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Reminiscences of the west coast of Vancouver Island Moser, Chas. 1926

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 REMINISCENCES
 OF	
THE WEST COAST OF
VANCOUVER ISLAND
By
Rev. Chas. Moser, o. s. b.
Kakawis, b. C. The University of British Columbia Library
THE
CHUNG
COLLECTION CC 12?
REMINISCENCES
—   OF  —
THE WEST COAST OF
VANCOUVER ISLAND
By Rev. Chas. Moser, o. s. b.
Kakawis, B.C. COPYRIGHT  1926
By  REV.   CHAS.   MOSER,  O.S.B
All  Rights  Reserved
Printed  by
The  Acme  Press,   Limited
Victoria, B. C   CONTENTS
Page
Preface ----------------     vii.
Chapter I
A Charter with Translation     ---------        1
Chapter II
Brabant's Reminiscences      ----------       9
A. The Field of Labor
B. 1874
C. 1875-1900
Chapter III
A Deed of Property   ------------    132
Chapter IV
Haps and Mishaps     ------------    133
Chapter V
Father Nicolaye     -------------    146
Chapter VI
An Inventory    --------------151
Chapter VII
Christie School      -------------    154
Chapter VIII
Priests on the Missions  -----------158
Chapter IX
Historic Nootka     -------------    160
Chapter X
The Murder of Barney   -----------    171
Chapter XI
The Murder of the Kyuquot Chief    -------176
Chapter XII
The Murder of Shiyoush    ----------    181
Chapter XIII
Trader  George      ------_-_-___    184
Chapter XIV
A Great War    --------------    188
Chapter XV
An Ahousat Story     ----------A-    190
Chapter XVI  --------------    192
—  PREFACE
IN THE YEAR 1900 there appeared in the "Messenger of
the Sacred Heart," New York, a series of Reminiscences
of Rev. A. J. Brabant, the pioneer missionary of the west
coast of Vancouver Island, under the title of "Vancouver
Island and its Missions." The whole series of these Reminiscences were later on printed by the Editor of the Messenger
in magazine form, and all the copies were given to Father
Brabant for the benefit of his missions. When I succeeded
Father Brabant in charge of the Hesquiat Missions in 1910,
there were about 70 copies left. Some I gave away—others
were sold. When there were no more left, applications for a
copy from many persons used to come to me. This gave the
plan for the present volume. However, as I was busy in
missionary work, and as the work among the Indians is very
often connected with delays and loss of time and disappointments, I had neither time nor the necessary disposition to
write, pushing off my intention to a more opportune time. In
August of this year we celebrated at the Christie Indian Residential School amid a great concourse of Indians from all our
Missions, the 50th Anniversary of the establishment of the
first mission at Hesquiat by the Rev. Father Brabant, in 1875;
and the 25th Anniversary of the opening of the Christie Indian
Residential School to the Indian children in 1900. This event
gave me a new impetus to republish Father Brabant's Reminiscences, with additions of some documents and other historical
events. I confined myself in adding what had not been published before. Hence in my chapter of Nootka I only alluded
to the Jewitt case, and omitted entirely the murdering of the
crew of the ship Tonquin, and its subsequent blowing up with
great loss of life, in Clayoquot Sound, because this has appeared in print* times and again. Having made up my mind
to go ahead I overcame my apathy in time of trials. There
would be other interesting things to be told that are not told
in this book.    But all can not be told now for various reasons.
THE AUTHOR.
Christmas, 1925.
*See   H.   Higgins'   "The   Passing   of   a   Race";   also   Meany's   "Discovery   of
Puget  Sound".  Chapter I
THE CHARTER FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE
FIRST MISSION AT HESQUIAT, 1875
Given to the Rev. A. J. Brabant
by the Rt. Rev. Chas. J. Seghers, Bishop of Victoria
Instructions pro Missione in Hesquiat,
Martii 22nd, 1875
1. Primo, principaliter et directe incumbet Missionarius
saluti et profectui spirituali sylvicolarum. Eius igitur cura
praecipua versabitur circa animas, ecclesiam, res spirituales,
sacras et ecclesiasticas.
2. Interea tamen non negligat res temporales Missionis,
commoda temporalia sylvicolarum et corundem coardinationem
civilem.
3. Itaque curabit ut Missio habeat bona temporalia et
redditus et quandocunque tempus adfuerit non pigebit incum-
bere labori manuum et vendere cum lucro.
4. Invigilabit ut ipsi sylviculae bona acquirant temporalia
stabiliter et meliorem suam conditionem faciant ita ut, pro-
ficiente eorum conditione temporali, mens et cor ad nobiliora
elevetur.
5. Nihil negliget ut civilem organisationem inter eos in-
troducat. Quapropter ipse tamquam index sedere non vere-
bitur ad componendos eorum lites et aliquos ex eis praeparabit
qui ordini invigilent publico, ad protectionem parvulorum ad-
versus potentiores et ;ad xefraenandos malorum hominum
libidines.
6. Omnem operam navabit ad celebrandum cum omni qua
poterit pompa. solemnitates quascumque religiosas et ecclesiasticas, idque per processiones aliaque media ad id idonea.
7. Libros Baptizatorum, dispensationum matrimonialium,
matrimonioruum et status animarum, atque funerorum accur-
atissime conscribet et nunquam praetermittet infantibus re-
center baptizatis schedulam tradere cum eorum nominibus.
i Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
8. Fructum suae Missionis stabilem ac permanentem non
exspectabit Missionarius nisi post diuturnum laborem, ita ut,
si post primum fervorem sequatur fidei et morum relaxatio
non ideo spem et animum amittat.
9. Magnopere curabit ut Christi sequatur modestiam et
humilitatem, quin tamen sylvicolas sinat suam aspernere
spiritualem potentiam ac dignitatem quam habet ex apostolico
ministerio.
10. Quantocius invigilabit ut suum ac proprium habeat
coemeterium in quo nihil superstitiosum, nihil nisi sanctum
tolerabit.
11. Festivitates quasdam instituere conabitur, in quibus
sylviculae obliviscantur antiquarum suarum saltationem.
12. In sermocinando praesertim aget de superstitionibus
sylvicolarum, de mendacio, furto, fornicatione. Caeterum
easdem instructiones eisdem tradet quas caeteris hie catholicis.
Imo non verebitur eos docere quidquid est sublime et altisimum
ut virginalem castitatem, abnegationem sui et perfectam humilitatem cum contemptu divitiarum, neque praeteribit quidquid
spectat ad ecclesiae constitutionem: gradus hierarchiae ecclesi-
asticae et praesertim Summum Pontificem.
13. Absque ullo timore sylvicolas maxima solicitudine
cavere ab haeresi et haeriticis do'cebit.
14. Tandem non obliviscetur, exemplum suum plus valere
quam sermones eloquentissimos et oratione <sua se maiores res
peragiturum quam mediis dumtaxat humanis.
Then follow in the same document rules for the civil
organization of the Indians as called for in the above paragraph
5.    These are given in the French language.
Organization Civile des Sauvages
Principes
1. La societe dans sou ensemble a un double but: lmo de
travailler au salut de chatum de ses membres, 2do de se
procurer la prosperite et le bienetre temporels. Le premier
but est le plus important; et le second doit etre subordonne
au premier.
2. De ce double but de la societe il resulte que la societe
contient elle-meme deux associations dont la premiere,
l'Eglise, s'efforce d'atteindre le premier but, et la seconde,
1'Etat tend vers le second but. Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
3. Mais comme les membres de l'Eglise sout membres de
l'Etat et que les membres de l'etat sont membres de l'Eglise
il s'en suit que ces deux associations doivent etre unies sans
etre separees, et distinctes saus se confondre. La premiere
sanctifiera la seconde, et la seconde pretera son appui et sa
protection a la premiere. L'eglise dirigera l'Etat vers le s'alut
eternal, et l'Etat, dans toutes les matieres qui ne sout pas
purement civiles sera subordonne a l'Eglise: de la liberte
d'action de l'Etat dans sa sphere temporelle, soumission de
l'Etat a l'Eglise.
De ces principes il resulte:
1. Que les sauvages doivent etre soumis a une autorite
civile, temporelle, exercee par une personne autre que le pretre,
mais soumise a la direction de celuici.
2. Autant que possible cette autorite sera entre les mains
du chef naturel de la tribu.
3. Cette autorite sera (a) legislative, et aura le droit
d'imposer des lois et d'ordonnances; (b) judiciaire et pourra
juger les differends; (c) administrative et sera chargee de
l'administration des biens communs.
Enfin ces trois especes d'autorite aurout et exerceront
Vexecutive par une police etablie daus ce but.
14. Cette autorite sera considered come residaut dans le
chef de la tribu, mais sera deleguee a d'autres membres de la
tribu et exercee par eux.
5. L'autorite legislative ne sera exercee que du consente-
ment de la majeure partie de la tribu. L'autorite legislative
et L'autorite administrative conserveront leur independance
vis-a-vis de la tribu.
6. Les biens communs proviendrout d'amendes a imposer
aux compables, et taxes payees par chacum en partie egale.
7. Les punitions seront temporelles et spiriuelles. Puisque
chaque fante publique, ou contre le bien de la societe. est a la
fois un delit et un peche, chaque fante sera punie d'une
amende et de l'imposition d'une penitence publique. Mais il
n'en sera pas ainsi des fantes tout-a fait secretes, ni des peches
qui ne sont pas des debts.
8. Les biens communs seront employes pour ameliorer la
condition des sauvages: procurer de l'air pur, eloigner les
maladies, procurer la propriete, encourager le travail, faire
naitre l'industrie et inspirer l'amour de l'agriculture. Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
9. Le pouvoir civil s'emploiera pour faire executer les
lois divines et ecclesiastiques, telles que le mariage, la sancti-
fication du dimanche, la temperance.
10. Mais le pouvoir civil sera exerce de telle maniere que
son independance dans sa sphere d'action et en particulier dans
l'administration des biens communs soit et reste saine et sauve
et soit reconnue comme telle.
When Bishop Brondel, who succeeded Bishop Seghers as
Bishop of Vancouver Island, in 1879, made his official visit to
the Missions on the West Coast, he added the following:
Addita die 27 Augusti, a.d. 1880
Cum gaudio magno vidi laborem et fructum operariorum
in vinea Domini, dum mense elapso visitarem plagam bccident-
alem Insulae Vancouveriensis. Sapientiam instructionum
praecedentium ab Illustr. meo Praedecessore datarum maxi-
mam habui. Quaedam addere pro directione missionariorum
placuit:
Curabunt animarum curam habentes ut pueri sylvicolarum
instruantur, ideo illos edocebunt litteras, preces, catechismum,
cantum, numeros, ordinem, nitiditatem et historias ex sacra
Scriptura desumptas. Tempore recreationis ut terram colant.
Fiat schola regulariter per duas horas ante et duas horas post
meridiem. Si puellae veniant curabunt ut seperatim exeant et
recreationem sumant. Si visitanda sit quaedam missio dimit-
tatur schola et inchoetur missione habita. Pueros, qui iam
annum septimum compleverunt, edoceant quid sit confessio,
quomodo confitendum et singulo trimestri audiant confessiones.
Linguam sulvicolarum noscant, expensas devitent, hie et
nunc in quantum prudentia suggesserit doceant iustitiam erga
missionarium.
Solemnitates ecclesiasticas floribus, ramis, picturis et
caeremoniis illustrent.    Nitiditas maxima sit in altari Dei.
Benedictio Dei Omnipotentis Patris et Filii et Spiritus
Sancti descendat super vos et maneat semper.
TRANSLATIONS
Instructions for the Mission at Hesquiat, B. C,
March 22nd, 1875
1. First let the Missionary devote himself chiefly and
directly to the salvation and spiritual progress of the Indians.
His first and chief care should therefore be directed to the Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
care of  souls,  to the Church, matters spiritual,  sacred and
ecclesiastical.
2. Besides these, however, let him not neglect the temporal
affairs of the Mission, the temporal well being of the Indians
and their civil organization.
3. Thus he must see that the Mission is provided with
some property and means of livelihood or income, and whenever the opportunity presents itself, he must not hesitate to
employ the labor of his hands and sell the proceeds with
profit.
4. Let him see to it that the Indians themselves shall
acquire property and settlement and improve their condition
of life, so that with the improvement of their temporal and
physical conditions their minds and hearts may be raised to
higher and better things hereafter.
5. Let him neglect nothing towards establishing a civilized
social order of life among them, for which purpose he
himself shall not decline to act as judge in settling their
disputes, and shall instruct some among them how to keep
public order, and protect the smaller and weaker from the
stronger, and holding in check the evil passions of the wicked.
6. He shall endeavor by all means to celebrate with the
utmost solemnity and impressiveness all religious and ecclesiastical festivals, by means of processions and other appropriate ceremonies.
7„ He shall keep an accurate register in book form of all
baptisms, marriages, marriage licenses, and a census of the
number of people in the community, as well as of deaths and
burials; and shall never neglect to give children recently baptized a certificate with their names.
8. The missionary shall not expect to realize the solid
fruits of his labors until after long years of toil; so that if the
first fervors of conversion should be followed by a laxity of
faith and morals, he must not on that account lose hope and
become discouraged.
9. He must strive to follow by all means the mildness and
humility of Christ, without, however, allowing the natives to
lose their respect for the spiritual power and dignity which
belongs to his apostolic ministry.
10. He shall as soon as possible locate his own'private
cemetery for the burial of the dead and must take particular
care that nothing superstitious, nothing unholy, shall be allowed
therein. Reminiscences of tfce West Coast of Vancouver Island
11. He shall endeavor to provide some social entertainments by which the Indians may be weaned from indulging in
their old time native dances.
12. In his sermons and instructions he shall dwell particularly upon native superstitions of the Indians, upon lying,
stealing, adultery—as for the rest he will give them the same
instructions as are given to other Catholics here. Moreover,
he must not shrink from teaching them whatever is of the
highest and most sublime, such as virginal chastity, self-denial,
and perfect humility, with contempt of riches; nor must he
overlook whatsoever relates to the constitution of the Church,
the different orders thereof and particularly the Sovereign
Pontiff.
13. He shall teach the Indians fearlessly to beware of
and avoid with the utmost caution all heresy and heretics.
14. Finally, let him not forget that his own example will
be worth more than his most eloquent sermons, and that by
his prayers he may accomplish much greater good than by any
human efforts whatsoever.
Civil Organization oe the Indians
Principles
1. Human Society as a whole has a double purpose, viz.:
first, to work together for the salvation of each one of its
members; and secondly, to provide for its own prosperity and
temporal well-being. The first of these is the most important;
hence, the second should be subordinate to the first.
2. From this double purpose of Society it follows that it
contains within itself two associations, of which the first, the
Church, strives to attain the first end; and the second—the
estate—attends to the latter.
3. But as the members of the Church are also members of
the State, and the members of the State are members of the
Church, it follows that these two associations should be united
and not separated, yet distinct without mistaking one for the
other. The first will sanctify the second, and the latter will
lend its support and protection to the first. The Church will
guide the State towards eternal salvation, and the State in all
matters not essentially of a civil nature, shall be subordinated
to the Church; hence, liberty of action in the State, in its.
temporal sphere; submission of the State to the Church. Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
From these principles'it follows:
1. That the Indians should be subject to a civil authority
in all temporal matters, exercised by some other person than
the priest, but subject to his guidance.
2. Whenever possible such authority should be placed in
the hands of the natural head of the tribe.
3. This authority shall be: first, legislative and shall have
the right to establish laws and regulations; secondly, judiciary,
and shall settle all differences; and thirdly, administrative, and
shall have charge of all community property. Filial iv these
three different kinds of authority shall constitute an executive
to be exercised by means of a police established for that purpose.
4. This authority shall be considered as inherent in the
chief of the tribe, but may be delegated to other members of
the tribe and exercised by them.
5. The legislative authority shall be exercised only with
the consent of the majority of the tribe. The legislative and
the administrative authority shall retain their respective independence in matters concerning the tribe.
6. Community funds shall be derived from fines imposed
upon the guilty and from taxes paid by each in equal shares.
7. The penalties imposed shall be both temporal and
spiritual, since every public misdemeanor or offence against
the welfare of society is at once a crime and a sin, each offence
shall be punished by a fine and a public penance. But this
shall not be done in the case of offences that are entirely
private, or of sins that are not criminal.
8. Community funds shall be used to better the condition
of the Indians; to introduce fresh air in their dwellings, to
banish diseases, to cultivate cleanliness, to encourage labor and
the growth of industry, and to inspire the love of agriculture.
9. The civil authority shall be required to enforce the
divine laws of the Church, such as the law of marriage, the
keeping holy of the Sabbath, and the observance of temperance.
10. But the civil authority shall be exercised in such
manner that its independence in its proper sphere of action,
and more particularly in the administration of community
property shall be and always remain safe" and sound, and shall
be recognized as such. i
Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
Added by Bishop Brondee, August 27th, 1880:
With great joy I have witnessed the labors and the fruits
thereof accomplished by the laborers in the vineyard of the
Lord while on a visit during the last month to the western
wilds on the Island of Vancouver. The wisdom of the instructions, as above given by my illustrious predecessor, I hold
to be of the highest, and wish to add a few words to the same.
Those having charge of souls must take particular care
that the children of the Indians shall be educated. They must
therefore teach them to read, to pray, to learn the catechism,
to sing, arithmetic, personal order and cleanliness, and some
stories taken from the Sacred Scriptures. In time of recreation they should learn how to till the soil. School should be
held for two hours before and two hours after noon. If there
be any girls attending, care must be taken that they be kept
separate during recreation hour, and on leaving school.
If some mission must be visited, let school be dismissed
and reopened when the incumbent returns. Children who have
attained the age of seven years should be taught what is confession, how to confess, and every three months they should
go to confession.
The missionary should learn the language of the Indians,
avoid expenses, and sometimes, as occasion may suggest, he
should teach them to be just towards the Missionary.
In times of solemn festivals the church should be ornamented with flowers, branches, pictures and candles, and the
utmost cleanliness should be kept about the altar.
The blessing of Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy
Ghost descend upon you and remain with you ever.
(Signed), JOHN B. BRONDEL,
Bishop of Vancouver Island. Chapter II
REMINISCENCES OF THE REV. A. J. BRABANT
A. The Field oe Labor
ON the west coast of Vancouver Island, between the
entrance of the Strait of Juan de Fuco and Cape Cook,
there live eighteen different tribes of Indians, forming,
as it were, only one nation, as they all speak the same language.
Their manners, mode of living, in one word, all their habits
are so much alike, that to know one tribe is to know them all.
This coast, at the time of our taking possession of it, was
exclusively inhabited by Indians.
Four trading posts had, however, been established and
were each in charge of one white man. But besides these four
men there are absolutely no white settlers to be found on this
extensive coast of nearly two hundred miles.
I need hardly say that communication was very rare, for
beyond a couple of small schooners, that made an occasional
call on the coast for the purpose of supplying the stores with
goods and provisions, and at the same time making a trading
call at different tribes, no vessels frequented this part of the
world. I have been as much as six months without seeing the
face of a white man, and consequently speaking a civilized
language.
When the news of the death of Pius IX reached me, Leo
XIII was already two months on the Papal throne. As a
matter of fact, it was close on five months since I had received
a newspaper, a letter, or a word of news of the civilized world.
All the Indians of this mission live on the sea coast, and
intercourse between the different tribes is impossible, except
by means of canoes. No two tribes can visit each other, either
on foot or horseback, as their several residences are separated
by inlets and arms of the ocean. As a rule the number of
chances for visiting are limited, especially during the fall and
winter season, for no canoe could live in the incessant, heavy
weather and indescribable gales which rage on this open coast.
When travelling I have been many a time compelled to camp Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
and wait for days before being able to continue my journey,
owing to the dangerous seas and heavy surf which would
spring up without even an hour's notice.
The coast is rugged and rocky, presenting in its entire
extent the appearance of desolation and barrenness. The hills
and mountains run down to the beach; the valleys are lakes,
and a few patches of low land, to be encountered here and
there, are covered with worthless timber. No clear land is to
be seen anywhere, and no hopes can be entertained that the
west coast of Vancouver Island will ever be available for
agricultural settlements.
The climate is not very different from that of Victoria.
The seasons of rain and fine weather are about equally divided;
the frost is not heavy, and snow seldom falls to any depth, and
then lies on the ground only for a few days. With.all this,
the fall and winter months are dreary beyond expression. The
Indians seem not to notice the general depression of the
seasons, but for one born and raised elsewhere, accustomed to
the society of his fellow white men, there are no words to
convey how monotonous it is, and how lonesome one would
feel were it not for the thought of the sacredness of the object
for which he is here.
Nothing in the world could tempt me to come and spend
my life here were it not that the inhabitants of these inhospitable shores have a claim on the charity and zeal. of a
Catholic priest.
The question has often been asked: Was there ever a
Catholic priest or were there Catholic missions established
on the west coast before the existence of the present
establishments ?
My answer, which is in the affirmative, was not sought
or found in books or records, but I got it from the Indians
themselves. My first informant was an elderly man, not a
chief, but one of those men of importance to be found in every
tribe, whose chief pride seems to consist in watching all the
important events of the day and in assisting the chiefs with
their counsel and judgment.
I found my informant (Ksagsota) on an early summer
morning sitting outside of his house in close conversation with
his wife. As I passed by he hailed me and our conversation
commenced.
"Was there ever a priest in Nootka?"
10 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
"Oh yes," he said, "at the time of the Spaniards there
were two priests, big stout men, and they both were bald-
headed. My grand-uncle, who told me this, used to come
around to Friendly Cove, and the white men would keep Sunday. There was the Sunday-house"—pointing to a spot about
the centre of the present village—"and they would go on their
knees and cross themselves, and at the turn of the winter
solstice they had a great Sunday and they had two babies—is
not that what you now call Christmas ? Oh yes, there were
priests here, and all the men and women would have to bathe
on Saturday and be ready for Sunday, and they learned songs
—hymns—I know them yet."
And the old man began to sing, but the only words I could
catch were: Mi-Dios.
It is evident from the above narrative that at the time of
the occupation of Nootka by the Spaniards, towards the end
of last century, the missionaries of South America belonging
to the Franciscan order, hence described by the Indian as being
bald, evidently on account of the tonsure, and as stout, big men
because they appeared such in their heavy Franciscan cloaks,
were stationed at Nootka for the accommodation of the Europeans and also to a certain extent for the conversion of the
natives.
The old man had much more to say about the presence of
the Spaniards in Nootka. One of the men was in charge of
the cattle, which he would bring home every day; which, of
course, argues the presence of those useful domestic animals on
this coast before there were any in other parts of the island.
He also showed us the spot where the blacksmiths and carpenters had their shops, and gave many other details, which proves
that events of importance are not so soon forgotten by Indians,
in general, as white men unacquainted with them would imagine.
I have not noticed any traces of religious practices inaugurated by Catholic Spaniards. However, it has struck me as
probable that the great devotion of the Spaniards to the Blessed
Virgin Mary, and especially that of Catholic sailors, may have
been the source of an invocation frequently uttered by Indians
during bad weather or in danger at sea. Many a time I have
heard them sing out in quick succession: "Chou-chist Hakoom,"
"Chou-chist Hakoom," "Queen, let the sea be quiet" (bis).
And many a time I have heard them speak of a "queen" unknown to them, but living in or beyond the seas.
il Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
I have also been inclined to believe that the practice of
keeping Christmas and having the Christmas holidays may
account for the Indians yet having recourse at that special time
to their devotional practices. It used to be of the greatest
importance to watch and observe the solstice of the sun about
Christmas time. The old men of the tribe would rise early
on those days and in bunches would retire to different spots.
Each one had his mark or signs—there he would sit, all attention, and soon as the sun rose out of the sea he would take his
bearings and according to the fact that the sun rose at or beyond such a certain mark he would conclude that the sun was
at its solstice, not yet at it, or perhaps beyond it.
The event caused an amount of general interest, it was
the talk at meals and the great topic of conversation with the
Indians of every tribe. According to the old men the want of
attention, or the neglect of watching this all-important event,
would be followed by all kinds of misfortunes, not excluding
famine. The arrival of this period was the signal for the
preaching of the old people to their young men to go out and
practice their superstitious devotions.
Beyond these indifferent signs of religious practices which
may have had their origin at the time of the settlement by the
Spaniards at Nootka, I have never been able to detect anything
but that the Indians at the time of our arrival here were
addicted almost beyond redemption to every description of
pagan practices.
B. Visit to the West Coast Indians in 1874
By Right Rev. Charles J. S eg hers, D.D.,
Accompanied by Rev. A. J. Brabant.
We left Victoria on Whit-Sunday at 8 o'clock in the
morning on the schooner Surprise, twenty-eight tons, belonging
to Capt. W. Spring & Co.
Capt. Peter Francis was in command. John Peterson, a
Swede, was mate, and the rest of the crew was a Kyuquot
Indian called Nomukos, acting as cook, sailor and boatswain,
and Chegchiepe, a Mowuchat savage, assistant sailor. Mr.
John McDowell was a passenger, and was on his way to fix
the machinery of the lighthouse just then established on Cape
Beale, Barclay Sound.
We left Victoria harbor with a strong southeasterly wind,
and were at Race Rocks before 10 o'clock a.m. Here the wind
failed and our schooner began to drift about, and working with
12 "I
Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
the oars was required to keep her off the rocks. However,
we got safely at anchor about 2 o'clock in Beeche Bay, where
we went on shore and visited the Indians, from whom we
received a good reception. After an address, made by His
Lordship, I baptized two of their infant children.
April 13.—Next morning we weighed anchor. Sailed out
a short distance, but the wind failing us again, we managed to
return to our anchorage to make a new start about 8 a.m.
Once more the breeze dropped, and by this time we began to
drift with the tide till we got half way between Race Rocks and
Port Angelos. Our captain was now so badly intoxicated that
upon His Lordship's, with a view to trying the old man, asking
him the direction of Cape Flattery, he pointed to us the opening
between San Juan Island and Trial Island. 2 p.m., southerly
wind; lost sight of Victoria at 3.30 p.m.
April 14.—Rain; no wind; 7.30 a.m., southwest by south.
Enter San Juan harbor at 3.30 p.m. and cast anchor outside of
the reef at 3.30.
The schooner Favorite, Captain McKay, and the schooner
Alert, Captain J. Christianson, were here at anchor, and were
making preparations to go out sealing next morning with a crew
of Nitinat and Pachena Indians.
April 15.—We went on shore about 7 a.m. The Indians
were sitting outside. They were startled to see us in our
cassocks, to them an unusual kind of garment. The Bishop
asked to see their chief and was soon shown into the presence
of a fine looking man—Kwistog—who, as we noticed at once,
was then leading the life of a bigamist. His Lordship asked
the chief's consent to assemble the natives of that locality and
he at once consented. Here I was suddenly compelled to make
room for a blind horse, which was led into the house by a young
Indian and was then, as we noticed, stabled in the chief's house.
The Indians withal behaved very well and, upon allowing
us to baptize their children, requested as a favor that we continue to look after them. The number of baptisms was forty-
three.
The captains of the sealing vessels were most impatient to
take the Indians out, but they were told that if the priests
wanted the Indians to stay on shore three days they should
have the privilege; which news was to them a caution to keep
their temper. However, we left the Indians at 2 p.m.; we
went on board of the Surprise; they in their turn went on
board of their respective vessels.
13 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
The wind was blowing from the west and blew up into San
Juan harbor. The vessels weighed their anchors about the
same time, had up sails and were ready for a start in unusually
quick time. And now the race began. Our skipper was about
sober and did his best to win, but the Favorite got ahead of
him and before long the Alert went first and kept ahead of her
friends. The race was fairly conducted and was a very pleasant episode of our western trip.
April 16.— No wind. Caught a breeze at 12 o'clock.
Entered Dodger Cove at 1 p.m. The chief was living alone on
Mission Island (Diana). Two canoes full of Indians came
over from Keehan, but were told to go back till next morning,
which they did with considerable reluctance. The Indians
looked well, a fine, healthy set. They wore blankets, no pants |
had their hair nicely done up and tied with grass in a bunch
over the forehead. Most of them had their faces painted, and
the crowd that came on the schooner presented a very picturesque sight.
April 17.—Said Mass in the house of Mr. Andrew Lang,
the storekeeper, at 5 a.m. The chief was already there addressing his Indians from the other side of the stream, exhorting them to rise, wash and clean themselves and children,
announcing to them our wish to see them and telling them that
great things were in store for them.
The Indians arrived from Keehan and other camping places
and assembled at 8 o'clock in the house of an Indian called
"Jenkins," the chief having no house large enough at this place
to contain all his people. The savages paid great attention to
the Bishop's instruction, given in Chinook and interpreted into
the Indian language by "Harry" and his brother "Jenkins."
In this and in every tribe on the coast instruction was
begun by stating who we were, what was our object; then
followed a history of the cr-eation, the fall of man, the deluge,
the multiplication of languages, the redemption of mankind;
after which, if aggreable to the natives, baptism was administered to their little children. And, if time was left, a few
hymns and songs were taught. But in all cases the teaching
of the Sign of the Cross and the making of that sign by the
Indians was the great thing and caused real excitement. We
had in this camp eighty baptisms of young children.
We left at 6 o'clock in the evening and went to our
anchor at Clarkkonikose, Village Island, Barclay Sound, where
we passed a very comfortable night in smooth water.
14
'•aa Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
April 18.—Up and away at 5 a.m. Rain, heavy sea. We
arrived at 9 a.m. at Ucluliat, where the Indians were expecting
us. The chief came at once for us in his canoe and upon
nearing the camp one of the Indians fired off his gun to
announce to the Indians that we were on board; whereupon
all the tribe turned out at once and assembled in the new, unfinished house of young "Wishkoutl," the chief of the
Ucluliats. Our arrival caused a deal of excitement. Our
interpreter had a thundering voice, but we were told he did
not translate His Lordship's words with much correctness.
Perhaps he thought that shouting would have the necessary
effect.    I baptized seventy-five children in the afternoon.
April 19.—Sunday morning: Mass at 5.30 in the storekeeper's house and then at 8 a.m. off to the ranch. The Clayoquot Indians came over to join the Ucluliats and their nine
children received baptism. Here the first effort was made to
translate the Sign of the Cross into the Indian language.
April 20.—At sunrise we were already at sea and beating
against a strong westerly wind, but we did not reach Clayoquot
till April 21, at 9 a.m. Sitakenin and half a dozen of his
Indians came out to meet us at sea. We went on board of his
canoe and he took us to the chief's house, where two new
Indian mats were laid on the floor, forming a path to the end
of the lodge, where boxes and trunks covered with fine mats
were prepared to be used by us as seats and footstools. His
Lordship addressed the Indians on the usual topics, then I
baptized ninety-three children, after which we went to our
schooner which was at anchor off Captain Stubb's Island,
Warren's store (Chat-chat-tits).
April 22.—We went early in the morning to the camp
(Echa-chisht), Village Island, where we had met the Indians
the day before. Strange to say, the Indians seemed quite indifferent and His Lordship concluded to leave them, not, however, before giving them a good scolding. Then we went to
the schooner about noon and preparations were at once made to
continue our voyage. After sailing a short distance we got on
the sand bank off "Opitsat," but as the tide was rising, we got
off about 1.30 p.m. Then with a light breeze we took the
direction of "Ahousat," but about 3 p.m. we saw a canoe in the
distance. The Clayoquot chief and six young men! They
"wanted us to return. The Bishop at first refused, but their
request was so earnest and their promise of taking us to
Ahousat the next day so favorable, that His Lordship at last
15 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
concluded to return. The Indians who came to fetch us had
only just then arrived in the schooner from Ucluliat, where
they had seen us for a few minutes two days previously. They
had tried to meet us at their own home, but were doubly disappointed to find us gone and to hear that their friends had
not shown more zeal and had failed to learn the canticles and
songs now repeated by every tribe which we had visited.
At 6 p.m. we were at work again at "Echa-chisht," and we
were happy that at 10.30 p.m. the Indians at last allowed us to
lie down and take some rest. This was my first night in an
Indian camp; and in the morning my memory was clear on all
the events of that night. I had heard the crying of Indian
children, and the coaxing and singing of their mothers to get
them to sleep again. An old couple had a row in the middle of
the night; over a dozen big dogs, supposed to sleep, were constantly awake, growled, barked, fought, yelled, ran in and out
of the dwelling, got in trouble with the cats, and would not
stop their uproar, except after twenty times "Tsieka," uttered
by a sleepless savage, followed by a piece of fire-wood, again
accompanied by a new yelling and barking. Over half a dozen
roosters were sleeping on the loft cross-piece of the house, and,
with their usual pride, as if they were making daylight come
and the sun to rise, would stop their crowing chorus, only to
recommence again a few minutes later. All this time the
Bishop thought I was fast asleep alongside of him under one
blanket, but I knew that he was not, for he was continually
turning about. Now and then he would give a quick but well
determined scratch on his lower limbs, and in the morning he
told me that all the cause of his troubles had been the Indian's
friends the "fleas."
April 23.—At 5.30 our Indian crew was ready;   six stalwart young men, headed by the chief of the tribe.    It was a
.beautiful morning, the sun.rising in all his glory.   The Indians
struck up our songs and paddled with courage and happiness
over the calm waters of Clayoquot Sound.
At 1 o'clock we arrived at the foot of the Catface mountains. Here was the Ahousat tribe, in expectation of our
coming, increased by the arrival of all the Keltsemats, ready
and prepared to receive us. Four Indians stood on the beach,
and were a deputation sent by the Indians, who were already
in the chief's house, to show us into the lodge. Mats formed'
a pathway from the water to the camp, and, inside, mats and
sails were hanging about along the walls, whilst the floor was
16 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
covered with more mats; and a regular throne was formed,
with boxes and trunks, nicely covered over; and to this place
we were shown by the members of the deputation. A dead
silence reigned in the house, but we could well notice that we
were in the presence of real savages. We were astonished
that no dogs, such a nuisance about Indian camps, were to be
noticed, but we were next informed that already the day previous, and early in the morning, canoe loads of the canine
species had been taken across the sound and safely landed on
the islands opposite, lest they should be a cause of displeasure
to us.
After the usual instructions, I administered baptism to one
hundred and thirty-five little children.
The afternoon was spent in teaching songs and the Sign
of the Cross. Such was the zeal of these Indians that, when
we went on board of the schooner to take our meals, they
would stay in the house, and hardly leave us time to finish, but
wanted us to recommence our work at once.
In the evening we were requested to listen to what they
had to say to us. The speeches began by those of the two
head chiefs, followed by other chiefs, chiefly women; and one
fellow got up, took his blanket, his only covering, from his
shoulders, and after showing it to us, he threw it with an
emphatic gesture far away from him, saying that "he threw
away his bad heart." Nothing could stop the speech-making
till His Lordship stepped forward on the very spot where every
speaker had come to address us, and thus blocked the way,
saying that he knew by what he had heard the tom-tom of the
whole tribe. We left the Ahousats April 24, at 4.30 a.m. A
good easterly wind was blowing, and the captain concluded to
run for Kyuquot and call at the other tribes on our way back.
So we did, and arrived at the Kyuquot camp shortly after
3 p.m.
*
Here not an Indian could be seen on the bay, nor, in fact,
outside of the camp. It was pronounced an unusual thing, as
the captain stated that these Indians used to meet him out at
sea and literally crowd the deck of his schooner on any other
occasion. Nomukos, our Kyuquot cook,, was also at a loss to
explain, and his shouting and calling for the Indians had no
effect. However, at last a small canoe- was launched at
"Akties," two Indians got into her and paddled quickly towards the spot where we were at anchor. Every little while
they would stop and listen to the shouting of our Indians. "We
17 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
are afraid," was the first sentence we could hear them utter.
Our savages reassured them and when at last they got on board
they explained the whole mystery. They had heard of our
arrival, but the story got mixed up. On board the schooner
was a living man who would cut the children on the chest, and
another who would rub something over the wound and it would
be healed. Then the first man would begin killing the Indians,
and upon the Indians trying to kill him, he would turn into a
stone or become a stone man. This and other tales were told
as an explanation of the conduct of the Kyuquots on this
occasion. The Kyuquots are the largest tribe on the coast, in
all about eight hundred Indians.
April 26. — Baptized one hundred and seventy-seven
children. I commenced at 9 o'clock in the morning and it was
5 o'clock in the afternoon when I got through.
April 27.—Frightful storm at sea—could not go on shore
all day.
April 28.—Began to teach the "Our Father" and "Hail
Mary" which the Bishop had translated, with the assistance of
Capt. P. Francis, of the Surprise, and an Indian interpreter.
At 1 p.m. we were taken from the Surprise in an Indian
canoe, as we had made arrangements to go with some Kyuquot
Indians and visit the Chiktlisat tribe.
The chief, a cripple, seemed to have great authority, but,
being himself unable to go with us, sent his son with fifteen
young men to take us to our destination. No sooner had we
stepped into our canoe than two more canoes were put afloat,
manned, the first by fifteen young men, the subjects of the
queen, and the other by twelve savages belonging to the other
head chiefs. And thus we left Kyuquot in the young chief's
canoe, on either side of which a canoe of the other chiefs was
paddled to the air of one of the hymns they had recently
learned.
The sea was very rough, but after three hours of hard
working by the Indians we at last saw the smoke of the Chiktlisat camp at Eiko-os. As we approached, our Indians drew
together and once more intoned some of our Catholic hymns.
The Chiktlisats came rushing out of their houses, and seemed
stupefied, but did not come down to the beach till they were
called upon to do so. It took them a long time to assemble in
the chief's house, and when addressed by His Lordship,
although seemingly attentive, it was quite evident that every-
18 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
thing was not "all right." The evening and darkness soon put
a stop to our work, then we began to look for room to sleep.
It was simply horrible! The filth, dirt and uncleanness of
these Indians both in the house and outside cannot be imagined.
However, we submitted to circumstances, such as they were,
and lay down alongside of each other, impatiently awaiting the
return of daylight. It arrived at last, and I was amused when
asked by His Lordship to express my opinion of the beauty of
the words and music of a song which he had composed during
the night. It struck me that, unable to sleep, he must have
tried to while away the long hours of a sleepless night in a
musical way. The Kyuquots, forty-three in number, who had
constituted our escort, having noticed that there was something
wrong in the reception extended to us by the Chiktlisats, had
made it a point of duty to sleep in the same house where we
were sleeping, and in the morning we found them all lying
around and about us.
April 29.—Early in the morning we assembled the Indians
and began anew to instruct them. We baptized forty-six
children, and when this was done, our Kyuquot interpreter
refused to interpret, and gave for his reason that the Chiktlisats
were mocking and insulting him. We would have left at once,
but the sea was bad and the rain fell in torrents. Being compelled to stay, we began the recitation of our office and then
went outside in the bush under the shelter of a large tree.
Here, after some time, an Indian found us enjoying the fresh
air and summoned us to go back to the camp. We pretended
not to understand, but at last His Lordship concluded to follow
the savage and so we re-entered the chief's lodge. It was
quite a sight. To the western side of the camp sat the chief
in a very prominent place, and on each side sat an elderly man
holding in his hand a long rod, which seemed to us to be a mark
of authority. Everything was still, the men on our side, the
women and children on the other. A seat was shown and
given to us on the right side of the chief, where we were requested to continue our instructions. But none of the young
men could interpret and not one of our Kyuquots was about,
nor, in fact, could be gotten. This seemed very strange, but
the following explanation was afterwards given: For years
the Chiktlisats and the Kyuquots had been at war or giving
annoyance to each other. The Chiktlisats on this occasion did
not relish the presence of the Kyuquots. One of them had invited them to go and eat in his house to get them out of the
way;   then he had quickly locked up the house, and when the
19 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
Kyuquots wanted to go and join us they found the entrance
of the lodge locked up fast. Great was their indignation when
at last they came back in our presence. Angry words, speeches
and gesticulations were the order of the hour.
April 30.—They left the Chiktlisats next day, as happy as
we ourselves to return to their own tribe. We arrived in
Kyuquot in due time and May 1, next morning, we had the
happiness of offering up the holy sacrifice of the Mass in honor
of the Blessed Virgin Mary, putting our new mission under
her special protection.
His Lordship having noticed the good dispositions of the
Kyuquots, had, before going to Chiktlisat, asked the captain
of the Surprise to make a large mission cross, which we found
ready upon our arrival. The cross was twenty-four feet long,
with the cross-piece in proportion. It was the work of not
only the captain, but Peterson, the mate, a Swedish Lutheran,
had also, as well as a number of Indians given their assistance.
Before proceeding to plant it, we were called to the house
of the chief, where we found all the men of the tribe assembled.
After asking our permission, they began to sing some of their
savage songs with great solemnity; then they showed us a
mask, the handiwork of northern Indians, most ingeniously
made, as also a piece of glass (heina), to which they seemed to
attach unusual importance; as well as a number of beads
(Heiwhoi), held in great esteem by all the Indians on this
coast, and sold by one tribe to another at the most exorbitant
prices. After a speech from His Lordship, condemning all
Indian superstitions in general, several important men got up
and promised to go by our instructions.
After this we proceeded to the blessing of the cross. It
was placed on three canoes; about fifty young men took charge,
and an immense number of Indians followed us in canoes to
the foot of a small island opposite the shore, then unoccupied
and seemingly abandoned. And there it now stands in sight of
the tribe, blessed by His Lordship according to the ritual. It
was beautiful to see the Indians struggle to carry the heavy
burden, preceded by His Lordship, in surplice and stole, with
his assistant also in surplice; and then, when it was raised, fifty
muskets were fired off, as if to announce a great triumph to
the savages on the Kyuquot Islands.
We finished our work in Kyuquot and, with great hopes
and expectations concerning the future conversion of this large
tribe, we left on May 2, taking the direction of Quatsino Sound.
20 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
However, the wind was contrary, and His Lordship came to
the conclusion, after consulting the captain, to abandon his trip
to Quatsino Sound; and thus we sailed before the wind, and
arrived that evening at an anchorage in Esperanza Inlet, before
the camp of the Newchatlat Indians.
May 3.—Early this morning we were taken in a canoe,
by the chief of the Newchatlats and a crew of young men, to
the outside camp, where the Indians were at this time living.
The reception given to us by the Newchatlats was something never to be forgotten. The news of our arrival had here
preceded us. The chief had made a new house. A wharf
about two hundred feet in length, but only about four feet in
breadth, had been constructed; and, although the Indians
deserved credit for making such extraordinary preparations,
we had to measure our steps and movements, lest the whole
structure should break down. Inside of the chief's house the
ground was covered with white sand, and our path and the
room which we were to occupy was laid with new mats; the
walls were hung with sails of canoes and pieces of calico.
Twenty-nine sea otter skins, valued by Captain Francis, of the
Surprise, at close to two thousand dollars, were hanging in a
line opposite to where we were sitting, and excited our admiration.
The Ehattisat Indians had come across and joined the
Newchatlats. We baptized the children of the two tribes,
sixty-eight in all. In the afternoon a disturbance between the
two tribes took place; our interpreter was of little account, and
our success was not in keeping with the great preparations they
had made to receive us. However, before we left, harmony
had been restored; the Ehattisats went home, and we returned
to the Surprise, where we remained until May 4, when, at 1.15,
a slight breeze sprung up, and we slowly sailed up Esperanza
Inlet; by dark we were near the Nootka Straits, and we fastened the schooner with a rope to a tree alongside immense
bluffs of perpendicular rocks, where we passed the night.
Another night was passed before we got to the Nootka side,
part of the day having been spent by the captain and his passengers in fishing for rock cod.
