Although situated directly

Every Sunday evening at six o’clock during the salmon-run, the signal
gun that marks the beginning of another fishing-week rings out upon the
evening air of Steveston the capital of the British Columbia salmon
fisheries at the mouth of the great Fraser River. Not a net passes over
any gunwale of the hundred odd motorboats that for the past hour have
been jockeying up-and-down picking up the great river’s signals-of-fish
and the way they “set”, until the crack of the official gun rings out
over the water. The moment, however, that this is heard, over go the
great seines, imported here from Old Scotland for just this dramatic
instant, entrants in the great race, boat against boat, and _all_ in
league, against salmon.

Of all the stories of animal-life, none is more wonderful or pathetic,
than the story which the salmon of the Fraser have given to Canada. From
out the deep-sea they come by tens of thousands, crowding, pushing,
over-leaping each other, a silvery mass of fighting-mad mothers, trying
to start their off-spring on the perilous road of fish-life, somewhere
in a pool, high up in the mountains out of harm’s way; and here across
the river, near its mouth, is this line of boats and their submerged
nets lying in wait, while on the river’s bank in league with the boats
are the huge canning factories, like so many Molochs open-mouthed,
waiting to swallow to-day’s catch and to-morrow’s, as they have snapped
up those of the years gone by.

One has not spent an hour on this waterfront before story and romance
have flitted across the stage in almost confusing numbers. Each figure
in the vaudeville of fish, a flashing mosaic, stepped out of the Far
East to serve this river of the Far West. For the Japs are the servitors
of Salmon at Steveston. Out of the Islands of Nippon have come these
fishermen, to serve in the ranks of Fraser salmon-fishing, men with
wives and little families, caught in the net of circumstance and landed
far from home, to work here where the snow-capped Mount McKinley, over
in the State of Washington, gleams an intermittent nimbus of light above
the foggy head-veil of distance, suggesting, like a lighted candle on
the altar of remembrance, all the sweet associations and memories
clinging to the snow-capped brow of Fujiyama.

Here in the boats are the nets, all the way from the hand of the old
net-maker in Scotland, and here the hands handling the nets come from
the other side of the world to bring Canadian salmon to the tables of
the home-land and to carry the overflow to the tables of the world. For
when one comes to think of it, there must indeed be few, if any lands,
that do not know Canadian salmon, and few undertakings calling for a
ration of canned-food which do not depend on canned-salmon to hold up
the fish-end.

These up-to-date motorboats, so broad in the waist to hold the net and
the fish-cargo, bear in their rounded bows striking psychological
resemblance in quaint twist of line to the old Saint Malo fishboats
riding in the anchorage sentried off Cape Barrie at Percé, while at the
same moment in that blunt blow, there is suggestion both of the tripping
old canal-barge of the Richelieu and of the craft of the Yang-tse, so
that one involuntarily murmurs “Sampans of Salmon”. So too, in the lower
river-silt bank platformed by rough planks and water-soaked piles, there
is both touch of Fundy and whiff of Asiatic Deltas.

The little wooden shack homes of these Japanese fisher folk of Steveston
are raised above flood-danger on wooden platforms and set about with
wooden yards, fronted by clear-running canals crossed by foot bridges of
wide plank.

Who can screen a picture of Japan without a bridge, or of a Japanese
home, however homely, but its poverty is beatified by masses of flowers?
So, here against the unpainted walls, set about on the floor of the
wooden yard, are buckets and tubs of Chrysanthemums a-bloom,
Japan-transplanted. And do the flowers stop at the bucket or the box?
Not at all. Marigolds and cornflowers and candytuft and many others
under the loving hand of the Jap-mother, are coaxed out of every crevice
of river-silt staved-up by any old bit of wood. Vines set near the edge
of the tiny canals trail tendril fingers to touch the water. And the
little bridges are so invaded by pots of bloom that the man of the
family must surely object to the narrow gangway allowed him to and from
his boats, did he not love flowers as keenly as his little
Flower-of-Japan wife.

Passing to and fro here and in the salmon-factories one begins to
realize that the Japanese women share the work on the fish with the men.
One might even call these little women “the ’longshoremen of Salmon” as
they stand at the tables,–groaning under the weight of sockeye and its
lesser brethren–their babies tied to their backs with a soft shawl, in
the same way that the Cree mother carries her baby in a tikanagan. Many
a lullaby is crooned while the skilful brown fingers place the juicy
steaks in the little flat tins. The gentle rocking of the mother’s
swaying figure sends the baby to sleep more effectively than any cradle.
And the mother and her baby are together through the long day of toil.

