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The first introduction of smallpox in Nuxalk territory, early June 1862.

The first introduction of smallpox in Nuxalk territory, early June 1862.

Poole arrived in the Nuxalk Ancestors’ territory in the first week of June 1862. On his own various accounts of where his party bore responsibility, or from the newspapers, smallpox carriers from his party knowingly left the disease at: Nanaimo, Fort Rupert (north Vancouver Island), a Heiltsuk community on the approach to Bella Coola, “tribes in the neighbourhood” of Bentinck Arm, South Bentinck Arm, Q’umk’uts’ and Soonochlim (collectively known as Bella Coola, population estimated by Poole at 4000), Nautlieff and Chilcotin Lake.

The day B.C. martyred “The Chilcotin Chiefs.”

The day B.C. martyred “The Chilcotin Chiefs.”

The day began well before sunrise. Early risers could hear the prisoners’ monotone death chant drifting through the British Columbia darkness. Careful listeners could distinguish Lhatsassin’s deep voice in their common prayer.

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