The Tsunami At ؛Anaqtl’a or "Pachena Bay"

From: E.Y. Arima, Louis Clamhouse, Joshua Edgar, Charles Jones, and John Thomas, Barkley Sound Southeast, 1989, Between Ports Alberni and Renfrew: Notes on West Coast Peoples, Canadian Museum of Civilization, pp. 207, 230, 231, 264, & 265

Preface: These West Coast notes were gathered from 1964 on as "salvage" or "urgent" ethnology, under the auspices of the Canadian Museum of Civilization during the 1960's and subsequently of National Historic Parks and Sites, from Bamfield, Nitinat, Clo-oose and Port Renfrew. They were assembled in 1975-1976, omitting the Bamfield traditions by Chief Louie, into an earlier ms., "Notes on the Southern West Coast native world: peoples, place names, environment, and selected economic pursuits", in which form they already were useful to West Coast studies (e.g., Turner et al. 1983). In the 1980's the work was expanded for Parks, Environment Canada, as "West Coast native peoples of the Pacific Rim National Park region" to help encourage inclusion of ethnological and historical aspects in a Parks study of Pacific Rim's native dimension, an archaeological survey conducted by James Haggarty assisted notably by Richard Inglis and Denis St. Claire. The prime native contributors are duly recognized as co-authors: Louis Clamhouse who provides the Ho:؛i:دath traditions; Joshua Edgar (Ch’iliد, f. Ch’ila:qetid) for Ditidaht historical and geographical data; Charles Jones (Kwi:la:tso:t), source for the Pacheedaht and more; John Thomas (Cha:xwi:yittx), for Ditidaht and Makah, also transcriber-translator. Native names given are just their recent ones; all are leading hereditary chiefs.

The Tsunami At ؛Anaqtl’a or "Pachena Bay"

This story is about the first Anaqt or "Pachena Bay" people. It is said that they were a big band at the time of him whose name was Hayoqwis دis, ‘Ten-On-Head-On-Beach.’ He was the Chief; he was of the Pachena Bay tribe; he owned the Pachena Bay country. Their village site was Loht’a; they of Loht’a lived there. I think they numbered over a hundred persons. They were members of the Pachena Bay tribe.

Now it was he who did so, it is said, he who was the First Chief of the Ki:xدinدath. He performed a ceremonial woman purchase according to the native marriage prcedure. He went to he whose name was Hayoqwisدis. They got in marriage the elder daughter.

The Ohiaht chief had four sons. The woman buying party set out Ki:xدin. They were made to go through several topa:ti tests. One was broad jumping. If they jumped four fathoms they would get the girl. They were doing so on the rocky shore of Loht’a. They were jumping uphill. They were a big tribe. Those ways were big.

The woman buying party was successful. They got the girl for one of their number jumped the required four fathoms. He, the younger brother, jumped the four fathoms, but in doing so he landed on his face against the cliff, broke his head, and died. The jumping game topa:ti belonged to him who was Chief, Ten-On-Head-On-Beach. His country extended to Tlosa:yo:دat and reached the point of Loht’a:. There is now no one left alive due to what this land does at times. They had practically no way or time to try to save themselves. I think it was at nighttime that the land shook. It was a sandy beach, it is said, Ma:lts’a:s extending to Cha:hsow’a. Its name was Ts’a:ts’axwach’aدaqolh, ‘Place-On-Rocky-Shore-For-Spearing’. It is now called Ka:nop’al, ‘Carrying-Person-On-back’. It was floating, it is said, consisting only of sand, a house right up against the hill out of the woods, its name Satsnit, ‘Place-Of-Many-Tyee-Salmon’. It was a place of many tyee salmon when they came to land from the sea. They were at Loht’a:, and they simply had no time to get hold of canoes, no time to get awake. They sank at once, were all drowned; not one survived. Only his elder daughter went to Ki:xدin as a bride from whom my former grandfather was decended.

This is it now, the Ohiahts of today. Their Chiefs are big. This is their very own history, thus the land became theirs. Now when the Ohiahts were all gone into hiding, Chief N’a:si:smis, ‘Carrying-Day-Along-Beach’, of Kildonan [Ho:choqtlisدath], it is said, went on war raids and killed off the band of Ts’axq’o:دis, killed off the band of Tl’a:ni:waدa, and conquered as far as Tsosayi:دat. Because of that it is said that my grandfather’s domain reached Tsosayi:دat. This was brought about by the Pachena Bay Chief, brought as dowry for his elder daughter to my grandfather’s ancestor before the big earthquake, before the big flood. By that my grandfather’s land reached Tsosayi:دat, along with all chiefly rights, songs, topa:tis. Many are now today descended from that. Only my grandfather survived who now has many descendants. It is them now who are descendants from the first Pachena Bay people. It is said no one ever knew what happened. I think a big wave smashed into the beach. The Pachena bay people were lost. Their food was whale meat. That is why they were living there. Nothing was known about what happened and what became of them. But they on their part who lived at Ma:lts’a:s, ‘House-Up-Against-Hill’, the wave did not reach because they were on high ground. Right against a cliff were the houses on high ground at M’a:lsit, ‘Coldwater Pool’. Because of that they came out alive. They did not drift out to sea along with the others.

Everything then drifted away; everything was lost and gone. To the Chiefs of old this land was very great in their sight because they ate the drift whale that drifted on the shores of their land, also drift sea lion and everything that drifted onto their land.


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