BC Historical Books

BC Historical Books

BC Historical Books

Vancouver Island and its missions, 1874-1900 Brabant, August Joseph, 1845-1912 1900

Item Metadata


JSON: bcbooks-1.0347966.json
JSON-LD: bcbooks-1.0347966-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): bcbooks-1.0347966-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: bcbooks-1.0347966-rdf.json
Turtle: bcbooks-1.0347966-turtle.txt
N-Triples: bcbooks-1.0347966-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: bcbooks-1.0347966-source.json
Full Text

Full Text

Array       +K9 '
rT^HESE reminiscences were not written for publication. I had kept a
X journal for my personal use—hcec olim meminisse juvabit—and
also for the benefit of priests who in the course of time would follow me
in the same field of labor. As I was sent out by Bishop Christie, D.D. of
the diocese of Vancouver Island, now Archbishop of Oregon, to take up a
collection for the needs of our Indian work, the editor of the Messenger of
the Sacred Heart proposed to publish the " Reminiscences,'' so as to
attract the attention of his numerous readers and facilitate my work of
collecting ; and as his proposition was accompanied by a generous remuneration I succumbed to a very strong temptation.
The reader will notice at once many defects and some misspelled
Indian names of places with which the editor was naturally unfamiliar and
which the writer had not a chance to correct in the proofs. The correct
terms are printed below in a list of Errata. I hope to issue the " Reminiscences " in a different form in the course of time, and also to add several chapters of ancient historical facts about this unknown coast and
people. Meanwhile I send a copy of them as they now read to old and
new friends.
Those who have neither the taste nor leisure to read them in ex-
tenso will please cast a glance at the closing chapter ; and after doing so
will put their hands into their purse and send a contribution to the needs
of our missionary labors.
Thereby they will secure a share in our  usual prayers and   Holy
Sacrifices for our benefactors and deserve the heartfelt  thanks of their
Humble Servant in Christ,
(Revd.) A. J. Brabant,
Hesquiat, B. C.
West Coast Vancouver Island, Canada. ERRATA.
e I—For San Juan de Fuco, read Juan de Fuco.
I— " there are, read there were absolutely no white <
1— " except, read either on foot or horseback.
2— " Tragsota, read Kragsota.
3— " Nakoun, read Hakoom.
4— | McRay, read McKay.
4—" Kiristog, read Kwistog.
4— " Lany, read Lang.
5— " Clarkkouikose, read Clarkkonikose.
5> 20—For "With Routl," read "Wish Koutl."
6—For Echo-chist, read Echa-chist.
6, 14, 18—For Opessat, read Opetsat.
6—For Sieka, r(
' Neiwhoi, i
ad Heiwhoi.
"  10, 16—For Newchaliots, read Newchali
"  io—For Ehettesat, read Ehattisat.
"  12— " Ochuklesat, read Ochuklisat.
I 14— | Egatisal, read Ehattisat.
I  14, 16—For Esik-ta-kis, read Tsik-
" 16—For CahSis, read Tah Sis.
"  18— " Mokivinna, read Mokwinna.
I 20— "Wannicanut, read Namucamis.
1 20— I Wanairao, read Nanaimo.
" 21, 83—For Alberin, read Alberni.
" 21—For Cuglar, read Taylor.
" 21— " Iseshats, read Tseshats.
•' 23— "  Reast, read Keast.
I 26, 31—ForLeflet, read Eeplet.
' 27—For Meowchal, read Mowuchat.
'■' 27— " Ned Thornberg, read Fred The
' 27— " Murray, read Marlin.
' 42— " St. Anthony, read St. Anthonin
' 47, 48—For " oseniecli " read " osemit,
' 47—For " Wa-we-meme," read " Haw
' 47— '
' 47— '
' 48-
.   Kw:
" Wawitt-illsois, read Hawitl-illsoii
' 48— " " Wakoni I read " Hakoom."
I 59— '• Djeklesat, read Chicldisat.
I 59— " mar, read way.
" 59, 71—For "osenitcli," read "osemitc
j 66, 67, 75—For "Chookwahu," read Tl<
' 83— For leaking schooners, read sealing CONTENTS.
The field of labor	
First visit to the " West Coast " Indians	
First mission established at Hesquiat.— Wreck of 'the bark Edwin   .   .
Incidents of missionary trip on the coast	
Smallpox in the village.—Burial of dead	
Murderous attack of Matlahaw	
Would-be revenge on culprit by Indians	
News of attempt on life carried to Victoria.—Arrival of Bishop Segher!
A dead whale towed in shore.—Mysterious powers of chief " Koninnah "
Incidents attending the birth of an Indian child ; names	
The Indian feast  " Potlach "	
First Catholic funeral	
Burying people alive	
Ancient mode of removing the dead, crying, etc	
The suspicious conduct of a chief.	
Return of chief " To wnissim " from prison	
Blessing of church.—Making a canoe .... 	
Salmon season and superstitions about salmon	
A ghost story and results of trip to his abode	
More trouble about the salmon and successful fishing	
Trip to Barclay Sound.—Fear of reporters	
The superstitious practice "osemitch," with interesting details.—Eclif
Death pf " Nitaska " and intrigues of " medicine women "	
Death attributed to howling of dog	
Chief "Townissim's   life in danger	
Kyuquot Indians on war-path	
Strange feelings of Indians " tempore " famine	
New mission built at " Namucamis," Barclay Sound	
Extraordinary powers claimed by a juggler	
A pagan marriage, ceremonies, feasts	
Thunder and lightning	
Difficulties anent birth of first Christian child	
The Sorcerer (medicine man or woman)	
Trouble about keeping Sunda
Sacred blar
An Indian Christian marriage	
Sea-otter hunting	
Wreck of bark Malleville, burial of dead	
Death of "Wewiks."—A bad case	
Confirmation administered by Archbishop Seghers .
Sickness and death of Indian children	
Murder committed by " Tsiniquah "	 iv escape of schooner Favorite, Capt. McLean   .
.—Church built at Nootka     ....
Chief Antonin dies a Christian.—His house burned
A whiskey case       	
Odd conduct of young, dying men	
Intrusion of Protestant preachers	
Attempt to build an industrial school frustrated . . .
An unsuccessful physician.—Death of good woman .
Orders to build an industrial school for Indian childre
Illustrated tvith Photographs taken by the Author.
The Field of Labor.
ON the west coast of Vancouver
Island, between the entrance of
the Strait of San Juan de Fuco and
Cape Cook, there live eighteen different tribes of Indians, forming, as it were,
only one nation, as they all speak the
same language. Their manners, mode
of living, in one • word, all their habits
are so much alike, that to know one
tribe is to know them all. This coast,
at the time of our taking possession of
it, was exclusively inhabited by Indians.
Four trading posts had, however,
been established and were each in
•charge of one white man. But besides
these four men there are absolutely no
white settlers to be found on this extensive coast of nearly two hundred   miles.
I need hardly say that communication
was very rare, for beyond a couple of
•small schooners, that made an occasional
call on the coast for the purpose of supplying the stores with goods and provisions, and at the same time making a
trading call at different tribes, no vessels
frequented   this   part of the world.    I
have been as much as six months without seeing the face of a white man, and
consequently speaking a civilized language.
When the news of the death of Pius
IX. reached me, Leo XIII. was already
two months on the Papal throne. As
a matter of fact, it was close on five
months  since I   had   received a news-
a. letter
i of )
s of the
rilized wo]
impossible, except
All the Indians of this
the sea coast, and inte.
the different tribes  :
visit each other, except on foot or horseback, as their several residences are
separated by inlets and arms of the
ocean. As a rule the number of chances
for visiting are limited, especially during the fall and winter season, for no
canoe could live in the incessant, heavy
weather and indescribable gales which
rage on this open coast. When travelling
I have been many a time compelled to
camp and wait for days before being able
to continue my journey, owing to the
dangerous   seas and   heavy surf   which Vancouver Island and Its Missions.
would spring up without e
hour's        I found my informant  .(Tragsota)  (
ling a
The coast is rugged and rocky, presenting in its entire extent the appearance of desolation and barrenness.
The hills and mountains run down to
the beach • the valleys are lakes, and
a few patches of low land, to be encountered here and there, are covered with
worthless timber. No clear land is to
be seen anywhere, and no hopes can be
entertained that the west coast of Vancouver Island will ever be available for
agricultural settlements.
The climate is not very different from
that of Victoria. The seasons of rain
and fine weather are about equally
divided ; the frost is not heavy, and snow
seldom falls to any depth, and then lies
on the ground only for a few days.
With all this, the fall and winter months
are dreary beyond expression. The Indians seem not to notice the general depression of the seasons, but for one born
and raised elsewhere, accustomed to the
society of his fellow white men, there are
no words to convey how monotonous it
is, and how lonesome one would feel
were it not for the thought of the sacred-
ness of the object for which he is
Nothing in the world could tempt me to
come and spend my life here were it not
that the inhabitants of these inhospitable
shores have a claim on the charity and
zeal of a Catholic priest.
The question has often been asked :
Was there ever a Catholic priest or were
there Catholic missions established on
the west coast before the existence of the
present establishments ?
My answer, which is in the affirmative,
was not sought or found in books or
records, but I got it from the Indians
themselves. My first informant was an
elderly man, not a chief, but one of those
men of importance to be found in every
tribe, whose chief pride seems to consist
in watching all the important events of
the day and in assisting the chiefs with
their counsel and judgment.
of his house in close conversation with
his wife. As I passed by he hailed me
and our conversation commenced.
" Was there ever a priest in Nootka? "
"Oh yes," he said, " at the time of
the Spaniards there were two priests,
big stout men, and they both were bald-
headed. My grand-uncle, who told me
this, used to come around to Friendly
Cove, and the white men would keep
Sunday. There was the Sunday-house"
—pointing to a spot about the centre of
the present village—"and they would go
on their knees and cross themselves, and
at the turn of the winter solstice they had
a great Sunday and they had two babies-
— is not that what you now call Christmas ? Oh yes, there were priests here,
and all the men and women would have
to bathe on Saturday and be ready for
Sunday, and they learned songs—hymns-
—I know them yet."
And the old man began to sing, but the
only words I could catch were : Mi-Dios.
It is evident from the above narrative
that at the time of the occupation of
Nootka by the Spaniards, towards the
end of last century, the missionaries of
South America belonging to the Franciscan order, hence described by the
Indian as being bald, evidently on account of the tonsure, and as stout, big
men because they appeared such in their
heavy Franciscan cloaks, were stationed
at Nootka for the accommodation of the
Europeans and also to a certain extent
for the conversion of the natives.
The old man had much more to say
about the presence of the Spaniards in
Nootka. One of the men was in charge
of the cattle, which he would bring
home every day \ which, of course,
argues the presence of those useful
domestic animals on this coast before
there were any in other parts of the
island. He also showed us the spot
where the blacksmiths and carpenters had
their shops, and gave many other details,
which proves that  events of importance Vancouver  Island and  Its Missions.
are not so soon forgotten by Indians, in
general, as white men unacquainted with
them would imagine.
I have not noticed any traces of religious practices inaugurated by Catholic Spaniards. However, it has struck
me as probable that the great devotion of
the Spaniards to the Blessed Virgin Mary
and especially that of Catholic sailors,
may have been the source of an invocation
frequently uttered by Indians during bad
weather or in danger at sea. Many a
time I have heard them sing out in quick
succession: " Chou-chist Nakowm,"
"Chou-chist Na-
eral interest, it was the talk at meals and
the great topic of conversation with the
Indians of every tribe. According to
the old men the want of attention,or the
neglect of watching this all-important
event, would be followed by all kinds of
misfortunes, not excluding famine. The
arrival of this period was the signal for
the preaching of the old people |to [their
young men tcVgo out and practice their
superstitious devotions.
Beyond these indifferent signs of religious practices which may have had
their origin at the time of the 'settlemenF
by the Spaniards
been inclined to
believe that the
practice of keeping Christmas and
having the Christ-
s holidays may
account for the
Indians' yet having recourse at
that special time
to their c
al practices. It used to be of the greatest importance to watch and observe the
solstice of the sun about Christmas time.
The old men of the tribe would rise early
on those days and in bunches would retire
to different spots. Each one had his mark
or signs—there he would sit, all attention,
and soon as the sun rose out of the sea
he would take his bearings and according to the fact that the sun rose at or beyond such a certain mark he would conclude that the sun was at its solstice, not
yet at it, or perhaps beyond it.
The event caused an  amount  of gen-
n Whit-Sunday at 8
o'clock in the morning on the schooner
Surprise, twenty-eight tons, belonging to.
Capt. W. Spring & Co.
Capt. Peter Francis was in command.
John Peterson, a Swede, was mate, and
the rest of the crew was a Kyuquot
Indian called Nomucos, acting as cook,
sailor and boatswain, and Chegchiepe, a
Mowuchat savage, assistant sailor. Mr.
John McDowell was a passenger, and was
on his way to fix the machinery of the
light-house just then established on^Cape
Beale, Barclay Sound. Vancouver Island and Its Missions.
We left Victoria harbor with a strong
southeasterly wind, and were at Race
Rocks before 10 o'clock a.m. Here the
wind failed and our schooner began to
drift about, and working with the oars
was required to keep her off the Rocks.
However, we got safely at anchor about
2 o'clock in Beeche Bay, where we went
on shore and visited the Indians, from
whom we received a good reception.
After an address, made by His Lordship,
I baptized two of their infant children.
April 13.—Next morning we weighed
anchor. Sailed out a short distance,
but the wind failing us again, we managed
to return to our anchorage to make a
new start about 8 a. m. Once more the
breeze dropped, and by this time we began to drift with the tide till we got half
way between Race Rocks and Port An-
gelos. Our captain was now so badly
intoxicated that upon His Lordship's,with
a view to trying the old man, asking him
the direction of Cape Flattery, he pointed
to us the opening between San Juan
Island and Trial Island. 2 p. m., southerly wind;  lost sight of Victoria at 3.30
April 14.—Rain; no wind; 7.30 a. m.,
southwest by south. Enter San Juan
harbor at 3.30 p. m. and cast anchor
outside of the reef at 3.30.
The schooner Favorite, Captain Mc-
Ray, and the schooner Alert, Captain J.
Christianson, were here at anchor, and
were making preparations to go out sealing next morning with a crew of Nitinat
and Pachena Indians.
April 15.—We went on -shore about
7 a. m. The Indians were sitting outside. They were startled to see us in
our cassocks, to them an unusual kind of
garment. The Bishop asked to see their
chief and was soon shown into the presence of a fine looking man—Kiristog—
who, as we noticed at once, was then
leading the life of a bigamist. His Lordship asked the chief's consent to assemble the natives of that locality and he at
once consented. Here I was suddenly
compelled  to make room   for  a   blind
horse, which was led into the house by a
young Indian and was then, as we noticed, stabled in the chief's house.
The Indians withal behaved very well
and, upon allowing us to baptize their
children, requested as a favor that we
continue to look after them. The number of baptisms was forty-three.
The captains of the sealing vessels
were most impatient to take the Indians
out, but they were told that if the priests
wanted the Indians to stay on shore
three days they should have the privilege ; which news was to them a caution
to keep their temper. However, we
left the Indians at 2 p. m. ; we went on
board of the Surprise; they in their
turn went on board of their respective
The wind was blowing from the west
and blew up into San Juan harbor. The
vessels weighed their anchors about the
same time, had up sails and were ready
for a start in unusually quick time. And
now the race began. Our skipper was
about sober and did his best to win, but
the Favorite got ahead of him and before long the Alert went first and kept
ahead of her friends. The race was fairly
conducted and was a very pleasant
episode of our western trip.
April 16.—No wind. Caught a breeze
at 12 o'clock. Entered Dodger Cove
at 1 p. m. The chief was living
alone on Mission Island (Diana). Two
canoes full of Indians came over from
Keehan, but were told to go back till
next morning, which they did with considerable reluctance. The Indians
looked well, a fine, healthy set. They
wore blankets, no pants ; had their
hair nicely done up and tied with
grass in a bunch over the forehead.
Most of them had their faces painted,
and the crowd that came on the schooner
presented a very picturesque sight.
April 17.—Said Mass in the house of
Mr. Andrew Lany, the storekeeper, at 5
a. m. The chief was already there addressing his Indians from the other side
of the stream,  exhorting  them to rise, Vancouver  Island and   Its   Missions.
wash and clean themselves and children,
announcing to them our wish to see them
and telling them that great things were
in store for them.
The Indians arrived from Keehan and
other camping places and assembled at
8 o'clock in the house of an Indian
called '' Jenkins,'' the chief having no
house large enough at this place to contain all his people. The savages paid
great attention to the Bishop's instruction given in Chinook and interpreted
into the Indian language by '' Harry''
and his brother '' Jenkins.''
kose, Village Island, Barclay Sound,
where we passed a ver/ comfortable
night in smooth water.
April 18. — Up and away at 5 a. m.
Rain, heavy sea. We arrived at 9 a. m.
at Ucluliat, where the Indians were
expecting us. The chief came at once
for us in his canoe and upon nearing the
camp one of the Indians fired   off his
0 the India
3 that
were on board ; whereupon all the tribe
turned out at once and assembled in the
new, unfinished house of young "With
Routl,"   the    chief   of the   Ucluliats.
In this and in every tribe on the
coast instruction was begun by stating
who we were, what was our object; then
followed a history of the creation, the fall
of man, the deluge, the multiplication of
languages, the redemption of mankind ;
after which, if agreeable to the natives,
baptism was administered to their little
children. And, if time was left, a few
hymns and songs were taught. But in
all cases the teaching of the Sign of the
Cross and the making of that sign by the
Indians . was the great thing and caused
real excitement. We had in this camp
eighty baptisms of young children.
We left at 6 o'clock in the evening
and went  to our anchor at Clarkkoui-
caused a deal of excitement,
nterpreter had a thundering t
but we were told he did not translate
His Lordship's words with much correctness. Perhaps he thought that shouting would have the necessary effect. I
baptized seventy-five children in the
April 19.—Sunday morning : Mass
at 5.30 in the storekeeper's house and
then at 8 a. m. off to the ranch. The
Clayoquot Indians came over to join the
Ucluliats and their nine children received baptism. Here the first effort
was made to translate the sign of the
Cross into the Indian language.
April 20.—At sunrise we were already Vancouver Island and Its Missions.
at sea and beating against a strong westerly wind,but we did not reach Clayoquot
till April 21, at 9 a. m. Sitakenin and
half a dozen of his Indians came out to
meet us at sea. We went on board of
his canoe and he took us to the chief's
house, where two new Indian mats were
laid on the floor, forming a path to the
endof the lodge, where boxes and trunks
covered with fine mats were prepared to
be used by us as seats and footstools.
His Lordship addressed the Indians on
the usual topics, then I baptized ninety-
three children, after which we went to
our schooner which was at anchor off
Captain Stubb's Island, Warren's store
April 22.—We went early in the
morning to the camp (Echo-chist), Village Island, where we had met the Indians the day before. Strange to say,
the Indians seemed quite indifferent and
His Lordship concluded to leave them,
not, however, before giving them a good
scolding. Then we went to the schooner
about noon and preparations were at
once made to continue our voyage. After sailing a short distance we got on the
sand bank off "Opessat," but as the
tide was rising, we got off about 1.30
p. m. Then with a light breeze we took
the direction of "Ahousat," but about
3 p. m. we saw a canoe in the distance.
The Clayoquot chief and six young men!
They wanted us to return. The Bishop
at first refused, but their request was so
earnest and their promise of taking us
to Ahousat the next day so favorable,
that His Lordship at last concluded to
return. The Indians who came to fetch
us had only just then arrived in the
schooner from Ucluliat, where they had
seen us for a few minutes two days
previously. They had tried to meet us
at their own home, but were doubly disappointed to find us gone and to hear
that their friends had not shown more
zeal and had failed to learn the canticles
and songs now repeated by every tribe
which we had visited.
At 6 p. m. we were at work again at
I Echo-chist," and we were happy that at
10.30 p. m. the Indians at last allowed us
to lie down and take some rest. This was
my first night in an Indian camp ; and in
the morning my memory was clear on all
the events of that night. I had heard the
crying of Indian children, and the coaxing and singing of their mothers to get
them to sleep again. An old couple had
a row in the middle of the night; over
a dozen big dogs, supposed to sleep,
were constantly awake, growled, barked,
fought, yelled, ran in and out of the
dwelling, got in trouble with the cats,
and would not stop their uproar, except
after twenty times "Sieka," uttered by
a sleepless savage, followed by a piece of
fire-wood, again accompanied by a new
yelling and barking. Over half a dozen
roosters were sleeping on the loft cross-
piece of the house, and, with their usual
pride, as if they were making daylight
come and the sun rise, would stop their
crowing chorus, only to recommence
again a few minutes later. All this time
the Bishop thought I was fast asleep
alongside of him under one blanket, but
I knew that he was not, for he was continually turning about. Now and then
he would give a quick but well determined scratch on his lower limbs, and in
the morning he told me that all the cause
of his troubles had been the Indian's
friends the " fleas."
April 23.—At 5.30 our Indian crew
was ready ; six stalwart young men,
headed by the chief of the tribe. It was
a beautiful morning, the sun rising in all
his glory. The Indians struck up our
songs and paddled with courage and happiness over the calm waters of Clayoquot
At 1 o'clock we arrived at the foot of
the Catface mountains. Here was the
Ahousat tribe, in expectation of our
coming, increased by the arrival of all the
Keltsemats, ready and prepared to receive
us. Four Indians stood on the beach,
and were a deputation sent by the Indians, who were already in the chiefs
house, to show us into the lodge.     Mats Vancouver  Island and   Its   Missions.
formed a pathway
from the water to
mp, a
side,   mats    and
ing about along
the walls, whilst
the floor was covered with more
mats ; and a regular throne was
formed, with boxes and trunks,
nicely covered
over ; and to this
of the
u    A dead silence r
house, but we could well notice
that we were in the presence of real
savages. We were astonished that no
dogs, such a nuisance about Indian camps,
were to be noticed, but we were next informed that already the day previous,
and early in the morning, canoe loads of
the canine species had been taken across
the sound and safely landed on the
islands opposite, lest they should be a
cause of displeasure to us.
After the usual instructions, I administered baptism to one hundred and
thirty-five little children.
The afternoon was spent in teaching
songs and the Sign of the Cross. Such
waf the zeal of these Indians that, when
we went on board of the schooner to
take our meals, they would stay in the
bouse, and hardly leave us time to finish,
but wanted us to recommence our  work
In the evening we were requested to
listen to what they had to say to us. The
speeches began by those of the two head
chiefs, followed by other chiefs, chiefly
women ; and one fellow got up, took his
blanket, his only covering, from his shoulders, and after showing it to us, he threw
it with an emphatic gesture far away from
him, saying that " he threw away his bad
heart.''    Nothing could stop the speech-
making till His Lordship stepped forward
on the very spot where every speaker had
come to address us, and thus blocked the
way, saying that he knew by what he had
heard the tom-tom of the whole tribe.
We left the Ahousats April 24, at 4.30
a. m. A good easterly wind was blowing, and the captain concluded to run
for Kyuquot and call at the other tribes
on our way back. So we did, and arrived at the Kyuquot camp shortly after
Here not an Indian could be seen on
the bay, nor, in fact, outside of the
camp. It was pronounced an unusual
thing, as the captain stated that these
Indians used to meet him out at sea and
literally crowd the deck of his schooner
on any other occasion. Nomucos, our
Kyuquot cook, was also at a loss to explain, and his shouting and calling for
the Indians had no effect. However,
at last a small canoe was launched at
"Akties," two Indians got into her and
paddled quickly towards the spot where
they would stop and listen to the shouting of our Indians. " We are afraid,"
was the first sentence we could hear
them utter. Our savages reassured them
and when at last they got on board they
explained the whole mystery. They
had heard of our arrival, but the story Vancouver Island and Its Missions.
got mixed up. On board the schooner
was a living man who would cut the
children on the chest, and another who
would rub something over the wound
and it would be healed. Then the first
man would begin killing the Indians, and
upon the Indians' trying to kill him, he
would turn into a stone or become a
stone man. This and other tales were
told as an explanation of the conduct of
the Kyuquots on this occasion. The
Kyuquots are the largest tribe on the
coast, in all about eight hundred Indians.
April 26.—Baptized one hundred and
seventy-seven children. I commenced
at 9 o' clock in the morning and it was 5
o'clock in the afternoon when I got
April 27.—Frightful storm at sea—
could not go on shore all day.
April 28.—Began to teach the " Our
Father" and " Hail Mary" which the
Bishop had translated, with the assistance of Capt. P. Francis, of the Surprise, and an Indian interpreter.
At 1 p. m. we were taken from the
Surprise in an Indian canoe, as we
had made arrangements to go with some
Kyuquot Indians and visit the Chicklisat
The chief, a cripple, seemed to have
great authority, but, being himself unable
to go with us, sent his son with fifteen
young men to take us to our destination.
No sooner had we stepped into our
canoe than two more canoes were put
afloat, manned, the first by fifteen young
men, the subjects of the queen, and the
other by twelve savages belonging to the
other head chiefs. And thus we left
Kyuquot in the young chief's canoe, on
either side of which a canoe of the other
chiefs was paddled to the air of one of
the hymns they had recently learned.
The sea was very rough, but after
three hours of hard working by the Indians we at last saw the smoke of the
Chicklisat camp at Eiko-os. As we
approached, our Indians drew together
and   once   more   intoned   some of our
Catholic hymns. The Chicklisats came
rushing out of their houses, and seemed
stupefied, but did not come down to the
beach till they were called upon to do so.
It took them a long time to assemble in
the chiefs house, and when addressed
by His Lordship, although seemingly
attentive, it. was quite evident that everything was not "all right." The evening and darkness soon put a stop to our
work, then we began to look for room to
sleep. It was simply horrible ! The
filth, dirt and uncleanness of these Indians both in the house and outside cannot be imagined. However, we submitted to circumstances, such as they
were, and lay down alongside of each
other, impatiently awaiting the return of
daylight. It arrived at last, and I was
amused when asked by His Lordship to
express my opinion of the beauty of the
words and music of a song which he had
composed during the night. It struck
me that, unable to sleep, he must have
tried to while away the long   hours of a
Kyuquots, forty-three in number, who
had constituted our escort, having noticed that there was something wrong in
the reception extended to us by the
Chicklisats, had made it a point of duty
to sleep in the same house where we
were sleeping, and in the morning we
found them all lying  around and  about
April 29 —Early in the morning we
assembled the Indians and began anew
to instruct them. We baptized forty-
six children, and when this was done,
our Kyuquot interpreter refused to interpret, and gave for his reason that the
Chicklisats were mocking and insulting
him. We would have left at once, but
the sea was bad and the rain fell in torrents. Being compelled to stay, we began the recitation of our office and then
went outside in the bush under the shelter of a large tree. Here, after some time,
an Indian found us enjoying the fresh
air and summoned us to go back to the
camp.  We pretended not to understand, Vancouver Island and Its Missions.
but at last His Lordship concluded
to follow the savage and so we reentered the chiefs lodge. It was quite
a sight. To the western side of the
camp sat the chief in a very prominent place, and on each side sat an
elderly man holding in his hand a long
rod, which seemed to us to be a mark
of authority. Everything was still, the
men on our side, the women and
children on the other. A seat was
shown and given to us on the right
side of the chief, where we were requested to continue our instructions.
But none of the young men could interpret and not one of our Kyuquots
was about, nor, in fact, could be
gotten. This seemed very strange,
but the following explanation was afterward given : For years the Chicklisats and the Kyuquots had been at
war or giving annoyance to each other.
The Chicklisats on this occasion did
not relish the presence of the Kyuquots. One of them had invited them
to go and eat in his house to get them
out of the way ; then he had quickly
locked up the house, and when the
Kyuquots wanted to go and join us they
found the entrance of the lodge locked
up fast. Great was their indignation
when at last they came back in our presence. Angry words, speeches and gesticulations were the order of the hour.
April 30.—They left the Chicklisats
next day, as happy as we ourselves to
return to their own tribe. We arrived
in Kyuquot in due time and May 1,
next morning, we had the happiness of
offering up the holy sacrifice of the Mass
in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary, putting our new mission under her special
His Lordship having noticed the good
dispositions of the Kyuquots, had, before going to Chicklisat, asked the captain of the Surprise to make a large mission cross, which we found ready upon our
arrival. The cross was twenty-four feet
long, with the cross-piece in proportion.
It was the work of not only the captain,
but Peterson, the mate, a Swedish Lutheran, had also, as well as a number of
Indians given their assistance.
Before proceeding to plant it, we were
called to the house of the chief, where
we found all the men of the tribe assembled. After asking our permission,
they began to sing some of their savage
songs with great solemnity; then they
showed us a mask, the handiwork of
northern Indians, most ingeniously made,
as also a piece of glass (heina), to which
they seemed to attach unusual importance ; as well as a number of beads (Nei-
whoi), held in great esteem by all the
Indians on this coast, and sold by one
tribe to another at the most exorbitant
prices. After a speech from His Lordship,
condemning all Indian superstitions in
general, several important men got up
and promised to go by our instructions.
After this we proceeded to the blessing
of the cross. It was placed on three
canoes; about   fifty young   men    took IO
Vancouver Island and Its Missions.
charge, and an immense number of Indians followed us in canoes to the foot of
a small|island opposite the shore, then
unoccupied and seemingly abandoned.
And there it now stands in sight of the
tribe, blessed by His Lordship according
to the ritual. It was beautiful to see the
Indians struggle to carry the heavy burden, preceded by His Lordship, in surplice and stole, with his assistant also in
surplice; and then, when it was raised,
fifty muskets were fired off, as if to announce a great triumph to the savages on
the Kyuquot Islands.
We finished our work in Kyuquot and,
with great hopes and expectations concerning the future conversion of this
large tribe, we left oil May 2, taking the
direction of Quatsino Sound. However,
the wind was contrary, and His Lordship
came to the conclusion, after consulting
the captain, to abandon his trip to Quatsino Sound; and thus we sailed before
the wind, and arrived that evening at an
anchorage in Esperanza Inlet, before the
camp of the Newchaliot Indians.
