Metlakatla (B.C.)



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Metlakatla (B.C.)

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Autobiographical notes of Margaret Elizabeth Shutt

The file contains a typed copy of the autobiographical notes of Margaret Elizabeth Shutt, the daughter of Rev. Henry Shutt, Anglican missionary to Metlakatla [Metlakahtla], British Columbia, 1876-1882. Includes explanatory letter from J.A. Spencer, Magrath, Alberta.

Birds at Metlakatla : [sounds]

SUMMARY: [No content information available.] Probably location sound recorded for use in Imbert Orchard's radio documentary "Morning at Metlakatla".

CBC Monday evening. Morning at Metlakatla [Metlakahtla]

SUMMARY: "Morning at Metlakatla", the first part of "CBC Monday Evening", is a docudrama by Imbert Orchard about the Anglican missionary William Duncan, who founded the controversial Indian mission of Metlakatla on the northern coast of B.C. in the 1850s.

Dr. Powell, Metlahkatlah Mission church

The item is a b&w photograph showing Dr. I.W. Powell, A.C. Anderson and probably Captain Orlebar on the dais in front of the Metlakatla church, with the congregation behind. The photograph was probably taken by O.C. Hastings in 1879.

Helmcken family papers

Papers of J.S. Helmcken and members of his family, including correspondence, 1848-1920, account books, 1871-1903, deeds, contracts, certificates, 1825-1890, medical notebooks, case books and account books, 1845-1890, notes and papers concerning the Beacon Hill Park Bowling Club, 1898-1914, rough notes and drafts for articles in newspapers, speeches, and reminiscences. Account books pertaining to the estate of Arthur Thomas Bushby, 1875-1901. Papers of Harry Dallas Helmcken, 1866-1894, and William Ralph Higgins, 1890-1903. J.S. Helmcken's confederation diary and reminiscences are also on microfilm. John Sebastian Helmcken was born in Spitalfields, London on 5 June 1824, the fourth child and eldest son of Claus Helmcken and Catherine Mittler. After attending St. George's German and English school from 1828 to 1839 Helmcken apprenticed himself to Dr. W.H. Graves as a chemist and druggist. On 2 October 1844, Helmcken registered as a student at Guy's Hospital, London, and in March 1848 was admitted as a Member of the Royal College of Surgeons. Two months later he was serving as surgeon aboard the Malacca until, on 12 October 1849, he received an appointment from the Hudson's Bay Company as surgeon and clerk for a five year term. Helmcken arrived at Esquimalt on 24 March 1850 and was first posted to Fort Rupert before being ordered to return to Fort Victoria in December 1850. On 27 December 1852 he married Cecilia Douglas, eldest daughter of Governor James Douglas. In 1856 Helmcken was elected to represent Esquimalt and Victoria District in the Legislative Assembly of Vancouver Island and served as Speaker of the Assembly until union with British Columbia in 1866. Governor Musgrave appointed Helmcken to the Executive Council of British Columbia in December 1869 while he was also serving as a member of the Legislative Council of B.C., and in the summer of 1870 he travelled to Ottawa as one of three confederation delegates from the colony. With the entry of British Columbia into Confederation in 1871, Helmcken retired from active politics. Helmcken also served as president of the Board of Directors of the Royal Hospital, remained physician to Victoria's jail until 1910, and contributed numerous articles on the early history of Vancouver Island in his later life. Dr. Helmcken died on 1 September 1920. The records include the papers of J.S. Helmcken and members of his family: correspondence, 1848-1920, account books, 1871-1903, deeds, contracts, certificates, 1825-1890, medical notebooks, casebooks and account books, 1845-1890, notes and papers concerning the Beacon Hill Park Bowling Club, 1898-1914, rough notes and drafts for articles in newspapers, speeches and reminiscences. There are also account books pertaining to the estate of Arthur Thomas Bushby, 1875-1901, and papers of Harry Dallas Helmcken, 1866-1894, and William Ralph Higgins, 1890-1903. J.S. Helmcken's Confederation diary and reminiscences are also on microfilm [A00810]. An index to the records is available as part of the hard copy finding aid kept in the reference room.