May 6.—After pulling up the oars and dragging the
schooner alongside of the rocks for a considerable time, we at
last got through the narrows. This morning we had a strong
land breeze which took us to Bligh Island, then beat against
the breeze from Machelat Inlet, and later the westerly wind
21 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
came to our assistance and we arrived at the Machelat village
(ow-is) at half-past twelve p.m.
Here, also, great preparations had been made, and an
Ahousat Indian, Muggins by name, was there with Machelat
young men to take us on shore from the schooner. This
Indian had profited by our instructions to his own tribe, and
upon the request of the Machelats had taught them the Sign of
the Cross and some of our hymns. The Machelat Indians
brought their children and had them baptized; their number
was eighteen.
May 7, was spent with the Indians, the captain in the intervals of his trading filling his schooner literally up with deer
and elk skins.
May 8.—We started this morning at 4 o'clock with a
northerly breeze and cast anchor at 10.30 a.m. in Friendly
Cove.
Here we met a large tribe of Indians, very noisy and disorderly compared with other tribes. We succeeded in doing
•very little beyond baptizing the children—fifty-six—a very
small number, considering that the tribe did not number less
than five hundred Indians. We understood the cause of the
dispositions of the Indians to be the talk against the priests by
Fort Rupert women who were living here, and by a few Indians who had been slaves or had resided at the other side of
the island. However, we stayed another day and left May 10,
when, after sailing before a westerly wind, we arrived in
Hesquiat shortly before noon. Here we learned that the
Indians expecting our coming were afraid to go out fishing
for several weeks past. They had cleaned and laid mats in
the chief's house—they were very neatly dressed, the women
all in white calico, the men having made pants and coats of
blankets. We baptized their children—fifty-six—under seven
years, and gave them the usual instructions.
May 11.—We rose at an early hour and recommenced our
instructions, but by this time the captain was anxious to return
to town as soon as possible, and at 11 o'clock his sails were up
as a sign that we were wanted on board. The Indians seemed
very sorry and disappointed, but we left, promising to visit
them again in the near future.
May 12.—When off Clayoquot Sound nine Kyuquot canoes, seventy-three men and one woman, .overtook us. Our visit
over the coast had taken away all fear.    Only two or three of Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
the crowd had ever been to Victoria, and none in an Indian
canoe, as doing so would have exposed them to the danger of
being killed or of being made slaves by hostile tribes.
May 13.—We arrived in Dodger Cove. There was no
wind and. this gave us a chance to go and visit the Ochuktlisat
Indians. The chief was alongside of the schooner and took
us to his camp, where he assembled the Indians whose children
were baptized, twenty-three in number. That evening he took
us back to Dodger Cove, where we arrived at 11 p.m., every
one being in bed. We had no supper, as everybody seemed or
pretended to sleep, and we turned in with the happy thought
that our work was over.
May 14.— We said Mass at the storekeeper's house at
5 p.m., then went on board and left the cove sometime before
noon.    This was the feast of the Ascension.
May 15.—We ran before a fine westerly wind and arrived
in Victoria at 8 p.m.
Second Visit to the West Coast Indians in 1874 by
the Right Rev. Bishop Seghers, D.D.,
and Rev. A. J. Brabant
The day of our departure was the first of September. Two
days before, Captain Francis had been married in St. Andrew's
Cathedral by Rev. Father Brabant to Caecilia, a half breed girl,
the niece of Mrs. Lequier. The effects of the feast were visible
on the skipper's countenance and in his manners. As a first
mishap, the man who was to act as mate did not turn up at the
hour agreed upon by the captain; however, after a run on
shore by one of the boys, we saw him at last, and upon crawling on board he mentioned that the cause of the delay was
that his concubine, a Hydah woman, had run away. This our
mate was a Greek, and also rejoiced in the name of Frank.
Thus, with two Franks and two Indians from the coast, and
as we discovered afterwards, with plenty of whiskey on board,
we started on our second visit to our West Coast Indians.
The first few hours were spent pleasantly, but when we
got to the straits our skipper began to make frequent calls down
in the cabin. At last we discovered that he was getting very
drunk. This rather alarmed us, as Frank, our Greek mate,
had never been on the coast and our Indian sailors could not
be relied upon. His Lordship advised me to try and find out
where the captain kept his liquor and throw it overboard.
23 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
: Meanwhile Frank, the Greek, came down and told us that
he had taken charge of and hidden all the liquor on board. It
was now great fun to watch the skipper. He went downstairs
on his old errand; he pretended to whistle so as to be unnoticed; then he looked up the staircase, then made for the
locker, but nothing was there! Where could the liquor be?
He did not say a word about it. Meanwhile he silently cursed
at his clerical passengers and told the mate of it; then he begged him for a little drink. It was refused at first; later on
something was given him now and then to sober him up. All
this time the old man was growling at us and blaming us for
taking his favorite beverage, and never suspected for a moment that the liquor which was given to sober him up was his
own property, very properly taken away from him by the mate.
Although the measure adopted had the effect of keeping
the old man from greater excess, still he was far from being
sober when we entered Pachena Bay. The wind was blowing
fresh from the west when we entered the harbor. Our
schooner was supposed to go up the river to discharge at the
store kept by Neils Moos. We were going full speed when she
suddenly struck on the sand bank; the channel had shifted, or
rather our captain was out of his reckonings through whiskey!
Every wave took her up higher and higher. A few more
dashes and she was gone. But Neils Moos coming on board
saved her from ruin. We took charge without heeding our
drunken skipper, and an hour later she was at anchor before
Capt. Spring & Co.'s store.
Nothing of much consequence occurred, but when we left
for Barclay Sound we met at the mouth of San Juan harbor a
canoe from Victoria with a supply of whiskey. By and by we
saw H. M. S. Boxer come out of Neah Bay and steam for the
Pachena Camp. Dr. Powell, Superintendent of Indian Affairs,
was on board, and this was his first trip along the coast. When
he landed at the ranch he- found every man, save the chief,
beastly drunk.
We got in Barclay Sound on the 7th of September; the
Ohiat Indians had moved up the Sound; and after discharging freight at the store in Dodger Cove we continued our journey to Ucluliat.
Here the schooner Suprise was to stop and we were to
continue on our trip in our Indian canoe. Consequently Capt.
Francis gave us as pilots two Kyuquot Indians, who had been
engaged as deck-hands on the Surprise, and also a good sealing
canoe, besides lots of provisions.
24 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
We bade him and his young wife goodbye and happy
honeymoon on the 8th of September, at 7 o'clock. And now we
were on the open ocean in a small sealing canoe with two
Kyuquot and one Ehattisat Indian. The sea was heavy and
no wind. An occasional wave broke over our bows and did
considerable damage to our stock of provisions, especially to
our biscuits and our sack of flour.
.Without further mishap we arrived at "Opitsat," Clayoquot Sound, at about 2 o'clock p.m., where we found the Indians very much excited over the news that a man-of-war was
anchored to the leeward of Vargas Island with the Superintendent of Indian Affairs on board. We continued our voyage, and about 4 o'clock p.m. we saw H. M. S. Boxer at anchor
at the above-named place. All this time we had not a breath
of wind, but our Indians kept on paddling and we went at last
on shore on Flores Island, just opposite one of the Ahousat
villages called Tsik-ta-kis.
It was not a good camping place, and the hour being rather
late and the night dark, we felt compelled to stretch our weary
limbs without even taking a warm drink of tea. We were enjoying our sleep as best we could when all of a sudden, some
time after midnight, an Ahousat Indian came to wake us up.
He was sent by the tribe; they were all up and expected us to
go over. But His Lordship prevailed upon him to let us enjoy
our camping out rather than go two miles across the sound in
the middle of the night and avail ourselves of the Indians'
hospitality. When at last the Indian concluded to leave us, he
went away saying that we were very lazy!
Shortly after our Ahousat visitor had left us we were
again aroused from our slumber by the noise of some Hesquiat
Indians who were on their way to Ahousat. They wanted to
know who we were, where we came from and where we were
going, and finished by saying that the sea was very rough on
the outside coast. When next morning we awoke, we made a
large fire and at daylight we could see that we had camped in a
. very poor place, and as it began to rain, which prevented us
from leaviflg, we had occasion to spend some very dreary hours
on that spot. However, at noon the weather cleared up and
then we proceeded on our voyage till we arrived, about 5 p.m.,
at Refuge Cove.
Here quite a number of the Hesquiat Indians were living,
and as the man-of-war was now anchored in the Cove and had
been followed by a large number of Ahousats and some Clayo-
25 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
quots, the place presented quite a lively appearance. A number
of junior officers and bluejackets were on shore, and when we
had just pitched our tent we received the visit of Mr. Tim
Scanlan, an Irishman who acted as steward on board the vessel.
He told us, in a rich Irish brogue, wherein we were wrong, viz.:
travelling at such a time of the year and in such a canoe, and
he added that the captain of the vessel had repeatedly spoken
of us and was determined to pick us up wherever he would
meet us. At the request of His Lordship, Mr. Scanlan promised not to make the captain aware of our presence, but Tim
came back soon after with a supply of provisions in the shape
of some loaves of fresh bread, a leg of mutton, and a quarter
of elk. Upon his suggestion, we opened a bottle of wine and
drank to the health of His Lordship, the Bishop, who in his
turn proposed the health of Tim Scanlan. This scene was
without outside witnesses, and took place on the evening of the
9th of September, 1874, in Refuge Cove.
Next morning we were having our breakfast when the
man-of-war steamed out of Refuge Cove and we resumed our
journey as soon as that transaction was over. No wind, a
heavy sea and the sun burning over our heads, made the crossing of Hesquiat harbor anything but pleasant. Besides, our
Indians had indigestion and were all three very seasick. One
of them, between the intervals of vomiting, would carelessly
sing old Indian songs, which would afford us, if not recreation,
at least a topic to speak about. At noon we took dinner in
front of the Hesquiat outside camp (Home-is). Then we
went on shore again on the Escalante Rocks, whence we paddled to Friendly Cove, Nootka Sound. There, to our horror,
we again found the Boxer at anchor; and while we were
boiling our cup of tea and the Indians were putting up our tent
we received once more the visit of our friend of yesterday, Mr.
Tim Scanlan; he announced that the captain had ordered his
boat to be lowered and that with the Superintendent of Indian
Affairs he would come on shore and invite us to go on board
of his vessel. And indeed before we had taken our tea, we
were introduced to Captain Collins, of the Royal Navy, and by
him prevailed upon to abandon our way of travelling in an
Indian canoe and avail ourselves of the accommodation of an
English man-of-war to continue our journey. The captain,
as we understood, was a staunch member of the Anglican
church and every day held divine service on board. He kept a
bank for the men and had established a temperance society for
them.    He made our stay on board most enjoyable, and, as it
26  Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
happened to be on a Friday, he kindly and delicately had
matters arranged in such a way that the abstinence enjoined
by the Church on that day was easily observed. The weather
was thick and foggy, but we managed to pass the Nootka
narrows long before noon. We went as far as Catala Island,
anchored there for a time, but as it was not allowed by the
rules of the navy to go out in the foggy, uncertain weather it
then was, the captain concluded to run for Queen's Cove and
there spend the night at anchor in smooth water. A beautiful
hammock was fixed up as a bed for His Lordship the Bishop,
and a bed was prepared for me on a sofa. Our Indians were
made comfortable below with the marines. We left next
morning at 5 a.m., got as far as Catala Island, but owing to the
state of the weather and sea we once more returned to Queen's
Cove. At noon we made a fresh start and running as we did
before a fresh easterly breeze, we arrived early in the afternoon to anchor in Man-of-War harbor, Kyuquot Sound.
We left H. M. S. Boxer next morning at 5 o'clock. Our
canoe, which had been taken on board at Friendly Cove, was
lowered and the liberality of Tim Scanlan, under orders of the
captain, had so much increased our stock of provisions that by
the time we got in her we were so deeply loaded that it was
impossible or dangerous to look behind us to cast a last
look at the fine war vessel, on which we had spent two most
enjoyable days.
And now we were on shore in Kyuquot Sound! We took
up our headquarters in Capt. Spring's old and unoccupied
store. We went to Chiktlisat next day, where we did very
little besides baptizing one child. We soon discovered that we
had chosen a bad time of the year to find the Kyuquots together. They were camped at a dozen different places, but
His Lordship concluded that he would go and see the chief.
He was at the end of Bokshis Inlet, and there we met him next
day with a few more Indians. We baptized a few newly-born
children. His Lordship prepared a young girl who was at the
point of death, but nothing else could be accomplished. His
Lordship had bought from the chief for a few biscuits a
wooden bucket representing an animal, the tail being the
handle, the body the body of the bucket, and the head and
mouth the passages through which the water or liquid was
poured. It was a curious piece of work very artistically done,
and together with some masks got also at this place, was given
as a souvenir of our trip to Captain Collins of H. M. S. Boxer,
28 1
Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
who felt so proud of the gift that he afterwards exhibited it in
one of the principal hotels in Victoria.
September 17.—The chief sent his son and six other young
men next day to where we expressed the wish to go, namely
the Newchatlat village. We had a quick but rough passage;
at one time the sea struck our canoe and nearly filled her up
with water.
At Newchatlat we did very little or no good, the dispositions of the Indians being very indifferent, and it cost us quite
an amount of trouble to get a crew to take us to the next tribe.
Finally three old men volunteered, and that night we were
amongst the Nootkas camped at Tashis. We found these
Indians in full glee—a dead whale had drifted on their land
and the houses were full of blubber, which the women were
boiling and reducing to oil. I do not think that anything that
we could have said under the circumstances would have had
much effect, as the whale was uppermost in their minds.
We stayed only one night, then with a small crew we went
down the sound, went on shore at Etawinni, baptized a few
children, but could not get to Machelat that day. We therefore
slept at a place called O-is and went the next morning to Ow-is,
where the Machelat chief was camped and expected us at any
moment.
As we went on shore at O-is the evening before, a Machelat canoe had seen us and reported our approach to their
friends. Then the tribe at once prepared to recive us.
Messengers had been sent that very night to all the fishing
stations, and by the time we arrived we learned that the tribe
was collecting on the other side of the sound.
September 21.—At 11 o'clock as a strong westerly wind
was blowing up Machelat Inlet, ten canoes filled with Indians
put up sail on the other side and steered for Ow-is. It was a
sight never to be forgotten, the enthusiasm of these Indians
and the taste displayed in their arrangements for our reception.
They were all nicely dressed, the women in white calico robes
and the men with pants and coats. We assembled them at
once and stayed with them three days, during which time they
learned the Lord's Prayer, the Hail Mary, the Creed, Ten
Commandments and Seven Sacraments in their own language.
Most of the Indians were living under tents made with their
canoe sails, at all times a poor shelter, but especially at this
season of the year. But upon expressing our feelings of
sorrow  for them, as it was raining most of the time, they
29 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
pleasantly replied that the rain did not cause them any inconvenience, and that we should not leave them before they knew
everything we had a mind to teach them. Such fervor and
zeal we had not met in any other tribe, and therefore, in order
to encourage and reward them, His Lordship concluded to
plant at their principal camping place another mission cross.
This was done with great success, and in the same order as we
had observed on the occasion of our first trip at Kyuquot.
September 25.—Next morning we left Machelat in one of
their canoes, with the chief and eleven of his young men, en
route for Hesquiat. When off Sunday Rock we met a Hesquiat canoe crowded with young men, who were on the lookout
for our expected arrival. As soon as they recognized us they
put about, intending to precede us and warn the tribe. However, our Machelat crew took to their paddles, and a regular
race between the two canoes took place. There was no wind,'
and the sea ran mountains high. We had not met such a heavy
swell in all our travels. Although in company with the Hes-
quiats, we would lose sight of them for several minutes to see
them again rise on the crest of the heavy waves, whilst we
were, as it were, in the abyss of the ocean. It was a really
grand piece of sailing we had on that day from Sunday Rocks
to Hesquiat harbor. We at last lost sight of the Hesquiats in
the fog, but we could hear them fire off their guns ahead of us
as a signal to the tribe to be ready. We found the chief's
house, where we stayed for four days, cleanly swept out, and
mats laid all over the floor, and the Indians full of joy to see
us again.
We began our work at once; taught the Lord's Prayer,
Hail Mary, Creed, Ten Commandments and Seven Sacraments,
all of which the Indians learned with much zeal. Here it
struck the Bishop that this tribe would be a good place to start
a Mission, being the most central and the Indians of the best
good-will. He mentioned the matter to the chief, asking of
him to assemble the other chiefs of the tribe and propose to
them the matter in question; which having been done, we
were informed, in presence of the whole tribe, that land would
be given for Mission buildings and other purposes; that we
could have our choice as to locality. At the same time a spot
was mentioned on the hill—according to the Bishop not desirable, being too much exposed to the northerly wind. As to the
objection that the spot was surrounded by Indian houses, the
Indians were willing to evacuate the village site and grant it
30 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
for Mission purposes. During our stay at Hesquiat, as well
as at Machelat, we said Mass every morning at 5 o'clock, at
which all the Indians were present, and during which they recited the Holy Rosary. We here noticed every morning—and,
in fact, whenever we assembled the Indians—such zeal and
fervor that old men unable to walk were carried on the backs
of the young men to the chief's house, and some of them came
on hands and feet.
The old chief of Hesquiat, his son being absent at Cape
Flattery, took us to Ahousat with a large crew of young men.
We arrived in due time at Tsik-takis, the residence of Shi-oush,
the second chief of the tribe. Mokwinna, the first chief, was
sent for, but refused to come, having only lately lost one of his
children. Shiyous at once sent out several canoes to fetch the
Indians from their different salmon rivers. The messengers
travelled all night, and next morning quite a large number
arrived and listened to the Bishop's instructions, and learned
part of our Catholic hymns and prayers; but, being overanxious to return to their homes that evening, a disturbance
took place, and they got a severe reprimand from the Bishop.
Afterwards things were settled, and the Indians left us in good
humor, while we prepared to leave next morning.
October 1.—Shiyous and his oldest son and one of his
slaves took us to Clayoquot, where we found the chief absent;
but we were taken to the lodge of Sitakenim, where we slept.
October 2.—The chief arrived next morning. We went
over to see him, but as he was eating we went into the house,
His Lordship, the Bishop of Vancouver Island, and one of his
priests were told to go outside; that the chief of the Clayo-
quots could not transact any business with them till he had
finished eating his breakfast! After walking outside quite a
time Shiyous, the Clayoquot chief, came to meet us, asked our
business and proposed to assemble the Indians there present
(Opitsat) in his house, which was not quite made up for the
winter season. The Bishop spoke to them for some little time,
after which I baptized four young children. Having proposed
to the Clayoquot chief to take us to Ucluliat he wished us to go
with him up the Clayoquot arm to his salmon station; he would
from there cross to Long Bay or Schooner Cove. If no canoe
was at any of the outside camps it would be an easy task to pull
a canoe across and put her afloat with our baggage at Long
Bay, comparatively speaking, a short distance from Ucluliat
harbor.   We complied with his desire,
which gave us a chance
31 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
to see Clayoquot inlet, the entrance to the lake, and the muddy
flats, literally alive with ducks and geese. The dreary hours
that we spent at that chief's house are painful to remember;
the smoke and stench inside cannot be imagined; besides, the
house was so low. and the abundance of salmon so great that
we could not move except in a stooping position and we could
not put down a foot except on or over dissected salmon or
salmon roe! We, therefore, went outside and pitched our tent,
and next morning we begged of the chief as a favor to take us
to Long Bay and thence to Ucluliat, The poor man seemed
anxious to comply with our request, but upon coming to the
sea-coast he found that the surf would not allow launching a
canoe. We, therefore, Were compelled to pitch our tent and
await better weather. Meanwhile he went to his house and
family, promising to come next day. He kept his word, but
made the same remark as the day before—easterly wind. Off
he went again with the promise of another visit next day.
Again he kept his word, but again the same difficulty—easterly
wind. This morning, upon rising, we noticed that our tent had
been visited by a bear. His tracks were there, but finding
the tent occupied he had preferred to walk off rather than
disturb us.
About noon His Lordship proposed to walk over the Indian trail to Ucluliat. The Clayoquots hardly approved of the
idea, but promised to take our baggage to Capt. Francis's house
as soon as the weather would permit. With this promise the
Bishop was satisfied, ordered me to prepare some provisions,
which I did with reluctance, and off we went, on foot, accompanied by two Kyuquot Indians who helped us in carrying the
things that we had judged necessary to take along. We walked
all that afternoon, first over a beautiful sandy beach; then we
crossed a point and arrived in Wreck Bay, around which we
also walked that day over a nasty, gravelly shore, and shortly
before dark we made a fire and prepared our supper. Then
the Bishop ordered the Indians to prepare for us a decent
camping place, which they did, half way on a sandy hill. We
laid down and fell asleep, but were soon awakened by heavy
drops of rain, and we then noticed that the sky had clouded up
and that it was pitch dark. About midnight the water was
streaming down the hill under us, and having decamped to the
upper side of the stump of a large tree, I called the Bishop to
come and join me, which after some persuasion he did, I showing him the way by striking from time to time a match. I was
afterwards sorry for extending the invitation, as we soon dis-
32 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
covered that we had moved from bad to worse. Here, however, we remained in the water and mud till four o'clock in the
morning, when I went down the hill and made a cup of tea on
the fire of last night, which had kept alive under a large piece
of a log.
We left as soon as it was daylight. After a short walk
along the beach we took to the bush, intending to make a short
cut of a projecting point. After struggling about a couple of
hours through the thick salal brushwood, we came to the Indian
trail, which we were glad to discover; and following it with
great avidity we travelled about five miles an hour, when, lo!
to our great disappointment, we noticed that said trail led
directly to our old camping place, where the fire on which we
had cooked our breakfast was still smoking. Our courage now
sank very low, and then, instead of following the same trail
in an opposite direction, which with a little reflection we ought
to have done, we went over the rocks and boulders around
the point which we had intended to have cut off that morning.
According to directions given by the Clayoquots we were at a
certain spot to cross to the Ucluliat inlet. This we intended
to do, when we took to the bush again. We walked and walked till I found my strength failing, which the Bishop noticing,
he proposed that we should take something to eat. Accordingly we made a fire in the bush, and then we boiled doughnuts ! We ate them with great appetite; then we noticed
that our two Kyuquot Indians began to show bad will and insisted on going back to the beach, which we accordingly did.
Early in the afternoon the rain, which had fallen in the
morning in the shape of a Scotch mist, became thicker and
thicker, and having come to a small bay, where driftwood was
piled up in great quantity, we prepared a place where we
could spend the night. We started a big fire, which soon
spread to the trees around, and in the morning I discovered
that a hole was burned through one of my boots and that my
cloak was badly damaged. The Bishop's clothing had also
suffered to a certain extent through fire. We took as breakfast the last piece of meat we had left, and we also made
slapjacks with our last flour. After this we began to walk
with renewed courage. However, about nine o'clock the
Bishop took a fainting fit. He lay down on the rocks and
asked if I had any food left. I took down a satchel which I
had on my back, and after careful examination I found in a
paper a few grains of sugar and a little flour in the corner of
33 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
an old flour sack; this I gathered in a spoon and presented
to His Lordship; he would not, however, take any of it except after I had taken my share, saying that he did not know
what would become of us in case I should give out. We next
noticed that the Indians were gathering mussels on the rocks
and ate them with great relish. This we also did and raw
mussels and salal berries were the only food which we took
till we reached Captain Francis' place in Ucluliat next morning.
The captain could hardly recognize us; seeing our condition and hearing of our long compulsory abstaining from
food, he advised us, and we followed his advice, not to take
any full meal till we had by eating very little at a time prepared our stomachs for its usual functions—at the same time
the captain went into his store and gave us new pants and
shoes, for all our clothes had been reduced to rags in our
attempt to travel through the brushwood. His Lordship,
Bishop Seghers, at one time escaped being drowned, having
slipped from a rock in crossing a ravine, where the sea swept
in very freely at high tide.
Our experience from Clayoquot to Ucluliat had such an
effect on our general condition that it took more than two
weeks for us to recover our usual strength.
At Ucluliat we did nothing, as the Indians were all away
to their salmon rivers. The young chief Wish-Koutl took us
to Ekoul and some Ekoul Indians went with us to Namukamis,
where we found the Indians under the influence of liquor.
We baptized at Ekoul seven children and a few at Namukamis.
Then we made arrangements with an Ekoul Indian to take
us to Nanaimo, which he promised to do for six dollars.
We had a pleasant trip up the Alberni Canal. Having
left Ekoul in the morning we arrived in the afternoon at Gold
River, called at the house of the miners but found them absent,
but as a sign of our passing there the Bishop wrote on their
door the fact of our calling and wishing them success. That
night we were received and made comfortable by Mr. Clark,
who was then manager of the Johnston farm. He showed
some fine horses of which he had twenty-two; also some of
his cattle, stating that he had a hundred and sixty head running
all over the settlement. Besides Mr. Clark, Mr. Taylor was
the only settler.
Next day we went to visit the Opichasat where we were
well received.    They were then living above the forks of the
34
aaa Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
river. The Tseshats were also on the river, but, as their chief
had refused to receive us the day before, we coolly passed
them over.
Next day again we commenced our walk to Qualicum, a
delightful trip over the newly made road. At noon we were
at the lake, which we crossed in a canoe, and thence we walked
to the East Coast side, where we arrived at 5 p.m.
Here we pitched our tent, and on Sunday morning we
found a canoe in the bush and with paddles and a sail made
with our tent, we travelled with great speed to Nanaimo where
we were in time to hear the Protestant bells ring for evening
service. It happened that the steamer Hmma was to leave the
next day for Victoria and on her we took passage, arriving in
Victoria on Tuesday morning, at 2 a.m. We went on shore at
once and astonished every one by arriving in time to say Mass,
which for both of us was a Mass of thanksgiving.
C. First  Mission  Established on the West Coast
oe Vancouver Island at Hesquiat
About the beginning of February, 1875, I had just returned from a mission to Sitka, Alaska Territory, when I was
notified by Right Rev. Bishop Seghers, D.D., to prepare myself
and to be ready to go to Hesquiat and take charge of the West
Coast Indians in the beginning of the spring.
In conformity with this order I got everything in readiness, and a carpenter was hired by His Lordship at the same
time. Rev. Fr. Rondeault, of Quamichan, was requested to accompany us to Hesquiat and help us to put up the Mission
buildings.
We left Victoria on the Feast of the Ascension, May 6, at
five o'clock in the morning, on the sloop Thornton, owned by
Captain Warren & Co., and commanded by Captain George
Brown. We had on board three little calves, one bull and two
heifers, which were destined to become the pioneer cattle in
this part of the country. A young Newfoundland dog was to
be my only domestic companion after Noel Leclaire, the carpenter, and Rev. Fr. Rondeault would have finished the work
for which they were sent. We had rather a quick passage as,
having left Victoria on Thursday morning and called and discharged freight at Ekoul, we arrived in Hesquiat harbor next
Tuesday afternoon. Off Clayoquot Sound we met two Hesquiat canoes on their way to Victoria, with Matlahaw, the
chief, and his father, in one of them.    Although requested by
35 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
Captain Brown to return with us, and offered a free passage on
the schooner, they insisted on continuing their trip to Victoria.
After casting anchor in the inner harbor the weather became very stormy, which prevented us from landing our freight
until Thursday morning. We had, however, put ashore our
little calves immediately upon arriving, and when on Thursday
we walked over to the Hesquiat village they followed us like
dogs, sometimes forgetting themselves when amidst good
pasture ground, and then running up to us with the utmost
speed.
There was now question of selecting a spot for our Mission buildings. The chief was absent, and not an Indian dared
or was willing to point a suitable place out to us. Every one
of my suggestions was for various reasons repudiated and we
owe to our listening to Captain Brown the fact that the Mission
was put up where it now stands.
Our orders had been to put up a church of 60x26 ft. and a
small residence for the priest, everything to be done as cheaply
as possible, as the establishment of a Mission was only an experiment : later on, say after five years, if the Mission was
successful, more substantial buildings would be put up.
In December of the preceding year the bark Edwin, Capt.
Hughes, loaded with lumber for Australia, had become waterlogged in the straits, and her freight having shifted, she had
split open so as to make of her a complete wreck. The Captain's wife, now buried at Itloune, Hesquiat harbor, had been
crushed between the heavy timbers and his two little boys
washed overboard, as well as a Chinese cook.
Early one morning the Hesquiat Indians saw the vessel
with all sails set taking the direction of Itloune before a southeasterly wind. Close to the vessel was a raft on which they
noticed the sailors trying to make for shore and in great danger
of being lost. Matlahaw,'the chief of the tribe, suggested the
propriety of going to the rescue of the drowning men. Several
canoes were launched and off they went over the heavy and
stormy waves. They succeeded in taking off all the men, for
which Matlahaw afterward received from the Dominion Government a silver medal and from the United States Government
a liberal reward for himself and the men who had given any
assistance to the shipwrecked sailors.
The bark was now on the beach to the outside of Itloune
point and all the lumber, consisting of rafters, heavy and light,
36 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
rough lumber and flooring, was piled up by the sea a mile along
the seashore. It was from the lumber of the unfortunate
vessel that our Mission buildings were constructed. Captain
Warren bought the wreck and from him we got almost all the
lumber required. Some Indians had used part to construct
new houses, but with some
trouble and reasoning they
were prevailed upon to let
us have the use of all.
I may here state that
the Indians had treated the
sailors and captain of the
bark Edwin with much
kindness. They appeared,
however, to have been a
rough crowd. It seems
hardly credible, still the rescuers maintain that when
they arrived with their
canoes alongside of the raft
where most of the men
were nearly perishing from
cold and exposure, they
.were told to leave in his
sad predicament one of the
crew, to throw him overboard ; no other reason
being given, as I was afterwards told, but that he was
a Dutchman.
a hesquiat couple
Later they began quarrelling in the chief's house, fought
and wounded each other to such an extent that they had to be
separated and made to lodge in different houses. As soon as
the weather permitted the Indians took the shipwrecked men to
Clayoquot Sound, whence they reached Ucluliat and from there
were taken on one of Captain Spring's schooners to Victoria.
Immediately after landing, we set to work. We began by
building a small shed, where we had our beds, our stove, provisions and where we took our meals—our dog slept under the
bed, and our calves alongside the stove.
Although this was the best season of the year, the weather
was most unpropitious, and before long our carpenter com-
37 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
plained of being sick;   afterwards he tried to make a row and
when told that we could do without him he managed to get
better, but for whole days together we could not get him to
speak a word.    Everything considered, the first Mission build
ings on this coast were put up amidst much unpleasantness.
The first Mass was said in the new church on the fifth of
July, it being the Feast of the Most Precious Blood. All the
Hesquiats were present; also, the chief and crowd of Machelat Indians. Mass was said by Rev. A. Brabant, and the
sermon preached by Rev. P. Rondeault.
Next morning a canoe took Rev. P. Rondeault and Noel
Leclaire, the carpenter, to Victoria, and I was left alone in this
place and in charge of all the Indians from Pachina* (included) to Cape Cook.
I soon discovered that the work before me was an uphill
undertaking, and, to mention one fact only, there was not one
Indian in Hesquiat who could act as interpreter. However, I
managed to teach the tribe the "Catholic Ladder," and I made
up my mind to study the language, which I found no easy
matter, as I had no books to consult and there was no one who
could give me any information about it.
In the beginning of August I made a trip to the Chiktlisats
and other tribes on the way. Guyer, a Clayoquot Indian, a
first-rate interpreter, accompanied me and six Hesquiats, all
full grown men, as the Indians would not allow their sons to
go along for fear they might be killed by the Kyuquots, who
were supposed to be very badly disposed to their .tribe.
Guyer, the Clayoquot Indian, had some time before this
stabbed a man belonging to Beechy Bay, near Victoria. This
man and his wife were slaves in Clayoquot and belonged to
Chief Sheouse. This last, fearing trouble, asked Guyer to kill
the man-slave, which he did, stabbing him in the chest with an
ordinary file.
This misdeed weighed very heavy on the mind of Guyer,
and, as he told me, his reason for coming to Hesquiat and
accompanying me on this trip was to seek relief for his mind.
He wanted me to state that no harm would happen to him by
the white men's police, and, as I could not do so, he begged of
me to take him, as soon as convenient, to the authorities in
Victoria. The remorse of conscience of that man, or the
dread of retaliation, was a real suffering to him.
*The present  Port Renfrew.
38
=f£S Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
At Nootka we found a young woman belonging to Ehatti-
sat, who was supposed to be the wife of one of the Nootka
young men. She sent an Indian to see me, and wanted an
interview. I allowed her the privilege she asked for. She
told me that she wanted to accompany us to Ehattisat; that
she would not live with the man who claimed her as his wife
and had been stolen by him out of a canoe against her will.
She had been a slave in Nootka, and was considered as such
again.
After considering these and other reasons and hearing the
opinion of some of the most influential Nootka Indians, I gave
her permission to accompany us, and the next day she was returned to her friends and home.
But nothing else unusual happened, although at Kyuquot
we were very badly received, and my Indians, suspecting
danger, slept with knives in their hands. It was only
after much trouble that they would allow me to baptize their
children.
We were absent about two weeks, and shortly afterwards
I received a letter from Bishop Seghers summoning me to go
to Victoria.
I left Hesquiat about the twentieth of September and arrived back on the schooner Surprise, Captain Francis, on the
fifth of October. The Indians were glad to see me back.
Next day Captain Warren entered the harbor on the sloop
Thornton.
Upon landing I was told that an Indian woman, "a doc-
toress," had died during my absence, after a few days sickness.
Next I heard that a large number of Nootka Sound
Indians were sick and that several had died. The report
arrived that the sickness was small-pox; that the whole tribe
was wild with excitement; that they would come to Hesquiat
and kill as many of the tribe as had died of the disease! I
spurned the threat and persuaded the Indians not to be uneasy.
On the eighteenth of October the wife of Matlahaw died
rather suddenly at Hesquiat. As I suspected that everything
was not right, I assembled the Indians on the hill, and told
those who were living in the chief's house to quit, and also
if there was anybody else unwell to come and give me
information.
Upon arriving home, I was met by Charley, whose mother
had died during my absence.    He reported that his father was
39 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
sick. I went to his house and found the old man very sick,
evidently with small-pox. He was lying in one corner of the
room and in the other corner was his sister, an elderly woman,
also in the last stages of the fatal disease. I baptized both of
them, saw them well provided with food and water, and went
home convinced that a very trying time was before me.
I was not disappointed, for next morning the first news I
heard was that both were dead and that others had taken sick.
As soon as Mass was over, a large number of Indians
came to my house, and I made preparations to have the dead
buried. I went and dug two graves, but when the time for
the funeral had arrived no one would help me take away
the corpses. I reasoned and entreated my visitors to give
me a hand, but all to no purpose. At last, after several
hours talking, a Cape Flattery Indian living here with his
Hesquiat wife, volunteered. Others followed his example,
and I mustered a force of ten to do the burying of the dead.
Never was such a funeral seen by mortal man! First I had
to give medicine to everyone of them. As I had none I boiled
water, broke some biscuits in it, sweetened the whole with
sugar, and insisted that this would be the very best preservative
in the world against small-pox.
Then began the march. I led the procession, then came
the ten Indians in a line, with their faces blackened and covered
with Indian charms. They were shouting and jumping, and
when we came to the house where the dead were, not one
dared to come in and assist me. But the Cape Flattery Indian
again gave an example of bravery. He was accompanied by
Charley's father-in-law and Charley himself. The coffin was
a small Indian canoe, to which was attached about forty feet
of rope. We took up the old man first: he presented a ghastly
sight as the blood and bloody matter were covering his face
and streaming out of his mouth. The woman was covered
with two new black blankets, and had evidently died first, her
brother having rendered to his dead sister the pious duty of
clothing the corpse; she was put into the same canoe and then
orders were given to take hold of the lines. Everyone wanted
to take the very end, but after some confusion the canoe was
pulled out of the house, I acting as steersman, and thence a
good distance into the bush. And after securely covering the
original coffin with Indian planks, we all returned to my house.
Before entering, the Indians all rushed into the river
praying and shouting; and having thrown away their blankets,
40 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
which were their only covering, they next came in every one
of them as naked as the moment he had been born. Some
thoughtful woman, after some time, came with a supply of
blankets and then the spectacle became rather more decent and
respectable.
But now another scene was enacted—as they had noticed
that I was chewing tobacco upon going to bury the dead, they
had insisted upon doing the same thing, and not being accustomed to that polite practice, they had swallowed all the tobacco
juice. Some of them in consequence came near dying, as it
took them many hours before they got over their vomiting.
Next day I went to see the chief's daughter, who was very
low also with small-pox. She was a courageous woman and
did not give up till she was quite blind and her head as black
and as thick as a large iron pot. She was baptized and seemed
to be in the best disposition. Her own father and another old
Indian helped me to bury her. The sight of the corpse was
simply horrible, and as we left the shanty in which she died
swarms of flies surrounded us all.
At this time Matlahaw, the Hesquiat chief, his father
Townissim, Omerak and Charley had obtained permission to
sleep in the Indian room of my house. Upon according this
privilege, Matlahaw promised and gave me all the strip of land
between the river and the beach.
I passed most of my time in vaccinating the Indians and
in trying to cheer them up, for the fear and discouragement in
some cases were altogether alarming. Matlahaw and Charley
were hardly alive. Hence they would sit for hours together,
telling me of the importance of their lives and insisting upon
my using all possible means to preserve them from .the disease.
Charley had been vaccinated successfully in Victoria, but although I tried it twice on Matlahaw the vaccine had no effect.
This seemed to increase his fear. He now became morose
and avoided the company of his friends; in fact, he was not
to be seen in the daytime for several days.
We used to be up before daylight and for two or three
mornings, as I got up, upon looking through my window I
noticed him sitting alongside of his father apparently engaged
with him in very secret conversation.
On the twenty-seventh of October he shot some blue jays
on my potato patch, and the rest of the time he stood outside,
watching my movements, and from time to time exchanging
a few words with the Indians who were constantly about my
house.
41 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
Towards evening the report that an Indian woman was
very sick was received. I went to see her, but noticed that her
case was not very serious as yet. However, next morning the
first thing I did upon getting up was to go and see the old
woman, who was if anything rather better than the day before.
Upon entering my house and about to go and ring the bell
for Mass, Matlahaw came into my house and asked me for
the loan of my gun, which upon handing to him I stated to be
unloaded. He simply remarked that he had powder and shot
in his shanty, which was made of a few Indian planks and
which with my permission he had constructed behind my little
barn.
All the Indians of the tribe, save the old woman who had
small-pox and Matlahaw and his father, were at Mass. The
old man was missed at once, and afterwards it was found out
that he had crossed the bay with his little grandchild and gone
up Sidney Inlet, where his wife had gone before him. There
she died of small-pox, as also her female slave; and the old
chief, in a fit of passion, took a stone and with it killed the
husband and one old slave.
When the Mass was over, and just as I was about finishing
my breakfast, Charley came into the my room and said, "Look
out, Leplet; Matlahaw is sick. You had better take your gun
from him."
I made one or two inquiries, and after saying a few words
jokingly, to give heart and courage to the messenger, who
looked alarmingly excited or downhearted, I went out, my pipe
in my mouth, to see the would-be patient. When I arrived
inside of his shanty I noticed in the middle a small fire, before
which he was squatting down. He had his chief's cap and also
the coat presented by the Superintendent of Indian Affairs.
Behind him, against the wall, stood my double-barrelled gun
and an Indian musket. I'asked what the matter was, when,
smilingly, he looked up, and pulling the skin of his leg, he
answered, "Memeloust—small-pox." I reassured him, saying
that I would give him medicine and that by evening he would
be all right. Again he looked up, his face being very pale and
the sinews of his cheeks trembling, and pulling at the skin of
his throat he repeated memeloust. Once more I repeated that
I would give him medicine and that he would be well before
evening.
Then I asked him to hand me over my gun, which he
took without getting up;   then pointing it towards me he ex-
42 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
plained, as I understood, that one of the barrels was not
loaded. The fact of the muzzle of the gun being pointed
straight to my face and noticing caps on both nipples and the
cocks pulled up, caused me instinctively to turn away my head,
when lo! the explosion took place and I noticed the blood spurting from my hand. The smoke was so thick that I could not
see the would-be murderer, and thinking the whole affair to be
an accident, after calmly remarking that I was shot in the
hand, I walked down to the little river where I bowed down
to bathe my wounds in the stream. Just then he shot again,
this time hitting me in the right shoulder and all over my back.
I now knew the man wanted to kill me and I ran off to my
house, where I found no one. Thence I ran to the ranch and
was met by nearly all the men of the tribe, to whom I told what
had happened. Some of them pretended that Moachat Indians had done the shooting, but after my stating again and
again that it was Matlahaw they became convinced that he
indeed was the guilty party. After a few moments a film
came over my eyes and thinking that I would not survive, I
knelt down and said my acts of faith, hope, charity and' contrition; then I got up, went to my house and wrote on.a piece
of paper the name of the man who had shot me, put the paper
in my bureau, locked it and put the key into my pocket. By
this time the noise and alarm outside of my house was deafening; the loyal men of the tribe were there with axes and guns
to kill the chief, but he had run away into the bush, not having
been seen after the shooting, save by an old woman.
Meanwhile I had been divested by some savages of my
coat and underclothing. The Indians, upon noticing the blood,
lost courage and one after the other walking out of the room,
announced to their friends that I was dying. This was also
my opinion, although I. felt no pain whatever either in the
hand or the back. Then I lay down and ordered cold dressing to be placed over my wounds. I noticed very little of what
was going on, thinking that the best thing I could do was to
pray and prepare myself to die.
Early the next day (Oct. 29) two canoes fully manned
left Hesquiat. The first went to Refuge Cove, where the
sister of Matlahaw, the would-be murderer, was residing with
her Indian husband. The Indians, excited over the doings of
her brother, the chief, had decided to bring her home. In due
time the canoe came back and the girl was landed on the beach
before my house.    She knew not what was in store for her.
43 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
She knew not that as she was left there alone, crying, the Indians were plotting her death in expiation of what her brother
had done to me. Such, however, was the case; when the plan
was well prepared an elderly man came rushing into my house
where I lay on my bed expecting that my days were numbered,
owing to the dangerous state of my wounds. He wanted to
have my opinion; the Indians were going to kill her. As the
savage spoke his hair stood on end, froth was on his lips and
his members trembled with excitement. I gave orders to have
the young woman removed to a place of safety, to have her
taken proper care of and appointed one of the chiefs, a relative of hers, to act as her guardian during the time of unusual
excitement.
The other canoe came back next day. She had gone to
Clayoquot where a man (Fred Thornberg) had charge of a
small trading post. This man was living with an Indian
woman and when the Indians with the message called at his
place he met them with a Marlin rifle and would not allow
them inside until he was fully convinced that his visitors were
Hesquiat Indians. As his neighbors, that is the Indians of
Clayoquot and Clayoquot Sound, were not to be trusted, he
advised the Hesquiats to avail themselves of the darkness of
the night to return to their homes, and with his compliments
and condolence sent a number of yards of calico to be used by
the Indians as a shroud for my "corpse!"
On November 1 (Monday at noon), a deputation of Indians excitedly entered my house and told me that they were
going to send a canoe with the news of my state to Victoria,
and report to the Bishop and the police.
I told them quietly to please themselves, but as they were
determined to leave at once I gave them a paper on which I
had every morning written a few words.
Meanwhile my wounds became more and more inflamed.
The Indians were up with me day and night constantly pouring cold water over my injured hand. The wounds in my back
and side gave me great pain from the fact that I had to lie
on them and that they could not be reached by cold water
dressings.
