our experience in Chilcat

 The chief had a slave, a young and good-looking girl, who waited on

him, cooked his food, lighted his pipe for him, etc. Her servitude

seemed by no means galling. In the morning, just before we left on the

return trip, interpreter John overheard him telling her that after the

teacher came from Wrangell, he was going to dress her well and send her

to school and use her in every way as if she were his own daughter.

Slaves are still owned by the richest of the Thlinkits. Formerly, many

of them were sacrificed on great occasions, such as the opening of a

new house or the erection of a totem pole. Kadachan ordered John to

take a pair of white blankets out of his trunk and wrap them about the

chief’s shoulders, as he sat by the fire. This gift was presented

without ceremony or saying a single word. The chief scarcely noticed

the blankets, only taking a corner in his hand, as if testing the

quality of the wool. Toyatte had been an inveterate enemy and fighter

of the Chilcats, but now, having joined the church, he wished to forget

the past and bury all the hard feuds and be universally friendly and

peaceful. It was evident, however, that he mistrusted the proud and

warlike Chilcats and doubted the acceptance of his friendly advances,

and as we approached their village became more and more thoughtful.

“My wife said that my old enemies would be sure to kill me. Well, never

mind. I am an old man and may as well die as not.” He was troubled with

palpitation, and oftentimes, while he suffered, he put his hand over

his heart and said, “I hope the Chilcats will shoot me here.”

Before venturing up the river to the principal village, located some

ten miles up the river, we sent Sitka Charley and one of the young

Chilcats as messengers to announce our arrival and inquire whether we

would be welcome to visit them, informing the chief that both Kadachan

and Toyatte were Mr. Young’s friends and mine, that we were “all one

meat” and any harm done them would also be done to us.

While our messengers were away, I climbed a pure-white, dome-crowned

mountain about fifty-five hundred feet high and gained noble telling

views to the northward of the main Chilcat glaciers and the multitude

of mighty peaks from which they draw their sources. At a height of

three thousand feet I found a mountain hemlock, considerably dwarfed,

in company with Sitka spruce and the common hemlock, the tallest about

twenty feet high, sixteen inches in diameter. A few stragglers grew

considerably higher, say at about four thousand feet. Birch and

two-leaf pine were common.

The messengers returned next day, bringing back word that we would all

be heartily welcomed excepting Toyatte; that the guns were loaded and

ready to be fired to welcome us, but that Toyatte, having insulted a

Chilcat chief not long ago in Wrangell, must not come. They also

informed us in their message that they were very busy merrymaking with

other visitors, Sitka Jack and his friends, but that if we could get up

to the village through the running ice on the river, they would all be

glad to see us; they had been drinking and Kadachan’s father, one of

the principal chiefs, said plainly that he had just waked up out of a

ten days’ sleep. We were anxious to make this visit, but, taking the

difficulties and untoward circumstances into account, the danger of

being frozen in at so late a time, while Kadachan would not be able to

walk back on account of a shot in his foot, the danger also from

whiskey, the awakening of old feuds on account of Toyatte’s presence,

etc., we reluctantly concluded to start back on the home journey at

once. This was on Friday and a fair wind was blowing, but our crew, who

loved dearly to rest and eat in these big hospitable houses, all said

that Monday would be _hyas klosh_ for the starting-day. I insisted,

however, on starting Saturday morning, and succeeded in getting away

from our friends at ten o’clock. Just as we were leaving, the chief who

had entertained us so handsomely requested a written document to show

that he had not killed us, so in case we were lost on the way home he

could not be held accountable in any way for our death.

legal consultations and travel advisor in the States and within UK

Media solutions , Media company , online classes , learn german , learn english , perfect language , blood cord , rehab , rehabiliations , rehabilitation center , magazitta

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post

Contact Form