Joseph Weah interview

CALL NUMBER: T1176:0001 SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): Joseph Weah recalls early life in Masset PERIOD COVERED: prehistory-1969 RECORDED: [location unknown], 1969 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Joseph Weah speaks about early Haida villages located in the Queen Charlotte Islands and their relocation to Masset. He describes village sites along the west coast, Tian, gathering sea shells for blankets, hunting sea otters, Old and New Masset, Yaku, Kiusta, totem poles, legends, a story of theft at an Indian doctor's grave site, Ashotla (?), the sale of totem poles, removal of totem po;les, effects of logging and tools and techniques for building canoes. Joseph Weah continues with songs, drumming and narration, including a feast song and a song of welcome. TRACK 2: Joseph Weah cont;inues with examples of songs with drum accompaniment including: The Song of Welcome, the Lahal Song, a thank you song, and the Bridal Song. He speaks about Haida marriage customs, regalia, Indian houses, the village at Tow Hill -- Yakun Point, destruction of the land by logging companies, coming of the missionaries -- Collison, the flu or smallpox epidemic, a story of a burial cave, sailing schooners and sealing and trapping.;

CALL NUMBER: T1176:0002 SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): Joseph Weah recalls Haida songs, marriage and missionaries PERIOD COVERED: prehistory-1969 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Joseph Weah discusses Haida hospitality, Father Duncan and Metlakatla, the Masset Village, Archdeacon Collison and family, Charles Harrison, Father Hogan, hereditary tribes in the village, effects of alcoholism, development of Masset and Mormon education and youth groups. [Note: one file source states that Joseph Weah is a chief.]

Journalism and essays

Series consists of articles, typescript drafts, essays, biographies, notes, clippings, etc. relating to Alaska, the history of British Columbia, historic sites in British Columbia, Indigenous people of British Columbia, the pelagic sealing industry, etc. The series also includes invitations to events and 124 black and white photographs, mostly of Smith's time in Japan and China.

Lavina Lightbown and Oliver Adams interview

CALL NUMBER: T1172:0001 SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): Oliver Adams and Lavina Lightbown : decline of Haida culture PERIOD COVERED: 1921-1969 RECORDED: [location unknown], 1969 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Lavina Lightbown from Masset begins this interview with recollections about her early days at the Coqualeetza School. She talks about village life, culture of Masset, changes over the years, totem poles, the community house, Old Masset and New Masset. TRACK 2: Oliver Adams comments on the changes in the culture at Masset, leadership, problems with youth, education, the Haida race, misconceptions and portrayals of the Haida and Indian Affairs. Lavina talks about the problems that arise from "Indian trust" in financial matters and contracts. Oliver continues with recollections about t;he Haida fishing fleet, trust and contracts and economic decline. Oliver talks about the longhouse structure and life of a Haida family, Haida houses and the change in family life.

CALL NUMBER: T1172:0002 SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): Oliver Adams and Lavina Lightbown : Decline of Haida culture RECORDED: [location unknown], 1969 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Oliver Adams was born in Masset, 1914, he talks about Masset and Haida, growing up in Masset, his education, his father's education at Metlakatla, religious differences between Skidegate and Masset, Indian beliefs, cultural and religious confusion, family and communal life, the Haida language, the fear of becoming "cultural curiosities", the loss of the cultural connection to the past and; living in harmony with nature. TRACK 2: Oliver Adams and Lavina Lightbown speak about family homes, elders in the community, communication between the generations, teenagers, family and community life.


Series consists of a letterpress book containing copies of letters written as stipendiary magistrate at Port Simpson and Metlakatla [Metlakahtla] to the Attorney General, Provincial Secretary and Superintendent General of Indian Affairs, Ottawa.

