Kanaka Creek
Kanaka Creek flows southwest through the municipality of Maple Ridge, in southwestern British Columbia. Presumably, it was settled at one time by Hawaiʻians, known colloquially as “kanakas”, meaning “person” or “man”, which, according to Koppel, was a term widely used in the nineteenth century in the Pacific to refer to Pacific Islanders in general.1
Koppel goes on to note that at one time so-called Kanakas constituted between thirty and sixty percent of the HBC's workforce.2 The Akrigg's add that in circa 1850, Continual desertions by men heading for the California gold-fields left the Company almost entirely dependent upon Kanakas and local First Nations to sail ships and cultivate farmland.3 During the same period, 16 of the 62 men (25%) that comprised Fort Victoria's defense and serving force were Kanakas.4
In this correspondence, Douglas refers to a stream opposite the site of Derby as “Whytus”, which is presumed to be present-day Kanaka Creek.
  • 1. Tom Koppel, Kanaka: The Untold Story of Hawaiian Pioneers in British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest (Vancouver: Whitecap Books, 1995), 139.
  • 2. Ibid.
  • 3. G. P. V. Akrigg and H. B. Akrigg, British Columbia Chronicle, 1847-1871 (Victoria: Discovery Press, 1977), 34.
  • 4. Koppel, Kanaka, 66.
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Douglas, James

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British Columbia