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A sketch of the successful missionary work of William Duncan amongst the Indian tribes in northern British… Begg, Alexander, 1825-1905 1901

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Buccessft&Missioeary Work
Imdlaffi Tribes'wh
■ prolyl$58 to 190
P^SlP^^^ BEGCi
1 llHIIBfflBBH
VICTORIA, B. C. 1901.
$§$&?$§§§$§§$$§$$$ ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^$$^^. note
1ppf,fehe left hiL^Ccorne^^^lie frontispiece is the^jOld Church," buitt by3V£r.
A^^li^T^fp'unca^^^tfi^l?c^ilised ^^^^^|^l^^_»l'^n'buiUling ajid several
others were destroyed by fire,^fe'C^^^19pl« "
The otHeVp^^^ll^o the right, fehq^itbe eil^view of the " New Church/'
which ^Sl&tmilt by 3®p|3uiicajQ^^<lJ^^^4^an w^° followed him to the Island
of Annette;,@pew Metlakahtla,|y^;JS^tt,ot€he chui^t T^f* native band is pie-
tur^d_,?;^fe other gildings represent fh|> tpwn htal^ school buildings^ hospital,
store, ^c^a^pfe^^^^The site of the ^w^ffi^^' is springy, ^tjut > has * elevation
sufficient for thorough drairia^fc j
The folio wing pages hav^'tegtfv<coinpiled ^6 *|fii'fc the appreciation "of Mt.v
Diiiftcan^s great worjt among »the.Indians^^ misrepresentations. THE LIBRARY
On a romantic island named Annette,
one of the Gravina group, situated near
the entrance or southern end of Clarence
Strait, and nearly opposite the southeast portion of Prince of Wales island
(southeastern Alaska), there is a flourishing colony of native Indians. An interesting story is connected with the settlement of this colony. It is located on
the northwestern corner of Annette
island, and on the map reaches to the
55th degree of latitude, facing Dixon
Entrance, a large strait or opening connecting with the Pacific ocean. To the
south of Annette island there is a
smaller island which has been named
"Duke island"; but why, it is not explained, for Captain Vancouver in his
early explorations named another island
north of Revilla Gigedo, "Duke of York
island." That name has been expunged,
and the name Etolin substituted on the
modern maps. When Has Royal Highness the Duke of York and His Royal
Consort visits British Columbia, the
original name should be restored to the
island, so named by Captain George
Annette island, or as it is sometimes
called New Metlakahtla colony, only
dates back, as a colony, to 1886—prior
to that time it was entirely uninhabited;
but the work of civilizing the natives of
the Tsimshean nation began at Port
Simpson in 1857. A missionary, William
Duncan, arrived that year from England,
in connection with the Church Society,
in a Hudson Bay company's ship, ami
afttr a short stay at Camosun (Victoria),
and with the full consent and countenance of Governor Sir James Douglas,
proceeded north to Port Simpson, which
was the centre of an Indian settlement
at that time and headquarters of nine
branches of the Tsimshean tribe with
chiefs; numbering then a population of
about twenty-five hundred.
To the study of Tsimshean language,
Mr. Duncan immediately devoted himself. It is stated that with the assistance of an Indian named Clah, who had
for some years acted as interpreter at^lra]
fort,  he  first  went through an English 1
dictionary, and taking some 1,500 of the
most essential words, soon obtained the
Tsimshean   equivalents  for    them.     He
next, by various contrivances, succeeded
in   getting   some   1,100   short; sentences
written down. Mr. Duncan lost no opportunity of trying to establish friendly relations with the natives. He would often
take Clah, as his interpreter, and go and j
pay a round of visits.
Whilst engaged in the ~s£udy of-^hfej
language, Mr. Duncan had ample* <yjP|
portunity of observing the state of wild
lawlessness and recklessness of human
life which characterized the people with
whom he had cast his lot. Murder was
frequent, but was committed out of
revenge or superstition sometimes secretly.
By the summer of 1858, Mr. Duncan
had made such progress in learning the
language of the natives, that he was able
to engage with them in religious services.
At first he opened a school at the house
of one of the chiefs. Soon a log school
house was erected. The attendance increased to about two hundred pupils, including children and adults; among the
latter  were  numbered several  chiefs.
Port Simpson is descri||||| as having
been at that time, "a fortified trading
post of the Hudson Bay company." It
was protected by palisades of heavy
timber; massive gates and flanked by
four bastions with galleries on which
cannon were mounted, and strongly gar.
risoned with.*i||lemen. Those tribes were
notorious on the whole for their cruel,
blood-thirsty savagery—given up they
were to dark superstition and atrocious
habits of cannibalism—constantly waging
merciless wars upon the neighboring
The first attempt to introduce the
gospel in the Indian language by Mr.
Duncan has been described as follows:
H^ went around the Indian camp, and
from each chief requested permission to
address h<is people—a request which was
readily  granted.    When  the    apPoi„Il|^ti A NATIVE INDIAN COLONY.
day arrived, it turned out very wet, and
as the time drew near for the gathering
in the first chiefs house it poured in
torrents. In spite of this drawback upwards of a hundred men had assembled.
Telling the Indians to shut the door, he
knelt down and prayed that God would
give him strength and power of utterance. Then he read his address to them.
All were attentive, and showed plainly
enough by their looks that they understood, and to some extent appreciated
what was being said. After the address
they at once complied with his request
that they would keep still whilst he
prayed to God to bless the work thus
At the house of the next chief all was
in readiness, a canoe-sail having been
spread for Mr. Duncan to stand upon,
and a box covered with a mat, placed
as a seat. About 150 persons were present, and again all were most attentive,
and reverent during prayer. In this manner each of the other seven divisions of
the tribe were visited in succession, the
gathering in each case taking place in
the chief's house. The friendly reception, the care with which the requisite
preparations had been made and the
thoughtful attention with which he was
listened to, were all sources of encouragement. The smallest congregation was
90—the largest 200. In the house where
there were over 200 present there was
some confusion, but the moment prayer
was begun they were perfectly silent. In
all about 900 persons, including some
strangers from surrounding tribes, thas
for the first time, heard the sound of the
Towards the middle of July, 1858, Mr.
Duncan determined to give a second public address t© the people. As the preparation of a sermon in Tsimshean was
still a work of considerable labor, and
as he was soon continuously engaged,
not only with his school work, but with
evening classes and Sunday services for
the residents in the fort, it wais not
until near the end of July that he was
able to make this second attempt to
bring home to the people the real object
of his coming among them. As on the
first occasion,   he  went  to  each  of the
tribal  divisions  separately,   and,   indeed, v
followed throughout   precisely the same
plan of proceeding.
It was next decided that a school
house should be erected, and as the Indian settlement extended along the shore
on both sddes of the fort, it was necessary, in order that it .should be as central
as possible, that the school house which
Mr. Duncan proposed to have built
should be erected close to the fort. The
Indians were anxious to render every assistance in completing the new building,,
and under Mr. Duncan's direction the
timbers were soon cut at a spot some
distance along the coast, hauled down to
the beach, formed into a raft and floated
down to the settlement. In making a
great effort to raise a heavy log one of
the workmen suddenly fell dead. This
occurrence delayed the building for a few
days. After considerable palaver, to
remove superstitious ideas, the work was
continued and nothing further occurred
to hinder  its completion.
By the 17th of November the school
house was finished and furnished with
about fifty forms and desks, manufactured by the Indians. The former scholars, on the opening of the new school,
mshed eagerly to take their place. One
of them proudly mounted the platform
underneath the "steel," which served for
a bell. Not only did some fifty adults"
and the same number of children at once
enroll themselves as regular attendants,
but the chiefs of four out of the nine
tribes signified their intention of discontinuing their former heathenish practices
and ceremonies. The yearly period for
entering upon the "medicine work," had
come round, and the "medicine men"
were greatly exercised at the success
with which Mr. Duncan was meeting.
Indeed his chief opponents were the
medicine men, who nearly broke up the
work wMch he had so successfully begun.
One of the head chiefs, Legaic, whose
house was in close proximity to the
school house, became irritated by the
striking of the "steel," and by the scholars constantly passing and repassing his
door, and was instigated to appeal to the
governor of the fort to induce Mr. Dun-*-
can to close his school for at least the A NATIVE INDIAN COLONY.
month during which the mystic medicine
ceremonies were at their height. After
a long consultation with the officers of
ihe fort, Mr. Duncan decided to go on as
usual. The chief then came down in his
demands to a fortnight, declaring that if
the school was not closed for that time,
he would shoot any of the pupils who
continued to attend. In spite of this,
however, Mr. Duncan not only went on
with his work as usual, but induced as
many as eighty scholars to continue a
pretty regular attendance.
Another proposition then was that four
days should be allowed free of interruption. This again was refused. Next day
a message came from Chief Legaie to
know whether Mr. Duncan intended to
persevere in holding school that day —
the answer was in the affirmative.
During the morning all went on as
usual; but, in the afternoon. Legale, with
a party of "medicine men," came up
and in an angry voice ordered the boy
who was about to strike the "steel" to
cease. Then, Legaie, with some seven
of his followers, entered the school room,
the rest standing about the door. His
first object was to drive out the few
scholars who had. already collected, and
shouting at the top of his voice, bade
them be off. Mr. Duncan at once came
forward. A parley ensued, which lasted
more than an hour. When finding that
all his efforts could neither persuade nor
intimidate Mr. Duncan, Legale at last
withdrew. Some sixteen scholars being
still left in the room, school was resumed.
A writer describing the difficulties and
dangers Mr. Duncan had to encounter
says: 'To those who know the Indian
character, to say nothing of the personal
reputation of Legaie for blood-thirsty
cruelty and uncontrollable violence of
temper, the whole affair seemed well
nigh incomprehensible. Here was a
man—the greatest chief not only in that
locality, but in the surrounding country,
to whom precedence and the place of
honor would at once have been accorded
amongst the chiefs of any tribe living
within a radius of sixty miles—a man,
too, who had scarcely known to have
his will disputed in the smallest matter,
and who had never before hesitated to
sacrifice the life of any who opposed him
—'thwarted and set at nought, and that,
too, not only in a matter in which all
his strongest feelings were concerned,
but openly, in the presence both of his
tribe and of strangers. And yet the
comparative stranger who had ventured
thus to set him at defiance seemed likely to enjoy a perfect immunity from
harm, and to be destined, powerless as
h* really was, to carry out his own
plans without further let or hindrance."
The narrator adds: "We can hardly
doubt that, humanly speaking, Mr. Duncan owed his life on this occasion to the
friendship and determined character of
the one Indian—'Clah, whom he had especially made his friend."
Threats of violence to the scholars if
they continued to attend were again renewed, so Mr. Duncan decided to.make
arrangements for holding school, for a
short time, in another part of the camp.
There was no difficulty in inducing one
of the chiefs, who had throughout held
firm to the intention of abandoning the
medicine mysteries, to lend his house for
the purpose; and there, accordingly, the
day after the scene described, the school
was re-opened, and upwards of a hundred scholars attended. The result of
the victory gained by Mr. Duncan was
greater than he had ventured to expect.
It gave a death blow to the "'medicine
system," although, of course, a custom
which for ages had been so universal,
and so unhesitatingly accented, and
lound which so many traditions and
superstitions clustered, was not likely
to be set aside at once.
Christmas (1858) having arrived was
devoutly observed by Mr. Duncan's flock.
About 200 gathered to celebrate. It is recorded that on this occasion Mr. Duncan dispensed with his written address,
and succeeded better than he expected.
He set before his hearers "the love of
God and His hatred for sin, and then
enumerated the various sins, especially
of drunkenness amongst the men and
profligacy amongst the women, of which.
they were guilty, and could see that lis
warnings as to their present and future
consequences went home to the consciences of many."
Tmmediatelv after Christmas, Mr. Duncan again  took  possession   of   his   own A NATIVE INDIAN COLONY.
school house, and was soon hard at work
with a large and increasing number of
scholars. Has first difficulty, it is explained, had been how to deal with such
large numbers at once; but by dividing
them into classes, and carefully adjusting the work which each class was to
do, he was able to make fair progress.
Has next and chief anxiety was how best
to make the school work subserve the
primary object of Christianizing the people. As a rule, both on opening and
closing school, he would give a short address on some passage or narrative of
the Bible; he would then make the whole
school, children and adults, learn one or
two texts in their own language, and
repeat them together. These he would
explain again and again, taking care
that a text once learnt should be repeated sufficiently often, at various times,
to fix it deeply in the mind. A. B.
At the end of the first two years of
Mr. Duncan's missionary labors at Fort
Simpson, the progress of the work was
such that in his own mind he formed the
plan of a general exodus from amongst
the heathen brethren at the fort, to be
constituted as a separate Christian settlement, where their young children could
be brought up in a purer atmosphere,
and their young men and women could
be freed from the contaminating influences which surrounded them.
Circumstances favored the project. Dr.
Hills, the first British Columbia Episcopal bishop, arrived in 1860, and took a
warm interest in Mr. Duncan's labors.
The Governor of the colony, Sir James
Douglas, also was a warm friend, 4and
had confidence in Mr. Duncan's propositions. That year, 1860, an assistant
missionary. Rev. L. S. Tugwell, with
his wife, arrived at Port Simpson. The
Hudson Bay company, not having the
required accommodation for the newcomers, a dwelling house was erected. A
new school house also was built, as the
old school house was found to be too
small. The new building was 76 feet
long by 36 feet wide. Owing, however,
to the incessant rains during the summer,
the building was not completed until the
end  of  1861.    On the first  day  of the
opening, 400 Indians were present. During the whole of the winters of 1860-61
the Sunday congregations numbered
from 200 to 300. There were always
three services each Sunday—two for
adults,  and one for children.
On the 26th of July, 1861, an open
profession of the faith of the converts
was made by Mr. Tugwell, baptizing
23 persons—19 adults, 14 men, 5 women
and 4 children. Mr. Duncan, soon after
Mr. 'Tugwell's arrival at Port Simpson,
informed him of the intention to remove
as soon as possible to the site of a
former Indian village at Metlakahtla,
some twenty miles distant, and there
gather around him, as the nucleus of a
Christian settlement, such of the converts at Port Simpson as could be induced to join him.