Living memory : Robert Tomlinson

SUMMARY: "Robert Tomlinson", #9 in the series, is the story of Robert Tomlinson, who founded the Indian mission of Minskinisht. The story continues in program #10; see T3257:0001 (description AAAB3569).

Mabel Collison interview

SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): Mabel Collison's Christian missionary work at Metlakatla and Greenville, 1902-1910 PERIOD COVERED: 1902-1910 RECORDED: [location unknown], 1961-07-09 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Mabel Collison speaks about coming to the Ridley Home at the Metlakatla Mission in 1902, the fire of 1901, her trip from England, her first impressions, the staff, her responsibilities, the children's training and duties, education of Indian children, musical abilities, church policy and acculturation, the clergymen who held services at the canneries, summer camping with the children, missionary personnel, the origins of Prince Rupert and her marriage to John Maxwell Collison. TRACK 2: Mabel Collison describes Archdeacon Collison and his wife, his trips to Masset, Haida burial custom;s and his teachings and "reform" among the Haida in Masset. Mabel Collison talks about her husband's teaching post at Greenville (1908), living conditions, the Nass Indians, helping a sick baby, constructing the sawmill, anecdotes and selling Metlakatla produce to Prince Rupert. [Note: The name of Greenville, B.C., was changed to "Laxgalts'ap" per the Nisga'a Treaty, Appendix F-3, effective 11 May 2000.]

Martin Starret interviews, 1966-

CALL NUMBER: T0399:0014
SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): Martin Starret and Dick Lattie
RECORDED: Hazelton (B.C.), 1966
SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Mr. Starret continues with his story about his arrival in Hazelton in October 1909 on the steamboat. He offers a detailed account of what Hazelton was like, including the stores there and their locations. He talks of pack horses and specific mule trains such as that of Cataline and George Burns. Mr. Starret offers his impressions of Hazelton as he and Mr. Orchard look over the town; he compares Hazelton in 1909 to [1966]. Dick Lattie, born 1895, talks about his life in Hazelton, and he and Mr. Starret recall when they first met in the fall of 1912. Mr. Starret and Mr. Lattie recall leading the Bell Mare pack train to Manson Creek with pipe for the miners. Mr. Lattie cooked and served food for the pack train. Mr. Lattie describes the trail from Hazelton along Babine Road, over the hills to Manson Creek where the miners were mining gold. He describes Manson Creek as it was. The miners there including a Chinese man named Packtrain Joe. Ferrying mules across Takla Lake; Ned Charleston's pack trains; and working for Cataline. TRACK 2: Mr. Lattie continues, discussing: pack trains, the Indian village before Hazelton was founded, where the first white settlements were and how the Indians moved to reservations.The first white man in the area was Charlie Humans [sp?] who moved there to start a store. Mr. Starret describes an Indian chief who had a lot of power, the first one who had a pole carved on the Hazelton reserve. Mr. Lattie discusses the towns in the area before Hazelton was founded and the white people came, and Indian chiefs and their homes. Mr. Lattie discusses trade between the people of Babine and Hazelton; instruments used in ceremonial dances; and the songs used in the ceremonies.

CALL NUMBER: T0399:0015
RECORDED: [location unknown], [196-]
SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Mr. Starret discusses a 1909 trip on a Union Steamship vessel, the "Camosun", from Vancouver through Alert Bay to Prince Rupert to meet his mother at Metlakatla. The boys waiting at the dock could not read but bought news papers so as to look educated. Mr. Starret discusses boat travel during fall rains. He offers anecdotes about things that happened on the boat, including a story about a man who was looking for the saloon on the boat and the story of his hardships as told to Mr. Starret. Mr. Starret describes his experience upon landing in Prince Rupert, and the process of getting to Metlakatla and reuniting with his mother. Mr. Starret describes his experiences in Metlakatla, including people's names, a description of the town, and a meeting with Captain Irving. He describes the geography. TRACK 2: Mr. Starret discusses another four-day steamboat trip from Port Essington, up the Skeena River to Hazelton. He describes some of the passengers, including Blackjack McDonald, the cargo (70 tons of liquor for a hotel), the boat itself, the Captain's notion of shallow and deeper water, the condition of the boats, the crew, a character named Turley Hambley who established Hambley's Landing, what staterooms and dining saloons were like on board, the steerage accommodations, Captain Jackman, the scenery, Fred Daniels, and more on the passengers.