May 3.—Early this morning we were
taken in a canoe, by the chief of the
Newchaliots and a crew of young men,
to the outside camp, where the Indians
were at this time living.
The reception given to us by the Newchaliots was something never to be forgotten. The news of our arrival had
here preceded us. The chief had made
a new house. A wharf about two hundred feet in length, but only about four
feet in breadth, had been constructed;
and, although the Indians deserved
credit for making such extraordinary
preparations, we had to measure our
steps and movements, lest the whole
structure should break down. Inside of
the chief's house the ground was covered
with white sand, and our path and the
room which we were to occupy was laid
with new mats; the walls were hung
with sails of canoes and pieces of calico.
Twenty-nine sea otter skins, valued by
Captain Francis, of the Surprise, at
close to two thousand dollars, were hang
ing in a line opposite to wnere we were
sitting, and excited our admiration.
The Ehettesat Indians had come across
and joined the Newchaliots. We baptized the children of the two tribes,
sixty-eight in all. In the afternoon a
disturbance between the two tribes took
place ; our interpreter was of little account, and our success was not in keeping with the great preparations they had
made to receive us. However, before we
left, harmony had been restored ; the
Ehettesats went home, and we returned
to the Surprise, where we remained
until May 4, when, at 1.15, a slight
breeze sprung up, and we slowly sailed up
Esperanza Inlet; by dark we were near
the Nootka Straits, and we fastened the
schooner with a rope to a tree alongside
immense bluffs of perpendicular rocks,
where we passed the night. Another
night was passed before we got to the
Nootka side, part of the day having been
spent by the captain and his passengers
in fishing for rock cod.
May 6. —After pulling up the oars and
dragging the schooner alongside of the
rocks for a considerable time, we at last
got through the narrows. This morning
we had a strong land breeze which took
us to Bligh Island, then beat against the
breeze from Machelat Inlet, and later
the westerly wind came to our assistance
and we arrived at the Machelat village (ow-is) at half-past twelve p. m.
Here, also, great preparations had
been made, and an Ahousat Indian,
Muggins by name, was there with Machelat young men to take us on shore
from the schooner. This Indian had
profited by our instructions to his own
tribe, and upon the request of the
Machelats had taught them the Sign of
the Cross and some of our hymns. The
Machelat Indians brought their children
and had them baptized ; their number
was eighteen.
May 7, was spent with the Indians,
the captain in the intervals of his trading
filling his schooner literally up with deer
and elk skins. Vancouver Island and Its Missions. Vancouver Island and   Its   Missions.
May 8.—We started this morning at
4 o'clock with a northerly breeze and
cast anchor at 10.30 a. m. in Friendly
Here we met a large tribe of Indians,
very noisy and disorderly compared with
other tribes. We succeeded in doing very
little beyond baptizing the children—fifty-
six—a very small number, considering that
the tribe did not number less than five
hundred Indians. We understood the
cause of the dispositions of the Indians
to be the talk against the priests by Fort
Rupert women who were living here, and
by a few Indians who had been slaves or
had resided at the other side of the
island. However, we stayed another
day and left May 10, when, after sailing
before a westerly wind, we arrived in
Hesqucit shortly before noon. Here
we learned that the Indians expecting
our coming were afraid to go out fishing
for several weeks past. They had cleaned
and laid mats in the chief's house —
they were very neatly dressed, the women
all in white calico, the men having made
pants and coats of blankets. We baptized their children—fifty-six—under
seven years, and gave  them the  usual
May 11.—We rose at an early hour
and recommenced our instructions, but
by this time the captain was anxious to
return to town as soon as possible, and
at 11 o'clock his sails were up as a sign
that we were wanted on board. The
Indians seemed very sorry and disappointed, but we left, promising to visit
them again in the near future.
May 12.—When off Clayoquot Sound
nine Kyuquot canoes, seventy-three
men and one woman, overtook us. Our
t had taken away all
gave us a chance to go and visit the
Ochuklesat Indians. The chief was
alongside of the schooner and took us to
his camp, where he assembled the Indians
whose children were baptized, twenty-
three in number. That evening he took
us back to Dodger Cove, where we arrived at n p. si. , every one being in
bed. We had no supper, as everybody
seemed or pretended to sleep, and we
turned in with the happy thought that
May 14.—We said Mass at the storekeeper's house at 5 a. m., then went on
board and left the cove sometime before
noon.    This was the feast of the Ascen-
• May 15.—We ran before a fine
westerly wind and arrived in Victoria at
DIANS   IN    1874   BY    THE    RIGHT
The day of our departure was the first
of September. Two days before, Captain
Francis had been married in St. Andrew's
Cathedral by Rev. Father Brabant to
C_ecilia, a half breed girl, the niece of
Mrs. Lequier. The effects of the feast
were visible on the skipper's countenance and in his manners. As a first
mishap, the man who was to act as mate
did not turn up at the hour agreed upon
by the captain ; however, after a run on
shore by one of the boys, we saw him at
last, and upon crawling on board he
mentioned that the cause of the delay
was that his concubine, a Hydah woman,
had run away. This our mate was a
Greek, and also rejoiced in the name of
Frank.    Thus, with two Franks and two
fear.    Only  two or three of the crowd
Indians from the coast,  and as we dis
had ever been to Victoria, and none in
covered afterwards, with plenty of whis
an Indian canoe, as doing so would have
key on board, we started on our second
exposed  them   to  the danger  of being
visit to our West Coast Indians.
killed or of being made slaves by hostile
The first few hours were spent pleas
antly, but when we got to the straits our
May   13.—We   arrived    in   Dodger
skipper began  to  make frequent   calls
Cove.    There was no  wind   and   this
down in the cabin.    At last we discovered Vancouver  Island and Its Missions.
that he was get-
Frank, our Greek
where the captain
kept   his   liquor
Frank, the Greek,
■came down and
told us that he
had taken charge
of and hidden
all the liquor on
board. It was
now great fun to
watch the skip-
downstairs on his
old   errand;    he    ?   'NDIAN ™ARRIOR SIN
pretended to
whistle  so   as to Indian posed foi
be unnoticed; then he looked up the
staircase, then made for the locker, but
nothing there ! Where could the liquor
be ? He did not say a word about it.
Meanwhile he silently cursed at his
■clerical passengers and told the mate
•of it; then he begged him for a little
drink. It was refused at first; later on
something was given him now and
then to sober him up. All this time
for taking his  favo:
. bev
erage, and never suspected for a moment that the liquor which was gh en to
rsober him up was his own property,
very properly taken away from him by
the mate.
Although the   measure   adopted   had
the effect of keeping the old man from
ing sober when we entered Pachena Bay.
The wind was blowing fresh from the
west when we entered the harbor. Our
schooner was supposed to go up the
river to discharge at the store kept by
Neils Moos. We were going full speed
when she suddenly struck on the sand
bank ; the channel had shifted, or rather
our captain was out of his reckonings
through whiskey ! Every wave took her
up higher and higher. A few more
dashes and she was gone. But Neils
Moos coming on board saved her from
ruin. We took charge without heeding
our drunken skipper, and an hour later
she was at anchor before Capt. Spring &
Co.'s store.
Nothing   of much    consequence   oc-
left   for Bar
" San Vancouver Island and  Its Missions,
Juan harbor a canoe from Victoria with
a supply of whiskey. By and by we saw
H. M. S. Boxer come out of Neah
Bay and steam for the Pachena Camp.
Dr. Powell, Superintendent of Indian
Affairs, was on board, and this was his
first trip along the coast. When he
landed at the ranch he found every man,,
save the chief, beastly drunk.
We got in Barclay Sound on the 7th
of September ; the Ohiat Indians had
moved up the Sound ; and after discharging freight at the store in Dodger
Cove we continued our journey to
Here the schooner Surprise was to
stop and we were to continue on our
trip in our Indian canoe. Consequently
Capt. Francis gave us as pilots two
Kyuquot Indians, who had been engaged
as deck-hands on the Surprise, and also
a good sealing canoe, besides lots of
We bade him and his young wife goodbye and a happy honeymoon on the 8th
of September, at 7 o'clock. And now
we were on the open ocean in a small
sealing canoe with two Kyuquot and
one Egatisal Indian. The sea was
heavy and no wind. An occasional
wave broke over our bows and did considerable damage to our stock of provisions, especially to our biscuits and our
sack of flour.
Without further mishap we arrived at
" Opessat," Clayoquot Sound, at about
2 o'clock p. si., where we found the Indians very much excited over the news
that a man-of-war was anchored to the
leeward of Vargas Island with the Superintendent of Indian Affairs on board.
We continued our voyage, and about 4
o'clock p. m. we saw H. M. S. Boxer at
anchor at the above-named place. All
this time we had not a breath of wind,
but our Indians kept on paddling and
we went at last on shore on Flores
Island, just opposite one of the Ahousat
villages called Esik-ta-kis.
It was not a good camping place, and
the hour being rather late and the night
dark, we felt compelled to   stretch our
weary limbs without even taking a warm
drink of tea. We were enjoying our
sleep as best we could when all of a sudden, some time after midnight, an
Ahousat Indian came to wake us up.
He was sent by the tribe ; they were all
up and expected us to go over. But
His Lordship prevailed upon him to let
us enjoy our camping out rather than
go two miles across the sound in the
middle of the night and avail ourselves
of the Indians' hospitality. When at
last the Indian concluded to leave us, he
went  away  saying that we   were   very
Shortly after our Ahousat visitor had
left us we were again aroused from our
slumber by the noise of some Hesquiat
Indians who were on their way to Ahousat. They wanted to know who we
were, where we came from and where we
were going, and finished by saying that
the sea was very rough on the outside
coast. When next morning we awoke,
we made a large fire and at daylight we
could see that we had camped in a very
poor place, and as it began to rain,
which prevented us from leaving, we had
occasion to spend some vely dreary hours
on that spot. However, at noon the
weather cleared up and then we proceeded on our voyage till we arrived,
about 5 p. m. , at Refuge Cove.
Here quite a number of the Hesquiat
Indians were living, and as the man-of-
war was now anchored in the Cove and
had been followed by a large number
of Ahousats and some Clayoquots, the
place presented quite a lively appearance.
A number of junior officers and bluejackets were on shore, and when we had
just pitched our tent we received the visit
of Mr. Tim Scanlan, an Irishman who
acted as steward on board the vessel. He
told us, in a rich Irish brogue, wherein
we were wrong, viz.: travelling at such
a time of the year and in such a canoe,
and he added that the captain of the
vessel had repeatedly spoken of us and
was determined to pick us up wherever
he would meet us. At the request of
His  Lordship,   Mr.   Scanlan   promised Vancouver Island and Its Missions.
not to make the captain aware of our
presence, but Tim came back soon after
with a supply of provisions in the shape
of some loaves of fresh bread, a leg of
mutton, a quarter of elk, two bottles of
wine and one bottle of brandy. Upon
his suggestion, we opened a bottle of
wine and drank to the health of His
Lordship, the Bishop, who in his turn
proposed the health of Tim Scanlan.
This scene was without outside witnesses,
and took place on the evening of the 9th
of September, 1874, in Refuge Cove.
Next morning we were having our
breakfast when the man-of-war steamed
out of Refuge Cove and we resumed our
journey as soon as that transaction was
over. No wind, a heavy sea and the
sun burning over our heads, made the
crossing of- Hesquiat harbor anything
but pleasant. Besides, our Indians had
indigestion and were all three very seasick. One of them, between the intervals of vomiting, would carelessly sing
old Indian songs, which would, afford us,
if not recreation, at least a topic to speak
about. At noon we took dinner in
front of the Hesquiat outside camp
(oume-is). Then we went on shore
again on the Escalante Rocks, whence we
paddled to Friendly Cove, Nootka
Sound. There, to our horror, we
again found the Boxer at anchor ; and
while we were boiling our cup of tea and
the Indians were putting up our tent we
of yesterday, Mr. Tim Scanlan, who
brought us another bottle of brandy ; at
the same time he announced that the
captain had ordered his boat to be lowered and that with the Superintendent of
Indian affairs he would come on shore
and invite us to go on board of his vessel. And indeed before we had taken
our tea, we were introduced to Captain
Collins, of the Royal Navy, and by him
prevailed upon to abandon our way of
travelling in an Indian canoe and avail
ourselves of the accommodation of an
English man-of-war to continue our
journey.      The  captain,   as  we  under
stood, was a staunch member of the
Anglican church and every day held divine service on board. He kept a bank
for the men and had established a temperance society for them. He made our
stay on board most enjoyable, and, as it
happened to be on a Friday, he kindly
and delicately had matters arranged in
such a way that the abstinence enjoined
by the Church on that day was easily observed. The weather was thick and
foggy, but we managed to pass the
Nootka narrows long before noon. We
went as far as Catala Island, anchored
there for a time, but as it was not allowed by the rules of the navy to go out
in the foggy, uncertain weather it
then was, the captain concluded to run
for Queen's Cove and there spend the
night at anchor in smooth water. A
beautiful hammock was fixed up as a bed
for His Lordship the Bishop, and a bed
was prepared for me on a sofa. Our Indians were made comfortable below with
the marines. We left next morning at 5
a. m. ; got as far as Catala Island, but
owing to the state of the weather and sea
we once more returned to Queen's Cove.
At noon we made a fresh start and running as we did before a fresh easterly
breeze, we arrived early in the afternoon
to anchor in Man of-War harbor, Kyuquot Sound.
We left H. M. S. Boxer next morning at 5 o'clock. Our canoe, which had
been taken on board at Friendly Cove,
was lowered and the liberality of Tim
Scanlan, under orders of the captain,
had so much increased our stock of provisions that by the time we got in her
we were so deeply loaded that it was
impossible or dangerous to look behind
us to cast a last look at the fine war vessel, on which we had spent two most
enjoyable days.
And now we were on shore in Kyuquot Sound ! We took up our headquarters in Capt. Spring's old and unoccupied store. We went to Chicluat
next day, where we did very little besides baptizing one child.    We soon dis- i6
Vancouver Island and Its Missions.
covered that we had chosen a bad time
of the year to find the Kyuquots together. They were camped at a dozen
different places, but His Lordship concluded that he would go and see the
chief. He was at the end of Bokshis
inlet, and there we met him next day
with a few more Indians. We baptized
a few newly-born children. His Lordship prepared a young girl who was at
the point of death, but nothing else
could be accomplished. His Lordship
had bought from the chief for a few biscuits a wooden bucket representing an
animal, the tail being the handle, the
body the body of the bucket, and the
head and mouth the passages through
which the water or liquid was poured.
It was a curious piece of work very
artistically done, and together with
some masks- got also at this place, was
given as a souvenir of our trip to Captain Collins of H. M. S. Boxer, who
felt so proud of the gift that he afterwards exhibited it in one of the principal hotels in Victoria.
September 17. —The chief sent his son
and six other young men next day to
where we expressed the wish to go,
namely the Newchaliot village. We
had a quick but rough passage; at one
time the sea struck our canoe and nearly
filled her up with water.
At Newchaliot we did very little or
no good, the dispositions of the Indians
being very indifferent, and it cost us
quite an amount of trouble to get a crew
to take us to the next tribe. Finally
three old men volunteered, and that
night we were amongst the Nootkas
camped at Cah Shis. We found these
Indians in full glee—a dead whale had
drifted on their land and the houses
were full of blubber, which the women
were boiling and reducing to oil. I do
not think that anything that we could
have said under the circumstances would
have had much effect, as the whale was
uppermost in their minds.
We stayed only one night, then with a
small crew we went down the sound,
went on shore at Etawinni, baptized a few
children, but could not get to Machelat
that day. We therefore slept at a place
called O-is and went the next morning to
Ow-is, where the Machelat chief was
camped and expected us at any moment.
As we went on shore at O-is the evening before, a Machelat canoe had seen
us and reported our approach to their
friends. Then the tribe at once prepared to receive us. Messengers had
been sent that very night to all the fishing stations, and by the time we arrived
we learned that the tribe was collecting
on the other side of the sound.
September 21.-At 11 o'clock as a strong
westerly wind was blowing up Machelat
Inlet, ten canoes filled with Indians put
up sail on the other side and steered for
Ow-is. It was a sight never to be forgotten, the enthusiasm of these Indians
and the taste displayed in their arrangements for our reception. They were all
nicely dressed, the women in white calico
robes and the men with pants and coats.
We assembled them at once and stayed
with them three days, during which time
they learned the Lord's Prayer, the Hail
Mary, the Creed, Ten iCommandments
and Seven Sacraments in their own language. Most of the Indians were living
under tents made with their canoe sails,
at all times a poor shelter, but especially
at this season of the year. But upon
expressing our feelings of sorrow for
them, as it was raining most of the time,
they pleasantly replied that the rain did
not cause them any inconvenience, and
that we should not leave them before
they knew everything we had a mind to
teach them. Such fervor and zeal we
had not met in any other tribe, and
therefore, in order to encourage and reward them, His Lordship concluded to
plant at their principal camping place
another mission cross. This was done
with great succcess, and in the same
order as we had observed on the occasion
of our first trip at Kyuquot. Vancouver Island and Its Missions.
September 25. —Next morning we
left Machelat in one of their canoes,
with the chief and eleven of his
young men, en route for Hesquiat.
When off Sunday Rock we met a Hesquiat canoe crowded with young men,
who were on the lookout for our expected arrival. As soon as they recognized us they put about, intending to
precede us and warn the tribe. However, our Machelat crew took to their
paddles, and a regular race between the
two canoes took place. There was no
wind, and the sea ran mountains high.
We had not met such a heavy swell in all
We began our work at once; taught the
Lord's Prayer, Hail Mary, Creed, Ten
Commandments and Seven Sacraments,
all of which the Indians learned with
much zeal. Here it struck the Bishop that
this tribe would be a good place to start a
Mission, being the most central and the
Indians of the best good -will. He mentioned the matter to the chief, asking of
him to assemble the other chiefs of the
tribe and propose to them the matter in
question ; which having been done, we
were informed, in presence of the whole
tribe, that land would be given for Mission
buildings. and other purpos
our travels. Although in company with
the Hesquiats, we would- lose sight of
them for several minutes to see them
again  rise  on  the  crest of  the heavy
; it we.
1 the
abyss of the ocean. It was a really
■grand piece of sailing we had on that
day from Sunday Rocks to. Hesquiat
harbor. We at last lost sight of the Hesquiats in the fog, but we could hear them
fire off their guns ahead of us as a signal
to the tribe to be ready. We found the
chiefs house, where we stayed for four
days, cleanly swept out, and mats laid all
over the floor, and the Indians full of
joy to see us again.
could have our choice as to locality.
At the same time a spot was mentioned
on the hill—according to the Bishop
not desirable, being too much exposed
to the northerly wind. As to the objection that the spot was surrounded by
Indian houses, the Indians were willing
to evacuate the village site and grant
it for Mission purposes. During our stay
at Hesquiat, as well as at Machelat, we
said Mass every morning at 5 o'clock, at
which all the Indians were present, and
during which they recited the Holy
Rosary. We here noticed every morning—and, in fact, whenever we assembled the Indians—such zeal and  fervor Vancouver Island and Its Mi_
that old men unable to walk were carried
on the backs of the young men to the
chiefs house, and some of them came on
hands and feet.
The old chief of Hesquiat, his son being
absent at Cape Flattery, took us to
Ahousat with a large crew of young men.
We arrived in due time at Esik-takis,
the residence of Shi-oush, the second
chief of the tribe. Mokivinna, the first
chief, was sent for, but refused to come,
having only lately lost one of his children.
Shi-oush at once sent out several canoes
to fetch the Indians from their different
salmon rivers. The messengers travelled all night, and next morning quite a
■ large number arrived and listened to the
Bishop's instructions, and learned part
of our Catholic hymns and prayers; but,
being over-anxious to return to their
homes that evening, a disturbance took
place, and they got a severe reprimand
from the Bishop. Afterwards things
were settled, and the Indians left us
in good humor, while we prepared to
leave next morning.
October i.—Shi-oush and his oldest
son and one of his slaves took us to Clayoquot, where we found the chief absent;
but we were taken to the lodge of Sita-
kenim, where we slept.
October 2.—The chief arrived next
morning. We went over to see him, but
as he was eating as we went into the house,
1 His Lordship, the Bishop of Vancouver
I Island, and one of his priests were told to
f go outside ; that the chief of the Clayo-
quots could not transact any business
with them till he had finished eating his
breakfast ! After walking outside quite a
time Shi-oush,the Clayoquot chief, came
to meet us, asked our business and proposed to assemble the Indians there
present (Opessat) in his house, which
was not quite made up for the wi.nter
season. The Bishop spoke to them for
some little time, after which I baptized
four young children. Having proposed
to the Clayoquot chief to take us to
Ucluliat he wished us to go with him up
the Clayoquot arm to his salmon station;
he would from there cross to Long Bay or
Schooner Cove. If no canoe was at any
of the outside camps it would be an easy
task to pull a canoe across and put her
afloat with our baggage at Long Bay,
comparatively speaking, a short distance
from Ucluliat harbor. We complied
with his desire, which gave us a chance
to see Clayoquot inlet, the entrance to
the lake, and the muddy flats, literally
alive with ducks and geese. The dreary
hours that we spent at that chiefs house
are painful to remember ; the smoke and
stench inside cannot be imagined; besides,
the house was so low and the abundance of salmon so great that we could
not move except in a stooping position
and we could not put down a foot except
on or over dissected salmon or salmon
roe ! We, therefore, went outside and
pitched our tent, and next morning we
begged of the chief as a favor to take us
to Long Bay and thence to Ucluliat.
The poor man seemed anxious to comply
with our request, but upon coming to
the sea-coast he found that the surf
would not allow launching a canoe. We,
therefore, were compelled to pitch our
tent and await better weather. Meanwhile he went to his house and family,
promising to come next day. He kept his-
word, but made the same remark as the
day before—easterly wind. Off he went
again with the promise of another visit
next day. Again he kept his word, but
again the same difficulty — easterly
wind. This morning, upon rising, we
noticed that our tent had been visited
by a bear. His tracks were there, but
finding the tent occupied he had preferred to walk off rather than disturb us.
About noon His Lordship proposed to
walk over the Indian trail to Ucluliat.
The Clayoquots hardly approved ot
the idea, but promised to take our baggage to Capt. Francis's house as soon as
the weather would permit. With this
promise the Bishop was satisfied, ordered me to prepare some provisions,
which I did with reluctance, and off we
went, on foot,   accompanied by two Ky- Vancouver Island and Its Missions.
uquot Indians who helped us in carrying   midnigl
the things that we had judged necessary   the hill
to take along.    We walked all that after-   to the u
noon, first over a beautiful sandy beach;
then we crossed a point and arrived in
it the water was streaming down
under us, and having decamped
pper side of the stump of a large
.ailed the Bishop to come and
,e, which after some persuasion he
Wreck Bay, around which we also walked   did,  I showing him the way by
that day over  a nasty,  gravelly shore,   from time to time a match.   I was aft.
and shortly before dark we made a fire   wards sorry for extending the
/g^m^^ yiHi '
and   prepared our supper.     Then   the as we soon discovered that we had moved
Bishop ordered the Indians   to  prepare from bad to worse.    Here, however, we
for  us  a  decent camping place, which remained in the water and mud till four
they did, half way on a sandy hill.     We o'clock in   the  morning, when I  went
laid down and fell asleep, but were soon down the hill and made a cup of tea on
awakened by heavy drops of rain, and we the fire of last  night, which  had kept
then noticed that the sky had clouded alive under a large piece of a log.
up and that it was pitch  dark.     About We  left as  soon  as it was daylight. 20
Vancouver Island and Its Missions.
After a short walk along the beach we
took to the bush, intending to make a
short cut of a projecting point. After
struggling about a couple of hours
through the thick salal brushwood, we
came to the Indian trail, which we were
glad to discover; and following it with
great avidity we travelled about five
miles an hour, when, lo! to our great
disappointment, we noticed that said
trail led directly to our old camping
place, where the fire on which we had
cooked our breakfast was still smoking.
Our courage now sank very low, and
then, instead of following the same trail
in an opposite direction, which with a
ilittle reflection we ought to have done,
we went over rocks and boulders around
the point which we had intended to have
•cut off that morning. According to directions given by the Clayoquots we were
at a certain spot to cross to the Ucluliat
inlet. This we intended to do, when we
took to the bush again. We walked and
walked till I found my strength failing,
which the Bishop noticing, he proposed
that we should take something to eat.
Accordingly we made a fire in the bush,
and then we boiled doughnuts! We ate
them with great appetite; then we noticed
that our two Kyuquot Indians began to
show bad will and insisted on going back
to the beach, which we accordingly did.
Early in the afternoon the rain, which
had fallen in the morning in the shape
of a Scotch mist, became thicker and
thicker, and having come to a small bay,
where driftwood was piled up in great
quantity, we prepared a place where we
could spend the night.. We started a
big fire, which soon spread to the trees
around, and in the morning I discovered
that a hole was burned through one of my
boots and that my cloak was badly damaged. The Bishop's clothing had also
suffered to a certain extent through fire.
We took as breakfast the last piece of
meat we had left, and we also made
slapjacks with our last flour. After this
we began to walk with renewed courage.
■However, about nine o'clock the Bishop
took a fainting fit. . He lay down on the
rocks and asked if I had any food left.
I took down a satchel which I had on my
back, and after careful examination I
found in a paper a few grains of sugar
and a little flour in the corner of an- old
flour sack; this I gathered in a spoon
and presented to His Lordship; he would
not, however, take any of it except after
I had taken my share, saying that he
did not know what would become of us
in case I should also give out. We next
noticed that the Indians were gathering
mussels on the rocks and ate them with
great relish. This we also did and raw
mussels and salal berries were the only
food which we took till we reached
Captain Francis' place in Ucluliat next
The captain could hardly recognize
us; seeing our condition and hearing of
our long compulsory abstaining from
food, he advised us, and we followed his
advice, not to take any full meal till we
had by eating very little at a time
prepared our stomachs for its usual
functions—at the same time the captain
went into his store and gave us new pants
and shoes, for all our clothes had been
reduced to rags in our attempt to travel
through the brushwood. His Lordship,
Bishop Seghers, at one time escaped
being drowned, having slipped from a
rock in crossing a ravine, where the sea
swept in  very  freely  at high tide.
Our experience from Clayoquot to
Ucluliat had such an effect on our general
condition that it took more than two
weeks for us to recover our usual
At Ucluliat we did nothing, as the
Indians were all away to their salmon
rivers. The young chief Wish-Routl
took us to Ekoul and sortie Ekoul
Indians went with us to Wannicanut where
we found the Indians under the influence
of liquor. We baptized at Ekoul seven
children and a few at Wannicanut.
Then we made arrangements with an
Ekoul Indian to take us to Wanaimo,
which he promised to do for six dollars. Vancouver Island and Its Missions.
We had a pleasant trip up the Alberin
Canal. Having left Ekoul in the morning we arrived in the afternoon at Gold
River, called at the house of the miners
but found them absent, but as a sign of
our passing there the Bishop wrote on
their door the fact of our calling and
wishing them success. That night we
were received and made comfortable by
Mr. Clark, who was then manager of the
Johnston farm. He showed some fine
horses of which he had twenty-two; also
some of his cattle, stating that he had a
hundred and sixty head running all over
the settlement. Besides Mr. Clark, Mr.
Cuglar was the only settler.
Next day we went to visit the Opich-
asat where we were well received. They
were then living above the forks of the
river. The Iseshats were also on the
river, but, as their chief had refused to receive us the day before, we coolly passed
Next day again we commenced our
walk to Qualicum, a delightful trip
over the newly made road. At noon
we were at the lake, which we crossed in
a canoe, and thence we walked to the
East Coast side, where we arrived at 5
Here we pitched our tent, and on
Sunday morning we found a canoe in the
bush and with paddles and a sail made
with our tent, we travelled with great
speed to Wanaimo where we were in time
to hear the Protestant bells ring for evening service. It happened that the
steamer Emma was to leave the next day
for Victoria and on her we took passage
arriving in Victoria on Tuesday morning, at 2 a. m. We went. on shore at
once and astonished every one by arriving
in time to say Mass, which for both of us
was a Mass of thanksgiving.
D    ON
VER isl
r  HE
About the beginning of February,
1885, I had just returned from a mission
to Sitka, Alaska Territory, when I was.
notified by Right Rev. Bishop Seghers,
D.D., to prepare myself and to be ready
to go to Hesquiat and take charge of the
West Coast Indians in the beginning of
the spring.
In conformity with this order I got
everything in readiness, and a carpenter
was hired by His Lordship at the same
time.     Rev.   Fr. Rondeault, of Quam- 22
Vancouver Island and Its Missions.
ichan, was requested to accompany us
to Hesquiat and help us to put up the
Mission buildings.
We left Victoria on the Feast of
the Ascension, May 6, at five o'clock
in the morning, on the sloop Thornton,
owned by Captain Warren & Co., and
commanded by Captain George Brown.
We had on board three little calves, one
bull and two heifers, which were destined
to become the pioneer cattle in this part
of the country. A young Newfoundland
dog was to be my only domestic companion after Noel Leclaire, the carpenter, and Rev. Fr. Rondeault would
have finished the work for which they
were sent. We had rather a quick passage as, having left Victoria on Thursday morning and called and discharged
freight at Ekoul, we arrived in Hesquiat
harbor next Tuesday afternoon. Off
Clayoquot Sound we met two Hesquiat
canoes on their way to Victoria, with
Matlahaw, the chief, and his father, in
one of them. Although requested by
Captain Brown to return with us, and
offered a free passage on the schooner,
they insisted on continuing their trip to
After casting anchor in the inner harbor the weather became very stormy,
which prevented us from landing our
freight until Thursday morning. We
had, however, put ashore our little calves
immediately upon arriving, and when on
Thursday we walked over to the Hesquiat
village they followed us like dogs, sometimes forgetting themselves when amidst
good pasture ground, and then running
up to us with the utmost speed.
