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First Nations stories of the great earthquake of 1700 Steven Earle, Malaspina University-College, Nanaimo, BC.

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Presentation on theme: "First Nations stories of the great earthquake of 1700 Steven Earle, Malaspina University-College, Nanaimo, BC."— Presentation transcript:

1 First Nations stories of the great earthquake of 1700 Steven Earle, Malaspina University-College, Nanaimo, BC

2 Huu-ay-aht Cowichan

3 Oral traditions mythical stories of many kinds (including stories of animals with human characteristics and stories of magical passages into other places) stories of great exploits and wars stories of common events such as finding food, potlatches and rights of passage stories about significant natural events

4 “In the days before the white man there was a great earthquake. It began about the middle of one night and continued about 20 hours, when it ceased.”

5 “It was so severe that it made all the people sick, threw down their houses and brought great masses of rock down from the mountains. One village was completely buried beneath a landslide. It was a very terrible experience; the people could neither stand nor sit for the extreme motion of the earth.”

6 “The old people took their stone hammers, one in each hand, and pounded the ground with them, chanting a song to the spirit of the earth as they did so. They bade everybody to do the same, and a little time after the earthquake ceased.” Cowichan oral history told to Charles Hill-Tout early in the 20 th century

7 Chief Louis Nookmiis ( ) “This is the most important story the Huu-ay-aht people have”

8

9 West Coast Trail

10 Nookmiis Anacla-aq-sop

11 Nookmiis Anacla- aq-sop

12 TOPATI boulder lifting contest climbing up a slippery pole guessing game with a feather long-jump across a ravine

13 In the jumping competition the youngest brother of Nookmiis succeeded in jumping across the ravine, but in doing so he smashed his head against a rock and died. Nookmiis and Analca- aq-sop were married, and she went to live with him in Kiixin

14 kixiin

15

16 Pachena Bay

17 Air photo PachenaBay Anacla

18 “I think it was at night time that the land shook…” “They simply had no time to get hold of canoes, no time to get awake. They sank all at once, were all drowned; not one survived…”

19 “I think it was a big wave smashed into the beach. The Pachena Bay people were lost…”

20 Approximate area of rupture zone Pachena Bay

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22 Other evidence of a great earthquake port alberni

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24 A tsunami wave hit several locations in western Japan on January 27 th There is no record of a corresponding earthquake occurring near to Japan, or anywhere else around the Pacific Ocean Based on the time for the wave to cross the ocean it is estimated that the quake struck at around 9 PM local time on January 26 th, 1700.

25 According to Chief Louis, everyone living at Pachena Bay was killed in the tsunami. Anacla aq sop, who was living in Kiixin with Nookmiis, was the only surviving member of her people. The current chief of the Huu ay aht, Spencer Peters, is a descendant of Chief Louis and of Nookmiis and Anacla aq sop.


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