As the hours and days advanced the swelling increased
and inflammation was rapidly gaining. I was trembling with
cold, although the Indians kept up a good fire.
At last, on Tuesday, the 9th, just as it was getting dark,
an Indian out of breath ran into my house and shouted that a
man-of-war was entering the harbor!
44 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
I cannot describe my feelings and those of the poor Indians who were in my room and acted as nurses. . . .
Half an hour later one of the doctors (Dr. Walkem) who had
volunteered to come to my assistance, rushed into my room
and after examining my hand expressed his opinion that it
could not be saved and that
I would have to submit to
amputation. By that time
Bishop Seghers, God bless
him, had also come in. I
can see him now, a picture
of sadness. With tears in
his eyes he told me how
happy he felt to find me
alive ... I could hardly
utter a word! My strength
was gone, for I had not
tasted food or drink for
several days.
The Bishop went into
my bedroom, opened a bottle
of port wine and gave me
a full dose of the medicine
as he called it in the presence of the natives, and lo!
my strength and courage
came back at once. I told
them of the details of my
situation since I had seen
him a month before in
Victoria.
The doctor of the navy
(Dr. Redfern) after thoroughly examining my wounds, declared that nothing could be
done at present; that I would have to go to the hospital in
Victoria, etc., and urged upon me the propriety of taking some
food. He then cooked a meal and although everything was
prepared in an artistic shape I could not take more than one
or two mouthfuls of his preparation.
Next morning the captain of H. M. S. Rocket (Captain
Harris) came on shore and proposed to have the would-be
murderer arrested. In fact he stated that it was part of his
object in coming to Hesquiat.    But just then an Jndian came
45
A great-grandmother
AT HESQUIAT Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
into my house with the news of new cases of small-pox, and
expressing his uneasiness and that of his Indian friends to be
left alone with the dread disease in the village. Happily, Captain Harris did not understand the messenger and so we urged
upon him the necessity of returning to Victoria, as the doctors
insisted that my wounds would have to be attended to without
further delay.
Besides, I told him that the man who had shot me had run
away into the bush—that he had not been seen since and that
he might be ten or twenty miles away in the mountains.
An arrangement was then made with the principal men of
the tribe that they were to take to Victoria the Chief Matlahaw
in case he could be arrested and that the provincial police would
pay them for their trouble the sum of $100 and a supply of
provisions.
Thereupon arrangements were made to have me conveyed
on board of the man-of-war. Eight men placed me on a cot,
took me down to the beach between two lines of Indians, whilst
one of the chiefs made a speech regretting what had occurred
and bespeaking the speedy return of "their Priest."
When we arrived at the vessel the cot was slung from the
spanker-boom, an awning was stretched over the whole, and
I was made to feel as comfortable as possible under the
circumstances.
We arrived in Victoria next morning. At the time of our
landing an immense crowd of people were on the wharves.
The city was indeed in great excitement, for the news had just
reached the people that the steamship Pacific with 260 passengers—quite a number of Victorians—had foundered at sea and
that thus far only one passenger had reached shore alive. As
we came from the very coast where the wreck had taken place,
and as it happened just a day before, the people were all in
hopes that a number might have been picked up at sea.
We had seen nothing of the wreck, and the crowd, looking
for friends and good news, were doomed to return home
disappointed.
The same men who had taken me in a cot on the man-of-
war carried^ me on their shoulders from the vessel to the
Bishop's residence, and then landed me on a table in the dining-room. That room,—where I had passed so many pleasant
hours with Bishop Demers and Bishop Seghers, his successor,
and my colleagues, the priests of the diocese and especially of
the  Cathedral,—now looked gloomy.      Everyone wanted to
46 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
have a look and say a good word. The Sisters of St. Ann
were there also well represented. Warm water, towels, linen
and other necessary articles were prepared by them, and the
doctors, four in number, began to talk business.
They were going to amputate the hand! Yes perhaps it
would do to amputate only the two first fingers!! Such and
other remarks I heard them make. However, I was not going
to part with those necessary members of a priest's body to
allow him to say Mass, without an objection! And object I
did! And asked them to allow me to die rather than have me
become a useless man in the world, such as a priest would be if
he cannot say Mass. Protestants as they were, the doctors,
at first, did not understand my reiterated pleadings to be
allowed to keep my hand and fingers. However, they concluded to wait a couple of days and for the time being agreed
among themselves to cut open the main ulcers, remove the
broken bones and cut out pieces of lead and other foreign
matter.
They all left me with the expectation of returning a couple
of days later to perform the amputation; but prayer had the
best of them. Two days later one of the doctors made his
usual call, and seeing that the blood began again to circulate he
could not conceal his astonishment and went away wondering
how this unexpected change could have occurred.
I was in the doctors' hands for nearly five months. I then
heard that a schooner was advertised to go out sealing to the
West Coast, and foreseeing that no other opportunity to return to my mission would offer for the next six months, I asked
for a passage on board and returned to my mission in Hesquiat
on March 23, 1876.
I arrived in Hesquiat on April 5th. The Indians having
learned that I was on my way back to the Mission, and understanding that the vessel on which I had embarked would not
come as far as their village, sent a canoe with nine men to meet
me and take me home. I met them at "Tsatikis," about twenty
miles from the Mission. On our way we called at (Maktosis)
Ahousat and baptized the newly-born children; next day we
arrived in Hesquiat.
My house was in the state I had left it—the floor covered
with blood, the temporary bunk which I had caused to be put
up in my sitting-room so as to have more space to move about
with water, dressings, etc.,was still there; everything reminded
47 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
me of sad days and sleepless nights. It all had a tendency to
make one feel downhearted, but the Indians were then so
happy to see me back that I put aside all other thoughts, and
after a few days' cleaning, settling down again, I recommenced
my work where I had left it off.
On Easter Sunday I established a force of policemen.
The occasion had been furnished by the Indians themselves.
They had resolved to have a feast in my honor and to present
me with a gift of their own as a sign of their good feelings towards me. True enough, the day was appointed and two influential men of the tribe were delegated to come and invite me.
The men were dressed up in red blankets over their red skins,
pants and shirts being an unknown article to men of their
class; their faces were covered with black and red paint, and
down of birds covered their heads and their long hair. They
rather shouted than spoke, at the same time giving vent to
wild, savage gesticulations.
And so I went to the feast, which was given in one of the
houses of a chief. As there were no chairs in the village a
thoughtful savage took one of my own and placed it in the
middle of the immense building.
There I sat like an Indian chief, calmly smoking my pipe
and pretending to enjoy everything that was going on. There
were dancing and shouting and gesticulations and many other
extravagant things, which no one can fancy who has not seen
wild men and women, covered with feathers and with painted
cheeks, giving free expression to the feelings of their savage
heart and nature. That sort of thing lasted for about two
hours, and being nearly blind with the smoke of the camp-fires
and as nearly deaf with the noise made by the women, as they
beat with sticks on planks and Indian boxes to the measure of
the songs of the men and boys and the younger class of women,
I was anxious to go home and enjoy fresh air and peace. But
what should happen? There in a corner got up one of the
chiefs and taking a shawl from a woman's shoulders held it
open in view of the whole tribe and looking at me as with an
angry countenance he called out, "(Leplet! Leplet!) Priest!
Priest! this is for you, this is for you! I present it to you in
the name of the tribe of the Hesquiats, who are all present here
to do honor to you!"
I do not know what anybody else would have done; as for
me, I took the shawl and thanked the tribe and went home.
But scarcely had I reached my house when I began to reflect
48 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
and ask of myself, "What in the world shall I do with that
shawl?" After mature reflection, I hit upon a plan to get rid
of it.
Easter Sunday arrived and, as said above, I established a
force of Indian policemen, as asked for by the Indians themselves and approved by the Bishop. Having then carefully
selected my men I proceeded between high Mass and evening
service to the house of one of the chiefs where the whole tribe
were assembled. I explained to them the object of the meeting; then I appointed three men to act as Indian constables,
and gave each of them a coat and pants, to distinguish them
from other savages and as a mark of their authority. Then
taking the shawl, I held it up before the tribe and made a
present of it to the woman, who took care of the orphan boy
of the man who had tried to kill me. The new policemen were
then appointed guardians of the future chief of the Hesquiats.
I availed myself of this season of fervor to teach them the.
"Catholic Ladder" of Father Lacombe. I also taught them to
sing Mass in plain chant.
We had the first high Mass on the Feast of the Patronage
of St. Joseph.
On June 5 following, there was unusual excitement in the
village. Early in the morning the news is brought that a dead
whale is floating off the harbor. There is shouting and running about; paddles are got ready and all the large canoes
pulled down to the beach. Not an able-bodied man is left on
shore: even a number of women accompany the crowd. You
can see the excitement at sea, you can hear the shouting and
singing as the monster of the deep is being towed toward the
shore. At last shore is reached. The men stand up in their
•canoes, paddles in hands, and intone one of their old songs.
. . . The women on shore stand alongside the houses, and
taking part in the general rejoicings, beat a measure on the
sides of the dwellings and their old Indian drums.
As the day is well advanced, it is decided that the cutting
up of the whale shall be postponed till next morning. Meanwhile knives are prepared, and the chiefs and principal men,
who alone are entitled to a share of the big fish, secure a number of inferior men to give them a hand next day.
June 6.—Long before daylight the whale is surrounded by
half-naked Indians; they all know the share they have a right
to, but not one seems satisfied with what belongs to him—
there is no end of quarrelling and pushing each other about!
49 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
In the disturbance a couple are wounded—one very seriously.
After half a day of fighting and general disturbance, the whale
being cut up, the Indians all retire to their houses, happy at
the prospect of enjoying the delicacies of whale blubber and
whale oil for the next few months.
June 7.—In the heat of their happiness the chiefs decide to
go to Ahousat and invite their friends of that tribe to come and
have a share in the general festivities.
June 10.—Three Ahousat canoes arrive in Hesquiat, in all
twenty-two men. All the Indians assemble to receive their
guests on the beach; they walk in procession, one man behind
the other, in white man's clothes, save two, whose heads are
t covered with feathers, and who dance the dances usual on such
occasions. Meanwhile the Ahousats, appreciating the compliment, rise in their canoes, begin to beat a measure on the sides
of the canoes and sing a song in response to a speech made by
one of the Hesquiats.
It all finishes by the pulling up of the canoes of the visitors
and leading them into the house of one of the chiefs, who at
once entertains them at a meal of "whale meat."
The accidental floating on shore of this whale and the importance which the Indians attach to this event had caused
them to talk a great deal about the subject. Apropos of this
event, let me give a notion of their superstitions on this point.
A few months ago an old Indian chief called "Koninnah,"
and known all along the coast, died in Hesquiat. This man
enjoyed the reputation of bringing dead whales, almost at will,
to the shore of the Hesquiat land, and even now he gets the
credit for the whale that floated on shore yesterday. For as
the Indians say that their chiefs do not forget their friends and
subjects when they reach the other world, hence Koninnah, by
his influence, sent them "a dead whale" as a token of good will.
This man, I am told, had here in the bush a small house
made of cedar planks; 'to this house he would repair from
time to time to visit his charms, which it contained, and so
through his usual devotions, prayers and incantations. His
charms mostly consisted of human skeletons, especially those
of ancient chiefs and famous hunters. To these skeletons he
would speak as if they were alive and order them to give him a
"whale." Each of the skeletons had its turn, and in addressing
himself to them he would give due credit to those of their,
number who, he had reason to suspect, had been granting
his-request.
50 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
It is narrated that Koninnah one day was boasting of
causing a dead whale to strand in Hesquiat harbor. As it happened, the flesh was tough and the oil not sweet. The Indians
finding fault with their supposed good luck, he told them that
he would get another one for them of better quality; when lo!
a couple of days later his predfction was verified.
The Indians tell their yarns with such conviction of truth
that it is almost painful to have to contradict them.
Koninnah, when desirous to be successful, led a life of
strict continence. He also observed laws of fasting and bathing in salt water. Besides, he was never to taste of the flesh
or blubber of his whales under pain of losing his extraordinary
powers. Whales are an article of immense importance in this
locality and with all the tribes on the coast. They are considered the best and most wholesome food, and the oil is used
with all kinds of dry fish.
June 23.—Up to this date it has rained a great deal; the
weather now seems to break up and a rainbow is seen in the
direction of Sydney inlet. All at once a couple of Indians to
whom I am talking, bow their heads and turn their backs on
the rainbow. I learn from them that the Indians on the coast
never look at a rainbow for fear that some harm befall them.
June 25.—A child was born to-day, and being the offspring
of an important man, there is great rejoicing. According to an
old custom a couple of men having the title of Okhei—beggars
—'covered with feathers and paint, go to the happy parents'
house and there begin their pranks and dances accompanied by
singing and pleading, their only object being to induce the
child's father to make presents to them and invite the tribe to a
feast of food and amusements. Strange to say, the father of
the newly born child is confined to the house as well as the
mother—on no pretext can he go outside and look at the ocean
or sky. Such conduct on his part would have the effect to
scare away the fish and to anger the waves of the sea. In
case of extreme need to go outside, the man must cover his
eyes, look down to find his way; but under no pretext can he
look up or walk along the beach.
Apart from the general rejoicings, the old women of the
neighborhood must also have their turn. There they sit
around the newly born with sticks in their hands, and striking
up some of their usual songs begin to beat time on cedar boards
or a worn-out tambourine.    This they continue until the new
51 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
mother or her nearest relatives make some suitable present to
all the women visitors.
The name of the infant, given before birth, is that of a
female dead relative or ancestor.    In case the progeny belongs
•to the masculine gender another name is soon substituted.
Another peculiarity about the Indians is this: If any one
dies his name dies with him; that is, no one will dare pronounce it again, especially in the presence of relatives, and if
any one in the tribe has a name which sounds like that of the
deceased he will change it at once.
There is something so ludicrous about this, that to-day
you may know the names of all your people, and still six
months later you are likely to know only one-half of them.
Christian names are a great improvement, but in giving them
one must be careful to make a proper choice, as the Indians
cannot pronounce all our letters. A boy called "Damien" was
the other day asked his name, to which he replied, without,
however, showing any signs of anger, "Dam You," meaning, of
course, to say "Damien," a French Christian name.
The names given by the Indians to their children are
family names, that is, they belong especially to a certain clan
of the whole tribe. Through intermarriage, however, many
have passed into different clans, and in fact, as far as I can see,
they now are pretty well spread all over the tribe. Inferior
people, however, dare not give to their children certain names,
which seem to be the property of the chiefs of the different
tribes, nor do they, whatever their merits may be, apply them
to themselves.
In general, the names of our Indians have some meaning,
being mostly suggested by the doings of some big hunter or
ancient warrior. Quite a number of them, though, have no
meaning whatever, and are simply given as having been the
name of some ancestor. ■ As a rule, children take the name of
their grandfather or grandmother, sometimes of other ancestors, but never those of their parents.
I gather from what I heard that respect for the dead and
their (living^ relatives seems to be the main reason for avoiding the adoption of their names or of having them pronounced
within a certain period after their death.
June 26.-—A canoe containing nine Ekoutl, Barclay Sound,
Indians has just arrived. She attracted our attention from
quite a distance at sea.    Although the wind was favorable she
52 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
took in her sail, when we could hardly see her. She carried a
flag at her stern and the Indians were paddling as hard as they
could. Next we could hear them sing, and when they were
quite near shore they stopped paddling, and one of the men,
getting up, struck up a song in a loud, moaning tone; then,
upon landing, he shouted something to our people, which I was
afterwards told was the name of our chief, and gave him a
couple of blankets as a present.
The Hesquiat Indians evidently knew the object of the
visitors, for, as a rule, with all the tribes on the coast, when
strangers arrive at a village, there are always a number of the
people who run down to the beach, either to welcome them or
to get the news.
In the present case, not one of our people went to meet
the strangers, who were now at the landing place. Yet, when
called upon to go and receive the blankets, the chief sent one
of the young men to fetch them to him.
After this was done the same spokesman (of the strangers) got up again and in the same tone of voice called out the
name of the second chief and made him also a present of a
couple of blankets, which a messenger went down to the beach
to take for the second chief.
This was repeated six times, so that all the principal
chiefs received a present before the men put an end to their
generosity.
Some of the Hesquiats, upon hearing the name of their
sons called out by these strangers, got quite excited, and before
inviting them into their houses also made presents to them,
which were accepted with the usual expression of thanks:
"Tlako! tlakol"
It struck me as strange that in all their feasts and meetings the parents are not mentioned; that is, if a man invites to
a feast, if he has an heir he will always extend the invitation
in the name of that heir, and also when presents are given they
are always given to the heir, even if he were only one day old:
The parent always disappears behind the heir, who in all cases
comes or stands to the front in the estimation of all the Indians
on this coast.
The Indians of Ekoutl, Barclay Sound, are here with the
object of inviting the Hesquiats to a potlach, as the peculiar
way of their landing here indicates. This is the first invitation
to a potlach extended to my Indians since I came to the coast.
53 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
A potlach, as I understand it from the meaning of the
word, is a feast where gifts or presents are made, a gift-feast.
The priests and ministers of all denominations condemn the
feast, and the Dominion Government at their suggestion has
passed a law prohibiting it under certain penalties. As for me,
I cannot see any harm in it, although I would rather have it
abolished. I had no reason therefore of my own, but giving
due importance to the conduct of men longer in the ministry
than myself, I used all my influence to keep my people from
going to the present gift-feast in Barclay Sound.
As I understand it, a potlach simply consists in this: A
man, say a chief of a certain tribe, after a season of prosperity
has accumulated a large number of blankets—the Indians here
have no money. He then resolves to invite a neighboring tribe
to a feast and distribute to them according to their rank the
fruit of his industry—his blankets. He privately warns the
members of his own tribe to be prepared for the reception of
the tribe which he singles out. This proposition is approved of,
and his friends, the principal chiefs, secure the necessary provisions, so that when the feast is on they can entertain at a
meal the invited guests.
The tribe to be invited are also warned in due time and
afterwards formally notified that their presence is expected
soon after the formal warning.
The occasion of starting is one of great excitement. All
the able-bodied men as a rule and also a number of women go
along, and are evidently intent upon having a good, enjoyable
time.
The arrival at the village where they are invited is also
very exciting. They sing and dance in their canoes, the drums
beat and the muskets are fired off. Meanwhile the people on
shore are also doing their best to make a good show, and after
many different ways of bidding welcome, the guests land and
are invited by one of the'chiefs to share his hospitality by taking a good meal.
Immediately after this meal, and more frequently before
it, the visitors are divided, for their present quarters during the
day when disengaged and for sleeping at night, amongst the
members of the tribe, who take pride in accommodating especially those to whom they are in any way related. There they
\ are also welcome at meals; but every day during their stay one
or more of the chiefs or important men invite all the strangers
to eat in their houses where singing, dancing and exchanging
gifts and presents are freely indulged in.
54 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
A potlach or gift-feast consists in exchanging presents
either with the object of gain or of exciting the admiration of
their fellow-Indians. Sometimes in the height of his savage
pride an Indian makes presents, for doing which he is afterwards sorry, especially if an article far below the value of the
one he has himself made a present of is returned. Every one
seems to speculate either for gain or for glory!
On the fourth or fifth day the feast comes to a conclusion
by the man who has invited the strangers making presents to
all of them according to their rank or their importance; not,
however, without losing sight of the probability that the one to
whom the presents are made will sometime be able to make an
equal return to the giver. Herein the potlach fails of good,
for the old people are almost lost sight of and so are orphan
children, especially those of the female gender. A potlach
is not an expression of charity, but a pure piece of Indian
speculation.
During the festivities, the Indians wear their best blankets
and keep themselves cleaner than usual, but for their dances
and games, they have resort to all means to make themselves
look ugly or odd. Their faces painted, their heads covered
with down, masks of different descriptions, bear skins are put
on and even Chinese queues are worn by the younger class of
people.
The festivities come to an end by a speech made by the
one who invited the strangers. These pack their gifts to their
canoes and the people at home resume their usual work and
occupations.
The hospitality shown by our Indians to visitors or strangers is quite noteworthy. As soon as a canoe of strangers
arrive at a village they are at once invited by some of the
residents to carry their belongings up to their house; a meal
is prepared for them and lodgings are offered. When traveling our people take little or no provisions along, for they may
always reckon upon receiving hospitality wherever they happen
to go on shore near an Indian settlement, and whatever food
is left after their meal, is taken to the canoe of the visitors. It
is used by them on their voyage home and remnants are distributed to their friends at home, during the partaking of
which all the news of interest is communicated.
In their own homes after a successful day or season at
fishing or hunting invitations are often sent out to the tribe or
a part thereof, to come and partake of a feast of food, the
55 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
remnants in all cases being carried by the young people to the
"respective homes of the invited guests. Before retiring a
speech is made by one of the principal men, and thanks are
duly given to the host in the name of those who were invited.
;In all cases the invited guests occupy a place according to their
rank. It reminds one very much' of the customs of the Jews
at the time of our Lord.
June 28.—To-day the first funeral according to the rites
of the Catholic Church takes place. A funeral is never a very
funny affair, still this one seems to be an exception, at least as
far as I was concerned. The Indian died about midnight; as
was customary he was put in a box or trunk at once, a fact of
which I was warned by a messenger. I got up and told the
Indian that the funeral could not take place before morning—
however, that there was no objection to having the corpse put
outside of the Indian house.
About three o'clock I was again aroused. Once more I
told the messanger to have patience till Mass time. But about
four o'clock there were quite a number of messengers. I got
Up again; by that time the primitive coffin was in evidence at
the church door. Still, I thought it rather unusual to bury the
dead at four o'clock in the morning, hence I postponed again
but when five o'clock came there was no use trying to put it
off any longer. The funeral was to take place right then.
Quite a number of people crowded into the church; the coffin
was put in the centre, but every one faced the coffin, even those
in front in the church turned their backs to the altar. When
Mass was over I solemnly headed the funeral procession with
cross and altar boys, reciting the prayers of the Ritual, when
looking behind me I noticed that the savages had taken another
road with the corpse, in fact, they had put it into a canoe "and
were paddling across the small bay around which I was walking. Still, we arrived ultimately at the same spot, but to my
dismay there was no grave dug. There we stood about to bury
the dead chief and no grave. Shovel and pick were sent for.
I took off my surplice, began the digging of a grave, got an
Indian to continue and went home and had my breakfast. When
everything was ready, I went back and blessed the grave, and
the first Christian of this region was laid to rest in consecrated
ground.    R.I.P.
Father Sobry writes under date of November 14, 1897:
"I was called at midnight; of course, I anticipated a sick call
door I am
and felt good over it, when, lo! in
56
opening the Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
solemnly told that a corpse is waiting for burial. I told them
that I had never buried at night, and was never going to do it.
As a lenient to the refusal I allowed them to put the corpse
into the church until morning; but the Indians have a horror
of passing with a corpse through a door, hence their hesitation
at my injunction. I gave
them the alternative of leav-
the corpse outside in the
rain or putting it into the
church. Finally they chose
the latter part; the burial
service was read next morning. After some time another night call. I responded
to the call in great hopes
that this time it would be a
sick call, and give me a
chance to do a good turn
for a soul, but 'O miser-
abile dictu,' once more a
corpse for burial.    I put it
The
following Sunday they were
off till the morning.
bring
during   night   time
told from the altar not to
corpses any more
as I
would not get up any more
for such purposes. No occurrences of that kind happened to me since."
From the Author's Diary—
"May 23rd, 1906.—Last
night, between 11 and 12
o'clock, Herbert came and
announced the death of
grandmother. I had prepared her with the Sacraments of the Church. I told
him funeral would be 8 a.m. next day. But at 4 o'clock this
morning he came again telling me they were waiting for me.
Again I told him to wait till 8 a.m. At 4.45 Joe Jim came to
get me for the funeral; I told him the same thing, i.e., to wait
till 8 a.m. At 5 o'clock I got up, and I had not yet washed myself when Jimmy Jim came, telling me to come now.    I told
"TLIMEGHKA",   DEAF   AND   DUMB
CRIPPLE OF HESQUIAT
(Walks on hands and feet) Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
him that I had to say Mass first, and that I would be ready in
an hour. During my preparation for Mass, Mrs. Peter Dandy
came inquiring what the matter was that so many visitors
called on me at such an early morning hour. After a short
thanksgiving I put water on the stove to have some breakfast
before the funeral. But before it came to a boiling point,
Herbert came again, saying they were getting tired waiting for
me.   I told him they could start and I would soon follow."
I am informed that this Christian funeral is quite a victory towards breaking up the old pagan customs and superstitions of the Indians of this coast in case of sickness and
death. First of all, because the Indian was really dead when
he was removed and put into the coffin. Many instances are
narrated where people have been buried alive. A coasting
trader told me that when he was stationed at Clayoquot a man
was put on an island where there was a small trading post.
During the night somebody rapped at his door, he got up and
there stood a naked Indian, the man who had been buried the
day before. He lived two years after his supposed death. The
strangest part of the story was that the Indians who had
buried him maintained still that the man was dead, and that it
was a bad spirit that now occupied the corpse, or rather the
body of the new Lazarus.
Some time ago I was called to see an Indian supposed to
be dying. What was my horror when coming in the house I
found them tieing together his arms and legs and actually preparing to bury him alive.
A young married woman had given birth to her first child.
She took convulsions and fainted away. No time was lost in
putting her in a box, and removing her into a cave close to the
village. Next morning a man went bathing in the neighborhood and heard the poor girl cry for pity. She was alive . . .
and, horrible to relate, she was left to die in her misery. Her
new-born baby soon followed her in death, having starved for
want of food. This happened at Nootka. I know a man
whose son, the father of a small family, took suddenly sick
through exposure; he seemed to have cramps all over his body
and became speechless. After four or five days the old man
ordered a coffin to be made and asked the services of three
young men—they narrated this to me themselves with delight—
to force the sick son into the box; they tied him hands and
feet, and having him well secured they did as they were told
by the heartless father, and took him out into the bush to perish
58 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
of misery. During all this transaction, the unfortunate fellow
groaned and seemed to ask them to have pity on him. They
were inclined to comply with his wishes, but they were told:
"Never mind, do as I tell you; my son is dead, the bad spirit
has hold of him and makes all this resistance."
Another case came to my notice as reported by an eyewitness : A middle-aged savage was cutting down a tree; it
fell unexpectedly and crushed one of his legs very badly. He
was carried home, bled a great deal and at last was pronounced
dead by the "medicine men," although every other witness
knew that he was only in a faint. Next morning as my informant was walking along the beach he noticed that one leg
stuck through the square box into which the body had been
placed, an evident sign that the man had been buried alive, and
that in order to free himself he had used the sound leg to break
the side of the box, the injured one having been too far destroyed or too painful to be used for the purpose.
In rare instances the Indians mutilate the bodies of the
dead before removing them. One case came to my knowledge.
A young couple had had several children, but they had all died
soon after birth. This happened again, and the father of the
dead child, upon the advice of the old people and with the
object that such a misfortune should not happen to him again,
literally broke every bone of the legs and arms of the dead
infant before placing it into the coffin.
The Indians up to this had never buried their dead under
ground. When it was time to remove a corpse, they made an
opening in the side of the house—they never took a corpse
through a door, especially on account of the children and
younger people who, as the savages thought, would die in case
they passed through the passage followed by people carrying a
corpse. They removed the dead through an opening made in
the wall by removing a few of the side boards of their houses—
then they walked if possible on the beach below high-water
mark. If the body was placed in a canoe, that canoe was afterwards destroyed. The bodies were removed to only a small
distance from the village and placed in a prominent place on
the limbs of trees ten or twenty feet from the ground. There
they were fastened to the body of the trees with strong cords
made of cedar bark; afterwards they were covered with
blankets; then a display was made by hanging blankets all
around. While this was going on, the people in the house,
especially the old women, gathered everything that had be-
59 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
longed' to the dead man or woman, made a fire outside,
threw all the relics into it and destroyed whatever was not
inflammable.
And now you could hear them in the houses cry and
lament and utter the most unearthly wailings that one can
listen to.
When men of importance die, the mourning is general and
the scenes that are enacted go beyond all limits. Those of a
lower rank are mourned by only their own relatives and nearest
friends.
A year later the relatives and friends of the deceased walk
all in a body to the tree where the body has been placed; they
open the box and taking out the skull they carry it to their
house and there keep it as a relic.
The idea is, I am told, to keep it from desecration, for the
skull of the dead is used as a "charm" to be successful as a
hunter, a warrior or a "medicine man." Yet, notwithstanding
all the precautions that are taken, you can find along the
streams in the bush different constructions that have been put
up by the natives where they used to go and pray for good luck
or success, and there you invariably find the skull of some
dead Indian!
July 10.—I arrived back from a trip along the coast with
six of the best and strongest young men. We were well received by the different tribes and visited them all, the Chiktlisats being met in a small bay near Cape Cook, the extreme
limit of the Mission of the Sacred Heart, of which I have
charge.
On our way back we called on the Ehattisat Indians living
near Tachu. There we found Chief Maquinna, being on his
father's side the chief of this tribe and on his mother's side
the chief of the Nootka or Mowachat people.
We were ushered into his lodge by the chief himself. His
Indian wife, the sister of Matlahaw, the man who shot me,
received us with evident signs of uneasiness and shame. However, I spoke to her kindly and my Indians also tried to make
her feel at home. After giving Catechism instructions to all
the Indians present I went outside with the object of saying
my office, and having retired to a certain distance from the
camp I felt annoyed to see Maquinna come and join me. I
found an excuse to send him away for a few minutes, and
availed myself of his absence to walk up a small creek where
60 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
I could say my office without being disturbed. When lo! I
saw my Hesquiat guides run about evidently in a great state
of excitement. They noticed me at last, and coming up they
told me to quit my place of refuge and not to go out of their
sight again. I knew not what they meant and followed their
advice. When night came I prepared myself to lie down in
the chief's house, who had acted, as it struck me then, in a very
suspicious way in the latter part of the afternoon.
I went to sleep about 10 o'clock and expected to have a
good night, for I was worn out with fatigue and the strong,
thick smoke of the open fire had almost made me blind.
Although I was lying on the bare boards I dozed off almost at
once.
Suddenly I felt an oppression on the chest. I awoke and
opening my eyes I saw the chief's face close to mine. His
eyes were staring out of their sockets and his heavy breath
Was suffocating. What did he want? What was his intention or purpose?
Next morning, just at daylight, I was aroused from my
couch by one of my crew; he told me to get up at once as
quietly as possible and follow him out of the ranch. I followed
his orders, but notwithstanding our precautions we were detected. We jumped into our canoe, the chief following us in
a rage down the beach, and abusing my people in most insulting
language.
However, no notice was taken. My men were at their
paddles and they did not take a breath till we were several
miles away; then looking behind and seeing that we were
not followed, one of them told of our dangerous position the
day before.
The chief was going to have me killed by one of his men
if he could not succeed in doing it himself. Then he was
going to accuse my guides of having committed the murder in
order to get even with them, for one of the men with me had
taken to Victoria and delivered to the police and authorities
the father of Matlahaw, the would-be murderer, and had
there accused the old man of having incited his son to do the
shooting. In answer to a question, I was told that such a
practice is very common with the savages of this coast, and
that many a war has had its origin and cause in false accusations of this kind.
July 16.—Townissim, the father of Matlahaw, arrives in
Hesquiat.
61 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
Townissim was the chief of Hesquiat and the father of
Matlahaw, who was acting as his successor.
A few days after the man-of-war had taken me to Victoria the Indians arranged a seach party, and they had promised to take the young chief to the authorities of the police
department, in case he could be found. All the ablebodied
men took part in it, and having started from a certain point
they meant to walk through the bush for miles around. However, they had hardly begun their work when one of the party
uttered a cry of alarm. They gathered together, and to their
horror they saw only a few paces away the body of a dead
man at the foot of a large, hollow tree. There could be no
mistake about it; it was he! He wore his uniform as chief,
and a medal presented by the Dominion Government on his
breast.
Horrified, they all retired—gave the news to their friends
and looked upon the spot as a place to be avoided. However,
before making this search they had already arrested Townissim,
the young chief's father, and taken him to Victoria. They accused him, and not without grave reason, that he was at the
bottom of all the trouble, and that Matlahaw had only acted
under orders from his father. Indeed, previous to the shooting, the old man had been seen for three successive mornings
in close private conversation with his son; then on the morning of the shooting he had left the village, even before daylight, taking along his grandchild, and had not been seen ever
since; from which the Indians concluded that the man knew
what was going to take place, and kept out of the way till
further developments.
Hence they had at once begun their search for him or for
both, when one morning noticing the smoke of a camp fire at
Entrance Point, they crossed in their canoes and arrested him.
He was six months in jail in Victoria, and then the news
that Matlahaw was dead having reached the authorities, he
was sent back with a caution, and in due time arrived in
Hesquiat.
July 25.—Townissim came to my house to-day just as
quite a number of Indians were in my house. I told them to
be kind to him and at the same time told him to show no ill
feelings against anybody.
August 23.—Notwithstanding my caution, Townissim is
inciting the Indians against me. I hear that the poor man is
in dread of being killed by his own subjects.    Hence, when-
62 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
ever he goes outside of his dwelling, he always carries a knife
concealed under his blanket.
September 25.—Good news to-day. The Bishop is on his
way to this place and is accompanied by a priest.
September 29.—Right Rev. C. J. Seghers, accompanied
by Rev. P. J. Nicolaye, arrives in Hesquiat a few minutes before midnight.
October ||—Feast of the Holy Rosary. The Bishop
blesses our new church, the first on the west coast of Vancouver Island, and places it under the patronage of St. An-
tonine. A procession is organized in which participate, besides
all the Hesquiat Indians, all the Machelats, a number of
Nootkas, Clayoquots and Ahousats.
October 8.—The Hesquiat chiefs are called together and
a grant of land is made, on which, in the distant future, it is
proposed to build a substantial church and to erect other buildings as circumstances may require. The ground may be taken
up at once and cultivated. A later grant of land was made
March 20th, 1886.*
October 10.—Reverend Father Nicolaye received leave to
stay with me during the winter. He is supposed to prepare
himself to take charge of a portion of my mission next spring.
October 12.—The Bishop leaves on the schooner Alert,
G. Brown, captain, and returns to Victoria, his visit to the
Mission having created quite an excitement amongst the Indians, as he has told them that they must prepare for baptism.
I avail myself of the opportunity to commence preaching
against their superstition with new zeal and determination.
But oh! how far they are from having the least idea of
Christianity and a Christian life. We have a mountain to remove which only God's grace can help us to do.
At this time of the year many of our Indians go up the
inlets and rivers with the object of making new canoes. Up on
the hillsides or on the lowlands they cut down a cedar tree and
with a common axe cut off a length according to the size required for the purposes of the canoe, i.e., sealing fishing, sea
otter hunting, or travelling. Then they put the proper shape
to it, very roughly, first outside, then inside. Next they invite
some friends and together they pull the clumsy frame to the
stream or to the ocean and then float it and pull it on shore
before their houses in the village. When otherwise unemployed, especially in the early morning and toward evening, they
•See page 132.
63 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
use a peculiar hand chisel or adze (in old times they used a
chisel of stone or of horn of the antlers of elk), and with
wonderful patience they cut off chip after chip, till the frame
is reduced to the proper thickness—say one inch or more for
the sides and double that much for the bottom. Then knotholes are filled up, finishing pieces put in, and when all this is
done a fire is made under the canoe, raised up from the ground
on blocks, and the bottom is rendered perfectly smooth. All
the work is done without instruments to go by or measure; yet
most of these Indian canoes are so true and so well shaped and
proportioned that not even an expert could detect the least
flaw or imperfection.
October 22.—All the natives of the tribe have come to
church to-day, even those living up the inlet and rivers.
I make a rule (in church) that all the people—men,
women and children—must wear at least a shirt, and that no
one will be admitted into my house except he wears a shirt
under his blanket. After this I show them the absurdity of
some of their superstitions.
As this is the "salmon season," the old people are as usual
preaching to the tribe the propriety of conforming with the
old established regulations lest this great article of food should
leave the neighborhood and not come back again in the future.
For instance, salmon should not be cut open with a knife; it
should not be boiled in an iron pot, nor given as food to dogs
or cats. The bones must be carefully collected and thrown
into the sea, and under no consideration must it be given to any
white man, including the priest, lest he prepare it in lard or a
frying pan. It should not be taken to the houses in baskets,
but carefully carried one in each hand. These and many other
details will show what an amount of absurdities were in these
people's minds. They were in utter darkness without the
light of the Gospel.
It is almost humiliating to have to say that this and like
matters formed to-day the subject of my sermon, and that it
created quite a revolution in the camp. In fact, it had the
effect of my presence here becoming a cause of alarm and a
matter of regret on the part of the full grown men and women
in the village.
November 1.—For some time the Indians in discussing
with me their customs and beliefs have been talking about a
mountain said to be inhabited by a ghost or spirit. It seems to
be the main prop of their creed, and it struck me that if I
64
1 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
could not prove this to be a fraud, I could not hope to uproot
the rest of their superstitions. Hence I resolved to visit the
mountain so often spoken about, and show them that they had
been deceived by their forefathers.
According to the legend, nine men have died on the top
of that mountain through entering a cave, the home of the
ghost, without having first made the requisite preparations.
Some of those preparations are, to be fasting during ten days,
and to abstain from all relations with the other sex during ten
months. The natives here, be it noticed, have an immense
idea of continence and they attribute to the fact of my vow of
chastity that when their chief shot me I was not killed on the
spot. Hence, in preparation for their wars, their hunting
parties and every undertaking of great importance they keep
or pretend to keep strictly continent.
The legend continues that only one man has entered the
home of the ghost; and that he used to.do so every year. In
consequence of which he was most successful in the whale
hunt, an average catch being ten whales per season.
His nine brothers begged of him one day to be allowed
to accompany him on the hazardous expedition. After using
every means to dissuade them and seeing that still they would
insist, he at last complied with their request and the ten travelled together to the top of the mountain. The hero of the
expedition insisted that the brothers should enter first into the
cave, the supposed home of the ghost. One after the other
entered as he was told; the tenth was just about to do so, too,
when all of a sudden the entrance closed up and remained
closed till the nine unfortunate men had been torn to pieces
and devoured by animals the size of a mink. The hero of the
story reported what had happened upon his arrival in the
camp, and ever since that time the cave on the mountain has
been looked upon as a famous sacred spot. The report adds
that as soon as anybody approaches the top of the mountain
pieces of rocks and pebbles are thrown at the visitor and the
ghost is heard to groan from a distance. This it also does
when a severe easterly storm approaches.
Having been obliged to manifest my plan in order to
secure a crew to carry me to the foot of the famous mountain,
and, if willing, to accompany me to the top thereof, I meet with
general disapprobation from the tribe. All the important men
put their strength together and are determined to prevent me
from carrying out my plan.    Consequently they come to my
65 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
house and by violent gesticulations and with shouts declare
that I cannot go; that no Indians shall accompany me; that
if I do go I am sure not to come back alive. Two young men
who had promised to accompany me are deterred from doing
so. Only one intrepid fellow keeps his promise. The Indians
threaten to kill him in case he does not bring me back alive.
Seeing that all their efforts to prevent me are useless, the Indians retire full of dissatisfaction and anger, assured that I
will perish in the attempt, and subsequently that my fellow
white men will blame them for having been indirectly the
cause of my death.
Late in the evening an old man, in order to make up for
the conduct of his son, who after having promised to accompany me, had afterwards backed out, brings word that he himself will be a member of our party—and adds that he will take
along an axe to knock the ghost on the head!
November 2.—After offering up the Holy Sacrifice of
the Mass I warned the Indians that I would leave at once, and
that I hoped that no further resistance would be made. I took
along Father Nicolaye who was very anxious to accompany us.
We arrived at noon at the foot of the famous mountain
(3,000 feet high), called by the natives, "Kwo ah-all." We
experienced very little or no difficulty in ascending it, for it is
clear of brushwood and covered only thinly with cedar trees,
some of which are remarkable for their size. At four o'clock
we were at the foot of an immense bluff which crowns the
mountain and which to the southeast is of a dark red color.
According to the report of the Indians, this mysterious cave
is southeast of the bluff. Without losing any time we wended
our ■ way in that direction. Meanwhile our guides began to
make the remark that they heard no noise, that no pebbles or
rocks were thrown at us; which gave them such courage that
they were determined to .find the cave, if there was any, even
at the risk of their lives! But our search, which lasted several
hours, was in vain; and after travelling till dark on and around
the bluff without finding any mysterious opening or cave, we
concluded that we would look for a good camping place, and
return home next morning, and report that, as we knew beforehand, the story of the nine dead men and the ten whales is an
Indian yarn. Just before retiring for the night one of the
Indians ascended to the summit of the mountain and fired off
the two barrels of his gun to arouse as he said the ghost from
his lethargy in case he should be asleep.    The report of the
66 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
gun was heard by several Hesquiat Indians who were camped
three miles away from the foot of the mountain.
We enjoyed ourselves capitally on the top of the famous
mountain. We spent a most pleasant night around a large fire
which our guides had started and which they kept going till
morning. However, we suffered considerably for want of
water as none can be found beyond midway of the large
mountain.
November 3.—Our descent from the mountain, which we
commenced at daylight, was very pleasant till we came within
an hour's walk from water's edge. Then we stood before,
precipices frightfully deep, which delayed our return home for
several hours, as we had repeatedly to return on our tracks and
find other paths. At last we arrived at the spot where we had
left our canoe the day before with no other mishap save that
my Newfoundland dag, which we had taken along as a bodyguard, had fallen into one of the ravines mentioned above
and could not be gotten out.
We arrived at the mission about dusk. Our mission flag
was hoisted at the stern of our canoe as a sign of victory of
the Cross over pagan superstitions. Upon our landing no
Indians could be seen outside of the houses; only one man
came to meet us. He was a young fellow who had backed out
of his promise to accompany us the day before, and upon
seeing us come home alive the first remark which he made
was to the effect that now he was convinced that the Indian
belief and legends were pure inventions.
November 4.—Great excitement and confusion. I had no
visitors to-day.
November 5.—This being Sunday quite a number were
at Mass. I availed myself of the opportunity to speak again
against their superstitions and bring in a few items about our
trip to the mountain, and finished by exhorting them to abandon their old Indian, pagan belief.
After Mass one of the chiefs invites the tribe to his house,
where speeches are made by all the most influential men, who
exhort their friends to hold on to the old faith and pagan
customs. In proof of their being on the side of truth they
give as a proof the loss of my Newfoundland dog. The priest
was not hurt and came back alive because he is a bachelor
and continent.
November 6.—Having sent a couple of Indians to look
after my dog, with the promise of a pair of blankets in case
67
w Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
they can bring him back alive, the brute is brought home in
sound condition.
The Indians say very little, but I notice that their minds
are not calm.
November 10.—It is reported that the leaders of the tribe
are using all means in their power to keep their influence over
the people, and are making speech after speech to the young
men to stick to the old practices.
I am having a great time here. I noticed before now
that when the Bishop appointed me to come to this coast I was
getting charge of a great parish. Their superstitions are so
numerous and so absurd that they are almost incredible. Just
think of it! they won't allow us again to have any salmon
for fear that I might fry it in lard, or boil it in an iron pot!
I will get the better of them anyway—to-morrow I will go out
fishing myself, if the weather permits.