There was now question of selecting
a spot for our Mission buildings. The
chief was absent, and not an Indian
dared or was willing to point a suitable place out to us. Every one of my
suggestions was for various reasons repudiated and we owe to our listening to
■Captain Brown the fact that the Mission was put up where it now stands.
Our orders had been to put up a
church  of 60x26 ft.   and  a  small resi
dence for the priest, everything to be
done as cheaply as possible, as the establishment of a Mission was only an experiment: later on, say after five years, if
the Mission was successful, more substantial buildings would be put up.
In December of the preceding year the
bark Edwin, Capt. Hughes, loaded with
lumber for Australia, had become waterlogged in the straits, and her freight having shifted, she had split open so as to
make of her a complete wreck. The
Captain's wife now buried at Itloune,
Hesquiat harbor, had been crushed between the heavy timbers and his two little
boys washed overboard as well as a
Chinese cook.
Early one morning the Hesquiat Indians saw the vessel with all sails set
taking the direction of Itloune before
a south-easterly wind. Close to the vessel was a raft on which they noticed the
sailors trying to make for shore and in
great danger of being lost. Matlahaw,
the chief of the tribe, suggested the propriety of going to the rescue of the drowning men. Several canoes were launched
and off they went over the heavy and
stormy waves. They succeeded in taking off all the men, for which Matlahaw
afterward received from the Dominion
Government a silver medal and from
the United States Government a liberal reward for himself and the men who
had given any assistance to the shipwrecked sailors.
The bark was now on the beach to the
outside of Itloune point and all the lumber, consisting of rafters, heavy and light,
rough lumber and flooring, was piled up
by the sea a mile along the seashore. It
was from the lumber of the unfortunate
vessel that our Mission buildings were
constructed. Captain Warren bought the
wreck and from him we got almost all the
lumber required. Some Indians had
used part to construct new houses, but
with some trouble and reasoning they
were prevailed upon to let us have the
use of all.
I may here state that the Indians had Vancouver Island and Its Missions.
treated the sailors and captain of the bark
Edwin with much kindness. They appear, however, to have been a rough
crowd. It seems hardly credible, still the
rescuers maintain that when they arrived
with their canoes alongside of tne raft
where most of the men were nearly
perishing from cold and exposure, they
were told to leave in his sad predicament
one of the crew, to throw him overboard;
no other reason being given, as I was
afterwards told, but that he was a Dutchman.
Later they began quarrelling in the
chief s house, fought and wounded each
other to such an extent that they had to
be separated and made to lodge in
different houses. As soon as the weather
permitted the Indians took the shipwrecked men to Clayoquot Sound, whence
they reached Ucluliat and from there
were taken on one of Captain Spring's
schooners to Victoria.
Immediately after landing, we set to
work. We began by building a small
shed, where we had our beds, our stove,
provisions and where we took our meals
—our dog slept under the bed, and our
calves alongside the stove. Under one of
the beds we had a barrel of beer,
presented to us by Stuart & Reast of
Victoria, and at regular times the builders
were invited to take a cup of the beverage,
which they called when the Indians were
present a "cup of tea."
Although this was the best season of
the year, the weather was most unpropi-
tious, and before long our carpenter
complained of being sick; afterwards he
■ tried to make a row and when told that
we could do without him he managed to
get better, but for whole days together
we could not get him to speak a word.
Everything considered, the first Mission
buildings on this coast were put up
amidst much unpleasantness.
The first Mass was said in the new
church on the fifth of July, it being the
Feast of the Most Precious Blood. All
the Hesquiats were present; also, the
chief and a crowd of Machelat Indians.
Mass was said by Rev. A. Brabant, and
the sermon preaehed by Rev. P. Ron-
Next morning a canoe took Rev. P.
Rondeault and Noel Leclaire, the carpenter, to Victoria, and I was left alone in
this place and in charge of all the Indians from Pachina (included) to Cape
I soon discovered that the work before
me was an uphill undertaking, and, to
mention one fact only, there was not
one Indian in Hesquiat who could act as
interpreter. However, I managed to
teach the tribe the " Catholic Ladder,"
and I made up my mind to study the
language, which I found no easy matter,
is I had no books to consult and there
was no one who could give me any
information about it.
In the beginning of August I made a
trip to the Chicklisats and other tribes
on the way. Guyer, a Clayoquot Indian,
a first-rate interpreter, accompanied me
and six Hesquiats, all full grown men, as
the Indians would not allow their sons to
go along for fear they might be killed by
the Kyuquots, who were supposed to be
very badly disposed to their tribe.
Guyer, the Clayoquot Indian, had
some time before this stabbed a man
belonging to Beechy Bay, near Victoria.
This man and his wife were slaves in
Clayoquot and belonged to Chief
Sheouse. This last, fearing trouble,
asked Guyer to kill the man-slave,
which he did, stabbing him in the chest
with an ordinary file.
This misdeed weighed very heavy on
the mind of Guyer, and, as he told me,
his reason for coming to Hesquiat and
accompanying me on this trip was to
seek relief for his mind. He wanted me
to state that no harm would happen to
him by the white men's police, and, as I
could not do so, he begged of me to take
him, as soon as convenient, to the
authorities in Victoria. The remorse of
conscience of that man, or the dread of
retaliation, was a real suffering to  him.
At Nootka we found a young woman 24
Vancouver Island and Its Missions.
who i
belonging to Ehattesai
posed to be the wife of one of the
Nootka young men. She sent an Indian
to see me, and wanted an interview. I
allowed her the privilege she asked for.
She told me that she wanted to accompany us to Ehattesat; that she would not
live with the man who claimed her as
his wife and had been stolen by him out
of a canoe against her will. She had
been a slave in Nootka, and was considered as such again.
After considering these and other reasons and hearing the opinion of some of
the most influential Nootka Indians, I
gave her permission to accompany us, and
the next day she was returned to her
friends and home.
But nothing else unusual happened,
although.at Kyuquot we were very badly
received, and my Indians, suspecting
danger, slept with knives in their hands.
It was only after much trouble that they
would allow me to baptize their children.
We were absent about two weeks, and
shortly afterwards I received a letter
from Bishop Seghers summoning me to
go to Victoria.
I left Hesquiat about the twentieth of
September and arrived back on the
schooner Surprise, Captain Francis, on
the fifth of October. The Indians were
glad to see me back. Next day Captain
Warren entered the harbor on the sloop
Upon landing I was told that an Indian woman, "a doctoress," had died
during my absence, after a few days
Next I heard that a large number of
Nootka Sound Indians were sick and
that several had died. The report arrived that the sickness was smallpox;
that the whole tribe was wild with excitement; that they \vould come to Hesquiat
and kill as many of the tribe as had died
of the disease! I spurned the threat
and persuaded the Indians not to be
On the eighteenth of October the
wife of Matlahaw died rather suddenly
at Hesquiat. As I suspected that everything was not right, I assembled the Indians on the hill, and told those who-
were living in the chiefs house to quit,
and also if there was anybody else unwell to come and give me information.
Upon arriving home, I was met by
Charley, whose mother had died during
my absence. He reported that his father
was sick. I went to his house and found
the old man very sick, evidently with
small-pox. He was lying in one corner
of the room and in the other corner was
his sister, an elderly woman, also in the
last stages of the fatal disease. I baptized
both of them, saw them well provided
with food and water, and went home convinced that a very trying time was before
I was not disappointed, for next morning the first news I heard was that both
were dead and that others had taken sick.
As soon as Mass was over, a large
number of Indians came to my house,
and I made preparations to have the
dead buried. I went and dug two graves,
but when the time for the funeral had
arrived no one would help me take away
the corpses. I reasoned and entreated
my visitors to give me a hand, but all to
no purpose. At last after several hours
talking, a Cape Flattery Indian living
here with his Hesquiat wife volunteered.
Others followed his example, and I mustered a force of ten to do the burying of
the dead. Never was such a funeral
seen by mortal man! First I had to give
medicine to everyone of them. As I
had hone I boiled water, broke some
biscuits in it, sweetened the whole with
sugar, and insisted that this would be
the very best preservative in the world
against small-pox.
Then began the march. I led the procession, then came the ten Indians in a
line, with their faces blackened and covered with Indian charms. They were shouting and jumping, and when we came to
the house where the dead were, not one
dared t
\ and i
the Cape Flattery Indian again Vancouver Island and Its Missions.
by Charley's father-in-law and Charley
himself. The coffin was a small Indian
canoe, to which was attached about
forty feet of rope. We took up the old
man first. he presented a ghastly sight as
the blood and bloody matter were covering his face and streaming out of his
mouth. The woman was covered with
two new black blankets, and had evidently died first, her brother having
rendered to his dead sister the pious duty
of clothing the corpse ; she was put into
the same canoe and then orders were
given to take hold of the lines. Everyone wanted to take the very end, but
after some confusion the canoe was
pulled out of the house, I acting as steersman, and thence a good distance into
the bush. And after securely covering
the original coffin with Indian planks,
we all returned to my house.
Before entering, the Indians all rushed
into the river praying and shouting ; and
having  thrown   away    their    blankets,
which were their only covering, they next
came in every onejof them as naked as
the moment he had been born. Some
thoughtful woman, after some time,
came with a supply of blankets and then
the spectacle became rather more
decent and respectable.
But now another scene was enacted—
as they had noticed that I was chewing
tobacco upon going to bury the dead,
they had insisted upon doing the same
thing, and not being accustomed to that i
polite practice, they had swallowed all
the tobacco juice. Some of them in
consequence came near dying, as it took
them many hours before they got over
their vomiting.
Next day I went to see the chief's
daughter, who was very low also with
small- pox. She was a courageous woman
and did not give up till she was quite blind
and her head as black and as thick as a
large iron pot. She was baptized and
seemed to be in the best disposition.
Her own father and another old Indian 26
Vancouver Island and Its Missions.
helped me to bury her.    The sij
the corpse was simply horrible, and
left the shanty in which she died
of flies surrounded us all.
At this time Matlahaw, the Hesquiat
chief, his father Cownissim, Omerak and
Charley had obtained permission to sleep
in the Indian room of my house. Upon
according this privilege, Matlahaw promised and gave me all the strip of land
between the river and the beach.
I passed most of my time in vaccinating the Indians and in trying to cheer
them up, for the fear and discouragement in some cases were altogether alarming. Matlahaw and Charley were hardly alive. Hence they would sit for hours
together, telling me of the importance
of their lives and insisting upon my using all possible means to preserve them
from the disease. Charley had been
vaccinated successfully in Victoria, but
although I tried it twice on Matlahaw
the vaccine had no effect. This seemed
to increase his fear. He now became
morose and avoided the company of his
friends; in fact he was not to be seen in
the daytime for several days.
We used to be up before daylight and
for two or three mornings, as I got up,
upon looking through my window I
noticed him sitting alongside of his father
apparently engaged with him in very secret conversation.
On the twenty-seventh of October he
shot some blue jays on my potato patch,
and the rest of the time he stood outside,
watching my movements, and from time
to time exchanging a few words with the
Indians who were constantly about my
Towards evening the report that an Indian woman was very sick was received.
I went to see her, but noticed that her
case was not very serious as yet. However, next morning the first thing
I did upon getting up was to go and see
the old woman, who was if anything
rather better than the day before.
Upon entering my house and about to
go and ring the bell for Mass, Matlahaw
came into my house and asked me for
the loan of my gun, which upon handing
to him I stated to be unloaded. He
simply remarked that he had powder and
shot in his shanty,, which was made of a
few Indian planks and which with my
permission he had constructed behind
my little barn.
All the Indians of the tribe, save the
old woman who had small-pox and Matlahaw and his father, were at Mass.
The old man was missed at once, and
afterwards it was found out that he had
crossed the bay with his little grandchild and gone up Sidney Inlet, where
his wife had gone before him. There
she died of small-pox, as also her female
slave; and the old chief, in a fit of passion, took a stone and with it killed the
husband and one old slave.
When the Mass was over, and just
as I was about finishing my breakfast,
Charley came into my room and said,
'' Look out, Leflet ; Matlahaw is sick.
You had better take your gun from him.''
I made one or two inquiries, and
after saying a few words jokingly, to
give heart and courage to the messenger,
who looked alarmingly excited or downhearted, I went out, my pipe in my
mouth, to see the would-be patient.
When I arrived inside of his shanty I
noticed in the middle a small fire, before
which he was squatting down. He had
his chiefs cap and also the coat presented by the Superintendent of Indian
Affairs. Behind him, against the wall,
stood my double barrelled gun and an
Indian musket. I asked what the matter
was, when, smilingly, he looked up, and
pulling the skin of his leg, he answered,
'' Memeloust—small-pox.'' I reassured
him, saying that I would give him medicine and that by evening he would be all
right. Again he looked up, his face
being very pale and the sinews of his
cheeks trembling, and pulling at the skin
of his throat he repeated memeloust.
Once more I repeated that I would give
him medicine and that he would be well
before evening! Vancouver Island and Its Missions.                        27
Then I asked him to hand me over the other walking out of the room,
my gun, which he took without getting announced to their friends that I was
up; then pointing it towards me he ex- dying. This was also my opinion,
plained, as I understood, that one of although I felt no pain whatever either
the barrels was not loaded. The fact in the hand or the back. Then I lay
of the muzzle of the gun being pointed down and ordered cold dressing to be
straight to my face and noticing caps on placed over my wounds. I noticed
both nipples and the cocks pulled up, very little of what was going on, think-
caused me instinctively to turn away my ing that the best thing I could do was to
head, when lo ! the explosion took place pray and,prepare myself to die.
and I noticed the blood spurting from Early'the next day (Oct. 29) two ca-
my hand. The smoke was so thick that noes fully manned left Hesquiat. The
I could not see the would-be murderer, first went to Refuge Cove, where the sis-
and thinking the whole affair to be an ter of Matlahaw, the would be murderer,
accident, after calmly remarking that I was residing with her Indian husband,
was shot in the hand, I walked down to The Indians, excited over the doings of
the little river where I bowed down to her brother, the chief, had decided to
bathe my wounds in the stream. Just bring her home. In due time the canoe
then he shot again, this time hitting me came back and the girl was land-
in the right shoulder and all over my ed on the beach before my house.
back. She    knew   not    what   was   in     store
I now knew the man wanted to kill for  her.      She  knew  not  that   as she
me and I ran off to my house, where I was left there alone, crying, the Indians
found  no   one.    Thence I   ran   to the were plotting her  death in   expiation of
ranch and was met by nearly all the men what her brother had done to me. Such,
of the tribe, to whom I told what had however, was  the case;  when  the plan
happened.    Some   of  them   pretended was well  prepared an elderly man came
that    Meowchal Indians had done  the rushing into   my  house  where I lay on
shooting, but after my stating again and my bed  expecting  that my days   were
again that   it was   Matlahaw they be- numbered, owing to the dangerous state
came convinced that he indeed was the of my wounds.     He  wanted to have my
guilty  party.    After a few  moments a opinion;  the Indians  were going  to kill
film  came   over my eyes and thinking her.    As the savage spoke his hair stood
that I would not survive,  I knelt down on   end,   froth  was on  his lips  and his
and said my acts of faith, hope,  charity members trembled with excitement     I
and contrition ; then I got up, went to gave orders  to have the  young woman
my house and wrote on a piece of paper removed to a place of safety, to have her
the name of the man who had shot me, taken proper care of and appointed one
put the paper in my bureau,  locked it of the chiefs, a relative of hers, to act as
and put the key into my pocket.    By her guardian during the time of unusual
this time the noise and alarm outside of excitement.
my house was deafening ; the loyal men The other canoe came back next day.
of the  tribe were there with axes and She had gone to Clayoquot where a man
guns to kill the chief,   but he had run (Ned Thornberg)   had charge of a small
away  into   the  bush,  not having been trading post.    This  man was living with
seen after the shooting,  save by an old an Indian woman and when the Indians
woman. with the message   called   at his place he
Meanwhile   I  had  been divested by met them with a Murray rifle and would
some  savages of   my coat and   under- not allow them inside until he  was fully
clothing.    The   Indians,   upon noticing convinced that his visitors were Hesquiat
the blood, lost courage and   one   after Indians.  As  his  neighbors, that is  the 28
Vancouver Island and Its Missions.
Indians of Clayoquot and Clayoquot
Sound, were not to be trusted, he advised
the Hesquiats to avail themselves of the
darkness of the night to return to their
homes, and with his compliments and
condolence sent a number of yards of
calico to be used by • the Indians as a
shroud for my " corpse!"
On November i (Monday at noon),
a deputation of Indians excitedly.entered
my house and told me that they were
going to send a canoe with the news of
my state to Victoria, and report to the
Bishop and the police.
I told them quietly to please themselves, but as they were determined to
leave at once I gave them a paper on which
I had every morning written a few words.
Meanwhile my wounds became more
and more inflamed. The Indians were
up with me day and night constantly
pouring cold water over my injured hand.
The wounds in my back and side gave
me great pain from the fact that I had to
lie on them and that they could not be
reached by cold water dressings.
As the hours and days advanced the
swelling increased and inflammation was
rapidly gaining. I was trembling with cold
although the Indians kept up a good fire.
At last, on Tuesday, the 9th, just as it
was getting dark,an Indian out of breath
ran into my house and shouted that a
man-of-war was entering the harbor!
I cannot describe my feelings and those
of the poor Indians who were in my
room and acted as nurses. . . . Half an
hour later one of the doctors (Dr. Wal-
kem) who had volunteered to come
to my assistance, rushed into my room
and after examining my hand expressed
his opinion that it could not be saved
and that I would have to submit to amputation. By that time Bishop Seghers,
God bless him, had also come in. I can
see him now, a picture of sadness. With
tears in his eyes he told me how happy
he felt to find me alive. ... I could
hardly utter a word ! My strength was
gone, for I had not tasted food or drink
for several days.
The. Bishop went into my bed-room,
opened a bottle of port wine and
gave me a full dose of the medicine as he
called it in the presence of the natives and lo! my strength and courage
came back at once. I told them of the
details of my situation since I had seen
him a month before in Victoria.
The doctor of the navy (Dr. Redfern)
after thoroughly examining my wounds,
declared that nothing could be done at
present; that I would have to go to the
hospital in Victoria, etc., and urged
upon me the propriety of taking some
food. He then cooked a meal and although everything was prepared in an artistic shape I could not take more than
one or two mouthfuls of his preparation.
Next morning the captain ofH. M. S.
Rocket (Captain Harris) came onshore
and proposed to have the would-be murderer arrested. In fact he stated that it
was part of his object incoming to Hesquiat. But just then an Indian came
into my house with the news of new cases
of small-pox, and expressing his uneasiness and that of his Indian friends to be
left alone with the dread disease in the
village. Happily, Captain Harris did not
understand the messenger and so we
urged upon him the necessity of returning to Victoria, as the doctors insisted
that my wounds would have to be attended to without further delay.
Besides, I told him that the man who
had shot me had run away into the bush
—that he had not been seen since and
that  he might  be ten   or twenty miles
An arrangement was then made with
the principal men of the tribe that they
were to take to Victoria the Chief Matlahaw in case he could be arrested and
that the provincial police would pay them
for their trouble the sum of $100 and a
supply of provisions.
Thereupon arrangements were made
to have me conveyed on board of the
man-of-war. Eight men placed me on a
cot, took me down to the beach between
two lines of Indians, whilst one of the Vancouver Island and Its Missions. Vancouver Island and Its Missions.
speech regretting
what had occurred
and bespeaking the
speedy return of
'' their Priest.''
When we arrived
at the vessel the
cot was slung from
the spanker-boom,
stretched  i
ing  <
r the
ind I w.
made to feel a
comfortable as pos
sible under the cii
We arrived in Vic
toria next morning.
At the time of our landing
crowd of people were on tl
The city was indeed in great
for the news had just reached the people
that the steamship Pacific with 260 passengers—quite a number of Victorians—
had foundered at sea and that thus far
only one passenger had reached shore
alive. As we came from the very coast
where the wreck had taken place, and as
it had happened just a day before, the
people were all in hopes that a number
might have been picked up at sea. We
had seen nothing of the wreck, and the
crowd, looking for friends and good
news, were doomed to return home disappointed.
The same men who had taken me in
a cot on the man-of-war carried me on
their shoulders from the vessel to the
Bishop's residence, and then landed me
on a table in the dining-room. That
room,—where I had passed so many
pleasant hours with Bishop Demers and
Bishop Seghers, his successor, and my
colleagues, the priests of the diocese and
especially of the Cathedral,—now looked
gloomy. ■ Everyone wanted to have a
look and say a good word. The Sisters
of St. Ann were there also well represented. Warm water, towels, linen and
other necessary articles  were prepared
by them, and the doctors, four in number, began to talk business.
They were going to amputate the
hand ! Yes ! perhaps it would do to
amputate only the two first fingers ! !
Such and other remarks I heard them
make. However, I was not going to
part with those necessary members of a
priest's body to allow him to say Mass,
without an objection ! And object I
did ! And asked them to allow me to
die rather than have me become a useless man in the world, such as a priest
would be if he cannot say Mass. Protestants as they were, the doctors, at first,
did not understand my reiterated pleadings to be allowed to keep my hand and
fingers. However, they concluded to
wait a couple of days and for the time
being agreed among themselves to cut
open the main ulcers, remove the
broken bones and cut out pieces of lead
and other foreign matter.
They all left me with the expectation
of returning a couple of days later to
perform the amputation ; but prayer had
the best of them. Two days later one
of the doctors made his usual call, and
seeing that the blood began again to circulate he could not conceal his astonishment and went away wondering how this
unexpected change could have occurred. Vancouver Island and Its Missions.
I was in the doctors' hands for nearly at the same time giving vent to wild,
five months. I then heard that a savage gesticulations,
schooner was advertised to go out seal- And so I went to the feast, which was
ing to the West Coast, and foreseeing given in one of the houses of a chief,
that no other opportunity to return to As there were no chairs in the village a
my mission would offer for the next six thoughtful savage took one of my own
months, I asked for a passage on board and placed it in the middle of the inland returned to my mission in Hesquiat mense building,
on March 23, 1876. There I sat   like   an   Indian   chief,
I arrived in  Hesquiat on April 5 th. calmly smoking my pipe and pretending
The Indians having learned that. I was to enjoy  everything that was going on.
on   my way back to the  Mission,   and There  were dancing and  shouting and
understanding that the vessel on which I gesticulations  and many other  extrava-
had embarked would not come as far as gant things, which no one can fancy who
their village, sent a canoe with nine men has    not  seen  wild men   and women,
to meet me and take me home.    I met covered with feathers and  with painted
. them at "Asatikis," about twenty miles cheeks, giving free expression to the feel-
from   the   Mission.    On   our   way we ings of their savage  heart  and  nature,
called at (Maktosis) Ahousat and bap- That sort of thing lasted  for about  two
tized the newly born children; next day hours, and being  nearly blind  with the
we arrived in Hesquiat. smoke of the  camp-fires and as nearly
My house was in the state I had left deaf with the noise made by the women,
it—the  floor  covered with blood,   the as they beat  with sticks  on planks and
temporary bunk which  I had caused to Indian  boxes    to   the measure  of the
be put up  in my sitting-room so as to songs   of the  men   and  boys and  the
have more space to move  about  with younger class of women,I was anxious to
water,   dressings,  etc.,   was still  there; go home and enjoy  fresh air and peace,
everything reminded me of sad days and But what  should happen ?    There in a
sleepless nights.    It all had a tendency corner got up one of the chiefs  and tak-
to make one feel downhearted, but the ing a shawl from a  woman's  shoulders
Indians were then so happy to see me held   it   open   in   view   of  the whole
back that I put aside all other thoughts, tribe    and    looking    at   me    as   with
and after a few days' cleaning, settling an   angry countenance   he • called out,
down again,  I recommenced  my work "{Leflet.' Leflet/) Priest ! Priest ! this is
where I had left it off. for you, this is for you !    I present it to
On Easter Sunday I established a force you in the name of the tribe of the Hes-
of policemen.    The occasion had been quiats, who  are all present  here to   do
furnished   by  the  Indians   themselves, honor to you !"
They had resolved to have a feast in my I do  not  know  what  anybody else
honor and to present me with a gift of would have done ; as for me, I took the
their own as a sign of their good feelings shawl and  thanked   the tribe and went
towards me.    True enough, the day was home.    But  scarcely had I reached my
appointed and two influential men of the house when I began to reflect and ask of
tribe were delegated to come and invite myself, " What in the world shall I do
me.    The men were dressed up in red with that shawl?"  After mature reflec-
blankets over their red skins, pants and tion, I hit upon a plan to get rid of it.
shirts being an unknown article to men Easter   Sunday  arrived and, as   said
of their  class; their faces were covered above,  I established a force   of   Indian
with black and red paint,   and down of policemen, as asked for by the Indians
birds covered their heads and their long themselves and approved by the Bishop,
hair.    They rather shouted than spoke, Having then carefully selected my men 32
Vancouver Island and Its Missions.
I proceeded between high Mass and evening service to the house of one of the
•chiefs where the whole tribe, were
assembled. I explained to them the
object of the meeting; then I appointed
three men to act as Indian constables,
and gave each of them a coat and pants,
to distinguish them from other savages
and as a mark of their authority. Then
taking the shawl, I held it up before
the tribe and made a present of it to
the woman, who took care of the orphan
boy of the man, who had tried to kill me.
The new policemen were then appointed
guardians of the future chief of the Hesquiats I availed myself of this season
of fervor to teach them the '' Catholic
Ladder" of Father Lacombe. I also
taught them to sing Mass in plain chant.
We had the first high Mass on the
Feast of the Patronage of St. Joseph.
On June 5 following, there was unusual
•excitement in the village. Early in the
morning the news is brought that a dead
whale is floating off the harbor. There
Is shouting and running about; paddles
are got ready and all the large canoes
pulled down to the beach. Not an able-
bodied man is left on shore : even a
number of women accompany the crowd.
1 can s
I the (
, you
can hear the shouting and
monster of the deep is being towed
toward the shore. At last shore is
reached. The men stand up in their
canoes,paddles in hands,and intone one
of their old songs. . . . The women
on shore stand alongside the houses, and
taking part in the general rejoicings, beat
a measure on the sides of the dwellings
and their old Indian drums.
As the day is well advanced, it is decided that the cutting up of the whale
shall be postponed till next morning.
Meanwhile knives are prepared, and the
chiefs and principal men, who alone are
entitled to a share of the big fish, secure
a number of inferior men to give them a
hand next day.
June 6.—Long before daylight the
■whale is surrounded by half naked In
dians; they all know the share they have
a right to, but not one seems satisfied
with what belongs to him—there is no
end of quarreling and pushing each other
about. In the disturbance a couple are
wounded— one very seriously. After half
a day of fighting and general disturbance, the whale being cut up, the Indians
all retire to their houses, happy at the
prospect of enjoying the delicacies of
whale blubber and whale oil for the next
few months.
June 7.—In the heat of their happiness
the chiefs decide to go to Ahousat and
invite their friends of that tribe to come
and have a share in the general festivities.
June 10.—Three Ahousat canoes arrive
in Hesquiat, in all twenty-two men. All
the Indians assemble to receive their
guests on the beach; they walk in procession, one man behind the other, in white
man's clothes, save two, whose heads
are covered with feathers, and who dance
the dances usual on such occasions.
Meanwhile the Ahousats, appreciating
the compliment, rise in their canoes, begin to beat a measure on the sides of the
canoes and sing a song in response to a
speech made by one of the Hesquiats.
It all finishes by the pulling up of the
canoes of the visitors and leading them
into the house of one of the chiefs, who
at once entertains them at a meal of
"whale meat."
The accidental floating on shore of
this whale and the importance which the
Indians attach to this event had caused
them to talk a great deal about the subject. Apropos of this event, let me give a
notion of their superstitions on this
A few months ago an old Indian chief
called "Koninnah," and known all
along the coast, died in Hesquiat. This
man enjoyed the reputation of bringing
dead whales, almost at will, to the shore
of the Hesquiat land, and even now he
gets the credit for the whale that floated
on shore yesterday. For as the Indians
say that their chiefs do not forget their
friends and subjects when they reach the ancou
■ Mis
other world, hence Koninnah, by his
influence, sent them "a dead whale" as
a token of good will.
This man, I am told, had here in the
bush a small house made of cedar planks;
to this house he would repair from time
to time to visit his charms, which it con
rained, and go through his usual devotions, prayers and incantations. His
charms mostly consisted of human skeletons, especially those of ancient chiefs
and famous hunters.
his whales under pain of losing his extraordinary powers. Whales are an article
of immense importance in this locality
and with all the tribes on the coast.
They are considered the best and most
wholesome food, and the oil is used with
all kinds of dry fish.
June 23.—Up to this date it has rained
a great deal; the weather now seems to
break up and a rainbow is seen in the
direction of Sydney inlet.    All at once a
he would speak as if       —I
5 aliv
them to give
him a "whale."
Each of the skeletons had its turn, and
in addressing himself to them he would
give due credit to
those of their number who, he had reason to suspect, had
been granting his
It is narrated that
Koninnah one day
was boasting of causing a dead whale to
strand in Hesquiat
harbor. As it happened, the flesh was
tough and the oil
not sweet. The Indians finding fault
with their supposed
good luck, he told
them that he would get another one for
them of better quality ; when lo ! a
couple of days later his prediction was
The Indians tell their yarns with such
conviction of truth that it is almost painful to have to contradict them.
matt,  whe
1 desir.
; to I
cessful, led a life of strict continence.
He also observed laws of fasting and
bathing in salt water. Besides, he was
never to taste of the flesh or blubber of
couple of Indians to whom I am talking,
bow their heads and turn their backs on
the rainbow. I learn from them that the
Indians on the coast never look at a rainbow for fear that some harm befall them.
