BC Historical Books

BC Historical Books

BC Historical Books

The story of the totem Campbell-Johnston, Ronald Campbell 1924

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CAMPBELL-JOHNSTON  THE STORY OF THE TOTEM The   Man-Eater  Could   Not  Get   In. ^"^ ;7\3S.  ^"^ 7x2*-   ^"* 7x3*   ^"^ 7\^   ^"^ "TSSj.  ^^ VNSfc   ^^  ysS*   "■*» VtS. ^^ i?vS. ^^ 5
HESE few stories, relating to the native,
aboriginal Indian tribes, who have dwelt
within the Province of British Columbia,
have been penned with a deep sympathy
for the hopeless passing-away of these
same children of Nature, before the oncoming rush of the white man, who, with the ruthless
heel of modern, supposed progress, has stamped so
brutally on all obstacles in the path of his mercenary,
economical trade advance.
Any large-hearted Gael, the highlander from far
Scotland, has himself seen the beloved country of his
own revered forebears, and his whole historic clan,
perhaps, put up to public auction, and thus today
possessed by the "dimeasach sasunnach" (hateful
stranger), himself being forced to emigrate to distant strange places. His own unknown Gaelic
tongue "teanga Gaidhlig Dhuideach" has been soon
forgotten by his bairns, born abroad, till even his
very identity is well nigh a cypher among strangers.
These highlanders too have always had their particular lofty ideals about Nature, their mystic, ancient
songs, connected with Pingal and Ossian, wraiths
in every stock and stone, his liquid mother's tongue
with its magic inflections and minute degrees of THE STORY OP THE TOTEM
expression, as for "love" alone having twenty-seven
distinct words in which to declare it; then separate,
intensified meanings for the great sacrifices of the
Christ, differing from the sad passing of the mortal,
this too from the decease of animals, and again the
decay and falling in season of all vegetation.
The Gael recognizes the extreme value of words,
and knows no useless exclamations of swearing or
blasphemy in his vocabulary, and every object which
he sees, mostly belongs to his mother's nobler sex,
and is called   "she"by him.
He minutely studies the haunts and habits of his
little brothers, the golden eagle, the stag and the
deer, the hare and the rabbit, grouse, capercailzie
and ptarmigan, the salmon and, in fact, all living
things. The rowan tree, birken, all firs and shrubs
are familiar to him.
The mist, the sunshine and the rainbow on the
"bienn and gleann," mountain and vale, the roar of
"sruth bras" or mountain torrent, and the lapping
of the "loch," being some arm of the sea, or a
mountain lake, all these carry a deeper meaning to
his inner consciousness. Their intermarriages among
near cousins, concentrate and intensify the personal
"ego," or individuality within him, toll "second
sight,'' clarvoyance, clairaudience and the advanced
development of the higher senses, mentally and
spiritually, become most acute.
Like a stricken deer, or wounded bird, in his
anguish of heart, the Gael seeks the wild solitude of
the moor, the better to commune alone with the
Greater Power, that sustains and comforts all living
So the Indians of British Columbia are now almost
in their death throes. Their inherited, particular
fishing and hunting grounds have been long alienated, with the wild game killed out, this their primary source of existence. Small pox and the white
man's diseases have wiped out whole families, and
all of some tribes.
Their interbreeding with the white people, has
cut off all the treasured traditions of their own race,
while the old folk, who can alone speak the native
tongue, correctly remember the grand marriage-ties
between the several tribes, and are able to respect
the mystic rites and ceremonies of the chiefs, the
medicine men and witches (shamans), the hereditary-
ranks and precedences of each member within the
circle of the tribe, at the dance and ceremonies,
these are all gradually passing over the border to
their happy hunting grounds in the spiritual world,
and have no one left, to whom they can pass on these
historic and noble traditions. Like all mountaineers
and seafolk, they go direct to the Great Power for
self guidance, apart or free from all forms of priestcraft. They rise from their beds, just before the
dawn of the Sun, run out into the open, wearing but
their birthday garb, plunge headlong into the cold
water, then watch the marvelous Sun rise each day
in its majestic splendour, with folded arms standing
upright and facing its glory, so calling aloud at the
top of their voices to their God for their simple daily
wants, and thus begin each new day with renewed
vigour to carry them courageously through fife.
The survival of the fittest, both bodily and mentally, is the inexorable law of nature.   In these few
pages the writer has striven, he fears too feebly, to
open a little of the mystic pages of the Indian's
history, and to persuade others to sympathetically
glimpse alike into the inner, perhaps noble, soul of
the native Indian.
Vancouver, B. C,
May, 1924.
A  Haida War-Canoe.
As mostly told by the Indians themselves, in several
separate stories narrated at times to
and then later duly transcribed, with most respectful
care, by her husband,
Mining Engineer.
These valued totems, as prized relics of much earlier days, are now being preserved in their former
wonted grandeur; having for an appropriate background the magnfficent forest giants of Stanley
Park, and in the near foreground a sandy seabeach,
washed by the ceaseless, lapping waves of Burrard
They were erected on this spot by public subscription, when being carefully transplanted from Alert
Bay, B. C.
Under the Auspices of
The Art. Historical and Scientific Association,
At the Museum, on the top floor of
The Carnegie Public Library,
Vancouver, B. C.
Being but "a short story," including some minor
details, relating to these impressive Indian totems,
now, at this date, resting in silent solitude, within
the safe and peaceful precincts of Stanley Park.
11 Published by
J. T. Pyott 524 Granville St.,
Vancouver, B. C.
AH Rights Reserves) Index of Contents
"Northern Lights"   15
Origin of Totemism   17
Medicine Man  17
Description of Totems in Stanley Park  18
Wakawi's Talking-Stick   20
How to Decipher a Totem  22
Chief Wakawi  24
The Old Legend of His Ancestor  28
Chief Sisa-kanlas' Totem   46
House Posts  48
The Legend of the Raven  50
A Legend of the Wolf  56
Bad Spirits   57
The Legend of the Thunder-Bird and Killer-
"Northern Lights" Spirit
N WINTER they boldly face towards the
piercing north winds, whence the flaring,
streaming banners of the "Northern
Lights" at nights, so often flash across
the illuminated skies in their expansive,
dazzling splendour, shooting up far above
the snow-capped peaks of the lofty mountains, towering to the heavens beyond Burrard Inlet.
The Indians will still tell you that these same
glittering, natural arc-lamps, in their resplendence,
represent the happy spirits of their own brave
heroes, who in the past were killed during desperate,
mortal, hand-to-hand affrays, fighting a fearful battle, to protect their homes and families against the
cruel, marauding foes.
