The British Columbia Triangle
Indian Legends of the Interior Plateau
In the first two installments of this series, we took a look at thirteen unsolved disappearances which took place in the Interior Plateau of southern British Columbia, Canada. Intriguingly, all of these cases occurred within the traditional territories of the Thompson, Lillooet, and Shuswap First Nations- Interior Salish tribes which share a number of dark legends involving preternatural predators and strange places in the wilderness where no human being is safe to tread. In this video, we’ll explore these eerie native folktales surrounding the British Columbia Triangle.
In order to put to fully appreciate the indigenous legends surrounding the British Columbia Triangle, we must first come to a basic understanding of its native inhabitants and their traditional territories.
The Triangle’s westernmost edge is the traditional homeland of the Lillooet Nations, whose territories encompass the watershed of the Lillooet River, the northern end of Harrison Lake, and the mountainous lake country surrounding the northerly Bridge and Seton Rivers. The region is mountainous and rugged, covered with old-growth forests of hemlock, cedar, spruce, and fir. The climate in Western Lillooet Country is colder and harsher than that of the coastal region it borders, becoming gradually hotter and drier the further one progresses east.
Like the transitional region they inhabit, the Lillooet Indians are a people of two worlds. The Lower Lillooet, who shared a border with the Coast Salish, held potlatches and carved cedar funerary monuments like their coastal neighbours, while the more northeasterly Upper Lillooet were a plateau people who practiced a culture more akin to that of their Interior Salish counterparts.
Thompson First Nations
East of Lillooet Country is the territory of the Thompson Indians, comprising the Fraser Canyon and its tributaries, along with the more northerly Thompson Plateau.
The watershed of the Fraser Canyon constitutes some of the most rugged and wild country in the British Columbian Interior. Some stretches of riverbank are desert-like and sparsely treed, while others are choked with dense stands of pine, poplar, cottonwood, and impenetrable underbrush. As mentioned earlier, the Stein River, one of the Canyon’s tributaries, is home to mysterious ancient petroglyphs which some Thompson consider sacred.
The Thompson Plateau, in northern Thompson Indian territory, is semi-arid, like the Fraser Canyon. Much of the plateau is prairie-like, covered with low grassy hills punctuated by the occasional clump of sagebrush or lonely ponderosa pine. Other parts of the region are heavily forested, while others still are mountainous.
Nicola First Nations
East of central Thompson territory is the land of the Nicola people, a small hybrid tribe descended from both the Thompson and the Okanagan Nations and an ancient band of migrating Dene. Named after Chief Nicola, a 19th Century grand chief of the Okanagan Nations, these people historically inhabited the valley of the Nicola River and the area surrounding Nicola, Douglas, and Stump Lakes.
Nicola Country comprises some of the most beautiful land in the Thompson Plateau, characterized by dry semi-forested uplands. Its semi-arid climate produces hot, sunny summers and bitter, frozen winters.
Although none of David Paulides’ disappearances took place within Nicola territory, and although this author has been unable to find any information on traditional Nicola folklore, this brief acknowledgement of Nicola tribal land is necessary considering a number of very recent vanishings that have occurred on it, which we will explore later on in this series.
Shuswap First Nations
Beyond the northern border of Thompson territory is the land of the Shuswap First Nations. The eastern half of Shuswap territory lies in what is known as South Cariboo Country, a region characterized by rolling grasslands and low mountains forested with pine and aspen. South-Central Shuswap territory, on the other hand, is dominated by the sprawling, beautiful, and heavily-forested Shuswap Lake, one of the most popular boating destinations in the province.
Okanagan First Nations
At the eastern end of British Columbia’s Interior Plateau lies the territory of the Okanagan Indians, who traditionally hunted and fished around the vast, heavily-wooded Okanagan Lake and the sunny valley of the Similkameen River. Although only one mysterious disappearance from David Paulides’ book took place in Okanagan territory, the folklore of the Okanagan Indians is so similar to that of the Thompson and Shuswap that its inclusion in this comparison may not be unwarranted.
