Chief Squamish Jim (Sikemkin) and the
as told by Louis Maranda
What I will be relating here is something that was once
told voluntarily to me by my late stepfather, whose ancestral name was Sikemkin and was
known as Chief Squamish Jim by the white people. Although, he couldn't speak any English,
he was very well liked by both the white and the Indian people. I had him repeat the story
to me as I use to like to see and hear how he related how it happened. Although I was
young when he would be telling the story of what really happened to him, I could see how
he changed. He would start off by saying:
This is something that really happened to me when I was a
young man. Just shortly after I got a wife, she became the mother of my children
The cold winter days had past, the snow all disappeared.
The days were becoming warmer, the brush started to grow, the leaves were in full bloom.
There was no doubt, spring was here.
So one evening after we finished supper, my wife said to
me , "The days are very warm now and the skunk cabbages are growing, so the bear must
be out of it's sleeping place. I am getting a little tired of the dried salmon and the
deer meat that we are eating. I would really enjoy a change, some bear meat and some fresh
bear grease to go with the dried salmon."
I said, "all right, we will go and look for some
tomorrow. "So, early next morning, she was up and when we finished breakfast, we got
ready. She packed what little we would need, as we knew it would be only a short stay. At
that time, game was very plentiful. We got aboard our canoe and started up the river. We
paddled where the water was deep and poled where the water was shallow and swift . So, we
paddled and poled all day. The sun was just about setting when we were nearing yelhixw
I was looking for a good camping spot, as this was a good
bear hunting place. I look across the river at a little slough, thinking that we would
make camp there.
As I was looking up the slough, I seen a bear coming down
the creek's bank. I told my wife. We went across the Squamish River very quietly with our
paddles. I got ashore, pulled the bow of our canoe up on shore. Then, I went to meet the
bear that was coming down towards the main river, walking very slowly, in search of fish
bones buried in the sand from last year.
I took my rifle and sneaked up to the bear. I got up
close, a good shooting range, took careful aim and fired. The bear dropped and as a rule I
generally go up and touch the bear with my gun to make sure it was dead. This time, I
didn't because I really thought it was dead, as it was such a close shot and I had plenty
of time to take a good aim.
I hurried back to the canoe and my wife and said to her,
"It would be good if you were to go and help me drag the bear to the canoe because it
drags much easier while it is still warm." I got aboard our canoe and we started to
go up the slough. As I looked up to see where we were going, and there, I seen the bear I
shot and thought was dead.
Here it was, coming down the sloughs bank. We pulled
ashore again, I pulled the bow of the canoe up on the shore. I took my gun and I
approached the wounded bear. I did not sneak up to it, I went right up to it because I was
facing the wind so the bear could not scent me. As it was coming down, I was going up to
When I was real near, I took care, aimed and pulled the
trigger . The gun just clicked. I thought that it had misfired so I loaded again, only to
see that my gun was empty. I backed up towards my canoe. Arriving there, I asked my wife,
"where would my bullets be?" She said, "In the basket under all the
baggage." So, I looked back and seen that the bear was quite close to us.
It was growling so I grabbed the ax, the only handy
weapon. I shoved the canoe away from shore. I went up to meet the approaching, wounded
grizzly bear. I knew that the grizzly bear would not tackle with all it's feet on the
ground, so I kept approaching, and the grizzly kept coming also.
As it came closer, it stopped and stood up on his hind
legs and kept walking towards me and kept on growling as it were approaching. When I got
Nearer, I figured that if it were close enough to tackle me, then I feinted at it, as if
to hit on the head. I seen that it put it's arms as to protect itself and then it would
put down it's arms to approach me.
I didn't wait any longer, so I feinted and it put up it's
forepaws. And as soon as it dropped it's guard to take another step towards me, I struck
it on the head and killed by crushing it's skull with the only weapon I had, a single
Ten, the grizzly bear really died. My wife's wishes were
fulfilled. She got the bear meat that she was craving for. I would further like to say,
that Sikemkin was one of the greatest goat and bear hunters. He was the last of the great
hunters and he was also a great canoe maker.
If you have any legends you would like the entire planet to read please
e-mail them to me, or fax it to me at (604 983 2296) and I'll post it! Thanks.
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