Friday, June 17, 2016

Middens and Charts

These photos are from my Mother's friend, Theoma. Thank you.
Entrance to Stanley Park.  The Lions Gate bridge was not yet built so there is no causeway through  the park. The Burrard Yacht Club building still stands  today.
Looking back  at English Bay beach  from a pier that existed then, the building where the Boathouse  restaurant  is still standing on Beach  Ave.

1925. Looking eastward towards the old Hotel Vancouver.
The site of the present day Cleveland Dam.
Prospect Point before the construction of the Lion's Gate Bridge. 

While at Menzies Bay, Archibald Menzies spent his time with a walk at Nymph Cove. "We visited two Huts in a small Cove," Menzies wrote, "close to our landing place, containing several Families to the Amount of about thirty people." Menzies asked the people to count their numerals. He found they spoke the same language as the people along the Strait of Georgia to the south.

The British later reached Johnstone Strait, which was well above Seymour Narrows, and Menzies noted the people spoke a different language. George Vancouver said they were "more variously painted than any of the natives our gentlemen had before seen. In those respects they evidently approached nearer to the character of the people of Nootka, than of any other we had yet seen..."

Vancouver was sure that his men were the first Europeans the Salish met but the people to the north were well armed with muskets and spoke "smatterings" of English.

Anthropologists suggest, based on these accounts, that the northern boundary of Salish territory ran from above Kelsey Bay in Johnstone Strait and across to Port Neville on the mainland, in 1792.

There were at least two distinct Salish groups. The Island Comox controlled Discovery Passage and north to Kelsey Bay and the Mainland Comox resided in villages from the Sunshine Coast to Bute Inlet. Residing north of them were the Laich-Kwil-Tach (Lekwiltok). Their language and customs were similar to the Kwakwaka'wakw (Kwakiutl) of northern Vancouver Island, the Broughton Archipelago and nearby mainland inlets.

Vancouver created charts on his voyage, which were remarkably accurate and were used for decades. However, they weren't perfect. He missed the narrow channels that separate Quadra, Sonora, Maurelle and Read Islands.

Because he missed the channels, Vancouver named what he thought was a large island, Valdes - in honour of the Spanish captain who also explored the coast in the summer of 1792. It wasn't until the 1860's that Read Island was discovered to be a separate land mass and it took another decade before the British surveyors identified three other separate islands.

The British only mentioned one village on Quadra Island but many archaeological sites on the island show evidence of widespread occupation. The depths of middens (refuse piles) in places such as Heriot Bay and Waiatt Bay show that these were sites of winter villages in use for thousands of years. There is a site in Kanish Bay - located at the northwestern entrance to Small inlet - which has a midden that is over ten feet (three metres) deep.

Thanks to Jeanette Taylor and her book The Quadra Story, A History of Quadra Island for the above information.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

Karen Magill