The legends of the Lillooet, Thompson, Shuswap, and Okanagan Indians are not only remarkably consistent, but also downright disturbing when considered in conjunction with the unusual number of strange deaths and disappearances that have historically plagued British Columbia’s Southern Interior.
Among the most authoritative sources on these strange tribal legends are the writings of James Alexander Teit, a Scots-Canadian anthropologist who lived alongside and studied the Interior Salish First Nations of British Columbia throughout the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. Teit’s magna opera are his ethnological contributions to the Jesup North Pacific Expedition, a massive anthropological study conducted from 1897-1902, which was intended to investigate the suspected connection between indigenous peoples in Siberia and North America. Assisted by his friend Franz Boas, the celebrated American anthropologist who directed the Jesup Expedition, Teit produced ethnological treatises on the Lillooet, Thompson, Shushwap, Okanagan, Couer d’Alene, and Flathead Nations of North America’s Western Plateau, all of which are still considered preeminent authorities on the subjects to which they pertain.
Another useful source on the legends of the Interior Salish is Dr. George Mercer Dawson’s 1891 Notes on the Shuswap People of British Columbia. Dawson was a celebrated Canadian geologist who conducted groundbreaking geological fieldwork all across Western and Northern Canada throughout the late 1800s, most notably participating in the 1872 International Boundary Survey in which the Canada-U.S. border was demarcated, and leading a survey expedition to the Yukon Territory one decade prior to the Klondike Gold Rush. Throughout his travels, Dawson made notes on the languages and cultures of the First Nations he met along the way, one of which was the Shuswap.
A third valuable resource is an 1892 treatise on the Okanagan Indians entitled “Account of the Similkameen Indians of British Columbia,” written by an Okanagan pioneer named Susan Allison, who heard many strange fireside stories in the camps of her Indian friends.
The Lillooet, Thompson, Shuswap, and Okanagan believed that certain strange and dangerous entities inhabited the wilderness beyond their camps and villages. The most pervasive of these traditions was a belief in cave-dwelling giants who lived in the mountains, of which all four Interior Salish tribes told stories. These monsters made their homes in precipitous locations difficult for men to reach. Although the Thompson maintained that the giants “have no upper eyelids, and never sleep,” the Okanagan contended that they slept on animal furs, and rolled boulders over the mouths of their caves before sleeping.
“According to the beliefs of the Upper Thompsons,” Teit wrote, “giants about thirty feet tall inhabit the Okanagan country, and were quite numerous in the Upper Thompson until [the 1850s and ‘60s]… The Lower Thompsons believe that these giants do not live in their own country, but that they come down occasionally from that of the Okanagon and Upper Thompsons.” Like the Upper Thompson Indians, the Shuswap said that these being were relatively abundant in their country until the late 1800s.
Every Interior Salish informant who told Teit about these monsters made a point to emphasize their tremendous size and the extraordinary strength they possessed. The Thompson said that they could “carry a grisly bear or an elk on their backs with the greatest ease.” The Shuswap described the smallest of these creatures as being “four or five times the height and strength of an ordinary man, while the largest are only comparable to trees… They are able to carry four large buck-deer on their backs at one time with the greatest ease, and it is said that one of them killed two black bears, and shoved them one into each side of his belt, as an ordinary man would do with two squirrels.” Similarly, Susan Allison’s Okanagan informants told her that “these men are so large that a deer, hung by its neck in their belts, looks no larger than a chicken would do in a man’s… the earth trembles as it echoes their tread.”
Despite their enormous size, the giants were said to be incredibly quick and fleet of foot. They were great hunters, and routinely ran down deer and caught them with their hands. According to Susan Allison, the Okanagan believed that these big men delighted in catching fish with their bare hands, and subsisted on fish, garlic, meat, and herbs, which they either roasted over fires or hung from the ceilings of their caves.
