Tsilhqot’in Travel and Trade by James Teit, 1909
The canoes used by the Chilcotin were formerly of bark, most of them probably the same in type as those of the Carrier. It seems, however, that two or three styles were found, one of them approximating to the “sturgeon-nose” canoe used by the Shuswap. Canoes roughly dug out of balsam-poplar trees were made use of; and after the introduction of steel axes, these and log rafts entirely displaced the old types of bark canoes.
The Chilcotin frequently bridged streams of considerable size with constructions on the cantilever principle. As among other tribes, goods were transported on the back with tump-lines. Most of these were made of dressed skin, but some were woven of goat-wool and bark thread, and others of elŠagnus-bark.
Dogs were used for packing, as among the Shuswap and Carrier, and were also employed in the winter-time for drawing sleds. The latter were practically the same as those still used by the Carrier. Snowshoes were much used, and were of two or three types, similar to those of the Carrier. The ground sticks were generally of mountain-maple wood; and the fillings, of caribou babiche. Webbed walking-sticks like those of the Carrier and Shuswap were also used in the winter-time.
Horses were introduced at a much later date than among the Shuswap, and probably not before 1870 had they become common. At the present day the eastern bands of the Chilcotin are well supplied with horses, and the Anahem Indians do much teaming for the whites.
Trade was carried on chiefly with the Bella Coola and the Ca˝on division of the Shuswap. From the former the tribe procured principally dried salmon, salmon and olachen oil, dentalium and abelone shells, paint, some copper, a few goat-wool blankets, a little cedar-bark, and occasionally cedar-wood boxes and dishes. In later days they also received some iron and iron tools. In exchange they gave cakes of service-berries, cakes of soap-berries, snowshoes, dressed caribou and deer skins, goat-skins, and furs. From the Shuswap the tribe obtained dried salmon, said to be superior to that procured from the Bella Coola, salmon-oil, red paint, deer and elk skins, some bark thread, and in later days tobacco and horses; also part of the Chilcotin supply of copper and iron seems to have been obtained from the Shuswap. They gave the latter in return dentalium-shells, goat's-wool blankets, woven rabbit and lynx skin blankets, dressed caribou-skin, raw marmot-skins. With the Carrier and Lillooet the tribe seems to have traded very little. They had four routes to the coast south of Bella Coola, leading to Knight Inlet, Bute Inlet, Toba Inlet, and Jervis Inlet respectively. The last of these, however, was seldom used; and, on the whole, comparatively little trading was carried on with the tribes occupying these inlets, who seem to have been suspicious of the Chilcotin, whom they considered guilty of sometimes murdering their hunters and stealing women.
The Chilcotin appear to have procured their first articles of white man's manufacture from the Bella Coola, in the latter part of the eighteenth century. After the establishment of trading-posts in the Carrier country in the early part of the nineteenth century, they procured many things through the Carrier, and at a somewhat later date also through the Shuswap. About the middle of the last century they had a sub-trading post of the Hudson Bay Company in their midst for several years. It was located on the north bank of the Chilcotin River, a little above the mouth of the Chilco.
Source: James Teit, "Travel and Trade" in The Jesup North Pacific Expedition, Memoir of the American Museum of Natural History, Franz Boas (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1909), 782-784.
|Home | Context | War | Aftermath | Interpretations | Archives | Timeline|