Open Collections

BC Historical Books

BC Historical Books

BC Historical Books

Ancient warriors of the north Pacific; the Haidas, their laws, customs and legends, with some historical… Harrison, Charles 1925

Item Metadata


JSON: bcbooks-1.0347352.json
JSON-LD: bcbooks-1.0347352-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): bcbooks-1.0347352-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: bcbooks-1.0347352-rdf.json
Turtle: bcbooks-1.0347352-turtle.txt
N-Triples: bcbooks-1.0347352-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: bcbooks-1.0347352-source.json
Full Text

Full Text

H.   F.  &  G.  WITHERBY
This book is the outcome of forty years residence
amongst the H aidas, and is an accurate description
of what I have seen and heard in their villages and
homes. Through my knowledge of their language
I have been enabled to get all my information
regarding their customs, traditions and social
organization direct from the principal chiefs, men
who at that time were from sixty to eighty years old.
Native interpreters, at the best, can only give
garbled versions from the slight knowledge they
have of the English language or through the medium
of the Chinook jargon.
I was the first to attempt to reduce their language
to writing, and my Haida Grammar was published
in  1895 by the Royal Society of Canada.     Old
Testament stories have been translated into Haida,
also a portion of the New Testament, and the whole
of the Book of Common Prayer.
7 dSâ^Sg^âës^^
When I first went to the islands the Hudson
Bay Company's agent was the only European at
Massett. To-day there are oyer three hundred
pre-emptors, and at least one thousand Europeans
and Japanese.
The I Charlottes " deserve to be appreciated
by both would-be Colonists and by Capitalists
more than they have hitherto been, as vast natural
resources are here lying dormant, awaiting development by men of experience backed by the necessary
I am indebted for some of the information contained in this book to the reports and writings of
the following authors :—
Captain  George  Dixon,   " Voyage  Round  the
World," 1789.
Sir George M. Dawson, Report on the Queen
Charlotte Islands, 1890.
Dr. Wilfred H. Osgood, "Natural History of
the Queen Charlotte Islands," 1901.
Dr. Ells, of the Geological Survey Department,
Ottawa, with whom I was associated during
his visit to the islands in 1905.
G.   J.   A.   MacKenzie,   Canadian   Geological
Survey Report, 1916. PREFACE
Above all
gratitude is due to C
W. Hobley, E
C.M.G., for
advice, assistance, k
ndly criticism
correction o
f the
The material
been presen
is concisely as
possible, and
reference is made
but I hope later
to my main life
-work in this h
o give the pu
on to be able
more partici
of the conversion of the Ha
from heathendom
to Christianity.
PREFACE                    7
I. QUEEN  CHARLOTTE  ISLANDS       .          . l$r
VIII. THE  SS-AG-GÂ  OR SHAMAN                      ... 98
INDEX  219
TOTEMS OF THE  BEAR TRIBE   ....     FrontUpiece
Facing page
HOLDING  OBITUARY  COPPER  SHIELD         .         . 54
Afap to Illustrate
of the
Off the Western coast of Canada, at a varying distance
from the mainland, but roughly parallel to it, a
persistent ridge rises from the floor of the Pacific and
its genesis is probably connected with the forces which
produced the great mountain ranges farther to the East.
The Southern extremity of this ridge forms the Island
of Vancouver; proceeding Northwards there is then a
gap of shallow sea 140 miles wide. Between North
Latitudes 52-0 and 54-0 the Queen Charlotte Islands
occur and are evidence of the same ridge. There is
then another gap about 30 miles wide, and we then come
to the Prince of Wales Island in South Alaska.
The Queen Charlotte Islands for administrative
purposes form part of the Province of British Columbia.
The group is said to comprise some 200 islands, but the
two most important are called Graham and Moresby,
the former being 84 miles long and the latter 70 miles;
then come those known as Louise, Lyell, Burnaby and
The channel between the group and the mainland is
called Hecate Straits and its width varies from about
30 miles at its Northern end to about 80 at the South.
The nearest land opposite the North-Eastern extremity
of the Charlotte group is, however, Stephen's Island,
which is about twenty miles to the West of Prince
Rupert, the terminus of the Grand Trunk Pacific Rail-
15 16
way. Massett, the principal port at the Northern end of
Graham Island, is about 80 miles from Prince Rupert,
and is in the direct line for all ships sailing Westward
from that Pacific rail terminus.
' Generally the islands are not of any great elevation,
although parts of Graham Island reach an altitude of
4,000 feet, and there is a small plateau of about the
same height at the North end of Moresby Island. The
coast is much indented and gives one the impression of
a subsidence of a dissected land form.
For six hundred miles along the British Columbian
coast North of Vancouver the shores on both sides of the
land-locked steamship course are invariably steep and
densely clothed with forests. Instead of shores rising
abruptly out of the water and attaining heights of one
to three thousand feet within a mile or less, Graham
Island offers a remarkable contrast with its great area
of level or gently sloping land. The coast-line has a
white, sandy beach, and inland some 400,000 acres of
land can be made suitable for agricultural purposes.
This land,- however, requires to be drained or cleared
before the settler can hope to farm on a remunerative
basis. When once cleared it will yield heavy crops as
the soil in most places is composed of leaf mould with
a gravelly or clayey subsoil.
On the North and East coasts as the steamer
approaches Massett, with the exception of Tou Hill (a
cliff composed of columnar volcanic rocks which rises
abruptly to a height of 200 feet) there is not a mountain
or hill visible, but far away the peaks of the West coast
range of mountains rising to a height of 4,000 feet are
visible, and a few of the highest peaks on Graham and
Moresby Islands are covered with snow all the year
From   Chouan  Point,  four miles from  Massett,   to
Rose Spit, a distance of twenty miles, there is below
half tide a firm, sandy beach over which lorries and
wagons can pass with ease. Cattle and horses thrive on
the grass which flourishes along the beach or in the
small glades in the adjoining woods.
On the opposite side of Massett Inlet igneous rocks
crop out with patches of sand and shingle between the
rocky points. The Government has reserved the land
from the East side of Massett Inlet to Skidegate for
settlers' homesteads, and a goodly number of pre-
emptors have taken up blocks; their homesteads are
generally close to the beach, as it is the only road by
which they can get their supplies and ship their produce.
The Government has, however, recently built a good
road from Port Clements through to Tallel on the East
coast, and from Tallel to Skidegate there is a wagon
road. The West side of Massett Inlet is densely
covered with forests of fine spruce, cedar and hemlock ;
back of the forests which extend from half a mile to five
miles from the shore-line are the swamps and muskegs
separated by small belts of timber through to the hills
and the valleys which connect up with the West coast
mountains. There are no settlers and homesteads on
this side of the Inlet, and the only industry is a large
sawmill in operation at Buckley Bay, owned by the
Massett Timber Company.
The igneous formation bounds the North coast to
Cape Edenshaw with small sandy stretches here and
there. Some miles West of Virago Sound is Pillar
Bay, so called from a great column of sandstone which
rises abruptly from the beach. It is a great landmark,
about thirty feet in diameter at the base and about one-
hundred feet in height.
From Parry Passage down the West coast and
through the channel to Skidegate village the coast-line 18 ANCIENT   WARRIORS
is intersected by streams, rivers, and several small inlets,
the largest of these being Kiokathli. The entrance to
this inlet is narrow owing to numerous rocks and reefs,
but it is a safe anchorage for small boats and schooners.
Twenty-five miles from Kiokathli is Rennell's Sound.
The entrance is three miles wide and eight miles up
at the head only half a mile. It is the best harbour on
the West coast and affords safe anchorage for large
vessels, and can be easily recognized by a high hill on
the South side of the entrance.
There are three small islands on the West coast,
namely, Frederick, Hippa and Marble Islands. The
two latter have indentations on their East sides where
small boats can find shelter.
From the Northern end of Langara Island to Marble
Island the West coast is about eighty miles in length,
and unless there is a Northerly wind the sea is always
rough and dangerous for small craft.
At Marble Island the channel commences that
divides Graham from Moresby Island. It is very
rocky with numerous reefs, and in some places at low
water is dry and fishing craft can only pass at high
On one occasion the C.P.N. Company's steamer,
Maude (a small vessel of about two hundred tons),
steamed through from Skidegate to the West coast, but
the voyage took two days, for at the ebb of the tide the
vessel grounded and could only resume its passage at
the next high tide.
Skidegate harbour is well sheltered and suitable for
vessels of all sizes. On the North side the township
grandiloquently called Queen Charlotte City is located,
and two miles West the Dog-fish Oil Refinery, owned
by the Lipton Company. Two miles farther is situated
the   Skidegate   Indian   Reservation.     From    Queen OF THE NORTH PACIFIC        19
Charlotte City to the Indian Reservation the coast is
rocky and impassable, so the Government has recently
cut an inland trail for the use of the settlers.
From Skidegate to Rose Spit the shore-line is in
parts covered with boulders, alternating with loose
shingle and sandy stretches.
Rose Spit is swept by currents both from Japan and
the Californian coast ; it is therefore a noted spot for the
reception of flotsam and jetsam from far and wide.
Pumice which may have come from Mount St. Elias,
bamboos which may have drifted from Japan, logs from
the mainland, and even empty gun cases from
When the steamer Valencia was wrecked near the
West coast of Vancouver Island relics of the disaster
were washed up here, among them a bottle containing
the tragic message: " We are going down off the
coast.—E. F. Hazard."
At the South end of Moresby Island a few settlers are
engaged in sheep and cattle farming, and Liptons have
a cannery in Aliford Bay. The rest of the island is
filled by a jagged mountain chain. Deposits of copper
have been located and are being worked; the most
prosperous mine is that at Ikeda Bay.
At Pacofi Inlet a cold storage plant has been
established and a factory for extracting iodine from
kelp. Kumshewa Inlet is the centre of a logging
industry. On Louise, Lyell, Burnaby and Prévost
Islands many mineral claims have been located and
some are now Crown-granted. The Japanese in some
of the bays have depots where they cure dog salmon for
their own market.
There are not many rivers, and mostly small.
Yakoun River is the largest, but it is only twenty-five
miles in length.   If the log-jams were removed boats 20 ANCIENT   WARRIORS
could proceed up to its source in the Yakoun Lake.
Some of the rivers flow out of lakes bearing the same
name, but others are formed by the drainage of the
swampy lands in the interior, the largest of these being
the. Tallel.
The great inlets which penetrate the islands for many
miles are a great feature and may be likened to the
Norwegian fiords.
Massett Inlet is the most extensive, and this great
sheet of water is seventeen miles long and six miles
across at its widest part. It is dotted with picturesque
islands, and the hillsides bordering it are clothed with
great forests of hemlock, spruce and cedar.
At the South end of Massett Inlet there is a further
expanse of water called Jûs^kâtli connected to the main
body of water by a narrow passage through which the
tidal water rushes at a fierce rate, producing quite a
rapid, in fact, Jûs-kâtli means, " inside of foamy
Naden Harbour, Kumshewa and Skincuttle Inlets all
have their own particular charm, and they add greatly
to the beauties of this attractive land.
Meteorological Conditions
The climate is unusually mild for a country in such a
high latitude as 530 North, this being due, as already
explained, to the comparatively warm Japanese current.
Fog is very unusual and snow seldom lies for any
length of time, and during most winters the frosts are
comparatively slight, in fact hardly adequate to freeze
the streams.
The rainfall is less than that of the mainland opposite,
it averages about fifty-seven inches.
During the Winter months the wind is South-East,   OF THE NORTH PACIFIC
but in January a spell of North wind generally occurs
for a few weeks. During the Summer months the
prevailing winds are Westerly and North-Westerly,
but they occasionally back round to the South-East.
The following observations were taken at Massett in
North Latitude 530 58' and Longitude 1320 9'.
Monthly average during the three years, 1914, 1915 and
August    .
October    .
al 5
Temperature for the year 1918
daily range
.    42-32
.    40-46
•    41-45
.    48-13
13-33 22             ANCIENT   WARRIORS
Maximum.   Minimum. Av. daily range.
•   53-71
'   59-83
•    6545
.   6332
•   63-73
•    53-6i
•   46-93
•   41-87
Precipitation, 1918
.     8
Total 80
80 inches of sn
ow equal in rai
i 8-oo
tal precipitation
Note.—The s
nowfall in 1918
was heavier than usual.
The earliest information regarding these islands seems
to have been written by De Fonte. It appears that the
Court of Spain in the year 1639, having heard of
trading expeditions despatched by the people of Boston
and New England, appointed Bartholomew De Fonte
as Commander of a squadron to oppose them. These
ships were manned and victualled at Callao in 1640.
They left that port about the month of May and sailed
Northward along the Pacific coast, and arrived at what
De Fonte called the Archipelago of St. Lazarus, on
June 14th. This he states to be situated in 530 North
Latitude, and through it he sailed for 200 leagues,
by intricate channels. During this voyage he made
some very remarkable discoveries. From the latitude
quoted, the passage through which he sailed his ships
appears to be the channel dividing Graham from
Moresby Island. His discovery later of a river up
which he sailed, where there was a fall of water till half
flood, but that an hour and a quarter before high water
the flood begins to set strongly into a lake, corresponds
in a very marked degree with Massett Inlet and the
great salt water lake. Some of his men went ashore at
a place which he named Mynhasset, and there saw
canoes fifty and sixty feet in length hewn out of single
cedar trees. These correspond exactly to the canoes of
the Haidas, as the Haidas were and are the most^xpert
canoe-makers on the whole Pacific coast. MynhaSset
may have reference to the present village of Massett.
The contraction of Mynhasset to Massett seems possible
in two hundred years.
The more definite information concerning these
islands is from the pen of Ensign Juan Perez. On the
25th day of January, 1774, he set sail in the Corvette
Santiago from San BlaSj calling at Monterey, California, for supplies. He sailed thence on June 6th on
an exploring and trading expedition to the North. The
first land sighted was that of the Queen Charlotte
Islands, in latitude 540. He arrived at North
Island July 18th, 1774, and this he named Cabo de
Margarita. The high mountain range on the West
coast of Graham Island he named Sierra de San
Cristoval. Finding no safe anchorage around North
Island, the expedition sailed Southward without landing.
On August 9th he anchored in a harbour in latitude
49J0 and this he named Port San Lorenzo. This
was the first voyage actually known to have been made
as far North as North Island. When he returned
home and reported where he had been and what he had
seen, Viceroy Bucarelli ordered Captain Bruno Hecata
in charge of the Santiago, with Perez as ensign, to
make another exploratory expedition of the coast as far
as latitude 650.
On March 15th, 1775, Captain Hecata of the Santiago,
Juan de Ayole of the schooner Sonora, also the schooner
San Carlos set sail from San Bias to make further
discoveries. Before they had proceeded very far the
Captain of the San Carlos became insane, and Ayole
was ordered to take his place, and he stopped a short
time on his way North at Monterey. Lieutenant
Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra then took Ayole's
position   as   Commander   of  the   Sonora.     The   San OF THE  NORTH  PACIFIC 25
Carlos was surrounded and attacked by the natives of
Destruction Island, north of Cape Mendocino.   When
. Hecata heard the news, the Santiago returned to
Monterey. Bodega, in charge of the Sonora, however,
kept on his journey, and about the 15th day of August
he saw Mount Edgecumbe. He sailed down the coast
and finally reached the Queen Charlotte Islands. He
coasted along the shores of these islands, and with great
ceremony, named the strait North of the Queen
Charlotte Islands Perez Inlet; it is now called Dixon's
Entrance. As they cruised a considerable distance from
the shore, they did not map its configurations. They
were probably nervous of the Haidas, and so in reality
• accomplished nothing more than was done by Perez the
year before. When they got abreast of Dixon's
Entrance they set sail Southward and returned to
Monterey. The Spanish expeditions to these islands
in regard to geographical data did not benefit the world
at large, for apparently the information gained was kept
carefully concealed by those in authority. Contrary to
all preconceived opinions, Captain Cook never visited
the Queen Charlotte Islands. He left Nootka (then
called King George's Sound) for the North, April, 1778,
^ut owing to stormy weather did not see land again till
he reached latitude 550 20'.
La Perouse coasted along the West shores of these
islands in 1786, and was the first to observe that they
were distinct and separated from the mainland. He
satisfied himself by sailing down what we now know as
Hecate Straits and Queen Charlotte Sound that a deep
inlet extended between the islands and the mainland.
The islands on the main coast South and East of the
Queen Charlotte Islands he called Les iles Fleurieu,
and they are now the Princess Royal Islands, so named
by Duncan.    La Perouse did not even take the trouble 26 ANCIENT   WARRIORS
to  give  a   name  to the   Queen  Charlotte  group  of
The next visitors came from Bombay in 1786. This
was the date of the visit of Messrs. Lowrie and Guise,
Masters of the ships Cook and Enterprise, in the course
of a trading expedition for furs, but little information
can be obtained from their log. They merely state that
they sailed in a direct course from the Queen Charlotte
Sound (which they named) to Prince William Sound ;
so that by inference they must have passed down the
inside channel of the Queen Charlotte Islands. The
first trading expedition that was made direct to these
islands appears to be that of Captain Hanna^ in the
Sea Otter, a brig of about sixty tons, which sailed from
China and reached Nootka Sound in August, 1785. He
then journeyed Northwards and it is almost certain traded
on the Queen Charlotte Islands. They eventually
returned to Canton and sold their cargo for .£21,000.
In 1786 two British Captains, Portlock and Dixon, in
the King George and the Queen Charlotte (two ships
fitted out by the London Company of Adventurers)
coasted up from Vancouver Island along the West
coast of these Islands as far as Hippa Island. They
did not see any suitable harbour in which to anchor,
neither did they see any of the inhabitants of the islands.
They, therefore, turned round and sailed again Southward. Captain Dixon of the Queen Charlotte, however, returned, and from July 1st to August 3rd, 1788,
Spent more than a month coasting and trading on the
West coast. He it was who gave the name to the
islands which they still bear. He also named Dixon's
Entrance, North Island, Cloak Bay, Hippa Island,
RennelPs Sound, Cape St. James and Houston Stewart
Channel. It is not, however, recorded that Captain
Dixon landed at any of these points, but in his reports OF THE NORTH PACIFIC        27
many interesting details concerning the inhabitants are
given. His map was of value until the West coast was
surveyed in 1907 by H.M.S. Egeria. He was the first
navigator of whom we have any record of attempting to
enter Cloak Bay between North and Graham Islands,
but was prevented from doing so by the strength of the
tides. Dixon was the first to sail his vessel down the
whole of the West coast Southward, coming close into
the land by day and standing off at night. In his diary
he stated also that he cruised Northward on the East
coast to latitude 520 59'. This may probably have been
half-way between Kumshewa and Skidegate Inlets. At
. this point high land was seen in the North-West, about
30 leagues distant, which he recognized as that seen in
the vicinity of North Island. This, added to the fact
that he met some of the same Indians at both ends of
this region, convinced him that the land he had been
cruising along for the past month was a group of islands
and not in any way connected with the mainland.
During this trip around the islands he purchased sea-
otter skins, which were sold at Canton for $90,000.
Dixon conferred on the islands their present name, the
choice being either derived from the name of his own
ship or that of the consort of George III who was then
the reigning sovereign.
In 1788 Duncan was the first to sail through the
straits between the islands and the mainland. He
re-named the Fleurieu Islands of La Perouse the
Princess Royal Islands after his ship.
Again in August of the same year Captain Douglas,
Master of the Ipkigenia, coasted along the North shore
of Graham Island and rounded Rose Point. He was
the first to name this promontory. Rose Point is now
marked on our charts as Rose Spit. Captain Douglas
obtained command of his vessel in China where it was 28 ANCIENT   WARRIORS
fitted out for a trading expedition. After obtaining a
large quantity of skins from the Haidas, he sailed
Southward between the islands and the mainland.
The next party to sail on a trading expedition to these
islands was fitted out in Boston, U.S.A. Captain
Robert Gray was given the command of the sloop
Washington, and thinking that he had discovered new
territory, named it Washington Island. He appeared
to be unaware that he had found a group of islands.
About 1788 a man named Mears built a ship called
the North West America at Nootka, and dispatched
her on a trading trip to the islands with Robert Fulton
as Captain. The venture was successful and profitable,
so it was followed by the dispatch of the Iphigenia under
Captain Douglas. Douglas sailed up Hecate Straits
between the islands and the mainland. He rediscovered
Massett Inlet and called it Mclntyre's Bay, what is now
known as Parry's Passage he named Cox's Channel.
Douglas was, as far as is known, the first European to
land on these islands, and he was hospitably received.
Another Boston schooner commanded by a man
named Joseph Ingraham spent the Summer trading for
furs around the islands, and as is too common imposed
a set of new and irrelevant names upon various
prominent features.
Captain Gray, of Boston, as Master of the Columbia
visited the East coast of the islands in the Autumn of
The first chart of the islands was published by Captain
Etienne Marchand of the ship Solide. He visited them
in 1791 and explored Cloak Bay and Parry Passage.
After purchasing a large quantity of furs, he sailed
down the West coast of Graham Island for some
distance and then made a bee-line for Barclay Sound.
In 1792 the Spanish dispatched a fleet of three vessels, OF THE  NORTH  PACIFIC 29
Aransu, Satil and Mexicana, from San Bias with
Lieutenant Jacinto Caamano in command. He sailed
Northward exploring the various harbours and bays of
the coast to the 56th parallel of latitude. He named
Isle de Langara at the North-West vicinity of the group,
a name which survives to-day. He also visited Virago
Sound and Massett, which he named Estrada and
Mazaredo. Massett may be a corruption or shortening
of. Mazaredo, as the natives have no distinct word for
Massett in their language, their name for the place being
Uttewas; or it may, as previously suggested, be a
contraction of Mynhassett.
The first British sloop of war to visit these waters was
the Discovery, accompanied by the armed tender
Chatham, under the command of the famous Captain
Vancouver in 1792. He spent three years in these
waters exploring and surveying. In 1793 he devoted
his attention to the West coast, charting the bays and
harbours. He was responsible for many of the present-
day names for the points and harbours along the coast
of the islands, for instance, Point North (North Island),
Point Frederick (Frederick Island), Englefield Bay,
Cape Henry, Point Buck, Cartwright Sound and Point
Hunter. In his diary he gave a list of twenty vessels
that were engaged during the year 1792 in the fur trade,
and doubtless most of these visited the Queen Charlotte
In 1852 the Hudson Bay Company, having heard that
gold was discovered on these islands, dispatched the
ship Una, under Captain Mitchell, to investigate this
matter. On his arrival at Skidegate he found that the
gold was obtained in Port Kuper or Gold Harbour on
the West coast. The occurrence, however, proved to be
only a small vein which soon petered out. This discovery   produced   the   first   gold   boom    in    British 30 ANCIENT   WARRIORS
Columbia, and for a short time created considerable
excitement. Captain Mitchell being the first arrival
obtained from $20,000 to $75,000 from the vein referred
to. The following description of the finding of this
gold is given by the historian of the expedition.
"In the year 1852 the Hudson Bay Company
dispatched the Una to Queen Charlotte Islands with
a party of miners provided with every requisite for
blasting gold-bearing quartz on a large scale. They
anchored in Gold Harbour, on the Western side of the
islands. A valuable quartz vein was soon discovered.
It was traced for eighty feet, and contained twenty-five
per cent, of gold in many places. For several days the
vein was worked but at every blast the natives scrambled
with the miners and with one another for the fragments.
As neither side was armed, these arrangements were
conducted with perfect good humour. By way of
episode to the general arrangements, both parties
occasionally paused to witness a fair wrestling match
between some sturdy Scotchman who had the science,
and any Indian who was ambitious to distinguish himself; and the miners afterwards admitted that nakedness
and fish oil often carried the day. At length the vein
was abandoned, anchor weighed, the Una being unfortunately wrecked and burned on her way to Victoria.
The heaviest specimens of pure gold that were obtained
during the expedition weighed from JI4 to 16 ounces."
During the same year H.M.S. Thetis visited Port
Kuper, or Gold Harbour as it is now called, and a chart
was made by Commander G. Moore.
Copper has been found in many places on Moresby
and Burnaby Islands, but the first lode of any consequence that was discovered came under public notice
in a casual manner. An Indian was passing the office
of an assayer in Victoria in i860 with specimens of OF THE  NORTH  PACIFIC 31
copper ore in his hand. The assayer examined them,
and almost immediately a company was formed to
explore the region from which the native said the
specimens were obtained. This "lode was traced across
certain small islands of the Queen Charlotte group, and
finally a mine was located and became known as the
property of the Queen Charlotte Mining Company.
H.M.S. Virago, commanded by Captain G. H.
Inskip, visited Virago Sound and Massett Inlet during
the year 1853, and charts of these waters were made.
The Hudson Bay Company opened a trading post in
the same year at Massett. Between the years i860 and
1862 H.M.S. Alert and H.M.S. Hecate charted much
of the Eastern coast of the islands and also carried out
soundings of the Hecate Straits. In 1865 Mr. Pender,
Master, Royal Navy, surveyed the channel which
separates Graham Island from Moresby Island, and his
chart it is believed is in use even to-day.
A coal deposit at Cowgitz in Skidegate Inlet
having attracted some attention, Dr. Richardson of the
Geological Survey of Canada was sent there in 1872 to
examine the formation, and his report was printed in
the Report of Progress 1873.
The great Dr. Dawson (afterwards Sir George, and
Director of the Geological Survey) visited the islands in
the Summer of 1878 and spent three months in a rapid
reconnaissance of the principal members of the group.
He published an interesting memoir on his trip.
Archdeacon Collison, who recently died at Kincolith,
was the pioneer of mission work on the islands, and he
established himself at Massett in 1876. Prior to his
arrival the Rev. William Duncan of Metlakatla had
from time to time sent native teachers to the Haidas.
The Archdeacon had in those days to usually make the
journey from the mainland to the islands by native 82 ANCIENT   WARRIORS
canoe as steamers were rarely available. It was an
adventurous and perilous undertaking as the writer
found to his cost in March, 1883, when he and his wife
made their first journey across Hecate Straits. This
particular voyage was made in a canoe only thirty-five
feet long, a gale sprang up half-way across, all the
baggage had to be jettisoned to keep the craft afloat, and
it was only after five days battling with the sea that the
party reached Massett in an exhausted condition.
The Indians living on these islands are known as the
Haidas. They call themselves the Ou Hâadê, i.e., the
Inlet People. They were formerly the most powerful
and warlike nation on the Pacific coast. Antiquarian
literature concerning them is very meagre. Transient
visitors have made sketches of their houses and totem
poles and taken photographs of the natives, and that is
the sum knowledge that has gone abroad about them
since exploring navigators first visited them one hundred
and forty years ago.
No systematic effort has been made to study their
characteristics or works. The works of the ancient
Haidas are fast falling into decay, and a few years hence
will be numbered among the things of the past. The
Indians on these islands are undoubtedly the finest and
most intelligent race on the coast. They were once a
powerful nation and the terror of all the surrounding
tribes. One hundred years ago they were numbered by
tens of thousands ; now only about one thousand can be
found. Where are they now? Some of the Gî-hangs
or tall carved columns are still in existence, but the
people are gone. The boxes in which they buried their
dead (fixing them on two large posts planted in the
ground) are decaying and fast disappearing, and a few
mummified remains are all that are left of these skilful
and fierce warriors.    Their villages are in ruins, their   OF  THE  NORTH  PACIFIC 33
old carved columns stand out grim and grey against the
shadow of the woods. Moss and weeds grow upon the
great rafters of their old hewn houses; grass fills the
terraces about the hearth and chokes the doorways of
their strange old habitations. Those who occupied
them are now all dead, and the present generation have
taken up their abode in dwellings of a more modern
kind. The remnants of the thirty-nine clans of this
decaying nation have been gathered into four small
villages, one at Massett, where about four hundred of
them reside, two hundred more live at Skidegate, a small
village at the South encTof Graham Island, and the rest
live in two villages on the American side, at Houkan
and Cassan. Why have they so decreased ? The main
reason is that, years ago, whole families were swept
away. The prospect of high wages in Victoria, New
Westminster and elsewhere down the coast sixty years
ago induced many to leave their island home; the
temptations of the coast towns ruined their health, and
those who eventually did return were generally physical
and mental wrecks. Their history is only another
example of the inability of the North American Indian
race to survive in contact with European civilization.
The interior of the islands has not even yet been
thoroughly explored and probably will not for some
time to come, since the difficulties of transportation are
insurmountable to ordinary expeditions. The principal harbours of the coast have been surveyed from
time to time by officers of the Royal Navy. The
last survey was made under the direction of Captain
F. G. Learmonth of His Majesty's surveying ship
Egeria in 1907.
After this glimpse into the history of the discovery
of these islands, an endeavour will now be made to trace
their development and progress up to the present day. ANCIENT  WARRIORS
Early Navigators and Pioneers of the Islands
Captain   H.M.S.   Alert
Queen. Charlotte Mining Company formed
and copper found
Captain H.M.S Hecate
Captain H.M.S Hecate
Mr. Pender, Master,
Royal Navy
Dr. Richardson, Geological Survey of
Canada, arrived
Late Archdeacon Col-
lison   ....
Dr. Dawson, Geological
Survey of Canada,
spent parts of two
years, 1877 and 1878,
on the islands   .
Messrs. Stirling and
McB. Smith started
the dog-fish oil industry at Skidegate .
Author landed at Mas-
""isëtÇ March 30th
Commander De Fonte
Ensign Juan Perez
Captain Hecata   .
Captain Cook
Captain La Perouse
Captain Hanna
Captains   Lowrie   ant
Guise .
Captains Portlock and
Captain Dixon
Captain Duncan  .
Captain Douglass
Captain Gray
Captain Fulton    .
Captain Douglas . .
Captain Ingraham
Captain Cromwell
Captain Marchand
Lieutenant Caamano
Captain Vancouver
Captain Mitchell .
Commander Moore
Captain Inskip    .
Hudson   Bay   Trading
Post opened at Mas
sett     .
A considerable amount of discussion has taken place
regarding the origin of the Haidas who appear to be
the aboriginal inhabitants of these islands.
There is as far as is known no direct evidence of the
date of their arrival; but as regards their origin they
appear to be a branch of what may be termed Homo
Americanus and do not differ in any essential points
from the inhabitants of the mainland. Although
exhibiting some marked differences they are almost
certainly clearly related to the other tribes of British
Columbia, but have become differentiated from them
by an isolated existence on the island group.
Fanciful theories have been enunciated to the
effect that their ancestors were swept in their canoes
Eastward from Japan by the great North Pacific
current, but such a theory although superficially
attractive will hardly survive serious consideration.
The Eastward migration of the Mongolian stock into
the American continent certainly took place in
neolithic times, and some even contend that it
commenced in the palaeolithic era. Even if only the
later date is accepted it is inconceivable that during that
period man was able to build ocean-going craft capable
of surviving such a long sea journey.
From time to time imaginative people have quoted
35 36
the fact that an occasional Chinese or Japanese junk
has been cast up on the Western seaboard of America,
as evidence of what might have happened in earlier
times, but that the foundation of a race in a remote
continent could rest on such a hypothetical basis is
One well-known student endeavoured to prove that
certain primitive inscriptions in Mexico were traceable
to Japanese sources, but the Japanese scholars promptly
repudiated the idea.
Some again have with less probability suggested that
the Haidas are derived from the Ainus of Yedo, but
no scientific evidence has been adduced, and as it is
asserted that the Ainus are an isolated remnant of the
Caucassian stock whereas the American Indian races
are almost certainly a differentiation of a generalized
Mongolian type, this theory is unlikely to gain
credence. The Ainus, moreover, are characterized by a
great growth of body hair which is foreign to the
Haidas, and the head shapes also will be found to
What probably reahy happened was that in early
times the ancestors of the Indian races of America
crept Eastwards from Asia across a land bridge at the
Behring Straits where even to-day the sea is only
150 feet deep, and during the pauses and retreats
which marked the glacial cycle of pleistocene times,
advanced steadily in a South-Easterly direction in
pursuit of a warmer climate. The successive waves of
this migration over a long period are probably
sufficient to account for the variations of type and
culture which mark various groups now found on the
American continent. More research is needed and
not more theories; the past has been marked by too
many theories and too little accurate research. OF THE  NORTH  PACIFIC        37
This work claims to describe various aspects in the
life of the Haidas as it existed some forty years ago,
and the writer being a recognized authority on the
language of these people believes that his observations
may have considerable scientific value. It is not to
be inferred that an intensive anthropological and
ethnological survey by trained observers will not
bring fresh facts to light, and it is his hope that these
interesting people may receive careful study before it
is too late, for as Professor Boas states1 there is much
that has hitherto baffled complete interpretation.
The word Haida is undoubtedly a corruption of the
words Ou Hâadê. It is highly probable that when the
first navigators made them understand that they
wished to know the name of their tribe or nation, they
replied Ou Hâadë, and this was eventually and easily
changed   into  Haida.    Ou   Hâadê   in  their  language
1 Professor Franz Boas, the great American ethnologist, in his
illuminating paper in the Journal of the Anthropological
Institute, Vol. XL, 1910, page 534, writes : " The fundamental
features of the material culture of the fishing tribes of the coast
of North-East Asia, North-West America and of the Arctic coast
of America are so much alike, that the assumption of an old
unity of this culture seems justifiable, particularly since the
beliefs and customs of these large continuous areas show many
similarities. . . . On this common basis a strongly individualized culture has arisen on the coast of British Columbia,
particularly among the Haida, Zimshean and Ewakiulth, which
presents a number of most remarkable features, and is but
exemplified by the style of art in this region, that has no
parallel in any other part of our continent. At the same time
some of the customs and beliefs recall so strongly customs
that are only found East of the Rocky Mountains and again
customs of the Melanesians, that a highly interesting and
difficult problem arises which has so far baffled a complete
interpretation notwithstanding the detailed investigations that
have been conducted." See Appendix concerning :
ments of Haida crania by Professor Oetteking. 38 ANCIENT   WARRIORS
means Inlet People, and as the Ou Hâadê or Inlet
People they are so termed amongst themselves to the
present day.
Mr. Charles Hill-Tout, formerly of Vancouver,
Western member of the special committee appointed by
the British Association to organize and carry out an
ethnological survey of British North America, reported
that the superior artistic powers of the Haidas, as
manifested in their well-known carvings and sculptures,
not only mark them off from all the other tribes in
British Columbia, but suggest marked physical and
psychical similarities between them and the Japanese,
the general principles and conventionalized forms of
whose arts have much in common with the Haidas,
the paintings of the Japanese being characterized to
this day by lack of perspective ; this alone is, however,
not conclusive evidence of relation, and far more proof
of any direct connection is required.
Japan has had of course a literary language for at
least 1,500 years, and the other merely a spoken
language, subject to all the influences of mutation
which affect speech of the unlettered and barbarous
people. But notwithstanding all the differences which
now exist between these languages, Hill-Tout is of the
opinion that the number of elements in common is
sufficiently great, and some of the structural similarities
so marked, that if they do not actually and conclusively
prove a community of origin for these two peoples,
yet they fully warrant a claim for Japo-Korean
affinities of some kind for the Haida-Tlingit stock. He
admits, however, that the difficulty of determining the
exact relationship between the two is proportionately
greater, inasmuch as the Japanese themselves are
undoubtedly a composite race.
