‘The Kwantlen vs. The Yucultas’

Numerous historical accounts document the multitude of inter-tribal conflicts that contradict the ‘peaceful Indian’ myth. Here’s yet another:

“Bit of history. Late 1700s, the Spanish arrived and started to colonize what will become Vancouver Island. They were followed by the British, the Americans, the Russians. By early 1800s, a steady trade had developed on the coast, and between plagues, ‘Indigenous’ {sic, ‘Aboriginal} ‘nations’ {tribes} were booming. 

“With all these new-found resources and rapid development, the Sto:lo grew richer than most, none more so than my people, the Kwantlen — we monopolized trade with the foreigners. I won’t say Europeans, because there were as many Hawaiians, Metis, Iroquois, and Americans.

“Our control of trade inspired envy. We were seen to be aligned with the British. Further up the coast, another people made a deal with the Americans, for weapons. You see a traditional canoe now, and how quaint. In this era, they had small cannons on them. Raids by these people, called the Yucultas at the time — called the We Wai Kai now {Quadra Island, B.C.} — were the greatest fear of all along the Fraser. To say what they did to their captives, is to invite cancellation here on ‘Twitter’. But they did some bad stuff.

“Late 1830s, the Yucultas readied their final strike at the heart of the Kwantlen. They peeled off all that they could, burned, killed, and now they came gunning for our last village — to their misfortune, it was across from the British fort. In the village, now called Kanaka Creek, warriors from a handful of ‘nations’ waited by the water as the singing of the Yucultas came into earshot. Their songs were hypnotic, meant to put their victims in a trance.

“Finally, the fleet in sight, hundreds of canoes, heavily armed, launched towards the shore, to exterminate Kwantlen’s men and take the surviving women and children into slavery. As they came close, though, something happened, for the first and only time in B.C.’s history.

“We know the names of most of the people at the fort, and for non-Natives, some of them will be familiar in place names around the region. For Natives though, the only name that matters is that of a Salish man from the region who worked with the British – Sashia.

“Sashia was old school Salish in the truest sense, i.e. he was a trader, he made deals. At the Fort, he made a deal — no one knows what it was — but it got the British to come to the side of Kwantlen. As the Yucultas came into view, the cannons and guns of the fort opened up.

“The Yuculta force was destroyed in its entirety. The assembled warriors marched through the red waters to slaughter the survivors. It’s said that thousands died that day. But the war with the Yucultas wasn’t over — though it had turned.

“With a victory in hand & a combined force of warriors on his side, Sashia travelled across the Salish world — at that time, a very populous place. He won support from every part of it, and built an armada that colonists report as taking hours to pass by in its entirety. And Sashia, at the head of this massive fleet, launched it on the Yuculta homeland, taking the fight to them, to forever put an end to their attacks. And he won. The wars ended. Within a decade, the newly-disarmed enemy was a neighbour like any other. The ‘nations’ intermarried.

“It’s one of those epic bits of history that Canadians don’t know about, even though it took place entirely within the historic era. But it’s excusable — it’s not like there’s a holiday to mark it. It happened and we put it aside because people have to live with each other.” 
–Robert Jago

“Doesn’t fit our simplified high school narrative in which indigenous folk lived in innocence and peace in the garden, until Europeans slithered in, introducing rape, violence, torture and slavery like a poison apple.”

Fort Langley as the Kwantlen People would have known it (Surrey History)

It was in 1837 that the most exciting event took place at the fort. From time to time, war canoes had been seen going up and down the river. An early entry in the ‘Fort Langley Journal’ read:

“The war party of Cowichans returned this afternoon. They have murdered one man and a woman and taken several women and children as prisoners, who as a matter of course, become slaves. The head of one of their victims was pendant on the bow of one of the canoes, presenting a spectacle as dismal and disgusting as can well be imagined; a spectacle most shocking to humanity that this land of savage Barbarism produces….”

