Tom Swanky's book, The Great Darkening: "The True Story of Canada’s ‘War’ of Extermination on the Pacific" is a must-read text for everyone.
Drawing from ten years of collecting first-hand accounts from the descendants of the smallpox survivors and collating accounts of the epidemics published in newspapers, Swanky tracks the spread of smallpox from Victoria to the traditional territories of the Indigenous peoples whose lands were then claimed for colonial development.
“It begins with the last action of the smallpox period, the hanging of five Tsilhqot’in Chiefs ambushed at a peace conference in 1864. The story then follows the smallpox trail back though the Tsilhqot’in War seeking its origin. It describes the smallpox carnage everywhere, all the while seeking evidence of deliberate disease spreading.
This evidence is massive. It begins with the accounts of survivors and eye-witnesses as handed down in the native tradition. It includes descriptions by participants of their activities and the record of their activities. According to this evidence, the tactics used to spread the disease include the distribution of smallpox-infected blankets, sending smallpox infected individuals into native communities or otherwise bringing diseased people in contact with healthy natives and doctors, under the cover of offering vaccination programs, inoculating individuals with smallpox to begin new epidemics. In communities targeted by using smallpox as a weapon, the death rate was often higher than 90 percent. There is almost no evidence of natives spreading the disease among themselves, community to community.”
Camas Books & Infoshop is a community run, all volunteer bookstore with new and used books, both fiction and non-fiction, on a variety of subjects. We also carry zines, patches, stickers, and a range of t-shirts and other artisan-produced items. Feel free to come by and hang out in our seating area with your laptop, or play in the kids' space.
In addition to being open EVERY DAY, there are also many extra-curricular happenings at the store. Be sure to check out our calendar for more information, and drop by for workshops, special guest speakers, and much more.
If you have questions about how to get involved, send us an email, or phone 250.381.0585. You can also sign up to our twice-monthly announcements list.