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John Lutz

John Lutz discusses the relations of the ordinary seamen with aboriginal women.

Accession Number Interviewer SSI Historical Society Address
Date May 9, 2000 Location Central Hall
Media tape Audio CD mp3
ID 180 Duration 47 min.




Gal Tabenkin, 23.03.2024

John Lutz 0:10
Historical society as Mary said I have sort of a half built home here on Saltspring, and I'm a Saltspring wanna be like about half of Canada I suppose.

John Lutz 0:19
One day, hopefully, I'll be here more permanently. I wanted to talk today about uh...well, let me tell you how I got sort of drawn into this subject I suppose.

John Lutz 0:35
I study Aboriginals and Aboriginal relations, contact between native people and white people in the Northwest coast. And as I was reading through the exploration accounts of explorers, I would occasionally come across, not not often very explicitly, but occasionally sort of hints that sexual relationships have developed between sailors and Aboriginal women. And after a while, I sort of accumulated a couple of these references, I thought this would be kind of a fun topic to do a paper on. After all, you know, some aspects of history are hard to get people interested in. But you can always get people interested in sex. So I kind of started off on this quite honestly, in more of a kind of lighter vein. But the more I got into this project, the more I realized that there's something very important that’s being left out of the history of exploration of contact and I hope to persuade you today that not only is this the sort of history, you know, that I guess has its sort of livelier and more titillating moments than perhaps some history, and I have to warn you some of the content is for mature audiences only. But also, I hope, it's made me rethink, I think parts of this history of contact. And maybe it will do the same for you, I'm not sure. So stories of exploration, you know, fascinated people for, you know, well ever since European civilization has started to write. You know the first great works in the European canon are Homer's Iliad and the Odyssey and stories of travel and exploration. And I'm not sure I'll convince you of this, but I've become convinced that there's a subliminal sexual content in most of this travel and exploration literature. I’m just gonna leave that with you. I'm not going to try and get into that today. But some of the language of exploration suggests this. When we think about how we described exploration, you know we talked about unveiling, we talked about penetrating virgin lands. And when you think about the kind of language we use to describe exploration, you can sort of see that, you know, maybe somewhere in the back, there's this sort of sublimated sexuality, and in some cases that's brought right to the surface. So let me give you an example. This is Sir Walter Raleigh, describing his discovery of British Ghana. Well, as first accounts exist. Well, he describes it as “a country that had yet her maidenhead.” And then a contemporary of his says, about British Ghana, again, “which prostates itself before us, like a fair and beautiful woman”. So in some cases, this sort of sexual metaphor is made more explicit. And in other cases, it's kind of reversed. And poets in the past have used exploration itself as a metaphor for sexual exploration. So here's just a brief paragraph from a poem from John Donne, I think its called to my beloved.[Editor's note: the poem is actually titled To His Mistress Going to Bed.] “Licence my roving hands, and let them go, Before, behind, between, above, below. O my America! my new-found-land, My kingdom, safeliest when with one man mann’d, My Mine of precious stones, My Empirie, How blest am I in this discovering thee!” So here's a sort of exploration metaphor sort of dressed up as Scottish sexual invasion. So what I'd like to do today is try and convince you then is that there's something more than just, sort of sailors aside, to this sexuality in the Pacific Northwest. I’m going to focus specifically on the northwest coast here in the period of the late 18th century, this is where I’m going to focus. So this is the era of Captain James Cook and George Vancouver, the first exploration of, actually this area here, by Europeans. And when we think about issues of exploration, and I wouldn't be surprised if people in the room who are interested in history have read maybe many, or some of these accounts of explorers, or at least histories of BC. You know we read about Captain Cook, we read about Captain Vancouver, and we sometimes read about the motivations for these voyages, and the motivations are colonialism, profit capitalism, Christianity in some cases, especially the Spaniards who were interested in apostatizing, science in the 18th century. This is the era of the Enlightenment, so science is a big push behind Cook’s expedition. These are all the official motivations for the voyage and these motivate, you know, the backers, the parliamentarians, the kings and queens that finance these. To some extent they motivate the captains, like Cook and Vancouver and Quadra and Gallilleao and Galleli, you know, all the explorers. The captains themselves also had this self interest in the sense that the more they discovered the better. Then they would publicize. And you know, the more work being done, the more glory, you know, the more recognition they could gain. But, you know, the captain was only one man on a ship that might have had 100 men on the ship. There's somewhere between 50 and 100 on ships, typically. And none, or almost none of the history talks about the majority of the people on these explorations. What motivated them, what was going on in their minds, what motivated them? So in part, this is a bit of social history, I guess. Looking at exploration from the lower decks. So in the gun decks, if you like, rather than the quarterdeck, the officers deck. And in part, I think, when we understand a little bit more of the sexual nature of this exploration, we see how that interacts with, and in some sense contradicts, the official motivations of Christianity, data science, profit. In some cases the sexual motivation, and I'm going to use this abbreviation: In some cases we’ll talk about sexual exploration or exploration and I’m going to abbreviate that to sexploration, which seems to go nicely. So sometimes sexploration contravenes the more official agendas, and sometimes it actually reinforces it. But one has to understand that sexploration in order to understand how these things go. So on the face of it, it should be surprising if sex and sailors in the Pacific Northwest don't go together, because we know that sex and sailors have this reputation going back centuries, and notorious connection between sailors and their activities in court. And we know that most of the sailors were young men, and of those who entered the Pacific with the British voyages of exploration, 85% of them were under 21, 80% of them were single. These were, you know, young men, separated from their families and their homes and female society for often years at a time. So, I suppose, we shouldn't be surprised that they had an interest in sexual relations when they entered other ports. And let me read you a couple of comments from some of the British admirals which sort of lay out the character of these men. Here we have 1602. This is a little bit before my era, but kind of sets the stage, I guess, establishes the historic precedents of this. Vice Admiral William Monson addressing his crew before they go ashore. He says: “Certainly it is that neither birds nor horse can show a more extravagant lewdness, more dissolute wildness, and less fear of God than your carriage discovers when you come ashore and cast off the command of your superior officers”. In 1760, the British captain Edward Weeler told of sailors who spent most of their money to pay on, quoting again here: “on dirty whores and seeking gin.” But perhaps the most vivid description of the sexual life of sailors, and those with tender sensibilities, you should plug your ears for this quote. This is 1822 and Admiral Hawkins is describing what happens when a British man of war enters the port of Liverpool. And remember many of these men are pressured, they're not willing volunteers on their ships, and they don't let them ashore when the ship comes in to port. They keep them on the ship. And in order to keep them in, I guess, under control, or mollify them or whatever, well, you'll see what happens in this quote. It's an extended quote. “It's well known that immediately on the arrival of a ship of war in port, crowds of boats flock off with cargoes of prostitutes. The man then go into the boats and pick out each a woman, and show them to the boat before passing off. The women then descend to the lower deck, with their husbands as they call them. Hundreds come off to a large ship. The whole of the shocking, disgraceful transactions of the lower deck is impossible to describe. The dirt, the filth, the stench and disgusting conversation, the indecent and beastly conduct, and horrible scenes. The blasphemy, the swearing, the riots, quarrels and fighting, which often takes place where hundreds of men and women are huddled together in one room as it were, and where in bed, each man being allowed only 14 inches of breath for his hammock, they are squeezed between the next hammocks and must be witnesses to each other's actions.”