June 25.—A child was born to-day, and
being the offspring of an important man,
there is great rejoicing. According to an
old custom a couple of men having the title
of Okhei—beggars—covered with feathers
and paint, go to the happy parents' house
and there begin their pranks and dances 34
Vancouver Island and Its Missions.
accompanied by singing and pleading,
their only object being to induce the
child's father to make presents to them
and invite the tribe to a feast of food and
amusements. Strange to say, the father
of the newly born child is confined to
the house as well as the mother—on no
pretext can he go outside and look at the
ocean or sky. Such conduct on his part
would have the effect to scare away the
fish and to anger the waves of the sea.
In case of extreme need to go outside,
the man must cover his e> es, look down
to find his way; but under no pretext can
he look up or walk along the beach.
Apart from the general rejoicings, the
old women of the neighborhood must
also have their turn. There they sit
around the newly born with sticks in
their hands, and striking up some of their
usual songs begin to beat time on cedar
boards or a worn-out tambourine. This
they continue until the new mother or
her nearest relatives make some suitable
present to all the women visitors.
The name of the infant, given before
birth, is that of a female dead relative or
ancestor. In case the progeny belongs
to the masculine gender another name is
soon substituted.
Another peculiarity about the Indians
is this: If any one dies his name dies
with him; that is, no one will dare pronounce it again, especially in the presence
of relatives, and if any one in the tribe
has a name which sounds like that of the
deceased he will change it at once.
There is something so ludicrous about
this, that to day you may know the
•names of all your people, and still six
■months later you are likely to know only
one-half of them. Christian names are
a great improvement, but in giving them
one must be careful to make a proper
choice, as the Indians cannot pronounce
all our letters. Aboy called "Damien"
was the other day asked his name, to
which he replied, without, however,
showing any signs of anger, " Dam You,"
meaning, of course, to say " Damien,"
a French Christian name.
The names given by the Indians to
their children are family names, that is,
they belong especially to a certain clan of
the whole tribe. Through intermarriage,
however, many have passed into different
clans, and in fact, as far as I can see, they
now are pretty well spread all over the
tribe. Inferior people, however, dare
not give to their children certain names,
which seem to be the property of the
chiefs of the different tribes, nor do they,
whatever their merits may be, apply them
to themselves.
In general, the names of our Indians
have some meaning, being mostly suggested by the doings of some big hunter
or ancient warrior. Quite a number of
them, though, have no meaning whatever, and are simply given as having been
the name of some ancestor. As a rule,
children take the name of their grandfather or grandmother, sometimes of
other ancestors, but never those of their
I gather from what I heard that respect
for the dead and their (living) relatives
seems to be the main reason for avoiding
the adoption of their names or of having
them pronounced within a certain period
after their death.
June 26.—A canoe containing nine
Ekoutl, Barclay Sound, Indians has just
arrived. She attracted our attention from
quite a distance at sea. Although the
wind was favorable she took in her sail,
when we could hardly see her. She carried a flag at her stern and the Indians
were paddling as hard as they could.
Next we could hear them sing, and when
they were quite near shore they stopped
paddling, and one of the men, getting
"up, struck up a song in a loud, moaning
tone; then, upon landing, he shouted
something to our people, which I was
afterwards told was the name of our chief,
and gave him a couple of blankets as a
The Hesquiat Indians evidently knew
the object of the visitors, for, as a rule,
with all the tribes on the coast, when
strangers arrive at a village, there are al- .    Vancouver Is
ways a number of the people who run
down to the beach, either to welcome
them or to get the news.
In the present case, not one of our
people went to meet the strangers, who
were now at the landing place. Yet,
when called upon to go and receive the
blankets, the chief sent one of the young
men to fetch them to him.
After this was done the same spokesman (of the strangers) got up again and
in the same tone of voice called out the
name of the second chief and made him
also a present of a couple of blankets,
which a messenger went down to the
beach to take for the second chief.
This was repeated six times, so that
all the principal chiefs received a present
before the men put an end to their
Some of the Hesquiats, upon hearing
the name of their sons called out by these
strangers, got quite excited, and before
inviting them into their houses also made
presents to them, which were accepted
with the usual expression of thanks:
1 Tlako! tlako/"
It struck me as strange that in all their
feasts and meetings the parents are not
mentioned ; that is, if a man invites to a
feast, if he has an heir he will always extend the invitation in the name of that
heir, and also when presents are given
they are always given to the heir, even if
he were only one day old. The parent
always disappears behind the heir, who in
all cases comes or stands to the front in
the estimation of all the Indians on this
1 and Its Missions.
Dominion Government at their suggestion has passed a law prohibiting it under
certain penalties. As for me, I cannot
see any harm in it, although I would
rather have it abolished. I had no reason
therefore of my own, but giving due importance to the conduct of men longer
in the ministry than myself, I used all my
influence to keep my people from going
to the present gift-feast in Barclay
As I understand it, a potlach simply-
consists in this : A man, say a chief of a
certain tribe, after a season of prosperity
has accumulated a large number of
blankets—the Indians here have no
money. He then resolves to invite a
neighboring tribe to a feast and distribute to them according to their rank
the fruit of his industry—his blankets.
He privately warns the members of his
own tribe to be prepared for the reception of the tribe which he singles out.
This proposition is approved of, and his
friends, the principal chiefs, secure the
necessary provisions, so that when the
feast is on they can entertain at a meal
the invited guests.
The tribe to be invited are also warned
in due time and afterwards formally
notified that their presence is expected
soon after the formal warning.
The occasion of starting is one of great
excitement. All the able-bodied men as
a rule and also a number of women go
along, and are evidently intent upon
havingagood, enjoyable time.
The arrival at the village where they
The Indians of Ekoutl, Barclay
Sound, are here with the object of inviting the Hesquiats to a potlach, as the
peculiar way of their landing here indicates. This is the first invitation to a
potlach extended to my Indians since I
came to the coast.
A potlach, as I understand it from the
meaning of the word, is a feast where
gifts or presents are made, a gift-feast.
The priests . and ministers of all denominations   condemn   the   feast,, and   the
sing and dance in their canoes, the drums
beat and the muskets are fired off. Meanwhile the people on shore are also doing
their best to make a good show, and after
many different ways of bidding welcome,
the guests land and are invited by one of
the chiefs to share his hospitality by taking a good meal.
Immediately after this meal, and more
frequently before it, the visitors are divided, for their present quarters during
the day when disengaged and for sleeping 36
Vancouver Island and Its Missic
at night, amongst the members of the
tribe, who take pride in accommodating
especially those to whom they are in any
way related. There they are also welcome
at meals ; but every day during their stay
one or more of the chiefs or important
men invite all the strangers to eat in their
houses where singing, dancing and exchanging gifts and presents are freely indulged in.
A potlach or gift feast consists in exchanging presents either with the object
of gain or of exciting the admiration of
their fellow-Indians. Sometimes in the
height of his savage pride an Indian
makes presents, for doing which he is
afterwards sorry, especially if an article
far below the value of the one he has
himself made a present of is returned.
Every one seems to speculate either for
gain or for glory!
On the fourth or fifth day the feast
comes to a conclusion by the man who
has invited the strangers making presents
to all of them according to their rank or
their importance; not, however, without
losing sight of the probability that the
one to whom the presents are made will
sometime be able to make an equal return to the giver. Herein the potlach
fails of good, for the old people are almost
lost sight of and so are orphan children,
especially those of the female gender. A
potlach is not an expression of charity,
but a pure piece of Indian speculation.
During the festivities, the Indians
wear their best blankets and keep themselves cleaner than usual, but for their
dances and games, they have resort to all
means to make themselves look ugly or
odd. Their faces painted, their heads
covered with down, masks of different
descriptions, bear skins are put on and
even Chinese queues are worn by the
younger class of people.
The festivities come to an end by a
speech made by the one who invited
the strangers. These pack their gifts to
their canoes and the people at home
resume their usual work and occupations.
The hospitality shown by our Indians
to visitors or strangers is quite noteworthy. As soon as a canoe of strangers
arrive at a village they are at once invited by some of the residents to carry
their belongings up to their house; a
meal is prepared for them and lodgings
are offered. When traveling our people
take little or no provisions along, for they
may always reckon upon receiving hospitality wherever they happen to go on
shore near an Indian settlement, and
whatever food is left after their meal, is
taken to the canoe of the visitors. It is
used by them on their voyage home and
remnants are distributed to their friends
at home, during the partaking of which
all the news of interest is communicated.
In their own homes after a successful
day or season at fishing or hunting invitations are often sent out to the tribe
or a part thereof, to come and partake of
a feast of food, the remnants in all cases
being carried by the young people to
the respective homes of the invited guests.
Before retiring a speech is made by one
of the principal men, and thanks are duly
given to the host in the name of those
who were invited. In all cases the invited guests occupy a place according to
their rank. It reminds one very much
of the customs of the Jews at the time of
our Lord.
June 28.—To-day the first funeral ac
cording to the rites of the Catholic
Church takes place. A funeral is never a
very funny affair, still this one seems to
be an exception, at least as far as I was
concerned. The Indian died about midnight; as was customary he was put in
a box or trunk at once, a fact of which
I was warned by a messenger. I got up
and told the Indian that the funeral
could not take place before morning—
however, that there was no objection to
having the corpse put outside of the
Indian house.
About three o'clock I was again
aroused. Once more I told the messenger
to have patience till Mass time. But
about four o'clock there were quite a
number of messengers.    I got up again; Vancouver Island and Its Missions. 38
Vancouver Island and Its Missions.
by that time the primitive coffin was in
evidence at the church door. Still, I
thought it rather unusual to bury the
dead at four o'clock in the morning,
hence I postponed again; but when five
o'clock came there was no use trying to
put it ~9ff any longer. The funeral was
to takeTplace right then. Quite a number of people crowded into the church;
the coffin was put in the centre, but every
one faced the coffin, even those in front
in the church turned their backs to the
altar. When Mass was over I solemnly
headed the funeral procession with cross
and altar boys, reciting the prayers of the
Ritual, when - looking behind me I
noticed that the savages had taken
another road with the corpse, in fact they
had put it into a canoe and were paddling
across the small bay around which I was
walking.' Still, we arrived ultimately at
the same spot, but to my dismay there
was no grave dug. There we stood about
to bury the dead chief and no grave.
Shovel and pick were sent for. I took
off my surplice, began the digging of a
grave, got an Indian to continue and
went home and had my breakfast. When
everything was ready, I went back and
blessed the grave, and the first Christian
of this region was laid to rest in consecrated ground.     R. I. P.
I. am informed that this Christian
funeral is quite a victory towards breaking up the old pagan customs and superstitions of the Indians of this coast in
case of sickness and death. First of all,
because the Indian was really dead when
he was removed and put into the coffin.
Marty instances are narrated where people have been buried alive. A coasting
trader told me that when he was stationed at Clayoquat a man was put on
an island where there was a small trading post. During the night somebody
rapped at his door, he got up and there
stood a naked Indian, the man who had
been buried the day before. He lived
two years after his supposed death. The
strangest part of the story was that the
Indians who had buried him maintained
still that the man was dead, and that it
was a bad spirit that now occupied the
corpse, or rather the body of the new
Some time ago I was called to see an
Indian supposed to be dying. What
was my horror when coming in the house
I found them tieing together his arms
and legs and actually preparing to bury
him alive.
A young married woman had given
birth to her first child. She took convulsions and fainted away. No time was
lost in putting her in a box, and removing
her into a cave close to the village.. Next
morning a man went bathing in the
neighborhood and heard the poor girl cry
for pity. She was alive . . . and,
horrible to relate, she was left to die in
her misery. Her new-born baby soon
followed her in death, having starved for
want of food. This happened at Nootka.
I know a man whose son, the father of a
small family, took suddenly sick through
exposure ; he seemed to have cramps all
over his body and became speechless.
After four or five days the old man ordered a coffin to be made and asked the
services of three young men—they narrated this to me themselves with delight—
to force the sick son into the box ; they
tied him hands'and, feet and having him
well secured they did as they were told
by the heartless father, and took him out
into the bush to perish of misery.
During all this transaction, the unfortunate fellow groaned and seemed to ask
them to have pity on him. They were
inclined to comply with his wishes, but
they were told : " Never mind, do as I
tell you; my son is dead, the bad spirit
has hold of him and makes all this resistance."
Another case came to my notice as
reported by an eye witness : A middle-
aged savage was cutting down a tree ; it
fell unexpectedly and crushed one of his
legs very badly. He was carried home,
bled a great deal and at last was pronounced dead by the " medicine men,"
although every other witness  knew   that V
ver Island and
he was only in a faint. Next morning as
my informant was walking along the beach
he noticed that one leg stuck through the
square box into which the body had been
placed, an evident sign that the man had
been buried alive, and that in order to
free himself he had used the sound leg to
break the side of the box, the injured one
having been too far destroyed or too
painful to be used for the purpose.
In rare instances the Indians mutilate
the bodies of the dead before removing
them. One case came to my knowledge.
A young couple had had several children, but they had all died soon after
birth. This happened again, and the
father of the dead child, upon the advice
of the old people and with the object
that such a misfortune
should not happen to him
again, literally broke every
bone of the legs and arms
of the dead infant before
placing it into the coffin.
The Indians up to this
had never buried their dead
under ground. When it was
time to remove a corpse,
they made an opening in
the side of the house —they
never took a corpse through
a door, especially on account
of the children and younger
people who, as the savages
thought, would die in case
they passed through the
passage followed by people
carrying out a corpse. They
' removed the dead through
an opening made in the wall
by removing a few of the
side boards of their houses
—then they walked if possible on the beach below
high-water mark. If the
body was placed in a canoe,
that canoe was afterwards
destroyed. The bodies were
removed to only a small
distance from the village and
placed in a prominent place
on the limbs of trees ten or twenty feet
from the ground. There they were fastened to the body of the trees with strong .
cords made of cedar bark ; afterwards
they were covered with blankets ; then a
display 'was made by hanging blankets all
around. While this was going on, the
people in the house, especially the old
women, gathered everything that had
belonged to the dead man or woman,
made a fire outside, threw all the relics
into it and destroyed whatever was not
And now you could hear them in the
houses cry and lament and utter the most
unearthly wailings that one can listen to.
. When men of importance die, the
mourning is general and the scenes that
Br 4o
Vancouver Island and Its Missions,
are enacted go beyond all limits. Those
of a lower rank are mourned by only
their own relatives and nearest friends.
A year later the relatives and friends
of the deceased walk all in a body to the
tree where the body has been placed ;
they open the box and taking out the
skull they carry it to their house and
there keep it as a relic.
The idea is, I am told, to keep it from
desecration, for the skull of the dead is
used as a " charm" to be successful as a
hunter, a warrior or a " medicine man."
Yet, notwithstanding all the precautions
that are taken, you can find along the
streams in the bush different constructions that have been put up by the natives where they used to go and pray for
good luck or success, and there you invariably find the skull of some dead
Indian !
July 10.—I arrived back from a trip
along the coast with six of the best and
strongest young men. We were well received by the different tribes and visited
them all, the Chicklesats being met in a
small bay near Cape Cook, the extreme
limit of the Mission of the Sacred Heart
of which I have charge.
On our way back we called on the
Ehattisat Indians living near Tachu.
There we found Chief Maquinna, being
on his father's side the chief of this tribe
and on his mother's side the chief of the
Nootka or Mowachat people.
We were ushered into his lodge by the
chief himself. His Indian wife, the sister of Matlahaw, the man who shot me,
received us with evident signs of uneasiness and shame. However, I spoke to
her kindly and my Indians also tried to
make her feel at home. After giving
Catechism instructions to all the Indians
present I went outside with the object of
saying my office, and having retired to a
certain distance from the camp I felt annoyed to see Maquinna come and join
me. I found an excuse to send him away
for a few minutes, and availed myself of
his absence to walk up a small creek
where I could say my office without being
disturbed. When lo! I saw my Hesquiat
guides run about evidently in a great state
of excitement. They noticed me at last,
and coming up they told me to quit my
place of refuge and not to go out of their
sight again. I knew not what they
meant and followed their advice. When
night came I prepared myself to lie down
in the chief's house, who had acted, as it
struck me then, in a very suspicious way
in the latter part of the afternoon.
I went to sleep, about 10 o'clock and
expected to have a good night, for I was
worn out with fatigue and the strong,
thick smoke of the open fire had almost
made me blind. Although I was lying'
on the bare boards I dozed off almost at
Suddenly I felt an oppression on the
chest. I awoke and opening my eyes I
saw the chief's face close to mine. His
eyes were staring out of their sockets and
his heavy breath was suffocating. What
did he want ? What was his intention
or purpose?
Next morning, just at daylight, I was
aroused from my couch by one of my
crew; he told me to get up at once as
quietly as possible and follow him out of
the ranch. I followed his orders, but
notwithstanding our precautions we were
detected. We jumped into our canoe,
the chief following us in a rage down the
beach, and abusing my people in most
insulting language.
However, no notice was taken. My
men were at their paddles and they did
not take a breath till we were several
miles away ; then looking behind and
seeing that we were not followed, one of
them told of our dangerous position the
day before.
The chief was going to have me killed
by one of his men if he could not succeed
in doing it himself. Then he was going
to accuse my guides of having committed
the murder in order to get even with
them, for one of the men with me had
taken to Victoria and delivered to the
police and authorities the father of Matlahaw, the would-be murderer, and had Van
ver Island and Its Mis
there accused the old man of having incited his son to do the shooting. In
answer to a question, I was told that such
a practice is very common with the savages of this coast, and that many a war
has had its origin and cause in false accusations of this kind.
July 16.—Townissim, the father of
Matlahaw, arrives in Hesquiat.
Townissim was the chief of Hesquiat
and the father of Matlahaw, who was
acting as his successor.
together, and to their horror they saw
only a few paces away the body of a
dead man at the foot of a large, hollow
tree. There could be no mistake about
it; it was he ! He wore his uniform as
chief, and  a  medal  presented  by   the
t on his bre
Horrified, they all retired—gave the
news to their friends and looked upon
the spot as a place to be avoided. However, before making this search they had
already  arrested Townissim,  the young-
5 after the
• had
taken me  to Vi
the   Ind
ranged a search party, and they had
promised to take the young chief to the
authorities of the police department, in
case he could be found. All the able-
bodied men took part in it, and having
started from a certain point they meant
to walk through the bush for miles
around. However, they had hardly begun their work when one of the party
uttered a cry of alarm.    They gathered
and taken hin
:> Vk
used him, and not without
on, that he was at the bottom
of all the trouble, and that Matlahaw
had only acted under orders from his
father. Indeed, previous to the shooting, the old man had been seen for three
successive mornings in close private conversation with his son ; then on the
morning of the shooting he had left the
village, even before daylight, taking along
his grandchild, and had not been seen Vancouver Island and Its Missions.
■ever since ) from which the Indians concluded that the man knew what was going to take place, and kept out of the
way till further developments.
Hence they had at once begun their
search for him or for both, when one
morning noticing the smoke of a camp
fire at Entrance Point, they crossed in
their canoes and arrested him.
He was six months in jail in Victoria,
and then the news that Matlahaw was
dead having reached the authorities, he
was sent back with a caution, and in due
time arrived in Hesquiat,
July 2 5. —Townissim came to my house
to-day just as quite a number of Indians
were in my house. I told them to be
kind to him and at the same time told
him to show no ill feelings against any-
August 23.—Notwithstanding my caution, Townissim is inciting the Indians
.against me. I hear that the poor man
is in dread of being killed by his own
subjects. Hence, whenever he goes outside of his dwelling, he always carries a
knife concealed under his blanket.
September 25.—Good news to day.
The Bishop is on his way to this place
.and is accompanied by a priest.
September 29.—Right Rev. C. J.
Seghers, accompanied by Rev. P. J.
Nicolaye, arrives in Hesquiat a few minutes before midnight.
October 1.—Feast of the Holy Rosary.
The Bishop blesses our new church, the
first on the west coast of Vancouver
Island, and places it under the patronage
of St. Anthony. A procession is organized in which participate, besides all the
Hesquiat Indians, all the Machelats, a
number of Nootkas, Clayoquats and
October 8.—The Hesquiat chiefs are
-called together and a grant of land is
made, on which, in the distant future, it
is proposed to build a substantial church
and to erect other buildings as circumstances may require. The ground may
.be taken up at once and cultivated.
October 10.—Reverend Father Nico
laye received leave to stay with me during
the winter. He is supposed to prepare
himself to take charge of a portion of my
mission next spring.
October 12.—The Bishop leaves on
the schooner "Alert," G. Brown captain,
and returns to Victoria, his visit to the
Mission having created quite an excitement amongst the Indians as he has told
them that they must prepare for baptism.
I avail myself of the opportunity to commence preaching against their superstition with new zeal and determination.
But oh ! how far they are from having
the least idea of Christianity and a Christian life. We have a mountain to remove which only God's grace can help
us to do.
At this time of the year many of our
Indians go up the inlets, and rivers with
the object of making new canoes. Up
on the hillsides or on the lowlands they
cut down a cedar tree and with a common axe cut off a length according to
the size required for the purposes of the
canoe, i. e., sealing, fishing, sea otter
hunting, or traveling. Then they put
the proper shape to it, very roughly,
first outside, then inside. Next they invite some friends and together they pull
the clumsy frame to the stream or to the
ocean and then float it and pull it on
shore before their houses in the village.
When otherwise unemployed, especially
in the early morning and toward evening,
they use a peculiar hand chisel or adze
(in old times they used a chisel of stone
or of horn of the antlers of elk), and
with wonderful patience they cutoff chip
after chip, till the frame is reduced to
the proper thickness—say one inch or
more for the sides and double that much
for the bottom. Then knot-holes are
filled up, finishing pieces put in, and
when all this is done a fire is made
under the canoe, raised up from the
ground on blocks, and. the bottom is
rendered perfectly smooth. All the work
is done without instruments to go by or
measure; yet most of these Indian canoes
are so true and so well shaped and pro- nd Its Missions,
October 22.—All the natives of the
tribe have come to church to day, even
those living up the inlet and rivers.
I make a rule (in church) that all
the people—men,  women  and chil
dren—must at least wear a shirt, and
fj™. '■' v^"MlM
that no one will be admitted into my
house except he wears a shirt under
his blanket.    After this I show them
the absurdity of some of their super-
As this  is the "salmon season,"
the old people are as usual preaching
to  the  tribe   the   propriety of conforming with the old established regulations lest this great article of food
should leave the  neighborhood and
not come back  again in the future.
For instance, salmon should   not  be
cut   open   with a   knife;   it should
not   be  boiled   in   an   iron   pot,   nor
given  as   food  to  dogs or cats.    The
bones must be carefully  collected  and
thrown into the sea, and under no consideration must it be given to any white
man, including the priest,  lest he prepare it in lard or a frying pan.    It should
not be taken to the houses in baskets,
but carefully carried one in each hand.
These and many other details will show
what an amount of absurdities were in
these people's minds.  They were in utter
darkness without the light of the Gospel.
It is almost humiliating to have to say
that this and like matters formed today the subject of my sermon, and that
it created quite a revolution in the
camp. In fact, it had the effect of my
presence here becoming a cause of
alarm and a matter of regret on the part
of the full grown men and women in the
not prove this to be a traud, I could not
hope to uproot the rest of their superstitions. Hence I resolved to visit the
mountain so often spoken about, and
show them that they had been deceived
by their forefathers.
According to the legend, nine men
have died on the top of that mountain
through entering a cave, the home of the
ghost, without having first made the
requisite preparations. Some of those
preparations are, to be fasting during
ten days, and to abstain from all
relations with the other sex during ten
months.     The natives here, be it no
ticed,   have
. of c
November 1
-For s
the In
dians in discussing with me their customs
and beliefs have been talking about a
mountain said to be inhabited by a ghost
or spirit. It seems to be the main prop of
their creed, and it struck me that if I could
tinence and they attribute to the fact of
my vow of chastity that when their
chief shot me I was not killed on the
spot. Hence, in preparation for their
wars, their hunting parties and every
undertaking of great importance they
keep or pretend to keep strictly con-
The legend continues that only one
man has entered the home of the ghost;
and that he used to do so every year.
In consequence of which he was most 44
Vancouver Island and Its Missions.
successful in the whale hunt, an average
catch being ten whales per season.
His nine brothers begged of him one
day to be allowed to accompany him on
the hazardous expedition. After using
every means to dissuade them and seeing that still they would insist, he at last
complied with their request and the ten
travelled together to the top of the
mountain. The hero of the expedition
insisted that the brothers should enter
first into the cave, the supposed home
of the ghost. One after the other
entered as he was told ; the tenth was
just about to do so, too, when all of a
sudden the entrance closed up and remained closed till the nine unfortunate
men had been torn to pieces and devoured by animals the size of a mink.
The hero of the story reported what had
happened upon his arrival in the camp
and ever since that time the cave on the
mountain has been looked upon as a
famous and sacred spot. The report
adds that as soon as anybody approaches
the top of the mountain pieces of rocks
and pebbles are thrown at the visitor and
the ghost is heard to groan from a distance. This it also does when a severe
easterly storm approaches.
Having been obliged to manifest my
plan in order to secure a crew to carry
me to the foot of the famous mountain,
and, if willing, to accompany me to the
top thereof, I meet with general disap-
and probation from the tribe. All the important men put their strength together
and are determined to prevent me from
carrying out my plan. Consequently they
come to my house and by violent gesticulations and with shouts declare that
I cannot go ; that no Indians shall accompany me; that if I do go I am sure
not to come back alive. Two young men
who had promised to accompany me are
deterred from doing so. Only one intrepid fellow keeps his promise. The
Indians threaten to kill him in case he
does not bring me back alive. Seeing
that all their efforts to prevent me are
useless, the Indians retire full of dissatis
faction and anger, assured that I will,
perish in the attempt, and subsequently
that my fellow white men will blame them
for having been indirectly the cause of
my death.
Late in the evening an old man, ia
order to make up for the conduct of his.
son, who after having promised to accompany me, had afterwards backed out,
brings word that he himself will be a.
member of our party—and adds that he
will take along an axe to knock the-
ghost (poke) on the head !
November 2. —After offering up the
Holy Sacrifice of the Mass I warned the
Indians that I would leave at once, and
that I hoped that no further resistance-
would be made. I took along Father
Nicolaye who was very anxious to accompany us.
We arrived at noon at the foot of the-
famous mountain (3,000 feet high),
called by the natives, "Kwoah-all."
.We experienced very little or no difficulty in ascending it, for it is clear of
brushwood and covered only thinly with
cedar trees, some of which are -remarkable for their size. At four o'clock we
were at the foot of an immense bluff
which crowns the mountain and which
to the southeast is of a dark red color.
According to the report of the Indians,
this mysterious cave is southeast of the
bluff. Without losing any time we
wended our way in that direction. Meanwhile our guides began to make the remark that they heard no noise, that no
pebbles or rocks were thrown at us;
which gave them such courage that they
were determined to find the cave, if
there was any, even at the risk of their
lives ! But our search which lasted several hours was in vain ; and after traveling till-dark on and around the bluff
without finding any mysterious opening
or cave, we concluded that we would
look for a good camping place, and return home next morning, and report
that, as we knew beforehand, the story
of the nine dead men and' the ten
whales is an Indian yarn.     Tust before Vanci
Island and Its Mis
retiring for the night one of the Indians
ascended to the summit of the mountain and fired off the two barrels of his
gun to arouse as he said the ghost from
his lethargy in case he should be asleep.
The report of the gun was heard by several Hesquiat Indians who were camped
three miles away from the foot of the
We enjoyed ourselves capitally on the
top of the famous mountain. We spent
a most pleasant night around a large fire
which our guides had started and which
they kept going till morning. However,
we suffered considerably for the want of
water as none can be found beyond
midway of the large mountain.
November 3.—Our descent from the
mountain, which we commenced at daylight, was very pleasant till we came
within an hour's walk from the water's
edge. Then we stood before precipices
frightully deep which delayed our return
home for several hours, as we had repeatedly to return on our tracks and find
other paths. At last we arrived at the
spot where we had left our canoe the
day before with no other mishap save
that my Newfoundland dog, which we
had taken along as a bodyguard, had
fallen into one of the ravines mentioned above and could not be gotten out.
We arrived at the mission about dusk.
Our mission flag was hoisted at the stern
of our canoe as a sign of victory of the
Cross over pagan superstitions. Upon
our landing no Indians could be seen
outside of the houses; only one man
came to meet us. He was a young
fellow who had backed out of his promise to accompany us the day before, and
upon seeing us come home alive the first
remark which he made was to the effect
that now he was convinced that the Indian belief and legends were pure inven-
November 4.—Great excitement and
confusion.   I had no visitors to-day.
November 5.—This being Sunday
quite a number were at Mass. I availed
myself of the opportunity to speak again
against their superstitions and bring in a
few items about our trip to the mountain, and finished by exhorting them to
abandon their old Indian, pagan belief.
After Mass one of the chiefs invites
the tribe to his house, where speeches
are made by all the most influential men,
who exhort their friends to hold on to
the old faith and pagan customs. In
proof of their being on the side of truth
they give as a proof the loss of my Newfoundland dog. The priest was not hurt
and came back alive because he is a
bachelor and continent.
November 6.—Having sent a couple
of Indians to look after my dog, with the
promise of a pair of blankets in case they
can bring him back alive, the brute is
brought home in sound condition.
The Indians say very little, but I notice that their minds are not calm.
November 10.—It is reported that the
leaders of the tribe are using all means
in their power to keep their influence
over the people, and are making speech
after speech to the young men to stick to
the old practices.
I am having a great time here. I noticed before now that when the Bishop
appointed me to come to this coast I
was getting charge of a great parish.
Their superstitions are so numerous and
so absurd that they are almost incredible. Just think of it! they won't allow us again to have any salmon for fear 46
Vancouver Island and Its Missions.
that I might fry it in lard, or boil it in
an iron pot ! I will get the better of
them anyway—to-morrow I will go out
fishing myself, if the weather permits.