November 11.—I asked a couple of boys to come with me
and have a canoe ride on the bay. I took along a line and a
spoon bait. Before speaking of my good luck I must first
state that yesterday I had sent a young man for a salmon and
had paid three fishhooks for it. The owner of the salmon was
out at the time, so the messenger simply told the woman in the
house that he was taking one of the "sacred" fish for the
priest and in due time he gave it to me. However, when the
owner of the salmon came home he was told that one was
missing. He at once called three of his friends to accompany
him to my house, and seeing the now famous salmon about to
pass under the knife, he sprang forward, toek it away and
throwing to me the three fishhooks he went his way growling.*
This upset me so much that, as said above, I resolved to
go out fishing myself.
As soon as I got away from shore with my boys I threw
out a line and spoon-bait, when lo! after a few minutes we
caught a fine large salmon. I did not care to get any more and
so I returned to the village.
Upon landing, I called the dog and putting the salmon
into a basket, which mode of carrying such fish was against
the rules, the brute took the basket up and preceded me home.
Of course no Indian would attempt to molest the large, faithful
animal. Quite a number of men and chiefs assembled in my
house, and protested against my using a knife or frying-pan.
I took no notice of their protestations and proceeded with my
68 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
work, my only aim being to show that their superstitions were
absurd and to try by all and every means to get them to give
them up.
November 14.—A young man, 'Clawish, has gone out to
the inlet, a great place for salmon, and proposes to let us have
some in spite of the opposition of the tribe.
Toward evening a couple of young men come to the house
with some salmon. I notice that the head is cut off, and the
fish split open—perhaps too the fish is not fresh. I send them
off with my compliments, for I have been told that the superstitious observances are only applied in the case of fresh
salmon not yet beheaded or cut open.
November 20.—Clawish brings us a supply of fresh
salmon. It is easy to notice the feelings of indignation of the
old people, but they are afraid to do more than make a few
remarks of remonstrance, owing to the presence of seven white
men, who have just arrived, and propose to go prospecting to
Machelat Arm for gold, and on our peninsula for coal.
At a meeting of the tribe the chief speaker predicts famine
for the rest of the winter.
November 25.—After a spell of stormy weather the sea
has become calm and the Indians have gone out fishing. The
salmon is abundant—hundreds of the large fish are brought
to the camp.
November 30.—A second meeting of the chiefs took place
last night. When everyone was in bed one of the chiefs sent
a messenger to awaken all the inferior chiefs and call them to
his house. The great subject anent the salmon was discussed,
most of the men inclining to give up the superstitions and make
peace with the "priest."
"Tom-Sik Lepieds," a famous old cripple, and a notorious
thief and rascal, is arrested by the local Indian policemen. He
is accused and found guilty of stealing an old blanket, a piece
of tobacco and one yard of Indian beads. He was condemned
by the chief constable to pay a. fine of two new blankets, within
one week from date. If not paid within the time mentioned,
Tom is to return to the courtroom of the Mission-house, and
submit to having his hair cut off and his head shaven. The
theft was committed during Mass on the occasion of the blessing of the church.
December 5.—I went to Barclay Sound with six men in
an Indian canoe, according to orders received from His Lordship, Bishop Seghers.    I made arrangements with the Indians
69 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
of that Sound, about establishing a mission. The spot which
I selected is Namukamis, the property of the Ohiat Indians.
Upon my arrival here early in the morning, we noticed
quite a number of people sitting before the houses as is their
wont.
One of them got up and made a speech. My guides told
me that he was insulting us and objected to our landing; that
they wanted no priest and could take care of themselves without the help of the white men.
We had noticed on our travels that the Indians on this
coast have a horror of having what they say written down.
So I quietly took a pocketbook and pretended to write down
the gist of the savage's speech. Whereupon he stopped at
once and disappeared behind one of the houses. We then
quietly landed, were invited to enter the lodge of the chief, and
were kindly received by him and his family.
All the Indians assembled in the chief's large house about
noon, and after baptizing the newly born children I explained
to the meeting the object of my visit.
The Indians rejoiced at the idea of having a resident
priest in their neighborhood and the chief told us so in a neat
speech, adding that we could have all the land we required for
the purpose, and make our own selection as to locality.
December 21.—Upon my return home Rev. Father Nico-^
laye reports everything orderly in Hesquiat.
December 26.—We had midnight Mass. Nearly all the
men of the tribe were present, but only very few women. At
midnight Mass, which I sang myself, I preached on the mystery
of the day.
December 27.—The young men, I am reliably informed,
are all, with very few exceptions, doing the "osemich."
The osemich is a religious practice resorted to by all the
Indians of this coast, and is considered to be of the greatest
importance and necessity. It is a mode of praying, transmitted
from one generation to another.
After inquiries made of different individuals I discovered
that the Indians do not all have the same way of performing
this religious practice. Yet they all consider it necessary as a
preparation for everything of great importance, be it the hunt,
the war, or the like.
They address a mysterious being—one they call "Ha-we-
im," who dwells over the mountains—to him they pray for
whales, sea-otters, seals, bears and the like.
70 71
Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
Kwa-yetsim is the favorite of the medicine men, and all
the people have recourse to him for health. f.'*$$
They have also one whom they address to give them
abundance of fish and is called Hawitl-illsois.
When the sun rises and just before he sets, young mothers
pray to that orbit for a happy delivery at child-birth. One of
the main rules to be observed is to go inside the house just
before sundown and not to go out again for fear of harm. The
moon is also prayed to. But one man told me that his uncle
who initiated him, made him pray to a being—not mentioning
the name or locality of its existence—who had it in its power
to give him sea-otters, seals, etc.
When they are at sea in bad or dangerous weather they
pray to a queen "Hakoom"—above or beyond the seas. They
ascribe to her the heaving or swelling of the waves. Then
they shout out to her asking her to cause the waves to calm
down.
With some Indians the "osemich" is a very severe performance. They fast four days, are up at night and dive in the
sea four times each night, four different times at a turn, and as
they rise above the waves, they speak out in shout-like utterances asking for sea-otters or the like that they may become
rich or big chiefs. Others have only two nights on the sea,
and they confine themselves to swimming and praying as above.
Others again do not take to the salt water at all.
But bathing in fresh water is required by all and in all
cases—by some, four days; others, only two—however, every
one goes in turn apart from the tribe and the company of his
friends to pray. As a rule the savage goes to the woods, strips
naked alongside of a stream or a clear pool of water and then
rubs his body with a kind of grass, of brushwood or roots,
leaving in many cases the marks on his body and not seldom
drawing blood from his cheeks and chest. The number of
bunches of this "charm" varies according to the instructions
received from the one by whom he has been initiated. During
all the time that he rubs his body and members thereof he constantly repeats in short shout-like accents a formula of prayer
expressing the object he prays for, be it sea-otters, seals, health,
bravery or what not.
You will often find in the neighborhood of where the
Indian goes to pray a skeleton, bunches of charms, of weeds
put together in a bunch and also small cedar sticks put up to
represent a man with a spear in his hands aimed at a bunch
of fern-roots or the like, representing a fur seal. Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
Then the savage has in his house his own medicine
(charm), which he keeps sacred and uses as circumstances,
in his opinion, call for. He keeps them from the view of other
Indians, hides them with care and only in extreme cases, such
as the dangerous sickness of a child, does he make a display of
them. One of our Indians the other day, either through
pride or with some other object in view, perhaps the appeasing
of the bad spirit who was in his sick boy, exposed his "charms"
before all those present in his house—the subject was very
much talked about.
The charms which the Indians keep concealed are the
bones of dead people, also hair, nails of the hands, beaks of
birds, feathers, etc., etc.
I know an Indian who went sealing the other day, and as
he left he opened the coffin of an old woman, cut or plucked
out one or both of her eyes, put them in his pocket and when
he arrived at the sealing ground he took them in his hands and
rubbed his face with them in the region of his eyes as a means
to best clear them and discover from a great distance the seals
as they were sleeping on the waves.
When the Indians do the "osemich" they have recourse
to a great many ways besides those mentioned above; but they
all amount to very much the same thing and can all be ranked
under the name of superstitious practices. The old people
preach strict continence to the young men; and none, who do
not live apart from their wives, can expect to be successful in
the pursuit of whales or fur seals. As a preparation the time
limit is ten months for whales and five months for fur seals.
This mode of living is only to be given up when the hunting
season is at an end.
In order to avert evil the Indians have recourse to different
means. On the occasion of an eclipse I have known them to
throw baskets of food into the sea, at the same time uttering a
formula of prayer. I have also in unfavorable weather at sea,
seen them throw food on the waves; heard them blow a whistle
which they use on the occasion of the "wolf" festivities. After
a bad dream about a child', the parents of the child paint its
face red, burn a blanket, calico, prints or something of the kind
to appease the bad spirit or their divinity.
January 10, 1877.—About midnight we were called up by
about half a dozen Hesquiat Indians, who, coming from the
inlet, brought the news of chief Nitaska's death. Nitaska, although ifot the head chief of the tribe, was considered as the
ft Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
most influential man here and was renowned all along the coast.
He was a fine orator.
At the request of the messengers we rang the chureh bell
and in a few minutes nearly all the men of the tribe were at
the mission buildings.
The excitement was immense. The shouting and the unearthly cries of the people at this unusual hour of the night
frightened both women and children.
Directly, speeches began to follow the first excitement.
They all amounted to the same sentiment: "Nitaska is not
dead, for he has children." The man is supposed to have been
swamped as he passed in his canoe too close to a well-known
whirlpool, where several Indians are said to have been drowned.
January 11. — Nitaska's death is a great event m this
region. All the tribe are crying and general gloom hangs over
the village. The dead man was evidently a great favorite and
very much liked.
As for us, we consider his death almost a blessing for our
work. The man's influence was too great and he was inclined
to work against us as regards the conversion of the people.
The Indians say that his body is not in the salt water
because, if it were in the sea, there would not be any herring,
whereas to-day there are immense schools of the fish up the
inlet.
Availing themselves of the state of mind of the Indians,
three medicine-women go into trances and predict the death of
the second chief of the tribe. This gives his parents considerable uneasiness.
This, I am told, is an old dodge of that class of impostors.-
Their object is to get presents from the relatives or parents of
those whose death they predict—which being given, death does
not occur!
January 24.—One medicine-woman caused a deal of excitement in the tribe this morning. She just came out of the
tent, her head covered with down, dancing and shaking her
head as one who has fits, and meanwhile spitting out mouthfuls
of blood. In this state she rushes into the homes of the three
first chiefs, predicts death for the sons of the families and
causes general alarm. One of the families gives her a blanket,
another a bladder of whale oil; but the third, more sensible
than the others, takes no notice of her doings. At last she
retires, to the great relief of the credulous. Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
January 27.—One Indian having died after a few days of
sickness, the cause of his death is explained as follows: his dog
(the dead man's dog) was a few days previous sleeping alongside of his master. At daylight the dog went outside and
began to howl. . . A few days later the man took sick and
soon died. Hence the cause of his death is ascribed to the
howling of the dog.
January 28.—Subsequent to the drowning of Nitaska a
short time ago, Townissim, the father of the would-be murderer, Matlahaw, got into unexpected trouble. Nitaska was the
leader of a crew who had taken the old chief Townissim to the
police authorities in Victoria. He was a rival of the first chief,
Townissim, and had been instrumental in capturing him and
removing him to jail.
The old people ever since the death of their favorite,
Nitaska, felt very morose, and some of the most wicked spread
the news and attributed the accident to the fact that chief
Townissim, ever since his return from Youil, had constantly
prayed for the death of Nitaska. Hence they secretly resolved
to kill him! But secrets among Indians are likely to leak out,
and so it happened in this case.
The plan for killing Townissim was very simple. A day
was determined, a Sunday after High Mass. A feast was announced to take place in one of the houses; all the Indians
were to be present; whilst they would be eating, a daring old
warrior was to get up without warning and stab the old chief ;
that was to be a signal for others to get up and stab him to
death.
Just before Mass a young Indian, a relative of the chief,
walked into my house downhearted and looking despondent.
He told me about the events that were to take place and pleaded
for my interference. I sent for the old chief and cautioned
him against going to the entertainment. I need hardly add
that he strictly followed my instructions.
Next I sent for the man (Tsokwit) who was to commit the
murder and put him on his guard. He did not deny his evil
intentions and that of the tribe. But after a good deal of
reasoning he promised that he would not commit the crime.
However, the old chief more than ever abstained from going
out alone after dark. And then, whether day or night, he
always carried a weapon concealed under his clothes.
March 1.—Ever since the beginning of the last month, with
the exception of the last three days, the Indians have been un-
74 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
able to go out fishing and have suffered very much from hunger.
This circumstance I made use of to make the Indians understand that the idea that chiefs will send food—whales or fish—-
to their relatives from the other world after their death was
absurd. Nitaska was a great chief and yet sent no whale or
food to his starving Hesquiat relatives. I am almost losing
patience and use every opportunity to impress on their minds
the idea that they will have to renounce their old pagan belief.
March 8.— There arrived here last night four Kyuquot
men on a very important errand. As they walked into our
Indian room, they presented a most alarming appearance.
Their faces were painted black with a red circle around their
eyes. Their only covering was a piece of blanket around their
waist and in their hands they held Indian muskets pointed as
if ready for shooting. They were followed by a number of
my Hesquiat Indians, who were suspicious of evil designs on
the part of the visitors, and were prepared for any emergency.
One of the strangers, acting as spokesman, placed the butt of
his gun on the floor and held it with one hand whilst with the
other he made indescribable gestures. Then his chest began
to heave, and, panting for breath, he at last spoke out in a loud
coarse voice. He had big news to tell. His son, a lad whom
I knew well, was missing. The report had it that whilst on
his way from Puget Sound to his home in Kyuquot, his canoe
had capsized when off one of the Nittinat villages at the entrance of the Straits of Fuca. Thence, having reached shore
alive, he and three of his companions had traveled on foot with
the object of reaching one of the Ohiat villages near Barclay
Sound. This was only a report, but the speaker, the father
of the young man and a very influential man at home, was of
opinion that by this time his young son was with the Ohiat
Indians. This idea seemed to have a great effect on the state
of his mind. However, he added that, if his son had been
maltreated by the Nittinat Indians or killed by them, two
hundred warriors of the Kyuquot tribe would come on the
warpath and avenge the death of the young chief.
The four men here now are a detachment of a crew of
twenty men now camped at Vamis and detained by head winds.
They intend to walk back to the spot where they left their
friends and then sail to the Nittinat coast, as soon as the
weather allows.
March 20.—This day is marked by a welcome change in
the condition of the natives. Since the 5th of the month, the
Indians had been unable to go fishing and had very little food
75 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
in their houses. They were actually starving and their little
children crying for food. You can see the misery on the faces
of both old and young. The oldest people assert that within
their memory they have never been in such a state of distress.
To-day, the weather being fine, an abundance of herrings and
salmon are brought to the camp.
As regards the spiritual state of the tribe it is worse than
ever. They blame me for the absence of food. They laugh
at the doctrine which I teach. I gain nothing by making the
Sign of the Cross. I am neither a white man nor an Indian.
I am the (Chig-ha) devil!
March 25.—This day, Palm Sunday, Rev. Father Nicolaye
left after Mass for Barclay Sound (Ucluliat), there to join
a schooner which is soon expected to sail from thence to Victoria. Complaints of illness are the cause of his departure.
I am under the impression that the poor Father is not really
sick, but sick at heart to see the discouraging state of affairs
here. And indeed our position would almost make an angel
lose heart and courage. Solitude, we have not seen a white
man since October; we have not received any mail for several
months; our provisions are nearly all gone and what remains
is of the poorest kind. And our Indians are as bad, and as
much attached to their pagan ideas and superstitions as before
we commenced our work and took up our residence here.
Father Nicolaye left me. God bless the poor man and restore
him to health!
I am now again alone with not a friend to speak to!
March 30.—There is some rejoicing in the camp since this
morning, when a canoe of visitors brought the news that there
was scarcity of provisions and a great deal of distress in all
the villages on the coast. When our Indians meet with misfortune they always feel much relieved when they hear that
others of their class have met with misfortune also. Hence,
my people feel good to-day, because they have not alone suffered for want of provisions, but other tribes have fared as badly
as they themselves.
April 28.—Rev. Father Nicolaye arrived back from Victoria about midnight per Indian canoe. He seems to be completely recovered.
He brought back orders from the Bishop that I must
leave at once and report in the episcopal city, where a synod is
to be held.
76 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
The canoe which brought the father took me to Clayoquot
where I found the schooner "Anna Beck," Douglas Warren in
command.
May 15.—I arrived back at the mission to-day about noon.
With the exception of Father Nicolaye all the priests of the
diocese were present at the synod.
May 20.—To-day, Pentecost Sunday, all the Indians are
at Mass, save three men and a few women. As I had told
them on Easter Sunday that I would call on this day for the
names of those who would be baptized, I received ninety-four
men and women on the list of candidates for baptism. It is
evident that the movement is too general to be worthy of confidence. All the medicine-men and women offer themselves
as candidates for instruction as a preparation for the sacrament
of regeneration.
January 5, 1878.—I arrived here yesterday from Namu-
kamus, Barclay Sound, where I had been since the 24th of last
August, superintending the building of a new mission to be
dedicated to Almighty God, under the patronage of St. Leo the
Great.
Before leaving for the Yukon River, Alaska Territory,
the Right Rev. C. J. Seghers commissioned me to go and superintend the building of the new mission. Consequently I left
Hesquiat at the end of July, and went to Victoria in order to
make the necessary preparations and engage a reliable carpenter. Rev. Father Nicolaye, for whom the new mission was to
be built, remained meanwhile in Hesquiat, and attended to my
Indians and work there.
I left Victoria on the schooner "Favorite," Hugh McKay
captain, on the 23rd of August, accompanied by a French-
Canadian carpenter called Morrin, and arrived the next day
in a small bay on Copper Island opposite the Sarita Valley and
river. From there we went and carried in canoes our provisions and tools, and selected a spot for the buildings close to
the Namukamus Village.
Our first work was to put up a small cabin, 12x12 feet.
This was to be our residence for over four months. The walls
of our cabin were made of flooring, the roof of flooring and
the floor was mother-earth. As it happened, the weather
turned out to be very moist. For three months we were living
as if in a cloud; it rained day and night. It soon appeared
that our roof was not close, the water freely streaming through &
Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
the crevices, and as the wind occasionally blew quite lively, we
soon found out that our walls were not much of a protection
against the dampness of the season. Our cabin was built on
a slope and the water streaming from the hill above found its
way to the Pacific Ocean over our uncovered floor. No wonder
that our carpenter would make the remark now and again:
"that only for our strong constitutions we could not stand it."
My work was to look after the Indian laborers and do the
cooking. We had a bunk on each side of the cabin, a stove in
the middle, and a small table and a bench at the end of the
room. Under the bunks we stowed our provisions—bacon,
potatoes, rice and beans. The flour we kept in a small barrel
•as a protection from the mice which infested our odd dwelling.
I made bread as often as required. The Indians we fed on
biscuit and molasses. One morning, having neglected to cover
the bucket in which we kept our molasses over night, I found
twenty-four mice drowned in the sweet stuff. I carefully
picked them out, unseen by the Indians, who afterward continued to enjoy their molasses and biscuit as if nothing had
happened. The Indians, unaccustomed to a white man's food,
enjoyed their fare immensely.    The carpenter also was satis-
hesquiat mission
78 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
fied with my culinary efforts, and altogether we had rather a
pleasant time.
We squared the logs for the new building which was
64x26 feet; twenty feet being walled off for the residence of
the priest in charge. The work of the Indians consisted in cutting down the trees, next picking them with their axes, and
after the carpenter had finished squaring them, taking them
down to the site of the building. We found all the timber
which we required on the spot. We even made the shingles
ourselves—and with the exception of the flooring and window
cases no lumber was used from the saw mills. It was slow
work, yet it was pleasant to see a lot of wild men at work and
to hear from morning till night the noise of the axe or hammer
in this wild part of the world.
I said the first Mass in the new building on Christmas
Day, and Rev. Father Nicolaye having arrived at his new residence on New Year's Eve, I left on the second day of the year
for Hesquiat in the canoe which had brought my former assistant to his new field of labor.
From the beginning of this year all the Indians of Barclay
Sound and down to Port San Juan inclusive will be attended to
from St. Leo's Mission, of which Rev. P. J. Nicolaye is the
first resident pastor.
Before taking charge of his new mission of Barclay
Sound, Rev. Father Nicolaye gave me a short account of the
conduct of the Hesquiat Indians during my five-months' absence, of which the following is a synopsis.
He continued to preach Sunday after Sunday against the
Indians' superstitious worship and the Indian medicine-men.
He told them that none could expect to be baptized except they
would first abandon their superstitious practices. In a moment
of fervor forty men and women resolved to comply with the
conditions and gave in their names. Before ten days had
elapsed ten of the number had transgressed the rules. In a
few days more, sickness having broken out in the settlement,
recourse was freely had to the medicine-men and women. In
short, when he left for his new mission only seven had remained faithful. The struggle between good and evil is very
great. The old people are most determined to frustrate our
plans of converting the tribe. Two of them—Eskowit and
Eagakom—have declared that they will kill the priest in case
their sons come to die with sickness without having consulted
the medicine-men or women—that is, if they have acted at the
instigation of the priest.
79 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
A young man—Nagokwit—one day entered the house and
began to abuse Father Nicolaye. Next he raised his hand to
strike the Father, but he was pushed back and prevented from
carrying out his design by some friendly Indians who happened
to be present.
January 15.—On the feast of the Epiphany very few Indians were at Hesquiat, almost all the tribe being at the time
fishing at the head of the inlet.
The weather being better last Sunday all the men came to
Hesquiat to attend church; there were also quite a number of
women.
It is evident that the people would like to be good and become Christians, but their prejudices are too strong yet and
their superstitions too deeply rooted. I notice that the leaders
against us and those who follow their instructions most closely
are ashamed of themselves; most of them keep out of my way
altogether.
The few who are preparing for baptism are young men
and three young women. The old people are once more holding up their old superstitions as regards the winter salmon.
There was a row on account of some of the most reasonable,
threatening to use their iron pot as a utensil for boiling fresh
salmon.
January 22.—A dead whale was found on the beach this
side of Estevan Point. It was cut up by the natives who reside
here at this time of year—every one helps himself the best
way he can—almost all the chiefs and the rightful owners of a
share of the big fish are absent at the inlet—these, upon hearing the news of the stranding of the fish hurry to Estevan
Point, but find that very little is left for them. This greatly
enrages them and trouble is imminent. However, they confine themselves to going from house to house and taking away
all the blubber they come across. This amounted to very little,
for the thieves had concealed the principal part of their booty
in the bush with the expectation of fetching it home when the
excitement is over.
January 25.—I am informed that most of the blubber of
the famous whale is now being boiled and the oil pressed out
away in the bush.
March 1.—Since the middle of January there has been
great scarcity of food. Owing to the easterly gales which
commenced last October and which have not been interrupted
by fair weather except for a few days about New Year's, the
80 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
Indians all along the coast have been unable to go out fishing.
As the natives of this coast have no food except fish, and
several tribes had been unable to lay in a provision of dry
salmon last season, it follows that those tribes are almost starving—and all, without exception are very hard up. The second
chief of the tribe, a nice young fellow, came to my house to
day, about noon. He told me in a pathetic tone that my dog
had entered his house and had taken away a piece of whale
blubber, the only food there was left for him and his parents,,
and asked me to lend him some flour so that they might have a
decent meal for a day or two. The flour was given with a good
heart and the poor fellow went away rejoicing. I find it very
hard and painful to see the sufferings of these people for want
of food.
March 3.—The state of the weather becomes more satisfactory and the Indians avail themselves of it to go out fishing.
Any amount of salmon is caught in the inlet and at Hesquiat.
The superstitions are as strong as last year. The old people are desperate and most abusive against any one who ventures to transgress the old customs. But quite a few of the
young people do not mind them.
March 11.—To-day a young fellow was whipped by the
police for running away with his uncle's Indian wife.
March 14.—The Indians are drying salmon. This was
never done before on this coast. The Indian basket is also
used to carry the famous fish to the houses from the canoes.
The number of those who got over the superstitions regarding
the winter salmon is so great that the advocates of the ancient
practices give up in despair the idea of trying to keep them alive
any longer.
A canoe arrives from Clayoquot and reports the Indians
of those parts in very great distress, owing to the lack of food.
One of their number, the Juggler, who claims the power
to make the herring flock to their harbor by incantations and
superstitious means, finds himself disappointed, not one herring
having thus far been seen in the neighborhood. A few days
ago he ordered the Indians out in their canoes, having noticed,
as he thought, by the appearance of immense flocks of sea-gulls,
that the herring was coming in shore. He claimed credit for
this event, but in the evening the canoes came back disappointed. Hence his father and his nearest relatives in public
speeches put the blame on one vicious young fellow who last
year had crushed with a stone the head of a fresh herring!
81 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
April 13.—This beautiful weather of the last two weeks,
and which will continue fine, puts an end to the destitution of
the Indians. There is an abundance of salmon, codfish, halibut, rock cod, etc.
The women had, since the beginning of the famine through
bad weather and rain, gone out to their different fern and wild
clover patches to dig up fern, clover and other roots for the
food of their families. Now they look happy and contented
as they cut up the fish, hang it up to dry in the sun or prepare
it for the use of their households.
April 14.—I received this morning intelligence of the
death of Pope Pius IX.—R. I. P.—and the accession to the
pontifical throne of Leo XIII.    The late Pope died February 7.
April 17.—There was an Indian marriage to-day; this is
not the first or most important since I resided here. The marriages of the Indians of this coast are arranged by the parents
of the young people; at least this is the general rule. Girls
who have both parents alive are preferred to orphan girls, and
the daughters of chiefs or wealthy people are generally preferred to those of inferior Indians. The fact is, the Indian is
essentially a speculator. The parents of the young man are in
favor of a girl who has both parents alive because they hope
that these parents will continue to support their daughter by
giving her presents, clothing and other useful articles. In
many cases the wish of the young man is not much considered.
He is told by his parents or guardians that they are going to
propose to a certain girl, and, as a rule, he consents. Then
commences a number of secret visits of the elders, small articles
are given as presents, good humor, kindness, are all had recourse to, when at last the parents of the would-be benedict
invite the girl's parents and nearest relatives to a sumptuous
meal. If the secret has leaked out they almost invariably decline the invitation; but the food, in all cases most abundant,
is then carried to their houses. Sometimes it is returned, in
case the girl is to be refused and no union is to take place. In
other cases it is partaken of, but yet the news reaches the parents of the boy that their plans are to be frustrated, and another
article, generally of food, is returned to make up for that already consumed. If the invitation is accepted or the food distributed to the nearest relatives, it is a sign that there will be a
marriage.
Shortly after the preparatory step, two or three important
men go, still on the sly, and make more open proposals.    If no
82 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
answer is given, it is a good and fav6rable sign. Without
much delay quite a crowd of the most important men approach
the girl's parents or guardians, and speak plain and open language that everybody may listen to. It consists of first extolling the dignity and importance of the relatives of the future
bride and then giving a word of recommendation in the same
vein to the would-be bridegroom.
Sometimes an answer is given, but as often the speakers
are quietly told to retire to their houses. This means that the
matter is settled. The girl very often is not consulted, but it
is almost sure that she will not live with the young man except
she feels like it. Threats, entreaties and all kinds of means
will have no effect in many cases on even young girls when they
have made up their minds to marry somebody else. Yet the
marriage ceremony must take place if the parents have not
positively refused their assent to the union.
It commences by a crowd of people gathering on the beach
and walking in the direction of the house of the girl's parents
or guardians. They advance to the measure of the tambourine,
the women covered with feathers and their faces painted. They
all sing some of their old songs, and now and then one or
more of the women raise their voices above all the surrounding
"vacarm" and unearthly noise. They stand for a moment on
their heels and swing their bodies about, at the same time
stretching out their arms, over which hang their red and colored
blankets, and then they proceed to their destination. To the
looker-on, from a distance, it presents a savage, yet an attractive scene.
At last they all stop before the bride's residence, or the
house where the union is to be declared and contracted. One
of the important men acts as orator. For hours and hours he
stands at the head of the crowd, his face turned towards the
residence of the girl's parents. He talks and talks, mentioning
the reasons why and how; the noble deeds of the forefathers;
the importance of the clan! Call it flattery ? Why, in most
cases it is rank untruth. But never mind, his object is to
please, and he must obtain it. I have seen them and heard
them two and three days, talking all the while before a house,
whether there was anybody in it or not. To a civilized being,
it was the greatest entertainment possible.
While this is going on, one of the men, from time to time,
walks up to the door of the house and places one, two or more
83 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
blankets before it. Then there is a discussion, and again more
blankets are presented. The nearest relatives are included in
the recipients of presents.
At last it all finishes by the word being passed that the
girl is given to the boy to be his wife and a stop is put to
the ceremonies.
The age at which Indians marry varies, but it is an unusual case when a young woman is not married before she is
sixteen years old. Many of them are joined in wedlock at
thirteen and fourteen years. The young men now marry when
they are about sixteen or seventeen years old, but I am told
that in the past it was the custom to postpone looking for a
wife for a young man who was below twenty or twenty-two
years.
As said above, the girls are not openly consulted in matrimonial matters; their mothers, however, or aunts, or other
near relatives are generally informed privately and do a great
deal of persuading or dissuading of the future bride as regards
accepting as a husband the one on whose behalf the advances
are made. When the contracting ceremonies are over, it soon
leaks out whether the girl will consent to live with her husband.
If not, you will see on the face of the latter finger-nail
scratches, or on his back a torn shirt, or other marks or expressions that his new life is a hard one, and that in an attempt
to make love to her, who is supposed to be his wife, he has met
with resistance and even hard treatment. This sometimes lasts
for weeks, and then, after a worse scene than ever, the young
man packs up and returns to his own home.
It is, however, Unusual to have a union broken off so peremptorily. In most cases it is only a bluff. Indians are very
touchy, and in matrimonial cases they are very much determined that their friends shall not find an occasion to jeer at
them for having been left.
So then, after a time, new advances are made and. a number of the most intimate friends of the discarded husband go in
a body to the parents of the girl, make more speeches and especially more presents to the relatives of the girl, when, in all
likelihood, the favorable answer will be given again. And so
it goes on till the girl finally consents or gives unmistakable
signs that she forever repudiates the idea of becoming the wife
of the young man whom she has discarded from the beginning.
The Wedding Feasts.—When a favorable answer has been
obtained the father or guardian of the young man sends a
number of presents, especially articles of food, to the parents
84 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
of his new daughter-in-law. Without much delay, the tribe
are invited to a feast of food, at the end of which it is announced to all present that the occasion of the feast is the marriage
of his daughter, the food having been sent by the guardians
of his new son-in-law. Meanwhile, the young wife has been
entertained at a choice meal by her new parents-in-law, after
partaking of which she returns to her parents' home. These,
in their turn, a day or two later, take their daughter to her new
home and deliver her over to her husband, at the same time
making suitable presents of food, which are also partaken of
by the whole tribe. Compliments are passed during the meal,
and general rejoicings are engaged in. In the evening especially, the Indians assemble in the house where the young people'
reside, and sing and dance, and have a general good time.
It is always understood in the minds of the Indians that
in case no offspring be born to the newly married couple it
will be in order for the young man to separate from his wife
and contract a new alliance. This is also the case where
children are born, but die soon after birth. All Indians, without distinction, want an heir, and the old people especially will
discard a daughter-in-law who is not the mother of at least one
grandchild.
June 18.—There was one peculiarity about the marriage
that took place yesterday. The young man for whom the ceremonies were gone through was absent in Nootka Sound during
the performance, and he knew only upon landing that he is now
a married man.
When marriages are contracted between parties of different tribes the ceremonies are about the same, save that the
strangers come in their canoes, which they ornament with a
symbol of some kind having reference to old-time ideas, or
legends or important facts.
A singular case came to my notice with reference to a
marriage of two parties of different tribes. They were already married two days and the man had not yet spoken to his
wife; in fact, he did not know which girl he was married to!
July 29.—Having made a trip to Victoria where I arrived
June 20, Feast of Corpus Christi, I just returned and am sorry
to learn that during my absence the greatest disorder has reigned in the camp. Some of the young men who, as I thought,
were preparing for baptism were among the leaders.
September 1.—I have just made a trip to Chiktlisat, and
Way tribes—the Kyuquots, the largest Indian settlement on the Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
coast, were absent at Quatsinogh. I saw only a few of them
and was informed that the tribe is very orderly and the people
very anxious to have a resident priest.
September 15.—I went to Barclay Sound and saw Father
Nicolaye at Namukamis. The Father seems to be making good
headway amongst the Ohiat Indians.
With regard to the Hesquiats I must say that there is now
not one Indian left, either man or woman, who has remained
faithful to the conditions laid down as a preparation to baptism. Some have altogether returned to their superstitious
practices, whereas the others are very unruly in different other
ways.
October 6.—A dead whale is found on the beach at "Hole
in the Wall." The Indians belonging to the outside camp bring
the news to Hesquiat. The finding of a dead whale by the
Indians is, as we have seen, always an occasion of great disturbance and trouble; and this not an exception. An Indian
called Manako-ah in protecting his piece received a bad cut on
the arm from a young man called Nayokwit.
November 7.—From all accounts I am. gaining in the
esteem of the Indians. In their meetings my name is seldom
mentioned with the angry feelings that it was last year. The
motive may be that they have experienced that giving fish of
every description and transgressing their old pagan rules does
not affect their success at fishing. The young men, however,
are as usual addicted as ever to the superstitious mischief called
"osemich." You can read it in their countenances, the skin
having been rubbed off by the use of their charms.
November 16.—There was a severe thunder-storm to-day.
There is now a light seen in the direction of the inlet. It is so
similar to the light of a vessel that most of the Indians take it
to be the light of some vessel in distress. A canoe went out,
but was driven back by the storm.
November 17.—The light of yesterday turns out to be the
light of a bush fire caused by lightning. This is taken as a
proof that the thunder is not a bird, as birds do not make fires!
The fact is there was quite a discussion in my house about
the thunder yesterday. The Indians maintain that it is an immense bird—the thunder-bird. One of the young men told
me that Koninah, the third chief, was in possession of one of
its wing-fleathers. So I sent for the feather, but the young
fellow came back disappointed, the chief having stated that he
86 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
had not nor ever had had such a feather. The noise of the
thunder is explained by the fact that the thunder-bird takes
hold of a whale and in a struggle with the monster of the deep
causes all the thundering reports.
The lightning is a reflection of the bird's eyes which it
opens and closes in rapid succession. Others have it that the
neck of the bird is surrounded by a being (He-etlik) of the
shape of a snake which breaks loose and inflames and goes
about scattering what we call the lightning. Others again say
that the light comes from under the wings of the bird which
becomes visible as the bird flaps its wings.
January 26, 1879.—Archbishop Seghers arrived here very
unexpectedly a few days ago. He brought authentic news
that he is to go to Oregon as Coadjutor cum jure successioris
of Archbishop Blanchet.
Upon arriving, the Archbishop told me that he had come to
baptize my Indians. I replied that none were fit to receive the
sacrament. He insisted, and in order to avoid all further controversies I resigned for the time being, confining myself to the
office of cooking. After a couple of days he commenced to see
that it was premature to speak of baptism to most of the people. He thought, however, that it was wrong to be over-exacting, both as to knowledge and conduct, and to-day ten Indians,
six men and four women, received the sacrament of regeneration at the hands of the new Archbishop of Oregon.
All the Indians were present and the long ceremonies of
the Ritual were followed.
January 27.—Archbishop Seghers left Hesquiat in an In^
dian canoe.    I accompanied him.
February 9.—We stopped a day in Ahousat, where we
assembled all the Indians in the chief's house. As usual the
Ahousats were very noisy, but withal very friendly. We passed
the other tribes, going direct to Namukamis, Barclay Sound,
where we met the Rev. Father Nicolaye. On Sunday the
Bishop blessed the new church of St. Leo. The weather was
very stormy and most of the Indians who were living on Copper
Island were unable to come across. Quite a few of the men
were, however, present.
I arrived home with my Indians, having left the Bishop,
who is on his way to Victoria, and thence to Portland, Ore., in
the house of Father Nicolaye.
87
J Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
I have just returned from Victoria where I have made my
Usual purchases of clothing and provisions for the next twelve
months. Nothing unusual has occurred these last three or
four months. Upon my return home I learned that several of
the Indians baptized by Archbishop Seghers have returned
again to their pagan practices—only three or four have remained faithful. As I had foreseen this, it did not upset me
much—in fact, I had told his Grace that such would be the
case; and as the Indians also mistrusted the would-be-Christians it caused very little scandal.
They are now, however, watching with some concern the
conduct of one who was supposed to be sincere about his
adopting Christianity. The fact is his wife has just given birth
to a little boy, and every one watches the couple to see whether
they will not have recourse to the Indian medicine-man or
women.
Never within the memory of even the oldest people was a
child born and not at once taken charge of by one or more
"sorcerers." The children of the chiefs and important people
are especially subjected to the superstitious treatment of those
impostors.
As soon as the child is born, one or more are invited, or
invite themselves to handle the poor little creature. A woman
who expects to become a mother soon will be sure to live in the
neighborhood of the medicine-women, or at least, she will move
to where she can have easy access to them. Up to now the Indians were under the impression that a child cannot live except
it be doctored Indian-fashion. There is no word to express
how they will humble themselves and how slavish they will become in order to secure the services of the savage-doctor. If a
young man is the son of a medicine-man or medicine-woman,
his chances for marriage are far superior to those who have no
such dignitaries in their immediate household. The Indians
told me that to become Christians, they could give up everything, but their "doctors" never!
The services of those imposters are called for and made
use of at all times. Upon the birth of an infant several of
them rush to the place. They all take hold of the newly-born,
sing, squeeze its little belly, pretend to cast out the evil one and
often exhaust the little one to death.
It requires some heroism in our neophytes to refuse to
subject a new-born child to the treatment which up to now
88 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
was considered of paramount importance by all the Indians of
this extensive coast.
July 21.—The father of the child is a determined, good
man; he has an amount of trouble with his relatives, who all
want him to take the "doctors." The infant is a weak child and
gives doubtful signs of a long existence. This gives them a
chance to find fault with him all the more. But he does not
mind their suggestions or interference. In my own mind I
can see the consquences if the infant should come to die;
never would an Indian listen to us again under similar circumstances ; for Indians are exceedingly fond of having an
heir and passionately attached to their offspring.
I make daily visits to the newcomer, but he is not a great
success!—and as he cries a good deal the people all say that it
is because the evil one was not cast out by the "Sorcerers."
August 28. — I just returned from Kyuquot and other
tribes. My instructions from Archbishop Seghers on the occasion of his last visit were to feel the pulse of the Kyuquots
with regard to having a priest stationed at that place. Part of
the Indians had moved to their river stations; however, the
chief and several of the most important men were still at
"Akties," their summer residence.
The chief not only told me that he was anxious to have a
resident priest, but besides promised to grant all the land required for the use of the missionary, free of charge.
Other important men also spoke and expressed their happiness at the idea of having a chance to have their children properly educated.
My opinion of the Kyuquots is that it will be hard to
manage the old people; but as regards boys and girls, of whom
there are hundreds, I consider it to be the very finest mission,
not only on the island, but in the diocese.
December 3.—As said above, the greatest obstacle to the
conversion of the Indians is the idea that they will have to give
up the Indian doctors or Sorcerers. I know a young woman
who refused to marry a young man because he intended to become a Christian; the idea that he would object to her consulting the Indian "doctors" both for herself and children made
her reject his advances for matrimony.
The Sorcerer is either a man or a woman—on this coast.
Very few men are Sorcerers, but the number of women
"doctors" is very large.    In some tribes three-fourths of the
89 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
women and in others one-half or a third—nearly all the old
women—claim some special talent in that line.
The Sorcerer does not deal in drugs nor use medicine for
his patients. He does not study medicine as a preparation, but
he is put up to become a Sorcerer by some relation of the craft,
or sometimes through some motive of his own.
The starting-point is either a dream or a so-called vision
or the discovery of something unusual in his wanderings on the
beach or in the bush—then he will feign sickness and he retires
to his couch. His friends pretend to be or are really alarmed.
.... He suddenly utters deep sighs or groans; does so repeatedly; then he jumps up, shaking his head—reyes closed—
and intones a song supposed to have been taught by one (a
mysterious being) who inspired him to become a Sorcerer.
This is the announcement to the tribe that they have a new
Sorcerer. The cases may differ in some of the details, but
they all amount to the same.
We have one here just now—the first since I was stationed
on the coast. He is a young, sickly fellow of a silent, morose
disposition. He is the last Indian that I would have suspected
of being inclined that way. But he is always sick and very
likely he tries this dodge to get well; for Indians say that when
anybody is an invalid he will recover at once by becoming a
Sorcerer.
The Indians have been talking a good deal of their new
"doctor"; they say that he pulled a snake out of his abdomen
and that he will walk on the salt water as if it were "terra
firma." They also say that he walks on the branches of
trees to their very extremity, and thus passes from one tree
to another.
As I always strive to draw good out of evil, so I tried to
do in the present case. Nothing like facing the enemy—it may
be hard at first, but it is the only way to convince for the future.
So I defied the hero of all the Indians' talk. And on Sunday I told them what I thought of such imposters and of those
who take their part.
Next Sunday, Nov. 9, about four o'clock in the morning, I
was aroused from my slumber by the loud voices of Indians
and the noise made by their new Sorcerer. He was on the top
of a tree and at times barked like a dog or croaked like a raven,
then he would strike up a song or work his rattles to attract the
attention of the stupefied savages.
90 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
At Mass-time Michel, the head of the only family now
faithful to their baptismal promises, came to see me in a despondent mood. I think I felt as bad as he did himself, but I
composed myself and sang High Mass as usual and preached on
the Gospel of the day.
At noon all the Indians of the tribe were entertained by
an old couple and during the repast they were unanimous in
rejoicing at the fact of having a new medicine man. The old
people especially were jubilant and availed themselves of the
opportunity to commend their old superstitions to the rising
generation.
I may here say that speculation was at the bottom of this
general endorsement by the tribe of the new "doctor." For
this his first appearance was the announcement that four days
later he would make a gift-feast to the tribe and those who
praised him most expected to be the most favored in his acts of
generosity.
When the repast was coming to an end the father of the
new hero went into the house and invited all those present to
follow him behind one of the houses, where his son would give
proofs of his extraordinary powers.
Michel was called out by name. Like a man—a determined fellow, as he always was—Michel got up and all the people followed him outside, expecting to see him covered with
confusion. He put his hand to his mouth and as he walked at
the head of the crowd he prayed "that truth might triumph!"
We found the new medicine-man standing at the foot of
the tree on which he had been doing his performances since
the early morning. All the Indians arrived on the spot and
stood around in a circle, none daring to approach the awe-inspiring juggler. Michel, however, being called upon to do so,
went up to him. We at once noticed the preparations that had
been made and showed before all those present that the initial
step of the would-have supernatural powers was an utter failure. The trick consisted or was supposed to consist in the
fact that the Sorcerer was, by incantations, to cause the lower
branches of the tree, under which he stood, to bow down and
thus enable him to reach them so that by taking hold of them
he could climb up to the spot where he had caused the admiration of everybody in the early morning. Michel being close by
noticed hanging from the lower branches a thin string which
was not supposed to be there, and thus the trick fell through.
One would think that the people upon noticing that they were
91 ^#fr
Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
imposed upon would walk away disgusted. But not at all—
their boasting changed into anger and was followed by most unusual excitement.