The sea frontage at Port Simpson was
so crowded that no new houses could be
built; there was no available land for
garden purposes and industrial training
for the young. The Christian Indians
were most anxious to escape from the
sights and thraldom of heathenism, and
from the persecution consequent upon
their having to live in the same houses
with heathen and drunkards. School
operations would be put on a more satisfactory footing, as the imparting of secular knowledge would thus be limited
to those who had embraced the Gospel,
whereas the sowing it broadcast among
the heathen who, having heard had rejected the Gospel, seemed to Mr. Duncan
likely to result in much evil. Those were
some of the most potent reasons for
Mr. Duncan in May, i860, went to inspect the site of the proposed new station, leaving the school in charge of two
of the elder boys. He was accompanied
in a large canoe with a crew of three
boys and ten young men. About noon,
the second day out, they arrived at the
site of the villages originally occupied
by the Timsheans, before they had been
induced to move for trading purposes to
Port Simpson, which, as affording the
most convenient place of call for the
sailing vessels, had been selected by the
Hudson Bay company as their chief trading depot on the coast. Those villages
had been deserted about twenty-five
The next visit to Metlakahtla was
made in the autumn of the same year,
when Mr. Duncan spent a fortnight helping and directing a number of Indians,
whom he brought with him, to dram
and clear the proposed site for the new
village. That latter step was taken
under the impression that in the course
of the summer of 1861 Mr. Tugwell
would be able to move to the new station;
but this was not to be, as the moisture
and constant rains, which were the chief
feature of the climate at Fort Simpson
before that time, told so prejudicially
upon his health, that he was obliged to
make immediate arrangements for returning to England. This change necessitated the delay of the proposed removal
until the spring of the following year,
Mr. Duncan held frequent meetings
with those who were inclined to remove
with him to Metlakhtla, and strongly
impressed upon them the necessity of
framing some regulations of a social nature to be adopted in the new settlement.
The following were formulated and
agreed to: 1. To give up their "Ahlied,:'
or Indian deviltry. 2. To cease calling
in conjurors when sick. 3. To cease
gambling. 4. To cease giving away
their property for display. 5. To
cease painting their faces. 6. To
(ease drinking intoxicating drink. 7. To
rest on the Sabbath. 8. To attend religious instruction. 9. To send their children to school. 10. To be cleanly. 11.
TO be industrious. 12. To be peaceful.
13. To be liberal and honest in trade. 11.
To build neat houses. 15. To pay the
village tax.
Everything was ready to move by the
12th of May, 1862. Mr. Duncan commenced pulling down the large school
house and formed the materials into a
raft, which two days later he sent off to
the new site. Before leaving. Mr. Duncan paid a farewell visit to each tribe
separately, addressing the chiefs and
tribes assembled in the chiefs' houses.
In spite of the improvements which had
taken place, a large proportion of the
Indians yet continued steeped in drunkenness and heathenism. To many the surrendering of their national customs, ceasing to. give away, tear up, and receive
blankets, etc., for display, dropping their
demoniacal rites, which had hitherto and
for ages filled up their time and engrossed
all their care during so many months of
the year, giving up the ceremonies performed over the sick, laying aside
gambling and ceasing to paint their
faces, was like cutting off the right hand
or plucking out the right eye.
Final preparations for the flitting were
completed by the 27th of May. Those
who had prepared to go embarked in six
canoes and numbered in all about fifcy
souls, men, women and children. Many
others gathered in groups on the beach,
sitting down and watching the departure with solemn and anxious faces,
whilst not a few were earnest in their
protestations of their intention to follow
very shortly. "As we pushed off," writes
Mr. Duncan, "the party with me seemed
filled with solemn joy, feeling that their
long-Iooked-for-flitting had actually commenced. I felt we were beginning an
eventful page in the history of this poor
people, and earnestly sighed to God for
his help and blessing."
Next day, the little fleet arrived safely
at its destination. They found the Indians who had come on ahead with she
raft, hard at work, clearing ground and
sawing planks. They had erected two
temporary houses and planted a quantity
of potatoes. For the next two days all
were actively engaged in selecting and
marking out sites for the gardens and
houses, and making the requisite preparations for building and planting. On
the 6th of June, to the great joy of all,
a fleet of about thirty canoes, which
were recognized as coming from Port
Simpson, made their appearance. They
proved to contaiin some 300 souls, forming nearly the whole of the tribe of
Keetlahn, with two of their chiefs.
They had fled from an outbreak of
smallpox, increasing the population of
the new settlement to between 600 and
700 souls. The first undertaking was
necessarily the building the new village;
A liberal contribution from Governor
Douglas of 150 w&ndow sashes and 600
pounds of nails, was received, and assisted greatly. The officers and crew of
one of Her Majesty's warships stationed
on the coast also contributed considerable cash to assist the laudable work.
Thirty-five houses, averaging thirty-four
feet by eighteen, and each having four
windows,   were   soon   erected.     Several 6
families stdll lived under the same roof,
nor could they yet be persuaded to partition their houses into separate compartments, economy of fuel and the love
of company being the chief inducements
to then* adhering in this respect to their
former habits.
In various parts of settlement, one
hundred plots of garden ground were
duly measured out and registered, and
prepared for cultivation. A large, strong,
octagon building was also commenced,
intended to serve, for a time, the purposes both of a church and school, and
capable of holding nearly 700 people
This was finished, and the first service
held in it on the 20th of December, 1862.
Up to this time Mr. Duncan had service
three times every Sunday, either in the
open air or in his own log house, and a
class for religious instruction and worship every week-day evening.
Shortly after the opening of the octagon building, Mr. Duncan writes:
"About 400 to 600 souls attended Divine
service on Sundays, and are being governed by Christian and civilized laws.
About 100 children are attending the
day school and 100 adults the evening
school. About forty of the young men
have formed themselves into two classes
and meet for prayer and exhorting each
other. The instruments of the medicine
men, which have spell-bound this nation
for ages, have found their way into my
house, and are most cheerfully and willingly given up. Customs which from the
very foundation of Indian government
have been abandoned because they have
an evil tendency. Feasts are now characterized by order and good will, and begin and end with the offering of thanks
to the giver of all good. . . Scarcely
a soul remains away from Divine service,
excepting the sick and their nurses.
Evening family devotions are common
to almost every house; and, better than
all, I hope that many have experienced
a real change of heart."
Mr. Duncan had, besides, about 100
children who attended morning and
afternoon; also a class of about 100
adults, to whom he gave simple lectures
on geography, astronomy, natural history
and morals, a plan which he found that
the Indians greatly appreciated, the attendance being often much larger than
tli'at  given  as the  average.    The  work
which Mr. Duncan accomplished is marvellous. He relates the end of a most
notorious cannibal chief, Quthray, who
had given much trouble and opposition to
Mr. Duncan, when he came to Fort
Simpson, but who had joined those who
left Fort Simpson at the exodus. In
the new settlement he had been for
some time one of the most earnest and
regular attendants at the instruction
class of candidates for baptism. Towards
the end of the summer of 1862 Quthray had been seized with a dangerous
illness from which there was evidently
little hope of his recovery. Mr. Duncan
visited him constantly; and as "he had
long and earnestly desired baptism, and
expressed in the clearest terms his repentance for his sins, and his faith in
the Saviour of sinners," had promised
that he himself would baptize him, unless a clergyman should in the meantime
arrive from Victoria—a promise for
which he had expressed his greatest
Intelligence having been brought to
Mr. Duncan, one morning, that the sicK
man was much worse, and apparently
dying, he felt he could no longer delay in
redeeming his promise, and thus describes his visit: "I found the sufferer
apparently on the very verge of eternity,
but quite sensible, supported by his wife
on one side, and another woman on the
other, in a sitting position on his lowly
couch, spread upon the ground. I addressed him at once, reminding him of
the promise I had made to him, and
why. I also spoke some words of advice
to him, to which he paid the most earnest attention, though his cough would
scarcely permit him to have a moment's
lest. A person near expressed a fear
that he did not understand what I said,
being so weak and near death; but he
quickly, and with great emphasis, exclaimed: 'I hear—I understand.' While
I was praying, his countenance was mo _t
lovely. With his face upward, he seemed to be deeply engaged in prayer. I
baptized him, and gave him the name of
Philip Atkinson. I earnestly besougnt.
the Lord to ratify in Heaven, what He
had permitted me to do in His name,
and to receive the soul of the poor dying
penitent before Him. He had the same
resignation and peace which he had
evinced throughout his sickness, weeping A NATIVE INDIAN COLONY.
for his sins, depending all upon the
Saviour, confident of pardon and rejoicing in hope.
"This is the man of whom I have had
to write more than once. Oh, the dreadful and revolting things which I have
witnessed him do! He was one of the
two principal actors in the first horrid
scene I saw at Port Simpson, about four
years and a half ago, an account of
which I sent home; namely, that of a
poor slave woman being murdered in cold
blood, thrown on the beach, and then
torn to pieces and eaten by two naked
savages, who were supported by a crew
of singers, and the noise of drums. This
man was one of those naked cannibals.
Glorious change! See him, clothed, in
his right mind, weeping—weeping sore
for his sins—expressing to all around
him firm belief in the Saviour, and dying
in peace. Bless the Lord for all His
goodness!" A. B.
To assist in managing the affairs of
the colony, Mr. Duncan selected ten
men, whom he constituted constables,
and who, with the three chiefs, formed
a sort of village council. No intoxicating
drinks were admitted, drunkenness was
therefore a vice entirely unknown. Some
few, on their visits to Port Simpson,
transgressed; and "two whose cases
were clearly proved, and admitted of no
extenuating circumstances, were banished from the settlement." A tax was
levied for public improvements. The decision was arrived at by the village
council that a yearly tax of one blanket,
or two dollars and a half for every adult
male, should be levied for helping to
carry on the proposed public works which
were: 1. To make a road round the
village. 2. To build two good sized
houses for the accommodation of strange
Indians coming for the purpose of trade.
3. To fix rests on the shore for canoes
when unemployed, and to lay slides for
moving the canoes along the beach and
into the water at low tides. 4. To sink
wells, to form a public playground, etc.
Those public works which provided
employment, for the adult population,
kept them away from labor markets
which presented temptations too strong
and vices too fascinating for the Indian
in his then morally infantile condition to
resist. With the same view the preparation of articles for exportation to Victoria, such as salt, smoked fish, fish
grease, dried berries, furs, etc., was encouraged. Mr. Duncan, at the same
time, laid his plans for the successful
operation of this branch of labor, which
would render the settlement independent
of the visits of the very objectionable
class of men employed in running small
vessels up the coast, and whose chief
trade was in intoxicating drinks. It was
known that "the visits of these traders
to the Indian camps were invariably
marked by murder and the very maddest
riots. Family ties were broken. A
young man, under the influence of firewater, will shoot his wife or his mother,
his sister or his brother; and if he be
spared through the revel, he awakens to
bitter remorse, and becomes desperate.
The peace of tribes is broken; war begins,
blood is shed, and wounds made which
will take generations of time to heal, and
for which many innocent lives may have
to compensate."
The plan proposed was to purchase a
small vessel, to be subscribed for by the
Indians themselves in sums of $5 or $7—
or the equivalent in furs. An indirect
advantage likely to arise from
the adoption of this plan was, having
the vessel in their own hands the Indians would be sure to take more interest
in it, and be more ready to exert themselves to keep it well and profitably employed. Mr. Duncan having laid those
views before the colonial government received a grant of $500 towards the required vessel. During the year 1863, the
Indians subscribed $400; the balance
was made up by Mr. Duncan himself,
who paid $1,500 for the schooner, and
commenced, at his own risk, to supply
the villagers with goods, and to convey
their produce for sale to Victoria.
The venture proved quite successful.
On the trip south the '^Carolina" brought
down fish oil, furs, Indian food, etc., and
returning brought all the goods requisite
for a village store, and for traffic with
the surrounding tribes. A meeting of
those interested in the vessel was called
after a few months' time, and after provision had been made for the current expenses, new sails, anchors, etc., a dividend was declared of $25 on each sharo. A NATIVE INDIAN COLONY.
When the dividend money was given to
the Indians, they were much puzzled, but
after the transaction was fully explained
to them, they were highly pleased, and
proposed to name the schooner "Ahah,"
or "Slave," as she did all the work, and
they got the profit. Mr. Duncan's share
of the profits were devoted entirely ~;o
the objects of the mission. The actual
management of the vessel was soon entrusted to the Indians themselves. Then-
conduct was everything that could be
desired. One of them was registered in
Victoria a si master, and another as supercargo.
A writer in the Victoria Colonist, in
1S64, describing the success of the settlement, remarks: "Mr. Duncan has been
working hard to ascertain what his people's inclinations and abilities are, so as
to class their occupation, and has in a
great measure succeeded. He has now a
number at work making shingles, building a new mission house, road-making,
hunters, sawyers, etc. He has also
taught them to make clogs for themselves, which are much prized. Those
who break the laws are tried for the
offence, and, if found guilty are sentenced
to labor on public works. The settlement is assuming quite an imposing
aspect. There are at present eight substantial houses in course of construction,
and many inquiring for sites. The constables, eighteen in number (who are
volunteers and desire no pay), do their
duty admirably, without fear, favor or
prejudice, and are held in awe by transgressors. No sooner was it announced
that the vessel was about to proceed to
Victoria, and was prepared to receive
orders to execute, than the people flocked to it with commissions for every conceivable variety of goods, including even
wall paper and household furniture."
