nay-muxw men were excluded from the higherpaid employment in the mines. The poor wages coupled with the poor working conditionsin the mines encouraged many Sne-nay-muxw to migrate to the canneries or seekemployment at Chemainus in the sawmills. Few Sne-nay-muxw men were able to findsecure employment in the local economy.Women’s EmploymentAfter their displacement from the mining industry Sne-nay-muxw women’s access towage employment was severely limited in Nanaimo. Excluded from employment in the23 The Ewen cannery opened on the Fraser River in 1876 and remained in operation until1930. This afliliation however was not always secure as canneries changed ownership, didnot open some years, and in some cases burnt down.24 Gate is a narrow gorge on the Fraser River that was damaged with railwayconstruction. Several slides occurred here that prevented sockeye and pinks fromspawning.123mines, women were also excluded from work in the sawmills and the majority of otheroccupations in the community. However, their labour remained in great demand asdomestic servants in the hotels and boarding houses that opened to accommodate therising number of young single men working in the mines. Sne-nay-muxw women werehired as maids, cooks, and serving staff on a permanent as well as casual basis. As well asin commercial establishments hired domestic labour was also used in private homes. Thisdemand for domestic service in commercial establishments as well as private homesensured 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 womenwho ran boarding houses or had large families hired domestic help for this labour intensiveand time consuming domestic chore. Washing clothes took a fill day to complete. In theearly years in Nanaimo, water had to be carried in buckets from springs which were foundunder the rocks of the tidal ravine (Bowen 1987:134). In 1883 piped water was drawnout ofHamilton 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 themining community was exceptionally high, and hiring Sne-nay-muxw women to help withthe washing was well established throughout the latter half ofthe nineteenth Century(Gordon, Methodist Scrapbook). As well as private households, Sne-nay-muxw womenalso worked for various hotels and boarding houses. Both forms of domestic serviceremained important after the turn of the century.124Another source of employment available to Sne-nay-muxw women was work in thelocal 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 opensome years and on occasion burnt down (Nanaimo Free Press, March 28, 1910).Nanaimo Canning Company opened in 1914 and canned both sockeye and chum duringthe war. However, a Sne-nay-muxw informant maintains that by the turn of the centurythe majority ofpeople who worked in this cannery were people from the north whocamped out on Newcastle Island.When the canneries began operation on the Fraser River, Sne-nay-muxw women beganto accompany their husbands to work inside the canneries cleaning fish and stacking theempty boxes.25 On occasion women were also used as boat pullers and a few womenwere hired to fix the nets before the canneries began operation. With the introduction ofmanufactured nets at the turn of the century this employment ended. The success ofwomen’s adaptability to the cannery industry was noted by Lonias in his first report to theDepartment of Tndian Affairs in 1881:There is no class of labourers to compete with them at the fisheries . . . Theirwomen also, who are very industrious, are profitably employed at thefisheries during the fishing season, making nets and cleaning fish for thecanneries... (DIA, AR 1882: 166).At this time Sne-nay-muxw women were part of an estimated labour force of 400Native women in the canneries on the Fraser River earning $1.00 a day (DIA, AR25 According to one source Native women were not hired as fillers in the Fraser Rivercanneries as they were on the Skeena river (Ladner 1979:56).1251882:61). 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 income for Sue-naymuxw women. There was a small cannery at Departure Bay, Nanaimo Herring Canningand 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 employed as many as30 people (Thompson 1913). As noted earlier, Sne-nay-muxw territory contained one ofthe richest clam beds on Vancouver Island. The clam industry in the province beganslowly but by 1914 had increased to a value of $84,097. In the year 1911- 12 more clamswere harvested in the Nanaimo district than any other district in British Columbia.Fisheries Reports note that on average 1500 sacks of clams were collected yearly at thistime from this district. (Canada: Marine and Fisheries 1912, 1914).The principle clam diggers in the Nanaimo district were Sne-nay-muxw women andchildren but men often accompanied their wives if they had no steady employment in thelocal sawmills or mines. Several elders remember that families would camp out for days ata time to gather clams. In the early 1900’s a clam buyer would pick up the clams forwhich 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 atone 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 occurredduring the summer and winter soistices.126The anival of Chinese in larger numbers after the 1880’s guaranteed a demand forvarious types of seaweed which were used as food and medicine. Sne-nay-muxwwomen’s knowledge of the coast and the location of good seaweed patches helped themto supplement their incomes selling seaweed. Although the demand for seaweeddecreased in Nanaimo after the turn of the century as the Chinese population declined,buyers from both Vancouver and Victoria stifi made frequent visits to Nanaimo to buyseaweed from Sne-nay-muxw women.In the fall, many Sne-nay-muxw women went to pick hops in Washington or the FraserValley. Men accompanied their mothers, wives or sisters if they could not find local jobs.The first hop fields were established on White River in Washington State as early as the1860’s. Vancouver Island people went to the hop farms in the Puyullup River Valley inWashington State as early as 1880’s (RG 10, voL 1331, Aug. 15,1884). A steamer leftfrom Victoria on a regular basis but many paddled down in their canoes where they weremet 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 Snenay-muxw families by 1886 as it was for other bands in the area. A missionary whoaccompanied them and other Cowichan agency bands noted that the lower deck of thesteamer from Victoria to Seattle was so full that people could barely lie down (Tate Sept.1, 1905 BCARS).Local hop production began on the Saanich peninsula in the 1870’s and employed over200 Indian pickers from the local villages (Victoria Colonist, July 9, 1922; VictoriaTimes, Sept. 16, 1955). At the turn of the century hop fields were established in the127Fraser Valley around Chilliwack and Agassiz, but the initial production was limited andvariable from year to year.26 The United States placed a duty on hops to protect theirmarket, limiting the provincial hop production to local breweries in Nanaimo, Victoria andNew Westminister (Victoria Colonist Oct. 7, 1928). It was only after 1910 andparticularly during the first World War that production increased and remained consistent.At this time some Sne-nay-muxw women made the annual migration to the Fraser Valleyto pick hops as the local growers paid out advances and fares to guarantee theirparticipation. For women who accompanied their husbands’ fishing on the Fraser River,going to the hop fields in the Fraser Valley was more convenient than Washington despitebetter wages paid there.Other agricultural labour was also available to Sne-nay-muxw women on local farms inand around Nanaimo. Women were hired for weeding or picking berries and potatoes(RG 10, vol. 1357, July 29, 1901, no 382).From the historical material it is evident that the Sne-nay-muxw women were activelyinvolved in the wage economy throughout this period. Living in close proximity to themining town ofNanaiino was an important advantage for finding employment as domesticworkers in private households and local hotels. However Sne-nay-muxw women alsogathered local foods such as clams and seaweed to sell to the canneries and the Chinesemarkets. Seasonally they moved to the canneries on the Fraser River and the hop fields inWashington and the Fraser Valley. The variety ofmeans by which women participated in26 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).128wage labour reveals the nature of the economy that, on one hand demanded seasonallabour, and on the other, guaranteed this labour through a racially and gender segregatedlabour force. The following section examines the labour conditions that reinforced thissegregation.Labour ConditionsDepressions, Strikes and AccidentsAside from the technical problems ofproducing coal, uneven market demands, strikesand accidents affected both Sne-nay-muxw men and women’s employment in the miningindustry in Nanaimo. While there was great expansion in the coal industry from the mid1870’s on there were several depressions in the coal trade. Several small depressionsoccurred in every decade but a severe economic depression hit the industry at the turn ofthe century. These economic slumps were caused by various fItctors such as unsteadydemand 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 werereconciled quickly and