About the Author

Howard White

Howard White was born in 1945 in Abbotsford, British Columbia. He was raised in a series of camps and settlements on the BC coast and never got over it. He is still to be found stuck barnacle-like to the shore at Pender Harbour, BC. He started Raincoast Chronicles and Harbour Publishing in the early 1970s and his own books include A Hard Man to Beat (bio), The Men There Were Then (poems), Spilsbury's Coast (bio), The Accidental Airline (bio), Patrick and the Backhoe (childrens`), Writing in the Rain (anthology) and The Sunshine Coast (travel). He was awarded the Canadian Historical Association's Career Award for Regional History in 1989. In 2000, he completed a ten-year project, The Encyclopedia of British Columbia. He has been awarded the Order of BC, the Canadian Historical Association's Career Award for Regional History, the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour, the Jim Douglas Publisher of the Year Award and a Honorary Doctorate of Laws Degree from the University of Victoria. In 2007, White was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. He has twice been runner-up in the Whisky Slough Putty Man Triathlon.

Books by this Author
A Hard Man to Beat

A Hard Man to Beat

The Story of Bill White: Labour Leader, Historian, Shipyard Worker, Raconteur
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A Mysterious Humming Noise

A Mysterious Humming Noise

tagged : canadian
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Ghost in the Gears

Ghost in the Gears

tagged : canadian
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Oolachon Grease
Oolachon grease gold, you hear about it
how the Tsimshian empire held
the whole coast to ransom for it
brought the poor Stick Indians begging
from the interior, beating paths
between the mountains you could
follow in the dark, by nose
the "grease trails" that let the
whiteman in, later on -
a beautiful woman professor told me about it
paler than butter she said,
but like butter without salt
and not at all repugnant to
the European palate
used as a condiment
but I ask you, are empires
sustained by condiments?
It was their oil, for the flame
in the flesh and more
I found it finally
in Bella Bella 1992 price $120/gal.
and it smelled like the cracks
between the deck planks of an old fish barge
if you can imagine spreading that
on your bread -quite enough to hurl
the European palate toward the nearest
toilet bowl which is how far
Indian is from White how far
learning is from knowing how
far we are from this ragged place
we've taken from them, for that,
the smell that comes of fish waste
thrown aside and let go bad,
that is the old smell of the coast,
known, as scent is the final intimacy
known of lifelong mates

take that barge plank, let it toss
ten years on the tide, knock on every rock
from Flattery to Yakutat, bake another
ten in the sun, take it rounded like
an Inuit ivory and grey as bone
crack it open and sniff the darker core
and you will know
what Vancouver knew ducking through
his first Nootka door pole, the essence
the odour of their living here
and however far you are from loving that
is how far you are
from arriving

You Tell Me
The kind of mess my yard is
I have no solution for
weeds rampant amongst good stuff
hedges of salmonberry and buttercup
overhanging the twisting
puny rows of spinach
affording a local base of operations
for the multitudinous vermin
that defeat me, but I will
not root them out, no:
I will not make demands
upon myself which in the end
might prove discouraging.
I know me. I must be
coddled along, if I am to
even keep up watering
through the season.
Low expectations are the key
to any dealings with me.
The house will never get painted.
The boat motor will never get fixed.
My book will never come out.
I have adjusted to these
realities, for nothing is so pathetic
as the slob with ulcers.
The thing that still gets me though,
is this neighbour I have.
He has a yard in which no weed
survives beyond the germinative stage.
It is like the miniature
Swiss town at Disneyland.

He also runs the waterboard
limits out in spring and coho
every Saturday, administers
a sprawling business empire,
has a wife and family who love him
and yet when I drop over
for some BS and coffee
he is always available
and to listen to us
there seems no essential
difference between us.

In half wakefulness you get a
glimpse of your life
passing through some trees.
It is important.
I get up in the night hoping
to see my life passing

I used to get up at dawn
swim out to the island
sit naked on the rocks
watching the sun rise
to make myself different.
I hate not knowing
if it worked.

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Patrick and the Backhoe

Patrick and the Backhoe

by Howard White
illustrated by Bus Griffiths
tagged :
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Patrick was left alone with the backhoe. It looked lonely putt-putting away all by itself with Grampa no where in sight. Patrick felt very sad. He decided he had to do something for his old friend, even if it meant going somewhere he wasn't supposed to. Slowly he climbed up onto the seat of the backhoe. He looked at all the handles and levers and buttonsf and knobs and tried to remember which one he saw Grampa using to turn the motor off. The middle lever he knew was to lower the arm. Beside it was the one that turned the bucket. Beside that was the one that lowered the feet. As he looked at each lever a little thrill rose up inside him, and one little thrill piled up on another little thrill until his sadness went away.

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Spilsbury's Coast

Spilsbury's Coast

Pioneer Years in the Wet West
also available: Paperback
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PEOPLE ON SAVARY GOT BY, as the saying goes, by taking in each others' washing. Apart from building and repairing the summer cabins there was well-digging, working on the road and cutting wood at $3.50 a rick split and piled -we'd buck it on the beach with a hand saw and wheel it to the customer. There weren't many ways of bringing in the groceries. This resulted in the people of the island developing a special relationship with the area's wild game.

The various methods employed to procure game and their relative success rate became matters of great personal pride -either proud of the way they went about it, or too proud to admit to the practice followed. Take pit-lamping, for instance. This was a surefire method of getting deer by shining a light in their eyes at night. It was illegal for the good reason that it was difficult to tell whether the eyes reflecting in your light were attached to a deer or your neighbour's cow, or perhaps to your neighbour himself. But it was very effective and some, like old Louis Anderson, wouldn't waste their time doing it any other way. Besides, Louis was an old-time prospector and legitimately owned a miner's lamp, the kind that used acetylene and water and was normally worn on a man's hat. This was ideal for pitlamping since it left both hands free to operate the rifle.

People devoted to this sport scoff at the suggestion they could ever mistake the way a deer's eyes shine in the dark from, say, the way a cow's shine, but I'm not too sure. One day Bill Ashworth and I nailed a couple of beer-bottle caps about four inches apart to a
stump, at the top of the logging road, which was a favourite deer hunting spot. Next day there were bullet holes all around them. I never did understand why any hunter would empty an entire magazine and not get wise to the trick. Of course no one ever owned up to it, so it remains a mystery to this day. Since pit-lamping was (and is) so decidedly illegal, great secrecy was always observed. Those who did it never talked about it. Those who didn't expressed their disapproval vociferously. My mother was one of these. On the other hand, when someone offered her a haunch of venison she never enquired as to the time of day it was shot.