The Bishop of Columbia on his first
visit from Victoria to the Indian settlement, in 1863, for the purpose of administering baptism to the natives, thus
describes his meeting with Mr. Duncan:
"The Christian Indian settlement of Metlakahtla lies retired upon a recess of the
bay, and is marked by a row of substantial wooden houses. An octagon building
is the school, and a flag stands near,
upon which ascended the national flag
when we hove in sight; a gun was fired
to announce our    approach.    We could
soon distinguish a canoe putting off to
us, and presently it approached, flying
a flag. It was a large canoe, which had
a warlike appearance, manned by ten
Indians, and in it was seated Mr. Duncan, the missionary of Metlakahtla.
After resting for the night, it was arranged that as the greater proportion of
Mr.. Duncan's Indians were away fishing
at the Naas river, that he and the
Bishop should visit the fishing stations
and invite candidates for baptism to return to Metlakahtla."
At Naas village they found about 5,000
Indians collected from all parts—from
islands of the sea, from the Russian territory, from the coast and from the interior. They were decked out in all their
finery. "Their costumes were strange
and fantastic; their faces were painted
red and black; they wore feathers on
their heads, and imitations of wild
beasts on their dresses. The scene was
a singular and animated one." It was the
"eulachan," fishing season which attracts
every year large numbers of Indians.
"The fish are caught in vast quantities.
Some of them are dried in the sun, others
are pressed for the sake of the oil or
grease, which has a market value as being superior to cod-liver oil, and which
the natives use as butter with their dried
salmon. The season is most important
to them; the supply lasts them for the
year." An assembly of 200, principally
Metlakahtlans, gathered around—some
sitting on the ground, others standing.
The Bishop's address was interpreted by
Mr. Duncan. Several hymns were sung.
A prayer in Tsimshean was offered by
Mr. Duncan. The Bishop remarked on
the difference between the Metlakahtla
Indians and the heathen. The former
even at their ordinary fishing work were
comparatively "clean, bright, cheerful,
intelligent and well-mannered; they had
evidently risen in the scale of human beings. Christianity had elevated them intellectually, morally and even physically.
Here, too, they were under the disadvantage of being away from their village,
and in a temporary abode. There were
a few heathens with them who had been
used to fish with them in former days.
They were painted red or blackened, and
were dirty and forbidding, making the
contrast more striking."
The Bishop, accompanied by Mr. Dun- A NATIVE INDIAN COLONY.
can, made a further visit up Naas river
to the village of Nikah, where they
were met by about 160 natives who had
quickly assembled. "There were chiefs;
there were medicine men, with their red
rings of bark on the head; there were
cannibals and dog-eaters, some with
faces painted fierce red, others black and
red." The visitors then returned to their
ship, the Devestation, at Fort Simpson.
It was arranged that the candidates for
baptism then at Naas river, should proceed the eighty miles back to Metlakahtla. They did not make the slightest
objection to leaving the nets and fishing
during the time absent. The Bishop
reached the settlement on Saturday,
when preliminaries were engaged in, preparing the catechumens to receive the
rite of baptism which was to be administered to fifty-six of the candidates, who
assembled in the church building, which
is described as "a bare and unfinished
octagon of logs and spars— a mere barn
—sixty feet by sixty, capable of containing 700 persons. The roof was partly
open at the top; and, though the weather
was still cold (April 19th), there was no
fire. A simple table, covered with a
white cloth, upon which stood three hand-
basins of water, served for the font. The
Bishop officiated in a suiplice. On the
same day fourteen children were also
Before his departure, the Bishop gave
a feast of rice and molasses to all the
village. "They assembled in the octagon. Cloths were laid; all brought their
cwn dishes and spoons. There were
three tables, at each of which one of the
chiefs presided. Their custom is to eat
little at the time, but take away the
principal part of the allotted portion; all
rise before and after the meal, for grace.
Singing was then introduced; and excellent certainly were the strains of harmony poured forth in the English tongue.
Several well known rounds were capitally sung. First a boat song; then 'God
Save the Queen.' In this they were as
quick and lively as any children in the
world, the men joining, too, in good
time, voices sweet and soft."
Having thus traced Mr. Duncan's
work through its initial stages for a
period of five years (1S57-63), the following quotation from the words of the
Bishop  of Columbia,  which  express  ais
own personal experience, and the unanimous testimony of those who have been
able to watch the work in its gradual
development: "To a worthy, zealous,
and gifted lay brother, is this the reward
of his loving and patient labors. Pew
would believe what Mr. Duncan has gone
through during the past four years and
a half. Truly is the result an encouragement to us all. It will probably be
the commencement of an important movement amongst Other tribes, of which we
already have signs, and should call forth
a very earnest effort on the part of the
church to send forth a faithful and efficient band of additional laborers for this
harvest of immortal souls."
The history of the next two years
(1864-66) is one of uninterrupted progress, both in spiritual and secular matters. Respecting the former portion of
the time, Mr. Duncan writes: "The
officiating clergyman for the time was
Rev. R. Dundas, one of the clergy of
the British Columbia mission. A great
number are now preparing for baptism,
and I hope that very soon the whole settlement wall be Christian. The Sunday
services continue to be attended by congregations varying from 300 to 400. On
Sunday evenings a meeting is held, after
which there is singing and prayers; and
not only in the settlement is good being
done, but wherever these Indians go they
carry their religion with them, always
assembling themselves together for worship on Sunday, and getting as many
of the heathen to join them as possible."
"Early in 1864 Mr. Duncan was cheered by the arrival of a fellow-laborer—
sent out by the Church Missionary Society—the Rev. R. A. Doolan, of Caius
College, Cambridge. He, accompanied
by a native catechist, Samuel Marsden,
was appointed to take charge of one of
the highest villages, up the Naas river,
about 100 miles distant from the head
mission. Aided by several Christian Indians from Metlakahtla, Mr. Doolan was
soon able to establish a flourishing mission station, which by reports, as late
as 1871, was still doing a most important work. This was the first distinct offshoot from Mr. Duncan' happily
A Roman Catholic gentleman, who had
in 1866 spent some months in visiting the
northern parts of British Columbia,
wrote to the Nanaimo Tribune an account of the visit to Metlakahtla. He
"Though not of the same denomination as Mr. Duncan, and having no interest to subserve by my advocacy of his
great claims to the respect and gratitude
of all true Christians for his meritorious
services in the good cause, it is with
feelings of the utmost pleasure that 1
bear testimony to the great good effected
by this worthy man during his period of
self-exile at Metlakahtla. Some time
ago reports were industriously circulated
that his influence over the aborigines
was rapidly on the wane, and that he
used every means to prevent people from
trading with the vessels calling at the
mission. With regard to the first assertion, it is simply ridiculous. The confidence reposed in Mr. Duncan by his
dusky flock has never for a moment been
shaken, in fact is daily on the increase,
as the many additions to the population
from outside sources will attest, as well
as the alacrity with which he is obeyed
in every command having for its object
the good of the community.
"A notable instance of the latter I
witnessed in the ready manner Which
they turned out to do their quota of
statute labor on the streets, or paid its
equivalent in blankets, etc; no coercion,
all was voluntary, for they see the benefit in front of their own doors. Their
hearts seem to be centered in their little
town, and you can inflict no greater punishment on them than to exile them from
it and its found tr. In regard to the
allegation about the prohibition to trading, I have only to remark that it is as
groundless as the other. I, myself, was
on a trading voyage, and stopped ten
days at Metlakahtla, and had every
facility afforded me by Mr. Duncan in-
trafficking with the natives. The reason
is obvious enough: our trade was not in
whiskey. That branch of trade is certainly discouraged at the mission, hence
the outcry about 'interfering with commerce.' "
Describing Metlakahtla the same
writer says:   "The town is triangular in
shape; the mission buildings being locat
ed on a bold promontory forming th
apex. The view from the southern en
trance of the harbor, looking townward
is extremely pretty. The church, oi
octagon form, having a handsome por
tico and belfry, and surmounted with the
emblem of Christianity and peace, occu
pies a prominent position in the foreground; adjacent to this are the parsonage, store and saw-pits, the latter supplying lumber of good quality, the pvo-
duct of native labor, at the rate of fifteen
dollars per M (1,000 feet.) The houses,
numbering about fifty, are nearly all of
a uniform size—16x24 feet—good frames,
weather-boarded and shingled, glazed
windows, and having neat little gardens
in front; the whole .f jrm'.ng two handsome esplanades, one f ron ring the outer,
and the other the Miner  harbor.
"The interior of the houses .lid not
belie the promise held out by the exterior.
Everything was neat and scrupulously
clean. The inmates were as well supplied with the requisites to make life comfortable as any of our laboring class
here. Cooking stoves and clocks were
common to every dwelling, and, in a few
instances, pictures adorn the walls of the
more luxuriously inclined.
"The sight at church on Sabbath
morning was pleasant to behold. The
congregation numbered about 300, the
females preponderating—the major portion of the males being out at that time
fishing. They were all well clad—the
women in their cloth mantles and merino dresses, and their heads gaily decked
with the graceful 'bandanna,' the men :n
substantial tweeds and broadcloth suits,
and having the impress of good health
and contentment on their intelligent
features. Their conduct during divine
service was strictly exemplary, and
would have done credit to many a more
pretentious edifice than that at Metlakahtla.
"As a whole, Mr. Duncan's people are
industrious and sober; they are courteous
and hospitable to strangers, and if properly protected by the government
against the poison-venders of this land,
will in time become a numerous and
wealthy people. The apathy and list-
lessness which is observable in the countenance of an untutored Indian has en- A NATIVE INDIAN COLONY.
tirely departed from the Metlakahtlans.
Mr. Duncan teaches school during rhe
week, and instructs the natives how to
use the appliances of modern -.lvilizati.m
in cultivating their gardens, building
their houses, and sawing timber, as well
as many other useful arts. He also superintends the store, acts as magistrate,
settles all disputes that may arise, and
in fact, has his hands full in performing
the arduous labors which devolve upon
him, and wnich have resulted in such
complete success as scarcely to be believed, unless witnessed. Mr. Duncan, ere
long, intends erecting a sawmill, soap
factory, bakery, smithy, and having the
Indians trained to perform all the work
connected with those branches of manufacturing industry."
Great difficulties were experienced on
account of the illicit traffic in ardent
spirits, with the natives, the determined and persistent opposition to which,
by Mr. Duncan, brought on, for a time,
no little ill-will amongst a large class of
the trading community at Victoria. The
wisdom and justice of the course he
adopted, however, and the gopd result of
his work among the natives, came to be
so generally admitted as to disarm opposition, and in some cases even to
secure for him the support of those who
had most bitterly opposed him. "One
instance is mentioned by Dean Cridge,
of the captain of a trading sloop, whom
Mr. Duncan had fined $400 for unlawful
trading, but who afterwards became one
of his most active friends—a result partly due to the impression created by what
he saw at Metlakahtla, and partly the
fact of Mr. Duncan having afterwards
obtained restitution for him from the
Indians at Fort Simpson, for injuries
done to his vessel." Thus acting, in
turns, "as minister, schoolmaster, physician, builder, arbitrator, magistrate,
trader;" yielding to "no consideration of
comfort, taste, interest, reputation or
safety (in all which respects he has been
severely tried)," did Mr. Duncan labor
on, year after year, resolutely, sacrificing himself and his own interests to the
work which he had undertaken, and refusing to decline or abandon any undertaking which he believed to be, under the
providence of God, essential to its success. Who that reads the story of.what
the strong will and entire self-devotion of
one man has effected, will deny that it
is indeed ' stranger than fiction?'"
Holidays were also observed at Metlakahtla—one of the principal, the Queen's
birthday. The following description is
given of a visit of one of H. M. ships,
the "Sparrowhawk," which was anchored off the village:
"At .an early hour a party from the
ship landed, to help in decorating the
Mission house and bastion, with a festoon
of flags of various nations. The day was
delightful; the sun shone bright, and ail
the beautiful scenery of the islands, placid
sea, and distant mountains, contributed
to the charm. The proceedings of the
day commenced in the house of God,
where seventeen children were baptized
by the Bishop of Columbia, who officiated. 'It was pleasing,' the bish)p
writes, 'to witness the devout manner
of the sponsors, and to hear their audible
responses. None, anywhere, could behave better, or show more appreciation
of  this sacrament  of the  Gospel.'
"A distribution of gifts then took place.
First came 140 children, as orderly and
nicely dressed as the children of the best
village school in England. After singing
'God Save the Queen' in English, they
were each presented with a biscuit. Next
came 120 elderly men and women, to
whom a few leaves of tobacco were an
acceptable token of friendly feeling; the
sick, too, were remembered; and last,
not least, the councilmen and constables.
At noon, precisely, a royal salute of
twenty-one guns was fired; ball playing;
merry-go-rounds; gymnastic bars, etc.,
made up a scene, which for interest and
enjoyment could not well be surpassed.
A regatta, two miles around an island
—five canoes, manned by forty-one young
men in their prime, formed part of the
programme. Three canoes, rowed by
women, also contended for a prize. Next
came foot races, running in sacks, blind-
man's buff, and such like amusements.
The evening was devoted to a public
meeting and a magic lantern entertainment. On that day a large body of Quo~
ouolt Indians came to Metlakahtla in
Bella Bella canoes. The contrast as
they landed, which they presented to the
well dressed Indians of the mission was
very striking. They were clad in tattered blankets, which scarcely covered their
nakedness.     Their   faces   were  painted 12
black and red, and theSr hair was matted
and dishevelled. They appeared almost
to be ashamed of themselves."
The history of the past five years at
the Mission house, is summed up by Mr.
Duncan in two words—steady progress
—in a letter written in November, 1868.
It said:
"Of difficulties, drawbacks and occasional discouragements there has been
no lack; yet the enemy is only permitted
to annoy, but not to destroy us, only to
make us stand more to our arms and look
more imploringly and constantly to
heaven. Increased religious earnestness
is indicated by a spontaneous movement
amongst the young and middle aged Indians to form adult Sunday classes for
Bible reading. The adult males, numbering about one hundred, are superintended by four native teachers; and the
females, who assemble in separate
houses, are taught by the young women
who have passed through a course of
training in the Mission house." All the
teachers come to him at the close of each
service for special instruction for a few
minutes and then proceed to the several
"Many of the tribes," he says, "are
stretching out their hands for help.
