Friday, August 27, 2010

A Mini Holiday

I am announcing a mini-holiday from this blog.
I have a publisher "very interested" in reviewing my finished manuscript, and I am busy preparing it for submission according to their guidelines.
It does not mean it will be a good fit for this publisher, so don't get excited -- yet.
But it does mean that I have to spend my "blog-maintaining day" on preparing the manuscript for submission, and ensuring that all the maps that make the manuscript easy to understand are well made and professional.
I will return soon to continue our journey down the old brigade trail to Vaseaux Lake, spectacular McIntyre's Bluff, and Osoyoos Lake.
We can speculate on where the brigade trail travelled, whether alongside the lakeshores or high in the hills on the west side of the lakes.
I have already mentioned I had a massive mapping project in the works, and this project might answer those questions for you.

Following our visit to Osoyoos Lake, we will travel east to Fort Colvile and the district that surrounds it.
We will spend time in Walla Walla at Fort Nez Perce -- not that Anderson spent any time at that fort, but I still have one or two wonderful stories to share with you.
After that, I think, we will travel west from Fort Colvile through the Kettle River valley and over a hump of land into the Similkameen, where we can follow the Fort Colvile brigade trail west to the foot of the Coquihalla mountain range.
This is where the Similkameen chief, Blackeye, lived.
From Tulameen we will ride north through beautiful open valleys interspersed with heavily wooded highlands, to Kamloops, the centre of the fur trade.
We are travelling in circles around modern day British Columbia, following the fur traders' trails.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Joseph Allard, Fort Alexandria employee

Joseph Allard was a young man when he joined the fur trade in Lachine, in 1839.
He was sent almost immediately to New Caledonia, where he was listed as a middleman from 1839-1847.
According to Bruce Watson, Lives Lived west of the Divide, he appears to have been posted to Fort George, though he was many times at Fort Alexandria.
That may have been in later years, however. I have found little on Allard in the journals before 1848.

For Joseph Allard's descendents, here is what I have found.
He did not appear in the Fort Alexandria journals before November 1846:
"Fri. 27th [Nov.] -- do. Yesterday afternoon Allard arrived from Ft. George on horseback. Mr. Maxwell has sent him down to meet the express and likewise to get some medical assistance from me, as he is unwell. But I am afraid I can do little to benefit him, beyond what is contained in the advice I have already given him. His disorder seems to be a violent chronic rheumatism -- meanwhile, at this season it is impossible to send the man back with a horse, & it is unsafe to send him unaccompanied by the river. So he will wait until the arrival of the Express party which cannot now be long delayed."
Allard was at Fort Alexandria that Christmas: "Saturday 26th -- Yesterday being Christmas Day, the men had a treat of meat & other dainties as usual. Today at 10 am. Allard & Vautrin with Marten the Indn. set out to convey the packet to Ft. George."
Poor guy -- dark and gloomy Fort George was no place for a man with rheumatism or arthritis!

Joseph Allard had a long career in the HBC as middleman in New Caledonia and at Thompson's River post (Kamloops).
He retired in 1860, though he may have casually worked in the fur trade for an additional two years.
This man settled near Fort Alexandria, and as late as 1873 was a farmer in the area.

Some of you are probably wondering what a middleman was.
The water-bourne portion of the brigade was made up of many men with different jobs and responsiblities.
The brigade leader was an experienced voyageur who chose the camping spots and announced the rests, when the men fired up their pipes to enjoy a leisurely smoke.
Each boat or canoe carried a bowsman and steersman -- veterans who wielded their enormous paddles to steer their canoes around the many hazards that littered the river routes.
They also carried Middlemen, who paddled or poled for eighteen hours a day.
These voyageurs were muscular men, physically suited to paddling their canoes or boats upriver and carrying freight over the many portages on the route.
Even in New Caledonia, they dressed in multi-coloured sashes and red shirts with decorations of ribbons and ostrich feathers, and sang their chansons to a fierce rhythm of forty to fifty paddle strokes a minute (in canoes, at least).
And the language they spoke was a French patois that included more epithets than the average person was comfortable hearing.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Okanagan Brigade Trail after 1843

Above is a larger view of the country between the Kamloops post and the Great Okanagan Lake of the fur traders.
Drawn in green you will see the old brigade trail we have followed in the last few postings, as it travels eastward along the South Thompson River before crossing the height of land to Monte Lake, Salmon River, and Okanagan Lake.
This time I have also included some of the other trails that the fur traders might have used, on the east side of the lake.
But the brigades always travelled up and down the west side of Great Okanagan Lake.
Where Riviere a la Fruite or Trout Creek flows east into the lake is the modern town of Summerland, B.C., which sits squarely on the old Prairie du Nicolas.
This map is copied from Anderson's 1867 map, and you will notice that both the "upper road" and the "lower road," closer to the banks of the river, are noted.

