William H.A. Willbond MSM, CD
Esquimalt[•], Cowichan, Tsartlip, Saanich[•]
Were first visited by the Spanish
the English came to this coast
Maquinna hated them the most
Trading blankets caused small pox fever
As the HBC[•] they searched for beaver
They killed the Ruperts and the Haida
Canoes against ships, it was suicidal
Sooke and Uclulet[•] on the west shore
Friendly Cove was friendly no more
The people were placed in a burial box
On a totem pole after death from the pox
Salish[•] villages were sent asunder
museums purchased cultural plunder
the skull the mask the burial chest
these artefacts, the people’s best
the words are lost the language died
the culture’s gone along with pride
oo poots is a word that’s still here
upon it I sat whilst drinking beer
Some family bones have come home
And that is why I wrote this poem
It took years and lots of their patience
Let’s honour those of our First Nations!
©Copyright January 21, 2004 by William H.A. Willbond MSM, CD
Author’s Note: Just like Ireland where they starved the people and burned their homes, the British on our West Coast used cannon, musket, diseased blankets, swords and bayonets to take British Columbia away from the First Nation’s Peoples.
Some stolen artefacts are just now returning from Museums around the world. Some of the skulls and Bones of people who were taken from the cedar carved burial boxes are also being returned. It has taken 150 years to right some of these wrongs and the land claim treaties that were signed by James Douglas are, in my opinion, a travesty of justice.
The British decimated our first Nation’s peoples almost to extinction then sent their children away to Christian Schools where they were used, abused and punished for speaking their languages. Still they survived and deserve compensation for the wrongs they suffered at Boarding School.