The   most   extensive   of   the earliest   explorations OF THE NORTH  PACIFIC        80
known to have been made of any portion of these
islands were those of Captain Etienne Marchand in the
French ship Solide. He came to the islands in 1791,
and accurately recorded some explorations and studied
the native character. In his book he remarks that ' I
never saw the Haidas armed or distrustful. I followed
them into their family circles, and found them good
husbands and good fathers. I have lived as it were
in intimacy with tnem several days and studied them
as much as it is possible to do when people explain
themselves only by signs." Everything he relates of
their manners, their customs and their character,
announces a hospitable, mild, intelligent, laborious
and industrious people, endowed with great good
sense to whom the useful arts were not unknown and
joined to these the agreeable ones, and they may at
that time be said to have already made considerable
advances towards civilization.
On the contrary Dixon charges them four years
previously with cannibalism, and describes them as
dirty, thievouS, impudent and a murderous people. In
the same year that Captain Dixon hoisted the British
flag and named these islands after George the Third's
Queen, Captain Douglas visited North Island and
anchored at Dadans. He wished to trade with the
Haidas. One Indian chief became his sincere friend,
and saved his life, together with all that were on board
with him. That chief's name was Gunia, and on
account of a very dark complexion he was called Black
Gunia. After Douglas had bought all the furs and dried
halibut that the North Island Indians possessed, the
natives began to plot how they could regain possession
of the articles sold and also capture the schooner. They
held a secret conclave and came to the determination to
cut the rope cables and let the vessel be driven on to the 40 ANCIENT   WARRIORS
rocks. Black Gunia attended this meeting, and as
Douglas had several times befriended him, he determined
to save him and his party.
At that time the Haida chiefs practised polygamy and
were also the owners of numerous slaves. The night
following the council was the time chosen to do the
deed, and it was arranged that no one should go on
board the vessel during the day. Black Gunia sat in
his tent and pondered considerably as to how he could
convey a warning to Douglas. He knew that if he
were seen going on board the Indians would most
surely kill him. At last he planned to send his wives
on board to sell potatoes, but in reality to inform the
Captain. The plan succeeded, and the Captain was
warned in time. He arranged his two cannon, one
by the bow and the other on the stern of his vessel, and
made everything secure.
The time came for action, and the night was most
favourable for the deed. The wind was rising and gave
promise of a strong gale. Presently at midnight, in
the thick darkness, and amid the surging waves, the
Haidas came stealthily on the floating tide to cut the
rope cables, but no sooner were they in the act of
severing the ropes, than bang, bang, went the cannon
over their heads, and in terror they returned quicker
than they came. During the remaining hours of
darkness they started for Massett, as they were afraid
of the vengeance of the whites, and only Gunia and
his wives were found next morning when a boat-load of
sailors went ashore fully armed. The Haidas firmly
believed that the whites were protected by the great
Spirit and refrained from again attacking their ships
until the year 1852, when they successfully captured
and burnt the American schooner Sarah Sturgess.
Captain    Douglas   was   so   well    pleased   with    the OF THE NORTH PACIFIC        41
faithfulness of Gunia, that he called him on board the
following day, and loaded his canoe with blankets and
eatables. One thing more Gunia desired. He wished
to exchange names with the Captain. This the
Captain willingly promised to do, and ever after Gunia
was known as Captain Douglas. Gunia lived to a ripe
old age, and when he died, Edenshaw succeeded him.
Edenshaw was the Superior Chief of the Haida Nation
on the arrival of the author at Massett. He had
certificates written by Captain Douglas referring to the
courage and honesty of Black Gunia and stating that
in future he must be known as Captain Douglas, the
great friend of all white men.
Captain Dixon, as already stated, arrived at these
islands on a trading expedition a few months previous
to Captain Douglas, and secured the choicest skins.
He describes his experience as follows: " We
anchored in Cloak Bay, on North Island, and the
Haidas came out in great numbers to trade with us.
A scene now commenced which absolutely beggars all
description, and with which we were so much overjoyed
that we could scarcely believe our senses. There
were ten canoes about the ship, which contained as
nearly as I could, estimate about 120 people. Many of
these brought most beautiful sea-otter cloaks. Others
brought excellent skins, and, in short, none came
empty-handed, and the rapidity with which they sold
them was a circumstance additionally pleasing. They
fairly quarrelled with one another which should sell
his cloak first, and some actually threw their furs on
board if nobody was at hand to receive them. In less
than half an hour we purchased 300 sea-otter skins
of excellent quality. That you may form some idea
of the cloaks we bought here I shall just observe that
one  cloak  generally contained  three   good   sea-otter 42 ANCIENT   WARRIORS
skins, one of which is cut in two pieces. Afterwards
they are neatly sewn together so as to form a square,
and are loosely tied about the shoulders with small
leather strings, fastened on each side." Another time,
when near Skidegate or Kumshewa Inlet, under date
of July 29th, 1787, he writes: " Early in the afternoon
we saw several canoes coming from the shore, and by
three o'clock no less than eighteen were alongside our
ship, containing more than 200 people, chiefly men.
This was not only the greatest concourse of traders we
had seen, but what rendered the circumstance additionally pleasing was the quantity of excellent furs they
brought us, our trade now being equal, if not superior,
to what we had met with in Cloak Bay, both in the
number of the skins and the facility with which the
natives traded. Besides the large number of furs we
got from this party (at least 350 skins) they brought
several raccoon cloaks, consisting of seven skins neatly
sewn together."
As raccoons are not found on the Queen Charlotte
Islands, these skins were probably obtained from
Vancouver Island where the animals are or were
plentiful. Thus during his entire cruise around these
islands Captain Dixon bartered with the Haidas and
obtained 1,821 sea-otter skins, a handsome fortune for
anyone at the present day, considering the high prices
this kind of fur would command.
In the olden days and before the arrival of the first
whites to these islands, there were several villages on
the West coast. The Haidas at that time were a
powerful nation, and the terror of all the surrounding
tribes, but they had their internal feuds and often
fought even among themselves. At Dadans, a small
tract of land at the extreme North-West of the group,
the  most   powerful  clan   resided.    In   bygone   days OF THE  NORTH  PACIFIC 43
they often harassed the Zimsheans, and the neighbouring clans of their fellow-tribesmen. At last, the
Zimsheans, aided by the Haidas at Massett, Skidegate
and elsewhere banded together to overcome the
powerful West coast groups. The fighting continued
for several years, and finally the West coast Haidas
were defeated. Reduced to desperation and disgusted
with their brother Haidas who had joined the
Zimsheans to conquer their territory, four hundred
warriors left their fine fishing and hunting grounds
and migrated to the Southern portions of the Prince
of Wales Island, now in Alaska. They afterwards
founded the villages of Houkan, Kîgàni, Kassan and
several other villages on the American side, and thus
the presence of several hundred Haidas in Alaska can
be accounted for.
Intellectually and physically the Haida Indians rank"}
higher than the ordinary class of Indians on the\
Pacific coast. Their language contains more words
than any other Indian language and also is the most
difficult one to master. Certainly no one can justly
call the Haidas stupid and foolish, and when asked to
think of matters outside of their own little world, and
which are beyond the domain of their intellectual
faculties, they frankly acknowledge themselves powerless, but at the same time they are willing to be
taught and also exhibit great determination to
Until comparatively recent times the Haidas of
the Queen Charlotte Islands have remained almost
unknown to the world at large, and consequently
the literature regarding them is extremely meagre
Transient visitors have made sketches of their houses
and crest poles, and some have secured striking photographs of  the   natives as they  really  existed before 44 ANCIENT   WARRIORS
the advent of the white man amongst them. Many
remarkable crest poles or Gl-hangs are yet to be seen
in their old deserted villages, and a few of their old
houses yet remain, but the works of the ancient
warlike Haidas are fast falling into decay.
Both men and women are physically striking. The
men are especially noticeable for their size and
strength. Some of them are fully six feet in height
and their agreeable features attract attention. They are
also especially skilful in the management of their
well-built canoes. Those who know them will agree
that the Haida people are the most notable of all
native tribes on the coast. They are distinct in
their language, traditions, and physical and psychical
traits. They resemble but little the Indians met with
in other parts of British Columbia. The face is
broad, and cheek-bones protrude; their eyebrows have
a mongolian slant; they are powerfully built, but are
not without grace in their manner and walk. Few of
them may be said to be of the square, wooden type,
with brown skins and black hair. Ruddy cheeks and
brown also red hair are not uncommon. Others are
dark-complexioned, copper-coloured people, with hands
and feet well-shaped and limbs in good proportion to
their size. The women, also, to a great extent share
the attractive character of the men. Some are tall
and others are under the average height of women.
They are exceedingly strong, can cut firewood,
sail and paddle canoes, and work as hard as
the men. They possess handsome and agreeable
features when compared with other coast Indian
1 The women are not so dark as the men, and on
j Sundays when they are dressed in their best, they do
not appear to be vastly inferior in appearance to the   OF THE  NORTH  PACIFIC 45
ladies of the Western World. The clothing of the
Haidas before the arrival of the Europeans was very
scanty. They were accustomed to make for themselves
shirts and petticoats out of the inner bark of the
cedar trees and the roots of the spruce trees. TKe
skins of the sea-otter, fur seal, land otter and marten
were also utilized to a great extent as articles of
clothing on special occasions. On the arrival of the
first traders they discarded their native garments for
the blanket, and at the present time all their clothing
is of European, manufacture. The men purchase good
underwear and suits of tweed and black cloth. The
women also are arrayed in prints, ginghams and silks.
Some also have expensive velvet dresses surmounted
with hats in lieu of the old-fashioned headkerchief.
Sometimes the oldest inhabitants are occasionally seen
wearing blankets early in the morning, but they soon '
change to European garb in order to avoid the
ridicule of their grown-up sons and daughters who_
ape the white man as much as possible. Formerly '
girls from two to seven years of age were clothed only
with a petticoat, and the boys of the same age wore
only a diminutive shirt unless they had occasion to
Visit a white resident, when they were dressed up
specially for the occasion.
This love of personal adornment is as plainly marked
among the Haidas as amongst the inhabitants of older
civilized countries. They pay great attention to the
mass of brilliant coarse black hair which is the
possession of each man, woman and child. The men
cut their hair periodically close to the scalp, and try
to cultivate whiskers, beard and moustache. Why
most of the older men are devoid of facial hair is not
known. It may have been an old tradition that every
hair which  showed itself   upon the   face  had  to  be 46 ANCIENT  WARRIORS
plucked out. I have asked several of the old Haidas
to explain the reason but never received any satisfactory
answer. The women dress their hair stylishly. It is
well combed and then parted down the middle. It is
then gathered up, neatly plaited, and bound into a
knot similar to their English sisters, and a piece of
bright blue ribbon is commonly used as a finish to the
structure. A few of the young Haida women allow
the front hair to hang down over their foreheads, and
some even indulge in the luxury of curling tongs.
Among the little Haida girls the hair is simply but
neatly plaited and allowed to hang down over their
shoulders. The clothing worn by both sexes is
generally ornamented with the brightest colours. All
kinds of braids and bright coloured prints and
ginghams are affected, both by the men and the
women, but they take care that when an article of
clothing is finished that it is strong, neat and useful
| as well as showy. Formerly great quantities of beads
used to be worn as charms around the neck of both
sexes. Now a few children only may be seen wearing
a string of blue cut glass beads about a quarter of an
inch in length around the neck. Silver bracelets,
gold bracelets, silver and gold bangles, necklaces, gold
and silver rings have now taken the place of the
ancient bone ornaments, and if the Indians on the
entire coast do not take better care of themselves than
they have done in the past, not only will the white
man's clothing and ornaments supersede their old
garments and bone ornaments, but they themselves,
their towns and hunting grounds will soon disappear,
and their places be occupied by those they are so fond
of imitating. There were formerly thirty-nine Haida
villages, but now there are only four, situated at Massett,
Skidegate, Houkan and Cassan.   The latter two are OF THE NORTH PACIFIC        47
on the American side.   The tribe was formerly divided
into thirty-nine septs named as follows:
i. Du Hâadê, who lived in a village called Tian
Ilnigê, East of Nesto.
2. Tas Lennas, who lived in Tî Ilnigê, near Sisk.
3. Kats Hâadê, who lived at Dadans, near North
4. Shagwau Lennas, who lived at Kung in Virago
5. Kungwau Lennas, of Nëdan in Virago Sound.
6. Chich Kitonë, who lived at a village below Yen.
7. Kitans, who lived at the West end of the present
village of Massett.
8. Sàhâjûgwan-alth-Lennas, who lived in the centre
of Massett.
9. Stling Lennas, of Yen.
10. Kïânôsilî, who lived at a village near Nëdan.
11. Skidoukou, who lived in the village now called
12. Ou Yàkâ Ilnigê, who lived on the East side of
MaSsett Inlet.
13. Kwun Lennas, who lived at Rose Spit.
14. Shâgwî   Kîtônë,   who  lived  near  the  Yâgwun
River, i.e., the Yakoun River so called by the
15. Lthyhellun Kîiwë, who lived at Tou Hill.
16. Në-kwan Kîiwë, who lived on the North side of
Rose Spit.
17. Nisigas Hâadê, who lived at the extreme end of
Rose Spit.
18. Lth-ait Lennas, who lived at Lthait, a point of
land near Skidegate.
19. Lthagild Lennas, who lived at Skidegate.
20. Tlaiyu Hâadê, who lived at old Gold Harbour.
21. Khîna Hâadê, who lived at new Gold Harbour. 48
22. Kwun   Hâadê,   who  lived  at  Skidanst   village.
Kidanst was the chief of the Kwun Hâadê, and
when the whites first came to his village they
named it after Kidanst, the chief, but pronounced it Skidanst, which name it still retains.
23. Skidegate Hâadê.   The chief of the people living
at Lthagild was called Skidiget when the
whites first arrived, therefore they named the
village after him, and his people are now
called Skidegates.
24. Tànu Hâadê, who lived near the village of Tlu.
25. Ângit Hâadê,  who lived on the   East  side  of
26. Sàhàgunusilî, who lived at Massett.
27. Kouas, who lived near Kûsta at North Island.
28. Shongalth Lennas, of Chief Edenshaw's village,
near Parry Passage.
29. Kasta  Hâadê.   This is a Fort Wrangel word,
and applied to the people who formerly lived
in the village that Edenshaw's people afterwards
30. Stastas, who lived at Yen with the Stling Lennas.
31. Kaiswun  Hâadê,  who  also  lived at  old  Gold
32. Kheo Hâadê, who lived at Kïgànî.
33. Tlinkwan Hâadê, who lived at a village back of
Kïgânï, Alaska.
34. Kassan Hâadë, of Oukwuns River, Houkan, near
Cape Horn, Alaska.
35. Yâkwâ Lennas, who lived near Miâgwun Point.
36. Shâkwan Hâadê, who lived near Houkan, Alaska.
37. Kwaihântlas Hâadê, who lived near Shâkwan.
38. Houkan,  Hâadê, of Tlinkwan,  near Kwaizasu,
39. Kouslë Hâadê, who lived at Kwaizasu. OF THE NORTH PACIFIC        49
The most Northerly village is that of the Tas Lennas
at Tî Ilnigê, near Sisk; the most Southerly one is that
of the Angit Hâadê, who lived on the East side of
In regard to personal names, before Christianity was
introduced amongst the Haidas, a single name was
sufficient for each person, and such names were taken
mostly from nature. Now, the Christian name is
regarded with honour, and is the only one by which
they desire to be known. Their old Haida names have,
however, been retained wherever it was practicable to do
so, as surnames, and each baptized person has only been
given one Christian name.
Names derived from phenomena of Nature, etc., are
such as :
Chisalgas : Darkness.
Edinso, or as it is now pronounced Edenshaw, is a
Fort Wrangel word meaning a waterfall.
Giatlins : Standing.
Gûshou-jing-was: A long speech.
Itil-king-àn : Like us.
Dûân : So, or let it be so.
Kintânget : A rudder.
Kwîë : Dust.
Nakadziit : A fox.
QuaigastinS : A fleecy cloud.
Ski : A louse.
Skoual : A shell-fish like a clam.
Stlàntâng-et : Soapy or slippery.
Yêtlth-ûans:    A large raven.
The names of the tribes were also taken from natural
objects, and some are as follows :
The Stastas clan was so numerous that they were
compared  to   "maggots  on  a "rotten   carcase," and 50 ANCIENT   WARRIORS
accordingly named Stastas, as they were supposed to be
as numerous as the maggots and to be found everywhere.
Shongalth Lennas—this is the name of Edenshaw's
clan. Shonga is the name of a large diver which
makes a great noise whilst feeding. Edenshaw's people
were formerly very numerous, and they also " made a
great noise when feasting," hence their name of
Shongalth Lennas.
Kïànôsilï is the name given to the clan of which
Kougë is the chief. Kïân is the name of a species of
cod-fish which has a projection on the chin, and as some
of his people were said to be like these cod-fish about the
chin, they were accordingly called Kïànôsilï, or cod-fish
Skidoukou is, or was, the name of Laig's clan. The
meaning of this word as regards human beings, so far
as I can interpret the same, is " men who could lay eggs
and hatch trouble." They were formerly the ringleaders in all wickedness and caused more trouble than
all the rest of the tribes combined, and thus were given
this name as a term of reproach. They were also called
Sïgë Lennas.
Nisigas Hâadê—this clan was very dirty, and too
idle to build decent houses to live in, hence their name of
the dirty and houseless people.
Shâgwï Kitônë—Shâgwï, up; Kitônë, eagle. The
people of this clan were called ' ' the men who live on
high like the eagle," because they lived in the uppermost village on Massett Inlet.
Kouas—the men of this clan were of small stature, and
as the herring spawn is the smallest spawn found near
the islands, they were in contempt called " the herring
spawn people."
Tànû Hâadê—the people of this clan were very fond
of bathing in the sea, and were called " the people who OF THE NORTH PACIFIC        51
live under the salt water."   Tânû is the Haida name for
the long green grass which grows under salt water.
The Haida months are :
January, Lthkittûn Kung-as : Goose moon.
February, Tàn Kung-as : The bears begin to come out
of their winter resting places this month, hence it
is called the bear month.
March, Yhîtgâs: The laughing goose moon.
April, WhïtgàS: The foreign goose moon.
May, Tàhellë Kung-as: The month of flowers.
June, Hânskaila Kung-as : The berries begin to ripen
this month.
July, Hànalung Kung-as : Moon in which the berries
are ripe.
August, Chïn Kung-as : Salmon moon.
September, Kïtas : This moon they get the cedar bark.
Kïshalsh Kung-as :  Moon in which they smoke the
salmon, dog salmon moon.
October, Kalk Kung-as : Ice moon.
November,   Chàë   Kung-as :   The   bears   paw   the
ground for roots this month.
December, Gwougïangas: The standing-up month to
relieve Nature (i.e., the month which is too cold to
squat for this purpose).
There are twenty-eight days in each Haida month,
and 13 times 28 make 364. The difference of one day
between their year and ours they account for by saying
that one day was spent by the slave in climbing the
ladder of arrows to secure a heaven-born woman for his
wife. This day must be reckoned at the end of the
thirteenth month, and will then make their year to
correspond with ours.
In a general way the Haidas are honest, and property
entrusted to them by the whites is kept safely.    In the 52 ANCIENT   WARRIORS
olden days property stowed away in a cache or tent by
the white man needed no watchman. A European has
been known to leave with a native who was an entire
stranger for safe-keeping a large sum of money from
one year to the next, and to receive it back intact on his
return. The Haidas are a good-natured, docile race of
people. Formerly both sexes tattooed their faces, hands
and arms, also their breasts and thighs. The women
only, however, wore the labret. These labrets were
made of stone, bone, glass, jade and ivory. During
girlhood a hole was pierced through the lower lip and
an ivory or bone plug inserted until the wound had
healed. After healing the hole was stretched from time
to time until it was about half an inch in diameter and
an inch or more in length. Into this they placed the
labret. The first labret to be inserted was generally
about half an inch in diameter and about half an inch
in length. A ring inside the mouth held the labret in
place. As years went by these labrets were increased
in size according to the rank of the person wearing
them, and according to the number of children she
became the mother of.
There was one vice that the ancient Haidas had
become acquainted with from coming into contact with
a quasi civilization, and that was the manufacture of
an abominable drink called Hoochinoo. This was
made in a rude still (constructed of kerosene cans) from
fermented molasses seasoned with pepper and rice, which
resulted in as vile a concoction as could ever be invented,
for when imbibed it threw the victims into a state of
uncontrollable frenzy. The Government, however,
destroyed the illicit distilleries some years ago and the
taste for drink appears to be decreasing among the
present generation.
1   Much of their tribal organization still prevails.   Each  _^ OF THE NORTH  PACIFIC 58
tribe has three or four minor chiefs, although but one
is looked upon as the great chief, though as a rule, each
person thinks himself as high as his neighbour. At
feasts, however, the distinction is plainly seen. If, for
instance, the head chief at the feast received thirty
biscuits, the next would only receive twenty-eight, the
next twenty-six and so on, according to their status.
Before each house a large pole or column was formerly
erected bearing the owner's crest, which was generally
a raven, frog, bear, eagle, or fin-back whale. These
long poles or columns were called Gî-hangs, and to
Europeans they are known as totem poles. Some were
as much as sixty feet high and five feet in width, and
they were magnificently carved. The greater the chief
the greater the pole that he had erected in front of his
house. The owner's crest was generally carved as the
topmost figure, and the rest set forth the owner's
pedigree and that of his wife. The totem pole was the
ancestral tree, and showed distinctly the different crests
or tribes from which his forbears had descended.
Other poles were carved only at the top and bottom
and generally had a sheet of copper carved with the
owner's crest nailed in the centre. The significance of
this was that whenever any great chief died, his
successor to the chieftainship erected a pole to his
memory—in fact, it was the Haida tombstone, and was
called the obituary Gl-hang. None but the younger
people, as a rule, would think of killing the animal
which had been selected by his father for his crest, but
the rising generation ignore ancestral superstitions.
The potlatch was another custom of the old Haidas.
The potlatch was the impoverishing native custom of
giving away property and has now been discontinued.
It is briefly this : a chief makes known his intention of
giving a feast, and intimates that on that occasion there 54 ANCIENT   WARRIORS
will be a great distribution of furs and other goods, but
principally furs, as furs were formerly the principal
commodity on the islands that could be easily handled
for this purpose before the trade blanket was introduced.
When this appeared furs became scarcer for they sold
them for blankets and other goods. The trade blanket
is now generally used for distribution if a potlatch
should take place.
Potlatch is a Chinook word and means to give away ;
to present; to distribute and donate.
The feast is held, and furs or, later on, blankets to
the number of, say, five hundred, representing in value
as many dollars, given away. But few of these furs
or blankets, however, came from the chief's own store.
Every member of his clan is laid under obligation and
must contribute his quota, and as they are not allowed
to participate in the distribution, or, if they are, receive
less than they give, the impoverishing effect upon them
after a time may be imagined. The chief's loss was, of
course, only temporary, as his store was replenished by
the next distribution made by a neighbouring chief.
In regard to the totem poles and crests a young man
and a young woman of the same crest were not allowed
to marry, as they were considered to be the same as
brother and sister. The children also always took their
mother's crest which is evidence that society was on a
matriarchal basis. Thus, if a member of the eagle
crest or totem married a woman of the bear or fin-back
whale crest the children of the marriage would belong
to the bear or fin-back whale totem.
When the author first came to live among the Haidas
there were many villages that had been inhabited by the
tribes of the erstwhile powerful and great Haida Nation,
at one time the warriors and Vikings of the Pacific
coast.   What looked like flagstaffs as the shore was OF THE  NORTH  PACIFIC 55
approached were totem poles, the heraldic crests of the
ancient savage Haidas whose native glory began to
fade when the white man made his appearance on the
coast, and whose savage nature was also greatly
changed by his conversion to Christianity. At Massett,
in the sixties of last century, the totem poles of the
village presented a scene such as might be seen in a
large shipping port, a forest of interminable masts, so
numerous were they. In addition to the totem poles,
there was a long row of large native houses built along
the gravel beach, and the totem poles seemed at first
sight to be erected without order between the dwellings
and the water. Those who occupied these immense
houses are now nearly all dead, and the present
generation have taken up their abode in what they
generally term " white men's houses." A Haida house
was formerly a structure about one hundred feet in
length and seventy-five feet in width. Standing outside
of some of these old houses one could lean on the lower
rafters. The sides of these houses were made of
immense cedar boards four and five feet in width and
capped at the edges to turn the water. They were
substantially built and would last for a century. Entering the door in front of the house a few steps led down
to the very clean and comfortable interior, where many
families generally lived with all their possessions piled
near them. The cedar logs for these large houses were
hewn with stone axes and adzes, the houses having been
erected before iron was known to the Haidas. The
chopped surface was so level that a person would
actually believe at a casual glance that the timber had
been sawn. In some of the houses there was a door
cut into the side for the use of slaves only, and once
this side door was made the slaves were not allowed to
enter by the door in front of the house.   These slaves 56 ANCIENT  WARRIORS
were captured in war and were afterwards exchanged or
sold like dogs.
The oldest chiefs stated that before Christianity
reached the Pacific coast a Haida chief generally had
one or more wives with female slaves as concubines, and
this was corroborated by Captain Douglas in 1787.
The children by the free-born wives were alone
reckoned as his, the children of the slaves were sold or
retained in slavery.
Years ago nose rings were worn by the Haidas.
These rings gave the wearers an uncanny appearance.
The lobe of the nose was pierced and a piece of whalebone carved into a semicular shape was inserted. The
bone was about two inches in length and three-
sixteenths of an inch in diameter. When in full dress
for the feast or the dance the old Indians always wore
the nose ring and ankle bracelets of native copper.
These islands were, it is said, at one time ruled by a
supreme chief in the person of Edenshaw, assisted by
several minor chiefs. Each succeeding chief took this
name, but no son could take his position or name, it
had to be a sister's son under the matriarchal regime.
Times have altered since then and each village has now
its own chief, who is a factor for good or evil as the case
may be. When a chief died the nephew who succeeded
him had to take charge of his uncle's wife and marry
her, if he himself were unmarried. Likewise the uncle
upon the death of his wife sometimes married his own
niece, i.e., the girl who was entitled to receive the
property belonging to the deceased aunt. The chief's
property was handed over to the nephew who succeeded
him, and he in turn generally made a potlatch of the
goods so obtained and also paid all the expenses connected with his uncle's funeral. These customs are
changed with the exception that in some cases even now . OF THE NORTH  PACIFIC        57
the property of the men when deceased is taken by the
nephew under the pretext of paying off his uncle's
indebtedness and paying for the funeral expenses; and
what remains over generally goes towards the purchase /
of a tombstone to his uncle's memory. This may be a
good custom as far as the nephew is concerned, but it is
not a very desirable custom to continue, as it leaves the
man's wife practically destitute. As the Haidas are now
baptized and married according to the laws of the church
to which they belong, it is of interest to note how they
cling to their old custom instead of adopting what
appear to us the more equitable laws of inheritance
evolved in Europe.
The Haidas never appear to have developed image
worship. Some of their laws would doubtless not meet
with European approval as the one above referred to
in regard to inheritance of property, but others are
enlightened and beneficial.
To overcome the difficulty of communication between
the Europeans and natives, the Hudson Bay Company,
many years ago, framed a polyglot language out of the
various tongues spoken, comprehensive enough for
commercial purposes, and this mongrel tongue, i.e.,
the traders' language, is now in common use from
Siberia to the prairies. Many Indian, English, French
and other words have found a place in this lingua franca,
and it is called the Chinook jargon.
In matters of trade the Haidas are like other
Indian tribes, hesitating to set a price, for fear the purchaser might pay more if he was asked; raising their
price if an offer is accepted too readily ; or repudiating
a bargain even after delivery, and demanding the
article back again. Their extreme cautiousness in dealing with Europeans is considered by some to their
having been cheated by many of the early traders. 58
-'"' It has been the policy of both the American and
Canadian  Governments to  keep  the  natives  separate
from the whites and to allot them such land as the chiefs
of each  tribe  demand.     These  lands  are  commonly;
i known as Reservations.   The Governments encouraged
I them   also  to   build   better   dwellings   than   the   old-
! fashioned wigwams   or  Wï-hâ  houses.    These large
' wigwams   or   barnlike   houses   were   formerly   very
numerous on these islands.
+& The term Wï-hâ house probably takes its origin from
the name of the late chief of Massett, for this chief
possessed the largest house that was ever erected by the
Haidas in recent times. The natives have, as previously
stated, now abandoned the old native methods of house
construction, and all have comfortable dwellings on the
European plan, for there are to-day many well-to-do
families, and some would be considered wealthy in more
favoured and better developed countries.
The total number of Haidas living in the Queen
Charlotte Islands was estimated by John Work between
the years 1836 and 1841 to be six thousand five hundred
and ninety-three. The number of people assigned to
each house, according to Mr. Work's table, is found to
be about thirteen, which, taking into consideration the
size of the house and the manner of living, is very
moderate. Mr. Work's estimate of the Haidas is
tabulated as follows :
Men.   Women.    Boys.    Girls.    Houses.
Ne-coon .
Men.   Women.    Boys.
The present population is between six and seven
hundred, but notwithstanding the alarmingly rapid
decrease of the Haida Nation during the past century, it
is not probable that they are doomed to be utterly
extinguished. CHAPTER IV
Ethnological studies of the Haidas are not numerous,
being mostly confined to brief sketches made by
temporary visitors, or short articles written by missionaries; the most voluminous report is that of the
Jessup expedition, yet the volume dealing with the Haida
leaves much to be desired.
Before the white man and lucifer-matches came to
Haida Land, they obtained fire by the usual native
method, i.e., by friction of a hardwood stick rotated
backwards and forwards like a drill in the centre of some
cedar bark that had been made soft and woolly and dried
in the sun for the purpose.
The principal diseases from which the Haidas
suffered were those of the respiratory organs, and this
was, it is believed, due to overcrowding at their fishing,
hunting and canoe camps. During the Winter months
when at their canoe camps, all the openings of the
huts had to be closed as quickly as possible in order to
economize the heat within, for when once chilled, it was
difficult during the night to restore the tent or hut to
the proper degree of warmth ; all desired to sleep and
it was no one's task to look after the fire. Within these
habitations the Haidas breathed and rebreathed a foetid
atmosphere, and many succumbed to pulmonary
diseases and periodically smallpox decimated their
numbers. They were also prone to sores which fre-
60 r
quently broke out on their shoulders, elbows and other
joints, and which might have been due to lack of vegetable food. The means of relief usually employed were
those which the Sà-ag-gà was able to effect by working
on the imagination of the sick. Faith in the Sà-ag-gà,
as with ignorant Europeans faith in the parson's prayers,
often produced more result than their primitive knowledge of medicinal drugs. If the cure was effected well
and good, if not the Sâ-ag-gà had not the good healing
spirit on his side. In the olden days the magnitude of
the patient's disease and the curative efforts were
generally measured by the amount of the patient's
worldly wealth.
Formerly amongst the Haidas there was a chief over
every clan, and every clan had its own Sà-ag-gâ, but of
the two the recognized leader was generally the medicine
man. It sometimes happened that slight differences of
opinion on the proper course to pursue would cause a
temporary friction, but after an interval of a few months,
friendly relations would be resumed.
The camp-fire was the centre of attraction in their
fishing, hunting and canoe camps. Entering the
interior of a tent or shack one can observe the intimate
home life of the people better than anywhere else. The
camp-fire is never large except on a cool night, but it is
of unceasing interest to all in the household. It is the
place where the food is prepared, and the place where
the social intercourse of the family and of the family
with their friends is enjoyed. There the story is told
and the song is sung, by its side toilets are made and
household duties performed, not necessarily on account
of the warmth of the fire, but because of its central
position in the household economy. When a meal was
prepared there was no formality in its consumption.
A goodly sized kettle containing fish and another full 62 ANCIENT   WARRIORS
of potatoes formed generally the centre around which
the family gathered for its meal, and at a convenient
spot near the fire the family gathered round in a squatting or sitting posture. Each extracted with his fingers
or a knife whatever portion he fancied and held it in
one hand, utilizing the other to ladle out the liquid
portion of the concoction by means of a big horn spoon.
The kettle and horn spoon were ready, morning, noon
and night for those who might desire to eat.
The relations among the various members of the
Haida family were usually so well adjusted that there
was little discord in their home life. The father was
master in his own house, the mother had her own
particular sphere, but both she and her children always
obeyed the will of the lord of the household. The father
was master without being a tyrant; the mother was a
subject without being a slave; and the children rarely
opposed their parents' wishes, and consequently there
was little constraint in family intercourse. The
struggle for existence was not severe, for in the old days
the supply of fish and vegetables was abundant. Any
moral strength they possess had its origin in and has
been preserved by their struggles with men rather than
with nature. The wars of their ancestors did most to
make them the proud and brave people that they are at
the present day. They are now strong, fearless, and
independent. But present conditions of life is initiating
a new epoch in life-history. White migration is
gradually inclosing their country, and it is realized by
most that this is inevitable, and it may well be that the
time is not far distant when all the Indians on the
Pacific coast will become assimilated and amalgamated
with or submerged in the European invasion.
The Haidas were formerly accustomed to congregate
about the middle of November to the end of January for IBJ»        '    "ST
their feasting and dancing. They never troubled themselves about the interior of these islands, as they were
in reality fish-eaters, so their habitat was confined to
the coast-line, and to the rivers and streams where a
supply of fish could be relied on. They were never
proficient hunters on land, as they were loath to sleep
away from their camping grounds near the shore.
Each clan had its boundaries, and these were observed
as hereditary rights descending from a man to his
nephew from one generation to another according to
their rules of succession. These tracts might according to their custom be bartered or given away; and
should one family or tribe desire to fish or pick wild
fruits in the domain of another, that privilege in all
cases had to be paid for. The larger salmon streams,
such as the Yàkoun, Ai-in and Skidegate Chuck, were
oftentimes the joint property of a number of families,
and at each of these Autumn fishing grounds rough
temporary houses of cedar bark were formerly to be
When the Haidas wished to construct a house, this
was not done by individual effort. If one of these old-
fashioned houses Is examined it will be realized that the
great beams and planks used therein necessitated the
co-operation of many men. It was the custom to give a
big potlatch whenever a house was erected, and the
owner generally exhausted all his available resources
on these occasions. Before a man ever thought of
erecting a house, it was customary to accumulate as
much property as possible, such as sea-otter skins, fur
seal and bear-skins. In later years, however, Hudson
Bay Company's trade blankets were amassed for these
occasions and stored away in large square cedar boxes
until the day arrived for distribution. Dancing,
gambling and gaming relieved the monotony of each 64 ANCIENT   WARRIORS
day's work, and the task itself was conducted with much
talk and advice freely given as the great beams were
placed in position. The speed of erection of the
structure depended on the means of the houSe=b~uilder ;
if he was rich the work was soon completed, but if his
means were slender, several gatherings of the people
were necessary before his house, was finished.
Each village had its own chief, and all matters, both
private and public, were referred for his consideration ;
but he was never the absolute and despotic authority
that Indian chiefs are often believed to be^ The chief
owed his position to his being recognized as the
president of the families under his asgis, and his
decisions had to carry with them the assent of the
majority of the householders in his village, or they
were devoid of authority and weight. As a chief he I
•had no power to compel the members of his tribe to
work voluntarily for his benefit, but on account of being
a chief had to pay more liberally than others in the
village for any work that he desired done, unless he ,
possessed sufficient slaves to do what he wished. The
chieftaincy, as previously explained, was hereditary, and
on the death of a chief his nephew generally succeeded
him, and should no nephew, distant or near relative be
forthcoming, a new chief was selected by the majority
of the people interested in his succession, the choice
being influenced by the amount of property the candidate had to potlatch or distribute, but in no case was
it customary for the chieftaincy to pass out of the
authorized clan to any lesser group. On succeeding to
the chieftaincy a man always dropped his own name and
assumed the hereditary name of the chief whose place
he had taken. It sometimes happened that when a chief
grew old and poor he was virtually succeeded in
authority by a younger, wealthier and more energetic OF THE NORTH  PACIFIC        65
man, but he always retained the honourable title of chief
when once elected until he died.
