Charles Hill-Tout was born in England in 1858 and came to British Columbia in 1891. A pioneer settler at Abbotsford in the Fraser Valley, he devoted many years of fieldwork to his studies of the Salish and published in the scholarly periodicals of the day. He was honoured as president of the Anthropological Section of the Royal Society of Canada and as a fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain. In The Salish People, his field reports are collected for the first time.
In The Salish People each volums serves as a useful guide to a specific geographic area, bringing the past to the present. The four volumes, rich in stories and factual details about the old customs of the Coast and Interior Salish, are each edited with an introduction by Ralph Maud, who lives in the Fraser Valley and who teaches a course on the B.C. Indian Oral Tradition at Simon Fraser University.
Volume I of The Salish People deals with the people of the Thompson and Okanagan. It includes stories told to Charles Hill-Tout by Chief Mischelle of Lytton in 1896. The introduction provides biographical sketches of the two men who make this collaboration the remarkable document it is: Hill-Tout, the self-educated and dedicated ethnologist, newly arrived from England, and Chief Mischelle of Lytton, one of the most talented and informed people that a beginning field worker could hope to meet.
Charles Hill-Tout devoted many years to ethnographic and anthropological field work among the Salish people of the west coast recording their customs, stories and art. The Salish People is a four volume collection of all the field work done by Charles Hill-Tout in the period 1895 to 1911, divided by specific geographical and cultural areas.
Ralph Maud is the author of Charles Olson Reading (1996) and the editor of The Selected Letters of Charles Olson (2000). He has edited much of Dylan Thomas’s work, including The Notebook Poems, 1930–1934 and The Broadcasts, and is co-editor, with Walford Davies, of Dylan Thomas: The Collected Poems, 1934–1953 and Under Milk Wood. Maud is also the editor of The Salish People: Volumes I, II, III and IV by pioneer ethnographer Charles Hill-Tout. In addition, he has done extensive work on the translation collaboration between Henry W. Tate and Franz Boas, including the book, Transmission Difficulties: Franz Boas and Tsimshian Mythology.