My mother was well known for her success in the field. She regularly shot her limit every year, but she had her own methods. She hated rifles of any kind-even my little single-shot .22 caliber Winchester. According to her, all high-power sporting rifles should be banned from the earth. She used. a double-barrelled 12-gauge shotgun for everything: #7 chilled shot for duck, #6 for geese, and SSG for deer. SSG is larger than buckshot; the pellets are about a quarter-inch in diameter as I recall. They sure make a mess of an animal at close range, and she only worked at close range. Her method was to walk over the ground carefully, identify the trails, and then post herself quietly behind a tree and wait patiently until the right deer came along, and when he did, believe me he was dead.

My first and only experience of shooting a deer was a messy business, and I was left with no desire to repeat it, but first I should go back to the circumstances that led up to it.

On a very stormy winter afternoon in 1922, my dad and I came in from working in the driving rain, and were preparing our supper in our old tent/cabin at the foot of Blair Road. Mother was away and there were very few people on Savary at the time. There was a knock on the door and in stumbled an elderly man, very wet and very cold and in the last stages of exhaustion. He could barely speak. He had been shipwrecked the day before on the south side of the island up near the Indian Point end. No one lived at Indian Point, and of course there was no road then. It had taken him over 24 hours to reach our place.

Dad wrapped him in dry blankets and fed him some hot Oxo, and he slept through till morning. After breakfast we put some lunch together, launched our old twelve-foot rowboat, and headed out around Indian Point to the scene of the wreck. At low tide we could trace the whole chain of events, from the big sharp rock at low water level where the bottom was ripped out, leaving a string of nuts and bolts and tools and nails to high tide level, where the only thing left was a small section of the bottom with the engine timbers wedged between two beach logs. The shaft was broken and gone but the little engine seemed to be all there. I was all for attempting to salvage it, but the old man practically flew into a rage and said, "No, no, she nearly kill me! Leave her lay where Jesus flang her!" He meant it.

We did manage to gather up a few of his personal belongings including his gun, which we found buried in the gravel -and what a gun! When I stood it up it was as high as I was. It was a standard issue Swiss Army Rifle. It took a .55-caliber, rim-fire copper cartridge charged with black powder. This was new to me, as the guns I used all took modern cordite-filled cartridges. It had three firing pins and a bolt-action repeater taking ten extra cartridges in the tubular magazine under the barrel. I recognized it because Harry Keefer had one like it which he used occasionally for shooting the bark off dead snags for firewood. The ammunition was cheap. You could buy a box of twenty for fifty cents. The old man asked us to look after it for him till he could come back and get it. I had hopes that he never would, but in fact about a year later Reverend Alan Greene stopped in to pick it up and take it back to the old man on his stump ranch. But in the mean time I had my fun with it.

I made one or two trips back to the wreck site, carefully raked the gravel between the boulders all the way down the beach, and recovered about fifty cartridges, most of which still worked. I oiled and greased the old gun and then tried it out. "Boom!" Perfection! It didn't have too much recoil. The gun was heavy and the black powder cartridges seemed. to have greater elasticity than the cordite style. It was like firing an enormous slingshot, except for the incredible cloud of blue smoke. On a still day it required about five minutes for the smoke to clear. You had to walk off to one side to see the target. And range! The rear sight was graduated up to a thousand yards.

There was one other peculiarity. The rusty old barrel had no rifling left in the bore, so the bullet. keyholed - it went out end over end and made a big slot in the target instead of a round hole. On a bright day, if you aimed it up in the sky against a white cloud background you could actually see the bullet tumbling on its way, but only when there was a good crosswind to blow the smoke away quickly. Some people wanted to talk me into sawing a couple of feet off the end of the barrel and reshaping the stock to convert it into a sports rifle, but of course I couldn't do this as it still rightly belonged to the old man.

In due course I got the urge to take it out and use it on real game. Dad felt he should come with me just this first time, and it's just as well he did.

There was about six inches of snow on the ground, which made it easy to follow the deer tracks. We went up the back trails and under heavy timber on the south side. It wasn't very long before we jumped a deer, and he ran across our path about fifty yards away. Because of the long barrel and the weight I found it necessary to kneel down and rest my left elbow on my knee and at the same time to pivot to the right to allow for the deer's direction of travel. Dad said I better shoot ahead of the animal by a few feet. It was not easy because the deer was only visible intermittently as he ran behind trees, but I finally coordinated all this and squeezed the trigger. The resulting noise and smoke was impressive, but so was the devastation that greeted /us when the fog cleared.

The story was all there on the surface of the nice white snow. It appeared that I had been pretty well on target as far as the deer was concerned, but at the moment of firing, a rotten stump had intervened in the line of fire. From the muzzle of the gun there was a dirty black track of burned powder for about twenty feet to a small hole in the stump on my side. On the far side the keyholing bullet had ripped out about a cubic foot of rotten wood which was scattered over the ground in a fifty-foot arc, on the outer perimeter of which lay the crumpled form of the wretched deer. The bullet had entered his right haunch, proceeded diagonally through the body and out the left shoulder decimating everything in its path and leaving a generous spattering of blood, deer hair, and bone chips for the next thirty feet or so.

One shot, and the place looked like a battlefield! When Dad got through dressing it out we were left with only one haunch and one shoulder to take home and, to make matters worse, it was the toughest venison anybody had ever tried to eat. We ended up putting it through the mincing machine and canning it for dog food. As for the bullet, we never did find out how much further it went, but whatever else it did, it did crossways, that I'm sure of.

Hunting on Savary was not confined to deer. During the winter we had all kinds of wild duck. Mallard, teal, and canvasback were the desirable ones. The others were considered fish-ducks, and shot only by those lacking in taste - saw-bills, butter-balls, blue-bills, and the common scoter or black duck, not to mention the "kiss-me-asses" and various members of the diver and grebe family.

But then there were the geese, two varieties - the Canada goose and the brant. We still have the Canada goose, especially in Stanley Park and the inner harbour of Vancouver, where they are becoming a real pest, and also at the head of every inlet and river mouth up the coast. They are certainly far from extinction.

But I would like to know what became of the brant. When I was young on Savary, brant outnumbered everything else by a wide margin. While we would often see Canada geese in flocks of twenty' or so, brant were out there by the thousands and millions. In the winter they would come in the evening and gather by the tens of thousands out on the reef between First and Second Points, covering an area of several acres - just dense black geese quietly chortling to one another. At low tide, which is always at night during the winter, they would be way out on the beach, in the seaweed and boulders. When anything disturbed them they would take flight en masse, with a noise like thunder, and would go cackling away into the distance and eventually come to rest on the reefs off the south side of Hernando or right over to the big reefs off Sutil Point and Marina Island. They would not return to Savary that night. This meant that any hopeful goose hunter had one chance and one' chance only on any given night. Many times I have seen the entire flock rise as one bird and literally darken the whole western sky. On any quiet night you could poke your head outdoors and hear the busy chattering of thousands and thousands of brant out on the reefs.

What ever happened to them? During the last fifty years that I have travelled up and down this coast I have never seen a single brant..