The authority of the present-day chief is so small that ^
it is doubtful if any of his tribe would obey his orders
if they were distasteful. They are therefore recognized-
as such in name only, and are unable to act in any
official capacity on behalf of the members of their
A few words regarding these potlatches : there were
two distinct species of these feasts. When any ordinary
individual made a potlatch it was generally confined to
the people of his own village; whereas if a great chief
announced that he was going to make a potlatch, people
from all the surrounding villages were invited to attend.
Should the chief be in need of property to distribute, he
made a feast a few days before the occasion to all the
people of his tribe, and the people who attended it were
supposed the next day to bring him gifts to add to the
amount he wished to give away. The more frequently
a chief made a potlatch and distributed his property, the
more important he became to all his followers, and the
more he received when the other chiefs to whom he had
given presents made potlatches.
Chief Edenshaw during his lifetime made seven great
potlatches, and was consequently esteemed a very high
and important personage.
Months beforehand, the news that a certain chief was
about to make a potlatch was made known, and each
guest knew exactly how much he was likely to receive.
Those who received gifts, when it came to their turn to
make a potlatch, were required to give nine blankets to
the man who had given them six, and so on; thus in
a sense a potlatch was only a repayment with interest
for goods already advanced. When a child was named,
it was customary to make a potlatch on a small scale; 66 ANCIENT   WARRIORS
also when the child's ears and nose were pierced, and
again when he was tattooed. These potlatches were
almost always made by the uncle of the child, and were
celebrated with feasting and dancing.
In another class was a potlatch when the owner of the
goods showed an utter disrespect for wealth. On these
occasions blankets were torn into strips and thrown
broadcast amongst the assembly, and this was sometimes
done when one chief became jealous of another; the
more property one chief could destroy than his
opponent possessed the greater chief he was deemed
to be, even guns, canoes and other valuables were
destroyed. Should one of two such chiefs run short of
property to destroy, the members of his tribe would
rally to him with the property they possessed, rather
than allow their chief to take a secondary place to his
opponent and thus " lose face."
On the occasion of a great potlatch a feast took place
a few days before the distribution of property, and after
the feast there was a wild dance. The performers were
especially decked for the occasion, their drums being
made for the occasion; some wore wind masks and
wooden head-dresses ornamented with the bristles of the
sea-lion, others had their faces painted black or vermilion. They danced with great frenzy round the camp
fire, and their excitement often culminated in a sudden
collapse in a heap on the ground.
Gambling was a custom and at the same time a curse
amongst the Haidas. Gamblers have been known to
lose all they possessed, and in one case the gambler
staked and lost his clothing and had to return home
well-nigh naked. The usual gambling game of the
Haida was that common to the coastal tribes; a bundle
of neatly polished sticks about three to four inches in
length with different marks were, so to speak, the cards     OF THE NORTH  PACIFIC        67
of each. The players sat on the ground in a circle, and
in the centre was a cedar mat; each gambler then produced his bundle of sticks. The value of each stick
was known by its marks. The sticks were shuffled
behind the player's back ; they were then presented to be
drawn out by chance. If the stick drawn bore a mark
corresponding to the stick the drawer had in his hand
at the time, he won, and vice versa. After this
indigenous game began to wane, the European packs
of cards were introduced and they invented their own
card games; some even picked up poker in mining
camps and became expert at it. Gambling of recent
years curiously enough has well-nigh died out.
Their burial customs are worthy of note. When an
ordinary tribesman died his corpse was, after the lapse of
a day, put into a square cedar coffin with chin resting on
knees. Sometimes a cedar mat was wrapped around
the body and it was then carried away to, and deposited
in, the tomb-house of his ancestors, which was erected
on two posts in the vicinity of the village. Sometimes
the coffins of the deceased members of one crest were
placed on the ground, one box on the top of another and
there left to decay. In one place at Massett there were
about fifty of these boxes containing bodies in all stages
of decomposition. The author obtained permission to
bury this accumulation of dead, and it was effected by \
the assistance of slaves.
Both clans and individuals were named after natural <
objects, as is often the case among savage races, and
this has some connection with their totem groups. The
totem system is general throughout the Haida tribe, and
before each house was displayed the great totem pole
bearing the owner's crest. The devices carved on these
totems represented mainly the eagle, bear, raven, and the
fin-back whale.   When a member of the eagle crest gave 68 ANCIENT   WARRIORS
a feast he did not invite the members of his own crest,
but, for example, those of the bear or fin-back whale.
But suppose a man belonged to the eagle totem group,
his wife would be a bear or a member of the fin-back
whale totem, and when people of his crest made a feast
he would not be permitted to partake, but his wife,
being a member of a different crest, could attend and
take her share.
When the feasting was over the wife generally
brought back a quantity of eatables which she and her
husband could consume, and the man would do the
same whenever anyone of his wife's totem made a feast.
This food was given away after the actual feasting was
over, and was distributed according to the rank of the
persons present; a great chief perhaps got fifty biscuits
whilst an ordinary man or woman only got ten, and the
other food was distributed in like proportion. Also at
the death of a chief of an eagle crest, the blankets, prints
and other articles were distributed to members of the
opposite crests and vice versa. Thus the whole Haida
community was and even now is divided under these
different crests and totems. The bear and the fin-back
whale totems were generally united and classified as
one, and on this account there may be said to have been
only four distinctive crests or totems amongst these
The children, as may be gathered from what has previously been mentioned, always took the crest or totem
that belonged to their mothers.
These totem poles have often been referred to as
religious emblems, but whatever is buried in the origin
of the cult, they are not objects of worship, and for all
practical purposes have only a genealogical significance
and represent one or other of the four family crests,
and all the Haidas belong to one or the other of these OF THE NORTH  PACIFIC 6»
four; the crest of the owner of the house before which it
was erected was generally the top-most carved figure,
with his wife's crest carved beneath, and then followed
the crests of the notable ancestors that had been connected with his own or his wife's family.
Whenever a human figure was carved as the lowest
figure on any totem, it was said that it was a sure sign
that a slave had been killed and put into the hole, the
totem pole being raised up on his dead body. Some
men affirmed that at times the slave was bound hand
and foot and placed in the hole alive. The totem
system in one respect was of benefit to a captured
member of another tribe of Indians, no matter where
located on the coast of British Columbia, as all the coast
Indians have the same crests but with very little
differentiation. Thus it sometimes happened that when
a slave had been captured and brought to the village of
his captors, should he see his totem in front of any
chief's house, he appealed to this chief for liberty, and
was frequently redeemed or bought by the chief
appealed to, and sent back to his people. The members
of his tribe would then make a great collection of
blankets and other goods and repay the chief who had
redeemed him. The repayment was often ten times
the amount of what the chief had expended, so the
redemption and return of a slave was often a profitable
Children born of slaves were also counted as slaves.
Even at the present day the descendants of the Haida
slaves, although not now in bondage, have to intermarry
amongst themselves and are not allowed to intermarry
with free-born Haidas.
Lieutenant-Colonel Powell, when Superintendent of
Indian Affairs for British Columbia, could not break
. down all at once the custom of slavery, but he issued an 70 ANCIENT   WARRIORS
order that all the slaves had not to be called slaves but
tenas men and tenas klootchmen, i.e., little men and
little women.
The Haida word for slave is hal-dung-â, and the
Chinook word is e-lait-e. From the day the Colonel's,
order was received, slavery began to decline. Forty
years ago able-bodied slaves were valued at two
or three hundred blankets and exchanged or sold
Another old custom that existed amongst the Haidas
may be termed the mouse ceremony. The mouse was
supposed to possess great wisdom, and if a person was
ill and did not wish the services of a Sâ-ag-gà, the father
of the patient would turn his goods and chattels out of
doors, and then catch a mouse to instruct him where he
could find the person who was the cause of his child's
illness. He put the mouse in a small box and gave it
some grease to keep it alive. For three days the person
thus engaged abstained from food, and every morning
went down to the sea-shore with the box and there drank
some sea water. Returning home he threw himself
down on his bed, put the box under his pillow and went
to sleep. He was supposed to sleep through the day
and night, and the people were careful not to disturb
him. In the morning he arose and taking the mouse
again went down to the sea, and drank his fill of salt
water and again returned to bed. This he did for three
consecutive days. If during this time he dreamed that
a spirit had appeared and revealed the name of any
man, woman or child, he went to the person whose name
had been revealed arid demanded why his child had been
afflicted. He also demanded the payment of furs and
blankets as a peace-offering, and withdrawal of the
spell. If, however, the dreams were not explicit the
man would, at the conclusion of the third day, take the   OF THE NORTH  PACIFIC 71
mouse in his hand arid enter the houses and hold the
mouse in front of each person therein until he had found
the individual who had been the cause of the child's illness, the sign being that the mouse would bow or
nod his head twice before a guilty party. The old
inhabitants believed shortly after the mouse ordeal the
accused person would be found dead in the woods if the
patient did not recover.- With the help of the Church "
Council the author persuaded the people of Massett to ^
abandon this pagan practice.
No account of their old customs can be complete
without reference to the throwing or sprinkling of birds'
down during some of their dances. The dancing dresses
they wore on these occasions were fitted with a wooden
head-piece beautifully carved or painted, and sea-lions'
bristles were ingeniously inserted in a circle at the top,
and inside this circle a quantity of eagles' or swans'
down was stored; as the dancer shook his head and
jumped about the down became scattered over the
assembly and was a sign of goodwill and peace.
Frequently during the dancing they blew the down into
the air at intervals through painted tubes until everyone
present was bestrewn as with a fall of snow.
It has also been reported that when the Haidas met
the first white explorer they performed some of their
dances on boards laid across the bows of their canoes,
and when close to the ship quantities of this down were
blown over the vessel as a sign of friendship and
welcome. Swans and eagles were shot by the Haidas
in order to obtain this down for their ceremonial
dances. Many of their dances undoubtedly had a
religious significance and may even be considered as
part of a primitive ritual.
Another custom of the Haidas was to hold what
corresponds  to  a   " wake "   in the  room   where  the 72 ANCIENT   WARRIORS
deceased was being made ready for burial on the night
after his death. At this gathering they recounted the
brave deeds and virtues of the deceased.
Offences and Punishments
Theft.—The Haidas had a peculiar custom in dealing
with a thief. If the person who lost an article suspected
anyone, he would, during the night, place a wooden
dish or tray on the doorstep of the suspected thief's
house, and if his suspicion was well founded, he would
go for his tray on the night following and thereon would
find his lost property. Having received it, nothing
further was said, and the matter ended.
Before the advent of Europeans, theft was very rare,
and the old chiefs declared that theft was a most
heinous crime. Experiments were made by leaving
knives and hatchets sticking in logs on the beach where
they could be easily seen in order to test their honesty,
and months after they were still there, although scores
of Haidas must have seen them as they passed.
On one occasion a boy and girl, slaves of a chief,
were persuaded to break into the Hudson Bay Company's store and steal a bottle of candy, which they
distributed to their playmates. The manager the next
morning discovered a broken window and found that
some of his candy had disappeared. He made inquiries
and the culprits were soon found. He did not wish to
prosecute but asked that the culprits should receive
corporal punishment at the school, and this was carried
out. Several days after the children were punished, a
deputation of the principal Haidas requested the
dismissal of the teacher who was the owner of the slaves,
because the young people had broken into the store;
they alleged that this would not have occurred if he had OF THE NORTH  PACIFIC        78
controlled them properly, he was thus not worthy of
being any longer a teacher of their children. Their
request was refused, and the following day they boarded
up the windows and the door of the school-house and
prevented the children from entering.
The door was burst open and very soon an angry mob
surrounded the school and insisted on the dismissal of
the teacher unless the two delinquents were sent away,
as the parents considered that their children would
acquire the same vicious habits. A compromise was
eventually effected by a promise being given to isolate
the two juvenile criminals from their school for an
agreed period.
Murder.—The author never heard of a case of
deliberate murder amongst the Haidas, with the
exception of the ceremonial sacrifice of slaves when a
chief died.
K a member of one clan fell overboard from the canoe
of another clan and was drowned, the responsibility fell
on the owner of the canoe; his life was valued at so
many furs or blankets. If the amount claimed was paid,
a feast was held and another person appointed to take
the position and name of the deceased. After these
ceremonies were ended the clans resumed their former
of I
t the frien
ds of the
man  and
their   chi
be i
t tl
>aid by the
e required
h tl
e articles
tie lacked.
vo t
>arties join
ed hands
Adultery.—The damage was assessed by the chiefs,
id payment had to be made accordingly. This was
•lieraily computed according to the woman's age and 74 ANCIENT   WARRIORS
good looks. During the period when potlatches were
in vogue it was sometimes customary for the whole of
a clan to visit the European settlements at Victoria, or
1 even as far as the Caribou mining camps. The menfolk hired their wives and daughters to dissolute whites;
'rthe proceeds of this disgraceful traffic enabled them to
purchase blankets which they gave to their chief to
assist him in making a big potlatch.
The Haidas pay great respect to those who may be
deemed as their aristocracy. There was an old
chieftainess named Kai-ing-as-a, a creature of forbidding appearance who lived at Massett many years ago.
she passed any house in the village its owner begged her
she passed any house in the village its owner begged her
to enter. When she condescended to do so there was
a special decorum for the occasion, and even the
children ceased their play and a dignified silence was
maintained during her visit. CHAPTER   V
When a child was expected one of the witches under
the guidance of the Shaman acted as midwife. The
skin of a mountain goat was blessed by the medicine
man, and on this the confinement had to take place.
The newly-born infant was received with great ceremony
and named after one of the clan who had recently died,
and whose spirit the Shaman was alleged to breathe
into the child's body. Warm water was then given to
the child to cleanse and purify its interior, and its body
was painted or daubed with grease, rolled in flannel and
tied up in the goat's skin. The mountain goat has long
soft, silken wool, so the child was always snug and
warm. When about one month old it was wrapped in
half a blanket and placed in a rude hammock, and left
there for several hours at a time to sleep or cry as it
wished; the child very soon learnt how to take care of
itself. Should a child become unwell it was well nursed
by its mother and aunts, otherwise it was left to go
its own way. Infants were rarely bound on boards or
tied up into a motionless bundle and left until the
feeding time came round, they were seldom seriously
chastised, and as they grew up did more or less as they
At the age of puberty the girl had to pay strict
attention to the orders of the Shaman and to pass
through certain trying ordeals; they were more harshly
treated than the boys. Great care was taken to teach
^them submission, contentment and industry. At certain
periods they were not allowed to lie down to sleep, and
if overcome with drowsiness had to prop themselves
up in a sitting position.
The marriage customs of the Haidas were similar to
those of other North American Indians. The man
always took the active part by making known his desire
to the Shaman of his, clan, who in turn conveyed the
wishes of the young man to the girl's parents. The
young man and the Shaman generally got the parents'
consent before breathing a word to the girl, although she
was present when the arrangement was made. If his
suit met with approval the young man invited his friends
to go with him next day to the girl's home. As they
entered they sat on one side of the fire and her friends
sat on the opposite side. The young man's supporters
then recounted his virtues and many good qualities, and
if he was acceptable the girl got up and went across to
her future husband, sat down by his side and held his
hand as a token of submission. They were then looked
upon as man and wife, and the girl's parents accepted
all the gifts he and his friends had brought and made
the marriage feast.
Marriages were sometimes arranged at birth between
the mothers of the boy and girl. To make the bargain
valid gifts were made by the mother of the boy to the
girl's mother, but when fully grown should the boy OF THE NORTH PACIFIC        77
refuse to marry the girl the gifts remained with the
girl's mother. If the girl refused to become the boy's
wife, her mother had to return the property with interest.
Uncles looked after their nephews who had to succeed
them when they were about sixteen years of age, and
likewise the aunts carefully trained their nieces. Parents
had little influence over their children after the
adolescent stage.
The bridegroom after marriage had to reside in his
father-in-law's house and work for him until his uncle
died, whom he had to succeed, and then he was at liberty
to obtain his uncle's position, house and property.
When the husband was no longer satisfied with his
wife he left her, and she returned to her family. Her
uncle then demanded payment from the man for the
use of his niece, and the amount varied according to
the number of children she had. The payment was
generally twenty blankets for the woman and ten for each
of her children. The children were taken and kept by
the woman's parents, and no further trouble was caused
the father. Healthy men and women each had their
own work to attend to, and each was able to earn his
or her daily food and clothes, therefore the woman was
just as well off, if not better, without being tied to a
so-called husband.
The Haidas were averse to marrying members of any
of the mainland tribes, and only three such unions were
known in the past forty years. One was the late Chief
Wï-hâ who married a Zimshean Chieftainess at
Metlakatla, another married a Zimshean woman of the
Naase and the other a Zimshean woman of Port
Simpson. One of the main reasons why such marriages
were viewed with disfavour was that the husband always
wanted his wife to pass the Winter months with him
among his own people whilst the wife wanted her 78 ANCIENT   WARRIORS
husband to stay with her relatives. This led to ill-feeling
regarding their Winter residence, and sometimes they
agreed to live apart from the Autumn to the Spring. The
Haidas seemed to ridicule the idea of intermarriage with
the Zimsheans and in the Chinook jargon used to sing :
* " Kwansum. kakkwau Spukshoot Illahe,
Kluska marry tenas sun, kluska marsh sitkum sun."
Spukshoot Illahe is now known as Port Essington.
A Zimshean clan lived there and do now, so the song
in English said :
" Always the same at Port Essington,
They marry in the morning and are divorced at noon."
Deaths and Burials
When a chief was on the point of death all his goods
were brought forth and placed around him so that he
could see his wealth which must have looked rather
ominous to the patient.
When the Shaman had come to the conclusion that
the sick man would not recover the news was imparted
to him, and he was urged not to fight against fate.
His friends called and reminded him of those who had
the same sickness and died. Seeing that his departure
was decided, he often refused food and settled down to
die as quickly as he could. The coffin was sometimes
made in his presence. When in extremis he was
invested in his cotton shroud, beads were placed round
his neck and spots of red paint daubed on each cheek
and a black spot on his forehead, and a white cloth was
ready at hand to cover his face. He was then considered
in a fit condition to breathe his last.
Should the sick person be of a strong constitution
there is a suspicion that native poison was administered. OF THE  NORTH PACIFIC        79
The daughter of an old woman who was very infirm
asked on one occasion for poison so that her mother
might die before the salmon season commenced. This
was, of course, refused, but nevertheless the old woman
died in time to allow her daughter to get her fish
unencumbered with attendance on her mother.
When dead the most valuable article he possessed was
placed on his breast, and one chief had a large basin
full of silver dollars placed on his chest, another had a
large clock and an immense watch. The nephew who
had to succeed the deceased chief stood by the corpse
and was presented with blankets, dishes, beads, guns,
canoes, prints, pottery, dogs, axes and sundry other
articles, not, however, for his own benefit, but to be
distributed to those who took part in the funeral
The day after the death, the corpse was placed on a
trestle and covered with a white cloth, and his effects
were placed around him. The time for mourning had
now arrived, the old women of the clan, the witches and
the friends and relations of the deceased assembled and
began to groan, sigh and cry. The men moaned
À-chad-i-à dî kunë ! Alas, my beloved ! The women
also cried out aloud À-nâ-nî-â dî kunë ! Alas, or oh
dear, my beloved ! These phrases were repeated continuously, and the wailers made night hideous with their
moaning and groaning. After they had wept for two
or three hours the greatest chief present called for
silence, and the " wake " commenced. Tobacco and
pipes were provided for everyone present and smoking
commenced. During this stage of the proceedings the
chiefs and friends, according to rank, extolled the virtues
of the deceased, and tried to console his relatives by
reference to his disposition towards the poor, his love
for his  friends,   his  kindness  towards  his  wife  and 80
children, his brave deeds in battle and his liberality
whenever he made a distribution of his goods. Everything done during his past life passed under review,
then they concluded by saying that his time had come,
/that the gods wanted him, and he being a good man
had obeyed. The howling and wailing began anew,
and was kept up at intervals both day and night until
the deceased was buried.
When anyone of importance died the news was carried
to the other villages, and the tribesmen flocked in to
look at the dead man and consult about the funeral
arrangements, bringing many presents. During stated
intervals cannon were fired, and the number of discharges varied according to the rank of the deceased.
When a bear crest man died the funeral arrangements
were made by members of the eagle totem and vice
If a person died in the Spring after the people had
left for their fishing and hunting camps, the body was
placed in a coffin and kept outside of the house under
thick cedar slabs until all had returned for their Winter
festivities. One year two old chiefs died and were kept
under cedar slabs built around their coffins to protect
them from dogs for eight months until all arrangements
had been made for their burial according to custom
and the people were back to take part in the funeral
ceremonies. Both could not be buried on the same
day, so it was arranged that the chief who had died
first should have the preference.
In some of these old coffins, bone ear-rings, miniature
spears, models of canoes, rings of native copper and
small cedar boxes carved and inset with pieces of
abalone shell have been found. These small boxes contained fish grease, glass beads, teeth necklaces, silver
ear-rings crudely formed and various other articles.   All OF THE NORTH PACIFIC
these rites were undoubted evidence of beliefs in a future
After the funeral the people dropped their grief and
adopted a cheerful mien. They sat down to the funeral
feast and finished up the day's proceedings with a dance
in the buried man's honour.
Very little care was^ taken of their dead. They
frequently utilized the ornaments and relics taken from
the boxes containing their ancestors as a source of
revenue. Most of the older relics indicated one principal
period of culture. CHAPTER VI
Axes, adzes, hammers, knives made of stone were the
tools of the Haidas in former times, in fact fifty years
ago they were in the neolithic age. Their axes and
adzes were usually imade from grey basalt from the
West coast, but the more prized specimens were made
from an inferior kind of jade, said to be found in the
bed of the Thompson River. The rock was chipped to
required size and afterwards polished with hard sand
stones. Their adzes were from ten to fifteen inches in
length and two inches thick, tapering down to the edge.
Both adzes and axes were notched three to four inches
from the thick end for the handle. The handle was
made of a forked spruce or cedar branch whittled into
shape and soaked in hot water to make it pliable ; it was
then lashed in position by spruce root rope. Hammers
were made either from basalt or granitic rock. They
were about six inches long and four inches thick. The
shape of its ends depended on its use. Their stone
implements were always kept well sharpened, and after
the day's work was over the men sat around the hut fire
and touched up their axes. They even chopped down
great cedars with these rude tools and fashioned the war
canoes with their aid.
Stone knives about six inches long were also used, the
handle end was about two inches thick and rounded,
and the blade tapered to a fine point. They were made
of grey basalt quartz or flint. The knives were used for
slicing halibut  or  skinning   wild animals,   and they ANCIENT   WARRIORS 83
appeared to be effective tools. Knives were also
occasionally made of wood from the harder trees, such
as crab and yew. Their primitive implements gave
way about forty years ago to articles of European
The Haidas never developed the art of making
pottery. Their utensils, were hewn out of wood with
stone tools. For dishes they had troughs from one to
six feet long, from one to two feet wide and about the
same in depth. Now wooden vessels cannot be placed
on a fire, so the meat or fish was put in wooden vessels,
water added, and then hot stones were dropped in until
the water boiled, this being continued till the food was
cooked. * In like manner the person requiring a sweat
bath would sit naked in an almost closed tent on a rude
bench placed over a wooden trough containing water;
his friends then dumped hot stones into the water until
the tent was filled with steam and a fine perspiration
was induced.
The cooking utensils and boxes were decorated
around the edges either with the opercula of a particular
mollusc or bits of haliotis shell.
The garments of both sexes and also hats were
formerly made from the inner bark of the cedar tree
scraped and worked until it was as fine as wool.
Figures of birds and animals were sometimes worked
into the border or centre of their mats. The ornamental
designs were black, the fibre used being dyed by soaking
it in urine with some added pieces of iron. Baskets of
all sizes and shapes were skilfully made from the inner
bark of the cedar and the roots of the spruce. It is a
great matter of regret that these indigenous arts and
crafts have now died out.
Their spoons were made from the antlers of deer,
mountain goat and caribou steamed and fashioned to 84 ANCIENT   WARRIORS
the required shape. The handles were beautifully
carved with figures of their various crests as Professor
Sir William Ridgeway has pointed out in his monograph on Dramas and Dramatic Dances (1915) : 1 By
»a sort of rude heraldry they express, i.e., on posts,
"pipes, and spoons, the totem not only of the chief's own
clan, but also of clans with which he was immediately
connected by intermarriages. The frog clan was a very
important one and on a carved spoon (figured in his
book) not only does it form the upper totem, but is
being embraced and kissed by a woman. The two
seem to be the human ancestors of the clan and her frog
Soap they knew not, but used pieces of pumice from
the West coast and also a greyish clay for cleansing
their persons; needless to say, neither were very
' effective nor were they frequently used.
They never discovered the use ôf a wick soaked in oil,
so had no lamps ; when they wanted a light they merely
took a flaming brand from the fire, or they sometimes
lit one of the oily fish called oolachan of which they
generally had a supply.
Rope and twine was made either from the inner bark
of the cedar cut into narrow strips, or from the roots of
the spruce which they manipulated and softened, then
carefully plaited together to the required thickness.
For very fine work the sinews of animals, birds and fish
were used.
Dishes and plates of slate were fashioned, the edges
and the centre were beautifully carved with their totems'
devices, and they were veritable works of art. Stone
mortars and pestles of basalt were made for grinding
tobacco, their original tobacco being made from the
inner bark of the willow.
Their spears were about ten feet in length with a   OF THE NORTH PACIFIC        85
barbed head of iron. Before iron was introduced the
barbs were fashioned from whalebone or ordinary bone.
Bows were made of yew and about four feet long. In
section they were flat on the inner side and rounded on
the outer, the centre portion widened out to as much as
two inches tapering to a quarter of an inch at the ends.
The arrow was made of a pointed head-piece of mussel
shell or bone. The quiver was made of seal or sea-otter
skin, and contained up to a dozen arrows. The arrows
were not feathered.
Among the weapons, clubs figured, and these sometimes had perforated stone heads. Other clubs made of
hardwood, and often beautifully carved, were used for
bludgeoning seals. Favourite devices used on these
clubs were the head of a bear or the eyes of the raven
or whale. The whale's eye was considered a very
propitious emblem, for the whale spirit was believed to
assist men in securing such spoils of the sea as seals
and halibut.
Before glass beads made their appearance, many
women were decked with necklaces composed of bone
and copper ornaments charmingly carved and strung
together on a sinew. Beads of bone were also
fashioned by the native craftsmen; pieces of haliotis
shell, the teeth of bears and seals, the shells of small
molluscs were all utilized for this purpose according to
individual fancy.
The older women also wore bone ear-rings, often two
or three in one ear. The septum of the nose was also
pierced and a semicircular piece of whalebone inserted.
As soon as a girl reached the age of puberty her lower
lip was pierced, gradually the hole was enlarged, and
eventually a bone labret or stud was inserted. After
marriage, as her family increased, so the labret was
enlarged. 86
Both men and women were tattooed, the devices on
their totem poles being depicted on their bodies. The
pigment used was made from powdered charcoal derived
from alder wood, and it was remarkably permanent.
.'The operation was naturally painful, but it was
•considered a great disgrace for the patient to flinch or
cry out, and if so he was branded as a coward, unworthy
of his clan group whose crest he had been tattoed with.
Men were tattooed on the thighs, calves of the legs, arms,
breast and buttocks. Women were tattooed on arms
and legs, but rarely on the breast.
Nowadays, in most villages, a native silversmith will
be found who makes bracelets, rings and other
ornaments from silver dollars, and these fulfil the
feminine craving for adornment, but are poor substitutes
for the interesting native art which has now vanished.
Ceremonial Masks
A vast amount of research has been carried out among
the primitive races of the earth as well as through the
literature of more civilized people in connection with
Ceremonial intended to propitiate the spirits of the dead,
but the subject is too great to do otherwise than give it
a mere reference.
The origins of the mythology of any particular tribe
are not easy to fathom, but as Webster says, the fact
remains that the dramatization of their ancient legends
constituted to the people of North West America a
religion quite as powerful and impressive as that of the
Christian religion to the average civilized person.
As in many other parts of the world masks and other
paraphernalia were used to intensify effect and to inspire
awe; the Haidas also exercised great ingenuity on the
masks and at their sacred ceremonies.   A collection of OF THE NORTH PACIFIC 87
these obtained by the author for Professor Tylor can
be seen at Oxford.
The Nï-kils-tlas mask was the most important, inasmuch as it represented that important creature, the
raven, the mythological beliefs regarding, which have
already been described. The mask depicted the raven's
head with an Indian standing on top and a human face
in miniature in the centre of the forehead. The symbolism it was intended to convey being the raven as the
creator or perhaps the original ancestor of man and
the raven's male slave. Another mask of this class
represents the raven with a human head and strings
attached by which the lips could be opened at will, doubtless when oracular statements were made by the wearer.
The Lthwô-gl-gë or Stlë-whul mask was adorned with
swan's feathers and was used in what is often termed
the ghost dance. It was supposed to represent an evil
mythological monster which swooped down and carried
off young people who then became like their captor.
The ceremonial at which this was used took place in
a dark hut and its big red eyes were made visible by a
torch held in front of each. Strings were manipulated
so as to impart a movement to the mask, and a low chant
went on the while.
Another mask was that of a raven's head with an
attachment of marten skin ; it was used by the Shaman
of the village upon the occasion of the ceremonial dance
organized by the raven clan ; this mask was at least one
hundred and sixty years old.
Perhaps little less notable was the frog's head mask,
which was an important " property " in the dances of
the frog clan. The lower jaw of this was operated by
the wearer, and a grating sound was produced which
was believed to be like the croaking of a frog. The
wearer of the mask would carry in his hand the carved 88 ANCIENT   WARRIORS
figure of a frog squatting on a bear's head, and this
formed the handle of a dagger which was made of a
piece of steel plundered long ages ago from a trading
vessel. Its significance was to the effect that the man
belonged to the frog totem and his wife to that of the
To another class of ceremonial belongs the salmon
dance which took place when these fish were scarce. A
chief would be selected for the leading part, and he
would wear a mask with two red spots on the forehead,
three black marks on the left cheek and black and red
dots on the right. In his hand he carried a carved
representation of a salmon. Accompanied by the
Shaman he would proceed to the beach followed by the
people; he would then dance and sing, and then the
Shaman would invoke the water spirits and beg them to
bring back the salmon.
Another mask represented the most powerful Shaman
whose memory tradition preserved. It was small and
so was not worn on the face but on the breast of
Shamans of later days, for it was believed that the spirit
of their distinguished ancestor would guide them aright.
Even women on occasions wore masks, but they were
only assumed by those who aspired to magic power.
Such a one, when impelled to prophecy, painted her
face blue and black and donned her mask which
represented, in an exaggerated fashion, the facial contortions such a woman would exhibit when temporarily
Another mask was said to represent the face of a
deceased person of a distant tribe. It was painted grey,.
and gave the impression of the grimness of death. The
natives alleged that it was little used, for but few had the
hardihood to perform the dreaded death dance. CHAPTER  VII
Every Autumn the Haidas of both sexes used to migrate
to fishing camps to procure their Winter supply of
salmon. The men caught the fish and brought them
to their wives and children who first cleaned and then
smoked them. At the same time the men selected
suitable cedar logs from which canoes would be
fashioned in the following Spring. When suitable
trees had been selected for the canoes they wished to
make, they were felled and everyone helped to get the
logs down to the beach. When they returned home
with smoked fish, at the same time they towed these
logs back to the villages. Throughout the Winter and
Spring when the weather was favourable they worked
at their canoes hollowing them out until they gradually
assumed the conventional shape. The canoe makers
were called Woodpeckers from the noise of the continual
chipping. After the log had been sufficiently Shaped
and hollowed out, it was half-filled with water, and red-
hot stones carried with wooden tongs were thrown into
the water until the log became softened by the hot
water in a condition for stretching to the required width.
The canoe was widened by the insertion of pieces of
wood until it could not be further stretched without
cracking, the last stretchers were then left in place until
the canoe became set and hardened. This operation
needed great judgment, and a calm and sunshiny day 90 ANCIENT   WARRIORS
was selected for it, as a cold blast of wind was said to
be liable to crack the canoe from stem to stern, so the
log was surrounded with canvas and mats to prevent
the wind from reaching it whilst it was being stretched.
The Haidas were considered to be the best canoe-
'makers on the Pacific coast, and they were also very
expert in the handling of them, for they were trained at
this occupation from childhood. The canoes ranged
from' twelve to seventy feet in length, and for many
years most of the supplies from the mainland were
brought across Hecate Straits from Port Simpson in
Haida war canoes capable of carrying eight tons deadweight besides a crew of five to nine men. The making
and use of canoes unfortunately is dying out, as many
of the present generation own motor-boats which they
can manage as well as Europeans.
The Haidas taught their children how to right a
Capsized canoe. A calm day was chosen and the
children were ordered to put out in a medium-sized
canoe to about fifty yards from the shore and then
capsize it. Another canoe manned by relatives kept
nearby to instruct them and if necessary to render
assistance. They thus became experts in canoe-craft.
When the young folk landed they were not allowed to
go home until they had run up and down the beach for
some time and in this way escaped any ill-effects from
their immersion.
The Winter feasts and dances generally occupied the
people from the end of November to the middle of
February. When these festivals ended the young men
set out to hunt along the West coast as far as Hippa
Island, and during this trip usually killed several sea- OF THE  NORTH  PACIFIC 91
lions which they brought back in triumph. When they
landed the head of one was borne aloft into the house
of one of the chiefs and a great feast of sea-lion's flesh
then took place. The sea-lion's bristles were the
perquisite of the Shaman and the chief for their
ceremonial head-dresses, and the hunters were applauded
for their services. Preparations were then made for
removal to their fishing camps to obtain a supply of
halibut, the flesh being dried on racks in the sun and
then packed in boxes for future use.
They would then return home and wait for an
opportunity to kill a few fur seal as they passed up the
inlet in front of their villages. Once they knew the
fur seal season had arrived they scattered to their
favourite hunting camps, and even crossed the Hecate
Straits in search of the fur seal which in early days
were plentiful and passed these islands to breed at
the Pribyloff Islands. They generally hunted in pairs,
one in charge of the gun and the other steered the
canoe. Their catch was sold to the Hudson Bay
The fur seal season having expired, they would go
to their sea-otter camps down the West coast. When
the weather was fine and the sea calm, about a dozen
canoes would set forth in company; an otter would be
sighted from some distance away, and the hunting party
would creep up and surround it before it saw them.
When the sea-otter had sighted their canoes it would
dive and remain below for some time, but it had to come
up to breathe, and successive dives became shorter, and
when exhausted it was shot. The skins were sold to the
Hudson Bay Company on their return home. The
proceeds were divided equally amongst all who had
participated in the hunt, with the exception of the
hunter who had shot it and the steerman of his canoe, 92 ANCIENT   WARRIORS
who received a double portion. The tail was severed
from the otter and given to the wife of the man who had
killed it. This she dried and sold to the Hudson Bay
Company for a dollar.