Whole tribes talk of soon joining us, but
this I do not anticipate will be the case
yet—the way is very difficult and the
door narrow for them."
He had formed the plan of developing
very considerably, the material resources
of the settlers at Metlakahtla, and making it a nursery, not of Christianity only,
but of the arts and employments of
civilized life. His views on the subject
were: "The spirit of improvement which
Christianity has engendered within this
people, needs fresh material and knowledge in order to develop itself. The
sources of industry at present in the
hands of the Indians are too limited and
inadequate to enable them to meet their
increased expenditure as a Christian and
civilized community, who are no longer
able to endure the rude huts and half
nakedness of the savage."
As the first step in carrying out this
view, Mr. Duncan determined to go to
England, and acquire a knowledge of
several simple trades, and purchase such
machinery as he required; and then going back to his people, erect work shops,
and inaugurate those new modes of industry upon which he hoped to build up
a material prosperty and to develop that
self-respect and self-reliance which can
hardly be found in any great degree
amongst a wholly uncivilized people. He
had now been laboring for thirteen years
amongst them, and when he sailed for
England at the end of January, 1870,
such was their affection for him thatc
many followed him in their canoes to the
Arriving in London in March, 1870,
Mr. Duncan at once set to work on his I
self-imposed task, going to different parts J
of the country, and, as far as was possible in a limited time, to make himself
master of the branch of industry there
prevailing. Thus, when visiting Yarmouth, he learnt rope-making and twine
spinning; at another place, weaving, at
another brush-making, and at another
"the gamut of each instrument in a band
of twenty-one instruments." At the same
time he set on foot a subscription list for
defraying the expenses of some of the
more important works which he contem-
. plated. Chief amongst these were a new
church and school. He also proposed
to give the Indians assistance in rebuilding and enlarging their houses, etc. To
carry out these plans, he estimated that
not less than £6,000 ($30,000) would be required. Before he left England, which
he did at the end of six months (i. e., in
September, 1870), he had received about
$2,000 towards the amount he required.
On the 14th of October, 1870, Mr. Duncan reached San Francisco on his return
journey. There he was delayed for three
weeks. "The time," he writes, "proved
very useful. I made several new and
very warm friends, who promised to help
me, and who indeed have helped me exceedingly. At the woolen mills, the manager supplied me with shuttle, reeds,
treddles and spindles and carding materials, and promised me another supply,
free of cost, whenever I may apply for
Mr. Duncan arrived at Victoria on
November 11th. He found it necessary
to remain there for some weeks, in order
to carry out arrangements with the government about the Indian reserves and
other matters connected with the colony,
obtaining machinery, etc.
The Governor granted a reserve to the A NATIVE INDIAN COLONY.
Indians of ten acres around Metlakahtla,
with the right to clear, enclose, cultivate
and personally own each portion. Ho
personally made a grant of $500 to be
spent upon the constables and council of
the village. Whilst the negotiations
with the government were being arranged, Mr. Duncan occupied himself in
taking lessons and practising on a band
of brass instruments given him in England, and also in compiling new Indian
services in Tsimshean. By letters received from the settlement, he learned
that everything, had gone on well there
during his absence. With the conduct
of the Indian council and constables, he
was especially gratified. Not only had
they proved themselves very zealous in
preserving law and order during his
absence, but always had a strong contingent in the village.
In December, 1871, Mr. Duncan writing to the Missionary Society, says:
"The spiritual part of my work I, of
course, took up and carried on as usual;
but the temporal or secular part being
so multifarious, was very perplexing at
firs*,. The constable corps, who had
kept vigilant watch over the morals of
the settlement during my absei ce, pressed me early to examine their d<. ings, and
.readjudtcate the cases which tLi; council
had settled pro tern; but I thought it
prudent to postpone this kind of work
and take up what was more in harmony
with the joyfulness of the season; hence
we had a series of marriages (thirteen
in all), and several meetings, at which
I unfolded my new plans, and urged all
to exert renewed energy and diligence in
our new start. I then began arranging
work for a number of men, and set about
sixty on."
It was necessary to keep pace with
the general moral and mental progress
of the settlers, and furnish them with
the comforts and conveniences of modern
civilization, to improve the dwellings, so
it was decided to pull down all the old
houses and erect new ones. Tue new
town was la-id out in lots 60x120 feet,
on each to be erected a double house.
As the new dwellings were to be substantial and commodious, and somewhat
beyond their means, Mr. Duncan pledged
. himself to assist them in lumber to the
amount of $60 for .each double house. A
new church, seating 1,200.people, a town
hall, dispensary, reading room, market
house, blacksmith, carpenter, cooper and
tin shops, worksheds and a soap factory
were built. A sea wall was constructed
to .protect the village, and in order to
carry out the proposed buildings it was
necessary, to erect a water-power saw
mill. And thus prosperity continued.
The public improvements were largely
the result of the profits accruing from
the schooner, the store and the trading
expeditions of the villagers—assisted by
the contributions of friends of the Mission and Mr. Duncan's private funds. As
time passed on, one trade and industry
after another was added, and the people wTere kept busy and happy.
But the native missionaries, who were
approved by Mr, Duncan, were zealous
Christian workers; the hunters and fishermen, in mingling with the people of
other villages, told them of "the changes
-wrought by the new life"; and the trading parties, who travelled far inland or
voyaged along the coast in their canoes,
each did his mission work. "Nor was it
in their words alone that they gave evidence. These men, who had formerly
been a terror to the whole coast, and only
tolerated with suspicion, were, to the
contrary, now mild and peaceful" What
had wrought this change?
Some time after a visit to the Mission
men, by the Chilkats, a fierce
tribe living about six hundred miles distant, on the Alaskan coast, a chief and
several head men of the Chilkat tribe,
ventured to pay to Metlakahtla, of which
they had heard such wonderful stories.
Before landing, they arrayed themselves,
as they usually did, in all their magnificent and barbaric finery, intending to
impress Mr. Duncan and his people with
their greatness and importance. "As
they approached in solemn state Mr.
Duncan was notified of their coming, and
urged to attire himself in his Sunday
best, because the savages were in gorgeous trappings, and would despise him if
he were poorly dressed. He had on his
common work clothes, and was in the
midst of some important work which he
could not drop at the moment."
The visitors were cordially received by
.the Metlakahtlas, "as they leaped out of 14
their superb canoes and kissed the beach.
They were struck with utter amazement
at the sight of the buildings, the manner
in which the people were clothed, and
the general appearance of thrift on every
hand. They were impatient to see the
great master who had wrought all those
wonders." Mr. Duncan had not dressed
up—at all times he sought to discourage
the assumption of pomp and foolish, display, which he found "so wefted in these
naturally vainglorious people. When
the Chilkats were escorted to him, and
he was pointed out as the benefactor,
they looked over and beyond him, saying
that they could not see him; but when
this modest, plainly clad little man greeted them and his personality was made
clear, they preserved their countenances
in stolid vigor, to maintain their own
great dignity, never uttering a word,
save the ceremonies of a formal greeting."
They manifested great astonishment,
however, and it appeared that they suspected some deception was being practised upon them. They were conducted
by Mr. Duncan, to his house, with great
cordiality. He gave them the customary
seats of honor for distinguished guests;
yet, they continued to look at him in
utter silence for some time, until at
length they broke out by saying: "Surely
you cannot be the man! Why, we expected to see a great and powerful giant,
gifted in magic, with enormous eyes
that could look right through us and read
our thoughts! No, it is impossible. How
could you tame the wild and ferocious
Tsimsheans, who were always waging,
war, and were feared throughout the
whole coast. We can scarcely believe
our own eyes, when we see those fine
houses, and find the Tsimsheans have
become wise like white men: They tell us
that you have God's book, and that you
have taught them to read it."
*"On the Bible being placed before
them, and on being told that it was by
following the teachings of this book that
the Metlakahtlans had become enlightened, each one touched it reverently with
the tip of his finger and said, 'Ahem,
Ahem—it is good, it is good.' Gifts were
exchanged and bartering went on, and
the visitors tarried for several days, dur-
which time they marvelled at every new
wonder  of civilization  which    they  be
"Mr. Duncan seized every opportunity!
to impress upon them the fundamental!
truths, which had brought about this]
change. He showed them that the pros-"
purity and material benefits which they I
witnessed were but the reward of the I
adoption of the new life. This lesson [
was not lost upon them; they returned
to their homes resolved to adopt the I
Christian white man's ways. And this j
came many from afar to view the wonders of civilization, all to return and pro- j
claim to their people that Christian white |
man's ways were good."
It will be noticed that in those days |
of prosperity which shone upon Mr. Duncan's community, material comforts and |
improvements were never allowed to
crowd the spiritual—the material was |
only the means to a spiritual end. Evidence of the strength and integrity was
furnished abundantly to the distinguished dignitaries who visited them and observed the practices of their daily life,
and administered the rites of baptism to
them, after having thoroughly tested
each candidate. They continued strict
in the observance of the Sabbath—not
fishing on that day, although fish might
run plentifully. In fishing on the Skeena
river, those Indians who chose to put
their canoes on the river commanded
good wages and got constant employment
during the fishing season. Archdeacon
Woods, of new Westminster, who visited
Metlakahtla in 1871 for the purpose of
baptizing converts, placed on record the
testimony that the Mission Indians
"Won't work on Sunday, they won't
drink, they won't lend themselves in any
way to any kind of immorality. They
flock home on Saturday nights, some of
them from long distances, many of them
from the Skeena mouth, to enjoy the
Sunday peace and great quiet of their
own village, and to avail themselves of
those 'means of grace' which the Sunday church services and Sunday schools
Before performing the baptizmal rites
at Metlakahtla, the Archdeacon visited
Niskah Mission Station, some seventy
miles distant, on Naas river. He records
an incident which very forcibly illustrates how consistently the Metlakahtlans practiced their religion. Before retiring to rest for the night in camp, after A NATIVE INDIAN COLONY.
the day's voyage, they all knelt around
the camp fire, with heads uncovered,
whilst one said prayer (the Lord's
prayer) for all. In referring to the baptismal services, the Archdeacon notes:
"I have had in the course of a ministry
of over twenty years many solemn experiences, and witnessed many touching
scenes, but never since the day of my
own ordination as a priest of the Church
of Christ, have I felt anything like the
solemnity of that day, when I saw before
me a crowded congregation of Christians
—of heathen seeking after Christ, and
of the little band of fifty-nine, about to
be received through holy baptism into
the ark of Christ's Church." In the
evening, Mr. Duncan accompanied J.he
Archdeacon to several houses in the village, where five adults were baptized,
who, through sickness or the Infirmities
of old age, were prevented from Attending service m this church; making a
total of 84 persons baptized at Metlakahtla, and 22 at Kincoulith, gives a
grand total of 106 persons added to the
church on this occasion.
The "industries," as practiced at Metlakahtla, are referred to by Archdeacon
Woods, as follows: "A marked a id important feature of the Metlakahtla Mis-
snn is the aspect imparted to it by the
fostering and utilizing of native industry;
at present (1871) there are carried on a
lumber mill, the manufacture of soap,
the dressing of skins and blacksmithing,
while preparations are being actively
urged forward for weaving, rope making
and shoemaking, the materials for weaving and ropemaking being found in
abundance in the immediate neighborhood. These, in combination with the
trading store in the village, have a \<a*y
practicable bearing on the well being of
the Mission, quite apart from the money
gain, though this, too, is a matter of considerable importance to the success and
prosperity of the Mission."
The years wnich followed were prosperous for the Mission. The people were
comfortable and contented. They had
their enjoyments as well as their daily
occupation. Mr. Duncan did not believe
in "all work and no play." It will be interesting to give an account of the
Christmas proceedings, as describe! by
the Bishop of Athabasca, who visited
Metlakahtla in 1877-8.    "The festivities
of the season commenced here on Christmas Eve, he writes, when a party of
about twenty-five of the elder school
girls were invited to meet us at tea.
After tea, we were all entertained by
Mr. Duncan, with the exhibition of a
galvanic battery and other amusements.
This party having dispersed to their
homes in good time, at a later hour came
together the singers who were appointed
to sing Christmas Carols during the
night along the street, led by the schoolmaster. After their singing they returned to supper at the Mission before retiring to rest.
"On Christmas morning the first sight
which greeted us was that of the constables, who were lengthening to its full
height the flagstaff on the watch house.
Soon all the village street was gaily
dressed with flags. The constables then
marched about the village to shake
hands and make 'Christmas peace,' with
all those whom they had been called to
interfere with in the course of the year.
At 11 o'clock the church bell rang, and
the large church was thronged with a
well dressed and attentive congregation.
"After service all the villagers, to the
number of about six hundred, had to
come and pass through the Mission house
to shake hands with all the inmates. In
doing this they so crowded tlie verandah that the boards actually gave way
beneath them, but the ground being only
about two feet below, no injury resulted. After all the shaking of hands was
over the villagers returned to their own
private entertainments and most of us
at the Mission enjoyed a quiet Christmas
evening together; but Mr. Duncan entertained at tea a party of the chiefs and
principal persons of the village, whom
the Archdeacon did not join, from inability to converse in the Tsimshean tongue.
"The day after Christmas was a gay
one. The constables, twenty-five in number, paraded and exercised on the green
with banners and music, and about fifty
volunteers, in neat white uniforms, with
drums and fifes and banners flying, went
through creditable evolutions and exercises. All the strangers who had come
from the neighboring villages to spend
Christmas at Metlakahtla were collected by Mr. Duncan in the Mission hall,
and, after a suitable address, all of them
received presents of soap, apples, sugar, 16
tobacco, etc. In the evening the usual
week-day service was held in the school
room, always crowded. The following
day all the children were assembled by
Mr'. Duncan at his house; first the girls
and then the boys, about two hundred in
all; and after .being amused by him, were
treated to sugar plums and apples, and
each one received some article of clothing (cap or cape, etc.), so as to be sent
away to their homes rejoicing.
