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BC Historical Books

Metlakahtla : a true narrative of the red man Davis, George T. B., 1873-1967 1904

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Array   V  METLAKAHTLA    Metlakahtla!  beauteous isle,
On the broad Pacific's breast;
What hath God wrought? an holy calm
Where once was fierce unrest.
In the dense light of human hearts
A glorious Light hath shined—
A dazzling shaft from Calvary's cross
With love and mercy twined.
Slumber, to wake no more]
Within that city's sea-girt wall,
The passions once untamed
That held our brethren there in thrall.
Metlakahtla! precious jewel
On the bosom of the sea,
God hath made thee what thou art,
Unto Him the glory be.  CHAPTER I. §•
HE British
warship H.
M. S. Virago was steam-
i n g north ward
through the Pacific Ocean near
the southern
boundary of Alaska. The steady
throb of the ship's
engines was the
only sound that
broke the stillness
of the beautiful
mountainous islands among which the vessel was wending its way.
It was the year 1853, and several days
had passed since the ship had left Victoria,
five hundred miles southward. The warship had kept close to the Canadian coast
throughout the journey and was now nearing Queen Charlotte Islands, where an
American schooner had recently been
plundered and destroyed by the savage Indian inhabitants. The warship had come
to punish the offenders.
The  commander  of the  vessel,  Captain
J. C. Prevost, was a robust Englishman
of middle age, who was as thorough a
Christian as he was valiant a commander.
After anchoring in the bay a searching
investigation of several days was made,
but Captain Prevost was unable to fix the1
guilt upon any particular tribe. Hence, he
assembled the various chiefs and gave
them stern warning of the power
of the white man, telling them how
easily his guns could thunder forth shot
and shell and destroy every vestige of the
village. In his own mind, Captain Prevost
believed that Edensaw, the head chief of
the Hydah' tribes, was the guilty person,
but certain proof being lacking, he could
take no steps for his punishment. Before
leaving, however, he took one step, very
unusual, alas, among the commanders of
warships. Calling Edensaw to one side he
presented him with a copy of the New
Testament, on the fly-leaf of which was
"From Captain Prevost, H. M. S. 'Satellite/ trusting that the bread thus cast upon
the waters may be found after many days."
As the Captain handed the Indian chief the
volume, little did he dream of the beautiful
sequel to the action which would occur a
quarter of a century later.
After leaving Queen Charlotte Islands,
the ship kept her course northward for
nearly a hundred miles further until Fort
Simpson,   a   station   of  the   Hudson   Bay METLAKAHTLA
Company, was reached. This trading-post
was a heavily barricaded fort, surrounded
by a large body of fierce Tsimshean Indians.
So savage were these tribes that the inhabitants of the fort had on certain occasions kept sentinels on guard day and night
for weeks at a time for fear of an attack and
wholesale massacre. Captain Prevost's visit
to the fort was for the double purpose of
ascertaining whether all was well with the
garrison, and of making some needed repairs to his vesseL
When the ship had dropped anchor the
Commander ordered a number of small
boats lowered and, surrounded by a heavy
guard of armed marines, he was rowed
ashore and the company marched to Fort
Simpson, several hundred yards distant.
As he passed through the long lines of
fierce-looking and painted Indians, Captain Prevost was struck at once by their fine
physique, but equally impressed by the degraded, savage, murderous -appearance of
their faces. He was filled with compassion
for these ignorant children of. the forest,
who knew naught of love or peace, or true
joy, but whose lives from the cradle to the
grave were filled with fear and cruelty, and
hate, and murder. At this time no protes-
tant missionary had ever come into the
Northland to tell the red men of the message from God contained in the Bible, and
the only religion they knew was the Devil
Worship taught by the cruel medicine men. 12
Arriving at the Fort, Captain Prevost received a hearty welcome from the garrison,
for they thought the presence of the warship would have a salutary effect upon the
red men. For a number of days the ship
remained there undergoing repairs, the
Captain meanwhile improving the time in
studying the wild, untamed children of the
forest. The more he saw of their nature,
bold and defiant even in the face of imminent destruction, the more deeply was the
conviction borne in upon his soul that what
was needed to permanently restrain the Indians from murder and pillage, was not the
presence of a warship, but of a missionary
of the Gospel. He believed that the glad
tidings of salvation could transform even
these sad, warlike savages into happy,
peaceful Christians and citizens, and a
great desire sprang up in his heart to be
himself the means of giving them the light.
The repairs completed, Captain Prevost
ordered the vessel southward to Victoria,
and during the following weeks and months,
he went here and there in the North Pacific waters, quelling an Indian uprising in
one place, settling an international dispute
in another, and in general preserving the
status quo in that far-off region.
But during all that time he did not forget
the sad, dusky faces of the Tsimshean Indians at Fort Simpson. His desire to uplift them and enlighten their eyes that they METLAKAHTLA
might see the true glory of life, grew rather
than lessened with the passing months.
At length, in 1856, Captain Prevost was
summoned to England for a conference with
the officials of the English navy. While in
London awaiting assignment to a new command the Captain attended an anniversary
meeting of a leading missionary organization. Here he met Rev. Joseph Ridgeway,
an official of the Church Missionary Society, and to him he poured out the desire
of his heart concerning the Indians at Fort
Simpson. Mr. Ridgeway was impressed by
the graphic.picture.of the needs of the red
men of the Northland, but declared there
was no money in the treasury of the society to equip a missionary and send him
out to that far distant region. However,
he invited Captain Prevost to write an article on the land and the people of the
North Pacific coast of America for their
periodical, The Church Missionary Intelli-.
gencer. . The Captain gladly accepted the
offer and wrote an able article giving the
history of the country, describing its soil,
climate and products, and showing what a
promising field was open to the missionary.
He said in part:      §f|
"It is difficult to ascertain, with any degree of accuracy, the total number of the
native population; a mean, however, between the highest and lowest estimates,
gives 60,000, a result probably not far from
the truth.    It is a facty well calculated; to 14
arrest the attention, and to enlist in behalf
of the proposed Mission the active sympathies of every sincere Christian, that this
vast number of our fellow-subjects have remained in a state of heathen darkness and
complete barbarism ever since the discovery
and partial surveys of their coast by Vancouver in 1792-1794; and that no effort has
yet been made for their moral or spiritual
improvement, although, during the last
forty years a most lucrative trade has been
carried on with them by our fellow countrymen. We would most earnestly call upon
all who have themselves learned to value
the blessings of the Gospel, to assist in
rolling away this reproach. The field is a
jnost promising one. Some naval officers,
who, in the discharge of their professional
duties, have lately visited these regions,
have been most favorably impressed with
the highly intelligent character of the natives; and, struck by their manly bearing,
and a physical appearance fully equal to
that of the English, Whom they also resemble in. the fairness of their complexion;
and having their* compassion excited by
their total destitution of Christian and
moral instruction, they feel it to be their
duty to endeavor to introduce among them
the knowledge of the Gospel of Christ, under the conviction that it would prove the
surest and most fruitful source of social
improvement and civilization, as well as of
spiritual blessings, infinitely more valuable, METLAKAHTLA
and would be found the only effectual antidote to the contaminating vices which a
rapidly increasing trade, especially with
California and Oregon, is bringing in its
The plea of the Christian Captain met
with a quick response. Among the gifts
received by the missionary society soon
afterward was one oj $2,500, given by "Two
Friends" for the work among the red men
described by Captain Prevost.
In spite, however, of this gift the society
hesitated to act. They had the money, but
where was a suitable man to send. Thus,
two or three months passed, when Captain
Prevost came to them with the announcement that he had been re-appointed to his
former naval station on the North Pacific
coast, and was to leave almost immediately in command of the warship Satellite.
Further, by the sanction of the Admiralty,
he was enabled to offer a free passage in
his ship to whatever missionary they might
choose to send to the Fort Simpson Indians. 1
Eleven days before the Satellite was to
sail on her journey to the other side of
the globe this was the situation: Thousands
of Indians at Fort Simpson needing the
Gospel; $2,500.00 in the bank to send out a
missionary; a warship ready to transport
the messenger of peace; and yet the committee unable to find the right man for this
important missionary undertaking. i6
Could they find a man and could he get
ready to embark in the short time remaining, was the problem that confronted the
society. On the tenth day before the warship was ready to leave England, a young
man then attending a missionary training
school was suggested and his name approved by the committee.
Who he was; how he boarded the warship
a few hours before its departure, and his
strange and perilous experiences among the
red men of America, in his efforts to win
them to Christ, will be related as our story
HE young
man chosen
by the committee for the hazardous mission to
the American Indians was a student
in the Highbury
Training College in
London named
William Duncan.
On the eighth day
before the ship was
to sail, Dr. Alford,
the principal, called young Duncan into
his study and, pointing to the. north
coast of America, asked whether he would
volunteer to go there as a missionary to
the Indians. The young man declared he
had no objections whatever; that he was
glad to go to whatever place the Society
should assign him. Dr. Alford then informed him that he had been selected for
the undertaking, that a free passage on the
warship Satellite had been offered, and that
he had only eight days in which to prepare
his outfit, bid farewell to his relatives, and
reach the ship at Plymouth.
17 i8
The young man at once set about in haste
making the needed preparations for his
journey to the other side of the globe,
from which it was quite possible he would
never return. Just here, as he is earnestly
striving to take advantage of the generous
offer of Captain Prevost, let us glance at
his previous life and see how he came to
offer himself as a missionary to the heathen.
William Duncan was born in 1831, his
early life being spent in Beverly, Yorkshire.
While in his teens he entered the employ of
a wholesale house, and showed such proficiency that in a few years he became clerk
and traveling salesman. He was a member
of the Church of England, and one evening,
in company with another young man, his
chum, attended a quarterly missionary
meeting. It was a rainy night and there
were only a few people present. Nevertheless, the speaker delivered an earnest
address upon the condition of the missionary world at that time. He declared there
were regions that sorely needed missionaries; that there were funds in hand to
send out workers, but the men and women
to go were lacking. These words made a
deep impression upon the mind of young
Duncan. He asked himself why he should
not go, and decided that he would if an
opportunity offered. The first person to
whom he spoke on the subject was the
bosom friend with whom he had attended
the meeting.   He suggested that they both METLAKAHTLA
offer themselves for the work, and the
friend consented. But, upon the young
man's suggesting the plan to his mother,
she declared his going would be her deathblow, and he reluctantly relinquished the
Young Duncan, however, was not daunted by his friend's turning back, and told his
pastor, Rev. Mr. Carr, of his newly formed
desire. What was his surprise when Mr.
Carr turned to him and said: "William,
while we were listening to that address I
thought of you and prayed in my heart that
God would lead you to take up that work."
The minister wrote at once to the
Church Missionary Society recommending
William, and the result was that he was
accepted as a missionary candidate and
nominated to attend the Highbury Training School.
When William went to announce his resignation to the two men at the head of the
wholesale firm he encountered strong opposition to his going. He was a valuable
young man and they wished to keep him
in their employ. One of the firm said that
not only did he regret Duncan's leaving
but that William himself would also regret
it. The other partner said he thought the
missionary cause would be better served
by bringing natives from heathen lands to
England and then sending them back instead of sending out missionaries to be
killed. Their opposition did not alter young 20
Duncan's resolution in the least, but to
do the fair thing he offered to remain for
six months longer, until they could secure
a suitable man as his successor.
At the expiration of the allotted time he
resigned his business duties, and entered
Highbury College with what result we have
noted above.
The Satellite was to leave Plymouth on
Tuesday. On Monday evening the yOung
man had succeeded in visiting his-nearest
relatives to bid them a hasty good-by, had
bade farewell to the officials of the Church
Missionary Society and had secured the
needed outfit for the long journey. At 8
p. m. he left Paddington Station, London,
accompanied by Dr. Alford, and reached
Plymouth at 6 a. m. Tuesday morning. Together they went aboard the man-of-war,
Satellite, where the doctor remained some
hours giving final advice and encouragement to the young man, twenty-six years of
age, who was about to depart on such an
important mission. At 2 p. m., on the 22d
of December, 1856, the ship steamed out
of the harbor, and put to sea for a voyage
of nearly twenty thousand miles around
Cape Horn to the naval station at Victoria.
As he stands on the deck of the warship,
taking a last look at the receding shore of
England, let us inspect more closely the appearance and character of this brave young
man who is starting on a heroic yet extremely hazardous enterprise to the other  22
resolution and iron will. He is an idealist,
but he has the force of character necessary
to transmute his dreams into realities in^
the face of obstacles however difficult. Like
Paul, the greatest missionary, he is not a
man to shun dangers and perils by land or
sea, but rather to exult in them, if thereby
he can win men from darkness to light;
and many are the perilous experiences
through which young Duncan is destined
to pass ere he again sees the shores of his
native land.
In rounding the Cape terrific storms were
encountered by the Satellite and on more
than one occasion it was feared the ship
would sink. But finally the dangerous regions were passed and on the 27th of June,
1857, after a voyage of over six months,
Victoria was safely reached.\
On landing, the officials of the powerful Hudson Bay Company informed Mr.
Duncan that the Society had made an error
in appointing him to Fort Simpson, over
five hundred miles north of Victoria, as the
Indians in that country were in a most
barbarous condition, and the officials of the
company could not be responsible for his
safety. They advised him to work among
the Indians around Victoria, where he could
be afforded ample protection. Sir James
Douglass was then governor both of Vancouver Island and of the Hudson Bay
Company in that vicinity. Shortly after
the arrival he and Captain Prevost walked METLAKAHTLA
with Mr. Duncan to the home of Rev. E.
Cridge of Victoria, discussing the matter.
Sir James plainly gave the Captain to understand that he and others objected to
Mr. Duncan's proceeding northward. But
the Captain scouted the idea of his not going forward and declared that if the company refused to let Mr. Duncan proceed
to Fort Simpson that he would carry him
back to England on his ship.
At this point the governor turned to
Mr. Duncan and said: "As you are the
most interested party I would like to see
you in private on the subject. Please come
and take dinner with me this evening."
