Author Tags: Aboriginal Authors
A year before he died, Chief Simon Walkus, Sr., orally recorded his people’s traditional stories in 1968 with Susanne Hilton, employed by the British Columbia Indian Advisory Committee, for possible use in local schools. These texts were translated by his daughter Evelyn Walkus Windsor of the Heiltsuk Cultural Education Centre in Bella Bella, with the assistance of Heiltsuk linguist John Rath, for Oowekeeno Oral Traditions as Told by the Late Chief Simon Walkus, Sr. (1982). The bilingual result is sometimes credited to Chief Walkus’ daughter.
Oowekeeno Oral Traditions contains twelve stories and three songs in the Oowekyala Wakashan language, with interlinear English translation and explanations, to illustrate the relations of the Oowekeeno people to the natural and supernatural worlds. Heiltsuk (Bella Bella) and Oowekeeno (Owikyala) are considered to be dialects of the same language. The stories arose from the Rivers Inlet area about 30 miles southwest of Bella Coola where Simon Walkus, Sr. was the second-eldest son of Chief Charles Walkus, Sr., of the Wannock River people, and where he and his wife Lila were both members of secret societies.
Simon Walkus, Sr. died in Rivers Inlet Village in 1969, aged approximately 77. The Walkus family has remained prominent in the tiny Oweekeno First Nation that shares territory with the Heiltsuk, Gwa’Sala - Nakwaxda’xw on the central B.C. coast. With 207 members, it formally applied to the B.C. Treaty Commission in 1993.
Walkus Sr., Simon (author); Windsor, Eveyln Walkus (translator); Rath, John & Susanne Hilton (editors). Oowekeeno Oral Traditions as Told by the Late Chief Simon Walkus, Sr. (Ottawa: Mercury Series #84, National Museum of Man, 1982).