The giants often skinned their larger prey and made clothing out of their hides, dressing in long robes of bearskin, deerskin, or goatskin, which they cinched at the waist with hide belts. According to the Shuswap, “their dress consists of cap, robe, belt, leggings, and moccasins.” Sometimes, on especially hot days, the giants went about almost naked.
The Shuswap contended that the giants were “of a gray complexion; and probably on that account, and also because of their tallness, they are often called ‘bleached or gray trees’. They are also called ‘burned trees’, probably because at a distance they look all black.” Susan Allison learned from her Okanagan informants that the giants wore long beards, and vaguely resembled white men in that respect.
The Lillooet, Thompson, Shuswap, and Okanagan all maintained that the giants emitted a vile, suffocating stench, which Susan Allison likened to the smell of garlic. According to the Lillooet, “a strong and disagreeable odor emanates from their bodies, and even from their tracks. People who happen to smell them get sick and vomit.” The Thompson similarly informed Teit that the giants “can be recognized at a great distance by their strong and peculiar odor; and even their tracks, and branches of trees which they have touched while passing, smell for a long time after they have gone by.”
Although the giants were generally believed to be of a gentle disposition and were said to rarely harm people, they sometimes chased Indians who trespassed on their territory. Teit’s Thompson informants told him a story about two men who were chased by a giant while hunting in the mountains. The hunters narrowly escaped the monster by climbing up a large fir tree. The giant was soon joined by two equally enormous companions who tried in vain to reach them. The terrified hunters began to shoot arrows at their tormentors, who caught the projectiles in midair and broke them. Eventually, one of the giants appeared to realize that he had lost some possession, which seemed to greatly perturb him. He and his companions retreated into the woods, presumably to look for the lost item, allowing the Indian hunters to make their escape.
The giants did not always confine their activities to their alpine abodes. Sometimes, they snuck into Indians camps in the middle of the night and stole fish from drying racks. According to the Thompson, some of the bolder giants would occasionally venture into the valleys in the daytime. Every once in a while, they would approach fishermen on the riverbank and hypnotize them so that they fell into a stupor, whereupon they would help themselves to their catch.
The most disturbing behavior attributed to the giants, especially considering the unsolved disappearances that have taken place over the years in the British Columbian interior, was their habit of kidnapping people, especially women, and carrying them off to their caves. Susan Allison heard one story from her Okanagan friends about a hunter who was kidnapped by a family of giants and lived to tell the tale. When he was a teenager, the hunter took it upon himself to keep watch over a remote fish trap that his father had built, from which fish had been mysteriously disappearing. Early one morning, at the end of his nightly shift, he fell into a deep slumber. While he slept, he was seized by a family of giants and carried off to a mountain cave, in which he was subsequently imprisoned. His enormous captors fed him well on fish and venison and treated him kindly, although they kept a close watch on him and refused to let him leave, tying him up when they went about their errands. He said that they conversed with each other in “voices like thunder”, and sometimes emitted shrill, piercing whistles when calling to each other from afar. The Indian described the big people as being sensitive to pain, and said that they shed tears when afflicted with the slightest injury. One night when his captors were asleep, the Indian squeezed through a crack between the cave entrance and the boulder the giants had rolled in front of it and ran for his life. After months of wandering through the wilderness, during which he survived off roots and berries, the Indian found his way back to his village.
Susan Allison wrote that the Okanagan Indians made a distinction between the giant men of the mountains and preternatural beings which they called “Sonnie-appoos”, or “devils”, which one of her Indian friends had personally encountered in the mountains. Her friend described this creature as a large black man covered with long, silky hair. “I have heard the Indians describe some Sonnie-appoos that used to frequent a certain place in what is now our cattle ranch,” Allison wrote, “as having the body of a man [and] the head of a deer, with a human face covered with deer’s [hair. The] limbs were also those of a deer. From the shoulders sprung the wings of a bat, which seemed to vibrate in the air perpetually.”