After dinner the Governor appeared in a
more conciliatory frame of mind and after
stating his fears that his life would be taken,
said: "Do you still persist in wishing to go
Mr. Duncan replied: "I cannot possibly
entertain any change in my plans. I have
been assigned to Fort Simpson, and cannot work elsewhere without first consulting
with the Society in London which would
take a year'c time. If you will permit me
to go, all I will ask of you and the Hudson
Bay Company is that I be given the protection of the Fort until I can speak the native language. Then I will take the risk
of going out among the Indians without involving the Company in any further responsibility."
Sir James then very kindly said: "You 24
shall go and I will give instructions to the
Fort to treat you as one of the officers.
The only condition being that you do not
call the Indians within the Fort for any
Mr. Duncan was now ready to proceed at
once to the northland. But for the following three months he was compelled to remain in Victoria, as a steamer only went
to the Fort twice yearly: once in the Spring
and again in the Autumn.
In the latter part of September he embarked for the final journey of five hundred
miles. One of the ports where the ship
called was Fort Rupert, where there was a
settlement of one thousand Indians, and
there Mr. Duncan caught his first glimpse
of the savage, ferocious character of the
northern tribes. It was a sight dreadful
enough to make the heart of any save the
most heroic missionary quake with fear.
Scattered about on the beach lay the dead
and mangled' bodies of a band of Hydah
Indians who had stopped there on a journey homeward a few days previous, and had
been attacked and the bodies hacked to
pieces by the resident tribes. All but two
of the party had been killed and those were
held as prisoners.
The arrival at Fort Simpson occurred at
night when it was so dark one could not
see his hand before him. Soon their coming was heralded throughout the Indian
camp, and in a few moments the beach was METLAKAHTLA
alive with excited figures running hither
and thither waving fire-brands of welcome.
The following day Mr. Duncan examined
the Fort and found it consisted of dwellings, and warehouses, trading stores and
workshops enclosed within a stockade one
hundred yards square. The palisade was
very solid, being built of heavy tree trunks
sunk into the ground and projecting about
twenty feet upward. At the corners were
wooden bastions, mounted with cannon. On
the inside of the stockade near the top a
platform or gallery had been constructed
from which one could view the surrounding
country, or fire at an enemy, and on which
the garrison was accustomed to take daily
exercise. The entire garrison numbered
scarcely more than twenty persons, while
two or three thousand Tsimshean Indians
lived nearby. Hence the greatest caution
had to be constantly exercised for fear of
a wholesale massacre. For this reason
more than two or three Indians were never
admitted into the Fort at one time.
Immediately, Mr. Duncan set about to
find an Indian from whom he could learn
the Tsimshean language. He selected Clah,
who had access to the Fort, but who was
unable to speak English, and began without delay.
The evening following his arrival at the
Fort Mr. Duncan beheld with his own eyes
the awful fact that the Indians he had come
so many thousand miles to win- to Christ
JS- 26
were not only savages, but in a sense cannibals! In the twilight he was walking on
the gallery of the Fort when he saw a
slave woman murdered on the beach at the
command of a chief and the body thrown
into the water. Presently two parties of
Indians approached the spot, each headed
by a naked medicine man, who performed
wild and weird motions and gave forth horrible gutteral sounds, and in every way endeavored to work the minds of their followers into an hysterical, devilish condition.
On reaching the body it was torn to pieces
by the teeth of the beastly, demoniacal
red men.
Within a week another significant event
occurred, calculated to inspire fear and discouragement in the soul of any save a missionary whpse heart was aflame with love
and who did not count his life dear, provided he could follow in the footsteps of
his Master. In the near vicinity of Fort
Simpson there were located nine tribes of
Tsimshean Indians. Each tribe had its
own chief, but a famous medicine man
named Legaie was the head chief of all
the tribes of the Tsimshean nation. Legaie
was several times a murderer and one of the
most desperate and wicked Indians on the
North Pacific Coast. A few days after Mr.
Duncan's arrival he had, while partly intoxicated, been holding a conference with
some subordinate chiefs. Their words had"
angered  him,   and  he   departed  from  the METLAKAHTLA
meeting in an irritable mood. Meeting a
strange Indian from a neighboring tribe
vvithin a few hundred feet of the Fort, he
shot him down in ,cold .bjood, simply because he was feeling disgruntled. Then with
Satanic indifference, he ordered two of his
men to go and fire two more shots into the
helpless, wounded Indian. An officer of
the Fort, walking on the gallery, had witnessed the chief's devilish deed, and Mr.
Duncan himself saw the last shots fired by
the subordinates.
Was Mr. Duncan discouraged by this
appalling outburst of savagery? Not at all.
But it was well that he did not know what
the future held in store for him not many
months distant in connection with this
same Legaie.
a s s i stance of
Clah, who became
warmly attached
to him, Mr. Duncan made rapid
progress in learning the Tsimshean
lang u a g e. His
method was as
follows: Selecting
fifteen hundred of
the commonest
English words
from the dictionary he sought to
discover from Clah the Tsimshean equivalents for them. Many were the difficult and
often amusing experiences which occurred
in this attempt to formulate and put down
in order for the first time the native tongue
of the Indians. By patient and oft-repeated
signs he finally wrote phonetically in English 1,500 words and 1,100 short sentences.
Early in the year 1858, not long after Mr.
Duncan's arrival at the Fort, he received a
significant visit from one of the Tsimshean
The native said to him: "What do you
mean by 1858?"
Mr. Duncan informed him that 1858 represented the number of years that had passed since Christ came to earth with the message of salvation.
The Indian then said: "Why didn't you
tell us of this before? Why were not our
fore-fathers told this?"
To this pertinent and accusing query Mr.
Duncan could make no reply, for he realized anew the guilt of the church in taking
its ease for so many centuries while thousands and millions of men and women and
children, red and yellow and black, were
perishing without the Gospel. |||
The Indian then asked: "Have you got
the Word of God?"
Translated into English the Indian's
query meant: "Have you got a letter from
God?" Hence Mr. Duncan answered:
"Yes, I have God's letter."  |- J|£Vfe
"I want to see it," said the native.
Mr. Duncan went to get his Bible, glad
of an opportunity to impress upon the Indian mind the fact that he had brought a
message, not from any human being, but
from the King of Kings, the God of Heaven. It had been rumored throughout the
Indian camp that the white missionary had
a message from God and this man was
eager to see it and confirm the report. 30
When Mr. Duncan brought the Bible to
him he asked: "Is this the Word?"
"Yes," said Mr. Duncan, "it is."
"The Word from God?"
"It is." §
"Has He sent it to us?"
"He has, just as much as He has to me,"
replied Mr. Duncan.
"Are you going to tell the Indians that?"
he asked.
"I am."
"Good, that is very good," he said, and
departed to spread the good news throughout the camp.
It was not until the summer of 1858, after
a period of eight months of diligent study
of the language, that Mr. Duncan ventured
to formally address the Indians in their native tongue. During the winter, however,
he frequently visited among them, endeavoring to prepare the way for the presentation of his formal message in Tsimshean.
To the Church Missionary Society in London Mr. Duncan wrote a vivid letter, describing his first general visit among the natives.   Part of it read as follows:
"It would be impossible for me to give a
full description of this, my first general
visit, for the scenes were too exciting and
too crowded to admit of it. I confess that
cluster after cluster of these half-naked savages round their camp-fires was, to my unaccustomed eyes, very alarming. But the
reception I met with was truly wonderful METLAKAHTLA
and encouraging. On entering a house I
was saluted by one, two or three of the
principal persons with 'Clah-how-yah,'
which is the complimentary term used in
the trading jargon. This would be repeated several times. Then a general movement and a squatting ensued, followed by a
breathless silence, during which every eye
was fixed upon me. After a time several
would begin nodding and smiling, at the
same time reiterating in a low tone, 'Ahm,
ahm, ah ket, ahm, Shimauget' (good, kind
person, good chief.)
"In some houses they would not be content until I took the chief place near the
fire, and they always placed a mat upon a
box for me to sit upon. My inquiries after
the sick were always followed by anxious
looks and deep sighs. A kind of solemn
awe would spread itself at once."
In the course of his visits among the
people Mr. Duncan carefully noted the religious ideas which the Indians had held
in their savage condition. As the result of
his observations he found the following peculiar beliefs held sway over their minds
and hearts, and doubtless had done so for
ages past:
"The idea they entertain of God is that
He is a great Chief. They call Him by the
same term as they do their chiefs, only adding the word for above: thus, 'shimauget' is
chief and 'lakkah' above; and hence the
name of God with them is Shimauget Lak- 32
kah. They believe that the Supreme Being never dies; that He takes great notice
of what is going on amongst men, and is
frequently angry and punishes offenders.
They do not know who is the author of the;
universe, nor do they expect that God is the
author of their own being. They have no
fixed ideas about these things, I fully believe; still they frequently appeal to God
in trouble; they ask for pity and deliverance. In great extremities of sickness they
address God, saying it is not good for them
to die."
With these hazy feelings of a divine Ruler
of the world, the Indians "felt after God, if
haply they might find Him." But those
faint glimmerings of religion did not constitute the Gospel, and in what a sad condition they had left the red men of the forest,
for lo, these many centuries!
On the 13th of June, 1858, Mr. Duncan
delivered his first formal message to the
Tsimsheans in their native speech. Describing the memorable occasion in his
journal, he wrote:
"Bless the Lord, O my soul, and let all
creation join in chorus to bless His Holy
Name. True to His word, 'He giveth
power to the faint, and to them that have
no might He increaseth strength/ Bless
forever His Holy Name!
"Last week I finished translating my first
address for the Indians. Although it was
not   entirely  to  my   satisfaction,   I  felt  it  34
would be wrong to withhold the message
any longer. Accordingly, I sent word last
night (not being ready before) to the chiefs,
desiring to use their houses today to address their people in. This morning I set
off, accompanied by the young Indian
(Clah) whom I have had occasionally to assist me in the language. In a few minutes
we arrived at the first chief's house, which
I found all prepared, and we mustered
about one hundred souls. This was the
first assembly of Indians I had met. My
heart quailed greatly before the work---a
people for the first time come to hear the
Gospel tidings, and I, the poor instrument,
to address them in a tongue so new and
different to me. Oh, those moments] I
began to think that after all I should be
obliged to get Clah to speak to them, while
I read to them from a paper in my hand.
Blessed be God, this lame resolution was
not carried. My Indian was so unnerved at
my proposal that I quickly saw I must do
the best I could by myself, or worse would
come of it. I then told them to shut the
door. The Lord strengthened me. I knelt
down to crave God's blessing, and afterwards I gave them the address. They were
all remarkably attentive. At the conclusion I desired them to kneel down. They
immediately complied, and I offered up
prayer for them in English. They preserved
great silence. All being done, I bade them
good-by.   They all responded with seeming METLAKAHTLA
thankfulness. On leaving, I asked my Indian if they understood me, and one of the
chief women very seriously replied, 'Nee,
nee,' (yes); and he (Clah) assured me that
from their looks he knew that they understood and felt it to be good.
"We then went to the next chief's house,
where we found all ready, a canoe-sail
spread for me to stand on, and a mat placed
on a box for me to sit upon. About 150
souls assembled, and as there were a few
of the Fort people present I first gave them
a short address in English, and then the
one in Tsimshean. All knelt in prayer, and
were very attentive as at the other place.
This is the head chief's house. He is a
very wicked man, but he was present, and
admonished the people to behave themselves during my stay.
"After this I went in succession to the
other seven tribes, and addressed them in
the chiefs' houses. In each case I found
the chief very kind and attentive in preparing his house and assembling his people.
The smallest company I addressed was
about fifty souls, and the largest about 200.
Their obedience to my request about kneeling was universal, but in the house where
there were over 200 some confusion took
place, as they were sitting so close. However, when they heard me begin to pray,
they were instantly quiet. Thus the Lord
helped me through. About 800 or 900 souls
in all have heard me speak; and the greater 36
number of them, I feel certain, have understood the message. May the Lord make
it the beginning of great good for this pitiable and long-lost people."
Mr. Duncan's next endeavor was to establish a school where instruction would be
given in both secular and spiritual things.
What was his surprise and delight when the
notorious head-chief Legaie offered his
large house in which to conduct it for a
time. About two weeks later it was opened
with an attendance of twenty-six children in
the forenoon and fourteen or fifteen adults
in the afternoon. Everything went happily
for a few weeks, until Legaie and his wife
departed on a fishing expedition, and the
house was closed.
The school was such a success, however,
and was proving such an effective means of
attracting the Indians, that Mr. Duncan set
about building a school-house at once. Late
in the autumn it was completed and on the
19th of November, the opening day of
school, there was registered an enrollment
of one hundred and forty children and fifty
adults. As the days and weeks passed the
'interest grew rather than lessened and the
Gospel teaching was making rapid inroads
upon the heathen ideas and customs.
There was one class of men amongst the
Indians to whom the teaching was doubly
displeasing; namely, the medicine men.
They were the high priests of the heathen
religion, and the spread of knowledge and METLAKAHTLA
the Gospel meant the deathblow to their
calling and the position of honor in which
they were now held. Four chiefs had already abandoned their medicine practices
and were giving earnest heed to Mr. Duncan's instruction.
As the month of December progressed
the season drew near for the holding of the
annual medicine rites and ceremonies, which
were attended by large numbers of visitors from other tribes and were marked by
devilish abominations and much debauchery.
Legaie and other leading medicine men held
a conference and sent notice to Mr. Duncan
through the manager of the Fort that he
must close the school for four weeks while
the medicine work was in progress. He
declared that such a course was impossible.