November n.—I asked a couple of
boys to come with me and have a canoe
ride on the bay. I took along a line
and a spoon bait. Before speaking of my
good luck I must first state that yesterday I had sent a young man for a salmon
and had paid three fishhooks for it. The
owner of the salmon was out at the time,
so the messenger simply told the woman
in the house that he was taking one of
the " sacred" fish for the priest and in
due time he gave it to me. However,
when the owner of the salmon came
home he was told that one was missing.
He at once called three of his friends to
accompany him to my house, and seeing
the now famous salmon about to pass
under the knife, he sprang forward, took
it away and throwing to me the three fishhooks he went his way growling.
This upset me so much that, as said
above, I resolved to go out fishing myself.
As soon as I got away from shore with
my boys I threw out a line and spoonbait, when lo ! after a few minutes we
caught a fine large salmon. I did not
care to get any more and so I returned
to the village.
Upon landing, I called the dog and
putting the salmon into a basket, which
mode of carrying such fish was against
the rules, the brute took the basket
up and preceded me home. Of course
no Indian would attempt to molest the
large, faithful animal. Quite a number
of men and chiefs assembled in my
house, and protested against my using a
knife or frying-pan. I took no notice
of their protestations and proceeded
with my work, my only aim being to
show that their superstitions were absurd
and to try by all and every means to get
them to give them up.
November 14.—A young man, Claw-
ish, has'gone out to the1 inlet,, a. great
place for salmon, and proposes to let us
have some in spite of the opposition of
the tribe.
Toward evening a couple of young
men come to the house with some
salmon. I notice that the head is cut
off, and the fish split open—perhaps too
the fish is not fresh. I send them oft
with my compliments, for I have been .
told that the superstitious observances
are only applied in the case of fresh
salmon not yet beheaded or cut open.
November 20.— Clawish brings us a
supply of fresh salmon. It is easy to
notice the feelings of indignation of the
old people, but they are afraid to do
more than make a few remarks of remonstrance, owing to the presence of
seven white men, who have just arrived,
and propose to go prospecting to Machelat Arm for gold, and on our peninsula
for coal.
At a meeting of the tribe the chief
speakers predict famine for the rest of"
the winter.
November 25.—After a spell of
stormy weather the sea has become calm
and the Indians have gone out fishing.
The salmon is abundant—hundreds of
the large fish are brought to the camp.
November 30.—A second meeting of
the chiefs took place last night. When
everyone was in bed one of the chiefs
sent a messenger to awaken all the inferior chiefs and call them to his house.
The great subject anent the salmon was
discussed, most of the men inclining to
give up the superstitions and make peace
with the '' priest.''
"Tom-Sick Lepieds," a famous old
cripple, and a notorious thief and rascal,
is arrested by the local Indian policemen. He is accused and found guilty of
stealing an old blanket, a piece of tobacco and one yard of Indian beads.
He was condemned by the chief constable to pay a' fine of two new
blankets, within one week from date.
If not paid within the time mentioned,
Tom is to return to' the courtroom of
the Mission-house, and submit to having
his hair cut off and. his head shaven. Vancouver Island and Its Missions.
The theft was committed during Mass
on the occasion of the blessing of the
December 5.—I went to Barclay
Sound with six men in an Indian
canoe, according to orders received
from His Lordship, Bishop Seghers.
I made arrangements with the Indians
of that Sound, about establishing a
mission. The spot which I selected
is Namukamis, the property of the
Ohiat Indians.
Upon my arrival here early in the
morning, we noticed quite a number
of people sitting before the houses as is
One of them got up and made a '
speech. My guides told me that he
was insulting us and objected to our
landing; that they wanted no priest
and could take care of themselves
without the help of the white men.
We had noticed on our travels that
the Indians on this coast have a horror of
having what they say written down. So
I quietly took a pocketbook and pretended to write down the gist of the
savage's speech. Whereupon he stopped
at once and disappeared behind one of
the houses. We then quietly landed,
were invited to enter the lodge of the
chief, and were kindly received by him
and his family.
All the Indians assembled in the chiefs
large house about noon, and after baptizing the newly born children I explained
to the meeting the. object of my visit.
The Indians rejoiced at the idea of
having a resident priest in their neighborhood and the chief told us so in a neat
speech, adding that we could have all the
land we required for the purpose, and
make our own selection as to locality.
December 21.—Upon my return home
Rev. Father.Nicolaye reports everything
orderly in Hesquiat.
December 26.—Wi
Mass. Nearly all the
were present, but only
At midnight M;
December 27.—The young men, I
am reliably informed, are all, with very
few exceptions, doing the "oseniecli."
The oseniecli (or osenietcli) is a
religious practice resorted to by all the
Indians of this coast, and is considered
to be of the greatest importance and
necessity. It is a mode of praying, transmitted from one generation to another.
After inquiries made of different individuals I discovered that the Indians do
not all have the same way of performing
this religious practice. Yet they all
consider it necessary as a preparation for
everything of great importance, be it the
hunt, the war, 0
r the like.
They   addres
3  a  mysteriou
3  being—
one they   call
'' Wa-we-men
e,"   who
dwells over the
him they
and the like.
■yetsmimi    is  the favo:
tched on the r
! had midnight
men of the tribe
very few women.
;h I sang myself,
ary of the day.
medicine men, and all the people ha^
recourse to him for health.
We'a Kwaitliume, to be strong an
successful at war—to be brave and ove:
come their enemies.
They have also one whom they ac 48
Vancouver Island and Its Missions.
dress to give them abundanc
is called Wawitt-illsois.
When the sun rises and just before he
sets, young mothers pray to that orbit for
a happy delivery at child-birth. One of
the main rules to be observed is to go
inside the house just before sundown and
not to go out again for fear of harm.
The moon is also prayed to. But one
man told me that his uncle who initiated
him, made him pray to a being—not
mentioning the name or locality of its
existence—who had it in its power to give
him sea-otters, seals, etc.
When they are at sea in bad or dangerous weather they pray to a queen
"Wakoui"—in, above or beyond the
seas. They ascribe to her the heaving or .
swelling of the waves. Then they shout
out to her asking her to cause the waves
to calm down.
With some Indians the .' oseniecli''
is a very severe performance. They
fast four days, are up at night and
dive in the sea four times each night,
four different times at a turn, and as they
rise above the waves, they speak.out in
shout-like utterances asking for sea-otters
or the like that they may become rich
or big chiefs. Others have only two
nights on the sea, and they confine
themselves to swimming and praying
as above. Others again do not take to
the salt water at all.
But bathing in fresh water is required
by all and in all cases—by some, four
days; others, only two—however, every
one goes in turn apart from the tribe and
the company of his friends to pray.
As a rule the savage goes to the woods,
strips naked alongside of a stream or a
-clear pool of water and then rubs his
rbody with a kind of grass, of brushwood
•or roots, leaving in many cases the
marks on his body and not seldom
-drawing blood from his cheeks and
chest. The number of bunches of this
'' charm '' varies according to the instructions received from the one by
whom he has been initiated. During all
the time that he rubs his body and mem
bers thereof he constantly repeats in
short shout-like accents a formula of
prayer expressing the object he prays for,
be it sea-otters, seals, health, bravery
or what not.
You will often find in the neighborhood of where the Indian goes to pray
a skeleton, bunches of charms, of weeds
put together in a bunch and also small
cedar sticks put up to represent a man
with a spear in his hands aimed at a
bunch of fern-roots or the like, representing a fur seal.
Then the savage has in his house his
own medicine (charm), which he keeps
sacred and uses as circumstances, in his
opinion, call for. ■ He keeps them from
the view of other Indians, hides them
with care and only in extreme cases,
such as the dangerous sickness of a child,
does he make a display of them.. One
of our Indians the other day, either
through pride or with some other object
in view, perhaps the appeasing of the
bad spirit who was in his sick little boy,
exposed his '' charms'' before all those
present in his house—the subject was
very much talked about.
The charms which the Indians keep .
concealed are the bones of dead people,
also hair, nails of the hands,   beaks of
birds, feathers, etc., etc.
I know an Indian who went sealing the
other day, and as he left he opened the
coffin of an old woman, cut or plucked
out one or both of her eyes, put them in
his pocket and when he. arrived at the
sealing ground he took them in his hands
and rubbed his face with them in the re- 1
gion of his eyes as a means to best clear
them and discover from a great distance
the seals as they were sleeping on the
When the Indians do the " oseniecli "
they have recourse to a.great many ways
besides those mentioned above ; but they
all amount to very much the same thing
and can all be ranked under the name of
superstitious practices. The old people
preach strict continence to the young
men; and none, who do not live anart Vancouver Island and Its Missions.
from their wives, can expect to be successful in the pursuit of whales or fur
seals. As a preparation the time limit is
ten months for whales and five calendar
months for fur seals. This mode of living
is only to be given up when the hunting
season is at an end.
In order to avert evil the Indians have
recourse to different means. On the occasion of an eclipse I have known them
to throw baskets of food into the sea, at
the  same   time   uttering  a  formula  of
Hesquiat Indians,
inlet, brought the
coming from the
■f chief Nitaska's
t the head
sidered  as
He v
death. Nitaska, although i
chief of the tribe, was cc
the most influential man hi
renowned all along the coast
At the request of the messengers n
rang the church bell and in a few mil
utes nearly all the men of'the tribe we
at the mission buildings.
The   excitement was immense.    Tl
prayer. I have also in unfavorable weather
at sea, seen them throw food on the
waves ; heard them blow a whistle which
they use on the occasion of the " wolf"
festivities. After a bad dream about a
child, the parents of the child paint its
face red, burn a blanket, calico, prints or
something of the kind to appease the bad
spirit or their divinity.
January  10,   1877.—About  midnight
we were called up by about half a dozen
shouting and the unearthly cries of the
people at this unusual hour of the night
frightened both women and children.
Directly, speeches began to follow the
first excitement. They all amounted to
the same sentiment: " Nitaska is not
dead, for he has children." The man is
supposed to have been swamped as he
passed in his canoe too close to a well-
known whirlpool, where several Indians
are said to have been drowned. 5°
Vancouver Island and Its Missions.
great event in this region. All the tribe
are crying and general gloom hangs over
tne village. The dead man was evidently
a great favorite and very much liked.
As for us, we consider his death almost
a blessing for our work. The man's influence was too great and he was inclined
to work against us as regards the conversion of the people.
The Indians say that his body is not in
the salt water because, if it were in the
sea, there would not be any herring,
whereas to-day there are immense schools
of the fish up the inlet.
Availing themselves of the state of
mind of the Indians, three medicine-
women, go into trances and predict the
death of the second chief of the tribe.
This gives his parents considerable un-
This, I am told, is an old dodge of that
class of impostors. Their object is to
get presents from the relatives or parents
of those whose death they predict—which
being given, death does not occur!
January 24.—One medicine-woman
caused a deal of excitement in the tribes
this morning. She just came out of the
tent, her head covered with down, dancing and shaking her head as one who has
fits, and meanwhile spitting out mouth-
fuls of blood. In this state she rushes
into the homes of. the three first chiefs,
predicts death for the sons of the families and causes general alarm. One of
the families gives her a blanket, another
a bladder of whale oil; but the third, more
sensible than the others, takes no notice
of her doings. At last she retires, to
the great relief of the credulous.
January 27.—One Indian having died
after a few days of sickness, the cause of
his death is explained as follows : his
dog (the dead man'sdog) was afewdays
previous sleeping alongside of his master. At daylight the dog went outside
and began to howl. . . A few days later
the man took sick and soon died. Hence
the cause of his death is ascribed to the
howling of the dog.    .
January 28. — Subsequent to the
drowning of Nitaska a short time ago,
Townissim, the father of the would-be
murderer, Matlahaw, got into unexpected
trouble. Nitaska was the leader Of a crew
who had taken the old chief Townissim
to the police authorities in Victoria; He
was a rival of the first chief, Townissim,
and had been instrumental in capturing
him and removing him to jail.
The old people ever since the death of
their favorite, Nitaska, felt very
morose, and some of the most wicked
spread the news and attributed the accident to the fact that chief Townissim,
ever since his return from Youil, had
constantly prayed for the death of Nitaska. Hence they secretly resolved to
kill him ! But secrets among Indians
are likely to leak out, and so it happened
in this case.
The plan for killing Townissim was
very simple.' A day was determined, a
Sunday after High Mass. A feast was
announced to take place in one of the
houses; all the Indians were to be present; whilst they would be eating, a
daring old warrior was to get up without
warning and stab the old chief; that was
to be a signal for others to get up and
stab him to death.
Just before Mass a young Indian, a
relative of the chief, walked into my house
downhearted and looking despondent.
He told me about the events that were to
take place and pleaded for my interference. I sent for the old chief and cau
tioned him against going to the entertainment. I need hardly add that he
strictly followed my inst
ind  that
But after a good deal of reasoning he
promised that he would not commit the
crime. However, the old chief more than
ever abstained from going out alone after
dark. And then, whether day or night,
he always carried a weapon concealed Vancouver Island and Its Missions.
March i.—Ever since the beginning
of last month, with the exception of the
last three days, the Indians have been
unable to go out fishing and have suffered very much from hunger. This
circumstance I made use of to make the
Indians understand that the idea that
chiefs will send food—whales or fish—to
their relatives from the other world after
their death was absurd. Nitaska was a
great chief and yet sent no whale or food
to his starving Hesquiat relatives. I
am almost losing patience and use every
opportunity to impress on their minds
the idea that they will have to renounce
their old pagan belief.
March 8.—There arrived here last
night four Kyuquot men on a very important errand. As they walked into
our Indian room, they presented a most
alarming appearance. Their faces were
painted black with a red circle around
their eyes. Their only covering was a
piece of blanket around their waist and
in their hands they held Indian muskets
pointed as if ready for shooting. They
were followed by a number of my Hesquiat Indians, who were suspicious of
evil designs on the part of the visitors,
and were prepared for any emergency.
One of the strangers, acting as spokesman, placed the butt of his gun on the
floor and held it with one hand whilst
with the other he made indescribable
gestures. Then his chest began to heave,
and, panting for breath, he at last spoke
out in a loud coarse voice. He had big
news to tell. His son, a lad whom I
knew well, was missing. The report had
it that whilst .on his way from Puget
Sound to his home in Kyuquot, his
canoe had capsized when off one of the
Nittinat villages at the entrance of the
Straits of Fuca. Thence, having reached
shore alive, he and three of his companions had traveled on foot with the object
of reaching one of the Ohiat villages near
Barclay Sound. This was only a report,
but the speaker, the father of the young
man and a very influential man at home,
was  of   opinion that by this   time his
young son
idea :
vas with the Ohiat Indians.
:emed to have a great effect
nind.    Howei
had been maltreated
ns or killed by them,
of the Kyuquot
warpath  and
on the state of his
added that, if his so
by the Nittinat Ind:
two  hundred i
tribe would come c
avenge the death of the young chief.
The four men here now are a detachment of a crew of twenty njen now
camped at Vamis and detained by
head winds. They intend to walk back.
to the spot where they left their friends
and then sail to the Nittinat coast, as
soon as the weather allows.
March 20th.—This day is marked by
a welcome change in the condition of
the natives. Since the 5th of the month,
the Indians had been unable to go fishing and had very little food in their
houses. They were actually starving and
their little children crying for food. You
can see the misery on the faces of both
old and young. The oldest people
assert that within their memory they
have never been in such a state of distress. To-day, the weather being fine,
an abundance of herrings and salmon
are brought to the camp.
As regards the spiritual state of the
tribe it is worse than ever. They blame
me for the absence of food. They
laugh at the doctrine which I teach. I
gain nothing by making the sign of the
Cross. I am neither a white man nor
an Indian.    I am the (Chig-ha) devil !
March 25.—This day,  Palm Sunday, 52
Vancouver Island and Its Missions.
Rev. Father Nicolaye left after Mass
for Barclay Sound (Ucluliat), there to
join a schooner which is soon expected
to sail from thence to Victoria. Complaints of illness are the cause of his
departure. I am under the impression
that the poor father is not really sick,
but is sick at heart to see the discouraging state of affairs here. And
indeed our position would almost make
an angel lose heart and courage. Solitude, we have not seen a white man
since October; we have not received
any mail for several months ; our provisions are nearly all gone and what
remains is of the poorest kind. And
our Indians are as bad, and as much
attached to their pagan ideas and
superstitions as before we commenced
our work and took up our residence
here. Father Nicolaye left me. God
bless the poor man and restore him to
I am now again alone with not a
friend to speak to !
March 30.—There is some rejoicing
in the camp since this morning, when a
canoe of visitors brought the news that
there was scarcity of provisions and a
great deal of distress in all the villages
on the coast. When our Indians meet
with misfortune they always feel much
relieved when they hear that others of
their class have met with misfortune also.
Hence, my people feel good to-day, because they have not alone suffered for
want of provisions, but other tribes
have fared as badly as they themselves.
April 28.—Rev. Father Nicolaye arrived back from Victoria about midnight
per Indian canoe. He seems to be completely recovered.
He brought orders from the Bishop
that I must leave at once and report in
the episcopal city, where a synod is to be
The canoe which brought the father
took me to Clayaquot where I found the
schooner "Anna Beck," Douglas Warren in command.
May 15. —I arrived back at the mission
to-day about noon. With the exception
of Father Nicolaye all the priests of the
diocese were present at the synod.
May 20.—To-day, Pentecost Sunday,
all the Indians are at Mass, save three
men and a few women. As I had told
them on Easter Sunday that I would call
on. this day for the names of those who
would be baptized, I received ninety-four
men and women on the list of candidates
for baptism. It is evident that the movement is too general to be worthy of confidence. All the medicine-men and
women offer themselves as candidates
for instruction as a preparation for the
sacrament of regeneration.
January 5, 1878.—I arrived here
yesterday from Namukamus, Barclay
Sound, where I had been since the 24th
of last August, superintending the building of a new mission to be dedicated to
Almighty God, under the patronage of
St. Leo the Great.
Before leaving for the Yukon River,
Alaska Territory, the Right Rev. C. J.
Seghers commissioned me to go and
superintend the building of the new
mission. Consequently I left Hesquiat
at the end of July, and went to Victoria
in order to make the necessary preparations and engage a reliable carpenter.
Rev. Father Nicolaye, for whom the new
mission was to be built, remained meanwhile in Hesquiat, and attended to my
Indians and work there.
I left Victoria on the schooner
"Favorite," Hugh McKay captain, on
the 23d of August, accompanied by a
French-Canadian carpenter called Mor-
rin, and arrived the next day in a small
bay on Copper Island opposite the Sarita
Valley and river.    From there we went
and c
ried ii
our provisions an
tools, and selected a spot for the builc
ings close to the Namukamus Village.
Our first work was to put up a sma
cabin, 12x12 feet. This was to be 01
residence for over four months
walls of our cabin were made of flooring,
the roof of flooring and the floor was
mother-earth.      As   it   happened,    the
he Vancouver Island and Its Missions.
weather turned out to be very moist.
For three months we were living as if in
a cloud ; it rained day and night. It soon
appeared that our roof was not close, the
water freely streaming through the crevices, and as the wind occasionally blew
quite lively, we soon found out that our
walls were not much of a protection
against the dampness of the season. Our
cabin was built on a slope and the water
streaming from the hill
above found its way to the
Pacific Ocean over our uncovered floor. No wonder
that our carpenter would
make the remark now and
again: "that only for our
strong constitutions we
could not stand it.''
My work was to look
after the Indian laborers
and do the cooking. We
had a bunk on each side of
the cabin, a stove in the
middle, and a small table
and a bench at the end of
the room. Under the
bunks we stowed our provisions—bacon, potatoes,
rice and beans. The flour
we kept in a small barrel as
a protection from the mice
which infested our odd
dwelling. I made bread as
often as required. The Indians we fed on biscuit and
molasses. One morning,
having neglected to cover the bucket in
which we kept our molasses over night,
I found twenty-four mice drowned in the
sweet stuff. I carefully picked them out,
unseen by the Indians, who afterward
continued to enjoy their molasses and
biscuit as if nothing had happened. The
Indians, unaccustomed to a white man's
food, enjoyed their fare immensely. The
carpenter also was satisfied with my culinary efforts, and altogether we had rather
We squared the logs for the new building which was 64x26 feet;   twenty feet
being walled off for the residence of the
priest in charge. The work of the Indians consisted in cutting down the trees,
next picking them with their axes, and
after the carpenter had finished squaring
them, taking them down to the site of
the building. We found all the timber
which we required on the spot. We
even made the shingles ourselves—and
with the exception of the flooring and
window cases no lumber was used from
the saw mills. It was slow work, yet it
was pleasant to see a lot of wild men at
work and to hear from morning till night
the noise of the axe or hammer in this
wild part of the world.
I said the first Mass in the new building on Christmas Day, and Rev. Father
Nicolaye having arrived at his new residence on New Year's Eve, I left on the
second day of the year for Hesquiat in
the canoe which had brought my former
assistant to his new field of labor.
From the beginning of this year all the 54
Vancouver Island and Its Missions.
Indians of Barclay Sound and down to
Port San Juan inclusive will be attended
to from St. Leo's Mission, of which Rev.
P. J. Nicolaye is the first resident pastor.
Before taking charge of his new mis'-
sion of Barclay Sound, Rev. Father Nicolaye gave me a short account of the
conduct of the Hesquiat Indians during
my five-months' absence, of which the
following is a synopsis.
He continued to preach Sunday after
Sunday against the Indians' superstitious
worship and the Indian medicine-men.
He told them that none could expect to be
baptized except they would first abandon
their superstitious practices. In a moment of fervor forty men and women
resolved to comply with the conditions
and gave in their names. Before ten
days had elapsed ten of the number had
transgressed the rules. In a few days
more, sickness having broken out in the
settlement, recourse was freely had to
the medicine-men and women. In
short, when he left for his new mission
only seven had remained faithful. The
struggle between good and evil is very
great. The old people are most determined to frustrate our plans of converting the tribe. Two of them—Esko-
wit and Eagakom—have declared that
they will kill the priest in case their sons
come to die with sickness without having
consulted the medicine-men or women
—that is, if they have acted at the insti-.
gation of the priest.
A young man—Nagokwit—one day
entered the house and began to abuse
Father Nicolaye. Next he raised his
hand to strike the Father, but he was
pushed back and prevented from carrying out his design by some friendly Indians who happened to be present.
January  15.—On  the   feast   of   the
Epiphany   very few   Indians   were   at
• Hesquiat, almost all the tribe being at
the time fishing at the head of the inlet.
The weather being better last Sunday
all the men came to. Hesquiat to attend  church ; there were  also   quite a
It is evident that the people would
like to be good and become Christians,
but their prejudices are too strong yet
and their superstitions too deeply rooted.
I notice that the leaders against us and
those who follow their instructions most
closely are ashamed of themselves ; most
of them keep out of my way altogether.
The few who are preparing for baptism are young men and three young
women. The old people are once more
holding up their old superstitions as regards the winter, salmon. There was a
row on account of some of the most reasonable threatening to use their iron pot
as a utensil for boiling fresh salmon.
January 22.—A dead whale was found
on the beach this side of Estevan Point.
It is cut up by the natives who reside
here at this time of year—every one helps
himself the best way he can—almost all
the chiefs and the rightful owners of a
share of the big fish are absent at the
inlet—these, upon hearing the news of
the stranding of the fish hurry to Estevan
Point, but find that very little is left for
them. This greatly enrages them and
trouble is imminent. However, they confine themselves to going from house to
house and taking away all the blubber
they come across. This amounted to
very little, for the thieves had concealed
the principal part of their booty in the
bush with the expectation of fetching it
home when the excitement is over.
January 25.—I am informed that most
of the blubber of the famous whale is now
being boiled and the oil pressed out
away in the bush.
March 1.—Since the middle of January there has been great scarcity of food.
Owing to the easterly gales which
commenced last October and which
havenotbeen interrupted by fair weather
except for a few days about New Year's,
the Indians all along the coast have been
unable to go out fishing. As the natives
of this coast have no food except fish,
and several tribes had been unable to
lay in a  provision   of dry  salmon  last Vancouver Island and Its Missic
season, it follows that those tribes are
almost starving—and all, without exception are very hard up. The second chief
of the tribe, a nice young fellow, came
to my house today, about noon. He
told me in a pathetic tone that my dog
had entered his house and had taken
away a piece of whale blubber, the only
food there was left for him and his parents, and asked me to lend him some
flour so that they might have a decent
meal for a day or two. The flour was
given with a good heart and the poor
fellow went away rejoicing. I find it
very hard and painful to see the sufferings of these people for want of food.
March 3.—The state of the weather
becomes more satisfactory and the Indians avail themselves of it to go out
fishing. Any amount of salmon is
•caught in the inlet and at Hesquiat.
The superstitions are as strong as last
year. The old people are desperate and
most abusive against anyone who ventures to trangress the old customs. But
■quite a few of the young people do not
mind them.
March n.— To-day a young fellow was
whipped by the police for running away
with his uncle's Indian wife.
March 14.—The Indians are drying
salmon. This was never done before on
this coast. The Indian basket is also
used to carry the famous fish to the
houses from the canoes. The number
of those who got over the superstitions
regarding the winter salmon is so great
that the advocates of the ancient practices give up in despair the idea of trying
to keep them alive any longer.
A canoe arrives from Clayoquot and
reports the Indians of those parts in very
great distress, owing to the lack of food.
One of their number, the Juggler, who
■claims the power to make the herring
flock to. their harbor by incantations and
superstitious means, finds himself disappointed, not one herring having thus far
been seen in the neighborhood. A few
days ago he ordered the Indians out in
their   canoes,   having   noticed,   as   he
thought,by the appearance of immense
flocks of sea-gulls, that the herring was
coming in shore. He claimed credit for
this event, but in the evening the canoes
came back disappointed. Hence his
father and his nearest relatives in public
speeches put the blame on one vicious
young fellow who last year had crushed
with a stone the head of a fresh herring !
April 13.—This beautiful weather of
the last two weeks, and which will continue fine, puts an end to the destitution _
of the Indians. There is an abundance
of salmon, codfish, halibut, rock cod,
The women had, since the beginning
of the famine through bad weather and
rain, gone out to their different fern and
wild clover patches to dig up fern, clover and other roots for the food of their
families. Now they look happy and contented as they cut up the fish, hang it
up to dry in the sun or prepare it for
the use of their households.
April 14.—I received this morning
intelligence of the death of Pope Pius
IX.—R. I. P.—and the accession to the
pontifical throne of Leo XIII. The late
Pope died February 7;
April 17.—There was an Indian marriage to-day ; this is not the first or most
important since I resided here. The marriages of the Indians of this coast are arranged by the parents of the young
people; at least this is the general rule.
Girls who have both parents alive are preferred to orphan girls, and the daughters
of chiefs or wealthy people are generally
preferred to those of inferior Indians.
The fact is, the Indian is essentially a
speculator. The parents of the young
man are in favor of a girl who has
both parents alive because they hope that
these parents will continue to support
their daughter by giving her presents,
clothing and other useful articles. In
many cases the wish of the young man is
not much considered. He is told by
his parents or guardians that they are
going to propose to a certain girl, and,
as  a rule,   he   consents.    Then   com- 56
Vancouver Island and Its Missions.
mences a number of secret visits of the
elders, small articles are given as presents, good humor, kindness, are all had
recourse to, when at last the parents of
the would-be benedict invite the girl's
parents and nearest relatives to a sumptuous meal. If the secret has leaked out
they almost invariably decline the invitation ; but the food, in all cases most
abundant, is then carried to their houses.
Sometimes it is returned, in case the girl
is to be refused and no union is to take
place. In other cases it is partaken of,
but yet the news reaches the parents of
the boy that their plans are to be frustrated, and another article, generally of
food, is returned to make up for that
already consumed. If the invitation is
accepted or the food distributed to the
nearest relatives, it is a sign that there
will be a marriage.
Shortly after the preparatory step, two
or three important men go, still on the
sly, and make more open proposals. If
no answer is given, it is a good and
favorable sign. Without much delay
quite a crowd of the most important men
approach the girl's parents or guardians,
and speak plain and open language that
everybody may listen to. It consists of
first extolling the dignity and importance
of the relatives of the future bride and
then giving a word of recommendation in
the same vein  to the would-be bride-
Sometimes an answer is given, but as
often the speakers are quietly told to retire to their houses. This means that
the matter is settled. The girl very often
is not consulted, but it is almost sure
that she will not live with the young
man except she feels like it. Threats,
entreaties and all kinds of means will
have no effect in many cases on even
young girls when they have made up
their mind to marry somebody else. Yet
the marriage ceremony must take place
if the parents have not positively refused
their assent to the union.
It commences by a crowd of people
gathering on the beach and walking in
the direction of the house of the girl's
parents or guardians. They advance to
the measure of the tambourine, the
women covered with feathers and their
faces painted. They all sing some of
their old songs, and now and then one
or more of the women raise their voices
above all the surrounding " vacarm "
and unearthly noise. They stand for a
moment on their heels and swing their
bodies about, at the same time stretching out their arms, over which hang their
red and colored blankets, and then they
proceed to their destination. To the
looker-on, from a distance, it presents a
savage, yet an attractive scene.
At last they all stop before the bride's
residence, or the house where the union
is to be declared and contracted. One
of the important men acts as orator.
For hours and hours he stands at the
head of the crowd, his face turned
towards the residence of the girl's parents.
He talks and talks, mentioning the
reasons why and how; the noble deeds
of the forefathers; the importance of the
clan! Call it flattery? Why,"in most
cases it is rank untruth. But never
mind, his object is to please, and he
must obtain it. I have seen them and
heard them two and three days, talking
all the while before a house, whether
there was anybody in it or not. To a
civilized being, it was the greatest enter-
While this is going on, one of the men,
from time to time, walks up to the door
of the house and places one, two or more
blankets before it. Then there is a discussion, and again more blankets are
presented. The nearest relatives are included in the recipients of presents.
At last it all finishes by the word being
passed that the girl is given to the boy
to be his wife and a stop is put to the
The age at which Indians marry varies,
but it is an unusual case when a young
woman is not married before she is sixteen
years old. Many of them are joined in
wedlock at thirteen and fourteen years. Vancouver Island and Its Missions. 58
Vancouver Island and Its Missions.
