TELLING STORIES: the Life of Chief Richard Malloway Ethnographic Writing by: Brian Thom. Stories Narrated by: Mrs. Edna Malloway, Chief Frank Malloway, Chief Richard Malloway. Prepared for: Stó:lô Tribal Council. March 1994\
Now that I am nearing the conclusion of writing this work, I feel that it is time to begin the introduction. It has not been until the end of a year long project that this work feels solid enough to summarize and step back to try to reflect upon. I was originally invited to work on this project in March of 1993 as a student member of the U.B.C. Ethnographic Field School. As I explain in the following paper, I was invited by the Stó:lô Tribal Council to work on a life history of Richard Malloway. At the time I was completely unaware of the monumental task writing a comprehensive and sensitive life history would be. I was naive enough to even think it might be possible to do in one short summer. As I discovered, recording stories about someone's life is not simply string together a series of narratives. It has been for me a complex process of going back and forth between conducting and transcribing interviews, going through newspaper clippings, having discussions with family and community members, reading academic papers on writing life histories, reading ethnography, and finally writing several drafts to reach this version of work that is still not really "finished".
It is in the writing that I have had difficulties. My goal from the beginning was to provide an idea of what the life of Chief Richard Malloway was like, without taking away from the authority and voice of the people who talked about him, including himself. Looking back on my written work which follows, I wonder if my entire effort is completely over anthropologized. I do not think so. But I do not think that I have completed what I was originally asked to do - write the life history of Richard Malloway. What I is presented here, cantered around the life of Richard Malloway, are suggestions of ways to think about life histories in general, and some of the problems of doing this kind of work. Also presented is a brief glimse into Richard Malloways complex and fascinating life. But only a glimpse. To give the reader of this work a broader basis for which to look at and understand (and re-interpret) the stories that are told about Richard Malloway's life, I have included handwritten copies of the original taped transcripts of interviews done with members of the Malloway family, copies of newspaper articles clipped by Mrs. Edna Malloway during her husbands life, and copies of academic papers that I have used to help shape my thinking about the issues I write on in my main text. I hope that by providing much of the material I had available to work with, that any future researcher (be it Malloway family member, Stó:lô community member, or future academic writer) would be able to build on the stories I begin to tell here.
"Beginnings" might be a good title for this work. It should now be obvious that I have not presented here a complete life history of Chief Richard Malloway, nor do I believe that it is possible to complete such a task. The stories told here are just the beginning of a vast number of narratives that may be told, which took Chief Malloway an entire lifetime to lead. Many parts of his life are left out. I would have liked for instance, to discuss more Chief Malloway's political life, which broadly and profoundly effected many First Nations communities. These other stories will surely be told another day.
I have many people to thank for being apart of this fulfilling project. I would first like to pay my respect to a man I will never meet, but feel that I have got to know. Richard Malloway has had a profound impact on the world he lived in an will doubtless continue to do so in the future. Edna and Frank Malloway opened up their homes and lives, and shared with me many memories. I have greatly enjoyed their warm friendship. Gordon Mohs, Sonny MacHelsie, Kat Pennier, and Keith Carlson of the Stó:lô Tribal Council have continuously supported my research in the Stó:lô community for the past few years. Their continued guidance and discussions have enriched my thinking and experiences in the Stó:lô community. I also thank them their relentless patience in having this work submitted. Gwen Point, Dr. Norman Todd, and Dean Douglas have through much enjoyed conversation, have given me thoughts, ideas and stories about Richard Malloway and the Stó:lô community. I owe much gratitude to professors Julie Cruikshank and Bruce Miller for getting the U.B.C. Ethnographic field school started and being the best "living field manuals" any beginning ethnographer could ask for. Finally, my friends and classmates Beth Hise, Priya Helweg, Pauline Joly de Lotbiner, and Deborah Tuyttens were wonderful people to be with through the progress of this work. Thank you everyone.
Brian Thom, Graduate Student, University of British Columbia, March, 1994
Introduction: Telling Stories
Chief Richard Malloway (Th'eláchiyatel), a direct descent of the four original ancestors of the Chilliwacks; Th'eláchiyatel, Yexwpílem, Siyemchess, and Xwexwayleq, was an important and influential Stó:lô individual who lived in the Lower Fraser Valley from 1907 to 1987. Stories of his life are remembered and told frequently in the Stó:lô community today. The objective of this paper is to compile some of his stories in the voices of the people who told them. Some of the stories come from people who told me about Richard Malloway, and some of them he told himself and had recorded for the Coqualeetza oral archives. However, recounting these narratives here is not an end in itself. As a student of anthropology thinking and writing about Richard Malloway's life, it is my task to attempt to gain some cultural understanding from these stories. To grapple with meanings in these stories it is of course important to establish the social context in which the stories were told (Darnel 1989:315). However I believe that I can gain further cultural understanding by discussing the everyday conversations that people have - the stories they tell about themselves - as well as their narratives about Richard Malloway.
I propose that there is an interesting relationship between the kinds of things people talk about in contemporary communities and the kinds of things considered important to discuss about their historical past. I hope to identify what these culturally constructed categories are. This will hopefully provide a richer understanding of some fundamental cultural issues may be achieved. This understanding may be intuitive for the participants in a particular culture, but is not necessarily obvious for an outsider (such as the anthropology student). By providing circumstantial accounts of how people talk about their own lives, and narratives about the life of this particularly important individual, we the listeners (or in your case the reader) may gain a broader understanding about important cultural issues in contemporary and historic Stó:lô society. However, my interpretations of these issues are also culturally constructed. My ethnographic stories are only partial truths which provide one of many ways that these stories and life experiences can be interpreted. As Cruikshank has stated in her recent book Reading Voices: "The concern here is less with determining 'truth value' or with 'getting the facts straight' than with asking how our ideas about 'truth' and 'facts' are constructed in the first place" (Cruikshank 1991:8).