John Lutz 10:27
So he's describing the scene. And this is actually a tract. He goes on, if you haven't got the picture yet. “Those who have never seen a ship of war picture to themselves a very large low room”. So picture this kind of a room with, you know, a five and a half foot ceiling kind of going way back. “With 500 men and probably three or 400 Women of the vilest description shut up in it and giving away to every excess of debauchery that the grossest passions of human nature can lead them to, and you will see the lower deck of a 74 gunship the night of her arrival at port.” Incidentally, and this is an aside, but since these sexual liaisons took place basically on the gun deck, and these men, as was said, were given a fourteen inch space to hang their hammocks, basically between the guns, the sexual activities happened around, on, and under the guns. And this is the derivation of the expression son of a gun. A son of a gun is a word for bastard basically under these circumstances. So that's where that expression comes from. A bastard with a sort of salty taste to them or something like that. So you know, both of these accounts are late, or these accounts kind of span I guess, the 17th century and later the ...(19th maybe, hard to hear). And so you get the flavor of the characters and the sexual relations at port. So it should be no surprise that when they leave Britain and go on longer voyages of exploration that we might encounter sexual activity. Now, think about, think about the life of these men. You know, that they're away from home, three or four years is the typical voyage of exploration. Vancouver's is five years longer. What did they have to look forward to on these voyages? One return was the use of unreasonable violence to some proportion of some kind. One quarter of the men on, using for example Vancouver and Cook’s ship, were flogged on their journeys, one quarter. And because of this the chances for the lower rungs was more than that.