The new trail followed the north bank of Riviere de Jacques (now Trepanier Creek) to the west, passing over the height of land and following Nicola River to pass north of Lac du Nicolas, or Nicola Lake.
(Note: the name Trepanier Creek seems to have been applied to a few creeks in this area over the years; Peachland Creek also sometimes carries this name)
The men rode over the height of land and down the other side, by switchbacks as indicated, to Kamloops.
The trail that leads southward past Nicola Lake is the later brigade trail over the Coquihalla mountains, that replaced the Okanagan brigade trail entirely in 1849.

By the way, the new Okanagan brigade trail passes quite closely to Douglas Lake, where, by 1913, Chief John Chilliheetza had his home.
Chilliheetza is the modern spelling of Tsilaxitsa's name, and Chief John would have been a direct descendent of Tsilaxitsa.
It would be interesting to know whether Chilliheetsa's ancestor, Tsilaxitsa, chose to build his home on Douglas Lake, close to the Okangan brigade trail.

Alexander's sister, Margaret Anderson

Now that we are in the area that surrounds modern-day Westbank, it is time for me to direct you to another piece of Anderson-Seton family history.
Alexander Caulfield Anderson had a younger sister named Margaret, born in Stratford, Essex, on the 31st March, 1817.

She would have been only a teenager when she moved with her family to Georgina, Lake Simcoe, in 1831.
In the early 1850,'s she wrote her brother Alexander, who was now settled at Cathlamet on the north bank of the Columbia River, that she planned to set up a schoolhouse.
Anderson immediately invited her to come by ship to the Columbia, to teach his children and Birnie's many children.
The adventurous Margaret packed up her bags and, with her brother William acting as her chaperone, boarded a ship for the Columbia River.

To Anderson's surprise, she soon married William Henry Tappan, a man who he described as "a rather superior man."
Tappan had been acting as Indian subagent in 1855 when Governor Stevens travelled around Eastern Washington to set up new reservations just before the onset of the Yakima Indian Wars.
When the wars broke out, Stevens and his men, including Tappan, quickly retreated to Fort Vancouver for safety.
That is where W. H. Tappan met Margaret Anderson and married her.

Tappan was an early settler at the town of St. Helen's, north of Fort Vancouver; he was an artist and designed the original seal of Washington Territory.
He was also a member of the First Legislature of Washington Territory.
The first session convened in Olympia, Washington, on February 27, 1854 and adjourned May 1st of the same year; whether Tappan was a member of this first sitting is unknown.

It appears that in 1860 the Tappans lived in Clark County, Washington; a few years later they were in Portland.
Margaret wrote a letter to her younger brother in Ontario in 1862, saying: "It is a bad plan to give away to laziness about writing as it grows on one, as it has on Alek (her brother Alexander, our protagonist).
"You must not think he does not care about you for indeed he does.
"When I was at Victoria, more than a year ago now, he [was] sick for a few days and one day was delirious.
"He was talking all the time about his mother, and calling on how at one time [?], fancying himself a boy again.
"It made me cry to hear him talk.
"He has [his] own troubles and a very serious trouble in business matters, when he was Collector at Victoria, caused by the dishonesty of his Clerk.
"When matters were investigated not a shadow of blame was cast on him...
"Still it was a great trouble to him and preyed on his mind for some time, for he is morbidly sensitive.
"When I went over and asked him why he had not written to me for so long, he said he did not know how it was but he had taken a distaste to writing."
I'm sorry, but you will have to read the book before you discover what so distressed Anderson.

Margaret's next letter is written in 1864 from Colorado City, California Territory, to her brother in Ontario (California Territory was a massive territory that covered California and many other western American states south of the Oregon Territory).
The Tappans became store owners and for a few years had stores in Denver, Golden, and Colorado City.
By all our records, Margaret died in Colorado Territory on 11th April, 1867, and William Henry Tappan returned to his home in the east to marry another woman.
That should be the end of Margaret's story -- but it is not.