"Next day, all the men in the village,
about 300,^ were assembled in the market
-house to be addressed. by. Mr. Duncan.
After giving them the best advice he
could, their Christmas presents were distributed to them in the presence of the
-Mission party. These consisted.of one-
half pound of sugar and six apples to
each one, with copy-book and pencil or
•tobacco for the older men. The caretaker of the Mission house next day kindly entertained the widows of the village,
about sixty in number, to a substantial
dinner. It was a pleasure to see even the
•old and decrepit able to sit at table and
enjoy their meal, and it made us enter
fully into the idea of the renovating influence of Christmas, blessings, to think
in what-dark--and murderous heathenism
these aged vvidowg. had been reared when
-young. After dinner Mr. Duncan brought
'them to -his- hall to listen to an address,
-so that they might not return home without words of Gospel truth and comfort
to cheer for struggling days.
"The morrow, being Sunday,, was
marked by-usual services. These consist, first,- of morning Sunday school at
half past nine, at which about 200 are
"present, both children and adults, males
^and females being in separate buildings.
-All the elder scholars learn and repeat
"a text, both in English and Tsimshean,
and have it explained to them, and they
are able to use their English Bibles in-
-telligently for this purpose. At eleven
is morning service in church, attended at
Christmas time by 700 to 800. Hymns
are sung both in English and Tsimshean,
and heartily joined in by the congregation. This being the last Sunday in the •
year, the service was made a specially
devotional one to seek mercy for the offences of the past twelve month.
"After morning service the adults met
again in Sunday school to learn in English and Tsimshean the text of the ser
mon,, and have it explained to them by
the native Sunday school teachers, who
are prepared for this duty at a meeting
with Mr. Duncan on Saturday evening.
It is very interesting to see about 300
adults gathered together in the three
schools at mid-day, entirely in the hands
of native teachers, wTith English Bibles
in their, hands, poring intelligently over
the text, and following out again the
subject of the morning discourse. I cannot but think it would be a great gain
if this scheme of Mr. Duncan's could be
largely followed in other missions.
"Afternoon service is held in the
church at three o'clock, with a litany,
and after this, when the daylight lasts
long enough, there is a second Sunday
school. The church is as full in the afternoon as in the morning, and the punctuality of the attendance is surprising. In
the evening, at seven o'clock, service is
again held by the elder converts for the
-benefit of any aged people unable to come
to church.
"On Monday, being the last day of the
old year, all the women of the village,
about 300, assembled in the market
house, and, after suitable addresses,
valuable presents were made to each,
viz.: one pound of soap, one pound of
rice, several apples, etc.; so they returned home laden and rejoicing. Altogether
about $250 must have been spent upon
.Christmas presents. In the evening, the
last night of the old year, a suitable
service was held in the church—text—
'So teach us to number, our days, etc'
On New Year's Day the festivities were
.renewed. Bugle notes and drums and
fifes, and the exercises of the volunteers
enlivened the scene. The youth of the
village played football on the sands. All
the men of the village were assembled
in the market house and were permanently enrolled in ten companies, the
members of each company receiving
rosettes of a distinguishing color. Each
company has in it, besides ordinary
members, one chief, two constables, one
elder and three councillors, who are all
expected to unite in preserving the peace
and order of the village. The ten chiefs
all spoke in the market house, and promised to follow the teaching they had
received, and to unite in promoting what
is good."
The   Bishop   of   Athabasca   concludes A NATIVE INDIAN COLONY.
by saying: "The above is but an imperfect sketch of the efforts made by Mr.
Duncan for the increase and happiness
of his village."
It is stated that the savage is attracted to advancement by those things which
appeal to his senses. Generally speaking,
the first step towards teaching a savage
is to feed him; the stomach satisfied, he
will listen to instruction, not before.
Mr. Duncan grasped, and grasped intelligently, the true science of civilization—
he learned the insistent needs, and pliant
capacities, of the savages. We have
seen how effectually he provided for
these needs, and trained these capacities.
"His plan of management continued eminently successful, year after year, until
the autumn of 1881, when a storm gathered in a quarter altogether unlooked for,
and threatened the settlement with destruction. It appears that Mr. Duncan
left England as a missionary layman,
and he continues to be so. "He was expected and urged to take Church of England orders—even the title of Bishop was
open to him—but his labors being soi richly blessed as a layman, he refused to
change his degree. His answer to the
Bishop of Columbia, who urged him, was
that he feared that church orders would
prove to him what Saul's armor was to
David; only an encumbrance, and therefore, he preferred keeping to the use of
the sling and stone."
The results of Mr. Duncan's mission,
under the system which he had pursued
and proposed to continue to pursue, had
proved so successful, that he could not
prevail on himself to change the mode of
procedure. So far, he had tested every
step he had taken, and had provided
for expected difficulties which might approach. The Mission was considered a
marvel, and the Indian settlement was
knowm far and wide. It was visited by
many travellers from distant countries,
and favorable notices appeared in the
press of Great Britain and the United
States. In 1865, Matthew Macfie, F. R.
G. S., in a London ' publication, when
commenting upon the utter degredation
m which he found the British Columbian
Indians, wrote: "From these facts (already given), some idea may be formed
of the 'vexations' borne by Mr. Duncan
at the beginning of his career. But a
noble ambition to elevate the social and
religious condition of the Indian lightened the burden of his toils. Such an
enterprise was sufficiently onerous to one
cheered by the presence of Christian
sympathy; but his isolated situation,
struggling without a pious companion, of
either sex to share his anxieties and
labors, was fitted to deepen the interest
felt by the religlious public at home. A
work has been accomplished there, where
success has rarely if ever been equalled
in the history of missions to the
The distinguished English traveller,
Whymper, who made an extended journey through the country north of the
Pacific Ocean, published a book in London, "Travels in Alaska, 1868," in which
he says, referring to Metlakahtla: "The
success of this station is, doubtless, due
in part to its isolation from any large
white settlement, but Mr. Duncan must
have labored earnestly and incessantly
in hiis work."
Admiral Mayne, who devoted nearly
five years to exploration and the study
of the natives of the islands of the
North Pacific and Mainland, in his report says: "There is no doubt that men
of Mr. Duncan's stamp, who will in a
frank, manly spirit go among them (the
Indians), diffusing the blessings of religion and education, will meet a cordial
reception and an abundant reward. But
without any desire to disparage or dishearten others, I must say that Mr. Duncan impressed us as a man out of ten
thousand, possessing with abundant energy and zeal that talent for acquiring
the confidence and love of his fellow
creature, which all who come in his way,
were they whites or Indians, could not
fail to acknowledge and feel subject to."
Dr. Halcombe, of Cambridgeshire,
England, published a work under the
(lireetion of the Tract committee
(Stranger than Fiction), which passed
througn several editions, says: "Humanly speaking, a great part of Mr. Duncan's success, especially at first, was due
to the persistency with which he went to
those who would not come to him, and
to his resolute determination to declare
to all 'whether they would hear or
whether they would forbear,' the counsel 18
and will erf God regarding them, there
can be no doubt. Gradually assuming
shape and consistency, until it finally issued in the establishment of the native
settlement, the singular and successful
development of which has already constituted it one of the marvels of the day.
"That a man possessed of such singular administrative abilities, such great
earnestness, and such unusual power of
influencing others, and who has gained
such mastery of the language as 'to think
and dream' in it, should entirely withdraw himself from the work to which he
has hitherto devoted himself, would be a
cause of general and deep regret, and
we may well express the hope that the
day for his doing so may yet be far distant. Great as has been the work which
has been already done, a greater still remains to be accomplished. If Metlakahtla is really to become the centre of
any widely extended efforts to evangelize
,the native tribes of Northwest America,
it must be under the guiding and controlling influence of such a mind as Mr.
Duncan. Most sincerely do we trust
that he will meet with such encouragement and assistance as will enable him
to complete that which he begun so well,
and that the Christian community which
we have seen so successfully organized
may only be the first of many other settlements, modelled on the same plan and
showing the same signs of material pros- .
perity, combined with a thorough appre- '
ciation and practical application of thc
saving truths of Christianity.
"Yielding to 'no consideration of comfort, taste, interest, reputation or safety
(in all which respects he has been severely tried1), did Mr. Duncan labor on,
year after year, resolutely, sacrificing
himself and his own interests to the work
which he had undertaken, and refusing
to decline or abandon any undertaking
which he believed to be, under the providence of God, essential to its success.
Who, that reads the story of what the
strong will and entire self-devotion of
one man has effected, will deny that it
is indeed 'stranger than fiction'?"
In its treatise on missions, the Encyclopedia Britannica says: "At British Columbia, on the coast of the Pacific,
a practical missionary genius, named
William Duncan, has succeeded in civilizing a body of Indians, degraded by can
nibalism, and, at his Metlakahtla Mission, stands at the head of a community
of .some thousand persons, which has a
larger church than is to be found between there and San Francisco."
The Church of England Missionary
Society of London was so proud of Mr.
Duncan's work, that it published, and.
widely circulated a book entitled "Metlakahtla," in which, according to "the
story of Metlakahtla," by Henry S.
Wellcome, 1887, "it extols Mr. Duncan's
work, giving him unstinted praise for the
marvellous things he had accomplished
among the ferocious, wild savages of the
great Northwest. This book was the
means of bringing many thousand pounds
in contributions to the society's coffers,
'for the purpose of converting the
heathen of foreign lands.' The Church
Missionary 'Society's publications continually chronicled the progress of his
work, and held him up as an example
for missionaries throughout the world."
During the year 1876, an event of no
little importance in the history of Metlakahtla took place, which was the visit
of the Governor-General of Canada,
Lord Dufferin, accompanied by Lady
Dufferin. They received an extremely
cordial reception. The following address
was presented to Hlis Excellency by Mr.
David Leask, Secretary to the Native
To His Excellency the Earl of Dufferin,
Governor-General of the Dominion of
May it please Your Excellency:—We, the
inhabitants of Metlakahtla, of the Ts'm-
Shean nation of Indians, desire to express
our joy in welcoming Your Excellency and
Dady Dufferin to our village. Under the
teaching of the Gospel we have learned
the Divine command, "Fear God, honor the
King," and thus, as loyal subjects of Her
Majesty Queen Victoria, we rejoice in seeing you visit our shores.
We have learned to obey and respect the
laws of the Queen, and we will continue
to uphold and defend the same in our community and nation.
We are still a weak and poor people, only
lately emancipated from the thraldom of
heathenism and savage customs, but we
are struggling to rise and advance to a
Christian life and civilization.
Trusting that we may enjoy a share of
Your Excellency's kind and fostering care, A NATIVE INDIAN COLONY.
and under your administration continue to
advance in peace and prosperity,
We have the honor to subscribe ourselves
Your  Excellency's    humble    and  obedient
servant, for the Indians of Metlakahtla,
Secretary to the Native Council.
To which the Governor-General replied
as follows:
"I have come a long distance to assure
you, in the name of your Great Mother,
the Queen of England, with what pleasure she has learned of your well-being,
and of the progress you have made in the
arts of peace and the knowledge of the
Christian religion, under the auspices of
your kind friend, Mr. Duncan. You
must understand that I have not come
for my own pleasure, but that the journey has been long and laborious, and
that I am here from a sense of duty, in
order to make you feel, by my actual presence, with what solicitude the Queen
and Her Majesty's government in Canada watch over your welfare, and how
anxious they are that you should persevere in that virtuous and industrious
mode of life in which I find you engaged. I have viewed with astonishment
the church which you have built entirely
by your own industry and intelligence.
That church is in itself a monument of
the way in which you have profited by
the teachings you have received. It does
you the greatest credit, and we have
every right to hope that, while in its outward aspect it bears testimony to your
conformity to the laws of the Gospel,
beneath its sacred roof your sincere and
faithful prayers will be rewarded by
those blessings which are promised to all
r those who approach the throne of God
in humanity and faith.*
"I hope you will understand that your
[White Mother and the government of
! Canada are fully prepared to protect
| you in the exercise of your religion and
to extend to you those laws which know
[no difference of race or of color, but
under which justice is impartially administered between the humblest and the
greatest in the land. (Queen Victoria>
the 'White Mother,' died 22nd Januarv,
"The government of Canada is proud
I to think that there are upward of thirty
(thousand Indians in the territory of Brit
ish Columbia alone. She lecognizes them
as the ancient inhabitants of the country. The white men have not come
among you as conquerors, but as friends.
We regard you as our fellow subjects,
and as equal to us in the eye of the law,
as you are m the eye of God, and equally
entitled with the rest of the community
to the benefits of good government, and
the opportunity of earning an honest livelihood.
"I have had very great pleasure in
inspecting your school, and I am quite
certain that there are many among the
3 ounger portion of those I am n nv addressing, who have already begun to feel
how much they are indebted to that institution for the expansion of their
mental faculties, for the knowledge of
what is passing in the outer world, as
well as for the insight it affords them
into the laws of nature, and into the
arts of civilized life; and we have the
further satisfaction of remembering that, •
as year after year flows by, and your
population increases, all those beneficial
influences will acquire additional
strength and momentum.
"I hope you are duly grateful to him
whom, under Providence, you are indebted for all these benefits, and that when
you contrast your own condition, the
peace in which you live, the comforts
which surround you, the decency of your
inhabitants; when you see your wives,
your sisters and your daughters contributing so materially by the brightness
of their appearance, the softness of their
manners, their housewifely qualities, to
the pleasantness and cheerfulness of
your domestic lives, contrasting as all
these do so strikingly, With your former
surroundings, you will remember that it
is to Mr. Dancan you owe this blessed
initiation into your new life.
"By a faithful adherence to his principles and his example, you will become
useful citizens and faithful subjects, an
honor to those under whose auspices you
will thus have shown to what the Indian
race can attain, at the same time that
you will leave to your children an ever-
widening prospect of increasing happiness and progressive improvement.