So the telling of the life history of Richard Malloway involves not one narrative, but many. If I am successful in composing them, three different narratives will emerge: the life stories about Richard Malloway; the lives and experiences of contemporary Stó:lô community members; and the experiences of myself as a student of anthropology working in a First Nations community. I will attempt to present the stories that people tell in their own words, whereever possible. Many of the stories about Richard Malloway were transcribed from taped interviews and discussions and are presented here in Universal typeset. This typographic distinction will help distinguish my own voice, which will remain in the present typeface. By keeping these stories in their original forms (or as close to the original oral form as my transcribing skills allow), I hope to maintain some of their unique performance elements, and acknowledge the authority of the narrator to tell them without being under unnecessarily biased editorial scrutiny.
I will begin my series of narratives (which have in a sense already begun) by telling about how I got to be involved in writing life stories of a prominent Stó:lô chief. In the spring of 1993, the Department of Anthropology and Sociology was approached by the Stó:lô Tribal Council (STC) about the possibility of there being an ethnographic field school held in that community. A good relationship with the Department had been built up over the past few years by the archaeologists working with the Stó:lô. During this time, Gordon Mohs, a non-native STC employee with a Master's degree in anthropology, and Sonny McHalsie, a self-trained native historian and anthropologist, came to realize that there were a number of issues that university anthropology students could address, which would be useful for the mandate of the STC. The mandate identified by the STC is "1) to re-affirm Stó:lô cultural values; 2) to re-establish self-government; and 3) to restore healthy communities" (Carlson 1993:2).
One of the particular issues that the STC is particularly concerned with is the current system of leadership under the Indian Act. The Indian Act requires First Nations communities to elect a chief and councillors through band elections. In many Stó:lô communities, disputes centred around determining individual leaders from extended family groups in a community, and holding these leaders accountable have arose. In many cases, communities and families have split and divided over these issues. The STC has determined that "Indian Act Council election regulations upset families and communities" by "breaking down extended family social units" and pitting "people and families against one another rather than encouraging people to work together towards common goals" (Carlson 1993:2).
Historian Keith Carlson was recently hired on as a full time staff member of the STC to research issues of Stó:lô leadership under the Indian Act. Some of his related goals are to determine a model of "traditional" leadership which could be presented as a case for self-government. Carlson's research project into traditional leadership had not gone into full swing when the negotiations for the ethnographic field school were being finalized. The idea of recording the life history of one of the most important community leaders was immediately suggested by Mohs and McHalsie as an appropriate topic for one of the fieldschool students - particularly me. I had been involved in archaeological work with the Stó:lô during the past year researching prehistoric social and political organization through burial practice. I was immediately singled out for he project, partly because of my interest in Coast Salish politics, and partly because of my experience with the community. This project was to put me in touch with many Stó:lô community members, so I believe that I was considered a "safe quantity" for the beginnings of the ethnographic field school endeavour. My initial research questions focused on the reconstruction of the major life events and contributions of Richard Malloway to Stó:lô society. I was particularly interesting in those elements of leadership that I could define as "traditional", through comparison with accounts of earlier Coast Salish leaders in the ethnographic and ethnohistoric records. I felt that this kind of analysis would be anthropologically interesting, as well as fitting into the mandate outlined by the STC.
Two months before the ethnographic field school was to begin I got a telephone call from Gordon Mohs asking me if I could come out and talk with Mrs. Malloway about her husband's life history project. I was told that she would like to begin the interviews immediately. Driving out to the Yakweakwioose reserve that week, armed with my tape recorder and notebook, I was introduced to Mrs. Malloway in her home by Mohs. She began almost immediately to tell stories about her husband. I sat and listened, recording most of what she said on tape. I had very little to contribute to the discussion, as I knew little of the people, places, or instances in local history she was referring to. In the mid-afternoon, Mrs. Malloway stopped talking about her husband and asked "Well, how do we start? You'll have to tell me what you do..." I was dumbfounded. I responded that I thought we had already started. She could tell the life history of her husband, and I would sit, listen, record them on to tape, and transcribe them later. When all the pieces of Richard Malloway's life had been discussed, the life history could be written up. I explained my thoughts and waited for the next story. The next story never came. She said "I just wanted to know how you wanted it started though". Very soon after this comment, I left with a large scrapbook full of newspaper clippings which I was to read and copy. Mrs. Malloway was certain that I could learn her husbands stories from these. I expected to come back in the summer and discuss the life history with her further.
During the next few months I went through the material Edna had given me. I came to realize that the Malloways had quite a bit of experience as "ethnographic informants". Oliver Wells knew them in the sixties (Wells 1970:28; Wells 1987:43, 51, 53, 57, 73-74, 142, 162-164) Claude Levi-Strauss had talked with them in the seventies (noted in Jilek 1982:plate 5). Gordon Mohs (ie: Mohs 1987:167) and other Stó:lô researchers had conducted several interviews in the eighties and nineties. Dr. Norman Todd and Dr. Wolfgang Jilek frequently mention the Malloways in their numerous publications (ie: Todd 1975:113; Jilek and Todd 1974; Jilek 1982:17-21). I realized that I was truly the novice in this situation.
Mrs. Malloway was asking me to propose the right questions, ones that would be interesting to both her and myself, and ones that would keep the discussion going. Cruikshank has had similar experience with elders from the southwestern Yukon. "The listener is a part of the storytelling event too, and is expected to think about and interpret the messages in the story. A good listener will bring different life experiences to the story each time he or she hears it and will learn different things each time" (Cruikshank 1991:12) However, at this point in my study I was not yet equipped with the right kinds of knowledge to take my place as a "good listener". I believe Mrs. Malloway gave me the scrapbook of newspaper clippings to provide me with some foundation for future discussion. This obvious lack of appropriate knowledge on my part clearly illustrates that understanding oral history is not a matter of collecting the appropriate "facts" from the proper "informant". It is a dialogue of constructed, situated knowledge that assumes a certain amount of common knowledge between the listener and the narrator. When the common foundations of knowledge vary as widely as they did in the case of myself and Mrs. Malloway, a lot of work has to be done by both parties to come to a sense of understanding. In this case, either Mrs. Malloway had to spend days going through the history that is "common knowledge" in the Stó:lô community before she could discuss the things that really interested her, or I had to do my homework with the available archival resources. Filling my role as the student, I tried to finish my homework.