Yale received word that the Yuculta from Quadra Island planned an attack on the Indian village near the fort. He felt an attack on these friendly Indians was the same as an attack on the fort. The constant attacks from the Yuculta kept the Indians in the vicinity of the fort in such turmoil that fur trading had seriously declined. Yale ordered his men to their posts. Patiently, the gunners waited for the Yuculta armada to come within range of the death-crammed guns in the bastions. When the attackers did eventually come around the bend in the river within view of the fort, the odds were unbelievable. The 25 men of the fort faced an enemy of 600.

“When word came to open fire, the carnage was incredible. Canoes were blasted right out of the water. The muddy river turned red as the dead and dying fell from their wrecked crafts. Any that escaped the initial onslaught of heavy firing were soon dispatched by Kwantlen warriors who had hidden across the river from the fort. As their hereditary enemies swam to shore, they ran out and cracked them over the heads with stone hammers. It was never ascertained how many Yuculta warriors died in that brief encounter. The raiders never recovered from the defeat.”

–‘Chapter 1: A Yuculta Attack’,

Donald E. Waite & Lisa M. Peppan


Old Fort Langley (B.A. McKelvie)

“The Kwantlen were formerly one of the most powerful and extensive of the river Halkomelem tribes. Their territory extended from the mouth of the south arm of the Fraser up to the present settlement of Hatzic… These tribal boundaries were constantly shifting, due to disease and the ravages of invading Yucultas. An entire village might be decimated, allowing a neighbouring tribe to extend its domain… Three-quarters of the Stalo population along the river had perished in a smallpox epidemic. This combined with the predations of the Yukultas, as their warring parties came to plunder villages, kill the men and abduct the women and children as slaves…

“This warfare keeps the Indians of this vicinity in such continual alarm that they cannot turn their attention to anything but the care of their family and that they do but poorly; while the powerful tribes from Vancouver Island harass them in this manner, little hunts can be expected from them and unless the Company supports them against those lawless villains, little exertions can be expected from them.”

One early evening in 1837, the Fort Langley canon boomed in anger. Over a thousand Yucultas streamed up the Fraser to attack Stalo villages. This time, however, instead of proceeding far up the river to prey upon the Chilliwack settlements, the fleet turned suddenly southward toward Whattlekainum’s peaceful Kwantlen village near the Fort. The attack came just before dusk. The sentries yelled. The canon loaded. The swivel guns on the walls armed, and muskets readied. Kwantlen villagers fled for safety into the forest. When the war canoes came into range, the gunners were signaled to fire. Canoes were blown apart; warriors spilled into the water and swam frantically out into the river channel, where many drowned. The Kwantlen, who had fled, now emerged from the woods and with knives and clubs massacred dozens of Yucultas. The remnants of the huge war party escaped down river. Never again would the Yucultas be an important factor in the life of the Fraser Valley.”

–James McMillan (Hudson’s Bay Company)

(Excerpted from “The Fraser Valley: A History” – John A. Cherrington)

–‘Kwantlen of the Coast Salish: A Halkomelem tribe’,


See also:The Genocide of the Dorset’:
“The Thule (ancestors of today’s Inuit), originally from Siberia, were gradually expanding across the Arctic, displacing the older, aboriginal Dorset {see below} people. By roughly 1200 AD, the Dorset had vanished, killed off in warfare with the Thule… Inuit oral traditions tell of how the Dorset were a gentle people without bows and arrows, and thus easy to kill and drive away…”

Finally, Some Honesty’ (Violence Before ‘White Man’):
“According to our ‘oral history’, we {Rocky Mountain Nakoda} were the “primary” people. All other people were “secondary”. When certain situations arose, those among the “secondary” that were considered enemies…were to be wiped out by whatever means necessary. Historically, we are also called by the more formidable name of…“Head Decapitators”. The mere mention of the name…issued a warning to the warring enemies of what was to transpire…”
–‘Rocky Mountain Nakoda – Who We Are’

What Happened To The ‘Neutrals’?‘:
“This is the tribe that occupied southwestern Ontario until the 1650s, when fellow Iroquois tribes from what is now the U.S. rendered them extinct. In modern terminology, they were ‘victims of genocide’…”

ERBL inc. Canada News



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