Giants were not the only humanoid entities said to inhabit the mountains of the British Columbian Interior. Another Interior Salish legend, which is nearly as prevalent as the giant tradition, tells of little men and women who inhabited steep cliffs and dense forests in the mountainous country of the Middle Fraser Basin. “The Lillooet seem to have no belief in dwarfs,” James Teit wrote in his ethnology on the Lillooet Indians. “Some say they never heard of any being seen in their country, but they have heard that such beings inhabit the countries of the Thompson and Okanagan Indians.” Similar to the giants, these dwarves were said to have once been prevalent in many parts of the country, but were seldom seen by the late 19th Century.
The most detailed description of these diminutive people appears in Teit’s ethnology of the Thompson Indians, in whose country the dwarves were generally believed to be the most numerous. “They are just like men,” he wrote, “but their skins are pale, and their bodies very gaunt. They are only about two feet tall. They wander around the mountains, sometimes shouting, groaning, or weeping. Their eyes are sunk very deep in their heads. They run away from hunters, and go into inaccessible places… The Spences Bridge Indians claim not to have seen any for the last fifteen years. Formerly, they were very numerous in the Okanagon country. The Lower Thompsons say that they can make themselves visible or invisible at will. According to their ideas, the dwarf women do not exceed three feet in height. A few of the men, however, are tall, surpassing the tallest Indians in stature; but none of them are of medium height.”
Teit’s strange comment that some dwarf men can grow to be taller than the tallest Indians evokes the Inuit legend of the inuarutligak– a race of shapeshifting elves who are said to have made their homes among the mountains of the Arctic islands. In his 1875 book Tales and Traditions of the Eskimo, which include old Inuit folktales that he collected during his travels in Greenland, Danish geologist Dr. Hinrich Rink represented the arctic elves as generally being very small in stature, yet paradoxically described certain elf men as being “very tall” in relation to the Inuit.
According to James Teit, the Thompson said that the dwarves of the British Columbian interior “all wear clothes similar to those formerly worn by the Indians, but have never been seen with bows and arrows.” George Dawson conversely claimed that the dwarves, according to the Shuswap, did hunt game with bows and arrows. “While represented as being only two feet high,” he wrote, “they are able to carry a deer easily. In contrast to this, when a squirrel is killed, they skin it and take only a part, as the whole is to too heavy for them. The Indians are very much afraid of them.” Teit echoed Dawson’s statement that the Shuswap believed the dwarves to be two feet tall, and said that they were supposed to be “gifted with great magic. The women dress their hair in a knot at each ear, like pubescent girls; and the men tie theirs in a knot at the back of the head, in the manner of pubescent lads. They do not harm people, and are as wild as game.”
Regarding their essential nature, the Thompson Indians believed that the dwarves were the spirits of cedar trees, and claimed that they had the power to transform themselves in the eyes of their observers. “They are rather fond of joking,” Teit wrote, “and playing tricks on people.” Teit went on to describe several Thompson stories in which dwarves, apparently for their own amusement, deceived Indians in the wilderness by creating optical illusions.
It is interesting to note, considering the ancient red ochre paintings that adorn the cliffs of the Stein River Valley, that the Wanapan Indians who once inhabited the Columbia River Valley in Washington State believed that the rock art which could be found throughout their own territory was made by the “Little People”- a race of mysterious, diminutive beings whom one anthropologist described as being “inclined to the ways of evil spirits”.
Another manlike entity said to haunt the wilderness of the B.C. interior is a frightening figure which ethnologists call “the cannibal”, which bears remarkable resemblance to the legendary Wendigo of Cree and Algonquin folklore. In the Interior Plateau, the entity seems to be unique to Shuswap folklore, the northernmost of the Interior Salish tribes.