CALL NUMBER: T0399:0016
RECORDED: [location unknown], [196-]
SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Mr. Starret tells the story of his mother; how she came to Hope at age sixteen to teach school and married his father a year and a half later. Eventually the ranch at Hope was not generating enough money to support the family, so she left with the three children (other than Martin) to teach all over the province. In January 1909, she went to Metlakatla to teach. Mr. Starret discusses people in the [northern BC] area, including Simon Gun-an-noot, other Indians and relationships with Indians. He discusses his experience attending South Park School in Victoria, and never feeling comfortable among the city kids there, and other aspects of his education. He describes his mother's physical appearance, ability as a teacher, her relationship with Martin and his brother, her ability as a fur trader (Fort St. James offered more money for fur than Fort Babine), and her retirement back to the ranch in Hope. Mr. Starret describes the location his uncle's home in Hazelton and the old original miners' cabins before the railroad came through. Mr. Starret tells a story about a time he dug potatoes and wheeled them across town for his uncle. TRACK 2: Mr. Starret describes what Hazelton looked like and what kind of place it was when he first arrived. One feature that distinguished it from other frontier towns was that it had warehouses. He describes the surrounding country and his experiences there, gardening techniques attuned to the landscape and climate, Hazelton's place along the Skeena River, a description of the buildings and their construction, the geography of Fort Babine, and salmon as the staple food of the Indians there. Mr. Starret then describes the town of Burns Lake and the people who lived there.

CALL NUMBER: T0399:0017
RECORDED: [location unknown], [196-]
SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Mr. Starret describes his uncle Charles Victor Smith's house in Hazelton which was built by Indians. He goes on to discuss the life of C.V. Smith, including several life stories such as how he came to live in Hazelton. C.V. Smith took over his father's tug boat, until his eyesight began to fail him before he was forty years old. Smith decided to go into the fur business. He began by opening a shop and eventually moved to Hazelton in 1904. Mr. Starret discusses Smith's family including his two daughters. Mr. Starret tells a story about a trip to Babine with his uncle with mention to several Babine natives, attitudes of the Indians, interactions with Indians and details of a pack train. Indians based a storekeepers wealth by how much sugar he kept in stock, C.V. Smith had two hundred pounds on the same boat load which carried Blackjack's liquor. The idea was not to compete with Hudson's Bay Company, but to attract trappers. Mr. Starret tells a story about an Indian packer named Alfred Danes. TRACK 2: Mr. Starret describes how his mother was under the impression that Indians in the north were wild. She was worried about her brother until he assured her that the Indians were the easiest people to get along with in British Columbia. Several anecdotes about how Indians are easy to get along with are offered. Mr. Starret describes a saddle horse trip to Babine with his mother and uncle including the supplies they brought, camping equipment, cooking, the weather, the Indians they were with, anecdotes about the trip, and his mother's stiffness on the trail.