As one steps along the factory-floors between the long rows of women,
figures just made by Nature for the kimona and the smooth shiny
ebon-elegance of the Japanese coiffure, these plump little women with
their brown-eyed babies on their backs are indeed a picturesque
contribution to the _genre_ appearing on the vast stage from Atlantic to
Pacific that is–the Dominion. Nor is canning the fish the limit of the
Japanese woman’s usefulness. Not all of them work in the factories.
Figures of the wharf-side and of the platform-yards by the flowering
banks of the canals are the great seines a-drying. And while one sees
men, sitting about in the sun, netting-needle in hand, mending these
nets, just as frequently one happens on some strong Japanese woman, long
knife in hand, cutting away the large wooden floats, against the net’s
being laid away at the close of the season, her baby, released from the
back cradle-perambulator, playing at her side.

Although situated directly on the Alaskan coastal highway, with a
constant stream of large freight and passenger steamers calling at the
cannery pier or dropping anchor in its fine harbour, Alert Bay is a spot
haunted by the spirit of the untamed, full of those powerful
undercurrents that thrive on the edge of the wilderness. It is
altogether mysterious and bizarre.

Part of this spirit is due to the wildness of nature hereabouts, to the
high-reaching mountains, the low-hanging, encircling mists, the dark
woods, and, in the rainy season, the general atmospheric wetness
clinging to the nearer distances; but specifically it is due to other
things, things which the natural setting helps to accentuate and for
which it forms a splendidly effective stage. Merely to mention Alert Bay
is to think of Indians. For this little trading-post, now grown to prime
importance as a Pacific coast port-of-call, has filled a high place in
coastal Indian life from time immemorial.

Just how long the Indians have had homes or congregated at Alert Bay no
one knows, not even they themselves. But as far back as their traditions
go, this particular spot on the coast has been a gathering-place
focussing all the events of tribal life in peace and war. Time,
therefore, has vested Alert Bay with all the importance of a capital and
hallowed it to the red men all up and down the coast. Far within the
Arctic Circle, away off on the shores of Queen Charlotte Islands, the
aboriginals look to Alert for guidance in many things and in ways that
are a mystery to us.

Building on established foundations, Alert Bay is now an Indian
reservation, with an Indian agent and government school. For upward of a
score of years a Church of England, established here with a resident
rector, has maintained two boarding-schools–one for Indian boys and the
other for Indian girls. But despite all these civilizing influences,
there still obtains in the village the mysterious philosophy of life
embodied in the community-house without windows, the open wood-fire in
the middle of the floor and the hole in the roof for escaping smoke.
There still remain the picturesque dugout or _kayak_, totem poles, big
and little; tree burials, potlatches, including wild orgies, and a host
of other curious customs that lend colour and weave a motif of
weirdness into all the life hereabouts.

A curving beach and a boardwalk above the swishing waves following the
bend of the beach, form what might elsewhere be termed “The Avenue of
the Totem”. These totems, or “family trees”, the chief attraction of
visitors to Alert Bay, are curiosities indeed! British Columbia giant
trees sculptured by some old redskin into heraldic insignia of tribe and
family, dealing mostly with leviathans that dwarf “our family trees” to
nothing by comparison.

Crude? Yes, and no. The writing is a little unformed, perhaps, but the
_tale_ itself, one of the most perfect bits of symbol the world
contains.

Whales, bears, giant kingfishers, thunderbirds and fish tell the
life-history of the primitive ancestor, sitting astride the giant
sulphur-bottom, harpoon in hand, with a pictorial accuracy and vim that
far exceed the ordinary printed page having to do with early times. It
must be remembered, too, that the early Indians did not know how to
write in any form but that of carving and colour, so that the men who at
different times carved these totems were not only artists of a kind, but
_historians_, limning history–valuable Canadian history–upon the heart
of the giant British Columbia cedar, to the end that all ages may read
what happened in these parts when the world was young.

