Author Tags: Aboriginal Authors
Containing reminiscences of the author’s father Chief Louis-Billy Prince, grandson of Chief Kwah, The Carrier, My People (1992) by Nak’azdli elder Lizette Hall recalls Carrier culture and history specific to the Stuart Lake Carrier people.
“All the information in this book was given to me by my father who was past ninety-three years of age then,” she writes, “who had an excellent memory and recalled everything with clarity. He gave me all the details in our Carrier tongue. If I don’t make myself clear to the reader, please bear in mind that English is my second language.”
Hall’s material includes the history of Chief Kwah and his missing dagger, the establishment of the Stuart Lake Mission by Fathers Lejac and Blanchet, memories of Father Nicholas Coccola, origins of the name Carrier, photos of Carrier WW II army veterans and descriptions of customs and beliefs. “The Carrier’s method of showing contempt for another person is to approach the person with the back of the hand towards the victim’s face. The back of the index finger is then rubbed quickly down the bridge of the victim’s nose.”
Louis-Billy Prince (1864-1962), son of Simeyon Prince, who was the son of Kwah, was a constable who accompanied the Oblate priest Father Adrien-Gabriel Morice as a cook on some of his explorations. After Father Morice arrived in British Columbia in 1880, he became the first person to make extensive and accurate recordings of any Athabaskan language in print. When Morice left Fort Saint James in 1904, he began to correspond with Louis-Billy Prince for many years, asking questions about his language in order to compose The Carrier Language, published in 1932. Written in English and the Nak’azdli dialect of Carrier, The Little Dwarves and the Creation of Nak’azdli (1996) is a children’s version of a legend told to Morice by Louis-Billy Prince.
Hall, Lizette. The Carrier, My People (Quesnel: s.p. 1992; Yinka Déné Language Institute, 2000).
[Photo: Lizette Hall and her father Chief Louis-Billy Prince]