The following historical items, concerning these
Indian totems, are all derived from misty, long-ago
legends of many tribes, spoken slowly in their phonetic, guttural tongue, accompanied by no written
alphabet of their own, beyond some scanty primitive
"oghams," or ancient, crude characters and twig-
signs, carefully observed, when travelling the long
mountain trails in their company, comprising a secret system of signals, passed down from one genera-
tion to another; for these legends, being translated
orally only, make it difficult for the white man to
attune his unaccustomed ear to catch their delicate
quarter-tones and deep chested intonations.
This same written account then is but a feeble
and abortive attempt to interpret concisely the outwardly expressed, though really secret, symbolic
meanings of their various intricate, but striking and
vividly painted carvings, truly executed on a massive scale, comprising some of these same totem
legends. These details to be now recorded, were at
the time of relating graphically and clearly
imparted to the writer's wife, either over some
flickering camp-fire, with shadowy forms ranged
about; or seated by the tiller of a fast skudding sailing-boat, ploughing its course over inland waters
in the inlets and inner passages; and they were always spoken in a high-pitched tone of excitement,
caused by the nature of the events recorded, or again
in lowered and bated accents, due to the deep-felt
incidents of the narrative, all given by British Columbian Indians personally, who even today still
speak with the greatest pride about their own particular tribe and family, with its long and glorious
genealogies, their accurately remembered marriage-
ties, and their prehistoric, ancient descent from
Mother Nature herself.
These possibly valuable tales, as determining the
true anthropological connections of these British
Columbian Indians with some of the highly cultured
nations of the past, have here been duly transcribed
with the most respectful care, though with halting
execution by the writer,
Origin of Totemism
The origin of the "totem" custom, wherever met
with still in several far-divided parts of the world,
both among its primitive peoples, as well as shewn
in the ruined cities of numerous ancient and cultured
nations, undoubtedly denotes a confirmed belief in
the existence of living super-natural beings, acting
as guardians; also in future transmigration, foretelling the passing of the human soul after death
into some other animal body.
Among the Indians, dwelling along these northern
coasts, as prevailed elsewhere, in earlier times, this
disembodied spirit of the departed was only propitiated when it belonged to the blood relations of
any family or tribal ancestors, on the maternal side
alone; for a mere man was regarded as only useful
as a fighter and a protection, otherwise he was an
unimportant adjunct simply to become a father,
as regards inheriting or possessing worldly goods
for his wife and her family, according to matrony-
mic usages extant.
Here among them the Spirit is interchangeable
with some animal, or bird, or fish, which collectively
are regarded to be the progenitors of the human race
generally; also that the spirits of all people, when
they pass over, go again into their little brothers,
such as the salmon, and other cognate creatures.
Medicine Man
True it is furthermore, in their vision, that all
natural   objects   likewise,   have   embodied   spirits,
such as the rocks, the trees, rivers and other supposedly inanimate things. ..The "Shaman" or Medicine Man, a veritable magician in many cases, a
skilled dancer of his kind, and a successful hypnotic
healer, always invoked some tutelary, or guardian
spirit, to aid his own material advancement, either
a benign being, or perhaps a power-giving, unscrupulous, supernatural one, who for the nonce came
and possessed him, when duly invoked, an act of
incantation, acquired only after his life-long, strict,
disciplinary fastings, and solitary, prolonged, mental
concentration in the distant, lonely wilds and fastnesses of these vast mountains.
Description of Totems in Staniey
Now each totem, in turn, according to the accompanying illustrations, will have its carvings described in detail, one by one; subsequently will be
related, where known, the familiar legends, connected with the several tribes, involved in its history.
The kind of animals depicted are certainly not the
ordinary creatures of the present day, but are conventionally represented in more or less pre-historic,
hieroglyphic designs, different in exact form and
character to their natural shapes, as occurs in our
own cult of heraldry.
Totems are generally carved from the yellow
cypress or cedar tree (Thuja excelsa), and erected
before the door of the owner's lodge, as long as he
was alive, he being in most instances the Chief of
the particular tribe; and subsequently were inherited and preserved intact afterwards by his descendants. An elaborate totem often required several
years to carve and paint, especially in the days of
the stone axes and chisels, one skilled artist with
two or three helpers working continually on it.
The paints used consisted of differently colored
natural minerals, as the several iron and manganese oxides; also white, red, or yellow lead oxides, as
well as other metals, zinc white, or vermilion mercury, each mixed with mostly fish oils, to cause them
to remain, when put on as a coating. These paints
were generally exchanged in barter among the various tribes, and also finer paints for their faces,
smeared on for dancing and war-time, by those on
whose hunting grounds these several minerals were
to be found exposed among the rocks. ..For each
tribe and family of Indians originally had exclusive
rights over and possession of some special portion
of the sea near the shore, and the territory inland
for their own private hunting or fishing purposes.
Any infraction on this point caused retaliation and
fighting. Tribes gave a most costly plate of beaten,
native copper to buy certain salmon creeks and inlets, or some particular hunting ground.
- When also an outside tribesman met with a severe
accident or died, when passing over another's heritage, and this fatality could possibly be attributed to
the machinations of the local supernatural beings
inhabiting that vicinity, necessarily backed up by
a numerous band of warriors to enforce such a claim,
then the relations of the injured person immediately
took peremptory possession of that particular piece
of territory, by way of recompense, and completed
its annexation.
The former owners, however, were permitted to
regain possession by presenting a large plate of
beaten copper, a most valued and highly esteemed
heirloom in any tribe, this gift to be regarded as
blood money, and recognized tribute, to propitiate
the deceased person's spirit, while benefitting his
living family connections.
Wakawi's "Talking-Stick"
....Wakawi's "talking-stick," one of the most elaborately carved totems now in existence in British
Columbia, cost him three thousand dollars to have
carved and painted, calculated in the standard currency of "four-point" Hudson's Bay blankets; and
at the potlatch, or "giving-away-feast" specially
held for its erection, and that very many years ago,
for he is now blind, feeble, and old, five thousand
Indians, on his invitation by messengers, attended,
to do him honor, and coincidentally to have all outstanding debts, owing to them from former times,
duly liquidated in blankets, food, and other valued
articles of trade.
