Synopses & Reviews
A vital collection of writings about First Nations people and culture as it existed on the island coasts of the Depression-era Pacific Northwest and originally published in the pages of Victorias oldest newspaper, the Daily Colonist
, the sixty stories included here are the result of a unique collaboration between a middle-aged woman, Beryl Cryer, of upper-class British ancestry, and well-known Hulquminum-speaking cultural elders, keenly aware of the punitive anti-land claims legislation passed by the Canadian Parliament in 1927, and therefore eager to have their stories told and published.
Mary Rice from Kuper Island, who lived next door to the Cryer family home in Chemainus, BC, is well remembered even today for her storytelling abilities; she taught Beryl Cryer, with whom she became close friends, countless aspects of indigenous culture, particularly as experienced by women. An elder in a thriving native culture, she introduced Cryer to the many other authorities from whom these stories were gathered for the newspaper.
Although she was not a trained anthropologist, Beryl Cryer was an honest observer and careful recorder. She embellished the material she collected with minor anecdotal introductions that give the reader a vivid sense of the person telling the story. The accounts themselves are valuable documents of Coast Salish oral traditions dealing with a wide range of subject matter from known sources, almost all of whom were well-versed in English.
an engrossing and delightful book.”
A book that provides some of the best accounts of Coast Salish mythology available.”
Praise for Beryl Mildred Cryer's The Flying Canoe:
"The stories . . . published in the Victoria Daily Colonist. . . . were not only true to native tradition, but were presented with real sympathy and understanding." --B.A. McKelvie, foreword to The Flying Canoe
A vital collection of writings about First Nations people and culture as it existed on the inland coast of the Depression-era Pacific Northwest and originally published in the pages of Victorias oldest newspaper, the Daily Colonist, the seventy stories included here are the result of a unique collaboration between a middle-aged reporter, Beryl Cryer, of upper-class British ancestry, and well-known Hulquminum-speaking cultural authorities eager to have their stories told and published.
A vital collection of writings about First Nations people and culture as it existed in the Depression-era Pacific Northwest.
About the Author
Author and carver Chris Arnett is a fourth-generation British Columbian on his mothers side and a member of the Ngai Tahu, a New Zealand Maori tribe, on his fathers side. With a lifelong interest in the prehistory and history of British Columbia and New Zealand, he has researched the archeology of the Stein River Valley for the Nlakapamux Nation Development Corporation and has worked for the Sooke Region Museum and Archives on a historical survey of logging on Vancouver Islands southwest coast, which was published in 1989.
Beryl Mildred Cryer
In addition to many newspaper articles on aboriginal myths and history, Beryl Mildred Cryer published one small book, Legends of the Cowichans, in 1949. She died in Welland, Ontario, in 1980.