»■ They were occasionally able to bag three or four sea-
xrtters in a day. During a stormy day, if a herd of sea-
otters was sighted some distance from the shore feeding
quietly on deep sea mussels attached to kelp, and the
weather was too rough for their canoes, one of the party
would imitate the call of the male otter loud enough to
be heard by the bull. It is said that he would leave the
cows and approach the spot from which the sound
emanated and would be gradually decoyed to his death
in calm water near shore.
In the olden days silver-tipped sea-otter skins could
be bought for $40; to-day they would fetch $1,000
each. For many years now no sea-otter has been shot
in the waters surrounding the Queen Charlotte Islands,
they appear to have been well-nigh exterminated.
During the hunting season the hunters were supposed
to live lives of strict celibacy, for unless this rule was
observed, although they would be able to locate the seal
and sea-otter, their hunting would fail for their aim
would be unsteady.
The wives and children had to live outside their
houses whilst their husbands were away hunting. Had
they remained indoors it was believed that whales would
attack the canoes and destroy them.
If a hunter saw a caterpillar on leaving the camp he
would pick it up and bite it in half, swallowing each
portion consecutively. This charm ensured good luck.
Others believed in the efficacy of holding three lead
bullets in their mouths, and this was considered a spell
to enable them to hold their guns straight.
Their guns were generally old-fashioned Hudson Bay OF THE  NORTH  PACIFIC 98
muzzle-loading muskets, and the hunters had far more
confidence in these clumsy weapons than in breech-
loading shot-guns and rifles. Prior to the arrival of
firearms they were accustomed to hunt with bows and
arrows. The younger generation are now equipped with
modern weapons, but for all that do not obtain as many
skins as their ancestors.
Some of the Haidas used to hunt the bear with wolfhounds; the bear was frequently treed by the dogs and
kept there until the hunter arrived with his musket.
The more general mode of obtaining the skins of the
bear, land-otter and the marten, was to set deadfalls
baited with a fish or a duck on a trail the quarry were.
accustomed to frequent.
They sometimes made a trap with the help of a soft
sapling which they found near a bear trail; the top of
the tree was bent towards the ground and fastened down,
a rope made of spruce root fibre was attached to the
bent sapling and a noose on the top was cunningly
arranged and almost touching a log placed there for the
purpose of affixing a fish on either side as bait. No
matter from which direction the bear approached he
would scent the bait, and would first eat the fish on the
near side of the log, to secure the other fish he would
have to place his head through the noose, a light trigger
catch would be released, and the sapling would spring
back to its normal condition with the suspended bear.
Cotten rope has nowadays superseded the old-fashioned
spruce ropes.
Deadfalls and the rope snares were generally used on
the West coast, for it was considered too dangerous
to erect these traps near the rivers of the fishing
camps where the women and children accompanied by
the men prepare the salmon. Steel traps are now in
general use. 94 ANCIENT   WARRIORS
The old-fashioned way of trapping salmon was by
placing stakes in the river from one side to the other
leading into baskets which the fish entered through
small apertures and thus became caught.
The inner bark of the crab-apple tree was boiled and
the liquor drunk to prevent pregnancy. On one
occasion a young woman with a deformed spine got
married and her mother did not wish her to have any
children so administered a quantity of the crab-apple
bark concoction which caused painful sickness and
eventual death.
Wild rhubarb roots were boiled and the water used as
an aperient. The young roots of the skunk cabbage
were dried and used with other herbs. They were
considered a cure for fevers and skin diseases. Two
young girls obtained a tender shoot of this plant and
pretended they were giving a feast. They each ate a
portion and on returning home became ill and one died.
The stem of the Berberis aquifolium was pounded and
boiled. The decoction was drunk as a remedy against
Wild parsnip roots were believed a good remedy for
irregularities of the bladder.
A certain root found in marshy land was used as a
poultice for sprains and swellings; it was mashed up
after soaking in hot water.
Pain from a decayed tooth was treated by cautering
of the nerve with a sharp piece of flint or steel.
Fern roots were boiled and mashed, then applied to
swellings in the form of a poultice.
In the Spring of the year the women and girls collected
quantities of the early fire-weed and new branches of the OF THE NORTH PACIFIC
briar which when peeled they chewed to purify- their
blood and make them handsome.
Nettles and the branches of the devil's club were
used for beating a rheumatic limb on the well-known
principle of counter irritation.
A bruised leg or arm was relieved by placing it in hot
sand, quite a sensible practice.
White gum obtained from the spruce tree was applied
to sores and boils, and they often chewed this gum as
the Americans do, considering it beneficial for keeping
their tec
An oi
and mb
as made from fruits burnt to powder
olachan grease which was spread over
The inner bark of the cedar tree was pulverized, laid
on swellings, then ignited. When the heat became
intense the pain was deadened.
The application of a bag of warm sand after a
vigorous beating with stinging nettles was considered
a quick cure for cramp in the stomach.
Broken bones were cleverly set and held together
by splints made out of the inner bark of the cedar
Bleeding was resorted to frequently for headaches,
and in cases of swelling, tumours and rheumatism.
During pregnancy neither the husband nor the wife
must partake of the sea-gull's flesh, for it was believed
their offspring would suffer with diarrhoea and die
Salmon berries pulverized and mixed with oolachan
or any other fish oil they used as we do hair-oil to make
the hair grow long and glossy.
Secretly obtaining the hair of an individual and burying it in the ground meant the person's lingering death,
for as the hair rotted in the ground the person from 96 ANCIENT  WARRIORS
whose head it had been obtained gradually declined and
Liquorice root was sometimes used for coughs and
I    Persons suffering with tubercular disease were given
°,a. variety of fish oils and fatty meats.   Oil from the
oolachan fish was considered one of the finest remedies
for this dreadful disease.
Hemlock bark was used as an astringent in certain
feminine ailments.
The bear-berry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) leaves were
used as a diuretic in kidney diseases and in affections of
the urinary passages.
To spit water on a sick child was supposed to alleviate
his pain.
When an owl hoots in the village it is a sign of death.
If a dog bit a person the dog had to be killed, otherwise the wound would not heal.
A liquid made from sea slugs and a certain herb
which is found near Langara Island boiled together
make a drink which has a narcotic effect similar to that
of opium. The author rashly experimented with this
decoction and was drowsy for several days.
To dream ill of anyone means that he will have a great
Charms must be kept secret, otherwise they will lose
their power of bringing luck to the owners.
The Shamans were supposed to make deadly poisons
from the herbs and roots which they collected in the
forests, and upon payment would allow a person to use
them to get rid of his enemy.
If a man wished to compel a woman to be his wife, he
would first obtain a lock of her hair, mix it with some
deer tallow, place it in his mocassin, and in course of
time the woman would agree to become his wife.   A
-     ■' OF THE NORTH  PACIFIC        97
case of this kind occurred some time ago amongst the
Kitkatla Indians. The father of the girl heard of it
and determined that the man should not marry his
daughter, so one day he took his rifle and awaited the
man's return from halibut fishing. As soon as the man
landed on the beach he shot him in the abdomen.
His friends, however, took him off to Fort Simpson
Hospital and he recovered.
Only a few examples .of the pharmacopceial remedies
of the Haidas have been enumerated, but they appear
to have had herbal medicines for every ailment, and the
success of many appear to have depended on the efforts
of the Shaman and were prescribed with his approval. CHAPTER  VIII
Before the advent of European influence the life of
the Haidas was much influenced by the medicine men
or Shamans. These Shamans, or devil doctors as they
were commonly called by European colonists, occupied
the unique position of prophet, sorcerer and physician
to the tribes amongst whom they lived. They also
partly occupied the position of priests, for faith in a
supreme deity, whose influence was for good was part
of their natural religion and he was known as the
Shâ-là-nâ or lord of all things, whose dwelling was
supposed to be on high or above the clouds. This
deity held and had control over all human beings and
spirits, even over the bad spirits that were dominated
by Het-gwau-lâ-nâ, the lord below or chief of the lower
regions. The spirits of those who died by drowning
were supposed to be captured by this wicked chief and
they eventually became wicked and evil disposed like
their lord and master; whilst those that were killed in
tribal battles departed to the bright and happy land
dominated over by the good chief Shà-nung-ît-lag-i-das.
The spirits of those who died a natural death spent a
period in some unknown and distant region, and when
the proper time had elapsed were reincarnated in newly
born infants of the tribes to which they formerly
belonged, but this privilege was only granted to them
seven times, and after the seventh return to this mortal ANCIENT WARRIORS 99
earth, according to some of their traditions, became
annihilated and extinct. The medicine men professed through being able to converse with the spirits
of the departed to know exactly in what infant the
spirit or soul of a former Haida had taken possession.
In regard to the soul's departure at the death of the
body, the Zimsheans as well as the Haidas believed that
the soul quitted its mortal abode before death actually
occurred, and the tribal medicine men if paid for their
trouble professed to have power to catch the soul, and
restore it to the body that was about to die.
As may be readily understood the functions of the
medicine men and the witches have rarely been fully
appreciated by European residents and were often
looked upon merely as jugglers. There did not appear
to be any association whatever between the members of
this profession, and each practised his art singly and
alone whenever a demand was made for his services
and the proper fee was paid. In fact, instead of the
medicine men working together harmoniously, there
was great rivalry between them, and one tried to do
more wonderful acts than the other. The office of the
Sâ-ag-gâ or medicine man was not hereditary, he was
either chosen by certain indications or omens at his
birth, and elected by the fraternity of the medicine men
to become finally one of their number. If finally
elected, it was generally due to the fact that while still
a youth he exhibited psychic gifts and could see visions
and dream dreams, and these powers were supposed to
be bestowed only by the god of thunder or the sun god
on their favourites. The spirits which they most
desired to see in their dreams were those of mammals
and birds, though any object was considered a good
omen whether it were animate or inanimate. The
object which first appeared was destined to be adopted 100 ANCIENT  WARRIORS
as the personal mystery or guardian spirit which he
firmly believed would control inevitably all his future
actions, and consequently was adored so highly that
his name was never mentioned without offering him a
sacrifice. When he became fully initiated as a medicine
( man, his guardian spirit was carved either on a piece
of ivory, bone or wood, and this he always wore round
his neck, and he believed that no harm could possibly
reach him and that he would become successful as a
magician. In preparing for his life's work, he had to
go through a severe course of training and endure
great privations. He must abandon for a time all his
friends and go away by himself into some secluded
place in the forest and practise fasting for several days,
during which time he was only allowed a small portion
of his ordinary rations, and that only at sunset.
During his sojourn in the woods he gained a knowledge
of the various Haida medicines or herbs, and once a
week was instructed in their use by a fully qualified
medicine man that was appointed to visit him weekly
in his seclusion. He himself tasted all the herbs and
became fully acquainted with their use. He became
accustomed to eat medicine herbs of which
uniflora seemed to be the principal plant selected; this
is very bitter and hot to the taste. His instructional
probation lasted until the medicine men as a body
agreed that he was sufficiently skilled to become one of
their fraternity. In old times the novice also had to
partake of human flesh, probably that of a slave, later on
a dog was substituted. During all these weeks of hardships and fasting his body became emaciated and thin,
and also became changed by a heavy growth of hair, so
that his friends could hardly recognize him. No wonder
then, if his mind during this period of solitude became
somewhat deranged, and that his friends reported that OF THE NORTH PACIFIC       101
he could converse with and see his familiar spirits and
understand strange and supernatural things. If the
medicine men approved of the applicant after his
course of training and fasting was over, and after the
usual fee of blankets and other valuables had been
paid over, the novice was admitted with significant
ceremonials as a medicine man and became one of the
Sà-ag-gà fraternity.
One of the indispensable conditions for success in his
future work before the beginner was pronounced learned
in all the mystic rites of his profession was that on
his return to his village he must partake of the flesh of
a witch, and unfortunately some innocent and defenceless woman was condemned to suffer to satisfy the
demand. The witches, however, did not think it was
either fair or just that one of their number should suffer
whenever a youth had to pass his final degree, the
medicine men and chiefs in council therefore decreed
that the aspirant should henceforth bite a piece out of
the fleshy part of the first person he met on returning
from his long fast in the woods. The yelling and tom-
toming at one end of the village as the youth approached
from the other was quite deafening. Now and again
a lull was reached during the performance, when one of
the chiefs sang a solo. This he did as if enduring great
agony, but always ended by praising the forbears of
the novice and the kindness of the assembled medicine
men in allowing another to be admitted into their
profession. On the youth's arrival at the middle of the
village the chiefs, in order to save their own flesh,
compelled one of the slaves to go forward and meet
him. The poor slave had to submit to the tearing of
a piece of flesh from his body by the new Shaman.
Owing to the influence of Europeans this custom died
out a good many years ago, and a dog was substituted 102 ANCIENT   WARRIORS
for the slave and the unfortunate beast was subsequently
greatly honoured in the district, for had not a medicine
man partaken of part of his body. As Europeans
became more numerous this custom died out entirely and
the death of the rite marked the last occasion of the
consecration of a medicine man among these people.
Large sections of these islands have a volcanic
appearance, and on one particular island hot springs
are to be found. This hot water was supposed to be
controlled by the medicine men, and anyone without
their consent utilizing the same was Sure to meet with a
fearful death. By means of payment of furs and
blankets to the Shaman in charge, anyone had the
privilege of using these waters. The old warriors had
great faith in their efficacy, and wonderful stories are
told of cures of rheumatism, sores and other troubles
and probably with some reason.
In another part of the islands there is said to be a
spring some distance from the shore, and at extreme
low water the salt water bubbles, and smoke or steam
is emitted. This also was believed to be under the
control of the medicine men and became very popular.
Here the lame and halt came, and it was also a favourite
spot for the young people of both sexes to meet arid
exhibit their latest acquisitions in the way of ornaments,
nose and ankle rings, armlets and ear-rings.
The life of each clan was guided to a great extent by
its respective Shaman, who at times was as tyrannical
and burdensome as Sinbad's old man of the sea, and he
traded on the superstitious fear of his followers. Some
of their laws were enlightened and beneficial, others not
so desirable.
The Haidas under the control of their Shaman had
a moral code which commands respect. Children were
commanded to obey their parents, and they were early OF THE NORTH PACIFIC
taught to be unselfish and kind to each other, and that
in every condition of life it was better to be silent and
listen than to speak. Poverty was to be respected and
helped. Hospitality was inculcated to a very high
degree. Those who caused serious misfortune to the
tribe by imprudent talk and boasting were frequently
put to death. They were also taught that it was right
to kill an enemy or to carry him away as a slave, but
to abuse a friend without any just cause, or to kill him,
was punished always by death. Thus amongst themselves they were obedient to the laws made by their
Shamans, and under their control and guidance were a
warlike and healthy nation.
As a rule the Indians in each, village were accustomed
to build their houses as closely as possible to the beach,
and the Shaman's house was generally in the centre.
Under his instruction, none but the younger people
would think of killing the animal or bird that had been
selected by his father for his crest. They were commanded to worship or esteem most highly the spirit of
the air and the spirit of water, and imagined that the
souls of their ancestors until reincarnated seven times
had their resting places with the souls of the birds and
animals as carved on their ancestral totems. Forty
years ago the raven especially was regarded everywhere as sacred and consequently was quite tame, and
during the Winter months came to their dwellings
for food.
One hundred years have wrought disastrous change
in the women of the coast. The women of the islands,
according to Captain Mears, were reserved and chaste
and examples of loose and immodest conduct were very
rare. Thus, in this respect, the influence of the
medicine men acted beneficially for the preservation of
the nation, as under their jurisdiction death was the 104 ANCIENT   WARRIORS
penalty to robbers, defilers of streams, and to women
who became mothers without first being wives.
In regard to the chastity of the Haida women
Captain Mears may be quoted again. He visited the
islands in 1788 and says : " We were one day very much
surprised by the appearance of a canoe paddled along
by Indian women and containing about twenty of that
sex, without a single person of the other. While we
were contemplating this company of ladies, a young
man leaped suddenly amongst them from another
canoe, at which they were so alarmed that, though clad
in their best array, they all threw themselves into the
sea and swam in a body to the shore." In later years
it is very doubtful if Indian women would take an
impromptu bath for such a reason.
The Haidas resorted under the guidance of their
medicine men to the use of sweat baths, rubbing,
bleeding, counter irritants and cold baths. The
person who wished to try the healing virtues of the
sweat bath generally entered a small tent only high
enough to allow him to be comfortably seated. After
divesting himself of all his clothing, large boulders,
red-hot, were brought within the tent and placed
in a receptacle made especially for that purpose, and
over these heated stones water was poured. The door
was securely closed, and the patient sat in the
sweltering steam of the tent until his body was
covered with profuse perspiration. The sweat bath
and the cold sea water bath seemed to have been
the great cures for all kinds of fevers, and were often
resorted to by the ancient Haidas. Bleeding was
resorted to in cases of swellings, tumours and
rheumatism. The bleeding was performed formerly
with a piece of flint before the Haidas had iron knives,
and  in  the blood thus drawn from  the  patient the OF THE NORTH  PACIFIC       105
Shaman pretended to find some minute object which
he declared had been conveyed into the body of the
sick man through the evil machinations of an enemy.
Beating the skin with bunches of nettles as counter
irritants under the guidance of the medicine men was
also resorted to in cases of rheumatism, neuralgia, etc.
Blowing upon the sick man on the part affected by
the Sâ-ag-gà was also a function of the medicine men.
He would at times in cases of serious sickness blow
over every part of the sick man's body, and then put
his mouth over the sick man's mouth and pretend to
suck the sickness out of him. He then would turn
round and face the open doorway and pretend also to
blow the sickness or evil influence out through the
doorway or up through the smoke hole. The medicine
men also were fully acquainted with the curative
properties of the herbs, roots and barks of the various
trees which these islands produce. They had fixed
regulations in regard to the preparation of their
decoctions and to the care of the medicines during the
continuance of the treatment of the sick under their
charge. After their patients had recovered, the
medicines and decoctions, after ceremonial treatment
were either buried in the ground or thrown into
the sea.
Most of this information was obtained from the late
Shaman Kù-të, the last medicine man amongst the
Haidas at Massett, and even then it was very difficult
to obtain, as he considered that it was outside a
European's province to interfere with him and his
spirits by inquiries as to his methods.
During the first two or three years of the author's
residence at Massett the Shaman was apprehensive that
a competitor had arrived, and he endeavoured to
persuade the people that the medicine of the European 106 ANCIENT   WARRIORS
was inevitably fatal to an Indian unless its effect was
eradicated by a course of treatment also at his hands,
in fact, the people that were seriously sick were
expressly forbidden to take the white man's medicine
on pain of being disregarded by their own witch
doctor. They dreaded the consequences of departure
from old customs, yet faith in European medicines
gradually won its way even though they at first hid
them away and were reluctant to use them, at the
same time paying strict attention to the witch doctor
and his remedies. Several times when death occurred
it was noticed that when they began to examine the
boxes of the deceased all the medicines they received
and which it was assumed had been taken by the
deceased had by the devil doctor's instructions been
carefully locked up in a box. Several years later,
however, they gradually began to lose confidence in
the abilities of their medicine men and became more
disposed to accept treatment from the benevolent
missionary, and with the exception of the very old
people all are now in favour of European medicines.
It was exceedingly difficult to obtain from the
Shamans any concrete statement of the nature of a
malady, and their description of symptoms was always
of the vaguest character. Whilst they had definite
names for rheumatism, toothache (this they sometimes
cured by the sensible practice of destroying the nerve
with a hot iron, or prior to the use of iron with a
piece of sharp pointed flint), boils and a few other
ailments, but beyond these their description of cases of
serious illness as may be expected resolved itself into
the statement that the patient was troubled by an evil
spirit, was under the spell of an enemy, an enemy had
caused something to sprout and grow in the body of
the patient, or something had been put into the patient's OF THE NORTH PACIFIC       107
food by an enemy to cause him to waste away. Thus
no matter what occurred in the olden days the Sà-ag-gà
of the tribe was always consulted and the destiny of
the people was practically in his hands, no one
dared to oppose him and his orders, as all were
afraid of the magic powers which he was believed to
According to old tradition and the oaths taken at
the time of their initiation the medicine men were
never allowed to have their hair cut or even allowed
to have it properly combed, therefore Kû-të, the Massett
Shaman, had long tangled hair—it well-nigh reached
his knees—but when not viably engaged he kept it tied
up in the shape of a ball on the top of his head and
secured by beautifully carved bone pins. This long hair
was believed to assist in his magical power over the evil
Spirits. As soon as the hair was cut the man lost the
rank and dignity of a magician and his clients refused
to consult him in cases of illness, as they fully believed
that all his magical influence had departed from him.
Kû*të, several years before he died, had his hair cut
and embraced Christianity, both he and his wife
being baptized by the author. The bone, wood and
ivory carvings worn by a medicine man have been
previously referred to, and on each of these ornaments
a device representing his guardian spirit was carved.
One of these articles was generally hollowed out at each
end and a piece of the inner bark of the cedar tree or
a piece of wool was used to plug the holes. It was
believed that he had the power of enclosing therein the
soul of one ready to depart, and if paid his fee would
restore it again to the body. Kû-të gave the author
this most important and spirit-catching charm and it
was sent to the Oxford University Museum, where it
can be seen to-day.   Six months later,  however,  he 108 ANCIENT   WARRIORS
regretted the gift and begged for its return, as he had
been having a bad time with his familiar spirits, and
owing to the lack of this charm they had refused to
obey him. It was explained that the return was
impossible and he was very depressed. Four months
Jater, however, he announced that the difficulties between
tiimself and his spirits had been smoothed over. This
charm was about six or seven inches in length, and
from its size and general appearance might possibly
have been made out of the femur of a bear : it was
carved with many grotesque designs, and conventual
representations of a human being or possibly the soul
of a human being, according to the Haida fancy and
their idea as to how the human soul should be
represented. A grotesque face was carved in front
and the back was evidently intended to be a crude
representation of the human frame. During its
ceremonial use the fillings were removed from the
hollow ends and the doctor danced around the bedside
of the dying man, and it was believed that the Shaman
could snare the sick man's soul as it was ready to depart
and entice it into one of these apertures of the charm.
Should he succeed, and this probably rested on the
size of his fee, he then had the power to restore the
Soul to its body and the patient would, it was believed,
then recover. This belief is not unique among the
Haidas for Dr. Duncan describes the use of a similar
charm among the Zimsheans. " A medicine man from
an outlying district, coming among the Indians at the
Metlakatla Mission, put a family into great distress
by communicating to them that in walking along, not
far off, he had seen the soul of a young girl, had
caught it, and for a certain consideration would restore
it to the owner, who must otherwise naturally die. The
girl indicated was in good  health, but some of her OF THE NORTH  PACIFIC       109
relatives were so much alarmed that they came to the
missionary and told him all the circumstances. He
partially reassured them, and finally quieted their fears
by frightening the medicine man from the village."
Thus it was with the Haidas, they were imbued with
the idea that they were subject to sickness, misery and
death, and unless they supported their medicine men
and fully carried out their orders they would soon
become extinct, consequently believed that power had
been conferred on their medicine men to protect them
from such fearful disasters.
Unlike the chiefs and the rest of the people, the
Shamans were allowed to rifle ancestral graves of any"
charms they especially desired, but on no occasion
could they make use of these articles before they had
received an assurance either by some good omen or in
some dream that the spirits were willing and acquiesced
in their use. Bone ear-rings, nose-rings beautifully
carved and also bone anklets were worn when dancing.
These bone ornaments were richly carved to represent
human beings, mammals and birds, and seemed to me
to be of great age. The old chiefs also wore many
beautifully carved bone ornaments, and when a doctor
was not in evidence they were inclined to practise
medicine themselves. On one occasion a strong
Westerly wind was encountered on a sea journey
from Skidegate to Massett and we had to anchor on
the East side of Rose Spit; the owner of the vessel
then made a little medicine;—in the first place he
lit three large bonfires to burn the wind; he then
caught a bee and put it inside of two clam shells,
planting the shells in the sand on the beach about half
tide, so that when the tide returned it drowned the
bee; by that time the fires also would have done their
duty and the wind would be induced to blow from the 110 ANCIENT   WARRIORS
proper quarter. He also chopped down a tree to fall
in the direction from which he wanted the wind to
blow to take us safely and easily home.
On another occasion our party was windbound for
several days and no Shaman was at hand to influence
the elements. A raven, therefore, was shot and singed
in the bonfire, and with this in his hand, our head
man ran quickly down to the low water mark and
swung the raven swiftly to and fro several times in
the direction from which it was desired that the wind
should blow. After doing this he threw it behind him,
turned round several times, and then picked the bird
up again and took it into the woods. He then got
some young men to chop down a spruce tree, and they
felled it in the direction of the required wind; this
done, they propped up the raven on the stump in a
sitting position facing the same direction. It need
hardly be stated that this chief was not a member
either of the raven or the eagle totem. This ceremonial
being completed, the head man was asked how long they
had to wait for a fair wind, and he stated the number
of hours. Possibly the chiefs had noticed from the
clouds that the wind was changing to the desired
quarter and seized the opportunity of making wind
medicine to enhance their prestige, for on each
occasion the wind changed at about the prophesied
time and the homeward journey was safely negotiated.
Wind ceremonial should, however, really only be
performed by the medicine men, but if they were well
supported by their tribes they allowed the chiefs to
occasionally operate magical ritual, so that they were
enabled to officiate as deputies during the absence of
the qualified practitioners.
The influence of the Shaman in the family circle was
also great; they tended to crush freedom of speech, OF THE NORTH PACIFIC       111
freedom of expression, and individual initiative. When
a man wished to marry he made his desire known to
the Sà-ag-gà of his tribe, and if he were pleased with
the proposed union would make known the young
man's wishes to his mother, and then the young man
and the doctor would go to the mother of the young
girl he had chosen and arrange the match. A little
later the young man invited his friends to go with
him to the girl's parents. As they entered the house
they sat down on one side of the fire that was
generally burning in the centre of the house, and the
girl and her friends sat on the opposite side. The
friends of the young man then highly recommended his
good qualities to the parents of the prospective bride,
and if satisfactory, as soon as all the speech-making
was ended the girl got up and went across to where
her future husband was sitting and sat down beside
him and held his hand in hers. They were then
looked upon as man and wife, and she was led away
by her husband to his parent's house, but only for a
few days, when both returned and brought with them
presents from the man's friends and both remained in
the house of the girl's parents. The young husband
was under obligation to do his utmost to help his
father-in-law in his work of making canoes, fishing and
hunting. This custom is now entirely changed with,
the advent of Christianity.
In the olden days, when a girl reached maturity, she
had to pay strict attention to the orders of the medicine
man of her tribe and passed through a trying ordeal.
A small tent was generally erected for her accommodation at the back of her father's house, and in this tent
she had to remain for about fourteen days. Her face
was painted and her food was scanty, as by the
Shaman's  orders   fasting   more   or   less   severe  was §§
practised. Should she, during this period leave her
tent and should accidentally meet a man, her face
must be covered with her blanket. During this
novitiate she also wore a peculiar cloak made out of the
inner bark of the cedar tree, which covered her head
/ and reached down to her knees, leaving only a small
'aperture for her eyes. This cloak was only worn on
this peculiar occasion, so that when seen wearing this
garb, all the people looked upon her as about to pass
from girlhood to womanhood. During the time she
lived alone in the tent, she was under strict orders not
to remove this cloak under any consideration. If this
ceremony took place during the Winter months, a
portion of her parents' house was screened off for her
occupation and she was strictly isolated from the other
occupants. When her time had expired and the
Shaman had given his consent, the parents of the girl
were accustomed to make a great feast, and all the
people in the village were invited to attend. When all
were assembled, the screen or the door of the tent was
raised, and the girl was seen sitting with her back to
the guests dressed in the garb referred to. This was
removed by a woman authorized to do so by the
Shaman, and the girl then began to entertain the
guests with songs and dances she had been taught for
the occasion. She was then congratulated by all and
the feasting commenced. After the feasting and the
congratulatory speeches were ended, the rest of the night
was spent in dancing.
When the first-born son was born it was customary
to name him after the mother's eldest brother, but
should the mother be brotherless, the medicine man was
consulted, and after he had consulted his spirits and
taken about a week to think and dream over it, he
announced that the child should receive the name of a OF THE NORTH PACIFIC       118
deceased relative or friend of his on the mother's side,
and with great rhetoric he demonstrated that the soul
of this deceased person had again returned to the tribe
in the person of the newly-born infant, therefore, as he
was revisiting his own people for a second or third
time the child should, when he reached manhood, receive
his former rank and precedence. The Shaman having
defined the soul of his mother's relative that had become
reincarnated the child had to be named after this
ancestor, and this was done with great ceremony in the
presence of all the tribe. All were expected to give
presents according to their rank to start the boy on
his way through life. His aunt on his father's side
generally acted as godmother and received the presents
on behalf of her godson. The next ceremony he had
to undergo was the occasion of having the lobes of his
ears and the septum of his nose pierced in order to be
fully decorated on suitable occasions with bone or ivory
ear-rings and nose-ring according to the custom of the
warriors of his tribe. During this ceremony a potlatch
was made on his behalf by the uncle whom he was
destined to succeed, and great rejoicing took place when
this piercing ceremony was bravely and successfully.
accomplished. When he emerged from boyhood and
had to take his place as a man of the nation, he had
to undergo the ordeal of tattooing. It was customary
for the young men and the young women to undergo
this painful operation without flinching, and the village
made it an occasion of great public feasting and
In case of sickness it devolved on the brother to call
in the aid of the Shaman when a person became ill, the
patient, according to tribal custom, was not allowed to
do so. Should the doctor conclude that there was no
hope for him and that his soul had escaped entirely, 114 ANCIENT  WARRIORS
then all the friends of the sick man were called together
into the house and provided with tobacco; they sat
around and smoked hour after hour watching the
patient expire. When he was dead, they kept their
vigil the whole of the first night and recounted the
many brave and good deeds of the departed. The
house was generally full of sympathizing neighbours
and the wailers or old women that were paid to mourn.
These women may be looked upon as minor witch
doctors, for they assisted the Shaman at births in his
endeavour to decide what particular ancestor's soul had
taken possession' of the child's body. These old
women also acted the part of accouchers at births and
washed and dressed corpses for burial, consequently
they were looked upon with great respect. The day
following the death the body was put into a cedar box
made of a shape to accommodate the corpse in a sitting
position with the chin to the knees, and after an
interval of two or three days the deceased was depositieS I
with his ancestors in a tomb-house built on two posts
or merely piled up with other boxes at some specially
selected place on the ground. The observances at the
funeral are worthy of comment; after uncontrollable
bursts of grief by the wailers, a long silence occurred,
a voice then asked questions and all seemed to await a
reply. There is little doubt that on these occasions the
Haidas actually believed that they were conversing with
the dead, and. were consoled accordingly. The funeral
ceremonies over, a cheerful and happy demeanour was
adopted and the people returned to the village to
commence their feasting and dancing in order, as they
said, to cause the bereaved family to forget their loss.
After the feasting and dancing were over the nearest
relative or the chief of the tribe made the customary
potlatch and distributed the dead man's property to ft '   BYw^^^iwj  OF THE NORTH PACIFIC       115
those who had taken part in the funeral ceremonies, in
order to pay them for the labour, trouble and expense
that he had caused. If the deceased were a chief, his
successor made another potlatch and erected an obituary
Gl-hang to his memory, as we are accustomed to erect
tombstones over the departed. On this plain upright
totem the copper plates that the deceased possessed were
attached. Should there, however, be no copper plates,
one solitary figure was carved at the bottom of the pole
and frequently another at the top, and during all these
transactions and ceremonies the Sà-ag-gà was much to
the fore.
The Sâ-ag-gà, before he died, generally took three or
four chiefs with him and selected his own resting or
burial place in the solitude of the forest, as his body
was not disposed of in the Same manner as ordinary
mortals. No Sà-ag-gà's body was ever put into a box
after death, but he was carried by the chiefs he had
previously selected, to the exact spot where he had told
them to place his corpse, and there he was laid dressed
in all his doctor's attire and with all his charms around
him. His successor sometimes accompanied the chiefs,
and he and the chiefs were supposed to be the only
persons cognisant of his resting place, as on the day
of the funeral the rest of the people were compelled to
remain within doors. A covering was usually made
out of split cedar boards to protect the body from
animals, birds and the elements, and there he was left
to repose in peace. Kû-të's body, although not secretly
buried, was, nevertheless, not buried in the ground, but
could be seen up to recently reposing upon cedar
boards within a miniature house composed mostly of
windows, in the Massett graveyard.
Thus, formerly, the Sâ-ag-gà dead still remained an
object of veneration, and it was believed that their bodies 116
never decayed but dried up without decomposition.
Should anyone find a human skeleton it was believed
that he or some of his kindred would surely die within
the year, but if anyone came accidentally across the
body of a Shaman and saw the flesh as in life, he was
assumed of success in all that he undertook, and good
luck "was in store for him during his life. Thus, from
the birth to the grave, the Haidas were influenced in all
the vicissitudes of their mortal life by the Sà-ag-gà.
A story told to the late Sir George Dawson by a
Haida living at that time at Skidegate illustrates their
influence. There was a certain Sâ-ag-gà entombed
near the Skidegate village. His informant told him
that on one occasion as he was returning to the
village, about twilight, when, looking on the spot where
the Shaman's body was reposing, he saw the Sâ-ag-gà
himself, standing erect with his medicine rattle in his
hand. The man was very frightened, and on reaching
the village recounted his dread experience, causing no
small commotion, for the apparition was universally
accepted as an evil omen. Shortly afterwards, his wife,
brother, brother's wife and two sisters went to Victoria,
and all caught smallpox and died there.
The Exorcism of a Spirit by the Shaman
If the Sà-ag-gà decided that a person was possessed
of a spirit who had brought sickness he danced round
the patient and made a deafening noise with his rattle,
and if this was judged inadequate he would then kneel
down and suck the part of the patient's body where the
pain was evident and announce that he had sucked the
sickness into his mouth, and would then proceed to
blow it out of the smoke hole or the open door. Should
the patient die, he, however, announced that he would OF THE  NORTH  PACIFIC       117
during the coming night consult his familiar spirits and
then'make known the name of the person who had
caused the deceased to inhale the evil spirit that had
stolen his life. The person designated was generally
a harmless slave.
Some forty years ago a chief died and his slave was
blamed for causing his death. A large bonfire was
kindled at night in the house of the deceased chief and
preparations were made to roast the slave thereon. Two
Europeans who chanced to be in the village heard the
news of this sacrifice, so they entered the house where
the proceedings were under way and found that one
side of the slave had already been roasted; they intervened and threatened that if the poor fellow was not
liberated they would ask for a gun-boat to be sent to
destroy the village. After much discussion and angry,
feeling the victim was set free and he recovered, but up
to the day of his death he never seemed to be quite sane.
When the great collection of bodies at Massett was
buried it was observed that one of the coffins which was
painted blue contained only a few incinerated bones.
Inquiries were made and it was stated that a long time
ago a chief had died, and his slave was blamed by the
Sà-ag-gâ as being the cause of his death, with the
result that the slave was incinerated.
The Sâ-ag-gà sometimes alleged that the evil
influences in the patient were so powerful that they
could only be safely disposed of in a chasm in the
earth's cruSt which he would produce. When this
was announced the credulous spectators were filled with
awe. At an appointed time, therefore, and at a prearranged signal a confederate outside the building
would strike the wooden side of the house a resounding
blow with a large stone hammer, and all inside cry out
in fear : " Amir ! À-chad-ï-à ! "   These two words are 118 ANCIENT   WARRIORS
used when they are afraid of anything and correspond
to Oh dear 1 and Oh my I I'm frightened.