According to Teit, Shuswap medicine men would often adopt the cannibal as their “guardian spirit”, decorating their clothing and belongings with its skeletal image in the hope that it would wreak vengeance upon those who had wronged them. “The cannibal was a dangerous guardian for a person to have,” Teit wrote. “It was so powerful that it frequently made the persons who possessed it insane, and transformed them, as it were, into cannibals. One shaman was found eating bodies in a graveyard. The people took him away, but he could not be restrained from returning. If he knew of a corpse, he wished to eat it before burial. At last he was killed by an Indian in 1859.”
In his Notes on the Shuswap, Dr. George Mercer Dawson included a mythological tale involving this sinister entity and the Shuswap’s cultural hero, a trickster named “Coyote”. According to this story, Coyote was travelling up the northern bank of the South Thompson River not far from Little Shuswap Lake, an extension of Shuswap Lake’s southwestern arm, when he “met a terrible being who ate men and appeared to be nothing but skin and bone”. Hoping to avoid a duel with the ghoul, who seemed intent on killing him, Coyote attempted to trick him, telling him that he, too, was a man-eater, and therefore his kinsman. The cannibal doubted Coyote’s claim and asked him to prove it by vomiting, revealing the contents of his last meal. A battle of wits ensued, which ultimately resulted in both Coyote and the cannibal turning to stone.
The transformation of living things into stone is a common motif in the indigenous folklore of the Interior Plateau, and is especially prevalent in Shuswap tradition. According to Dawson, Shuswap legend tells of beautiful female witches who used to practice their black arts throughout the region. Indians would sometimes see these graceful figures dancing atop cliffs and along the shores of certain rivers. Any hunter foolish enough to approach or stare too long at these Medusas would be turned to stone.
Another monster of Interior Salish tradition is a nameless creature vaguely similar in appearance to the cannibal, said to inhabit the mountainous country surrounding the Fraser Canyon. “They are of the same size and height as ordinary people,” Teit wrote of these mysterious entities, “but naked… and of a ghost color. They are very gaunt, the shape of all their bones and joints being visible. Their eyes are very large and round, and protrude from their heads. Like ghosts, they chase people, but are more persistent.”
Another creature, which Teit described as “a human body of a white color, without any limbs, which occasionally rolls over the ground, uttering cries like an infant,” was also encountered in the mountains from time to time by unfortunate Thompson hunters. “A person who sees any of these monsters will die shortly afterward,” Teit wrote. “Such monstrosities as these seem to be unknown to the upper divisions of the tribe.”
The Black Lizard
Another deadly creature which the Thompson feared to encounter was a certain small black lizard that could sometimes be found in the wilderness. “It is said that if it sees a person,” Thompson wrote of this horrific reptile, “it will follow his tracks, and in the night-time will overtake him, and crawl into his anus and eat his intestines. Indians, therefore, when they happen to see one of them, light a fire in their tracks, or jump over the camp-fire four times when they get home. It is said that the lizard will always turn back from fire, of which it has a great dread.”
Land and Water Mysteries
Perhaps the most disturbing Interior Salish legends of all, in the context of the uncanny disappearances which have taken place throughout the Middle Fraser Basin, are those pertaining to what ethnologists call “land and water mysteries”- malevolent supernatural monsters which abide within and are inextricably bound to certain remote sections of the wilderness.
“The Indians believe in the existence of a great many mysterious beings,” Teit wrote in his ethnology of the Thompson Indians. “The ‘land mysteries’ are the spirits of mountain peaks. In the lakes and at cascades live ‘water mysteries’. Some of these appear in the form of men or women, grisly bears, fish of peculiar shape, etc. emerging from the water. Any person who may happen to see these apparitions will die shortly afterward. The lakes and creeks in the high mountains to the west and south of Lytton are noted for being frequented by these mysteries. People passing within sight of these places always turn their faces away from them, lest they might see these apparitions and die.”
In her 1992 book From Spuzzum: Fraser Canyon Histories, 1808-1939, Ontario historian Andrea Laforet elaborated on the nature of the land and water mysteries of Thompson tradition, writing, “at those places, the earth itself was charged with power from which human beings could learn to protect themselves but which they could not eradicate or change. Such places could leave people dazed, paralyzed, or even fatally harmed.”