amicably, others were more extensive. One of the longest and mostbitter strikes in Nanaimo’s history lasted two years between 1912 and 1914 during whichthe 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; Bowen1987:187).129Accidents were also a cause ofwork 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 asmuch coal as possible both the company and the miners cut corners, a practice which oftenled to serious accidents. While deaths occurred annually from falling rocks and smallexplosions, the worst disaster occurred in 1887 when 148 men died in one large explosionin the Number One Mine that bordered the Sne-nay-muxw town reserve.27 A year lateranother explosion in the Number Five Mine at Wellington claimed another 77 lives. Suchdevastating losses led to the reputation that Nanaimo mines were among the mostdangerous mines in the world (Griffin 1958; Gallacher 1979).This insecure employment in Nanaimo was in fact a consistent feature of the earlyeconomy in British Columbia (see Sager & Baskerville 1990). Even in the mostproductive years miners did not work all year round. In assessing the working days of asingle miner, it is estimated that in one of the most productive years, 1890, a thU-timeminer only worked approximately 222 days a year (Belshaw 1988). This would indicatethat miners were often faced with part-time employment or unemployment for months at atime. This continued after the turn of the Century. It was reported to the LabourCommission in 1912 that miners in Nanaimo, on average, were unemployed two to threemonths a year.Working as casual workers in and around the mines the Sne-nay-muxw were the first tobe displaced when there was a shortage of employment in the community. When labourwas scarce there was a preference to give available jobs to skilled White miners. The27 This disaster left 46 widows and 146 orphans in the community.130Vancouver Coal Mining and Land Company extended this preference to the hiring ofmarried White men first. This was a standard policy followed in many mining towns tomaintain a secure and reliable labour force. While some Sne-nay-muxw miners werefavoured because of their good work records and commitment to mining, increasinglyothers were displaced from the mines as casual labourers. During the economicdepressions the Indian agents were to note the difficulty the Sne-nay-muxw experienced infinding adequate wage labour in the community.While labour shortages were few and far between during this period there wereoccasions when Sne-nay-muxw labour was actively sought. One such demand occurredafter the large explosion at the Number One mine that killed a hundred and forty-eightminers. This mine was closed for three months and when it opened there was a shortageofminers and unskilled labour in the community. The loss of such a large number ofmenenabled some Sne-nay-muxw to find employment in the mines at this time. The banningby the VCMLC of Chinese miners underground after this accident ensured that unskilledlabour was available. Many ofthe accidents in the mines was blamed upon Chinese minerswho, it was argued, could not read important instructions posted in the mines. Inhindsight it is more likely that the Chinese were placed in more hazardous workingconditions 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’semployment as domestic workers in the community. With no work in the mines, hotelsand restaurants that catered to the single male population, either closed or reduced their131employment demands. The shortage of income for many families in the community alsoended their means ofhiring Sne-nay-muxw women to do washing and other chores.Such insecure employment produced by this racially segregated labour force obligedboth Sne-nay-muxw men and women to seek employment outside the local economy. Onesuch opportunity was the growing caiming industry on the Fraser River that began toexpand during one of the recession periods in the 1880’s. Although seasonal wages of thecanneries were far from secure due to cyclical salmon runs and market demands, thenumber of canneries increased on the river. During the years ofpeak runs labour was inhigh demand but it dropped off significantly for other years. While not all Sne-nay-muxwwere committed to going to the canneries the majority did go for these peak runs (Lyons1969). In 1913 during the ‘Big Strike’ in Nanaimo, most Sne-nay-muxw worked at thePacific Coast Cannery, which was only open for the peak runs at this time. The end ofproductive runs on the Fraser river after 1913 saw fewer Sne-nay-muxw going to thecanneries. By 1920 they had moved north to Quathiaski cannery for the fall fishing andcanning of chum.Another option for employment during poor employment periods in Nanaimo washarvesting hops in the fall months. Like the canneries however hop production was alsovariable in its demand for labour. During the periods of economic depressions manyfarmers did not bother to plant or harvest hops. It was only after the turn of the centurythat hop production began to steadily increase particularly in the Fraser Valley.132CompetitionAnother factor that affected Sne-nay-muxw participation in the local labour forceduring this period was the competition by Chinese workers and non-Native women. Thehistory of Chinese immigration to this province and the discriminatory practices by boththe labour market and the state have been well documented by both historians andsociologists (Ward 1978; Roy 1980; Creese 1986, 1988, 1988_89).28 Chinese workerswere imported to the province to work as cheap unskilled labour in the least desirableemployment. Primarily men, they were recruited under a contract system of indenturedlabour. This subjected them to the lowest standards of living, denied them rights tocitizenship, and prohibited them from bringing their families and settling as otherimmigrants.29 As a cheap unskilled labour force they were in direct competition for theemployment opportunities available to Sne-nay-muxw men and women in the community.The first Chinese labourers were brought to Nanaimo by the Vancouver Coal Miningand Land Company in 1867 to work in the mines. Initially their arrival did not replaceSne-nay-muxw labour as they were believed to be unsuitable as pushers and drivers of thecoal tubs (White’s diary, Dec. 14, 1867; Sproat 1876). However by the 1880’s Chineselabourers were employed in greater numbers in all the mines and used in a variety ofunderground and surface work. The Vancouver Coal Mining and Land Company28Within the literature there is disagreement on what motivated this race segregation in theeconomy, an idealist (Ward 1980) or economic motivation (Creese 1988, Li 1979, andWarburton 1981).29COmpies in San Francisco contracted individual Chinese labour to mining companiesfor a five or ten year period. This indentured labour was cheaper to employ as the contractcompanies were responsible for housing and food. Indentured labour persisted until 1949when legislation introduced during the Second World War required that each employeehave individual wage records.133employed 61 Chinese workers in 1880 but by 1885 this number had tripled. TheDunsmuir’s Mines had even higher numbers of Chinese working in their mines. Theyconstituted as much as a third of the workforce by the turn of the Century (B.C. MinisterofMines, AR. 1899). This increased presence of Chinese labour in the mines coincidedwith the expanding demand for unskilled labour as coal production began to escalate. Atthe same time records from both the Vancouver Coal Mining and Land Co. and thenominal Census indicate that Sne-nay-muxw participation in mining declined (Census1881, 1891). In 1881 a third of Sne-nay-muxw household heads reported mining as theirprincipal occupation however only two household heads were enumerated as miners by1891 (Census 189 i).°The primary reason for this decline was that Chinese labour was cheaper than Sne-naymuxw labour. As table 4:1 showed there was a three tiered salary offered to workers bythe VCMLC. Chinese unskilled labour was far cheaper and more economical for thecompany than Native labour. With the exception of four years, Chinese average wagesremained 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 forwork in the mines by the cheaper Chinese workforce.301t should be noted that one of the miners also listed farming as a part-time occupation.134Table 4:1Average Wages Per Day, Vancouver Coal Mining and Land Company, 1874-1890Year White Chinese Native1874 $2.75 $1.19 $1.381875 $3.50 $1.19 $1.251876 $3.00 $1.13 $1.251877 $3.00 $1.13 $1.251878 $2.75 $1.13 $1.251879 $2.88 $1.13 $1.251880 $2.88 $1.13 $1.251881 $2.88 $1.13 $1.251882 $3.00 $1.25 $1.251883 $3.00 $1.25 $1.881884 $3.00 $1.13 $1.881885 $2.88 $1.13 $1.691886 $2.88 $1.13 $1.501887 $2.88 $1.13 $2.001888 $3.00 $1.13 $2.001889 $3.00 $1.13 $2.001890 $3.00 $1.13 $2.50Mean $2.78 $1.15 $1.58Source: B.C. Ministry ofMines Annual Report 1874-1890It is in the first Royal Commission on Chinese Immigration in 1885 that the preferencefor Chinese over Native workers in the mines was voiced. This preference, according toDunsmuir, the owner ofthe Wellington mines, was not due to the economic benefits ofcheaper wages but to the perception ofNative labour itself as undependable (Canada,Royal Commission on Chinese Tmmigration. 