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Hughina Harold

Hughina Harold (née Bowden) was born in Victoria, BC, in 1915. She graduated with a nursing degree from the Royal Jubilee Hospital in 1935, and shortly thereafter began a two-year term as a nurse and teacher at the Mamalilikulla Indian Day School on Village Island. She later practised nursing on Vancouver Island and married a young RCAF enlistee at the beginning of the Second World War. After the war, she raised three daughters while her husband developed his medical career.

During her time on Village Island, Hughina wrote detailed letters about her experiences to her family in Victoria. After her mother passed away, Hughina rediscovered her old letters and was inspired to transform them into stories, which were broadcast on Eileen Laurie’s CBC program Morning Visit. American anthropologist Harry Wolcott, who taught on Village Island to collect material for his dissertation, heard those broadcasts and contacted Hughina to learn more about her experiences. His discussions with Hughina resulted in the publication of his book A Kwakiutl Village and School in 1967. Her nostalgic trip to Alert Bay in 1985 rekindled Hughina’s ambitions to have her stories published, and the result was the first edition of Totem Poles and Tea, published by Heritage House in 1996. Hughina Harold died in 2001.

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