Fort Vancouver Mobile - A video overview

Courtesy of: Research Assistant Aaron May of Washington State University Vancouver's Creative Media and Digital Culture program. Produced in 2011.

Video highlights from the apps (36-minute version)

This montage provides a sampling of some of the video media in the Fort Vancouver Mobile apps. This app is much more than just a video distribution system, but these videos show the variety of content, from expositional segments to new journalism to those intended to prompt the development of interactive narratives.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Finding the Kaulehelehes in Victoria

One of the benefits of coming back to Victoria, B.C., for the Digital Humanities Summer Institute again (during which Fort Vancouver Mobile has been featured prominently in our Creating Digital Humanities Projects for the Mobile Environment course) has been the opportunity to continue looking for material about William Kaulehelehe, the protagonist of our Kanaka module.

Last year, I looked on my own for Kaulehelehe's grave at the Ross Bay Cemetery and couldn't locate it. So during the past year, I made contact with a variety of people who eventually led me to Michael Halleran, secretary of the Old Cemeteries Society in Victoria, who has led tours of the cemetery focused on its prominent Hawaiians.

Michael not only told me about the Kaulehelehes, he also offered to meet me at the cemetery and show me the location of the graves of William's wife, Mary Kaai, and his hanai daughter, Mary Opio. So we met at the Ross Bay Cemetery tonight, and he took me first to William's unmarked grave:

Michael Halleran at William Kaulehelehe's
unmarked grave in Victoria, B.C. 
Here is a video of that moment, where he found the grave site:

Michael also took me to another cemetery, the Old Quadra Street Burial Ground, a few kilometers away, where Kaai and Opio also are buried in unmarked graves. That cemetery unceremoniously has been turned into a city park (a group of people were hula-hooping on top of grave sites -- probably unknowingly -- when we arrived), and almost all of the more than 1,000 tombstones at that site have been removed, but, Halleran said, the bodies still are there, including Kaai and Opio. The city's parks department removed most of the markers in 1909, when the site was "renovated" into Pioneer Square Park. At this point, because of the lack of precise records about the site, Halleran said there is no easy way to determine where the women are buried. He was able to determine that Opio was buried in the Catholic part of the cemetery, roughly near this large church marker:

Halleran suggesting where Opio might be buried.
And Kaai was interred in the Anglican part of the cemetery, in a large area of land, near this marker:

Halleran determining roughly where Kaai is buried.
Halleran also shared a variety of other insights about the Hawaiians in Victoria, which relates, at least generally to the Kaulehelehes' story: To begin with, if you know the Empress Hotel, the stunning landmark at the heart of the Victoria harbor, you also know, roughly, where Kanaka Row was in Victoria, on the adjacent street, called Humboldt now, which marks the territory of the original Victoria waterfront. Halleran said the Kaulehelehes likely lived on Kanaka Row in the 1860s, in one of the small wooden houses there, and he found the paperwork showing that William was a naturalized British subject, and therefore, at the time, a Canadian citizen as well, which gave him the rights to vote, own land, and run for office, which was much more agency than he was allowed, as a Hawaiian, in the U.S. portion of the Pacific Northwest. He apparently worked as a Hudson's Bay Company clerk, and he and his wife were affiliated with the Anglican church.

Opio (her full last name was Kamopiopio), by the way, died at the age of 15, on June 26, 1864, in what appears to have been a botched abortion. Halleran said there is some documentation and some speculation about what happened, so we are going to look more closely at that story and see what we can find.

Mary Kaai (full last name: Kaiiopiopio) died at the age of 43 (cause and date of death unknown) and was buried on New Year's Eve, the next year, 1865.

William Kaulehelehe lived to the age of 65, dying almost a decade later, on June 22, 1874.

I also grabbed the GPS coordinates of these grave sites, so I hope to embed some digital media at that those places some time in the near future, to at least leave a virtual marker of their lives. Will keep you posted!

1 comment:

  1. Wow and wow, Brett! How sad that they have no markers, but it's nice to know that someone (and now all of us) know where they are. Also very good to hear that William had rights and the ability to own land and vote. A botched abortion in 1864? I think about the medical practices going on at the same time during the Civil War and can only imagine the procedure was a horror story. Mahalo for following up with this and sharing! ---Kapuanani