Wednesday, April 4, 2018

West Huson's House & Store, Alert Bay circa 1870s

West Huson's house and store on the Alert Bay waterfront, circa 1870s.
Alden Wesley Huson was born in New York in 1832. He is believed to have come to BC in the 1850s and by the 1870s was a partner in the salmon saltery and a store in Alert Bay. He died in Alert Bay in 1911, and the Huson Lake, which is a part of the Nimpkish watershed, is named after him.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Alert Bay Waterfront 1880s

This photo is an early picture of the Alert Bay settlement on Cormorant Island in the 1880s. In the mid 1870s a fish saltery was opened on the island and many Indigenous peoples from the surrounding area, specifically those from the 'Namgis Nation, built houses at Alert Bay. At this time the population of the village of Whulk on the banks of the Nimpkish River declined as many residents moved to Alert Bay for more steady year-round employment opportunities. 

Alert Bay waterfront 1880s

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.