Finally at the beginning of May the field school began. The field school students moved into Frank Malloway's smokehouse, which was just a few doors down from his mother, Edna Malloway. As we all got to work on our various projects, I went to meet Mrs. Malloway to give her a copy of some work I had been doing since our previous visit, hoping this would show her I had thought about what she had given me two months before. She, however, was not feeling too well, and said she would call me when her throat felt better. I walked away not knowing if that would be in the afternoon, or sometime the next week. I decided the best thing to do would be to sit tight and wait. This decision shaped how the remainder of my field experience would unfold.
I spent a lot of the next four weeks sitting in Frank Malloway's smokehouse, waiting for that call. I was surprised to find that the smokehouse did not cease being used as a place to gather after the winter ceremonial season was finished. A number of people lived in the smokehouse, including Frank (currently Chief of the Yakweakwioose Band) who uses it as the Yakweakwioose Band office all year round. The people I met and got to know told me the things that they felt were important. They all knew that I was there working on Richard Malloway's life history. However, few of the people I met at the smokehouse, other than Frank, said any more than a few praising words about him. Most people felt it was not for them to talk about Richard Malloway. They unanimously suggested that I discuss the subject with Mrs. Malloway. However, they were most receptive to discussing issues which seemed current and timely. These issues tended to centre around the family, spirit dancing, and political and economic relationships with the non-native community (especially the Canadian government).
The Origin of The Sxwayxwey
A particularly important issue which is a constant topic of discussion for people we were living with was that of family and genealogy. One of the first things that is mentioned when someone is introduced or talked about is how they are related to various members of the community. Establishing these genealogical ties is important for following rules of exogamy (you can't marry closer than your fifth cousin), and hereditary rights and titles like carrying the sxwayxwey mask, a fishing location or a particular Indian name. These ties provide context for locating each person's position of ascribed status in the community. This constant dialogue of names and relations emphasises the importance of kin relations in the community. Being able to successfully determine which family lines to recognize or emphasize in any given situation is an important strategy for getting access to economic and political resources. This was shown a number of times when discussing who could be a mask dancer or who was a hereditary chief. Only by tracing your lineage back to ancestors with rights and titles could these economically and politically important positions be validated.
Frank Malloway has been interested in constructing his extended family tree. The idea of the family tree was explained to me on several occasions, and previously to his relatives, showing how the sxwayxwey mask was passed through the family to the current mask dancers. He also used the idea of the family tree to describe to me how the chief's role has been passed along in the family. He has supplemented this with a great deal of archival research on which members of his ancestral tree held positions of leadership in the past.
This discussion provides me with an opportunity to introduce my narrative about Richard Malloway. Frank Malloway's work on his family tree revealed many details of his father's life. Richard Malloway was born on December 15, 1907 to Julius and Mary Malloway in Sardis, B.C. Richard had one brother, Vincent Malloway presently of Tzeachten, and one sister, Susan Jimmy who now lives at Nooksack, who grew up with him. Due to an illness when he was a child, Richard did not attend residential school, and was raised by his parents and a medicine man named Catholic Tommy. The position of "chief" of the Yakweawioose Band was not simply handed from father to son in the case of Richard Malloway. Leadership followed a complex line of kinship determined by his elders given his particular abilities and family ties. Richard was fluent in both Halq'eméylem and English. In 1932, Richard was selected by Chief Billy Sepass of Skowkale, Chief Albert Douglas of Tzeachten, and Chief Albert Louis of Yakweakwioose to be spokesperson for these three bands. His fluency in English and Halq'eméylem was critical when these chiefs wanted to deal with government officials and other members of the non-native community. In the early 1940's Richard became chief of Yakweakwioose.
Thinking back to the question of "traditional" leadership mandated by the Stó:lô Tribal Council, it is clear that the notion of leadership is not the simple notion of heredity from father to son, as is often taken for granted (ie: by the colonial government of the last century). Appropriate leaders are selected by elders in the community partially on the basis of the abilities they have which are critical at a given moment in history. Among other things, the knowledge Richard Malloway gained by being raised by his family, and his abilities to function in the non-native community were essential at the time he was made chief. However, proper family ties and his capability to speak English and Halq'eméylem were likely not the sole criteria used to select this chief. Richard Malloway was also one of a very few people who brought winter spirit dancing through the prohibition period of the first half of this century. This would have been especially important to the elders who saw spirit dancing being repressed on their reserves. He and others like Charlie Douglas, Albert Nelson, Freddy Cheer, Aggie Victor, and Maggie Penier held winter dances through the repressive Potlatch Law times where almost all Native gatherings were considered illegal. It wasn't until the winter of 1968 that winter spirit dancing was practiced openly.
The ability to participate in mask dances during the winter ceremonial (and throughout the year) is also traced through family connections. One of the most privileged and important spirit dancing is the sxwayxwey dance. Only members of the extended family of someone owning the sxwayxwey story can become sxwayxwey mask dancers. Richard Malloway received the story of the origin of the sxwayxwey from his mother, however he never used the sxwayxwey mask in dance. The first time the sxwayxwey was used in his family since the revitalization of winter spirit dancing was in 1988, one year after his death. Richard published the story of the origin of the sxwayxwey in a small booklet that was distributed through the Coqualeetza Cultural Centre (Malloway n.d.). Mrs. Malloway made sure that I received and read a copy. This telling of the story of the sxwayxwey tells a great deal about his family relationships.