Strong, thick ropes, woven from the pliable bark
of the red cedar tree, were used to hoist and steady
the top of the totem, during its erection, these twisted
strands being bound firmly round its upper part, and
other ends held and pulled on by many sturdy Indians, standing all round it on the ground. An extremely careful study, for the sake of research, of
all the totems yet standing along the coastline of the
W///j^t#il*iP'*«*«-^. --
Chief   Wakawi's   Talking-Stick.
mainland and the many islands, in so many deserted
villages, often caused by the scourge of small-pox,
will produce implicit evidence doubtlessly, concerning the civilized race of former men connected with
their history, and long distant migration, and demonstrate from what part of the wide world the ancestors of these present day British Columbian Indians
removed to these parts. Their own peculiar religion,
supposed wrongly to be obsolete and extinct, and
their implicit belief in spirit-worship, also will furnish substantial data, regarding their widely spread
sun-worship, so aptly exemplified in the legend of the
Raven, especially, among other cults, with that of the
general transmigration of the soul, so prevalent
elsewhere in other distant parts. Their own Indian
legend, however, touching on the origin of the totem,
only narrates that the first known totem floated
ashore from the expansive ocean, and that the natives then copied that particular one, but later elaborated their own individual ideas; this specious yarn
perhaps is only another roundabout way of expressing their complete ignorance now concerning the
true beginning of their special race.
How to Decipher a Totem
When studying the ideagraphic story, told on a
carved totem, the figure at the top is always the
beginning of the history; and the student, attempting to decypher its full and intelligent meaning, will
have to read down, as in scanning one of our own
Let us now sympathetically learn history from
these special totems, erected in Stanley Park. The
large one in the centre, behind, is the big "talking-
stick, '' the origin of our present parliamentary mace,
employed to force others to allow the one, facing it
or holding it, to be permitted to speak without interruption, meaning death in some formal Indian conferences, belongs to Chief Wakawi, concerning
which totem the old Indian legend of his ancestor,
"Nan-wa-kaw-i," meaning in the white man's
tongue "wisdom personified," is here related in a
separate brochure. The totems have inadvertently
been erected on the site and midden of a much older
Indian village, existing long before the advent of
both Captains Vancouver and Coiok, late in the
eighteenth century, and on one formerly inhabited
by a branch of the once powerful Squamish tribe,
this branch itself a part of the "Capilano" family,
still dwelling nearby on the opposite shores of the
surging Narrows. This unfortunate intrusion, due
to the tactlessness of the unwitting white man, has
keenly caused much heart-burning and complaints
among the peaceful Capilanos, since the warlike,
northern tribes whose totems these are, not long
ago were their deadly foes, often coming in great
dug-out cedar war-canoes to raid, pillage, enslave
and murder these southern Squamish people. Diplomacy, however, is now being exerted to heal the
wound, though the northern tribes make the most
of the white man's delemma; and it is intended to
prevent any similar war-lilts outbreak occurring
today, while material gifts were expected to assuage
somewhat these old animosities.
Chief Wakawi
Chief Wakawi is partly of the Nimpkish tribe, and
partly of the Rivers Inlet, "Owe-kenuk." On the
top of this totem is perched the Great Thunder-bird,
having on his breast a man's face, denoting that
these two mystic beings were interchangeable at
will. The Thunder-bird is the crest of the Nimpkish
tribe, and also a crest of the Raven clan, who own
the thunder, this reason being given why it thunders when one of the Raven clan is about to die.
Beneath this Thunder-bird is carved a killer-whale
(fin whale) doubled up, as if the superimposed
Thunder-bird was bearing him aloft into the air,
out of his own watery element, as told in the old
Indian legend given later here. Next underneath
the Killer-whale is a Wolf, his jaws resting on the
head of a man, who is seated, holding his knees in
contentment, having with the craft of the Wolf
thoroughly attained all his earthly desires. When
a man dies, and his spirit passes over, his body used
to be posed at the grave in this position, to prove
that at last he is in a state of "repose, peace, ambitions attained."
In an old legend also, this same character is mentioned, as wearing a fine saw, set down the front of
his red coat, relating to the Wolf tribe, here probably
shown by the broad, white streak down the breast,
on a red coat.
His grandmother was a wolf, and on his father's
side, his people went back to the fire-spirit. From
his grandfather he received a coat, made from the
skin of the red cod. When worn, this coat was constructed so that the sharp fins made a row of jagged
teeth, which acting like a saw, ran up and down his
His way of killing his own children was to nurse
and fondle them, then from wolf-like love of cruelty
to saw them to death. He in turn, however, was
killed for his many crimes, by one of his own grownup sons, who escaped him through his mother hiding
him, by covering him in ashes, when in his father's
Below these subjects squats the mystic bird, "Hoh-
hok," who in the Indian legend of the Raven is the
daughter of the Great Raven, the Creator of the
World; she in her turn is the Mother of the powerful
younger Raven, who created mankind. By some
she is supposed to be a Crane, but the most authentic
story goes that Hoh-hok consulted a Crane, the people who eat their frog brothers, who hear many
secrets from living in the drinking pools of people;
and the Crane advised her to swallow four small
stones, drawn from the four quarters of the earth,
out of which was born a child, able later to defend
his mother; this infant grew into the younger Raven,
who afterwards made man.
Her story is told in the legend of the Raven. Hoh-
hok was a bird, used in masked dances, as in those
practised in "Owee-Kenuk" (River's Inlet). This
bird was also used in Hamatsa (Cannibal) dances,
showing that "Nan-wa-kaw-i's" people used both
kinds at their festivals.
Directly under Hoh-hok sits the much dreaded
Grizzly Bear, holding a man's head in each hand,
denoting his great strength and ability to take man's
life; in fact, to split his head open, meaning "power,
Their  Old.  Sire   Pondered  a  While.
strength, authority." The people of the bear tribe
must intermarry with the Raven. The Haida tribes
have the "Eagles," or witch people, the Wolf,
Raven, the black bears, now united with the killer-
whales, in all four separate ones. The black bear is
the younger brother to the Marten.
Under the Grizzly Bear is placed the ceremonial
state entrance to the lodge. , The guests have to pass
through this giant beak, used at high feasts and
potlatches (giving-away feasts). The owner of this
beak is called the "grizzly crow" or Raven, whose
history will be later told. This totem of the Raven
is recognized by his immense, curved beak.
This crookedness of the Raven's beak, the legend
says, was caused when, during the great flood, he
carried his Mother high, up into the sky. He held
himself, firmly planted up there, by sticking his beak
fast into the sky, and stayed there, until the great
seagull informed him that the flood on the earth had
completely subsided. Another Northern Indian legend recounts that the Raven cunningly disguised
himself as a fish, and was later caught by a fisherman, who pulled the nose of the fish off. However, by
a crafty trick the Raven found out where his noes
was left lying, and although by another clever
scheme he fastened it on his face again, yet he did
not manage to fix it in its correct position as before.
The wings, painted across the whole front of the
lodge are those of this same Raven. Wings are
always depicted in this bold fashion, showing the
roots of each feather; being symbolic of '' Life.''
The joints and roots of feathers are always painted on, to point out clearly from where the strength
comes (or life of same).