Anyway, going back 65 years, the brant was the most sought after and the most discussed bird on the hunter's list, based mainly on their apparently limitless numbers and the extreme difficulty in ever approaching one close enough for a shot. They were far and away the most wary of all game birds on the coast. Whatever fate befell them, I am sure it was not as a result of over-hunting on the coast of BC.

There were several methods employed in hunting any of these birds, depending, I suppose, to some extent on your upbringing. My parents, for instance, would shoot a duck only on the wing. They would never, but never, shoot one on the water or on land. If necessary they would have someone "shoo" the thing up first and then bang away and miss it, or drop it out on the water where they couldn't recover it.

My mother and dad would usually walk away out to the reef off First Point and crouch behind a boulder in the chill rain of a winter's evening, waiting for the evening flight. This is when some ducks were supposed to fly over the sandbar to get to the other side, and if they were within range my parents would blaze away at them. The success rate was minimal.

I guess I came more under the influence of the colonial style. My method was usually to spot a few birds feeding along the shoreline and sneak up on them when they had their heads under water, then freeze and try to look like a boulder when they raised their heads to look around. I would try to get them grouped so that one shot from a 12-gauge would plaster a bunch of them. At best this would work only once on any day because after the first shot all ducks within hearing range would take off for Hernando for the night. The Anderson boys used this method and I learned from them. Their dad was very strict. He would dole out just so many cartridges and they were expected to come back with at least one bird per cartridge. In order to provide for the occasional miss they would always try for two or three per shot when the grouping was good.

The most determined attempt on the brant was made by an individual we knew as Uncle Norman. I think his full name was Norman Thompson. He was related in some way to the Burnets. Ken Burnet, an old-time BC land surveyor, built one of the first cottages down near the Maces, and I believe it is still used by the family. Anyway, Agnes and Lillian Burnet attended school at Savary the first year it ran, and they called him "Uncle Norman." Uncle Norman was something different. He kept very much to himself, spoke very little, and generally minded his own business. He came up to live in Burnet's cottage and look after it one winter when the family was in town. He was a bit old fashioned, we thought. He made most of the clothes he wore out of buckskin which he tanned himself. Buckskin jacket with tassels on the sleeves, buckskin pants and moccasins, and some sort of a leather cap with fur on the outside. He spent most of his time doing this. I can remember he would soak deer skins in some solution until they went partly rotten and then he would spread them over a sort of sawhorse arrangement and scrape the hair off. After this he smoked them and tanned them with hemlock bark. The smell varied from stage to stage and continued right on as he wore them. It was particularly noticeable when it rained.

Uncle Norman tried all the usual approaches and did no better than anyone else. But Uncle Norman did a lot of thinking about it. He didn't say much but he thought a lot, and finally he hit upon a solution. He lost no time putting the plan into action. He discussed it with no one, but the amount of work required to put the project in motion could not be concealed from prying eyes and everyone talked ,about it - some were for, most were against. Discussion increased as the work progressed.

In essence, here was the plan. He would build a raft of small cedar logs about four feet wide and six feet long. On this he would erect a domeshaped hut of bent cedar boughs about four feet high. This structure would be thatched with seaweed and sprinkled generously with an assortment of starfish and barnacles until it resembled a large beach boulder at low tide. He had a flap door like an igloo and numerous peepholes around the sides, just large enough to get a gun barrel through. Between the two centre logs he provided a slot about six inches wide through which he could manipulate a paddle while seated on a small bench. The plan of operation became quite apparent. He would quietly paddle into the middle of the flock and then open up on them from the gun ports before the bewildered geese realized what was happening. He was so confident that he never even took the thing out for a test drive, and there were obviously many glitches that might show up, even from the navigational point of view, let alone the sea- and battle-worthiness of the device. He launched it down the beach on rollers and anchored it off at high tide ready for the countdown. All he needed was the right weather and a reliable goose forecast and he would be away.

It was during this pre-takeoff period that public discussion and conjecture reached its highest pitch. Many and varied were the reactions. My mother of course condemned it out of hand because it involved "pot-shooting" while the birds were still in the water. She wished him no luck. My dad worried more about the seaworthiness of the craft in rough water, and how Uncle Norman could find his way back in fog without a compass when he was already restricted to peephole visibility. Old Louis Anderson, who probably had more practical experience with wild geese than anyone, said unequivocally that the scheme would never work. He said that these geese had "very strong noses" and could detect the smell of a human many miles away. He pointed out that this feeble craft could only be paddled downwind, so it would carry the scent ahead of it and warn the geese. Uncle Norman's buckskin clothes would be anything but a help in this regard. No, unless he could paddle the thing up into thewind, the scheme would never work.

Hill Mace agreed with most of this, but added that if Uncle Norman were successful in paddling against the wind, he would work up such a sweat in that confined hut that you would be able to smell that wet buckskin at least a half mile upwind and that was further than his old gun could shoot.

There were some people who were not prepared to predict one way or the other, but did say that if he was right and it did work as well as he expected, the government should intervene and put a stop to it before all the geese in British Columbia were wiped out.

The day he picked was grey and calm, and the tide would be out to expose the reef by nightfall -the perfect situation. He departed early afternoon for his two-mile voyage. We watched him for several hours. To start with he tended to weave around and actually go in circles, but as he gained experience paddling through the slot, his performance improved. It took him about four hours to reach the outermost shoals where the geese were expected to congregate. This covered an area of about two miles. There were some geese ahead of him but none where he was. Towards dark he got where they were, but they were now where he first was. While we could see him, he was never within half a mile of an actual goose. Then it got dark and we could no longer see the geese or the floating boulder. We heard no shots. All was quiet, and then a gentle southeast breeze started to sigh through the trees and we wondered how he was doing. The wind increased during the night and by morning was blowing half a gale with rain. No sign of the floating boulder or Uncle Norman in any direction. We reasoned that he would probably have made it to Indian Point where he would moor his raft and walk home, but that evening we went down to his cottage to look for him. No Uncle Norman. The wind increased to a gale and there were no boats on Savary in those days that would venture out in that kind of weather. That night, however, during a brief lull in the rain squalls, we saw what appeared to be a flickering fire on the beach on Hernando Island.

The next morning the southeast wind had abated so Bill Mace and Louis Anderson fired up the old four-horsepower Fairbanks two cycle in Louis' old boat the Red Wing and went pop-pop-pop all the way over to Hernando, where they found Uncle Norman, safe and sound but a bit uncomfortable. The floating boulder was away up in the beach logs and Uncle Norman was living inside it. He had been eating clams for the two days and they said the empty shells were piled up nearly as high as the boulder. So far as I know, the subject of the floating boulder was never discussed again.

Obviously the floating boulder was not the reason for the disappearance of the brant geese flocks, so where are they? And where are the kind of people who spent so much of their time and effort chasing them?