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The Sxwayxwey was picked up by two young girls. They lived at Harrison Mills, and where they picked it up was at the mouth of the Chehalis and Fraser Rivers, where it comes together there. And these girls happened to be - I know they called them - old maids. I don't know how old they were, but they weren't married you see - they were single, and their brother was single too. Seems to me there was three in the family.
These girls were out fishing, and while they were fishing they caught something very heavy on their fishing line, so they pulled it in -- they didn't get scared and let it go -- they pulled it in. When it came out of the water there came those spinners we use now in the spiritual dance. There were four spinners, and they were spinning as they came out of the water. As it came out of the water, whatever was in it slipped away, so they pulled the mask and spinners out of the water, and took it home.
The spinners were fixed to a band at the top of the mask, and they gave this to their brother, who used it just around the river. At that time, there was a lot of fighting among the Indians and when he was down the River one time he was cornered by the enemy. He had no way to get away, so he jumped in the river. When he went in the water, the band came off his head and started floating down the river, and the people who were after him shot at it, and he got away. So the feathers and band saved his life, and that's why we came to treasure these feathers, and when we started using feathers on our spiritual uniforms we used one on each uniform.
So that's how we came to use feathers, although they don't really belong to the Fraser Valley, but they belong to the Eastern people. We treasure them because they saved a live.
When you see a Sxwayxwey dance today it's all girls who sing the song, for the simple reason that it was girls who picked it up.
Later on those two girls got married and left home. One of the girls got married in Sumas (Kilgard). One of them got married there, and then the other got married down at Musqueam, and she went down there. From there her daughter went across to Duncan, and that's how the Sxwayxwey went from Harrison to Musqueam and then to Duncan.
The girls who went to Kilgard had a daughter, and she got married and came up to Chilliwack. She came over this way, and made a home just about where I live. And they started the masked dance there, and my great-grandfather, he was the head of it. He used that mask, but I don't know if he was the one who married this girl or not. His name was Yukpalem, Yukpalem was his name. I know the name and passed it over to my brother (Vincent Malloway).
I tried to find out who were the descendants of these people, and I asked the people who live over there at Harrison Mills, "You know anything about these girls, and the young man?" Nobody seems to know anything about it. I suppose that all of them were wiped out, so I couldn't get any satisfaction out of it.
My mother told me the story that I am telling. I don't know about this other Sxwayxwey mask down there at Laidlaw. I never heard about this until after my brother Bob Joe had passed away. He was married to Amelia, and she came from Laidlaw. She was the one that told the story to Wilson Duff when he came up here. I think that story comes from Laidlaw.
My mother was born in Chilliwack, on the Skaw reserve in 1976, and this is her story -- the Chilliwack story. I know the song of the Sxwayxwey and I recorded it. It says that the brother has a stomach of stone. That means that he in unfriendly and nobody likes him, and he doesn't like women.
We are trying to revive the Sxwayxwey here, and, you know the rules of the Indians are strict. You have to belong to the family which found the mask if you want to use it. This is one of the reasons I want to record this. Since the mask came up here to my family we have the right to use it.
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Richard's Spirit Power Stories
I will shift the direction of the narrative to another focus which interests people in the Stó:lô community. Spirit Dancing and Spirit power provide another important Stó:lô cultural category. Spending the summer in a winter spirit dancing house, I had the opportunity to meet and talk with some of the winter spirit dancers who stayed with or came to visit Frank Malloway. These syewen dancers often talked about their experiences of participating in the winter ceremonial. This was at times, a difficult topic to discuss. My own experiences differ greatly from those of a winter spirit dancer. However, there was some common ground upon which to stand. Literally. Discussing this topic was often centred around particular places in the smokehouse in which we lived. A interesting example is this particular post in the smokehouse was known to be a focus for bad spirit power. Knowing about this was important advice for new-comers to the smokehouse. I would not have recognized the particular dangers of sleeping near this post, even though it was thoroughly marked by the devil's club which is hung around it's perimeter.
As demonstrated with the bad spirit pole in the smokehouse stories about places often show the listener how to conduct oneself in Stó:lô society. The relationship of spirit power to place is also profoundly important as a way of talking about history. Place carries the history of the Stó:lô people. Archaeological sites like the Hatzic Rock, the Scowlitz Burial Mound site and the Scratch mark rock site all have important contemporarily told stories regarding their history and spiritual significance. For example, the pool of water from which emerged the sxwayxwey talked about in Richard Malloway's sxwayxwey origin story is located along the shores of the Scowlitz site. A completely different sense of the importance of the site is noted when discussing it from an archaeological narrative and from the sxwayxwey origin narrative. Establishing the historical and cultural significance of these kinds of places has important contemporary significance in the context of land claims with the Canadian Government. Oral traditions solidify the connections between the land and the Stó:lô people. These issues of understanding oral traditions in the context of place have been discussed at length by Basso (1984) and Cruikshank (1990) who have dealt with similar issues in their work with the Western Apache and Southwestern Yukon First Nations respectively. It was after reading these materials that I began to understand these important relationships of place, history and social behaviour.
Issues of changing traditions, especially where the winter ceremonial was concerned, is a hot and sometimes contentious issue in the community. Just as political leadership styles have needed to be flexible to operate effectively in different historical circumstances, so do spiritual practices. As I mentioned earlier, winter spirit dancing was outlawed by the Canadian Government until the Potlatch laws were dropped in the middle of this century. The few people who did practice syewen through this period had to keep their gatherings underground. This created a gap in knowledge of many of the "traditional" practices for the generation of current syewen leaders. Negotiating "traditional" forms of spirit dancing in "modern" society is one of the more difficult challenges for these leaders.