Enter a new character -- a young Englishwoman named Susan Moir who came to Victoria in the early 1860's from Fort Hope, working as a schoolteacher and governness.
In an earlier posting, you have already read Susan Moir's description of the brigades coming into Fort Hope.
In Victoria, some of her good friends were Anderson's daughters, and Susan also knew Anderson well and considered him a friend.
She married John Fall Allison, a Britisher who arrived in British Columbia in 1858 and received a number of government contracts to open and improve roads in the southern interior.
Susan and John Allison married in 1868, living in the town of Princeton and also, for a short time, on the west side of Okanagan Lake where present day Westbank stands.
Her recollections are still in print, under the title: A Pioneer Gentlewoman in British Columbia: The Recollections of Susan Allison, edited by Margaret Ormsby and published in 1976 by UBC Press.
In this book, Susan Allison wrote: "I think that it was in the spring of 1877 that one morning when we had finished milking that we took our horses and went off to visit a colony of ants that the children took a great interest in.
"They first took a pickle bottle and put some small red ants in it, also some bread crumbs soaked in whisky.
"They were going to try experiments...
"Then came a chorus of laughter and looking up I saw to my surprise my old friend, Mr. Anderson and Mr. [Gilbert Malcolm] Sproat and a lady with them.
"The lady was Mr. Anderson's sister, Mrs. Tarbold, I think her name was.
"I had never seen her before, but I was so happy to meet by old friend again...
"Mr. Sproat and Mr. Anderson were the Commissioners to settle Indian affairs and had business with Saul and his tribe, so they only paid me a flying visit, but it was a nice treat for I saw so few people."

The year is right; Anderson and Sproat would have been travelling together down Great Okanagan Lake settling the native reserves.
But if Margaret Tappan was dead by 1867, who was the woman who was riding with the two Commissioners?

The fur traders' "Prele"

I have spoken before now of the plant that the fur traders' called "prele," and in my last posting I noted that Anderson called a lakeside stopping place along the Okanagan brigade trail "Campement du Prele."
To some of you, horse-tail are familiar plants; but I know that some of my readers live in Australia and have no mental picture of "prele."
The photographs shown in this posting are of those primitive plants, which grow in places where moisture keeps their roots damp -- swamps and creeksides.
The plants shown are small; left alone they will grow two or three feet tall and will cluster in large groups like a small forest.
Forest is a good word for the Horse-Tail; in days when the dinosaurs roamed the earth these plants were primitive trees.

When Anderson made his second expedition up a native trail that followed the Coquihalla River banks, he noted that it was "a broad valley, watered by a considerable stream, which we keep upon our right.
"Country favorable in this part. Pasture about the banks of the main river; wild pea, prele, &c in moderate sufficiency for the temporary sojourn of the brigade."

Anderson's son, James, grew up to become a naturalist and wrote a book called "Trees and Shrubs; Food, Medicinal and Poisonous Plants of British Columbia," (Victoria: Charles F. Banfield, 1925).
He describes this familiar plant in two sections of the book -- first under Food-Plants, and second under Native Medicinal and Poisonous Plants.
"The young tender shoots of the plant just as they appear above the ground are eaten in their natural state," he wrote, "the outer scales with which they are covering being first stripped off. It is composed principally of water and has no particular flavour, except a slight sweetish taste."

But in the later section of the book (Poisonous Plants) he noted that "it has been reported to me as poisonous to horses in the East, and similar reports have come from England.
"Experience in this country is not confimatory of these reports; the Horse-tail, or, as it is called by the French-Canadians, "Prele," used to be considered excellent horse-feed, and when possible the Hudson's Bay Company's brigades were halted where it was abundant."

My next posting will involve a bunch of mapping and a little research, which always takes time. If I manage to finish it by the end of the day I will post it -- otherwise you may have a small wait.
Thanks for your patience.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Campement du Poulain

I have just learned that "Campement du Poulain," mentioned a few postings earlier, is not named for a grouse, but a horse -- Poulain meant "colt."
"Riviere Biche," which runs into Okanagan Lake just north of Mauvais Rocher, is named for a female deer or doe.
This information comes from a book, "The Okanagan Brigade Trail in the South Okanagan, 1811 to 1849: Oroville, Washington, to Westside, B.C.," which was published some time ago by Bob Harris, Harley Hatfield, and Peter Tassie. There are two volumes to this book, I am told, but I have the maps from one only.

Anyway, for those of you who are foolish enough to try to follow the old brigade trail through the South Okanagan valley, I have a table of distances for you.
These distances and notes come from the above mentioned book.
The campsites are noted on A.C. Anderson's 1867 map, and the authors of the book figured the distances between the camp, adding a note that says "Anderson probably stopped at every second campsite; brigades could not travel 30 miles per day."

