By Harry Assu
Harry Assu, a major of the Lekwiltok - the southernmost tribe of the Kwagiulth state - was once born in 1905 in Cape Mudge, Quadra Island, British Columbia. His father used to be Billy Assu, essentially the most well known chiefs of the Northwest, who led his humans from a standard lifestyle into sleek prosperity. in addition to being a kinfolk chronicle, Harry Assu's memories inform the little-known tale of the Lekwiltok from mythical occasions to the current. Drawing at the oral traditions of his humans, Harry Assu narrates the tale of the "Great Flood" which gave sacred sanction to territories settled via them. Hand-drawn and ancient maps illustrate his account of coastal alliances and raids via different tribes during the last centuries and supply an knowing of the present land and sea claims of the Kwagiulth kingdom. Supernatural beings inhabited the worlds of his ancestors and of Assu's boyhood, and he remembers encounters with birds and whales which held specific value for his kin. His description of a more moderen event - his personal potlatch in 1984 - might be the main entire checklist of a latest potlatch. His account of the seizure of potlatch regalia in 1922, the jailing of the leaders and the next recovery of those family members treasures is a unprecedented view from within Indian tradition. Harry Assu placed his religion in schooling and welcomed the efforts of lecturers despatched via the Methodist Missionary Society. He is still an elder and supporter of the United Church at Cape Mudge. Symbolizing the fulfillment of his tribe in bringing into concord a conventional tradition with advertisement fishing, within which he was once concerned for sixty years, Harry Assu reminisces in regards to the previous cannery days at the coast and tells of the continued fight by way of his humans to keep up a spot within the glossy fishing undefined. "Assu of Cape Mudge" is illustrated with drawings of supernatural occasions by means of artist and writer Hilary Stewart which have been drawn close to Cape Mudge whereas Harry Assu defined the dramatic occurrences. The Kwakwala phrases were transcribed through Peter Wilson, with a whole list of language organization, that means, and not obligatory spellings. additionally incorporated within the ebook and of basic curiosity are an appendix of historic stories instructed via the Lekwiltok and a genealogical chart of the Assu relations. This own memoir through a major local chief of British Columbia is for anthropologists, historians, and all people with an curiosity in local reports and autobiography. pleasure Inglis is a expert in coastal Indian tradition, with a selected curiosity within the artwork, fantasy, and rite of the Kwagiulth country. She has lived on Quadra Island considering the fact that 1974 and often teaches carrying on with schooling classes.
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Additional resources for Assu of Cape Mudge: Recollections of a Coastal Indian Chief
Grandfather told me that his younger brother had part of the eye of an eagle rubbed on his own eyes when he was a baby. This gave him such keen sight that when he looked into the water over the side of the canoe he could see everything. Good for fishing! But grandfather said he saw too much. He saw those kinds of beings that were under the surface of the water. By age fourteen he wouldn't go out of the house. He died young. The only way to reach Campbell River from our village was across Discovery Passage by boat, about a mile and three-quarters.
The name Kwaikah means to club. They were warriors. Our people, the We-Wai-Kai of Cape Mudge, were the first of the Lekwiltok bands on the Mainland to move into the territory on Dis- Organization of My People 17 covery Passage between Vancouver Island and Quadra Island where we are now. We were gone from our winter village near Jackson Bay when they surveyed for Indian reserves in our Lekwiltok territory. So although Tekya in Jackson Bay is very important to our people, we don't have a reserve there.
Non-Indian people ran that outfit. They pulled the logs down greased skids with eight horses. I went with my grandfather, Jim Naknakim, to Dogfish Bay on Quadra Island where a man was rendering oil from dogfish for the horse camp. Our name for Dogfish Bay is xwaxwslgwa7as, and that just means place of the dogfish. You can easily get dogfish with herring bait from a Plate 7 Harry Assu's maternal grandparents, Jim and Lucy Naknakim (nee Walkus), c. 1900. Photograph in the Kwagiulth Museum Our Local Waters Plate 8 Seated at right is Charley Assu, father of Billy Assu and grandfather of Harry Assu.