The Story of Chief Comaham

 

The Skeena River is rich in first nations history and one of the more interesting stories is that of Chief Comaham.  He died on the Skeena River in 1873.

It was hot August day when he and his family were paddling up river from Port Simpson to a village at the mouth of the Lakelse River.  As he paddled his restless daughter stood up in the canoe as they hit a whirlpool and over she went in the swift current of the Skeena near Shames creek.  The chief quickly jumped over board in search of his young daughter and he was quickly consumed by the fast and dirty water. First Nations from up and down the river mobilized in search of their bodies but none was ever found. Comaham was a head man for Port Simpson so a great funeral and ceremony was conducted. A large marble headstone was commissioned and placed on the edge of the river near where he died. The headstone still stands in place, weathered from over 130 years.  The headstone lies on private property and cannot be visited without special permission.  We were fortunate enough to have access for our guests to visit it on our “Skeena River Historical Journey”.  Much of the information above is summarized from an article by Ruth M. Hallock.

Chief Comaham Headstone
Guests looking at Comaham Headstone

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