First Peoples of Yale and Spuzzum
Four kilometres above Yale is one of the oldest archaeological digs in British Columbia. Named the Milliken Site after Yale historian August 'Gus' Milliken, who had uncovered artifacts in the area; the resulting dig produced evidence that people had lived there over 9,000 years ago.
The aboriginal people of the lower Fraser Canyon are of two separate yet closely intertwined groups. The people of Yale are called 'Tait', and used to speak a form of Halkomelem, as well as communicating in the language of their close upriver neighbours.
The Spuzzum people are called N'Laka'pamux 1, formerly referred to as the Thompson Tribe. They spoke N'Laka'pamuxcin, and they are closely related to the people in the Lytton/Boston Bar/Merritt/Spences Bridge areas.
The two villages are so close together (12 miles apart) that nearly everyone is related to each other through blood and marriage.
Over the years since contact with white people, many cultural things have been lost, such as language, songs, crafts, and customs.
Two traditions that have been retained are dip net fishing in the canyon, along with celebration of the First Fish Ceremony; and the skill of coiled basketry.
Basketmakers of the Fraser Canyon are famous
to anthropologists and collectors the world over. Certain women have retained the skill, and continue to slowly pass on their craft to those who wish to learn.
The people featured in this storyline are generally the basketmakers, their husbands who are descended from these same family lines, and the chiefs of Yale and Spuzzum.
The genealogy of the Yale and Spuzzum First Nations are very inter-related, and though many have moved away over the years, five basic families remain, and their mutual descendants are easy to track.
The five families are the descendants of Pelek; of Liquitum, & Chapmans, Charlies, and Bobbs.
We will focus on four of the families; we do not have enough information on the Bobbs to include them at this time.
We hope you enjoy these colourful people from the Fraser Canyon's past and present.
1- Roughly pronounced 'n - la - KAP - muh'
Milliken Site Archaeological Site Dug during the 1960's
Following the Family Lines
The genealogy of the Yale and Spuzzum First Nations are intertwined, so we have placed them in this order:
1) Yale Family Line from Chief Liquitum to the Hope Family of Yale
2, 3) Spuzzum Family Lines from Chief Pelek, to the Hope Family of Yale and to the Clare/York Families of Yale & Spuzzum
4) Chapman Family of Spuzzum
5) Charlie Family of Yale
The basic trees look like this:
Families 1, 2, & 3
1 2 3
James James Paul Amelia
George Hope Rosie Clara Clare
Alfred Hope ------------- Lena Mae Algie
Lawrence Hope Clare Chrane
David Hope ----------------- Irene Bjerky
Families 4 & 5
MA & C Charlie A & C Chapman
J & P Charlie ---------------- Annie Charlie
Sisters Lena & Elsie Charlie
Marion Cathy, Christina, etc.
This is a very shortened version, just to attempt to clarify why the storyline proceeds in the order it does.
It should be somewhat easier to follow while reading the biographies if one understands that we present two sets of ancestors before culminating in the people of the present day.
You will not see biographies done on most of the descendants at the bottoms of the lists, mainly for protection of privacy. One note, the result of #'s 1 and 2, David Hope, is the spouse of his contemperary in Family # 3, Irene Bjerky.
Irene is the author of all of the aboriginal content of this storyline, through previous research, which has been edited for this project.
We fear this is as clear as mud to most students, but hope it will help those who are truly interested in the genealogy of the people of the Fraser Canyon.
Written by Irene Bjerky
Chief Emmitt Liquatum of Yale
Chief Emmitt Liquitum of Yale
A Grand Chief and a Great Leader
As can be seen from his photo, Chief Liquitum was a stylish man. He wore a top hat, smoked a distinctive ceramic pipe, and dressed well. He was a very important person in the society of Yale and surrounding areas and a great leader of the Yale or Tait people in the 19th century, during or after the Gold Rush. He was what we would now call a Grand Chief, commanding the attention of all of the Tait leaders of the bands around Yale, as well as the downriver ones. It was he that visiting aboriginal people went to for permission to fish the waters in the lower Fraser Canyon. It was he that European leaders consulted with when they wanted to deal with local native people.