"Before I conclude, I cannot help expressing to Mr. Duncan and those associated with him in his good work, not
only in my own name, not only in the 1
name of the government of Canada, but
also in the name of Her Majesty the
Queen, and in the name of the people
of England, who take so deep an interest
dn the well-being of all the native races
throughout the Queen's dominions, our
deep gratitude to him for thus having
devoted the flower of his life, in spite of
innumerable difficulties, dangers and discouragements, of which we, who only see
the result of his labors, can form only
a very inadequate idea of a work which
has resulted in the beautiful scene we
have witnessed  this morning.
"I only wish to add that I am very
much obliged to you for the satisfactory
and loyal address with which you have
greeted me. The very fact of your being
in a position to express yourselves with
so much propriety, is in itself extremely
creditable to you, and although it has
been my good fortune to receive many
addresses during my stay in Canada from
various communities of your fellow subjects, not one of them will be surrounded by so many hopeful and pleasant reminiscences as those which I shall carry
away with me from this spot."
On Lord Dufferin's return to Victoria,
he addressed, at the Government House,
about two hundred leading citizens, including the members of the provincial
.government, and amongst other things
"I have traversed the entire coast of
British Columbia, from its southern extremity to Alaska. I have penetrated
to the head of Bute Inlet; I have exam-,
ined the Seymour Narrows, and the
other channels which intervene between
the head of Bute Inlet and Vancouver
Island. I have looked into the mouth of
Dean's Canal, and passed across the entrance to Gardener's Channel. I have
-visited Mr. Duncan's wonderful settlement at Metlakahtla, and the interesting
Methodist Mission at Fort Simpson, and
thus been enabled to realize what
mitave peace and innocence,
'dyllic beauty and material comfort
be presented by the stalwart men
'comely maidens of an Indian com
tity under the wise administration of
eious and devoted Christian mis-
r, I have seen the Indians in all
ases of their existence, from the
id savage,  perched, like a bird
of prey, in a red blanket upon a rock tr;
ing to catch his miserable dinner of fisl
to the neat maiden in Mr. Duncan1
school at Metlakahtla, as modest an
as well dressed as any clergyman
daughter in an English parish. . . .
What you want are not resources, bu
human beings to develop them and con
sume them. Raise your thirty thousant
Indians to the level Mr. Duncan ha*
taught us they can be brought, and con
sider what an enormous amount of vita
power you will have added to your pre
sent strength."
In a book named "The Sea of Moun
tains," Mr. St. John, who reported the
addresses delivered by the Governor-
General, writing of Mr. Duncan's plan
of dealing with his people, inter alia,
"It struck me that he threw, and successfully threw, cold w^ater on the Governor-General's showing any special
mark of recognition on the chiefs. He
has to conduct his operations in a
peculiar way, and it can be easily shown
he understood that much of his advice
and direction would be thrown away
were there a recognized authority over
the Indians other than himself. He
strives to make merit and industry the
standards by which the men of the village are measured; and in presenting an
address to the Governor-General, which
was done immediately after the singing
was concluded, there was no apparent
priority or distinction among them. Lord
and Lady Dufferin were greatly impressed by the evidences they beheld on
every hand at Metlakahtla of the substantial creation of a civilized community, from a people rescued in a single
generation from the lowest degradation
and savagery. Lady Dufferin noted the
quiet colors and modest dresses of the
women." W. F. Bainbridge, in his book
"Tour of Christian Missions Around the
World," New York, 1882, speaking of
the Church of England Missions, writes:
"Their most interesting station is at Metlakahtla, near Fort Simpson, upon the
Pacific Coast of British Columbia. When
in 1857 Mr. Duncan was located among
the Tsimsheans, hlis task seemed as
hopeless as when the explorer Hudson
was cast adrift by the mutineers. He
found there many thousands of the most A NATIVE INDIAN COLONY.
blood-thirsty savages. Physically a superior tribe, they yet seemed to have
sunken lower than all others in wretchedness and crime. Soon after, the 'fire*
water* was introduced by the Victoria
miners, and a reign of terror began. But
the missionary felt that Christianity was
equal to even such a situation of unparalleled horrors, and he kept to work. By
1862 he had influenced some fifty to a
better Mfe, and with them formed a new
settlement a few miles distant. Now
over a thousand are gathered there about
ham in well built cottages, with the largest church edifice north of iSan Francisco,
the Sabbath kept, all the children at
school, every citizen in health, attending
divine*worship. No intoxicating drink is
allowed in the community. This prosperous, well-ordered, Christian settlement shows what evangelization can do
under the most possible embarrassments."
Mr. N. H. Chittenden, in his work entitled "Travels Through British Columbia, 1882," writes: "Metlakahtla,
the field of the remarkably successful
work of Mr. Duncan in civilizing and
Christianizing the Tsimshean Indians.
He first established a Mission at Fort
Simpson, a post of the Hudson Bay Co.,
but for the purpose of greater isolation,
in 1862, removed^ to Metlakahtla, where
he gathered about 1,000 of that tribe,
and through firm government and faithful secular and religious training, raised
them from barbarism to the condition of
civilized people. They live in comfortable houses, dress like the whites, school
their children, and worship in one of the
largest churches in the province—erected
at a cos* of ten thousand ($10,000) dollars."
Julia McNair Wright, in her book devoted to the study of the natives of
Alaska, writes: "William Duncan, of
the Church of England, ds another of
these bright names. Forgetting ambition,
despising ease, forsaking his own country and his father's house, counting even
life not dear fif he might win those
simple Indian souls for the Son of God, he
has created a civilization in Metlakhatla
and brought many souls to glory. The
longest established and most successful
work among any Alaskan Indians is
that maintained by Mr. Duncan.    The
Chilcats had occasionally visited Port
Simpson and Metlakahtla, where one of
the most remarkable of all missionary
enterprises is located, and also Sitka and
Port Wrangel, and they had carried to
their friends wonderful tales of Indians
'become white,' who could 'talk on
paper' and 'hear paper talk,' and who
wore white folks' clothes, and lived in
houses with windows, and forsook the
Shaman, and ate no more dog-flesh and
r-o longer killed one another." ....
Alluding to the wretchedness of the
Alaskan Indians in their native villages,
she adds:
"The houses of the Indians are not tit-
ted for any decency of home life, nor for
maintaining health. The houses are often
without partitions, and are inhabited by
many Indians together, of all ages and
both sexes. There is no possibility of
securing modesty of demeanor, purity of
thought or cleanliness of living under
these circumstances. Polygamy of the
most shameless type exists, and child
marriages are common. There is no need
to expatiate on the moral degredation resulting from twenty, thirty or more persons living in one room; the results would
be evident to any idiot."—("Among the
Alaskans."—Philadelphia, 1883.)
Rev. Sheldon Jackson, United States
General Agent for Education in Alaska,
who has several times visited Metlakahtla, and repeatedly borne emphatic
testimony to the influence of Mr. Duncan's Christianizing and civilizing work
among the Alaskan natives, and whose
extensive experience in Mission and
educational work among the Indians
lends peculiar force to his opinions, says
of Mr. Duncan's Mission: "The new
settlement has now grown to one thousand people, forming the healthiest and
strongest settlement on the coast. These'
Indians are a happy, industrious, prosperous community of former savages and
cannibals, saved by the grace of God.
This is the oldest and most successful
Mission on the coast (1880), and illustrates what one consecrated man can accomplish."   ....
♦Note.—The church, school, Bishop's
house and other buildings were destroyed
by a fire in Metlakahtla on the 22nd July,
1901. The value of the church is given by
Bishop Ridley at $15,000. 22
A change at Metlakahtla was brought
about by the appointment cf a bishop of
the Church of England, which included
Mr. Duncan's mission. Soon after the
bishop's arrival it was discovered that
his views on many matters did not
harmonize with those of Mr. Duncan.
"During more than twenty years of
his missionary efforts, the Church Society, under whose auspices he (Mr. D.)
was working, unceasingly praised him.
It was not until after the death of the
great Henry Venn, who,, as secretary
of the society, had guided its affairs
for so many years, always heartily approving of and encouraging Mr. Duncan
in his methods of evangelistic and secular work, that it became manifest that
the society's directors differed from Mr.
Duncan in their views of mission work
and methods of conducting it.
"For some years before 1881, the society gave evidence of a gradual change
in its policy. Its aims, which heretofore
had been broadly evangelistic, now became deeply colored and circumscribed
with ecclesiasticism. Mr. Duncan was
always perfectly frank in his reports to
the society. His observations and
analysis of the people with whom he had
to deal, caused him to avoid, from the
first, prompting or leading them in conformity with the elaborate service of the
Church of England, which was the
church of the society; and the church of
which Mr.'Duncan himself was a member. He persistently declared that his
going among the heathen was to save
sinners and not to glorify the church; to
lead them to a pure life, not to teach
them dogmas. One of the principal characteristics of his teaching, and one of
the secrets of his success, was simplicity.
He cared solely for the sound and
healthy growth of the work.
"The Society, now apparently iniagin
ed the Indians to be advanced Christians,
but he knew he was still dealing with
Indians he had found steeped in barbaric
atrocities, and many of whom he knew
to be still mere babes in religious comprehension. The society conceived that
the forms and ritual of the church were
safe and suitable for the Indians to follow; but, Mr. Duncan, as he grew in
experience, saw more and more clearly
that the distinctive dress of the minis
ters and bishops, as well as the order
of service of the church—especially in
the administration of the Lord's Supper
—were calculated to bewilder rather than
edify the Indians with whom he had to
do, in their present stage of progress.
Besides, he found in their inordinate
passion for spirituous liquors, which was
universal, a special danger in offering
them wine as a sacrament. Furthermore, it was a difficult dilemma to reconcile, the deviation of church requirement from the prohibitory state law,
which imposed the penalty of imprisonment upon any Indian who even touched
wine, or other liquors.
"Mr. Duncan was dealing v\ith men
who had but recently been converted
from cannibalism, and, it may be readily
understood, that the introduction of a
rite, which, in the performance, assumed
to be the partaking of the body and
blood of our Saviour, w^as a matter which
required the utmost caution. One can
but recall that 'the Roman heathens ascribed to the early Christians that the
sacrament was a cannibal's feast.' . .
They who had tasted human flesh in
their days of heathenism, benighted as
they then were, would have recoiled
with horror at the bare thought of consuming, even by emblem, a part of one
of their gods.
"It must be apparent that Mr. Duj&l]
can sought, above all things, the spiritual
welfare of his converts, and would be
the last one to withhold from them anything essential to their salvation, and
with his knowledge of their minds and
dispositions, and the stage of their development, he was better able to judge
of their spiritual requirements than were
men in London, who had never even
seen them. Yet, recently, these perfunctory dictators had presumed to
square them by a procrustean, ecclesiastical rule, and insist upon the introduction of an elaborate eucharist; representing that without such Mr. Duncan was
giving the Indians but 'a mutilated
Christianity' and 'false teachings.' "—
The Story of Metlakahtla.
In July, 1881, according to the request
of the society in London, the first meeting of the missionary staff in the diocese
was convoked, and met at Metlakahtla,
consisting of three clergymen and three
laymen.     Bishop   Ridley  was  chairman A NATIVE INDIAN COLONY.
of the conference, but was absent from
the meeting. Mr. Duncan, feeling that
a crisis had now arrived'in the working
of the mission at Metlakahtla, determined to place the responsibility upon
the conference. He reminded them that
he was a layman, and that the society
wanted an ordained man in his stead, and
asked, in view of these facts, whether
they would advise him to resign his connection with Metlakahtla, since it would
seem impossible, as well as unnatural,
for anyone to supersede him while he
remained in the mission.
"The conference, in Mr. Duncan's absence, unanimously agreed upon the following resolutions: 'The conference having heard Mr. Duncan's statement, and
knowing the value of his labors and experience, not only to the work at Metlakahtla, but also to the Church Missionary Society's missions generally, in
the North Pacific field, unanimously decline to advise Mr. Duncan to resign.
The question of resignation being thus
disposed of another question naturally
arose, namely: 'How the difficulty involved in his remaining at his post could
be met? Therefore, he askfd the conference whether it w^as prepared to ad-
\ise the s)ciety to allow Metlakahtla to
assume its independency—work out its
own destiny—and bear its own expenses?
The majority of the conference resolved
to advise the society to constitute Metlakahtla into a lay mission, and leave
the work in Mr. Duncan's hands without
clerical supervision: the minority wanted
to give the mission its full independence.' "
"The Story of Metlakahtla" states
that on Mr. Duncan's return from Victoria the bishop handed him a letter,
which was an "enclosure" from the society and which finally disconnected him
from the society after a connection of
twenty-five years duration. The bishop,
the story narrates, "had been instructed
by the society to give the 'enclosure' to
Mr. Duncan only in case Mr. Duncan
absolutely refused to visit England. The
bishop knew from Mr. Duncan's own
lips that he had not refused. On the
receipt of Mr. Duncan's letter, explanatory of his position, the society also
knew full well he had not refused; therefore   the   society   at   once   addressed   a
letter to the bishop with instructions not
to give him the 'enclosure.' These instructions came too late. The bishop
started at once for England."
As soon as the Metlakahtlans became
aware of what had happened, the narrative proceeds to state, "They were deeply incensed, and unanimously and heartily
entreated Mr. Duncan not to forsake
them, but to remain at his post and
carry on his work as heretofore. A
public meeting was held, at wmich the
question was put: 'Will all on the Lord's
side hold up their hands?' All held up
their hands. A subsequent meeting was
held, at which assembled every native in
the village who was able to attend: even
the aged, the decrepit, the sick, ail came
to deliberate upon this crisis and voice
their sentiment. Those people knew beyond a question to whom they were indebted for their past development and
felicitous condition, and to whom they
could best trust their future guidance,
It was but a brief session. Their hearts
seemed to throb in unison, stirred by
fealty and reverence for their benefactor.