CALL NUMBER: T0399:0018
RECORDED: [location unknown], [196-]
SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Mr. Starret describes in great detail the pack trail near Hazelton which was laid out by ex-Governor Dewdney from the goldfields of Babine Lake, through Fort St. James to Manson Creek; including reasons why the trail follows the course it does. Mr. Starret discusses the details surrounding C.V. Smith's trading post at Babine Village including details about local Indians and living conditions. He describes the log house in which the trading post was located and its furniture. Mr. Starret tells a story of the mail carrier Jim Williams who worked at the Babine Hatchery, whose wife lived in Babine Village; and a gift he bought her of a musical clock, and a story of her giving birth to a child which died two days later. Mr. Starret discusses Williams' reaction and the reaction of others in the community. Mr. Starret continues with more on his uncle's trading post and a night when an Indian spent the night with Smith and Mr. Starret's Aunt Agnes. TRACK 2: Mr. Starret discusses Carrier Indians in the Hazelton/Babine region and their church attendance. A church bell would ring and wherever anyone was, they would take off their hats and pray, and then resume work. Mr. Starret discusses the hygiene of the Indians and their living conditions. Mr. Starret describes C.V. Smith including his character and habits with the use of anecdotes. Mr. Starret believes that Smith's stubbornness was what made him successful; and he was a religious man who attended church. Mr. Starret discusses his own reasons for not attending church. Mr. Starret describes Smith's physical appearance including his posture, he always wore a Stetson hat and he would never drink. Mr. Starret describes his aunt Agnes Smith whose father was a coal miner also named Smith. Mr. Starret describes his cousin Clara Smith who was born at Moodyville and offers some stories about her. More on his uncle and how children did not like him. Mr. Starret offers his first impressions of Father Nicholas.

CALL NUMBER: T0399:0019
RECORDED: [location unknown], [196-]
SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Mr. Starret offers his impressions of the Carrier Indians as he knew them in the early 1900s: their concentration skills and the ways in which they were brought up, Father Coccola sermonizing; about pre-marital relations, eating in church, religion and superstition. Mr. Starret offers several anecdotes about Father Coccola's interactions with Indians and a story about Father Dominic of Babine Lake who was an Indian that learned commerce from white men. Mr. Starret tells a story about the Father asking Indians "what hell is". Mr. Starret tells a story of Coccola as a young man who never thought he would be a priest, and stories about his old age. The Indian congregations at church in Babine and Stuart Lakes, the men and women sat separately. The Babine tribe consisted of two hundred and twenty-five people at that time and he discusses his feelings about Babine and Fort Connolly. TRACK 2: Mr. Starret describes his daily life at Babine Post: he begins with someone coming into the store to buy sugar and daily chores before getting into specifics such as an interaction with an Indian who tried to cheat him, another story about an Indian woman who came into the store with Hudson's Bay coupons, trading posts, Fort Thompson and the three families there. Mr. Starret relates tall stories as told to him by Eli Ferguson, who was an old timer who had several jobs and skills: an amusing tale about a time before horses were used, when people used oxen to pull yokes. There was a man plowing one morning with a side hill plow but the story is cut short.

CALL NUMBER: T0399:0020
RECORDED: [location unknown], [196-]
SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Mr. Starret describes Fort St. James upon his arrival by canoe: the riverbank, the Hudson's Bay post, the layout of the town, a description of the houses and a few characters there, where the Indians lived in a place called the Rancherie, there was always one priest there. Mr. Starret discusses Father Coccola and his journeys all over the province. Mr. Starret describes his first trip into the Bulkley Valley to Round Lake in April 1911, to survey property for his uncle; including the landscape and characters he encountered. Mr. Starret describes his journey to Ootsa Lake in 1917 to buy fur at the time when Indians were bringing in beaver, including traveling with Father Coccola and having to borrow $2,000.00 from his uncle. TRACK 2: Mr. Starret tells the story of his uncle who wan;ted Martin to acquire Indian artifacts, one such artifact was Qua's dagger. Mr. Starret describes who Qua was. Mr. Starret tells the story of Sir James Douglas and his relations with the native people. The natives were upset about how he treated them. Douglas was sent to Stuart Lake to be an apprentice to the factor from an eastern post. During the factor's absence, there was trouble between the Indians and white people over the apprehension of a murderer. Eventually Douglas became Sir James Douglas, Governor of British Columbia. The natives became upset with the prices of goods which the Hudson's Bay Post supplied once the goods were shipped by steamboat. Mr. Starret discusses the value and quality of a variety of Hudson's Bay goods and trade with the Indians.