We don't know exactly when he was born or when he died, but he is recorded as the chief of Yale in 1878 and 1888, and most likely at least a few years before and after that date. This was an important time for Yale people, as the Canadian Pacific Railroad was being built, B.C. was a brand new province, and many significant people were around the village. Yale was the boomtown of British Columbia, and saw up to 30,000 travelers during the Gold Rush.
Andrea Laforet mentions him in her "Spuzzum" book as 'Lekutum, chief at Yale in 1888'. He is listed in both the 1878 and 1881 Indian Censuses of Yale. A ledger passed down to Walter Chrane from his grandfather William Teague is titled 'Yale & Hope Indian Mission; Showing the Names and Ages of the Catechumens; Organized October 21st, 1867', by Reverend David Holmes. This ledger lists Lequaltum, James Treylayqualtat, son of Lequaltum; Lucy Lawatsat, wife of Lequaltum; and David, grandson of Lequaltum.
Another possible family member is Matilda Edwards, daughter of Emma Leakatum and Duck Edwards. She married August Castle of Yale when both were at a young age, and the marriage was annulled shortly after.
We know very little of Chief Liquitum's personal life so far, except that he had wives and children. He must have had many descendants, but the ones that we know of for almost certain are the Hope family in and around Yale.
His full name was mentioned in one paper as Ehm-Mit Liquitum, as can be seen on a large white iron cross in the Yale Indian Cemetery, marking his grave. It reads Emmit Liquitum.
We are sure he was the father of Chief James, according to the Lena Hope interview and oral history told by Mrs. Gladys Chrane to her son Walter. In any case, he passed his office down to James. At this point in history the office was often hereditary, and this seems to hold true when Chief James passed his power on to George Hope, either his son or son-in-law. The chain of this leadership was broken when George's son, Alfred, moved to Seabird Island in the early 1920's, and Chief Jimmy Charlie led the people for a while. The Emery family continued on the chieftainship until the 1970's, when Andy Hope was elected, then Robert Hope, who has been the present elected chief since 1984.
Lena Hope talked about a painting made of the grandfather/chief, and says that Mrs. Chrane has it. This is the painting owned by Walter Chrane, and his mother Gladys (daughter of government agent Wm. Teague) told him that this painting is of Chief Liquitum, whom he thought was mentioned in the Howay/Scholefield, with the photo.
Chief Emmitt Liquatum lived in a changing of times, when the only proper records of birth, marriage and death for aboriginal people were verbal and oral histories. Even at this time the European settlers were keeping records their vital events in writing, while Liquitum and the Tait people relied on the spoken word and understood relationships between cousins.
The elder ladies of the band kept the genealogies intact, in their heads, to prevent any cousin from inadvertently marrying a cousin. The rules were quite strict, and indeed, carried on into the 20th century. This was seen even into the 1960's, when a young woman married into a family that was blood related, but there was no actual blood tie to the cousins (a lot of step-uncles and step-aunties). When the couple wanted to marry, there was a great uproar, even though everyone knew that they weren't really cousins except through marriage.
The couple did marry, had three children (+ one adopted), and lived happily until the husband's death many years later.
Written by Irene Bjerky
Chief James of Yale
1831 - 1922
Chief James appears to have been a powerful man. He was very vocal and instrumental in the world of aboriginal rights, having to do with the land and fishing rights. He is mentioned countless times in all records of that period, especially DIA and Royal Commission records.
He was quite involved with the Royal Commission of 1914. The Commission was called after blasting by the CNR caused a rockslide at Hell's Gate. The rockslide completely blocked off the river there, creating irreparable damage to the salmon runs. He was also involved in disputes over fishing sites at Yale, and won his case. (See DIA Letterbooks, 1989 - 1899).
We have no concrete records of his wife and children, but in a 1956 letter to Indian Affairs, Alfred Hope states that his house in Yale was given to him by his grandfather, Chief James. 1 He is listed as the Yale Chief in the 1901 British Columbia Census. There are also many references to him in the DIA Letterbooks between 1897 & 1913. He died in Yale in 1922 of old age at 91.