1885:129). His testimony and others beforethe Commission maintained that the problem with Native labour was that Native peoplewere prone to “nomadic propensities” and were not suitable for any permanent work135(ibid. 1885:142). Chinese labour, it was argued was far more reliable and suitable for thehighly labour intensive industries.This view ofNative labour was not shared by all, but this racist ideology thatlegitimized a cheaper labour force was a common one found throughout the province atthis time (ibid. 1885:108). However testimonies also reveal that Native labour wasreadily available and always willing to work (ibid. 1885:xliii). The mines manager of theVancouver Coal Mining and Land Company noted to the Commission that Native labourwas always a potential labour force that could be tapped as strike breakers to use in themines (ibid. 1885:118). The Commission concluded that cheap Chinese labour would notdisplace skilled labour and endorsed their continual use in the mines. Such a decision wasto effectively limit an important source ofwage employment for many Sne-nay-muxwmen. Unable to compete for skilled employment which was limited to White miners only,they were simultaneously curbed from unskilled employment unless they accepted thepoorest wages and conditions.3’After the mining disaster of 1887 in the Esplanade mine,Chinese labour was excluded from underground work by the Vancouver Coal Mining andLand Company. At this time there was active recruitment ofNative labour to work in themines(RG1O, vol. 1334, March 24, 1888; April 18, 1888). However, this recruitment onlyincreased their number in the mines for that year only as Appendix B shows. Allunderground 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).136Chinese competition was also felt by Sne-nay-muxw women for work in domesticservice and in the canneries. The establishment of several Chinese laundries in thecommunity paralleled their occupational specialization in other communities throughoutNorth America (see Ong 1981). The demand for this service was great in a miningcommunity with a large number of single men and was one of the few businesses that wasnot coveted by Whites.32 Chinese laundries sprang up immediately on the arrival ofChinese miners and by 1881 there were ten establishments operating in the town (Census188 Chinese men were also hired as servants in private households and hotels. By1901 forty-two were employed in this capacity (Census 1901).The presence of Chinese laundries and the employment of Chinese as domestic servantswas a direct competition for Sne-nay-muxw women who depended upon this labour for anincome. A brief delivered by the Knights of Labour to the Royal Commission in 1885acknowledged that Chinese labour had displaced women from employment in domesticservice in Nanairno (ibid. 1885:158). This brief was primarily concerned with thedisplacement ofWhite women but it reveals the competition that Sne-nay-muxw womenmust have faced at this time. Although wages were the same other testimony to theCommission noted that there was a racial preference for Chinese servants over Nativewomen in the colony (ibid. 1885:xx).32 Ong (1981) maintains that Chinese success in operating laundries was due to their ownsocial ties and institutions. Retaining reliable labour was only assured through lineal orlocality lines.Two decades later this number decreased to seven with the competition from a Whitelaundry (Census 1901). The white laundry known as Imperial continued operation onComox Street in the early 1900’s (Directory 1910).137Sne-nay-muxw women also had to face increasing competition for employment fromnon-Native women in the community. Many young women, in order to supportthemselves or supplement their families incomes, were forced to seek such employment.Wbile domestic work was the most common employment for women in the community itwas not the most desired and became less so by the turn of the century. This attitude wasnoted by a local doctor in Nanaimo in 1902:The men of this town earn fairly good wages, and as soon as they are ableto give their children an education they do not care for their girls going outto domestic service (ibid 1902:170).The need for young women to contribute to family incomes was important particularlyduring times of men’s unemployment (see Tilly & Scott l987). Women were oftenforced into domestic service to support their families during periods of economicdepression. While at the same time as these women sought increased employment theeconomic stress within the community simultaneously decreased the number ofhouseholdswith disposable income that could hire domestic help. For Sne-nay-muxw women sucheconomic depression meant fewer employment opportunities and increasing competitionby non-Native women who needed to supplement family incomes. During the strike of1912-1914 that placed many families in Nanaimo in great distress, Sne-nay-muxwwomen’s access to domestic labour was diminished substantially.34Scott & Tilly (1975) document the importance of young single women’s income to themaintenance of the family in the 19th Century.u Beishaw (1988) argues that Chinese presence in the mines reduced overall householdincome as young boys were not employed.138Competition was also a factor for Sne-nay-muxw women in the canneries. Theintroduction of Chinese male workers in the canneries occurred early in the industry’shistory 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.36This employment, according to the Indian agent at the Fraser River agency displaced thelabour ofNative women:The Indians from all parts ofthis agency complain very much this springand summer ofhow they are undermined in the labour market byChinamen, especially in all kinds of light work, where the Indian womenand 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 notdisplace Sne-nay-muxw women entirely as a distinctive division of labour arose alongracial and gender lines. Sne-nay-muxw women were hired primarily to clean fish and fillthe cans, while Chinese men made the cans, soldered the tops, boiled and cooled them andpacked them in the boxes. This racial and gender division of labour suited canneryoperators as it guaranteed a seasonal labour force within and without the cannery as Snenay-muxw and other Native women accompanied their husbands who fished for thecannery.After 1890 the introduction of the Japanese in the commercial fishing industry createdfurther competition for both Sne-nay-muxw men and women in this industry. Japaneseimmigration began during the 1890’s and escalated particularly between 1896 and 190136 At this time 1,157 Chinese were employed in the canneries while Native employment forboth men and women was 1,280 (Royal Commission on Chinese Tmmigration 1885).139when it is estimated that 13,913 immigrated to the province. The majority of Japaneseentered the fishing industry and in a short period became the dominant ethnic group in theindustry (Rounsefell & Keles 1938; Canada, Report ofFisheries Commission 1905-07:23;Gladstone 1972: 170)). Such competition was to adversely effect Sne-nay-muxwfishermen. By 1902 the Sne-nay-muxw no longer made the money from the canneries theymade 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-naymuxw women. Unlike the Chinese, the Japanese were not indentured labourers. Initiallyimmigrants 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 washighly 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 anincreasing threat to the security of Sne-nay-muxw women’s jobs in the canneries. As earlyas 1901 canners were well aware of an additional growing labour pool attached toJapanese fishermen. During a labour dispute in that year they were quick to point out thatthey no longer needed Native labour in the canneries as they could always hire Japanesewomen (Vancouver Daily Province, June 22, 1901, p1). By 1920 Japanese women werea significant part of the labour force for the canneries on the Fraser River.37The presence of Japanese fishermen on the Fraser River encouraged Native fishermen toalign with white fishermen and support the fishermen’s union, the Fraser RiverFishermen’s Protective and Benevolent Association (Gladstone 1972).140Regardless of the presence of Asian and other immigrant workers, the Sne-nay-muxwwere not displaced from employment in the hop harvesting. While there were attempts toencourage white pickers during times of depression, this never proved successfiul becauseof the poor wages and living conditions. Before the turn of the century hop picking inWashington was taken up by white workers however one observer noted that Nativeworkers maintained their monopoly despite this competition as they were preferred bysome of the farmers themselves:Many growers prefer them as they are more willing to live out doors, beginearly, and complain less than most whites (Eells 1985:305).Nonetheless, White workers did displaced Native hop pickers in the Fraser Valleyduring the economic depression that followed World War I but this labour force did notremain committed to this seasonal and insecure employment. By the 1920’s hop picking inthis region was again monopolized by Native workers.Mechanization and ResegmentationIn addition to variability in demand for labour and competition produced by othermarginalized workers, Sne-nay-muxw employment was also affected by