John Lutz 12:47
So you know, harsh discipline, cramped quarters, damp and never warm. You're never warm, everything is damp, the food is horrible beyond description, practically. The only solace in that kind of life was the daily rum ration. Not bad pay. In fact, they were paid well compared to, say, a farmhand. But as this early quote suggested they probably didn’t spend it wisely or save it. And I would argue that one of, especially after the French and British...(cannot hear), one of the incentives, or at least one of the things that a saylor would have to look forward to was sexual relationships with a foreign, and in this case exotic woman of the Pacific. So Cook’s voyages are well known, Captain Cook's voyages, for setting off in an era of exploration and science. But what's less discussed with Cook is he actually makes a second landfall....(muttering cannot hear).

John Lutz 13:54
In any case, between them, the two of them, there are accounts of Tahiti

John Lutz 14:11
turning the Pacific Northwest into a sort of a place of science, but also I think, a landscape of desire where sailors. I mean I'm sure they didn’t sign off for these horrible voyages because of sexual tourism. That's not what I'm trying to argue. But having this sort of enforced or impressed on these ships sailing the Pacific, this would be the topic of conversation on the ship as something to look forward to. And to give you some idea of what Cook and Bougainville and others found, here's a description from Cook's voyage. His surgeon mate, his name will come up a couple of times, Samwell, he talked about young women, who in his estimation were exceedingly beautiful: “the swarm hooks two ships and offer themselves freely to the sailors”. And I'm going to show a couple of overheads here, I guess this is the start of my multimedia presentation.

John Lutz 15:19
First of all, back to my characterization of the sailor as

John Lutz 15:32
these are 2 1834, it's a matching pair. You can't read the text, but the text says: “Of a signal foreign engagement.” And on your map, I guess, the subtext is at home and abroad. It's the sort of signal for engagement, Of course using nautical terms for coming into battle, I guess basically holding a person's coins at home and a trinket or bauble but in this case, a watch abroad. Here's a.. Let’s see I’ll get the date to you, a 1788 painting of the scene of Cook's arrival in Tahiti. Is that clear? Is that focused? Raise it a little?

