Cowichan Tribes

The Cowichan is one of Canada's First Nations in the province of British Columbia. They live on the east coast of Vancouver Iceland Duncan and culturally belong to the group of coastal Salish.

The Cowichan First Nation is one of the six tribes of the Hul'qumi'num group to which even the Halalt, Chemainus, Penelakut, Lyackson and Lake Cowichan count. The Cowichan - not to be confused with the Lake Cowichan - make it about 60 % of the group that represents more than 7,000 Indians. In August 2009 4.338 people were registered as members of the Cowichan tribe.

In a broader sense were among the Cowichan (after Franz Boas ) on Vancouver Iceland: Clemchemaluts, Comiaken, Halalt, Khenipsen, Kilpanlus, Koksilah, Kuleets, Lilmalche, Malakut, Nanaimo, Penelakut, Quamichan, Siccameen, Snonowas, Somena, Tateke and Yekolaos and at the lower Fraser: Chehalis, Chilliwack, Coquitlain, Ewawoos, Katsey, Kelatt, Kwantlin, Matsqui, Musqueam, Nicomen, Ohamil, Pilalt, Popkum, Scowlitz, Siyita, Sewathen, Snonkweametl, Skawawalooks, Squawtits. Sumass, Tait, Tsakuam and Tsenes.


Settlement area

Originally, the Cowichan lived in the lower Cowichan Valley. Your name goes up Mt Tzuhalem back ( Shkewétsen ), which translates as "warm back " or plastic " bask on its side in the sun". Today's reserves are located in the lower Cowichan Valley between Duncan and the Cowichan Bay, to smaller reservations are further above.

The Cowichan inhabited for at least twelve winter villages, where they viewed the area as a common possession. However, each family had its own fishing areas. Especially the area on Koksilah River between Duncan and the Cowichan Bay was densely populated. The Cowichan River with its tributaries, the Quamichan and Somenos Creek, to the Koksilah River opened up the region quite comfortable and traditional livelihoods, such as salmon and trout.

The Garry or Oregon oak (Quercus garryana ) and Camassia quamash here were widespread, as in the whole coastal area of ​​southern Vancouver Island. When Oliver Wells 1859 Cowichan Valley examined, he reported that " 45,000 acres " could be considered "superior agricultural districts" and that the country would probably be sufficient for the supply of 500 to 600 settler families.

At the Cowichan Bay were two villages at the north end, near the mouth of the Cowichan River, two on the south end, near the spot where now stands the city Cowichan Bay. The northernmost village, Xinepsem stood at Green Point, at the mouth of the Cowichan River Nordarms. Edward Curtis reported in 1912 by 9 houses with 15 families .. In addition, he noted, the village was built in 1850. The residents are probably fled from the north end of Galiano Iceland to escape the robbery rides the southern Kwakwaka'wakw. Near the south arm of the Cowichan River was the village Shts'ets'mínes. Curtis reports of three houses. At the south end of the Cowichan Bay were two villages. Th'íth'xwemksen stood little north of the present Cowichan Bay. It was closely connected to the Penelakut village of the same name at the Cayetano Point on Valdes Iceland. The Cowichan Bay is now part of Theik No. 2 The second village was Tl'elpóles. It ranged from Cowichan Bay southward to Kil -pah -las No. 3 Curtis reports of four houses.

Upstream from Green Point, on the north arm of the Cowichan, was the winter village Kwiemiyaken or Comiaken. The latter name refers to the area around the Comiaken Hill and the stone church built by Father Peter Rondeault in the early 1860s. 1850 was the village of four longhouses and about 50 families. At the junction of the middle arm of the Cowichan River, which leads to Koksilah River, there were four villages.

Lhemlhémelets, also Clemclemalits or Clem Clem was one of the largest villages. It consisted of ten longhouses. Southern neighbor was Xwkwó7kwxnets, northern T'aat'ka7 ( Shallon bill berry or High partridge berry ). It consisted of four longhouses and was closely associated with the Lyackson village at Shingle Point. For this, the small village Kwthothines came up with only one or two houses on the other side of the river, opposite T'aat'ka7. On Koksilah River, where the highway crosses the river, was a village that today anglicised ' Koksilah ' means and whose name is passed to the river. In 1860, it consisted of seven longhouses, 1912, however, only three. The residents had a seasonally used for fishing village called Xtémten ( Marble Falls ) on the upper Koksilah.

The largest village was located halfway between the Cowichan Bay and Duncan today. The original name, Kwómetsen, was anglicised as ' Quamichan '. Curtis reported from 32 longhouses. In 1853 there must have lived at least 1,700 people. The village retired about 5 km on the Cowichan River along - from Quamichan Creek almost to the Comiaken village.

Above the Silver Bridge and west of Highway is the village S7ómene or Somena. It borders the south of the city and is called Duncan to this day Somena Village. Curtis (1913, 175 ) reports of ten houses, but knows the oral tradition of more. From here the Cowichan traveled to the Fraser River and Point Roberts, but also to Koksilah Ridge in the south and Lake Cowichan in the West. 6 km above Somena there was no settlement, except the seasonally occupied fishing villages. There is, for example, the 6.5- ha reserve Tzart lam - No. 5

Skutz Falls, 35km north of Somena, originally called Skwets ( ' waterfall '). There where lots of Indians, also other tribes, met for the hunting, are today the reserves Skutz No. 7 and Skutz No. 8 Here, members of the Lake Cowichan, Cowichan, Halalt, Ditidaht and Pacheedaht met. Cowichan Lake was a meeting of the Cowichan and the Ditidaht, the waterfalls were several houses. Again, marriages were arranged.

Raids from the north

Like most coastal Salish, so also suffered the Cowichan under the raids of the northern Pacific peoples, as well as the neighbors on Vancouver Iceland. There was a village called Xwtl'epn'ts, a small seasonal village with a few houses at the Maple Bay. Here was the last battle between the coastal Salish and the southern Kwakwaka'wakw, especially the Lekwiltok, held in 1840. The smallpox epidemic of 1862 these raids ended abruptly.

McKenna - McBride Commission

As from 1913, the McKenna - McBride Commission visited the reserves, she suggested that the reserves of the " Comox Tribe ", " No.1- Cowichan, 5723.00 acres; No.2 - Theik, 75.00 acres; No.3 - Kilpahlas, 51.00 acres; No.4 -Est Patrolas ( Rogers Lake ), 75.00 acres; No.5 - Tzartlam 16.00 acres; No.6 - Kakalatza, 24.00 acres; No.7 - Skutz (A), 18:00 acres; No.8 - Skutz (B ), 40.00 acres; No.9 - Cowichan, 48.66 acres " nothing should be separated. but she moved from no. 8 exactly 2.82 acre in favor of a Canadian Northern Pacific Railway. Legal force received these proposals to the Commission until 1923.

Current Situation

The Cowichan are 4,356 members of one of the largest Salish tribes.


Of the 4,356 Cowichan lived in September 2009, exactly 2,316 in the reserve, 250 in other reserves and 1,789 outside the reserves. Until August 2011, the number had risen to 4,499. The nine reserves are Cowichan 1 with 2254.1 ha, Theik 2 on the south shore of Cowichan Bay with 30.3 ha, Kil - pah -las 3 with 20.6 ha, Est - 4 Patrolas 27.8, Tzart - Lam 5 with 6.5 ha, Kakalatza 6 with 10.5 ha, with 7.3 ha Skutz 7, Skutz 8 14.9 9 14.9 ha and Cowichan