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The Accidental Airline

The Accidental Airline

Spilsbury's QCA
tagged : history, radio
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One time QCA received a charter for Garibaldi Park. Three young hikers wanted to be taken into Garibaldi Lake with their packs and supplies. The weather report was marginal but Johnny Hatch decided he would try making the flight himself. All went well until he turned out of the valley and headed up toward the end of the lake. The end of the valley is blocked by an eight-hundred-foot-high lava 'dyke' that forms the lake, and he had to fly up over the barrier to land on the water.

Just as Johnny was approaching the barrier, a violent downdraft of cold glacial air hit the aircraft and caused it to lose several hundred feet of altitude. Since it was impossible to clear the barrier, Johnny took the only course left to him. He chopped the throttle, shut off the ignition, and aimed straight for two medium-sized, springy-looking fir trees. The aircraft, now at stall speed, struck the trees forty-five feet above ground, pushed them over to a forty-five degree angle, then slid down the trunks like an elevator and made a reasonably soft landing.

Quite a few things happened to the aircraft during the process. Both wings sheared off. The pontoons doubled back under the fuselage like pretzels and the engine came off its mount. Gasoline was everywhere. When the broken branches and glass and bits of aircraft stopped falling, Johnny looked around to see how his passengers made out. Before he could think what to say, one of them turned from the window and exclaimed, "Oh, isn't this absolutely bee-yootiful!" None of them had ever been in an aircraft before and they had nothing with which to compare this uncommon performance. They seemed to assume that this was just the normal way you landed your floatplane on a mountain.

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The Airplane Ride

The Airplane Ride

by Howard White
illustrated by Greta Guzek
tagged : aviation
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The Sunshine Coast

The Sunshine Coast

From Gibsons to Powell River
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Writing in the Rain

Writing in the Rain

also available: Paperback
tagged :
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Raincoast Chronicles 16

Raincoast Chronicles 16

Time & Tide: A History of Telegraph Cove
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Raincoast Chronicles 23

Raincoast Chronicles 23

Harbour Publishing 40th Anniversary Edition
edited by Peter A. Robson
introduction by Howard White
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Beyond Forgetting

Beyond Forgetting

Celebrating 100 Years of Al Purdy
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Raincoast Chronicles

Raincoast Chronicles

Collector's Edition
edited by Howard White
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Raincoast Chronicles 11

Raincoast Chronicles 11

Forgotten Villages of the BC Coast
edited by Howard White
also available: Paperback
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Raincoast Chronicles 12

Raincoast Chronicles 12

edited by Howard White
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for Terry Munro

On a day hot enough to crack rocks
the fireweed exploded
tilling the air with floating spores
like feathers
from a broken pillow
The fat sky spat down heat
on the raw mountainface -
the greedy machine
demanded logs -
we fed it like fools
to earn our beer money
sweating -
swatting flies and fireweed fluff
in the shimmering swelter

It was the sort of day
that frays a man's nerves like string -
under the hammering sun
our normal good humour melted away

Faced with a stump-jammed cedar
you questioned my judgernent
on how to roll it free
until I was forced to pull rank -
a minor argument
exacerbated by the temperature -
we slogged on stone-faced through the hours
like a pair of deaf mutes
too angry to speak

It was damn near quittingtime
when we reached that giant fir
back of the tail block
a classic puzzle in logging logistics
To skin it free was going to require
a cooperative effort
I looked at you you looked at me
we both smiled the stubborn impasse broke
the hatchet was buried
We set to work
parbuckled the big blue butt out of there
and became friends again.


PIONEERS AT THE EARLY SETTLEMENTS along the coast have published stories or have told younger generations about the famous great gale of Saturday, January 29, 1921, when heavy timber along the coast went down before a southeast wind, creating a shambles in such places as Lang Bay, Egmont and Sechelt.

Lang Bay lies on the east side of Malaspina Strait, south of Powell River. In Great Waters, a book written by the Reverend George Pringle, includes an account of the storm. He and five others from a shinglebolt camp were walking the mile through the woods to Smith's store at Lang Bay settlement when the 1921 gale "tore down upon us in howling fury. There was no place for shelter from the great branches and limbs that whizzed past us in the darkness, and the giant trees that fell crashing down in all directions around us. The noise of the storm was so great that to make ourselves heard we had to shout into one another's ears."

The marine missionary wrote that he spent the most terrifying hour of his life on that walk, but upon arriving at a house at Smith's clearing he decided to service anvway: "We were nicely started when the window blew in! I caught it on my back, but the lamp was extinguished and the table blown over. It took fifteen minutes to get the window nailed back and everything in order again. I got along to the sermon and was somewhere in 'secondly' when a wild blast commenced to tear the paper off the wall opposite me, against which the people were sitting. It was building paper loosely tacked on in strips from ceiling to floor. Another gust and down it all came, completely covering up my congregation. After they had crawled out it took half an hour before we got that paper tacked up again. Then we closed with the hymn 'For Those in Peril on the Sea.' Millions of feet of standing timber were blown down that night at Lang Bay." Mr. and Mrs. William Griffith and their youngsters settled in August 1920 at a bay east of Egmont Point, which is northeast of Skookumchuk Narrows. They lived in a log cabin which had been built by a relative in 1914. When Mrs. Griffith proposed putting the children to bed on that Saturday evening in January, 1921, Mr. Griffith suggested a delay because a southeast wind was refreshing. Gladys McNutt recorded their story as told to her by Bill, a son of the family. "The Griffiths wrapped up the children and took them out to a bare rocky islet within the bay and spread canvas over them as protection from the flying twigs and needles." Early Sunday morning a few of the men who lived in the Egmont area rowed over to check on the Griffith household. "They breathed a sigh of relief to see smoke coming from the chimney but a huge limb was through the roof immediately above the spot where Mr. Griffith usually sat. They all got busy and felled the maples and alders about the place. Most of the standing timber in the draw had come down."

Florence E. Montgomery and Alice French spoke to me of the gale as it had affected them half a century before. Mrs. Montgomery was at that time Florence Cliff, the first teacher at the original West Sechelt school. She boarded for a time with Katie Deal and her husband Fred near the Trail Bay beach.

On the Saturday afternoon of the big storm Florence took a bath and dressed in her best for a dance at the Selma Park Pavilion' She was all ready when Mr. Deal arrived home. He told the ladies to put out the lamps and douse the fire to avoid trouble should a tree fall on the house. Then he shepherded his wife, Florence, as well as a neighbour, Mrs. Nickson and her children Rena and Harold, to take shelter on the beach in the lee of a large scow stranded there two or three years earlier.

About one o'clock Sunday morning the wind had abated sufficiently that Fred Deal felt it safe for his charges to return home. A tree had fallen near the Deal house, but both residences in Nickson's Bay were safe. When daylight came they walked up Norwest Bay Road to West Sechelt school and counted twenty-four trees down en route.

Alice French came to Sechelt in 1919 as the English war bride of Frank French. She was a friend of Thomas John Cook who, as resident magistrate, knew everybody for miles about and organized his neighbours to go check on the more isolated homesteads on the day after the storm. He assigned Alice to visit Mr. and Mrs. McIntyre in West Sechelt. She found them flourishing and their home intact, but their outdoor privy had vanished completely.

