Historic Theme Pages
Hudson's Bay Company (1867-1882)
By the time Mackenzie arrived at Bella Coola in 1793, trading between Native peoples and Europeans along the coast was common. Early trading began with Spanish boats and later with British and Americans. This explains why Alexander Mackenzie, the first European to cross through the Bella Coola Valley, encountered a Native chief at " Friendly Village " or Stuix who was wearing brass buttons. The fur trade developed quickly as an extension of existing Native traderoutes and relationships.
The Nuxalk trapped furs and also acted as middlemen, controlling trade between the interior and the coast. They carried furs in large canoes to trade with the Heiltsuk people of Bella Bella. The Heiltsuk, in turn, traded with the European ships and with Hudson's Bay Company traders who operated Fort McLoughlin at Bella Bella in the 1830's and 1840's.
In 1867, a fur trade post owned by the Hudson's Bay Company was established in Bella Coola, first on a boat and later at a permanent post on the south side of the Bella Coola River, next to Q'umk'uts. In 1882 the business and property were sold to a HBC employee, John Clayton, whose family continued to operate the store into the early 1900s. None of the original buildings remain on the site today.
Besides furs, trade goods at the post included locally-grown potatoes and items made by Nuxalk peoples such as carvings and weavings.