A little later he received word that the
chiefs would be content provided the school
was closed for two weeks—and that afterward they would all come to be instructed
—while if he did not comply with their request, the pupils would be shot as they came
to school. Mr. Duncan knew that his own
ljfe as well as that of the scholars would be
in danger if he refused, but his duty in the
matter was perfectly plain. Like Daniel
of old he determined to do right whether
he lived or died. He returned answer that
he could not close the school a single day
in deference to their heathen abominations;
that Satan had. ruled there long enough and
it was time bis rule should be disturbed. 38
A few days later, on the 20th of December, as* the children were assembling for the
afternoon session of the school, Mr. Duncan
looked out of the door and saw Legaie approaching, followed by a motley crowd of
medicine men dressed in their fantastic
garb. When they reached the building, Legaie shouted at the top of his voice to the
few children who had just come in, ordering them to hurry home at once. He then
entered the room, followed by seven or
more of the medicine men, and drawing
near to Mr. Duncan, they tried to intimidate
him by their terrorizing language and
frightful appearance. Legaie declared the
school must be closed four days, at least,
or he would shoot at the pupils as they
came to school; that if he was unable to
stop the school medicine men from other
tribes would shame and perhaps kill him;
that he knew how to kill men (drawing his
hand across his throat as he spoke); that
he was a wicked man and would go down
God enabled Mr. Duncan to stand calmly
during the long harangue, and then to address the intruders with far more fluency
than usual. He was enabled to tell them
of their sin faithfully, and to vindicate his
own conduct. He declared that God was
his Master and that he must obey Him
rather than men; that the devil had taught
their fathers what they were practising and
it was bad; that he had come to tell them
of God's way and it was good.
During the excited scene, which lasted
fully an hour, Legaie once pointed to two
men standing near and said they were murderers as well as himself, hence it was useless for them to go to school. At this point
Mr. Duncan broke in, declaring the Gospel
was for murderers as well as others; that
if they would repent and amend they could
still be saved.
Toward the close of the interview, however, two vile-looking confederates went
and whispered something into Legaie's
ear; doubtless a taunt that he was afraid to
kill the missionary. Legaie at once became
passionately inflamed and drawing near to
Mr. Duncan, gesticulated wildly, having a
knife concealed in his right hand.
Without doubt, he was preparing to murder Mr. Duncan at once, when something
occurred, which though human, was also
providential and miraculous, and showed
that God still watches over His servants,
even as in the days of Daniel. MRS. SAMUEL   MARSDEN.
was     Clah,     the
S  Legaie  ap-
p r o a c hed
Mr. Duncan
and   was    about
raising   his   hand
to   slay   him,   he
h a p p e ned    t o
glance    behind
him,   and   saw   a
person he had not
previ o u s 1 y   observed, stand i n g
behind  Mr.  Duncan,    silent,    yet
guarding   him
with   eagle   eyes,
faithful    interpreter
He    had     heard     of    the
and friend,
visit of the medicine men, and hastily securing his revolver had hurried to the
school-house, resolved to shoot anyone
who attempted the life of the missionary.
He had entered the building unobserved by
either Mr. Duncan or Legaie, and it was
not until the latter drew near to Mr. Duncan that he saw Clah standing behind him.
Legaie knew that Clah's hand, which was
slipped just inside his blanket, contained a
revolver and that the moment he raised his
arm to kill the missionary, he would be
shot. With the new turn of affairs Legaie
realized that his mission was a failure, and
in a few moments sullenly withdrew, followed by his disappointed confederates.
Thus was Mr. Duncan's life wonderfully
preserved and the Gospel triumphant over
heathenism. The school was not closed,
but Legaic's hostility continued and as his
house stood near the school it was difficult
for the children to attend. At this juncture
another chief proffered the use of his house
for the school, and it being in a less dangerous locality the offer was gladly accepted
and the scholars transferred to the new
place where rapid progress was made. Mr.
Duncan's connection with Legaie by no
means terminated with this incident. Of
his future career we shall hear in detail as
the narrative progresses.
The first Christmas spent by Mr. Duncan
among the Tsimsheans was very different
from his later ones. However, he did what
he could to make the day notable, and to
explain to the people its glorious meaning.
In a letter to the Missionary Society he
described the day in the following manner:
"Yesterday I told my scholars to bring
their friends and relatives to school today,
as I wanted to tell them something new.
We numbered out two hundred souls. I
tried to make them understand why we distinguished this day from others.   After this
a5g5*t>*aggaQa;iB<iga^^ 42
I questioned the children a little and then
we sang two hymns, which We also translated. While the hymns were being sung,
I felt I must try to do something more, although the language seemed to defy me. I
never experienced such an inward burning
to speak before, and therefore I determined to try an extemporaneous address in
Tsimshean. The Lord helped me; a great
stillness prevailed, and I think a great deal
was understood of what I said. I told them
of our condition, the pity and love of God,
the death of the Son of God on our account, and the benefits arising to us therefrom, and exhorted them to leave their sins
and pray to Jesus. On my enumerating the
sins of which they are guilty, I saw some
look at each other with those significant
looks which betoken their assent to what I
said. I tried to impress upon them the
certain ruin which awaits them if they proceed in their present vices. Very remarkably an illustration corroborating what I
had said was before their eyes. A poor
woman was taken sick not four yards from
where I stood, and right before the eyes of
my audience. She was groaning under a
frightful affliction, the result of her vices."
During the ensuing four years Mr. Duncan made slow but steady progress in instructing the people and wooing them from
heathenism and savagery to Christianity and
civilization; even Legaie often attending
school and listening eagerly with the rest. METLAKAHTLA
Nor were his efforts confined entirely to
the nine Tsimshean tribes surrounding
Fort Simpson. Occasionally he made
journeys to interior tribes who had never
heard the story of the Gospel. It was on
a visit of this character up the Nass River
that a most remarkable incident occurred.
Let us give Mr. Duncan's own narrative of
the visit as it was afterwards related by
"They had heard that I was coming, and
the chief, in order to show his great delight
at my arrival, put up what they call a large
cap. Their cap was an umbrella. They had
no idea of preventing rain from falling on
their heads by its use, but looked upon it
simply as a web-footed cap, and so they
used it on state occasions. As soon as I
landed I saw the man with the umbrella,
and saw the excitement. He sent a message to this effect: 'I would like you to
come into my house and I shall send my
messenger to tell you so.'
"I immediately encamped upon the bank
of the river. By and by I was told that all
things were ready and prepared to receive
me. I said to my little crew—for in those
days I took only boys with me, being afraid
to take men, as they might kill me for the
purpose of getting my clothes—I said,
'What are they going to do when I go into
the house?'
" 'Tell them I did not come here to see 44
dancing, and I cannot go therefore.'
"They told the messenger to tell the chief
that I objected to seeing them dance, th^t
I had come with a solemn message to them.
"The chief replied, 'Tell the white chief
he must come; if he doesn't come to me I
won't go to hear his word; but if he will
come I will go and hear him.'
"That changed the matter altogether. I
had a little consultation with my boys, and
they said, 'You had better go; if you do not
go the chief will not come to hear what
you have to say.'
"I walked up to his house, I confess, in
a very grum kind of a spirit. I did not like
to attend a dance. But I saw that I had to
do it. I was very ,glad afterward that I
did go. When I entered the house there
was a person there ready to point out a seat
for me. There was a bear-skin spread over
a box for me to sit on. The chief had all
of his men placed around in different portions of the house, which was a very large
one. I observed that he had gotten a large
sail and used it for a curtain in part of the
"Very soon I saw two men step out. One
had a rod in his hand beating the floor.
They had a kind of theatrical performance.
The old man, after stamping his foot and
putting his rod down very firmly, said, in
his own language, of course, 'The heavens
are changing.'
"The other man was there to respond,  46
shook it before my face; walked up a little
way to me and then put up his hand with
his rattle in it; he looked through the hole
in the center of the roof where the smoke
came out, and immediately began a beauti^
ful prayer. I was astonished. This was
no dance. If I could only give you his
prayer in his own beautiful and eloquent
language, you would be astonished also. I
can only give you the substance of it:
" 'Great Father in Heaven, pity us! Give
us Thy good Book to do us good and to
cleanse away our sins! This Chief (Mr.
Duncan) has come to tell us about Thee. It
is good, Great Father, we want to hear!
Whoever came to tell our forefathers Thy
will? No! no! But this Chief has pitied us
and come. He has Thy Book. We will
hear! We will receive Thy Word! We will
"When I heard this prayer^ I felt thunderstruck. I had expected to be disgusted at
seeing their heathen abominations, but the
people sat solemnly during the ceremonies,
even saying amen to the prayer.
"After this the Indians began a chant,
clapping their hands. It was an extemporaneous song and I listened to it with a great
deal of pleasure. There was a man among
them who extemporized the song as they
sang it, verse by verse as they wanted it.
The chant was a very plaintive one. I
found the song was all about God having METLAKAHTLA
sent  His  servant  and  His  messenger  to
teach the Indians.
'When this was done the chief turned to
me and made a short speech to the effect
that they wanted me amongst them as they
wanted God's Word. They wanted to cast
away their evil ways and to be good."
Mr. Duncan spent the day visiting a number of houses, and invited every one to his
tent for the evening address, where he told
them as much as possible about the wonderful news of salvation.
The first public reception of Indian converts into the church occurred on the 26th
of July, 1861, when fourteen men, five women and four children were baptized on their
public profession of faith in Christ. Others
also came forward, but it was thought best
that they wait for a time; while several who
believed in Christ were afraid to come boldly out for fear of their relatives.
As the years had passed since Mr. Duncan began his work among the Indians, he
had realized more and more the necessity
of separating the converts, and especially
the children under instruction in the school,
from the vices and immorality and heathenism around Fort Simpson. As early as
1859 he wrote as follows to the Missionary
Society in London:
"What is to become of the children and
young people under instruction, when temporal necessity compels them to leave
school?   If they are permitted to slip away 48
from me into the gulf of vice and misery
which everywhere surrounds them, then the
fate of these tribes is sealed, and the labor
and money that has already been spent for
their welfare might as well have been
thrown away. The well-thinking part of the
Indian people themselves see this, and are
asking, nay, craving, a remedy. The head
chief of one tribe (a very well-disposed old
man) is constantly urging this question
upon me, and begs that steps may be taken
which shall give the Indians that are inclined, and especially the children now being taught, a chance and a help to become
what good people desire them to be."
Gradually the conviction grew .in his mind
that what was demanded for the spiritual
welfare of the Indians was a Christian colony, where peace and quiet would Icign,
where industries would be taught and toil
rewarded, and where the terrible evils of
fire-water would be unknown. He talked
the plan over with his followers and they
not only highly favored it, but suggested
that the colony be located on the beautiful
island of Metlakahtla*, only seventeen miles
distant, where they and their forefathers
had lived before they removed to Fort
Simpson. So glowing were their accounts
of the beauty and suitability of the island
that Mr. Duncan visited it, and found it admirably adapted to the plan in every particular.
*Metlakahtla means "Inlet of Kahtla."" METLAKAHTLA
Mr. Duncan believed such a village would
not only be an infinite blessing to the Indians themselves, but would be a Gospel
lighthouse, shedding its radiance throughout the entire northland. In describing the
project, he wrote: "All we want is God's
favor and blessing, and then we may hope to
build up in His good time, a model Christian village, reflecting light and radiating
heat to all the spiritually dark and dead
masses of humanity around us."
His first step toward the actual realization of the settlement was the drawing up
of a set of fifteen rules which all who joined
the colony would be required to sign. They
were as follows:
1. To give up "Ahlied" or Indian devil
2. To   cease   calling   in   "Shamans"   or
medicine men when sick.
3. To cease gambling.
4. To cease giving away their property
for display.
5. To cease painting their faces.
6. To   cease   indulging   in   intoxicating
7. To rest on the Sabbath.
8. To  attend religious  instruction.
9. To send their children to school.
10. To be cleanly.
n. To be industrious.
12. To be peaceful.
13' To be liberal and honest in trade.
14. To build neat houses. 50
15. To pay the village tax.
In the winter of 1861-2 active preparations for the embarkation to the new home
went forward, but it was not until May 27th
that everything was in readiness for the
long planned event. For some time previous to the day of departure Mr. Duncan
devoted himself to visiting from house to
house, and to delivering farewell addresses
to the tribes in the homes of the chiefs.
Several days before the date set for departure the school-house was torn down
and made into a raft on which ten Indians
went in advance of the main group, piloting the logs through the sea seventeen miles
to the island where it was to be speedily re-
transformed into a **school-house.
Finally, the eventful day arrived and the
1 arty of pilgrims gathered on the shore,
ready to set out on their journey. Those
who had subscribed to the rules and were
ready to leave home and friends for the
sake of the Gospel numbered in all about
fifty souls; men, women and children. Six
large Indian canoes lay at the water's edge
ready to receive the pilgrims and bear them
to their new home. A large company of
Indians had assembled to witness the departure and looked on with solemn and
earnest faces, many promising to join the
settlement in the near future.
As the heroic band entered the canoes
they were filled with solemn joy at the
thought   of   the   Christian   community   in
m  HE six Indian
canoes freighted
with heroic pilgrims had left Fort
Simpson in the afternoon and it soon became evident that they
could not reach Metlakahtla until late at
night. Hence, when
they reached a good
camping place only a
few miles frorcT the
Fort, the canoes were
headed for the shore, and soon all were on
the beach gathering fuel for fires and preparing tents and blankets for the night.
After supper all gathered around the camp-
fire while Mr. Duncan conducted evening
prayers. It was a beautiful and impressive
sight and one long to be remembered, to
see those Indians, who, only a short time
since were degraded savages, sitting quietly
around the camp-fire with faces aglow with
Christian joy, singing praises to their Creator and King in softly flowing Tsimshean
Mr. Leask was for many years a leader among the
Metlakahtla Indians. METLAKAHTLA
Early the next morning they broke camp
and in a few hours reached the shore of
their new island home, where much eventful history was to occur during the coming years.
During the next few days all were actively engaged in selecting sites for their
homes and in making preparations to build.
Each evening after the labor of the day,
they gathered together on the beach, like
a large, happy family, for prayer and singing and a short Scripture address by Mr.
Only four or five days after their arrival
others began coming from Fort Simpson,
singly and in groups, while on the 6th of
June great excitement was created by the
arrival of thirty canoes, bringing three hundred souls, with two chiefs.
