Two Houses Half-Buried in SandFront Cover

ISBN: 9780889225558 | paperback / softback

$29.95 | 352 pages | Pub. Date: 2008
6.00 W × 9.00 H × 1 D inches
Non-Fiction | Backlist | Bisac: HIS006010
ISBN 13: 9780889225558 | Rights: WORLD

Two Houses Half-Buried in Sand
Oral Traditions of the Hul'q'umi'num' Coast Salish of Kuper Island and Vancouver Island
By Beryl Mildred Cryer & Chris Arnett

A vital collection of writings about First Nations people and culture as it existed on the island coasts of the Depression-era Pacific Northwest and originally published in the pages of Victoria’s oldest newspaper, the Daily Colonist, the sixty stories included here are the result of a unique collaboration between a middle-aged woman, Beryl Cryer, of upper-class British ancestry, and well-known Hul’q’umi’num’-speaking cultural elders, keenly aware of the punitive anti-land claims legislation passed by the Canadian Parliament in 1927, and therefore eager to have their stories told and published.

Mary Rice from Kuper Island, who lived next door to the Cryer family home in Chemainus, BC, is well remembered even today for her storytelling abilities; she taught Beryl Cryer, with whom she became close friends, countless aspects of indigenous culture, particularly as experienced by women. An elder in a thriving native culture, she introduced Cryer to the many other authorities from whom these stories were gathered for the newspaper.

Although she was not a trained anthropologist, Beryl Cryer was an honest observer and careful recorder. She embellished the material she collected with minor anecdotal introductions that give the reader a vivid sense of the person telling the story. The accounts themselves are valuable documents of Coast Salish oral traditions dealing with a wide range of subject matter from known sources, almost all of whom were well-versed in English.

By Beryl Mildred Cryer

In addition to many newspaper articles on aboriginal myths and history, Beryl Mildred Cryer published one small book, Legends of the Cowichans, in 1949. She died in Welland, Ontario in 1980.

Read more about Beryl Mildred Cryer


By Chris Arnett

Author and carver Chris Arnett is a fourth generation British Columbian on his mother’s side and a member of the Ngai Tahu, a New Zealand Maori tribe, on his father’s side. With a life-long interest in the pre-history and history of BC and New Zealand, he has researched the archeology of the Stein River Valley for the ‘Nlaka’pamux Nation Development Corporation and has worked for the Sooke Region Museum and Archives on a historical survey of logging on Vancouver Island’s southwest coast, which was published in 1989.

Read more about Chris Arnett


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news | 2012-05-23
Aboriginal Awareness Week in 2012

…Accidental Women Tombs of the Vanishing Indian Two Houses Half-Buried in Sand Where the Blood Mixes Write It on Your Heart: The …