As family history, in this peerage of the race, there are doubtless many
errors. Details are probably exaggerated to reveal personal prowess to
greater advantage. The teeth of the bear are very large, the whale is a
perfect giant and rapid in movement as was no whale before or since, so
that the forbear who leapt astride the giant back, from the _kayak_,
harpoon in hand, was a veritable master among Indians–a hero of heroes.
All of which everyone admits to be legitimate poetic licence in the
totem-maker and wisely calculated to whet the edge of the most callous
imagination. But although the place of the whale is great and the lure
of him, even at this distance in time, well-nigh impossible to resist,
since through the length and breadth of him a wicked spirit seems to
look at you through the mist, out of very spirited eyes fairly dancing
with mischief, still it is the “Thunder-bird” who is the reigning spirit
of these totems, swaying the imagination of the tribe far more than the
whale, or the bear, who is here depicted holding against his great hairy
breast the sacred “copper” emblem of “Chieftaincy” to this day. Even to
uninitiated eyes there is a magic weirdness in the very look of the
“Thunder-bird”. Its beak resembles somewhat the prows of two _kayaks_
inverted one above the other. The bow of the lower, forming the under
half of the beak, is hinged and allowed to drop open on state occasions.
At the time of the potlatch, by dint of much writhing and wriggling, the
“braves” make their entrance to the house of entertainment through the
“Thunder-bird’s” open mouth. It requires but little imagination to see
how this beak might be converted into a diabolical trap. Indeed, there
is a story common in Alert Bay that at one time a tribe of enemies were
invited to “potlatch” and treacherously slain, a man at a time, as they
entered the house through the beak, the arrangement being such that no
Indian on the outside knew what was happening till he received his death
wound. The entire number of guests was thus wiped out.

Standing before the bird, mystery shrouding the crude mechanism, you
feel that it was designed for some such _coup d’etat_ as the one cited.
It is so simple and so subtle withal. Every time you see an Indian pass
it, stolid and reserved, he seems to glance that way with satisfaction,
proud that here among his people should be a device that holds the
interest of the _white_ man, to the extent of repeated visits, if his
stay in the neighbourhood be for long. The times assure us that the
treacherous “feast-of-blood” will never be repeated. Yet the potlatch
survives and who, even of the Indians, knows if the diabolical spirit of
the bird is dead?

It is not altogether the natural scenery that makes the mystery and
charm for the visitor to Alert Bay, but rather those unfathomable,
sometimes intangible things, which having no articulate voice yet speak
with marvellous power to every generation, and I suppose _have_ so
spoken since the dawn of time. One day as we were looking the
“Thunder-bird” in the eye, trying to read his secret, a group of little
Indian boys played nearby with their bows and arrows. Presently another
lad came out of a “community house” with his family coffee-pot, which he
set up on a post for a target. Soon the twang of the bow-strings and the
tinkle of the falling coffee-pot spoke eloquently of the quality of the
youngster’s markmanship. Over against the sea-edge of the board-walk a
group of men and fat _kloochmans_ (squaws) squatted on logs, watching
the tableau and giving a deep, satisfied grunt every time the
coffee-pot was shot from its perch. To the Indian–whose ancestors
fought the giant sulphur-bottom, single-handed, on his own ground, and
invented the Thunder-bird’s wily beak to trap the foe–skill in the use
of the bow and arrow even to-day is of far more value than any
coffee-pot ever made! At least the Indian mind is not _hampered_ by
little things! Marksmanship is still the perfection of acquirements to
him. All his training hitherto has been along such lines. It is in his
blood. But in these days, he turns his skill to different ends. He is
broad and big in his conception of nationality now, where formerly it
was the “tribe” that was the biggest concept of his days. To-day the
Alert Bay Indian almost reverences the privileges of nationality! The
British flag means so big a thing to him that when at death he now
consents to be buried in the ground instead of being put far up in one
of the giant trees in some old box or trunk much too short for his six
feet unless doubled up once or twice, he usually has one and sometimes
two or three handsome British flags set up over his grave on a pole or
an overhanging tree–a rich bit of colour among the dark green pines.
What faith in the flag and in its conquering ability to drive away evil
spirits! Day and night, year in and year out, above that lone grave in
the mists “the flag is still there”–waving above great painted whales,
giant kingfishers, yellow moths and other symbols of name and place.

In keeping with this loyal spirit is “the roll of honour” hanging on the
little English church door! An honour roll on which the names of red men
and white men commingle! Some of the volunteers have made “the supreme
sacrifice” “somewhere in France”, and are now taking their long sleep
under the poppies in Flanders; and “the flag is still there,” with its
deeper significance for the red man than ever before. For with his
life’s blood he has bought the right to add it, a new theme, to his
family totem.