Three days later the medicine-man made a gift feast
(Potlach) to the whole tribe. When all the people were assembled he recommenced his wonderful (!) performances. Once
more, Indian Michel was called upon and defied by the performer. He was equal to the occasion, and before long he
was advised by a thoughtful friend to retire, leaving the whole
assembly of pagan Indians covered with confusion. The feast
went on and I was glad to learn that my good and faithful Indian friend came in for many and valuable presents.
I have written the above details with a feeling of disgust,
but they will show, when paganism and superstition have disappeared from this coast, the blindness and obstinacy of heathens, before receiving the Gospel, and the amount of truth there
,is in the ancient saying, mundus vult decipi.
I have been asked, "Are there real sorcerers to be found
amongst your people ?" My answer is: If there are any I
have never met or discovered them.
January 27, 1880.—Very extraordinary news! I received
word that we have a new Bishop. I received indeed a letter
dated October from Victoria in the handwriting of Father
Brondel, late of Steilacoom, Washington Territory, inviting me
to go to his Consecration, which was to take place in the
Cathedral of Victoria, B. C, on the 14th of December of last
year.
February 25.—An Indian arrived at the Mission from
Barclay Sound and delivered a letter, with a portrait inclosed,
of the new Bishop of Vancouver Island, the Right Rev. J. B.
Brondel, D.D. The new prelate expressed his astonishment
that I was not present, at the great celebration of December
14th, • when- he received the mitre at the hands of Most Rev.
Archbishop Seghers.
A great many events take place and great celebrations in
the Church are had, but, although I would be happy to be
present and witness them, I must forego the pleasure of taking
part in them owing to the lack of communication. Our new
Bishop will after a time understand the situation and in the
present instance he will be astonished to learn that it was over
a month after his consecration that I received the letter of invitation, to be present on the great occasion.
92 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
April 20.—I have just returned from Victoria, where I
went to pay my respects to Right Rev. J. B. Brondel, our new
Bishop.
The visit was occasioned by a very disagreeable circumstance. Early in March the Indians became very dissatisfied
and troublesome. The old people were finding fault and exciting the others at any and every chance. They now made
up their minds that they would work on Sundays and ignore all
the established rules. First they came to ask permission to go
out fishing, and as they pleaded scarcity of provisions, the
weather having been very bad, I allowed them to go out on one
Sunday, and again on the following. On the third Sunday—
there being now abundance of food in the village—they went
out without leave. However, when the bell was rung for High
Mass, they all came on shore and attended Mass. I warned
them and insinuated that the transgressors of our Sunday law
would be punished; that I could not punish them all, but that
the one who would start the others would be the sufferer. After
Mass a messenger came to tell me that all the men of the tribe
were preparing to pull out their canoes. And, indeed, upon
looking out I saw about thirty canoes in a line and on a certain
signal being given, they all pulled out together. This was very
clever on their part, for I could not punish any single starter,
as they all started together.
However, I walked down to the beach and I noticed that
not only the men but even most of the women were bent on
desecrating the Sunday. Only two or three of the Indian
policemen had remained faithful. With their assistance I took
away a number of nets, said a few words to the leaders, and
walked back to the Mission. On my way a scuffle took place
between the police and some of the worst of the lot. This I
stopped without delay and without any harm being done save
the tearing of a few shirts and the pulling out of a handful or
two of hair.
When I got home I tried to take the matter coolly. But
how could I ? Here I was now nearly six years! And only
one convert and two or three decent fellows, although heathens,
besides! However, the Apostles fared still worse, and the
missionaries in China and elsewhere have no better times.
Nothing like persevering and fighting the matter through!
Now, then, the thought struck me to leave the place for a
few Sundays, for what could I do were the same trouble to
arise again the next Sunday?    I was half victorious, as quite
93 000lf^C
Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
a few nets—the articles most necessary for the herring season
now on—were in my possession.
I therefore resolved to make a trip to Victoria and see our
new Bishop. His wise counsels and a talk with my fellow-
priests there would give me new courage and light.
I secured a crew of six Indians, and, as usual, we travelled
in an Indian canoe. The weather looked fine, but at this time
of the year the nights are very cool when one must sleep outside on the shore or in the bottom of the canoe. And yet we
could expect nothing else; for the next four or five nights we
would be compelled to do so. When we came within sixty
miles of Victoria the weather was bitter cold, but the sea, comparatively speaking, smooth. On the shore, though, there was
considerable surf, and the northerly wind was very strong. We
managed to paddle in shore, and as it was near mid-night, my
men concluded to make a landing. I was so crippled up with
cold that I refused to go ashore, and preferred to pass the rest
of the night in the bottom of the canoe.
One of my guides, hearing that my feet were actually
freezing, turned about in the canoe and put the soles of his feet
to those of mine. This had the desired effect of imparting
heat to my chilly limbs and making me feel more comfortable,
for the feet of our Indians are always warm, even* when they
walk barefooted through the snow.
I was aroused very early by the crowing of a rooster in
the bush, and later on I was amused to see one of my Indians,
in his shirt tails, running everlastingly after the lonely rooster,
which he caught at last and mercilessly killed. The bird had
been left there by Indians of the neighborhood, who had, I
suppose, stolen him from some farmer, and left him there to
shift for himself, and who were in foggy weather guided by
his fits of crowing, as a seafaring man is guided by the reports
of a fog horn. We cleaned the rooster and ate him at
breakfast.
I remained in Victoria three days with the new Bishop and
the priests stationed there. During that time the weather had
changed, and on our way back to the coast we had a favorable
leading wind.
When we had made a little over a hundred miles, which
we had done in less than three days and two nights, we came
very near being drowned during a most severe storm. Both
the Indians and myself had given up; the waves were immense, and rising like mountains threatened to engulf us at any
94 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
moment. We all lay flat in the canoe, save the man in the
stern, and at times our frail skiff stood almost perpendicularly
up and down. At last we got on shore, being soaked with the
brine of the sea. We camped on a small island, where we
found a good supply of driftwood, and there we passed the
night under la belle etoile, and as I lay under my blankets I
wondered at the myriads of stars and admired the wonderful
works of God, and after saying Benedicite Stellae Coeli Domino, I managed to take some very much needed rest.
Next morning the wind and storm had abated so that we
could make a little headway and pass the day in an Indian
camp.
Three days later we arrived at Hesquiat, where the
Indians were becoming uneasy on account of our prolonged
absence.
The trouble they had given me before leaving seemed to
have weighed heavily on their minds, and as I was reliably informed that they were determined to avoid listening to the evil
counsels of their wicked leaders who, without exception, are
all old men and women.
July 28.—Right Rev. J. B. Brondel made his first episcopal
visit to the coast, and I am sorry to say I could not report
omnia prospera. The Bishop seemed to be disappointed; he
expected to receive a great reception and he would have been
received with all the honors due to his rank. But my Indians
with the exception of one family being still pagans, I thought
it would look like hypocrisy to make them turn out and act as
Christian Indians do elsewhere. I live in hopes that the time
may yet come when our Bishop will be duly received here by
Christian Indians.
July 30.—The Bishop called here on his way back from
further along the coast. He was accompanied by Father Nicolaye, and upon landing he introduced me to the Father as the
future missionary at Kyuquot, sixty miles west from my Mission. Everything was arranged and the new Mission was to
be put up without delay.
September 25.—These Indians are extraordinary people!
There is an elderly man who of late has been giving a good deal
of trouble to some of his old enemies. Several of them have
come for protection and seem to be really alarmed. At the
bottom of all the mischief complained of is an old threadworn
blanket in the possession of the old nian!
95 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
The Indian in question is a very troublesome individual.
He has the name of having been a daring warrior and at home
he has many a quarrel and fight with the people of this tribe.
At last he got tired of black eyes and bruised limbs, and so he
had recourse to the following ruse: Early one morning he
came back from a long walk on the seashore. He wore as
usual an old blanket, his only covering. The old man was
frothing at the mouth and his blanket was dripping wet, apparently with blood. He called his friends together and with
a trembling, hoarse, voice he told them that at a short distance
from the settlement he had come upon a strange object; it was
at the foot of a large tree and it was bleeding profusely.
Something seemed to tell him to take off his blanket and steep
it in the red liquid. He impulsively did so and left the spot
assured that he had now in his possession a "charm" that
would render him invulnerable—an object that would serve
him to defy his enemies, and whether at home or abroad,
defeat  them.
I had often heard the Indians speak of this blanket and tell
me that the wickedness of the children of this man was to be
ascribed to the fact that their father, immediately after their
birth, had rolled the blanket around their tiny limbs and body
and had otherwise besmeared them with juices extracted from
his famous "charms." Not only that, the blanket had such
mysterious qualities that it would be impossible to send a shot
through it!
As there was now quite an excitement in the tribe about
the wonderful blanket, in order to destroy any further belief
in the obnoxious article, I sent the men who had a new grievance against the old fellow to tell him to come over to the
Mission and see me. He came, but did not take along the
mysterious covering. I had my gun in my hands and quietly
told the poor fellow to go and get it, that I wanted to be convinced and that if I could not pierce a hole through it with my
gun, the Indians would be justified in looking upon it with awe
and dread. .
There were now quite a number of people around to be
witnesses of the results, but, of course, it all ended in confusion
on the part of the old man; the others after some discussion
returning to their homes convinced that they had all along been
imposed upon.
It is slow work, but one after another the dark spots in
the Indians' minds are being cleared off.    A few more proofs
96 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
of this kind will go a long way to make them look upon the old
Indian yarns with misgivings, and truth will at last prevail.
There is general feasting going on just now. The festivities are called "Tlookwana." They remind one of the feasts
of the "Mardi Gras" of Europe, and from time to time are indulged in by the tribes on
the coast, especially during
the winter season. The
origin and the spirit of this
feast are, I "think, the
same, although some of the
-details differ, in the several
tribes of the west coast of
the island. A chief or one
of the leading men has prepared for the occasion. He
must have a large supply
of food and of blankets,
for he is expected to feed
all the people of the settlement during the festivities
and to close them by making a gift to everyone who
has been invited and taken
part in them. These gifts
consist in canoes, blankets,
axes, fruit, calico, Indian
beads, etc.
The opening ceremonies
are a banquet at which all
the Indians are supposed
to be present—one or more
of them go outside and
return immediately into the
house and cause consternation in the assembly by reporting that a pack of wolves are
to be seen at a short distance from the camp. The wolves
are some of the young men running on all fours, imitating the
step of wolves, and with a tail and ears, so that from a distance
they resemble fairly well the much-to-be-dreaded animal.
This is the signal for great excitement. The chiefs make
speeches, the old warriors sound the alarm, songs are indulged
in, fright is cast into the bosoms of old and young, and general
hesquiat church
97 Reminiscences of tfie West Coast of Vancouver Island
notice is given, especially to the children, to be on their guard
against the wolves.
On this and the four next days no work is to be done, and
general rejoicing is indulged in. Banquets are given, and there
is singing and dancing and joking, and all kinds of drolleries
are the order of the day.
This is, however, interrupted by the appearance of wolves
in the morning and towards evening. They are very bold;
they make for some of the children—singled out before the
time of the festivities and now purposely exposed to the
danger—and take them away with them in the bush. The
men of the tribe, seeing this, run into their houses, take up
their guns and shoot them off as they run in pursuit of the
fleeing wolves with their prey in their hands. You can now
hear the shouts of alarm of mothers and old women ....
but after a while the excitement subsides and the general rejoicings recommence.
And thus the game continues for four days. Meanwhile
the children that are taken away by the wolves are kept out of
sight by the tribe. The mothers weep, the fathers are wild
with grief. Everything is done to make the uninitiated believe that real wolves have carried away and devoured their
children.
It is a matter of pride for a chief and for all his tribe to
have the "Tlookwana" festivities take place. And no more
important news can be communicated to a neighboring settlement. It travels all along the coast and compliments are extended by all and every friendly settlement.
In old times and even now on the coast there are tribes
where ceremonies ending in mutilation, or at least wounding,
are indulged in. But the wounding is received voluntarily and
payment is made at the conclusion of the festivities. The
occasion is suggested by the individual himself. He knows
that as long as the "Tlookwana" is on, a man who fights or
quarrels with his wife or strikes her is liable to have a spear
passed through the skin of his arm, which, as a rule, causes
profuse bleeding and much pain. This individual, I say, will
purposely transgress this rule, whereupon a number of men
enter his lodge, take hold of him and pass a sharp piece of iron
or spear through the skin of his arm, which naturally enough
causes fright and consternation in the bosoms of the women
and children.
98 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
Being aware of this, I cautioned the people of this settlement against doing anything of the kind, but I can see nothing
to find fault with at the present time. When I see the masquerades, cavalcades, historic processions, dramas, and other
entertainments of our white populations abandoned and given
up forever, it will be time enough to tell the Indians that they
must give up the "Tlookwana" festivities.
On the fifth day, if it be fair weather, the Indians all dress
up. The initiated know what is to take place. The wolves,
as usual, come out of the bush. This time the children whom
they have stolen away from their homes accompany them.
The Indians get excited. They pull down to the beach two
large canoes, cover them with planks and the chiefs and men
and women of a special rank, using this as a platform, slowly
proceed over the water to within close distance where the
wolves have charge of the children. They beat the drums,
dance as they proceed, sing incantation songs, fire off their
guns, and at a determined moment rescue the captive children
and send the defeated wolves back into the bush.
The now rescued young people are naked, their only covering being small branches of trees and brushwood, and they are
solemnly, amidst songs and general rejoicing, taken to the
•house of the chief, who gives the famous entertainment. The
day is passed, without hardly any interruption, in this house.
The children tell their experience in the home of the wolves,
mention new names they are to take, and many other ceremonies too long and too numerous to mention are gone through.
The feast continues at this place nearly a full month—in
other tribes it lasts only a week. It comes to a conclusion by
the burning of the branch-covering of the children as they were
rescued from the wolves; and finally by a "potlach," or a gift
of presents by the chief who oraganized the festival, to all the
members of the tribe.
July, 1881.—I have just returned home from Ahousat
(eighteen miles from Hesquiat), where I built a small church
with two rooms attached for use as house and sacristy.
To build a wooden church with the material I had at my
disposition would puzzle many an architect. I had explained
my plans to the Bishop, who sent me enough flooring and
planks for the body of the building. Then I made the Indians
get cedar, which we squared and used for sills, rafters and
other necessary supports; lastly I enlisted the services of an old
fellow who brought me a supply of cedar blocks, cut in two-
99 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
feet lengths, of which I made shingles to be used as a covering
for the roof. Outside the building is neat, but the inside has
the appearance of a common barn. I put up an altar and communion railing. But for the generous assistance of the natives
I could never have finished the work by myself alone.
I have been complimented on my work, but people cannot
throw dust into my eyes—it is altogether a poor job; yet &
will answer a useful purpose and has cost the best of only a
few dollars.
I considered this place very necessary if I want to instruct
the Indians of this tribe. Thus far I had done it in the house
of the chief, but it was a terrible place.
The house of the chief was over one hundred feet in length
by sixty in width. The corner posts were immense pieces of
cedar twenty feet high; they were met on top by long sticks
three feet though. One monster beam was laid across the
centre and served as crosspiece to support the roof planks.
With a fall, for rain and water, of only about two feet, the
roof looks almost flat. This is now the form of all the Indian
houses on this coast—immense places with almost flat roofs.
The sides are cedar planks fastened by ropes of cedar bark
below and. above. The cedar roof planks are chiseled out so
as to leave a groove for the rain. In fine weather one of these
planks is raised and shoved above its neighbor to let in air and
give a place of exit for the smoke.
In this chief's house twelve different families had their
home—twelve different open fireplaces supplied the room with
smoke and heat. There were no windows in the house,
although the crevices between the wall planks permitted some
light to enter. How could I instruct these people in such a
horrible place of filth and smoke?—not mentioning the noise
made by the quarrelling of the women, the crying of children,
the growling and fighting of dogs. . . . And then the immodest
bearing of the numerous inmates! Yes! I required a place
to try and do something for the Ahousat Indians, and now I
rejoice that when I go there next season I will have a place of
my own, no matter how poor and how undesirable it may look
or be.
During my stay at Ahousat I was greatly amused to see a
couple of young Indians taking their daily walk around the
place with each a shoe on one foot only! The man wore a
shirt with a blanket over his shoulders and the wife had also a
blanket over her dress; both had their faces painted with red
100 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
vermilion. I was told that the reason for this odd action was
that they had recently become the parents of twins. By this
time they had gone through a very hard experience and they
were still looked upon by all the people as outcasts and as to be
shunned. No one will use the vessels they have used to drink
or to eat. Their diet is to be strictly dry fish; nothing fresh
is to pass their lips. Now, and for a long time to come, they
are not allowed to go on the sea in canoes either to fish or for
pleasure. The man has to retire daily in tJae forest and by
shouting and bathing reconcile-the "spirits." Their life is not
a pteasant one as every one avoided them, and being forbidden
to work or to go after food, they have before them the prospect
of famine and endless miseries. The birth of twins is a source
of great excitement with all the Indians on the coast. They
have special songs for the occasion in which all the principal
men of the tribe join before the house where the twins are
born.
Another time unusual excitement was caused by one of
our chiefs becoming crazy. The Indiaoas soon bethought themselves of an old remedy. They took the crazy man up to his
waist in the sea. Half a dozen men had charge of him and
carried in their hands branches of brushwood. Upon a given
signal they began to flog him; then they took the man by the
hair and forced his head under water. The bubbles indicated
when to allow him up for breath. Then flogging recommenced.
. . . and the head under water again . . . and the process was
continued till very little life was left in him. Their idea was to
flog out the bad spirit who was supposed to be in the poor
insane chief!
March 29, 1882.—A young Indian most unexpectedly
called at my house, a few days ago, and asked to be married
in the church. This was quite a new thing, for never before
had anybody applied to me for matrimonial religious services.
After mature consideration I made up my mind to comply
with the young man's request. And so we were at last going
to have a Christian marriage! It was to be the first since I am
on the coast. The young man had not been baptized, but he
was well instructed and a faithful attendant at church and a
real* good fellow. He also told me that the young woman
whom he was to lead to the altar was willing and anxious that
I should marry them.
After some difficulties to make her tell me that she was
free and willing to marry the man in question—for Indian
women were never supposed to say or acknowledge that they
101 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island ,
were willing to marry a certain man, such language being considered imprudent and immodest—I proceeded on March 23, to
marry the pair. First I administered baptism, then I brought
them to the altar and everything went on well until I told them
to join hands. This was almost too much. Single Indian
women on this coast are never to touch a young man's hand—
it is an act of immodesty—and how could she do so in conspectu
omnium, for quite a crowd of people were in the church?
However, after some coaxing and persuasion, she at last put
out the tip of her fingers from under her blanket, when the
bridegroom, now rejoicing in the Christian name of John,
grasped hold of it and the ceremony proceeded without any
further difficulties.
I may here add that John stood before me in shirt tails
with a blanket over his shoulders and barefooted; Paulina, his
young bride, also wore a blanket over her dress of brown calico
and was both barefooted and bareheaded.
Withal, their modesty and good dispositions were a hint to
our civilized people on the occasion of contracting matrimony.
God bless John and Paulina! If they are not rich in wordly
goods they have now a chance to live as good Christians and
their souls are as valuable and as precious in the eyes of God as
those of the rich and powerful of this earth.
But trouble not quite unforeseen soon arose. This Christian marriage was an innovation in these parts. The chiefs
used to be consulted in these matters and do a great deal of
interfering. It was often an occasion for them to be praised
and rewarded for their services. Now they are ignored. To
be sure, the parents of the young woman refused to recognize
the union, and although their consent had been asked secretly
by their daughter, they refused to accept the presents which
were sent—an old custom—by the parents of the young husband. There was such a row and such an excitement in the
camp that the young couple, after signing the register, refused
to go to their home. This, however, they did, but not before
the darkness of the night had come on.
I now learned what was being said and the protestations
that were uttered in public against my taking in hand their
matrimonial affairs. It was no business of the priest. The
young people whom he wanted to marry were not his children.
Such and other remarks were made by the old people, and none
of their daughters would submit to such unheard-of arrangements.    The idea of anybody being married in the church!!
102 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
The following Sunday. I preached on matrimony, explaining it as being a sacrament and the dignity thereof. Next, I
called attention to the fact that their old marriages almost
amounted to selling their daughters as one would sell a canoe
or a horse—just as of old the chiefs were selling their slaves.
This I had told them more than once, but it had no effect.
However, I knew that the young men of the tribe were favorable to the Christian marriage, and as they occupied all the one
side of the church, all the women occupying seats on the other,
I turned myself towards the men and told them to stand by me,
that I would have all those who were yet single married in the
church, and that if the girls did not comply with that rule, I
would take the matter up and go with the men and look for
wives for them in other tribes. This seems to have had the
desired effect, for several young women, being about to be
married, fearing that they would be jilted, sent word through
their parents that they were not of the number of those who
had objected to the Christian marriage.
The superstitions of the people are disappearing little by
little. The attendance at church is good and the Sunday is
fairly well observed. The Indians are now preparing for the
fur-sealing season.
Up to a couple of years ago they lived almost exclusively
on fish and potatoes. They availed themselves of the presence
of large schools of dog-fish to make dog-fish oil, which they
sold to coasting schooners, receiving in exchange flour, molasses, tobacco, print-calico, and articles of dress. The old
people who did most of the work objected to the buying of
clothing, but the young people, especially the women, did not
listen to the pleadings of their elders, and invested most of their
earnings in the purchase of decent wearing apparel.
I now made it a rule that no men should come to my house
unless they wore pants! !
This was hard on them, for they had always considered
this covering of their lower limbs as superfluous—a real bother!
But I was inexorable. Pants on or remain outside. The other
day the young chief, a boy about ten years old, came to see me
on business with his aunt. I saw him coming from a distance,
in his shirt-tails and a blanket on his shoulders. He had a
small bundle under his arm. When within ten steps from the
door he sat down on a piece of driftwood, took the parcel from
under his arm, and shook it open. It proved to be his pants.
He now put them on and solemnly walked into the Indian parlor
103 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
of my house. I watched him as he left, and was amused to
see him, almost at once, strip off the bothersome trousers,
hand them over to the aunt and join with a lot of other boys
in one of their favorite games.
Two years ago I persuaded the young men of the tribe to
try their luck as fur-seal hunters. From the beginning their
success was such that they now seem determined to prosecute
this lucrative work and leave the dog-fish business to the old
people. However, the work is not beneficial to spiritual
matters. Convinced as they are, especially by the arguments
of famous hunters of the tribe, that in order to have good luck
they must have recourse to the pagan practices of the "osemich," that they must bathe, use charms, fast and strictly
observe continence, most of the young people have their faces
disfigured by the use of the superstitious remedies. There is
no use arguing with them, and it is most discouraging to hear
their replies and to see the determination of both men and
women to persevere in their pagan practices. Nothing less
than a miracle of grace will ever convince these poor benighted
people!
It is worth mentioning that when the young men are out
sealing, the people at home observe strict old-fashioned rules.
So, for instance, the doors of the houses must remain closed
and the room be kept as dark as possible; dogs, chickens and
even -children are turned outside. I heard a youny man say
that he missed a seal—or rather saw a small school of seals on
which he was gaining stealthily, expecting to throw his spear
at one of them and kill it, when all at once they all awoke and
began to fight on the water; and he attributed his ill luck of
not killing it—as they can only be speared when they are asleep
—to the fact that at that very time a band of dogs had a row
in his house, as he was afterwards iaaformed by the women at
home. The Indians go out after the seals in their canoes and,
finding a seal asleep, stealthily approach and throw out their
harpoon, loosely attached to a pole ten or fifteen feet long and
pull the struggling animal alongside, when they kill it with a
club. Guns are not used by the Indians when hunting the
fur-seal.
Another source of revenue are the sea otters, which animal,
however, is now scarce on the coast. They caught a few last
year and the year before, altogether about seventeen, and were
paid from thirty up to ninety dollars in trade for each animal.
The sea otters are close in shore, rarely more than two miles
104 1
Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
away from the rocks or surf. The mode of hunting is different from that of the fur seal. Ten or twelve canoes go out
together—the weather must be calm, no wind and no waves—
the sea being like a looking glass, the Indians spread themselves
over an extended surface. When noticing a sea otter, a signal
is given with the paddle, when all the hunters close around the
coveted animal. The Indians use small canoes, three persons
in each canoe and use bows and arrows. The sea otter on
seeing danger dives under the waves; he must come up for
breath after a while, when the Indians begin unmercifully to
shoot their arrows at him; if not hit he dives again, but must
soon come to the surface again for breath. When he comes
up the third time he remains on the surface and, like a duck,
flutters away from danger the best way he can.
The Indians, having now gathered together around him,
manage to hit and kill him amidst the greatest excitement.
The man who first wounded the animal claims it as his own,
although another man may have done the real killing. The
woman or little boy, or may be the old man, who does the
steering gets the tail for his share. The one who killed a
wounded sea otter is also paid according to an agreement; and
every one who succeeded in wounding the animal after it had
been hit by the man who now becomes the owner, is also paid,
receiving one, two or more blankets as per agreement before
the hunt is engaged in.
The sea otter is very easily killed, a slight wound often
causing death. It is sometimes very touching to listen to
the narrative of the Indians on their return home from a
hunting expedition. When a female sea otter feeds she leaves
her pup floundering on the water; otherwise she carries it
always in one of her flippers which in the human family are
represented by the arms. Now this poor brute is so attached
to her little offspring, that she will be wounded two or three
times and not part with it. She wants to protect it as long as
life is in her motherly bosom, and in many cases the Indians
take the little pup from the flippers of its lifeless mother.
At other times, whilst the mother is feeding under the
waves, they manage to catch the helpless youngster, and attach
it to a rope tied to their canoe. By its wails and cries, it
attracts the attention of the mother, who on coming in proximity with the canoe, is unmercifully killed by the cunning sea-
otter hunter.
105 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
October 20.—On the tenth of this month two Indians
came to my house and having great news to communicate asked
me to close and lock my house.
They had come from "Home-is," a fishing station about
seven miles distant from my house and on the open ocean. A
vessel had been wrecked the night before, so they had come all
that distance to inform me, and the body of one of the sailors
was now lifeless on shore before their fishing camp.
I made some necessary preparations and went out at once
and was followed by a large number of the people who lived
at the Mission. It soon became evident that a great calamity
had occurred, for we had not walked more than three miles,
when we found on the beach a trunk full of ladies' dresses and
children's wearing apparel. All along our road, which was
over a beach covered with rocks and driftwood, we met signs
of the disaster. When I arrived at Home-is I found the lifeless body of a young man covered with rocks. He had
stripped and evidently tried to save himself by swimming for
shore, but the sea being so rough and the surroundings one
vast mass of rocks, he had failed to attain his object and was
drowned. There were no wounds on his body, save a scratch
On his forehead. He seemed to be a man of twenty or thirty,
and had the complexion of a Scandinavian. We covered the
body with canvas from the ship, dug a grave and I buried him.
Next I began to say my Vespers, and the tide going out
the Indians manned their canoes and went cruising amongst
the rocks and in the small bays. All at once I heard a cry of
alarm, and next I understood them to say that they had found
the body of a woman. I went -down to the landing and then
indeed I was just in time to take on shore the body of a young
woman. She was evidently a lady of good circumstances, in
all probability the captain's wife. She was dressed very gorgeously and had likely put on all her best clothes, so as to save
them, in case she should reach shore alive. I uncovered her
face, over which the Indian rescuers had drawn a veil. She
had a small wound above the right eye, but otherwise she
looked as if she had been alive and in a trance. As I moved
the body out of the canoe, with the assistance of the Indians,
I noticed that her neck was broken, for her head swung from
one side to the other, and with her beautiful blue eyes wide
open I was almost tempted to believe that life was not extinct;
but no! she was dead—drowned with her husband and her
two little boys!    It was the saddest thing I ever saw in my
106 CAPT.   E.  HARLOW,  MRS.  A.   HARLOW   (nee  NEWCOMB)
AND  THEIR TWO   BOYS
AW were  drowned when the bark Malleville,  of Freeport,   Maine,  was wrecked
at  Ho-me-is, near Estevan Point,  October,  1882 ^r
i
Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancoum&r Island
life—the letter-blocks of the children and their toys and! their
pet little pig were lying about on the beach!
The vessel had gone all to pieces and it was with: some
difficulty that I discovered that she was the bark Malleviate,
of Freeport, Me.—Capt. E. Harlow; the lady in question being
Abbie Newcomb, of Brewster, Me., the young captain's wife
and the mother of his two little boys. I called upon the chief
of this clan and he supplied us with calico in which we wrapped
the body of the dead lady; then we got canvas off of the vessel,
made a shroud and buried her in proximity to the grave of the
sailor.
I must not forget to mention that the Indian who discovered the body and brought-it on shore had taken from her
hand two diamond and two gold rings—her wedding and engagement rings; two diamond earrings, a gold pin and a piece
of a gold watch-chain—the watch having in. all probability
dropped into the sea. After landing the body this, man gave
me these articles of jewelry and asked me to take- them in
charge. I told this good fellow—who might be given "as an
example" to civilized people for his honesty—that we would
send them to the relatives of this lady in case we could discover their home and get intelligence of their wiishes. Altogether twenty-two people were drowned, including the captain's wife and two children and the second officer's wife.
After burying the dead and leaving instructions for the
burial of some of the bodies which had not yet been recovered,
I preoared to go home.
But I was sick at heart, and completely exhausted with
fatigue and hunger. I had passed two days with the most
distressing scenes before me. I had seen, it is true, with satisfaction the noble and heroic work of the Indians; I had seen
them, up to the necks in the surf and sea, drag the bodies on
shore and hand them over to me for buarial; those very people
who at one time killed the living or left the dead unburied to
become the prey of the ravens or wolves. Yet my business on
that inhospitable shore came vividly to my mind as I saw a lot
of dead men, women and children before me—people who had
relatives and for whom tears would be shed. As at night I lay
on a couple of planks, placed by the Indians on the heads of
two empty barrels, so that I would be more or Bess protected
against the vermin, a cold fever seized me and only for the
heat communicated by my Newfoundland dog, whfefo I took
as a bed-fellow, I think I should have perished of cold and
misery.
108 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
On our way home we encountered the body of another
sailor, an immense man, dressed in blue overalls. I was in
company of two Indians. The waves of the incoming tide
moved the body in shore. We found the half door cover of
the hatch. We passed it under the corpse and thus floated it
towards the beach. We then began to lift it up, hatch door
and corpse. We were thus proceeding when one of my men
lost his hold and the body went splashing back in the sea! Oh!
horror of horrors! it was dreadful. Finally we had carried the
unfortunate man to his last resting-place, and after digging a
grave we let him sink into it and covered him with the hatch
door of the vessel on which he had met his sad end.
November 22.—A gunboat arrived in the harbor yesterday.
The message which I sent to Victoria reached there per way
of Alberni. Two young men volunteered to carry the news
over the newly-built government trail or road to the East
Coast and to Nanaimo, whence it reached the naval authorities.
Captain Thorn, of H. M. S. King Fisher, is now on his
way back to Victoria with some of the details which he asked
me to write for him. The arrival of this steamboat was a
Godsend to us, for I had lost the run of the days of the week,
and could not say with a certainty that we were keeping Sunday at a proper time or day. When, at one time, I was informed that one of our priests (Rev. Father Roundeult) had
lost—or, rather, gained—a whole week in the calendar—when
he had given the ashes a whole week before Ash Wednesday—
I thought such a mistake unpardonable! I know better now.
It is a hint to me not to disbelieve the Indians when they report that they have kept Sunday on Monday or Saturday. I
made the same mistake.
1883, January 30.—Upon the arrival of H. M. S. King
Fisher in Victoria, dispatches were sent abroad with the news
of the wreck, and to-day I received a letter from Mrs. Strout,
of Portland, Me., telling me that the lady whom I had buried
was a relation of hers and asking me to send the jewels which
we had recovered to the dead lady's parents, who were living
in Brewster, Me. From what I understand these people are
Protestants, yet they belive in keeping relics of the dead.
Withal, the letter was a beautiful one and exceedingly touching. Many were also the thanks expressed bv this estimable
lady for the services rendered to her dead relative by the Indians and myself. Good Bishop Healy, of Portland, Me, had
given her permission to use his name in writing to me.
109 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
July 15.—Sent jewelry, Bible, and sealskin cloak to the
mother of the late Mrs. Barlow, of Brewster, Me. The Indians let me do so, although I could not promise any reward
for their generous conduct and their trouble.
September.—At my request, the relatives of the shipwrecked people having neglected to reward the Indians who
had helped me to bury the dead and had parted with the valuable jewelry, the American Government granted a sum of two
hundred dollars to be distributed among the most deserving
ones, and a gold medal was presented to Chief Aime as a souvenir of the kindness and humane conduct of the tribe. The
interests of the Mission and of the priest in charge were forgotten by all parties concerned.
December.—The Indians having commenced some of their
winter festivals and the chief being engaged in a "Tlookwana"
entertainment, a young woman fell into trances and began to
prepare to become a medicine-woman. As my position with
the majority of the people was becoming solid, and as I could
reckon upon being sustained in anything I would undertake
for their good, I decided to interfere. The medicine men and
women being all around the candidate for new honors, I sent
a posse of strong men to scatter them with menaces and threats.
All the impostors immediately left the house, the young woman herself took to the bush and left the village, and it is
now settled that for the future consulting and employing
medicine-men and women can no longer be tolerated in this
neighborhood.
Thus the greatest obstacle to the conversion of the Hesquiat Indians is forever removed.
1884.—Bishop Brondel is gone to Montana to become
Bishop there. Rev. Father Jonckau was to be his successor,
but he does not accept on account of sickness and poor health.
I now heard that Archbishop Seghers had obtained permission
to return to his old diocese.
August 15.—I had a narrow escape from drowning. I
was coming from Nootka where I had spent a month. As I
left Friendly Cove with a young men and his wife there was no
wind, but a heavy sea was coming into Nootka Sound.
It was a signal of the approach of westerly wind. Just
the wind we wanted. We had hardly traveled half a mile
when we met the breeze; yes, a regular gale! "What do you
think of running for shore?" cried my Indian. "Take in sail,
I cannot steer."    I obeyed his orders.    We were now in the
no a good fellow
Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
midst of a fearful tempest. The young woman began to cry
and utter shrieks of despair. It was terrible, but I prayed like
The sea was now breaking over our canoe.
I put the matter into the hands of St. Lawrence, whose
feast we were to celebrate the next day, and I called the reef,
on which we happily succeeded in landing, St. Lawrence's reef.
The Indians baled out the canoe, dried their blankets in the
sun, and I retired amongst a little brushwood, growing between
the rocks of St. Lawrence's reef, where I made myself comfortable and slept that night.
September 9.—A wicked young fellow, the son of the
most desperate characters of the coast, had recourse to an old
dodge, very frequently used in the past, to procure for himself
a partner in life. A canoe of Newchatlat Indians passed here
and called at the village. The rascal watched his chance and
whilst her friends were enjoying a hospitable meal in one of
the houses, he went to their canoe and took out by force a
young woman, who struggled and cried as he carried her to his
parents' residence. Although I felt inclined to stop the performance of this dastardly act, for motives of prudence I was
compelled to abstain from interfering.
September 14.—Distant relatives of the young woman in
question to-day took her to her home and friends.
Speaking in general, the people are orderly and docile and
well behaved.
Since the abolition of the medicine-men and women free
recourse is had to me for medicines and medical treatment.
Day and night calls are made for remedies for the old and
young—they want medicine for any and every complaint—
there is no end to it. Strong, burning medicines are preferred;
in fact, mild remedies are discarded. Since last year I must
have applied a square yard of blistering and mustard plasters
to the aching limbs and bodies of my parishioners. I hope
this habit of calling for help for even the most trivial ailments will soon cease; if not, I have a hard and busy time
before me.
1885, November.—Since the beginning of last year the
religious status of the tribe has greatly changed. Many adults
have been baptized and received into the church. All the
marriages are now contracted in the church and it is only a
matter of time to have all the young people gathered in the
bosom of the Church and leading practical Christian lives. At
last, then perseverance and prayer have carried the day. Deo
Gratias!
ill ^flr
Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
Last June seventeen young men went on a sealing expedition to the Behring Sea. They did very well, and arrived
home highly delighted with the success of their long voyage.
They had killed 1,400 animals, receiving two dollars per animal.
However, their earnings were considerably reduced, as they
had to pay for their board on the vessel. Their mode of
hunting is as follows: Their canoes are taken on board of the
vessel and secured on deck. When they come to the sea their
canoes are lowered when the weather is calm. The Indians
then, with spears and some provisions and a compass, begin to
cruise around, hunt the seals and return to the vessel to spend
the night.
It is hazardous work, as the waters of the Behring Sea
are very treacherous and become covered with a dense fog
sometimes more than once a day; the Indians, of course, use
their compass, but it takes good reckoning, to come from a
distance of ten or fifteen miles, and then just meet the spot
where the vessel is drifting about. In such weather, signal
guns are fired off and are of great assistance to the befogged
hunters; yet on their first voyage two Indians lost their vessel
and by their absence on board caused much uneasiness and
grief to their friends and many tears to their relatives at home
on the arrival of the schooner.
They are back now, and pose as heroes.
After losing the vessel they landed on one of the Aleutian
Islands. There they met a native who treated them well and,
by signs and gestures, showed them the direction of a trading
post. The trader, a white man, gave them some provisions
and directed them to a bay where American fishermen were
busy at their trade. Thence they were taken in a boat and
landed at one of the central trading stations, whence they were
passengers on the Alaska Commercial Company's steamer
Dorah and landed at San Francisco. They were treated with
much kindness by the captain and his men; and the first
officer took the two Indians, bewildered upon seeing the large
city of the Pacific Coast, to the British Consul who paid their
passages to Victoria, B. C. There they at once went over to
see the Bishop, who assisted them by a letter of recommendation to the owners of the vessel from which they had strayed.
A canoe was bought and a supply of provisions and they
arrived home last Sunday morning, just inttime to attend Mass.
They now excite the wonder of, not only their own friends,
but of all the Indians of the coast, and, no doubt, their experi-
112
m|j|^L^^^ Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island.
ence, told in all its details, would excite the admiration of people more accustomed to travel than these Indians who had
never before left their home and country.
All is well that ends well!
"Wewiks," an Indian boy, the son of parents whose great
pride it was to entertain the tribe with food and presents and
had only half fed and clothed their own children, got in trouble
and died a few weeks ago. It has been stormy and dangerous-
looking for me ever since, and I now have a paper on my table
stating that, if I do not turn up and that my body is found with
evidence of having been murdered, traces of it can be found on
the lower limbs of the man who committed the deed. I have
since the beginning of the trouble carried a revolver in my
pocket with the object of wounding in the lower limbs, the
man who committed the assault, so that nobody but the guilty
party may be hauled up.
Wewiks broke into the store of a trader. He was condemned to six months' imprisonment, contracted consumption
in prison, and died a week after his return home. Three days
before his death his father came to my house and began to
abuse and threaten me fearfully. I took it calmly and simply
cast the blame on the one to whom it belonged,. namely, the
boy who had broken into the store. Just before leaving me
the old man changed his tone and gave me to understand that
my services as a priest would not be rejected. So I went over
and prepared the poor young fellow for death. I was, however, informed that trouble was brewing and to be on my
guard. The sick man had in his possession a brand new gun,
and it was lying alongside of his bed. What was the use of
his parents buying a new gun, when it was evident that their
boy must soon die; and then, was the bed of the dying man
the proper place to keep the dangerous weapon? Such were
the remarks which were made and thence the hints thrown out
to me.    I could easily see that my position was not a safe one.
Now, the evening before the young fellow died, a messenger, in the person of the sick boy's brother, came to ask me to
go over to the house. It was dark, the Indians had retired
for the night and the sick man was dying in a house away from
the settlement and had no company there save his wicked
parents. A coasting trader was with me when the invitation
was made. He jumped up as I rose to follow the messenger
and entreated me not to go, that they were going to kill me,
the last word I heard him call out being "Oh! Father, come
back, for God's sake do not go!"
113 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
I knew that I was running a great risk, but how could I in
conscience refuse to go and see a dying man? On my way
I called on a man whom I could trust, and asked him to accompany me. He was quite willing, but how disappointed the
sick man's parents looked when they saw that I was not alone!
My presence as a priest was not wanted—not one of them
spoke a single word to me—but they all entered in conversation with my companion, and so after a while I returned to my
house with this one consolation that I had done my duty.
Wewiks died, but his people objected to having him buried
from the church. They were bent upon making trouble. His
body was placed on the branches of a huge tree, covered and
decorated with blankets, and the famous gun is also in evidence
as an ornament. All this is against the rules of the Christians
and even the pagans, having for some time since renounced
many of their old customs, now found fault with the conduct
of the bereaved relatives. But it is evident that this transgression of our newly established regulations was only made with
the object of creating trouble.
The lamentations of the nearest relatives, their shrieks of
despair and the expression of the wickedness of their hearts
surpass all limits. They call me a liar and all sorts of names,
the curses directed against me are of such a nature that the
children and young people feel horrified. You can hear their
maledictions against the poor priest from morning till evening,
and for no other motive save that the man who had the boy
arrested and punished was a white man like myself.
March, 1886.—For the first time in the history of the
world was Confirmation administered on this coast. On the
28th of February, the Most Rev. C. J. Seghers, Archbishop of
Vancouver Island, administered here in the Church of Hesquiat, this sacrament to thirty-seven adult Indians.
We had tried to give him a good reception as becomes a
Bishop of the Church, and the Indians being now almost all
Catholics, we succeeded to a great extent. You can now read
happiness and joy on the countenances of these poor people
who, a few years ago, were the slaves of pagan practices. The
Bishop seemed glad to see that the work which we had commenced together twelve years ago, was at last becoming
successful.
It is now only a matter of time to see the non-baptized
Indians imitate their more fortunate friends. There is an
element though of the people who are still far from adopting
114
-:—_i^__ Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
Christianity. It is a family of chiefs who suspect that Christianity will have the effect of lowering them in the esteem of
the other Indians of the coast. The idea of seeing people of
low rank raised to their level, as all Christians are alike,
and have the same spiritual privileges, hurts their feelings.
Pride is at the bottom, that Indian pride which is among
the greatest obstacles to the conversion of all Indian nations.
But I must continue and try to get them all gathered into
the fold. Things look well now, and I begin to enjoy some
of the consolations of the priests of God who administer to
civilized Catholic congregations.
On the occasion of his visit to the coast, the Bishop went
to Kyuquot, where I accompanied him with Father Lemmens.
We went on a schooner and were well received by the Kyuquot Indians, who had been duly prepared by their priest, the
Rev. Father Nicolaye, who was glad to receive us.
The Bishop on this occasion blessed the cemetery at Kyuquot; thence we returned in canoe and visited the different
tribes on our way back, preached to the people and baptized
their children. We came near being drowned close to Bayo
Point; but escaped as by a miracle; then we made our home
for a week, on account of bad weather, in Friendly Cove,
Nootka Sound, where our provisions gave out; at last we managed to reach Hesquiat and enjoy a full if not a luxurious
meal.
From Hesquiat we went to Ahousat, and the Bishop here
made arrangements to appoint a priest for this tribe, where at
one time I had built a chapel and dwelling rooms; thence we
continued in our canoes to Clayoquot, where we saw the Indians. There my trip was at an end, and after receiving the
Bishop's blessing I bade him good-bye and returned to my headquarters in Hesquiat.
The next news which I received was that Father Lemmens
was stationed in Clayoquot Sound and that my work was reduced to looking after the Hesquiat, Nootka and Machelat
Indians.