increasedmechanization, a product of management’s ongoing efforts to reduce labour costs. Asnoted in chapter three, coal extraction in Nanaimo began with primitive mining techniquesthat were highly labour intensive. During this period, considerable technological advancesincreased coal output and decreased the need for unskilled labour.38 The introduction ofThe major technological innovations in coal mining did not occur until the 20th Centurywhen continuous mining was introduced that cut and transported coal in a continuous nonstop operation.141steam 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 thatmade coal pushers and mule skinners redundant. The first electric cars, which were usedat 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 (Belshaw1986:49-50; BC, Minister ofMines AR 1899:834-5). This improved technology shiftedcoal haulage to machines operated by white workers.One occupation that remained highly labour intensive was coal trimming andlongshoring. While coal chutes were devised to swing over the hatches of coal ships, thecoal had to be trimmed to make the load secure. Loading before the turn of the Centurytook anywhere from two to three days. When coal was not readily available it might takeas long as a week. Coal trimming however was not steady employment and consideredone of the least secure forms of employment around the mines. When loading coalbecame more mechanized the number of coal trimmers was substantially reduced.Women’s paid employment was also affected by increased technology. The mostdramatic mechanization to affect women occurred in the canning industry. Initially theentire canning process was dependent upon their manual labour. However, the earlyintroduction of the gang knives and circular blades increased productivity substantially sothat by the turn of the century labour work that had previously required 300 to 400 peoplein the cannery could now be performed by 120 people (Royal Commission on Chineseand Japanese Immigration 1902:136). After the turn of the century the introduction ofthe fish butchering machine (known derogatorily as the “Iron Chink”) and the solderless142and 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 acrew of fifty-one butchers. Despite these technological advances not all canneriesmechanized to such an extent. Small canneries still existed as late as the 1920’s that didnot have iron butchers and ran only one or two lines (Muszynski 1987:5 6). Also washingthe fish remained labour intensive and continued the demand for Native women’s labour.Technology also entered the private household and changed the demand for paiddomestic service. As part of the growing consumer orientated economy, newtechnological devices became available and affordable to the majority ofhouseholds by theturn of the century. Perhaps the most labour saving device and one that was to influenceSne-nay-muxw women’s employment was the introduction of the washing machine. In the1890’s the first hand operated rotary washing machines began to appear in Nanaimo.39The washing machine quickly transferred the responsibility of laundering from paiddomestic labour to the housewife (see Cowen 1983:248). This self.sufficiency wasfurther assisted when the arduous chore ofheating water on top of the stove waseventually replaced with the hot water tank at the turn of the centuryThe first electric washing machines however were not available until after 1920.143Table 4:2Population and Sex Ratio of Men and Women in Nanaimo andSuburbs, 1881-1921.Year Population Male Female Ratio1881 1645 1033 612 1.71891 6512 4217 2295 1.81901 6130 3488 2642 1.31911 8168 4877 3291 1.51921 9088 4874 4214 1.1Source: Census 1921, Table no 12, p235, Table no 16,p338.The introduction of ready made clothing, the availability of canned fruits andvegetables, as well as meats and fish lIirther reduced the need for domestic help. Whilewomen’s allocated time for such activities in the household did not decrease, it becamedifferently distributed. Increasingly such labour could be managed by a single housewifeending the need for domestic servants. Along with these technological improvements thedecreasing number of single men in the community lessened the demand for paid domesticlabour. As table 4:2 shows the sex ratio in Nanaimo and corresponding suburbs equalizedby 1921. The demand for domestic labour was now readily available to most men throughthe labour of a single housewife. Hiring domestic servants remained the custom for therich and upper classes which were limited in number in this working class miningcommunity.144Domestic EconomyLabour conditions such as economic depressions, strikes, competition and increasedmechanization reinforced a segregated labour force that placed Sne-nay-muxw men andwomen in the least secure and desirable occupations in the mining economy. Severalquestions arise about the effects of this segregated economy upon Sne-nay-muxwdomestic economy. How was wage labour integrated with subsistence production? Howdid the social organization based upon kinship networks and extended families adapt tothis change? Much of the literature that examines the effects of contact upon Coast Salishpeoples argues that while they easily adapted to the new economy they suffered greatsocial disorganization. Not only did the traditional household organization that centeredupon sets ofbrothers, their wives and children breakdown into smaller nuclear familiesliving in separate residences, but kinship was no longer the central organi7iilg principle oftheir lives (see Smith 1940, Robinson 1963, Lewis 1970).In the following section I show that kinship networks and extended families were anintegral part of Sne-nay-muxw life at this time and that the continuity of this socialorganization was important for integrating wage labour with non-wage labour. Althoughgender, race and class segregation limited women’s options in paid employment, this socialorganization 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 ofsubsistence production and farming to supplement the insecure wage labour available tothe Sne-nay-muxw. How kinship networks, extended families and exchange remained anintegral part of Sne-nay-muxw economic strategy is then examined.145Subsistence ProductionThe importance of subsistence production to supplement wage labour was evident tomany observers who noted the continual movement of the Sne-nay-muxw families to theirvarious resource sites. They fished for herring in the spring, sockeye salmon in thesummer on the Fraser River, and chum in the fall on the Nanaimo River. Hunting of deerand other animals occurred in the spring and fall months. Berries were gathered duringthe summer months and shell fish remained an important staple all year round. Men andwomen’s roles in the production of these foods continued as it had in pre-contact times.Men fished and hunted while women gathered shell fish and plant foods as well aspreserved fish. In addition to drying and smoking fish, canning became popular by theturn of the Century when home canning materials became available.As families moved together to their resource sites there persisted a flexibility in thedivision 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 thetask at hand. Several women would go darning or berry picking together while menformed small work parties to build houses or other joint ventures. Craft productionremained more circumscribed but this activity increasingly declined as European materialsreplaced indigenous goods. Nonetheless, some women, particularly older women, didcontinue to weave blankets, mats and baskets.Integrating subsistence production with wage labour demanded adaptable seasonalstrategies by each family as very few food getting activities could occur at the same time.Local wage labour in the mines or domestic service limited the time spent at local resource146sites, but the insecurity of such employment encouraged Sne-nay-muxw to remaincommitted to fishing, hunting and gathering shell fish. One of the complaints voiced aboutNative labour in the province was that they preferred to pursue subsistence production towage labour. Most assuredly this was a preferred pursuit by many Sne-nay-muxw familiesbut the limited options in wage labour made it a necessity. The nature of the segregatedlabour force in Nanaimo compelled the Sne-nay-muxw to integrate this production withwage labour.Nevertheless, the seasonal demands of subsistence production placed constraints uponwage labour and vice versa. The Sne-nay-muxw made active choices for wage labourover subsistence production in their migration to the canneries and the hop fields.Although the cannery season corresponded with Sne-nay-muxw traditional times of fishingon the Fraser River, the demands of cannery production limited subsistence production.There is some evidence that while camped at the cannery sites on the Fraser River the Snenay-muxw and other Native peoples were able to fish for their own daily needs. Unlikethe Chinese who were supplied with daily rations from their contractors, the Sne-naymuxw were expected to supply their own food. Despite the fact that many familiesbrought their own provisions and supplies such as flour, sugar and tea could be debited atthe cannery store, they needed daily supplies of fresh fish. Cannery operators, in order toassure