During the next summer Alice attended a tea party in the McIntyre's garden. She happened to look up into a tree shading her chair and to her amusement saw the can from the lost outhouse perched high on a limb.

It is said that the giant trees and snags which fell before the southeaster usually lay pointing to the northwest, sometimes piled two or three deep. Over the years they provided firewood for the homesteaders. What a vast amount of time and energy it must have cost to get the trunks sawn through before power saws were in use, to clear the primitive roads and to restore downed telegraph wires. Electric lighting did not then exist except for households using private systems. The Sechelt school in 1921 had only candles and the Sechelt store used hanging gas lamps, which gave a nice white light.

THE ARRIVAL OF THE WHITE RACE in British Columbia was detrimental to the welfare of the native people; during late 1862 and 1863 smallpox ran rampant among the BC Indians. This curse almost turned the coast into a vast graveyard. The Catholic missionary Father Fouquet is reported to have vaccinated an estimated 8,000 people while Fathers Chirouse and Durieu together performed the same service for as many more Indians in various regions of the province.

Today the Sechelt Indians are aware of massive numbers of bones to be found in the area of their homes, because at the time of the plagues there were too few survivors to give attention to the bodies of those who suddenly died. Clarence Joe recalled that his father, Basil Joe, once Sechelt occured in 1886. During sewage excavation work in 1964 the men doing the digging found everywhere the skeletons of both adults and children.

At the time of the arrival of the Europeans, the Sechelt Nation was scattered along the coast from Stillwater to Howe Sound. They sometimes buried their dead in boxes placed in trees on Poise Island, which until 1945 was known locally as "Skeleton Island" "Dead Man's Island" or "Cook's Island." (In that year the Canadian Hydrographic Service submitted the new name "Poise" and regrettably this became official.) Across the isthmus from this bay was the settlement of what was then called Chatelech. In the past invading tribes from the north had easy access to Chatelech, so the residents were slaughtered by their enemies as well as by disease. Stories have been told of Haida warriors taking youngsters from Chatelech as slaves. Clarence Joe pointed out, however, that the Haida were not responsible for wiping out Chatelech, and that the last raid upon the Sechelt Nation was made at a village on the mainland shore of the Skookum Chuk by the Kwakiutl. The people from the Jervis Inlet then came down their arm of the sea to attack the Nimpkish Kwakiutl in retaliation.

former chief Alfie August once theorized that some of the bones might be those of Haida Indians who died during tribal fighting. Chief August also recalled that when he was digging out a basement some years ago he found and carefully removed the skeletons of a man, woman and small child. All were in a sitting position. The chiefs mother-in-law, Mrs. Paul, explained to him that in earlier times a body was put in a rough wooden box and buried with the dead in a sitting position.

IN THE CENTURY since settlers like Thomas John Cook and Bert Whitaker first arrived at Sechelt the community has taken root. A steady flow of new residents have expanded Sechelt's borders and population over the years, and have combined with the descendents of some of the original settlers. Together they have established a community that has proven itself resilient enough to survive without those single interests, such as the Whitaker holdings or the Union Steamship Company, that played such a large part in establishing it in the first place. The fact that Sechelt is the seat of political institutions like the SCRD, the site of social institutions such as St. Mary's Hospital, and the site of major commercial projects such as the natural gas pipeline to Vancouver Island seems to indicate that the community's location makes it a natural hub of activity on the Sunshine Coast. But while the village is strong enough to look forward to the future, it must also take care to preserve the memories of the past which shaped it.

Though Sechelt is a small community, its history is not irrelevant, for it reflects the development of the province. The community's settlement by sea mirrors the settlement of numerous communities along the northwest coast. And whether reflected by the early loggers above Selma Park or the tourists at the Union resorts, the economic development of Sechelt is a microcosm of how British Columbia has developed economically. The mixing of peoples of different race and backgrounds - Japanese such as the Konishis; the Swedish Carlsons; the French missionaries and Pete Le Vesque; the American Abe Mason; the Scottish Youngsons and Thomas John Cook of England - is reflective of the cultural makeup of the province and the country. And it can be noted that while people like Bert Whitaker and T.J. Cook demonstrated much foresight in choosing to settle the busy isthmus between Trail Bay and Porpoise Bay, it was the Indian people of Sechelt - currently the only self-governing Indian band in British Columbia - who were the true pioneers in that regard, their tenure in the area being measured not in hundreds but in thousands of years.

So there are things to be learned from how this community developed. But insight can only be gained if an accurate record is kept, based not on myth or rumour but on fact. Hopefully, as Sechelt continues to develop, there will be those willing, to take the time to chronicle its development, and those ready to appreciate that by preserving important connections to its past the community is nourishing its own roots.

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Raincoast Chronicles 13

Raincoast Chronicles 13

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Raincoast Chronicles 15

Raincoast Chronicles 15

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GRIZZLY BEAR GUIDING WAS GOOD business. I make a good living grizzly bear guiding. Get a new pickup truck every two years. Make a lot of good friends from all over. Americans and Germans. They give me lots of free gifts. Lots of things. Knives, guns, flares, rain gear, gumboots, clothes. I had about twenty rifles given to me, altogether, all my time guiding.

I see over three hundred grizzly bears get killed. I only shot the ones that tried to kill me or the wounded ones, that's all.

Once I got a guide licence, I could hire anybody I want. One year, around May, a bunch came in for a grizzly bear spring hunt. From Oklahoma. A grizzly bear nearly get me that first time. He hit me on the foot, tried to grab me. This was up Kwatna. We shot that grizzly bear on the tideflat, and he went up the mountain. One of the hunters was a millionaire, oil guy, Oklahoma oilman. This was the guy who shot the grizzly bear. I went and followed that bear's track and caught up to him and he charged us. So I shot, hit his front leg; kind of slow him down but he came, came again.

The hunter said, "Don't shoot. Let me finish him off.'"

"Okay, go ahead, but shoot quick," I said.

He start shooting and the bear keep coming. The bear went down. I got a stick and poked him in the lip, poked that grizzly bear in the mouth. He bite that stick, chop it in half like an axe. And he still breathing. Every time he turn his head I cat) see the steam, like, coming out of his nose.

"Quick, shoot him, finish him off. Shoot right In the neck behind the head," I said.

Bang! He shot him.

"I think he's dead," I said. "I think he's finished now." And I kick that bear in the ass end, kick it with my gumboots He turned around and slapped me right on the toe, broke my toe. Then he fell down dead. Tough animal, that grizzly bear.

I was hunting in Owikeno Lake with three brothers. American boys. We came across the lake and I saw grizzly bear walking on the tide flats. At the Tzeo River, in that Washwash River country.

