Native American Photographs by Edward S. Curtis

Qagyuhl village at Fort Rupert

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Qagyuhl village at Fort Rupert

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Description

This village of Tsahes was founded in 1849, when the tribe abandoned Kalokwis, on Turnour island, in order to be near the Hudson’s Bay Company post which was then established at Fort Rupert, on Vancouver island. The heraldic column in the foreground commemorates the legendary history of a Tsimshian family. Its presence in the Kwakiutl settlement is due to the following circumstances: A party of Seattle men, cruising in Alaska, innocently removed a totem pole from what they supposed was an abandoned village, and placed it in a public square of their city. In reality the inhabitants of the Alaskan village were only temporarily absent, and when they returned and learned of the spoliation, there was a many-voiced protest, the echoes of which finally reached even Fort Rupert. Here was living a prominent member of the wronged family, the aged Tsimshian widow of a former employee of the Hudson’s Bay Company. In order to wipe out the stain in the family name, she had a local carver produce a totem pole according to her description of the lost one, and cause it to be erected at the house of her eldest son’s eldest son.

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Kwakiutl / Kwakwaka'wakw Indians

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