Native labour for the season, promised access to fish around the canneries.40 Those40 One of the large cannery operators on the Fraser River, assured the Indian agent that hewould 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 asthey were considered a fire hazard.147canners who restricted fish often lost their 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-muxwhad to preserve fish for later subsistence needs. There were slow periods in cannery workbefore the peak runs began but canneries often operated twenty four hours a day withsixteen hour shifts common during the peak ofthe runs. Such conditions were far fromconducive to integration with the labour intensive food getting activities needed topreserve fish.4’ 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 commonfeature of the camps around the canneries. Later, when home canning equipment wasavailable this became a preferred method ofpreserving fish as it was far less timeconsuming.Subsistence production was not pursued when the Sne-nay-muxw worked in the hopfields. The hop farms were not close to any of their traditional resource sites andharvesting demanded that picking begin early in the day and continue until dusk for threeto six weeks. The end ofhop harvesting coincided with the peak chum runs on theNanaimo River and the Sne-nay-muxw returned to fish.This pattern of seasonal exploitation varied with each year. When employment in thecommunity was meager the Sne-nay-muxw spent more time pursuing subsistence41 Later conservation measures on the Fraser River did close the canneries for thirty-sixhours on the weekends however missionaries and food fishing permits introduced in 1894,restricted the time and quantity of fish that the Sne-nay-muxw could take on the FraserRiver.148production. This option became increasingly more constrained after the 1880’s whenresource legislation and settling of the land in and around Nanaimo limited access toresource sites. A land grant to the Esquinialt and Nanaiino Railway Company in 1884alienated a large corridor of land on the southeastern portion ofVancouver Island wheremany of the Sne-nay-muxw traditional resource sites were located. This laud wassubjected to logging and settlement throughout the latter part of the Century. Aware ofthe effects of the alienation of resource sites W. Lomas, the Indian agent, wrote of thehardship that this land settlement had upon the older peoples more committed tosubsistence production:All the young men can lind employment on farms or at the sawmills andcanneries, and many families are about leaving for the hop fields ofWashington Territory; but the very old people who formerly lived entirelyon fish, berries and roots, suffer a good deal of hardship through thesettling up ofthe country. The lands that once yielded berries and roots arenow fenced and cultivated, and even on the hills the sheep have destroyedthem. Then again, the game laws restrict the time for the killing deer andgrouse, and the fishery regulations interfere with their old methods oftaking salmon and trout (DIA, AR 1888:105).As the Indian agent noted such legislation began to limit Sne-nay-muxw access toresource sites in their territory. This legislation was introduced to protect over-exploitedfish and game which had come under increased pressure from the growing population andcommercial 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 theseresources. While recognizing the importance of fishing and hunting for their food,restrictions were placed upon the use of aboriginal technology, Jimits and seasons ofprocurement. For example, the Dominion Fisheries Act, extended into the province in1491874, restricted salmon spearing without special license and stipulated the times that trapsand weirs could be used on the Nanaimo River. An Order in Council in 1888 restrictedoutright both nets and spears for food fishing on the river. Sne-nay-muxw fishermen werelined as much as five to six dollars for spearing chum on the Nanaimo river (Kelly inConference of Allied Indian Tribes 1923:136-37).A similar Act, the Provincial Game Act, came into force in 1887 with subsequentamendments that restricted the hunting of deer, grouse, ducks, rabbits and many birds.Unlike more isolated parts of the province where enforcement of these regulations wasdifficult, the immediate proximity of the Sne-nay-muxw to the white community placedthem under close surveillance early on. Deer hunting, always an important food source forthe Sne-nay-muxw, was restricted by season and bag limits. The Dominion’s MigrationBird Convention Act of 1917 extended the hunting restriction of ducks and birds in theProvincial Game Act to include all migratory birds, cranes, and other shorebirds. Birdsstill 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 tocontinue fishing and hunting for food, the application ofthese exemptions was left to thediscretion of fish and game wardens. This led to considerable frustration for the Sne-naymuxw as these laws did not recognize their aboriginal rights. In one particular incident aSne-nay-muxw was fined $25 and $3 court costs for shooting a duck. It was argued thatthe duck was not shot for food because the individual had in his canoe “an orange, a bag150of sugar and a bucket ofherring.” Understandably the Sne-nay-muxw were “very muchagitated over this” (RG 10, vol. 1340, March 12, 1896, no.54,5 5).FarmingMany Sne-nay-muxw turned to farming to supplement wage earnings and subsistenceproduction. As noted in Chapter three, the Sne-nay-muxw grew potatoes and hay alongthe Nanaimo River during the 1850’s. Throughout the 1860’s and 1870’s fkrming wasfurther encouraged by the missionaries. The desire to have suitable land to farm was partof the compensation demanded by the Sne-nay-muxw for moving from their traditionalvillage sites. This was expressed in their address to the new governor ofthe colony in1864:We want to keep our land here and up the river. Some white men tell uswe shall soon have to remove again; but we don’t want to lose thesereserves. All our other land is gone, and we have been paid very little forit. God gave it to us a long time ago, and now we are very poor, and donot know where our homes will be ifwe leave this. We want our land upthe river to plant for food. Mr. Douglas said it should be ours, and ourchildren’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 fishingnow. Many are old and not able to work, and some of our children, whohave neither father nor mother, have no clothes. We hope you will be kindto them. Our hearts are good to all white people and to you, our greatwhite chief. We hope you will send our words to the great Queen. Wepray that the Great Spirit may bless her and you. This is all our heartstoday.At this time they had been moved from their winter village site at Departure Bay andthe 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 thereserves in 1876 the Sne-nay-muxw were insistent that their reserves include land to farm.151The most suitable land was on the river, but the relaxed regulations for preemption and thepurchase of land without adequate surveys had increased the number of trespassers ontheir reserves.42 The Sne-nay-muxw not only requested that these trespassers be removedbut 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 reserves there were substantial fields ofhay andoats and that many Sne-nay-muxw continued to plant potatoes. He also recorded thatanother 10 acres were fenced and cultivated on the town reserve. In his report he listedtheir total livestock to include: 3 horses, 29 head of cattle, 3 pigs, 141 hens and 6 ducks.In setting out their reserves, Sproat recognized the importance of the town reserve tothe Sne-nay-muxw for its close proximity to employment. He included this reserve as oneof the six for a total of 637 acres. These reserves were finally tabled in 1887 (DIA, ARSessional Papers, 6th parl.,Ist sess, 1887, no. 6, p59). They were, in relation to the size ofSne-nay-muxw population, one of the smallest reserves given to a band in BritishColumbia.The adaptation to farming by some Sne-nay-muxw introduced a new division of labourin the family. Men worked outside with the machinery and livestock, while women wereprimarily confined to the interior household activities. As well as cooking, cleaning andsewing, women made butter, soap and candles. Children were an important source of42 The Sne-nay-muxw, like all Native peoples in British Columbia, were restricted frompre-emptying land in the same manner as white settlers. Colonial land policy stipulated in1865 that Indians could only pre-empt land with the consent of the governor. This wasfurther complicated by a required Minute in Council to authorize the transaction (SeeReport on Indian Reserves, Appendix A:65; Cail 1974:178, 20 1-8). That no consent wasgiven effectively barred the Sne-nay-muxw from staking out lands and territory importantfor their use.152labour for the multitude of chores that farming demanded. Both men and women sharedgarden work such as planting, weeding and harvesting. After the establishment of theCowichan agency the Indian agent was directed to monitor the success of farming in hisagency (DIA, AR 1881:160). The success of Sne-nay-muxw farmers was noted in the1900 report that listed a total of 400 acres of cultivated land. From this land