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Monday March 29, 2010 in Books
Charles Hill-Tout was born in England in 1858 and came to British Columbia in 1891. He was a pioneer settler at Abbotsford in the Fraser Valley, where he raised his family in a log cabin. He devoted many years of field work to his studies of the Salish and published in the scholarly periodicals of the day. He was honoured as president of the Anthropological Section of the Royal Society of Canada and as a fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain. In The Salish People, his field reports are collected for the first time.
The Salish People is a four-volume work. Each volume covers a specific geographical area and serves as a useful guide in bringing the past to the present for local residents and out-of-province visitors. The four volumes, rich in stories and factual details about the old customs of the Coast and Interior Salish, are each edited with an introduction by Ralph Maud, who lives in the Fraser Valley and who teaches a course on the B.C. Indian Oral Tradition at Simon Fraser University.
Volume II of The Salish People deals with the people of the Squamish and the Lillooet. It includes an account of the Origin Myth as told by a 100-year-old blind storyteller whose mother saw Captain Cook sail into Howe Sound in 1792. One cannot stress enough how uniquely informative the “asides” are that Hill-Tout gives us throughout the text. In one, where fine snow is being described, he says: “In this point of the recital the old man was exceedingly interesting and graphic in his description, the very tones of his voice lending themselves to his story, and I gathered, long before the interpreter took up the story, that he had told of something that was very small and had penetrated everywhere.” And again, where the Squamish dead are described: “Here the old man’s voice was hushed to a plaintive wail, and the faces of his audience were an eloquent index of the tragic interest of his story of their ancestors’ misfortunes.”
ISBN 13: 9780889221499 | ISBN 10: 889221499
6 W x 9 H inches | 176 pages
$18.95 CAN / $14.95 US
Backlist | Non-Fiction | Bisac: SOC002010
QUOTES OF NOTE
“The ethnographic work of Charles Hill-Tout has long been familiar to specialists with access to libraries whose holdings included the professional journals and reports in which his work appeared. Now the wider public has easy access. It is ironic but, for Hill-Tout, consistent twist of fate that some thirty years after death he stands to be more widely read than ever he was in his prime. … In this writing and in his demand as a lecturer, Hill-Tout deserves to be remembered as a popularizer and interpreter of academic subjects for the public. All these achievements were realized with only the slimmest kind of assistance from public sources or funds for research, enough merely to defray a portion of his research expenses. Still more remarkable and in stark contrast with what we have come to accept as the norm for conditions of scholarly work, Hill-Tout never enjoyed the prestige or security of a university or college appointment. In preparing this edition Ralph Maud has done us all a service in making Hill-Tout’s writing available and in providing additional belated recognition for a deserving pioneer British Columbia scholar and educator.”
– BC Studies, 1981
About the ContributorsCharles Hill-Tout
Charles Hill-Tout devoted many years to ethnographic and anthropological field work among the Salish people of the west coast recording their customs, stories and art. The Salish People is a four volume collection of all the field work done by Charles Hill-Tout in the period 1895-1911, divided by specific geographical and cultural areas.Ralph Maud
Ralph Maud (1928–2014) was the author of a number of books on Charles Olsen as well as the editor of a number of books on Dylan Thomas. He was also a noted ethnographer and editor of ethnographic books. Maud was a professor at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia.
We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts; the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund (CBF); and the Province of British Columbia through the British Columbia Arts Council for our publishing activities.