The Nootka Man from the Sky

Source: "Dark Visions" by John Robert Colombo

John Meares (1756-1809) was a lieutenant in the Royal Navy who resigned in 1771. He served as captain of three voyages from China to Nootka Sound. He was a fine observer of the Nootka Indians of the late 18th century. He is remembered today as the author of the travel account, Voyages made in the years 1778 and 1789, from China to the North West Coast of America, (London 1790) in which is told a number of Nootka traditions. One such story is of an "extraordinary stranger from the sky". Meares asked the indians how they had become acquainted with copper and why it was such an object of admiration among their people. The indians explained that their ancestors had met a strange man in a copper "canoe" and everything in this man's possession was made of metal. The stranger told them that he had come from the sky, and he warned them that one day their nation would be destroyed and they would all be killed. The natives ended up killing the stranger and stealing his "copper canoe" and thus starting their fondness of the metal.