Bella Coola

Alexander Mackenzie, throughout his journey to the Pacific, made copious notes as to the appearance and habits of the natives he encountered. He now describes in considerable detail, the Bella Coola indians, in whose houses he was made very welcome.

  • The posts, poles and figures were painted red and black, but the sculpture of these people is superior to their painting..

  • four elevated houses, their length is from an hundred to an hundred and twenty feet and they are about forty feet in breadth

  • the men have their hair in plaits, instead of a comb, they have a small stick hanging from one of the locks... they all have high cheek-bones

bellacoolavillageThe party paddled their way down the Dean Channel and into the arm of the sea. Mackenzie was keen to reach an open stretch of water in order to take a good reading to determine his position, Soon, however, events were to take a more sinister turn. Several canoes of natives came after the travellers, and it became clear that their experiences of white men were not happy ones. They managed to communicate that, not long before, they had met a group of white men, led by a man they called “Macubah” with an assistant “Bensins” who had fired at them. Mackenzie was not to know it at the time but Vancouver had been in the area only a few weeks before, with his second-in-command Menzies, and clearly had not made a favourable impression with the indians.


belacoolavillage2Bella Coola village in more modern times







Totem from Bella Coola vilage