Monday, September 22, 2008

Nootka Sound: A Brief History

Nootka Sound is a deep harbor with a wide entrance that accommodated ships and was claimed by nearly all who entered. Spain controlled the Northwest from a 1494 treaty until the final Nootka Convention of 1794. A stained glass window (see photo) commemorates the historic occassion.The treaty was worked out between the Spanish Captain Bodega y Quadra and Captain George Vancouver. Captain Vancouver was so impressed with the Spanish Commander that he offered to name the island Quadra Vancouver Island. A stained glass window commemorates the historic occasion.

Powerful Mowachtaht Chief Manquinna promoted traded with all traders with skill and diplomacy. A primary reason was to fund his lavish potlatches which increased his power in the region which he did with skill, diplomacy and, if necessary, force. One trader, John Slater of Boston was foolish enough to insult Chief Manquinna and that resulted in a massacre of 24 of the 26 men on the Boston. The remaining two men were kept as slaves for two years. The chief was brought to justice at the request of one of the slaves, John Jewitt, who insisted that action would promote an endless cycle of revenge.

Currently Friendly Covenow has a picturesque light house, aNative American cemetary, a Mawachtaht family and a historical church. Few natives have good things to say about the missionary influence. It was interesting to note that the church now reflects the native culture while the traditional Christian artifacts are housed in a alcove above the sanctuary.

No comments: