During the initial colonization period on the Pacific Coast in the 1800s, the British Navy was known for its harsh actions. Today academics refer to this as the era of "gunboat diplomacy."
On December 22, 1865 the ship had run to Metlakatla and was returning South when it stopped to check in at the Hudson's Bay Company's Fort Rupert. Staff at the Fort lived in very close proximity to the First Nation village of Tsakis, which was home to about 1500 people. At times the relationship was rocky, with both sides engaging in vigorous trade, but suffering regular skirmishes prompted by the illegal whisky trade, cultural differences, and frustration with the encroachment of Europeans into First Nations' traditional territories and the utilization of the resources within these areas.
Beaver Harbour, the location of Fort Rupert, had been used by the local First Nations people for thousands of years, as evidenced by several large shell middens in the area, but it had not been a large permanent year-round village site at the time of the establishment of Fort Rupert. The availability of trade goods and preferred status trading with the Hudson's Bay Company prompted the Kwakiutl to establish a large permanent settlement on both sides of Fort Rupert after its construction. In 1851 Governor Douglas signed Treaties (two of the 'Douglas Treaties') with the bands that lived adjacent to the Fort, the Queackar and the Quakeolth.
Painting "The Clio at Fort Rupert" by artist Mike Sedgemore provided by Hutch Hunt Sr.