-» Perhaps the author's greatest triumph was the
influence he attained over the Sâ-ag-gà Kû-të, and it
was such that he abandoned his magical practices and
handed over all his charms and his favourite rattle that
were fittingly deposited in the Pitt Rivers Museum at
Oxford. In due course this important personage was
baptized and later on confirmed as a member of the
Church of England. CHAPTER IX
When one undertakes the work of recording the
beliefs and traditions of people who are still in a
primitive state of culture and who have no written
language, it is inevitable that variations are met with
when accounts from different sources are compared.
Such mutations are in a measure evidence of the age
of such traditions and are instructive, for they may be
taken as examples of how schisms have originated in the
religions of the European-Asiatic area.
Discrepancies in the Haida beliefs, however, generally
only effect minor points, and in cases where the difference is vital both versions will be given.
The Haidas believed in two important gods, one
ruling the celestial sphere, the other being sovereign
of the nether regions. These two gods formerly lived
together in happiness, attended by other inferior gods
until a dispute arose as to light and darkness. Shà-
nung-ït-lag-î-das (i.e., Shâ above, nung the, Itlagldas
chief, i.e., the chief above), always wished for light in
their abode of happiness and was never sleepy or tired.
On the contrary Het-gwau-lâ-nâ (i.e., the chief ruler
below or the lord of the nether regions, so called after
he was cast out of the kingdom of light) was never
happy unless it was dark.
He said that it was impossible to sleep if it were
always light.    So one day he was very angry and
demanded that it should always be dark.    Shâ-nung-
ît-lag-ï-das would not listen to this proposal, and con-
119 120
sequently a contest arose in this land of the gods, and
the Chief of Light and his attendants prevailed and cast
forth the Chief of Darkness and his followers into the
lower regions. Thus it happens that where Shâ-nung-
ït-lag-ï-das is supreme it is always light, where
Het-gwau-là-nà is the chief it is always dark, and he is
allowed to sleep undisturbed by the faintest ray of light.
Shâ-nrmg-ït-lag-ï-das was the sole possessor of the sun
and moon, and was the creator of the stars and all the
other luminaries of the kingdom of light. All fevers
were attributed to the god who had his residence in the
sun, and when he was offended by some action of the
people, he inflicted this earth with a pestilence which
took the form of smallpox or other epidemics. During
such visitations he was propitiated with offerings of
certain berries cast into the fire, and if this failed to
regain his goodwill, then they took some of their daily
food, chiefly smoked salmon and dried halibut, and threw
it out into the sea in order to win the intervention of the
god of the sea whom they believed was at times more
powerful than the sun god. Whenever any Haidas
camped near the beach, before they commenced to erect
their tents and cook their food, they invariably took
some dry halibut and berries and cast them into the fire
to propitiate the earth god in order that he might protect
them from danger during the night. The earth god did
not require this food for himself, but carried it to the
friends of those encamped who had died in the previous
year. If they threw but a scant portion of their food
into the fire, their deceased friends were supposed to
become very angry, and it was said that their meanness
would result in death within the year.
The god of the clouds was another deity of their
pantheon who inspired great awe in the bosom of the
bravest warrior.   On a dull day when the clouds were OF THE NORTH PACIFIC       121
hanging low, they believed that this god was in search
of a meal, and anyone caught out on such a day was
bound to die before the expiration of six months, in
order to furnish a dish for this anthropophagous
immortal. As the people were afraid of this dire fate,
they always almost, with the exception of the slaves,
remained indoors on dull, overcast days. This god
wTas believed to have a novel way of securing his prize ;
he was accustomed to come down on the low clouds and
sit watching for any stray Indian that might chance to
pass by. As soon as the victim approached he did not
pounce upon his body, but drew out the spirit and took
it with him on high ; the body then had to go in search
of its soul, and so became an easy victim of this
cannibal god, but the details of the process are not clear.
The Haidas did not fear the two great spirits as much
as the minor deities. They believed that Shâ-nung-ït-
lag-î-das and Het-gwau-là-nà were too great and independent to care very much for them while on earth, but
were busy preparing habitations for their after-life.
These two great gods were worshipped but not feared,
and the natives appeared to be unable to explain exactly
what they were or how they came into existence.
These two gods, however, were supposed to have
created all the minor gods to assist them in their
original united kingdom above the clouds. If the
Haidas were in any very great trouble, they would
invoke the aid of the Spirit of Light, and if they wished
to inflict a curse on their enemies, they would pray and
offer sacrifices of fish to the Spirit of Darkness.
Shà-nung-ït-lag-ï-das was supposed to have generally
imposed upon the minor gods the duty of protecting the
tribe and supplying it with the necessaries of life.
The supplications of the people were addressed to the
supreme god or chief through the god of the sun and 122 ANCIENT   WARRIORS
the god of the sea ; their offerings were, however, always
made to the minor deities in order to secure their goodwill and assistance as mediators with the Great Chief
whenever they were seriously ill and on the point of
death. Ordinarily most of their religious rites and
ceremonies had reference to the sun god and the sea
god. :
Whenever a good Haida was about to die, he saw a
canoe manned by some of his bygone friends who came
with the tide to bid him welcome to their domain.
They were supposed to be sent by the god of death.
The dying man saw them and was rejoiced to know
that after a period passed within the town of death he
would with his friends be welcomed to the celestial abode
of Shà-nung-ît-lag-î-das. His friends would call him
and bid him come; they were supposed to say : " Come
with us : come into the land of light : come into the
land of great things : come into the land of wonderful
things : come into the land of plenty where hunger is
unknown; come with us and rest for evermore. The
birds of our country will bring you delicious berries ;
the dogs of our town will provide you with innumerable
bear-skins, and your home will be made of beautiful
cedar all inset with lovely abalone shells. Come with
us and the hair seal will provide you with salmon,
halibut and all kinds of fish and shell-fish. Come with
us into our land of sunshine and be a great chief
attended with numerous slaves. Come with us, for the
tide is about to ebb and we must depart." Eventually
the soul of the deceased man left his body and joined
the company of his former friends, and his body was
buried with great pomp.
At the death of an Indian, who according to tribal
ethics had been a wicked man, great clouds appeared
in which were the satellites of the god of the clouds who OF THE NORTH PACIFIC       123
were ready to pounce upon his soul as soon as it came
out of his body, which was generally supposed to be
about forty-eight hours before death actually occurred.
No beautiful home was his resting place in the afterlife, and no good food was his portion. The prospect
for the future contained nothing but sorrow and misery,
and the soul was compelled to spend a year in the
sphere of this great deity. After the body was buried
the soul was at times commanded to return to earth and
bring the body to feed the cloud god. It was evidently
anticipated that the disincarnate personality might
refuse, and in that event the god would then feast on
the soul, and it would then cease to exist. The future
for the bad people there was fraught with great danger
both to their bodies and souls. When the spirits of the
wicked had remained twelve months and had survived
this probationary period in the domain of the cloud god,
he would then order their souls to be translated through
the sea and the land beneath the sea, into the kingdom
of Het-gwau-lâ-nâ, which was and is called Het-gwau-gë.
The land for the good was called Shâ-tli-gë. The god
of light was the reigning monarch in the land above,
and the souls of good Indians were taken there by his
servants and presented with everything they desired,
after passing their probation in the domain of Chief of
Death. In Shà-tli-gê or their heaven, all were supposed
to be happy. There, in the land of the great Chief of
Light was perpetual light, no clouds, no storms, and no
fierce winds to mar the peace of his friends; for this
great chief treated all that entered or were privileged to
enter his kingdom as his friends. There they were all
clothed with beautiful garments made out of fibre from
the finest cedar and spruce rootSi and spent their existence fishing and hunting or dancing their favourite
dances and singing their favourite songs in the presence 124
of their chiefs. He was the Haidas' greatest heavenly
chief, and all did their utmost through the services of
the medicine men to merit the reward of entry to his
Het-gwau-gë was the name of the lower regions, over
which Het-gwau-là-nà was the ruling deity. To this
chief's domain the cloud god or chief conducted the
souls of the wicked; there was no hunting or fishing, it
was a most dismal region as it was always dark, and all
enjoyment for the poor souls that were condemned to
live there was at an end. Storms were supposed to
prevent them from catching fish, and snow to prevent
them from hunting, and thus their existence was one
of misery and trouble. The question may be conveniently asked what made an Indian good or bad?
As far as can be ascertained, good Indians were those
who worshipped the Great Chief through the minor
deities, and were observant of all the ritual as taught
by the medicine men. They were punctual in offering
the accustomed sacrifices to the inferior gods, in order
to obtain advice and assistance, and consequently were
obedient to the commands and the slightest wishes of the
great Sà-ag-gàs. They were commanded to love their
friends and be kindly disposed towards the poor; they
must never fight with their friends, must regularly
attend the great dance festivals and give liberally
towards the feasts. The Sâ-ag-gà was their supreme
guide whilst in this lower world, and the medicine men
undoubtedly formed a primitive priesthood, and their
mandates were often considered more weighty than
those of the chiefs. War, for instance, could only be
declared at the behest of their Sà-ag-gà, and he would
then assure them of victory. If a tribesman was killed
accidentally or in warfare, the Sà-ag-gâ could gain him
admittance   to   Shà-tli-gë,   and   for   this  service  the OF THE NORTH PACIFIC       125
medicine man was accustomed to receive a gift of
valuable skins and later on a bale of blankets valued at
about sixty dollars. Finally, all who were happy while
on earth and were faithful to the ancient customs would
be admitted by the Great Chief into his heavenly kingdom, where their state of beatitude would continue until
their destiny called them to revisit this earth as the soul
of some newly-born infant. There appeared to be some
doubt in their minds as to whether the soul returned to
this earth from the Great Chief's domain, or from that
of the Chief of Death.
Indians classed as wicked were those who were of a
quarrelsome and pugnacious nature, those who were
bereft of love for their fellow men, who broke the tribal
law, disregarded the commands of the Sâ-ag-gà, or
were murderers of clansmen. When a man who fell
into this class died he would, it was believed, be handed
over by the Cloud Chief to Het-gwau-lâ-nâ after he had
feasted on his body, and this meal was supposed to
take place when the body had decomposed. Two
versions are current as to the time of the soul's
departure. Some held that the soul left the body
immediately after death and was taken possession of
either by the Cloud Chief or the Death Chief. This
idea is, however, incompatible with the doctrine of the
medicine men who claimed the power of catching the
soul after it had left the body, prior to the body's actual
death. The majority of the people therefore followed
the doctrine of their medicine men and believed that
before the body's death the soul departed to other
regions if not caught and returned to the body by the
magical powers of their Sà-ag-gâs. Although paid
large fees for exercising these functions, they were
not at all times successful and could not succeed if the
Death Chief desired the man to die, for although the 126 ANCIENT   WARRIORS
medicine men had great power they could not thwart
the wishes of the invisible spirits and chiefs of other
regions. The good soul, therefore, was taken possession of by the Death Chief, and during its sojourn in
the domain of death it was taught many wonderful
things, and became initiated into the mysteries of
heaven or Shà-tli-gë. He eventually became the
essence of the purest light and was then able to revisit
his friends on earth. In due time he had to be
reincarnated as the soul of some newly-born child of his
tribe (this could recur seven times), then according to
some theorists the soul was annihilated, but according to others another period of probation was undergone and his soul again was further instructed into the
mysteries of the Great Chief's kingdom. At the close
of this second or final period of probation, the time
arrived when he was emancipated from death's kingdom
altogether, and allowed to enter the kingdom of Shà-
nung-ît-lag-î-das. When he was ready to enter the
domain of the Chief of Light, the gates of cedar, beautifully carved and ornamented with shells, were thrown
open for his admittance, and his soul, which by this
time had assumed the shape of his earthly body, but
clothed in ethereal light, was delivered to the Chief of
Light by the Death Chief, who had taught him the
customs to be observed in Shâ-tlî-gê or the Haida
The bad Indian, in the region of the clouds, was
supposed to be tortured continually. In the first place,
his soul had to witness the chief of that region feast on
his dead body until the body was entirely consumed,
i.e., decomposed. Secondly, he was so near to this
world that he continually evinced a longing desire to
return to his friends and win their sympathy. Thirdly,
the constant dread of being conducted to Het-gwau-lâ- OF THE NORTH PACIFIC       127
nà's kingdom was ever before his mind. No idea of
atonement for his past life was ever contemplated, since
the soul after death was incapable of reformation and
Permission was said to be sometimes granted to souls
in the clouds to revisit the earth, but they could be seen
only by the Sà-ag-gà, who described them as destitute
of clothing, weary and forlorn. They were looked
upon as wicked and treacherous spirits, and the medicine man's duty was to prevent them entering the
houses of the living; and whenever the Sà-ag-gà
announced that a certain soul descended from the clouds,
no person could be tempted to leave his home, because
the sight of a wicked soul would cause sickness and
trouble, and his touch, death.
Now it sometimes happened that the souls in the
domain of Death were sufficiently pure and holy to
remain longer than twelve months in his kingdom, yet
when their bodies died, they were not wicked enough
to be captured by the Cloud Chief. Then it became
necessary that these indeterminate souls had to return
to earth, and a further chance was given to them by the
process of regeneration. Every soul, therefore, that was
not worthy of entering heaven and not wicked enough
for the lower regions, was sent back to his friends at the
first opportunity and reincarnated in a newly-born babe.
As was customary, the Sà-ag-gâ entered the house to
see the new arrival, and his attendant spirits would
reveal to him that the child was animated by the soul of
one of their friends who had died during the preceding
year. The troubles and hardship of the new life were
looked upon as just retribution for the misdeeds of the
previous life. Thus the purgation of souls had to be
carried on in successive incarnation until they were good
enough to enter the region of eternal life.   Likewise too 128 ANCIENT  WARRIORS
some souls were too depraved and wicked after twelve
months' sojourn in the clouds to be allowed entry to
Het-gwau-là-nâ, and these were also sent back to earth,
but never allowed to enter mankind. They were condemned to inhabit the bodies of animals, fish and birds,
and compelled to undergo great torture. These evil
souls delighted to hurt strangers, but had not the power
to molest any of their own kin. The black bear was the
most powerful creature that such a soul could inhabit,
and the mouse was the smallest one. It was not the
common ordinary black bear that these souls were supposed to inhabit, but a particular variety, called the
devil bear, and they were impervious against European
firearms, and as they were bewitched by having these
depraved souls inside of them, it was believed to be
impossible to kill them. It is said that the last appearance of one of these bears was about twenty years ago
near Cape Fife, and although the hunter shot at him
three or four times, the animal calmly put up his paw
and threw the bullets to one side. The hunter, seeing
what he supposed or imagined was taking place, threw
away his gun and ran as fast as he could to get away
from this uncanny creature. It was to protect themselves against these were-bears that the Haida wore an
amulet of a bear's tooth around his neck.
Some, however, hold that animals and birds that were
possessed by evil spirits were always afraid of being
captured or killed, and it would appear possible that it
was considered that death might be one of the means
by which eventually they might succeed in re-entering
the clouds and finally reaching Het-gwau-lâ-nà.
Storms and bad weather, which caused hardships and a
scarcity of food, were attributed to an abundance of
wicked souls in the vicinity.
It was believed that sometimes a soul or spirit entered OF THE NORTH PACIFIC       129
the body of the black fish (a species of whale) and consequently this species was much honoured and at the
same time much feared by the Haidas. These souls,
however, were supposed to be those of men who had on
account of their evil deeds been capsized and lost at
sea. On no account could an Indian in pagan days be
persuaded to shoot one, lest he should perchance kill
one that harboured the soul of an ancestor. A solitary
black fish whale woukk now and again enter Massett
inlet and appear opposite to an Indian house or camp.
All the inhabitants would thereupon be in great dread of
capsizing at sea, and feel certain that if such should
happen, they would assuredly be seized by the emissaries of the Cloud Chief at his behest, with the result
that their souls also would find a home in whale bodies.
Black fish are sometimes seen following canoes and
boats uttering a mournful note. It is said that the bad
souls inside of these creatures always craved for fresh
water, and being unable to obtain any, had to drink salt
water, and this was part of the punishment. The
peculiar cry that they made while following a canoe
was interpreted by the Haidas as Hànlth dî ga 1th
ista, Hànlth di ga 1th ista (Fresh water give to me,
Fresh water give to me).
The harmless mouse was also believed to occasionally
contain the wicked soul of an adult, and yet become so
small that it could enter into the stomach of the living.
It was believed a number of mice could be found in the
stomach of many folk, each mouse representing the
wicked and restless soul of a departed relative. A bad-
tempered man might be considered to harbour a mouse
that was possessed by a soul that was too ill-tempered
to be acceptable to Het-gwau-là-nâ. A man that was
always quarrelling and fighting was supposed to have
within him a soul who in a former incarnation was
addicted to such vices. How did the mice enter the
person's body? Many years ago a very old chief of
the Haidas, then about eighty years of age, explained to
the author that one bright summer's morning, having
risen early, he went for a stroll over Rose Spit, and
came upon some women sound asleep. To his horror
and astonishment he saw that their faces were covered
with mice. Presently he saw a mouse disappear down
one woman's throat, then another, and quickly no less
than seven had vanished. Out of the seven that had
disappeared, only one returned, as he evidently had gone
down the throat of one of the tribe to which the soul
inside of the mouse formerly belonged, instead of the
throat of an enemy. This left six woe-begone souls or
spirits inside one unfortunate woman. Most of the old
people firmly believed this story, and they would confidentially assert that every mouse was an evil spirit,
and that when a person was very wicked he must have
swallowed a great number of mice.
There may appear some contradictions in this account
of the Haida deities, but when it is realized that they
have no written language, and that these stories have
been handed down verbally from one generation to
another, it will easily be understood how discrepancies
arose. Originally these traditions may have come into
existence in the remote past when the people may have
lived together in one large settlement, and after their
dispersion the stories would be told and retold by the
leading men and the medicine men of each section until
various versions arose.
The principal points are the belief in two important
gods, one good and the other evil; secondly, these two
gods were believed to have minor deities to carry out
their commands and wishes, and lastly they believed in
the transmigration of the soul and its reincarnation. CHAPTER   X
The Ga-gU
With a seafaring people like the Haidas it often
happened that their canoes were wrecked at sea, and
they were sometimes drowned, but at other times reached
the shore in an exhausted state. It then sometimes
happened that when they recovered their strength they
were in a demented condition, and would run off into
the woods where they became like animals. They
sustained life by living on roots and berries until they
became frightful to behold. Their hair and fingernails grew long, and their bodies became covered with
long black hair, and in this state they lived for a period
like wild beasts. But it is related that a change
gradually came over them and they became possessed of
a spirit which gave them the power to fly about the
country by night, especially when a bright moon was
shining ; as soon as daylight appeared they would hide
away in their accustomed lair. When they had acquired
this power they were terrible to behold, and woe to the
man, woman or child that was seen by them, for
apparently their one desire was that others should share
their misery, and whenever they breathed upon those
they came in contact with they had the power to cast a
spell upon their victim and condemn it to share their
fate. When a man reached this stage he was called a
Ga-gïts were believed to possess great strength and to
be able to carry large canoes, root up trees and shake
houses. Many years ago one of the old chiefs warned
the author that Ga-gïts were flying about in the
neighbourhood of Massett and that one had been
recently caught by a hunting party in a dead-fall near
Skidegate. It was said that the hunters, instead of
killing him outright, took him back to their village and
kept him chained up for several years. Under this
gentle treatment he recovered his senses, and once more
became a rational being. Another Ga-gît was reported
to have been caught on the sharp splinter of a stump of
a tree which had been blown down by the wind. The
splinter ran right through his body, and impaled him
so that he died. Many years ago at Massett an Indian
was alleged to have fired at a Ga-gît, and for this insult
the Ga-gît ran after him and compelled him to swim a
considerable distance before he could regain his friends.
About thirty-five years ago there was a great scare at
Massett in connection with a Ga-gît. This particular
one had the power of flying over houses and was even
reported to have been seen on the back of a white horse
owned by the author. Both horse and rider, according
to the Haidas, had the unusual power of gliding through
the air over the village at sunset, yet at the same time
the horse in question was with the author at Cape Ball,
eighty miles away. During these happenings the few
European and the Haida women and children were
ordered to remain indoors from sunset to sunrise until
this Ga-gît had been killed, and the men armed themselves with rifles and shot-guns and night after night
sat on the roofs of their houses waiting to shoot this
annoying visitor.
Whilst they kept their vigil in the village, he, however,
amused  himself  elsewhere  by carrying up from  the OF THE NORTH PACIFIC       188
beach a thirty-foot canoe to a hill about three hundred
yards away, and there placed it on end against a house.
When he had done this he struck the house several
heavy blows that awoke the sleeping inmates. This
sort of thing went on night after night for a week or
more. The owner of the house was in a great state of
panic, as he feared that he and his family were doomed.
Several of the chiefs and the strong men of the village
kept him company and all were armed so as not to
allow the Ga-gît to get near enough to breathe on them.
Just as all were asleep, thud, thud, came the blows
against the gable of the house each night, but always
at a different hour. This battering of the house
apparently never occurred until the Ga-gît knew
that the inmates were asleep. The Ga-gît, however,
came once too often. One night as he struck the house
one old chief was sufficiently awake to see the owner of
the house reappearing through a trapdoor. By this
time all were awake and upon investigations being made
the trickery of this man was fully exposed. It was
discovered that the owner of the house had secretly and
unknown to his wife made a trap-door in the floor which
he kept covered during the day with a mat, upon which
every night he spread his blankets, and when all were
asleep he would descend through this trap-door. Upon
emerging into the open, under the floor of the house he
would then give the house two or three blows with a
sledge-hammer and terrify those within, and before they
could light their lamps he would return to his blankets
and pretend to be as surprised as the rest. But he tried
the Ga-gît trick once too often. The chiefs were so
angry with him that they immediately carried him down
to the beach and threw him into the sea, and there left
him for a sufficient time to repent of his tricks.
This man was secretly referred to as the Ga-gît until 184 ANCIENT   WARRIORS
the day of his death. Even after this man was detected
in the act of imitating the actions of a Ga-gît, many
believed that a malevolent spirit had really entered into
his body, and that he had in a measure the bad influence
accredited to a Ga-gît. One day. about that time the
grandchild of an old chief died, and he firmly believed
that this mock Ga-gît had cast a spell over his grandson
and caused his death, so the old man took his rifle and
fired two shots into the Ga-gït's house with the evident
intention of killing him, but fortunately for all concerned
the inmates were all absent at the time.
As Ga-gïts were credited with the power of flying
about a man's height from the ground, the only safe
way to avoid them was for the person who met one
to plunge into the sea or a stream, for they were
supposed to have a great dread of water, especially if
it was salt.
The last Ga-git excitement was about August, 1897.
An Indian named Kil-tlai-gë shot a goose in Delkatlâ
Slough, and the water being too deep for wading he
took off his clothes and entered the stream; he must
have reached the centre of the channel when he was
swept off his feet by the under-current, and his body was
carried down the inlet on the strong tide. His clothes
and musket were found the next day at the root of a
spruce tree, but his» body was never again seen. The
Indians were highly excited, and came to find him.
They lit big bonfires and made the night hideous with
their yelling, moaning and firing of guns. This lasted
three days and three nights, and not finding any trace
concluded he had become changed into a Ga-gît. Two
days afterwards his widow alleged that she had seen
him in the form of a Ga-git endeavouring to enter his
house. Some did not believe the story, and sprinkled
sand in front of the door, so that if he again came and OF THE NORTH PACIFIC       185
' attempted to enter his footprints would be visible. A
number of her male friends remained with her the
following night, and early in the morning a noise was
heard as if someone was lifting the latch to enter.
They immediately rushed to the door, and the Ga-gït
being frightened flew down the inlet and kept about the
height of a man above the current until they lost sight
■ of him crossing Hecate Straits towards an Alaskan
mountain where it is believed that the chief of the Ga-gïts
resides, and never returned. It is said that good Ga-gïts,
after carrying out their chief's orders, were allowed to
remain in his abode; a blazing fire burnt there day and
night, and they could remain there warm and comfortable and enjoy themselves in his presence. Bad
Ga-gïts, however, have a miserable time wandering
from place to place trying to make other people Ga-gïts
and as bad as themselves. They eventually usually
die or are killed; occasionally, however, one may be
captured and become human and intelligent again.
With solemn countenances many of the old chiefs
have recounted that on very dark nights the blazing
fire of the Ga-gït chief high up in the Alaskan
mountain could be seen, but all were afraid to
approach it. Kil-tlai-gë was the last Ga-gït to be
seen, and now they say that if any are wrecked at sea
they will perish like the white man, as the chief of
the Ga-gïts has no longer any influence over them and
cares no longer what may happen to them.
Note.—The mountain in Alaska referred to as the
abode of the chief of the Ga-gïts and his good followers,
owing to the supposed flames and fire being seen
occasionally, may be Mount St. Elias which is
frequently seen in eruption ; but if this be the case very
few of the Haidas have seen it. Some of the Ancients
may have seen it, but during my time amongst them 136
none have travelled that far. It may be that some of
the old men have heard about this mountain whilst
trading with the Indians who live in that vicinity and
thus circulated the Ga-gït story in connection therewith.
The  Killer   Whale
The Haidas have a legend in regard to the Killer
Whale which the people formerly believed to be
possessed by the worst of the evil spirits from the
domain of Het-gwau-lâ-nâ. When out hunting for
fur seal or fishing for halibut they dreaded to see one
from afar, for these creatures were accredited with dire
mischief and delighted to pursue the Haidas and
smash their canoes. When a Killer destroyed a
canoe, the Indians were thrown into the sea and
drowned. After a certain period had elapsed their
spirits were supposed to enter Killer Whales and be
under the control of Het-gwau-lâ-nâ himself, who was
frequently wont to assume the shape of one of these
creatures, and when he did so he was acknowledged as
their chief.
It is said that many years ago two brave warriors who
lived at the Klû village went out one summer's
morning to challenge the Killer Whales to mortal
combat. When they were about the middle of
Hecate Straits their canoe was surrounded by these
monsters and there seemed to be no means of escape.
Finally the whales attacked the canoe and badly
damaged it. Seeing that they were overpowered, one
of the men swore a great oath and said to his
companion that if he were drowned he would still
retain his knife and stab as many whales as he
possibly could before he got transformed into one.
This man was drowned, but the other clung to part of OF THE NORTH PACIFIC       187
I the wrecked canoe and was finally blown to an island
whence he was rescued.
He and his rescuers remained a few days on this
island and tried to find the body of their friend.
Whilst engaged in their search they heard one
evening strange noises proceeding as it were from
beneath the ground, and suddenly large quantities of
fish of all descriptions floated up dead and with them
a monstrous Killer Whale. The whale was well-nigh
dead, and he had a large wound under his belly from
which the blood gushed out, reddening the sea
thereabouts. The whale finally died and its body was
washed up on the beach. The medicine man of that
district when informed of the incident said that he
knew about the great fight, for in a vision or trance he
saw the Indian who had apparently been drowned
attack the chief of the Killer Whales and succeed in
giving the animal its death stroke. In the place of
this whale he became the chief of the Killer Whales
and in the domain of Het-gwau-là-nà doubtless became
one of the chiefs of the lower regions.
Tou Hill
About sixteen miles from Massett is a remarkable
hill called Tou. Ages past this celebrated hill is said
to have been situated in Jùs-kàt-là Bay, Massett Inlet,
and to have had a very good brother who lived near by.
The good hill was always satisfied with such food as
it could obtain in its own country, and existed
principally on hair-seal, a few dog-fish and halibut, and
had always an equable temper. On one side of Tou
Hill there is a steep cliff, whilst the other slopes
gradually down to the banks of the Hai-el-len river.
The other hill in Massett Inlet is about the same size 138
and the same in appearance and is called Tou-us-tas-in,
or Tou's brother.
The bad brother Tou was always grumbling and
finding fault with his food, because the chief of the
sea would not allow him to have his brother's share
as well as his own. Finally the good hill could not
tolerate any longer his brother's evil temper, so one
day when there was an unusually heavy run of
dog-fish he retaliated and ate every one. This roused
Tou's temper, and he determined to leave his brother
for ever. One moonlight night he therefore migrated,
and on his way to the open sea came down the inlet
and tried to force his way through Delkatlà to the
North coast, but failed to get through. He then
retraced his steps and travelled farther down the
inlet, as far as Chouan Point. As he passed along he
made a dreadful noise and the people were terrified.
He then remained a few months at Chouan Point, and
being dissatisfied with the food there determined to
migrate once more. This time he went ten miles
farther along the beach to a place called Yakan
When he tried to force his way through Delkatlà to
the ocean and failed, he made on his return journey,
what is now known as Delkatlà Slough, and also left
the big rocks and stones behind him that are to be
seen there even now. As in Delkatlà so at Chouan he
left great rocks behind him ; at Yakan Point he had more
success and enjoyed himself better than before, as
there were great shoals of dog-fish in the water
between Rose Spit and his place of abode. In viewing
the country from Yakan he decided another move was
desirable, so he accordingly left Yakan Point and
settled in his present position and is said to be quite
satisfied. OF THE NORTH  PACIFIC       189
Tou  Hill Spider
The walls of black basalt, two or three hundred feet
high capped by a tower, raised themselves above the
shore on the North coast and Tou got plenty of dogfish to eat, and he also had leisure to growl at
his surroundings, for he was never satisfied. « At this
period he was worried because a large spider made its
home above his head and came down annually to pull
out his hair and make himself disagreeable. The
Indians when out camping in the vicinity of Tou Hill
declined to sleep at the foot of the mountain, because
so many of their people had been seized and devoured
by this mythical spider out of sheer greed for Haida
blood. All the people had heard of it and were all
afraid to meet it with the exception of one brave
warrior who declared that the spider was a coward and
that all the wonderful deeds attributed to him were
untrue. He boasted that he was not the least afraid,
and if he met the creature he would kill him and
have his fleish for dinner. So one morning he set
out to meet the spider and challenge him to mortal
It was the custom of this voracious monster when
hungry to seize anybody he saw passing by the foot of
the mountain, haul him up to his nest and there devour
him. This brave warrior, therefore, armed himself
with a barbed spear, and in case the spider happened
to be asleep, he also provided himself with a wooden
drum and a large rattle with which to wake him. He
arrived at the hill and waited some time for the spider
to appear, and finally made such an annoying din with
the drum and rattle that the spider peeped over the
top of the hill and ordered him to go away. He
refused to go, so the spider began to throw big rocks 140
to frighten him away, for he had already feasted well
that day and did not require any more food. The
rocks failed to scare this brave warrior away and are
said to be seen to-day at the foot of the hill. The
warrior retorted by challenging the spider to come down
and fight, so at last the exasperated spider descended to
the attack and charged the warrior with open mouth,
making a terrible noise the while.
The undaunted warrior, however, rushed at him and
rammed the barbed spear down his throat; and the
spider was unable to close his mouth or gnash his
teeth. Then the battle commenced in earnest; the
warrior had a long cedar rope attached to the barbed
spear, and he ran to a large spruce and picketed the
spider so that he could not escape. The spider was
terribly enraged and commenced to smash the hill and
hurled large rocks at the man, but without avail.
At last the spider grew weary and faint, so the
warrior rushed in and gave him his quietus; he then
began to beat the drum and to sound the rattle in great
Its carcase was eventually cut up into very small
pieces by the champion's female relatives, and thus
ended the famous Tou Hill Spider.
The  Whirlwind
When Tou Hill migrated from Jûs-kàt-là Bay he was
accompanied by a terrible whirlwind. The Whirlwind
and Tou caused great destruction everywhere they
went and destroyed all those caught out at sea.
Although Tou has been stationary for a large number
of years, yet the Whirlwind has periodically sallied
forth and caused the loss of many canoes and fisher
folk. OF THE NORTH PACIFIC       141
The. Tobacco Legend
Thousands of years ago the Haidas had no tobacco
as this weed was beyond the ken of Nï-kils-tlas, but it
became rumoured amongst the Haidas that this plant
was of great benefit to mankind and would add to
human happiness. The great difficulty, however, was
that this plant was safeguarded by a powerful chief or
deity who had his kingdom far away inland on a
mountain in the Stickeen country.
This much desired plant was grown in the shape of
a large tree by the Stickeen chief on the top of his
mountain. The Haidas determined to possess it, and
as they were unable to attack the chief and carry away
the tree bodily, they went secretly to the Stickeen
country armed with bows and arrows. Finally one of
the party saw the tree from a distance, shot at it and
succeeded in bringing down one or two seeds. These
seeds, unknown to the chief, were carried away to Haida
Land, and in the following Spring were planted and
grew, and from this source their tobacco came.
The  Skemshan
Many years ago the Haidas living at Massett and at
Yen were returning home from the Naase oolachan
fisheries, and faced by a head wind they camped at
Rose Spit, and had to wait several days for a favourable breeze.
It so happened that one of the Yen chiefs, whilst up
the Naase River, had captured a mountain eagle called
by the natives the Skemshan. Having nothing to do
and in order to while away the time, the Yen people
challenged the Massett party to kill the eagle if they
The challenge was no sooner made than accepted,
and one of their chiefs was selected to go forth and
slay the bird. The chief succeeded in killing it, and
no sooner was it dead than both sides came to blows and
several on each side were killed.
The following day there was a parley between the two
conflicting parties, which resulted in a conference of
selected chiefs from both sides. There was considerable discussion and a treaty of peace was concluded.
Both parties unanimously agreed that as the eagle
was dangerous in warfare, so it was always gentle in
times of peace, therefore all the chiefs present agreed
to have it carved on their totem poles, surmounting all
other devices ; thus it was the Skemshan became a sign
of peace and goodwill.
Flying  Men
Many years ago there were two men who were alleged
to- be able to fly wherever they wished on moonlight
nights and cause sickness to anyone who had offended
them. They were declared to be endowed with this
supernatural power from birth, consequently the people
were afraid of moonlight nights and of the power these
two men possessed. Many times it was stated that one
or the other had been seen at different places many
miles from Massett, but inquiry failed to substantiate
their absence.
The Land-Otter
The female of the land-otter was credited with the
power of transforming herself into a handsome woman
who approached the hunting camps and sat at the foot
of a tree nearby, awaiting any of the hunters as they
^-— OF THE  NORTH PACIFIC       148
returned from a long day's toil. Anyone who noticed
her would be invited to rest by her side, and if he
acquiesced would soon become enraptured by the
charms she would gently breathe over him (this reminds
one of the practice of the Ga-gïts), and immediately he
became transformed into a male otter that would follow
wheresoever she went.
On one occasion it was reported to a chief that his
son had been seen in the company of a beautiful woman,
and the informant had a suspicion that she was in
reality an otter, so the chief collected his friends with
their dogs and went to the spot. On their approach
two land-otters were seen scampering off into the woods,
and although chased, made their escape. It was
decided that one of the two was the son of the chief
who had been captivated by the charms of the woman
and turned into an otter, for he was never seen again.
A hunter who chanced to meet with one of these
attractive women and took care to pay particular attention to the pronunciation of the words used by her would
at once realize that no human voice was speaking.