The Old Legend of His Ancestor
HE following is a dim legend concerning
this same "Wakawi's" great ancestor,
one named "Nan-wa-kaw-i." This particular history was orally and realistically
related by Mrs. Jane Cook, a woman today of much note and authority among the Indians,
assembling at Alert Bay, in British Columbia. So
it happened to be later, but feebly, transcribed by
Ronald Campbell Campbell-Johnston, a whits man,
taught by his beloved white wife, to be both lovers
of our old Indian stories and their prowess, for this
wife, for many years, has delved deep into the life
histories of these Indians, and other ancient peoples.
Now to our legend.
Very many years ago, long before the white man
arrived on this far northern coast, to steal away the
well-stocked hunting-grounds of the native children
of the forest and mountains, also ths seashores having much fish and shell-food, and who have dwelt
here from time immemorial, there ruled in this part
a mighty and wise Indian Chief, much respected and
loved by his own people, as well as greatly feared
by his enemies, consisting of the other Indian tribes
This  great  one  then,   named
meaning "Wisdom Personified," was the old-time
ancestor of the present "Chief Wakawi," whose
Indian name is also "Kum-hy-ud," who even now,
though blind and old, rules justly and firmly over
the Indian people settled around Alert Bay, part of
Cormorant Island, in the north, for "Chief Wakawi"
is deeply versed in ancient Indian lore, concerning
the many neighbouring tribes, and their long-time
marriage ties, besides that mystic, psychic magic
of the crafty "shaman" or medicine men and
witches, whenever some knotty point of hereditary
precedence crops up today at the tribal rites and
ceremonies, also during their seasonable, religious
dances, and extravagant giving-away feasts for the
due wiping out of old debts, so frequently held
among the local Indian nations, even down to this
late date. *
Now, the wise Nanwakawi begat him four well-
knit sons in the long ago.
Also he retained, near his person, a certain very
clever man, but whose name has now lapsed, since
the far past, to act as his factotum and confidential
adviser; one greatly skilled as a mechanic worker
and deviser, as well as being a clever artist in fine
carving, and the putting on of those vivid colourings
for the massive symbols representing their familiar
spirits, some belonging to the whole particular
tribes, and some only to special family history.
This same designer it was who planned the beautiful and elaborate lodge of his chief, "Nanwakawi,"
renowned afar for its four lofty pillars, wonderfully
deep-cut from mighty cedar trees, made to depict in
stature the "zun-u-kwa," those powerful giants of
all creation, who could speak, and who supported
aloft the weighty, large, round roof-timbers, while
the fronts of the platforms were held up by the lesser
"sis-a-yutts," or animal figures.
One day, when these four sons, above-mentioned,
were growing up to manly strength, they came to
their father, "Nan-wa-kaw-i," and begged to be
permitted to go on a long hunting trip over a certain
high mountain, to be seen in the distance from their
Their old sire pondered awhile, and then warned
them to act extremely carefully, and to be sure to
remember unfailingly all that he was about to tell
to them; how that when they might come to the very
top of this high mountain, which they were anxious
to scale, so that they could clearly see over the green
timber, down into the distant valley beyond, skirting
the foot of the other side, and thus view the many
villages of the different animals, settled among its
clearings, he further minutely described to them in
what manner they should observe and note well the
various smokes, each one having distinct and separate colors of its own, pouring out from the smoke-
holes in the roofs of these several lodges.
Now, the black smoke came from the village of
the black bears. ..The white smoke, when alone, issued from the abodes of the white mountain-sheep;
while the brown smoke was emitted from the dwellings of those deeply dredded, fierce grizzly bears.
But, most particularly, the vivid blood-coloured
smoke, wreathed with the fleecy-white coloured
smoke, both rising up together in the air, as two
columns, side by side, all the way, this was the
special smoke of the deadly man-eating ogre, named
in the Indian tongue, "Bah-ba-kwa-la-nuh-si-wi,"
meaning to the white man "a cannibal." On no
account, he impressively continued, must they wander anywhere near this dismal lodge, since it was
surely certain death to approach it even. "That is
why we are so few," he finished. Next the father
gave to his four sons four special articles, as a protection, these being as follows: A wooden comb, a
peculiar black stone, a bottle of hair oil, and some
white wool, instructing them most carefully that
should they, all or any of them, fall into some great
danger, then they were certain to use one or more
of these four magic articles to save themselves.
The four boys, at the time, listened intently, and
faithfully promised their father to show the greatest
care in all they should do. They immediately, full
of glee, started out on their proposed hunting trip,
and after arduous and steep climbing, went over the
high mountains.
However, in the unwonted excitement and ex-
hiliration of their anticipation and haste, when they
reached the top of the high mountain, then they saw
accurately the several coloured smokes, as their
father had previously described that they would,
and the different homes of the various named animals. The sons therefore, consulted together as to
which coloured smoke they should first approach.
The eldest son was very anxious to see what sort of
people the blood-red and white double columns of
smoke belonged to.
The youngest son, however, reminded his brothers
forcibly about their father's most emphatic com-
He Then  Shot   His Arrow.
mands and directions against any such specially
dangerous adventure; but he was finally over-ruled
by his stubborn three elder ones; so they all hurriedly
started down through the bush on the mountain's
side to discover who dwelt in this particular house,
from where the blood-red and white smoke poured
up in twin columns. ..Later, they arrived at the
wooden lodge, and forthwith entered.
The door swung to with a click behind them, automatically, and firmly closed itself fast.
In the dusky light there lay an old, feeble woman,
rooted to the ground, all huddled up on the floor,
near the shut door, who, chunnering, cautioned these
young men to be very careful for their own safety.
She is the little "old mouse-woman," who conveys
all food, burnt in the fire, and also all messages to be
sent to the departed spirits.    ;
But they, fool-hardily in their youthful ignorance,
quickly went over to a blazing open fire, burning at
the back end of the lofty, wide lodge, and from
which was issuing the two-coloured columns of
smoke, passing out by the smoke-hole in the roof.
Here thsy found an enormously fat hag of a woman, having at her side an unwieldy, dull-witted
boy, both crouching low over the fire-place on the
All four sons sat down on the opposite side of the
fire, from where these other two people were squatting.
Now, one of the elder sons had barked the skin
from off his shin in hurriedly going through the
thick brush on the mountain, so that fresh, red blood
was constantly trickling down his bare leg.   As soon
The   Man-Eater  Could   Not  Get  In.
as the heavy-eyed boy, with the hag, saw the four
young men, he grew very restless, so that his mother
had to firmly hold him back. One of the brothers
then asked this fat woman what it was that the
boy wanted.
The mother stooped down and picked up a broken
piece of stick, which she threw over to the youngest
one of the brothers, asking him shortly, in a gruff
voice, to scrape the blood off with this stick, that
was trickling down his brother's bare leg.
