1860: Dr. Garrett, James Douglas, and Victoria Native school

Thanks again to researcher Jakob Svorkdal of the University of Victoria for sharing another neat document of Chinook Jargon use in frontier-era Victoria, BC.

sir james douglas

Sir James Douglas (image credit: The Canadian Encyclopedia)

Here’s a nice report of not just the well-known Reverend Garrett, but also the legendary Sir James Douglas of the Hudsons Bay Company, speaking Chinook Jargon with the Native students of a fairly new school:

This story also gives us circumstantial information about Garrett’s really created, but then lost, manuscript of CJ Anglican religious material.


Indian School.

We were much gratified on Saturday last to see so great an interest taken in the welfare of the Indian children, by the number of visitors at the examination of the school under the care of the Rev. Mr. Garrett. His Excellency the Governor [Sir James Douglas], Judge Begbie, Bishop Hills and a number of other gentlemen being in attendance, while the fineness of the day had tempted several ladies to walk to the school-house. There were about 150 Indians present, varying in size from infants in arms to full grown men and women, and all behaved themselves in a becoming manner; indeed, they conformed to the discipline of the school, much better than could have been expected, when we consider the wild life lead [sic] by them. The Rev. Mr. Garrett, the principal of the school, examined them in the Chinook language; in the Lord’s Prayer, the Liturgy, the Church of England Catechism, and several Bible stories which have been translated into the Chinook. The children answered with accuracy all his questions and many of them evinced an eagerness and aptitude to obtain knowledge.

His Excellency having examined a few of them, expressed his approbation at their advancement…The examples just witnessed of the mental captabilities of the Indians might eventually be raised from their present degraded state, and become beneficial members of society.


— from the Victoria (BC) British Colonist of December 25, 1860, page and column not known

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