From Fort Okanogan on the Columbia River (in United States) the fur traders travelled north and camped at these possible places -- Omak; Tonasket? (Lower Bonaparte River); and Horseshoe Lake.
Once in what became British Columbia, they stopped at Tea River, now Testalinden Creek, 30 miles from their last camp supposedly at Horseshoe Lake. (They are travelling north toward the bottom of Lake Okanagan).
Their next major camp was on today's Penticton Indian Reserve near the church on the lower road, at the bottom end of Okanagan Lake and 32 miles from the Tea River.
The next night was almost certainly near modern-day Summerland (Campement du Prele?); two nights later they camped at McDonald's River as shown on my map. Today's McDonald's River is McDougall Creek.
After that they camped on the south side of Riviere Biche (Doe River), now called Shorts Creek. This place was estimated at about twenty miles north of their last camp.
Twenty five miles (and two days later?) they camped on the south side of the Salmon River Crossing, and 28 miles later they were at Campement du Poulain (named for the colt, if you remember).
By the next night they had reached Kamloops post.

The photograph above in of the re-enactors campsite inside Fort Langley, and shows the kind of tents the fur traders' might have used.
The tents might also have been made of leather.
But only the gentlemen slept under a tent; or at least that was true on the east side of the mountains.
Supposedly the voyageurs wrapped themselves in blankets and slept wherever they could find shelter.

From "Talle d'Epinettes" to "Mauvais Rocher"

Today we are enjoying a photographic journey down the west side of the lake the fur traders called "The Great Okanagan Lake," from Talle d'Epinettes to the river they named "Mauvais Rocher."
I was curious about the name, Talle d'Epinettes, and leafed through my French dictionary.
The verb "tailler" means "to cut, to sharpen, to trim," and I gather that this word would refer to the sharp ends of the branches on the pine in this part of the world, that would cut the faces of the men or damage the packs as the fur traders made their way through.
"Epinettes" is the word for spruce trees, as the voyageurs called these pine.
The words "Talle d'Epinettes" might mean "sharpened spruce."

As you can see, the north end of the lake is heavily occupied and summer cabins and boats litter the shoreline.

Further south there is less sign of human occupation and the gravel road leads us higher in the hills than the brigade trail would have travelled, at least in this part of the lakeshore.
Here the brigade trail followed closer to the lake, if the early maps of the fur traders are to be believed.

Note the dry vegetation and desert-like conditions.
This country is hot in the summer, and the heat lasts for days and weeks at a time.
In his essay, "Dominion of the West," Anderson notes that "British Columbia is emphatically a Land of Lakes. It would be a vain attempt to describe the beauties of many of these superb sheets of water: and impossible to enumerate even a tithe of their number."
He later wrote, "In the Upper country the climate is dry, and continuously hot in summer; especially from the vicinity of Thompson's River toward the southern frontier."
"Approaching the Okinagan, ... the summer temperature is almost tropical in its character. The winter cold, on the other hand, is comparatively sharp; but there is nothing approaching the continuous severity experienced on the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains.
"Little snow falls on the general surface; and in many parts it is almost entirely absent for any lengthened period."
The history of this part of the brigade trail is long -- "In 1827," Anderson wrote in his History of the Northwest Coast, "it was determined to open a new route from Alexandria, the frontier post on the Fraser, with horses by way of Kamloops to O'Kinagan on the Columbia River about a hundred miles below [Fort] Colvile."
In fact, as early as 1813 this Native trail was traversed by the North West Company fur trader John Stuart as he made his way south from Stuart's Lake to the Columbia district.
But John Stuart also reported in his "Notes" that "it is equally true that in the summer of 1809 either Mr. David Thompson or Jacques Finlay, I am not certain which -- sent a party of four Indians from the Okanagan River to New Caledonia with a letter addressed to me."
"The letter was lost during the journey but the party arrived safe at Stuart's Lake where I was then stationed in the month of November..." (John Stuart's Notes, 1840, E.24/7, HBCA).