Sne-naymuxw farmers produced 175 bushels of wheat, 8820 bushels of oats, 79 bushels ofpeas,560 bushels ofpotatoes, and 130 tons ofhay. Livestock at this time consisted of 28horses, 35 cattle including milking cows, and 200 poultry. Farming not only producedfood to be consumed by the family but also produce to sell in the town and to other localmining communities. The Indian agent in 1900 observed these farmers were doingrelatively well. He wrote:The (Sne-nay-muxw) make good return on agricultural products, such asoats, roots, fruit, etc.; they being near town and therefore having nodifficulty in obtaining a market for their produce.Eager to expand their farms they requested aid in the form of machinery. The Iirstthreshing machine and baler in the area was owned by Sne-nay-muxw farmers and hiredout to the surrounding white farms at harvest time. When coal was discovered on Riverreserve the primary concern was to save their good farm land. When several companiesexpressed interest in mining on the reserve the Sne-nay-muxw wrote to the Department ofIndian Affairs of their wishes:That in signing this surrender we would beg to express our wish, that if asgood terms can be made with the New Vancouver Coal Mining and LandCompany as with other parties, we would much rather that they becomethe purchasers, as from the position of their shafts they could work the coalwithout damaging our surface land to the extent that other companieswould be obliged to do (RG1O, vol. 3903, ifie 102,301).153Before the turn of the century only a few families lived on the farms all year round asthey moved back to the town reserve in the winter months (B.C., Royal Commission onIndian Affairs, Evidence, 19 13:65-66, 74-75). This gave both men and women access towage employment in the town or freedom to move to clam beds and other resource sites.By the 1890’s several families moved to the River reserve to live permanently and farmfall time (DIA, AR, 1897). Not surprisingly a close relationship developed between thesefamilies who farmed full time on the River reserves with non-native farming families in thesurrounding district. At this time a community of approximately three hundred peoplecomposed of intermarried families lived on the outskirts of the town in what is known asCedar district today.Despite this initial success federal government policies increasingly restricted the abilityof Sne-nay-muxw farmers to compete with local farmers.43 Department of Indian Affairsrecords indicate that between 1900 to 1915 farming income decreased (see table 4:3).Although sheep were introduced in 1906, other livestock declined as did wheat productionwhich ceased completely in 1912. The majority of Sne-nay-muxw farms were less thanfive acres with the exception of one that was approximately 100 acres. ‘ The inability ofSne-nay-muxw farmers to increase their farm holdings forced many of them to either hireout their labour to surrounding farmers or to work for the local mines or canneries. Onesource noted that these families would return for a few days between the canneries and theContrary 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 Nativepeoples lack of interest (see Knight 1978, Carter 1990, Buckley 1993).44This farm was owned by Louis Good, the designated chief of the Sne-nay-muxw. Hissuccess in farming is noted in an auction notice of 1906 which included 30 head ofprimecattle, 6 good working horses, 25 calves, and 4 good milching cows(NFP, Oct. 26, 1906).154hops to check their gardens and farms (RG 10, vol. 1343, Oct. 5, 1905). Evidence givenfor the Royal Commission of Indian Affairs in 1913 noted that one of the most successfulfarms on the reserve only produced $300 yearly income.The significance of farming to supplement income from wage labour is revealed in theincome estimates in the Department of Indian Affairs Reports. As table 4:3 shows,between the period of 1899 to 1914 Sne-nay-muxw income was generated from threesources, farming, wages earned, and fishing.45 Within this period there is a slight changein the relative distribution between the three sources. In the year 1899-1900 farmingconstituted 60%, wages earned 23% and fishing 16%. By 1913- 1914 this rose to 66%(includes farm produce and beef), while wages and fishing were 26% and 11%respectively.The importance of farming to their economy is also evident in the Sne-nay-muxw percapita income. While the Sne-nay-muxw do not have the highest per capita income in theCowichan agency in earned wages during this period (the Songhees do) they have almostdouble the per capita in total income of any other band in the agency. This reveals thesuccess the Sne-nay-muxw achieved in combining wage earning with farming andsubsistence production. However, the total per capita income for all bands in the agencydecreased during this fifteen year period. The Songhees income decreased as much as45% while the Sne-nay-muxw only 12%. The Songhees were more reliant upon wage45Estimating the value of fishing for sale or food was actually based on a formula. SeeAppendix C.155labour than the Sne-nay-nauxw which again attests to the importance ofthis combinedeconomic strategy.Table 4:3Estimated Income in Dollars by Source for the Sne-nay-muxw Band, 1899-1914.Year Farm Beef Wages Fishing Hunting TotalProduce and sold/food Earned IncomeHay1899-1900 $7530 $2900 $2000 $12,4301900-1901 $8100 $3100 $2100 $13,3001901-1902 $8100 $3000 $2000 $13,1001902-1903 $8200 $3000 $1500 $12,7001903-1904 $8000 $2500 $1200 $11,7001904-1905 $7500 $2500 $1000 $11,0001905-1906 $7500 $2500 $1000 $11,0001906-1907 $7500 $400 $3000 $1000 $11,9001907-1908 $7000 $400 $3000 $1000 $11,4001908-1909 $7000 $500 $3000 $1000 $11,5001909-1910 $7000 $500 $3000 $1000 $11,5001910-1911 $6500 $400 $3000 $1000 $10,9001911-1912 $6000 $400 $3000 $1000 $10,4001912-1913 $6000 $200 $3000 $1000 $10,2001913-1914 $6500 $200 $2700 $1100 $10,500Source: DIA, RG 10, volume 1391.That the Sne-nay-muxw did not have enough land to fanu is evident in the conflict thatland played within and without family relationships on the reserves. Less than half thereserve land was suitable for farming and what arable land was found on the River reserveshad to be extensively dyked and cleared (DIA, AR 1886/87). 46 This lack of land was aIn 1913 the British Columbia Royal Commission of Indian Affairs noted that the Snenay-muxw had cultivated 405.5 acres of their reserves, 195 acres were under wood, and37 acres were not cultivated. In terms of farming land they noted that Wi had 47 acres156divisive 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 moreformally by the Indian Agent after 1881. In the 1880’s an exchange of reserve land formore productive farming land on the Nanaimo River was made with the Vancouver Coaland Land Company. However, this exchange was never formalized by the Department ofIndian Affairs and led to great misunderstanding and concern on the part of several Snenay-muxw families who farmed this land. Despite this increase of arable land, in 1913 athird of the Sne-nay-muxw families did not own land (Royal Commission AboriginalAffairs Evidence, 1913).An increasing dissatisfaction with reserve allocations, fishery and game laws, and theIndian Act prompted the Sne-nay-muxw, with other Coast and Interior Salish in theregion, to support a delegation to London to outline their grievances in 1906 (LaViolette1973:127; Shankel 1945:193). While not successfiul, their discontent forced theappointment of a joint commission between provincial and federal governments inSeptember 1912. The McKenna-McBride Commission, as it became known, held hearingsin Nanaimo to hear the Sne-nay-muxw grievances in 1913. Despite the testimony from theIndian agent and the Superintendent of Indian Affairs that Sne-nay-muxw reserves werefar from adequate to accommodate their population, no fbrther lands were added and nowhich were classified as good land for farming; 1R2 had 200 acres of second class land ofwhich 128 acres was heavy timber; and 1R3 had 260 acres, all ofwhich was considerednearly good land(BCRC 1913-1916).157concessions for fishing and hunting rights given (Royal Commission of Aboriginal AffairsEvidence 1913:326-27).The Sne-nay-muxw were increasingly alienated from their subsistence resource sitesand land for farming during this time. Increased settlement in the region and the limitedland given them for reserves left them little land to use. Yet the Sne-nay-muxw remainedrelatively successfhl compared to other bands in the region, in integrating wage labour andnon-wage labour activities in their economy. The opportunistic strategy that had beenimportant in pre-contact times to exploit a large range of resources was now applied tointegrating what at times were incompatible activities of resource production, farming andwage labour. Several scholars (Smith 1940, Collins 1950, Duff 1952, Robinson 1963,Lewis 1970, Amoss 1978) propose that despite this success a significant degree of socialdisorganization occurred for the Sne-nay-muxw and other Coast Salish peoples as theirterritory was quickly engulfed by the growing urban centers. The following sectionexamines the evidence of this social disorganization as it applies to the Sne-nay-muxw toshow that, despite these conditions, kinship networks and extended families remained theorganizing principles of Sne-nay-muxw life. Furthermore, the retention of this socialorganization was highly adaptive to the insecure economic opportunities in wage labour.were nine applications in the Cowichan agency for additional lands but none weregranted. The Sne-nay-muxw were told that it was impossible to get any additional landbecause all the land now belonged to the Esquimalt & Nanaimo Railway Co. The mayorofNanaimo also stated that the city was not willing to give up land either.158Kinship Networks and Extended FamiliesThe Sne-nay-muxw suffered from significant population decline from 1862 to 1920 asrevealed in the various Census. Their close contact with the mining community, while anasset for wage employment, increased their exposure to a number of contagious diseasessuch as measles, whooping cough, influenza, tuberculosis and diphtheria. 