SPRADLEY, James P.




Author Tags: Biography, First Nations

Among his numerous books, James P. Spradley edited Guests Never Leave Hungry: The Autobiography of James Sewid, a Kwakiutl Indian (New Haven: Yale University, 1969).

James Sewid, chief counselor at Alert Bay, was one of the leading proponents of the Big House project at Alert Bay. He organized representatives from other tribes in order to create more interest in Indian crafts. "It will also give our young people the chance to keep alive the culture of their people," he said. Initial meetings were held with Simon Beans of Alert Bay, Charles George of Blunden Harbour and Henry Speck of Turnour Island. Alert Bay was chosen as the site of the longhouse because of its strategic location and the fact that site was available on the ground of the old Anglican residential school. Construction began in 1964. Sewid was also influential in the revival of the potlatch in his area. Sewid was born in Alert Bay on December 31, 1913. He began to fish on his grandfather's boat at age 12, became a skipper in 1934 and bought his own fishing boat in 1940. In 1945 he moved his family from Village Island to Alert Bay where he was the first elected chief of the Nimpkish First Nation. He was active in the Anglican Church as well as the Hamatsa Society and the politics of the Native Brotherhood of B.C. He died at Alert Bay on May 18, 1988.

[BCBW 2003] "First Nations" "Biography"

Review of the author's work by BC Studies:
Guests never leave hungry: The autobiography of James Sewid, a Kawkiutl Indian