He immediately did this, and chucked the stick
back to her, when she gave it at once to her restless
son, who hastily snatched at this blooded piece of
stick, and eagerly crunched up with his teeth blood,
stick and all, slowly smacking his swollen lips. The
brothers then knew for certain that they were caught
in the home of the man-eating ogre, called "Bah-ba-
kwa-la-nuh-si-wi," and that the fat woman was his
wife and cook, while this misshapen monster of a
boy was their only son. The youngest of the four
brothers began to wonder how they could all get out
of this house alive again, without letting the mother
ogress suspect that they proposed to run away for
their lives. So he called his brothers' attention to
a certain knot-hole in the door, showing daylight
outside, asking them if they could shoot an arrow
through this hole. As he himself was the fleetest
footed of all his brothers, he told them that this
knot-hole in the door would be a good target for
them to shoot at, at the same time betting with them
that they could not hit it.
The eldest then took his bow and arrow and shot
carefully at the hole, so that his arrow passed out,
His   Father,  Who  Was  Standing   Up,   Holding   His   Beautifully
Carved  Talking-Stick.
right through this hole. He immediately pretended
that he was going outside to fetch back his arrow,
but as soon as he was in the open air, and the door
had firmly closed behind him, he started off home,
running up the mountain side towards the top of the
mountain at utmost speed. The next brother then
shot his arrow, as did the third also, until there was
only the youngest brother left inside the lodge with
the ogress and her progeny. He, too, leisurely drew
out an arrow, but was deliberately very slow in
fitting it to his bow-string, in order that all his three
brothers should gain a good long start ahead of him.
Then he shot his arrow, quickly jumped up and
passed through the door, got safely outside the place,
and with all his might and main ran off up the
mountain through the bush, following speedily after
his brothers.
The fat, old woman, with her ugly son, came waddling along out of the lodge and discovered that the
four young men had all made off, free from her and
her son's clutches, so she commenced calling out
very loudly, "Bah-ba-kwa-la-nuh-si-wi! Your prey
has been here, and is now escaping!''
She shouted this message continually, the hills
from afar, all round, echoed back her eager words,
When her husband heard her, he likewise filled
the whole air with his own loud calls, or "whistles,"
immediately starting off to follow after the four
young men.
The brothers now all kept running hard, just as
fast as they were possibly able, but still the Cannibal
began to gain on them by degrees, for his strides
were wider than theirs, and his strength very great.
In time they succeeded in climbing up over the highest peak of the mountain range, forming a ridge
between the strange valley and their own, and they
then commenced to move more rapidly, descending
on the other side towards their father's home.
Unfortunately, as they started going downwards,
the Man-eater almost caught up with the youngest
son, who was as yet running at some distance bshind
bis other brothers, having left later than they had.
Attempting to effectually delay his pursuer, the boy
threw down on the ground the wooden comb, one of
the magic articles which his father had given to
them before they started out on this dangerous adventure. This comb instantly produced a dence r rea
of thick jungle-brush, which for a short while only
greatly hindered the ogre, since he found considerable difficulty in penetrating its matted branches
snd strong roots. When, however, again the monstrosity of a man drew up nearer to them to clutch
at their bodies, the youngest boy this time let drop
the peculiar black sandstone, another of the four
mystic articles, which their father had handed to
them for their safety in case of such emergencies,
before they departed on this trip. This remarkable,
black sandstone at once was transformed into a high,
dark-forested mountain peak, which, for the meantime at least, assisted in detaining the terrible deformity in his intensely strenuous efforts to seise
them bodily, until he clambered over this new mountain, thev had created by magic, and once more he
approached nearer to them in his frenzy and eagerness.
Then they instantly emptied the bottle of hair oil,
given to them by their father, as they continued to
race forward and this liquid at once caused to form
a vast lake of water, around which the desperate
Cannibal had to make a far roundabout circuit to
reach for them again, so he could secure their succulent forms for an anticipated sumptuous meal, to be
prepared in his own lodge, before they might regain
their father's abode.
WJ^en, however, they had arrived at the base of
the lower foothills, near their home, as this enormity
had almost grasped them this once in his strong grip,
then they immediately let fly away the white wool,
the very last of their precious four power-giving
articles, handed to them by their parent for their
special safety.
This white, fleecy wool floated lightly away on the
gentle breeze, showing instantly as a heavy, dense
white fog, such as is always to be seen softly resting
along the foot hills on Rivers Inlet, with its beautiful tranquil shores, between the calm waters and the
restful, tree-clothed beach. For a long period this
impenetrable fog retarded the malformed human
production in his pursuit, giving the four brothers
breathing time to recover their wind and forge ahead
farther away from their enemy, who was still coming
fast behind them, groping his way noisily in the
thick mist. As the brothers gradually came nearer
to their home they shouted londly to their father to
bind more strongly around their lodge, so as to
effectually protect it against the oncoming giant,
for the enemy was now scrambling along fast after
them; for you must know that the Indians in early
times had no metal nails with which to hold up the
split cedar side-boards of lodges in place, but they
used instead long ropes, woven skilfully of stout
cedar bark, to prevent the heavy winter gales of
wind from blowing away all the planks from the
sides and roof of any building, for the boards could
not be carefully dovetailed together in place, as were
the big corner posts and long roof timbers, by tenons
and mortices.
At last the four brothers all reached their father's
lodge in safety and rushed inside, only just before
the ogre could catch hold of them, and the door was
slammed to, and firmly fastened from the inside.
The man-eater, on his speedy arrival, close behind
them, could not get in, but made a tremendous, vibrating noise with his many-sounding "whistles,"
as he stalked round and round the lodge outside, and
when he found that all the sides, the door and the
roof boards of the building were firmly secured
against his forcible entry, he climbed up onto the
roof, in an attempt to get down inside through the
smoke-hole, which also he discovered fastened securely against his vehement attack.
Then Nan-wa-kaw-i, the boys' father, in his subtle
wisdom, wishing to parley, called out loudly to the
Man-eater, saying, 'Bah-ba-kwa-la-nuh-si-wi! Do
not be so fierce, brother. I will feed you with two
of my sons, if you will go away and come back in
four days with your wife and son."
So the monster quickly agreed to immediately
depart, but promised to come back again in four
days' time. But as soon as the Cannibal had left
them, Nan-wa-kaw-i and Sis four sons, together with
the skilled mechanic, spoken of before, all rapidly
began to prepare for the return of their unwelcome
guests in four days.