1887.—On the occasion of his last visit the Bishop made
arrangements for building a new dwelling house, my old
quarters having become almost uninhabitable. We therefore
commenced work early in June. I had logs squared and ready
for the men on their arrival and the foundations were laid.
The house was to be a log house with lining inside and rustic
115 if"
—
Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
outside. The two white men employed did their best, but
understood very little about building a log house. It took more
time than we expected and was much more costly.
While this was going on, Archbishop Seghers was absent
in Alaska and we were overwhelmed with grief when we
learned in August that he had been murdered. The news was
so unexpected and of such an unheard-of nature that my men
dropped their tools in complete discouragement. We had no
details, but the Bishop was dead and the news utterly upset us.
Most of my Indians were also absent; they had been induced to leave their homes and go to the hopfields on Puget
Sound, Washington Territory. With the news of the death
of our lamented Bishop came almost simultaneously the news
of sickness amongst the thousands of Indians who were in the
hopfields.
Later on some of the people began to come home, their
children had died of measles. Others brought their little ones
home, but they had the sickness with them. Having been exposed to the cold in their canoes, many died and those who
seemed to have recovered became consumptive and soon followed the others to the grave. Before long I counted over
forty children of Hesquiat alone who had become victims of
the disease and had died. With my Bishop murdered and my
young people dying around me, I closed this year with many,
many sad feelings.
February, 1888.—Depression and gloom seems to be in the
air all around. Most of the Indians have now come back to
their Hesquiat homes. This used to be an occasion for rejoicing and good feeling. It is different now. From morning
till night you can hear the women cry and lament; some of
them express anger and passion. But it is touching and sad
beyond expression to hear the young mothers who have lost
their little ones bemoan their loss. It would draw tears from
the eyes of stolid men to see them in groups of three or four,
with their eyes filled with tears, squatted before the houses and
hear each one of them tell in song-like words that can be heard
all over the village the greatness of her loss and the sufferings
of her motherly heart.
The men also take part in the general mourning. Like
the women, they clip their hair short, neglect their attire and
seem to be deprived of all ambition. Some look morose and
sullen, others are the picture of men with broken hearts.
116 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
It is terribly hard on me to be here just now, for one cannot help commisserating and feeling for his poor people. How-*
ever, there is no use sitting down and crying. But the worst
is that some of the pagans look very bad and by their conduct
are very provoking. May this state of affairs soon cease and
have no evil consequences!
June 5.—A couple of schooners called here for a crew
and are now off to the Behring Sea on a fur-sealing expedition.
The news arrived that Father Lemmens is to be our new
Bishop.
June 25.—Unexpectedly the steamer Maude called in Hesquiat harbor and I took passage on her and went to Victoria.
The steamer called at "Clayoquot Mission." I went to see
the Bishop-elect, whom I found in his shirt sleeves, with an axe
in his hands, splitting firewood. After taking a pot of coffee,
which he prepared for me in good style, we talked the matter
over and we left together for Victoria.
July.—Here the new Bishop-elect was welcomed by the
clergy and especially the Very Rev. J. J. Jonckau, the administrator. This last-named gentleman was very weak and evidently suffered very much. AfS
Rev. Father Lemmens objected to becoming Bishop, but
he was eventually persuaded to accept and his consecration
was set for August 5.
■ On the Sunday previous his administrator, the Very Rev.
J. J. Jonckau, died quite suddenly and his funeral, at which I
was made to preach, took place on the following Tuesday.
August 17.—Two days later I received word through the
wife of the Indian agent .for the coast, that a murder had been
committed at Hesquiat; that the body of a little boy of four
years had been found behind one of the houses, but that there
was no evidence to prove by whom he had been killed.
This news spoiled all the pleasure and enjoyment of my
presence at the consecration of the Bishop, when all-the priests
of the diocese met together. I went home with a crew of Indians who had specially come for me in a canoe. It was a long,
tedious trip, all the more unpleasant as I could see the trouble
I had before me on account of the murder.
August 21.—I arrived home shortly before midnight, and
retired at once. About two o'clock a.m., I heard somebody
knock at the door. I waited for another knock, but the visitor
left.
117 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
Early next morning a man called Isiniquah came to see
me, and as he began to say that he was falsely accused of being
the murderer, I would not give him a hearing. Later in the
evening he came again and asked me what the Indians had
been telling me about him. But again I sent him off without
making any statement.
The Indian agent called a couple of days later and went
to Victoria to inform the authorities of the circumstances of
the crime.
A magistrate and a couple of policemen were sent. Isiniquah underwent a preliminary hearing and was taken to civilization for trial.
Meanwhile the father of the murdered child arrived home
from Behring Sea. I never in my life saw a man the victim
of such a struggle to control his temper. However, he held
out, and I heard him say in my own house to his weeping wife:
"Now let us not be oversad; if we are good we will see our
little boy again in heaven." The tears came in my eyes and it
struck me then that if I had had my troubles I had at least
done some good by remaining and trying to do my duty.
October 25.—The schooner Kate arrived here and had
been chartered by the government to take the witnesses to
Nanaimo for the trial of Isiniquah. I received a summons to
accompany them and act as interpreter, which I did, rather than
pay a fine of five hundred dollars for non-attendance.
The trial came off in due time, lasted three days and Isiniquah was condemned to be hanged December 12th.
The Methodist ministers and one Presbyterian bigot got
up a petition to have the sentence commuted, or rather, have
the prisoner discharged. They considered it a piece of persecution and compared the proceedings to the proceedings of the
"Spanish Inquisition!" Their object at the bottom was to
gain the good will of the natives who were related to the murderer, excite them against the Catholic priest, and thus prepare
the field to put a Protestant mission on the coast. This was
the first attempt they made to intrude on our missions on that
coast.
December 19.—Isiniquah was hanged on December 12th,
after being duly prepared by baptism and instruction in our
holy religion.
The motives of his crime had, presumably, been the fact
that one of his children who had died of measles was called
Moses, and the boy whom he killed had the French name
118 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
Moise; this latter boy was the child of Michael, a good Christian. Isiniquah and his friends, according to an old pagan
custom, wanted this man to give another name to his child on
account of the similarity of the two names. Michael having
refused to do so, the murderer availed himself of the absence
of the parent and the grandfather of the boy in Behring Sea to
get him out of the way, and he unmercifully took the little
fellow in the bush, put his strong hand firmly on the mouth
and nostrils of the child and then choked him to death. When
the sentence was pronounced in court, a white Catholic woman,
the mother of several little children, was heard to say, "that a
rope was too good to hang a man who had choked to death an
innocent child."
When the time of going back to the mission had arrived,
the government put at our disposition the schooner Favorite,
(80 tons), Captain L. McLean. The Indians took along a
supply of building lumber and other material with the object of
improving their habitations and their mode of living. I had
also on board several thousand feet of lumber and bricks for
a new church in Friendly Cove, Nootka Sound. These Indians had for a long time refused my services as a priest, and,
as they now had repeatedly asked me to do so, I concluded to
build a chapel at their place.
After discharging men and freight at Hesquiat, at the
request of the captain, I returned on board of the vessel, as
she put up sail, and so we started on December 17th, about
noon. The wind was favorable but there was considerable sea
on and the weather as a whole looked bad. In less than two
hours we were sailing into Nootka Sound. As we neared
Friendly Cove, our destination, the wind abated and soon began
to blow against us.
It was now dark and the wind shifting again it became
favorable. I was down below when the captain, quite excited,
came down, told me to put on his "mackintosh" and follow him
on deck. He wanted me to act as interpreter. There were
two Indians on board whom he could not understand, but,
being of this district, he wanted them to act for us as pilots.
The captain had been only once before in Friendly Cove, and,
the weather being so very thick, he was not sure that he could
make the harbor. The rain fell in torrents and the wind blew
a hurricane. I now stood against the mainmast and the Indians were giving their orders, which I interpreted for the
captain.    The skipper had his misgivings about the directions
119
J Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
given by the Indian pilots, but he followed them. . . . The Indians knew the entrance to Friendly Cove. Yes, that was the
cove. But it was not the cove ... it was a small bay, close
to the entrance of the real harbor, which we had to make; and
the Favorite, having sailed in at full speed, was before long
looked upon as in extreme danger close to and touching the
rocky shore. The would-be pilots were despondent; the
skipper kept cool and ordered his sailors to run lines on shore,
fasten them to the rocks and then try to keep the vessel from
going to pieces. I heard him make only one sour remark and
he did so in a solemn, stern way. "I could," said he "shoot
those sons of savages as they stand in their boots." The mistake was they wore no boots.
The sailors, after fastening lines to the rock to keep the
vessel from striking, came back on board and began to put their
clothes and belongings in their traps and bags to have them
ready when ordered to abandon the vessel. As for myself, I
was advised by the kind captain to turn in, if I wanted a couple
of hours' rest. But how could I do so with my shoes full of
water and on a vessel that might go to pieces at any time? As
soon as the vessel began to roll, her pumps were called into
'requisition every fifteen minutes and an amount of water came
forth each time. That night was a dreary one for us all, as
the vessel began to roll on the rocks and keeled over considerably. Early in the morning, as the tide came in, she slid down
from the boulders and finally was afloat again. The men, later
in the day, hauled her out from her dangerous position and
anchored her in Friendly Cove. She was damaged very
noticeably and from the very start she took in quite a deal of
water.
The next six days were spent in Friendly Cove—about the
most dreary days I have spent in this worldly sphere. There
were no Indians around, the weather was bad and everyone
on board seemed dejected and downcast.
However, we made a start for home on Friday—a week
since we had entered Nootka Sound—a light, northerly breeze
was blowing, hardly strong enough to move us out of the channel. When the everlasting easterly (toochi) wind sprung up,
it favored us for a time. At four o'clock p.m. we were off
Hole-in-the Wall, at the mouth of the great harbor.
But the weather looked thick and the captain determined
to "lay to" that night.
120
kjji Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
Meanwhile the Favorite was drifting southwest; the
wind increased as night advanced, and about ten o'clock the
second mate came down, drenched with rain, and reported,
for my consolation, that we were drifting to the southwest like
a "bundle of straw." Later, at the shift of the sailors' watch, I
overheard a secret conversation which was to the effect that,
if they ever got into port, the sailors would abandon the vessel
and get to town the best way they could, rather than stay on
the leaking craft.
Further details would be superfluous. Suffice it to say
that for a whole week we were in a continuation of gales of
wind and rain. The sailors were at the pumps day and night.
The waves rolled right over the vessel . . . the mainsail was
split to atoms. . . .
At last a westerly wind came to our assistance, land was
sighted and after sailing a full day before the wind we at last
cast anchor in Hesquiat harbor. According to our captain's
reckoning we had been blown a hundred miles from shore and
out of our course.
We had a fine Christmas—all the savages of this neighborhood were present, all the Christians went to Confession
and those who had been accustomed to do so received Holy
Communion.
Close of 1888.—There are now in Hesquiat only three or
four families of real pagan Indians and a few old men and
women. The rest of the Settlement are Christians—some of
them very fervent, the others less so; yet always attentive at
church and of good behavior.
1889. May.—The old chief Townissim, the father of
Matlahaw, the would-be murderer, and who was accused, for
plausible reasons, of having encouraged his son to commit the
deed, died here the other day. The old man had a better
chance than his son, who had died unbaptized and impenitent,
to meet his Maker and Judge. For several years he had been
a regular attendant at church, was an example to his subjects
and was baptized and received all the rites of the Church before his death.    R. I. P.
August.—I built a new chapel in Friendly Cove for the
Nootka Indians. I employed three Indians to help me. I did
the carpenter work myself. The Indians made shingles and
generally helped me to put up the.building. It is a very neat
Structure, but the inside work is not finished for the want of
lining.    As soon as possible I assembled the people and bap-
121 M
Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
tized their newly-born children. I then left them for the
winter season. As I was preparing my canoe to return to
Hesquiat, most of the people made also arrangements to go up
the rivers for the salmon season.
1890.—I saw the Nootka Indians, stayed with them a
short time and then went on a voyage to Europe—the first
since my arrival in the country twenty-one years ago.
November.—I returned from the old country, where I had
spent four months, and secured the necessary funds for a new
church in Hesquiat. It was about time to move out of the old
building, for it had become a complete wreck. It rained on my
head as I was saying Mass, and the floor of the body of the
building was covered with water. It was the poorest church
in Christendom. One of the fruits of my European voyage
will be the possession of a better place for Divine Service.
1891, March.—Two French Canadian carpenters arrived
here last month on the schooner Favorite, loaded with bulding
material, in order to build our new church at Hesquiat. On
account of the general boom in British Columbia the wages
are very high, my men being paid three dollars and fifty cents
per day (each) and their board. The plan of the new church
was made by Stephen Donovan, of Victoria, but was consider
ably modified on account of lack of means to put up a building
such as he had designed.
October.—I understand that a young man representing
the Presbyterian Church of Canada has taken up his residence
at Alberni, Barclay Sound, and has been introduced by the
Indian agent to the natives of that district.
1892.—Some of the Indians are not behaving as well as
they ought to do. Their contact with the sailors on the sealing
schooners has a bad effect. It is too bad that after all the
trouble I have had a class of white men, who ought to. know
better, should excite them against me; and yet only for my
prescence on the coast their life and property would not be
safe. Satan has more than one means to pervert good people
and hinder the work of God from going ahead. In the present
case so-called Christian white men are his chosen tools.
July.—There is great excitement here since several days,
and the old pagan people are exceedingly provoking. It was
known all along the coast that Antonin, the young chief here,
and the son of Matlahaw, the would-be murderer, was sick and
sinking fast of consumption.    The young man, a good lad, was
122
i Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
preparing for death as a Christian. Now the chiefs from the
neighborhood sent medicine-men and medicine-women to tempt
him and make him renounce Christianity and have recourse to
the old superstitious practices. All their efforts were of no
avail, and the young lad died after receiving the last rites
of the Church. He was buried in the cemetery with grand
solemnity, but the old people objected and used every means
to prevent it. Being defeated in this matter they insisted that
the house of the young chief should be broken down and
burned. This was always done in the case of anybody dying
childless, especially if the departed was a chief. At first I
objected, but as the aunt was willing to allow the movers to
have their own way I withdrew my opposition. And so the
young chief's house, which he had built and intended to occupy
as soon as he married, was torn down and burned on the beach.
The Hesquiats have no chief again. The aunt of the departed
boy will now be considered as occupying the dignity until her
infant son becomes of age.
February, 1893.—The Right Rev. Bishop Lemmens paid
his first visit to the Indians of this district. As the Bishop
had not given notice of his arrival, no reception was prepared
for him. Most of the Indians were absent, but when they
heard of the prescence of His Lordship they all came to the
mission and on Sunday, January 29th, were all present at the
blessing of my new church in the morning and the blessing of
the Stations of the Cross in the afternoon.
As a piece of bad news the Bishop told me that the Methodists were preparing to put up a mission in Nittinat and had
obtained a grant of five hundred dollars from the Dominion
Government for missionary purposes. They had asked and
obtained the grant for the building of a school, but of course
with them that also means a meeting-house or a church.
December.—My people this year have had considerable
sickness in the village and many deaths have occurred. It
casts a gloom over the place.    Otherwise the outlook is good.
July, 1894.—During my absence a party of Indians from
the State of Washington came across the Straits of Fuca with
a supply of whisky which they intended to dispose of in Hesquiat. As soon as the presence of the liquor in the settlement
became known, three of my Christian Indians went and took
it away and secreted it in one of the rooms of my house. I reported this to the Indian Department and the men, who
had   acted   so   judiciously   in   confiscating   the   vile   spirits,
123 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island.
received each a reward of twenty dollars from the Dominion
Government.
Very touching stories reached us from Nootka. The Indians of this district, having refused my services as a priest
for a long time, are not as well instructed as they might have
been. They were not of real bad will, but the chief having
lost his only child the whole tribe went in mourning, the consequence being that they excluded not only their games but
also the practice of religion. So that on one occasion as I
presented myself I was told in the name of the chief, a true
pagan and bigamist, that my presence was not required. Since
then, however, they have sent for me and seem to be well disposed again, as I had occasion to notice when I visited them
last.
One of their young men, having been sick a very long
time and feeling that his end was coming, sent for his nearest
relatives. This is usual with all the Indians of this coast and
the scenes that are then enacted are sometimes most touching.
The patient is duly prepared for the arrival of the visitors.
One comes in after the other, the men stoically, the women
with a sad face and a weeping voice, nod their heads to the
patient; then when they are all seated they all begin to cry and
lament and wail. The noise which they make as they all join
in the songs of grief must be a torture to the dying relative,
but it is meant as a compliment and it is taken as such; it is
a matter of pride and deep consolation to the living when not
only near and distant relatives call, but especially if the chief
and his subjects related to the patient extend a visit of condolence. After death it is always remembered who did and
who did not call and the feeling of the living is good or bad
toward their neighbors in accordance with the fact that they
have or have not performed this act of etiquette.
After a spell of crying and lamentations speeches are
made by the chiefs telling the patient to have a good heart,
reminding him of his acts of daring and his success as a hunter,
etc., when all begin to retire, leaving only his nearest relatives
to whom he expresses his last wishes, the disposition to be made
of his worldly possessions and many other matters.
In this present case the poor young fellow, after the above
scenes and formalities had been gone through, being now left
alone with his mother, his step-father and his half-brother,
gave orders to count the money which he had still left. He
had been a great sea-otter hunter and very successful, especi-
124 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver. Island
ally the last season. He then sent his half-brother for a suit
of new clothes which he put on—the Indians always put on to
the dying their best clothes and blankets. Then he sent for
another suit and underclothes. The trader told me that he
spent over one hundred dollars for wearing apparel in his place,
and the orders of the dying man were that what he could not
put on should be enclosed in the coffin or box in which his
body was put for burial.
It is a very curious custom, but in most cases the coffin
of the Indians contains not only the body, but also a great
many things dear to the dead one, such as clothes, toys, money,
his own and also blankets presented for the purpose by his
friends. His favorite dog is killed, his canoe split up, his
watch or clock destroyed; anything and everything that would
remind the living of the dead relative is done away with and
gotten out of sight. As noticed already, articles or parts of
articles having belonged to an enemy are also very often enclosed with the body, the idea and belief being that such a
proceeding will have the effect of causing sickness and death
to an adversary.
The other case referred to was that of a young man
whose two little children had died before him. He evidently
expected to join them in the next world, for shortly before his
death he sent a messenger to the nearest trading station with
orders to buy such and such toys, at one time dear to his little
ones, and he ordered them placed in the coffin with his own
body the moment his death would occur.
This was an old practice and the fact that it existed before
the arrival of a priest on this coast proves that the natives
believed in a life after this life. Were they not ahead of some
of our civilized would-be scientists.
1895.—Our Indians all over the coast are well disposed;
the people of Hesquiat, with the exception of some old men
and women, being Catholics and most of them very exemplary.
After mature reflection I made up my mind to propose to
our Bishop a plan for his approbation. I would build in a
central part of the coast an industrial school for boys and
girls.
August.—We had a retreat for the clergy last month. All
the priests of the diocese were present. Before returning to
my mission I spoke to the Bishop of the idea of a boarding-
school for our children. His Lordship called on the Indian
agent, who promised that he would obtain a grant for the sup-
125 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
port of the teachers and children from the Dominion Government. Next I was sent for and this same agent urged me to
put up the buildings at once, and said that as soon as the school
was occupied a per capita grant would be available.
Everything we asked for was promised by the agent, and
so I returned to my mission, rejoicing in the thought that
through a school we could keep the children from perversion.
I am now sorry to put on record that, per letter from the
head of our diocese, I was yesterday informed that I must
abandon the idea of having a boarding-school which, in my
mind, is the only means to save the fruits of my labors of
more than twenty years. But, it is so! I must submit and be
resigned to the regulations of the one who rules over me—my
Bishop.
1896. — A young man representing the Presbyterian
Church is now stationed in Ahousat. He is a school teacher
by profession, but he holds divine service on Sunday.
PART OF  CREW  OF  SS.   CLEVELAND
Ss.  Cleveland was wrecked  in   Barclay  Sound in  1897,  and after being
thirty-two hours in an open boat, these men land at Hesquiat
and are taken  care of by the  Rev.  A.   J.   Brabant
126
I Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
1897.—News has reached me that Bishop Lemmens died
in Guatemala. So then we are again without a Bishop. It is
reported that he died of the fever of that swampy country,
where he had gone to collect funds for his new cathedral in
Victoria.    R. I. P.
1898, February.—This year opened with sickness in the
settlement. Whooping cough was brought here by a family
of visiting strangers. They were here several days and their
children having the whooping cough communicated the dreaded
disease to our children.    I have my hands full just now.
February 15.—To-day, after a spell of vain-glory, I feel
terribly disappointed. Here are the details: The night before
last I was called out about midnight to visit the child of a
young couple. They wanted medical treatment for the coughing infant. It was a dark night but the sky was cloudless. So
then I took my lantern, whistled for my dog and wended my
way in the direction of the village. I noticed a light in some
of the houses, for there was sickness in almost all of them.
The wolves were howling in the distance, and the Indian dogs
were barking at the rising moon. The sea was breaking against
the shore, but there was not a human soul to break the solemnity and the monotony of the midnight hour. Oh, what a wild,
lonely country this is after all! In the home I was impatiently
expected; the grandparents, four of them, and the young
mother looked up to me with eyes full of tears . . . The
child was very bad; the chest and lungs very much affected.
I administered the usual remedies and returned home with
the expectation 'of having another funeral. Yesterday I
went over again; my patient was much better and likely
to recover; this made me feel good and the thought of vainglory got the best of me. To-day I feel bad; the child is dead.
This morning, as I went to church to ring my bell for Mass, I
found under the bell-tower a small box containing all that was
mortal of the dear little child whom yesterday I prided myself
on having treated and restored to health.
April.—I lost a few days ago one of the most sensible and
most pious persons it has been my fortune to have in my parish.
This woman for several years refused to become a Christian
and gave as a reason that she was afraid that she might be
tempted and return to the old pagan practices. She was converted at last and from the day of her reception in the Church
by baptism she attended Mass every day of the week and was
at church every Sunday twice. She had made her first Communion and was confirmed; and as her son was inclined to be
127 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
wild and thoughtless she never ceased to warn him. Her last
message to her family, was to remain faithful to and follow
the instructions of the priest. She received the last sacraments
and oh! how touching it was to see her with her beads in her
hands; and when she could not speak any more raise up her
hand and point her finger towards heaven! The faith of those
people and the trust they have in God at their last moments
are worthy of all admiration. I have assisted many good people at the hour of death, but I have never been so much edified
as when I assisted this good woman a few days ago.
She was buried on Sunday morning at the parochial Mass.
Her husband with his beads in hands said the prayers aloud,
to which the rest of the people answered. I attempted to say
a few words, but the sadness in the church was such that I
broke down and cried with the rest. Such a scene of sadness
and the feelings of sympathy expressed by the good people cannot be described nor even imagined by anybody who was not
present at the funeral last Sunday morning. God rest the good
Indian woman and may she pray for us!
May.—The rumor which reached us some time ago that
we have a new Bishop proves to be true, for I have just received a letter from Rev. A. Christie, of Minneapolis, inviting
me to his consecration, which is to take place on June 29, in
St. Paul, Minn. I know nothing about Father Christie. But
I wrote a letter of congratulation to him and bade him welcome
to Vancouver Island. Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini,
and ad multos annos.
August.—Bishop Christie was consecrated in St. Paul,
Minn., June 29th, and arrived in his new diocese on the 5th of
August. He received a grand reception from the people and
his presence made a good impression on them.
With new courage and the prospects of an early visit to
our missions by the new -prelate, I returned to my house in
Hesquiat and began at once to prepare some of my people for
Confirmation.
1899.—I received a letter from Bishop Christie with this
message: "Come to Victoria at once. I want to consult with
you about building a boarding-school for the Indian children
of the west coast. I have just returned from Ottawa and have
obtained a per capita grant from the Government for fifty
children. If we do not accept the grant it will be given to one
of the sects; your children will be perverted and you will lose
the fruit of all your labors."
128 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
Since Bishop Lemmens had abandoned the idea of such
a school, as I had proposed to him five years ago, I had never
mentioned to him the advisability of the undertaking since that
time. It must have become evident to the priests nearer to the
Bishop than myself that the work was a real necessity for the
salvation of our Indian children.
In Victoria the good Bishop Christie explained all his
plans. "But," said he, "Father, we have no money to do the
work. However, let us commence at once, Deus providebit.
Return to the coast at the first opportunity, choose a central
location and I will send up lumber and men to do the work."
I went back a few days later and chose Clayoquot Sound
as a location easily accessible to all the Indians of the coast.
At the foot of a mountain in Deception Channel I found
and secured a large piece of table land open to pre-emption and
away from all Indian settlements. It is fifty feet above the
surface of a fine bay which at low water has a sandy beach of
more than twenty acres—a magnificent playground for the
children. It is also in proximity to another bay, a real clam-
field, so that with a bay swarming with salmon and other fish
and a large field of clams, the expense of supporting the children will be considerably reduced and their health will be benefited, for all our people from their very infancy look upon fish
as their main food and they acknowledge that without fish they
cannot live and keep their health.
EX-PUPILS  OF THE CHRISTIE  INDIAN RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL
129 M
Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
A few days later I received another letter from Bishop
Christie, announcing that he was to leave us and go to Portland,
Ore., as the successor of Archbishop Gross. The Archbishop-
elect now told me again to go ahead with the work, insisting
that if the school was not built now it would never be built,
and that either the Methodists or the Presbyterians would get
our grant. In the course of conversation afterwards His
Grace told me that he had talked the matter over with his
Vicar-General, and they had come to the conclusion that as
soon as the work was well started I should go abroad to collect
the necessary funds. "And," said he, "Father, let us go ahead;
the work of your life will be destroyed. It will be lost if we
neglect this chance offered by the Government. We must
put up the buildings and pay for them ourselves, but the Indian Department will by a generous yearly grant do the rest.
I have ordered the lumber and the men will go up next month ;-
but when the buildings are up, you will have to go East and
ask the good people out there to extend to us a helping hand.
And, Father, do not be uneasy; you will do well. The people
put there do not know what you are doing for the salvation of
souls; I had no idea of it myself before coming here. Do not
prepare any lectures, but speak to the people as you speak to
us. . . . The priests will allow you to speak in their churches;
whatever you get from the people will not affect them. I have
experienced that myself when I was rector of St. Stephen's
Church in Minneapolis."
October.—Our school is now built. . . .
1874-1899.
Twenty-five years have now elapsed since I first set foot
on the western shore of Vancouver Island. When I first met
the inhabitants of that desolate coast, they were savage, immoral and treacherous. Their dwellings were hovels of filth
and misery; their attire a blanket of cedar bark, dog's hair or
other inferior article; they were addicted to witchcraft and innumerable superstitious practices. All alone in the wilderness,
deprived of the company of friends or white men, with no
mails except once or twice a year, I have spent many mournful
seasons without seeing any encouraging results of my arduous
labors.
But God has been kind to me and has granted me the grace
to persevere, and has rewarded my labors by the conversion of
many of my poor people. With Christianity, they have adopted
130 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
civilization. The people immediately under my charge are
now, as a whole, docile and law abiding. They have used their
earnings to improve their material conditions. They have
built neat and clean dwelling houses; they dress well, both
men and women, after the fashion of civilized people; they
are regular at church and at the Sacraments. Visitors are edified to see them at church and do not cease praising them for
the spectacle they present when at their devotions. They look
more like a congregation of white people than one of native
Indians.
It is to be regretted that now, when these people have so
much improved by our instructions, outsiders should come:
that Methodist and Presbyterian ministers should intrude and
sow discord amongst them.
However, with the grace of God, no means will be spared
to protect our people. It may have been rash on our part to
put up for our dear Indian children, with the object that they
may not be perverted, the buildings of a central boarding-
school for which we have to pay, although we have not the
means. But under the protection of St. Joseph, and with the
assistance of St. Anthony, we hope to be able to secure the
necessary funds to pay for the work just completed, the Indian
Boarding School in St. Mary's Bay, Clayoquot Sound, Vancouver Island.
With the blessing of Archbishop Christie, and his best
wishes of "God speed," I must now set out and ask the good
Catholics of the Eastern States to extend a helping and generous hand to bring this work, in all probability the last of my
life, to a successful issue.
A. J. BRABANT,
Hesquiat, W. Coast Vancouver Island, Canada.
October, 1899.
131 Chapter III
LAND DEEDED TO BISHOP SEGHERS
The Hesquiat tribe surrendered land to the Most Rev. C
J. Seghers by the following document: "In-as-much as the
Most Rev. C. J. Seghers, Archbishop of Vancouver Island, has
applied to us for our consent, and as far as lies in our power
for our permission to occupy and possess a piece of land,
situate West of the present store on the little river Tanapatl
and the place where the Mission stands at present at Hesquiat,
with a view of constructing Church, School, Dwelling House,
Stables and so forth, we, the undersigned, Townissim, the first
chief; Alek, the secdnd chief; Nicolas and August, inferior
chiefs; and Clotilda, the daughter of Townissim, the first chief,
in our name, and in the name of the Hesquiat tribe, do hereby
not only give the above consent and permission, but also most
earnestly request the Most Rev. Archbishop aforesaid to
occupy, possess and own the land described above, with a view
of putting up new Mission Buildings, North and West of the
Hesquiat village.
Done at Hesquiat, the twentieth day of March, 1886, and
signed in the presence of Rev. A. J. Brabant, and J. N. Lem
mens, undersigned.
Witnesses:
A. J. Brabant.
J. N. Lemmens.
Townissim (his -f- mark),
First Chief.
Aleck  (his -f- mark),
Second Chief.
Nicolas (his -f- mark),
August (his -J- mark),
Inferior Chiefs.
Clotilda (her -f- mark),
First Chief's Daughter.
132 Chapter IV
KYUQUOT, J883
Haps and Mishaps, Accidental Incidents, Incidental
Accidents, Occurring Adventures, Eventful Casualties,
Adventurous Occurrences, Casual Events,
Occasional Fortuities and
Contingencies.
Detailed Minutes, Minute Details of
Solid Facts
By the Rev. J. N. Lemmens.
Arrived here in Kyuquot on the 1st of August, 1883, after
a trip of fourteen days from Victoria.
Aug. 4th.—Indians bring a woman alive in a coffin for
burial. Father Nicolaye smashes the box, rescues the young
woman, and by proper treatment keeps her alive until the third
day after she escapes being buried alive.
Aug.   6.—Opening  of  the  school.
Aug. 10th.—Father Nicolaye goes to Chiktlisat for the
puropse of inducing Fred Thornberg's wife to return to her
husband. He thinks it advisable for the moment that she
should stay.
Aug. 20.—I leave on a visit to the following tribes living
North of Kyuquot: Chiktlisat, Tlaskinogh, Quatsino, Koprino, Koskimo.
Aug. 22,—Reach Tlaskinogh. Baptize the chief's little
boy, Johnnie.
Aug. 23.—Arrive at Quatsino. Meet Mr. Blenkinsop,
Indian Agent at Alert Bay. Translate some prayers into the
language of the Quatsinos, with the help of Ka-aleit, son of the
chief, who offers to follow me to the Koskimos.
Aug. 25.—Arrive at the first camp of the Koskimos on
the. river Mela-ato (Malad on the map.) The whole crowd
wants to be baptized.    Promise to return.
Aug. 26.—-Reach Coal Harbor, where I was hospitably
received by Mr. Simpson, overseer of the prospectors for coal.
133 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
Found there some Koskimos, the rest being absent with the
Nawitti tribe. The large camp at Turn Point was temporarily
deserted.
Aug. 31.—Returned to Kyuquot.
Sept. 22.—Went on a sick call to Tashis.
Oct. 11.—Schooner "Alfred Adams" calls.
October 19.—Went on a trip to the several camps in the
Sound.    Stopped Weetso's doctoring at Innapees.
Oct. 20.—Went up Ka-oupinch river to the foot of the
mountains.    Slept overnight in the bush.
Oct. 23.—Went up the river Tashis for about a mile and
a half by canoe.
Oct. 24.—Returned from Ka-ouk over Maghkeet.
Nov. 1.—Father Nicolaye leaves this afternoon for a long
stay at Newchatlat and Ehattisat.
Nov. 4.—Went on a sick call to Innapees with Wekkoyans.
Baptized three babies, one an Innapees, one in Shawis, the
third in Shawispa. Returned the same night. Jim and his
wife were looking after the house.
Nov. 5.—Baked bread for the first time. N. B.—Best
bread ever manufactured on this side of the Rocky Mountains,
even taking in consideration that the Andes of South America
are only a continuation of the Rocky Mountains.
Nov. 7.—Killed a little Billy goat, and gave half of it to
Harry.    Complimentary.
Nov. 10.—Went to Tashis on a sick call with Bob; returned late at night. Hashithl ogh ta-itl. Tiechish. (I was
told the person was sick, but I found him well.)
Nov. 11.—Preached in the Indian language for the first
time.
Nov. 12.—Wiket oyieghemis. Made two new desks for
the  school.
Nov. 13.—Had an awful time chasing the dogs that were
chasing the goats.    Weather: very foggy at night.
Nov. 14.—Had news from Newchatlat where Father
Nicolaye is stopping. "The bearer" brought a letter. Father
Nicolaye has 29 children in school. Eight white men are
working at Nootka, preparing to build a saw mill. I sent some
boxes and things to Newchatlat by canoe.
Nov. 15.—An old Indian found the canoe of the Mission
adrift near Table Island. There being a gun and no man in
the little craft, the news spread for a while that the priest was
drowned, but he was at the time sawing wood in the outhouse.
134 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
Nov. 17.—Gave away the chickens to the man at the
store.
Nov. 18.—Wrote to Father Nicolaye.
Nov. 19.—A canoe arrived from Victoria with provisions
and newspapers and letters. Same day the news came from
Newchatlat of the drowning of the chief's son.
Nov. 20.—Sent some apples, etc., to Father Nicolaye.
Went to McKay Cove.
Nov. 21.—Repaired the fireplace.
Nov. 22.—Killed another goat. Four boys from Magh-!-
keet passed the night in the Indian room. It being the feast
of St. Caecilia music was indulged in to a large extent.
Nov. 23.—The first snow of this season fell in Kamils.
Burial of boy, Sam.
Nov. 24.—Had a letter from Newchatlat.
Nov. 25.—Little Peter is still waiting for a new boat.
Nov. 29.—A large number of men came to Chegwottekothl
from the Inlet, onontl tleetso Eliane (for the eating-feast of
Eliane).
Dec.
to visit the
-Chiktlisats.
Dec. 7.
1.
Went
seven
-Little Peter's dog was ruining the goats.
Chiktlisat Indians at Upsiwees. Crew:
Passengers:  Peter and I.
-Returned from Chiktlisat: head wind and rain.
Found the long expected new boat on the beach; it having
been put there the day of our departure. Our first visitor
leaving the house muttered "wekheiats" (I was not welcome).
' Dec. 7.—A bran new young goat was brought to the house
and nursed until the mother was found. Two more such
perished somewhere on the beach.
Dec. 11.—Made a trial trip with Peter's boat. Went to
Shawispa, leaving at 6 p.m.    Had no Indian along.
December 12.—Returned from Shawispa making better
time than two Indians with their canoe. Jim accidently fired
off the gun in the house, blowing off a picture from above the
mantelpiece and burning the wallpaper beneath.
Dec. 16.—Sent a policeman to take Hayopee's daughter
back to her husband Hastasap, or put her in jail. She preferred the latter. When she saw we meant business she
changed her mind, and I took her the same night with Napoleon, via Shawispa (where we found her child) to Maghkeet.
Hayopee and three other men had their arms pierced during
a dance at this place. Awful scene! Returned next day.
Bought a dog to indemnify Peter.
135 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
Dec. 19.—Had a letter from Father Nicolaye, who moved
to Ehattisat the 14th inst. Prepared a box of iktas for him,
among which some home-made syrup, marked "poison."
Dec. 22.—Had a letter from Father Brabant (Hesquiat)
through Fathe r Nicolaye.
Dec. 24.—Christmas eve. Showed the magic lantern to
the Indians who came to midnight Mass.
Dec. 25.—Had bread from the store, one loaf of which
was adorned with the legend: "Merry Christmas." In the
evening a large number of Indians came to see again the
magic lantern; they said it was "egh ouyeghemis" (great
news).
Dec. 31.—A big white goat was found dead. Gave Indian Peter a new dog.    Oshnakshitlish.    (He had a great joy.)
Jan. 2.—News came from the inlet to the effect that an old
man and an old woman had been wrecked on their way from
Maghkeet to Aktis. It was the third day after their departure
from Maghkeet.
Jan. 3.—The old people supposed to be dead turn up again;
they were found by Punch on the beach of an islet beyond
Table Island, where the wind had driven them. No fire and
little to eat for four days. Two canoes, manned by eight Indians took them home. Same day exhibited magic lantern,
and performed a variety of second-hand tricks before the chief
and his family. The verdict was: "Chegha-ash" (he is the
very devil).
Jan. 10.—The cow calved at Tlopenit. The rain which
fell abundantly threatened to destroy the calf on "life's untrodden shore." Took him or her (sex not ascertained as yet)
in a mat to the stable. Night falls and "Betsy" cannot be
found.
Jan. 11.—Drove home the cow this morning to give the
calf a chance. "Betsy" will not allow herself to be milked.
Gave the chief some firewood. His excuse for not having any
is the long duration of the storm raging since the 9th inst.
. Jan. 13.—Got Tsekwoi to fetch Napoleon into jail for
giving a feast during Mass on Sunday. Napoleon bought himself off with four blankets.
Jan. 15.—Went to see Father Nicolaye at Ehattisat, via
Newchatlat.
Jan. 16.—Sitting of the jury at Newchatlat over a case of
divorce. Father Nicolaye goes during the night to Hook with
three policemen.
136 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
Jan. 17.—Return to Kyuquot. Father Nicolaye also coming home (absent since 1st Nov.).
Jan. 21.—Father Nicolaye goes to Hesquiat on a visit to
.Father Brabant.
Jan. 25. — Return of Father Nicolaye from Hesquiat.
Brings some papers, but no letters.
Jan. 28.—Moved a door into another wall, and fixed the
chimney.    House cleaning to-morrow.
Jan. 30.—Went to Hoopsitas with Father Nicolaye and
Peter.
Jan. 31.—News came from Koskimo to the effect that the
chief of that tribe had been cured of serious illness by placing
on his head the religious pictures I had left in his care at the
time of my visit last August.
Feb. 9.—Put a false back in Father Nicolaye's fireplace. .
Feb. 10.—Father Nicolaye produced a "telescope" during
the sermon, inviting the Indians to come and have a look at the
moon, and see for themselves that it was not a god or the face
of a god, as some still believe.
Feb. 11 and 12.—Indians move from the inlet.
Feb. 11.—Hence school was re-opened.
Feb. 19.—-Intended to go to Ehattisat, but got sick with
fever.
Feb. 27.—Started for Ehattisat, but the crew getting
scared on account of the roughness of the sea had to return
to Kyuquot.
Feb. 28.—Left with a different crew and succeeded in
reaching Queen's Cove the same night.
Feb. 29.—Made seats for school children, and made
things ready to open school next day.
Mar. 3.—Put the pock-marked Kyuquot man in irons, and
his wife in jail; cause "katpathl" (they had a fight).
Mar. 4.—Put a woman doctor in jail for doctoring her
old mother. Gave the old woman baptism and Extreme Unction.    Had her corpse taken into jail till next morning.
Mar. 5.—Made a trip to Newchatlat. Baptized the chief's
baby boy, Casimir.
Mar. 9.—Explained some of the religious pictures in the
Indian language, and without having written any speech
succeeded to my own satisfaction, if not the satisfaction of the
congregation.
Mar. 11.—Succeeded in persuading an Indian to brave all
superstitious apprehensions attached to the removal of a new-
137 /n
Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
born child from the house, and baptized the child in the
"Church," calling him Thomas, after the Angel of Schools,
whose feast was being kept.
Mar. 18.—Burnt my hand in the beginning of last week;
did not think at the time it worth while mentioning it in these
chronicles, but it was, and is so still. Yesterday the Indians
made their harvest of herring spawn, in consequence of which
the houses are hidden by the spawn, as an immense screen to
an observer from the water.
Mar. 22.—Got a 16-page letter from Father Nicolaye, detailing the causes, circumstances and effects of the jail-breaking in Kyuquot on March 9. Also got a box from Harry with
23 loaves of bread, the address stating "23 loves."
Mar.. 24.—Heard the children's confessions, first time for
them and for me.
Mar. 25.—Baptized Joe; bought a clock for 20 biscuits
and a piece of soap.
Mar. 28.—Had a meeting of the jurymen and policemen;
decided that the doctoring should cease.
Mar. 29.—Moved to Newchatlat.
April 3.—Returned to Queen's Cove.
April 4.—Went home to Kyuquot.
April 21.—Got-by canoe first letters from home (Belgium)
since my arrival here. Also got confirmation of the news that
Archbishop Seghers is going to be our Bishop again.
April 29.—Father Nicolaye left for Chiktlisat, intending
to stay there for about two weeks to teach the children.
May 4.—Nobody coming to Church on account of the
storm, except Haktla, Moghshie and three boys.
May 7.—Poutlet, with his father and brother, turn upj
after having been thought to have perished when sealing.
Were absent ten days; were driven into Quatsino Sound.
May 8.—Father Nicolaye unexpectedly returns.
May 10.—Send letters by canoe to Hesquiat.
May 13.—News from Hesquiat, also Holy Oils. Capt.
Owens arrives with schooner to take a crew of sealers at
Kyuquot.
May 26.—Return of schooner from sealing expedition.
June 1.—Were invited to a potlach and makmak. We
were given one dollar each. Arrival of schooner "Favorite,"
Capt. McLean.
338 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
June, 1884.—Went to Alberni, via Baltimore, Antwerp,
Shimmert, Victoria and Dodger's Cove. All correspondence
should be addressed to Alberni, B. C, until further orders.
P.S.—Father Nicolaye will .henceforth keep track of
events in this neighborhood, and faithfully chronicle the same
—Goodbye!
Continuation by The Rev. Jos. Nicolaye.
June 10. — The Koskimo Indians came to a potlach.
Hayou hihi: forty Kyuquot women with open umbrellas,
standing on a platform, make their welcome compliments to
the strangers. Two Indian boys, dressed in "celestial"
clothes, and adorned by a five-foot tail, had a drink of water
for sale, of which the two "negro"-Indians, who under a broad-
rim felt hat, smoked leisurely their short clay pipes, pocketed
the money; a regiment of soldiers, under command of "Colonel" Charles Tlouye, made a few maneuvres in the central
part of the Taye-klouchman's house. Orders were given in
English as follows: "Boys, turn about, boys! Take off your
hats, boys! Put down your hats, boys! Turn about, boys!
March, boys!" The militia moved then in a circle, under the
boisterous report of the "Englishman's" (Nowenaksh) rifle.
June 11.—Full church attendance in the morning. Old
and young wanted to show to the strangers their religious feelings. Two sermons were preached: one in the Kyuquot dialect, to the respective natives of this tribe, and the other in
Chinook, interpreted by Ghaghapenathl, to the Koskimos.
In the afternoon hayou hihi. Wild dancing and singing
under the melodious accompaniment of harmonium, accordian
and cithern. Mr. Nelson, the storekeeper at Kyuquot, Charles
Tlouye and Charles Totouch were the musical leaders. They
all played at the same time, and each one his own tune: indeed,
quite a nice dissonance pealing through the "hall."
