Esquimalt First Nation

The Esquimalt or dining whoy - malth, officially Esquimalt Nation (also Xwsepsum or often wrongly called Kosampsom - as in the Treaty of 1843), are a First Nations on Vancouver Iceland in British Columbia.

They are culturally and linguistically to the Coastal Salish of the Pacific Northwest Coast culture, the residential area extends up to Oregon. Along with the neighboring Songhees ( Lkwungen or Lekwungen ) they speak Lək̓ ʷ əŋín̓əŋ / Lekwungen or Songhees / Songish, a dialect of Northern Straits Salish, one of the largest dialect groups within the Central Coast Salish (Central Coast Salish ) from the Salish language family.

Today (September 2013) is one of the Esquimalt Nation 288 tribesmen, of which 163 live on the reservation.


The Esquimalt were - and sometimes still is - often referred to, together with the closely related Songhees ( Lkwungen or Lekwungen ) as Lekwammen (or Lekwungen ) - but this term is increasingly related only to the Songhees, as it is their own name. For more historical ( and sometimes still is ) Straits Salish - speaking groups of the coastal Salish are the Lummi ( Xwlemi or Lhaq'temish ), Saanich ( WSÁNEĆ ), Samish ( sʔémǝš ), Semiahmoo, T'sou - ke ( Sooke ) and the Klallam ( S'Klallam ).

To Victoria lived around the Songhees, the core of which wintered in the Cadboro Bay and the summer in a place called Xthapsam, near Gorge in Victoria, spent. A smaller group occupied the area around the Sooke Basin. The Company was organized by families, not by tribes. Thus, the relationships between the family- specific bound dialect, but also the question of who was working, who shared resources. This relationship extended far beyond the local group home and the village beyond into other communities. The village, however, played a role in certain types of ceremonies. So the village was no more articulated unity as the extended family.

The basics of nutrition, hunting, collecting, preserving, differ only slightly within the coastal Salish. In the north of Esquimalt Lagoon, a shell middens, which was consistently in use is located ( east of Cottonwood Creek ). Some archaeological sites belong to the Marpole or the Gulf of Georgia culture. The first lasted from 500 BC to 1000 AD, while the Gulf of Georgia culture extends to 1000 AD.

The Xwsepsum ( Kosampsom ) lived in a village near the Portage Inlet. Shell mounds at the Tillicum Bridge can already be dated to about 2000 BC. Before the arrival of the first Europeans they lived in several villages on the Perry Bay and at the Cordova Bay.

First contact with Europeans

The first Spanish and British ships headed for Esquimalt 1790 and 1792. Don Manuel Quimper in 1790 anchored in the harbor and named the place " Puerto de Cordova " based on the 46th Viceroy of New Spain. Even James Cook admired the cultivated landscape of the Indians to the later Victoria, but did not recognize the signs of a differentiated peasant culture.

The European traders who came to the Pacific coast came, initially because of the otter furs, which they could sell in China with high profits. They brought for metals and other commodities, such as Venetian glass beads, to guns. The income and the muskets altered the regional balance of power. Thus, the Nanaimo, Saanich, Songhees, Esquimalt, Musqueam and Squamish allied against the outgoing on robbery and slave-raiding northern tribes, such as the Lekwiltok. They provided them in the Maple Bay a devastating battle. The largest tribal alliance in history of western Canada was about 1843 Fort Victoria attack, but closed it peace with the whites.

In the contracts (HBC ) graduated from Hudson 's Bay Company with today Esquimalt, they are called still " Kosampsom ". The word Esquimalt is the anglicized form of the word " dining whoy - malth ", which probably means "place of shallow water ". As early as 1850 farms were built, such as the View Field Farm, the other soon followed. 1852, the first connection path was built to Victoria. Around this time, Songhees and Esquimalt must have finally separated. 1854 was the Craig Flower- school building, which still exists today and houses a museum.

1858 brought the gold rush on the Fraser River thousands to Victoria, many of which are in Esquimalt went ashore. 1865 the place became the naval base. 1863 erected a sawmill at the Esquimalt Lagoon on a burial ground.

1881 included the Esquimalt only 30 members, distributed among eight families. The oldest members of the tribe were indeed 60 and 70, but there were only three who were 50 or older it.

The chieftainship is of great continuity. Edward Joe was until the 1970s, traditional chief, his predecessor was Joe Sinupen. This was a descendant of si'sœnak, a leader of Xwsepsum ( Kosapsum ), who appears as ' Say- sinka ' in Kosampsum Treaty of 30 April 1850. 1972 took over Andy Thomas dignity and the name of their ancestors. Their territory ranged from Cordova to Parry Bay on Vancouver Iceland and included the west coast of San Juan Iceland.

As from 1913, the McKenna - McBride Commission visited the reserves, she suggested that the reserve of the " Esquimalt Tribe ", " Esquimalt - Esquimalt District, 47.00 acres " should remain. Legal force received by the Commission until 1923 proposals.

Family groups

The Songhees and Esquimalt today are descendants of the following mentioned in the so-called Douglas Treaties ( Vancouver Iceland Treaties or Fort Victoria Treaties ) Family Group:

  • The Teechamitsa ( Albert Head to Esquimalt Harbour - Today members of the Esquimalt Nation)
  • The Xwsepsum ( Kosampsom ) or Camossung ( eastern part of Esquimalt Harbour, on Craig Flower Creek ( Pulkwutsang - " the ghost place " ) in the Portage Inlet, the Gorge Waters ( Gorge Waterway ) in the Harbour (harbor ) of present-day Victoria to Halkett Iceland - main group of present-day Esquimalt nation)
  • The Whyomilth (Northwest part of the Esquimalt Harbour - Today members of the Esquimalt Nation)
  • The Chekonein ( Che -ko - no) ( between Gonzales Point and Mount Douglas - Today members of the Songhees First Nation )
  • The Chilcowitch (east of the Ross Bay to Gonzales Point - Today members of the Songhees First Nation )
  • The Stsanges ( in what is now Albert Head ( Tleepet ), a suburb of Metchosin, British Columbia - Today, members of the Songhees First Nation )
  • The Swengwhung ( Inner Harbour, James Bay ( Whosaykum - "Sand, loam " or " muddy, swampy place " ), Clover Point and Ross Bay area of Greater Victoria - now members of the Songhees First Nation )

Current Situation

Canada and British Columbia agreed in late 2006 with the Esquimalt and Songhees on the payment of CAD 31.5 million, to be divided equally among the tribes. Then a Replacement Lands Committee is to be used to discuss the exchange of certain areas. This agreement is, however, outside the BC Treaty Process, the six-stage treaty process that the province has started numerous tribes in 1993. In addition, the surrounding First Nations participate increasingly in the Victoria Harbor plan that provides for a significant expansion of the port.

Finally, the City View Royal decided in March 2007 to contribute a contribution of 96,000 and the province of 40,000 CAD, to establish a cemetery in Partage Park, which had been damaged by storms again.


The Esquimalt now possess a reserve of 18.9 hectares, the Esquimalt Indian Reserve, which was assigned to them in 1850 by the HBC and confirmed by the Joint Reserve Commission. It is located on Esquimalt Harbour in Plumper Bay southwest of Victoria. Of today's (September 2013) 288 tribesmen live within the reserve 163, 25 in other reserves, mostly in surrounding cities and outside the remaining 100 Esquimalt.