Then the clever artist made the house ready for the
dreaded festival. Ee designed the four great posts
of the house, each like a "zun-u-kwa," those powerful giants of all creation, who could speak and always staunchly supported aloft the immense round
roof-timbers, these also covered with other carved
There was a double-headed serpent, stretched
round the back end of the house, and a raven in the
doorway, inside the beak of the totem, as it now
Bah-ba-kwa-la-nuh-si-wi and his family had to
pass through this beak to enter the house. A pit
was dug very deep under the dais-seat with its three
sides, shaped thus: as three sides of a square,
where the invited family were to be hospitably seated. They killed two shaggy pack-dogs, to clothe a
skull and skeleton of a man. They built up a big
fire, and heated much water, contained in closely
woven baskets of cedar roots, well fashioned to hold
water, by dropping stones into them, already heated
red hot in the fierce fire. A big cedar box was also
prepared as a drum.
When the Cannibul guests duly appeared without
fail on the fourth day, they were welcomed by Nan-
wa-kaw-i, and courteously shown to the dais-seats,
propped up temporarily over the hidden mouth of
the deep pit, which had been cunningly dug a few
days before.
Then the youngest son persuasively asked his
father, who was standing up, holding his beautifully
carved speaking stick, to relate to their visitors his
ov/n long family history.
Now, every time that Nan-wa-kaw-i struck the big
cedar sounding-box, painted with signs, and used as
a base-drum, with the point of his talking stick, the
great Thunder-bird, carved life-like at the top end of
the stick or mace, would energetically flap both
wings, while the "kit" or killer-whale, faithfully
shaped true to nature, resting below on the same
stick, would straighten out its full length, vigorously
stretching itself and blowing out fine, soft down to
cover all those present with good luck and peace.
All the while that the great Chief was relating his
own family totem and history, the four powerful
giants, "zun-u-kwa," forming the upright pillars
of the house, and the Raven, whose carved beak was
used as the entrance door, all would open and shut
their eyes, echoing whatever Nan-wa-kaw-i said,
and great figures also spoke, telling the Chief to
treat his visitors sumptuously.
As these events were happening, the Man-eater,
Bah-ba-kwa-la-nuh-si-wi, his fat wife and unwieldy
son, forming the Cannibal family, became so interested in all they heard and saw, that they slowly
grew very drowsy, and soon all were sleeping
Then two of the sons of Nan-wa-kaw-i, who were
stationed ready, on the ends of the dais-seats, with
the help of the house slaves, quickly knocked away
the under-props, placed temporarily beneath the
centre part, to support the full weight, and so tippled the whole seat over, making all the three visit-
ors—the man-eater, his wife and son—fall down
suddenly into the deep pit, dug purposely for their
undoing; and then the slaves with tongs took the hot
stones, already prepared, and dropped them into the
hole on to the family of Cannibals, who were now
fully awake to their terrible danger, but who could
not climb up the steep sides out of the pit, though
uttering piercing screams. So the chief's slaves and
sons continued to pile the red hot stones upon them
till they were all thoroughly cremated, and then the
boiling water came as well, to completely destroy
every one of them. They left the remains in the pit
for twenty-four hours, then removed them to the last
bit, cutting anything left whole into minutely small
When it was all over, the old chief took their ashes
and scattered them widely to the four corners of
the earth, saying, '' Go, and be the man-eaters of the
latter days." The sparks that ascended from the
burning of the bones, and the ashes of the man-eater,
are today all the mosquitoes, horse-flies, fleas and
other vermin that j'early so cruelly torment the
whole human race.
This, then, is the truthful legend, showing how
Nan-wa-kaw-i, the great Chief, successfully conquered Bah-ba-kwa-la-nuh-si-wi, the terrible man-
eater, and his family, who, till then, savagely had
prevented the chief's tribe, so that they were never
able to go abroad in peace around that particular
country; but the four magic symbols, spoken of in
this story, namely the mountain, the lake, forest-
jungle and fog, which never leave that lake and hill,
winter or summer, are all still today to be seen at
Rivers Inlet.
Chief  Sisa-kanlas'  Totem
This is the true story of Chief Wakawi's ancestor,
named Nan-wa-kaw-i, meaning "Wisdom Personified," in the Indian tongue. "Rest his great
Chief Sisa-kanlas' Totem
Another totem, the one erected slightly in advance
of Chief Wakawi's, being that on the right hand in
the photograph, belonged to Chief Sisa-kanlas, a
chief of Kingcombe Inlet, in northern British Columbia. This chief is partly of the "Kwi-kwa-su-lin-uk"
(Gilford Island) Indians; also of the "Gwa-wa-e-
nuk" (McKenzie or Wakeman Sound) Indians.
He married "Poglas Mami-billi-Kulla," related to
a Nimpkish Indian, whose heir she was. Therefore
Chief Cisa-kanlas' totem is of all three tribes, namely
the Gilford Island, the McKenzie or Wakeman Sound
and the Nimpkish.
At the top of the totem, with wings folded, sits
"Kolus," sister bird to the Great Thunder Bird,
which shows the Nimpkish relationship, for the totem of Kwa-gutti, and other tribes, was "Kolus."'
According to the Nimpkish legend, "Kolus" became a human being, and was married to Kla-la-men,
whose tribe is now called Kla-Kla-la (the plural of
man). The figure sitting under "Kolus" is that of
Kla-la-men, the man she married.
Underneath this man is carved a killer-whale with
his tail turned back at the top, agreeing with the
story, stating that "at that time the killer-whales
were jumping about upon their tails on the dry THE STORY OF THE TOTEM
land.''   The white spots, showing alond the body of
the killer-whale, indicate the ball or root of his fin.
Under the whale's mouth is the form of a sea-
otter, holding and devouring a sea-urchin or Chiton
(called sea-eggs). The carvings between this and
under the figure are the feet and tail of this same
The sea-otter people are from " Gwa-wa-e-nuk,"
(McKenzie or Wakeman Sound) and have their own
peculiar Indian legend.
Underneath the feet of the sea-otter is carved a
"sea-bear," denoting the "Kwi-kwa-sutinuk" (Gilford Island) Indians.
This sea-bear is standing on a carved head of a
man with wide-open mouth, forming the lower end
of the totem. When the sea-bear had been translated
into a man, he could dive anywhere under the sea,
fly everywhere in the sky, and descend any distance
into the earth (being called a Madum), for when
this human head is carved upside down, it proves
that this last power of subterranean locomotion has
has been granted to the sea-bear of penetrating to
the interior of the earth. What kind of mythical
animal a "sea-bear" may be is not known, but perhaps a land otter, for the Haida legends from the
Queen Charlotte group of islands describe the sea-
otter and land-otter people as being very unruly,
aqd as wild men. The stories there connect them
with carpenters and skilled canoe builders. However, the writer so far has not acquired the exact
legend connected with this particular totem referring to McKenzie or Wakeman Sound, and Gilford
House Posts
The two remaining house-posts, formerly placed
inside a lodge, dovetailed with a tenon at the top,
to slip into the mortice, cut out of the massive roof-
beams, to support them, are now standing on each
side of Chief Wakawi's totem.