The young men now marry when they
are about sixteen or seventeen years
old, but I am told that in the past it
was the custom to postpone looking for
a wife for a young man who was below
twenty or twenty-two years.
As said above, the girls are not openly
consulted in matrimonial matters ; their
mothers, however, or aunts, or other
near relatives are generally informed
privately and do a great deal of persuading or dissuading of the future' bride as
regards accepting as a husband the one
on whose behalf the advances are made.
When the contracting ceremonies are
over, it soon leaks out whether the girl
will consent to live with her husband.
If not, you will see on the face of the
latter finger-nail scratches, or on his back
a torn shirt, or other marks or expressions that his new life is a hard one, and
that in an.attempt to make love to her,
who is supposed to be his wife, he has
met with resistance and even hard treatment. This sometimes lasts for weeks,
and then, after a worse scene than ever,
the young man packs up and returns to
his own home.
It is, however, unusual to have a union
broken off so peremptorily. In most
cases it is only a bluff. Indians are very
touchy, and in matrimonial cases they
are very much determined that their
friends shall not find an occasion to jeer
at them for having been left.
So then, after a time, new advances
are made and a number of the most intimate friends of the discarded husband
go in a body to the parents of the girl,
make more speeches and especially more .
presents to the relatives of the girl,
when, in all likelihood, the favorable
answer will be given again. And so it
goes on till the girl finally consents or
gives unmistakable signs that she forever repudiates' the idea of becoming
the wife of the young man whom she has
discarded from the beginning.
The Wedding Feasts.—When a favorable answer has been obtained the
father  or  guardian of the  young man
sends a number of presents, especially
articles of food, to the parents of his new
daughter-in-law. Without much delay,
the tribe are invited to a feast of food,
at the end of which it is announced to
all present that the occasion of the feast
is the marriage of his daughter, the
food having been sent by the guardians
of his new son in-law. Meanwhile, the
young wife has been entertained at a
choice meal by her new parents-in-law,
after partaking of which she returns to
her parents' home. These, in their
turn, a day or two later, take their
daughter to her new home and deliver
her over to her husband, at the same
time making suitable presents of food,
which are. also partaken of by the whole
tribe. Compliments are passed during
the meal, and general rejoicings are engaged in. In the evening especially,
the Indians assemble in the house where
the young people reside, and sing and
dance, and have a general good time.
It is always understood in the minds
of the Indians that in case no offspring be
born to the newly married couple it will
be in order for the young man to separate from his wife and contract a new
alliance. This is also the case where
children are born,but die soon after birth.
All Indians; without distinction, want an
heir, and the old people especially will
discard a daughter-in-law who is not the
mother of. at least one grandchild.
June 18.—There was one peculiarity
about the marriage that took place yesterday. The young man for whom the
ceremonies were gone through was
absent in Nootka Sound during the performance, and he knew only upon landing that he is now a married man.
When marriages are contracted between parties of different tribes the ceremonies are about the same, save that the
strangers come in their canoes, which
they ornament with a symbol of some
kind having reference to old-time ideas,
or legends or important facts.
with reference t<
3 pa Vancouver Island and Its Missions.
ties of' different tribes. They were
already married two days and the man
had not yet spoken to his wife ; in fact,
he did not know which girl he was married to:
July 29.—Having made a trip to Victoria where I arrived June 20, Feast of
Corpus Christi, I just returned and am
. sorry to learn that during my absence
the greatest disorder has reigned in the
. camp. Some of the young men who, as
I thought, were preparing for baptism
were among the leaders.
September 1.—I have just made a
trip to Djeklesat, and Mar tribes—the
Kyuquots, the largest Indian settlement on the coast, were absent at Quat-
sinogh. I saw only a few of them and
was informed that the tribe is very
orderly and the people very anxious to
have a resident priest.
September 15.—I went to Barclay
Sound and saw Father Nicolaye at Namu-
kamis. The Father seems to be making
good headway amongst the Ohiat Indians.
With regard to the Hesquiats I must
say that there is now not one Indian
left, either man or woman, who has remained faithful to the conditions laid
down as a preparation to baptism. Some
have altogether returned to their superstitious practices, whereas the others are
very unruly in different other ways.
October 6.—A dead whale is found
on the beach at " Hole in the Wall."
The Indians belonging to the outside
camp.bring the news to Hesquiat. The
finding of a dead whale by the Indians
is, as we have seen, always an occasion
of great disturbance and trouble ; and
this is not an exception. An Indian
called Manako-ah in protecting his piece
received a bad cut on the arm from a
young man called Nayokwit.
November 7.—From all accounts I am
gaining in the esteem of the Indians. In
their meetings my name is seldom mentioned with the angry feelings that
it was last year. The motive may
be that they have experienced that
giving   fish of   every   description   and
transgressing their old pagan rules does,
not affect their success at fishing The
young men, however, are as usual addicted as ever to the superstitious,
mischief called "osenitcli." You can
read it in their countenance, the skin
having been rubbed off by the use of
their charms.
November 16.—There was a severe
thunder-storm to-day. There is now a
light seen in the direction of the
inlet. It is so similar to the light of
a vessel that most of the Indians take it
to be the light of some vessel in distress.
A canoe went out, but was driven back
by the storm.
November i7.-^The light of yesterday turns out to be the light of a bush
fire caused by lightning. This is taken
as a proof that the thunder is not a bird,
as birds do not make fires '
The fact is there was quite a discussion in my house about the thunder yesterday. The Indians maintain that it is
an immense bird—the thunder-bird.
One of the young men told • me that
Koninah, the third chief, was in
possession of one of its wing-feathers. So
I sent for the feather, but the young
fellow came back disappointed, the chief
having stated that he had not nor ever
had had such a feather. The noise of
the thunder is explained by the fact that
the thunder-bird takes hold of a whale
and in a struggle with the monster of the
deep causes all the thundering reports.
The lightning is a reflection of the
bird's eyes which it opens and closes in
rapid succession. Others have it that
the neck of the bird is surrounded by a
being (He-etlik) of the shape of a snake
which breaks loose and inflames and
goes about scattering what we call the
lightning. Others again say that the
light comes from under the wings of the
bird which becomes visible as the bird
flaps its wings.
January 26, 1879.—Archbishop Se-
ghers arrived here very unexpectedly a
few days ago. He brought authentic
news that he is to go to Oregon as  Co— 6o
Vancouver Island and Its Missions.
adjutor cum jure successions of Archbishop Blanchet.
Upon arriving, the Archbishop told
me that he had come to baptize my
Indians. I replied that none were fit to
receive the sacrament. He insisted,
and in order to avoid all further controversies I resigned for the time being,
confining myself to the office of cooking.
After a couple of days he commenced to
see that it was premature to speak of
baptism to most of the people. He
thought, however that it was wrong to
be over-exacting, both as to knowledge
and conduct, and to-day ten Indians,
six men and four women, received the
sacrament of regeneration at the hands
of the new Archbishop of Oregon.
All the Indians were present and the
long ceremonies of the Ritual were followed.
January 27.—Archbishop Seghers left
Hesquiat in an Indian canoe. I accompanied him.
February 9.—We stopped a day in
Ahousat, where we assembled all
the Indians in the chiefs house.
As usual the Ahousats were very
noisy, but withal very friendly. We
passed the other tribes, going direct to
Namkamis, Barclay Sound, where we
met the Rev. Father Nicolaye. On
Sunday the Bishop blessed the new
■church of St. Leo. The weather was
very stormy and most of the Indians
who were living on Copper Island were
unable to come across. Quite a few of
the men were, however, present.
I arrived home with my Indians, having left the Bishop, who is on his way to
Victoria, and thence to Portland, Ore.,
in the house of Father Nicolaye.
I have just returned from Victoria
where I have made my usual purchases
of clothing and provisions for .the next
twelve months. Nothing unusual has
occurred these last three or four months.
Upon my return home I learned that
several of the Indians baptized by Archbishop Seghers have returned again to
their pagan practices—only three or four
have remained faithful. As I had foreseen this, it did not upset me much—in
fact I had told his Grace that such would
be the case; and as the Indians also
mistrusted the would-be-Christians it
caused very little scandal.
They are now, however, watching with
some concern the conduct of one who
was supposed to be sincere about his
adopting Christianity. The fact is his
wife has just given birth to a little boy,
and every one watches the couple to
see whether they will not have recourse to  the   Indian  medicine-man or
Never within the memory of even the
oldest people was a child born and not
at once taken charge of by one or more '
'' sorcerers.'' The children of the chiefs
and important people are especially subjected to the superstitious treatment of
those impostors.
As soon as the child is born, one or
more are invited, or invite themselves to
handle the poor little creature. A woman
who expects to become a mother soon
will be sure to live in the neighborhood
of the medicine-women, or at least, she
will move to where she can have easy
.access to them. Up to now the Indians
were under the impression that a child
cannot live except it be doctored Indian-
fashion. There is no word to express
how they will humble themselves and
how slavish they will become in order to
secure the services of the savage-doctor.
If a young man is the son of a medicineman or medicine-woman his chances for
marriage are far superior to those who
have no such dignitaries in their immediate household. The Indians told me
that to become Christians, they could
give up everything, but their " doctors "
The services of those impostors are
called for and made use of at all times.
Upon the birth of an_ infant several of
them rush to the place. They all take
hold of the newly-born, sing, squeeze its
little belly, pretend to cast out the evil one
and often exhaust the little one to death. Vanc<
ver Island and Its Mis
It requires some heroism in our neophytes to refuse to subject a new-born
child to the treatment which up to now
was considered of paramount importance
by all the Indians of this extensive coast.
July 21.—The father of the child is a
determined, good man; he has an
amount of trouble with his relatives who
all want him to take the "doctors."
The infant is a weak child and gives
doubtful signs of a long existence. This
gives them a chance to find fault with
him all the more. But he does not mind
their suggestions or interference. In my
own mind I can see the consequences if
the infant should come to die; never
would an Indian listen to us again under
similar circumstances; for Indians are
exceedingly fond of having an heir and
passionately attached to their offspring.
I make daily visits to the newcomer,
but he is not a great success !—and as he
cries a good deal the people all say that
it is because the evil one was not cast
out by the '' Sorcerers.''
August 28.—I just returned from
Kyuquot and other tribes. My instructions from Archbishop Seghers on the
occasion of his last visit were to feel the
pulse of the Kyuquots with regard to
having a priest stationed at that place.
Part of the Indians had moved to their
river stations ; however the chief and
several of the most important men were
till i
' Aktie
The chief not only told me that he
was anxious to have a resident priest, but
besides promised to grant all the land
required for the use of the missionary,
free of charge.
Other important men also spoke and
expressed their happiness at the idea
of having a chance to have their children properly educated.
My opinion of the Kyuquots is that it
will be hard to manage the old people ;
but as regards boys and girls, of whom
there are hundreds, I consider it to be
the very finest mission, not only on the
island, but in the diocese.
December 3 —As said above, the
greatest-obstacle to the conversion of the
Indians is the idea that they will have
to give up the Indian doctors or Sorcerers. I know a young woman who refused to marry a young man because he
intended to become a Christian; the
idea that he would object to her consulting the Indian '' doctors '' both for
herself and children made her reject
his advances for matrimony.
The Sorcerer is either a man or a
woman—on this coast. Very few men
are Sorcerers, but the number of women-
'' doctors'' is very large. In some
tribes three-fourths of the women and in
others one-half or a third—nearly all the
the old women—claim some special talent
in that line.
The Sorcerer does not deal in drugs
nor use medicine for his patients. He
does not study medicine as a preparation, but he is put up to become a
Sorcerer by some relation of the craft,
or sometimes through some motive of
his own.
The starting-point is either a dream
or a so-called vision or the discovery
of something unusual in his wanderings
on the beach or in the bush—then he
will feign sickness and he retires to his
couch. His friends pretend to be or are
really alarmed. ... He suddenly utters deep sighs or groans; does so repeatedly ; then he jumps up, shaking his head
—eyes closed—and intones a song supposed to have been taught by the one (a
mysterious being) who inspired him to
become a Sorcerer.
This is the announcement to the tribe
that they have a new Sorcerer. The cases
may differ in some of the details, but
they all amount to the same.
We have one here just now—the first
since I am stationed on the coast. He is
a young, sickly fellow of a silent, morose
disposition. He is the last Indian
that I would have suspected of being inclined that way. But he is always sick and very likely he tries this
dodge to get well; for Indians say that Vancouver Island and Its Missions.
when anybody is an
invalid he will recover at once by becoming a Sorcerer.
The Indians have
been talking a good
deal of their new
" doctor"; they say
that he pulled a
snake out of his
abdomen and that
he will walk on the
salt water as if it
were "terra
firma.'' They also
say that he walks
on the branches of
trees to their very
extremity, and thus
it of
evil, so I tried to do
in the present case.
Nothing like facing
the enemy—it may
be hard at first,
but it is the only •
way to convince for
the future.
So I defied the hero of all the
Indians' talk. And on Sunday I told
them what I thought of such impostors
and of those who take their part.
Next Sunday, Nov. 9, about four
o'clock in the morning, I was aroused
from my slumber by the loud voices of
Indians and the noise made by their new
Sorcerer. He was on the top of a tree
and at times barked like a dog or croaked
like a raven, then he would strike up a
song or work his rattles to attract the
attention of the stupefied savages.
At Mass-time Michel, the head of the
only family now faithful to their baptismal, promises, came to see me in a despondent mood. I think I felt as bad as
he did himself, but I composed myself
and sang High Mass as usual and
preached on the Gospel of the day.
At noon all the Indians of the tribe
were entertained by an old couple and
during the repast they were unanimous in
rejoicing at the fact of having a new medicine man. The old people especially
were jubilant and availed themselves of
the opportunity to commend their old
superstitions to the rising generation.
I may here say that speculation was
at the bottom of this general endorsement by the tribe of the new " doctor."
For this his first appearance was the
announcement that four days later he
would make a gift-feast to the tribe and
those who praised him most expected •
to  be the most  favored  in his acts  of
When the repast was com:
the father of the new hero v
house and invited  all those
ng to a Vancouver Island and Its Missions.
where his son would give proofs of his
extraordinary powers.
Michel was called out by name. Like
a man—a determined fellow, as he always was—Michel got up and all the
people followed him outside, expecting
to see him covered with confusion. He
put his hand to his mouth and as he
walked at the head of the crowd he
prayed  '' that truth might triumph 1''
We found the new medicine-man
standing at the foot of the tree on which
he had been doing his performances
since the early morning. All the Indians arrived on the spot and stood around
in a circle, none daring to approach the
awe-inspiring juggler. Michel, however,
being called upon to do so, went up to
him. We at once noticed the preparations that had been made and showed
before all those present that the initial
step of the would-have supernatural powers was an utter failure. The trick consisted or was supposed to consist in the
fact that the Sorcerer was, by incantations, to cause the lower branches of the
tree, under which he stood, to bow down
and thus enable him to reach them so
that by taking hold of them he could
climb up to the spot where he had caused
the admiration of everybody in the early
morning. Michel being close by noticed hanging from the lower branches a
thin string which was not supposed to be
there, and thus the trick fell through.
One would think that the people upon
noticing that they were imposed upon
would walk away disgusted. But not at
all—their boasting changed into anger
and was followed by most unusual excite-
Three days later the medicine-man
made a gift feast (Potlach) to the whole
tribe. When all the people were assembled he recommenced his wonderful(!)
performances. Once more, Indian Michel was called upon and defied by the
performer. He was equal to the occasion, and before long he was advised by
a thoughtful friend to retire, leaving the
whole assembly of pagan Indians covered
with confusion. The feast went on and
I was glad to learn that my good and
faithful Indian friend came in for many
and valuable presents.
I have written the above details with a
feeling of disgust, but they will show,
when paganism and superstition have
disappeared from this coast, the blindness and obstinacy of heathens, before
receiving the Gospel, and the amount of
truth there is in the ancient saying,
mundus vult decipi.
I have been asked, "Are there real'
sorcerers to be found amongst your
people? " My answer is : If there are
any  I  have  never  met  or   discovered
January 27, 1880.—Very extraordinary news ! I received word that we
have a new Bishop. I received indeed a
letter dated October from Victoria in
the handwriting of Father Brondel, late
of Steilacoom, Washington Territory,
inviting me to go to his Consecration,
which was to take place in the Cathedral
of Victoria, B.C., on the 14th of December of last year.
February 25.—An Indian arrived at
the Mission from Barclay Sound and delivered a letter, with a portrait inclosed,
of the new Bishop of Vancouver, the
Right Rev. J. B. Brondel, D.D. The
new prelate expressed his astonishment that I was not present at the great
celebration of December 14th, when he
received the mitre at the hands of Most
Rev. Archbishop Seghers.
A great many events take place and
great celebrations in the Church are had,
but, although I would be happy to be
present and witness them, I must forego
the pleasure of taking part in them owing
to the lack of communication. Our
new Bishop will after a time understand
the situation and in the present instance
he will be astonished to learn that it was
over a month after his consecration that
I received the letter of invitation, to be
present on the great occasion.
April 20.—I have just returned from
Victoria, where I went to pay my respects 64
Vancouver Island and Its Missions.
to Right Rev. J. B. Brondel, our new
This visit was occasioned by a very
disagreeable circumstance. Early in
March the Indians became very dissatisfied and troublesome. The old people
were finding fault and exciting the others
at any and every chance. They now made
up their minds that they would work on
Sundays and ignore all the established
rules. First they came to ask permission
to go out fishing, and as they pleaded
scarcity of provisions, the weather having
been very bad, I allowed them to go out
on one Sunday, and again on the following. On the third Sunday—there being
now abundance of food in the village—
they went out without leave. However, when the bell was rung for High
Mass, they all came on shore and attended Mass. I warned them and insinuated that the trangressors of our
Sunday law would be punished ; that I
could not punish them all, but that the
one who would start the others would be
the sufferer. After Mass a messenger
came to tell me that all the men of the
tribe were preparing to pull out their
canoes. And indeed, upon looking out
I saw about thirty canoes in a line and on
a certain signal being given, they all
pulled out together. This was very clever
on their part, for I could not punish any
single starter, as they all started together.
However, I walked down to the beach
and I noticed that not only the men
but even most of the women were bent
on desecrating; the Sunday. Only two
or three of the Indian policemen had
remained faithful. With their assistance I took away a number of nets, said
a few words to the leaders, and walked
back to the Mission. On my way a
scuffle took place between the police
and some of the worst of the lot. This
I stopped without delay and without
any harm being done save the tearing of
a few shirts and the pulling out of a
handful or two of hair.
When I got home I tried to take the
matter coolly.    But how could I ?   Here
I was now nearly six years ! And only
one convert and two or three decent
fellows, although heathens, besides.
However, the Apostles fared still worse,
and the missionaries in China and elsewhere have no better times. Nothing
like persevering and fighting the matter
through !
Now, then, the thought struck me to
leave the place for a few Sundays, for
what could I do were the same trouble
to arise again the next Sunday? I was
half victorious, as quite a few nets—the
articles most necessary for the herring
season now on—were in my possession.
I therefore resolved to make a trip to
Victoria and see our new Bishop. His
wise counsels and a talk with my fellow-
priests there would give me new courage
and light.
I secured a crew of six Indians, and,
as usual, we travelled in an Indian canoe.
The weather looked fine, but at this time
of the year the nights are very cool when
one must sleep outside on the shore or in
the bottom of the canoe. And yet we
could expect nothing else; for the next
four or five nights we would be compelled
to do so. When we came within sixty
miles of Victoria the weather was bitter
cold, but the sea, comparatively speaking,
smooth. On the shore, though, there
was considerable surf, and the northerly
wind was very strong. We managed to
paddle in shore, and as it was near midnight, my men concluded to make a
landing. I was so crippled up with cold
that I refused to go on shore, and preferred to pass the rest of the night in the
bottom of the canoe.
One of my guides, hearing that my
feet were actually freezing, turned about
in the canoe and put the soles of his
feet to those of mine. This had the
desired effect of imparting heat to my
chilly limbs and making me feel more
comfortable, for the feet of our Indians
are always warm, even when they walk
barefooted through the snow.
I was aroused very early by the crowing of a rooster in the bush, and later on' Vancouver Island and Its Missions.
I was amused to see one of my Indians,
in his shirt tails, running everlastingly
after the lonely rooster, which he caught
at last and mercilessly killed. The bird
had been left there by Indians of the
neighborhood, who had, I suppose, stolen
him from some farmer, and left him there
to shift for himself, and who were in foggy
weather guided by his fits of crowing, as
a seafaring man is guided by th*e reports
of a fog horn. We cleaned the rooster
and ate him at breakfast.
I remained in Victoria three days with
the new Bishop and the priests stationed
there. During that time the weather
had changed, and on our way back to
the coast we had a favorable leading wind.
When we had made a little over a
hundred miles, which we had done in
less than three days and two nights, we
came very near being drowned during a
most severe storm.  Both the Indians and
tyself had given up ; the waves were
nmense, and rising like mountains
threatened to engulf us at any moment.
We all lay flat in the canoe, save the
man in the stern, and at times our frail
skiff stood almost perpendicularly up
and down. At last we got on shore,
being soaked with the brine of the sea.
We camped on a small island, where we
found a good supply of driftwood, and
there we passed the night under la
belle etoile, and as I lay under my blankets I wondered at the myriads of stars
and admired the wonderful works of
God, and after saying Benedicite Stella
Coeli Domino, I managed to take some
very much needed rest.
Next morning the wind and storm
had abated so that we could make a
bttle headway and pass the day in an
Indian camp.
Three days later we arrived at Hesquiat, where the Indians were becoming
uneasy on account of our prolonged
The trouble they had given me before leaving seemed to have weighed
heavily on their minds, and I was reliably informed that they were determined to avoid listening to the evil
counsels of their wicked leaders who,
without exception, are all old men and
old women.
July 28.—Right Rev. J. B. Brondel
made his first episcopal visit to the coast,
and I am sorry to say I could not report
omnia prospera. The Bishop seemed to
be disappointed; he expected to receive
a great reception and he would have been
received with all the honors due to his
rank. But my Indians with the exception of one family being still pagans, I
thought it would look like hypocrisy to
make them turn out and act as Christian
Indians do elsewhere. I live in hopes
that the time may yet come when our
Bishop will be duly received here by
Christian Indians.
July 30.—The Bishop called here on his
way back from further along the coast.
He was accompanied by Father Nicolaye, 66
Vancouver Island and Its Missions.
and upon landing he introduced me to
the Father as the future missionary at
Kyuquot, sixty miles west from my Mission. Everything was arranged and the
new Mission was to be put up without
September 25.—These Indians are
extraordinary people ! There is an elderly man who of late has been giving a
good deal of trouble to some of his old
enemies. Several of them have come for
protection and seem to be really alarmed.
At the bottom of all the mischief complained of is an old threadworn blanket
in the possession of the old man !
The Indian in question is a very
troublesome individual. He has the
name of having been a daring warrior
and at home he has had many a quarrel
and fight with the people of this tribe.
At last he got tired of black eyes and
bruised limbs, and so he had recourse to
the following ruse : Early one morning
he came back from a long walk on the
seashore. He wore as usual an old
blanket, his only covering. The old man
was frothing at the mouth and his
blanket was dripping wet, apparently
with blood. He called his friends together and with a trembling, hoarse,
voice he told them that at a short distance from the settlement he had come
upon a strange object; it was at the foot
of a large tree and it was bleeding profusely. Something seemed to tell him to
take off his blanket and steep it in the
red liquid. He impulsively did so and
left the spot assured that he had now in
his possession a ' [ charm '' that would
render him invulnerable—an object that
would serve him to defy his enemies,
and whether at home or abroad, defeat
I had often heard the Indians speak of
this blanket and tell me that the wickedness of the children of this man was to
be ascribed to the fact that their father,
immediately after their birth, had rolled
the blanket around their tiny limbs and
body and had otherwise besmeared them
with juices  extracted from  his famous
'' charms.'' Not only that, the blanket
had such mysterious qualities that it
would be impossible to send a shot
through it!
As there was now quite an excitement
in the tribe about the wonderful blanket,
in order to destroy any further belief in
the obnoxious article, I sent the men
who had a new grievance against the old
fellow to tell him to come over to the
Mission and see me. He came, but did
not take along the mysterious covering.
I had my gun in my hands and quietly
told the poor fellow to go and get it, that
I wanted to be convinced and that if I
could not pierce a hole through it with
my gun, the Indians would be justified in
looking upon it with awe and dread.
There were now quite a number of
people around to be witnesses of the results, but of course it all ended in confusion on the part of the old man ; the
others after some discussion returning to
their homes convinced that they had all
along been imposed upon.
It is slow work, but one after another
the dark spots in the Indians' minds are
being cleared off. A few more proofs
of this kind will go a long way to make
them look upon the old Indian yarns with
misgivings, and truth will at last prevail.
There is general feasting going on just
now. The festivities are called ' • Chook-
wahu." They remind one of the feasts
of the " Mardi Gras " of Europe, and
from time to time are indulged in by the
tribes on the coast, especially during the
winter season. The origin and the
spirit of this feast are, I think, the same,
although some of the details differ, in
the several tribes of the west coast of
the island. A chief or one of the leading men has prepared for the occasion.
He must have a large supply of food and
of blankets, for he is expected to feed
all the people of the settlement during
the festivities and to close them by
making a gift to everyone who has been
invited and taken part in them. These
gifts consist in canoes, blankets, axes,
fruit, calico, Indian beads, etc., etc. Vancouver Island and Its Missions. 67
The opening ceremonies are a banquet for all his tribe to have the " Chook-
at which all the Indians are supposed to wahu '' festivities take place. And no
be present—one or more of them go more important news can be communi-
outside and return immediately into the cated to a neighboring settlement. It
house and cause consternation in the as- travels all along the coast and compli-
sembly by reporting that a pack of ments are extended by all and every
wolves are to be seen at a short distance friendly settlement. ,
from the camp. The wolves are some In old times and even now on the
of the young men running on all fours, coast there are tribes where ceremonies
imitating the step of wolves, and with a ending in mutilation, or at least wound-
tail and ears, so that trom a distance they ing, are indulged in. But the wounding
resemble fairly well the much to-be- is received voluntarily and payment is
dreaded animal. made at the conclusion of the festivities.
This is the signal for great excitement. The occasion is suggested by the individ-
The chiefs make speeches, the old war- ual himself.     He knows that as long  as
riors   sound   the  alarm,   songs are in- the " Chookwahu " is on,   a man  who
dulged in, fright is cast into   the bosoms fights or quarrels with his wife or strikes
of old and young, and general notice is her is   liable to   have  a  spear  passed
given, especially to the  children, to be through the skin of his arm, which, as a
on their guard against the wolves. rule, causes profuse bleeding   and much
On this and the four next days no pain. This individual, I say, will pur-
work is to be done, and general rejoicing posely transgress this rule, whereupon a
is indulged in. Banquets are given, and number of men enter his lodge, take
there is singing and dancing and joking, hold of him and pass a sharp piece of iron
and all kinds of drolleries are the order or spear through the skin of his arm,
of the day.
This is, howeve
appearance of wolv
towards evening,
they make for son
singled out before the time of the fes- anything of the  kind,   but   I   can see
tivities  and now purposely exposed to nothing to find fault with at the present
the danger—and take them away with time.    When  I   see   the  masquerades,
them  in  the  bush.    The  men of the cavalcades, historic processions, dramas,
tribe, seeing this, run into their houses, and other entertainments of our white
take up their guns and shoot them off populations  abandoned  and   given  up
as   they run   in pursuit of   the  fleeing forever, it will be time enough to   tell
wolves with their prey in  their hands, the   Indians that they must give up the
You can now hear the shouts of alarm of " Chookwahu" festivities,
mothers and old women ... but after On the fifth day, if it be fair weather,
a while the excitement subsides and the the Indians all dress up.      The initiated
general rejoicings recommence. know what is to take place.   The wolves,
And thus the game continues for four as usual, come out of, the bush.    This
days.     Meanwhile the children that  are time the children whom they had stolen
taken away by the wolves are kept out of away from their homes accompany them,
sight of the tribe.   The mothers  weep, The Indians get excited   They pull down
the fathers  are wild with grief.    Every- to the beach two large canoes, cover them
thing is done to make the uninitiated be- with planks and the chiefs and men and
lieve that real wolves have carried away women of a special rank, using this as a
and devoured their children. platform, slowly proceed over the water
It is a matter of pride for a chief and to   within   close   distance   where    the
which naturally enough cau
ses fright and
r, interrupted by the
consternation in the boson
s of the wo-
es in the morning and
men and children.
They are very bold ;
Being aware of this, I
cautioned the
le of the children—
people of this settlement
against doing 6S
Vancouver Island and Its Missions.
supposed wolves have charge of the children. They beat the drums, dance as
they proceed, sing incantation songs, fire
off their guns, and at a determined
moment rescue the captive children and
send the defeated wolves back into the
The now rescued young people are
naked, their only covering being small
branches of trees and brushwood, and they are solemnly, amidst songs and
general rejoicing, taken to
the house of the chief, who
gives the famous entertainment. The day is passed,
without hardly any interruption, in this house. The
children tell their experience in the home of the
wolves, mention new names
they are to take, and many
other ceremonies too long
and too numerous to mention are gone through.
The feast continues at this
place nearly a full month—
in other tribes it lasts only
a week. It comes to a conclusion by the burning of
the branch-covering of the
children as they were rescued from the wolves; and
finally by a "potlach," or
a gift of presents by the chief
who organized the festival,
to all the members of the
July, 1881.—I have just
returned home from Ahousat
(eighteen miles from Hesquiat), where
I built a small church with two rooms
attached for use as house and sacristy.
