Getting the Indians Out of Town: Race and Space in Victoria’s History
University of Victoria
A visitor to downtown Victoria today will find only a few markers to inform them that historically Victoria was very much an “Indian” space. But a visitor in the Victorian era would have had no doubt. The fort which founded the city was built to trade with aboriginal people, the early town was surrounded by their encampments so that native people outnumbered settlers several-fold during the summer months, the Songhees reserve was within the city limits, and parts of the downtown were known as the Indian district. Aboriginal people worked throughout the city and many white men married aboriginal women. This talk describes that earlier Victoria where natives outnumbered newcomers, and unveils the processes that “got the Indians out of town” and led to the near invisibility of Aboriginal People in Victoria, today.