In his "History of the Northwest Coast," Anderson described the outgoing brigade from Fort St. James (Stuart's Lake).
"...during the winter the furs traded at the posts outside of water communication were brought to Fort St. James ... with dog sledges.
"As soon as the navigation was open in the spring, generally about 20th April, the boats with their cargoes on baord started down the Stuart's branch and were met at the junction of the Fraser's Lake branch, by a boat conveying the furs that had been collected at Fraser's Lake...
"The boats then ran down to Alexandria having taken the returns of Fort George at the junction of Tete Jaune's branch [the Fraser River] on the way.
"The horses several hundred in number were then collected, and by this means the whole returns of the district were conveyed to O'kinagan [post], having been preceded, or sometimes accompanied by the Thompson's River brigade likewise carrying the furs of that district."
On their return, "O'kinagan [post] was generally reached in about twenty days [from Fort Vancouver].
"Here the Brigades of the Thompson's River and New Caledonia resumed the horse transport, reversing the proceedings of the preceding spring."
But the outgoing 1840 brigade carried Anderson to Fort Vancouver, and he would not return to New Caledonia before two years had passed.
By that time the new trails were in use, and Anderson would not view this part of his Great Okinagan Lake for another thirty-seven years, when he returned in 1877 as Dominion Indian Commissioner.

By the way, "Mauvais Rocher" translates as "bad boulders."
This part of the old brigade trail was very difficult to cross and hard on the horses.
Probably that was the reason that the new brigade trail over the hills to the west was developed.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Fur-traders' Great Okanagan Lake

Alexander Caulfield Anderson's 1867 map of British Columbia shows names known by the fur traders for the places along Okanagan Lake.
Few of the names and places remain the same today -- the city of Vernon sits squarely on the land between Long Lake and Great Okanagan Lake; land which the Indian Reserve Commissioners gave to Selixt-asposem's tribe for grazing (mentioned in the last post) -- "Long Lake" on these maps is modern-day Lake Kalamalka and Wood Lakes, merged.
The city of Kelowna stands on the river Anderson called L'anse au Sable, and he indicated where the Roman Catholic Mission once stood on the east side of the lake.
But in James Gibson's book, "The Lifeline of the Oregon Country," L'anse au Sable was where the town of Westbank now stands.
Today's main highway runs down the east side of the lake and rock bluffs almost entirely hide the view.
But there is a road on the west side which allows for splendid views of the lake, and a feeling that you are following along the old brigade trail.
When we speak of the "old brigade trail" in this particular post, we are talking of the trail before 1842.
After 1842 (and exact date of the new trail is unknown, but assumed to be about this time), the fur traders followed a new trail that travelled further west, perhaps on the top of the ridge of hills that lined that side of the lake.
On A.C. Anderson's map the names of the creeks or rivers are sometimes hard to read.
They are also impossible to read on Sam Black's pre-1840 map of Thompson's River (CM/B2079, BCArchives).
But on the Royal Engineers 1861 copy of Sam Black's map (a copy of which was owned by James Douglas), the names of the rivers are easier to read.
This map is in Library and Archives Canada, but you can obtain a rough photocopy of it in BC Archives; its number is P615pBC R888t 1861, Royal Engineers, Thompson River District, British Columbia, from a map in the possession of HE Gov. Douglas, C.B., made in 1836 by S. Black. I have a note its new map number is CM/A294, BCA, so if you can't find it under first number, look there.
Mauvais Rocher has become Bear River -- I should say that Sam Black's Bear River changed to Mauvais Rocher on Anderson's later map.
Bear Creek Park appears to be at the outflow of that same creek, but on the Forest District map the stream no longer bears the name of Bear Creek!
McDonald River, just south of Mauvais Rocher, will have been named for Archibald McDonald (later of Fort Colvile), who spent a few years at the Thompson's River post.
South of McDonald's River is Deer River (on Black's map).
A well-travelled trail followed Jacques River toward the west -- I don't think this was the newer brigade trail but it might have been.
McDonald River is probably where the city of Westbank now stands,
On Black's map R. de Trepannier? (from Anderson's map) is Trepanege(?) River -- still hard to read. But it bears the same name today, and is on the Penticton Forest District map as Trepanier Creek!
South of that is Trout River, a name I could not read on Anderson's map -- I thought it was R. de Fruite and it appears I am right, as James Gibson also calls the creek Riviere de la Fruite (Trout Creek).
Today's Trout Creek appears to flow south-eastward through modern-day Summerland, entering Okanagan Lake at Kikininee Park.
Somewhere where Summerland now stands is Prairie de Nicholas, often mentioned in Alexander Caulfield Anderson's journals.
But on his map, he indicates the resting place as Campment du Prele -- Horse-tail camp -- though it is very hard to read exactly what the writing says. (Horse-tail is a primitive plant the fur traders always called 'Prele').
At the south end of Okanagan Lake is the modern city of Penticton, sitting squarely between Okanagan Lake and Shaka Lake to the south.
Skaha Lake was, of course, the fur traders' Lac du Chien (Dog Lake).
I don't know if any of you want to go out to explore the fur traders trails and camps.
If so, it will be very hard to find them; the population in this part of the Okanagan has exploded and highways and houses have buried any signs of the past.