Written by Irene Bjerky
1 Letter dated September 25th, 1956 from Alfred Hope to J.C. Letcher, DIA Agent
George Hope and Louisa James
At this point in our research, all we know about George and Louisa is that they were the parents of Alfred (aka Albert) Hope, that married Lena Charlie; who were the parents of Lawrence Hope.
We do not know if Chief James was the father of George or of Louisa, but we have a clue in the interview with Lena Hope by Oliver Wells. 2 Lena states that the old Chief is the grandfather of her husband, Alfred Hope. She says that the name of the old chief is Malo:ylheq, or Chief James. He was the chief when they got married in 1917.
She talks about a painting made of the grandfather, and says that Mrs. Chrane has it. This is the painting owned by my dad, Walter Chrane, and his mother Gladys told him that this painting is Chief Liquitum, pictured at the beginning of this storyline.
This is an excerpt of a letter from DIA Agent Frank Devlin to Fergus Laidlaw, manager of the Delta Cannery. "He also suggests that he write George Hope at Yale. "I don't think the Yale Indians have made arrangements yet where they are going to fish this season. At least they had not when I was at Yale about three weeks ago. The Chief (James) at Yale never comes to the canneries and George Hope is next in command." 3
Following the hereditary traditions of chieftainship, this shows that George Hope was most likely the son of Chief James, although the fact that his wife was named Louisa James could mean that she was the daughter of the Chief. Before aboriginal people had last names, they were usually given their father's name as a last name. It is still a mystery at this time, but we know for sure that one of them was definitely the child of Chief James.
We don't have birth, marriage or death records for Louisa or George Hope. They are probably buried at either Yale or Seabird Island. The 1901 British Columbia Census records show that they are: George, 34; Louisa, 34; with children Ellen, 10; Alfred, 8; Mary, 6; and Malissa, 2.
Written by Irene Bjerky
2- See Pages 7-10, Lena Hope interview with Oliver Wells, September 28th, 1967
3- Page 55 DIA Letterbook 1898-1899, RG 10 Volume 1452
Chief Pelek of Spuzzum
Greeted Simon Fraser in 1808
Chief Pelek was the man who led Simon Fraser across the creek in 1808 to look at the graves. "Seeing tombs of a curious construction at the Forks (the mouth of Spuzzum Creek) on the opposite (West) side, I asked permission of the Chief to go and pay them a visit. This he readily granted, and he accompanied us himself. These Tombs are superior to any thing of the kind I ever saw among the savages. They are about fifteen feet long and of the form of a chest of drawers. Upon the boards and posts are carved beasts and birds, in a curious but rude manner, yet pretty well proportioned. These monuments must have cost the workmen much time and labour, as they were destitute of proper tools for the execution of such a performance. Around the tombs were deposited all the property of the deceased." 1
We have never found a birth or death record for Chief Pelek, but it appears he was still alive in 1881, as he is listed in that Indian Census as living in the house of Chief James Kowpelst, who was most likely his son. Pelek is referred to as 'the Old Chief'.
There is a statement about him given by Clara Clare to Donald Sage in 1963: "She stated that her grandfather was the local Indian Chief at Spuzzum (Pelak) who guided Simon Fraser across the river from the West to the East side of the Fraser. She also stated that her grandfather knew that Fraser and his party were coming."
The previous paragraph to the 'tombs' excerpt showed the hospitality of Chief Pelek and his people: "We came to a small camp of Indians consisting of about 60 persons. The name of the place is Spazum (Spuzzum), and is the boundary line between the Hacamaugh (N'Laka'pamux) and the Ackinroe Nations. Here as usual we were hospitably entertained, with fresh Salmon boiled and roasted, green and dried berries, oil and onions."
Written by Irene Bjerky
1 Pages 97-98, Simon Fraser Letters & Journals, 1808
Chief James Kowpelst of Spuzzum
We have no birth or death records for Chief James Kowpelst, but he is most likely the son of Chief Pelek, who greeted Simon Fraser. He is listed in the 1878 and 1881 Indian Censuses, as the Spuzzum Chief 1, and his wife is recorded as Tatata, age 40. 2
Chief Kowpelst was the father of Telxkn, who married Shwatpetkwn. These were the parents of Chief James Paul 'Xixne' and Amelia York, 'C'ey'kn'.
