Indigenous Peoples and Potato Cultivation

February 3, 2023. By Grant Keddie Introduction During the early period of European exploration and settlement, on what became the Colony of Vancouver Island, outsiders often spoke of the great skills of indigenous people in acquiring specific foods. However, the planning that went into Indigenous resource management practices was not recognized. Activities such as the organizing and placing of tied fir branches in inlets to collect herring eggs were not recognized as a form of aquaculture – which today they would be. Just as today we use the term oyster farms, would we not have to call the latter practice herring egg farming? The bias of Europeans as to what they considered forms of farming was clearly toward land-based agriculture. … Continue reading “Indigenous Peoples and Potato Cultivation”

A History of Royal Bay. In the City of Colwood

By Grant Keddie. April 28, 2020. Introduction Twenty one thousand years ago a glacier that advanced from the north into Saanich Inlet melted away into a large fresh water lake. The lake burst through to the south sending millions of tons of sands and gravels across the landscape creating what is known as the Colwood Delta. Buried in the upper portions of this delta were the remains of a 20,000 year old mammoth. Over the last 100 years these sands and gravels have been largely removed and used to create the buildings and roads of the region. The community of Royal Bay has now immerged from the base of this ancient Delta. The Human History The landscape in the Royal … Continue reading “A History of Royal Bay. In the City of Colwood”

The Legend of Camosun

Originally published in: Discovery: Friends of the Royal British Columbia Museum Quarterly Review, 4(5). By Grant Keddie.  Autumn 1991. Introduction  The location of the reversible falls on the Gorge waterway in Victoria is significant in the history of Vancouver Island’s Songhees Indians. The legend of this beautiful spot under the Tillicum Road bridge produced the name of the city’s Camosun College, and was the first name for the Victoria area used by both Indians and fur traders. In 1843, James Douglas of the Hudson’s Bay Company referred to the waterway from Victoria Harbour to Portage Inlet as “Camosack”. The new fur-trade post was called “Fort Camosack”, and then “Fort Albert”, before it officially became “Fort Victoria”. Camosack was an interpretation … Continue reading “The Legend of Camosun”

Installation of a Songhees Chief

Originally published in Discovery, 20(1). Winter 1992. By Grant Keddie The Museum’s Anthropology photograph collection contains many photos whose subject and time remain a mystery. Recently, I put together a series of five undocumented photographs (four are shown in this article) from different parts of the collection that seemed to be related to the same event. A little detective work revealed that the photos documented the visit of the Governor-General of Canada to Victoria in 1927. As the highest ranking representative of the Crown, he was anointed as an honourary Indian chief. The information sources I located added to my knowledge of an earlier Indian history before the coming of Europeans … a history which I will reveal here in … Continue reading “Installation of a Songhees Chief”

The 1843 Observations of the Lekwungen People by Jean Baptiste Zacharie Bolduc.

During the first visits of Hudson’s Bay Company officials to Victoria Harbour—William McNeil in 1837 and McNeil with John Work and John McLoughlin in 1839—there was no information recorded about the Indigenous Lekwungen peoples of the area. (Keddie 2003) The first information was recorded in 1842 during the visit of the company’s James Douglas to settle on the location of the future Fort Camosun—later Fort Victoria. It was during Douglas’s second visit in 1843 that he brought along the Québécois Jesuit Jean Baptiste Zacharie Bolduc, a missionary who was part of the Quebec Mission to the Pacific Northwest (fig. 1). The accounts of the Bolduc provide some of the most important observations of the Indigenous peoples in the Victoria region, more so than … Continue reading “The 1843 Observations of the Lekwungen People by Jean Baptiste Zacharie Bolduc.”