Sagoyawatha, Thomas (a. k. a. “Grand/Big Thomas/Tomo”) (cira. 1810-?)

Sagoyawatha was born in 1810 or 1811 of Iroquois parents in St. Regis, Lower Canada and entered the service of the Hudson's Bay Company in 1836 at Fort Vancouver. Before being transferred to Fort Victoria in 1844 he served briefly at Fort McLoughlin as a middleman and on board the Beaver as a woodcutter. Though a reputation for brawling followed him, it appears it may have been earned at Nanaimo where he was stationed following his time at Fort Victoria. For, while at Fort Victoria, though he was only mentioned four times in the journal, none of the references connect him to violent events. He was married at Fort Victoria in 1850 and, following a two-year stint at Fort Simpson, he transferred to Nanaimo where he served for five years and was more prominent in the journal kept there. He was last noted in Hudson's Bay Company records at Fort Simpson in 1862.


  • Evans, Mike. "Thomas Sagoyawatha." BC Metis Mapping Research Project.
  • Hudson's Bay Company. Abstract of Servant's Accounts – York Factory – Columbia District. Winnipeg. Hudson's Bay Company Archives, B.239/g/26 (1842-1847)
  • Watson, Bruce McIntyre. Lives Lived West of the Divide. Kelowna, B.C.: Centre for Social, Spatial, and Economic Justice, University of British Columbia, 2010
Graham Brazier