Telxkn never lived to become chief, but the power was passed down to his son, Chief James Paul.
Kowpelst is mentioned quite often in the Laforet/York "Spuzzum" book.3 He was a man of much influence and power, and is almost certainly buried in the Spuzzum Indian Cemetery.
Written by Irene Bjerky
1- February 17th, 1868, page 19, Yale & Hope Indian Mission, David Holmes, 1867
2 - Page 39, Yale & Hope Indian Mission, David Holmes, 1867
3- Laforet/York, "Spuzzum: Fraser Canyon Histories, 1808-1939"
Chief James Paul of Spuzzum
1834 - 1932
Chief James Paul was the contemporary of Chief James 1 of Yale. His granddaughter Lena Charlie married Alfred Hope, the grandson of Chief James.
Chief James Paul was the son of Telxkn 2 and probably the grandson of Chief Kowpelst. 3 His father died before he could become chief, so James Paul carried on the chieftanship.
Before he married Susan Kalashe, James Paul had terrible luck with wives. His first wife was Bessie (Dick), from a village upriver from Spuzzum, called 'Gold Nugget'. James and Bessie had one son, Henry James 'Xin. When Bessie ran away, to later marry Chief Dick, James was left with a small child to raise. James asked his sister Amelia York to raise his child Henry; which she did until he remarried.
His second wife was named Tamilce, and they had a son Peykawtkn, who died at North Bend when he was a young man. Tamilce also left James.
James lucked out at last when he married Susan Kalashe, the daughter of Susan of Spuzzum and a chief of Boothroyd. Susan already had two daughters by a packer named Guttieriez, (Rosalia and Maria) so James adopted the girls and he and Susan had four more children. These were Marion (Annie Dodd), Mali (Margaret McInnes), Edward, and Sarah. Susan was a fine basketmaker, and passed her expertise on to her daughters. Lawrence Hope has baskets made by his grandmother Rosie Charlie and her sister, his great-aunt Annie Dodd.
James finally had a complete family with his two previous sons, his two adopted daughters, and his four children by Susan. He now had eight children, and held a position of power in the little community of Spuzzum. Chief James Paul became an active member of his church, and attempted to get a local school started for the children of Spuzzum. His name appears many times as a sponsor for baptisms and confirmations, and most meetings for the school were held at his house. The bid for a school was unsuccessful, and DIA policy led to the children of Spuzzum being sent as far away as Sechelt for their education. This was a detriment, and contributed to the drying up of Spuzzum as any kind of a productive community.
Chief James Paul was also mentioned many times during the Royal Commission of 1914. To see the extent of his work in the community, a must read is "Spuzzum", by Andrea Laforet.
Chief James Paul died in 1932, and is buried in the Spuzzum Indian Cemetery beside his wife, Susan Paul.
Written by Irene Bjerky
1 See Chief James Bio
2 Pronounced Telch-ken (ch as in German ach)
3 See James Kowpelst Bio
Burden Basket by Susan Paul
1847 - 1931
"It is hardly fair to judge No. 25 by the photographs and sketches which she could identify as having been made by her, because she was nearly blind. In her younger days she had been one of the finest weavers. She discovered four designs that apparently had originated with her, among them two unusual kinds of arrowheads, and 806, a thunderbird , which in itself would be enough to convince the student of her ability as an artist and technician." 1
Susan Kalalse was the great-grandmother of Lawrence Hope. She was born in Spuzzum about 1847. Her father is recorded as Oshosesk of Inkitsaph, Boothroyd IR #6, north of Boston Bar. Her mother is just recorded as Susan, of Spuzzum birth.
Susan Kalalse had two daughters with a Mexican packer, one of the Gutterriez brothers. The girls were Rosalia or Rosie, who later married Chief Jimmy Charlie; and Marie or Maria.