One of the interesting debates is different practices of the various smokehouses in the region. The practice of syewen by the people at any given smokehouse is conceived as either more traditional, or more moderate. Frank Malloway's smokehouse is considered one of the most moderate, being more warm and comfortable in the winter-time, letting non-Native anthropology students stay there in the summer time, and being more physically gentle on the initiates. This would be in contrast to another smokehouse, like the one at Skowkale which follows more strict, rigid "traditional" rules of order in the smokehouse. Frank and others often pointed out that things change and that they didn't need to live like the old people used to.
Strictness of control of alcohol and drugs during the non-winter spirit dancing season was also an issue often talked about in the smokehouse. Frank and the "moderate" smokehouses advocate openness in their smokehouse, helping people kick their habits when they are ready, but not forcing them out if they relapse into drink. While sitting in front of the TV in the front room of the smokehouse, Frank told a story of the late Chief Albert Douglas, who was a good friend and relative of Richard Malloway:
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You know that Albert Douglas was that kind of a guy. You know because you're si'm you're a chief, you're a big person like Albert Douglas was. You'd figure his friends would be the same, big high-class people, you know. But he'd pick anybody up. He'd be in town there and there'd be a drunk and nothing to eat. He'd take him home. He'd feed him and give him a place to stay. You know, he had so many kids of his own, but he had so many other people he'd be looking after. And when they'd get strong and get well fed and they'd go and work for him...But that's the kind of guy he was. No matter how low a person was in life, he'd take a person home and try to help him. And it sort of rubs off on you.
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This kind of leader, or si'm is typically found associated with the more moderate smokehouses. Frank himself is an excellent example of this - letting people come and go in his smokehouse during the summer months, and housing elders like Francis Phillips and young spirit dancers like Dean Douglas all year long. Frank has his dancers "dry out" if they need to before they do any spiritual "work" on the initiates, and does not exclude them from future "work" if they drink in the summertime, as is the practice in some of the other smokehouses. One sceptical community member wonders the "value" of having "unsuitable" people in the smokehouse. Some of them, he says, are clearly in it for the fun or the experience, others are in it as an escape from drudgery of drugs and alcohol, still fewer are there because they have some spiritual calling that forces them to go there. This sceptic wonders if everybody gets out of the smokehouse what they have the potential of with such a mix of folks. These kinds of difficult issues of cultural change face community leaders.
Regardless of how "traditional" or "moderate" the smokehouse leader is, the smokehouse provides an important centre for healing people who are physically and spiritually sick. The following story is a discussion of how the smokehouse can provide culturally sensitive healing services that western medicine could not give. On many occasions through his life, especially as he got older, Richard Malloway was called upon by the local medical doctor, Dr. Norman Todd, to help Native people who were spirit sick. This story was transcribed from a discussion between Gordon Mohs and Richard Malloway in 1986.
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They told me not to use it wrongly. Use it to help people, not to destroy people. Cause you can use that work to destroy people. Don't do that...The spiritual dance that I'm teaching. They got one young fellow from Chehalis. He couldn't do it right. His parents got worried. He goes to sleep. You can't go to sleep with that stick. He dropped his stick. When I give it to him, he doesn't grab it. I put it on the hand. So I told his parents the boy is not well. So they brought his to Dr. Todd. Dr. Todd looked at his hand. He says "I can't see anything wrong with it. Blood pressures all right. Everything is fine. Go see the old man at Yakweakwioose." So they phoned me and asked if I was home. I said "Yea, I'm home." So they brought him to my place. His mamma come in first. Young lady, my age I guess, younger than I am, the mother. She told me what was wrong with their son. So I told her "Don't worry. I'll try to fix him." So they brought him in with his stick. And I told that boy "You sit down let me look at you." As soon as I seen him, I know what kind of sick he had. "You see that stick there, give me that food. Well, there's the cane there, there's the rattle there. And you're in that tent for four days. Every day they put a mark there, one mark. And next day they put another mark. Four days before I let you out. Four days there. And when you come to sing and act...the marks act as a note. That's how you'll breath from there to there. If the mark is not there, your breath will get stuck. That's what those sticks are there for. That's what those marks are there for. So when you see those marks on the sticks, you know what it is. If you haven't got that mark, you can't do that. So everywhere you go, there's marks on the sticks." So and when I seen his stick, I had one look. And he says he is running out of breath, I tell him why. So all I did, I put three more stripes on it, with my paint, put three more right here. And I told him "Before I let you go, you try it right here." So they sent for Frank. Frank is a singer. Frank came. I told him "I want you to sing his song." So Frank sang for him, got his dance as well. When I have him his stick he grabbed it. So when I told him "Tomorrow you could go home, and when you get home, you try it with your people. You can dance perfect and you don't have to see me anymore." So he went home. About eleven o'clock that night I get a phone call. He told me "He danced three times. He never danced like that before!" So it wasn't only his system, it was the stick. So I told him "You know, that stick is your life. They give you that stick, that stick has been trained to look after you. So everything you have got is something."
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Another interview between Richard Malloway and Gordon Mohs that had been taped in 1986 brings together some of these connections of place, spirit power, proper behaviour, and changing traditions. This important discussion regards Richard Malloway's spirit quest. When he was a boy, a shxwlá:m named Catholic Tommy trained Richard to take his place as a 'medicine man'. Richard's initial training was not in the smokehouse, as is common practice today, but by one on one training with this shxwlá:m. Today, Stó:lô who wish to become spirit dancers have to deal with constraints such as school and employment.