There was no prolonged harangue, but a
few short speeches: pointed, earnest,
"Then the chairman put the question:
Will you have the bishop or Mr. Duncan
as your leader? When Mr. Duncan's
name was put to the assembly every
soul voted for him to remain. The
bishop received not a vote. Mr. Duncan
was not present during their deliberations or voting. After those proceedings
Mr. Duaean was sent *or, and on entering the crowded assembly wras beckoned
to a seat. He said not a word—great
silence prevailed. An Indian arose and
assured him in the name of the people
that he was unanimously entreated to
remain amongst them. When the Indian had finished his speech he called
upon all present to testify to the truth
of what he had said, and to show Mr.
Duncan how they had voted before they
sent for him. Every soul stood up and
held up their hands that he might see,
and be convinced of their unanimity.
When asked to show how many wished
to retain the bishop, not one stood up,
rot a hand was raised, not an 'aye' was
Mr. Dancan then briefly acknowledged
their unanimous call  and assured them 24
that he accepted. So this tried leader,
"whose unsparing immolation of self in
hi 3 sedulous efforts in rescuing this flock
from barbarism, saw that to save his
life's work from utter destruction, must
yield to their appeal and stand manfully
in the breach and protect them from tha
impending calamity. He who had braved
the terrors of attempted assassination
and had stood out so uncompromisingly
against the Shamans and cannibal chiefs,
the slave and liquor traders, and had
not flinched in the loathsome presence of
the plague, was not found wanting in
this, the hour of their supreme trial and
New difficulties and disagreements
were continually cropping up. "The
school house, which had been built for
the community on ground belonging to
the community with funds, a part of
which only was contributed by the society, was taken possession of by the
bishop and converted into a rival church.
The Indians, galling under many indignities, gave notice to the society's agent
that as the building wras not being used
for the purpose for which it was originally erected, it must be moved to closer
proximity to the mission house. No attention having been paid to the notice
to remove the building, after fully discussing the subject in council, they determined to take possession of it. Quiet
ly, and in the day time, they carried out
their resolution. The bishop filed an information against seven Indians who
w ere supposed to be the main actors,
charging them with riotously and
tumultously breaking into, injuring and
taking possession of a church, the property of the Church Missionary Society
of London. The Indians were tried, but
the evidence against them failed in every
particular to substantiate the indictment. The magistrate, however, overstepped the law and committed five out
of the seven men to take their trial if
called for at the next assizes at Victoria
—600 miles from their homes. On arriving' there they were told the grand
jury had not only thrown out the 'bill'
against them, but expressed the utmost
astonishment at the conduct of the magistrate."
Soon after the close of the trial referred to, a man-of-war with three commissioners arrived at Metlakahtla to in
quire into the "troubles" at the mission.
The inquiry did not result in procuring
peace. In their report they say: "In
justice to Bishop Ridley and the Church
Missionary Society, which has numerous
missions in the Northwest, it is proper
to say that the few Metlakahtla Indians
associated with them have not been parties to any of these disturbances, nor
have the missionaries of the society, so
far as the commission could learn, advocated the notion of the Indian title,
with the exception of Mr. Woods, a layman, whose action has met with the disapprobation of Bishop Ridley. The disturbances and disquietude have, to a
considerable extent, grown out of a desire
on the part of the majority of Metlakahtla Indians (who undoubtedly are in a
great measure subject to Mr. Duncan's
influence), to have what they have been
educated to call 'unity,' and to expel
from Metlakahtla any person or any
sentiment not in accord with the will of .
the majority."
A celebrated writer and traveller, E.
Ruhamah Scidmore, "Alaska, Boston,
1885." in a highly interesting chapter on
the Metlakahtla mission, thus pictures
the situation of affairs: "Mr. Duncan is
one of the noblest men that ever entered ]
the mission field. . . It was with real
regret that we parted at the wharf, and
it was not until we were well over the
water that we learned of the serpent or
the skeleton in this paradise. Though
Metlakahtla might rightly be considered
Mr. Duncan's own particular domain,
and the Indians have proved their appreciation of his unselfish labors by a love
and devotion rare in such cases* his
plainest rights have been invaded and
troubles brewed among his people. Two
years ago a bishop was appointed for the
dio3ese, which includes Port Simpson,
Metlakahtla, and a few other missions.
. . .Bishop Ridley, dU.ipprovirg of Mr.
Duncan's low church principles, went to
Metlakahtla and took possession as a superior officer. Mr. Duncan moved from
the rectory and the bishop tcok charge
of the church services. In counth ss ways
a spirit of antagonism was raised that
almost thieMten>d a war at oiu* time."
"The whole stay of the bishop has
been marked by trouble and turbulences,
and these scandalous distuibhnoes in a
Christian community cannot fail to have A NATIVE INDIAN COLONY.
an influence for evil, and undo some of
the work that has been done there.    Mr.
Duncan made no reference to his troubles   during   the   morning   we   spent   at
Metlakahtla,   and  his  desire     that    we
should see and kuow what his followers
were  capable  of,  and understand  what
they  had   accomplished  for themselves,
gave  us  to infer  that everything    was
peace and happiness in the colony.    One
hears nothing but praise of Mr. Duncan
up and down the coast.    His face alone
is  a  passport  for  piety,   goodness    and
benevolence   anywhere,   and   his   honest
blue  eyes,  his  kindly  smile  and  cheery
manner go straight to the heart of the
most savage Indian.    His dusky parishioners worship him, as he well deserves,
and in his twenty-seven (27) years among
them they have only the unbroken record
oi his kindness, his devotion, his unselfish  and  honorable  treatment  of  them.
He found them drunken savages, and he
made them civilized men and Christians.
He taught  them trades,  and there has
seemed to be no limit to this extraordin-
ary's   man's   .abilities.     When   his   hair
had   whitened   in   the   noble     unselfish
work, and the fruits of his labor had become apparent, nothing could have been
more cruel and unjust than to undo his
work, scatter dissension among his people
and  make  Metlakahtla a  reproach    instead of an honor to the society which
had sanctioned such a wrong.   An actual
crime has been  committed in the name
of religion by this persistent attempt to
destroy the peace and prosperity of Metlakahtla, and drive away the man who
founded and made that village what it
was.   British Columbia is long and broad,
and  there  are  a  hundred  places where
others can begin, as Mr. Duncan began,
and where the bishop can do good by his
"If it was low church doctrines that
made the Metlakahtla people what they
were a few years since, all other teachings should be given up at mission stations. Discord, enmity and sorrow have
succeeded the introduction of ritualism
at Metlakahtla, and though it cannot
fairly be said to be the inevitable result
of such teachings, it would afford an interest lg comparison if the Ritualists
would go off by themselves and establish
a second Metlakahtla as a test. It is
perhaps  to  the  society's   credit  that  it
has remained loyal to its bishop, who has
shared in its follies and in its disgrace;
but the following quotation from its reports reads like a farce to those who
know the truth:
"It is only just that we should pay our
frank and heaty tribute to Bishop Ridley, who, for the last five years, has,
amidst no ordinary danger, obloquy and
discouragement, fearlessly maintained
the  society's position  at    Metlakahtla."
"And now, says 'the Story of Metlakahtla, after nearly five years of intrigue
and lavish expenditure of the society's
funds, some twelve or fifteen families
form the bishop's party. Judging from
the number of missionaries employed by
the society at Metlakahtla, sometimes as
many as eight (male and female), and
how much it has cost to coddle and bribe
their adherents and coerce the Metlkkah-
tlans; the sum total of expense borne
by the society since the rupture cannot
be less than £6,000, or $30,000. The
amount paid to Mr. Duncan for his services during a period of more than
twenty years, and which resulted in the
creation of the successful, self-supporting
Christian village of Metkkrhtla, was
about £3,000, or $15,000. That is to say,
about one half the amount the society
has squandered in coercive schemes and
efforts to destroy the Metlakahtla Christian Union  since 1881."
"It is estimated that since the rupture
the government of Canada has, at the
instigation of the society's agents, spent
upwards of £6,000, or $30,000 of the public funds in coercing and terrorizing the
Metlakahtlans with men-of-war; add to
this the society's outlay -and we have a
total of ^60,000."
Without entering in details respecting
the Indian land question and other difficulties, and to make a long story short,
this chapter must be concluded by stating that after much deliberation on the
part of the Indians of the Metlakahtla,
elders of the Christian Union and the
council, it was unanimously decided to
remove from their present site to the island of Annette, about thirty miles distant, and form a new and independent
colony under Mr. Duncan's management.
The removal took place in 18S7. 26
Contrast Mr. Duncan's position in
1857-8 with that which he occupied in
1887-8. Thirty years had passed over
him, and in that period he had accomplished an unprecedented work. At Fort
Simpson he found large numbers of natives most degraded and barbarous. The
following paragraph will suffice to show
their appalling condition:
"Shortly after Mr. Duncan's arrival at
Port Simpson he witnessed, while standing on the gallery of one of the bastions,
a most sickening sight. A party of. hideously painted and bedecked cannibals
tearing limb from limb the body of a woman/who had just been foully murdered
by a chief, each struggling for a morsel
of the human flesh, which they devoured,
accompanying their fiendish orgies with
unearthly howls and wierd beat of their
medicine drums. Bespattered with the
blood of their victim, maddened with
rum, frenzied by their hysterical enthusiasm in these superstitious rites, they
wrought themselves into a wild and furious delirium, imitating ravenous wolves
in their ferocity. These ceremonies continued during the night and were followed by debaucheries lasting for several
days, during which, most terrible atrocities 'were perpetrated, several of their
number being slain just without the
gates of the fort."
"Such scenes as these," remarks the
narrator, "might quail the stoutest heart;
but, on the contrary, to Mr. Duncan they
proved a stimulus to his intrepid determination to rescue them from their benighted state." In one of Mr. Duncan's
letters he writes: "To attempt to describe their condition would be but to
produce a dark, revolting picture of human depravity. The dark mantle of
degrading superstition envelopes them
all, and their savage spirits, swayed by
pride, jealousy and revenge, were ever
hurrying them on to deeds of blood.
Their history is little else than a chapter
of crime and misery."
It has been recorded in preceding pages
of this sketch what wonderful changes
have been produced in the habits and
manners of these desperate savages—and
how very successful Mr. Duncan's plans
were in producing those wonderful
changes.    How the murderous cannibals
were converted and became Christians,
useful and laW-abiding citizens, and the
providential way in which, it appears,
Mr. Duncan became a missionary. It was
in this way: "Captain (afterwards admiral) Prevost, returning to England
from a cruise in the North Pacific, excited great public interest by his account
of the terrible state of barbarism that
prevailed there. Mr. Duncan sacrificed
a highly lucrative position in a business
house and started out for this field under the auspices of the Church Missionary Society, taking passage in a Hudson's Bay Company's sailing vessel,
which rounded Cape Horn. On reaching
Vancouver Island, Sir James Douglas,
then the governor of the Hudson's Bay
Company, urged in the strongest possible
terms the folly of his attempting to civilize the murderous hordes of the North
Pacific, aserting that it would be a fruitless sacrifice of his life. Notwithstanding this, Mr. Duncan persisted in his determination to go on, and he was taken
to Port Simpson, a fortified trading post
of the Hudson's Bay Company."
How he succeded and the methods he
rsed have already been referred to, audit .appears to be worthy of special notice that his plans coincided with the
views of Mr. Henry M. Stanley, "one of
the greatest students of the savage mind
and one whose vast practical experience
enables him to speak with authority." In
his book, "Through the Dark Continent,"
Mr. Stanley remarks: "It is strange how
British philanthropists, clerical and lay,
persist in the delusion that the Africans
can be satisfied with spiritual improvement only. They should endeavor to impress themselves with the undeniable
fact that man—white, yellow or black —
has also material wants which crave to
be understood and supplied. A barbarous man is a pure materialist. He is
full of cravings for possessing something
that he cannot describe. He is like a
child which has not yet acquired the faculty of articulation. The missionary discovers the barbarian almost stupefied
with British ignorance with the instincts
of man in him, but yet living the life of
a beast. Instead of attempting to develop the qualities of this practical human being, he instantly attempts his
transformation   by   expounding to  him A NATIVE INDIAN COLONY.
the dogmas of the Christian faith, the
doctrine of transubstantiation and other
difficult subjects before the barbarian
has had time to articulate his necessities
and to explain to him that he is a frail
creature requiring to be fed with bread
and not with a stone." Mr. Stanley
"My experience and study of the pagan
proves to me, however, that if the missionary can show the poor materialist
that religion is allied with substantial
benefits and improvements of his degraded condition, the task to which he is
about to devote himself will be rendered
comparatively easy. For the African
once brought in contact with the European becomes docile enough; he is awed
by a consciousness of his own immense
inferiority and imbued with a vague
hope that he may also rise in time to the
level of this superior being who has so
challenged his admiration. * * *
He comes to him with a desire to be
taught, and seized with an ambition to
aspire to a higher life, becomes docile
?md tractable; but, to his surprise, he
perceives himself mocked by this being,
who talks to him about matters that he
despairs of ever understanding, and
therefore, with abashed face and a still
deeper sense of his inferiority, he retires
to his den, cavern or hut with a dogged
determination' to be content with the
brutish life he was born in."
"It is not," continues Mr. Stanley, "the
mere preacher that is wanted here. The
bishops of Great Britain, collected with
all the classic youth of Oxford and Cambridge, would effect nothing by mere
talk with the intelligent people of Uganda. It is the practical Christian tutor
who can teach people how to become
Christians, cure their diseases, construct
dwellings, understand and exemplify agriculture and turn his hand to anything,
like a sailor. This is the man who is
wanted. Such an one, if he can be found,
would become the saviour of Africa. He
must be tied to no church or sect, but
profess God and His Son and the moral
law, and live a blameless Christian, inspired by liberal principles, charity to all
men and devout faith in heaven. He
must belong to no nation in particular,
but to the entire white race."
The  plan  which   Mr.   Stanley   recom
mended for Central Africa isf practically
the same as that inaugurated by Mr.
Duncan in 1857 among the Tsimsheans.