I took this kid, the youngest of the brothers. I was walking ahead of him and I saw a grizzly bear coming. A big one. Big grizzly bear! I stopped right away as soon as I saw it. "See that big grizzly bear coming?" I said. I stopped, never moved, just stand still. And there was a little baby grizzly coming behind her. I said, "Jack, it's a sow grizzly bear. Female. We don't shoot them. She's got a little baby. We can't shoot 'em. If we shoot the mother the wolves will kill the baby. They'll eat it up. That baby grizzly going to be sick for a long time, if he has no mother. Don't shoot her," I said. "Let 'em go."

So I stood in front of that grizzly bear and said, "Go on, beat it. Go on, bug off," I said. "I got a big gun, you don't want to get killed." The bear stopped and looked at me. She was about thirty feet away. She took off, took her little kid up a bank right into the heavy timber.

I said, "Let's go around, go circle around, hit the other creek. Get away from that cranky son-ofa-gun." Just as we started walking down to cut across to another creek we heard a stick breaking in the woods. "She's here already," I said. "She's on her way to the top of that bank. She try and run away too." I turned around to go back. I didn't know that it was a different bear, that one we heard on top of the bank breaking sticks.

Just as I started walking down the Washwash River, right where she turn around and went in the woods, that big grizzly bear sow, she came out of the woods. Full gallop. Not with her cub this time. She take that cub and hide it in the woods and come back herself. She started snorting, I grab a rock and throw it right in front of her. It hit the water. She stood up on her hind feet. And I keep yelling at her, "Go on." That hunter was pointing his gun all the time. "It's all right," I said. "Don't shoot. Let me do the work," I said.

The bear keep coming toward me. She was gettin' pretty close now. I kneel down and I use my boy's gun. It's a big gun, .300 Winchester magnum. Big shells in it. I shot between the front legs. Hit the ground so the rocks will spray up into her stomach and make her run away. So I shot but the son-of-a-gun never, she never run away. Just keep coming. And I try and load again. If she makes one jump she'll reach me I thought. This time I going to shoot it in the head. I aim right between the eyes, like. Bang! I missed. I just burn the side of her head, one side. That bear come right after me. Jump, run and hit me on the side, left side. Threw me about twenty feet. She didn't slap me. I think she used her head. Run and hook me with her head like a cow, like a bull cow. That bear throw me quite a ways. I landed right
on my back.

I had too much stuff on my neck; I had binoculars, a camera, walkie-talkie and the big rifle. Too much in the way, like, I couldn't recover quick. I try to reload but she got me. She came, came right on top of me. I Jay there, never move. Just keep still. She step on my one shoulder little bit with one foot, and she step on the other shoulder with the other foot. Put her nose right in my face. Kind of smell me, snorting, like. Saliva coming out of her mouth. I can smell that old rotten fish breath!

That hunter was kneeling down aiming at the bear. He shoot, bang! I hear that gun. She never bite me, I thought she was going to bite me right in the face. Funny, it don't bite. I don't know why it didn't bite. Then the blood came down. That young hunter, he shot right high in the neck, right on top of the neck. Cut the skin. And the blood drip all over my face and my chest. I can turn my head a little bit to watch that young hunter. He was aiming again. "Try and hit him in the ribs," I told him. "Shoot him right through the ribs, right through the lungs." He shot again, bang! and more blood came. Then the bear lay right on top of me. All that weight drop on top of me. Weigh about six hundred pounds. She just lay there, I couldn't move. She lay right on top of me, dead now. Blood just pouring out.

"Now, Jack, how you going to get me out?" I asked. "This son-of-a-gun weigh about a thousand pounds," I said. That young hunter try and move that bear off me but he can't do it. "Leave it for a little while maybe," I said.

He asked me if I can stand it.

"Yeah, I can stand it. You can run to the boys if you can't move it," I said. "Do you know where they are?"

"No, I don't know where they are," he said.

"Then leave this grizzly bear on me for ten minutes, maybe. Maybe it will get stiffened up, easier to roll it off then," I said. After a while I can feel it, that the bear startin' to get lighter. I get used to it maybe, get used to the weight on me. "Okay, push it, roll it to the right side," I said. By God, it rolled off. I get out of there quick. Blood all over my face.

We went to meet the other boys. "Bear got you, huh?" they ask.

"No, just lay on top of me, that's all," I said. Good story for them guys.

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Raincoast Chronicles 17

Raincoast Chronicles 17

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Raincoast Chronicles 18

Raincoast Chronicles 18

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Raincoast Chronicles Eleven Up

Raincoast Chronicles Eleven Up

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Raincoast Chronicles First Five

Raincoast Chronicles First Five

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Had you been standing near the Air Terminal across from the Art Gallery on Georgia Street, Vancouver, on May 2nd, 1972, you may have witnessed a curious sight. Had you asked any of the young, long-haired, baby-toting, smiling, headgarlanded men and women who those Japanese were in the long orange and purple robes, they would have said "They're not Japanese, they're Tibetan, monks, lamas, and a nun, and they're on their way back to Northern India via Samye-Ling monastery in Scotland."

It is a long way in time and space for those Tibetans from preinvasion Tibet where cars, electricity and running water were unknown, to the world of jet travel. Tibetans, Indians, and Japanese have been travelling to modern North America in increasing numbers in the past few years, spreading the word of the Buddha and other spiritual teachers to the open-eared young of the West.

When several groups of businessmen, teachers, artists and writers working for the Tibetan Relief Fund attempted to obtain permission for the displaced Tibetans to establish in the B.C. Rockies, Welfare Minister Gagliardi gave one of his familiar gruff replies. "We've already got too many deadbeats in this province." He would be surprised to know that the spiritual forefathers of these same "deadbeats" had preceded his countryman Chris Columbus to North America by at least ten centuries.

That, at any rate, is the speculation surrounding one of the greatest adventure stories of this coast. Little is known of this story, however, and its validity has yet to be established, but with a few concrete facts and a bit of imagination, we can probably fill it in.

In the early nineteenth century the discovery of some early Chinese texts stimulated a raging controversy among European scholars. The writings, in a work by Ma-Twan-lin, record the travel story of Huei Shan, a Buddhist priest who returned to China from a land far to the east in 499 A.D.

He told of a land named Fusang, and. of two lands before it, named Wan Shan (the country of marked bodies) and Ta Han (Great China). In Fusang, which derived its name from a tree which produced food and clothing for the inhabitants, houses were made of planks, people wrote on treebark, bartered for goods, and had a very clear system of rank, being led by a king treated with much pomp and ceremony. Of Wan Shan, it was said that the inhabitants marked their bodies to indicate tribal rank and lived in houses surrounded by moats filled with "yin shui", a term difficult to translate but suggesting silver-water, now considered to have been oelachen in process of having their oil extracted.

