Friday, February 16, 2018

CPR steamer the Tees in Quatsino Sound

Canadian Pacific Railway steamer the Tees, entering Quatsino Sound in the early 1900s.
For most of the last 150 years, the main method of transport around the Northern Vancouver Island was by ship. The Canadian Pacific Railway's fleet of steamers were a lifeline and a highway for coastal communities.
Built in 1893 in England, the steamer Tees was first used to transport gold prospectors back and forth to Alaska. In 1903 she was reassigned to the West Coast of Vancouver Island, a route which she plied until 1913 when she was replaced by the Princess Maquinna.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

"Dancing to Restore an Eclipsed Moon - Qagyiuhl"

Photo by Edward S. Curtis - 13 November 1914
This photograph is a part of the Edward S. Curtis collection. Taken in November 1914 it depicts a number of Kwakiutl men dancing in traditional clothing. The photo is captioned "Dancing to restore and eclipsed moon - Qagyiuhl." Curtis was an American ethnographer who took numerous photos as well as film of Indigenous people around North America.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

The Douglas Treaties

In February of 1851 the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) was eager to establish a fort in Beaver Harbour for the purpose of mining coal. A couple of years earlier the HBC had leased Vancouver Island from Britain for the purpose of exploiting its natural resources. At the time, settlements were also being established at Fort Victoria and Fort Nanaimo.
At this time Richard Blanchard was governor of the Colony of Vancouver Island, and James Douglas was Chief Factor for the HBC, based at Fort Victoria. Douglas became the second governor of Vancouver Island later in 1851.
The HBC faced challenges from the Indigenous peoples of Vancouver Island, who challenged British and HBC authority and the right of the company to extract coal without their participation or consent.
Although the British government, or the Dominion of Canada, had signed treaties with many Indigenous groups across the Canada, treaties were not pursued by the government within most of what is now British Columbia.
In order to help smooth relations with local Indigenous groups, fourteen 'Douglas Treaties' were signed between 1850 and 1875, with First Nations in the areas surrounding Victoria, Nanaimo, and Fort Rupert.
BC Archives - MS-0772

In the treaty a First Nation "surrendered" a described territory, in this case the land from Hardy Bay to McNeill Bay, including those harbours, to become "the entire property of the white people for ever" in exchange for a monetary payment of 86 pounds sterling for the Quakeolth (today known as the Kwakiutl) and 64 pounds sterling for the Queackar. In exchange, the First Nations were promised the use of their village sites and enclosed fields, and the right "to hunt over the unoccupied lands, and to carry on our fisheries as formerly."
The documents themselves were written out by hand. Generally illiterate, most of the First Nations representatives who 'signed' the treaties did so by making their mark, an "X" on the document.
The interpretation of these Treaties has posed many challenges in a modern day context. Their significance, meaning, and interpretation with respect to the implications for resource management today have challenged federal, provincial, and First Nations governments.

Text of the two Fort Rupert Treaties is included below.
Article on the Douglas Treaties,

Holberg Elementary School

Holberg Elementary School - 1952

The village of Holberg, located at the end of Holberg Inlet in Quatsino Sound, has had quite a varied and colourful history. Named for the father of Danish literature by utopian Danes who chose the location to settle in 1895, it struggled to survive. Due to its strategic location at the end of the overland trail from Cape Scott, it eventually became home to some of the disheartened Cape Scott settlers in the early 1900s. In 1951 the Spry logging camp was towed to Holberg from Port Alice, and the community was established as a logging centre before the Air Force Base was constructed there in the early 1950s.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Jeune Landing - 1947

The origin of the name of Jeune Landing is somewhat in dispute. Some claim that it was named after some copper claims on Alice Lake, others claim it was named for the Jeune brothers, who owned a company in Victoria that supplied various canvas products needed by sailors, loggers, and surveyors along the BC coast. While Port Alice was the site of a pulp mill, Jeune Landing was established originally by the East Asiatic company (the Gibson Brothers) in 1943 to support logging operations in Quatsino Sound.

Monday, November 27, 2017

"Ready for the cast--Qagyuhl" - Edward Curtis photograph 1914.

photo credit: Edward Curtis, November 1914.

This photo is entitled "Ready for the cast--Qagyuhl" and depicts two Kwakiutl men in a canoe preparing to spear fish. Local Northern Vancouver Island Indigenous peoples were hunter gatherers, often travelling great distances by canoe to procure seasonal harvests. Local fish, at low tide, were an important staple of the diet. Many species of fish and even octopus were harvested by hook and line and by spear. Edward Curtis was an ethnologist and photographer who traveled around North America documenting the lives of Indigenous people in the early 1900s. He made a number of trips to Northern Vancouver Island and also produced the movie "Land of the Headhunters" featuring local Indigenous peoples. He took many photographs of local Indigenous peoples going about their daily life in the early 1900s.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Nimpkish Camp "A" at Anutz Lake

In the days before the highway system on the North Island, forestry and mining workers used to live in a series of 'camps' which in many cases have been reclaimed by the North Island wilderness.
Nimpkish Camp A was located at Anutz Lake, where a campsite is still situated today. At one time this community included single men's bunkhouses, a cook house, a large number of married quarters and a large shop. Originally build to house those employed in the logging industry, in the 1950s the community also became home to workers at the Nimkish Iron Mine. Many North Islanders have fond memories of growing up in these camps.

Family Quarters - Nimpkish Camp A - 1944