Scarcely had the exodus occurred when a
fearful plague of small-pox broke out at
Fort Simpson, which swept away over five
hundred Indians and spread up and down
the coast carrying death and desolation in
its wake. In terror they fled in all directions from the dread disease, many now
coming to Metlakahtla and pleading to be
allowed to join the colony. Most of them
were admitted, but some who were still
steeped in heathenism Mr. Duncan was
compelled to refuse. Many of the newcomers were infected with the small-pox
and Mr. Duncan was kept busy day and
nisrht tending the  sick.    The  members  of 54
the original colony were wonderfully preserved from the plague, only five of them
dying, three of these deaths being occasioned by attending sick relatives who already had the disease when they reached
the island.
The colonists fervently thanked God for
their marvelous escape from the surrounding destruction, and as the plague subsided
they set earnestly to work to build up a
handsome village which should be a veritable Christian Arcadia.
Since he had left Victoria, Mr. Duncan
had by no means been forgotten by the
governor, Sir James Douglas. The governor took pains to converse with Indians
who had been under Mr. Duncan's instruction when they visited Victoria, and was
delighted at the results observed. He requested Mr. Duncan to send him reports
from time to time concerning the progress of the mission.
The governor's request was gladly complied with by Mr. Duncan, and in a report
sent in the spring of 1863, about ten months
after the arrival at Metlakahtla, he wrote
Sir James a long letter, giving many interesting details of the new settlement. A
part of the communication was as follows:
"To many who have joined me, the surrendering their national and heathen customs performed over the sick—ceasing to
give away, tear up, or receive blankets,
etc.,    for    display,    dropping   precipitately METLAKAHTLA
their demoniacal rites, which have hitherto
and for ages filled up their time and engrossed all their care during the months
of winter; laying aside gambling, and ceasing to paint their faces—had been like cutting off the right hand and plucking out the
right eye. Yet I am thankful to tell you
that these sacrifices have been made; and
had your Excellency heard the speeches
made by the chiefs and some of the principal men at our Christmas evening meeting, alluding to these and other matters,
you would, I am sure, have rejoiced.
"On New Year's Day the male adult settlers came cheerfully forward to pay the
village tax, which I had previously proposed to levy yearly, viz., one blanket, or
two and one half dollars of such as have attained manhood, and one shirt, or one dollar of such as are approaching manhood.
Out of 130 amenable we had only ten defaulters and these were excused on account
of poverty. Our revenue for this year thus
gathered amounts to one green, one blue,
and ninety-four white blankets, one pair of
white trousers, one dressed elk skin, seventeen shirts and seven dollars. The half of
this property I propose to divide among
the three chiefs who are with us, in recognition of stated services which they will be
required to render to the settlement, and
the other half to spend in public works.
"As to our government; all disputes and
difficulties- are  settled  by  myself and  ten
^eaXaS^^XXMaas^MX^imasm^^ 56
constables; but I occasionally call in the
chiefs, and intend to do so more and more,
and when they become sufficiently instructed, trustworthy and influential, I shall leave
civil matters in their hands. I find the Indians very obedient, and comparatively easy
to manage, since I allow no intoxicating
drinks to come into our village. Though
we are continually hearing of the drunken
festivals of the surrounding tribes I am
happy to tell you that Metlakahtla has not
yet witnessed a case of drunkenness since
we have settled here—a period of ten
months. Still, not all with me are true
men. Some few, on their visits to Fort
Simpson, have fallen; and two, whose cases
were clearly proved and admitted of no extenuation, I have banished from our midst.
"On Sabbath days labor is laid aside, a
solemn quiet presides and the best clothing
is in use. 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 have a hope that many have experienced a real change of heart. To God
be all the praise and glory.
"We have succeeded in erecting a strong
and useful building, capable of containing
at least 600 people, which we use as church
and school. We held our first meeting in
this building on the night it was finished,
the 20th of December last. I have about
one  hundred   children  who   attend   morn-  58
and afternoon and about one hundred
adults (often more) in the evening. I occupy the principal part of the time in the
adult school, in giving simple lectures on
geography, astronomy, natural history and
morals.v These lectures the Indians greatly
"Trusting, by God's blessing upon us, we
shall go on improving and continue to merit
your Excellency's favor and good-will,
"I have the honor to remain, with warmest gratitude,
"Your Excellency's humble and obedient
servant, "W. Duncan."
A few weeks later, the Bishop of Columbia visited Metlakahtla to baptize those who
were ready to receive the sacred rite, Mr.
Duncan being a lay, not a clerical missionary. Two full days were spent in examining the candidates, of which the Bishop
"We were met by the whole village, who
stood on the bank, in a long line—as fine
a set of men and as well dressed as could
anywhere be seen where men live by their
daily toil—certainly no country village in
England would turn out so well-clad an assemblage.
"At three the bell was rung and almost
instantly the whole population were wending their way to church. There were
hymns and prayers in Tsimshean. They
repeated the answers to a catechism in
Tsimshean.    I  addressed them and offer- METLAKAHTLA
ed prayers in English, which were interpreted by Mr. Duncan.
"Converts from heathenism can fully realize renunciation of the world, the flesh and
the devil. Among these Indians pomp of
display, the lying craft of malicious magic,
as well as all sins of the flesh, are particularly glaring, and closely connected with
heathenism. So are the truths of the Creed
in strongest contrast to the dark and miserable fables of their forefathers and heartily can they pledge themselves to keep the
holy will of God, all the days of their life,
seeing in Him a loving and true Father, of
whom now so lately but so gladly, they have
learned to know.
"I first drew forth their views of the necessity of repentance, its details and their
own personal acquaintance with it. I then
questioned them as to the Three Persons
of the Trinity, and the special work of
each with allusion to the Judgment, and the
state of the soul hereafter, inquiring into
their private devotion to learn their personal application of repentance and faith. I
questioned their anxiety for baptism, and
demanded proof of their resolution to keep
the will of God for their guide, to speak
of God, and to labor for God's way, all
their life long. I sought to. find out the
circumstances under which they first became seriously inclined, and to trace their
steps of trial and grace. Admitting them
to the promise of baptism, I exhorted them 6o
to prayer and devotion, as a special preparation until the time came.
"A simple table, covered with a white
cloth, upon which stood three hand-basins
of water, served for the font, and I offi- j
ciated in a surplice. Thus there was nothing to impress the senses, no color, nor
ornament, nor church decoration, nor music,
The solemnity of the scene was produced by
the earnest sincerity and serious purpose
with which these children of the far West
were prepared to offer themselves to God,
and to renounce forever the hateful sins
and cruel deeds of their heathenism; and the
solemn stillness was broken only by the
breath of prayer. The responses were made
wdth earnestness and decisioh. Not an individual was there, whose lips did not utter in his 'own expressive tongue, his
hearty  readiness  to  believe  and  to  serve
God." I  g |-:\
' The Christian experiences of the candidates for baptism were most touching and
Clah, who had saved Mr. Duncan's life
and was his first friend, testified as follows:
"I have made up my mind to live a Christian. Must try to put away all my sins. I
believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God,
who died for our sins. God is good to us
and made us. God gives us His Spirit to
make us clean and happy. I pray to God
to clean my heart, and wipe out my sin
from God's book,   It will be worse for us METLAKAHTLA
ir we fall away after we have begun." Clah's
wife was also baptized with him.
The chieftainess of the Nish-Kahs, named
Nishah-Kigh, whose sorrow was great
when she first heard the message of salvation and who had been seeking God for
five years, said:
"I must leave all evil ways. I feel myself
a sinner in God's sight. I believe in God,
the Father Almighty, and in Jesus Christ,
who died for our sins. God sends down
His Spirit to make us good. Jesus is in
Heaven, and is writing our names in God's
Book. We must stand before God and be
judged by Him. I feel God's Word is
truth. Have been for some time accustomed regularly to pray."
A young man, Kappigh Kumlee by name,
thirty years of age, who had been a sorcerer, but found no satisfaction in the calling,
"I have given up the lucrative position
of sorcerer. Been offered bribes to practice my art secretly. I have left all my mistaken ways. My eyes have been bored (enlightened.) I cry every night when I remember my sins. The great Father Almighty sees everything. If I go up to the
mountain He sees me. Jesus died for our
sins upon the cross to carry our sins away."
Kappigh I£umlee's wife was baptized with
him, and all their family having renounced
heathenism, they were doubly united in the
bonds of Christian fellowship.
mxMJjmjxrm. 62
A chief seventy years of age named
Neeash-Lakah-Noosh, when asked if he desired to become a Christian, said:
"For. that object I came here with my
people. I have put away all lying waySj,
which I had long followed. I have trusted
in God. We want the Spirit of God. Jesus
came to save us. He compensated for our
sins. Our Father made us and loved us
because we are His work. He wishes to
see us with Him because He loves us."
When asked about the judgment he said:
"The blood of Jesus will free those who
believe from condemnation."
Vilmauksh, a young man who rescued
three of his relatives from the darkness of
heathenism, said:
"I believe in Jesus as my Savior, who
died to compensate for my sins to God."
One, named Neeash-ah-Pootk, who was
converted by losing ten of his relatives by
the plague of small-pox, said:
"I have long followed sins which made
God angry. I have put away sin, but if I
am ever so ignorant in my endeavors I will
persevere. Used to be a great drunkard.
Have given up magic and display of property. Felt God last summer. We have
turned back to our great Father. He see
all; His Spirit is with us. The blood of
Jesus cleanseth us from all sin. How happy
the angels will be to see us good, and how
they will cry if we are sinful! At the last
God will divide us.    Lost ten relatives by METLAKAHTLA.
the small-pox last year, and it opened my
eyes to my sins. God's hand was strong
to cut down sinners."
A beautiful testimony was given by
Kahlp, only thirty-five years of age, who
had had a sad and checkered career. When
a young man he was captured by the Hy-
dah Indians. Later he was brought back
and sold to his old chief, who kept him in
slavery several years. The chief's son finally sold him to his own friends, who set
him free.    He said:
"I shall fight against my sins. My heart
truly says I will turn from sin to God. God
is perfectly right in His ways. Whosoever
believes in God, the Father, the Spirit
of God lives in his heart. Those who die
in their sin go to darkness and to fire. I
will fear God as long as I live. I pray for
God's Spirit and light to lead my own
spirit along the path to Himself when I
die. Was a slave; was poor in spirit, and
was drawn to cry to God to take my heart."
One of the most touching experiences of
all was that given by a boy sixteen years of
age, named Kisheeso. It shows how, when
the Gospel really fills one's heart, one is
willing to forsake all for Christ. This boy
left his heathen home, and came by himself
in a tiny canoe across the sea to join the
Christian people.    He said:
"A duty to give up the ways of the
Tsimsheans. Was very wicked when quite
young.   Will try to put away my sin. I pray
night and morning for God to pity and to
pardon me."
These are only a few of the touching testimonies given by these Indians who had
for centuries been steeped in heathenism,
but had at last seen a great light, had come
into possession of the pearl of great price,
without which life is a dreary waste, but
with which it is a foretaste of the Heaven
The most notable of all the Indians baptized by the Bishop was one with whom we
have already become acquainted; who from
being a persecutor was marvelously transformed into a saint. The story of his conversion and valiant career as a Christian
reads like a new chapter in the Acts of the
FEW months after
the settlement
had been established at Metlakahtla a
thrill of surprise and
delight ran throughout
the village at the announcement that a notable recruit had arrived
at the island, determined to sign the rules and
cast in his lot with
the Christian party. The
newcomer was none other than Legaie,
head-chief, murderer and medicine man,
who had so nearly succeeded in taking Mr.
Duncan's life. The Spirit of God had long
been working upon his heart until he had
come to loathe heathenism and to long for
the peace and joy which he saw were the
outcome of the Christian life. To openly
join the Christian party at Metlakahtla,
however, would be to make a tremendous
sacrifice, for it would mean the practical
renunciation of the headship of the Tsimshean nation. But the victory over self was
won and Legaie had finally arrived at the
village   ready  to   subscribe  to   the   fifteen
^im^ss&zsasg&eseiiBititxMs^^ 66
rules. Accompanying Legaie were his wife
and daughter, and Mr. Duncan and the natives gave them a warm and hearty welcome.
Legaie began building a beautiful home,
but was often interrupted by messengers
from Fort Simpson urging him to return
and resume his position over all the Tsimshean tribes. The temptations were so
strong and constant that Legaie finally
weakened, and gathering the Metlakahtla
Indians together on the beach, he told them
that he could hold out no longer, but must
return to his old life. He said he knew it
was a wrong step and he might perish as
the result, but that he was being pulled
away by influences stronger than he was
able to resist. In deep sorrow, amid falling
tears, he shook hands with each one present, then turned and entered his canoe and
paddled silently away.
As he disappeared from sight, do you
think the Indians went back to their homes
criticising him and discussing the weakness
of human nature, as most white people
would have done under similar circumstances? Not at all. They knelt on the
beach and held a prayer-meeting, imploring
God to check Legaie in his backward
course and to restore him to his right mind.
The subject of their prayers paddled rapidly toward Fort Simpson until night came
on and he was compelled to put the canoe
ashore.    He wrapped himself in his blank- METLAKAHTLA
et and lay down to sleep, but sleep came not
to his eyes. Instead, he tossed and turned
in awful unrest of soul. The Spirit of God
was wrestling mightily with him even as
with Jacob of old. Finally, the torture became unbearable. Such misery overwhelmed him as words cannot describe, until the
Spirit conquered and kneeling in the darkness he repented of his evil, and weepingly
besought God for pardon. Next morning
he turned his canoe about and once more
appeared at Metlakahtla, this time a thoroughly saved man. Saul, the persecutor,
had become Paul, the apostle. In afterward
describing the agony he endured on that
memorable occasion, Legaie declared:
"A hundred deaths would not equal the
sufferings of that night."
Six months later a visitor to Metlakahtla
wrote as follows of Legaie and his family:
"I paid a visit to the wife of the chief,
Paul Legaie. He it was who nearly took
Mr. Duncan's life at the head of the medicine band attacking the school. They were
both baptized by the Bishop last April. Legaie was the wealthiest chief of the Tsimsheans at Fort Simpson. He has lost
everything—has had to give up everything
by his conversion to Christianity. It was
with many of them literally a 'forsaking of
all things to follow Christ.'
