Where the Blood Flows into the Bay of the Lake
Long time ago where the Lhoosk’uz people are now living, is called "‘Uskai Talbun Tl’at”. In English, ‘Uskai Talbun Tl’at means “where the blood flowed into the bay of the lake”. I am going to tell you a story about why it is called ‘Uskai Talbun Tl’at. This story was told to me by a Kluskus elder not very long ago.
Long time ago there were many people at Kluskus. Early in the morning, while everyone was still sleeping, the Bella Coola and Bella Bella people slaughtered the Kluskus people, children and all.
One man went out hunting, he came back and seeing what was happening, he pretended to be one of them and joined them because he wanted to know where they were from. The man’s wife was pregnant, she had gone to get wood, and she had heard loud noises, so she hid. She realized what was happening to her people and she hid behind the wood she was packing and they did not find her.
When they slaughtered all of the people they also cut their heads off. When everything was over they all left each carrying a head, just outside of Kluskus they all sat down and rested. Where they were resting, each person set down a rock for each head they had. The elder said the rocks are still there all set in a row for miles and miles.
The man that went back with the Bella Coola and Bella Bella people said during the night they made a big fire and they danced around the fire carrying the heads of the people they slaughtered. They gave the person from Kluskus his father’s head and he kept dropping it and they just about figured out he was not one of them but his face was painted, and they figured he was one of them.
When Bella Coola and Bella Bella people were just about reaching their home destination the Kluskus person snuck away from the group and he went back to Kluskus. He got back to Kluskus, where his wife was soon going to give birth. They own a little black dog, the dog was whimpering and with a long stick he used to kill people, hit the little dog over the head and said “Do you think I just came back from hunting”?
His wife had a baby boy and now there are three people left in Kluskus. The man then went hunting and he hunted and hunted and the woman was very busy drying the meat. They were trying to preserve as many dried meat as possible so they can invite people and have a revenge on the Bella Coola and Bella Bella people.
When the boy turned 20 years of age, they decided to do revenge on the enemy. They told his son to go to all of the neighboring Indian communities, in the Chilcotin and invite everybody to eat with them, so they can plan the revenge of the enemy.
Do not forget about your grandfather Nak’unashas, he lives in Euchinikoh; tell him about our plan to attack the Bella Coola and Bella Bella communities for revenge.
“Grandfather, I came to pick you up, we are going to attack the people in Bella Coola for revenge.”
His grandfather twirling a bag with dried fish around and around and said to him “There was peace around Euchinikoh at one time”.
The young man got mad and said to his grandfather “Why I even bother to try and get you to come with me, all you do is look at your own tracks around Euchinikoh”.
He went back to Kluskus without him. Some time later, when everyone was sitting around eating preparing themselves for a war with the Bella Coola and Bella Bella people, his grandfather Nak’unashas came growling around. He stomped over all of the food the people were eating. Nak’unashas was their leader or the chief and a very strong powerful man like a grizzly bear.
They did many different things before they reached the Bella Coola reserve. They killed and wiped out all of the people in Bella Coola they then went to Bella Bella and did the same there. They kidnapped many young women from the Bella Coola and Bella Bella people. So they are descendants from Bella Coola and Bella Bella amongst us, they married some of our men and that is how the population of Kluskus grew again.
This story is told in different versions by different elders like Peter Morris, Whes’en and my late grandmother. I have heard this story told in ‘Ulkatcho and it is also told differently. The rocks that were put there by their enemies and the elders of long ago would not touch the rocks. They were afraid to touch the rocks so every time they go by the rocks they would just put tobacco and food on it and not disturb the rocks at all. They also set down the heads of the Kluskus people there by the rocks. Emily’s grandmother said that some the people that raided the Kluskus people were probably related to us.