Queesto, Pacheenaht Chief by Birthright


125 pages
Contains Illustrations
ISBN 0-919441-06-8





Reviewed by Edwin G. Higgins

Edwin G. Higgins was a freelance writer in Sudbury, Ontario.


Bosustow, best known for his Mister Magoo cartoons, met 105-year-old hereditary chief Queesto on a visit to his cousin, who is married to the chiefs son. The Pacheenaht reserve is a small part of the tribe’s traditional lands, which included the site of Port Renfrew, on the southwest coast of Vancouver Island.

This biography of Queesto, baptised Charles Jones by missionaries, becomes a time bridge and history of his people from early European contact to the present. Chief Jones, who traces his genealogy back seven generations, remembers his grandfather, who owned 16 slaves and traded dogfish oil with the Hudson’s Bay Company at Victoria in his 68-foot canoe. He himself was born in the huge longhouse of the chief, containing six families. In 1900, with his father, he signed on a scaling company’s vessel to hunt seals in the Bering Sea from a canoe.

In this interesting, straightforward account we are given an overview of the former life style, economy, crafts, customs, beliefs, stories, and legends, together with the coming of the missionaries and settlers to the Pacheenaht, West Coast Indians.


Jones, Chief Charles, with Stephen Bosustow, “Queesto, Pacheenaht Chief by Birthright,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 27, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/38082.