Semiahmoo First Nation

The Semiahmoo Semiahmoo First Nation or are one of the Canadian First Nations in the province of British Columbia. They live on the Pacific coast near White Rock on the border between the U.S. and Canada. They are more closely related to the Lummi and Samish in the U.S. and the Lekwammen and T'sou - ke, as with the Sto: Lo.

In the reserve lived 49 of the 81 recognized by the State tribesmen in August 2009. The total number of reserve residents from 1996 to 2001 declined from 200 to 131. Originally lived a great part of them on the territory of the United States, but attracted the most during the 1850s to Canada.

The name means " crescent moon ".


Early History

The traditional tribal area included the eastern coast of Point Robert, the Boundary Bay, South Surrey, the drainage areas of the Dakota, and Terrell Creek California, the Semiahmoo Bay, Drayton Harbor and Birch Bay. After the latter place they were also sometimes called Birch Bay Indians.

The tradition knows of a people who described himself as Hulwahluqs, and came originally from Vancouver Iceland. You and the adjacent scale Khan, however, were assimilated by the Lummi who came from the San Juan Islands.

Europeans, smallpox and attacks from the north

Captain George Vancouver also landed on the shores of Semiahmoo. But he saw only the ruins of a village on Point Roberts which seemed suitable for 400 to 500 residents. It is unclear whether the Spanish, who observed in 1791 the coast at Point Robberts, Semiahmoo had spotted.

Permanent settlements were at the Semiahmoo and Birch Bay. The local plank houses served as winter quarters. In spring the tribesmen distributed family, within the traditional territory to live in places where mussels, roots or fish food and stocking served. Such summer camps were used at Cannery Point at Point Roberts, to additionally build power plants. Crescent Beach served rather as a place to collect shells, but also to catch salmon. However, here were the focal points Nicomeki and Serpentine River, and on the Little Campbell River in the former Snokomish area.

Already before 1850 these northern living Snokomish were almost wiped out by a smallpox epidemic. The few survivors joined the Semiahmoo, of which the traditional territory was taken at the Boundary Bay. Later, the Crescent Beach has developed into one of their summer camp.

To defend against possible abuses by the Hudson's Bay Company at Fort Langley they built defenses, such as on a hill in what is now Ocean Park. But they were at least as important for the defense against the northern tribes, who went on slave hunting. This was especially true for the southern Kwakwaka'wakw tribes, which they called Yukulta. They came by the onset of the late 18th century fur trade prestige and weapons. No later than 1792, they had muskets. Their raids have taken her to the Puget Sound and they rowed even the Fraser River a piece up.

North of the mouth of Dakota and California Creeks, in what is now Blaine was one of these protected palisade fort that was probably before 1830. It was situated on a cliff above the Drayton Harbor and Semiahmoo Bay of. A second fort with an area of ​​around 2,000 m² was built on a rock which towered over the Semiahmoo and Boundary Bay. The name Indian Fort Drive, which forms part of the western end of the 20th Avenue in Surrey, recalled.

With the increasing British presence ended the Indian wars. To 1854, the number of Semiahmoo had dropped to around 250, Charles Wilkes had their numbers estimated around 1841 to 300. So in comparison with other First Nations, they had relatively well resisted smallpox and raids. They kept largely away from the whites, and even the connoisseurs of George Gibbs region, knew little of them. Living in the USA Semiahmoo not signed the Treaty of Point Elliott of 1855, some lived for a time in the Lummi Reservation. The vast majority of them moved to Canada.

1857 built the so-called British Royal Engineers, a camp called Semiahmoo to monitor the border, a path connected the region soon to Fort Langley. Shortly before the smallpox epidemic of 1862 reached the Semiahmoo Catholic missionaries, a little later lured men came from the gold rush in transit in the area.

On the Edge

1888 cost another smallpox epidemic numerous Indian life, after they had been expelled in the previous year in their reserve.

At that time many were living as a lumberjack or fisherman. But in 1892 forced Alaska Packers an end to their lucrative activities. 1909 lived only 38 Semiahmoo in British Columbia and in the United States, not a single more. By 1963 their number decreased to 28 in 1971 presented four families even only 24 tribesmen. Since then, the small strain recovered.

An important source of income was and is in the lease, which was the root for the land which he had given to the community of Surrey. This lease ended, however, in 1998, the tribe leased now to various organizations and to reserve residents.


The Semiahmoo have a reservation about a kilometer southeast of White Rock at the Canadian- US border in the Semiahmoo Bay. It covers 129.1 hectares in reserve lived in August 2009, exactly 49 tribesmen, 5 lived in other reserves, 27 outside the reserves. A total of 81 people have registered as members of the Semiahmoo. 2002 there were still 46 in the reserve, 24 outside, reported a total of 70. There were also 56 non- tribal people who lived on the reservation. The 65 buildings within the reserve was shared by 30 families.

Current Situation

The Semiahmoo are B.C., the Treaty Process hostile towards. So you are either in contract negotiations with the province nor be represented by a Tribal Council or Tribal Council.

The tribe maintains a campsite in the bay. The majority of the reserve is leased. Chief is Willard Cook.