Maquinna

Maquinna, or Mukwina, meaning "possessor of pebbles,"was a Nootka chief (fl1778-95?). Maquinna was the ranking leader of the Moachat group of Nootka Sound Indigenous people on the west coast of Vancouver Island during the early years of European contact.


Maquinna and Callicum
Image of chiefs Maquinna (left) and Callicum (right) from John Meares' book, Voyages Made in the Years 1788 and 1789 from China to the Northwest Coast of America (1791).\r\n

Maquinna, or Mukwina, meaning "possessor of pebbles,"was a Nuu-chah-nulth (Nootka) chief (fl1778-95?). Maquinna was the ranking leader of the Moachat group of Nootka Sound Indigenous people on the west coast of Vancouver Island during the early years of European contact. Following James Cook's 1778 visit, Nootka Sound became an important fur-trading centre. Maquinna controlled the fur trade and emerged as the dominant Indigenous leader in the Sound, operating as a middleman. Maquinna was also involved in dealings with British and Spanish representatives who visited Nootka Sound as the two nations asserted rival claims to the area. While Maquinna had achieved his position among the Nuu--chah-nulth by traditional means, he was a leader whose role was changing because of the Europeans' impact. His power and prestige were enhanced by new wealth from the fur trade but, at the same time, he had to lead his people through new and sometimes difficult situations. His successor assumed the name of Maquinna.


Further Reading

  • Robin Fisher, Contact and Conflict (1977).