"His house is the nicest and best situated
in the village. A very little labor and expense in the way of interior fittings would
make it quite comfortable. He and his wife
have one child only, a young girl of four-*
teen. She is a modest looking, pleasing
child—very intelligent—one of the first class
in the school. She does not look like one
who has ever been 'possessed with a devil';
and yet this is the child whom, three years
ago, her teacher saw naked in the midst of
a howling band, tearing and devouring the
bleeding dog. How changed! She who 'had
the unclean spirit' now sits at the feet of
Jesus, clothed and in her right mind."
Not many months later Mr. Duncan paid
a visit to Fort Simpson to preach the Gospel to the heathen Indians, who still remained there. He was accompanied by two
natives, Clah and Paul Legaie. On their
return, in a letter to the Missionary Society, Mr. Duncan related a remarkable incident which occurred during the trip. He
said: "I have just returned from a visit to
Fort Simpson. I went to proclaim the Gospel once more to the poor, unfeeling heathen there. I laid the Gospel again distinctly
before them, and they seemed much affected.
The most pleasing circumstance of all, and
which I was not prepared to expect, was,
that Paul Legaie and Clah (the one in
times past a formidable enemy and opposer,
and the other one among the first to hear
and greet the Gospel), sat by me, one on
either side. After I had finished my address on each occasion, they got up and
spoke, and spoke well.  70
"Legaie completely shamed and confounded an old man who, in replying to my
address, had said that I had come too late
to do him and other old people good; that,
had I come when the first white traders
came, the Tsimsheans had long since been
good; but they had been allowed to grow
up in sin; they had seen nothing in the
first whites wTho came amongst them to unsettle them in their old habits, but those
had rather added to them fresh sin, and
now their sins were deep laid, they (he and
the other old people), could not change.
Legaie interrupted him and said: T am a
chief, a Tsimshean chief. You know I have
been bad, very bad, as bad as anyone here.
I have grown up and. grown old in sin, but
God has changed my heart and He can
change yours. Think not to excuse yourself in your sins by saying you are too old
and too bad to mend. Nothing is impossible with God. Come to God; try His way;
He can save you.'
"He then exhorted all to taste God's
way, to give their hearts to Him, and to
leave all their sins; and then endeavored to
show them what they had to expect if they
did so—not temporal good, not health, long
life, nor ease, nor wealth, but God's favor
here and happiness with God after death."
Legaie had been known far and wide
along the coast, and the traders who heard
of his conversion and transformation coul 1
scarcely believe it.   As time went on he be- METLAKAHTLA
came of immense service to Mr. Duncan in
the prosecution of the work, and came to
be called "Mr. Duncan's Grand Vizier."
For seven years Legaie played a prominent part in the life of the settlement, eager
to assist in every undertaking for the betterment of his fellows, and humbly earning
his living as a carpenter. In 1869 he made
a journey up the Nass River, and on reaching Fort Simpson on his way home, was
taken suddenly ill. He at -once dispatched
a messenger to Mr. Duncan, bearing this
"Dear Sir:—I want to see you. I always
remember you in my mind. I shall be very
sorry if I shall not see you before I go
away, because you showed me the ladder
that reaches to Heaven, and I am on that
ladder now. I have nothing to trouble me.
I only want to see you."
Mr. Duncan wished greatly to go at once
to the bedside of Legaie, but his duties at
Metlakahtla would not permit him to leave,
for a peculiar epidemic was raging just
then and there were a score of sick people
on the island whom he was attending day
and night.
A second and third messenger followed
in quick succession, but still Mr. Duncan
could not leave. Then came the sad tidings
of the death of the famous chieftain, accompanied by the following lines, which
were still unfinished when the death angel
bore his soul to the long home above: n
"My Dear Sir:—This is my last letter,
to say I am very happy. I am going to rest
from trouble, trial and temptation. I do
not feel afraid to meet my God. In my
piainful body I always remember the words
of our Lord Jesus Christ"—
Here the letter ended abruptly, and in
this triumphant manner ended the life of
the Apostle Paul of the Tsimshean Indians.
He was a modern miracle of grace, a striking example of the power of Christ's blood
to wash away the darkest sins and to transform men from darkest sinners into saints.
* * *
During the years from 1863 to 1869 the
spiritual progress of the settlement had
gone on apace. In 1868 the Bishop of Columbia paid a second visit to Metlakahtla
and baptized sixty-five adults, of whom he
wrote: "I truly believe that most of these
are sincere and intelligent believers in
Christ, as worthy converts from heathenism
as have ever been known in the history of
the church."
In the autumn of the following year Mr.
Cridge, then Dean of Victoria, baptized 98
adults and 18 Indian children.
The desire of Mr. Duncan that the island
should be a beacon of Gospel light to the
Indians of all the Northland was being happily fulfilled. Wherever the Metlakahtla
Indians went on their fishing, trading and
hunting expeditions, they carried with them  74
to see the man who had accomplished such
marvels. A delegation came down the coast
in their handsome canoes, and as they near-
ed the shore they put on their finest apparel
and barbaric ornaments to suitably impress
the people with their importance. On landing, they approached in solemn state, and
Mr. Duncan was advised to dress in his
best clothes, as the savages might despise
him if he appeared in rough garments. He,
however, was engaged in some important
work which he could not drop just then.
The Chilkats marched through the village
wTell-nigh struck dumb with astonishment
at what they beheH; the beautiful buildings,
the strange industries, the civilized clothing
of the Metlakahtlans.
Finally, Mr. Duncan left his work, just
as he was, and hastened to greet the visitors. As he drew near and was pointed out
to the Chilkats, they looked over and beyond him and declared they could not see
him. When he cordially welcomed them
they said scarcely a word beyond the formal syllables of recognition, so disappointed
were they.
Mr. Duncan escorted them to his house,
and there their pent-up astonishment gave
way, and they exclaimed:
"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 urging war,
and were feared throughout the whole
coast? It was only a few years ago that all
this country was a streak of blood. Now we
see nothing but white eagle's down (their
emblem of peace and amity.) We can hardly believe our own eyes when we see these
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; we wish to*
see it."
Mr. Duncan then brought out a Bible and
placed it before them. That sacred book,
he declared, contained the Word of God,
the Message of the Great King, the Way
of Life Everlasting. It was only because j
the Metlakahtla Indians had obeyed the
words of that Book that they had built such
a beautiful city.
Each of the Chilkat delegation then went
forward and reverently touched the Bible,
exclaiming, "Ahm, Ahm"—"It is good, it is
For several days the delegation remained
at Metlakahtla inspecting the truly wonder-|
ful results, which ha ! been achieved by the|
Metlakahtlans  during the  few  short years;
of their residence.
As the years passe 1, Metlakahtla became
not only a Gospel beacon, but a great light,
radiating law and order throughout all the
surrounding country.    Mr. Duncan was ap-
NE of the
first steps
taken b y
Mr. Duncan on
his arrival at Metlakahtla had been
the appointment
of a body of Indian constables to
maintain order.
Although he anticipated no trouble, yet he deemed it wise to take
time by the forelock, remembering that many who had signed the fifteen
rules had had very little training, and had
not yet fully surrendered themselves to
By the year 1866 there were twenty of
these constables, "as fine a set of young
men as you would wish to see—the very
pick of the Christians." The Indians gr»*at
ly enjoyed their distinction as guardians of
the law, and to be admitted into the force
was esteemed the highest honor that could
be conferred upon a stalwart young man.
&ZZ2Z&ZZL 78
In his duties as magistrate and justice of
the peace along the Alaskan and Canadian
coasts, Mr. Duncan found these constables
At this period, as today, it was against
the law to sell liquor, or fire-water, to any
Indian. However, wicked white men and
Indians constantly attempted to sell it in
secret, though they well knew that liquor
set the red men on fire with evil and led
them to commit the most horrible crimes.
The influence of intoxicating drinks on white
men is sufficiently terrible, but on the Indians it is often two-fold worse.
One of the saddest incidents in connection with his duties as magistrate was the
following, which Mr. Duncan reported to
the Canadian government in 1865:
"The Indian camps about us are deluged
with fire-water, and, of course, every kind
of madness is rife.
"It is just because our village makes a
stand against the universal tide of disorder
that we are being threatened on every side.
"In July last I. apprised his Excellency,
the Governor, that we had in the spring
seized a quantity of liquor, which, a party of
Kitahmaht  Indians brought here for sale.
"In revenge for the loss of their liquor (I
am sorry to inform you) these Indians, in
the summer, stole a little boy belonging to
this place, while he was away with his
parents at a fishery on the Skeona River.
And. horrible to write, the poor little fel- METLAKAHTLA
low was literally worried to death, being
torn to pieces by the mouths of a set of
cannibals at a great feast they had made.
"This atrocious deed would have met
with summary vengeance from the relatives
of the boy had it happened a few years ago.
In this case, however, though highly exasperated, they would not allow themselves
to do anything until they had seen me. In
order to prevent blood being shed at random, I ordered them to wait till the arrival
of a ship of war, when I promised to refer
the matter to the captain, and hoped they
would have justice done them in a civilized
"Last week, however, an Indian, (uncle
to the unfortunate boy, but not a Metlakahtla man), arrived here from Victoria,
where he had been living for the last two
years and a half. On his learning of the
Kitahmaht atrocity, it seems he secretly
resolved to take the law in his own hands,
and for that purpose proceeded two or
three days ago to Fort Simpson, where a
party of Kitahmaht Indians had recently
"This morning at two o'clock, I was
awakened and informed that a Kitahmaht
Indian had fallen a victim to this man's revenge, and that great excitement was occasioned at Fort Simpson. Nor is it known
who will be the next to fall, to feed the
stream of blood which has commenced to
<@22BB2&22k 8o
flow,   but   every   Indian   around  me   is   in
fear for his life."
Mr. Duncan and his heroic band of constables performed valiant service in ridding
the coast of the illegal and infernal liquor
traffic, and in nearly every case without
loss of life. On one occasion, however,
one Indian was killed in the attempt to
capture a sloop, manned by white men,
which was smuggling in liquor to be sold to
the Indian camps. Mr. Duncan, hearing of
the presence of this vessel in the neighborhood, sent several Indians with a warrant
for the arrest of the captain. The result
of the encounter and the series of events
following were thus related by Mr. Duncan:
"The sad result was that the five Indians
serving the warrant were fired upon by the
three white men on board the sloop, one
being killed on the' spot, three being severely wounded. The sloop got
away and it was not till the following day
that the Indian unhurt returned to the settlement, bringing his three wounded companions in a canoe. Unfortunately, at the
time, I had very few people left in the village, so that we were unable to follow the
murderers while within a reasonable distance of us. After I had done all and the
best I could for the wounded men, I determined to run down to Victoria, it being
unsafe from the unsettled state of the coast
to send the Indians alone.
fOn the 25th of August I started for Vic
tim WSK^K^SK*
<&/s&/S<S*/Z4&//> 82
tdria in a small *boat, and on the 5th of
September, by seven a. m. I was in Nan-
aimi, the nearest white settlement, having
been brought by a gracious God safely
through many perils on the sea and perils
by the heathen.
"I need scarcely say that, as soon as pos
sible I communicated the shocking tidings
to the Governor of each colony, to Admiral
Denman, and to all our friends. All deeply
sympathized with us; and Governor Seymour, of British Columbia, lost not a moment of time till all the needful despatches
were written, and forwarded to the two
neighboring governments, Russian and
American, and to the Admiral of the station,
calling upon all to do their utmost to seize
the murderers and hand them over to justice. The Governor also engaged a doctor
to visit the wounded men, and Admiral
Denman sent up H. M. S. 'Grappler' with
the doctor and myself on board to the settlement.
"I cannot express to you the anxiety I
felt while away and how restless I was to
return to the sick men. But God was better
to me than my fears. We arrived on the
4th instant at Metlakahtla and to my great
pelief I found the wounded men doing well,
and all the settlement going on prosperously. I called a meetinjg of the village on the
evening of our arrival, to return thanks to
Almighty God, thaj: He had remembered us
in our affliction.   In my addresses both be- METLAKAHTLA
fore going to Victoria and since my return
I have been greatly helped in opening to
the Indians the passages and truths from
the Scripture which this late dispensation of
Providence illustrated; and I have been
shown by unmistakable signs that this severe chastisement with which it has pleased
God to visit us, will be productive of great
good to us.
"It would take too long to detail to you
the series of Indian laws of revenge and
compensation which this sad occurrence
and its sequences have revived, met, defeated and dispersed forever; and how the
Christian laws on these matters have been
put forward in strong contrast, approved,
magnified, and made to triumph; and how
for the first time a calamity which would
have called forth only savage fire and relentless fury in the Indian as heathen, has
only called forth patient endurance and lawful retaliation in the Indian as Christian."
Among the scores of persons brought to
justice by Mr. Duncan and his constable a
notable case was that of Peter Gargotitch
who, on account of a grudge against Mr.
Duncan, had boasted in Victoria that he
would make the Metlakahtla Indians drunk.
Some weeks later the Indians reported
that there was a white man at Inverness,
ten miles distant from Metlakahtla, selling
liquor contrary to law. Mr. Duncan told
his constables to find out definitely the facts
in the case and report to him.   Accordingly
^gg^^SS^g^Jg^^Sg^g^g^^^g^^^gSgg^gg^^ 84
two Indians went to Inverness to gather
evidence. While one went into the man's
tent and bought some liquor in a bottle,
the other looked through a hole in the tent
ir> order to testify as a witness. As soon
as they reported to Mr. Duncan he sent a
white man then staying on the island at the
head of several constables to arrest the offender. When the party reached Inverness
with the warrant the liquor seller drew a
levolver, and brandishing it in their faces,
declared he would shoot the man who attempted to serve the warrant upon him.
The white man, at the head of the constables, did not wish to risk his life, so he
returned to Mr. Duncan with the warrant
unserved. Mr. Duncan declared that on no
account must the offender be allowed to
escape. He asked the man if he would
make another attempt at capture, if it were
made certain that his life would not be in
danger. He consented and Mr. Duncan
completed his plans without delay.
