This story explores the hidden legacy of Native Hawaiian workers in the 1800s fur trade in the Pacific Northwest, from the picturesque islet of Salt Spring Island, British Columbia, down the coast to the mouth of the Columbia River in present-day Oregon, and east to Fort Vancouver in present-day Washington. “Kanaka” came to define the communities established by Hawaiians – a designation found across archival material and signage that persists today. The recounted experiences of William Naukana, men aboard the mercantile ship the Tonquin, Naukane (also known as Old Cox), and William Kaulehelehe and wife Mary Ka‘ai bring this rich chapter of history to life.
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Written by Derek Ferrar and adapted from “Kānaka in the Land of Timber and Mist,” Hana Hou! magazine, April-May 2016