To build a wooden church with the
material I had at my disposition would
puzzle] many an architect. I had ex-
plained.my plans to the Bishop, who sent
me enough flooring and planks for the
body of the building. Then I made the
Indians get cedar, which we squared and
used for sills, rafters and other necessary
supports; lastly I enlisted the s
an old fellow who brought me a supply
of cedar blocks, cut in two feet lengths,
of which I made shingles to be used as a
covering for the roof. Outside the building is neat, but the inside has the appearance of a common barn. I put up an
altar and communion railing. But for
the gener
could never have finished the work by
myself alone.
I have been complimented on my work,
but people cannot throw dust into my
eyes—it is altogether a poor job; yet it
will answer a useful purpose and has cost
the best of only a few dollars.
I considered this place very necessary
if I want to instruct the Indians of this
tribe. Thus far I had done it in the house
of the chief, but it was a terrible place. Vancouver Island and Its Missions.
The house of the chief was over one
hundred feet in length by sixty in width.
The corner posts were immense pieces of
cedar twenty feet high • they were met
on top by long sticks three feet through.
One monster beam was laid across the
centre and served as crosspiece to support the roof planks. With a fall, for
rain and water, of only about two feet,
the roof looks almost flat. This is now
the form of all the Indian houses on this
coast—immense places with almost flat
roofs The sides are cedar planks fastened by ropes of cedar bark below and
above. The cedar roof planks are chiseled out so as to leave a groove for the
rain. In fine weather one of these
planks is raised and shoved above its
neighbor to let in air and give a place of
exit for the smoke.
In this chief's house twelve different
families had their home—twelve different open fireplaces supplied the room
with smoke and heat. There were no
windows in the house, although the crevices between the wall planks permitted
some light to enter. How could I instruct these people in such a horrible
place of filth and smoke ?—not mentioning the noise made by the quarrelling of
the women, the crying of children, the
growling and fighting of dogs. . . . And
then the immodest bearing of the numerous inmates ! Yes! I required a
place to try and do something for the
Ahousat Indians, and I now rejoice that
when I go there next season I will have
a place of my own, no matter how poor
and how undesirable it may look or be.
During my stay at Ahousat I was
greatly amused to see a couple of young
Indians taking their daily walk around
the place with each a shoe on one foot
only! The man wore a shirt with a
blanket over his shoulders and the wife
had also a blanket over her dress; both
had their faces painted with red vermilion. I was told that the reason for this
odd action was that they had recently become the parents of twins. By this time
- they had gone through a very hard ex
perience and they were still looked upon
by all the people as outcasts and as to be
shunned. No one will use the vessels
they have used either to drink or to eat.
Their diet is to be strictly dry fish;
nothing fresh is to pass their lips. Now,
and for a long time to come, they are not
allowed to go on the sea in canoes either
to fish or for pleasure. The man has to
retire daily in the forest and by shouting
and bathing reconcile the "spirits."
Their life is not a pleasant one as every
one avoided them, and being forbidden
to work or to go after food, they have
before them the prospect of famine and
endless miseries. The birth of twins is a
source of great excitement with all the
Indians on the coast. They have special
songs for the occasion in which all the
principal men of the tribe join before the
house where the twins are born.
Another time unusual excitement was
caused by one of our chiefs becoming
crazy. The Indians soon bethought
themselves of an old remedy. They took
the crazy man up to his waist in the sea.
Half a dozen men had charge of him and
carried in their hands branches of brushwood. Upon a given signal they began
to flog him ; then they took the man by
the hair and forced his head under water.
The bubbles indicated when to allow him
up for breath. Then flogging recommenced . . . and the head under water
again . . . and the process was continued till very little life was left in him.
Their idea was to flog out the bad spirit
who was supposed to be in the poor insane chief!
March 29, 1882.—A young Indian
most unexpectedly called at my house, a
few days ago, and asked to be married in
the church. This was quite a new thing,
for never before had anybody applied to
me for matrimonial religious services.
After mature consideration I made up
my mind to comply with the young
man's request. And so we were at last
going to have a Christian marriage ! It
was to be the first since I am on the
coast.    The young   man had not been 7o
• Island and Its Missions.
baptized, but he was well instructed and
a faithful attendant at church and a real
good fellow He also told me that the
young woman whom he was to lead to
the altar was willing and anxious that I
should marry them.
After some difficulties to make her tell
me that she was free and willing to marry
the man in question—for Indian women
were never supposed to say or acknowledge that they were willing to marry a
certain man, such language being considered imprudent and immodest—I proceeded on March 23, to marry the pair.
First I administered baptism, then I
brought them to the altar and everything
went on well until I told them to join
hands. This was almost too much.
Single Indian women on this coast are
never to touch a young man's hand—it
is an act of immodesty—and how could
she do so in conspectu omnium, for quite
a crowd of people were in the church ?
However, after some coaxing and persuasion, she at last put out the tip of her
fingers from under her blanket, when the
bridegroom, now rejoicing in the Christian name of John, grasped hold of it
and the ceremony proceeded without any
further difficulties,
I may here add that John stood before
me in shirt tails with a blanket over his
shoulders and barefooted ; Paulina, his
young bride, also wore a blanket over her
dress of brown calico and was both barefooted and bareheaded.
Withal, their modesty and good dispositions were a hint to our civilized
people on the occasion of contracting
matrimony. God bless John and Paulina!
If they are not rich in worldly goods they
have now a chance to live as good Christians and their souls are as valuable and as
precious in the eyes of God as those of the
rich and powerful of this earth.
But trouble not quite unforeseen soon
arose. This Christian marriage was an
innovation in these parts. The chiefs
used to be consulted in these matters
and do a great deal of interfering. It
was often an occasion for them to be
praised and rewarded for their services. Now they were ignored. To
be sure, the parents of the young
woman refused to recognize the union,
and although their consent had been
asked secretly by their daughter, they
refused to accept the presents which
were sent — an old custom — by the
parents of the young husband. There
was such a row and such an excitement
in the camp that the young couple,
after signing the register, refused to go
to their home. This, however, they
did, but not before the darkness of the
night had come on.
I now learned what was being said and
the protestations that were uttered in
public against my taking in hand their
matrimonial affairs. It was no business
of the priest. The young people whom
he wanted to marry were not his children. Such and other remarks were
made by the old people, and none of
their daughters would submit to such
unheard-of arrangements. The idea of
anybody being married in the church ! .
The following Sunday I preached on
matrimony, explaining it as being a sacrament and the dignity thereof. Next, I
called their attention to the fact that their
old marriages almost amounted to selling
their daughters as one would sell a canoe
or a horse—just as of old the chiefs were
selling their slaves. This I had told
them more than once, but it had had no
effect. However, I knew that the young
men of the tribe were favorable to the
Christian marriage, and as they occupied
all the one side of the church, all the
women occupying seats on the other, I
turned myself towards the men and told
them to stand by me, that I would have
all those who were yet single married in
the church, and that if the girls did not
comply with that rule, I would take the
matter up and go with the men and look
for wives for them in other tribes. This
seems to have had the desired effect,
for several young women, being about to
be married, fearing that they would be
jilted, sent word through their parents Vancouver Island and Its Mis;
that they were not of the number of
those who had objected to the Christian
The superstitions of the people are
disappearing little by little. The attendance at church is good and the
Sunday is fairly well observed. The
Indians are now preparing for the fur-
Up to a couple of years ago they
lived almost exclusively on fish and
potatoes. They availed themselves of
the presence of large schools of dog-fish
to make dog-fish oil, which they sold to
coasting schooners, receiving in exchange flour, molasses, tobacco, print-
calico, and articles of dress. The old
people who did most of the work objected to the buying of clothing, but the
young people, especially the women,
did not listen to the pleadings of their
elders, and invested most of their earnings
in the purchase of decent wearing apparel.
I now made it a rule that no men
should come to my house unless they
wore pants ! !
This was hard on them, for they had
always considered this covering of their
lower limbs as superfluous—a real bother!
But I was inexorable. Pants on or remain outside. The other day the young
chief, a boy about ten years old, came
to see me on business with his aunt. I
saw him coming from a distance, in his
shirt-tails and a blanket on his shoulders.
He had a small bundle under his arm.
When within ten steps from the door he
sat down on a piece of driftwood, took
the parcel from under his arm, and shook
it open. It proved to be his pants. He
now put them on and solemnly walked
into the Indian parlor of my house. I
watched him as he left, and was amused
to see him, almost at once, strip off the
bothersome trousers, hand them over to
the aunt and join with a lot of other boys
in one of their favorite games.
Two years ago I persuaded the young
men of the tribe to try their luck as fur-
seal hunters. From the beginning their
success was such that they now seem de
termined to prosecute this lucrative woik
and leave the dog-fish business to the
old people. However, the work is not
beneficial to spiritual matters. Convinced
as they are, especially by the arguments
of famous hunters of the tribe, that in
order to have good luck they must have
recourse to the pagan practices of the
"osenitcli," that they must bathe,
use charms, fast and strictly observe
continence, most of the young people
have their faces disfigured by the use of
the superstitious remedies. There is no
use arguing with them, and it is most discouraging to hear their replies and to see
the determination of both men and
women to persevere in their pagan practices. Nothing less than a miracle of
grace will ever convince these poor benighted people!
It is worth mentioning that, when the
young men are out sealing, the people at
home observe strict old-fashioned rules.
So, for instance, the doors of the houses
must remain closed and the room be kept
as dark as possible ; dogs, chickens and
even children are turned outside. I
heard a young man say that he missed a
seal—or rather saw a small school of seals
on which he was gaining stealthily, expecting to throw his spear at one of them
and kill it, when all at once they all awoke
and began to fight on the water ; and he
attributed his ill luck of not killing it —
as they can only be speared when
they are asleep — to the fact that
at that very time a band of dogs
had a row in his house, as he was
afterwards informed by the women at
home. The Indians go out after the seals
in their canoes and, finding a seal asleep,
stealthily approach and throw out their
harpoon, loosely'attached to a pole ten or
fifteen feet long and pull the struggling
animal alongside, when they kill it with a
club. Guns are not used by the Indians
when hunting the fur-seal.
Another source of revenue are the sea
otters, which animal, however, is now
scarce on the coast. They caught a few
last year and the year before,  altogether Vancouver. Island and Its Missions.
moes go
about seventeen, and were paid from
thirty up to ninety dollars in trade for
each animal. The sea otters are close
in shore, rarely more than two miles
away from the rocks or surf. The mode
of hunting is different from that of the
fur seal. Ten or twelve c
together—the weather must
wind and no waves—the sea being like a
looking glass, the Indians spread themselves over an extended surface. When
noticing a sea otter, a signal is given
with the paddle, when all the hunters
close around the coveted animal. The
Indians use small canoes, three persons
in each canoe and use bows and arrows.
The sea otter on seeing danger   dives
he  :
while, wb
lmercifully to shoot their
f not hit he dives again, but
face again for
up the third
•face and, like
for breath afte.
dians begin un:
arrows at hin
must soon come to the
breath.    When he com
time he remains on the
a duck, flutters away from danger the best
way he can.
The Indians, having now gathered together around him, manage to hit and
kill him amidst the greatest excitement.
The man who first wounded the animal
claims it as his own, although another
man may have done the real killing.
The woman or little boy, or may be the
or more blankets as per agreement
before the hunt was engaged in.
The sea otter is very easily killed, a
slight wound often causing death.
It is sometimes very touching to
listen to the narrative of the Indians on
their return home from a hunting expedition. When a female sea otter ft eds
she leaves her pup floundering on the
water; otherwise she carries it always in
one of her flippers which in the human
family are represented by the arms.
Now this poor brute is so attached to her
little offspring, that she will be wounded
two and three times and not part with it.
She wants to protect it as long as life is
in her motherly bosom, and in many cases
the Indians take the little pup from the
flippers of its lifeless mother.
At other times, whilst the mother is
feeding under the waves, they manage to catch the helpless youngster, and
attach it to a rope tied to their canoe.
By its wails and cries, it attracts the attention of the mother, who on coming in
proximity with the canoe, is unmercifully
killed by the cunning sea-otter hunter.
October 20.—On the tenth of this
month two Indians came to my house
and having great news to communicate
asked me to close and lock my house.
They had come from " Oomis," a
fishing station about seven miles distant
does the steering
gets the tail for
his share. The
one who killed a
wounded sea otter
is also paid according to an
agreement ; and
every one who
succeeded in
wounding the animal after it had
been hit by the
man who now becomes the owner,
is also  paid, re-
Efcijl   1
j8Hjr. |i
two Vancouver Island and Its Mis
from my house and on the open ocean.
A vessel had been wrecked the night before, so they had come all that distance
to inform me, and the body of one of
the sailors was now lifeless on shore before their fishing camp.
I made some necessary preparations
and went out at once and was followed
by a large number of the people who
lived at the Mission. It soon became
evident that a great calamity had occurred, for we had not walked more than
three miles, when we found on the beach
a trunk full of ladies' dresses and children's wearing apparel. All along our
road, which was over a beach covered
with rocks and driftwood, we met signs
of the disaster. When I arrived at
Oomis I found the lifeless body of a
young man covered with rocks. He had
stripped and evidently tried to save himself by swimming for shore, but the sea
being so rough and the surroundings
one vast mass of rocks, he had failed to
attain his object and was drowned.
There were no wounds on his body,
save a scratch on his forehead. He
seemed to be a man of twenty or thirty
and had the complexion of a Scandinavian. We covered the body with canvas from the ship, dug a grave and I
buried him.
Next I began to say my Vespers, and
the tide going out the Indians manned
their canoes and went cruising amongst
the rocks and in the small bays. All at
once I heard a cry of alarm, and next I
understood them to say that they had
found the body of a woman. I went
down to the landing and then indeed I
was just in time to take on shore the body
of a young woman. She was evidently a
lady of good circumstances, in all probability the captain's wife. She was dressed
very gorgeously and had likely put on all
her best clothes, so as to save them, in case
she should reach shore alive. I uncovered her face, over which the Indian
rescuers had drawn a veil. She had a
small wound above the right eye, but
otherwise she looked as if she had been
and i
trance. As I moved the
body out of the canoe, with the assistance of the Indians, I noticed that her
neck was broken, for her head swung
from one side to the other, and with her
beautiful blue eyes wide open I was almost tempted to believe that life was not
extinct; but no ! She was dead—drowned
with her husband and her two little boys 1
It was the saddest thing I ever saw in my
life—the letter-blocks of the children and
their toys and their pet little pig were
lying about on the beach !
The vessel had gone all to pieces and
it was with some difficulty that I discovered that she was the bark Malleville, of
Freeport, Me.—Capt. E. Harlow; the
lady in question being Abbie Newcomb,
of Brewster, Me., the young captain's
wife and the mother of his two little boys.
I called upon the chief of this clan and
he supplied us with calico in which we
wrapped the body of the dead lady ; then
we got canvas off of the vessel, made a
shroud and buried her in proximity to
the grave of the sailor.
I must not forget to mention that the
Indian who discovered the body and
brought it on shore had taken from her
hand two diamond and two gold rings—
her wedding and engagement rings ; two
diamond earrings, a gold pin and a piece
of a gold watch-chain—the watch having
in all probability dropped into the sea.
After landing the body this man gave me
these articles of jewelry and asked me to
take them in charge. I told this good
fellow—who might be given " as an example '' to civilized people for his honesty—that we would send them to the
relatives of this lady in case we could discover their home and get intelligence of
their wishes. Altogether twenty-two
people were drowned, including the captain's wife and two children and the
second officer's wife.
After burying the dead and leaving instructions for the burial of some of the
bodies which had not yet been recovered,
I prepared to go home.
But I was sick at heart, and completely 74
Vancouver Island and Its Missions.
exhausted with fatigue and hunger.
I had passed two days with the most
distressing scenes before me. I had seen,
it is true, with satisfaction the noble and
heroic work of the Indians ; I had seen
them, up to their necks in the surf and
sea, drag the bodies on shore and hand
them over to me for burial; those very
people who at one time killed the living
or left the dead unburied to become the
prey of the ravens or wolves. Yet my
business on that inhospitable shore came
vividly to my mind as I saw a lot of dead
men, women and children before me—
people who had relatives and for whom
tears would be shed. As at night I lay on
a couple of planks, placed by the Indians
on the heads of two empty barrels, so that
I would be more or less protected against
the vermin, a cold fever seized me and
only for the heat communicated by my
Newfoundland dog which I took as a
bed-fellow, I think I should have perished
of cold and misery.
On our way home we encountered the
body of another sailor, an immense man,
dressed in blue overalls. I was in company of two Indians. The waves of
the incoming tide moved the body in
shore. We found the half door cover of
the hatch. We passed it under the
corpse and thus floated it towards the
beach. We then began to lift it up, hatch
door and corpse. We were thus proceeding when one of my men lost hold
and the body went splashing back in the
sea! Oh ! horror of horrors j it was
dreadful. Finally we had carried the
unfortunate man to his last resting-place,
and after digging a grave we let him sink
into it and covered him with the hatch
door of the vessel on which he had met
his sad end.
November 22.—A gunboat arrived in
the harbor yesterday. The message
which I sent to Victoria reached there
per way of Alberni. Two young men
volunteered to carry the news over the
newly-built government trail or road to
the East Coast and to Manaimo, whence
it reached the naval authorities.
Captain Thorn, of H. M. S. King
Fisher, is now on his way back to Victoria with some of the details which he
asked me to write for him. The arrival
of this steamboat was a Godsend to us,
for I had lost the run of the days of the
week, and could not say with a certainty
that we were keeping Sunday at a proper
time or day. When, at one time, I was
informed that one of our priests (Rev.
Father Roundeault) had lost—or, rather,
gained—a whole week in the calendar-—
when he had given the ashes a whole
week before Ash Wednesday—I thought
such a mistake almost unpardonable ! I
know better now. It is a hint to me not
to disbelieve the Indians when they report that they have kept Sunday on Monday or Saturday. I made the same mistake.
1883, January 30.—Upon the arrival of H. M. S. King Fisher in
Victoria, dispatches were sent abroad
with the news of the wreck, and today I received a letter from Mrs.
Strout, of Portland, Me., telling me that
the lady whom I had buried was a relation of hers and asking me to send the
jewels which we had recovered to the
dead lady's parents, who were living in
Brewster, Me. From what I understand
these people are Protestants, yet they
believe in keeping relics of the dead.
Withal, the letter was a beautiful one
and exceedingly touching. Many were
also the thanks expressed by this estimable lady for the services rendered to
her dead relative by the Indians and
myself. Good Bishop Healy, of Portland, Me., had given her permission to
use his name in writing to me.
July 15.—Sent jewelry, Bible, and
sealskin cloak to the mother of the late
Mrs. Barlow, of Brewster, Me. The
Indians let me do so, although I could
not promise any reward for their generous conduct and their trouble.
September.—At my request, the relatives of the shipwrecked people having
neglected to reward the Indians who
had helped me  to bury  the dead and Vano
and Its Missions.
had parted with the valuable jewelry,
the American Government granted a sum
of two hundred dollars to be distributed
among the most deserving ones, and a
gold medal was presented to Chief Aime
as a souvenir of the kindness and
humane conduct of the tribe. The interests of the Mission and of the priest in
charge  were    forgotten   by  all   parties
December.—The Indians having commenced some of their winter festivals
and the chief being engaged in a
''Chookwahu"   entertainment, a young
to prepare to become a medicine
woman. As my position with the
majority of the people was becoming solid, and as I could reckon upon
being sustained in anything I would undertake for their good, I decided to interfere. The medicine men and women
being all around the candidate for new
honors, I sent a posse of strong men
to scatter them with menaces and threats.
All the impostors immediately left the
house, the young woman herself took to
the bush and left the village, and it is
now settled that for the future consulting
and employing medicine-men and
women can no longer be tolerated in this
Thus the greatest obstacle to the conversion of the Hesquiat Indians is forever removed.
1884.—Bishop Brondel is gone to
Montana to become Bishop there. Rev.
Father Jouckau was to be his successor,
but he does not accept on account of
sickness and poor health. I now heard
that Archbishop Seghers had obtained
permission to return to his old diocese.
August   15.—I had  a narrow escape
when we met the breeze ; yes, a regular
gale ! "What do you think of running
for shore?" cried my Indian. "Take
in sail, I cannot steer." I obeyed his
orders. We were now in the midst of a
fearful tempest. The young woman began to cry and utter shrieks of despair.
It was terrible, but 1 prayed like a good
fellow. The sea was now breaking over
our canoe. ... I put the matter into
the hands of St. Lawrence, whose feast
we were to celebrate the next day, and
I called the reef, on which we happily_
succeeded in landing, St. Lawrence's
reef. The Indians baled out the canoe,
dried their blankets in the sun, and I retired amongst a little brushwood, growing between the rocks of St. Lawrence's
reef, where I made myself comfortable
and slept that night.
September 9.—A wicked young fel- .
low, the son of the most desperate
characters of the coast, had recourse
to an old dodge, very frequently used
in the past, to procure for himself
a partner in life. A canoe of New-
chatlat Indians passed here and called
at the village. The rascal watched his
chance and whilst her friends were enjoying a hospitable meal in one of the
houses, he went to their canoe and took
out by force a young woman, who struggled and cried as he carried her to his
parents' residence. Although I felt inclined to stop the performance of this
dastardly act, for motives of prudence I
was compelled to abstain from interfering.
September 14.—Distant relatives of
the young woman in question to-day
took her to her home and friends.
Speaking in general, the people are
orderly and docile and well behaved.
from   drc
wning.      I  fl
coming   from
Since the abolition
of the
Nootka w
here I had spent
a month.   As
n and women free
e is had
I left Fr
endly Cove w
a young man
for medicines and medical
and his
wife there w_
0 wind, but a
y and night calls
re made for ren
heavy sea
was coming ir
to Nootka Sound.
s for  the old and
-they we
It was
a  signal  of
; approach of
medicine for any and
every complaint
westerly v
vind.    Just th
nd we wanted.
are is no end to it
Strong, burn
We   had
hardly  trav.
half   a   mile
medicines   are  preferred;   in
fact,  m
ild Vancouver Island and Its Missi
remedies are discarded. Since last year
I must have applied a square yard of
blistering and mustard plasters to the
aching limbs and bodies of my parish -
ioners. I hope this habit of calling for
help for even the most trivial ailments
will soon cease; if not, I have a hard and
busy time before me.
1885, November.—Since the beginning of last year the religious status of
the tribe has greatly changed. Many
adults have been baptized and received
into the church. All the marriages are
now contracted in the church and it is
only a matter of time to have all the
young people gathered in the bosom of
the Church and leading practical Christian
lives. At last, then perseverance and
prayer   have   carried   the   day.       Deo
Last June seventeen young men went
on a sealing expedition to the Behring
Sea. They did very well, and arrived
home highly delighted with the success
of their long voyage. They had killed
1,400 animals, receiving two dollars per
animal. However, their earnings were
considerably reduced, as they had to pay
for their board on the vessel. Their
mode of hunting is as follows: Their canoes are taken on board of the vessel
and secured on deck. When they come
to the sea their canoes are lowered when
the weather is calm. The Indians then,
with spears and some provisions and a
compass, begin to cruise around, hunt
the seals and return to the vessel to spend
the night.
It is hazardous work, as the waters of
the Behring Sea are very treacherous and
become covered with a dense fog sometimes more than once a day; the Indians,
of course, use their compass, but it takes
good reckoning, to come from a distance
of ten or fifteen miles, and then just
meet the spot where their vessel is drifting about. In such weather, signal guns
are fired off and are of great assistance to
the befogged hunters ; yet on their first
voyage two Indians lost their vessel and
by their absence on board caused much
uneasiness and grief to their friends and
many tears to their relatives at home on
the arrival of the schooner.
They are back now, and pose as heroes.
After losing the vessel they landed on
one of the Aleutian Islands. There they
met a native who treated them well and,
by signs and gestures, showed them the
direction of a trading post. The trader,
a white man, gave them some provisions
and directed them to a bay where American fishermen were busy at their trade.
Thence they were taken in a boat and
landed at one of the central trading stations, whence they were passengers on
the Alaska Commercial Company's
steamer Dor ah and landed at San Francisco. They were treated with much
kindness by the captain and his men ;
and the first officer took the two Indians,
bewildered upon seeing the large city of
the Pacific Coast, to the British Consul
who paid their passages to Victoria, B. C.
Here they at once went over to see the
Bishop, who assisted them by a letter of
recommendation to the owners of the
vessel from which they had strayed. A
canoe was bought and a supply of provisions and they arrived home last Sunday
morning, just in time to attend Mass.
They now excite the wonder of, not only
their own friends, but of all the Indians
of the coast, and, no doubt, their experience, told in all its details, would excite
the admiration of people more accustomed to travel than these Indians who
had never before left their home and
All is well that ends well !
'' Wewiks,'' an Indian boy, the son
of parents whose great pride it was to entertain the tribe with food and presents
and had only half fed and clothed their
own children, got in trouble and died a
few weeks ago. It has been stormy and
dangerous-looking for me ever since,
and I now have a paper on my table
stating that, if I do not turn up and that
my body is found with evidence of having been murdered, traces of it can be
found on the lower limbs of the man who whon
Id t
i'ho committed the
lody but the guilty j
Wewiks broke   in
and asked him t
they all e
company me. He
how disappointed
i looked when they
anted—not one of
word to me—but
sumption in prison, and died a week after
his return home. Three days before his
death his father came to my house and
began to abuse and threaten me fearfully. I took it calmly and simply cast
the blame on the one to whom it belonged, namely, the boy who had broken
into the store. Just before leaving me
the old man changed his tone and gave
me to understand that my services as a
priest would not be rejected. So I went
over and prepared the poor young fellow for death. I was, however, informed
that trouble was brewing and to be on
my guard. The sick man had in his
possession a brand new gun. and it was
lying alongside of his bed. What was the
Use of his parents buying a new gun,
when it was evident that their boy must
soon die ; and then, was the bed of the
dying man the proper place to keep the
dangerous weapon ? Such were the remarks which were made and thence the
hints thrown out to me. I could easily
see that my position was not a safe one.
Now, the evening before the young
fellow died, a messenger, in the person
of the sick boy's brother, came to ask
me to go over to the house. It was
dark, the Indians had retired for the
night and the sick man was dying in a
house away from the settlement, and had
no company there save his wicked parents. A coasting trader was with me
when the invitation was made. He
jumped up as I rose to follow the mes-
. kill
)t to go, that
he last word
eing "Oh! Father,
sake do not go ! "
companion, and so after a
turned to my house with this
tion that I had done my duty.
Wewiks died, but his people
jected to having him buried from
church. They were bent upon i
trouble. His body was placed on the
branches of a huge tree, covered and
decorated with blankets, and the famous
gun is also in evidence as an ornament.
All this is against tne rules of the Christians and even the pagans, having for
some time since renounced many of their
old customs, now found fault with the conduct of the bereaved relatives. But it
is evident that this transgression of our
newly established regulations was only
made with the object of creating trouble.
The lamentations of the nearest relatives, their shrieks of despair and the
expression of the wickedness of their
hearts surpass all limits. They call me
a liar and all sorts of names, the curses
directed against me are of such a nature
that the children and young people feel
horrified. You can hear their maledictions against the poor priest from morning
till evening, and for no other motive save
that the man who had the boy arrested
and punished was a white man like
March, 1886.—For the first time in
the history of the world was Confirmation
administered on this coast. On the 28th
of February, the Most Rev. C. J. Seghers,
Archbishop of Vancouver, administered
here in the Church of Hesquiat, this
sacrament to thirty-seven  adult Indians.
We had tried to give him a good re-
India 7§
Vancouver Island and Its Missions.
t all Catholic
cceeded to a
great extent. You can now read happiness and joy on the countenances of
these poor people who, a few years ago,
were the slaves of pagan practices. The
Bishop seemed glad to see that the work
which we had commenced together
twelve years ago, was at last becoming
It is now only a matter of time to "see
the non-baptized Indians imitate their
more fortunate friends. There is an
element though of people who are still
far from adopting Christianity. It is a
family of chiefs who suspect that Christianity will have the effect of lowering
them in the esteem of the other Indians
of the coast. The idea of seeing people of
low rank raised to their own level, as all
Christians are alike, and have the same
spiritual privileges, hurts their feelings.
Pride is at the bottom, that Indian pride
which is among the greatest obstacles to
the conversion of all Indian nations.
But I must continue and try to get them
all gathered into the fold. Things look
well now, and I begin to enjoy some of
the consolations of the priests of God
who administer to civilized Catholic
On the occasion of his visit to the
coast, the Bishop went to Kyuquot,
where 1 accompanied him with Father
Lemmens. We went on a schooner and
were well received by the Kyuquot Indians, who had been duly prepared by
their priest, the Rev. Father Nicolaye,
who was glad to receive us.
The Bishop on this occasion blessed
the cemetery at Kyuquot; thence we
returned in canoe and visited the different tribes on our way back, preached
to the people and baptized their children. We came near being drowned
close to Bayo Point ; but escaped as by a
miracle; then we made our home for a
week, on account of bad weather, in
Friendly Cove, Nootka Sound, where
our provisions gave out; at last we managed to reach Hesquiat and enjoy a full
if not a luxurious meal.
From Hesquiat we went to Ahousat,
and the Bishop here made arrangements to appoint a priest for this tribe,
where at one time I had built a chapel
and dwelling rooms; thence we continued
in our canoe to Clayoquot, where we saw
the Indians. There my trip was at an
end and after receiving the Bishop's
blessing I bade him good bye and returned to my headquarters in Hesquiat.
The next news which I received was
that Father Lemmens was stationed in
Clayoquot Sound and that my work was
reduced to looking after the Hesquiat,
Nootka and Matchleat Indians.
1887.—On the occasion of his last
visit the Bishop made arrangements for
building a new dwelling house, my old
quarters having become almost uninhabitable. We therefore commenced work early
in June. I had logs squared and ready
for the men on their arrival and the
foundations were laid. The house was
to be a log house with lining inside and
rustic outside. The two white men employed did their best, but understood
very little about building a log house.
It took more time than we expected and
was much more costly.
While this was going on, Archbishop
Seghers was absent in Alaska and we
were overwhelmed with grief when we
learned in August that he had been
murdered. The news was so unexpected
and of such an unheard-of nature that
my men dropped their tools in complete discouragement. We had no details, but the Bishop was dead and the
news utterly upset us.