According to Teit’s informants, “land and water mysteries are believed to be much more numerous in the Lillooet country than in any other region.” Despite this, most of the stories Teit documented on the subject of these sinister entities take place in Thompson territory. One such tale is set in the Lillooet Mountains west of the Fraser Canyon, between the towns of Lytton and Lillooet. “Between three mountains near Foster’s Bar,” Teit wrote, “a lake is situated in which strange mysteries may be seen, such as logs crossing the lake with dogs running backward and forward on them, canoes crossing without occupants, and ice changing into people who run along the shore, all of which finally vanish. To see these is considered an evil omen.”
Foster’s Bar is a gold-bearing sandbar in the Fraser Canyon which was mined in the mid-1850s just prior to the Fraser Canyon Gold Rush. About nine miles (15 kilometres) southwest of Foster’s Bar is a small lake less than a mile in length, nestled in the crook of Intlpam Peak, Siwhe Mountain, and Devil Peak. This pond, called Devils Lake, is almost certainly the body of water to which Teit alluded.
James Teit is not the only author to write about strange occurrences around Devils Lake. According to Canadian hiking enthusiast Gordon White in his 1991 book Stein Valley Wilderness Guidebook, “Devils Lake is an area of powerful spirits according to Indian legend. Even today, native people blacken their faces when passing by the lake in order to avoid being recognized by the devil who lives in the lake. One story reported by Judge Thomas Meagher of Lillooet tells of the devil, an old woman with long hair, floating around the lake on a log chanting strange songs. Other accounts tell of herds of goats turning into stone, young maidens dying while swimming, and a bull with a dog on its head attempting to swim the lake and disappearing about halfway across.”
Author Robert W. Nicholson elaborates on this spooky Indian legend in his 2002 book Pitt Lake, writing, “According to the Lillooet’s traditional stories, there is a very ancient and evil woman who lives at Devils Lake… The natives say that this ancient woman has very long hair and often floats around Devil’s Lake on a log chanting songs that they do not understand. It was common practice for natives who passed by the lake, to blacken any exposed skin with ash so that the evil women would not see them.
“This legend continues on to say that any man or beast entering the waters of Devils Lake simply disappears. Although Devils Lake is considered by the Lillooets to be the home of this ancient evil woman, she is also said to wander the land in search of souls.”
The Lake that Never Freezes
Teit’s Thompson Indian informants informed him of another cursed lake “in the mountains near the country of the Coast tribes [that] has never been known to freeze over, no matter how cold the weather. There is sometimes seen on its waters an apparition in the shape of a boat with oars, manned by Hudson Bay employees, dressed in dark-blue coats, shirts and caps, and red sashes. They always appear at the same end of the lake, and row across to the other end, where they talk with one another in French. Then they row back as they came, and disappear. If four men are seen in the boat, it is considered a good omen; but if eight men, the reverse is the case, and the person seeing the apparition will become sick, or will die shortly afterward.”
It is possible that this second lake to which Teit’s informants referred is Seton Lake, a freshwater fjord with unnaturally bright green waters, located just west of the town of Lillooet, which is said to never freeze over in winter. Interestingly, in the 1960s, several fishermen, skin-divers, and native Indians reported seeing monstrous sturgeon in Seton Lake, one of which reputedly measured over 35 feet in length.
Spuzzum Water Mysteries
Much of Andrea Laforet’s book consists of quotes, stories, and information furnished by a Thompson elder named Annie York. York told Laforet about several water mysterious near the old Thompson village of Spuzzum, located in the Fraser Canyon about eight miles upriver from Yale. One of these mysteries lived in a “peculiar lake” located in the high hills beyond an old logging camp. “This lake is quite a size,” York said, “and once in a while, if you camped around the lake there… it’s kind of a weird lake. There’s this weird story about it. At nighttime, all the drift logs that were around this lake, ‘round the edge, they all moved into the centre and piled up just like an island, and at five o’clock in the morning, every morning, in the early part of the morning, they scattered again all around the lake just the same as they were, and stayed that way, until when the sun went down they moved again into the centre and made the form of an island. And that’s the way this lake is.”