John Lutz 16:25
Not much I can do without moving the thing back. But basically, here you see the Tahitian women diving off their boats, they actually look like British boats, and swimming to the ships. And the men offering, in this case a mirror, and various other things. In point of fact, iron was in great demand in Tahiti, and metal objects. And so the men traded away first of all any kind of trade goods they had. I don’t know, hatchets and various other goods they brought along. When they ran out of things to trade, they started pulling nails out of the ship. And they basically would have disassembled the ship if they had not been court martialed for this activity. Just again, to give you the flavor of the sort of these kinds of relationships in the Pacific, this is from a French voyage in 1790’s. LaRousses (?) voyage, he stops at Easter Island. And here you see the French, the sailors, kind of scattered around some of the famous monuments of Easter Island, and some of them sketching them. And around them are these mostly naked, or at least half naked, Islanders. If you take a closer look at this painting, this painting is quite a clever painting actually, in some sense. Let's take a slightly closer look. Well with just about every one of these sailors there's something like this happening: He's talking to this comely maiden here, and this one here is kind of pulling something out of his pocket. These women are both sort of enticing them and filching things from them, these sailors, who are greedy in several respects. So I would argue that these stories from the mid 18th century start to spread through the seafaring world and the attraction of women in particular, sexual availability of women, becomes part of the motivations of the sailors. Not the officers, at least not the captains, but the men on the ships. So when it comes to the Pacific Northwest, what we have in the way of evidence, and evidence is the hardest thing to come by at this time of the story. Because we Cook stopped at Tahiti the first time, he came back and deposited his journals. And his journals were written up for publication by a man called Hawkesworth. I think it's Hawkesworth or Hawkesbury. I’m not sure. But in any case, the editor of the journals was relatively frank when it came to sexual encounters that were happening. Apparently Joseph Banks, who was the naturalist with Cook in Tahiti, had an engagement with one of the Hawaian royalty females and came back to the ship one day without his pants. This ends up being satirized in the British press. Cook and Banks were mercilessly satirized by the British press for this. So, after that it becomes clear if you're a captain of, especially official exploration, but even not, to leave these kinds of details out of your text. So it gets harder and harder to know, you know, to see the evidence. But the place to look for evidence is not so much in the officer’s logs but often in their subaltern’s logs, of some of the people like the surgeons, Samwell I mentioned before, occasionally. Most of the seamen were illiterate, but a few of them were literate and some of them left accounts of their voyages. So when Cook comes to the Pacific, he stops in Hawaii and he makes his way up to the Pacific Northwest from Hawaii. And he arrives at Friendly Cove in 1778. And their experience there at first is quite dissimilar from Hawaii. The women, Cook describes them as bashful and modest, and the men at first have no luck in persuading the women to come on board the ship. The sailors did not let this dissuade them at all. They kept persisting and offering them goods and cash for sexual services. And Samwell, the same surgeon's mate, leaves us this account. He says: “after having been there some time, and despite having often given the native men to understand how agreeable the company of their women would be to us, and how profitable to themselves,” that’s a quote, but I’m paraphrasing, they had no luck. But on April 6th, after being there for two or three weeks, however, Samwel writes: “two or three girls were brought to the ship” (he uses the word girls) and apparently forced by the men who brought them on board. Samwell remarks: “in their sexual behavior they were very modest and timid, in which they differed much from the South Sea Island girls, who in general are impudent and loud.” And he described in his notes what was probably the first sexual encounter between Aboriginal and non Aboriginal people in the Pacific Northwest. He says (I’m quoting again): “ though some of them had no bad faces yet, as they were exceedingly dirty about their persons at first sight and were not very inviting, however, young men were not to be discouraged by such an obstacle as this, which they found was to be removed with soap and warm water. This they call the ceremony of purification and were themselves the officiators of it. And it must be mentioned that they performed with much piety and devotion, taking as much pleasure in cleaning the naked young woman from all impurities in the tub of warm water as a young confessor would be to absolve a beautiful virgin who was about to sacrifice that (cannot hear word here) to himself.” There's a bit of Marquis de Sade I think in that description actually. And some of these accounts become disturbing, or at least more disturbing. Its cleat these women were forced, they were slaves. They were brought on board by their owners who sold, their sexual services were sold to the sailors. Samwell notes that after a this first encounter, the owners saw a profitable trade and brought more women to the ship. And that that the ordinary price for this was (they'd already traded away most of their metal) so they traded pewter plates; to exchange one pewter plate for one night’s sexual accompaniment. And Samwell notes that “many of us leaving this harbor were not able to muster a plate to eat our salt and beef from,” they had traded away all of their cutlery and their plates. So this is 1778. Vancouver, George Vancouver, revisits the same port, Friendly Cove, in 1792 And first of all his ships don't head to Friendly Cove.

John Lutz 23:48
They (lot’s of mumbling, cannot hear) they head by Georgia straight and by Saltspring and work their way up around the North of the island and back down to the cove. And at this time I guess I got some slides to show you guys this.

John Lutz 24:12
So Vancouver arrives in 1792 to quite a different reception from that which Cook did.

John Lutz 24:28 Let's have a look.

John Lutz 24:37
Maybe I can show four or five. Okay, so captain James Cook, who I’ve been speaking of. This is a painting from James Webber, one of Cook’s artists, on his arriving in Hawaii. And this is women on the one side coming towards the ships, and hogs on the other side and fresh meats. The two things that the sailors really wanted out of Hawaii; fresh meat and sexual relations. There’s a sideways Tahitian beauty. This is a Webber painting, his version of a Tahitian woman. And then here we are at Friendly Cove, this is a Dixon painting from 1790, quite a contrast to the Hawaiian beauty. The sailors compared and contrasted the beauty of the women quite unfavorably.

John Lutz 26:10
(lots of mumbling, cannot hear).

John Lutz 26:20
(lots of mumbling, cannot hear).

