In Canada, ‘Sasquatch‘ is the proper name for the upright-walking, gorilla-like creature which may or may not exist in our wilderness areas. More and more when Canadians, not involved in any way with this mystery, ask me a question, they tend to use the American term: Bigfoot.
When I started, back in the late 1970s, this almost never occurred. The power of media in a short time can change national culture without most people even realizing it. The name ‘Sasquatch’ came about when a man named J.W. Burns, a teacher on the Chehalis Reserve, near Harrison Mills, British Columbia, heard stories about hairy wild-men from his First Nation hosts, then wrote an article published in Macleans Magazine on April 1st, 1929 entitled: ‘INTRODUCING BCs, HAIRY GIANTS’. This was the first time the term ‘SASQUATCH‘ had been used when describing the strange creature reported by many – but denied by most.
In Canada, the term Sasquatch, through time, overshadowed all the other names used up and down the BC coast. Many newspaper stories on Vancouver Island before 1929 used the term ‘MOWGLI’ when describing the creature, but today its hard to find anybody who even remembers the name. Sasquatch was now the term imprinted on the public mind set in Canada and would remain so until 1958.
The year 1958 was the year the name BIGFOOT was born when describing this creature in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. Gerald(Jerry) Crew had been photographed holding a large footprint cast by reporter, Andrew Genzoli of the Humbolt Times newspaper. Mr Crew had been having a mystery on his hands concerning large footprints he was finding around his bulldozer as he worked on a new logging road by Bluff Creek.
Mr. Genzoli, the reporter, had never heard of the creature in Canada called Sasquatch, so he gave the creature a new name: BIGFOOT. This name, with the help of the AP press, assured that Bigfoot would become a household word in the United States.
Now, in Canada, most television documentaries on this subject tend to be American-made; most internet forums tend to be American in origin; most books published tend to be American published. So, it is no wonder the the American term ‘Bigfoot’ is surely pushing aside the Canadian term, ‘Sasquatch’, just as Sasquatch pushed aside most First Nation and local area names before it.
<sigh> Sign of the times, I suppose.