Very early the next morning, a number
of large canoes left Metlakahtla, filled with
forty Indians, all fully armed, with the white
man at their head. When they reached Inverness they found that the liquor dealer
had loaded all his kegs into a canoe and set
off up the river, accompanied by two companions. The Indians at once started in
pursuit. After going a few miles they saw
the fugitives in their canoe paddling for
dear life.    When it was seen that the In- METLAKAHTLA
dians would soon overtake them the canoe
was headed for the shore and beached,
with the liquor still in it, while the three
men took to the woods. They knew that
escape was impossible, for the forest was
well-nigh impenetrable, and behind them
were forty fleet-footed Indians. Hence,
they ran only a few rods and hid in the
bush. As the pursuing cano.es came opposite the place where the leader was hid the
officer with the warrant shouted out that
he wished to see him. The; Jeader stepped
boldly out, prepared as before to defy his
captors. The officer then Ipiouted that he
placed him under arrest and ordered him to
hold up his hands at once or he would be a
dead man. At the same instant the rifles
of the forty Indians standing in the canoes were leveled at the dealer with orders
to fire if he offered the lfast resistance.
The man saw he was caught and at once
held his hands high above his head.
The warrant was served and the three
men, with the canoe and liquor, were
brought to Metlakahtla. A||the leader was
brought before Mr. Duncan, who should
it prove to be but Peter Gorgotitch, who
had threatened to make the Metlakahtla
, Indians drunk? He was fined $500, which he
succeeded in borrowing and paying, and he
left the Island a sadder but wiser man. The
circumstances of the arrest did not allow
Mr. Duncan to confiscate Gorgotitch's
twenty-three kegs of liquor, each contain-
5?>fc%*2%{W*- 86
ing ten gallons. A few weeks later, however, about half of it was stolen, and Gor-
gotitch returned to Victoria burdened by
debt and in a pitiable condition. For several years he went here and there, until news
reached Mr. Duncan that he had been killed
in British Columbia. The activity of Mr.
Duncan and his constables in enforcing the
law became more and more feared by the
smugglers and liquor sellers until by 1876
the illegal traffic had almost entirely ceased.
During the eight years following the arrival of the pilgrims at Metlakahtla in 1862
great hiaterial progress had been made.
Between one hundred and two hundred
houses had been built, almost :every one having a neat garden attached. A large general- store had been established, which was
patronized not only by the Metlakahtla Indians, but by men from surrounding camps
who were thus brought into contact with
Christian influences. A court house and
commodious school house-had been erected
and several industries- smarted, including a
soap-house, blacksmith shop, and by no
means least, a saw-mill run by water power.
When one old Indian heard that Mr. Duncan intended to make water saw wood, he
"If it is true that Mr. Duncan can make
water saw wood, then I will see it and die."
In 1870* Mr. Duncan paid a visit to England, where he procured machinery for new
industries and spent several weeks learning
the arts of weaving, rope-making, twine-
spinning and brush-making. In addition,
he acquired the gamut of each instrument
in a band of twenty-one pieces, which was
presented to him for the settlement. On
his return journey he spent nearly three
months in Victoria, reaching Metlakahtla
once more in February, 1871, after a year's
absence. Describing the first evening after
his arrival, Mr. Duncan wrote:
"At night, after visiting among the sick, I
sat down with about fifty for a general
talk. I gave them the special messages
from Christian friends which I had down in
my note-book, told them how much we were
prayed for by many Christians in England,
and scanned over the principal events of
my voyage and doings in England. We sat
till midnight, but even then the village was^
lighted up, and the people all waiting to
hear from the favored fifty, what I had
communicated. Many did not go to bed at
all, but sat. up all night talking over what
they had heard."
As may be seen from this royal welcome
accorded to Mr. Ouncan, and from events
shortly to be narrated, the Tsimshean Indians were far from being a stolid, unemotional race. At times they fairly overflowed
with emotion and excitement, and no people enjoyed holidays and festal occasions
more than they. At this period there occurred two notable celebrations which were
red letter days in the history of the settlement. CHAPTER VIII.
THE island of Metlakahtla being in
Canadian territory one of the days
most elaborately celebrated by the
Indians was Queen Victoria's birthday.
On one occasion the date occurred when a
British warship, "The Sparrow-Hawk," was
anchored in the Day off the village. The
Bishop of Columbia had come on the ship
to Metlakahtla to receive fresh converts
into the church, and he and the officers of
the vessel joined heartily in the effort to
make the day one long to be remembered.
The day dawned bright and beautiful and
at an early hour a party of sailors rowed
ashore to decorate the mission house and
bastion with flags of all nations.
The proceedings of the early part of the
day were spiritual, seventeen children being baptized in the house of God. Later, a
distribution of small gifts took place among
140 nicely dressed Indian children.
On the stroke of twelve o'clock a royal
salute of twenty-one guns thundered from
the ship, and the special exercises of the
occasion began. There were sports and
games of all sorts which were engaged in
most heartily and joyously by young and
old.    There were  foot  races,  sack  races,
etc., with such games as blind man's buff,
and a review of*the village constables. The
most exciting feature of the afternoon was
the canoe race. The course was two miles
long around the island. Five large canoes
entered for the contest, eight or nine stalwart young Indians being seated in each.
Beneath the deep, swift strokes of the paddles the canoes shot forward like birds, and
the race was as beautiful as it was exciting.
In the evening a public meeting was held
when a number of the officers of the "Sparrow-Hawk" addressed the Indians, and several of the Metlakahtla leaders made brief
but eloquent replies. A few of the short
speeches, made by the Indians .were reported as follows:
Abraham Kemskah:—"Chiefs, I will say
a little. How were we to hear when we
were young, what we now hear? And, being old and long fixed in sin, how are we
to obey? We are like the canoe going
against the tide which is too strong for it;
we struggle, but in spite of our efforts we
are carried out to sea. Again, we are like
a youth watching a skilled artisan at work;
he strives to imitate his work but fails; so
we: we try to follow God's way, but how
far we fall short. Still we are encouraged
to persevere. We feel we are nearing the
shore; we are coming nearer the hand of
God, near peace. We must look neither
to the right nor left, but look straight on
and persevere." -»
Richard Wilson:—"Chiefs, as we have
now heard, so do ye. Indeed, father" (addressing Mr. Duncan) "we are sinners before you; we often make your voice bad
in calling us; we must persevere, we must
try, though we are bad; we are like the
wedge used in splitting the trees; we are
making the way for our children; they will
be better than we are. The sun does not
come out in full strength in early morn;
th*e gray light at first spreads itself over
the earth; as it rises the light.increases and
by and by, is the mid-day sun. We shall
die before we have reached much, but we
shall die expecting our children to pass on
beyond us, and reach the wished-for-goal."
Daniel Baxter (Neeash-ah-pootk) : —
"Chiefs, I am foolish, I am bad, bad in
your sight. What can our hearts say?
What shall we do? We can only pray and
persevere., We will not listen to voices on
this side or that, but follow on till we reach
our Father in Heaven."
Jacob (Cheevost):—"Chiefs, we have
heard you. Why should we try to mistake
the way you teach us? Rather we must
try to follow on; though our feet often
slip, we must still try; we have rocks all
around us; our sins are like the rocks, but
the rudder of our canoe is being held. She
will not drift away. We are all assisting
to hold the rudder and keep her in her
course. What would she be without the
rudder?    Soon, a wreck upon the rocks; so
we must cry to God for help to follow on."
As the Indians had grown enlightened
under Mr. Duncan's teaching, and had
come to understand the full meaning of
Christmas day, they entered as heartily as
their white brothers into tfraking it a season of joy and gladness, and thus fittingly
celebrating the birthday of Him who redeemed the world from darkness and death.
The Christmas season of 1873 was especially notable because large numbers of Fort
Simpson Indians were invited to Metlakahtla to spend the period with their Christian brethren. %Of the series of events
which filled up - the days with happy memories Mr. Duncan sent the following
graphic reportaio the Missionary Society:
'This is the first season that the heathen
customs at Fort Simpson have been generally disregarded^ and hence we thought
it well to encourage Christian customs in
their place. To this end we decided to invite all the congregation at Fort Simpson
to spend the festival of Christmas with us
at Metlakahtla, that they might receive the
benefit of a series of special services, and be
preserved from falling into those excesses
which we had reason to fear would follow
should they spend- the Christmas by themselves. About two hundred and fifty availed themselves of our invitation and they arrived at Metlakahtla the day before Christmas in twenty-one  canoes,  which,  indeed,
wzaa&B. 92
presented a picture as they approached us
with flags flying.
"According to previous arrangement
they all clustered to the market house,
which we at present use for our church and
which has been very appropriately decorated. On our guests being seated I gave
them a short address, and after prayer, in
company with Mr. and Mrs. Collison, shook
hands with them all. They then were quartered around the village and a very exciting scene ensued, all the villagers literally scrambling for the guests. After the
scramble several came running to me to
complain that they had not succeeded in
securing a single guest, while others had
got more than their share. To settle matters amicably, I had to send two constables round the village to readjust the distribution of our new friends.
"Our Christmas eve was spent in practicing with a band of twenty young men, a
new Christmas hymn in Tsimshean, which
I managed to prepare for the occasion.
About i :30 on Christmas morning we reassembled, when Mr. Collison and myself
accompanied the twenty waits to sing round
the village, carrying the harmonium and
concertina with, us.- We sang in seven different places and three hymns in each place.
The village was illuminated and the singing was hearty and solemn. This was the
first attempt of the Indians at part-singing
in their own tongue.  94
"Christmas day was a great day, houses
decorated with evergreens, flags flying,
constables and council passing from house
to house in their uniforms, and greeting
the inmates. Now a string of young men,
then another of young women, might be
seen going into this house, then into that;
friends meeting on the road, shaking hands
everywhere; everybody.greeting everybody;
hours occupied with handshaking and interchanging good wishes; nobody thinking of
anything else but scattering smiles and
greetings, till the church bell ringai and all
wend their way to meet and worship God.
"The crowd seemed so great that fears
were entertained that our meeting house
could not accommodate them. I at once
decided that the children should assemble
in the school-house and have a separate
service. Samuel Marsden kindly volunteered to conduct it. Even with this arrangement our meeting house was crowded
to excess. There could not have been less
than seven hundred present. What a
sight! Had anyone accompanied me to
the Christmas-day services I held twelve or
fourteen years ago at Fort Simpson, and
again on this occasion, methinks if an infidel hie would have been confused and puzzled by the change; but if a Christian his
heart must have leaped for ja'y. The
Tsimsheans might well sing on this day,
'Glory to @bd in the highest, and on earth
peace, good will towards men,' METLAKAHTLA
'The following day the young men engaged in the healthy game of foot-ball, and
all the people turned out to witness the
sport. Mr. and Mrs. Collison and myself
were present to encourage them. After
foot-ball a marriage took place. A young
woman formerly trained in the mission-
house, was married to a chief. A marriage
feast was given, to which between four and
five hundred people were invited.
"On Friday, the second day of January,
our guests departed home. When ready to
start the church bell rang, and they paddled
their canoes to the meeting-house, which is
built upon the beach. Leaving their canoes, they reassembled for a short address
and a concluding prayer. This out, again
entering their canoes, they pushed a little
from the beach, a cannon was fired, and
amid the ringing cheers of hundreds of
voices they dashed off, paddling with all
their might."
The most memorable events of the next
few years were the completion of the remarkable church, and the visits of two distinguished personages, with one of whom
our narrative has already been concerned,
and whose presence again in their midst
filled the Metlakahtlans with the keenest
WITH each passing year the settlement at Metlakahtla grew stronger, the village more prosperous
and beautiful. On the sixth of August, 1872,
there was laid the corner-stone of a massive new church which was to be the crowning glory of the Christian colony. Although part of the cost of the church was
given by outsiders; yet the Indians sacrificed largely and often that the work might
progress unhindered. A little over two
years from the laying of the corner-stone,
on Christmas day, 1874, the beautiful edifice—entirely the work of Indian hands—
was dedicated to the service of God. It
wras a time of great rejoicing and gladness.
Describing it, Mr. Duncan said:
"Over seven hundred Indians were present at our opening services. Could it be
that this concourse of well-dressed people
in their new and beautiful church, but a
few years ago made up the fiendish assemblies at Fort Simpson! Could it be that
these voices, now engaged in solemn prayer and thrilling songs of praise to Almighty
God, are the very voices I once heard yelling and whooping at heathen orgies on dismal winter nights!"
At this period the Governor-General oi
Canada was the Earl of Dufferin. He was
one of the great statesmen of the age, and
one of the leaders of the English aristocracy. In the year 1876 he made an extended trip through the western part of
Canada, in the course of which he planned
to visit Metlakahtla, of which he had heard
most glowing accounts. The Indians on
their part were greatly delighted at the
prospect of receiving a visit from so famous a man. As one method of showing
their appreciation of his coming, they prepared the following address of welcome,
whicn was presented to him on his arrival:
"May it please your Excellency: We, the
inhabitants of Metlakahtla, of the Tsimshean nation of Indians, desire to express
our joy in welcoming your Excellency and
Lady 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 vou visit our shores.
"We have learned to respect and obey 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.
5^ 98
"Trusting that we may enjoy a share of
your Excellency's kind and fostering care,
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,
"David Leask,
"Secretary to the  Native Council."
The Governor-General was accompanied
by his accomplished wife, Lady Dufferin,
and to say that they were pleased with
what they saw is putting it mildly. Lord
Dufferin declared he would treasure their
address of welcome above all others he received during his journey. In an address
to the Indians assembled in the open air
on a beautiful summer day the Governor-
General said in part:
"I have come a long distance in order to
assure you, in the name of your Great
Mother, the Queen of England, with what
pleasure she has learned of your well-being,
of the progress you have made in the arts
of peace and the knowledge of the Christian religion, under the auspices of your
friend, Mr. Duncan. 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. Tt
does you the greatest credit, and we have METLAKAHTLA
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 those who approach the throne of God in humility and
faith   *   *   *
"Before I conclude T cannot help expressing to Mr. Duncan and those associated
with him in his good work, not only in my
name, not only in the 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 in the well-being of all the native races throughout the Queen's domin-
ions, our deep gratitude to him for thus
having devoted the flower of his life, in
spite of innumerable difficulties, dangers
and discouragements to a work which has
resulted in the beautif'j! 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
you being in a position to express yourselves with so much propriety is in itself
extremely creditable to you, and although
ic 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 rem-
sggsEiggaaiag^^ 100
iniscences as  those   which   I   shall
away with me from this spot."