June 12.—Hayou makmak: 12 baskets of herring spawn,
two barrels of molasses and one barrel of fish oil. To do
honor to the feast-giver, a native of Kyuquot drank at one
Swig a gallon of the oil, and a Koskimo, in one draught, a
gallon of molasses—and that without "kicking the bucket."
June 13.—After the giving of two hundred blankets to
the Koskimos the feasting is at an end and the strangers leave
for their home.
July 2.—Indians mostly gone to the Canneries at New
Westminster, and to the hop fields.
139 jffl
Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
July 5.—The schooner Favorite, Capt. McLean, arrived.
Mr. Mich. Campbell, from Nova Scotia, arrives to relieve the
present storekeeper, Mr. Nelson.
July 11.—Edward Nasmakshitl died after a short illness,
which started by a slight headache. Doctor Hamishinathl
sucked blood through the lad's ear, who shortly after turned
lunatic, and died at the age of 15.
Aug. 7.—Bernard died at the age of 16. A slight rheumatic headache caused Dr. Hamishinathl to bite three big
gashes in the boy's head, and to pour boiling oil into the open
wounds. The poor lad lost his senses; and as he in his reveries sang now and then a Church song, and repeatedly uttered
a few broken words of English, learned in school, the blame of
the boy's death was put on the priest's shoulders by saying
that too much study was the original cause of this fatal end.
Such is the life in the Far West.
Aug. 15/—Mr. Guillod, Indian Agent of the West Coast
of Vancouver Island, arrived in a canoe, conducted by two
Ucluelet Indians. As usual, he took the yearly census, and
left on the 20th for Esperanza Inlet.
Sept. 13.—Arrival of the schooner Favorite; Mr. Charles
Spring, passenger; A. McLean, Capt. By the "good management" of the two Indians (the Englishman, or Nowenaksh,
and No. 1 Policeman, or Tsekwa) in charge of a large canoe,
22 boxes of biscuits were thrown overboard. This mishap was
quite a happy event for Mr. Campbell, the storekeeper, who
was at once launched into the new career of cracker baker.
However, with all his skill Touta and Co. (his dogs) got the
better of him.
Sept. 14.—One Eye Bob, studying how to make a couple
of dollars, proposed to Mr. Spring to show him a large tract
of coal in the neighborhood of Chiktlisat. The journey was
undertaken. The party not finding any coal land, returned
the next day under the leadership of One Eye Bob, who
laughed in petto about his success. His face was bright and
radiant for many days after, till he struck upon a quarrel with
his wife.
Sept. 15.—Nothing like a change. Capt. McLean, Mr.
Charles Spring and myself, made a trip up the Inlet to examine
Tashis River. After wading about a mile through the water
we turned back to the camp. After a copious repast of all the
ducks Mr. Spring did not hit, we sailed down under full can-
140
L Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
vas. On our way home a revolution at Cuba took place. This
unexpected change was rather a misfortune. However, after
landing and discharging goods, Capt. McLean made the happy
remark that there was "nothing like a change." The next day
the schooner left for town.
Oct. 10.—Indians coming back from American side. Lots
of news about whisky and crazy women.
Nov. 12.—I left for Newchatlat and Hesquiat. We found
Father Brabant as happy and blooming as ever. A strong
east wind took us back to Newchatlat on the third day. After
dispatching my Kyuquot Indians I remained here till about
Christmas. Over thirty children attended school and catechism.    The work was crowned by a general confession day.
Dec. 20.—I arrived back in Kyuquot, and I soon experienced "there is nothing like home, sweet home."
Dec. 25.—After a general church attendance of the few
Indians about, the natives relished a Christmas dinner of a bale
of rice and a bucket of molasses. Mr. Campbell and myself
found it quite a delicacy to have a slice of bacon.
1885
Jan. 15.—Schooner Favorite arrived, under command of
Capt. McLean. Mr. Spring proposed to give $2.50 for a large
seal skin. The natives come to conclusion not to go out sealing
at all.
Jan. 18.—The schooner left, bound for Victoria. About
two weeks after she was seen opposite Kyuquot. They had
made a drifting-trial-trip up to Cape Scott. A "boom and
head collision" flung Mr. Spring very near a couple of times
overboard.
Febr.—Busy times with herring spawn. Speeches are
made at every makmak gathering not to seal for less than $5.
I started the school with an attendance of 40 pupils.
Mar. 8.—Schooner Kate arrives, under command of Capt.
Riley. After discharging goods for the store she left for
Ucluelet, where she intends to take a crew of sealers. No
raise yet in the price of furs.
April 3.—News arrives that seal skins being raised to $4.
Some start sealing.
April 20.—Went to Chiktlisat, where I baptized three
children. During my absence, Mr. Campbell got in conflict
with an Ehattisat Indian, who wanted to sell his furs, but at
141 M
Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
his own prices. After a few throwing in and out of skins by
the two opponents, the contest was concluded by the walking
off of the Ehattisat taking his skins along.
May 3.—Mr. Spring arrived per canoe, gave four boxes
of biscuits to the natives of Kyuquot, and left, satisfied that
the Indians were willing to go out sealing on a schooner.
May 5.—The schooner Grace dropped in with Ehattisat
Indians aboard. She cut a very poor figure with her 140
skins. News about the schooner Adams being in Newchatlat
sealing.
May 8.—The schooner Kate dropped in. Capt. Riley got
a fresh crew in no time, and off he was on the waves of the
ocean.    She had about 250 skins.
May 15.—Capt. Nels Moos, setting ten Clayoquot canoes
adrift 60 miles off shore, made for Kyuquot, and arrived here.
in a thick fog. A full crew was quickly obtained, ready to
seal the first fair day.
June 1.—I left for Victoria, calling at Father Brabant's
Mission in Hesquiat, at Mr. Guillod's office in Ucluelet, and at
Father Lemmen's wig-wam in Dodger's Cove.
June 4.—The schooners gave up sealing and left the coast
for Victoria. Arrival of the Favorite from Victoria, on her
way up to Behring Sea. She had ten canoes on board, seventeen Hesquiat Indians and three Clayoquots.
June 10.—Potlach to the Ahousats, Kelsemats and Ohiats
by the first chief, Tsoghsa-ish, alias Haktla. Boisterous reception, great quarrels, serious conflicts; one stranger shot in
the leg. Arrival of Mr. Guillod, Indian Agent. The chief
gave to the invited Indians 600 blankets, two stoves, twenty
large iron pots, ten trunks, six double barrel guns and four
canoes. I
July 4.—Jim Numokaminish's father and uncle drowned,
reported to be killed near Lookout Island by a big "Chegha,"
similar to a rhinoceros.
July 10.—Very near the whole Kyuquot camp left for the
hopfields.
Aug. 2.—I arrived back from town with a full cargo of
statues, etc.
Aug. 12.—Arrival of schooner Gayward from Behring
Sea. Her cargo of seal skins was landed at Campbell's store
the next day and consisted of one single seal skin. Her trip
up north, under command of Capt. Jim Ogelvill and stevedore
Albert Mitchel, lasted 36 days.    After having seen the "prom-
142 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
ised land," they had to turn back on account of foggy weather
(or bad management, for "too many cooks spoil the broth").
It took them 22 days to come down as far as Kyuquot.
Aug. 15.—Mr. Campbell and myself made a prospecting
trip to Kotso. After arriving there we both cut a poor figure
as miners, having no shovel, etc.
Aug. 16.—Arrival of three gold miners, having come up
the East Coast around the Island. No favorable report, except
about Tlaskinogh. They left, after a prospecting trip up the
inlet, for Esperanza Inlet.
Aug. 17.—Arrival of Kyuquot Indians from the hopfields.
Bad news about the hoppickers receiving 75 cents per box only.
Aug. 29.—Arrival of schooner Onward. Capt. Nels Moos
came to Church, the first time he had been at a Catholic service.
After landing lots of letters, newspapers, communion railing
and cider, delicious as vinegar, she left on
Sept. 4 for Hesquiat, to inspect matters at Franchy's store.
Father Lemmens having arrived here in a Kyuquot canoe
from Alberni, a month ago, also took passage on the Onward
for Barclay Sound. During his stay he made a missionary
trip to Koskimo (Quatsino Sound) and copied the last pages
of the Indian Dictionary.
Oct. 2.—A whale (mother and young) floated ashore at
Chiktlisat.
Oct. 5.—Five canoes come from the Sound (Seattle) reporting the hoppickers to be starving.
Feb. 10.—Through storm and waves peeped Mr. Punch,
recently returned from Seattle. Before leaving the Boston
elehe it struck him that in a rainy season and on a long journey,
a little cheering up would do no harm. Hence he bought a
bottle of brandy, and in order not to lose too much in the
bargain he offered me the empty bottle for sale, forgetting to
wash it out. However, a sudden invented story turned all
into his favor.
Feb. 18.—Two more canoes from the American side.
Capt. Stamp gave us the news about the Kyuquot Indians
having discovered a rich mine of clams in the Sound, and that
consequently the most of them would not return to Kyuquot
but dig away at the "big seam" during next winter and sell
their clams in Seattle.
Oct. 20.—Two Chiktlisat Indians came on a visit, and
after having a look about in the church, gazing at the big
143 £
Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
statue of the Sacred Heart, one of them made the remark:
"Oghtikish mamathlne tloshsap pietksiye" (how well the white
man knows to dry a corpse). The Indian was afraid to go
close up to the statue until a Kyuquot Indian told him that it
was made of cement and called "pictures."
Oct. 28.—Louis, son of Kommightimme, died at the age of
two months, rejoining his two brothers, David and John, who
have preceded him only two months, in heaven. The father,
who fought the priest on different occasions, will not have so
much to say after such punishment.
Oct. 29.—Got a nice little Scotch terrier; he or she likes
to take the first seat closest to the fire in the parlor, and to be
superintendent in the dining room.
Nov. 10.—Went up the inlet with Jim Hapouthl and Capt.
Napoleon to baptize a baby that was born on the way home
from Seattle, at Clayoquot. Mother and child sound as a brick.
Going up, a wolf crossed the channel, Napoleon struck him on
the head with an axe; however, as he was not deadly hurt, he
made for the shore. Napoleon, the son of the old warrior,
Kaghkaghemis, intending to show his courage, went up to the
wolf, took him by the neck and flung him into the canoe, where
he soon bit a hole through the stern. A second struggle commenced between Napoleon and the wolf, that, according to the
traditions of the Kyuquot Indians, had formerly been an Indian. Napoleon got the better of him, and a general yell
crowned the battle.
Nov. 12.—Four canoes arrive from the American side.
McMahon and Co. had been forty days on the way, brought
very little from the hopfields, and found nothing in regard to
makmak (food) at home. By these canoes came also the news
about Hayoutk's death, who "nakwoichitlnit" (died a result of
drunkeness).
Nov. 13.—Schooner Favorite arrived about 7 p.m., after
a trip of 24 hours from Victoria. Bell, grapes, apples and
pears were landed the next day.
Nov. 15 (Sunday).—Capt. McLean, Mr. Spring, Mr.
Campbell, the storekeeper, Mr. McDonnal, future storekeeper
at Hesquiat, and the brother-in-law of Capt. McLean, attended
the High Mass. The Capt. had the honor of ringing first the
new bell; then Mr. Spring and Mr. McDonnal gave us the
second and third ringing. After services the schooner left,
promising to return before February 10th.
144 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
Dec. 9.—Made my yearly trip to Newchatlat and Ehattisat.
During my stay of three weeks I kept school three times per
day; however, as a great many natives were not back yet from
the American side, I could only get twenty children to attend
school regularly.
. Dec. 20.—Made a quick trip to the Ehattisats in Hook,
where gambling with cards was the order of the day.
Dec. 29.—On my return to Newchatlat I found at Kamils
(Kyuquot) a fresh bull calf with a rebellious mother.
Dec. 30.—Received letters and papers from Father Brabant, telling about the Favorite having got ashore without being
much damaged, as also about the return of the two Hesquiats
lost during sealing at the Russian Coast.
Jan. 1, 1886.—A surprise. Got a big box through Mr.
Campbell from Mr. Charles Spring, as a Christmas present.
Jan. 3.—The Ehattisats went to a potlach at Chiktlisat.
Each one got two blankets and a pan of whale oil, except three
chiefs, who each got four blankets and a barrel of oil.
Jan. 7.—The Chiktlisats came to a potlatch at Kyuquot,
given by the Queen. Besides smaller potlaches given by different persons during their monotonous dancing and singing, the
number of blankets distributed among the Chiktlisats were 180;
canoes, 5; iron pots, 10; guns, 8; trunks, 12; and cash, $5.
The storekeeper, Mr. Campbell, was quite good humored during the week of the potlach, because he saw more cash coming
in than he had seen for the last three or four months.
Jan. 9.—Napoleon's mother-in-law died at the Hospital of
old age.
Jan. 15.—The Chiktlisats left for Hesquiat to invite the
natives of that tribe to a potlach, to which, half of the tribe
(forty men) yielded. The Chiktlisats, weather bound, returned only on the 30th inst., and the Hesquiats, on their way
to Chiktlisat, called at Kyuquot.
Feb. 1.—They left again the following day for Chiktlisat
to enjoy whale blubber and oil.
March 10.—Schooner Onward arrived, having His Grace,
John Charles Seghers, Father Brabant and Father Lemmens
on board.
Apple trees, forty-two in number, were planted the next
day.    (Here the diary was discontinued).
145 Chapter V
REV. JOS. NICOLAYE
Rev. Jos. Nicolaye was the second priest to labor among
the West Coast Indians. He had arrived in Victoria from the
American College at Louvain in August, 1776, and already in
September, Archbishop Seghers took Father Nicolaye in the
little schooner Alert to Father Brabant, at Hesquiat, "on
trial." Says Father Nicolaye of this trip :* "The schooner was
very small, but large enough to make room for two more. The
crew consisted of three, all told. Capt. Geo. Brown was the
skipper, Thos. Owens the first, second and third mate, and
Charlie Tlooye, a Kyuquot Indian, the cook. Captain and
sailor were very kind, indeed, and the weather was fine—only
two fine. Trouble was never anticipated, yet now and then
there was a little rivalry between His Grace and myself as to
who would sacrifice best and most to Neptune. We had also
a cute little black bear on board. He was not very vicious,
but he liked to play, as puppies sometimes do. "A little fun
at times," he seemed to say. Yet it was deemed necessary to
chain him up. Naturally, the two passengers had more liberty
than he, and so we often strolled about the deck, not paying
attention to our little black friend. When the Archbishop
passed somewhat close by, Blackie invariably made a dash at
his trousers, but he never troubled much about mine. Where
the difference came in I cannot tell, yet the fact stands. Very
likely he knew that a Bishop could afford better to buy new
ones than a poor novice—or perhaps mine were of such poor
quality that it was not worth while troubling about them.
The weather, I said, was only too fine; beautiful sunshine,
but very little wind. It took us four days from Victoria to
Ucluelet, in Barclay Sound, a distance of one hundred miles.
Here we enjoyed for a couple of days the hospitality of Capt.
Francis, a Frenchman and shareholder of the schooner. We
had still about sixty-five miles to reach the Hesquiat Mission,
where Father Brabant was anxiously awaiting us. On leaving
Ucluelet our worst enemy was the calm weather. Almost in
view of the Mission we rolled about four days and four nights
*Note—Historical  Number  of  B.   C.   Orphans'   Friend,   1914.
146 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
without making half a mile headway. At last His Grace lost
patience—Saints lose patience sometimes, too. He decided to
go to Hesquiat, paddling our own canoe. An old Ahousat
couple took us to their camp, but we were greatly disappointed
on arriving. All the Indians had gone up the Inlet, herring
fishing; in consequence there was no large canoe to be had for
our transport. Meanwhile a little breeze sprang up, and the
schooner sailed quietly into Hesquiat Harbor the same day we
had left her, while we poor fellows had to make the best of it
in the Indian camp. This, my first visit to an Indian house,
made a lasting impression on me. The hospitality was great.
To help us in our need the old woman kindly handed us a plate
full of bread baked in ashes. Of course, she washed it a little—
mighty little—and wiped it off with her own shirt—other clothes
she had none. And when night had come the old "gentleman" gave a new blanket to His Grace, and an old dirty one to
"poor me." If the night had not been very cold, and the house
had not been full of smoke, I would much rather have sat up
near the open fire, than cover myself with the precious gift of
my generous old "friend." But under the present circumstances no alternative presented itself. It would not have been
so bad had the blanket been uninhabited, but the little inmates,
too proud to jump, made things quite lively for me during the
night; in fact, I was "tickled to death" for quite a few weeks
afterwards.' However, the following day we got into Hesquiat
at midnight, about twenty-four hours later than the schooner.
Father Brabant was in good humor, notwithstanding he was
awakened from his slumbers. After a short, hearty welcome
we went to enjoy a much-needed rest. Before retiring, however, orders were given by the novice-master. I had to cook the
breakfast in the morning. Protests were perfectly useless;
words like "never did before," "don't know how," made not the
slightest impression. During the night I had a most beautiful
dream about all the nice dishes I should prepare in the morning.
The words of the late Mr. Ridon, of the Driard Hotel, were
clearly in my mind. When he spoke of his kitchen he used to
say: "C'est la salle des miracles"—it is the room where great
wonders are wrought. After an early Mass, I made my first
experiment in the kitchen department. Cooking seems to be
very easy, but I soon found out that it is attended with great
difficulties and surprises. It is already quite an art to light a
fire so as not to have to do the work over again. The menu was
very simple. There was bread and butter and oatmeal porridge, with coffee.   The table was set with good taste, and the
147 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
meal was cooked according to instructions received on the pre-
. vious night. In fact, I felt quite proud of my great success—
and yet it was a failure, after all. I had put a handful of salt
instead of a small quantity into the porridge. What could I
say but "mea culpa?" It was rather consoling for an apprentice to see how the Archbishop took the matter. Of course,
as Master of Novices, Father Brabant was in duty bound to be
more outspoken. However, the pipe made up for the deficiency
of the breakfast. Later on in the day we waded across the
little stream of water behind the Church into the woods to find
a more suitable place for Church and house in case the Mission
should prove to be a success. Roaming about the thicket we
came to a large tree, only a few yards from the church—and lo!
—there we found the clothing, bones and gun of the unfortunate young chief, Matlahaw. Having shot Father Brabant
(1775) he fled into the woods and was never seen or heard of
till we found his remains. He must have felt unsafe among
his own people. Exhausted by the want of food, and weakened
through sickness, he succumbed, and the wolves, which were
very numerous in the neighborhood, probably devoured him."
For a year Father Nicolaye remained at Hesquiat with
Father Brabant, or taking his place when the latter was absent
in Namukamis,* building a church. When this church was
built Father Nicolaye made his home here, taking charge of
the six tribes of Barclay Sound, Nitinat and Pachino. "The
Church was blessed on Christmas Day, 1877, by Archbishop
Seghers, and called St. Leo's Mission. Father Brabant had
come also for the occasion. But the buildings were not finished by any means. There was only a single board partition
between church and house. For want of lumber no ceiling or
partitions could be made in the house. There stood a bare
chimney in the centre of the little dwelling, around which I
could turn at will, chasing my own shadow. Or, to break the
monotony, I would allow'the dog, cat and goat to come together
—and then we had a "picnic," a "jolly good time," running
around the chimney.
One of my experiences is that a man can bear almost anything (hanging I don't know, I never tried it) except to be
weeks and months alone without any possibility of seeing a
human being. I had to bear it because of necessity, but I
must frankly acknowledge that those four months were the
hardest I ever put in.    In years gone by** the natives had, as a
*This was the winter  camp  of the  Ohiat  Indians in  Barclay Sound.
**This  is  still  the  case.
148 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
rule, two camps, one for winter and one for the summer. The
winter camp was generally in a sheltered nook of a deep inlet
of the sea; the summer residences were outside, on the shores
of the ocean. It was thither my natives went on the day
following the blessing of the church, and not a soul was left behind on 27th of December besides myself, my dog, cat and goat.
Every morning after breakfast, I ascended a hill near the
church, and I felt quite relieved and happy if I saw a canoe
sailing at ten or twelve miles' distance—so great was that feeling of loneliness. Another experience was to have no change
of food for many weeks. It was oatmeal porridge in the
morning, at noon oatmeal porridge, and oatmeal porridge at
night. It was rather a slim menu. Yet it was not difficult to
put up with it. But to live the life of a hermit was not congenial to my nature and disposition; I began to kick, jump, cry,
and shout from the 29th of March, 1850, the day I was born.
During those days of my lonely life at Namukamis an
accident happened which might have been very serious. As
the buildings had been made of square logs, a large amount-of
waste wood was lying about the premises. I watched my
chance to make a "bonfire." One day the westerly wind was
blowing hard down the inlet. The expected and natural consequence could only be that the fire should go further into the
woods and die out. To my great surprise, however, a whirlwind drove the fire back to the buildings—burning the chips
and shavings on the premises. The only water in the neighborhood was sixty feet below, and could only be reached by a
ladder. You should have seen "poor me" for several hours
run up and down that "gangway." It was of no use "pressing
the button," "ringing the bell," crying "fire, fire," it meant
workirig like a negro. I saw plainly the fire was getting the
better of me. A salutary inspiration, however, put a stop to it
all. I dug a ditch round about the buildings and the fire died
a natural death."
Father Nicolaye and "John Chinaman"
During his stay at Namukamis, Father Nicolaye also made
visits to Alberni, where the Opichesat Indians resided. "My
first visit," says Father Nicolaye, "I made in a small canoe.
On my way home from Alberni I had to call at the store of a
Chinaman, who lived a few miles down the canal. He had
written a letter saying he would be very glad to meet me.
Though young and zealous in those days, I knew too
much already of "John Chinaman" to imagine for a moment
149 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
that our conversation should be on anything but on some worldly subject, and so it was. My noble Chinaman, having a
general store, had sold some goods to Indians on credit, with
the natural consequence of seeing those pagans nevermore.
He gave me a list of names, such as John, Dick, Harry, Bob,
etc., and he most kindly appointed me his general collector for
the whole district of Barclay Sound, without alluding to any
kind of remuneration or commission. A Chinaman is always
very cute in his own way. He not only knows how to say:
"What for," when a boy throws a snowball at him, but he also
says: "What for," when you refuse to render him a service.
However, the matter was soon settled in a friendly manner:
he did not know who was John, Dick, Harry, Bob, etc., and
neither did I. But it was getting dark, and there was no possibility of reaching my house—hence I concluded to stay overnight at John's palace. A couple of cedar mats on the floor,
rather a decent pillow, a couple of blankets, and my couch was
ready in his store, where all the Oriental colors and "perfumes"
invited me to a quiet sleep. Before retiring to his own bedroom my little pink-eyed Chinaman came into the store once
again with a lighted lamp, a dish of rice and some other eatables, which he solemnly placed at the foot of a little statue—
my celestial friend's idol. The natural query on my part was:
"What for?" Do you think he will eat all that?" "Yes, yes,"
he retorted," in the morning it will be all gone." "It will be
all gone," I replied, "if I eat it myself, or if you come on the
quiet and take it away—at any rate I will be on the lookout for
you." At last my friend assented to the fact that his idol did
not eat, and declared the performance to be an old Chinese
custom, which was sacred. The light, of course, burnt the
whole night, and I did not interfere any longer.
Shortly after my return from Alberni I had a pleasant
visit of four prospectors.. They stayed with me a few days.
When about to sail for Victoria they decided to "paddle their
own canoe" without any Indian assistance. I remonstrated
that it was not only foolish, but risky and dangerous in the
highest degree. The breakers off Cape Beale were always
fierce enemies, carefully to be avoided, even at the most favorable season. One decided to go by way of Alberni, over the
Indian trail to Qualicum, on the east coast of the Island, and
he got safely to Victoria. The three others persisted in going
by canoe, and a few hours later their bodies were found on the
rocks below Cape Beale lighthouse.
150 Chapter VI
INVENTORY OF THE KYUQUOT MISSION,
MARCH 5th, 1886.
Mission of St. Marc in Kyuquot Sound, in Kamils, one
of the Barrier Islands, in the District of the Sacred Heart of
Jesus.
Missionary Priest: Rev. Peter Joseph Nicolaye, aged
thirty-six years (on the 29th inst.), born in Holset, in Limburg,
Holland, who took charge of this Mission in Sept., 1880.
Limits of the Mission: From Esperanza Inlet, inclusively,
to Cape Cook, embracing the tribes Newchatlat, Ehattisat,
Kyuquot and Chiktlisat.
Buildings: Church and School, Dwelling House, Hospital,
Indian room, woodshed, stable, chicken house. The Church
is sixty feet long by twenty-five feet wide, with a steeple and
two bells, the largest being 200 lbs. in weight, from Mennely,
Troy, N. Y. There are in the Church one altar, one baptismal
font, one Holy Water font, one communion railing, moveable
confessional, twenty pews, twenty candlesticks, one large
statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, two small statues, thirty-
eight standards and banners, three large framed pictures,
stations of the Cross, three mirrors, four cushioned stools, one
carpet, one tabernacle, one large cross, one large lamp.
The school is back of the Church under the same roof,
and used as sacristy, twenty feet in length by twenty-five in
width. Contents: eight writing desks, full set of books, writing books, slates and pencils, five maps, one large stove, eight
benches. Contents of Sacristy: two chalices, one large cibor-
ium and two small ones, one oil stock, two full sets of Vestments, three cruets, two altar bells, two sets of altar cards, five
missals, two missal stands, set of plain chant books, five albs,
two surplices, full assortment of altar linen, including five
altar cloths, three Communion cloths, two thuribles and two
incense boats, one ostensorium, one black cape, two funeral
palls, a wax Infant Jesus, four cassocks with surplices for
altar boys, one complete portable altar. The Dwelling House
is thirty-six feet long by fifteen, besides a shed-roof kitchen,
151 (jf
Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
and pantry, and Indian room to the south. The house stands
East of the Church, has one brick chimney, one verandah to
the North and three rooms, with a staircase and garret.
Contents: two fireplaces, one sofa, seven chairs, three
tables, two bedsteads with bedding, one writing desk, two bookcases, a number of pictures, three mirrors.
Contents of Kitchen: large cooking stove, meat safe, the
necessary utensils and crockery. In each Indian room one
fireplace and four seats. There are five head of cattle and one
goat, one cat, one dog, one canary bird. One large canoe, one
skiff, a small canoe with oars and sails.
There is one Cemetery, about 110 feet square, to be blessed
next Sunday, March 7th, 1886,* two orchards with fruit trees.
About three acres of ground are fenced in, including a ditch
and a current stream of water. The Mission stands East of
Village Island, facing Aktis, which is due West,, on a small
island by itself, having Cheghwatakothl to the North-east on
the same island. The island of the Mission is a little more than
two miles to the West of Union Island.
Income: Salary received from the Indian Department in
1885, $210.**
Inhabitants:—
Newchatlats       -----    120
Ehattisats      ------120
Kyuquots   (about)      -   -   -   640
Chiktlisats     ------    120
Total      -------    1,000 Indians.
Christians: About 150 remain of those baptized in Kyuquot during the first trip of the Missionaries (Archbishop
Seghers and Father Brabant) in 1874; between 40 and 50 remain in the other three villages. 295 infants were baptized
since 1880 throughout St.'Marc's Mission. Two adults were
baptized and married; about ten were baptized at the point of
death.   About 400 Christians in all.
Funerals, 25 ; Marriages, 2. Two matrimonial dispensations for disparitas cultus.
First Communions -   -   -   - 38
Yearly Confessions     -   -   - 218
Regular attendance at school,
boys and girls -   -   -   - 40
*By  Archbishop  J.   Seghers.
**This salary was paid for teaching school.
152 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
At Newchatlat: One building, used as chapel, school and
dwelling, 24 feet by 12 feet, having a shed-roof kitchen and
woodshed, containing one cooking stove, eight seats, one bedstead, one table, two stools. Regular attendance at school
about thirty boys and girls.
At Ehattislat: One building, used as chapel, school and
dwelling, 20 feet by 15 feet, having the same as above; one
fireplace instead of stove.
At Chiktlisat: One small building, 15 feet by 12 feet in
the summer camp; one altar and a few seats.
All the above buildings are of wood.
CHRISTIE INDIAN RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL, igoo
153 Chapter VII
CHRISTIE INDIAN RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL
Although Father Brabant advocated as early as 1895 the
necessity of building a residential school for Indian boys and
girls, his wish was not realized until 1899, when Rt. Rev. A.
Christie was Bishop of Victoria. The good Bishop saw at
once the advantages of such a school. Father Brabant was
commissioned to select the place for the school. The Bishop
would send up lumber and men to do the work, and when the
building was started Father Brabant was to go East, begging
for funds.
Father Brabant chose a place in Clayoquot Sound, on
Meares Island, at the foot of Lone Cone, a mountain of over
2,000 feet in height. It is thus centrally located and easily
accessible to the Indians living North and South of it along the
West Coast. The school is removed from all Indian settlements, which is a great advantage that can be appreciated to
its full extent only by those engaged in the education and
Christianization of this race. Another consideration of great
weight in the choice of this locality was the beach of hard sand.
At low tide this sand beach affords an extensive playground
for the children, more than ample room for football, base ball,
races or any other game the children may engage in. Another
advantage of building here was the natural water supply in a
small creek which empties into the bay. This creek furnished
the water for some years, being pumped up by a ram. In
October the same year the school was built, and the following
May, Rev. P. Maurus, O. S. B., arrived with two Benedictine
Brothers and three nuns of the same order. The beginning
of the school was humble, very humble. A frame building,
60 by 40, and two-and-a-half stories high, with a small outside
building used as a laundry, constituted the establishment.
There was no land cleared for a garden, on the contrary, a
person had to be careful and keep his eyes open if he would
walk around the building without stumbling over tree stumps.
A week after the arrival of the school staff, school was
opened with ten children.    It was hard to get children.    The
154 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
parents did not like to part with them. It needed a lot of
coaxing and persuading. By July 1st twenty-eight children
were enrolled and sixteen new ones were admitted from July 1,
1900, to July 1, 1901. Another year passed, and the number
of pupils was 56. Prejudice against a Boarding School disappeared slowly among the Indians and Rev. P. Maurus, the
principal, made plans for enlarging the building. Two wings
were added in 1904, giving accommodation to 70 children. At
the same time the Indian Department at Ottawa allowed a
grant for 60 children instead of for 50, as at first. The water
from the creek proved to be undesirable after heavy rains, and
Father Maurus also obtained from the Indian Department a
special appropriation to build tanks and lay iron pipes from
higher up on the mountain side, and thus secure a plentiful
supply of the best mountain water. In 1905 stoves were discarded and a central hot-water heating plant installed. 1909
saw a steam laundry, with the necessary machinery, added to
the place. In the year 1914 a new large cow barn was built,
and a smaller one for the hogs. Then came hard times, with
high prices for everything. In spite of this, in 1907 an electric
light plant was bought.    But when the Indian Department, in
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CHRISTIE INDIAN RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL,  1905
155 . Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
1922, started to enforce the Indian School Act, according to
which all Indian children of school age must attend school, the
school management had to make room for more children.    The
grant was now for 70 children.    To accommodate them better,
a large gymnasium for the boys was put up as a separate building; their former play hall
in the main building being
converted into a dining hall.
The following year a large
addition was added to the
main building for exclusive
use of the girls, giving them
a roomy play hall, enlarging
their dormitory and giving
them a large new schoolroom.   This part was finished in the spring of 1924.
In this school they get a
thorough instruction in their
religion,   they   are   taught
also the secular branches of
reading, writing, arithmetic,
etc.,   as   thoroughly  as   in
other   schools.    They   are,
moreover, taught to work.
Each child goes to school
daily half a day—the other
half is for work, recreation
excepted.   The girls in the
kitchen,  sewing room and
laundry;  the   boys   in  the
    barns,   gardens   and   carpenter and shoe shops.
There are at the present writing, December, 1925, eighty
children in the school, the 167th boy and the 154th girl that
entered since the school opened.
Principals of the Christie Indian Residential School:
Rev. P. Maurus, O.S.B., May, 1900 to November, 1911.
•  Rev. Father Epper, O.S.B., November, 1911 to October,
1916.
Rev. Jos. Schindler, O.S.B., October, 1916 to July, 1919.
Rev. Chas. Moser, O.S.B., July, 1919 to April, 1922.
Rev. Ildefonse Calmus, O.S.B., April, 1922 to present time.
156
CHRISTIE
INDIAN RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL
1925 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
CHRISTIE  INDIAN  RESIDENTIAL  SCHOOL
Besides Band  Instruments, Piano and Violin are taught to the
Indian   Children
CHILDREN OF AN EX-PUPIL COUPLE
157 Chapter VIII
LIST OF PRIESTS STATIONED ALONG THE
WEST COAST
OF VANCOUVER ISLAND
Rev. A. J. Brabant, at Hesquiat 1875-1908.
Rev. Jos. Nicolaye, at Hesquiat 1876-1878; in Barclay
Sound 1878-1880;  at Kyuquot 1880-1890.
Rev. J. N. Lemmens, at Kyuquot 1883-1885; at Clayoquot
1886-1888;   and, when Bishop, again Clayoquot 1893-1894.
Rev. Fr. Eussen, in Barclay Sound 1880.
Rev. H. Meuleman, at Kyuquot 1891-1897.
I
m f ■ I	
^____
CLAYOQUOT MISSION
Destroyed  by Fire,  June  25th,  1925
158 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
Rev. Fr. Verbeke followed Fr. Eussen in Barclay Sound,
from where he moved and resided at Alberni.
Rev. M. L. Heynen, at Clayoquot 1888-1892.
Rev. J. A. Van Nevel, at Clayoquot 1895-1900.
Rev. E. Sobry, at Kyuquot 1897-1911; at Nootka 1911-
1920.
Rev. P. Maurus, O.S.B., at Kakawis 1900-1910.
Rev. Chas. Moser, O.S.B., at Clayoquot 1900-1910; at
Hesquiat 1910-1917;  at Kakawis 1917 to present time*
Rev. A. Seve, at Nootka a few months in 1902.
Rev. A. Stern, at Nootka 1904-1910.
Rev. F. Epper, O.S.B., at Kakawis 1911-1916.
Rev. Jos. Schindler, O.S.B., at Clayoquot 1910-1916; at
Kakawis 1916-1919.
Rev. Ild. Calmus, O.S.B., at Kakawis 1919 to present time.
*Note—At the present time since 1920, all the Missions, including Port Alice
in  Quatsino  Sound,  are  attended from  Kakawis.
GRAVE   MONUMENT   OF   CHIEF   MOKWINNA
Friendly Cove, Nootka.    Died 1902
159 Jrf
Chapter IX
HISTORIC NOOTKA
THE word Nootka is an Indian word; derived from the
verb nootkshitl, which means to go around. In the
language of the Indians it did never designate either a
locality or an Indian tribe. Friendly Cove, the home of the
"Nootka" Indians, is called "Youkwat," a place exposed to the
winds, from the fact that the winds from all directions strike
this place. The Indians living at Youkwat are the Mo-achat
tribe, Indians of the deer, because the deer were more plentiful
there, and in the neighborhood, than anywhere else on the
West Coast. However, the word Nootka is now employed by
all white people and often used also by the present-day Indians, not only as a geographical name, but also to designate
the Indians as a tribe. Hence we have Nootka Island, Nootka
Sound, and Nootka Indians.
How the name originated can only be conjectured; but it
stands quite to reason that when the first navigators entered
Friendly Cove, and by motions and gestures tried to find out
from the natives the name of the place, or to get some other
kind of information regarding the locality, the question asked
was misunderstood, and applying the same motions and
gestures, used the verb nootkshitl in different verbal tenses
trying to explain that the place was an Island, around which a
ship could go.
It was Capt. James Cook who discovered the Harbor of
Friendly Cove in 1778. He called it King George's Sound,
but the name did not hold. The name Nootka seems to have
been used first by the Spaniards, who called the place San
Lorenzo de Nutka. When the Spaniards in 1789 came to
occupy and fortify the Harbor of Friendly Cove, Estavano
Martinez changed the name to Santa Crux de Nutka, but
common usage made it later simply Nootka.
Four years before Capt. Cook came to the West Coast of
Vancouver Island where, as the first navigator, he entered
Friendly Cove, Capt. Juan Perez sailed in the Santiago from
Monterey, with instructions to "examine the coast from said
160 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
Port of Monterey to 60° North latitude; to take possession of
the lands for Spain, and to plant bottles containing the evidence." Two Franciscans, Rev. Fathers Juan Crespi and
Tomas de la Pena, accompanied this expedition as chaplains
of the ship. Both these Fathers kept a diary during the voyage, the original of which, together with a translation in English, were published in 1891 by the Historical Society of
Southern California, Vol. II, part 1. John Perez sailed from
Monterey June 11th, 1774, his voyage terminated August 27th"
of the same year, when the Santiago, a little before 4 o'clock
in the afternoon, came to anchor in the Port of Monterey.
The vessel never had reached 60° North latitude, but had gone
North as far as 55°. Land was sighted on different occasions,
but as a whole the weather was bad and foggy most of the
time, so that the vessel was kept off-shore. When the water
supply was getting short Juan Perez called his officers for a
consultation, and it was decided to make land. Says Father
Tomas de la Penna in his diary :* "On the 8th of August, at
four o'clock in the morning the wind came from the East, light,
and variable, and the course was North. The day dawned
with the sky very much overcast, but there was no low-lying
fog or dew. At eight o'clock the wind hauled to the Southeast, although it was light, and we stood in towards the land on
a North-east course. Whether it was that the current had
carried us away from it during the calm, or because of the
foggy weather, we saw no land. At about eleven o'clock we
caught sight of land, but did not see the snowy hills, for the
coast was covered with a fog. The land which we saw bore
North-east, about six leagues away; it was rather high, and
covered with forest. In the south-east there was a point
stretching out to the sea. All the morning the ship made three
miles an hour. At midday the sun was a little clearer and the
navigating officers took an observation. Don Esteban told me
that our position was 49° 05'; the Captain did not say what he
made it. At about two o'clock in the afternoon, when we were
about three leagues from the land the wind began to die away ;
but aided by puffs, we reached to within about two leagues of
it. Here several casts of the lead were had, with bottom in
twenty-two and twenty-four fathoms. About four o'clock
three canoes came out to us; in one were four men, three in
another, and two in a third. They remained at some distance
from the ship, crying out and making gestures that we should
*Note—Publications of the Historical Society of Southern California, Vol. II,
Part  i.    Documents from the Sutro  Collection, pp.   131-133.
161 if
Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
go away. After some time, we having made signs to them
that they should draw near without fear, they did so, and we
gave them to understand that we were in search of water;
but they could not have been satisfied with our signs, and went
back to the land. In going back they met with two other
canoes which were coming out to the ship; but after communication had between them, they turned back towards the land.
At six, having arrived within about a league of the land, and
" good holding ground being found in twenty-five fathoms, the
ship came to an anchor, so that on the following day we might
go ashore and take possession of the land in the name of the
King, our Lord. At the time of anchoring the wind had died
away completely. About eight o'clock at night three canoes,
with fifteen pagans in them, came to us; but they remained at
a distance from the ship, their occupants crying out in a mournful tone of voice. We called them, and they drew near.
Shortly afterward they went away again, but, until after
eleven o'clock, they remained at a distance of about a musket-
shot from the ship, talking among themselves and sometimes
crying out. The canoes of these pagans are not so large as
those we saw at Point Santa Margarita, in latitude 55°, nor of
the same shape. The largest are about eight yards in length,
with a long prow, hollowed out, and their sterns are blunter.
The paddles are very handsome and are painted, and are
shaped like a shovel, with a point about a quarter of a yard long
at the end. These canoes appear to be of a single piece;
though not all of them, for we saw some of pieces bound together.    All are very well made.
The 9th dawned calm and clear towards the north-west,
but in other quarters there was fog. Having been aroused,
the crew began to get the long boat over the side, in order to go
ashore. While this was doing there arrived fifteen canoes,
with about a hundred men and women. We gave them to
understand that they might draw near without fear, and presently they came to us, and began to trade with our people what
they had brought in their canoes, which consisted only of the
skins of otters, and other animals, hats of rushes, painted and
with the crown pointed, and cloths woven of a kind of hemp,
having fringes of the same, with which they clothe themselves;
most of them wearing a cape of this material. Our people
bought several of these articles, in exchange for old clothes,
shells which they had brought from Monterey, and some
knives ; for these and the shells they manifested greater liking.
We did not see clothes woven of wool among them, as at Santa
162 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
Margarita, nor are they so fully clothed as were those natives.
These women do not have a metal disk pendent from the lip.
In the possession of these people were seen some implements
of iron and copper. About six o'clock in the morning, the
long boat being now in the water, the wind was set in from the
West, and it was noticed that it was forcing us towards the
land, the anchor not holding. Immediately preparations for
weighing anchor were made, so that sail might be made and
peril avoided. But the high wind and the sea carried us
steadily towards the shore, so that it was necessary to cut the
cable and lose the anchor. The cable being cut, sail was made
with the ship's head to the South-west a quarter South, and
with great difficulty we managed to weather a rocky point that
stretched out about a league into the sea. The captain named
the anchorage the Roadstead of San Lorenzo, some hills which
were to the north-westward of this roadstead he called Hills of
Santa Clara, and the point to the south-eastward he named
San Esteban.* According to what the Captain told us, this
roadstead is in latitude 49° 3(y. Having weathered the point
of rocks, and being about three leagues off the land, so great
was the force of the wind and the sea, that it was necessary to
take in all sail, except the fore-stay sail, so that the long boat
might be got on board. This was effected with great difficulty,
and the boat was well nigh lost, together with some men who
*The present  Estevan  Point,  Lighthouse  and Wireless.
NOOTKA MISSION
163 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
were in it. The long boat being got on board, sail was made,
and the ship's head was put to the south south-west."
The Indians spoken to by the Santiago were Hesquiat
Indians, living then at Pachista, a C-shaped sandy beach, about
twelve miles south of Friendly Cove. The rocky point that
"stretched out about a league into the sea" are the Sunday
rocks. The Indians saw the Santiago when yet far out at sea.
As they had never yet seen any other kind of boats, not to
speak of ships, but canoes, they thought first it was a big bird.
It was watched with eager eyes. It was coming nearer. No, it
was no bird. It was a floating house with immense sails.
People were walking on top of the house. Shyly they went
to investigate. Yes, there were real people aboard, but different from themselves. They could not explain the strange
sight. It was something never seen nor heard of before.
Puzzled as they were they gave the white man on the Santiago
the name "mamathlne" (floating house), which name is still
the name given by all the West Coast Indians to every white
man.
This voyage of Juan Perez and the subsequent voyage of
James Cook gave new incentive to Spain, England and Russia
for further exploration trips in search of the supposed Northwest Passage from the Pacific to the Atlantic, besides inducing
English and American traders to come to this coast in search
of the valuable sea-otter skins. They all knew Nootka and
called at this port. In fact, for about twenty years Nootka
was the best known and most frequented harbor on the Pacific
Coast of America North of Monterey. In 1786 John Meares
(an Englishman) made a fur-trading trip from China to
Alaska, calling at Nootka. Again he ventured on a second
trip the following year, arriving at Nootka in May, 1788. He
had brought along Chinese artisans with intentions of building
a fur-trading vessel at Nootka. For this purpose he bought
from Chief Mokwinna, for eight or ten sheets of copper* the
small tract at Friendly Cove, where now the Catholic Mission
stands. On this ground he built a house for the workmen and
stores, and planted a small cannon for protection. Then he
laid the keel for his vessel, and whilst his Chinese carpenters
were building his schooner he himself sailed South in quest
of furs, doing at the same time some exploring work.