The progress which had been made at
Metlakahtla is best referred to by Admiral Prevost, who, after a long absence,
visits Mr. Duncan's colony, and, quoting
from his notes, says: "Three a. m.,
Tuesday, 18th June, 1878.—Arrived at
Fort Simpson in the U. S. mail steamer
California from -Sitka. Was met by
William Duncan, with 16 Indians, nearly
all elders. Our greeting was most hearty,
and the meeting with Duncan a cause
of real thankfulness to God, in sight, too,
of the very spot (nay, on it), where God
had put it into my heart the first desire
of sending the Gospel to the poor heathens around me. Twenty-five years previously H. M. S. "Virago" had been repaired on that very beach. What a
change had been affected during those
passing years. Of the crew before me,
nine of the sixteen were, to my knowledge, formerly medicine men or cannibals. In humble faith, we could only
exclaim: 'What hath God wrought!' It
is all His doing, and it is marvellous
in our eyes,"
"After twenty-five years of absence
God had brought me back again, midst
all the sundry and manifold changes of
the world, face to face with those tribes
amongst whom I have witnessed only
bloodshed, cannibalism and heathen
deviltry in its grossest form. Now they
are sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed,
and in their right mind. The very
church warden, dear old Peter Simpson,
who opened the church door for me, was
the chief of one of the cannibal tribes.
. . . Words cannot describe the happy
month I spent in this Christian circle.
. . . Sunday, 23rd.—To_me all days at
Metlakahtla are solemnly sacred, but
Sunday, above all others, especially so.
Canoes are all drawn up on the beach
above high-water mark. Not a sound
heard. The children are assembled before morning service to receive special
instruction from Mr. Duncan. The
church bell rings, and the whole population pour out from their houses—men,
women and children—to worship God in
His own house, built by their own
hands. As it had been remarked: 'No
need to lock doors, for no one is there 28
to enter the empty houses.' Two policemen are on duty in uniform to keep
order during, service. The service begins
With a chant in Tsimshean, . T Will
Arise and Go to My Father," etc., Mr.
iSchult leading with the harmonium; the
Litany prayers in Tsimshean follow,
closing with the Lord's prayer. The address lasts nearly an hour. Such is the
deep attention of many present, that
having once known their former lives,
I know that the love of God shed abroad
in their hearts by the Holy Ghost, can
alone have produced so marvellous a
"First, there was a very old woman,
staff in hand, stepping with such solemn
earnestness; after her came one who had
been a very notorious gambler; though
now almost crippled with disease, yet
he seemed to be forgetting infirmity, and
literally to be leaping along. Next followed a dissipated youth, now reclaimed;
and after) him a chief, who had dared a
few years ago, proudly to lift up his
hand to stop the work of God, now with
humble mien, wending his way to worship. Then came a still more haughty
man of rank; and after him a mother
carrying her infant child, a father leading his infant son, a. grandmother, with
more than a mother's care, watching the
steps of her grandson. Then followed a
widow; then a young woman who had
been snatched from the jaws of infamy;
then, a once notorious chief; and the last
I reflected upon wTas a man walking
with solemn gait, yet hope fixed in his
look. When a heathen he was a murderer; he had murdered his own wife and
burnt her to ashes! What are all these
now, I thought, and the crowds that accompany them! Whither are they
going? And what to do? Blessed sight
for angels! Oh, the preciousness of a
•Saviour's blood! If there is a joy hi
Heaven over one sinner that repenteth,
with what delight must angels look upon
such a sight as this! I felt such a glow
of gratitude to God come over me, my
heart was stirred within me, for who
could have joined such a congregation as
this in worship and have been cold, and
who could have preached the Gospel to
such a people and not have felt he was
standing where God was working?"   .   .
"July    16th.—Before     my     departure
from Metlakahtla, I assembled the few
who were left at the village, to tell them
I was anxious to leave behind some
token both of my visit to them after so
long an absence, and also, that I still
bore them on my heart. What should
it be? After hours of consultation they
decided they would leave the choice to
me, and when I told them (what I had
before determined upon), that my present would be a set of street lamps to
light up their village at night, their joy
was unbounded. Their first thought had
a spiritual meaning, by day, God's house
was a memorable object, visible both by
vessels passing and repassing, and by
all canoes as strange Indians travelled
about; by night all was darkness—now
i-o longer so—as the bright light of the
glorious Gospel, had through God's
mercy and love shined in their dark
hearts, so would all be reminded by night
as well as by day, of the marvellous
light shining in the hearts of many at
Metlakahtla, even the Indians who came
with him were in such fear from the
neighboring tribes, that they begged
him not to have a fire burning at night
or show a light in his house. The system
of murder was then so general, that
whenever an enemy saw a light lie
sneaked up to it, and the death of the
unsuspecting Indian was generally the
result. Thus my selection was a happy
one,  and I thanked God for it."
The writer of the "Story of Metlakahtla" remarks: "In the testimony of
these independent and intelligent observers, who have investigated with
scrutiny the development of this ideal
community, we have evidence beyond
question that Mr. Duncan's work is an
unqualified success; totally free from any
underlying motives of personal emoluments or actuated by ambition for self-
Some ten years later Mr. Duncan, in
support and defence of his principles,
found it desirable to abandon the village
of Old Metlakahtla with all its improvements, and. commence life anew. His
council had chosen Annette island as a
suitable location for the new colony. It
was entirely uninhabited, and contained
some good timber, with a considerable
proportion of fairly jjgood land—an excellent    harbor    and    extensive    gravel A NATIVE INDIAN COLONY.
beach. There is also a good supply of
water from a lake on an elevated plateau,
which drives a sawmill and furnishes
abundance of water for the village. The
island is claimed' by the United States
as being included within their portion of
Eastern Alaska, under the Russian-
Anglo Treaty of 1825; but as that question is not quite settled yet, Mr. Duncan
i«nd his followers may yet come under
the sovereignty of King Edward and the
British flag.
The special agent of Alaska fisheries
for the United States in his report for
1900, says of New Metlakahtla: "An-.
nette island, on which the village is
located has been set aside by an act of
congress for the exclusive use of the
natives who form the community. They
abandoned their old home, principally
for religious reasons, as Mr. Duncan
got at odds with the bishop of the
diocese on doctrinal grounds, arid either
had to surrender or flit. He felt that
his successful work with'these people
had been an outgrowth, largely, of his
departure from the strict tenets of the
church, and that they must relapse into
semi-barbarism if he were to< depart from
his line of teachings. So he concluded
to go, and nearly all that branch of the
tribe with which he was connected ac-
' cepted his decision. It was a very great
hardship for them, for they had a well
built village and would have to leave
everything and go into the wilderness almost bare handed—even the furnishings
of the church had to be left behind. . .
"He and 800 of his people landed at
the site of the present village as their
new home in 1888-9, having made the
passage in the canoes of the tribe.
Where is now the smiling village was
then a dense forest. They went ashore
to hew a home out of the primeval
woods. It is not necessary to recount
their experiences nor enlarge upon the
fortitude and patience they displayed. It
it enough to know that complete success
crowned their efforts, and they have today as well equipped, handsome and
prosperous a town for its size as the
whole of Alaska can, hoast. More thau
100 good houses, with trim gardens are
to be seen. Some of the residences cost
upward of $2,500. The church is by far
the best one in Alaska, with a seating
capacity for nearly a thousand people.
It boasts a fine pipe organ, and its internal finish and furnishing would do
credit to any community. It was built
by the labor of these people, without the
help of white men, except Mr. Duncan.
This is true of all their improvements.
The town has an excellent water system
and many miles of good, broad sidewalks. There are two well stocked
stores, a large salmon cannery, a sawmill,  blacksmith  shop,  etc."
"The common impression is that Metlakahtla is a communal organization,
with everything in common among its
inhabitants. Such is not the facts. The
Metlakahtla Industrial Company is the
principal business concern, owning the
cannery and sawmill. This corporation
is owned almost entirely by Mr. Duncan,
though it is a stock company, and at one
time its shares were distributed among
a considerable number of the natives
(who paid for their stock in work) and
friends of the enterprise in Boston and
Portland. At the present time the large
majority is in the hands of Mr. Duncan.
Of the $25,000 capital, $5,000 is still
held by natives. . . It probably now ■
represents property worth twice as much
or more. One of the native owners told
me that he received 15 per cent, dividend
annually on his investment. Aside from
this corporation all property is held by
individual owners, except such as pertains to the community as a whole—the
church, town hall, school house, water
system, etc. Each head of a family
owns his residence, and anyone is free to
engage in any business at his pleasure.
Those who work for the company receive regular pay, and if employment is
scant are at liberty to go elswhere to
obtain it. This is quite common, and
during the fishing season many of them
avail themselves of the privilege and go
to other canneries for work. During one
season, I believe, the company was left
short handed, and was forced to* employ
a gang. of white fishermen. A number
of the Metlakahtlans inspired by a
spirit of enterprise, have built and are
successfully operating on their private
account, a sawmill on an adjacent
island."   .   .   .
"There  is  no  property  taxation,   and
the cost of the  maintenance  of  public 30
improvements is met by a direct equal
assessment. Each male in the community pays $3 per year for this purpose.
Sidewalks are built out of the public
fund, for instance the government of the
village rests with a council of 20 men,
elected annually by public vote. Among
other functions exercised by this council,
it assigns to each applicant an allotment
of land for a residence site, which then
becomes his individual property, and
may be disposed of subject to the approval of the council. The peace of the
community is looked after by two constables, who are government employees,
but so well behaved are the people that
their office is practically a sinecure."
"Many of the village improvements
and expenses have been put in and are
maintained out of Mr. Duncan's private
resources. He built the waterworks at
a cost of $3,000, as well as the town
hall and school house. He provides a
teacher without expense to the people,
and also a doctor. . He alone owns the
principal store of the village, which
carries a general stock well up in the
thousands; but it is understood that the
profits are gauged to cover only the cost
of maintenance. The manager of the
store is a pleasant-faced, fine old native,
who was one of Mr. Duncan's most reliable supporters in the early days, and
is so still. He talks English fluently,
and I am indebted to him for much interesting and valuable information.."
"The social side of life is not lost
sight of, and among the sources of entertainment for the people is a well
trained brass band, which discourses
very excellent music on all public occasions. This season there was being
erected for its accommodation a handsome building on one of the most sightly
locations in the town. The view from
the point is very fine across the harbor
and in front of the mountains opposite.
"A splendid wharf, supplied by water-
pipes, is one of the improvements which
most commends itself to the public. It
is apparently free for vessels that wish
to use it, and no charge is made for
water taken by them. That this is a pure
act of courtesy on the part of Mr. Duncan, is evidently not always borne in
mind, for during my stay there a ship
made fast, filled her tanks and steamed
away,  without saying as much as—'By
your leave.'
"Liquor and tobacco are tabooed in
Metlakahtla. Sabbath observance is a
matter of course. The people are deeply
religious, not in outward showing, but
in conscience and conviction. The
church services are absolutely non-
sectarian, are well attended, and the
spirit of ) devotion unmistakable. The
organ is played by a native, and the singing is congregational. Mr. Duncan
preaches in the Indian dialect, although
all of his people understand, and most of
them speak English. Hymns are given
out and isung in the latter, and well
trained musical voices are to be heard.
The Tsimpsean is a musical tongue, and
has been studied so thoroughly, and used
so long by Mr. Duncan, that his people
told me that none of them could put so
much meaning into it as he. He says
it is so much his, own that he thinks in
it, and prefers to use it in the pulpit as
much  on his own account as theirs.
"Mr. Duncan is in every sense but the
physical one, the father of this people,
and they love and respect him as such.
His word is law, but it is the law of
kindness. If, perchance, one of the
natives should momentarily rebel or dispute the righteousness of his judgments,
he is sure to ask afterwards pardon for j
his ill-nature, and accept the decision
with implicit confidence and perfect good
"It is to be remembered that all these
people are Northwest Indians, and have
been redeemed from densest savagery.
The oldest of them can recall the days
when cannibalism played a part in their
barbarous rites. To-day they are par
excellence, the most peaceable, religious,
moral, industrious and prosperous native
community to be found between Puget
Sound and the1 Arctic Ocean. William
Duncan has worked this miracle not only
by his sole efforts, but in the face of
interference and embarrassment that
must have crushed and paralysed the
effort of any other than a man of heroic
Mr. iDuncan's success in establishing a
second colony on lines similar to the
former, is evidence of the skill, ability,
foresight and perseverance which he
possesses.    He had prepared an elabor-
ate plan of Indian missionary work,
which was intended to apply to and include all the northern tribes of British
Columbia. The advent of the bishop,
however, changed the current of affairs,
and put a stop to those proposals and
their prospective advantages. The
second village ('New Metlakahtla) continues to be prosperous, and its inhabitants happy and contented, without
any great changes in Mr. Duncan's
Salmon canning packing, salting, etc.,
first commenced in that region (Clarence
Strait and northward) by Mr. Duncan
continues to be carried on successfully.
The United States official report on
Alaska fisheries for 1900 gives amongst
other establishments the return of the
"Industrial Company" as employing at
the cannery, Annette island, 3 whites,
234 natives; wages    paid,    $24,500; tin
plate used, value, $11,046; cases of
salmon tinned in 1899, reported at 10,-
542, valued at $86,000; in 1900, cases
reported, 18,000, value, $54,000. Government tax paid in 1900, $720. Steamers owned by the company in 1900, reported as 2, value, $8,000, with a
tonnage of 62 tons, taken together. In
1901 Mr. Duncan purchased a launch
as tender, value, about $1,000. To the
"canning" has to be added, according
to the official report referred to for 1900
—packed or salted—red salmon, 96,273;
silver salmon, 4,452; pink or hump-back
salmon, 201,423, in 18,000 cases or packages, value, $54,000. So it would appear that the exodus from "Old Metlakahtla" has resulted in supplying (pro
tern) for the United States a thriving
colony, but looking back to the old
village the view is dreary and discouraging—"its glory has departed."   luBiu


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