BC Bestseller, eight weeks running.
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Shortlisted for the Ryga Award for social awareness, as well as other awards
Every once in a while, an important historical figure makes an appearance, makes a difference, and then disappears from the public record. James Teit (1864–1922) was such a figure. A prolific ethnographer and tireless Indian rights activist, Teit spent four decades helping British Columbia’s Indigenous peoples in their challenge of the settler-colonial assault on their lives and territories. Yet his story is little known.
Teit with three Interior chiefs in Ottawa, 1916. Left to right: Chief John Tetlanetza, James Teit, Chief Paul David and Chief Thomas Adolph. Photograph by Frederick Lyonde, Teit family collection, courtesy of Sigurd Teit.
Teit’s packtrain fording a river in the Chilcotin-Cariboo, 1901. Photography courtesy of Sigurd Teit and James M. Teit. Teit (left) and Jimmy Kitty (Nlaka’pamux) on a hunting trip, 1904. Photograph by Homer Sargent. Copy courtesy of James M. Teit and Sigurd Teit.
Teit on a tight section of trail on the 1904 hunting trip. Photograph by Homer Sargent. Copy courtesy of James M. Teit and Sigurd Teit. Teit (front, centre) heading down the Stikine River to Wrangell, Alaska, after a two-month hunting trip in the Cassiar mountains, 1906. Photograph by Homer Sargent, copy courtesy of James M. Teit and Sigurd Teit. Teit with son Magnus, c. 1912. Teit family collection, courtesy of Sigurd Teit. Teit in his hunting attire, c. 1890s. His son, Sigurd, donated the L’Assomption sash, the buckskin rifle sheath and the buckskin shirt to the Nicola Valley Museum and Archives. Photographer unknown. Copy courtesy of Sigurd Teit and James M. Teit.
Hilda Austin of Lytton, BC, as a child sitting in the lap of her mother, Tcei.a, c. 1913. This was one of hundreds of such photographs that Teit took of Nlaka’pamux people in and around Spences Bridge. There is a poignant story attached to this one as Tcei.a and her husband both died in the 1918 flu epidemic. Hence, this was Hilda’s only photograph of her mother. Photograph (#23206), courtesy of the Canadian Museum of History.
The delegation of chiefs from across Canada who appeared before the parliamentary committee at Ottawa to protest the Bill of Enfranchisement (Bill 14) in May 1920. Teit is in the middle row, second from the left. Photograph courtesy of Sigurd Teit.