Thirty years after he rode through this country for the last time in the early 1840's, Alexander Caulfield Anderson returned to the north end of Lake Okanagan.
When he returned to area in 1877, he was the Dominion of Canada's representative on the Indian Reserve Commission.
At this time, the commission consisted of three members -- one representing the Dominion, one the Province of British Columbia, and one who represented both.
Retired fur trader Archibald McKinlay represented the Province, and Joint Commissioner Gilbert Malcolm Sproat represented both Province and Dominion.
According to Anderson's 97-page journal of the British Columbia Reserve Commission of 1878, the Commissioners left Victoria on Tuesday June 12, 1877.
They reached Kamloops on the 20th of the month, and pitched their camp on the Indian Reserve nearly opposite to but a little above the village of Kamloops.
From Anderson's journal: "All the principal Indians with most of their followers, are absent at a grand gathering at the Okanagan Lake."
The missionary Father Grandidier met the Commissioners to express his anxiety of the "condition of the Indian mind at present," and said that the "gathering, which comprises many of the natives resident both in British Columbia and others south of the Line may have a deeper signifance than is suffered to appear."
But even before they had left Victoria, the Commissioners had been made aware that "a confederation has ... been entered into by the heads of the several tribes the object of which is, apparently, to urge their land claims the more forcibly through union. Whatever the nature of this combination, however, there can be no question that the counsels of the envoys from the insurgent septs South of the Line, have served to intensify previously existing discontents."

The "insurgent septs South of the Line" were the American Indians, led by Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce people, who were fighting for ownership of their traditional lands.
It's a long story -- In 1875 the president of the United States opened the Wallowa Valley, long-time home of Nez Perce chief Joseph and his tribe, to settlement.
A year later some Indian-hating settlers accused a hunting party of Nez Perce of stealing their horses, and shot a young Nez Perce man named Wilhautyah (Wind Blowing) as he was trying to remove his meat from a tree.
That, at least, was one version of the story. A second version says that as the settlers discussed the stolen horses with the hunters, they got between the Indians and their guns which were resting against a tree.
Another version has one white settler wrestling with Wind Blowing, shooting him.
Whatever happened, the murderers rode away leaving a dead Nez Perce man behind.
Wind Blowing was well known to the settlers as a close friend of Chief Joseph, and they feared the Indians would avenge his death.
They barricaded themselves into their homes and waited for an attack which did not come. (The settler who had lost his horses found them grazing near his home.)
But Chief Joseph kept the Nez Perce calm.

At last the Nez Perce became impatient with white man's slow justice and ordered the settlers to meet with them in a council, bringing with them the men who had killed Wind Blowing.
The settlers refused to hand over the murderer, and the next day saw the Nez Perce armed, painted and stripped for war, riding on the hills.
In meeting after meeting the settlers refused to give up the murderers while the Nez Perce argued for justice.
At last Joseph said that if the settlers did not give up the murderer they would drive the settlers from their homes.
The calvarymen set up camp in the valley to keep the peace and to protect the Nez Perce, who they admired.
They set up an inquiry but the Indian witnesses were not given an opportunity to speak and the murderer was released.
In spite of the betrayal, peace settled over the valley even though the murderer returned home.

Joseph's Nez Perce tribe were non-treaty Indians; that is, their lands were not part of a reservation.
Joseph trusted the US government to respect their home, but was stunned when the US government commissioners asked him to give up the Wallowa and move to a reservation.
Joseph ignored the commissioners' many arguments and argued that his people were unwilling to give up their homes.
His eloquence nettled the commissioners and they were angered because they could not control him, but Joseph refused to give up his lands.
The commissioners wrote, "Indian Joseph...denied the jurisdiction of the United States over them...they were offered everything they wanted, if they would simply submit to the authroity and government of the United States agents."
But Joseph wanted to lived in the Wallowa valley unmolested, as he had always done, and the commissioners refused to listen to him.

After the meeting broke up, the commissioners decided to force Joseph and his Nez Perce to move to a reservation.
In January 1877, an agent instructed Joseph's people to move to the reservation "at once and in a peaceable manner."
In May they were again ordered to depart from the Wallowa valley, and Joseph declared, "You have no right to compare us, grown men, to children. Children do not think for themselves. Grown men do think for themselves. The government at Washington, cannot think for us."
The meeting ended, and soon after the military men discovered that members of many other tribes were riding into Joseph's camp to join the non-treaty Indians.
But none of the Natives wanted to go to war, and to the white men they appeared resigned to their fate and willing to go to their new reservation; they had thirty days to move.

