Dance Halls or "Squaw dance halls," as they were often
called in contemporary newspaper articles, were entertainment
facilities established during the gold rush to keep miners in Victoria
during the winter. Behind the dancing front, the real amusement was
prostitution. Their popularity ended when the gold rush moved into the
Cariboo and the opposition from the religious community overpowered
dance house supporters. Explore the power forces involved in dance
halls with a microhistorical approach to Victoria's history.
Question to consider: Who had the most influence in the dance hall operations?
Dance Hall Origins:
- California gold rush of 1849
Time Frame :
- In San Francisco the majority
of women employed at the Dance Halls were white but in Victoria the
majority of women involved were Native.
- Approximately 1859-1866.
- Most active between 1860 and 1865.
- Miners- came from California gold rush, Cariboo, England, other parts of British North America for gold rush.
- Businessmen- moved North from San Francisco to open shops.
- Aboriginal People- thousands from Ts'msyen
(Tsimshian), Haida and other tribes came to sell furs, carved goods and
labour to influx of white men.