* * *
It's a lot of training to do that. I can bring you to the place I was trained. It's still there...Down in Sumas there. Just on this site of Little Mountain. There's a graveyard just across the road. It's about three minutes walk from the road to the graveyard. And there's a big rock there. About the size of this table. And there was a fur tree beside it. The man told me to go there and sit there through the night. So I sat there through the night, you see..The man that trained me, his family died out. He didn't have no children. He had grandchildren when I seen him. They all died too. So that's what he was looking for, was somebody to take his place when he dies. So a man from here brought me over on a buggy. I was a boy then. His name was Catholic Tommy. He was a medicine man. And he told me "You sit here and don't get scared. All night," he said, "don't make a sound." So I sat there. "And if you hear anything, listen, don't say anything. And if anything talks to you, just listen." I wasn't dressed for that... It was awful cold. I was sitting there, and I never heard nothing. I never hear nothing through the night. Sometimes you hear something creeping you know. You look around, you don't see nothing...It was quiet as anything through the night. He came at the second night and says "Did you hear anything?" I says "Yea!" "what did you year?" I told him. Well, he just looked at me and says "You have to come back tomorrow night 'til I tell you. He knew darn well I was lying. I sure didn't hear anything the way I told him, anyway. So stay there I did. The fourth day I was there, heard this "Shwwwwwww," went right by. Now keep down and don't say anything. And then I seen it. It was like a shadow, you know. And then it talked with me. And it's not...it's just a kind of a rumbling thing you know. Whispering thing. So the next day he asked me "Did you see anything?" "Yea....It came from up there."... "What did he say?" And I told him. "All right," he says, "you can go home now, I'll finish you up." He brought me to the river. The river is not very far. And told me "You eat this spruce." You know, it's sharp! "Small piece, you eat that. After you eat that, and if you put that in your mouth it pricks you, it's sharp. But you can find a way to solve it. And swallow it so it goes down and doesn't prick you." So after I swallow that he give me roots of rotten cedar tree. He says "On the moss, where the roots go," he says, "you chew that, it's sweet. Moss roots got a sweet taste." So I chewed that. "And that'll be your strength, " he says, "...And that's how you'll cure people, and that's how you'll do things."
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Openly discussing important and delicate issues like spirit power built trust, understanding and respect between myself and the people who's lives I had entered. Richard Malloway also developed the trust and respect of non-natives through discussing spirit power. The following story comes from a taped interview with Gordon Mohs, made in the early 1980's. Here, Richard skilfully builds on his relationship with Mohs with a story about building respect with other non-natives.
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I never did see my grandfather. He was dead before I come. And all the things that he used, all the rocks and medicine things that he used when he was a medicine man, who's next to my father. And my father, that's Siemchess, never cared about anything like that you know. He just kept it here and left it here. And then when I took an interest in that he gave it to me. And I got all these things. So I got a leather suitcase, like a doctor's bag, you know, a leather thing. It's about that big, about that high. It had a lock, so... Well for a good many years I displayed it at the fair, and all the things he used for medicine, how he doctored people and rocks. He had some measures for medicine. They're all carved in rocks. Just like a white man's.
I was in court in Vancouver. I don't know what year it was. There was a doctor there, a nurse there, a priest there, a detective and myself. We were locked in a room, just about this size. There was six of us. We were locked there from nine in the morning until four in the afternoon, and then we were transferred to the hotel where we stayed, while we were in there we'd tell stories like that, you know. And the doctor was from Victoria. And he says "Where I come from there's no medicine men. They're all dying out. They're not training anymore." So I told him, "Where I come from in the Fraser Valley, there used to be a lot of medicine men, but it's phasing out too." And I says to him, "Well, I'm a medicine man." "Are you a medicine man?" "Yes." "What do you do?" "Well I do a lot of things...I can cure you, any sickness you got, I cure you without touching you." "So tell us one thing, what do you do." So I told him, "Well, one thing, I got a thing like this a home, a rock, the size of my hand. It's about that thick. I got it at home. And you know that the Indians a long time ago, they eat a lot of fish and things like that. When a bone gets stuck in your throat, you can't get it out. So I go to you and put that rock on top of your skin like that. I'll suck it here. Suck that bone through your skin, through that rock, then give you the bone." He says "Can you do that?!" I says, "Yea, I can do that." "I'd like to see you prove it." he says to me. "Alright," I says to him, "you go down to the street and get a bone and swallow it and I'll suck it out for you." [laughter] "And what if you don't get it out?" he says. I told him I could speak to the dead. [laughter].
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It is at this point where I shift the direction of the narrative once again. Not all members of both communities can have such candid and respectful discussions on issues regarding spirit power. In my first meeting with Mrs. Malloway, for instance, spirit power was not discussed at all. Political and economic relationships with the non-native community provided the common ground for our discussions.
The Malloway House and Norman's Photo Studio
The unsatisfying relationship between First Nations peoples and the Canadian Government are made abundantly clear every day in the newspapers, on the radio and on TV. Recognition of aboriginal rights and title to land and resources is a major concern for the Stó:lô who never signed treaties with past or present governments. Successful Stó:lô leaders today spend much of their time negotiating these rights on many different levels. In the face of being able to achieve such independence as self-government, Stó:lô leaders also are deeply involved in trying to gain economic independence for their communities. Frank Malloway, who holds the Cultural portfolio of the STC is involved in building the tourism industry through interpretation programs of Stó:lô heritage sites.
Mrs. Edna Malloway recalled her husband's own problems with the Canadian government and their solutions for building their second home. The events in this narrative took place in the late 1930's or early 1940's. Wage labouring was the most important economic practice for First Nations people in Fraser Valley at that time. Richard Malloway was the first Native person to gain the majority of his income through dairy farming. Successfully integrating into the non-native economy was difficult for Native people at this time, who could not get bank loans. Individuals could not own the government reserve land they lived on or hold is at collateral for a loan. Prejudices against them in the work force and by the government made the situation particularly difficult. This story is transcribed from a conversation I had in Mrs. Malloway's home before the field school began.