The settlers were delighted when the Indians left the valley for their new reservation, but the Nez Perce lost many of their possessions when they were forced to cross a raging river in a time of high water.
In their camp they spoke of the hard times that had come on them, and their pride rose as they talked of the injustices the white men forced on them.
Drumming filled the air, and for days the younger men chanted and danced.
Three young men dressed in feathers and paint and shot and killed three men known to hate the Indians.
Joseph, still unaware of what had happened, received the message that "War has broke out! Three white men killed yesterday."
Other raiders killed more white settlers; the killings continued for two or more days and the white settlers abandoned their homes.
But the Nez Perce chiefs, including Joseph, remained in camp and worrried about what to do; they were opposed to war but their dreams of peace were fading rapidly.
Their camp was attacked by settlers; though no one was injured the incident turned the chiefs toward war.

The soldiers flooded into the territory and the leader, who could have prevented war by discovering what had actually happened, planned to attack the Indian camp at dawn but was discovered by a sentinel.
As they approached the camp, the soldiers were confronted by a Nez Perce man carrying a truce flag, while others sat on their horses to watch what would happen.
Another opportunity for peace was missed; the surprised captain raised his rifle and fired.
The Natives killed two soldiers and the fight was on -- in a few moments the swirling Nez Perce horsemen separated the unprepared soldiers into small groups, killing them or driving them away.
But after that fight, the whole territory south of the boundary line was involved in an Indian war, and Chief Joseph and his men fought in the front lines.

My information on Chief Joseph's war is heavily edited; if you want to read the whole story find the book: "The Nez Perce Indians and the Opening of the Northwest," by Alvin M. Josephy, Yale University Press, 1965.

This war could have crossed the line to the Okanagan people, close relatives of the American Indians involved, but it did not.
Both Tsilaxitsa and his cousin, Selixt-asposem, played a major role in preventing this war from crossing the line into the British Columbia interior.
Selixt-asposem was the son of the Okanagan chief Nicola, who had always worked with the Hudson's Bay men.
Before Nicola died, he told his son and his nephew, Tsilaxitsa, to follow the same friendly line of conduct with the whites as he had.
Anderson's journal notes that Selixt-asposem's other name was Five Hearts -- that might have been the translation for his Native name -- but that he was known amongst the settlers as Moise.

But when the commissioners reached Selixst-asposem's camp at the north end of Lake Okanagan in early September 1877, he was "absent; and there is a difficulty among the Indians as to who shall act in his absence."
Anderson wrote: "It is especially important, however, that at this point, the head quarters of the Okinagan tribes, a patient and satisfactory decision should be arrived at, as well to do justice to the local occupants, as to obviate the probability of similar delay elsewhere."
On September 8 Anderson wrote, "We have had several conferences with the Okinagans, and have ridden over their Reserve, which we find entirely too limited. Discord among the leading men has delayed a settlement, but we trust on Monday to have another meeting when more active progress will be made. Our action here requires great caution, as upon our successful treatment of the matter now before us, much of our after success will depend, and it is needless here to repeat the combination of causes through which the dissatisfaction of the Indians has arisen and recently been intensified."
The Natives in the interior were anxious for the Commissioners' visit and furious that it had not come earlier; their more recent anxiety was, of course, caused by the Native wars across the border, now two months old.
Ever since the commissioners arrived at Kamloops in July, Native couriers on horseback carried messages from chief to chief -- the Natives knew exactly what was going on, both with the commissioners' settlement of reserves in Kamloops area, and Chief Joseph's battles south of the border.
"However we may depreciate the unwanted delay, and fret under our tedious detention, we have no alternative but to deal patiently and discretely with the difficult problem before us," Anderson wrote.
On the Wed., 12th September, Anderson wrote: "Moise, the head chief, who arrived the night before, came the evening of Tuesday to pay his respects to us.
"He informs us that he had thought it prudent to leave home some time ago, and station himself outside the boundary-line among his relations there, his avowed object having been to check any disposition on the part of the Okinagans of British Columbia to join the insurgents on the Columbia River, in accordance with invitations which had been convertly sent by insurgent Chiefs."
Almost certainly Selixt-asposem had ridden south to join Chief Joseph's warriors, but no one said so.