John Lutz 26:42
So Vancouver visits Friendly Cove and sees something different from Cook. When Cook arrives, Aboriginal people greeted him with a ceremonial greeting. They had paddle out to meet him, they strewed Eagle down in front of his boats. Cook writes about this in considerable detail. And when Vancouver arrives, this is 1792, 14 years later. “Upon entering the sound we were visited by many canoes, the people in which approached the boating ceremony. They laughed heartily, they passed they're joke's on us with great freedom, and gave us to understand that for iron, we might have their women, explaining their meanings by many indecent actions”. So in the course of a few years, in fact, this even happens before, but halfway through, or at least by halfway through this period, by other accounts, Aboriginal people on the Northwest coast, not just Friendly Cove, began to realize that whatever they were, Spanish, British, whether they were official expeditions or whether they were merchant men, or whatever, they all had one thing in common. They all wanted Aboriginal women. And so you can see that the official greeting had now given way to basically, you know, almost from a European point of view, what you would describe as a pimping. The pimps come on board before anything else. All we have really are European sources for this except for one account, which I will give you in a few minutes, from an Aboriginal oral history. So it's very hard talking to you about the Aboriginal women, or kind of what’s going on with Aboriginal society. I think it seems clear from ethnographic and other work that some of these early women who were involved in this trade were basically forced slaves, sex slaves. In other parts of the coast, and in other times, and even in a later period, it becomes evident that something else is going on. That women were acting on their own behalf, unenslaved women, and, and I think here one has to understand more about Aboriginal culture and Aboriginal customs and mores before one can really describe this as prostituting. But I think in some aboriginal cultures, including the Klingon(?) and the Haida, some Aboriginal women were considered to have special spiritual power, special luckiness that they could pass on to men through sexual relations, and so there was already a tradition of giving gifts to these women in exchange for a sexual relationship, sexual encounters. And so in those cultures, and this is very specific, it of course varies from culture to culture in the Pacific Northwest, those kinds of relationships could be considered almost honoring somebody. The idea is you might want to have sexual relations with them to honor them and accords them this status of having this special power from this special personage. Now, I want to talk a little bit about the implications of these kinds of encounters. I said that I think they are important beyond, if you like asides of contact. And it's because sexploration brought with it a couple of things. First of all, it dramatically alters Aboriginal social structure. Slavery already existed in the Pacific Northwest when Europeans arrived. But what Europeans did, first with these ships of exploration, then the makeshift ports, and later the settlements, was to create a much larger market for slaves, basically, prostitutes. And Aboriginal communities responded to this by expanding the state rate. So, we have an expansion of warfare, of raiding, of slave taking on the Pacific Northwest starting with Captain Cook. More or less oblivious to Europeans, who weren't really around to see this. But in fact, more violence, more women passed into slavery. So this sexploration, if you like... (audio cuts out for a minute).

John Lutz 31:55
And so we have European men badgering Aboriginal women, and Aboriginal women blockading themselves in their homes when their men are away to protect themselves from European men. Clearly on occasion there was violence, and violant seizing of Aboriginal women, what we would all rape, and other kinds of sexual violence. And of course, what does this violence do? Well beyond this immediate impact on the victims and families, it affects the relationships between Aboriginal and non Aboriginal people. You had Captain Cook professing peace and civilization and science. And the Spaniards settling in Friendly Cove talking about Christianity and having Christian brothers preaching religion. Meanwhile, the men are going around acting in a very uncivilized and unChristian way, souring relationships between native communities and explorers. I think it dramatically affects that early contact and I feel like it sours that. We have some, especially Spanish, accounts of this kind of violence between sailors and Aboriginal people around this issue. Here's one Spanish document: “The sailors (this is from one of the Spanish officers) either as a result of the almost brutal upbringing, or because they envied the humane treatment the commandant and other officers always gave the natives, insulted them at various times, crippled some, wounded others and did not fail to kill several. In 1791 the commanding officer (cannot hear name, mokwena?), you saw his image earlier, would not come to visit the Spanish because quote: “The men would do violence to his women.” And a few years later, the Spanish commander told mokwena to keep his women away from Friendly Cove, quote: “either my man or his might kill each other on account of the women.” Now as I said, there are very few Aboriginal accounts in fact, I've only come across one aboriginal account of these encounters.

