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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 32.djvu/655

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coasts of Vancouver Island and the mainland opposite. After a long series of years, they abandoned the task among the so-called Kwakiutl tribes in despair. Their success among the tribes on the mainland opposite Victoria was far greater, and on the west coast of Vancouver Island they are making rapid progress at the present time.

When the Catholic Church left the Kwakiutl tribes, the Church of England took up the work, but with little or no success; while near Victoria they and the Methodists were successful. From experience derived from a life with the Indians of all these tribes, it may safely be said that the only successful way of civilizing these tribes—and this refers to the Alaska tribes as well as to those of British Columbia—is to teach them to work. Then they will gradually abandon their fearful cannibal ceremonies and Shamanistic dances.

The traditions of these natives make them very ready to accept the Christian faith, as their principal legend tells of the Son of God, who descended from heaven and traveled all over the world, doing miracles everywhere. But I must state here that even the sincerest Christians among the Indians, who observe Sunday and preach in their churches, are not thoroughly civilized; that is, their way of thinking is not ours, but still under the influence of their ancient customs. The best proof of this is the fact that any one returning to a heathenish tribe will again adopt their mode of life, a very few perhaps excepted. This is not meant as a reproach to the missionaries or Indians. It is founded in psychologic laws, and we only consider it a mistake to believe that an acculturation to our civilized ways is a thorough civilization. This is true in regard to Duncan's Indians and all others.

Though remarkable progress has been made and the condition of many tribes has greatly improved, a general dissatisfaction exists among the Indians of British Columbia, which led to disturbances among those of Metlakahtla. There are two reasons for this state of affairs, which is of some importance, considering that 38,500 Indians live in British Columbia. During the last few years, reservations were allotted to each tribe and the rest of the land declared government land. Now, the Indians of the coast are not migratory, but claim to be autochthonous in their several districts. All tribes, from Puget Sound to Alaska, believe that the Son of God gave every gens a piece of land which they consider their personal property. In confining the tribes to reservations, the single man feels that his property has been taken from him without equivalent compensation. Treaties have not been made according to these facts with every gens, as these ethnological facts are unknown to many of the officers, and therefore the Indians feel as though they were treated unjustly.

The second reason for the discontent among the Indians is a law that was passed, some time ago, forbidding the celebrations of festivals. The so-called potlatch of all these tribes hinders the single fami-