Salt Spring Island Archives

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San Juan First Nations

Bob Akerman Sr., 1992

Accession Number Interviewer Bob Akerman
Date 1992 Location
Media cassette tape Audio CD mp3 √
ID 110 Duration 16:43 min.




Unknown Speaker 0:03
I have one more year to put him he put in five years, American American one more year. So, so instead of going back to get another, some more, covered wagons around crosstab, he was ordered up to the San Juan Islands, they had what they call a Pig War. I've never heard of the Pig War that the British show, there was some British living there and some Americans living there and they didn't get along well, and one farmer shop the other farmers big. So that kind of scuttling started there. And he was ordered up from with his man up from Oregon to land on the sidelines and just seems like a terrible concerning there. So, I think if they land on Bellingham, they took off on Bellingham, and they went over to San Juan Islands. And the North center got there then it says that they heard the British are landing I think there was a forward and another boat going to land at the north end. So he got two men, and they walked on me to the north and out there disappointed they late in the morning, and chips are there, but they hadn't landed definitely. So he had the American flag with him. And we were going out on the beach and he's just starting to get daylight and he sat under the flag. And in the morning, I guess they looked up they saw the American flags, so they sent a vote to shore and he told him that this is American territory because they didn't do anything and they went back to get more murders in Victoria. And they sent over another party in a day or two and by that time, they had several other officers from his company up there and they talked it over and then they decided to go back to their camp so they went back to the south end and actually there was wasn't any any shooting going on or anything but the quite tense I guess. When they when they when they British woke up that morning and saw the American flag situation but anyway, everything was settlement peaceably. And he stayed there for the duration we had another few months to put in the state of the American Camp and discharged him we used to on his time off he used to paddle around the islands here just looking around to see good place to pick up land and he found the corporate here and the valley which had a lot of big cedar trees and at that time and they were a good first splitting shakes and so the third of the village of Victoria were just growing at that time in the year 1860s So used to sweat shakes me subpanel I'm down to Windows Canberra Bay Victoria, and they took them from there was oxen and slay into Victoria. And that is how he made his first money there that by lambing. I guess good introduction.

Unknown Speaker 4:00
That was might bite to like Mary Ellen jives.

Unknown Speaker 4:05
No, no. Very good. late, too late. But who was my senior that was my senior my old grandpa. Okay.

Unknown Speaker 4:14
We're trying to get this background. Back in history. The turkey questions here. I think Bob is going to fire a question or two or two, then I think if a question comes up, we'll please let us know and he can answer for us. We'll get onto the museum then God. I guess the foremost question that you're all wondering, What prompted you to build the museum

Unknown Speaker 4:51
I think I had this in mind for quite a few years. But I think the main thing was with my grandmother that marries Michael guys, and here was a daughter and Chica couch and idioms. And I spent a lot of time when I was just a little flower with her. And she taught me a lot of things move out a little canoe appropriate, we used to go and visit Chief Charlie, Chief Charlie was living at the reserve just out of footprint here. And he was the last of his time. And he had a longhouse there, and it was just full of canoes. And we used to ice I was gonna go just look at these canoes is they were hanging up in the word working, those are hanging up the ceiling. And you got one bow on there is a small, but it's about pipelines. And it was, it wasn't like the new it was just it was like a punt placement rate that said, Senator, my one afternoon. Every time I brought it, I asked him to shake his head, he says, he says, if I give you that connubial, you'll find yourself. So give me one of the other bigger ones, that I never get back. To get the bigger ones, I would have taken that back out a little bigger, I would have taken but in the meantime, something very tragic happened. Chief Charlie and his wife were murdered. And I never did find out who started them. But that is why today, the Saanich, East Saanich who still hold the title to the reservation out here. They just don't seem to want to come back there. For the reason that Chief tried it. That's why you don't see it. In fact, they've never come back to

Unknown Speaker 7:11
the principal residence of the island. What about the upper area like the Soviets? Were there any based in that area or the north in

Unknown Speaker 7:21
the north end? Actually, in the north end? There was mostly Indians from the Nanika phenolic tribe who was Cooper Island and the islands around Cooper up there. They they were not too far from Fernwood and Northland that down that Coast they were they used to camp along there. Patient right times.

Unknown Speaker 7:46
They survived the Hydra somehow?

Unknown Speaker 7:49
Well, yes, they did. They seem to like couch and I think, have more trouble in the height of

Unknown Speaker 8:01
it, is there a bigger tribe versus tribe on the coast? Let's even come down and sit down and read them. The idea the idea. Writing was mostly slaves, but not slaves like we we think of slaves.