And this is from a (cannot here name of tribe) elder, who has passed away now Peter Webster. Peter, this is from a story of his relationship with the Spaniards, it goes like this, he says: “These Spaniards, mamoldies?” They call them, mamaldies means, I think it can be translated in a couple of ways, Men without homes, men who live on boats. “These mamaldies they sure must have treated the native Indian young girls bad. They used to pull them into the blacksmith's without any romance. Some of the Indian girls refused what these guys wanted. The blacksmith had that red hot iron always ready for those who refused. And he describes basically raping Aboriginal women with a red hot poker. You You know, clearly these kinds of behaviors where what occurred if you refused.

John Lutz 35:12
So that's, I think, you know, one thing to keep in mind. Other aspects of these encounters where disease. On Cook's voyage we know that his ships were riddled with syphilis and gonorea. Cook, to his credit, tried to prevent these men from having sexual relationships in the Pacific and failed basically. The men just essentially, well mutiny occurred when cook tried to prevent them from going ashore. And so as a result, Cook gave in eventually and these men went into these Pacific nations in the Pacific Northwest, spread syphilis, gonorrhea, which spread quickly throughout this population. Causes sterility, causes early death, and reducing population level by numbers unkown to us. And we don't actually have a clue as we mapped out the significance of those things, but they were very important factors of visits.

John Lutz 36:14
The other aspects, I think I already alluded to one, I think it's important, is the Christian brothers tried to Christianize locals, which is one of their main missions. The men were frustrating that and souring relationships. The official goals of this expedition were being, to some degree, sabotaged by their sexual behavior. The best example of that is from Tahiti. I’m sure you're all familiar with the story of the sailors who were sent off to Tahiti buy breadfruit, and came back to the West Indies with slaves (mumbling, cannot hear). But Cook faced near mutiny, as did other captains when they tried to prevent sexual contact. As a result, Cook’s imperial objective of keeping things like syphilis out of these countries and communities, were frustrated by the European’s motivations of sexploration. So these kinds of sexual relationships also raise all kinds of questions that historians havn’t really yet come to grips with. Questions about hierarchies on ships, it's clear that the average men on the ships had some kind of power were the captains couldn't always control the ships. There were enough men that they had to be given into in certain cases. It raises questions about the whole gendered nature of exploration. Exploration is often thought of as not bein gendered, or having a sexual context or gendered dynamic. So featuring the sexual nature of exploration here is not trying to argue that sex or libido explains the exploration in the Pacific. Those other motivations that I talked about, they were the ones that got people moving to the Pacific. But it really conditions, I think, how we understand how that process unfolded. In some cases it sabatoged the exbidition. In other cases, the whole Imperial objective of, if you like, occupying and colonizing the territory was in some sense inadvertently increased by the men. They assisted the colonization process. So really what I want to point out is that sexual, as well as imperial, scientific and religious motivations, slept together in seamen’s hammocks and came on deck in different combinations. Thank you very much.

John Lutz 38:48
So I'd be glad to answer questions or talk about things more.

Audience member, woman’s voice 38:53
I was wondering what the consequences were in terms of children (some more mumbling cannot hear).

John Lutz 39:13
Well, I think in terms of children, as far as I can tell, again, there is not much in the way of evidence on the Aboriginal side, but many Northwest societies, especially in the Pacific, were matrilineal. So children would inherit from their mother's side, their rights and privileges. So the paternity of the children didn't matter so much. So they will inherit the rights and obligations and will be considered members of their communities. I think Aboriginal people didn't think in racial terms, they didn't have a concept of race in terms of how they looked at themselves and viewed others. The kind of scientific idea of race hadn’t permeated. So these children were accepted by and large. In terms of attitudes towards prostitution, but you know recent research is hard to come by, so my conclusions are pretty tentative and largely historical rather than contemporary. But it seems clear to me that there is considerably different attitudes towards sexual behavior among married or an extramarital relations depending on where you go in the Northwest. In some cultures, as I mentioned the North Coast, sexual relations had quite a different role in the community, then saving the (cannot hear but I think he is saying the name of an aboriginal tribe) And from what I've got the (tribe name?), who valued chastity and marriage, initially saw only the prostitution of slaves, which later led to social breakdown.

Audience member, woman’s voice 40:43
I saw that British movie on Captain Cook, and I was under the impression that when they finally killed him, that the Thitian men were jealous. It just gave that impression that they were jealous of him.

