Guests Never Leave Hungry

Guests Never Leave Hungry

Published by McGill–Queen’s University Press in paper 1972. it has been reprinted 1978, 1983, 1989. 320 pages

This is an older book which I purchased from the used book market. I didn’t recognize the title, but saw that it was the Autobiography of James Sewid. After reading it I realized that it was very relevant to the nautical history of British Columbia because James Sewid was, among his many accomplishments, a seiner–man and boat captain.

The book is well written, well edited and very readable. The level of detail is fascinating, and provides an insight into lives that might otherwise remain hidden from us. He lived at a time when he experienced both the traditional life and the modern life of an indigenous person on the BC coast. More importantly he was able to capture the push and pull that he experienced, the pressures of adapting to two different worlds and successfully participating in both. He entered the fishing industry at the age of ten.

He worked in the coastal salmon fishery, both as an employee and as a boat owner. His eye for detail and his sharp memory paints a picture of life on and near the water. He speaks of nets, managers, crew members, companies and equipment with ease. He also tells of his role as a community leader (he was the first elected Chief at Alert Bay after the hereditary chiefs were replaced by elected chiefs). He also gives an insight into the culture, tradition and art.

I enjoyed reading this book, so I am recommending it to you. It will be available on the used book market. No person intending to understand the nautical history of our coast should delay reading this book.


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