A splendid work is being done among the Alert Bay Indians by both the
Government and the Church. The Indian agent here is a hardy Ontario
Scotsman, who understands the Indian and has won his confidence to a
splendid degree. “‘Tis true,” he himself assured us, “they still live in
the community-house. But I’m not sure,” he added with characteristic
Scotch humour, “but what the hole in the roof gives better ventilation
than the window in the pretty cottage that’s never opened.”

[Illustration:

THE FAMILY TREE OF THE
PACIFIC COAST INDIANS.]

[Illustration:

SPIRIT OF THE UNTAMED.]

The work of the minister and his assistant teachers in the boys’ school,
and the English women giving their lives to work among the girls, is
another fine medium for developing patriotism in the Indians here and to
the north. Indian children appear at these schools from “anywhere up
Arctic way” and on their arrival are frequently suffering from
troublesome diseases, of which they must be cured before anything can be
done for them from the teaching point of view. The kindness and skill of
the teacher in such cases does much to win the love and respect of whole
tribes whom she has never seen and probably never will. On the other
hand, the Indians have never seen her, but in their minds these teachers
belong to the flag–the big scarlet flag that they love, and that, is
enough.

The teacher in charge of the Indian Girls’ School at Alert is the oldest
daughter of an English colonel of the Imperial army, a man who, in his
prime, superintended the construction of one or two forts which in their
day were rated as “Keys of Empire”. She considers her life well spent
here and although she and her father are separated by vast distances,
they are united in the national service; and I take it the old colonel
is as proud of his daughter and her work as of his forts. Here at school
the future chiefs and braves and squaws of tribes-to-be learn to speak
the mother tongue–English, the language of the world–with passable
fluency, though, often coming from far-distant sections of the
Northland, they cannot understand or speak each other’s dialect–a fact
rather surprising to the casual visitor, who is apt to fall into the
error of thinking all Indians speak the same language.

Sunday at Alert Bay offers rare opportunities to the visitor. Dropping
in to church in the morning, it is indeed a novel service one happens
on, all the old familiar prayers and hymns in the strange tongue that
seems to express only k, w and a sounds! After church an incoming
steamer with passengers from the North offers a very satisfactory excuse
for a stroll along “Totem Avenue”, where Indians of all ages sit sunning
themselves, or are arriving and departing in family groups in the
_kayak_ to visit some distant settlement far up the Nimkish. The young
folk in their civilized and rather good, if somewhat bright-coloured
“Sunday bests”, are all down on the Cannery pier, seeing the crowd come
off the boat. The older women, not caring for such “modern proceedings”,
paddle off alone in _kayaks_ to gather driftwood from the opposite
shores of the bay; the shore-edge of the tree-cemetery being an
excellent “catch” for the “chips” that are the gift of the sea.

But it is the Indian of the week-day, the Indian going about his
business, that spells the most interest after all. A stroll along the
boardwalk then reveals sights that have to do with subjects of
world-wide interest–like food supplies and women at work. For it is the
Indian woman (_kloochman_) who does the work, as board-walk scenes so
frequently demonstrate. A group of squaws–bending low, heads
together–on the grass at the front door of a cottage are trussing up a
dozen juicy salmon between home-made frames of clean pine-sticks. A
little nearby shack, from every crevice of which an acrid smell
proceeds, proclaims the “smoke-house”. A proper fire is revealed every
time the crude door swings on its creaking hinge to admit another fish
to the council of its peers. A little farther along, an old squaw sits
crouched on a shawl on a float under the wet pier-head, cleaning,
opening and splitting salmon from a loaded _kayak_. Every now and then
talking to herself, she works away with a will, while you, looking on
from above, wish you understood enough of her guttural talk to tell
whether she herself was the Izaak Walton of this good catch or whether
it was her lord and master, who has walked off and left her all the
dirty work of preparing the fish while he squats on the bench in the
little summer house that forms part of the sea wall, and smokes.

Farther along the beach little smoke-houses sweat and smoke–veritable
volcanoes of the trade! For it is part of the life that every cottage
and community-house should smoke its own winter supply of salmon. In the
community-houses the fish is hung to smell and smoke anew over the
perpetual flame that burns on the open hearth in the middle of the
floor.

Such an odour of fish as greets the nostrils of a caller at the door of
one of these community-houses! It takes courage to cross that threshold,
and if in the middle of your call the _chef_ of one of the many
families, reaching aloft to the cross-pole from which the fish hangs,
brings down a piece to cook over the altar fire, the smells which went
before are as nothing to the vile odours now filling the room and
lifting themselves to heaven through the hole in the roof.