But there was one person whose coming
to the island threw it into a far greater
commotion of pleasurable excitement than
even the visit of the Governor-General.
That person was none other than Admiral
Prevost, who, twenty-five years before, as
Captain Prevost, had been the means of
starting the entire work. His visit has
been well called "the most joyous and
memorable event in the history of the settlement." It was the red letter day of Metlakahtla.
Throughout a quarter of a century amid
all the dangers and perils of naval life God
had preserved the gallant captain, and had
honored him enabling him to reach the exalted station of Admiral. During all the
years, however, he had not lost sight of the
glorious work he inaugurated, and now at
last he was permitted to see with his own
eyes the marvelous results of his early efforts. The Admiral spent a full month
among the Metlakahtlans, declaring that
words could not describe the joy he experienced at witnessing their transformation.
He sent a graphic account of his visit to
the Church Missionary Society, part of
which was as follows:
"Three a. m., Tuesday, 18th June, 1878.
Arrived at Fort Simpson in the United
States Mail Steamer California, from Sitka.   Was met by William Duncan with six- V&BBBiZEBSBaZBaBSSSlt
%22&&&%222ZZ£ZZ2Z& 102
teen Indians, nearly all elders. Our greeting was most hearty, and the meeting with
Duncan was a cause of real thankfulness to
God, in sight, too, of the very spot (nay on
it) where God had put into my heart the
first desire of sending the Gospel to the
poor heathen around me. Twenty-five
years previously H. M. S. Virago had been
repaired on that very beach. What a
change had been effected 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 marvelous in our eyes.
"It did not take long to transfer ourselves
and our baggage to the canoe and at 4:30
a. m. we started against wind and tide,
lain, too, at intervals; but having much to
talk about of past events and future plans
the twenty miles of distance soon disappeared and about noon we crossed the bar
and entered the 'inlet of Kahtla.' On the
north side of the inlet stands on an eminence 'the church of God;' on either side
of it spreads out the village of Metlakahtla, skirting two bays whose beaches are at
once a landing-place for its inhabitants
and a shelter for the canoes. As we approached the landing-place two guns were
fired and flags displayed from house to
house—conspicuous by a string of them
reaching the Mission House verandah, in- METLAKAHTLA
scribed, 'A Real Welcome to Metlakahtla.'
Near to this were assembled all the village
—men, women and children—gaily dressed.
"After twenty-five years' absence God
had brought me back again amidst all the
sundry and manifold changes of the world,
face to face with those tribes amongst
whom I had before witnessed only bloodshed, cannibalism and heathen deviltry in its
grossest form. Now they were 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 once the chief of one of
the cannibal tribes   *   *   *
"Belore 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
beforehand determined upon) that my present would be a set of street lamps to light
up their village by 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 traveled about; but by
night all had been darkness, now this was
no longer  so—as  the bright light of the 104
glorious Gospel had through God's mercy
and love shined into their dark hearts, so
would all be reminded by night as well as by
day, of the marvelous light shining into the
hearts of many at Metlakahtla."
But the narrative of the Admiral's visit
would by no means be complete without
relating the sequel to the beautiful action
which haa occurred on the Queen Charlotte Islands a quarter of a century previously. One day a well built canoe containing two stalwart Indians was seen approaching Metlakahtla. When the occupants landed they proved to be Edensaw,
the head chief of the Hydahs, and his son.
They had heard of Admiral Prevost's visit
and had made the long journey through the
open sea to see his face once more. Their
meeting with the Admiral presented a beautiful scene, which reached its climax when
Edensaw put his hand into his bosom and
drew forth a little book which he handed
to the Admiral. The heart of the venerable
commander overflowed with wonder and
praise to God when he saw written on the
fly-leaf these lines: "From Captain Prevost, H. M. S. 'Satellite,' trusting that the
bread thus cast upon the waters may be
found after many days."
Truly it . had been found after 'many
days' indeed! The son of Edensaw was an
earnest Christian—the first person among
the Hydahs to come out boldly on the
Lord's   side.     Edensaw  himself   was   con- METLAKAHTLA
vinced that Christianity was the right way,
but he was a proud man and had not yet
been willing to sacrifice his power and
wealth as chieftain in order to follow Christ.
But who can estimate the part played by
that small testament in preparing the
heart of the son to receive the Gospel?
Doubtless scores of times as a boy he had
heard his father relate the story of how he
received"The Letter of God"from the great
white Chief, and he had without doubt
longed earnestly to know the meaning of
the message contained in the strange English book. Hence when the missionary
came to the Queen Charlotte Islands it was
natural that the son of Edensaw should be
the first convert.
And now once more in this world, father
and son stood 'face to face' with their spiritual benefactor, after a full quarter of a
century had passed, whitening the hair of
the Admiral and bringing wrinkles into the
face of the old chief. It was a memorable
meeting worthy of the brush of a great
painter. It was a strange and wonderful
illustration of the glorious fruitage that results, in  the   far   distant   future   from   the
good little deeds of today.
* * *
But ere long the idyllic life of the colony
was to be shattered to pieces, only to spring
up again more beautiful than ever on an
isle of paradise under the glorious banner
of the stars and stripes.
EARLY in the eighties when the
Christian colony was in the full
bloom of its vigor and prosperity a
cloud appeared on the horizon, which grew
larger with each passing year until the
Metlakahtlans finally left their dearly loved
island, and, in company with Mr. Duncan,
set out in search of a new home. The trouble began soon after the death of the great
Henry Venn, secretary of the Church Missionary Society, who had most heartily approved of Mr. Duncan's methods and plans
for the conversion and education of the Indians. Following his decease, however, a
Missionary Bishop was appointed to oversee the work at Metlakahtla and other missions in British Columbia. He decided that
the Indians should conform more closely to
the customs of the Church of England;
that the Lord's Supper should be instituted
with the use of real wine in the service;
and that much of the ritual and ceremony
of the English church should be introduced
among the red men. Mr. Duncan strongly
objected to these changes. He knew the
inordinate passion of the Indian for intoxicants and  felt it would be  wrong to  use
fermented wine in the communion service;
while in addition the law of Canada prohibited any Indian from touching wine under
penalty of imprisonment.
In regard to the elaborate ritual of the
Church of England, Mr. Duncan believed
it entirely unsuited to the worship of the
Indians, and felt that if introduced it would
seriously weaken and undermine their spiritual life.
The Bishop, however, still insisted on the
changes being made. But Mr. Duncan was
accustomed to adhering to principle at
whatever cost, and rather than submit to
what he believed was wrong, he left the
Church Missionary Society and started an
Independent Native Church. All but a few
of the Indians at Metlakahtla followed him
and joined the new church. The Missionary Society, on the advice of its Bishop,
but against that of several of its missionaries in the vicinity, still continued to carry
on a mission among the few who remained, and claimed the ownership of the two
most central acres of land in the village on
which the mission buildings stood. The
Canadian Government supported the Society in this claim, to the Indians' astonishment and dismay, for the land had been
theirs for ages past.
Mr. Duncan and his followers carefully
considered the situation and rather than
have discord and disunion in their Arcadia
determined to set out for the second time
in quest of a new home.
%g%ge8agj%ggggggggg%i^^ io8
A short time later a band of Metlakaht-
lans set out in their canoes in search of another island upon which they could erect a
new and more beautiful Christian city.
They went northward into Alaska, exploring the land carefully as they went. At
last, about one hundred miles north of Metlakahtla, they found an island which even
surpassed the old one in beauty and natural
advantages. When the Indians saw it they
unanimously exclaimed that they would
look no farther, for it was certainly an isle
of paradise they had found, with its mar-
velously beautiful harbor, its virgin forests,
its purple mountains, and its silvery waterfall. As the scouts approached Metlakahtla on their return, they signalized the success of their mission by singing the "Canoe-song," the most beautiful of all the native melodies.
Mr. Duncan now started for Washington
to secure permission from the United
States Government to settle on the land.
The case of the Metlakahtlans was carefully considered by President Cleveland, the
secretaries of the Interior and Treasury,
the Attorney-General and others. Many
distinguished people earnestly seconded the
cause of the Indians, among them being the
Governor of Alaska, Henry Ward Beecher
and Dr. Sheldon Jackson.
By the advice of the Attorney-General,
the Secretary of the Interior finally decided that  the  Metlakahtlans  could  settle METLAKAHTLA
upon any unoccupied land in Alaska, but
that no reservation could be set aside for
them, as land laws for the territory had not
yet been made. He also declared that when
Alaskan land laws should be formed "ample provision will be made to meet the necessities of all law-abiding inhabitants."
With this assurance of fair treatment
from the United States, Mr. Duncan was
fully satisfied. He mailed the good news
to the Indians and during the summer of
1887 a small number of them journeyed
northward in their canoes to fell the forest
and prepare the way for the remainder.
On the 7th of August, Mr. Duncan reached
the new island, having been absent in the
United States nearly nine months. His
welcome was most hearty as he stepped
upon the beach of the New Metlakahtla,
which was to be the future home of the colony. A memorable service, like that the
Pilgrims must have held on landing at
Plymouth Rock, was at once arranged,
which a newspaper correspondent who was
present described graphically as follows:
"The day was a perfect one and the visitors were at once put on shore. A more
lovely place than this harbor it is impossible to imagine. It is semi-circular in shape,
opening out through a number of small islands to the westward. On the east and
north were wild, rugged mountains, coming down to the water's edge, and on the
south is a low, green shore skirted by a
msszziz2& no
gravel beach that winds in and out in
beautiful curves. "The place was entirely
uninhabited except by thirty or forty of the
men of Metlakahtla with their families who
had come on as an advance guard. The remainder, in all about one thousand people,
men, women and children, will come as
soon as provision can be made for them
and the means of transportation shall ar-
"The exercises were impromptu and Mr.
Duncan first addressed his people in their
native tongue. He told them of his trip
to the United States, and concluded by introducing Hon. N. H. R. Dawson, the U.
S. Commissioner of Education then upon
an official tour of Alaska, who had kindly
consented to make an address upon this
occasion. In Mr. Dawson's address, interpreted by Mr. Duncan into the native
language for the benefit of those who did
not understand English, they were impressively told of the power and glory of the
great American Government, under whose
protection they were coming, and were assured that when its flag was raised over
them, they would be protected in their
lives and liberties, that their homes and
lands would be assured to them, and that
their education and welfare would be the
cherished care of the great Government,
to which they had intrusted themselves.
"When he concluded, the flags were raised, the ship saluting them as they went up tt^BZBttSGBEOZBGSttEGazzxtxxrvzz
r<&2E^^%^ffi&&82&W28^^^k 112
with its battery of one gun. The natives
then sang 'Rock of Ages' exquisitely in
their native tongue. Rev. Dr. Fraser of
San Francisco, in a touching prayer, then
commended the new settlement to the protection of Divine Providence, after which
all united in singing 'Coronation.'. One of
the principal chiefs or selectmen, Daniel
Ne-ash-kum-ack-kem, then replied to Mr.
Dawson's address in a short speech as follows:
" 'Chiefs, I have a few words of truth to
let you know what our hearts are saying.
The God of Heaven is looking at our doings here today. You have stretched out
your hands to the Tsimsheans. Your act
is a Christian act. We have long been
knocking at the door of another government for justice, but the door has been
closed against us. You have risen up and
opened your door to us, and bid us welcome to this beautiful spot, upon which we
propose to erect our homes. What can
our hearts say to this, but that we are
thankful and happy. The work of the
Christian is never lost. Your work will
not be lost to you. It will live, and you
will find it after many days. We are here
only a few today who have been made
happy by your words; but when your words
reach all of our people, numbering over a
thousand, how much more joy will they occasion. * * * We come to you for protection   and   safety.     Our   hearts,   though METLAKAHTLA
often troubled have not fainted. We have
trusted in God, and He has helped us. We
are now able to sleep in peace. Our confidence is restored. God has given us His
strength to reach this place of security and
freedom, and we are grateful to Him for
His mercy and loving kindness. We again
salute you from our hearts. I have no
more to say.'
"At the conclusion of this reply, which
was delivered in the musical intonations of
his native tongue, with a grace and eloquence that did credit to the picturesque
forum in which he stood, Dr. Fraser gave
the benediction."
During the autumn of 1887 the remainder of the colonists removed to their new
home, and throughout the following winter
and spring building preparations went rapidly forward. Mr. Duncan drew up a beautiful design for the streets and homes and
public buildings of the new village, so that
it should be a model city in every respect.
A new set of rules, or declaration of principles, was also drawn up in harmony with
the present enlightened character of the
people.    It read as follows:
"We, the people of Metlakahtla, Alaska,
in order to secure to ourselves and our
posterity the blessings of a Christian home,
do severally subscribe to the following
rules for the regulation of our conduct and
town^ affairs:
"1. To reverence the Sabbath and to re- 114
frain from all unnecessary secular work on
that day; to attend Divine Worship; to
take the Bible for our rule of faith; to regard all true Christians as our brethren,
and to be truthful, honest and industrious.
"2. To be faithful and loyal to the Government and laws of the United States.
"3. To render our votes when called
upon for the election of the Town Council,
and to promptly obey the by-laws and orders imposed by the said council.
"4. To attend to the education of our
children and keep them at school as regularly as possible.
"5. To totally abstain from all intoxicants and gambling, and never attend heathen festivities or countenance heathen customs in surrounding villages.
"6. To strictly carry out all sanitary
regulations necessary for the health of the
"7. To identify ourselves with the progress of the settlement, and to utilize the
land we hold.
"8. Never to alienate—give away—or sell
our land, or building lots, or any portion
thereof, to any person or persons who
have not subscribed to these rules."
In the land of the free, in the midst of unsurpassed natural landscape, a new and
more beautiful village sprang into existence
under the skilled and willing hands of Mr.
