Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Pelka'mulox and Nkwala

Nkwala's father, Pelka'mulox, was the third chief in the lineage of Okanagan chiefs to bear that name, which was by linguistic origin Spokan.
The name Pelka'mulox means "Rolls-Over-The-Earth."
The first Pelka'mulox was apparently born c. 1675-1680; the second born 1705-1710.
Our fur trade records appeared to show that the third man we know as Pelka'mulox died in November 1822.
He did not.

The third Pelka'mulox had a brother named Kwali'la, who assumed the joint Thompson-Shuswap Country chieftaincy at Kamloops at Pelka'mulox's death.
In years past, Kwali'la had supported young Pelka'mulox in wars against the Secwepemc [Shuswap], Nlaka'pamux [Thompson's River], and the Kutenai.
Kwali'la had also helped Pelka'mulox establish the Okanagan people around Nicola Lake, which had been Secwepemc territory until that time.
Nkwala was one of four children and heir of Pekla'mulox -- his eldest boy if not his eldest child.
With his dying breath, Pelk'mulox entrusted Kwali'la with his children's upbringing, and ordered that Nkwala be raised to avenge his death.

And so we must adjust the date of Pekla'mulox's death -- he may have died some eight or nine years before 1822, when Nkwala was still a boy.
From information contained below, we know it was sometime after the winter of 1809-1810.

The argument that resulted in Pelka'mulox's death was caused when a Lil'wat chief from Lillooet Lake denounced Pelka'mulox, who had returned to the area after meeting North West Company traders Lagace and MacDonald at David Thompson's Saleesh House, in what is now Montana.
The Lil'wat chief called Pelka'mulox a liar because he did not believe Pelka'mulox's descriptions of the North West Company men at Saleesh House.
And with this story, we are suddenly part of a David Thompson story -- John Work descendents will also perk up!
One of two Legace men were with David Thompson at Saleesh House; Jack Nisbet, author of "The Mapmaker's Eye," says it was Charles Legace.
MacDonald was Thompson's clerk, Finan MacDonald.
David Thompson's men built Saleesh House east of Kullyspell House in 1809.

This story has so far led us from David Thompson's Saleesh House, to Pelka'mulox's murder at the Fountain, on the Fraser River north of Fountain Ridge.
It is going to lead us westward down the Lillooet River to Harrison Lake and Fort Langley some forty years later.
The Lil'wat people remained isolated from the fur trade for many years, though they probably eventually traded at Fort Langley, established on the Fraser River in the 1820's.
In 1827, Francis Ermatinger and another man partially explored the Lillywit River, hoping to find a route to coastal Fort Langley.
In 1846, Alexander Caulfield Anderson set out on the same exploration, with the same goal in mind.
From Kamloops, he crossed rain-swollen rivers and followed Hat Creek to Marble Canyon.
He trailed the Pavillon [now Pavillion] River to the banks of the Fraser.
A few miles downriver was the fishing village called the Fountain, where thirty-five years earlier Peka'mulox had lost his life.
Anderson sent his horses back to Kamloops and crossed the Fraser River, walking down the west banks of the river to the mouth of Seton River.
He and his men walked the sloping north shores of two mountain lakes [later named Seton and Anderson], and crossed a height of land.
The party followed a stream until they reached a village at the north end of a lake Anderson called Lillooet Lake.
The Lil'wat people who lived here had no food to spare, but they possessed "some good cedar canoes, made after the model of those seen on the coast.
"After some parlaying I succeeded in hiring a couple of these, together with the necessary conductors."
The combined parties paddled past the rapids that blocked the lower end of Lillooet Lake and reached the lake Anderson's Native guides called Little Lil'wat Lake.
At a second Lil'wat village Anderson hired another canoe and men to paddle them downriver, and the party made camp that night at the head of a violent rapid.
The river on the other side of the portage was rough and filled with rapids.
"At this stage of the water it is a perfect torrent; and at a higher stage .. must afford a very precarious navigation," Anderson wrote in his journal.
"In fact, but for the expertness of our Indian boutes, who are thoroughly versed in the intricacies of the river, we should, I fear, have much difficulty in getting through."
On the second day of river travel the two canoes floated into a large lake, called by the Fort Langley men "Harrison's Lake."
The next day they travelled through heavy rain to Harrison's River, and three hours later Anderson's Lil'wat paddlers brought the fur traders into the Fraser River south of its barrier of rapids and falls.
That evening, Anderson's party arrived at Fort Langley.

On this journey through Anderson and Seton Lake and over the hills to the streams that fell into the Lillooet Lakes, Anderson's Native guides showed him a "Large isolated block of granite, bearing the impression closely resembling that of a human foot.
"The Indians call it the Foot-stone, and have, of course, a marvelous tradition connected with it."
He heard the story of the Transformers, a magical group of people who transformed the lives of all the people who lived here -- but modern day researchers have transformed the story.
This is where Anderson supposedly heard about the Sasquatch.
And I will tell that story in my next posting...

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