In the community-house no one seems to mind, but all squat around in the
semi-darkness and smoke, hugging knees and drawing on pipes, gazing in
meditative silence at some old fellow stirring a pot of boiling rice
perched in the elbow of the burning stump, with a wooden spoon,
blackened and polished with age, and of a pattern suggesting the
unearthed treasures of Thebes. Over at one side of the room, in a
compartment partitioned off by cracker-boxes and blowing curtains, and
all open on the side facing the fire, sits an aged woman, claiming to be
a hundred years at least, and how much older–who can tell?–weaving
pretty little baskets to sell to visitors from the boats. Despite her
great age, the old woman has all her faculties and is really an
interesting personality, dyeing some of the roots and straw and weaving
fancy patterns into her basketry. In the room on the opposite side of
the cracker-box partition, another woman kneels before a crude loom, on
which hangs a half-woven blanket. From out the gloom of distance the man
interested in the rice fetches an armful of sticks and under their
influence the fire leaps into a big blaze, revealing more compartments
in which women work, or sick children lie in bed looking wistfully at
the leaping fire. In some enclosures no one is at home, but outside on
the boardwalk in the dusk of the evening, wending our way homeward to
our room in the old Mission-house, we often met the squaws returning
from the woods, large hand-woven baskets of _scarlet_ huckleberries,
neatly covered with cool sprigs of evergreen, strapped to their backs by
hand-embroidered bands of wampum. Next morning little pats of drying
fruit, set breast-high on a clean pine board on a post between the sea
and the boardwalk, with a man’s hat and coat hung over them to scare off
the crows of which there are great numbers at Alert Bay, give one an
inkling that even the Indian woman has heard the echo of the “Preserve
or Perish” slogan of her more southern sisters and is doing her “bit”.

No one goes to Alert Bay and comes away without paying a visit to “Old
Kitty”–a rheumaticky old soul squatting on the floor of a tiny cabin
whose open door adjoins the boardwalk. Kitty _loves_ tobacco! Her heart
goes out to anyone bringing a present of the weed. Kitty also confirms
one’s faith in the Indian woman’s jam-making ability. Jars, bottles,
bowls, old cracked cups and mugs, old spoutless teapots, etc., all
overflowing with stewed fruit, stare at you from all directions. Tables
and chairs are not popular with the average Indian. Kitty, squatting on
the floor, pipe in mouth, has all her possessions scattered around her.
The jam-pots flank the little floor-bed, outline the rude little
pillows, are marshalled four-square against the mop-boards, and others
more timid or worse cracked than their fellows are propped up behind the
little old stove, itself dropping to pieces! Apparently Kitty is a happy
old soul, with a great capacity for jam. One is puzzled to know how she
gets sugar enough for it all, until one learns that she picks up a
living by mending socks and stockings–everybody’s in town, from the
minister’s down, at five cents a pair.

But Alert Bay food-producing and economy in food do not begin and end
with Indians. The white man here takes a big hand along these lines. The
salmon cannery collects fish for the home market and for shipment
abroad, from motor-boat and _kayak_ alike. The lumber-mill makes
fish-boxes for the Canadian Pacific coast and with its waste the great
mill warms the whole village without distinction of colour, setting free
much coal for use in other parts of the country where wood is not to be
had.

Wireless, too, does its share from its place on the top of the hill
above the totems, to keep open and safe the navigation up and down this
dangerous coast for the Alaskan ships carrying copper and fish.

For all emergencies there is a good-sized hospital. Here lumberjacks,
meeting with an accident in felling or handling the giant trees and
timber which are helping to give Canada a mercantile marine, are brought
for medical treatment and care.

Alert Bay on account of its situation is a meeting-place for all sorts
of interesting people. There is only one hotel and that, picturesquely
enough, is the old Mission-house, which with its huge timbered ceilings
and tales of early days and Indians would fill a book with sketches.
Here over the crackling fire roaring in the great chimney-place
“trail-beaters” for the woods, mines, or fisheries succeed each other in
endless procession, yarning of experiences, as they wait for a steamer
“up” or “down”. Here is Canadian history in the making–yarns that are
world-history, too. For men from this “company from the hinterlands” of
British Columbia and Alaska who sat here by the fire often enough in the
old days, have, many of them, travelled far since then, some never to
return.