48 The mostsusceptible were children and the elderly. By the 1880’s many young couples werechildless and only 57% of the total households contained children under the age of 15.The Census taken in 1881 enumerates only 1.3 children per childbearing woman. Thisnumber did not increase until after the turn of the Century. Similarly the number of elderlyalso declined. In comparison with other Coast Salish bands in the region, the Sne-naymuxw suffered the highest rate of attrition for individuals 65 years and older (Census1901). In 1881 there were only 18 individuals over the age of 65, or 9% ofthe population(Census 1881). This decreased to 9 individuals or 5% of the population by 1901 and to 3individuals or 2% ofthe population by 1911 (Census 1901; DIA, AR. 1911).This depopulation had significant impact upon Sne-nay-muxw social cohesion. Theloss of elders who were the repositories ofknowledge and ritual expertise in Coast Salishsociety placed the cultural continuity of Sne-nay-muxw family traditions in jeopardy(Guilmet et al 1991). Elders were the primary teachers who taught family history, how toprepare for the vision quest, how to speak in public, and everyday behaviour. An48 The high cost ofmedical care for the Sne-nay-muxw was of great concern to theDepartment of Indian Affairs. Two rival pharmacies in Nanaimo competed for thislucrative account (RG1O, voL 1332, Nov. 21, 1892; vol. 1337, May 21, 1892). Thedevastating flu epidemic of 1918 reduced the population by another 10% in only a fewshort months. Tragically one family lost four children (RG 10, V84-85/3 16 vol. 500365lile 988/20-5-15).159individual’s success in life was dependent upon the education from elders or grandparents(Bamett 1955:14). As elders died so did this knowledge leaving the new generations opento foreign ideas and social institutions. This latter condition was immediately noted bymissionaries who viewed this attrition as a positive step towards Sne-nay-muxwassimilation. The Anglican missionary Reverend John Booth Good wrote:Death is making many gaps amongst this fated people, and soon all the oldgeneration will have passed away, and with it the old habits andsuperstitions of them and their forefathers; to be succeeded by othersspeaking our language, adopting our habits, and possessing our faith(Good 1865:30).The loss of elders contributed to the tension and conflict reported in Sne-nay-muxwsociety at this time. Elders were necessary for their political skills to strengthen kinsolidarity within and between villages. These skills were much needed when the Sue-naymuxw relocated to the town reserve. Compelled to live together, families within the fivevillages were forced to create new political and social realignments as various familyleaders maintained their political autonomy. ‘Aside from tension produced by population decline and relocation, an added factor wasmissionary interference into political organization. Missionaries arrived on VancouverIsland with the Hudson’s Bay Company in the late 1840’s. Throughout the 1850’sCatholic missionaries visited the settlement but it was not until the early 1860’s with thearrival ofthe Anglican and Methodist denominations that there was any success inconverting the Sne-nay-.muxw. It was missionary practice as part of the proselytizing to‘ Incidents of quarrels in the community were noted in several sources (Crosby 1907;Nanaimo Gazette, Aug. 21, 1865, Nov. 6, 1865).160disassociate the young from the traditional leaders and to favour those leaders whoconverted to Christianity by giving them special status in the community. Thomas Crosby(1907:51), a Methodist missionary, set out to convince his young converts to resist thedemands of the elders. He highly praised his convert, David Sallosolton, for disowning hisparents for their heathenism (Crosby 1906, 1907). With a similar end in mind theAnglican missionary, Reverend Good, gave out armbands with red crosses to the newlyconverted Sne-nay-muxw and designated them the power to police the band (Robin1990:51-2).Not all leaders were opposed to this change. Some willingly aligned themselves withthe missionaries eager to learn the new religion and participate in economic opportunitiesin the community. One such leader was Skinahan who sent his son to live with ReverendGood to learn the language and the new religion. 50 This young boy was later to becomethe designated chief of the band (Bishop Hills, June 10, 1862; Good BCARS). Anexcerpt from Reverend Good’s reminiscences describes how this adoption came about:..we had won to our side an Indian Chief of great influence and importanceby name Skenahun. He had from its first commencement strongly attachedhimself to me, with all his household. His first born son was a chubbysturdy lad who may have been about ten years old when we first knew him.One morning whilst we were at breakfast in our new home at the Rectory,we were told this Chiefhad come to call upon us accompanied by his son.He explained to us that he had brought the boy as a present to my wife,having made up his mind to surrender him entirely into our hands. He wassoon very happy in his new surroundings and came under steady instruction° Skinahan was later killed in a hunting accident which Rev. Good believed was plannedby people who were always plotting against him (Good BCARS). While this is difficult toconfirm it is acknowledged that traditional leadership was based on consensus and respect.Leaders with strong personalities that upset this political autonomy often facedassassination (Smith 1969:13).161as a Catechumen of the Mission. In due time he was baptized by nameLouis Augustine Good, by which he is still known (Good BCARS).Whether this tension was new to the Sne-nay-muxw social dynamics is questionable.Several scholars contend that conflict and tension was an integral part of Coast Salish life.For example, Smith (1940b) maintains that Coast Salish peoples placed great emphasisupon secrecy and privacy around an individuals supernatural powers. This producedsuspicion and social distancing within and between families. Living in separate dwellings,as advocated by the missionaries, was a welcomed reliefby Coast Salish families. Suttles(1987:220) on the other hand, believes that intravillage conflict was an important incentivefor Coast Salish families to continue intervillage links and maintain extended familyaffiances.. This guaranteed support as well as access to a wider range of resources whichwas important for a family’s survival.Whether conflict increased with missionary interference or was always part of Sne-naymuxw life, kinship networks and family alliances continued to dominate socialrelationships. This is apparent with the presence ofpolitical leaders who were linked toextended families. The appointment of Louis Good as ‘chief of the Sne-nay-muxw, firstby the missionaries and later the Indian agent, created ongoing family conflicts in thecommunity. These conflicts forced the Indian agent in 1890 to appoint four councilors tohelp manage the reserve (RG1O, Vol. 1337, Dec. 26,1890). These four men, SolomonSewell, Billy Yacklum, William Culadeson, and Albert Wesley were acknowledged leadersof the dominant Sne-nay-muxw families. Thirty years after their relocation to the townreserve, family leaders were still an integral part of Sne-nay-muxw social organization.After Louis Good’s death in 1916, the Sne-nay-muxw were asked to choose a new chief.162This they did selecting Paul White, because ofhis ability and links to prominent families onthe reserve.As well as the persistence of indigenous leadership, kinship networks and familyalliances remained important to support formal exchange ceremonies and spirit dancing.As noted in chapter two, formal exchanges occurred in three kinds ofnamed gatherings:taking food to affines or ‘paddle’; household feasts where a family feasted other householdmembers and other households in the village; and the ‘true potlatch’ that was given to payoff a funeral debt and accept the rank and status of one’s parents (Suttles 1960, Ainoss1978). Most noted in the historical literature were the larger potlatches. Missionariesattempted to end this custom, but by the 1880’s one missionary lamented that the Sne-naymuxw were potlatching more than they had in the past (Methodist Scrapbook, Dec. 14,1882; Aug. 8, 1883). Recognizing that much of the missionary accounts at this time werepolitically motivated to outlaw the potlatch, other accounts do verify that potlatching wasa common