*Note—The Copper ^sheets were engraved by the Indian chiefs who alone
owned them. They were very valuable to them, and used in redeeming their
people from slavery—a small piece being chopped off and given in ransom to the
owner of the slave. Hence the name of the copper sheets "chiti<-assim." Before
the Indian chiefs came in possession of Copper, shells were used for the same
purpose.     These   shells  were  called   "aptsi-inne."
164 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
In September John Meares was back in Friendly Cove,
and in the presence of English and American captains the new
vessel was launched, and called the Northwest America. This
vessel, built in the small cove where the Catholic Mission
stands to-day in Friendly Cove, was the first vessel built on the
American Pacific Coast North of Mexico and California.
Meares,* who acted like a double personality, using English colors and papers, and at the same time being equipped
with Portuguese flags and papers, made use of either of them
as the purpose suited him, abandoned his little fort of one
cannon after the launching of his schooner, and left Nootka,
and formed what was then a big fur-trading stock company.
Meanwhile, in the year 1789, the occupation of Nootka took
place by the Spaniards. The place was fortified and a garrison
kept there. Estavano Martinez was in charge. The Iphe-
genia, Capt. Douglas, one of Meares' ships was in the harbor
at the time, and Martinez did not like the attitude of her captain, and seized the ship.** However, changing his mind,
Martinez released the Iphigenia, and sold to her captain provisions, with the understanding that he would sail away. Capt.
Douglas gave Martinez an order on Cavalho, who was a partner
of Meares, for the payment of the stores received. Later on
Martinez learned that Cavalho was bankrupt, and when the
Northwest America, Capt. Funter, another of Meares' schooners, arrived in June, Martinez seized her to make good the
draft he had received from Douglas. One by one Meares'
ships happened to come into Friendly Cove just at this time.
The first one to appear after the seizure of the Northwest
America was the Princess Royal, Capt. Hudson. He arrived
on June 14, and took the company's furs from the seized
schooner. Capt. Hudson was well treated by the Spaniards,
and sailed again July 2nd on a trading cruise. Next day the
Argonaut, Capt. Colnett, cast anchor in Friendly Cove. He
upbraided the Spanish for the seizure of the Northwest
America, and declared that he and the company he was working-
for were going to take possession of the place. The result of
this speech was that next day, July 4th, his ship was also seized,
and he and his crew made prisoners. His conduct also brought
trouble on Capt. Hudson of the Princess Royal. For when
this captain, who a month ago had been well treated by the
Spaniards, again showed up in Friendly Cove on July 14, his
*Note—Mrs. Barkley, the wife of the discoverer of Barkley Sound, accuses
Capt.. Meares also of dishonesty and many wrongs done to her husband. See
"'British Columbia Coast Names", by Capt. John T. Walbran, 34.
•Note—Jealousy seems to have been the trouble.
165 If
Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
Princess Royal also was seized. The three seized vessels of
Meares, as prizes, and their crews as prisoners, were sent to
San Bias, Mexico. The Spanish authorities here understood
at once the gravity of the situation, and after fitting out and
provisioning   the   confiscated   vessels   released   them,   paying
the crews from the time of
their detention wages at
the rate then prevalent in
the Spanish navy. But this
did not satisfy the offended
Englishmen. John Meares
reported the case to London, demanding not only
big damages but claiming
also the whole territory of
Nootka by right of discovery and purchase from
the natives. English feeling
Mran   high  when  the  news
Bfefeh.    #1    JS^Sfc&Jl     reached   London   that   the
English flag had been insulted, English territory
occupied, English ships
seized and their crews
made prisoners by the
Spaniards at Nootka, on
the Northwest Coast of
America. Great Britain
gathered her war vessels.
On seeing such warlike
preparations being made by
England, Spain signed, at
Madrid, on October 28,
1790, what is known as
the Nootka Convention, in
which Spain obliged herself "to give restitution to England
for the capture and aggressions made by the subjects of
His Catholic Majesty, and to acknowledge England's equal
rights with Spain to the prosecution of all commercial
undertakings in those seas reputed before to belong only
to the Spanish Crown. The extensive branches of the
fisheries and the fur trade in China being considered as
objects of very material importance to England, it was deemed
expedient that an officer should be sent to Nootka to receive
166
TOTEM POLE,  FRIENDLY- COVE,
NOOTKA Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
back in form a restitution of the territories on which the
Spaniards had seized, and also make an accurate survey of
the coast." *
Capt. George Vancouver was appointed to receive from a
representative of Spain "the buildings and tracts of land, situated on the Northwest
Coast or on islands adjacent thereto, of which the
subjects of his Brittanic
Majesty were dispossessed
about the month of April,
1789, by a Spanish officer."
Vancouver's instructions from the Admiralty
were    dated    March   8th,
1791. On    August    28th,
1792. Vancouver sailed into
Friendly Cove, where he
met the Spanish Captain
Bodega y Quadra. The
following day negotiations
were started by the two
officers respecting the cession of Nootka, and carried
on for several weeks. However, they ended fruitless,
and the matter was on both
sides referred to their respective courts. Monterey
was agreed upon as the
rendezvous for the next
meeting. This took place
November 26th of the same
year, 1792. Here pleasantries were exchanged
between Vancouver and Quadra. No business was transacted.     Vancouver   appears   at   Nootka   again   May   20th,
1793. The visit was a pleasant one, but had no effect
upon the settlement of the Nootka controversy. Vancouver
then sailed North to explore the Alaska coast, in which
work he spent the summers of 1793 and 1794. As the
summer of 1794 drew to a close he determined to return
to   Nootka,   expecting   the   answer   to   his   dispatches   in
*Note—Meany, "Vancouver's Discovery of Puget Sound," p.  u.
TOTEM  POLE,  FRIENDLY  COVE,
NOOTKA
167 £
Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
regard to Nootka would be waiting for him. Anchoring in
Friendly Cove Sept. 2nd, 1794, he found General Manuel
Alava in command of the port, in succession of his friend,
Quadra, who had died during the month of March at San Bias.
The following day Vancouver visited Governor Alva with the
view of settling the Nootka question. But Alava had no instructions from his government to cede all of Nootka to the
British; neither were papers here for Vancouver from his
government; such instructions might arrive any day. They
therefore waited over a month for the arrival of these papers,
and as they did not arrive they both departed for Monterey.
Vancouver arrived at this port November 6th, but there were
ho despatches here from his government. Possibly they might
be at San Diego. A courier was sent there, but the journey
proved fruitless, as no papers were there. Senor Alava, then
informed Vancouver that his government had instructed him
that Spain would no longer resist the British demands, and that
he was authorized to settle the dispute on the same lines as
those offered by Vancouver to Quadra at Nootka in 1792.
The Spaniard also notified Vancouver that another English
officer would receive the cession from the Spaniards. Vancouver thereupon lost no time in getting ready to sail around
the Horn for England. Lieutenant Thomas Pierce took the
place of Vancouver, and sailed with Alava from Monterey,
March 1, 1795. Here Alava in the name of Spain surrendered
the territory to the British Officer. The forts were dismantled,
and the settlement abandoned.
During the six years of Spanish occupation of Nootka,
Franciscan Fathers not only acted as chaplains to the garrison,
but they also worked for the conversion of the Indians. The
Saintly Father Magin Catala spent thirteen months (1793-
1794) in Nootka; he was succeeded by Fr. Gomez, who left
his field of labor when the Spaniards abandoned the place.
With him left about twenty Christian natives who, the better
to lead lives conformable to the teachings of the good Franciscans, settled in California. Other Indians had already
followed their spiritual teachers before the final "move out" of
the Spaniards. To quote only one instance, an entry in the
Mission records of Saledad: "On May 19, 1793, there was
baptized a Nootka Indian, 20 years of age, Ikwina, son of a
gentile father, named Taguasmiki, who in the year 1789 was
killed by the American "Gray," captain of the vessel called
"Washington," belonging to the Port of Boston." *
*Note—"The Franciscans in California," by Rev. Zephyrin Engelhardt, p. 380.
168 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
It was at Nootka, that is at Friendly Cove, where not
only of all the West Coast, but of all Vancouver Island, the
Gospel of Christ was first preached. And it was seventy years
later, in the year 1869, that Bishop Chas. Seghers was at Hesquiat, where the second attempt was made to Christianize the
Indians. There, in the month of July, he baptized two unfortunate Indians who were condemned to death for the murder of the shipwrecked crew of the "John Bright." After the
execution the zealous Bishop commenced to instruct the natives
in our Holy Religion, but the Indians were in no mood to
listen, and the good Bishop had to abandon his attempt to do
anything for their conversion to Christianity for the time being.
Five years later, in the year 1874, as we have seen in a preceding chapter, this attempt was made again and with success.
A terrible tragedy happened at Nootka in March, 1803.
The Indians had known the white man now for nearly thirty
years. Chief Mokwinna was still living, and having been
honored and flattered both by Spanish and English Officers,
his natural pride must have increased, so that he began to look
upon himself as a greater chief than he really was. The
ship "Boston," Capt. Salter, arrived in quest of furs. The
rudeness of Capt. Salter towards Mokwinna was taken as an
insult. Revenge was planned, and when an opportunity
arrived, Mokwinna with his men killed the captain and his
whole crew of the Boston; two men only being allowed to live;
these were made slaves. One of these was the armorer, John
Jewitt, of Hull, England; the other was John Thompson, of
Philadelphia, sail maker. After two years' captivity they obtained their freedom when, in July, 1805, the "Lydia" of
Boston, Capt. Hill, entered the Harbor. The experiences of
the two white slaves at Nootka were published in 1896 under
the title: "The Adventures of John Jewitt."
To commemorate the historic meeting of Captains Vancouver and Quadra in 1792, Professor Edmund S. Meany, of
the University of Washington, erected on one of the rocky
islets at the entrance to Friendly Cove a granite monument.
Its inscription reads: "Vancouver and Quadra met here in
August, 1792, under the treaty between Spain and Great Britain
of October, 1790. Erected by the Washington University
State Historical Society,  1903."
On August 13th, 1924, His Honor Walter Cameron Nichol,
Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia, unveiled at Friendly
Cove a memorial tablet to the historic events that took place
169 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
here from 1778-1792. The tablet fastened to a cairn Of uncut
stones, a pyramid 11 feet high, bears the following inscription:
"Nootka Sound discovered by Capt. Cook in March, 1778.
In June, 1789, Spain took possession and established and
maintained a settlement until 1795. The capture of British
vessels in 1789 almost led to war, which was avoided by the
Nootka Convention in 1790. Vancouver and Quadra met
here in August, 1792, to determine the land to be restored
under the convention."
Both cairn and bronze tablet were erected by the Historic
Sites and Monuments Board of Canada.
170 Chapter X
THE MURDER OF BARNEY, A MALTESE TRADER,
BY INDIANS.
IN THE YEAR 1855 the firm of Bamfield and Francis had
a store at Clayoquot, where Mr. Bamfield, one of the
partners, acted as storekeeper. This firm had in their
employ a Maltese called Barney, who was stationed in the
capacity of a trader at Kyuquot. Peter Francis, the other
partner, who was called Frank by the whites and Pike by the
Indians, ran a small schooner called after an Indian damsel of
Pachino, the "Jibo." This schooner besides trading along the
Coast with the different Indian tribes, regularly supplied both
stores with provisions and trade goods. The main trade in
those days was dogfish oil, and it was a very lucrative business.
Cash was not known to the Indians, but in exchange for their
oil they received blankets, calico, beads and other articles,
according to their needs or fancy.
Barney, who lived in an Indian shack which he used as a
dwellinghouse and store,* had been doing a thriving business;
all his articles of trade were disposed of, and all the barrels
which he had, besides a number of canoes, borrowed from the
Indians for the purpose, were full of oil. The "Jibo," in command of Frank, with provisions and a new supply of empty
barrels, was overdue. As in vain the trader looked for her
morning after morning, he at last concluded to hire a canoe
and go to Clayoquot to interview Mr. Bamfield and get from
him an explanation for the delay of the "Jibo," Barney being
employed on shares was anxious to be regularly supplied with
whatever was required to make a profitable season, not only
for the members of the firm, but also for himself. Hence,
after an interview with the chief the trader left his oil and
store in charge of that chief, and went about selecting his men
for the journey to Clayoquot. It was not without difficulty
that he at last secured a crew, for the Indian tribes were hostile
.to each other, and the Kyuquots were not anxious to expose
themselves to slavery or death for the sake of rendering a
•Note—At  Kamil, which is to the left  as one  enters the harbor, where the
graveyard is at present.
171 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
service, although well paid for, to a white man. Having finally
secured the services of eight reliable men, seven Kyuquots and
one Fort Rupert Indian, Barney left early one morning, and
with a good breeze he set sail for Clayoquot. As they passed
Esperanza Inlet and then Bajo and Estevan Points, the crew
lost their enthusiasm considerably, and instead of keeping on
their course to Clayoquot, which place they could have reached
without any mishap, they steered their canoe for "Hisnit," a
small fishing station, situated on the open ocean, between Hesquiat and Refuge Cove.
. Here upon landing they were apparently well received by
the four families who at that time resided there for the purpose
of trapping "Issit."* Later on the same day a canoe with four
Hesquiat Indians arrived who also were invited to partake of
a meal of salmon with the strangers (Kyuquots). Friendly
remarks were exchanged and the news of different localities
were communicated; in short, the meeting was a very pleasant
one and nobody would have suspected the events of the near
future. Later in the day a canoe manned by two Clayoquot
Indians arrived at the same place in search of "issit." The
Clayoquots and the Kyuquots were rival tribes, very jealous
of each other, and in their hearts enemies as only Indians can
be, ready to perpetrate any crime in order to get the best over
their opponents. The Clayoquots looked upon the meeting of
the Kyuquots, so far away from their homes and in a limited
number, as a fit occasion to perpetrate a deed which by all other
tribes would be looked upon as an act of bravery and cause
their antagonists of Kyuquot to burn with feeling of anger
upon hearing of the crew of Barney. Hence they left
abruptly and unknown to the Kyuquots, and steered their canoe
to Entrance Point of Hesquiat Harbor, where the Hesquiat
Indians were at the time engaged in drying herring and herring
spawn. As they landed quite a distance from the village, their
presence had not been noticed by the natives. But as the newcomers walked along the beach they came across some of the
Hesquiats, of whom they required to go and call a number of
their friends, as they had an important though secret mission
to communicate. It was then decided what action should be
taken: The Clayoquots would at once return to Clayoquot.
Availing themselves of the darkness of the night, the Hesquiats
were to go to "Hisnit," well weaponed with muskets, and hide
themselves in the bush, and when the Kyuquots pulled their
*Note—This  is  a  small  sockeye.
172 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
canoe down the beach fire upon them and murder them all
without exception. The Hesquiats could not refuse complying
with this request. They were a smaller and inferior tribe and
in dread of the Clayoquots who, upon hearing that the order
had not been carried out, would come to war against them,
which, as on previous occasions, would have resulted in loss of
life among their own people and in being led away as slaves.
Consequently the Hesquiats put on the warpaint, had recourse
to their charms, and before daylight arrived, camped around
the bluff of Hisnit, whence they crawled through the brush
and hid themselves with muskets loaded, and stone daggers in
hand, within a few yards where the Kyuquots were to pull
down their canoe. A messenger came from the village and
posted them on further details.
The sea was- quite calm, and the start was about to be
made when a couple of the Kyuquot men took up their wooden
buckets and went to the creek for fresh water. The other six
men gathered their things together, and having no suspicion
whatever of what was to take place, walked up to their canoe
and began to pull her down. This was the signal for the attack.
The muskets went off, but not a man fell to the ground; then a
hand-to-hand fight commenced in which the daggers were used.
All the friendly Indians of yesterday joined the attacking party,
overwhelmed by the number of the enemy the Kyuquots took
to their heels. However, they were pursued, overtaken and
killed. One took to the sea, and as he was swimming away,
was shot dead. Another one was wounded and taken prisoner.
The other two who had gone for fresh water, Tsekwoik and
Tokanakinish by name, took to the bush and escaped.* Without food and shelter, except what the woods could offer them
in early spring time, these two Indians walked across Hesquiat
Peninsula, then on a piece of driftwood crossed Nootka Sound
to Friendly Cove, where at night time they stole a canoe,
arriving several weeks later at Kyuquot—the bearer of the
news of the brutal attack and murder of their companions.
The poor fellow who was taken prisoner was afterwards
killed by his captors at Entrance Point. As the savages prepared to enjoy the barbarous pleasure of stoning him to death,
he begged as a favor to be shot, which request was after a
consultation complied with. Barney was alive. No harm had
been done him. One can well imagine the state of mind of
Trader Barney as he saw his crew ruthlessly murdered before
•Note—Tsekwoik died in  1896. Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
his eyes. Here he was on a spot never frequented by a white
man, at the mercy of a set of wild and heartless savages.
Feelings of despair crowded upon his mind; like a madman
he rushed into the woods, but he had advanced only a short
distance when he was overtaken by one of the natives and
ordered back into one of the houses.
The next day all the
strangers, that is, the Hesquiats, having left Hisnit,
the inhabitants of this place
resolved to move to their
headquarters in Refuge
Cove. Barney was to accompany them and was
told of it in a very friendly
way.
Meanwhile the two
Clayoquot Indians who had
instigated the Hesquiats to
kill the Kyuquot crew had
gone back to their home
in Clayoquot Sound. They
c o m m u n icated to Sita-
kanim* the great Clayoquot
warrior, what had taken
place at Hisnit, and also
told of the presence of the
white man in Refuge Cove.
A council of war was immediately held and it was
decided to start at once and •
have him killed without
mercy, and put the blame
of this murder on the
Kyuquot crew. Who was going to suspect that the Clayoquots committed the deed? The Indians, forsooth, who
were the eye-witnesses would never dare reveal the secret,
for it would mean death for them at the hands of the
malefactors, and as far as the white men were concerned they
would easily believe the story that trader Barney was murdered
by his Kyuquot crew. Thus reasoned the Clayoquot warriors..
Thereupon Sitakanim and a crowd of his men went off in
one of their large  canoes on their dastardly errand,   fully
•Note—Sitakanim died at Clayoquot Indian Village,   1897.
SITAKANIM,
THE CLAYOQUOT WARRIOR,
AND  HIS  SON,   CURLEY
174 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
weaponed, and thoroughly prepared by incantations and superstitious practices to make a success of their project.
Barney, the Maltese, was secreted in one of the houses at
Somaghkos, in Refuge Cove. This was done as a precaution
against detection, for the day after his arrival here the Chief
of Ehattisat had arrived at Refuge Cove on his way to Ahousat,
in which tribe he had relatives. The Indians fearing that the
Chief might report the presence of the white man, kept Barney
hidden in one of the corners of a house, and gave quarters to
the Ehattisat chief in another house.
When the Clayoquots arrived off Refuge Cove a messenger went out to them to warn them of the presence of the
Ehattisats. After landing, the Clayoquots were hospitably
entertained in the same house where Barney was concealed.
Barney was brought forth from his hiding place and told that
a chance to continue his voyage to Clayoquot was forthcoming.
All the necessary arrangements were made, and about midnight, when the Ehattisat chief with his people were at rest,
Barney was conducted outside, and told to walk to a small
canoe afloat in front of the village. It must have struck him
that this canoe was of too small a size in which to go to Clayoquot. ' Hence he took the direction towards the larger canoe
in which the Clayoquots were supposed to be sleeping. Presently they woke up, or rather pretended to do so, and told him
to go to the small canoe. Barney had made only a few steps
towards the small canoe when a powerful Clayoquot savage
rushing from behind pushed him with all his might, and threw
him to the ground. Another one jumped upon him, seized
his throat; two others took him by the arms. In the struggle
Barney had uttered a groan of distress which alarmed the wild
savages, and fearing that their crime would be detected by the
Ehattisat chief, one of the Clayoquots took his knife and cut
the throat of the unfortunate trader. His remains were
placed into the small canoe, towed into the open sea and then
sent adrift. This barbarous murder had always remained a
mystery to traders and settlers of subsequent years. And
only many years afterwards were the facts detailed to the
Missionaries by old men who had been present both at the
murder of the Kyuquot crew and that of the white man.
175 Chapter XI
THE MURDER OF TLANINITLA,
THE CHIEF OF KYUQUOT
THE news of the murder of Barney, the Kyuquot Trader,
soon spread along the Coast, and greatly alarmed Mr.
Bamfield, his employer, of the Clayoquot trading post.
It was only a rumor, he had received no details, and could not
trace the news to a positive source, neither could he then nor
indeed afterwards receive authentic proof which would justify
him to place the guilt on any one individual, or even on any
one tribe. Barney was dead, and murdered; of this there
could be no doubt. The different reports all agreed on that
fact. Mr. Bamfield, being interested in the trading success
of the dead man, and the restlessness of the Indians giving him
reasons to be alarmed for his own safety, was more anxious
than ever to meet Mr. Francis, his partner, who was overdue
with the "Jibo" from Victoria. However, one morning his
mind was relieved, seeing the schooner at anchor off the store.
It proved to be the "San Diego," Capt. Crafton, belonging to
another firm, but Mr. Francis had taken passage on this schooner, being also alarmed on account of the news of the murder,
which news had reached him a couple of days before. A consultation was held on board, and it was decided that Mr.
Francis remain on board and leave at once for Kyuquot. Six
guns having been placed on the deck of the vessel, and boarding
nettings having been fastened along her sides as a measure of
more security, the San Diego sailed the following day, and in
due time cast anchor in Kyuquot harbor.
Chief Tlaninitla, the man in charge of Barney's place,
now came on board, expecting to meet his master and the Kyuquot Indians, who had gone with him; for talthough vague
rumors of the late massacre had also reached this tribe, he was
loath to suspect that there was any truth in them. The attitude of the chief was that of one anxious to get information;
but Frank at once took him to task for the absence of the trader
and accused him of putting him out of the way, and killing him
as a means to secure the oil.    His side of the story that Barney
176 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
had left with a Kyuquot crew for Clayoquot was not believed.
This upset the poor savage altogether, and after long and
vainly protesting his innocence, he proposed to take passage on
the vessel, and proceed to Victoria, where he would prove
before the proper authorities that the accusation against him
was groundless. Frank then wanted the oil to be taken on
board, as he was a partner of the firm for which it had been
bought. The chief, however, objected to this, as he claimed
he was responsible to trader Barney and to no one else. At
last Capt. Crafton unwilling to get mixed up in the quarrel,
persuaded Frank to leave the oil in charge of another Indian,
and to start without delay for Victoria to report to the authorities. His suggestion was finally acted upon, and as the San
Diego set sail, Chief Tlaninitla and his women came alongside with their traveling outfit, and were taken aboard as
passengers. A good breeze took the schooner within five miles
of Clayoquot, where she became becalmed, but in the afternoon
a light, wind sprang up again and she went to anchor off the
store.
INDIAN  GRAVES
177 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
Just then a Clayoquot savage happened to pass in his canoe,
and having noticed Tlaninitla on board, he paddled away to the
village and gave the news to Sitakanim, the warrior chief, who
at once called a meeting of his friends, where it was decided
to go to the schooner in a body and demand from the white
men the Kyuquot Chief. The proposition was so generally
endorsed that nearly all the Clayoquot Indians took part in the
expedition. Hundreds of Indians, covered with warpaint,
shouting and clamoring for their victim, soon surrounded the
schooner. But the white men held out, not allowing one Indian to board the vessel. At last as the warriors became more
and more infuriated, and began to slash with their knives at
the boarding nettings, Frank, as a dodge, rushed down below,
put handcuffs on the chief, and taking him on the deck of
the vessel, showed him to the hostile Clayoquots, whom he at
the same time informed that as soon as the vessel would reach
Victoria Tlaninitla would be hanged for the murder of trader
Barney. This information seemed to satisfy the treacherous
natives, for soon afterwards they all retired, and during the
rest of the day perfect quiet reigned over Clayoquot Sound.
It was the intention of the Captain of the San Diego to
slip out of Clayoquot Sound during the darkness of the night
so as to avoid further trouble with the Indians, but the weather
was calm, and they had to content themselves as a measure of
precaution, to set a watch after dark. At 2 a. m. a sailor
called Dutch Pete, was called on watch duty. Pete was a
harmless, good kind of fellow, who did not share the opinion
of Frank, Capt. Crafton and the other white men, that Tlaninitla was guilty of the murder of Barney. He, therefore,
went quietly to the Indian's quarters, and suggested to the
chief the idea of making his escape in the schooner's boat,
which was afloat astern the vessel. This was a risky thing to
do, but was the only means left to escape death, for there was
no doubt in the chief's mind but that in the early morning the
Clayoquots would return to the vessel, and by any means secure
him and murder him.
Accordingly Tlaninitla quietly slipped overboard, loosened
the painter of the boat and pulled unperceived away from the
San Diego. When Capt. Crafton later in the morning came on
deck, he found his stern boat gone, and going below found the
Kyuquot women asleep, but their master was not in his place.
Dutch Pete pretended to be asleep, and answering to a kick
from the captain, rubbed his eyes and looked as innocent as
178 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
possible, protesting that he knew nothing of the escape of
Tlaninitla.
Capt. Crafton and the rest of the men were now more
alarmed than ever, for they were sure to be accused by the
Cloyoquot Indians of having connived at the escape of their
most deadly enemy, whom the white men were supposed to
keep on board as a prisoner. After a short consultation it was
decided to fire off one of the guns.    This sign of alarm was
INDIAN  GRAVES
179 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
answered wtfth the arrival of a canoe of Indians to whom the
news of the escape was given. Immediately this canoe returned with the message to their friends. A score of canoes
left at once in search of the escaped chief; but their search
was in vain, no sign of his whereabouts at sea or on shore was
perceptible. They were on their way back home with feelings
of no little displeasure in their hearts against the men on the
schooner, and no one can tell what would have happened, had
not one of their number noticed on the beach back of Stubb
Island a wreck which was not there the day before. Upon investigation it was no wreck, it proved to be the schooner's boat,
partly pulled up and covered with brushwood. The signal was
given, and all crowded together and went on shore. They
soon discovered the Kyuquot chief hidden on a tree. They
made him come down, seized him, stabbed him, and finally cut
off his head, which was placed on a long pole and brought
triumphantly to the village, where the pole with the head was
stuck in the ground while the people were singing war songs
to the beating of the drum amid cries and shouts of joy and
approval.
180 Chapter XII
DEATH OF SHIYOUSH, THE NOOTKA CHIEF
y* T HIS time Shiyoush was considered one of the greatest
/A chiefs on the Coast, and was in direct line the second
descendant of Mokwinna, the friend of Capt. Cook and
the Spaniards. Unfortunately, his people had time and again
given annoyance to the Machlat Indians. The most renowned
occasion of such annoyance took place at Ow-is, at the entrance
of Machlat Arm. The Machlats were camped there for the
summer season; one of their chiefs had a daughter of age to
be married. Now this young woman furnished the Nootkas
an occasion. One of the Nootka young men pretended to be
in love with this Machlat girl, and proposed to marry her.
According to custom he invited his friends to accompany him
to Ow-is, and help him to go through all the ceremonies usual
on such occasions. Nearly all the Nootka warriors went along
and showed the best feelings to the Machlats, who consented to
give the young woman as a wife to the Nootka suitor. Afterwards one of the Machlat men invited the Nootkas into his
house for a meal. A large'number of the young men of the
Machlat tribe crowded into the house where the repast was
being prepared, and after putting on their feasting attire for
the recreation of their guests, began to sing some of their songs
when the Nootkas, on a signal being given by their leaders, all
of a sudden jumped up, drew their knives and other weapons
which they carried concealed, and killed all the Machlats
present in the room, over forty, as eye-witnesses have testified.
This act of treachery weighed heavily on the minds of the
Machlat Indians, but they were an inferior tribe, and it would
have been an act of madness to venture on an expedition of
revenge against the Nootkas, then such a powerful tribe.
Years passed by and the Nootkas began to congratulate
themselves that the friendly feelings interchanged between the
Machlats and the majority of their own people were honestly
meant and reliable. And so one day Chief Shiyoush and two
of his men, by name Kenim and Tokwit, arranged to go to
Gold River where the Machlats were laying in a supply of
181 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
spring salmon. Their object was to offer presents to the
principal men, and secure in exchange a fair amount of dried
salmon, according to the old saying, "do ut des."
The Machlats saw the strangers in the distance paddle
against the current of the river. They recognized in them the
chief of the Nootkas and two of the murderers of their friends
and relatives at Ow-is. This was a chance for revenge. There
stood Toushkeyitim (whose son, Kikekeya, had been killed at
Ow-is) and as he pulled the trigger of his gun, aiming at Shiyoush, he cried out "Toushkeyitim is my name, my time for revenge has come." Shiyoush fell over, dead, in the canoe*
His companions jumped into the river and by diving under the
water as long as their breath would hold out, they evaded the
missiles of other Machlat men who fired shot after shot as
their enemies came to the surface for breath. As luck would
have it neither of the two men were hurt, and both succeeded
in reaching far up the river the opposite shore, where they hid
in the woods, and later on returned to their home and friends.
Strange to say the report these two men gave was doubted
by many of the Nootkas, and there were not a few who accused
Imehap, a secondary chief of the Nootkas, of the murder of
Shiyoush. Many were the reasons given for placing the guilt
on this rival chief. And in order to convince the tribe at large
of his innocence, Imehap undertook himself personally to
chastize the Machlats for their crime. Through marriage he
was related to the Machlat tribe, and his visits there were of a
most friendly character; in fact, he was treated always by the
Machlats as one of their tribe. His appearance, therefore,
sometime later in Machlat Arm with three Nootka men gave
no cause for alarm, and excited no evil suspicion. He landed
before a certain hut, occupied by a woman who four days previously had become the mother of a baby girl.** Her husband
was absent after firewood. The visitors talked friendly to the
woman and complimented her on being the mother of the two
sprightly boys*** playing about the house. Then they went
outside and saw the husband of the woman returning in his
canoe with a load of firewood. This man, however, hesitated
to land as he suspected evil designs on the part of the strangers.
They urged him to come on shore, protesting their friendly
disposition.      But hardly had he left his canoe when they
•Note—This murder took place at Tetsita.
**Note—This baby girl is now  (1925)   Mrs. Jule, of Hesquiat.
***Note—The   younger  one   of  these   boys   is   (1925)   still   living:   Touta,   of
Machlat.
182 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
jumped on him and stabbed him to death. The older of the
.two boys escaped into the woods and carried the news to his
relatives; the woman with her baby girl and the other boy
were taken along as slaves to Nootka. Afterwards they were
ransomed for eighty blankets and returned to their friends at
Machlat.
Up to 1874 the feelings of hostility between'the Nootkas
and Machlats^subsequent to the murder of Shiyoush were very
bitter. Neither tribe enjoyed peace, and the Nootkas many
years afterwards would narrate how they kept food concealed
in the woods, how they would at the approach of night leave
their houses and sleep under trees and in a long cave for fear
of a sudden attack.
When in' 1874 Bishop Seghers and Father Brabant visited
Nootka Sound two Machlat Indians had taken passage for
Victoria on the schooner Surprise. When the schooner entered Friendly Cove, which is the residence of the Nootka
Indians, both these men concealed themselves in the locker of
the schooner, and it was only by repeated efforts that the captain could prevail upon them to appear on deck between the
Bishop and Father Brabant as their bodyguard.
It is a strange, but true fact, attested by all the old people
on the coast, that from the day of Bishop Segher's and Father
Brabant's visit to the West Coast of Vancouver Island, dates
the general peace and friendly relations, not only between the
Nootkas and Machlats, but also between all the other tribes.
The visits of other white men, including "men-of-war" with
all their guns and weapons, had not produced the effect which
the priest's visits with no other weapon but the "Word of God"
has universally produced in this wild and unprotected Coast.
183 Chapter XIII
TRADER GEORGE
AMONG the famous characters of the Coast in the sixties
r\ was a Clayoquot Indian called Trader George. This
name had been given him because he was in the habit
of going to different and distant tribes along the Coast in
search of sea-otter skins and other valuable furs, which he
bought and which he afterwards disposed of at a considerable
profit to the Indians in the State of Washington, or to the
white traders in Victoria. The Clayoquots were a powerful
tribe and being a member thereof, George had nothing to fear
from the other tribes, and was well treated wherever he went.
He was on one of his usual expeditions when misfortune overtook him. This happened in Refuge Cove, where the chief of
the Manhousats, and some of his friends were at the time
engaged in fishing and laying in provisions for the winter.
George was a bigamist, one of his wives being a Hesquiat, the
other a Clayoquot woman. On this occasion he had both of
them along. He had expected to reach Hesquiat the same day,
but the weather being against him he made for shore in Refuge
Cove, where he proposed to spend the night. The chief of the
Manhousats received him with many signs of friendship, and
ordered his wife to prepare a meal for the visitors. The topics
of the day were talked over, all the items of news communicated, and then George and his women, as night was coming on,
returned to their canoe, anchored below low tide, and lay
themselves therein to sleep,, expecting to make an early start
next morning.
The Chief of the Manhousats having wished them good
luck for their voyage, now entered his lodge, and covering himself with a blanket, stretched himself on his berth, expecting
to enjoy the necessary rest after a long day's labor. But sleep
would not come—the presence of the Clayoquot Indians reminded him of former days when large numbers of Clayoquot
warriors had arrived and decimated his numerous subjects;
for Manhousat at one time had counted a large number of
savages, but now was reduced to a few men only, and all this
184 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
owing to the depredations committed by the friends of George
and their leaders.* "Where is my grandfather? Where is
my father? Killed, killed! And I, their son, am I going to
die without revenge? No! It shall not be said of me that I
was a coward." And with feelings of revenge he arose, woke
two of his men on whose services he could depend, and stealthily they carried down a canoe, and armed with clubs and
daggers they pulled alongside the canoe in which George and
his wives were sleeping. Raising their arms they clubbed
them on their heads and stabbed them to death. In view of
the fact that this murder committed by the Manhousat chief
on George would cause the Clayoquot Indians to go again on
the warpath, and exterminate the few families still left of the
Manhousat tribe, these latter packed up and retired, some to
Ahousat, and some to Hesquiat, where they expected to be
safe.
As already stated, one of Trader George's wives, now
murdered, was a Hesquiat woman, belonging to a clan of that
tribe of very bitter savages who had been the original owners
of the land, but now dispossessed as the result of wars and
•slavery.    When these saw the men of Manhousat arrive at
•Note—Full-blooded   Manhousats,   none   left   now   (1925);   descendants   are
found at Hesquiat, Ahousat, and  Clayoquot.
THE  C  P.  R.   CO'S  PRINCESS  MAQUINNA
Capt.   Ed.   Gillam,   serving  the  West   Coast   three  round  trips  monthly.
185 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
their village and heard that one of their own, a sister and
relative, had met such an undeserved and cruel end at the hands
of their chief, their mind was made up, it was to be a life for
a life, as soon as an opportunity would offer itself, although
none of the Manhousats just arrived, had taken any part in the
murder of Trader George and his women.
The opportunity offered itself before many weeks had
elapsed. There was a disturbance at Hesquiat through an
Indian eloping with another man's wife. As a consequence
two new canoes were smashed to pieces, fighting was indulged
in. In short, the whole tribe was in an uproar and excitement. One of the Manhousat Indians was seen sitting outside
on a plateau, where part of the village was, and still is, built.
An excited relative of the murdered woman hastily ran up to
him, ripped open his abdomen, and to add to his atrocity,
threw the wounded man over a cliff thirty feet down to the
boulder-strewn beach, where he soon expired. Peesa, a companion of the Manhousat Indian, being a witness of this scene,
rushed into the house of a relative, armed himself with a knife
and concealed it under his blanket, being afraid that a similar
fate was in store for him. But as he kept himself inside the
house, nobody could hurt him ; the owner of the house was a
true friend and relative of Peesa. However, Peesa, the very
same day left this place of security, following the advice of an
inferior and vicious Hesquiat chief who engaged him to accept
his hospitality. Just as they were about to enter the lodge of
this chief a scuffle took place. The would-be friendly chief
turned on Peesa and was in the act of stabbing him when
Peesa drew the knife concealed under his blanket, struck his
traitor on the chest, severly wounding him, and would have
killed him, had not a number of other Hesquiat savages come
to the rescue of their chief, who then stabbed the unfortunate
Manhousat Indian to death.
At the time of these two murders a third Indian of the
Manhousat tribe was gathering "shietla"* in the woods.
A relative went to give him the alarm of what had happened. Cautiously, therefore, he returned to the village,
entered the house where he stopped by a back door and
concealed himself for many days until all excitement had
passed away.
The two dead Manhousats were dragged along the beach
by the infuriated savages, a pile of driftwood was gathered
•Note—"Shietla" is an eatable root.
186 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
and the bodies placed on top were cremated, while the relatives
of Trader George's wife, now avenged, stood around singing
their old war songs to the beating of their drums.
The two Manhousat Indians killed by the Hesquiats had
had nothing to do with the death of Trader George and his
wives. They happened to belong to the same tribe as the
murderers, and hence, according to Indian custom, they were
considered responsible, and became a legitimate object for
revenge; while Trader George and his wives stabbed to death
by the Manhousat chief paid with their lives for the misdeeds
of the Clayoquot tribe against their neighbors of the Manhousat
tribe.
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SINGING SONG OF VICTORY AFTER
KILLING A MAN r
Chapter XIV
WAR OF THE CLAYOQUOTS AND OTHER TRIBES
.   AGAINST THE KYUQUOTS
THE YEAR 1855 seems to have been a season of extraordinary restlessness and subsequent crime on the part
of the Clayoquot tribe. After killing the Kyuquot
Trader Barney, and afterwards the Kyuquot chief Tlaninitla,
they found soon afterwards a pretext for going to war against
the whole tribe.
A young woman, half Kyuquot and half Clayoquot, had
been killed by parties unknown at the time. The murderer
had been a Chiktlisat, who afterwards owned up to his crime;
but this was not known for several years. The Clayoquots
having a deeply rooted feeling of enmity against the Kyuquots,
at once put the blame on one or more members of that tribe.
Hence the occasion for going to war was at hand and generally welcome by all the warriors of that tribe. Sitakanim,
their leader, after maturely considering the matter, proposed
to his men in order to make a sure and great success of the
expedition, to enlist the services of several other tribes more
or less unfriendly to the Kyuquots. Therefore messengers
were sent to Hesquiat, Mo-achat,* Ehattisat and Chiktlisat,
with orders to the chiefs of those tribes to have their men
ready so that by the arrival of the Clayoquots they might join
their forces together and by a common attack crush for ever
the power of the Kyuquots, up to then the most numerous tribe
on the  Coast.
Most extraordinary to relate, a schooner manned by white
men was to accompany and actually did accompany the expedition. The only thing that can be said to the white men's
credit is that the schooner became becalmed before reaching
Kyuquot; and that the object which was to gain the good will
of the natives and afterwards their trade, was obtained without joining the hostile tribes in their deeds of cruelty and
savagery. The attackers from the different tribes assembled
on the shore south of the Kyuquot village and a few miles
•Alias  Nootka. Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
distant. When all had arrived and the plan of attack communicated to all, the start was made on a certain evening after
darkness had set in. Cautiously and noiselessly they proceeded
to the two islands on which the Kyuquots dwelt. Past midnight it was when they arrived at their destination, the time
selected when the Indians would be fast asleep. All arrangements for the nightly murder had been previously made; some
men had been appointed to stand by their canoes to have everything ready for a speedy retreat; the warriors had all detailed
instructions what part of the village to attack. Each warrior,
moreover, had an assistant whose duty it was to bring the cutoff heads of the slain to the canoes. The Kyuquots were to be
killed in their sleep. The Indian houses had then no doors
that could be bolted or locked. A cedar mat which could easily
and without causing any noise be pushed aside, hung over the
entrance to each house. Before the Kyuquots knew what was
going on, many had already been killed; and when they began
to defend themselves, the Clayoquots with their allies hastily
made their retreat, setting fire to the village. All but two
houses became the prey of the flames. Seventy of the Kyuquots had been slain in this short time, besides twenty were
made slaves and brought to Clayoquot. Among the allies the
losses were comparatively few; the Chiktlisats lost twelve
men, the Clayoquots eight; the Ehattisats three; the Hesquiats* had one of their number wounded, and the Nootkas
suffered no casualities. When Sitakanim, the leader and chief
of this murderous expedition, returned with his warriors home
to Clayoquot, wild scenes of rejoicing were indulged in by the
whole tribe; the heads of the slain Kyuquots were placed on
long poles, and these were planted as trophies along the sand
spit on Stubb Island.
•Note—Only one canoe of Hesquiats took part in the expedition.
189 AN "AHOUSAT"  STORY
IN THE "Sixty's" of last century a small trading vessel
with two white men on board and two southern Indians
was at anchor about a mile away from the village of the
Ahousat Indians. The Indians had little to trade, but were
anxious to get goods from this vessel. So they resolved to
plunder the vessel; they began by killing the captain and his
crew, then they took every, available article to their houses,
and to cover up the traces of their crime set fire to the vessel.
She burned down to the water's edge, and in order to sink her
they filled her up with rocks.
Gradually the news of this murder drifted to Victoria,
and a man-of-war was sent to Ahousat to arrest the culprits.
The chief had been the leader and instigator, and he was
anxiotfely asked for. However, the Indians would not give
him up, but sent him packed up in an Indian mat way up the
Inlet to a hiding place. Unable to get satisfaction the captain
of the warship gave orders to fire on the different Ahousat
villages. Houses, canoes and other things were flying through
the air. Some of the Indians were taken aboard as hostages,
among these was a little girl, who afterwards was adopted
by the wife of the Admiral of whom the girl became so fond
that she could not be persuaded by her friends to leave her
when freedom was offered her. She remained on board as
the adopted child of the lady, but died shortly after on the
way to the Sandwich Islands. The Indians had not given, up
their chief to the white man; they had lost their houses, canoes
and iktas, but these they could and would build again; some
of their number were taken prisoners, but were afterwards
returned to them, with the exception of the little girl, therefore they claimed a victory over the white man with his man-
of-war and big guns. A few years later an altogether unexpected event undid their boast. One of the shells shot from
the warship failed to explode and lay on the ground for a year
or more, admired by the Indians, but looked upon with suspicion.    One day a lot of Kyuquot Indians were seen sailing
190 Reminiscences of the West Coast of Vancouver Island
towards the Ahousat village—they were singing, shouting, and
firing away with their muskets as they always do when they
are on a feasting excursion. The enthusiasm overtook the
Ahousat young men, who in answer to the Kyuquots also
started to sing, and to shout. One got a stone hammer,
another an iron bar and they began to knock away on the
mysterious shell, when lo! an explosion took place. The
savage with the stone hammer disappeared entirely, another
had his body cut in twain, another had both arms and legs
carried away and the chief was struck on the shoulder, pined
for some time and then died of his wound and shock. The
Indian was defeated. -
191 Chapter XVI
ARE THE WEST COAST INDIANS INCREASING
OR DECREASING?
There is a steady fall to be recorded in the population of
the West Coast Indians, as the following tables show:
Tribe                                          Year Population
Kyuquot         1886 640
1897 430
1925 124
Newchatlat        1886 120
1925 36
Ehattisat    A.     1886 120
1925 51
Nootka        1905 162
1915 139
1925 89
Hesquiat   1894 186
1906 136
1918 125
1925 124
Clayoquot *   1903 248
1915 221
1925 183
•Note—This is the largest tribe on the Coast.
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