Most of my Indians^were also absent;
they had been induced to leave their
homes and go to the hopfields on Puget
Sound, Washington Territory. With the
news of the death of our lamented Bishop
came almost simultaneously the news of
sickness amongst the thousands of Indians who were in the hopfields.
Later on some of the people began to
come home, their children had died of
measles. Others brought their little
ones home,   but they had  the sickness __
and Its Missions.                      79
with  th
em.     Having been exposed to
Maude called in Hesquiat harbor and I
the cold
I in their canoes, many died  and
took passage on her and went to Vic
those w
ho seemed to have recovered be-
came c
onsumptive  and  soon   followed
The   steamer called at   "Clayoquot
the  oth
ers to the grave.    Before long
Mission."     I went  to see the Bis>hop-
I counti
3d over  forty children   of Hes-
elect, whom I found in his shirt sleeves,
quiat al
one who had become  victims of
with an axe in  his hands, splitting fire
the dis<
:.ase and  had  died.      With  my
wood.    After  taking  a  pot  of coffee,
murdered and my young people
which he prepared for me in good style,
dying a
round me, I closed this year with
we talked the matter over and we  left
many, i
nany sad feelings.
together for Victoria.
jary,     1888.—Depression     and
July —Here   the    new   Bishop elect
gloom s
;eems to be in the air all around.
was   welcomed  by   the  clergy   and   es
Most of
' the Indians rlave now come back
pecially the Very  Rev.   J.   J.  Jouckau,
.   to their
Hesquiat homes.    This used to
the   administrator.      This    last-named
be an
occasion for rejoicing and good
gentleman was  very weak and evidently
It is different now.   From morn-
suffering very much.
ing t
night you can hear the wo:
and passion. But it is touching and
sad beyond expression to hear the young
mothers who have lost their little ones
bemoan their loss. It would draw tears
from the eyes of stolid men to see them
in groups of three or four, with their
eyes filled with tears, squatted before the
houses and hear each one of them tell
in song-like words that can be heard all
over the village the greatness of her loss
and the sufferings of her motherly heart.
The men also take part in the general
mourning. Like the women, they clip
their hair short, neglect their attire and
seem to be deprived of all ambition.
Some look morose and sullen, others are
the picture of men with broken  hearts.
It is terribly hard on me to be here
just now, for one cannot help commiserating and feeling for his poor people.
However, there is no use sitting down
and crying. But the worst is that some
of the pagans look very bad and by their
conduct are very provoking. May this
state of affairs soon cease and have no
evil consequences!
June 5.—A couple of schooneis called
here for a crew and are now off to the
Behring Sea on a fur-sealing expedition.
The news arrived that Father Lemmens is to be our new Bishop.
June 25.—Unexpectedly the steamer
Rev. Father Lemmens objected to becoming Bishop, but he was eventually
persuaded to accept and his consecration
was set for August 5.
On the Sunday previous his administrator, the Very Rev. J. J. Jouckau, died
quite suddenly and his funeral, at which
I was made to preach, took place on the
following Tuesday.
ceived word through the wife of the
Indian agent for the coast, that a
murder had been committed at Hesquiat ; that the body of a little boy of
four years had been found behind one of
the houses, but that there was no evidence to prove by whom he haa been
This news spoiled all the pleasure and
enjoyment of my presence at the consecration of the Bishop, when all the
priests of the diocese met together.
I went home with a crew of Indians
who   had   specially   come  for   me   in
all the more unpleasant as I could see
the trouble I had before me on account
August 3i.—I arrived home shortly
before midnight, and retired at once.
About two o'clock a. m., I heard somebody knock at the door I waited for
another knock, but the visitor left.
Early  next  morning  a   man   called Vancouver Island and Its Missions.
Isiniquah came to see me, and as he began to say that he was falsely accused of
being the murderer, I would not give
him a hearing. Later in the evening he
came again and asked me what the
Indians had been telling me about him.
But again I sent him off without making
any statement.
The Indian agent called a couple of
days later and went to Victoria to inform the authorities of the circumstances
of the crime.
A magistrate and a couple of policemen were sent. Isiniquah underwent a
preliminary hearing and was taken to
civilization for trial.
Meanwhile the father of the murdered
child arrived home from Behring Sea. I
never in my life saw a man the victim of
such a struggle to control his temper.
However, he held out, and I heard him
say in my own house to his weeping
wife : " Now let us not be oversad ; if
we are good we will see our little boy
again in heaven." The tears came in
my eyes and it struck me then that if I
had had my troubles I had at least done
some good by remaining and trying to do
my duty.
October 25.—The schooner Kate
arrived here and had been chartered by
the government to take the witnesses to
Nanaimo for the trial of Isiniquah. I
received a summons to accompany them
and act as interpreter, which I did,
rather than pay a fine of five hundred
dollars for non-attendance.
The trial came off in due time, lasted
three days and Isiniquah was condemned to be hanged December 12th.
The Methodist ministers and one
Presbyterian bigot got up a petition to
have the sentence commuted, or rather,
have the prisoner discharged. They
considered it a piece of persecution and
compared the proceedings to the proceedings of the "Spanish Inquisition !"
Their object at the bottom was, to gain
the good will of the natives who were
related to the murderer, excite them
against  the   Catholic   priest,   and  thus
prepare the field to put a Protestant mission on the coast. This was the first
attempt they made to intrude on our
missions on that coast.
December 19.—Isiniquah was hanged
on December 12th, after being duly prepared by baptism and instruction in our
The motive of his crime had, presumably, been the fact that one of his children who had died of measles was called
Moses, and the boy whom he killed
had the French name Moise ; this latter
boy was the child of Michel, a good
Christian. Isiniquah and his friends,
according to an old pagan custom,
wanted this man to give another name to
his child on account of the similarity
of the two names. Michel having refused to do so, the murderer availed
himself of the absence of the parent and
the grandfather of the boy in Behring
Sea to get him out of the way, and he
unmercifully took the little fellow in the
bush, put his strong hand firmly on the
mouth and nostrils of the child and then
choked him to death. When the sentence was pronounced in court, a white,
Catholic woman, the mother of several
little children, was heard to say, " that
a rope was too good to hang a man who
had choked to death aninnocent child."
When the time of going back to the
mission had arrived, the government put
at our disposition the schooner Favorite,
(80 tons), Captain L. McLean. The
Indians took along a supply of building
lumber and other material with the object of improving their habitations and
their mode of living. I had also on
board several thousand feet of lumber
and bricks for a new church in Friendly
Cove, Nootka Sound These Indians
had for a long time refused my services
as a priest, and, as they now had repeatedly asked me to do so, I concluded to
build a chapel at their place.
After discharging men and freight at
Hesquiat, at the request of the captain, I
returned on board of the vessel, as sheput
up sail, and so we started on December Vancouver Island and Its Missions, Vancouver Island and Its Missions.
17th, about noon. The wind was favorable but there was considerable sea
on and the weather as a whole looked
bad. In less than two hours we were
sailing into Nootka Sound. As we
neared Friendly Cove, our destination,
the wind abated and soon began to blow
against us.
It was now dark and the wind shifting again it became favorable. I was
down below when the captain, quite excited, came down, told me to put on his
" mackintosh " and follow him on deck.
He wanted me to act as interpreter.
There were two Indians on board whom
he could not understand, but, being of
this district, he wanted them to act for
us as pilots. The captain had been only
once before in Friendly Cove, and,
the weather being so very thick, he was
not sure that he could make the harbor.
The rain fell in torrents and the wind
blew a hurricane. I now stood against
the mainmast and the Indians were giving their orders, which I interpreted for
the captain. The skipper had his
misgivings about the directions given by
his Indian pilots But he followed them.
... The Indians knew the entrance to
Friendly Cove. Yes, that was the
cove. But it was not the cove ... it
was a small bay, close to the entrance of
the real harbor, which we had to make ;
and the Favorite, having sailed in at
full speed, was before long looked upon
as in extreme danger close to and touching the rocky shore. The would-be
pilots were despondent; the skipper
kept cool and ordered his sailors to run
lines on shore, fasten them to the rocks
and then try to keep the vessel from going to pieces. I heard him make only
one sour remark and he . did so in a
solemn, stern way. "I could," said he
"shoot those sons of savages as they
stand in their boots." The mistake was
they wore no boots.
The sailors, after fastening lines to the
rock to keep the vessel from striking,
came back on board and began to put
their   clothes   and   belongings in   their
traps and bags to have them ready when
ordered to abandon the vessel. As for
myself, I was advised by the kind captain
to turn in, if I wanted a couple of hours'
rest. But how could I do so with my
shoes full of water and on a vessel that
might go to pieces at any time? That
night was a dreary one for us all, as the
vessel began to roll on the rocks and
keeled over considerably. Early in ihe
morning, as the tide came in, she slid
down from the boulders and finally was
afloat again. The men, later in the day,
hauled her out from her dangerous position and anchored her in Friendly
Cove. She was damaged very noticeably
and from the very start she took in quite
a deal of water.
The next six days were spent in
Friendly Cove — about the most
dreary days I have spent in this worldly
sphere. There were no Indians around,
the weather was bad and everyone on
board seemed dejected and downcast.
However, we made a start for home on
Friday—a week since we had entered
Nootka Sound—a light, northerly breeze
was blowing, hardly strong enough to
move us out of the channel. When the
everlasting easterly ftoochi) wind sprung
up, it favored us for a time. At four
o'clock p. m. we were off Hole-in the
Wall, at the mouth of the great harbor.
But the weather looked thick and the
captain determined to "lay to" that
night. I forgot to state that as soon as
the vessel began to roll, her pumps were
called into requisition every fifteen minutes and an amount of water came forth
each time.
Meanwhile the Favorite was drifting southwest; the wind increased as
night ad\anced, and about ten o'clock
the second mate came down, drenched
with rain, and reported, for my consolation, that we were drifting to the southwest like a "bundle of straw." Later,
at the shift of the sailors' watch, I overheard a secret conversation which was to
to the effect that, if they ever got into port,
the sailors would abandon the vessel and Vancouver Island and Its Missic
get to town the best way they could,
rather than stay on the leaking craft.
Further details would be superfluous.
Suffice it to say that for a whole week we
were in a continuation of gales of wind
and rain. The sailors were at the pumps
day and night. The waves relied right
over the vessel . . . the mainsail was
split to atoms.  .  .   .
' At last a westerly wind came to our
assistance, land was sighted and after
sailing a full day before the wind we at
last cast anchor in Hesquiat harbor.
According to our captain's reckoning we
had been blown a hundred miles from
shore and out of our course.
We had a fine Christmas—all the
savages of this neighborhood were present, all the Christians went to Confession
and those who had been accustomed to
do so received Holy Communion.
Close of 1888.—There are now in
Hesquiat only three or four families of
real pagan Indians and a few old men
and women. The rest of the settlement
are Christians—some of them very fervent, the others less so; yet always
attentive at church and of good behavior.
1889. May.—The old chief Townis-
sen, the father of Matlahaw, the would-
be murderer, and who was accused, for
plausible reasons, of having encouraged
his son to commit the deed, died here
the other day. The old man had a
better chance than his son, who had died
unbaptized and impenitent, to meet his
Maker and Judge. For several years he
had been a regular attendant at church,
was an example to his subjects and was
baptized and received all the rites of the
Church before his death.    R. I. P.
August.—I built a new chapel in
Friendly Cove for the Nootka Indians.
I employed three Indians to help me.
I did the carpenter work myself. The
Indians made shingles and generally
helped me to put up the building. It
is a very neat structure, but the inside
work is not finished for the want of
lining.    As soon as possible I assembled
the people and baptized their newly-
born children. I then left them for the
winter season. As I was preparing my
canoe to return to Hesquiat, most of the
people made also arrangements to go up
the rivers for the salmon season.
1890. — I saw the Nootka Indians,
stayed with them a short time and then
went on a voyage to Europe—the first
since my arrival in the country twenty-
one years ago.
November.—-I returned from the old
country, where I had spent four months,
and secured the necessary funds for a
new church in Hesquiat. It was about
time to move out of the old building,
for it had become a complete wreck. It
rained on my head as I was saying Mass,
and the floor of the body of the building was covered with water. It was the
poorest church in Christendom. One
of the fruits of my European voyage will
be the possession of a better place for
Divine Service.
1891, March.—Two French Canadian
carpenters arrived here last month on the
schooner Favorite, loaded with building
materia], in order to build our new
church at Hesquiat. On account of the
general boom in British Columbia the
wages are very high, my men being paid
three dollars and fifty cents per day
(each) and their board. The plan of
the new church was made by Stephen
Donovan, of Victoria, but  was  consid-
• erably modified on account of lack of
means to put up a building such as he
had designed.
October.— I understand that a young
man representing the Presbyterian
Church of Canada has taken up his residence at Alberin, Barclay Sound, and
has been introduced by the Indian agent
to the natives of that district.
1892.—Some of the Indians are not
behaving as well as they ought to do.
Their contact  with the   sailors   on   the
•♦leaking schooners has a bad effect. It is
too bad that after all the trouble I have
had a class of white men, who ought to
know better, should excite   them against 84
Vancouver Island and Its Missions.
me ; and yet only for my presence on
the coast their life and property would
not be safe. Satan has more than one
means to pervert good people and hinder the work of God from going ahead.
In the present case so-called Christian
white men are his chosen tools.
July.—There is great excitement here
since several days, and the old pagan
people are exceedingly provoking. It was
known all along the coast that Antonin,
the young chief here, and the son of Matlahaw, the would-be murderer, was sick
and sinking fast of consumption. The
young man, a good lad, was preparing
for death as a Christian. Now the chiefs
from the neighborhood sent medicinemen and medicine-women to tempt him
and make him renounce Christianity and
have recourse to the old superstitious
practices. All their efforts were of no
avail, and the young lad died after receiving the last rites of the Church. He
was buried in the cemetery with grand
solemnity, but the old people objected
and used every means to prevent it.
Being defeated in this matter they insisted
that the house of the young chief should
be broken down and burned. This was
always done in the case of anybody dying
childless, especially if the departed was a
chief. At first I objected, but as the
aunt was willing to allow the movers
to have their own way I withdrew my
opposition. And so the young chief's
house, which he had built and intended.
- to occupj as soon as he was married, was
torn down and burned on the beach.
The Hesquiats have no chief again. The
aunt of the departed boy will now be
considered as occupying the dignity until
her infant son becomes of age.
February, 1893.—The Right Rev.
Bishop Lemmens paid his first visit to
the Indians of this district. As the
Bishop had not given notice of his
arrival, no reception was prepared for
him. Most of the Indians were absent,
but when they heard of the presence of
His Lordship they all came to the mission and on Sunday, January 29th, were
all present at the blessing of my new
church in the morning and the blessing
of the Stations of the Cross in the
As a piece of bad news the Bishop told
me that the Methodists were preparing
to put up a mission in Nittinat and had
obtained a grant of five hundred dollars
from the Dominion Government for
missionary purposes. They had asked
and obtained the grant for the building
of a school, but of course with them that
also means a meeting-house or a church.
December.—My people this year
have had considerable sickness in the
village and many deaths have occurred.
It casts a gloom over the place. Otherwise the outlook is good.
July, 1894.—During my absence a
party of Indians from the State of Washington came across the Straits of Luca
with a supply of whisky which they intended to dispose of in Hesquiat. As
soon as the presence of the liquor in the
settlement became known, three of my
Christian Indians went and took it away
and secreted it in one of the rooms of
my house. I reported this to the Indian
Department and the men, who had acted
so judiciously in confiscating the vile
spirits, received each a reward of twenty
dollars from the Dominion Government.
Very touching stories reached us from
Nootka The Indians of this district,
having refused my services as a priest for
a long time, are not as well instructed as
they might have been. They were not
of real bad will, but the chief having lost
his only child the whole tribe went in'
mourning, the consequence being that
they excluded not only their games but
also the practice of religion. So that on
one occasion as I presented myself 1 was
told in the name of the chief, a true
pagan and bigamist, that my presence
was not required. Since then, however,
they have sent for me and seem to be
well disposed again, as I had occasion to
notice when I visited them last.
One of their young men, having
been sick a very long time and  feeling Vancouver Island and Its Mis
that his end was coming, sent for his
nearest relatives. This is usual with all
the Indians of this coast and the scenes
that are then enacted are sometimes
most touching.
The patient is duly prepared for the
arrival of the visitors. One comes in
after the other, the men stoically, the
women with a sad face and a weeping
voice, nod their heads to the patient;
then when they are all seated they all
begin to cry and lament and wail. The
noise which they make as they all join in
the songs of grief must be a torture to
the dying relative, but it is meant as a
compliment and it is taken as such ; it is
a matter of pride and deep consolation
to the living when not only near and
distant relatives call, but especially if the
chief and his subjects related to the
patient extend a visit of condolence.
After death it is always remembered who
did and who did not call and the feeling
of the living is good or bad toward their
neighbors in accordance with the fact
that they have or have not performed
this act of etiquette.
After a spell of crying and lamentations speeches are made by the chiefs
telling the patient to have a good heart,
reminding him of his acts of daring and
his success as a hunter, etc., when all
begin to retire, leaving only his nearest
relatives to whom he expresses his last
wishes, the disposition to be made of
his worldly possessions and many other
In this present case the poor young
fellow, after the above scenes and formalities had been gone through, being now
left alone with his mother, his stepfather and a half-brother, gave orders to
count the money which he had still left.
He had been a great sea-otter hunter
and very successful, especially the last
season. He then sent his half-brother
for a suit of new clothes which he put on
—the Indians always put on to the dying
their best clothes and blankets. Then
he sent for another suit and underclothes.     The   trader   told me that he
spent over one hundred dollars for
wearing apparel in his place, and the
orders of the dying man were that what
he could not put on should be enclosed
in the coffin or box in which his body
was put for burial.
It is a very curious custom, but in
most cases the coffin of the Indians contains not only the body, but also a great
many things dear to the dead one, such
as clothes, toys, money, his own and
also blankets presented for the purpose
by his friends. His favorite dog is killed,
his canoe split up, his watch or clock
destroyed ; anything and everything that
would remind the living of the dead relative is done away with and gotten out
of sight. As noticed already, articles or
parts of articles having belonged to an
enemy are also very often enclosed with
the body, the idea and belief being that
such a proceeding will have the effect of
causing sickness and death to an adversary.
The other case referred to was that of a
young man whose two little children had
died before him. He evidently expected
to join them in the next world, for shortly
before his death he sent a messenger to
the nearest trading station with orders to
buy such and such toys, at one time dear
to his little ones, and he ordered them
placed in the coffin with his own body the
moment his death would occur.
This was an old practice and the fact
that it existed before the arrival of a
priest on this coast proves that the
natives believed in a life after this life.
Were they not ahead of some of our civilized would-be scientists ?
1895.—Our Indians all over the coast
are well disposed ; the people of Hesquiat, with the exception of some old
men and women, being Catholics and
most of them very exemplary.
This being known seems to have excited the Presbyterian and Methodist
denominations, and their efforts to invade the coast are very pronounced.
Now that the Indians are more than
half civilized and are withal  peaceable Vancouver Island and Its Missions.
and docile, the sects will come and give
us trouble. A monthly steamer now also
visits the coast, as the government has
established a Scandinavian settlement at
Cape Scott, the northern end of the
island, and bound itself to carry the
mails and provisions once a month. With
these facilities of travel and the peaceful
behavior of the natives all along the
coast, the zeal of the Protestant ministers
has grown to the extent that they now
have established themselves at different
points on the coast. When a man's life
was in danger and when the only means
of traveling was an Indian canoe ; when
the mails reached us only once or twice a
year ... we were welcome to do alone
the work of converting the natives ; but
now with the present facilities and the
absence of danger, the ministers come
in sight to give us trouble and to pervert
our Indian children.
After mature reflection I made up my
mind to propose to our Bishop a plan
for his approbation. I would build in a
central part of the coast an industrial
school for boys and girls.
August.—We had a retreat for the
clergy last month. All the priests of the
diocese were present. Before returning
to my mission I spoke to the Bishop of
the idea of a boarding-school for our
children. His Lordship called on the
Indian agent, who promised that he
would obtain a grant for the support of
the teachers and children from the Dominion Government. Next I was sent
for and this same agent urged me to put
up the buildings at once, and said that
as soon as the school was occupied a per
capita grant would be available.
Everything we asked for was promised
by the agent, and so I returned to my
mission, rejoicing in the thought that
the efforts of the Protestant ministers
would be unsuccessful. If we could
keep the children from perversion, our
I a
orry to put on record that,
per letter from the head of our diocese,
abandon the idea of having a boarding-
school which, in my mind, is the only
means to save the fruits of my labors of
more than twenty years. But, it is so !
I must submit and be resigned to the
regulations of the one who rules over me
—my Bishop.
1896.—A young man representing the
Presbyterian Church is now stationed in
Ahousat. He is a school teacher by
profession, but he holds divine service
on Sunday. He established himself between two missions having a resident
priest. He will do nothing himself, but
he will report as a credit to himself, any
improvements these Indians will make,
and yet all the credit will belong to the
example of my people in Hesquiat, and
that of the Clayoquot tribe. And the
poor little children so anxious to learn
to read and to write will be perverted
without noticing it.
1897.—News has reached me that
Bishop Lemmens died in Guatemala.
So then we are again without a Bishop.
It is reported that he died of the fever
of that swampy country, where he had
gone to collect funds for his new cathedral in Victoria.    R.I.P.
1898, February.—This year opened
with sickness in the settlement. Whooping cough was brought here by a family
of visiting strangers. They were here
several days and their children having
the whooping cough communicated the
dreaded disease to our children. I have
my hands full just now,
February 15.—To-day, after a spell of
vain-glory, I feel terribly disappointed.
Here are the details : The night before
last I was called out about midnight to
visit the child of a young couple. They
wanted medical treatment for the coughing infant. It was a dark night but the
sky was cloudless. So then I took my
lantern, whistled for my dog and wended
my way in the direction of the village.
I noticed a light in some of the houses,
for there was sickness in almost all of
them. The wolves were howling in the
distance, and the Indian dogs were bark- Vancouver Island and Its Missions.
ing at the rising moon. The sea was
breaking against the shore, but there was
not a human soul to break the solemnity
and the monotony of the midnight hour.
Oh, what a wild, lonely country this is
after all ! In the home I was impatiently
expected; the grandparents, four of
them, and the young mother looked up
to me with eyes full of tears. . . The
child was very bad; the chest and lungs
very much affected. I administered the
usual remedies and returned home with
the expectation of having another funeral.
Yesterday I went over again; my patient
was much better and likely to recover;
this made me feel good and the thought
of vain-glory got the best of me. To-day
I feel bad; the child is dead. This
morning, as I went to church to ring my
bell for Mass, I found under the bell-
tower a small box containing all that was
mortal of the dear little child whom yesterday I prided myself on having treated
and restored to health.
April.—I lost a few days ago one
of the most sensible and most pious persons it has been my fortune to have in
my parish. This woman for several
years refused to become a Christian and
gave as a reason that she was afraid that
she might be tempted and return to the
old pagan practices. She was converted
at last and from the day of her reception
in the Church by baptism she attended
Mass every day of the week and was at
•church every Sunday twice. She had
made her first Communion and was confirmed ; and as her son was inclined to
be wild and thoughtless she never ceased
to warn him. Her last message to her
family, was to remain faithful to and follow the instructions of the priest. She
received the last sacraments and oh !
how touching it was to see her with her
beads in her hands ; and when she could
not speak any more raise up her hand
and point her finger towards heaven !
The faith of those people and the trust
they have in God at their last moments
are worthy of all admiration. I have assisted many good people at the hour of
death, but I have never been so much
edified as when I assisted this good woman a few days ago.
She was buried on Sunday morning
at the parochial Mass. Her husband
with his beads in hands said the prayers
aloud, to which the rest of the people
answered. I attempted to say a few
words, but the sadness in the church was
such that I broke down and cried with
the rest. Such a scene of sadness and
the feelings of sympathy expressed by the
good people cannot be described nor even
imagined by anybody who was not present at the funeral last Sunday morning.
God rest the good Indian woman and
may she pray for us !
May.—The rumor which reached us
some time ago that we have a new Bishop
proves to be true, for I have just received
a letter from Rev. A. Christie, of Minneapolis, inviting me to his consecration,
which is to take place on June 29, in
St. Paul, Minn. I know nothing about
Father Christie. But I wrote a letter of
congratulation to him and bade him welcome to Vancouver. Benedictus qui venit
in nomine Domini, and ad multos annos.
August.—Bishop Christie was consecrated in St. Paul, Minn , June 29th, and
arrived in his new diocese on the 5th of
August. He received a grand reception
from the people and his presence made a
good impression on them.
With new courage and the prospects of
an early visit to our missions by the new
prelate, I returned to my house in Hesquiat and began at once to prepare some
of my people for Confirmation.
1899.—I received a letter from Bishop
Christie with this message : '' Come to
Victoria at once. I want to consult with
you about building a boarding school for
the Indian children of the west coast. I
have just returned from Ottawa and have
obtained a per capita grant from the Government 'for fifty children. If we do not
accept the grant it will be given to one
of the sects ; your children will be perverted and you will lose the fruit of all
your labors." 88
Vancouver Island and Its Missions.
Since Bishop Lemmens had abandoned
the idea of such a school, as I had proposed to him five years ago, I had never
mentioned to him the advisability of the
undertaking since that time. It must
have become evident to the priests
nearer to the Bishop than myself that the
work was a real necessity for the salvation of our Indian children.
In Victoria the good Bishop Christie
explained all his plans. "But," said he,
" Father, we have no money to do the
work. However, let us commence at
once, Deus providelnt. Return to the
coast at the first opportunity, choose a
central location and I will send up lumber
and men to do the work."
I went back a few days later and
chose Clayoquot Sound as a location
easily accessible to all the Indians of the
At the foot of a mountain in Deception Channel I found and secured a large
piece of table land open to pre-emption
and away from all Indian settlements. It
is fifty feet above the surface of a fine
bay which at low water has a sandy beach
of more than twenty acres—a magnificent
playground for the children. It is also
in proximity to another bay, a real clam-
field, so that with a bay swarming with
salmon and other fish and a large field of
clams, the expense of supporting the
children will be considerably reduced and
their health will be benefited, for all our
people from their very infancy look upon
fish as their main food and they acknowledge that without fish they cannot live
and keep their health.
A few days later I received another
letter from Bishop Christie, announcing
that he was to leave us and go to Portland, Ore.. as the successor of Archbishop
Gross. The Archbishop-elect now told
me again to go ahead with the work, insisting that if the school was not built
now it would never be built, and that
either the Methodists or the Presbyterians
would get our grant and use it to pervert
our Catholic children. In the course of
conversation afterwards His   Grace told
me that he had talked the matter over
with his Vicar-General, and they had
come to the conclusion that as soon as
the work was well started I should go
abroad to collect the necessary funds.
"And," said he, " Father, let us go
ahead ; the work of your life will be
destroyed. It will be lost if we neglect
this chance offered by the Government.
We must put up the buildings and pay
for them ourselves, but the Indian
Department will by a generous yearly
grant do the rest. I have ordered the
lumber and the men will go up next
month; but when the buildings are
up, you will have to go East and ask
the good people out there to extend to
us a helping hand. And, Father, do not
be uneasy; you will do well. The
people out there do not know what you
are doing for the salvation of souls; I
had no idea of it myself before coming
here. Do not prepare any lectures, but
speak to the people as you speak to us.
. . . The priests will allow you to speak
in their churches; whatever you get
from their people will not affect them. I
have experienced that m) self when I was-
rector of St. Stephen's church in Minneapolis."
October.—Our school is now built. . .
Twenty-five years have now elapsed
since I first set foot on the western shore
of Vancouver Island. When I first met
the inhabitants of that desolate coast, they
were savage, immoral and treacherous.
Their dwellings were hovels of filth and
misery; their attire a blanket of cedar-
bark, dog's hair or other inferior article;
they were addicted to witchcraft and innumerable superstitious practices. All
alone in the wilderness, deprived of the
company of friends or white men, with no
mails except once or twice a year, I have
spent many mournful seasons without
seeing any encouraging results of my
arduous labors.
But God has been kind to me and has-
granted me the grace to persevere, and Vancouver Island and Its Missions.
has rewarded my labors by the conversion of many of my poor people. With
Christianity, they have adopted civilization. The people immediately under my
charge are now, as a whole, docile and
law abiding. They have used their
earnings to improve their material conditions. They have built neat and clean
dwelling houses; they dress well, both
men and women, after the fashion of
civilized people; they are regular at
church and at the Sacraments. Visitors
are edified to see them at church and do
not cease praising them for the spectacle
they present when at their devotions.
. They look more like a congregation of
white people than one of native Indians.
It is to be regretted that now, when
these people have so much improved by
our instructions, outsiders should come:
that Methodist and Presbyterian ministers should intrude and sow discord
amongst them. Yet it was to be expected, for it is their pride, not to
civilize savage nations, but to pervert
them, after the Catholic priests have
converted them to Christianty, and sown
the seed of civilization.    Our case is not
an exceptional one, but it is none the
less saddening and painful.
However, with the grace of God, no
means will be spared to protect our
people. It may have been rash on our
part to put up for our dear Indian
children, with the object that they may
not be perverted, the buildings of a
central boarding-school for which we
have to pay, although we have not the
means. But under the protection of
St. Joseph, and with the assistance of
St. Antony, we hope to be able to
secure the necessary funds to pay for the
work just completed, the Indian Boarding School in St. Mary's Bay, Clayoquot Sound, Vancouver Island.
With the blessing of Archbishop
Christie, and his best wishes of "God
speed," I must now set out and ask the
good Catholics of the Eastern States to
extend a helping and generous hand to
bring this work, in all probability the
last of my life, to a successful issue.
A. J. Brabant,
Hesquiat, W. Coast,
Vancouver Island, Canada.
October, 1899.        37-3 mm  


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