feature on the Sne-nay-muxw reserve during this time (see Cole & Chaikin1990:29-31, 3 8-39). In the mining community, Sne-nay-muxw potlatches were importantevents that knit the two communities together as they provided entertainment as well asbusiness for the local merchants (Province, March 21, 1896). Not surprisingly whenpotlatches were banned in an amendment in the Indian Act of 1884, Nanaimo businessesdid not support the law. Cornelius Bryant, an early teacher to the community, and later amissionary, noted that the Sne-nay-muxw were advised by these local businesses to ignorethe law:Indians have been advised to rebel against the idea of discontinuing thePotlatch by respectable trades whose business interests have been163temporarily benefited by the Potlatches being held in the neighborhood(RG1O, voL 3628, file 6244-1, Jan 30, 1884).The Department of Indian Affairs was forced to tolerate these formal gatherings as theyhad no means of restricting the custom. The Indian agent of the Cowichan Agency, washimselfhighly tolerant. William Lomas, as an Anglican lay minister, had experienced hisfirst potlatch in 1867 at the Lyacksun village on Valdez Island (Lomas 1868:39-41). Heviewed the custom more favorably at this time than he did in his initial years as an Indianagent (see DIA, AR, 1883:98-9). However, when it came time to enforce the act herequested that individuals be allowed to pay back their debts, assured that once they haddone so that the custom would die out (RG1O, vol. 3628, file 6244-1, Dec. 27, 1884; vol1353, Jan 17, 1885). Nonetheless, potlatching did not die out for the Sne-nay-muxw. By1900 there were fewer and fewer potlatches in the agency as a whole but the Sne-naymuxw were noted to be present at several large potlatches on Vancouver Island and theFraser Valley. Their participation in potlatching continued after the turn of the century.5’The Department of Indian Affairs was forced to give the same toleration to spiritdancing. Despite their conversion to Methodism, the Sne-nay-muxw remained committedto their religious beliefs ofpower acquisition. Gatherings for spirit dancing were generallysmall but they increased in size by the turn of the Century as potlatching and spirit dancingcombined (Suttles 1987: 207). Formal distribution ofwealth occurred during Sne-naymuxw spirit dancing as one observer noted with the distribution of mats and strips ofhandwoven blankets at the dances (RG1O, vol 1340, Nov. 9, 1896, #208-9). Reports of spiritIn the ledger of the Pacific Coast Cannery a sum of $6.00 is recorded out of theirseasons pay for a donation to a summer potlatch (Pacific Coast Cannery 1913, 7-3, UBC,Special Collections).164dancing on the Sne-nay-muxw reserve decreased by World War I, but elders todaymaintain that the Sne-nay-muxw continued to participate in spirit dancing elsewhere astheir reserve was too exposed to the prying eyes ofwhite authorities. Furthermore someSne-nay-muxw families were more committed to spirit dancing and potlatching thanothers. This created a split between families that continues to remain an integral part ofthe social and political dynamics on the reserve today. 52While the Sne-nay-muxw were undergoing significant changes with decliningpopulation, Christian conversion, and the integration ofwage labour into their economy,many aspects oftheir social and political organizations continued. This is evident in thepersistence of traditional leadership, formal exchange mechanisms for the distribution ofwealth, and the acquisition ofpower through spirit dancing. Without kinship solidarity theeconomic support and cooperation needed to continue these institutions would not occur.As noted earlier, Sne-nay-muxw kinship affiliation was based on a bilateral descentsysteni This gave each Sne-nay-muxw a personal network of kin that was unique and atthe same time overlapping with other Sne-nay-muxw. Outside of immediate kin thissystem allowed for a degree of flexibility as kinship ties were either emphasized or deemphasized according to an individual’s social and economic needs. The obligation thatkinship, once recognized must be honored, guaranteed economic support and cooperationthat was necessary not only to continue political and social institutions, but also to ensurethe economic survival of individuals and families.52 This type of split occurred on most reserves as some families shunned spirit dancing ascontrary to their Christian beliefs. Some reserves resolved this split but it has never beenresolved on the Sne-nay-muxw reserve(see Suttles 1987:20).165It has been suggested elsewhere that in some societies the introduction of wage labourstrengthens kinship networks and extended family organizations (Talmon-Garber 1970,Hammel 1972, Medicine 1981). Kinship networks and extended families offer importanteconomic support in allowing individuals to share their production from various economicendeavours. This is particularly important in the presence of insecure wage employmentand incompatible economic activities (i.e. non-wage labour). This gives greater securityfor their members than a ‘nuclear’ family that is dependent upon limited adult labour(Pastemak, Ember and Ember 1976). Despite the criticism of the direction of this causallink (whether extended families produce incompatible activities or are the outcome ofincompatible activities), this argument leads to an intriguing question whether themaintenance of kinship networks and extended families encourages women to participatein the labour force (see Yanagisako 1979:173-5). Having the support of other membersin the household to share in household management and the care of children allows womenmore time to devote to other productive pursuits including wage labour. This has beendocumented in both Knack (1980) and Albers (1982, 1983, 1985) for the Southern Paiuteand Dakota women. In the following section I explore this argument through an analysisof Sne-nay-muxw household organization and production.Household Organization and ProductionTo begin it should be noted that to understanding the historical nature of Sne-naymuxw household organization and production between 1862 and 1920 is problematicbecause ofthe lack ofhistorical and ethnographic data. As chapter two revealed, the onlyethnographic data collected prior to the 1920’s was by Franz Boas. In his limited visit166with the Sne-nay-muxw, his primary concern was to document myths, language andmortuary customs and not to detail household organization and production. Historicaldata is equally limited despite the large amount of data collected by the Department ofIndian Affairs to aid in administering the Indian Act. The only source available onhousehold composition during this period is found in the nominal Census taken by thefederal government in 1881, 1891, and 1901. Before examining this data a cautionarynote must be added about using these figures. While the Indian agent in the Cowichanagency was assigned the task of enumerating the Sne-nay-muxw, it is unclear how hegathered this data; whether he went house to house, used informants, or used annualDepartment of Indian Affairs Census. If the agent went house to house the completenessof the data would be suspect given that the Sne-nay-muxw were constantly migrating forboth wage and non-wage labour opportunities. Furthermore the assumption that a male-headed and autonomous nuclear family was the nonnative family type effectivelyeliminates enumerating other members in the household or not counting households thatdo not conform to this type.Accepting these data as far from complete, a comparison of the 1881 and 1901 Censussuggests there was a decline over the twenty year period in the number ofhouseholds, aswell as three generation households (see table 4:4). Correspondingly there was anincrease in the proportion of two generation households (or nuclear families), the majorityofwhich were composed of couples with children. This is the dominant household typeto be found amongst the Sne-nay-muxw by 1901. Also the average household sizeincreased and there are fewer variations in household composition in 1901. Although in1671881 there were several non-conjugal households as well as individuals living alone, by1901 neither type ofhousehold is reported. The traditional Sne-nay-muxw householdcomposed of a set ofbrothers with their wives and children is still present at this time. In1881 and 1901 they constitute 19% and 17% of all families respectively.Table 4:4Sne-nay-muxw Households Based on Generation and Average Household Size.1881 Households 1901 HouseholdsGeneration53 No. % Av. No. % À 20 38 2.0 7 20 2.4two 24 45 4.5 24 69 5.1three 9 17 6.1 4 11 6.8Total 53 100 4.0 35 100 4.7Source: Nominal Census 1881, 1901If one includes the 1891 Census this trend of decreasing three generation households isnot so clear. While there is a decline in the number ofhouseholds from 1881 there is adecrease in two generation households and a rise in three generation households.Significantly a third of the households are composed of sets ofbrothers. This Censuscannot be wholly dismissed as the most inaccurate, as the Indian agent at this time hadworked with the Sne-nay-muxw for a decade and may be the most accurate ofthe three.What perhaps may be surmised from this change is that age distribution may have hadmore to do with hous