Duncan, and his devoted followers. A salmon  cannery  and  saw-mill  were  erected, METLAKAHTLA
numerous stores opened, and after months
of faithful and loving toil a large and beautiful church was built. Peace and joy dwelt
in the hearts of the people; industry, purity and harmony guarded the homes; and
the spot became indeed Paradise Island, a
bit of« the garden of Eden regained.
Sixteen years after the foundation of the
new village it was the good fortune of the
writer to make a 3,000 mile journey across
the continent and up into the Northland,
solely to obtain the strange and inspiring
history of these red men and to observe
their present condition. The story of the
journey and of some of the remarkable
things seen and heard at Metlakahtla will
next be related. CHAPTER XL
AS the Queen of Sheba traveled far
to pay a visit to the court of King
Solomon to see for herself the marvels of which she had heard so much, so the
writer made a round-trip journey of 6,000
miles to see the wonderful model city of
Metlakahtla inhabited by red men, who
yesterday were wild savages, today are
well-dressed exemplary Christians. The
trip from Chicago occupied nine days.
Leaving the inland metropolis on Monday
evening the writer reached Seattle Friday
afternoon, and the following day arrived at
Victoria, the old English city on Vancouver
Island, which is so frequently mentioned.in
our narrative. Here I saw the naval station which was the headquarters of Admiral
Prevost half a century previous, and called
upon the venerable Bishop Cridge, who entertained Mr. Duncan upon his arrival in
the city in 1857, and has ever since been a
staunch friend and warm supporter. A delightful Sunday was spent in this quaint
English city where the Sabbath is observed
far better than in the United States. Early
Monday morning I embarked on the swift
steamer, "Cottage City," and for two days,
as we sped northward, enjoyed a changing
panorama of sea and land scenery which.
is probably unparalleled on the North
American continent. At five-thirty Wednesday morning we reached Ketchikan,
Alaska, a gold-mining town fifteen miles
from Metlakahtla, where it was necessary
to change steamers. It proved to be a
typical frontier village with less than a
thousand inhabitants and eight saloons
into whose coffers, I was informed, went
two-thirds of the wages of the miners.
But fortunately I had not long to wait in
the town. At nine a. m. a large steamer
approached, which proved to be "The Dolphin," carrying the United States Senatorial Committee of five members, appointed to inspect Alaska for the purpose of
framing laws for the territory. The vessel
was just returning from a special visit to
New Metlakahtla to enable the committee
to see the famous Indian settlement and
to obtain Mr. Duncan's views on the needs
of Alaska. As the ship touched the dock I
hastened on board and greeted Senator
Dillingham, chairman of the committee,
whom I had met in Seattle a few days previous. He took me into the captain's
cabin and there introduced me to the man I
had come three thousand miles to see-
William Duncan! And yet, could it be possible that the vivacious, ruddy-faced man
with whom I was shaking hands was the
missionary who had spent forty-six years of
toil   and   privation   among  the   red   men? n8
His hair and beard were white, but at seventy-two years of age he had the energy
and vigor of mind and body of a man of
Mr. Duncan had come from Metlakahtla
to Ketchikan as the guest of the Senatorial party, and was accompanied by two
leading members of the Indian community,
Mr. John Tait and Edward K. Mathers.
After several hours of waiting the luxurious excursion steamer "Spokane" reached
Ketchikan on its way to Metlakahtla,
which it visits on every trip to Alaska, and
Mr. Duncan, the Indians, and ,myself, were
soon speeding rapidly toward the village,
whose fame has reached round the world.
As we came into the bay—which I have
never seen equaled for beauty at home or
abroad—and beheld the quiet, peaceful village, set like a jewel between the blue sea
and the purple mountains, I was filled with
amazement and awe and could only inwardly exclaim: "Fifty years ago savages
and today this!" What a tremendous
power is contained in the Gospel! No other
force on earth or above or beneath it could
have transformed those savage tribes into
that tranquil Indian village! Truly I was
looking upon a modern miracle of the Gospel and it was marvelous beyond the power
of description.
Eleven delightful days I spent at Metlakahtla as the guest of Mr. Duncan.
Needless to state, there is no saloon on the METLAKAHTLA
island, and during my entire stay I saw no
one intoxicated and heard no profane nor
angry word! Instead, a spirit of peace and
quiet contentment broods over the island
and fills the heart with satisfaction, and one
realizes as never before of what little account are the riches and honors of the
world compared with the true riches of living right with God!
The village lies on a right-angled point
of land so that two sides of it face the sea.
The houses of the Indians are on the average considerably finer than those in an
American village of eight hundred inhabitants. They are mainly two stories in
height, plentifully supplied with windows
and usually have a verandah. The village
sidewalks are wide and well built.
The church stands on an eminence just
at the back of the village and is far the
most handsome and pretentious building in
the town. It was constructed entirely by
the Indians themselves under Mr. Duncan's
direction. The interior is finished in spruce
and cedar, and the large arched auditorium,
capable of seating over seven hundred people, is most impressive. The handsome
pews and ornamental pulpit, with the painting of the Angels at Bethlehem above the
pulpit,—indeed, everything save the pipe organ, is the result of native handicraft. The
church is the largest in Alaska and has fitly
been called "The Westminster of. the Indians." 120
The combined school house and town
hall stands next to the church, and has the
unique distinction of being equipped with
a gymnasium. Next to the school house is
a commodious building designed for a boy's
home or boarding school, and next that a
girl's boarding school. At present there
are only nine girls in the school, but it is
expected the number will be shortly increased to fifteen or more.
The two most important industries in the
village are the salmon cannery and the sawmill. During a recent season the former
turned out over 800,000 cans of salmon,
while the latter employs a considerable
number of people the year round. If any
of our readers wish a good can of salmon
and at the same time a souvenir from Metlakahtla let them ask their grocer for salmon put up by "The Metlakahtla Industrial
Company." The chief occupations of the
800 inhabitants are salmon fishing in the
summer and logging in the winter. There
are nine stores in the town, the largest
being owned by Mr. Duncan, the other
eight by natives. The saw-mill and most
of the stock of the salmon cannery are also
owned by Mr. Duncan, some of the shares,
however, being held by the Indians. There
is no doubt but that Mr. Duncan is simply
acting as trustee for the -people in conducting these enterprises and that at his
decease the profits, if there be any left,
will be  given to the village.    Today  Mr. W&&222022yyWy?&!/92WS7SJWyZ/27SJ&S&jVtss**^rJ£4*xrjcrs.
VMW/AeMMia, 122
Duncan pays the salary of his assistants
in the work, Dr. and Mrs. Boyd, and supports the girls' school, which is conducted
by the doctor and his wife. Last year, as
, previously, Mr. Duncan personally taught
the public school, in addition to all his
other duties, but he finds the burden very
severe and is desirous of securing a young
minister and his wife to undertake this
work and to assist in the spiritual training
of the people.
Mr. Duncan is still the active pastor of
the church, serving without salary. He
preaches twice on Sunday, conducts the
children's Sunday School, and the midweek prayer-meeting. He is also the spiritual and temporal adviser and counselor
of his people, and his office, where he
spends many hours daily as active manager of the cannery, saw-mill and store, is
the natural resort of anyone in trouble or
difficulty. I spent considerable time with Mr.
Duncan in his office, and sometimes there
would be a stream of callers which would
occupy his attention for hours together.
The home life of the people is beautiful
and affectionate. Among strangers they
appear stolid, for they hide their feelings,
but among themselves they are often most
lively and gay. I saw considerable of the
nine girls in the boarding school, and they
were constantly bubbling over with fun of
some sort and frequent bursts of hearty,
wholesome laughter filled the air.   Some of METLAKAHTLA
the homes are furnished very attractively,
two houses in the village containing pianos.
The energy and natural talents of the
people are amazing. Many of them earn
double wages by doing double work. For
example, the blacksmith at the cannery,
Mr. Edward K. Mathers, works at night at
his home carving queer figures on silver
spoons. Going to the native stores on
several occasions I found them locked, until I discovered that the proprietors worked
at the cannery or saw-mill during the day,
and opened their shops after a hasty supper in the evening. The village photographer, Benjamin A. Haldane, does not
hesitate to work in the cannery when it is
running and looks after his picture-making and developing after or before working
hours. Mr. Haldane is a versatile and talented young man. In addition to being an
excellent photographer, he is leader of the
village band, and plays the pipe organ in
the church. One of the two pianos in the
town is in his home, and one evening he
displayed much skill in playing several difficult selections for my entertainment. It
is typical of the people that they learn any
art or trade with astonishing ease and rapidity. There are several excellent silversmiths in the village, and at least one skilled
wood carver. In addition most of the older
women weave handsome baskets out of a
certain kind of bark which find a ready
sale to tourists. 124
The two Sundays spent in Metlakahtla
were red letter days in my experience. On
Sabbath morning all is peace and quiet
throughout the village, and the spirit of
worship permeates the atmosphere as
strongly as the spirit of gladness fills the
air of our land at Christmas-tide. At ten
o'clock I stood on the church steps and
watched the streams of people coming from
different directions, all converging at the
church door. They were dressed in the
bright colors they love, and the sight of
the happy people and the quiet village, with
the sea and mountains for a background,
made one of the most beautiful pictures I
have ever seen. I was especially struck
with the large number of Indian boys and
girls who accompanied their parents to
church, and with the sight of the very aged
coming to the House of God as long as
they were able to walk. One old woman,
probably nearly or quite ninety years of
age, bent over a large staff as she slowly
approached the church. After going up a
couple of steps she sat down to rest
awhile, and then found strength to enter
the building and worship her Creator.
Part of the church service was in the native Tsimshean language and part in English. Following the organ voluntary played by Mr. Haldane, came a song in soft,
flowing Tsimshean accents. Mr. Duncan
then offered prayer in Tsim-shean, at the
close   of   which   all   repeated   the   Lord's METLAKAHTLA
Prayer in the native tongue. The beautiful song,* "He Leadeth Me," was next sung
in English by the congregation, followed
by a short prayer in our language by Mr.
Duncan. A passage of Scripture was then
read in English by Mr. Duncan, followed
by the sermon, which is always delivered
in the native tongue. A short prayer in
Tsimshean closed the service, an organ
postlude being played as the people passed
out of the church. The order of service
in the evening varies little from that in the
But two services during the whole of the
Sabbath day cannot at all satisfy the energetic Indians. At three o'clock in the<
afternoon they gather in the church again
for an "Adult Sunday School," the children's Sunday School being held in the
school house. Here there are often more
than twenty classes all taught by native
At the conclusion of the Sunday School
Mr. Mathers, the blacksmith and silversmith, invited me to attend a "Sing Prac-.
tice" which he holds at his home on Sunday afternoons. It is an informal gathering of ten or a dozen friends and neighbors in his parlor to learn and sing Gospel hymns. I gladly accepted and greatly
enjoyed hearing the old familiar hymns
in a new tongue. Some of their favorite
songs are: "There's a Stranger at the
Door,"   "There's   a   Land  That   is   Fairer
izmfssmfwiwm. 126
Than Day," "I Will Tell the Wondrous
Story," "I Must Tell Jesus," "Nearer the
Mr. Mathers is an elder in the church and
a native evangelist. Whenever he is away
fishing or on any business he gathers the
people together and preaches to them. One
day he showed me a large account book,
in which he kept a record of every preaching service he held and of every prayer-
meeting or sing-practice he led. The record was headed thus: "Record of God's
Work Done by E. K. Mathers, Lay Preacher." He set down accurately the date,
place and number of people at each meeting.
There are sixteen elders in the Metlakahtla church and each gladly grasps the
opportunity to preach and exhort when
he is absent from the island and can
gather a few Indians together. Family
worship is held in most of the homes, and
daily Bible reading is the rule. I asked
one young man how he read the Bible, and
he said it was his custom to read it through
yearly, reading three chapters each week
day and five on Sunday.
One of the wisest and most devout men
now living at Metlakahtla is Mr. John
Tait. He is over sixty years of age, was
one of Mr. Duncan's early converts and
has been one of his staunchest friends and
One day I asked Mr. Duncan if he would METLAKAHTLA
again become a missionary if he had his
life to live over. In reply he said: "I have
enjoyed my work and would gladly go
through it again if necessary. Looking
back over my career I have nothing to regret in regard to my plans and methods of
conducting the work, and if called upon to
begin again would follow the same program." Mr. Duncan believes all missions
would be more successful if they would follow the "Christian village" plan.   He said:
"I firmly believe that missionaries all
over the world should adopt the Christian
settlement plan of procedure. Just as soon
as a small group of Christians have been
won from heathenism they should remove
and form a separate and distinct colony.
The converts will in that way grow and
develop far better and faster than when
living in daily contact with all sorts of
vices common among the heathen.
"Why, suppose I had never removed my
people from Fort Simpson, I could never
have obtained the result you see today in
this-village. In one house there would be
living a Christian family and in the next a
heathen one. The Christians would constantly be in trouble, enduring slanders and
seeing and bearing evil things that would
mar the beauty of their characters.
"Now, if it were necessary for the converts
to come into daily contact with all kinds
of evil the plan of separation would be unwise, but no good purpose is served by it.
mzzmzmz^zzzms^^^L 128
On the contrary the departure of the Christian from evil surroundings has been the
divine plan from the beginning. Go^ called Abraham to come out from Ur and remove to a place where a separate people
could be trained up into holiness. Again
the Children of Israel were led out from
Egypt and given a land where they would
be separated from other nations and where
they were given an opportunity to become
a light ^unto all the world."
«K      ?K      ^J>
Such is the strange and remarkable story
of Metlakahtla. Its lessons of zeal and
heroism, of faith and devotion, are many
and inspiring. If those poor red men with
their meagre advantages can produce such
a beautiful Christian life in a single generation what ought not we to be and accomplish with our countless advantages
and our generations of Christian ancestors!
There are other red men, and yellow
men, and black men, and white men in all
parts of the earth living and dying without
the Gospel. Let us arise and carry the
news of salvation to them, or help others
to do so by giving largely of our earnings!
THE END.    


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