BURLING, Samuel




Author Tags: 1700-1800, Haida Gwaii

As a clerk for Captain James Rowan on the ship Eliza, Samuel Burling sailed from Boston in 1798. After 25 years of commerce between Euro-Americans and Haidas, by the late 1790s it had become established practice for Haida villages and fur-trading expeditions to exchange hostages as a peace bond between their cultures. Burling twice served as a willing hostage in villages on the Queen Charlotte Islands. He produced some drawings of the Haida villages and his fair-minded but seldom-cited 1799 journal of his adventures and observations was later made available by the Massachusetts Historical Society.

The first artist to provide individual portraits of the Haida was Sigismund Bacstrom, who sailed aboard the Three Brothers under Captain William Adler in 1793. There is no surviving journal for the voyage but Bacstrom's eight portraits are inscribed with the names of his subjects, plus information on where they were drawn and when. He was the first European to record the names of Haida women.

[BCBW 2004] "American" "1700-1800" "QCI"