The Many Voyages of Arthur Wellington Clah: A Tsimshian Man by Peggy Brock

By Peggy Brock

First-hand debts of indigenous people’s encounters withcolonialism are infrequent. a regular diary that extends over fifty years andtwo thousand pages is unparalleled.Drawing on a painstaking transcription of Arthur WellingtonClah’s diaries, Peggy Brock items jointly the numerous voyages --physical, cultural, highbrow, and non secular -- of a Tsimshian manwho moved in either colonial and Aboriginal worlds. Clah’s start in1831 coincided with the institution of an enduring fur alternate post,and he turned scholar, instructor, and confidant to missionary WilliamDuncan. Later, Clah’s non secular voyage into the area of colonialculture remodeled him right into a religious Christian and an evangelist forthe faith.From the goldfields of BC and Alaska to the hop fields of WashingtonState, Clah witnessed profound swap. His diaries display thecomplexities of non-public interactions among colonizers and thecolonized and the inevitable tensions inside a group undergoingrapid swap. in addition they exhibit how Clah’s hopes for his humans weregradually eroded through the realities of land dispossession, interferenceby the colonial nation in cultural and political issues, anddiminishing financial opportunities.Taken jointly, Clah’s many voyages supply an unprecedentedAboriginal standpoint on colonial relationships as they performed out onthe Pacific Northwest Coast.

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Extra resources for The Many Voyages of Arthur Wellington Clah: A Tsimshian Man on the Pacific Northwest Coast

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Clah mentions the deaths of two other daughters, Ida and Maggie, in 1883, but he does not identify their mother, or mothers. Clah’s hereditary names were Hlax (ła’ax) and T’amks. ”30 The first entry in Clah’s diary gives his names and his birth: Clah or Damaks [T’amks] Number and count by every years[,] and when Clah first born in May 1831 first time[,] and all hudsons bay men Building fort @ Nass River are 20 The Life and Times of Arthur Wellington Clah in that time ... My Feather [father] an[d] my Mother going [a]shore thee waited another an[d] in the bay[,] this bay also was Name[d] Kaelle-cacon 7 miles from medlakall [Metlakatla].

Duncan introduced diary writing to at least one other pupil, Thrakalkajik, whom he renamed Edward. 5 The first two books of Clah’s diary are large and well-bound. It took Clah over five years to fill the first book, which he bought in Victoria on 27 September 1859. 7 Some are recycled account books, parts of exercise books, or even loose papers sewn together. 8 He had access to almanacs from time to time from which he gleaned information about a range of subjects, including American Independence Day, Canada’s Dominion Day, and the date of Queen Victoria’s birthday.

In the first few years, Clah used the diary as a device to remember the European days of the week, the months, and the number of days in each month – a mode of reckoning that differed from the Tsimshian seasons and calculations of available food resources. When he was travelling, which was much of the time, Clah generally recorded the time of his departures and arrivals. 20 He noted not only the time of his arrivals and departures but also how many days a journey took, and he often recorded the distance travelled.

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