In an exhaustive study, the nineteenth century scholar Edward P. Vining draws strong arguments to place Ta Han in the Aleutian chain, Wan Shan on the North Pacific coast, and Fusang in Mexico. His deductions are simple and mechanical. The distances stated in the Chinese texts, though a point of contention, place the countries in the areas he suggests. The argument for a water crossing through the Bering Strait is highly possible. The greatest water distance on that crossing is under two hundred miles. Even simple seal-skin craft could have weathered it. Well into the last century, Japanese junks were blown off course to appear adrift off the coast of Washington and British Columbia.
Next, Vining compared the texts with known anthropological data, finding, for example, the use of caste tatooing by the Point Barrow esquimaux and body painting by the Haida and Kwakiutl. In Mexico, he found many parallels with Fusang. People did have written script, ate a fruit resembling the pear (from cactus), made cream from deer's milk, did not have iron, though copper in abundance, all of which are stated in the Chinese.

Also he cites many cultural and religious parallels between Asia and Mexico. In Pre-Columbian Central America, many priests lived in monasteries said to have been established by "the Revered Visitor" Quetzalcoatl. Tiamacazque, or more simply Tlama, the name of those priests is suspiciously like the Tibetan Lama. At Uxmal, above the entrance to the House of Priests is a seated cross-legged figure bearing striking resemblances to a meditating Buddha. Representations of various gods correspond to those of China and Japan and there are parallels of dress, bridge construction, calendars, armour and anchors.

Of Fusang, the Chinese texts said "In olden times, they knew nothing of Buddhist religion, but in the reign of Tming, of the Emperor Haio Wu Tu of the Sung Dynasty (A.D. 458), from Ki-Ping five beggar priests went there. They travelled over that kingdom, everywhere making known the laws, canons and images of that faith. Priests of regular ordination were set apart from the natives, and the customs of the country became reformed."

One of the most interesting, if not vitally important studies of history is of such movements of cultural traditions and ideas. British Columbia's position in relation to Asia made it a possible main highway for Hwei Shan and his fellow monks. Buddhists in particular had a tradition of widespread travels, spreading the Dharma (or Way), meeting with other practitioners, and seeking instruction. Buddhism was originally carried by such wandering mendicants from its home in India, to China, Japan, South-east Asia, Tibet and Mongolia. There are records of Buddhist monks reaching as far west as the Black Sea area sometime before the first century A.D.

It is interesting to imagine these early Buddhists making their way past the islands of British Columbia in small boats, stopping here and there to propagate the word of Buddha, having become conversant with the Indians' tongue. Lending credence to these conjectures are a number of finds at various sites in B.C. In 1882, the October 25th issue of the Weekly Colonist in Victoria ran a story on the discovery of a string of bronze coins which were up to 3,000 years old. They had just been found by some miners working a creek bank

near Telegraph Creek. When they were hauled up from their resting place several feet below the surface the wire holding them together disintegrated. The newspaper suggested "whether the Chinese miners who went to the Cassiar seven or eight years ago deposited the collection where it was found for the purpose of establishing a prior claim to the land - may never be known." Some years later, while prospecting in the same area, the Chinese court interpreter from Victoria met Indians who showed him several ancient Buddhist silver ceremonial dishes and a number of brass charms. Though they were reluctant to part with any of it, the Indians did give him one of the charms, which was estimated to be at least 1,500 years old. It had been found, along with the other objects, buried in the roots of a large tree.

Also discovered in the roots of a tree, when the townsite of Powell River was being cleared, was a small statuary Buddha. At the Planetarium Museum in Vancouver, there is a stone ceremonial figure closely resembling a seated Buddha. It was taken from a Fraser midden. In Nanaimo, layout workers found an ancient Japanese sword in a copper-bound wooden scabbard. It was lying eleven feet beneath the earth's surface.

Though there is a possibility that such items made their way to the coast via Russian or Spanish trade routes, the evidence for a Chinese origin are equally strong. Marius Barbeau, long time curator of the National Museum of Canada and noted ethnomusicologist, entertained theories that the Northwest Coast tribal music was strongly flavoured by Buddhist temple chanting, which would certainly not have been introduced as a trade good.

It is doubtful if Huei Shan would care too much about being the "discoverer" of a land which he felt to be "illusory". One place is much the same as any other to a person who rinds his reality centered in the workings of the mind rather than in his history. Doubtless, the North America through which Huei Shan and his monks wandered was less foreign, economically and culturally, than today's North America is to the refugee Buddhists of Tibet. Similarily, Shigetsu Sasaki, later known as Zen Master Sokei-An, would have found himself in a more familiar environment hiking the backwoods country of Puget Sound in the early 1910's while he was living around Lummi Island with Indians for neighbours. Patterns repeat themselves and echo. The mind of man plays infinite variations on countless themes, but here on the Northwest coast, Buddhist wandering monks inject an element of continuity, one more thread in the tapestry of our history.
-Scott Lawrance

LIKE A WAR by Peter Trower

No bombs explode, no khaki regiments tramp
to battle in a coastal logging-camp.
Yet blood can spill upon the forest floor
and logging can be very like a war.

We sat aboard a crummy, tension -creased.
The fog rose surely from the vanished east.
The hooker said - 'I've felt this way before
in Italy. It's something like a war.'

The hill was dark and filmed with icy slush.
We stumbled through the morning-clammy brush.
The sky was grey and vague. The air was raw
with winter and the game was like a war.

The savage cables rattled through the mist.
The boxing chokers cursed the men they missed.
We wrestled with their steel ropes and swore
and grumbled. It was very like a war.

Then far above us, shifting timber groaned.
The loader's lonely warning-whistle moaned.
Six logs came crashing down the foggy draw.
The guns had sounded. We were in a war.

Our names might well be written on the butts
of that blind downfall. Terror gripped our guts.
We shrank behind our stumps beneath the roar.
Like hapless soldiers, we were in a war.

And ever down the wooden missiles rushed,
an avalanche that battered, slammed and crushed
and passed us. And you couldn't ask for more
if you'd been spared by bullets in a war.

Foolhardy veterans, we resumed our work
and snared the timber in the swirling murk.
We'd tasted action now. We knew the score.
They paid us for engaging in a war.

The logging-slash rears weary in the sun.
No truce is called. No victory ever won.
We bear no weapons, yet the fact is sure
that what we wage is very like a war.

They Don't Make 'Em Anymore: Captain Herb Clifton
Captain Herbert Clifton, a Tsimshian Indian, was born in the village of Metlakatla, a few miles to the west of the city of Prince Rupert, in the late 1870's or early 1880's. It is very difficult for me to determine, with any accuracy, his exact age as I saw no change in his appearance in the fifteen years we were closely associated.

My first meeting with him was in 1906 when I was going to school at the Inverness Cannery on the Skeena River. He was then Master of the steam tog Florence owned by the J.H. Todd interests of Victoria and used as a tender for Inverness. I have been unable to trace her builder but think it safe to assume that it was Orvig at Port Essington. She very much resembled the design that he was known for.