Susan eventually gave up on the packer and married Chief James Paul (Xixne) of Spuzzum , and had three children with him; Mary 'Mali' (McInnes), Edward, and Marion (Annie Dodd). She was also the stepmother to Henry James, the Chief's son by a previous marriage to Bessie Dick (later the wife of Chief Dick).
Susan was a great supporter of the Church: her name appears many times as a sponsor in the baptismal register, along with her husband. Chief James Paul was also a leader of the Spuzzum men who attempted to have a school opened for the local children.
"Spuzzum people, particularly James Paul and his wife Susan made substantial and definitive contributions to two of James Teit's major publications on N'Laka'pamux culture; 'Mythology of the Thompson Indians' and 'Coiled Basketry in BC and Surrounding Region', and probably to 'The Thompson Indians of British Columbia'." 2
Susan was an excellent basketmaker, and you can see some of her work 3 in the Yale Museum. Her interview by James Teit also mentions that "Some of the designs which Mrs. Paul executed are to be seen in Sketches 79-81, 197, 198, 208, 240, 241, 257, 292, 308, 382, 399, 400, 519, 806, and a number of others not in the sketches."
He then goes on to list a series of photographic plates, but we are not absolutely sure if he means that those are also her baskets. It appears so. 4 He further comments, "It will be remembered that No. 25, Mrs. Paul, has been mentioned a number of times throughout the book as being particularly well informed about her craft and likewise a very excellent technician. Much of the information about the practices of the basket maker was obtained from her."
Susan Paul died of old age at Spuzzum in 1931 at age 84. Her husband predeceased her in 1926 at 92. They are buried beside each other in the Spuzzum Indian Cemetery.
Written by Irene Bjerky
1- Teit's Coiled Basketry of BC, p. 462
2- Laforet/York p.194
3- #984.5.1, Historic Yale Museum
4- Teit's "Coiled Basketry of BC", p. 446-7
Rosie Guterriez Paul Charlie
1868 - 1943
Rosie Charlie was Lawrence Hope's grandmother. Rosalia began her life as the child of a Mexican packtrainer called Gutterriez, in Spuzzum about 1868, along with another sister named Maria.
Rosie's mother Susan Kalalse 1 eventually gave up on the absent packer, and married Chief James Paul Xixné 2 of Spuzzum, who adopted Rose and Maria as daughters after the marriage. Susan and Chief Paul gave them three more siblings; Mary (Mali), Marion (Annie), and Edward, as well as two older half brothers, one who became Chief Henry James, and one called David Peykawtkn, who died as a young man in North Bend.
Rosie was recorded in various documents by the names Rose Gutterriez, Rosalia, Rosie Paul, Rose Charlie, and Rosie Charlie. Though her marriage record lists her as Rose Gutterriez, her death record lists her father as Chief James Paul, who was her stepfather.
Rosie gave birth to Lena Charlie in 1902, by Charlie of North Bend. 3 In 1905 she had a daughter, Gladys, by Harry James of Lytton. 4 Lena eventually married Alfred Hope of Yale in 1917. We don't know what happened to Gladys.
Rose Gutterriez Paul married Chief Jimmy Charlie (1863-1943) of Yale. Their Catholic record shows that they were married in Spuzzum in (unknown date, perhaps 1918). They lived on the north side of Yale Creek where the Charlie's have always lived, by Mary Ann Creek, and in later years they moved with her daughter Lena, and Alfred Hope, to farm on Seabird Island; though they both retained their membership in the Yale Band.
Rosie has no less than seven beautiful baskets on display in the Yale Museum. Throughout her life Rosie passed on the fine Spuzzum basketry to her daughters, granddaughters and nieces. One large basket may be on display in the Vancouver Museum.
Rosie Charlie was admitted to Coqualeetza Indian Hospital in Sardis, and later died there of pulmonary tuberculosis on June 4th, 1943. She was buried in the Seabird Island Cemetery. Her husband Chief Jimmy also died in 1943, and was buried beside her.
Written by Irene Bjerky
1 See Susan Paul Bio
2 See James Paul Bio
3 Baptisms, St. Mary & St. Paul, Lytton, pp. 42-43
4 Baptisms, St. Mary & St. Paul, Lytton, pp. 64-65, #707