According to Teit, the Thompson Indians associated certain petroglyphs, such as those which adorn the rock walls of the Stein River Valley, with land and water mysteries. “On some cliffs,” he wrote, “pictures in brilliant colors are seen, which vanish as suddenly as they appear… The Indians claim that some of the rock paintings to be found in their country, especially those on rocks which overlook water, are the work of the spirits of those places. One of these was on a rock facing the pool between the little and big waterfalls of Waterfall Creek, near Spences Bridge. The pictures were made in red paint, and represented the sun, the stars, the coyote, wolf, grisly bears, etc…”
Teit went on to describe another petroglyph inscribed on a cliff overlooking the southern shores of Nicola Lake, at a point about twelve miles northeast of the city of Merritt. “The Indians, while passing below in canoes,” Teit wrote, “avoid looking at the place, because, if they do so, they say the wind will immediately commence to blow.” Interestingly, Annie York declared Nicola Lake to be the home of a powerful water mystery, claiming that a native girl once became paralyzed after seeing a large eel in its waters.
Precautions and Remedies
The Interior Salish prescribed several methods by which to avoid the pernicious attentions of land and water mysteries. According to Teit, the Thompson Indians believed that “certain parts of the high mountains, especially peaks or hills, were considered sacred, being the residence of ‘land mysteries’… Indians, therefore, when hunting in the vicinity of these places, visited them, and appeased the spirits by making an offering to them, thus insuring good weather during their stay, and good luck while hunting…
“The women, when picking berries or digging roots on certain mountains, always painted their faces red. In general, they paint their faces wholly red before coming in sight of certain lakes, that they may be favored with good weather and good fishing. The paint is considered as an offering to the spirits…
“Roots, etc. growing near a haunted or mysterious lake, should not be dug or gathered. Vegetation near such a lake is called its ‘blanket’. Swamp grass and reeds growing in the water of the lake are called its ‘hair’. The lake, if robbed of its blanket, will take revenge by visiting sickness, back luck, or death upon the root-gatherer, or by sending an apparition or death-warning to the person, shortly after which the offender herself, or one of her near relatives, will die.”
Perhaps the legends of the Interior Salish hold the key to the secrets of Middle Fraser Basin, or perhaps the unsolved disappearances that have taken place there all have rational explanations. Whatever the case, people continue to vanish in the region to this very day, and are doing so at a higher rate than ever before. Join me next week for the fourth installment of this six-part series, where we’ll investigate a startling succession of recent disappearances in the British Columbia Triangle.
The Thompson Indians of British Columbia, by James Teit, in the April 1900 issue of the Memoirs of the American Museum of Natural History: Volume II: Anthropology I: The Jesup North Pacific Expedition.
The Lillooet Indians, by James Teit, in Volume II, Part V of The Jesup North Pacific Expedition: Memoir of the American Museum of Natural History (1906)
The Shuswap Indians, by James Teit inVolume II, Part VII of The Jesup North Pacific Expedition: Memoir of the American Museum of Natural History (James Teit’s treatise on the Shuswap Indians; 1909)
The Salishan Tribes of the Western Plateaus (1930), by James Teit
Notes on the Shuswap People of British Columbia (1891), by Dr. George Mercer Dawson
Account of the Similkameen Indians of British Columbia, by Susan Allison, in the 1892 issue of The Journal of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland.
From Spuzzum: Fraser Canyon Histories, 1808-1939 (1992), by Andrea Lynne Laforet and Annie York
Case of a Burgeoning Sturgeon, by Alan Jay in the July 23, 1966 issue of Maclean’s magazine
Pitt Lake (2002), by Robert W. Nicholson
Stein Valley Wilderness Guidebook (1991), by Gordon R. White