Her usual salutation was r you are weary and tired,
come and sit with me for a short period." The words
" come and sit with me " in Haida are Alth-kwï, dî
kwulth kou-wë. The land-otter, however, was unable
to pronounce the word kou-wë distinctly and always
said kî-wë, so a person alert enough to notice the lapse
would be able to save himself by declining the
The otter was also credited with the power to cast a
spell on the streams and lakes after sunset, so that if
anyone drank of the water he would either die, or for
ever be under the influence of the otters. A few years
ago a robust and healthy hunter left for a hunting trip
on a sealing schooner, and it anchored in a bay near an 144
island in the vicinity of the Behring Straits. He and
others went about sunset to shoot ducks and geese, but
unfortunately he became thirsty, and seeing a lake,
stooped down and drank. He became ill immediately
and quickly died. The Indians refused to allow the
Europeans to. bury him, but pickled his body in a salt
meat barrel and thus brought it back to his native land
for burial. His death was attributed to the unholy
power of the otters in that locality.
On one occasion the author was camping out near a
lake with some Indians, and during the evening desired
some fresh water, so accompanied by some Haidas took
a firebrand and went down to the lake. He filled his
mug and was about to drink when one of the Indians
dashed it out of his hand, and begged him not to be
so rash, and at the same time warned him of the power
of the otters. He, however, proceeded to wave his
firebrand over the water and chanted some words which
he said would annul the effects of the otters' influence
for the time being, then picked up the cup and
announced that the water could be safely drunk. This
is internal evidence of the vitality of the belief in their
indigenous magic.
The Haida Charon
Whenever a good man was about to die, the spirits
of his former friends were supposed to come in a finely
carved canoe when the tide was running in, but they
were only visible to the moribund person. They would
urge him to get ready by the time the tide had turned
to accompany them to the abode of happiness. Death
was supposed to invariably occur with the ebb of the
tide. OF THE  NORTH  PACIFIC       145
The Flood
Like many other native races the Haida had a tradition of a great flood, but their version naturally varied
from the Biblical account. Their folk story has it that
the waters of the ocean rose higher and higher until
all the earth was covered with the exception of one very
high peak on the mainland, and on the top of this
mountain only one family, through the skilful handling
of their canoe, managed^ to gain refuge. As the waters
receded they were able to keep themselves alive by the
fish they caught and the abundance of dead animals in
the vicinity of their abode. When the waters became
normal again they found themselves many miles away
from their former abode and separated by a wide
channel, but their canoe was intact, so they crossed over
this arm of the sea, i.e., Hecate Straits, and returned to
their own country. This family, therefore, became the
ancestors of the present Haida tribe, although the
deified raven was believed to have created the original
ancestors before the deluge.
This flood, it was alleged, was due to the disobedience
of the Haidas to the commands of the raven, so he
destroyed all but one family.
Note.—The flood legend is very widespread in Asia
and may have come with the early migrants, or it
may only be folk memory of some great tribal
Heavenly   Towns
The Haidas believed that in Shâ-tli-gë or heaven there
were towns that lay in inlets similar to their towns on
earth, therefore when a person knew he was going to 146 ANCIENT   WARRIORS
die, he selected the town in which he desired to live, and
through the Shaman requested the chief to provide a
habitation for him.
The Fin-Back Whale
This whale, according to the tradition of the Haidas,
was once a land animal, and being too eager to swim in
the sea, was carried too far out so that he could not
return. His hair wore off by the action of the water,
his feet were devoured by dog-fish, and thus being compelled to live always in the sea became a whale. This
whale was greatly venerated for the sake of those lost
at sea, because their spirits were supposed to enter its
body, and thus they were able to rove for ever the seas
they loved.
This chapter must close with the story of the treachery
of the Zimsheans and the Haidas, for both alike were
blameworthy. A long time ago the Haidas went to
Fort Simpson to trade a quantity of fur-seal and otter
skins. It was also their intention to raid the Zimshean's
village afterwards.
On their arrival they were met with signals of peace
and were invited to attend a meeting of the leading
medicine men at the house of one of the leading chiefs,
The Zimsheans were treacherous on this occasion, and
sought not peace but the opportunity to slay as many
Haidas as possible. Before the large cedar house of
this particular chief stood an ancient totem pole. This
pole rested against the gable, rising far above the
windowless front, and in it was cut an oval hole as the
entrance to the house.   Through this door the Haidas OF  THE NORTH  PACIFIC       147
had to pass, and they were invited to enter one at a time
as became guests of honour. They had to stoop low as
they passed through this narrow entrance into the
house. Within the Zimshean house were stationed two
warriors with sharp cleavers, and as the Haidas unsuspectingly stooped to enter the house they were all
beheaded. When all had passed through, instead of a
bounteous feast there only remained a gory pile of
corpses, and all were exterminated.
The Haidas not returning home at the expected time,
inquiries were made, and at last it leaked out that they
had been slaughtered by the Zimsheans. The different
branches of the Haida then consulted together, and in
revenge for this outrage designed one yet more terrible.
They sent a special invitation across to Fort Simpson
and invited a goodly number of the Zimsheans to attend
a feast that one of the Haida chiefs announced he was
preparing, the feast to be followed by a big potlatch.
The Zimsheans must have been rather unwary, for they
came in large numbers to Massett and entered the
chief's house. This was one of the houses that afterwards became known as the Wï-hâ houses, and it was
built over a pit surrounded by terraces. The terraces
and the upper levels served for sleeping purposes, and
the lower one or the pit for cooking and eating. The
Zimsheans, suspecting nothing amiss, entered heartily
into the festivities that took place on their arrival in the
village, and when they were ended entered the chief's
house where the feast was to be served, and sat on the
steps all around the pit. Some occupied positions on
the surrounding galleries, and awaited the entry of their
But when all had entered, the door was shut and
fastened, and the building was surrounded by a force
of  Haidas  armed  with  axes  and  flint-lock   muskets, 11
Another armed party lined round the smoke hole on the
roof, and at a given signal both parties fired into the
unarmed Zimsheans, and eventually all were slaughtered.
As with the Haidas two years previously at Fort
Simpson, So with the Zimsheans at Massett, not one of
either party escaped.
The creation traditions^ of primitive peoples have been
widely studied by Sir J. Frazer and other scholars and
often throw a light on human origins. The Haidas
maintain that after Het-gwau-là-nà was cast forth from
the region of Light, a long period elapsed and then one
day he commanded one of his followers to assume the
shape of a bird and make an attempt to obtain information as to the doings of the gods in the Kingdom of
Light, and discover how they, in the region of Darkness,
could again obtain admission into their long lost
country. Het-gwau-là-nâ 's agent assumed the form of a
raven, and after an abortive attempt to obtain information
about Shâ-nung-ït-lag-ï-das determined never again to
return to his dismal abode, but to remain an inhabitant
of the air, and be at liberty to do what he pleased.
Thus, during this period, according to the Haida
mythology, the sacred raven was supposed to live in
the grey clouds which overshadowed the ocean, and
had no place of refuge and no place on which he could
rest, for there was no dry land and the face of the
earth was covered with water. Finally, however, the
raven being weary grew angry, so he beat the water
with his wings until it flew up in spray, and as it fell
became transformed into rocks, and thus he made a
resting place. These rocks grew larger and larger, and
extended on every side, until at last they reached from
149 150
North Island to Cape Saint James. Later on the rocks
underwent another change and became transformed into
sand, upon which a few trees eventually grew, and thus
the country of the Haidas was formed.
The raven then wished for some one to assist him
in cultivating his newly made world. He therefore
collected two large mounds of clam shells near Sisk and
moulded each heap to a human shape, gave them life,
and the pair then became his slaves. The two slaves,
however, became dissatisfied with their condition and
told the raven that they were not properly made; the
raven listened to their story, and then made them male
and female. He threw limpets at one which eventually
became the man, and the other remained as she was
created—a woman. Even up to recently if a Haida
was asked who created him, without pausing to consider
his adopted religious teaching, he would reply Yetlth
—the raven.
The raven's headquarters were supposed to be at the
North-Eastern point of Graham Island, at a place called
Rose Spit. This place is twenty-six miles from
Massett, and sixty-five from Skidegate. Growing
weary, of his lonely life, he took the female slave for his
wife, and they lived happily together for a time, but
she bore him no children so eventually in anger he sent
her away together with the man slave to the place now
called Skidegate.
The raven was now alone, and finding his solitude
irksome, decided to endeavour to gain admittance into
the Kingdom of Light, in order to obtain a wife from
the daughters of the heavenly chiefs. So he soared
upwards and onward over the lonely Sea, until the land
he had created appeared a mere speck in the distance,
and eventually came to the walls of Shâ-tli-gë or
heaven. OF THE NORTH PACIFIC       151
He concealed himself until evening, and then assumed
the form of a bear. When it was dark he scratched a
hole through the wall and entered his former abode»
The place appeared to have changed since he was art
inhabitant there, for he found that a new order had
been established, and every one was considered to be
a god or chief, but all were still submissive to the Chief
of Light, who held supreme power as in olden times.
He found that the Great Chief had divided his kingdom
into towns and cities, into lands and seas, and had
created the moon and the stars, and had also made a
great luminary to rule over all, which was called the
sun or Jù-ï-ë in the Haida language. At last he was
caught by the hunters of the Great Chief and halted
before him. As he appeared to be a nice tame bear, he
was not destroyed, but kept as a playmate for the King's
youngest son, and he spent three years with the royal
family and was well cared for. During this period he
studied affairs around him, in order to enable him to
start a kingdom in rivalry to. that under the control of
the Chief of Light when he returned to the lower
world, for he determined to found a dynasty as powerful as the one over which Shà-nung-ït-lag-ï-das held
It was customary for the children in the Land of
Light to transform themselves at times into bears, seals
and birds. It so happened that the raven, in his guise
of a bear, was prowling along the beach one evening
searching for his supper, when he espied three other
bears approaching. He knew at once that they were
the children of a great chief. He transformed himself
into an eagle and stole the sun, which was setting at
the time, and also stole the fire stick that was used to
kindle the heavenly fires.
All this caused great consternation in the Kingdom 152
of Light, as for a short period it was plunged in darkness, and remained so until the chief had time to make
another sun. During this period of darkness and
commotion, the raven, in the form of an eagle, flew
over the walls of heaven or Shâ-tli-gë with the sun
under one wing and the celebrated fire stick under the
other, together with one of the three children of a great
chief in his beak. These thefts were soon reported to
the King; he gave orders for his kingdom to be
searched, and the culprit when found was to be thrown
down to the lower world of Het-gwau-lâ-nâ. Presently
a messenger arrived who stated that he had seen a
large eagle flying over the walls of the city with the
sun and the fire stick under his wings, and also one of
the royal children in his beak; the eagle was thereupon
hotly pursued. In his flight for safety, he dropped the
child and it fell through the clouds, into the sea, close
to the raven's kingdom. The raven followed, bearing
with him'the sun and the fire stick in safety to the earth.
When the child fell into the sea, he cried aloud for
assistance, and immediately the little fishes came in
great shoals to his aid and carried him on their backs
safely to the shore. This kind of fish is very numerous
around Rose Spit at the present day, and their forms,
according to tradition, have been preserved in the blue
clay of that region up to the present day.
The Great Chief in the Land of Light was a lover of
peace, and when he heard that the raven had escaped,
did not allow any of his followers to pursue him to
the earth, so the raven was unmolested, and another sun
was created in heaven by the Great Ruler to replace
the stolen luminary.
The raven recovered the child he had stolen, but when
he had hurriedly seized it he thought he had secured a
chief's daughter, but it turned out to be a chief's son. OF THE NORTH PACIFIC       158
Nevertheless, the raven became fond of his captive, and
built a house at Rose Spit especially for the accommodation of the child and the sun. The child grew to be
very powerful and had command over all animals, fish
and birds; whenever he called to the fish they would at
once appear and bear him as far out to sea as he wished
to go; whenever he wished to fly through the air he
would call the birds and they would come and bear him
on their wings wherever he wished to go. The bears
and other animals attended to his daily wants and
supplied him with salmon and berries; the animals,
birds and fish were created by the raven for the benefit
of this heaven-born child.
The raven securely guarded the sun and the fire stick,
as he was afraid that his two former slaves might steal
them. Presently the slave wife of the raven came and
begged to return to him, so he took her back. By this
time the adopted son had grown to be a handsome
young man and he was attracted by this slave woman,
a sentiment which she reciprocated, and so an amour
commenced between them. When the raven discovered
this he was greatly incensed and threatened to kill the
woman, so the lovers fled and hid in the woods.
Before they left the raven's house they had plotted to
secure the sun and the fire stick which they knew he
kept in a large cedar box in the strong room of his
house. One day, when the raven had gone on a long
journey, they broke open the door of this room, and
carried off the cedar box in which the sun and the fire
stick had been placed for safe keeping. Day after day
the slave and the heaven-born man wandered Southward
without proper nourishment and in great fear of the
raven, but, hungry and tired as they were, they carried
with them the box. One evening, faint and weary, they
sat down near a small creek, and the woman, being 154
worn out with fatigue and hunger, wept bitterly. Her
mate left her and walked up the stream searching for
food, and at last found a dead otter, but they could not
eat it as they had no means of making a fire to cook it.
Next morning they remembered that they had the
wonderful fire stick and, in spite of the risks, they made
a fire with it and cooked the meat.
They then proceeded on their journey and reached
Cape Ball, and they were by this time again hungry,
but the young man began to sing one of the songs
taught him in the Kingdom of Light, and the sea
receded four miles from the shore and left a great whale
stranded on the beach. The young man took rocks
and carried them on his back to where the whale lay,
and built a wall around it so that it could not escape,
and thus was erected the stone circle which the Haida
elders stated could be seen when they were young.
The young man and his wife feasted on whale until
they reached the channel that divides Graham and
Moresby Islands, and having reached this spot they
decided to build their house near the entrance to what
is now known as Skidegate Inlet. They did so and it
afterwards became the nucleus of the present Skidegate
village. They lived there for several years in peace
and prosperity, and a daughter was born to them. In
course of time their daughter grew to be a beautiful
woman, but unfortunately no husband could be found
for her. Year after year passed, and when her parents
had given up the idea of providing her with a husband,
the raven's male slave appeared from North Island, and
this forlorn specimen of humanity desired the lovely
damsel in marriage. Her father was angry.that a man
made from clam shells should dare to aspire to the
daughter of a heaven-born chief. The slave, however,
was not easily shaken off, so he lived in the woods near OF THE NORTH  PACIFIC       155
the house, and whenever the husband was away from
home would come and talk with the wife, who, it will
be remembered, was the woman created by the raven at
the same time as himself. This woman now treated him
as her brother, and told him all her secrets, and even
went so far as to reveal to him where her husband kept
the box containing the sun. This treasure was safely
stored away in a strongly-built house in the woods
where the heaven-born man would frequently go to
pray to the gods in the Kingdom of Light. The slave
again appealed to the father for his daughter's hand
with the result that he was kicked unceremoniously from
the house.
In revenge, the slave went stealthily to the house in
the woods, and descended through the smoke hole, and
found the box which contained the sun. The box and
its contents were too.large and heavy for him to carry
away unaided, so he broke open the box with a club
and abstracted the sun. He appears to have been
disappointed with his prize and possibly found that
mere possession did not alleviate his troubles, so in
Spite he kicked the sun until it was broken into
fragments, and lo and behold each piece seemed to be
endowed with life and they flew up through the smoke
hole into the sky ; the largest piece became the sun that
we see at the present day, a smaller one became the
moon, and all the chips became the stars that are now
strewn over the face of the heavens. Thus were created
the surty moon and stars, according to Haida tradition.
It is curious to note that, according to this legend,
the heaven-born chief was allowed by the raven, his
foster-father, to marry an earth-born slave, but the earth-
born male slave was not allowed to marry the daughter
of the heaven-born chief. This prohibition, however,
agrees with, the Haida custom, for a chief was some- 156
times allowed to marry a female slave, but under no
circumstances was a male slave allowed to marry a free-
born woman. It is also interesting to note that slavery
was considered to have divine precedent.
After destroying the sun the slave fled for his life
and made his way to the West coast en route for his
former abode on North Island. He travelled by night
and rested in the woods during the day to avoid the
keen eye of the raven and to escape the heaven-born
chief. He reached home in safety and sat brooding
over his misfortunes, until the happy thought entered
his mind of doing what the raven had done before him,
and he determined to seek a wife from celestial regions.
Since the original sun had been broken up by the
slave the sun that we now see gave heat during the day,
and the moon and stars gave light by night. So on
one bright moonlight night the slave shot an arrow
into the moon ; a second arrow he shot into the notch of
the first one, and continued to do so until the arrows
reached from the moon to the earth. He shot no less
than three hundred and sixty-five arrows, which took
him three hundred and sixty-five nights to accomplish,
and this number is the origin of the tale of days in the
Haida year.
There were formerly twenty-eight days in each Haida
month and thirteen months or moons in the year.
Thirteen times twenty-eight make three hundred and
sixty-four. The difference of one day they explained
by saying that after the slave had shot three hundred
and sixty-five arrows into the moon, the first arrow
being only a trial one was not counted, but one day
was spent by the slave in climbing the ladder of arrows
to secure the heaven-born woman for his wife and this
day had to be reckoned at the end of the thirteenth
month, thus making their year correspond with ours. OF THE  NORTH PACIFIC       157
Up this ladder he now climbed and passed unobserved
into the Chief of Light's Kingdom. On the morning
of his arrival he saw a daughter of one of the chiefs, a
beautiful woman, swimming in a lake of crystal, so he
stealthily went around to the place where she would
land, and waited for her to emerge. When this took
place she was carried off by the slave and he dropped
with his prize into the sea not far from North Island.
The raven happened, at the time, to be flying thereabouts, and noticing something moving through the
air, he watched, and at last discovered what he had
first thought were two large eagles were the slave and
this woman. So directly the slave came ashore with
his prize and took her to his house the raven appeared
and demanded that the woman should be handed over
to him. The slave refused, and the raven in anger
seized her for his wife, and changing the slave into a
spirit, drove him away for ever. He cursed the slave
and condemned him to become a wandering spirit to
look after the growth of every living thing.
Thus the slave is now termed the Wanderer, and it
is believed that he is always busily engaged in causing
berries and roots of all descriptions to grow for the
support of the Haidas. Every plant, every flower, and
every tree are under his control; and he it is that
provides fine cedar trees on the islands from which the
natives hew their canoes. The beasts of the forest, the
fish in the sea, and the birds of the air are under his
supreme control. Thus he fulfils his destiny, and at
times the Haidas in gratitude make him offerings of
berries, roots, salmon and bear grease. These they put
into hollow trees to provide him with a meal. At the
end of time it is said that the raven will release him
from his task, and woe to the Haidas when this happens,
for the trees and the plants, the fish and the animals, 158 ANCIENT   WARRIORS
the fowls of the air, and even their country will cease
to exist, and then shall come the end of their race.
The Haida mythology contained another terrible
monster, a man-devouring being who floated half out of
the water; it was seen once in every ten or fifteen years,
and its appearance was a sure sign of pestilence and
death. The last record of the appearance of this
creature was off Massett some thirty years ago, and it
caused great consternation and alarm. Unfortunately,
however, for the myth, two Europeans rowed out to
investigate and found it to be the root of a large spruce
Like many other native tribes in which animism is a
vital belief, the forces of Nature to the Haidas filled
their world with many terrors. The tidal waves, the
whirlwind, the dreaded monsters of the sea, the great
chiefs of the whales, seals and otters all played their
part. Within the memory of the older inhabitants the
mountains were believed to emit flames and monstrous
shapes, demons overwhelmed the valleys with tremors
of the ground, and other actions of malignant beings
made the Haidas tremble in the night watches. Some
of these beliefs undoubtedly originated in folk memory
of volcanic eruptions and earthquakes which occurred
in the Alaskan Peninsula during their migration from
Asia. The Haidas could see signs and portents in the
variations of the sun and moon, and also in eclipses.
A comet was to them a sure sign of impending woe.
The moral code of the Haidas was in some respects
most excellent, and these laws were supposed to have
come from the Chief of Light. Parents loved their
children and children were enjoined to love and honour
their parents. Poor and indigent tribesmen were
helped, and hospitality was enjoined upon adults, and
children were taught to be unselfish and kind one to OF THE NORTH PACIFIC       159
another, or when they died they would go to the
' Kingdom of Darkness dominated by Chief Het-gwau-là-
nà. The elders could often be heard in olden days teaching the young that it was better to listen than to speak,
and that misfortune came to the man who allowed his
tongue to speak before his mind had time to think.
They, used to say that those who caused misfortune by
slander and foolish talk were frequently put to death.
They imagined it was right to kill an enemy, but to
abuse a friend without cause or deed was oftentimes
punishable by death. Their laws were believed to have
been brought to their knowledge from the invisible
world by the raven.
There is an alternative version of their origin and,
according to this story, long aeons ago the world was
covered by water and all human beings, birds and
animals were utterly destroyed, with the solitary
exception of one wise old bird that kept aloft, and so
saved itself from drowning. This bird was one that
undoubtedly had some great dead chief's spirit within
it, for it could transform itself into many animal shapes,
but its most favourite form was that of a raven. It
could shed its feathers at will and appear as a human
being. He was born of a virgin in the time before the
great flood, and when old enough his mother supplied
him with a bow and arrows. Thus equipped he was
wont to kill birds and save their skins. Having
collected many skins his mother made him a garment
by, sewing them together. He was held in great esteem
by all, and when he grew up, owing to his great wisdom
and magical powers, the people of his tribe became his
serfs and supplied him all his needs. This wonderful
creature was named Nï-kils-tlas.
When the great flood came, he saw his people
destroyed, so to. escape their watery fate, he transformed 160 ANCIENT   WARRIORS
himself into a large raven, and for many weeks his
powerful wings kept him above the waters. He flew to
and fro under the grey clouds of heaven, as there was
no place on earth where he could find a resting place.
He finally became weary, so descended and beat the
water with his wings and splashed it furiously into the
air; he transformed the spray into rocks, and thus made
for himself a resting place; continuing this procedure
he eventually formed the land known as the Queen
Charlotte Islands. When he had made this dry land,
Nï-kils-tlas looked everywhere, but could find no
living being save himself and he felt lonely ; he, however,
saw a clam on the beach near-by, so he picked it up and
brooded over it in his desire for a companion ; not many
days elapsed before he heard a faint cry proceeding
from the shell. It was like the cry of a new-born
infant, and at last a beautiful female child appeared
which he took out of the shell and cared for
and nursed gently. This child grew to be a beautiful and lovely woman, and when fully grown she
fell in love with Nï-kils-tlas and finally married him.
These two were supposed to be the first parents of the
present Haida tribe.
Nï-kils-tlas lived at Rose Spit, the North-Eastern
point of Graham Island, for here it was he transformed
the splashes of water into rocks, and later on the rocks
became sand. He then determined to make for himself
two slaves. Along the beach, on the Western side of
Rose Spit, he collected two mounds of clam shells and
moulded them into the likeness of human beings, and
by his wonderful powers he gave them life. They were
not appreciative of his effort, and cried out to Nï-kils-tlas
and said " we are not finished." In his anger he threw
limpets at one of them which then became a man, and
the other remained as she was before, a woman; the OF THE NORTH PACIFIC       161
male slave became his servant, and the female slave
that of his wife.
The common origin of these two versions of the
legend will be apparent to all. Nï-kils-tlas and his
wife raised a numerous family; but all this time they
had neither fire, fresh water nor had they the sun to
give them light. Nï-kils-tlas, however, discovered that
these desirable things were in the possession of a
powerful chief who lived on the Naase River. To
secure them for his people he therefore again traris-
formed himself into a raven, and leaving his people he
flew over to the other chief's abode.
It so happened that this chief had a beautiful
daughter, so Nï-kils-tlas, the raven, again changed his
shape and appeared as a handsome young man. Day
after day he intercepted the girl in her wanderings ;
when first she saw him she was greatly afraid and
about to scream, but he assured her that he only
desired her friendship. After many weeks of philandering he was, unknown to her father, accepted as her
lover. Night after night he secretly visited the girl
and she came to implicitly trust Nï-kils-tlas.
Finally, when he knew he had gained her full confidence, he told her that he desired a drink of water. His
lover immediately went to her father's house to obtain
it without her parent's knowledge and presently
returned with, some in a neatly-made water-tight spruce
root basket. He drank but little and then waited until
she grew tired and fell asleep.
When the girl was sound asleep, Nï-kils-tlas transformed himself back to raven shape, seized the basket
in his beak and flew back to his own country. As he
flew he accidentally dropped some of the water over
these islands, and these drops became the rivers found
there at the present time. 162 ANCIENT   WARRIORS
The legend of the origin of fire and light, also the
oolachati fish was well recorded by Sir George Dawson
after his visit in 1878, and the narrative is different from
that recorded earlier in this chapter. This latter
version, it is believed, is not true Haida folk lore, but
is derived from the Zimshean and Naase Indians; it
runs briefly as follows :
When Nï-kils-tlas wished to obtain some of the fire
that the Naase chief possessed, great cunning was
necessary. Nï-kils-tlas, after his adventure with the
girl, naturally could not expect a friendly reception, so
another plan had to be adopted, and he therefore
assumed the form of the needle-like leaf of the spruce
tree; in this shape he floated on the water near the
chief's house, and when his former lover came down to
get water, the leaf was swept into the vessel that she
used. The girl in drinking the water swallowed, without noticing it, the little leaf, and shortly afterwards
became pregnant, and bore a child who was none other
than the cunning Nï-kils-tlas, and thus he again gained
an entry into this Naase chief's house. When fully
grown he watched his opportunity, picked up a burning brand, and again becoming a raven, flew out
through the smoke hole at the top of the lodge, and
carried it away. He spread the fire everywhere, and
one of the first places which he set on fire was the
Northern end of Vancouver Island, and that is said
to be the reason why so many trees there have
black bark. Finally he reached his own people,
and when they saw the fire stick there was great
All this time, however, they were without any sun,
and the next great adventure of Nï-kils-tlas was to
obtain it. This time, of course, a new plan had to be
evolved.    He   therefore  pretended   that   he   also  had OF THE NORTH  PACIFIC       163
light, if not the actual sun, and continued to assert it,
although the Naase chief denied it. Nï-kils-tlas made
an object to resemble the moon which, while all the
people were out fishing on the sea in the perpetual
night, he allowed to be partly seen under his coat of
feathers. It cast a faint glimmer across the water,
which his own people and the Naase chief thought was
caused by a veritable moon. Disgusted at finding that
he was not the sole possessor of light, the Naase chief
then placed the sun and moon in the sky, and once
more Nï-kils-tlas outwitted his neighbour.
Only one thing more still remained in the possession
of the great Naase chief, and this was the oolachan
fish. Now the shag was familiar with the chief, and
had access to his property, including his store of
oolachans. Nï-kils-tlas contrived a quarrel between
the sea-gull and the shag and when they met they
began to fight. Nï-kils-tlas knew that the shag had
an oolachan in its stomach, and so urged on the
combatants and advised them to lie on their backs and
strike out with, their feet. They did so and finally the
shag vomited up the oolachan, which Nï-kils-tlas seized.
Then making a canoe out of a rotten log, he smeared
the canoe and himself with the scales of the oolachan,
and arriving at night near the Great Chief's lodge,
called out that he was cold and wished to come in and
warm himself; that he had made a great catch of
oolachans, but had left them some way off. The chief
said it was untrue as he and he only possessed the fish,
but Nï-kils-tlas invited the chief to look at his clothes
and at his canoe. Finding both covered with, the
scales of the oolachan, he became convinced that
oolachans besides those which he had must exist, and
again in disgust at finding he had not the monopoly,
he turned all his oolachans loose, laying down at the 164
same time a rule that every year they must come back
in vast numbers as a testimony to his liberality, and
this they have never failed to do since that time,
consequently all the tribes of this region ever after
obtained all the oolachans they required. CHAPTER   XII
This worthy Haida chief died at Massett 16th November,
1894, and he was a personal and respected friend of the
author. He did his utmost to promote a feeling of
good fellowship between the Europeans and his people,
and he was successful in his efforts. No description of
the Haidas can be complete without a short account of
this noteworthy man. It was through his untiring C
energy that the Haidas finally cast off heathenism,
adopted a more civilized mode of life, and acquired a ;
respect for the laws of the Empire. His name was
pronounced E-din-so or It-in-so, which in the language
of the Fort Wrangel Indians means a waterfall. This
derivation, if correct, may be considered evidence that
in early times, on their way from Asia, the ancestors of
the Haidas had coasted down Alaska after crossing the
Behring Straits. Dr. Kennedy, the chief factor of the
Hudson Bay Company in the year 1851 wrote his name
as E-din-soo; this in time became, among Europeans,
changed to E-den-shaw, and by this name only he was
known along the whole coast. He did not receive this
name at his birth, but at the time he succeeded his uncle
as the Chief of the Shongalth Lennas at Dadans, near
North Island; his birth name was Gwai-gû-un-lthin,
which means " the man who rests his head on an
island." The village in which he was born has disappeared, but is said to have been situated near Cape
Ball on the Eastern shore of Graham Island, some forty-
five miles from Skidegate. As with all natives, the
year of his birth is uncertain. Edenshaw was an old
man in the early eighties of last century and is judged
to have then been about seventy years. On this basis
the approximate year of his birth would be about 1813.
The Haidas were then probably at the zenith of their
prosperity, for they were the Vikings of the entire coast,
and terrorized the other tribes from Fort Wrangel down
to Seattle. He has often described the many wars
against the Zimsheans that he had been engaged in, and
claimed consistent victory, returning home after every
affray with the canoes loaded with property and slaves.
Edenshaw had two elder brothers, and they were
noted braves, so young Edenshaw did his utmost to
emulate them. He was a handsome and well-built man,
and cut a fine figure in his chief's robes. Skidegate
became his headquarters, but he exercised authority as
far as Moresby Island, and visited the villages in his
domain from time to time. The uncle he succeeded was
a powerful chief at Dadans and bore the same name.
Each succeeding chief bore this name, but no son of the
chief could take his place or name, for according to
Haida custom the chieftainship descended to the chief's
eldest sister's son, and he was trained by his uncle for
the position he was to assume. Edenshaw's two eldest
brothers died and he was then placed in command of
his uncle's war canoes and led many an expedition as
his uncle's representative. According to Haida tribal
law he had to marry the chief's daughter, i.e., cousin,
but his uncle had no daughter, so it was arranged that
he should marry the daughter of a powerful chief in
His uncle finally died, and Edenshaw succeeded to
his property and chieftainship, and at his succession the
grandest and largest distribution of goods and articles
of great value, including slaves, took place that has ever OF THE NORTH PACIFIC       167
been recorded in the traditions of these islands. The
young chief's property included twelve slaves, male and
female, and upon the occasion of his marriage, his
wife's father gave his daughter ten more slaves to
accompany her to her new home.
In 1851 Dr. Kennedy, at that time the factor of the
Hudson Bay Company at Fort Simpson, showed to
Edenshaw some samples of gold quartz, and told
him that for such stones he would be highly paid.
Edenshaw, remembering that an old woman at Skidegate had shown him similar stones, inquired from the
old dame their place of origin. She told him that
they came from the West coast of Moresby Island.
Edenshaw thereupon started with his wife, his little son
Kà-hù, and the old guide. They all landed at the spot
and proceeded to collect the lumps of the rich gold
quartz. They filled a basket and deposited the rock in
the canoe and returned to the shore for another load.
Young Kâ-hù, being bored, began to use the rocks as
missiles to throw at fish playing round the canoe, and
when the party returned with a second load they were
amazed to find that the lad had thrown away the first
collection, and his father's annoyance resulted in a
sound beating.
Edenshaw, however, finally obtained a considerable
quantity of this rich quartz and took it across to Fort
Simpson, and exchanged it for bales of blankets. The
late Dr. Dawson in his report on the islands stated that
Edenshaw's specimens included a nugget of gold of
considerable size. An early traveller to these 'islands
alleged that the Haidas used gold bullets for their
muskets, and that they were very delighted when he
gave them lead bullets for their gold ones, and doubtless
he shared in the delight. When the Hudson Bay
Company had received Edenshaw's gold quartz, they 168 ANCIENT  WARRIORS
dispatched the schooner Una to Moresby Island with a
party of miners. Flake gold from the Cape Fife district
was also collected and traded to the Hudson Bay
Company at the rate of a tobacco pipe full of gold for
one blanket—some profit !
In Edenshaw's pagan days some remarkable dances
could be seen at Massett, the Haidas being decked in all
their old aboriginal splendour, their faces painted and
their hair adorned with feathers. Chiefs An-ï-tlus,
Captain John, Laig, Haltus, Wï-hà, the Shaman Kû-të,
and Edenshaw would all take part in these tribal
functions. They are now abandoned and will never
again take place on the islands, as the younger
generation despise the old picturesque ceremonial. An
interesting dance was once witnessed at the house of the
old chief Wï-hà. The tribesmen had been dancing for
about two hours, when several men, carrying in an
upright position a fine old totem pole, entered the house.
This valuable pole belonged to one of Edenshaw's
ancestors. In front of this totem Chief Edenshaw
danced a most strange and beautiful dance for about a
quarter of an hour, and at its conclusion ordered the
totem to be cast upon the fire and burnt, so that no other
chief would ever be able to dance as he had done before
this totem of a bygone ancestor.
He was always a very striking figure. At the funeral
of one of his sub-chiefs it was his rôle to deliver the
funeral oration, and the duty was carried out with great
dignity. He set forth all the virtues and noble deeds of
the dead man, and afterwards distributed all blankets
and prints to those who were entitled to receive them.
On the occasion of a potlatch or distribution of property
at the grave of a chief the procedure is worthy of record.
All the way from the house of the deceased to the
graveyard the men stretched their blankets over their OF THE NORTH PACIFIC       169
shoulders and the women did the same with their prints.
The first man started from the house with the corner of
his blanket held in his hand and with the blanket thrown
over his shoulder, so that the second man could catch
hold of the other end, and keep it off the ground. This
the second man did with one hand and held the corner
of his own blanket thrown over his shoulder to the third
man with his other hand, and so on. When the first
man had reached the graveyard the last man had just
started from the house of the deceased holding on to
the blanket of the man who preceded him and with his
own blanket rolled up on his arm. They then kept
step and marched in this fashion to the grave, a chain
of men and blankets. The first man deposited his
blanket on the ground near the grave, the second did
likewise, and so on until all were placed in heaps. The
women, then, in the same fashion, brought all their
prints and ginghams to the grave. The chief was
then buried, and all the goods were distributed by
Another great event at which he figured prominently
was the erection of the last totem pole that was ever
erected at Massett. This totem pole was erected in
front of the house of a chieftainess named Kit-kô-nê.
Thousands of dollars' worth of blankets, crockery, guns,
bracelets, coins and articles of all descriptions were
given away as a testimony of the rank of this lady.
In addition to these potlatches at the grave and the
erection of this totem pole, bounteous feasts were prepared, and hundreds of dollars' worth of sugar, pilot
bread and other kinds of food were distributed. These
potlatches were simply looked upon as a method of
repayment of social obligations. Other well-known
chiefs that formerly ruled over sections of this tribe were
Wï-hâ at Massett, Nà-tlan at Yen, Skldeget at Skide- 170 ANCIENT   WARRIORS
gate, Spence at the Yâ-koun, An-ï-tlus at Tou Hill, not
forgetting Amos Russ and Tom Stevens. Like Edenshaw these men were all a good influence for peace on
these islands, and their goodwill towards Europeans
was a remarkable fact. Edenshaw used to travel in
state in a dug-out canoe twelve fathoms in length,
elaborately carved and painted at both ends, manned by
a large number of slaves and dependents ; by means of
trading he accumulated considerable wealth, and in the
course of his life made no less than seven great potlatches, the biggest ever known on the islands. He had
not long been a chief when he had a narrow escape in
an encounter with some Zimsheans on the Naase river.
