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All Round the World, 1861.

"On the 25th of March the never-resting traveler started in a small wooden canoe, with a couple of Indians; and at the mouth of the Kattepoutal River, twenty-six miles from the fort (ED: probably Fort Vancouver as it is referenced quite a bit), he stopped to make a sketch of the volcano Mount St. Helen's, distant about 30 or 40 miles. This mountain has never been visited by Whites or Indians; the latter assert that it is inhabited by a race of beings of a different species, who are cannibals, and whom they hold in great dread; they also say that there is a lake at its (ED: Spirit Lake??) base with a very extraordinary kind of fish in it, with a head more resembling that of a bear than any other animal. These superstitions are taken from the statement of a man, who, they say, went to the mountain with another, and escaped the fate of his companion, who was eaten by the 'Skoocooms' (ED: Sasquatch) or evil genii. I offered a considerable bride, he says, to any Indians who would accompany me in its exploration, but could not find hardly enough to venture. It is of very great height, and being covered with snow, is seen at a great distance. There was not a cloud visible in the sky at the time I commenced my sketch, and not a breath of air was perceptible. Suddenly a stream of white smoke shot up from the crater of the mountain, and lowered a short time over its summit; it then settled down like a cap. This shape it retained for about an hour and a half, and then gradually disappeared.

Almost 3 years before this, the mountain was in a violent state of eruption for 3 or 4 days, and threw up burning stones and lava to an immense height, which ran in burning torrents down its snowclad sides. About ten miles lower down they encamped for the night, near Coffin Rock, much against the inclinations of the men, whose superstition would have led them to avoid such a place. This rock got its name from being the place in which the Indians deposit their dead. There is another rock lower down, on which were deposited 2 or 3 hundred of their burial canoes; but Commodore Wilkes having made a fire near the spot, it communicated to the bodies, and nearly the whole of them were consumed. The Indians showed much indignation at the violation of a place which was held so sacred by them, and would no doubt have sought revenge had they felt themselves strong enough to do so. Pushing further up the river, they came, on the 29th, to another burial place, which seemed to be highly decorated. Our artist wished his Indians to put ashore, but they would not do so. He was obliged, therefore, to put them out of the canoe on the opposite side of the river, and paddle the canoe over by himself. He had no doubt but what they would have opposed his doing so, had it not been for the name he had already acquired amongst the Indians of being a great medicine-man, on account of the likenesses which he had taken. His powers of portraying the features of individuals were attributed entirely to supernatural agency, and he found that in looking at his pictures they always covered their eyes with their hands, and looked through the fingers, this being also the invariable custom when looking at a dead person. On arriving at the place he found it lavishly decorated with numerous articles of supposed utility and ornament, for the convenience of the defunct in the journey to the world of spirits. These articles consist of blankets, tin-cups, pots, pans, kettles, plates, baskets, horn-bowls, and spoons, with shreds of cloth of various colour. One canoe, which was decorated more highly than the rest, he examined particularly. All the articles appended to it were rendered useless for the world by either tearing, breaking, or boring holes in them, the Indians believing that they would be made whole again by the Great Spirit. On examining the interior of a canoe, he found a great number of ioqua and other shells (ED: from another story, same article: ioquas, or hiaquays, a small shell found at Cape Flatting and only there, in great abundance. They are from an inch and a half to 2 inches in length, and are white, slender, and hollow, and tapering to a point; slightly curved, and about the size of an ordinary tobacco-pipe stem), together with beads and rings; even the mouth of the deceased was filled with these articles. The body itself was carefully enveloped in numerous folds of matting, made of rushes. At the bottom of the canoe lay a bow and arrow, a paddle, a spear, and a kind of pick, made of horn, for digging the camas root. The top of the canoe immediately over the body had a covering of bark, and holes were bored in the bottom to allow the water to run out. These canoes were always placed on wooden supports, suspended in the branches of trees, or placed upon isolated rocks in the river to keep them beyond the reach of ravenous animals. (ED: illustration on page 321 sorry not reproducing it. It shows canoes placed on short supports maybe 2-3 foot high in middle of clearing with a lot of underbrush. Seems to be on top of small hill as can see brush and trees overlooking the Cowlitz River. Caption reads: "Indian sepulchers on the banks of the Cowlitz River.") During his stay, the Indians watched him closely from the opposite bank, and on his return, they examined him minutely as they could with their eyes to see that he had not brought anything away. Had he been so imprudent as to have done so, he would probably have answered for sacrilege with his life, death being the certain penalty to the most trifling violation of the sanctity of a coffin canoe. He endeavored to discover who was buried in the richly decorated canoe, but the only information he could get from them was that it was the daughter of a Chinook chief. The Indian chiefs here have a superstitious dread of mentioning the names of any person after death, nor will they tell you their own names, which can only be found out from a third party. One of the men asked him if his desire to know his name proceeded from a wish to steal it? It is not an uncommon thing for a chief to give and call you by his own name, and adopt some other for himself.

They had now entered the Cowlitz River, which is a northerly feeder of the Columbia. Its lofty banks are crowned with beautiful forests. The waters of this river rise occasionally from thirty to forty feet. Here Mr. Kane visited the Cowlitz Farm belonging to the Hudson's Bay Company, where large quantities of wheat are raised and cattle reared in great numbers. It was here that our artist took a portrait of a Flathead woman and her baby, whose subsequent death (attributed to his 'medicine')--whatever our Indians don't understand they call medicine or magic--compelled him to leave the country in a great hurry, to avoid the vengeance of her relatives."

Transcribed by: James Mallonee. The article can be reprinted without copyright, I do ask that you reference this Website where you found it. I will try to post the pictures when possible.

Mr. Paul Kane (the artist and writer) also visited with the Whitmans at their mission in July just before they were killed. He described the mission building as made of "unburnt clay for want of timber". He also relates how he tried to convince the Whitmans to leave after some of the tribe returned from a war party, having gotten sick with measles and some having died, but the Whitmans didn't want to leave. Very interesting....

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