* * *
Our second house had big picture windows, two brand new chesterfields and a hardwood floor. Ha. That's what we had over there. A beautiful hardwood floor. And Richard built that house. Do you know how much we got from the Indian Affairs? Richard and his father came from north of Prince Rupert where they were fishing. When they got back all their fishing gear was in big bags. Their rubber tents and their fishing rain coats and everything was bundled up. They just got home and he got ready. His father, of course, was drunk, and my husband never drank. He went and got ready and went around a corner to go visit his brother, Robert Joe - half brother. Just when he was going around the curve, a man caught up to him and Mr....what was his name...Till. And Mr. Till say to him "Richard, your house is burning. The old house. I pulled your dad out of the window. The house was coming down and I saw a man at the window so I broke the window and pulled him out." So he got on the car with Mr. Till and they got to the house. Just then the building came down. So this Mr. Till had a pool room in Sardis, a little confectionary store. Pulled the old man out from the burning building. But all Richard's...everything got burnt. They didn't save a thing. But it was just an old shack. That's what the houses used to be in the old days. So what the Department did after that house burnt, the old people went picking hops. After picking hops, they got carpenters, the men from the reserve put up. All they got from the Department to build that house that burnt down was one hundred and fifty dollars. You couldn't build a chicken house or a dog house now with that. One hundred and fifty dollars! So Richard and his father, mother, and his brother, they went to pick hops. He worked there bailing hops. And that's before we got married. And in order to put an upstairs to that old building, they picked hops. They got extra money and they put extra windows on it. Small windows, but double... before that it was just a little single window. And a little glass on the window at the front door. Those steps, it had wooden steps. And it was just on cedar blocks. Big cedar blocks, what the house was built on.
So after, when we got married, it was two years after they got that house when we got married. And after our family got growing, I forget how many years, he says to me "Gee, we have to build a house, make our house bigger." I said, "How are you going to do that?" I said, "We got no...hardly any money in the bank." "Well," he says, "we're going to cut the upstairs off." So Frank and his father went upstairs, but that's before. I says to him, "How are we going to get that?" I said. So he went with his plough up to the field and ploughed. When he was gone I wrote a letter. I told them "We want to tear the upstairs of our building down and make a bungalow. But we haven't got money to build it. We want to see if we can get some funds to help get lumber to get it." They wrote back to me. Richard read it. Four days later I got a letter. "Mrs. Malloway, we wrote to the Fraser Valley Milk Plant. You people get two milk cheques a month for your milk. And so Richard can get his own lumber. He gets two cheques a month." Well, Richard read that. He threw it down. He went back the next day and ploughed. While he was gone I wrote another letter. I told them "You deny my husband of a little help to expand his house. We are over crowded, and it's like an icebox. The curtains just fly, there's no insulation. And," I said, "you deny my husband of a little help for lumber, and yet you help other people who drink. My husband doesn't drink. I don't drink. And we are sending our kids to public school. And not once did we get a loaf of bread from your department or pair of shoes for my kids. We buy it all. We rent land and we're paying for tractor. Yet you deny us of a little help." They wrote back to me. Richard read it. He didn't know I wrote the letter. They write back to me and they told me "Tell Richard to go to the Chilliwack lumber yard, get what requirements he needs for the...what he needs." Well, Richard was foolish. Well, we didn't know we were going to get that help. All he got was the chip-block two-by-fours. That's all. No windows, no doors, nothing. But the stucco outside was our money. The stucco. And the inside, the dry-walling, he got a man to dry wall it.
* * *
This story covers many different points. The inequitable relationship between the Department of Indian Affairs and First Nations is made plainly clear. On the other hand, a trusting and supportive local relationship exists between many of the native and non-native residents of the Sardis area. Richard Malloway spent much of his life building and maintaining these excellent local relationships of trust and respect. He was instrumental in starting the Cultas Lake Indian Festival which has been widely attended by the native and non-native local community since its inception. He was often Master of Ceremonies at the Festival and Canoe Races. He wore his beaded buckskin shirt and trousers, and feather headdress at this and other public events. This outfit provided a symbol of Native identity which could be safely worn in non-ritual contexts.
An issue that is often brought up among fellow students and some members of the Stó:lô community is the apparent lack of "traditional" Coast Salish styles of dress and artwork. Plains-style Native imagery is common in the art and craft markets, and pow-wows are some of the most widely held and attended native events in the area. After having the rare opportunity to witness a sxwayxwey mask dance, the apparent lack of Salish style in the community became less of a mystery to me. Sxwayxwey dancing is certainly a very "traditional" Stó:lô practice. However, Stó:lô spiritual beliefs are personal and private. The spirits are not something that can be represented as a crest, or worn on a t-shirt. In a taped interview with Gordon Mohs, Richard Malloway mentioned having had a problem carving in a Salish style because of this dilemma. How could you carve in form a spirit being, which has no form? He said this would be like telling someone the details of a spirit encounter: doing so lessens the strength of the situation because words do not relay the experience very well. The reality of it is literally shattered. As symbols of identity - identity as First Nations people in a non-native hegemonic world - Plains-style material culture and practices are more readily and safely accessible to a wide audience with particular expectations of what an "traditional Indian" should be and can be taken on with pride by Native people recognizing their distinct culture and history.
Looking at a large framed picture of Richard in his buckskin and headdress, Mrs. Malloway gave the following narrative regarding Richard's relationship with members of the local non-native community and these symbols of Native identity.