He had gone over with a party of his followers to sell
a slave and a copper, but the Naase people recognized
the slave as one of themselves and claimed him. This
led to a dispute, and eventually Edenshaw and a
Zimshean chief engaged in a hand to hand encounter;
a tribesman intervened and aimed his gun at Edenshaw,
who quickly swung the Zimshean chief round so he
received the charge and was killed. Edenshaw and his
people then rushed for their canoe amid a volley from
their opponents and the chief was wounded in two
places, but managed to reach his canoe and escape.
The late Dr. Dawson, when visiting these islands in
1878, obtained from Edenshaw an account of these
Indians' first meeting with the whites, and it is of some
interest to quote his account. " On asking Chief Edenshaw if he knew the first white man the Haidas had seen,
he gave me, after thinking a moment, the name of
Douglas, very well pronounced. There is little doubt
that the chief with whom Captain Douglas is said to
have exchanged names was a predecessor of Edenshaw.
This chief's name was Gunia, and it is due to the ceremonial exchange of names having taken place, that that OF THE NORTH  PACIFIC       171
'of Douglas has been handed down to the present Edenshaw, while those of Dixon and his people have been
forgotten. Edenshaw admitted that he thought white
men had appeared before Douglas, but he did not know
their names. It was near Winter, a long time ago, he
said, when a ship under sail appeared in the vicinity of
North Island. The Indians were all very much afraid.
The chief shared in their general panic, but feeling that
it was necessary for the sake of his dignity to act a bold
part, he dressed himself in all the finery worn in
dancing, and on approaching the ship performed a
dance. It would appear that at first the idea was
vaguely entertained that the ship was a great bird of
some kind unknown to them, but on approaching it the
men were seen and likened from their dark clothing and
the general sound and unintelligible character of their
talk, to shags, which sometimes indeed look almost
human as they sit on the rocks. It was observed that
one man would speak, whereupon all the others would
immediately go aloft, till, something more being said,
they would as rapidly descend. He also related further
stories of those who, in a former generation, first became
acquainted with many things with which they are now
familiar, and profess to look upon these, their immediate
predecessors, with much contempt. He said that an
axe having been given to one, it pleased his fancy on
account of its metallic brightness, which he likened to
a silver salmon. He did not know its use, but taking
the handle out, hung it round his neck as an ornament.
A biscuit being given to another, he supposed it to be
made of wood, and being after some time induced to eat
it, finds it too dry. Molasses, tasted for the first time
by an adventurous Haida, was pronounced very bad,
and he warned his friends against it."
In 1852 an American schooner, the Susan Sturgess, 172 ANCIENT   WARRIORS
visited the islands for trade, and Edenshaw volunteered
to pilot the ship from Skidegate to Massett, so he and
his wife went on board with their children, and the
Susan Sturgess sailed up the Straits towards Rose Spit.
The day being calm, she did not make much progress,
and before she rounded the Point three of the men from
the Në-kwun village came on board. Having rounded
the Spit and when half-way between Tou Hill and
Massett, a large number of Haida canoes were seen
approaching the ship. All these canoes were manned
by the Massett tribesmen under command of the late
Chief Wï-hà. As soon as they, reached the ship they
swarmed aboard and took possession of everything; in
fact, they captured the vessel. The captain and the
crew went and locked themselves in one of the cabins,
and were convinced that their last hour was near.
Edenshaw, although supported only by three followers,
intervened on their behalf. Wï-hâ told him to stand
on one side as the ship was now in his waters, and that
he intended to do as he liked with his prize. Edenshaw
maintained that as he had volunteered to act as pilot
the ship was in his charge. Finally they came to
blows, and for seven hours Edenshaw stood with his
back against the cabin door in which the crew had
sought refuge, and dared anyone to kill or injure them.
By this time the schooner had grounded on the beach in
front of the old village at Yen, the headquarters of the
Stling Lennas. Eventually an arrangement was made
by Edenshaw that Wï-hà should detain the crew on
the understanding that they were not to be injured,
otherwise they would be avenged by Edenshaw and his
followers. Wï-hà agreed and the sailors were sent by
canoe to Wï-hà's house at Massett, and were treated as
Slaves. A survivor of this party rnet in Victoria about
thirty years ago testified to the plucky defence of his OF THE NORTH PACIFIC       178
triâtes by Edenshaw; but as for that other chief
(referring to Wï-hâ) the old scoundrel, if ever he saw
him again he would shoot him down as a dog for the
way he treated him and his mates whilst in his house
at Massett. After the crew had been landed at Wï-hâ's
house, the Haidas in the vicinity of Yen pillaged the
schooner, and then burnt her on the beach in front of
the village. Thirty years after this episode, some of the
Massett Indians still had in their possession the iron
cables and an American spread eagle made of oak which
measured six feet across the centre. The writer
obtained possession of this trophy, presented it to a
student of Harvard University that was visiting Massett
on the condition that he would place it in the Museum
of his University, and this, it is believed, has been done.
After the vessel had been destroyed Edenshaw had
several conferences with Wï-hâ regarding the release
of the American sailors, and finally after Edenshaw
offered to pay Wï-hâ compensation, they were thereupon released, and Edenshaw took them across to Fort
Simpson and handed them over to Dr. Kennedy, the
factor of the Hudson Bay Company, without asking
any reward. It should be realized that this incident
occurred when the Haidas were still pagans. Before
they parted Captain Rooney, master of the vessel, gave
Edenshaw a document recounting how he had saved
their lives. This document is still in the possession of
his son.    It runs as follows :
Fort Simpson,
10th October, 1852.
The bearer of this, Edenshaw, is chief of the tribe of
Indians residing on North Island.     I have reason to
know that he is a good man, for he has been the means
of  saving the lives of me and my crew,  who were 174 ANCIENT  WARRIORS
attacked and taken prisoners by the Massett Indians off
the harbour of that name. He and his wife and
child were on board the vessel, coming from Skidegate
harbour round to North Island, when on the 26th September, 1852, we were surprised by some canoes
alongside. We were so overpowered by numbers, and
so sudden the attack, that all resistance on our part was
quite impossible ; but after gaining the cabin, this man
and his wife and two or three of his men who happened
to be on board, protected us for seven hours, until he
had made some terms with them for our safety. He
saved my chronometer and several other things which
he brought to Fort Simpson, and gave to me without
asking for any remuneration. I hope, if this should
ever be shown to any master of a ship, that he will treat
him well, for he deserves well at the hand of every
white man.
Matthew Rooney,
Formerly Master of schooner
Susan Sturgess.
In 1853 H.M.S. Trincomalee visited these waters and
Captain Houston testified that Edenshaw was a man of
great influence in the neighbourhood, and advised that
he be treated with the greatest consideration.
In the same year H.M.S. Satellite was cruising in
these seas and Captain J. C. Prévost engaged Edenshaw
as his pilot round the different bays and harbours of the
coast. He gave him a glowing testimonial of his
The first prominent Haida to become a Christian was
Edenshaw's first-born son, Cowhoe or Kâ-hû. One
day he produced a small book saying it had been given
to him years before by the captain of an English man-
of-war.    It proved to be a New Testament with this OF THE NORTH PACIFIC       175
' inscription on the flyleaf : " From Captain Prévost,
H.M.S. Satellite, trusting that the bread cast upon the
waters may be found after many days." More than
twenty years had passed before that prayer was
answered, but at the end of that time this man was
baptized by the name of George and became the first
Haida Catech ist, and eventually the first teacher of their
own race in the school at Massett.
During middle age Edenshaw travelled a great deal
between Sitka and Victoria, and these visits at times
appear to have been rather embarrassing to the
authorities, for we hear of the Governor supplying him
rum and blankets in order to induce him to leave. A
magistrate in i860 writes that the chief was ordinarily
well-disposed but dangerous when in liquor. About
this time smallpox was prevalent in Victoria, the
Governor therefore ordered one of the gun-boats to
hurry Edenshaw and his followers back to their own
country. The Haidas were therefore rounded up one
morning and their canoes taken in tow. When opposite
Nanaimo, Edenshaw, however, refused to be towed any
further, seized an axe and severed the tow-line. The
captain of the gun-boat therefore left them to their own
devices, and apparently the Haidas returned and camped
near Nanaimo for some time longer. Some were locked
up in the old gaol, and their friends tried to rescue them,
and fired several shots into the old bastion, and the
marks of their shots can be seen to this day. Their
friends being finally liberated, they moved a few miles
up the coast, and in this camping ground smallpox
broke out and decimated them. Edenshaw and his
party then moved Northwards and finally reached their
homes, carrying the disease with them to the islands,
and many of his tribe succumbed.
After all this Edenshaw seems to have settled down 176 ANCIENT   WARRIORS
to a quiet life, and he and his family presently embraced
Christianity, being baptized by the author and confirmed
by Bishop Ridley.
Edenshaw's eldest son, Kâ-hù, succeeded his uncle
(his father's brother) to the chieftainship of a clan in
Alaska, the principle of matrilineal succession thus
being broken; his second son is known as Henry
Edenshaw, and he became a civilized person, and is
well known as one of the best business men on the
Edenshaw died at Massett in 1894. 1° addition to a
tombstone over his grave, a monument has been erected
to his memory near his old house ; it commemorates his
rescue of the crew of the Susan Sturgess and records
that he was the white man's friend. Thus must end a
brief description of the life-story of one of the Haidas
who did more than any other to promote a good feeling
between the whites and his own people, and it is mainly
due to his example that the Haidas are a law-abiding
people to>day.   Requiescat in pace.
Note.—Edenshaw frequently told the author that Sir
James Douglas, the first Governor of British Columbia,
was the best white man he had ever met, and that he had
given him a lot of presents, therefore was a great chief
like himself. On his return to his village at Kung, in
Virago Sound, after this memorable trip, he caused his
followers to erect another totem in front of his house,
and the topmost figure was a splendid likeness of the
Governor in his frock-coat and high silk hat. This
totem is still to be seen, covered with moss and lichen,
standing grimy and grey in front of the ruins of the
old warrior's house. CHAPTER  XIII
No authoritative work on the islands can be complete
unless it contains some record of their wild fauna and
flora. The interior has, however, unfortunately not yet
been fully explored, so doubtless many new species still
remain to be discovered.
Although only some thirty miles from the nearest
islands adjacent to the mainland the mammalia fauna
is scanty, but the current running through the Hecate
Straits is strong, and it is considered impossible for any
of the species on the islands to have swum across under
present conditions. It is, however, probable that oscillations of level have occurred within comparatively recent
times, for the fauna of the group was undoubtedly
derived from the mainland and at no remote period, or
a greater differentiation would have taken place.
The land mammals which have been recorded are as
follows :
i. Black bear—Ursus carlottce.
2. Otter—Lutra canadiensis.
3. Caribou—Rangifer dawsoni.
4. Sitka deer—Odocoileus columbianus sitkensis.
5. Deer—Cervus alaphus.
6. Marten—Mustela americana.
7. Weasel—Putorius haidarum (Preble).
8. Shrew—Sorex longicauda.   There are said to be
four varieties distinguishable by the length of the
body and tail.
9. House mouse—Mus musculus (Linn.).
10. Keen's mouse—Peremyscus keeni.
11. Prévost Island mouse—Peremyscus prevostensis.
12. Rose Spit mouse—Peremyscus nêkwuni.
13. Silver-haired bat—Lasionycteris noctivagans.
14. Sooty     big - footed     bat — Myotis     yumanensiz
15. Keen's bat—Myotis subulatus keeni.
16. North-West bat—Myotis californiens caurinus.
17. Norway rat—Mus norvégiens.
The latter is not indigenous, but was introduced
about 1908 from a ship that was beached for repairs.
te The Ursus carlottœ is near the species known as
Ursus americanus, but Dr. Osgood of Washington,
U.S.A., Considers it to be sufficiently differentiated to
warrant a special species name. His material consisted
of seven skulls, mostly immature, but he had no
difficulty in distinguishing them from mainland specimens of americanus. He also states that the skull of
Ursus luteolus is equal in size to that of Ursus carlottœ,
but the teeth in luteolus are wider and heavier. In
carlottœ the brain is heavier, the arch of the cranium
much greater and the inter-orbital region wider.
Carlottœ was also compared with a fossil species from
Ohio called Ursus procerus and a superficial resemblance was found, but detailed diagnostic differences
were numerous. No skins were examined, but they are
said to be glossy at all times. OF THE NORTH PACIFIC       17£
The island bear is a mild-tempered creature and
it usually, avoids human settlements, but it may
occasionally be met with picking berries near a farm.
Even if wounded it rarely retaliates but endeavours
to escape.
The author was on one occasion investigating the
possibility of removing a log-jam on the Tallel River
as it impeded the migration of the salmon to their
spawning beds. While thus engaged, he and his
Indian companion came upon two bears who were sitting
on each side of a gap in the logs watching for passing
fish. They completely ignored the two men, and it was
only when assailed by missiles that they shambled off
grunting with disappointment.
From May to July the bear is not worth' shooting for
the skin is valueless, it being the period of the annual
moult of the Winter coat.
The land animals which are of value for their fur are
the Bear, Otter, Marten and Weasel, but owing to the
mildness of the climate on the islands the pelts are
only graded as second rate.
The otters are not common and are easily distinguishable from the mainland type.
The marten, according to Dr. Osgood, exhibits
certain differences to similar species on the mainland,
and apart from the skin the differentiation extends to
the skull. These remarks also apply to the Haida
weasel, the differences being sufficient to warrant its
classification as a separate species.
We next come to the Caribou, and the question as to
whether the Caribou is actually found on the islands has
for many years been a matter of dispute.
Several long residents were convinced that they were
non-existent. Even Dr. Osgood, who visited the islands
in 1901, declared that he could find no evidence of their L
presence; his statement is, however, inconclusive, for
he never visited their habitat, which is Naden district,
Graham Island, and not far from Virago Sound.
The fact remains, however, that a former agent of the
Hudson Bay Company offered a reward for proof of the
existence of Caribou, so an Indian went forth, shot one
and brought back the head. He declared that he had
bagged it on Graham Island and the head is now in the
Museum at Victoria.
The author has, however, hunted them on several
occasions and has repeatedly seen their tracks, but
unfortunately never actually saw the animals. Fresh
tracks were also seen in 1911 by a Mr. C. Sheldon, a
collector of Washington Biological Department, but he
failed to secure a specimen.
The year following two Indians named White and
Yeomans shot three specimens in the Naden harbour
district and sent their skins and bones to the Provincial
Museum at Victoria.
There thus appears to be little doubt as to their actual
existence on the islands, but why they are not more
numerous is difficult to explain. They have not been
decimated by the Indians, for they do not care for meat,
and, moreover, are afraid of hunting far away in the
forests or the hilly country of the interior.
After the skins were forwarded to Victoria the
Government sent four large deer (Cervus alaphus) to
Massett ; afterwards they stocked the islands with Sitka
deer, and are rigidly protecting them until they become
firmly established in the islands of the group.
There are native rumours of the existence of a red-
haired animal with a bushy tail, the native name of
which is nakadze; if they are correct it will probably
turn out to be a species of fox.
There are no frogs on the islands but toads (Bufo OF
.    haliophUus a
land, and this
lumbensis) are to be found in marshy
is the only vertebrate of this class as yet
The Sea Mammals
These may be divided into two groups—the seal
family and the cetaceans or whales.
Seals.—The fur seal (Otoes alascanus) was formerly
abundant, but alas is now well-nigh extinct, and for the
last twenty years have become so rare, search for them
has ceased.
The sea-otter (Latax lutris), although not actually in
this group, may be here referred to. It was formerly
very numerous, for we read that in 1787 the trading
Schooner, King George, bought 1,821 skins on one
trip. They must, however, have rapidly decreased, for
some forty years ago the Haida hunters killed about
twenty per season. They are, nowadays, very rarely
The sea-lion (Eumetopias stelleri) is very common on
the West coast of the islands and can be often seen
basking on the rocks; when disturbed by a passing boat
they swim around in curiosity. The natives, however,
say that during the Spring salmon Season they are apt
to be dangerous, for when a salmon is hooked a sea-lion
will sometimes seize hold of the catch, and unless the
fisherman cuts loose, the sea-lion will probably upset the
canoe ; on this account the Indians usually carry a rifle
in their craft; they are also aggressive in the breeding
season, when they swim about in pairs. Their tusks
are of some value and are carved into ornaments, etc.
They are bulky beasts, and one that was shot for the
Ottawa Museum weighed a ton.
The Pacific harbour or hair seal (Phoca vitulina) is
very common: their dried hides were formerly bought 182 ANCIENT   WARRIORS
in considerable numbers by the Hudson Bay Company
at fifty to seventy-five cents each. The flesh is much
appreciated by the Indians and their fins are considered
a delicacy.
The liver is full of oil, and it is boiled down and
sold at about forty cents a gallon. Young hair seals
can be easily tamed, and the author once reared one
from infancy, and it became as affectionate as a dog;
unfortunately it met its death by an accident.
Cetaceans.—As regards the cetaceans the following
are recorded from these seas :
1. Sperm whale—Physeter macrocephalus.
2. Pigmy sperm whale—Cogia breviceps.
3. Fin-back whale—Balœnoptera velifera.
4. Hump-back whale—Megapteria longiman.
5. Sulphur-bottom whale—Sibbaldius  sulfureus.
6. California grey whale—Rachianectes glaucus.
7. Black fish—Globicephalus scammoni (Cope.).
8. Killer whale—Orca atra.
9. Striped   porpoise — Lagenorhynchus   obliquidens
10. Common porpoise—Phocœna phocœna (Linn.).
Two whaling stations are operating on the islands,
one at Rose Harbour in the South and the other at
Naden Harbour, Virago Sound, at the North end.
Between them they, may in a good season catch two
hundred and fifty to three hundred whales.
The hump-backed whales are said to suffer greatly
from the irritation caused by the barnacles which attach
themselves to their backs. All whales are also afflicted
with a parasite called the whale louse which is probably
Cyannus ovalis.
A whale was once killed which had its mouth so
malformed that it could only feed through a slit in its OF THE NORTH PACIFIC       188
throat which the whalers surmised had been caused by
a sword-fish.
The striped porpoise (Lagenorhynchus obliquidens,
Gill.) are rare, and seldom seen.
The common porpoise (Phocœna phocœna, Linn.) is
very common. They are sometimes speared by Indian
fishermen when they disport themselves around their
boats. There appears to be little demand for their
Black fish (Globicephalus scammoni, Cope.).—This
creature is very numerous in Hecate Straits and large
numbers visit Massett Inlet and Virago Sound, but
appear to be rare on the West coast. They are alleged
to be dangerous to small craft.
The fish indigenous to these waters are numerous in
variety and also occur in great profusion. Those of
main economic importance are the halibut, cod, salmon
and dog-fish.
As regards halibut (Hippoglossus hippoglossus) it is
believed that the Hecate Straits contain probably greater
reserves of this fish than any other part of the world.
The Haidas are particularly fond of the halibut, and
catch a considerable number for their own consumption
during Winter and for trade with the mainland Indians.
They now use as bait a herring, and nowadays one of
the cold storage companies freeze a large supply of
herrings, supplying them to fishermen as needed.
Formerly the favourite bait was octopus, and these
cephalopods were caught by probing under rocks on the
beach with a long slender rod to which a hook was
attached. This method is also used by other native
tribes far removed from British Columbia. 184 ANCIENT  WARRIORS
The skil or black cod (Anoplopoma fimbria) This
fish abounds, and the best fishing banks are situated a
few miles off the West coast of the Islands, but more
information is needed with regard to the exact position
and area of these banks, and also the movements of the
shoals of fish. These cod are of a high quality and
average about fifteen pounds in weight.
There are no less than seven species of salmon, but
whether these are all distinct species in the scientific
sense Is not certain.
Their names are as follows :
Sock-eye Salmon—Oncorhynchus nerka.
Blue-back    Salmon—Probably   immature   cohoe,
Oncorhynchus kisutch.
Spring Salmon—Oncorhynchus tschawytscha.
Cohoe Salmon—Oncorhynchus kisutch.
Dog Salmon—Oncorhynchus keta.
Humpback or Pink Salmon—Oncorhynchus gor-
Steel-head Salmon—Salmo Gairdneri.
The principal species of trout are :
Dolly Varden Trout—Salvelinus malma.
Speckled Trout—Salmo Clarki.
Sea Trout—Various species, most commonly young
Spring Salmon.
Black Cod—Anoplopoma fimbria.
Red Cod—Sebastodes ruberrimuç.
Rock Cod—Sebastodes (several species).
Oolachan or Candle Fish—Thaleichthys pacificus.
The sock-eye begins to run about the end of March,
and reaches a maximum from middle of April to end of
June. OF THE NORTH PACIFIC       185
The steel-heads run in August and again in
The cohoes run from about the middle of August till
the end of September.
The hump-backs and dog salmon run from the beginning of August until the end of November.
Unfortunately, however, the quantity does not appear
to be adequate to warrant the establishment of many
canneries, and at present only three have been erected,
one at Woden, another<at Massett and the third is at
Aliford Bay.
The Spring salmon run from June to the end of
September, and are caught on the West coast and around
Langara Island. They are not canned but taken across
to the cold storage plants at Prince Rupert and there
frozen and shipped East.
The rivers being narrow, it is not possible to allow
commercial fishing in their lower reaches, for an ordinary
gill net would block the whole river and effectively
prevent any fish from reaching their spawning grounds
higher up the streams.
The dog-fish (Squalis sucklii) appear in great shoals
between June and September and are of value for oil.
The Indians have for a long time made dog-fish oil, and
for this purpose annually caught large numbers. Tou
Hill was a favourite fishing ground, and they used sea-
trout as bait. The trout were caught in the narrows of
Hai-el-lun river, a barrier of cedar laths being erected
across the stream and in the centre a conical fish-trap
was inserted. The erection was removed at the end of
the dog-fish season.
A dog-fish oil refinery has now been established by
Europeans at Skidegate and two grades are manufactured, one from the livers of the fish and the other from
the bodies.     For many years past the  Indians have 186 ANCIENT   WARRIORS
operated their own refinery on their reservation at
A fish locally known as the rat-fish is also utilized for
oil extraction, and the product is considered better than
that obtained from the dog-fish.
The herrings appear in great shoals in April and May
and are caught in large quantities by the Haidas for the
purpose of bait. The natives also collect a vast quantity
of herring spawn both for their own consumption and
for trade with, other Indians.
During the spawning season they take hemlock
branches, string lines on to them and then submerge
them in the bays. After a few days they are picked up
and found to be covered with masses of spawn. This
spawn is then dried, packed into fifty-pound boxes and
shipped away to the mainland as far as Hazelton and
Aiyansh, where it finds ready sale, for it is considered
a great delicacy by the Indians. This means the
destruction of myriads of fish and is on that account a
regrettable practice. If ever the herring on this coast
is found to be of value as a saleable food, it will be
necessary to prohibit the collection of spawn. The
lakes and streams abound in excellent trout which run
up to two and three pounds in weight.
Crustacea.—Lobsters have, as far as is known, never
been obtained from these waters.
Crabs, however, abound, and some reach a great size.
The edible species which, is most numerous is Cancer
magister. The Haidas appreciate the crab as food and
have devised an effective method of capture. They
make a ring of spruce root about thirty inches in
diameter and attach to this a shallow bag composed of
either a piece of old net or a sack, put a rock and some
bait in the middle and lower it into the sea. It is
periodically raised and crabs are thus easily caught. OF THE NORTH PACIFIC       187
Nowadays a crab cannery is in operation and the Haidas
■' sell large numbers to the firm.
Mollusca.—It is not intended to inflict upon the
reader a catalogue of the mollusca which inhabit these
waters, but mention may be made of the clams and
cockles, for these have an economic value.
There are several species of the group ranging from
the coarse horse clam to the tiny milk clam.
The one most valued for its edible qualities is,
however, the razor clam (Siliqua patula), and a cannery
has been founded at Tou Hill where these clams are
preserved for export, mainly, it is believed, for the
American market.
The natives utilize the mollusc, known as abalone or
haliotis, for food; they boil them or roast them on hot
rocks at the camp fire. They are also sometimes
smoked and dried for export to Japan.
The natives also look upon barnacles as a delicacy
and fancifully term them "little birds." The shells
are roasted in the ashes of the camp fire.
A reference list of the birds recorded as inhabiting
the islands is given below, the main authority being
Canon Keen to whom due recognition should be
The avian fauna is practically the same as that of the
Sitkan area, but there is, according to Dr. Osgood,
a tendency towards darker colours and heavier
Two forms are peculiar to the islands—the Jay,
Cyanocïtta stelleri carlottœ, and a Woodpecker,
Dryobates picoideus.
In all one hundred and six species have been collected, 188 ANCIENT   WARRIORS
sixty-seven of which are found there in the breeding
The majority of the small birds inhabit the thickets
bordering the shore or the river valleys, whereas the
thick forest of the interior is generally devoid of birds
with perhaps the exception of an occasional creeper or
Winter wren.
List of Birds
i. Whistling Swan—Olor columbianus.
2. American White-fronted Goose—Anser albifrons
gambeli (Hard.).
3. Canadian Grey Goose—Bernacla canadensis.
4. American   White-cheeked   Goose—Branta   cana
densis occidentalis.
5. Mallard—Anas boschas (Linn.).
6. Baldpate—Mareca americana (Gmelin).
7. Canvas-back Duck—Aythia vallisneria.
8. Buffle-head Duck—Bucephala albeola.
9. Golden-eye Duck—Clangula clangula americana
10. Green-winged Teal—Nettion carolinensis.
11. Harlequin      Duck — Histrionicus     histrionicus
12. American Dipper—Cinclus mexicanus.
13. Pintail—Dafila acuta (Linn.).
14. Old Squaw—Harelda hyemalis (Linn.).
15. Scaup Duck—Ayihiamarila nearctica.
16. Surf Scoter—Oidemia perspicillata (Linn.).
17. White - winged     Scoter — Oidemia     deglandi
18. North-West Coast Heron—Ardea herodias fannini
19. Sora Rail—Porsana Carolina (Linn.). OF THE NORTH PACIFIC       189
20. Wilson Snipe—Gallinago delicata (Ord.).
21. Sharp - tailed    Sandpiper — Tringa    acuminata
22. Sanderling—Calidris arenaria (Linn.).
23. Spotted Sandpiper—A dit is macularia (Linn.).
24. Greater     Yellowlegs — Totanus     melanoleucus
25. Black - bellied    Plover — Squatarola   squatarola
26. American Golden Plover—Charadrius dominions
27. Black     Turnstone — Arenaria     melanocephala
28. Black    Oystercatcher — Hœmatopus    bachmani
29. Belted Kingfisher—Ce ry/c alcyon (Linn.).
30. Short-tailed     Albatros — Diomedea     albatrus
31. Loon or Ember Goose—Gavia imber (Gunn.).
32. Pacific Loon—Ga«»a pacifica (Lawr.).
33. Red-throated Loon—Gavia lumme (Gunn.).
34. Pigeon Guillemot—Cepphus columba (Pallas).
35. Horned Puffin—Fratercula corniculata (Naum.).
36. Tufted Puffin—Lunda cirrhata (Pallas).
37. Dark - bodied    Shearwater — Puffinus    griseus
38. Slender-billed   Shearwater—Puffinus   tenuirostris
39. Fork - tailed    Petrel — Oceanodroma    furcata
40. California Murre—Uria troile californien (Bryant).
41. Ancient  Murrelet—Synthliboramphus  antiquus
42. Marbled   Murrelet—Brachyramphus  marmoratus
(Gmelin). 190 ANCIENT   WARRIORS
43. Bonaparte Gull—Larus Philadelphia (Ord.).
44. Glaucus-winged Gull—Larus glaucescens (Naum.).
45. Pacific   Kittiwake — Rissa  tridactyla   pollicaris
46. Short-billed Gull—Larus brachyrhynchus (Rich.).
47. Pelagic   Cormorant — Phalacrocorax    pelagicus
48. American    Merganser — Merganser   americanus
49. Red - breasted   Merganser — Merganser  senator
50. Sandhill Crane—Grus communis canadensis.
51. Little Brown Crane—Grus canadensis.
52. Oregon Ruffled Grouse—Bonasa umbellus sabini
53. Sooty Grouse—Dendragapus obscurus fuliginosvs
54. Fool-hen   or  Spruce   Grouse—Canachites   cana
55. Ptarmigan—Lagopus repestris.
56. Mourning Dove—Zenaidura macroura (Linn.).
57. Golden-headed Eagle—Haliœetus chrysœtus cana
58. Northern   Bald Eagle—Haliœetus   leucocephalus
alascanus (Towns.).
59. Peale Falcon—Falco peregrinus peali (Ridgw.).
60. Sharp-shinned Hawk—Accipiter velox (Wils.).
61. Western Goshawk—Accipiter atricappilus striatu-
lus (Ridgw.).
62. Western Red-tailed Hawk—Buteo borealis calurus
63. Night Hawk—Falco noctumus.
64. Sparrow Hawk—Falco sparverius.
65. Black    Merlin — Falco    columbarius    suckleyi
(Ridgw.). OF THE NORTH PACIFIC       191
66. American Osprey—Pandion hatiaëtus carolinensis
67. Kennicott Screech Owl—Megascops asio kenni-
cotti (Elliot).
68. North-West    Saw-whet   Owl — Syctala   acadica
69. Snowy Owl—Nyctea nyctea (Linn.).
70. Northern    Raven — Conms    corax    principalis
71. North-West Crow—Corvus caurinus (Baird).
72. Queen Charlotte Jay—Cyanocitta stelleri carlottœ
73. Queen Charlotte Woodpecker—Dryo bates picoi-
deus (Osgood).
74. Northern Red-breasted Sap-sucker—Sphyrapicus
ruber flaviventris (Vieill).
75. North-Western Flicker—Colaptes cafer saturatior
76. Western      Flycatcher — Empidonax     difficilis
77. American   Crossbill — Loxia   curvirostra   minor
78. White - winged    Crossbill — Loxia    leucoptera
79. Kadiak    Pine    Grosbeak — Pinicola    enucleator
flammula (Homeyer).
80. Pine Siskin—Spin'us pin us (Wilson).
81. Snowflake—Passerina nivalis (Linn.).
82. Russet - backed    Thrush — Hylocichla    ustulata
83. Coast  Hermit  Thrush—Hylocichla aonalaschkœ
verecunda (Osgood).
84. Western   Robin—Merula   migratoria  propinqua
85. Varied Thrush—Hesperocichla nœvia (Gmelin). 192
86. Alaska Longspur—Calcœrius lapponicus ala
87. Golden-crowned   Sparrow—Zonotrichia   coronata
Oregon Junco—Junco hyemalis oregonus (Towns.).
Sooty Song Sparrow—Melospiza melodia rufina
Townsend Fox Sparrow—Passerella iliaca town-
sendi (Nutt.).
Barn Swallow—Hirundo erythrogastra (Bodd.).
Tree Swallow—Tachycineta bicolor (Vieill).
Violet-green    Swallow—Tachycineta    thalassina
Western Bluebird—Cyanœus occidentalis.
American Dipper—Cinclus mexicanus (Swains.).
Western   Winter   Wren — Anorthura   hiemalis
pacifica (Baird).
American Pipit—Anthus pensilvanicus (Latham).
Alaska Yellow Warbler—Dendroica œstiva rubi-
ginosa (Pallas).
Lutescent Warbler—Helminthophila  celata lute-
scens (Ridgw.).
Pileolated   Warbler—Wilsonia   pusilla   pileolata
Townsend     Warbler — Dendroica     townsendi
Sitka    Kinglet — Regulus    calendula    grinnelli
Red-breasted Nuthatch—Sitta canadensis (Linn.).
Western Creeper—Certhia familiaris occidentalis
Chestnut-backed    Chickadee — Parus    rufescens
Rufus      Humming-bird — Selasphorus     rufus
-j of the North pacific
The insect population of the islands is extensive, but
to what extent the various orders have been systematically worked out by specialists is not known, and nowadays everything depends on this. This being the
case but little could be gained by attempting to give an
amateur list. A few general notes may, however, prove
of interest :
There are several species of moths indigenous to the
islands and among them may be mentioned the Great
Leopard, the Hickory Tiger, the Nais Tiger, the
Yellow Bear, the Long Black Velvety Moth, the Salt
Marsh Moth, and representatives of the Sphingidœ are
also found.
It is doubtful whether there are any butterflies to be
found, but that interesting family the Skippers which
comes half-way between the moths and butterflies is
said to occur.
The mosquitoes are at times a great pest, but as in all
Northern lands they are probably all Culicidœ, so do
not cause any malaria.
The midge family often occur in great swarms and
can be very tiresome to the inhabitants.
House flies are uncommon, but blue bottles appear
in great numbers in August; they probably breed in
the fish refuse; horse flies also worry domestic stock
in the Summer.
The plant life on the islands may be conveniently
divided into two zones.
The lower one—from sea-level up to about fifteen
hundred feet may be classed as Canadian.
The upper one—from fifteen hundred feet up to the 194 ANCIENT  WARRIORS
mountain tops, say four thousand feet, may be referred
to as the Alpine or Hudsonian zone.
The lower is the important forest zone, and the
principal trees are Silver or Sitka Spruce (Picea
sitchensis), Red Cedar (Thuja plicata), Hemlock
(Tsuga heterophylla), Yellow Cedar (Chamœcyparis
nootkatensis), Alder (Ainus oregona), Willow (Salix
scouleriana) and the Oregon Crab-apple (Pyrus
The upper zone is marked by a more stunted flora,
the only plants worthy of being called trees are : the
Alpine Hemlock (Tsuga mertensiana) and the North-
West Pine (Pinus contorta). There are also a profusion of mosses, ferns and large leafy plants. The
swamps in the valleys are covered with Caribou or
swamp heather (Phyllodoce glanduliflora), Labrador
tea (Ledum grœnlandicum) and (Ledum palustre).
The Haidas used to make a decoction from the leaves
of the latter plants and drink it as a beverage.
A few Yews are found, but mostly on the Southern
islands and the species is believed to be Taxus brexi-
folia. Some attain a very considerable girth ; one was
measured and was about seven feet in circumference at
six feet from the ground. The deciduous trees—
Alders,. Willows and Crab-apples—generally only occur
within say a mile of the coast-line and near streams or
The undergrowth on low-lying land consists of
dense masses of bushes, many of which bear edible
berries which are greatly appreciated both by the
human inhabitants and some of the animal fauna.
There are few countries blessed with such a wealth of
wild fruits. Wild strawberries (Fragaria vesca) grow
in profusion and ripen about June and July; they are
gathered   in   large   quantities   by   both   Indians and   OF THE NORTH  PACIFIC       195
Europeans.   The following is a list of the berry-bearing
bushes :
i. Bearfaerry—Arctostaphylos uva-ursi.