It was a few days after that that Selixt-asposem and his cousin, Tsilaxitsa, sat down with the Commissioners to talk about Chief Nicola and show them the two medals (see posting re: Tsilaxitsa, earlier).
Tsilaxitsa told the Commissioners that: "While you white chiefs have your paper writing to speak from afar, we, too, have our writing, but it is the tongue that writes, and our intelligence travels fast...
"We will now tell you, Selixt-asposem and I, that it was well for peace that your coming among us was not deferred; for though our words with the young men have weight, they are words only, and however well directed, have not always power to restrain.
"..It was a question of peace or tumult," the chiefs said.

Remember that the Native chiefs' words are filtered through one or two interpreters (the Natives might have had their own interpreter, but the commissioners definitely had one), then written down later in the day by Anderson.
These are not the Natives' exact words, but Anderson's recollection of their words as he heard them from an interpreter.
Anderson was, in spite of his experience, a romantic -- he was drawn into the fur trade by the romantic stories of James Fennimore Cooper.

The result of the Commissioners' work at Selixt-asposem's village was peace, not tumult.
"We have settled satisfactily with the important tribe at the Head of the Lake, having assigned to them a very liberal tract adequate for all their requirements, and including a wide stretch of excellent pasture, for summer grazing, and also the share in pasture of an extensive tract lying between Long Lake and the large lake, where the snow does not lie in winter, and which is to be reserved for winter pasture only."
The removed a settler from his illegally occupied land; it should not have been sold to him as it was clearly a Native village.
Sproat proceeded down the east side of the lake, while Anderson and McKinlay set up camp at Point aux Pacquets, twelve miles down the west side of the lake.
"Selixt-asposem, the chief, accompanied us to our encampment and passed the night there, in the Interpreter's tent.
"On our way down, he invited the Provincial Commissioner and myself into his house at the River Isquasis, as he wished to speak with us privately.
"We acceeded to his request, of course, and through our Interpreter, Gregoire, he went on to speak of the general condition of affairs, both before and since our arrival and at the present time.
"He said that he wished to give us, thus privately, his assurance (already publicly given) that the minds of the people were now tranquil and satisfied.
"That there had existed a very bad feeling in the early part of the summer, which a mere trifle would have sufficed to bring to a climax.
"That the reports from the American side, and the messages they had received from their connexions there, had excited the young men very much.
"This feeling the expectation of the coming of the Commissioners had restrained; and that our patient and kindly treatment of their land claims since had removed whatever bad feeling had previously existed.
"That he and Tsilaxitsa had throughout done their best, and had now sent down messages in advance of us, to prepare the Indians near the line for our coming, and to explain their own satisfaction at our proceedings.
"He said that they had done this because, only two days ago, a messenger from the American side had come expressly with instigations to join them, from the Chiefs on the Columbia River (a branch of the Okinagans), who, on the recently assigned American Reserve, are still dissatisfied and meditate evil.
"He said that the messenger has been sent back at once with the reply that the Indians of this part would have nothing to do in the matter."

Anderson's 97-page journal is found under the name: Finished Journal as Indian Reserve Commissioner, 1877, Canada, Dept. of Indian Affairs, Black Series, RG10, Volume 3659, File 9500, Library and Archives Canada.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Coquihalla Brigade Trail

For those of you who want to hike the Coquihalla brigade trail this summer, it is now open.
You can get more information by googling "Hope Mountain Centre for Outdoor Learning," at
Go to Trails; click on "HBC Brigade Trail Restoration," and you will see photos of the restored brigade trail there.

One of the group of people that cleared the eastern part of the trail was the Backcountry Horsemen, and that probably means that you can find someone who can take you on horseback over that section of the trail.
(If any Tulameen horsemen read this posting, you can comment to give readers a list of guest ranches who give guided rides over the trail.)
I will eventually hike the trail, and I think I would start from the east end and ride much of the trail on horseback.
As you saw a few postings ago, the west end is occasionally quite steep and more dangerous for the horses.
But for hikers, the Peers Creek end is easily accessible from the Coquihalla Highway, and is only a few miles from Hope, B.C.

The photograph above was taken at Fort Langley and shows the types of tools -- the axes and hoes -- that Natives and fur trade employees used to build the original trails.
I'm sure the men who cleared the modern trail used power saws to buck and fall the larger trees on the trailbed.
As we venture over the modern-day trails we will have to pause to admire and respect the Sto:lo Natives and Metis employees for the hard labour of creating the old brigade trails.