CALL NUMBER: T0399:0021
RECORDED: [location unknown], [196-]
SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Mr. Starret discusses his belief that Carrier Indians always trusted the priests. Mr. Starret never heard anything negative said by the Carrier Indians about the Church until World War I, when there was a disagreement about discipline. Mr. Starret offers some anecdotes which offer insight into the relationship between the Indians and priests. Mr. Starret discusses and sings a song by A.J. Hamilton which came about around the time of WWI about home-brewed alcohol. Mr. Starret offers his final feelings about the country including the way he would like to remember it such as paddling along in a canoe at night and hearing a loon call. Mr. Starret discusses the attitude of the Indians that all white men are rich. Mr. Starret discusses the attitudes of people in the past as compared to people at the time of the interview. Mr. Starret tells a story of an Indian who was unjustly punished named Francis Prince who was ostracized by the community. There were no white men who were Catholics in the area but Indians were. Mr. Starret believes that priests were fair legal advisors who did not necessarily give favour to white men over Indians. TRACK 2: Mr. Starret offers his opinions on British Columbia and how it is not really a part of Canada. He feels that there is a division at the Rockies and that Americans are like cousins as their money has helped develop Canada. Mr. Starret discusses free trade and his view that British Columbia's way of doing things is the best and he thinks that the Government in BC is the best at the date of this taping. Mr. Orchard and Mr. Starret discuss politics. Mr. Starret prefers working outdoors and he always recognized himself as a Canadian, yet when he first took up land, he had to do it as a British subject, people were not recognized as Canadians in those days. Mrs. Starret, born 1904, describes her life as her father moved from Ontario in 1918 to Burns Lake. She describes her views of Canada and BC as a part of Canada.

Men of the harvest

SUMMARY: "CBC Tuesday Night" was a multi-part series that featured performances of classical music, opera and drama, as well as readings, documentaries and talks. The series ran from Oct 26, 1965 into the 1970;s in the 7:30 to 11:00 p.m. time slot. Its predecessor of the same format was "CBC Sunday Night". This episode, "Men Of The Harvest", dramatizes the story of the English missionary William Duncan and his work among the Tsimshian Indians of northern B.C. The script was by George Woodcock. Featured in the cast are Robert Clothier, Roland Hunter, Walter Marsh, Bill Buckingham, Jack Ammon, Gavin Payne;, David Hughes, Eric Schneider, James Johnston, Alan Dobby, Ted Greenhalgh, Robert Howay, Ted Stidder, Peter Haworth, Derek Ralston and Dorothy Davies. The narrator is Rev. Arthur Hives. "Men Of The Harvest" was produced and directed by John Must.;

Methodist Church records

Methodist Church papers including minute books for Vancouver Island and British Columbia District, 1860-1884; and British Columbia Conference, Committee on Missions, 1889-1898; British Columbia District Treasurer's Book, 1880-1894; 20th Century Thanksgiving Fund Account Book, 1900-1901; miscellaneous financial papers, 1860-1881; papers on Indian Affairs, 1881-1899; other official correspondence, 1859-1894; and the News Reporter's Book from the Excelsior Literary Society, New Westminster Collegiate and High School, 1881-1883.

Copied from originals borrowed from E.S. Robson, Vancouver, 1948. Originals transferred to Vancouver School of Theology, 1989.

Finding aid: volume list.

Methodist Church of Canada. British Columbia Conference


The item is a b&w photograph taken by Dossetter in June 1881. It shows Metlakatla from the beach.


The item is a b&w photograph taken by Dossetter at Metlakatla in July 1881. It shows people sitting on the steps of the church.


The item is a b&w photograph of Metlakatla. It was probably taken by either O.C. Hastings in 1879 or E. Dossetter in 1881. It shows the church and buildings at Metlakata, from across the water.

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