A couple of years after this the North Coast Towing Company associated with Georgetown Sawmills at Georgetown, which is 17 miles north of Prince Rupert and 9 miles south of Port Simpson, bought the steam twin screw steel tug Topaz in Vancouver and brought her north to take care of the expanding delivery of lumber to the new city of Prince Rupert as well as the canneries along the coast. Captain Clifton was hired to take command.

Captain Clifton's certificate was an unusual one in that it was a certificate of Service rather than a certificate of Competency which was usually granted. Certificates such as this were granted in those days by the Department of Marine and Fisheries and it would seem that they had bent their rules to some extent to accommodate Captain Clifton on the advice of the Anglican Church.

Much of my time served at sea before getting my Master's Certificate was served under Herb and I can say, without doubt, I learned more of handling a tug from him than from any other source. He was also a sterling example of a man.

As a young man growing up in Metlakatla Herb married an Indian girl and, being restless to get away from the village where there was no employment except in the fishing season, he and his bride went to Hazelton and signed on with the Hudson's Bay Company to pack on the Babine Trail.

They were a husky pair. Herb stood well over six feet, while his wife was a well built woman taller and huskier than the average of her people. He told me that he carried on his back as a regular load, three fifty-pound sacks of flour while his wife carried a regular load of seventyfive pounds. This, for a distance of nearly eighty miles.

When the packing season closed the couple returned to Metlakatla where they built one of the nicest homes in the village overlooking the sea. Later Herb joined Bishop Ridley's mission boat and finally got command. In addition to his duties in connection with navigation he was also called upon, to play the organ. Herb was the cleverest musician I have ever had the good fortune to meet. His favorite instrument was the violin but he could get music out of any instrument placed in his hands. I remember his first experience with a saxophone. A "wise guy", thinking that at last he had come up with an instrument that would stump Herb, handed him the sax and sat back with a smug grin, waiting for Herb to fall flat on his face. But after doodling around a bit he came out with some of the hits of the day.

Herb was always a welcome guest at our home in Georgetown and often when he was held over waiting for a tide he would stroll into our living room and sit down at the piano and play enchanting music for hours on end. These visits were greatly enjoyed by my mother because although she played she also enjoyed hearing someone else. There was not much opportunity for Mother to enjoy someone else's playing as we lived in a very isolated area.

When the first pipe organ in northern British Columbia was installed in the Anglican Church in Metlakatla, Herb took over as organist. On one memorable occasion when I had called him to Vancouver to take one of the tugs north after refit I learned that one of the world's renowned violinists was conducting a show at the old arena building. I bought two tickets for the recital and took Herb to his first such entertainment. When I glanced over to see his reaction to the violin solo I was not surprised to see the tears rolling down his cheeks. He was that kind of person.

One of Herb's more astonishing accomplishments was the ability to write "calling cards" freehand in old English script. His ability got to be well known with the result that he did the cards for a good many of the fashionable ladies of the time.

Although his hands were large and he was as strong as a bull he could, after making a few samples, go on and write fifty or a hundred cards which could not be distinguished from the original. His log books were also written in this beautiful manner and were a sight to behold. How I regret not keeping one!

Herb was not without wit. One time he was assisting a surveyor who was mapping several islands in Venn Passage not far from the boundaries of Metlakatla. He and the surveyor had taken time out to eat their lunch and before they resumed work the surveyor heard a call from nature and went into the bush. Shortly after, he asked Herb for the Indian name of the island as he was anxious to preserve the native names as much as possible. Herb answered "Clianchi", which sounded alright and was carefully noted on the map. It turned out that the word meant "The island that was s--- on." The name still appears on charts of the area.

As I moved away from the north in 1919 and did not return until the Second World War days, after Herb had gone to the happy hunting ground, I was robbed of the opportunity to continue my association with this fine friend and superb gentleman.
-Donale Peck


To start with, this is a biased review, so much so that I suppose you could call it an adver. tisement. Being a latterday academic drop-out, I don't have to get into the vagaries and niceties of whether or not Hubert Evans is a major or minor novelist, a proponent of regionalism in Canadian literature or any other time/space/or culture slot I could fit him into.

Let's flash first to a scene along the beach at Roberts Creek, where the salmon are crowding forward in their autumnal trip home. The stream in front of Hubert's had been dammed by some high seas the winter before and Mister and Missus Salmon were having a hard time making it past the jam. Hubert, though pressing on in years, when he found the creek was blocked, hauled out his pick and shovel and cleared the way, a matter of course.

Hubert's also written a number of novels, as well as trucked, sailed, hiked, rowed, and swam over most of the coast and a good chunk of the interior. One of his books sprang from some years teaching with his wife up in the Hazelton area. The Gitkasan people there became their close friends - the warmth and understanding that flowed between them becomes evident in the book Mist on the River.

Just reissued as a number in McClelland and Stewart's New Canadian Library, the novel brings a neglected but central problem of B.C.'s history to light. Life in a country will change with technology and communication but some of the old ways and patterns are inevitably im. printed onto the new. When two races meet, or collide, the waves of impact will travel wide and echo far.

The young native protagonist is caught in a unique web, spun by the racial intrigue, but whose patterns have been felt in all our lives. The family and tribe with the old, timehonoured ways, the dreams of the ancestors on the starless nights, pull in one direction. In the other pull the voices of the New, the Unknown, the promise of better things ahead, Progress, which for the native of this coast from roughly 1800 on has worn a white mask.

The voice of the old is Paul, hereditary chief, who is the craftsman, canoe-maker for his people and keeper of those ways, and for the whites at the cannery, the boss in the boat shed. He tests the allegiances of young Matt who must struggle with the self-contempt arising from being a member of such a "backward" race. The people from upriver go to the coast seasonly each summer, to work in the canneries around Prince Rupert and Rivers In let. The novel contains some fine descriptions of that migrant existence at both ends, coastal and headwater, from the tar paper shacks on pilings where the fresh and salt water mingle, to the fine stands of maple in the sun-lit valleys.

Where once the economic life of the people was tied to barter with the coastal tribes and the great run of oolachan, now it is hinged not to a natural pulse but to the economics of the market. No longer is the take-home pay measured in fish oil for food and fuel but rather in dollars to be spent in company stores and white supermarkets.

But there are the good whites too. The school teachers and the truly humanitarian doctors whose modern ways, though distrusted, save lives. Moral questions are held in abeyance, in half-light, riddled with the contradictions that reality entails. The company, the doctors, the teachers, the old natives and the young all striving as best they can to make sense out of the whirling currents of the mingling of the racial streams, all make the mistakes compounded by the nature of their desires.

A review of this book fits into this magazine in a very crucial way, pinpointing as it does one of the underlying dynamics of any story of the coast. This coast, in which we face these ghosts.
-Scott Lawrance

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Raincoast Chronicles Fourth Five

Raincoast Chronicles Fourth Five

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Raincoast Chronicles Six/Ten

Raincoast Chronicles Six/Ten

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