They both show the mighty Thunder Bird on the
top, peculiar to a relationship with the Nimpkish
tribe, and as the legend of "Kla-sati-waless" will
show, tihs bird was the ancestor of a tribe, namely
the Raven.   These posts came from Kingcombe Inlet.
The Grizzly Bear, sitting immediately below the
Thunder-bird, holding firmly to a man's head, directly under his paws, or hands, intimate that the Grizzly Bear has strength enough to take a man's life;
in fact, to split his skull open, meaning "power,
strength and authority." The beaten native copper
plate resting on the man's breast is synonymous for
"lust, wealth."
The   Thunder-Bird,   and   Grizzly   Bear   Posts,   from   Kingcombe
The Indian Legend of the Raven
HE Indian legend of the Raven is supposed to be the oldest of any today related by them, and from the fact that it
is still so prevalent among the many
tribes scattered along the coast, inhabiting sheltered nooks among the inlets, harbors, channels and islands dotted about for probably two thousand miles of seaboard at least, covering the whole
northern coast-line, therefore it should not be surprising that this almost prehistoric Raven narrative
has now several variations in its telling. Different
version may also be due to the circumstance that all
Indian legends have only been orally passed on from
one generation to another; while moreover everyone's mental vision and intuitive faculties are not
always alike, all apt to alter the setting of any story.
This Raven totem belongs to perhaps the most
powerful, as well as the most numerous people
among the whole Indian tribes, passing even so far
north as to touch the Arctic Circle, since the Raven
has so many marriage-ties with those of the Great
Thunder-bird, his sister Kolus, the Grizzly Bear, and
other less important totems.
The following diction is how the legend runs, as
told to the writer's wife and himself, either by the
When  the   Raven  Opened  the Cockle-Shell,   He  Found  a   Baby
Mortal  Within.
chief, or by the medicine men, or the different, important wives of the tribe, the latter especially are
the ones who mentally preserve and more correctly
narrate the tribal traditions.
There was a time, in the very long ago, when this
world, as wholly represented by the Province of
British Columbia and Alaska, whose Indian tribes
are much intermarried, was only inhabited by supernatural beings, who were neither ordinary man nor
women, as we are today; nor were they the usual
birds, animals, or fishes, similar to our denizens of
the mountains, forest and sea as we now know them;
but they were rather superior creatures, able to overcome all natural difficulties, full of craft and wisdom,
to our ideas perform miracles, and to control all
and every natural phenomen of the four elements—
earth, air, fire and water, whether in the sky, on the
land, in its lower regions, or under the sea.
In fact, today, in the Indian's inner fancy, they
still exist, as their tutelary spirits and guardians,
both well and evily disposed ones, attached to persons and influencing their actions.
At that far distant period, darkness reigned over
the whole of the earth. The Creator of the World,
the Great Raven, had his lodge built at the head of
the Naas River, in the northern part of the Province
of British Columbia. This Creator, however, to
maintain his power, autocratically concealed the
stars, the sun, and the moon from mortals, so that
these luminaries could shed no light.
The sun was hidden by itself in one box, the moon
in another, and all the stars together in a third. So
the Great Raven was also called, "the Chief of
Light.'' A supernatural spirit determined to scheme
and steal this light away, so consulted his friend,
the Chief of the Frogs. The Frog told the spirit
that the Great Raven had a daughter, Hoh-hok, of
whom he was very fond and careful. She was a
young virgin and was only allowed to drink from
one certain pool and must always be chaperoned by
her women. The mink, his friend, helped him to
hide, as a spirit, so that he stayed concealed at this
particular spring. He then became a needle of the
hemlock tree, overshadowing this pool, where Hoh-
hok came to drink. ..She swallowed this hemlock
needle when drinking, and so the Younger Raven
is born. His grandfather, the Creator, was glad of a
grandchild, and kept him with his mother in his own
But as he grew up a spoilt being, he constantly
cried and was peevish. To keep him quiet, at last
the grandfather gave him a box of stars to play with.
These he threw about, and finally threw them up
in the air, through the smoke-hole, so they then stuck
in the sky, where they remain today. The young
Raven cried so much at the loss of his toys that he
made himself ill, as he would not eat. So then his
grandfather gave him, to stop his crying, the box
with the moon in it. This, in time, the Young Raven
also threw up through the smoke-hole into the air;
and so the moon has become visible at nights ever
since. At this loss the spoilt one bellowed more than
ever and kept it up all night, so that no one could
sleep. In sheer desperation next morning his grandfather at last gave him the sun to play with.
This he rolled about, making a terrible noise, and
at last rolled it outside through the door of the lodge,
when it bounced up into the sky, thus establishing
day and night, darkness and light for all times.
This is how the mortals now see the sun, moon
and stars in their due times and have learnt to know
the four seasons, and so keep track of time and years.
After this the Young Raven was full of fear, and
flew over the earth, leaving his grandfather's lodge.
The spirits, too, are afraid of the new light, so
some dive into the sea and become the fishes, others
go to the forests and become the birds, while others
run away into the mountains and become animals.
The Younger Raven hears of a spring of fresh
water, for before they drank no fresh water, only
salt sea water, except v/here the Great Raven kept
the sacred one.
His uncle was guardian of this fresh spring, but
would not give the Young Raven any. So while his
uncle was asleep he played a trick on him, so that
the uncle had to go down and swim in salt water to
clean himself.
While he was away swimming the Young Raven
drank his fill from the spring. When his uncle returned and found this out he meant to beat his
nephew, but the Young Raven tried to fly up and
escape through the smoke-hole in the roof. His uncle
called to the spirits of the smoke-hole, who held the
Younger Raven in the smoke till he was all covered
black with soot; that is why ever afterwards ravens
are black. The Younger Raven then flew away
again, and where he dropped much fresh water there
was a lake or river; where only a few drops, a creek
Later the Younger Raven desired to create mortals, as men and women.
At first he tried making them of stones, but then
they had no brains or wit, so he threw them down
and broke them to pieces. Next he tried to make
them from the leaves and needles of trees. Mortals
so made satisfied him sufficiently for him to keep
them. Another legend, however, relates that he
heard a small voice crying in a cockle-shell, and
when the Raven opened this he found baby mortals
As leaves die on the trees, so do mortals in due
season pass over. So their bodiss had to be buried
and their spirits propitiated. Therefore the feast
and potlateh were instituted.
