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Bellabella Indians of Canada
Bellabella. An Indian corruption of the word
Milbank taken back into English. Also called:
He´iltsuq, own name.
Milbank Sound Indians, popular name.
Connections. Dialectically the Bellabella were closely
related to the Kwakiutl south of them and more remotely to the
Nootka of the west coast of Vancouver Island and Cape Flattery,
Washington, the whole constituting the Wakashan linguistic family.
Location. The coast of British Columbia from
Rivers Inlet to Douglas Channel inclusive.
| Kitamat, on Douglas Channel.
Kitlope, on Gardiner Canal
| Bellabella proper,
embracing the Kokaitk on the north shore of Milbank Sound,
Oealitk on the south shore of Milbank Sound, and the Oetlitk on the
middle section of Milbank Sound.
China Hat, on Tolmie Channel and Mussel Inlet.
Nohuntsitk, at the lower end of Wikeno Lake.
Somehulitk, at the north end of Wikeno Lake.
Wikeno, on Rivers Inlet.
|The Wilkeno had the following,
all with one possible exception, on Rivers nlet:
History. Bodega and Maurelle passed along the
coast occupied by the Bellabella in 1775, and they were immediately
afterward visited by English and American explorers and traders. The
Hudson's Bay post of Fort McLoughlin was established in their
territory in 1833, but the foundation of Victoria in 1843 probably
had greater influence on the lives of these people. The traders were
soon followed by missionaries and permanent white settlers.
Population. Mooney (1928) estimated that in 1780 there were
2,700 Indians of the Bellabella group. In 1906 there were 852.
Connection in which they have become noted. These people are
interesting as exhibiting an apparent replacement of a patrilineal
system of descent by a matrilineal system.
The Indian Tribes of North of America, by
John Swanton, 1953