1895, Kootenays: the most cultus bunch around

goat river

Goat River 40 years later (image credit: Wikipedia)

The Kootenays of southeast British Columbia (and Washington and Idaho) were one of the last strongholds of Chinuk Wawa.

Here, in a post-frontier local news piece, it’s used to stereotype local Ktunaxa tribal people.

goat river district.PNG


( From our own correspondent.)

Considerable petty thieving has beeu going on here of late — one party lost a set of harness, another a set of whipple-trees and so on. It is about time this sort of thing is stopped. It has gone on without interruption for a few years and appears to be steadily on the increase. Ranchers and others know when they leave their homes that on their return there will be something missing and on that account rarely leave their places. It is no uncommon occurrence to have the larder completely cleaned out. One poor fellow (who was pretty hard pressed, too) put all of his ready mouey into provisions to last him through the winter. He had occasion to go to a neighbors [sic] house and was away probably two hours. On his return his door was open and everything in the shape of grub carried away besides some clothing. Now this is what I call “hard lines.” There is work enough in the valley for a constable and we ought to have one. Why, besides white people we have about 200 Siwashes who are constantly on the trot from one camp to another, and who are, I should say, the most cultus, good-for-nothing lot of Indians in the West. They wont [sic] work and are ever ready to do a “neat little job” by stealing anything that comes handy. They own a few bands of small cayuses, which are frequently changing hands, for our Kootenay River Indian has developed a great taste for “seven-up,” [a card game] much to his detriment.

— from the Nelson (BC) Miner of February 16, 1895, page 1, column 2

What have you learned?