Unknown Speaker 8:28
They, these other tribes maybe have a war with some other tribe up there. And they were a lot of them were women. They want to strengthen their tribe up. So they've come down and they come to different tribes around the South Sandwich. And we would like to pick up the younger, stronger number of people come back and strengthen our tribe. And that actually they weren't treated that that even the media convergence needs to take place at some time. And they would rate and get sometimes the younger, stronger people in the tribe and bring them back. And I think there's it's a long story. I know I could totally take one two on the telephone for the labs. Last one last night. They have less to read they have the last just still on but anyway, the conditions, went back up and got a lot of their young people but they kind of got to the year before. And they only not only got their own people but they got quite a number of younger people from up there. And one of them, one of them. One of the girls worked for Mrs. Maxwell who was there of Berlin Bay. Mr. Maxwell John Maxwell has marriage from Emory to an emulated from Cochin, and this It Girl worked for her. And then when Douglas came in Douglas said Now, all these, anybody that was captured from any other tribe had to be returned to that tribe. And there were several of them, including Mrs. Maxwell said, No, we were we were pretty well raised there. And by the couches and repeated very well, we don't want to go back. So she never did go back. She, she lived and worked for Mrs. Mac. So

Unknown Speaker 10:43
this is good to have said, this subject could go on for a long time. The other bulk behind your questions and I

Unknown Speaker 10:57
thought of asking you, I was just gonna ask Bob about how he came to the house, where he got the logs from and how he actually built the museum.

Unknown Speaker 11:07
And how many we know that

Unknown Speaker 11:13
I got the logs. I used to log in one time. Like I still use the Power Stop sign up in a bush half an hour or property. Jones road and I'd have to AJs down and took the bark off one of my boys Patty, Patty said the real estate no anyway. And he had a little scooter and he scaled them down for me down to the class and I got a truck for them so motor and brought them down. And then I got Mr. Martin. Martin, loved the owner. He was appropriate. And he helped me. I swept the shakes I one of my boys got me the shake blocks and I spoke six hours of tricks. And my brother from White Rock, he is a lawyer and I am Jimmy and he came over and he and I put them put the shakes on

Unknown Speaker 12:28
good luck when you're out in the museum. It's a masterpiece of construction. I don't think any earthquake in the world could knock it down. To hear that question?

Unknown Speaker 12:38
No, that's just fine.

Unknown Speaker 12:39
Are there any questions from the members here or the visitors? Actually say you I put it up already starting this story, but you got involved in

Unknown Speaker 12:57
the building itself why but the building was more or less than it was actually two things. So one, one was more or less a tribute to the old timers. My grandfather's came in early 60s 1860s. And a tribute to them because when they came in all they had to work with and all the old timers saw I had worked with logs, they didn't have any lumber. So that's why I tried to get away from hunger as much as I could. And next you won't see too much lumber. And I've tried to build it along the same lines. They'll see up in the mountains up here. And I remember mountain Bruce, when they're around 16 These cabins up there, log cabins the old timers had up there, just kind of get rid of them. And as far as Indian artifacts goes, it's kind of honored tonight and grandmother to who has a lot of these things like in the museum now and have a lot of her baskets that she had when she was here and baskets and trays and things like that. I

Unknown Speaker 14:16
collected them from all over for a long time. Haven't you collected them from? Oh, yeah. Oh, over for a long time. Oh, yes, yes, I did.

Unknown Speaker 14:26
I sell a lot, but I haven't any room to put them yet. I'm hoping to build down the center. You'll see if I just have them on both sides. But down the center. I'm going to build the cylinder. I'm going to build another case sloping sloping like that. So you can see from both sides down the middle, and then more history. I happen to have a lot of pictures and history in which I'll have to

Unknown Speaker 14:56
think about when we go up to the news The bottom will probably narrate as he goes around, I think you'd like to do it that way, sort of describe what the displays are, as you did for balkanize. Who'd like to do it that way?

Unknown Speaker 15:10
Well, I have, I have now some some notes on the glass. So number they're numbered from one to 40 or something like that. And if you look on the class no avail that you'll be able to reason

Unknown Speaker 15:29
while I that's that simplifies it, envisioning the group following bob around.

Unknown Speaker 15:35
They could ask any ask you have any questions?

Unknown Speaker 15:37
Anybody wants any questions answered? I

Unknown Speaker 15:38
can answer. And then once that is done, we can adjourn and graduated. We better all try and get in Molly's room once more work.

Unknown Speaker 15:57
I think that'd be a very good.

Unknown Speaker 15:59
Alright with Malia.

Unknown Speaker 16:03
Are there any other questions from anybody? I think a lot of your questions about the museum will be answered when you're there. And you never thought somebody I think will let you off the hook. But you know, for a man that said you had very few words, and I think we, as a group will say thank you to Bob for coming in and giving us a story of what you've done. And as we say before we leave the museums and seem to be done again. So, Bob, thank you for your time. Thank you