* * *
See, Norman's studio took this picture, this one up there. This went around the world three times. Three times. The mother of Norman's studio told me. She said "Edna, ever since my son Norman took Richard's picture...there was a convention in California... and Norman took all his pictures down there to the convention. I guess it was a convention for the Photographers. So he took that picture over. It's getting faded now. It's colourful, but it's becoming faded. And she told me...but she's dead now...she told me "Edna, you better go to Norman's and tell Norman to fix another picture of Richard, that on's getting faded." But, oh it costs money now. So, I've never gone. But Norman's changed. He sold his store over to another person. So that was in the centennial year, 1967... Yes, that picture went around the world three times. Norman's mother told me. He got a lot of awards for it. And it's funny. There's a man across, Rhodes, you know Rhodes? No, I guess not. He lives across Frank, on this side. Rhodes...what's his name?... Hanz Rhodes. He's a german. And he was here...I think he was telling Richard. Yea, he told Richard. he said he went to Germany to visit his mother. His father was taken a prisoner of war, and never saw his father again. So they moved to Canada. So they got this place in Sardis, in front of Franks. And Richard befriended him. Richard was walking down, looking at his cattle. he saw Mr. Rhodes getting mail at the mail box. he shook hands to him and said "So you're new here." "Yes I'm new," he said, "my name is Rhodes, I'm from Germany", he says. "Brought my family here." The kids were small. So he told Richard, "Gee, I haven't got nothing, I just came here." So Richard says to him, "Mr. Rhodes," he says, "we just live down at the end of the road here. You can have my tractor, my plough, shovel, anything I've got over there that you haven't got to work your land. You come and take it, borrow it. I'll give it to you." So Richard went and ploughed his garden. Ploughed his little hay field. That's what he spoke about in the church when Richard's body was in the church. he said, "When I came here I had nothing. Richard met me and told me 'You can have my plough, anything.' He even went and ploughed my garden for me." He said. But he went over to Germany to see his mother and while he was in the depot, he was having coffee or lunch. I don't know if it was a flight, the airport, or if it was a ship he was coming on. He saw that picture. A bigger one than that. He says to the lady that was serving him, "Yea, I know that man, he lives close to me." They didn't believe him they just..."Yea," he says, "he's got a dairy farm. His name is Chief Richard Malloway." Then a few of them came and said "Do you mean that?" "Yea, I know that man, he's got a dairy farm, beautiful heard of cows, just across from my place" Then they believed him. They thought we lived in tee-pees you know! [laughter].
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Retelling Stories - Enter Anthropology
As I come to the end of writing this paper, I return to the initial questions that were asked of me in doing this project. I have not presented a "complete" life history of Richard Malloway, which I believe was the original intention of the STC. Rather, I have selected stories about the life of Richard Malloway and presented them in the context of an anthropologist trying to understand something about Stó:lô culture. A much longer time in the field and a greater survey of archival (both oral and written) would be needed if I was to approach giving a "life history".
I have ordered these stories in the loose categories that I believe constitute major present day interests of people in contemporary Stó:lô society. By presenting the three narratives of Richard Malloway's life, the lives of the individuals I lived with during my field work, and the experiences of myself as an anthropologist in that community, I have given the reader and myself a frame for interpreting meaning from these stories in the context of contemporary Stó:lô society.
By doing this I hope that I have avoided presenting the narratives as stories that must be "salvaged" as last remnants of a dying culture, which many of the older anthropological narratives tend to do (Jenness's 1955 study The Faith of a Coast Salish Indian is a good local example of this). This approach has been critiqued by authors like Rosaldo (1980a, 1980b) and Cruikshank (1987, 1991). These authors object the use of oral traditions to construct "timeless primitives" who's oral traditions are mere survivals from the past (Rosaldo 1980b:27). The emphasis here is to look at oral traditions in terms of their contemporary contexts, particularly of the individuals in the society in which they are told.
Basso, Keith (1984) "Stalking with Stories": Names, Places, and Moral Narratives among the Western Apache. in Test, Play, and Story: The Construction and Reconstruction of Self and Society. 1983 Proceedings of the American Ethnological Society. Edited by S. Plattner and E. Bruner. Washington, D.C.
Carlson, Keith (1993) Leadership Review: The Indian Act Election System, Traditional Stó:lô Socio-Political Structures, and Recommendations for Change. unpublished ms. Stó:lô Tribal Council, Sardis.
Cruikshank, Julie (1987) Myth and Tradition as Narrative Framework: Oral Histories from Northern Canada. International Journal of Oral History. Volume 9, Number 3, Pp. 198-214.
- (1990) Getting the Words Right: Perspectives on Naming and Places in Athapaskan Oral History. Arctic Anthropology. Volume 27, Number 1. Pp. 52-65.
- (1991) Dän Dhá Ts'edenintth'. Reading Voices: Oral and Written Interpretations of the Yukon's Past. Douglas & McIntyre, Vancouver.
Darnell, Regna (1989) Correlates of Cree Narrative Performance. in Explorations in the Ethnography of Speaking. Second Edition. Edited by R. Bauman and J. Sherzer. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge.
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Jilek, Wolfgang (1982) Indian Healing: Shamanic Ceremonialism in the Pacific Northwest Today. Hancock House Publishing, Surrey.
Jilek, Wolfgang and Norman Todd (1974) Witchdoctors Succeed where Doctors Fail: Psychotherapy Among Coast Salish Indians. Canadian Psychiatric Association Journal. Volume 19, Pp. 351-356.
Malloway, Richard (n.d.) The Chilliwack Story of the Sxwayxwey. Recorded and Transcribed by Dr. Norman Todd. Distributed by the Coqualeetza Cultural Centre, Sardis.
Mohs, Gordon (1987) Spiritual Sites, Ethnic Significance and Native Spirituality: The Heritage and Heritage Sites of the Stó:lô Indians of British Columbia. Unpublished M.A. Thesis, Department of Archaeology, S.F.U., Burnaby.
Rosaldo, Renato (1980a) Doing Oral History. Social Analysis. No. 4. September. Pp. 89-99.
- (1980b) Ilongot Headhunting 1883-1974: A Study in Society and History. Stanford University Press, Stanford.
Todd, Norman (1975) Fatal Fat Embolism During Ritual Initiation. Canadian Medical Association Journal. Volume 113, Pp. 133-135.
Wells, Oliver (1970) Myths and Legends: Staw-loh Indians of South Western British Columbia. Publisher Unknown. Sardis, B.C.
- (1987) The Chilliwacks and Their Neighbours. Edited by Ralph Maud, Brent Galloway and Marie Weeden. Talonbooks, Vancouver.