Food eaten there, or buried "by the fir?.," that is,
by the "old-woman-under-the-fire," or little old
mo ass-woman, is carried, as well as all messages, by
her from men to the supernatural spirits.
If no blankets were given away at the potlateh,
then the dead would be cold and hungry in the next
world. The dead must never be neglected, and must
especially be honored, because they are all about us,
and are very angry if they are not cared for and no
kind words spoken to them.
So the Raven has always been a great benefactor
to mankind, and must be duly respected. So ends
the story.
A Legend of "The Wolf"
LONG time ago, the son of a certain good
Chief was very apt and clever, so that
he became a great hunter.
However, one day when he was out
hunting he fell down from the top of a
high mountain, so that for some time he lay like one
dead. "Soon after he woke up suddenly," and
found himself surrounded by a large circle of men,
each of whom had a bright circle of light, as "an
aura," shining all round him. These people asked
him what kind of spirit he would prefer to possess
him, that of a wolf or that of a raven. He replied
at once, "The spirit of a wolf." Then immediately
he began to leap nimbly in the wolf's dancs, while
all the other spirits of the mountains sang sweetly,
keeping time for his dancing. The words of their
song ran thus:
"He steps upon the high places of the earth."
The young man, after he had ceased, went back
to the earth, and began to initiate men, and organize
them into secret societies, and the cult of higher
living. For in the "wolf tribe" that spirit which
makes a man cunning and crafty like a wolf, and
keen for game, as in a dog, will take full possession
of him; for all things have spirits to guide them.
The mountains themselves, the valleys, and even
the waters, all have spirits controlling them. There
is also a special spirit for every different kind of
animal and bird.
The fishes, too, of the sea and lakes, each species
has its special spirit.,
Bad Spirits
In some creatures however, only bad spirits dwell,
as among the rats, and crabs, for both are naturally
evil, so that no Indian will ever eat them, for fear
of being polluted and filled with bad influences.
Sometimes good spirits, from the strong and courageous animals, come to men, when he becomes very
rich; or he may develop into a powerful "shaman,"
or Indian medicine man, living to an old age, much
feared and respected.
To attract only good spirits, a man must fast long
and often, while keeping himself perfectly pure in
mind and body. Sometimes he will fast so long at
a time that he appears to be really dead. Then the
other Indians know truly that the spirits have indeed
come to aid him in his work.
Here we will tie a knot in this story, that it may
be continued at another convenient time.
The Legend of the Mighty Thunder-
Bird and the Killer-Whale
HE Indian legend concerning the mighty
thunder-bird, having his powerful talons
fastened deep into the quivering back
of the great killer-whale, as so graphically carved in striking figures on Chief
Wakawi's big "talking-stick," is generally told as
a history, peculiar to Vancouver Island, and is especially attributed to the Nimpkish tribes who had
their villages nestling along that river, and near
its entry into the sea, on the northeast shore of Vancouver Island, opposite Alert Bay on Cormorant
Island. Alfred Carmichael, in tuneful, rhythmic
lines, has artistically recounted a similar tale, current among the Alberni Indians, also on Vancouver
Island, on the southwest coast, along Barclay Sound.
The salient features of both stories, as narrated
by these island Indians, agree in the main details.
They claim that it is on the wide back of the killer-
whale, like the broad shoulders of Atlas of old, that
the vast universe rests. This idea is further intensified by the typical and symbolic Raven rattle, so
beautifully carved in exquisite design, and vividly
colored, long ,long ago, tslling in detail all the points
contained in the Raven legend.   The idea is again
emphasized on a Raven totem, carved and standing
as a sentinel on the Alaskan coast.
For the Raven was declared to be the Great
Creator of all things and the Universe itself, but
who hid in separate boxes the moon, stars and the
sun. It is popularly supposed that the Great Thunder-bird, if not a replica, adapted to heraldic and
hieroglyphic design from his prototype of the Raven,
since the crest of the Thunder-bird is used exclusively by the Raven people, who are reported to own
the thunder, so that when any of them are at the
point of death, the thunder peals their "coronach,"
or death knell. ..It is so intimately interwoven in
the story that these two birds, the Haven and the
Thunder-bird, have almost become interchangeable.
On the reverse side of the Raven rattle of the
Naas River tribes is carved the head of the Thunder-
bird, which also resembles the Younger Raven, who
created man, in contradistinction to his grandfather,
the Mighty Raven, who created the Universe.
However, the Great Thunder-bird, ieven today,
has but to blink and wink his flashing, piercing eyes
and the glaring, blinding forks of lightning zig-zag
and shoot across the skies.
When, too, he flaps his wings in anger, and screams
aloud in his rage the peals of thunder roar and reecho through the resounding mountain crevices, on
the highest peaks of which he sits in majestic solitude.
When he shakes his body, or preens his great feathers, the universal source of life and strength, the
abundance of water, stored in a great lake resting
on his powerful back, is instantly poured out in
great volume, and rushes down as mountain floods
and torrents, and brings the violent rain storms, as
it splashes along its shaggy bed.
There are several legends, told by the Haida Indians in the Queen Charlotte Islands, concerning the
evil disposition of the killer-whale people. But the
fact is extant, that the Great Thunder-bird seized
the killer-whale and bore him off through the air,
up to the very tops of the mountains, there to devour
True, some medicine men and wise women of the
tribes speak of the four mighty thunder-birds coming
from the four corners of the earth—the north wind-
the south wind, the east and the west—all united in
an attempt to devour the killer-whale, who is yet
holding up the earth and so to control all things
and all men.
How the Mighty One, the Raven, put strength and
vitality to bear agonizing torture into this same
killer-whale, so that when he was attacked singly
by each Thundre-bird, three in succession, and their
talons pierced deep, and became entangled firmly
in his quivering flesh, he "sounded" and sunk beneath the surface of the ocean, carrying down below
the struggling Thunder-birds till he drowned three
of the four brothers. Then the fourth did not attempt an attack, but flew away, and now stands today on the very highest peaks of the loftiest mountains, alone in silent majesty for all times.
The killer-whale, or "kit" in the Indian tongue,
is the "gampus" of the white man's stories, "grand
poisson" in the French, and "orca orca, or orca
gladiator" to the naturalist. He attacks other
whales, being himself a mammal of the same species,
with great ferocity, clinging to their quivering flesh
by his strong teeth. The whale, when attacked, rolls
over and over, throwing the "killer" into the air,
"sounding" or sinking, while the water, all lashed
in spume, became red with blood. The killer waits
patiently for the whale to come up again to "blow"
or breathe, when he savagely renews the fight.
So for the moment our story ends, that we may
sleep awhile, before the dawn comes.
Rivers   Inlet.
61 Printed by
The Citizen Printing & Publishing Co.
Vancouver, B. C.


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