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Cowichan Indians of Canada

Cowichan. Significance unknown.

Connections. The Cowichan were one of the principal dialectic groups of the coastal division of the Salishan linguistic stock. They were closely connected with the Salishan Indians, who occupied the valley of Fraser River from its mouth nearly to Spuzzum. (See Stalo.)

Location. On the southeast coast of Vancouver Island between Nanoos Bay and Saanich Inlet.


Clemclemalats, in Cowichan Valley.
Comiakin, in Cowichan Valley.
Hellelt, on Chimenes River.
Kenipsim, in Cowichan Valley.
Kilpanlus, in Cowichan Valley.
Koksilah, in Cowichan Valley.
Kulleets, on Chimenes Bay.
Lilmalche, on Thetis Island.
Malakut, on Saanich Inlet.
Penelakut, on Kuper and Galiano Islands.
Quamichan, in Cowichan Valley.
Siccameen, on Oyster Bay.
Somenos, in Cowichan Valley.
Tateke, on Valdes Island, southeast of Vancouver Island and north of Galiano Island.
Yekolaos, on Thetis Island.

History. These people (the Cowichan) may have been visited by Juan de Fuca in 1592 and were certainly met by several later expeditions to the northwest coast by Spaniards, English, and Americans. Early in the nineteenth century Hudson's Bay Company traders began to come into the country, and, most important for the history of the native people, was the founding of Victoria in 1843. The rush of miners came a few years later and the subsequent history of the Cowichan has been that of most tribes subjected to continuous contact with Europeans, though they have never been driven entirely out of their ancient territories.

Population. Mooney's (1928) estimate of the Vancouver Island Cowichan for the year 1780 is 5,500 as against a population of 1,298 in 1907.

Connection in which they have become noted. The name of the Cowichan has been given to a lake, river and valley on Vancouver Island.

Canadian Indians

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