Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 53.djvu/184

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170
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

historic ground, for it was here in 1787 that Dixon first traded with the Haidas, and in one day secured over three hundred sea-otter skins, which to-day are so extremely precious. This was the opening of the fur trade on the Northwest coast, and from this memorable day's trade sprang up a commerce in furs which has continued down to the present time.

Fortunately for us, one of the old houses had been re-roofed by some previous visitor, and so we found within dry cedar planks upon which to spread our blankets for the night.

On the following morning we crossed over to the old village of Kiooste, where there is much of interest; but the place is so overgrown

PSM V53 D184 Grave of a haida chief on queen charlotte islands.jpg
Grave of a Haida Chief. Queen Charlotte Islands.

with underbrush that it was only with the greatest difficulty that we could get from one house to another. Recrossing the strait to North Island and anchoring our boat to a piece of kelp, we explored the little egg-shaped rock of Gorgie Sethlingun Nah, or Gorgie's Coffin House. Gorgie was a famous Shaman of Kiooste, and when he died was laid to rest in a handsome little house on the summit of this island. By much hard work we were able to reach the top of the rock, but the house had tumbled into ruin, and two hats were all that remained to tell of the former glory of Gorgie. Next day we explored the cave of Skungonah. Skungonah was a hermit who lived over a hundred years ago and dwelt here alone,