John Lutz 41:06
Well, I actually would have liked to, but haven’t seen the documentary on Cook. But I think jealousy of Native men and violence that comes between native and non Native men over Aboriginal women is pervasive throughout this kind of literature. And also, I've read elsewhere that some may suggest that there's various explanations why the Hawaians killed Cook, and jealousy is probably as good as any. But another one is also, they realized by his third voyage, the effects of venereal disease, that, you know, if you go back enough times you will be able to connect venereal disease to these European ships. And so, at least one scholar argues they were mad at him and his crew for this, and among other things.

Audience member, woman’s voice 42:00
What about homosexuality amongst the men when they’re on the boats?

John Lutz 42:04
That's a good question. Yes. There was some homosexuality on the ships. And it's documented because, it was illegal, and not only was it illegal, but it was punishable by death. Buggery, as they called it, was punishable by death. And so there are, from the 18th century, records of trials of men who were charged and hung for essentially homosexual behavior. That's, you know, so few, I think, something like a dozen in the case of 60 or 70 years, and you think, there's about 120,000 men in the (cannot hear) at this time. So, I mean, that raises questions. There is one scholarly article called “buggery in the British Navy,” which addresses some of these questions.

But you know, what's happening are homosexuals are so, well, we know from other accounts of free society, that homosexuality amongst the upper class of society wasn't, you know, so frowned upon. So what's happening here? Is working class culture different? Are people turning a blind eye? Which is one of the suggestions. They know the punishment is death, so many people just turned a blind eye. So, you know, that's all I can say. There are remarkably few convictions or punishments for this crime. I explain that as either it didn't happen very much, or people turned a blind eye.

Audience member, woman’s voice 43:45
(she asks a question, but cannot hear).

John Lutz 43:48
I don't think so. There are examples of men deserting, which in the Northwest coast, you’ve got to hate your work to jump off the ship in the middle of the Pacific Northwest, where you don't know anybody. And in point of fact, what happens to these men is that they're enslaved themselves. They're treated like any stranger would be treated in the Pacific Northwest coast if they didn't have relationships with families there. In terms of defending themselves, there are no accounts. There are stories of native women going on some of the British ships . Vancouver was returning two Hawaiian women, its not clear to me whether they were kidnapped by a fur trading ship bought from the Pacific Northwest, and then given that Vancouver didn’t stop at Hawaii on their back, or whether they'd signed on for some kind of some kind of feet. There's evidence of women's active conscription in some of these accounts, and evidence, of course, of resistant behavior in others. But we are dealing with such a small fragment, especially in this case, of what actually happened. There are lots of possibilities.

John Lutz 45:15 (mumbling, cannot hear)

John Lutz 45:44
There's a couple of really good books that you probably know about about relationships between fur traders and native women. Both of these books portray these relationships as basically mutually beneficial. And well, I have no doubt that that's true in those cases. But both of those books, I think, overlook the more casual sexual encounters that were very, I think, a very common part of the fur trading experience. And they look at the kind of marriages that are formed during that period, and chart them, and how long they lasted, and the mutual benefits. There's no denying that. But I think that, and I don’t know if they're willfully blind to, the kind of more seedier side, or the less quality side, but certainly through that fur trade era, there was lots of again, what Europeans would describe as prostitution and they have a different context in aboriginal society. (mumbling cannot hear) ...Fort Langley in the 1849’s talking about canoe boats going to Victoria to market they’re, what you call, more smutty commodeties. Into the settlement era, certainly in the Gold Rush era, there was both violence against native women and more commercial transactions. In Victoria, yeah, the more I think about it, in gold rush Victoria, they called them Indian dance houses, essentially brothels. And in this case, you have women coming from all over BC down to Victoria. I think this eventually becomes not coerced.

But these women from these Northwest cultures that didn't have these moral sanctions against premarital or extramarital sex, would engage in sex relationships in Victoria and take those profits back and Potlatch in (mumbles names of towns?), or wherever, and enhance their status in their own society, using this as a way of accumulating goods. So some of these behaviors do trend in this settlement era.

Male voice (perhaps part of the historical society?) 48:06
Well, we at the historical society would like to thank you for your talk on an interesting and sensitive topic. I think you’ve brought the group some sex education.

Male voice (perhaps part of the historical society?) 48:29 Thank you very much. Thank you.