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THE NORTH PACIFIC MISSION
CHURCH MISSIONARY SOCIETY
WITH A MAP
"If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there shall Thy hand lead me and Thy right hand shall hold me"--Ps. cxxxix 9, 10
Shores of the utmost West Ye that have waited long Unvisited noblest, Break forth to swelling song High raise the note that Jesus died Yet lives and reigns the Crucified
The third, fourth, and fifth chapters of this little book are substantially a reprint of parts of a pamphlet entitled, "Metlakahtla, or Ten Years' Work among the Tsimshean Indians," published by the Church Missionary Society in 1868. Almost all the rest, or three-fourths of the whole, is new matter--new, that is, in a separate form, for the greater part has appeared at various times in the Society's periodicals. One or two facts are taken from the Rev. J. J. Halcombe's excellent book, "Stranger than Fiction," which has done so much to make the Metlakahtla Mission known. For much valuable information I am indebted to Admiral Prevost.
I. THE FIELD OF LABOUR
II. THE CALL, AND THE MAN
III. BEGINNING WORK
V. THE NEW SETTLEMENT
VI. METLAKAHTLA--SPIRITUAL RESULTS
VII. " MATERIAL PROGRESS AND MORAL INFLUENCE
VIII. " TWO CHRISTMAS-SEASONS
IX. OUTLYING MISSIONS--KINCOLITH.
X. " QUEEN CHARLOTTE'S ISLANDS
XI. " FORT RUPERT
XII. LORD DUFFERIN AT METLAKAHTLA
XII. ADMIRAL PREVOST AT METLAKAHTLA
XIV. THE DIOCESE OF CALEDONIA
THE NORTH PACIFIC MISSION.
THE FIELD OF LABOUR
British Columbia, now forming part of "The Dominion of Canada," includes within its limits several islands, of which Vancouver's is the principal, and that part of the continent of North America, west of the Rocky Mountains and east of Alaska, which is included between the 49 deg. and the 60 deg. parallels of north latitude.
English connection with this part of the world may be said to date from an exploratory voyage made by Captain Cook in 1776, when he landed at Friendly Cove and Nootka Sound, and took possession of them in the name of his sovereign. He supposed at the time that these places were on the mainland, and it was not until Captain Vancouver, an officer in the English Navy, was despatched in 1792 to the Pacific, that he discovered that Nootka and Friendly Cove were on the west side of the island which now bears his name, and which is sometimes spoken of as the gem of the Pacific.
In 1793, Alexander Mackenzie, one of the most enterprising pioneers in the employment of the North-West Fur Company, who had already discovered the mighty river since named after him, crossed the Rocky Mountains, and pushed his way westward, until he stood on the shores of the Pacific. Some years later, in 1806, Mr. Simon Frazer, another _employe_ of the same Company, gave his name to the great river that drains British Columbia, and established the first trading post in those parts. After the amalgamation of this Company with the Hudson's Bay Company, other posts were established, such as Fort Rupert, on Vancouver's Island, and Fort Simpson, on the borders of Alaska, then belonging to Russia, but subsequently sold by her to the United States.
In 1858, the discovery of gold in the basin of the Fraser river, on the mainland, attracted a large number of gold-diggers from California, and among them a considerable body of Chinese. To maintain order among a motley population of lawless habits, British Columbia was formed into a colony, with its capital at Victoria, on Vancouver's Island.
Official returns, made a few years ago, gave the number of Indians in British Columbia as 31,520, distributed over the islands and mainland. They belong to several distinct families or nations, speaking distinct languages, subdivided into a multitude of tribes speaking different dialects of their own. Thus the Hydahs of Queen Charlotte's Islands are altogether distinct from the Indians of Vancouver's Island, where, indeed, those on the east coast are distinct from those on the west. Again, on the mainland, the Indians on the sea-board are distinct from the Indians of the interior, from whom they are divided by the Cascade range of mountains. These inland Indians are of more robust and athletic frame, and are altogether a more vigorous race.
Among the coast tribes, however, there are great differences, those to the north being far superior to those in the south. Those who know the Indians well declare that it would be impossible to find anywhere finer looking men than the Hydahs, Tsimsheans, and some of the Alaskan tribes. "They are," writes one, "a manly, tall, handsome people, and comparatively fair in their complexion."
The Indians on the sea-board of the mainland, and those on the east coast of Vancouver's Island who have affinity with one another, have been grouped into three principal families or nations. The first of these is met with at Victoria and on the Fraser river, and may be called the Chinook Indians, from the language which is principally in use. In the second division may be comprised the tribes between Nanaimo on the east coast, and Fort Rupert at the extreme north of Vancouver's Island, and the Indians on the mainland between the same points. The Tsimsheans, a third family, cluster round Fort Simpson, and occupy a line of coast extending from the Skeena river to the borders of Alaska.
On his arrival at Fort Simpson, on the 1st of October, 1857, Mr. Duncan found located there, to quote his own words in a recent official report, "Nine tribes, numbering (for I counted them) about 2,300 souls. These proved to be just one-third of the tribes speaking the Tsimshean language. Of the other eighteen tribes, five were scattered over 100 miles of the coast south of Fort Simpson, other five occupied the Naas river, and the remaining eight tribes lived on the Skeena river--the whole of the twenty-seven tribes numbering then not over 8,000 souls, though I at first set them down at 10,000. In addition to the Tsimshean tribes which I have mentioned, I found that Indians of other two distinct languages frequented the Fort for trade. These were the Alaska Coast Indians, whose nearest village was only some fifteen miles north of Fort Simpson, and the Hydahs from Queen Charlotte's Islands."
The tribal arrangements among the Tsimsheans are very much the same as among other Indian clans. Each tribe has from three to five chiefs, one of whom is the acknowledged head. Among the head chiefs of the various tribes one again takes preeminence. At feasts and in council the chiefs are seated according to their rank. As an outward mark, to distinguish the rank of a chief, a pole is erected in front of his house. The greater the chief the higher the pole. The Indians are very jealous in regard to this distinction.
Every Indian family has a distinguishing crest, or "totem," as it is called in some places. This crest is usually some bird, or fish, or animal; particularly the eagle, the raven, the finback whale, the grisly bear, the wolf, and the frog. Among the Tsimsheans and their neighbours, the Hydahs, great importance is attached to this heraldry, and their crests are often elaborately engraved on large copper plates from three to five feet in length, and about two in breadth. These plates are very highly valued, and are often heir-looms in families. No Indian would think of killing the animal which had been taken for his crest. While two members of the same tribe are allowed to intermarry, those of the same crest are prohibited from doing so under any circumstances. The child always takes the mother's crest: if she belonged to a family whose crest was the eagle, thru all her children take the eagle for their crest.
The most influential men in a tribe--not excluding the chiefs--are the medicine men. Captain Mayne, R.N., thus speaks of them:--[Footnote: _Four Years in British Columbia, and Vancouver Island_, p. 260
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