Native princess part of Sooke's history.

Native princess part of Sooke's history.

Owechemis: was a Nitinat Princess

Sooke historian Elida Peers writes about Sooke and area and it's fascinating history

A princess, sacrificed to make peace between tribes – this is one tale explaining how Owechemis, or “Kitty” from the Nitinat People, came to be the wife of Aaron Denton White, who had arrived here and settled on Section 84 at the far reach of Sooke Basin in 1877.

The union of the Britisher and a First Nations princess left a legacy of hundreds of descendants in our region and well beyond. It was Ida Jones, wife of Chief Queesto of the Pacheedaht people of Port Renfrew who gave us this account many years ago.

She said “…. There was a war between Indians of different tribes .…  a long time ago, Kitty’s father, the chief, he wanted to stop the war, he wanted to save the people of his village so he gave his daughter away ….. A very young girl, maybe 13 or 14, he held her up and showed her, a peace offering …… to stop the war …”

While we’re not sure of all details of the path that led her to Aaron Denton White, but it seems she met him at Whidby Island and records show they were “churched” a few years later. Ministry of Public Works records show that in 1883 he had a contract to “build a sleigh road between the Vine property and Sooke” – this would be East Sooke Road.

Seen in the photo, at left of her father was Mary White (b 1883) who married Joseph Poirier Jr, and Ida (b 1879) on the right, who married George Woodruff.  At front are Jack White (b 1885) who married Fanny Dyer; Alice (b 1890) who married James Poirier; and on the right of Owechemis, was Abba (b 1881) who married Henry Hutcheson.

Among our well-known citizens of today, descended from Mary White and Joseph Poirier are Velma Cook Jessiman, Walter Cook, Norman Goudie, Earl Goudie; descendants of Alice White and James Poirier include Dick Poirier of Jordan River.  Descendants of Ida White and George Woodruff include Pauline Laberge Hamilton.  Abba White and Henry Hutcheson had only one child, Hazel, who married Byron Parman. Their children include Audrey Goudie, Claudette West and Galen Parman. Hundreds of great great grandchildren carry on the remarkable legacy of this princess/pioneer union.

After Owechemis was widowed, she moved to a cottage surrounded by a garden and fruit trees at the far end of Grant Road. At that time Moss Cottage stood nearby on its original site where the Baptist Church is now, with Matilda Gordon as its chatelaine. The two women were friends, and often shared a neighbourly cup of tea.  Naturally Owechemis’s ears had been pierced as a child, and we’re told that when she was feeling particularly buoyant, she would pick a bloom from her garden and wear it in her ear.

Elida Peers,

Historian

Sooke Region Museum

 

 

Just Posted

Before you take on a pet, make sure you want to have it for life. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)
EDITORIAL: A pet is a lifetime commitment

Tons of people are getting pets during the pandemic, some for the first time

Vancouver Canucks’ Jake Virtanen (18) and Calgary Flames’ Josh Leivo, front right, vie for the puck as goalie Jacob Markstrom, back left, watches during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Vancouver, on Saturday, February 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver Canucks forward Jake Virtanen sued over alleged sexual assault

Statement of claim says the woman, identified only by her initials, suffered physical and emotional damages

Protesters seen here rallying against the injunction order on April 1. (Black Press Media file photo)
RCMP enforce injunction at Fairy Creek blockade

Protesters can remain but police will ensure open access for loggers

Victoria police retrieved a number of stolen items May 15 after arresting a man and woman squatting in an empty building. (Courtesy of VicPD)
Victoria police look to return stolen items following arrest of squatters

Golf clubs, power tools, jackets, cell phones and a MacBook Pro were retrieved

The Victoria International Airport saw its revenues plummet in 2020. Officials hope a proposed warehouse will be a significant revenue generator. (Black Press Media file photo)
Head of Victoria Airport Authority makes economic pitch for Sidney warehouse project

Geoff Dickson said Sidney stands to earn $325,000 in annual taxes

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10 million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10 million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

(PQB News file photo)
RCMP on the hunt for serial Rathtrevor Beach flasher

Two separate incidents noted at provincial park on April 30 and May 14

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

(Kamloops This Week)
Puppy’s home in question as BC Supreme Court considers canine clash

Justice Joel Groves granted an injunction prohibiting the sale or transfer of the dog

Kayak the humpback whale was found dead on a Haida Gwaii beach on Saturday, May 15, 2021. (Marine Education and Research Society)
Kayak the humpback whale found dead on Haida Gwaii beach

Whale was estimated to be only 18 years old

Then-finance minister Kevin Falcon presents his last B.C. budget, Feb. 21, 2012. The province was emerging from the 2009-10 recession and repaying federal incentive to cancel the harmonized sales tax. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
Political veteran Kevin Falcon set for second run at B.C. Liberal leadership

Vancouver MLA Michael Lee announces on the same day

The bow-legged bear was seen roaming 2nd Avenue on Friday, May 7 and again in Brown Drive Park on May 13. (Submitted photo)
Bow-legged Ladysmith bear euthanized after vet examination

CO Stuart Bates said the bear had obvious health issues

Conservation Service Officer Kyle Bueckert holds a gold eagle that was revived from acute rodent poisoning Monday, May 12. Photo: Submitted
‘Obviously, he’s a fighter’: Golden eagle, recovered from poisoning, back in Kootenay wild

CSO Kyle Bueckert released the eagle into the wild Thursday, May 13

Most Read