Truly the currents and cross-currents, as well as undercurrents, of life
here are past finding out, and that is what lends atmosphere to this
niche in the coast. If it lacked these mysterious happenings and these
out-of-the-ordinary people, it would have no more charm than dozens of
other places one could name. Life is never dull here, where action is
the keynote and where extremes are always meeting. Alert Bay is an
outpost truly Canadian, truly British. Therefore one is not surprised
here, on stepping into the rectory drawing-room, to come upon a bit of
our social life at its best; the rector’s wife pouring tea for several
of the teachers–the doctor who has dropped in from the hospital, a
visiting minister and wife from the mainland, the cannery operator’s
bride, etc., with, over the teacups, the usual interesting talk.

A visit to the Indian agent’s attractive home, redolent of cosy comfort,
produces an equally good cup of tea and reminiscences of interest
connected with the Indians for the past quarter of a century. At the
Mission-house there’s a scholarly old Scotsman of the clan MacLean and
his wife “Becky”, always ready with a story and tea, and making a real
home at the old mission for men who are carving Canada’s fortunes out of
the northern wilderness. Indeed, you may sip your five o’clock tea in as
cosy and homelike drawing-rooms and from as delicate china in Alert Bay
as anywhere in Canada; which, considering its remoteness, speaks well
for those who are _holding_ this outpost of the red men with totem
pedigrees! The Indians need, and deserve, a high standard. With their
“family” they have an idea of what’s what, and who’s who. No one stands
more on his dignity than an Indian! One Sunday afternoon we were
received by the present chief and his wife. They live in a neat cottage,
furnished with chairs, tables and rugs and having family portraits on
the walls. At our request the chief donned his handsome official coat,
covered with symbols of great snakes, bears and eagles wrought in beads.
Courteously he explained the significance of each emblem. He also
brought out a handsomely carved “speech-pole”, taller than himself, and
showed with pride the “copper”, which is the most important emblem of
office. For the “copper” he paid five hundred dollars. The chief speaks
very good English, is a pillar in the church, and enjoys a potlach. In
other words, he is a man of parts.

The potlatch is a giving-away feast among the Indians. Wishing to
impress the tribes with the importance of himself and family, some man
announces a potlatch. Frequently he spends thousands of dollars on his
gifts–hundreds of sacks of flour or as many blankets as will reach from
one totem to another half a mile away. China and glassware, pots and
pans are favourite gifts. A roaring fire in a selected community-house,
guests in costume, a wild-man hunt, braves dancing and a good wild time,
lasting sometimes for several months. This is the potlatch–a sort of
winter carnival. On the most important night the chief, donning his
robes, enters, speech-pole in hand, and makes the address to his people.
On these occasions he is accompanied by his wife and son, the latter
wearing a robe embroidered in design with many pearl buttons, and on his
head a heavy crown of yew-wood, inlaid with mother-of-pearl and
ornamented with sea-lion whiskers. The potlatch, however barbaric in its
dances and roaring fires and flickering light and shadows, is now within
civilized bounds when compared with the traditions of those of the long
ago. The Indian is now beginning to see other more profitable ways for
investing money. With his wider knowledge, comes a moderation of old
habits. They do not now “potlatch” every year. The young folk are not
enthusiastic, having other ambitions. Their friends and brothers were
“overseas” in that strange, rare, old world of Europe in the Great War.
Who knows what new ideas of life took root with every word that trickled
to this people of the coast, from their “boys” at the front? The Alert
Bay Indians never saw a train full of returned soldiers coming in, or a
ship with men from overseas dock at Halifax, but they had a glimpse now
and then of British naval authority in the rattle of a gunboat’s chains
coming to anchor in the little bay. None knew whence these little boats
came or whither they went, but while in port, the gray hull and shining
brass, angled-cannon, hour-bells and bugle-calls, were tangible proofs
of that larger fleet which keeps England “Mistress of the Seas”.

They know, these braves of the family tree, that the son of their agent,
who lived down the “Avenue” and played with their lads as a boy, fought
in the navy at Gallipoli. They know that their sons and brothers were at
Ypres with the rector’s son, who will never come back.

It is comforting to realize that the Canadian Government’s confidence in
the coastal Indian has not been misplaced. For not only did he serve
abroad, adding fresh glory on the battlefields of France to the “totems”
which are a landmark, not alone to his own people, but to the entire
Pacific coast, but at home he was and is a food-producer, when it comes
to salmon, of no mean accomplishments. And salmon, be it known, is an
important item in the life of Canada.