2. Blue Currant—Ribes laxiflorum.
3. Elderberry—Sambucus racemosus.
4. Highbush Cranberry—Viburnum pauciflorum.
5. Huckleberry, Black and Red—Vaccinium.
6. Mountain   Cranberry—Vaccinium   vitisidœa.
7. Raspberry—Rubus strigosus.
8. Red Currants—Ribes rubrum.
9. Sallalberry—Gaultheria station.
10. Salmonberry—Rubus spectabilis.
11. Serviceberry—Amelanchier alnifolia.
12. Lowbush Cranberry—Vaccinium oxycoccus.
13. Oregon Crab-apple—Pyrus rivularis. CHAPTER   XIV
The general structure of the group was ably dealt with
by Dr. G. M. Dawson as long ago as 1878 and appears
in the Report of Progress published in Montreal in 1880.
In 1906 Dr. R. W. Ells wrote an interesting report on
Graham Island, devoting special attention to the coal-
bearing beds. Graham Island was also examined in
1913 by G. J. A. Mackenzie, and his lucid report was
published by the Canadian Geological Survey in 1916.
Since Dr. Dawson's visit, research in this area has
unfortunately been confined to the Northern Island and
Moresby Island has been neglected.
As has been previously mentioned, the ridge which
forms these islands should in their regional sense be
considered with regard to the geology of the North-
West coast of the Continent.
The main axis of the group runs from Cape St. James
in the South to Langara Island at the North-West
extremity of Graham Island, and it is generally composed of a mass of rocks, much disturbed and In some
places highly altered. At first sight they have the
appearance of great antiquity, but this is greatly due
to the occurrence of great masses of volcanic material,
and partly to severe folding attended by frequent
faulting. In Graham Island this axis is marked by the
Queen Charlotte Range, but the peaks of that range
are composed of newer rocks, the older formation
being deeply buried; it, however, appears again to the
surface at the North-West extremity and on Langara
This ridge is parallel to the coastal range of the
mainland and its existence is tectonically related to the
structure of the Cordillerean system.
The Vancouver ridge is the bordering range of the
Canadian Cordillera, and to the West of it the sea
bottom rapidly descends to the great Pacific depths.
The Queen Charlotte ^Islands form the Northern
unsubmerged portion of this remnant of a mountain
chain. This succession of parallel ranges, commencing
with the Vancouver ridge and proceeding Eastwards,
followed by the Coast and Cascade ranges and so on
to the main ridges of the Rocky Mountains system
which are nearly built up of long series of sedimentary
rocks ranging in age from the Cambrian era to the end
of the Cretaceous, the total thickness of which is said
to be over fifty thousand feet.
These beds were in Tertiary times upheaved into a
series of parallel folds believed to be produced by
lateral compression from the Pacific. Similar movements were taking place in other parts of the world in
the same period, for it was then that the great
Himalayan chain was formed.
As may be expected these movements did not
operate with mathematical precision, for the rocks
varied in texture and in adaptability to folding,
fractures occurred in some places, overthrusts in others ;
great masses of igneous rocks welled out in some areas
and in others molten or semi-molten deep-seated rocks
of a different type broke through into the lower strata
but did not appear at the surface, only now being
exposed by subsequent denudations? they are termed
batholiths. 198 ANCIENT  WARRIORS
The oldest rocks in the group are believed to belong
to what the Canadian geologists term the Vancouver
series, and they have been divided into two divisions
conformable to each other. The former, called the
Maude formation, is certainly not newer than Lower
Jurassic and it may be as old as Triassic, and the upper
division, called the Yakoun formation, is referable to
the middle Jurassic.
The Maude formation consists of fine-grained rocks,
sometimes calcareous, sometimes carbonaceous, and at
times becoming beds of limestone; the fine-grained
rocks are often called argillites.
Higher in the series pale green, hard sand-stones are
found, which gradually become tufaceous and then pass
conformally into the overlying Yakoun formation.
The latter is largely pyroclastic in origin and also
partly consists of lava flows and sills.
The rocks of the Vancouver group are considerably
altered by dynamic metamorphism and are intruded by
flows of igneous rocks from the deep-seated magma
which formed the great batholiths, these rocks being
quartz diorite and diabase and therefore tend to be of
a basic character.
The Vancouver complex was then eroded and also
evidently depressed below sea-level, for upon it we
find deposited and unconformable to it a thick series
of rocks of Upper Cretaceous age. These rocks are
composed of the detritus from the older deposits and
the lower beds contain seams of coal. The Canadian
survey call them the Queen Charlotte series.
After the Queen Charlotte beds were laid down and
possibly before their deposition was complete they were
broken through by numerous igneous dykes and
occasional sills of dacite and andésite. The volcanic
activity evidenced by these flows extended well into the OF THE NORTH PACIFIC
Tertiary period, and the eroded overflow of these rocks
. was buried under great flows of basalt with which occur
some sedimentary beds. The Tertiary deposits on the
islands commence with the Etheline intrusives and
end with the basalt flows and agglomerates of the
Massett formation.
Since the Tertiary period erosion has been active,
there has been no general submergence but minor
movements have occurred, and there has been a considerable amount of sub-aerial deposition during the
glacial epoch.
A summary of the above mentioned formations is
here given, the authority being J. D. Mackenzie.
Pleistocene and recent
Pliocene ?   .      ,
Pliocene—Miocene ? .
Eocene ?    .      .      .
Upper Cretaceous
Local Name.
Superficial deposits
Massett formation
Etheline formation   .
Intrusive Contact.
Queen Charlotte series
(a) Skidegate beds .
(b) Honna beds
(c) Haida beds
Batholithic intrusions
Kano quartz diorite
Langara quartz diorite
Gênerai, Character.
Gravels,   sand,   clay,
Basalt flows and agglomerates
Conglomerates,   sandstones and shales
Dacite   and   andésite
Sandstone and shales
Conglomerate    and
Sandstones and shales
with coal
Quartz diorite, diabase, 200 ANCIENT  WARRIORS
Local Name.
Intrusive Contact.
General Character.
Middle Jurassic  .
Vancouver group.
Yakoun beds
Basaltic agglomerates
Lower   Jurassic   and
possibly Triassic    .
Maude beds
Argillites, sandstones
and tuffs
With regard to the glacial period in this region,
Dr. Dawson maintains that there is evidence of two ice
ages. During the first and most intense he considers
that the whole of the inland plateau of the islands was
covered by an ice sheet moving slowly Southward.
During the second period there was an advance seawards of glaciers which were formed on the mountain
systems of the islands, this latter period being of inconsiderable duration and severity compared with the first.
Since the retreat of the glaciers there is some
evidence of a recent uplift, for in several places beds of
recent shells have been found fifteen to eighteen feet
above high tide.
Natural Resources of the Islands
Many years' residence in this land has produced a
firm conviction that its potential economic value is
great. At the same time it is realized that when one
grows to love a particular region there is a temptation
to view life through rose-coloured glasses, and in any
public statement optimism must be tempered by restraint
and the whole situation must be viewed in the light of
cold facts. OF THE  NORTH PACIFIC       201
The    greatest    riches    of    immediate    access   are
undoubtedly the edible fish in the surrounding waters
• and the forests on the lower lying area on the Eastern
side of the group.
Fishing industries in various parts of the world fall
into two catalogues. First and most profitable is the
trade in fresh fish caught by fleets of well-appointed
trawlers and delivered quickly to organized markets.
This is a business of quick returns, but it can only be
built up in the vicinity of a dense population able to
purchase the catch, and such a population does not
exist in the British Columbian coast. Failing these
conditions, it is necessary to fall back on the alternative
of canning the fish and this is what will occur for many
years to come in the region under consideration.
In order that commercial enterprise may be induced
to develop this industry it is essential that a marine
biological survey should be undertaken by the
Dominion Government, which would afford essential
data regarding the extent and position of the halibut
banks, a study of the Spawning question, and the
migratory movements of the shoals of fish, particularly
those of the salmon. The results of Such an investigation would prove of the greatest importance to the
industry and would form a basis for intelligent regulations framed with the object of preventing depletion of
the stock. There is little doubt that the waters
contain a wealth of food supply which the world can no
longer afford to ignore. ANCIENT  WARRIORS
The Province of British Columbia is richly endowed
with supplies of soft timber trees which are in great
demand in the civilized world, in fact it may be looked
upon as one of the world's few remaining reserves of
this class of timber. According to reports it is being
worked with great rapidity and in somewhat wasteful
manner. The time is approaching when the conservation of this great source of natural wealth will need
careful consideration.
The islands also form a wonderful timber estate and
from sea-level up to about the one thousand feet level
there is a great wealth of valuable timber trees mostly
distinct from those of the mainland. The tree which
stands out above all others is the Silver Spruce which
in the war proved of such great value for use in
aeroplane construction. During that period half a
dozen mills were installed and a vast quantity of trees
were felled and cut up. Only one company is, however,
operating at present and its reserves of timber are
alone stated to amount to five billion feet.
Many of the indigenous timbers are suitable for
paper pulp and doubtless developments in this
direction will not be unduly delayed, for before many
years the growing thirst of the world for news print
will give the more remote areas a chance of competing
with places like Newfoundland.
The early development of farming on a large scale
can hardly be anticipated. The soil is exceptionally
good, the rainfall adequate and the climate is mild.
Large open areas are, however, a rarity; the mantle
of forest renders impossible the establishment of the
• modern wheat farm of say one thousand acres cultivated by tractor ploughs. No figures are available as
to the cost per acre of clearing the forest and turning
it into plough land, but it must be prohibitive and is
probably not much under .£30, and anyone rash
enough to embark on it could not hope to compete with
the farmers in Manitoba. At the same time as
industries grow up, be they fisheries, the exploitation
of timber or mining, a number of small men will
undoubtedly become induced to embark on intensive
farming, such as fruit culture, and judging by the great
wealth of wild fruits there is little doubt that they will
succeed.   Truck farming also would be remunerative.
As regards cattle the future is not clear, for it
depends on the area of open land available for grazing.
The interior of the islands has been so inadequately
explored that it is not at present possible to state
whether any considerable area suitable for division
into say two to five thousand acre grazing farms exist.
Where grass land is found, however, the richness of
the pasture is beyond doubt. An agricultural survey
would be of great use, for it would provide accurate
data which intending colonists could rely on.
Great hopes have from time to time been staked upon
the mineral riches of this land.
As long ago as 1852 a number of rough adventurers
from the mainland sailed over to a spot called Gold
Harbour on Port Kuper on the West coast attracted by
stories of a native discovery of gold. The discovery
was a fact and the occurrence was apparently of great 204 ANCIENT   WARRIORS
richness, but unfortunately of very limited amount, so
the mob very soon melted away.
Gold has in late years been reported from Harrison
Island in Jùs-kât-lâ Inlet, but from the method of its
occurrence is not likely to prove an extensive source.
Another discovery is recorded from the North coast
of Skidegate Inlet which deserves more extensive
The beach placers on Graham Island contain layers
of heavy black sands sorted by the waves, and it is said
that the Tertiary sands near Rose Spit give a gold
value of $1-50 per cubic yard. A plant is being erected
at Massett to deal with these deposits.
A deposit of copper ore was also prospected between
Skidegate and Kumshewa Inlets but failed to fulfil
expectations; this metal is also reported to occur on the
shores of Skincuttle Inlet near the Southern end of
Moresby Island. A Japanese company is successfully
mining copper ore at Ikeda Bay.
On the whole it would appear that the area covered
by the older rocks which predominate in Moresby
Island may form a more promising field for prospectors
than the younger rocks which cover most of Graham
The most important mineral discovery on the islands
is that of coal in the country North of Skidegate Inlet.
The coal is of Cretaceous age and both anthracite and
bituminous varieties occur. There are apparently two
basins, named Honna and Yakoun, the Honna basin
being the most Southerly. The coal-bearing series
have, unfortunately, been greatly folded and faults occur
in many places. OF THE NORTH PACIFIC       205
The seams in the Honna basin are somewhat thin for
. profitable working, but the quality is fairly good. In
many of the samples the ash content is, however, rather
The future development of these coal deposits depend
on a variety of factors which it is impossible to accurately
assess at present. The cost of mining is not known and
the extent of the fields has not yet been accurately
The local market for the coal is at present negligible ;
as new industries spring up in the future this will
undoubtedly increase, but no modern coalfield will pay
in a country like this unless an export trade can be
assured, and to what extent the collieries in the islands
will be able to compete with the well-established industry
at Nanaimo time alone can settle.
There are widespread occurrences of lignites of
Tertiary, age which may prove of economic value.
Their quality is good for the volatile content is high
and the ash content low. A series of distillation tests
is recommended.
Owing to the occurrence of traces of bituminous and
tarry matter in various places hopes of the discovery of
an oil field have run high, for it has been thought that
these were undoubtedly indications of its existence.
The evidence available has, however, been carefully
discussed by J. D. Mackenzie in Geological Survey
Memoir 88, and there appears little reason to doubt his
It is pointed out that the fine-grained rocks of the
Maude formation often contain bituminous matter; they
give off a bituminous odour, films of tarry matter occur 206 ANCIENT  WARRIORS
in bedding and joint planes. No seepages of oil have,
however, anywhere been discovered, and whether these
beds ever contained oil in commercial quantity cannot
be asserted, but there appears to be little doubt that
what now remains is nothing more than an asphaltic
residue. An analogous case is the tar sands of Alberta.
The bituminous matter locked up in these beds could
only be extracted by quarrying the rock and distilling
it, an expensive and non-profitable procedure.
At a much higher level in the geological series we
have the Etheline formation, supposed to be of Eocene
age and composed of intrusive igneous rocks hardly
expected to contain bituminous matter. At several
places, however, the amygdules in these rocks often
contain either tarry matter or viscous oil. The original
home of the oil is, however, obviously the bituminous
argillites above referred to and from which the volcanic
dykes have distilled it, imprisoning part of it in the
amygdules as described.
Lumps of paraffin wax have from time to time been
found on the beach at various points of the coast, and
it has been thought that these were natural wax or
ozokerite, therefore indications of oil deposits.
Now natural wax could only be derived from an oil
deposit with a paraffin base, whereas such indications
as exist point to the fact that any oil in this region had
an asphalt base.
Further, an examination of the material at the Ottawa
fuel-testing station elicited the opinion that the sample
was more like impure paraffin wax than ozokerite, at the
same time pointing out the difficulty of determining the
origin by laboratory tests.
The whole of this important question is summed up as
follows : In the Maude formation no liquid oil has been
observed, nothing but the viscous tarry matter which is OF THE NORTH PACIFIC       207
probably a residue. None of the beds are porous
.enough to hold large quantities of petroleum.
In the Haida formation there is the necessary porosity,
and, moreover, a cap of impervious rocks which would
check the escape of an oil supply; unfortunately,
however, there is no sign of petroleum of any sort in
this series.
The occurrence of oil in the amygdaloid dyke in the
Etheline formation has already been discussed.
In the Massett formation no trace of the occurrence of
oil has been recorded ; some of the series are porous and
impervious cappings probably exist.
Bore-holes put down on Yakoun River to a depth of
one thousand feet, on the property of the Graham Island
Coal and Timber syndicate to eight hundred and sixty
feet, at Skonun Point to a depth of one thousand and
one thousand and seventy-five feet—all failed to reveal
any trace of liquid oil.
Of course such a few bores are not conclusive in any
way, but everything tends to prove that the possibility
of a large reservoir of workable oil is remote. At
the same time, although the evidence up to date is
unfavourable, a large portion of the area of the islands
has been inadequately examined.
There are, therefore, according to the best authorities,
few indications of oil in commercial quantity, and to
compensate for the disappointing prospects of a great
oil field, further attention is recommended to the Maude
formation as the locale of rich beds of torbanite and
oil shale.
In concluding this review of the economic resources,
it will probably be conceded that it has been shown that
these islands are a great reservoir of potential wealth
and that as the demands of the civilized world increase
their natural resources will be developed. 208 ANCIENT   WARRIORS
The greatest handicap under which the islands suffer is
their geographical position; if instead of lying in the
Northern Pacific they were in the Northern Atlantic,
they would have been within a few days' steam of the
densely populated industrial portion of the United States
and also of Western Europe, both of which would have
constituted unfailing markets. As it is, however, the
remote position of the group increases the freight on
everything, from timber to tinned fish, consequently
progress may be expected to be slow.
It is believed, however, that the commercial prosperity
of the islands might be accelerated if the Dominion or
the Provincial Government would allocate a sum of
money for their internal development. If they would,
for instance, gradually build a road system through
Graham Island, commencing by a trunk road from
Massett Inlet to the upper reaches of Skidegate Inlet,
such a road would pass through the coal areas
and would probably be the precursor of a railway.
Settlement cannot be expected to flourish without
Trade also cannot flourish without wharfs and
organized arrangements for cheap shipment of products ;
these luxuries, according to old ideas, only followed
settlement, but it is now realized that they bring
settlement, make commerce possible and soon pay for
themselves. 1
1 «a
mlii iluiiun ill 11
Cranial length ....
Cranial width   ....
Cranial height  (basion-bregma)
Minimum frontal width
Maximum frontal width
Cranial base (nasion-basion) .
Length of Foramen magnum
Width of Foramen magnum   .
Median-sagittal arc   {nasion-opisthion)
Median-sagittal frontal arc    .
Median-sagittal frontal chord
Median-sagittal parietal  arc
Median-sagittal parietal chord
Median-sagittal occipital arc .
Median-sagittal occipital chord
Cranial capacity          .           .
Facial length  (prosthion-basion)
Upper facial height  (prosthion-nasion)
Bi-zygomatic width
Anterior      interorbital      width      (between
Orbital    width     (maxillofrontale-ektokon
chion)            ....
^                                                                                   i à
iniîîîîr iî Sabwl
00 ^-0000 ^«^o«     "?■?     qvot.-co--oovoo»«o>«o
"«fr~2«S'2'o>S,   "SS   <»,^SooM§§<?<»8 2;5'o.àv&vg
7?ÎT?.?t7 T?  iiTii mTT i i iiî!
li? a
nsosp^no^       *vO      »>0 0^0.t0»««0*»l»l»
is^nvàgs-g^ £g kssg.g&^sà'&gss's
"s                          -~
22. Orbital width (lacrimale-ek
23. Orbital height .
24. Nasal width
25. Nasal height    .
26. Maxillo-alveolar length
27. Maxillo-alveolar width
28. Mandible : bi-condylar widt
29. Mandible : bi-gonial width
30. Mandible : chin height
31. Mandible: ramus height (g
j               mandibular)  .
1   32. Mandible: ramus width (n
> Indices.
33. Cranial length-width index
34. Cranial length-height index
35. Cranial width-height index
36. Sagittal frontal index
37. Transversal frontal index
38. Sagittal parietal index
39. Sagittal occipital index
40. Foramen magnum index
41. Maxillo-alveolar index
42. Upper facial index
43. Orbital index (maxillofron
44. Orbital index (lacrimale)
45. Nasal index
46. Transversal fronto-parietal
47. Transversal cranio-facial in «f   SC&     ?o o o      o      o      ooooo      ooo           -        o      o      o
U iA ~m i j, xilli m   J   i J J,
la « 1
WitsiiiIiiiTTiiii    i   iTi
OvD        rxrt       O N «"•           00      00       Tl-NO-OO       NCOO              |               Jv      o      O
48. Jugo-frontal index     ....
49. Jugo mandibular index
50. Lower  jaw :   width   index   (bi-condular-bi-
gonial)          ......
51. Lower jaw: ramus index
Angles (ear-eye plane).
52. Foramen magnum      ....
53. Basal (basion-nasion)
54. Basion-bregma             ....
55. Glabella-lambda           ....
56. Glabella-lambda on basion-bregma (Zentral-
■w ink cl Klaatsch)    ....
57. Cranio-facial   (see Falkenburger in Arch.
Anthrop., 1913)       ....
58. Frontal  angle   (naison-bregma on ear-eye
plane)            .....
59. Parietal angle (bregma-lambda do.)
60. Occipital  (lambda-opisthion do.)     .
*5   61. Interoccipital angle (opisthion-inion-lambda)
i^   62. Sagittal declination of orbit on ear-eye plane
63. Profile angles :
(a) Prosthion-nasion  (do.)
(b) Subspinale-nasion (do.)
(c) Subspinale-prosthion   (do.)
64. Lower jaw (alveolar plane, see Klaatsch in
Arch. Anthrop., 1909).
Condulo-coronoid angle on alveolar plane  .
65. Antero-basal  angle   (mihi)   between  basal
tangent   and   chin   vertical   in   alveolar
66. Postero-basal angle (mihi) between ramus
tangent and basal tangent.
67. Ramus angle  (ramus tangent on alveolar
plane)           ..... r GLOSSARY
Aung, Father.—This word is used by the boys in the
family.   Dt aung, my father.   Itil aungalung, our fathers.
Hat, Father.—Used only by the girls when speaking
of their father. Dt hat, my father. Itil hatalung, our
Ou, Mother.—Used both by the boys and girls in the
family. Ouë, mother. Dt ou, my mother. Itil oua-
lung, our mothers.
KHgê, Uncle.—This word is used by the nephew
appointed to succeed his uncle in the chieftainship. The
other uncles are referred to as dî aung tuan or dî aung
kwai, my father's younger brother or my father's elder
brother; on the mother's side they are spoken of as
dt ou tuan or dî ou kwai, my mother's younger brother
or my mother's elder brother. Nieces use the words
eft hat tuan or dî hat kwai, my father's younger brother
or my father's elder brother, and the same words as the
boys for the uncles on the mother's side.
Copper shields or plates.—The coppers were flat sheets
of metal about two feet by one and a half feet in size
and quarter of an inch in thickness, on which a device
was carved. In olden days they acquired a fictitious
value, one copper being considered worth ten slaves.
They were not made by the Haidas themselves, nor,
indeed, is copper known to exist in metallic form on the
islands. They were imported as articles of great value
213 214 GLOSSARY
from the Chilcat country North of Sitka. Much attention
was paid to the size and make of these sheets, which
should be of uniform but not too great a thickness ana
ring a suitable note when struck with the hand. Many
spurious coppers came into existence, but these were
easily detected and circulated at a reduced value:
They were attached to the obituary gî-hangs erected in
memory of deceased chiefs.
,_ Chieftainship descended from the maternal uncle to his
eldest nephew.—The eldest nephew on the mother's side
was frequently selected to take the place of his uncle,
the Shaman of the clan, but fitness for the position was
the sine qua non. On his accession to his uncle's title
and property he had also to marry his deceased uncle's
wife. Many years ago a chief died and his widow was
compelled to unite herself to his nephew whom she had
nursed and attended to from infancy. The uncle on the
death of his wife likewise had sometimes to marry his
niece, i.e., the woman who was entitled to receive the
property of the deceased aunt.
Europeans are called Yëts hâadê, i.e., iron men, as
when first seen all the tools they used were made of iron
and the Haidas had only stone tools and implements.
King George Tilikum is the Chinook equivalent for
Englishmen, and this was adopted into the Haida
language. Much to my surprise on arrival at Massett I
was greeted as a King George tyhee, i.e., a King George
Chief. Probably this name was given to Englishmen
when Captain Dixon hoisted the British flag and claimed
the islands as part of the British Empire during the
reign of King George III. Tilikum is the Chinook for
person or people and tyhee means a chief.
Kug-in-à-gung.—Those who are bad-tempered, wicked
and prone to fight are termed kug-in-S-gung, and are GLOSSARY 216
alleged to have swallowed one or more mice. In each
mouse there is supposed to be an evil spirit, therefore
those who are kug-in-a-gung are supposed to be under the
control of'an evil spirit.
Kwotal gï-hangwë—This is the obituary cedar column
erected to the memory of a chief by the nephew who has
succeeded him. It had a device carved on the top and a
shield of native copper engraved with his crest affixed
below about six or eight feet above the ground. A large
amount of property was distributed to those who obtained
the pole, did the carving and assisted at its erection.
Shaman.—The Haida word in general use for the
medicine man is sO-ag-ga. The word Shaman is unknown
to the tribe.
Sha^nung-it-lag-l-das is literally the. chief above or on
high, referring doubtlessly to the Supreme Ruler in the
kingdom of light. When Christianity was introduced
amongst the Haidas it was the only word suitable to be
interpreted as God.
Sha-la-nO, is the chief dweller, representative or ruler
above and is translated as Lord.
Sha-tlirgë is translated as heaven and literally means
the country above, and hëtk-tli-gë is the country below,
the nether region. These are the only words in the
Haida language that can possibly convey the meaning of
heaven and hell.
Het-gwau-la-na is translated as Satan or the chief
representative of the lower regions, i.e., the lord of the
land below.
The first two fines of the Te Deum are translated as
follows :
Tung à talung killâ-gung, O Shà-nung-ït-lag-i-das,
Tung hansta talung shùgung, O Shâlânâ.
literally the Haida words are :
Thee of we speak good, O God,
Thee aloud we proclaim, O Lord. 216
Kil-la is literally good words or good speech hence
used to express approbation of, to do honour to—to
Note also that the pronoun talung divides the verb
Totem, Gt-hangwë.—The following is a list of the
animals and birds carved on their totems and what they
designated :
Fin-back whale.—This whale was greatly venerated for
the sake of those lost at sea, because their spirits were
supposed to enter into its body, and thus they were able
to rove for ever the seas they loved.
The dog, or half-breed wolf and the beaver were the
sacred animals of the Shaman, and households with
whom he was particularly pleased were allowed to carve
them on their crest poles.
The grizzly bear was feared on account of its great
strength and consequently was much respected and placed
on an equal footing with the eagle.
The frog was the embodiment of wisdom whence the
medicine men obtained their power from their favourite
The eagle was the figure carved on the totems of the
principal chiefs and represented authority and power.
The raven was the supreme figure and was always
reverenced as their Creator. These figures were curiously
grouped together, and the story they could tell, if one
could read them, would be of intense interest.
The grizzly bear, beaver and frog are not indigenous
to the islands.
The Haida word for crab is kwustan, and the word
for frog is Ithken kwustan, i.e., a stick crab. iWhen
speaking of the toads on the islands they refer to them
as Ithken kwustan.   Lthken a stick or wood.
One of the late Chief Edenshaw's uncles was a Shaman
and was reputed to be the tallest and heaviest man on the
islands.   His magical power was as great as his stature, GLOSSARY 217
and his advice and influence over evil spirits was sought for
in cases that would not yield to other medicine men; in fact
he was supposed to be as powerful as any three other
magicians combined. In the zenith of his power he
ordered a totem to be carved with three distinctive figures
of medicine men on the top clad in full regalia, and this
gî-hang was erected in front of his principal residence.  INDEX
Adoltbry, punishment for,
Collison, Archdeacon, 31, 33
73j 74
Copper mines, 19, 304
Agriculture,   16,  17,  19,  303,
Crania,     measurements     of
Haida, 309, 210, 311
Alaska, Haidas in, 43
Creation,    traditions    about
Aliford Bay, 19
the, 149-64
Art, Haida, 33, 33, 38, 53, 80.
Crests, Haida, 53, 54, 55, 67,
83, 84, 85, 86
68, 103
Assault, punishment for, 73
Customs, 33, 40, 41, 53, 54, 60-
81, 92, 119-30
Bibliography, 8
Birds, indigenous, 187-93
Dadans, 42, 166
Birth customs, 75, 76,112,113,
Dancing, Haida, 66,71,87, 88,
163; 168, 171
Boas, Professor Franz, 37
Dawson, Sir George M., 8, 31,
116, 167, 170, 196
Buckley Bay, 17
Burial customs, 33, 53, 67, 73,
De Fonte, Bartholomew, 33
78, 79, 80, 81, 114,115
Diseases, Haida, 60, 61, 94, 95,
Burnaby Island, 15, 19
96, 104, 105, 106
Dixon, Captain George, 8, 36,
Cannibalism, 39
39, 42, 171
Canoes,   Haida,   33,   89,   90,
Douglas, Captain, 37, 34» 39,
56, 170, 171
Cape Ball, 133, 154, 165
Douglas, Sir James, 176
Cape St James, 196
Duncan, Captain, 35, 37
Cassan, 33, 46
Duncan, Rev. William, 31, 32
Chiefs, Haida, 53, 56, 61, 64,
65, 74, 91, 165-76
Edbnshaw, Cape, 17
Chinook, 7, 57
Edenshaw, Chief, 56, 65, 165-
Chouan Point, 16, 138
Clan names, 47, 48, 49, 50, 53
Ells, Dr., 8, 196
Clements, Port, 17
Exorcism   by   Shaman,   116,
Climate, 30, 21, 33
Clothing     and     ornaments,
Haida, 45, 46, 56, 71, 83, 85,
Family Lifb, Haida, 63, 63,    . —
Oral, 31, 304, 305
Fanning, 202, 203
219 220
Fin-back   whale,   legend   of
the, 146
Fish,   indigenous,   183,   184,
185, 186, 187, 201
Flood, legend of the, 145
Flying men, legend of, 142
Food, Haida, 52, 61, 62
Fort  Simpson,  90,  146, 148,
Frederick Island, 18
Fur trading,  39, 41, 42, 91,
Ga-gît (possessed by an evil
spirit), 131-36
Gambling, 66, 67
Geological  formations,  table
of, 199, 200
Geology of the islands, 196-
Gî-hangs, Haida, 32, 43, 44,
53, 54, 67, 115, 142, 168, 176
Glossary of Haida words, 313-
Gold, discovery of,  29,  168,
203, 204
Gold    quartz   on    Moresby
Island, 167
Graham Island, 15, 16, 18, 23,
33,  150,  154»  i°°,  i°5i  l8°,
Gunia, Chief, 39, 170
Haida Charon, legend of the,
Haida grammar, 7
—Haidas, characteristics of, 32,
39, 43, 44, m 57
Haidas, origin of, 35, 36, 37
Heavenly towns, legend of,
145, 146
Hecata, Captain Bruno, 24, 25
Hecate Straits, 15, 25, 32, 90,
135, 136, 145
Hill-Tout, Charles, 38
Hippa Island, 18
HoWey, C. W., 9
Hoochinoo (Haida drink), 52
Hot springs, 103
Houkan, 33, 46
Houses, Haida, 33, 55, 58, 63,
Hudson Bay Company, 8, 63,
91, 92, 167, 173, 180
Hunting, 90, 91, 93, 93, 94
Insects, indigenous, 193
Japanese, probable influence
of, 38
Jus-katli, 20
Kâ-hû, 167, 174, 176
Kai-ihg-as-a, Chieftainess, 74
Kennedy, Dr., 165, 167, 173
Killer  whale,  legend about,
Kiokathli, 18
Kitkatla tribe, 97
Kumshewa, 19, 20
Kwakiulth tribe, 37
Labret, 52, 85
Land-otter, legend of the, 142,
143, 144
Langara Island, 18, 196, 197
Language, 7, 43, 57
La Perouse, 25
Legends, Haida, Gâ-git, 131-
136; Killer Whale, 136, 137;
Tou Hill, 137,138; Tou Hill
Spider, 139, 140; Whirlwind, 140; Tobacco, 141;
Skemshan, 141, 142; Flying
Men, 142; Land-Otter, 142,
143,144; Haida Charon, 144;
The Flood, 145; Heavenly
Towns, 145, 146; Fin-Back
Whale, 146; Treachery, 146,
147, 148
Louise Island, 15, 19
Lyell Island, 15, 19
Mackenzie, G. J. A., 8, 196,
Mammalia, list of, 177, 178
Mammals, sea, 181, 182
Marble Island, 18 INDEX
Marchand, Captain Etienne,
28, 39
Marriage customs, 40, 54, 56,
57, 70, 77, 96, m
Masks, ceremonial, 86, 87, 88
Massett, 8,, 16, 17, 23, 32, 33,
43, 46, 55, 58, 67, 71,  105,
109, 117, 132, 137, 141, 142,
150, 165, 168, 169, 172, 176
Massett Inlet, 17, 20, 137
Mears, Captain, 103, 104
Medicines, Haida, 94, 95, 104,
105, 109
Mining, 203, 204
Mission work, 9, 31, 32, 107,
118, 174, 175, 176
Mitchell, Captain, 29, 30
Months, Haida, 51
Moresby  Island,   15,   16,   18,
19, 23, 154, 166, 168, 196
Mouse ceremony, 70, 71
""-Murder, punishment for, 73
Mythology, Haida, 119
Naase Indians, 162, 163
Naden Harbour, 20
1 Names, exchange of, 41,170
—Names,  Haida  personal,. 49,
112, 113
Natural history, 177-95
Natural resources, 200-208;
fish, 201; timber, 202; farming, 202, 203; mining, 203,
204; coal, 204, 205; oil, 205,
206, 207, 208
Navigators' accounts of
Haidas, 23-34, 173, 174
Nï-kils-tlas, legend of, 159-64
Oil, 205-208
Osgood, Dr. W. H., 8
Pacofi Inlet, 19
Parry Passage, 17
Perez, Juan, 24
Pillar Bay, 17
Plant   life,   indigenous,   193,
194, 195, 202
Population, Haida, 58, 59
- Potlatch, custom of, 53, 54, 65,
113, 114, 115, 168, 169, 170
Powell,    Lieutenant-Colonel,
Pre-emptors, 17
Prévost Island, 15, 19
Prince of Wales Island, 15
Prince Rupert, 15
Princess Royal Islands, 25, 27
Prince William Sound, 26
Property, disposition  of,  53,
54, 56, 57, 64, 65, 68, 115,
166, 168, 169
Queen Charlotte City, 18,19
Queen  Charlotte  Islands,  8,
15-22, 24, 25, 26, 92, 160
Queen Charlotte Sound, 25, 26
Rainfall, 20, 21, 33
Raven in Haida mythology,
Reincarnation, belief in, 135,
127, 128, 129, 130
Religion, Haida,  57, 86,  98,
108, 119-30
Rennell's Sound, 18
Ridgeway, Professor William,
Rose Spit, 17, 19, 27, 138, 141,
150, 152, 153, 160, 172
Royal Society of Canada, 7
SS-ag-gS.   See Shaman
Septs, list of Haida, 47, 48—-"
Settlers, prospects for, 16, 17,
19, 203
Shaman, Haida, 6i, 70, 75, 76,
78, 88, 91, 96, 98-118,  124,
125, 146
Skemshan, legend of the, 141,
Skidegate, 17, 18, 19, 33, 42,
43,  46,   109,   116,  132,  150,
154, 165, 166
Skincuttle Inlet, 20
Slaves, Haida, 56, 69, 70, 117, -
Spirits, Haida belief in, 98,
99,  100, 103, 107, 108, 114,
116, 117, 118, 119-30
Stephen's Island, 15 222
Tallel, 17, 20, 179
Tattooing, Haida, 86, 113
Temperature, 21, 22
^Theft, punishment for, 72
Thompson Rivt
C7, 19, 2
Tobacco legend, 141
Tools, Haida, 82, 83, 84
Totems.     See    Crests,    Gî-
Tou Hill, 16,137,138,139,172
Tou Hill, legend about, 137
Tou Hill Spider, legend of,
139, 140
Traders, Haidas as, 57
Treachery, legend about, 146,
147, 148
Tylor, Professor, 87
Vancouver Island, 15, 16, 19
Weapons, Haida, 85
Were-bears, belief in, 128
Whirlwind, legend of the, 140
Wï-hâ, Chief, 172, 173
Work, John, 58
Yakoun River, 19, 30
Yen, 141, 172, 173
Zimshean Tribe, 37, 43, 77,
78, 99,146,147,148,163,166,       


Citation Scheme:


Citations by CSL (citeproc-js)

Usage Statistics



Customize your widget with the following options, then copy and paste the code below into the HTML of your page to embed this item in your website.
                            <div id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidgetDisplay">
                            <script id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidget"
                            async >
IIIF logo Our image viewer uses the IIIF 2.0 standard. To load this item in other compatible viewers, use this url:


Related Items