Creator

John Muir

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out on a missionary tour by Mr. Crosby, after having made him a board which was nailed up for luck and ornament over his door, wanted to take it away. Mr. Young promised to make him a new one should this threat be executed. Mr. Young then said that since he had offered to do his bidding he hoped he would make no more whisky. This he answered by complaining that he thought F. Simpson Indians very mean in seeking to take away his board. But that now he would tell them that they could take it away and welcome for he was going to get another and better one at F. Wrangel. The wife of his brother was muttering and groaning in a bad fit of drunk, while this “wawa” was going on, but no effort of the missionary could bring him to notice his whisky business. In the whole vill[age] there are only about five or six houses. Their owners were out fishing and getting in winter stores. This house is about 40 ft. sq., of the ordinary kind, but better built and cleaner than usual. The side rooms were also better, neatly built, the doors paneled, though all the lumber was nibbled out with their small adzes. We had our tent pitched on a grassy spot by the beach, being afraid of wee beasties, which greatly offended the other Indians, Kadachan and Old Toyatte, who said, “If this is the way you are going to do at Chilcat we will be ashamed of you.” We promised to eat Indian food there and be in every way Chilcats of Chilcats. The family are nearly all good-looking and well-behaved people, whisky nothwithstanding. The board mentioned above had the following form and inscription printed in rather awkward and uneven capitals about an inch long. After Mr. Young had finished I also made a sort of speech on the brotherhood of all peoples of whatever color or name, of the work of a teacher, of the means of bettering their condition, thanks for their kindness and welcome, etc., which seemed to please them greatly. He told us after we had finished that he was glad to hear about God and promised to pray like a white man every morning and also bury the dead as the whites do, instead of burning. Said that they used to wonder vainly where the dead went to, now he was glad to know, and at least said that he was sorry to have been caught making whisky. The behavior of all, even the little ones circled around the fire, was very good, better than could be found in any similar meeting of whites in any country. There was no laughter when the strange singing commenced. They only gazed like curious animals, but with intelligence. The glow of the firelight on the eys and beads and teeth of a pretty little daughter of the chief was very effective as a picture. One with head held aslant, leaning on her companion in such a way that only one eye was visible as if the one eye were in the middle of her forehead. This, too, was telling – that one mild eye, glowing in the brown bit of a forehead and arched with shining black hair. Another in the group, with upturned eyes, seemed to half-understand the strange words about God, would pass for one of Rafael’s angels. There were no carved posts in the vil. And on the dead-houses I noticed only one carving, that of a wolf’s head to which was added a painted picture of a wolf’s body on the side of the house. The location is very fine, on a sandy flat raised a few feet above the water. Oct. 31. Set out for Chilcat, with no Indian interruptions visible in the way. Had head wind all day, and therefore made hard work {sketch: kake} {sketch: Door-steps hewn out of solid timber, Kake Vil.}

Date Original

1879

Source

Original journal dimensions: 11.5 x 18 cm.

Resource Identifier

MuirReel26Journal01P28.tif

Publisher

Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library

Rights Management

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Keywords

John Muir, journals, drawings, writings, travel, journaling, naturalist

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