Tribes of Canada
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Hudson Bay Territory
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Cowichan Indians of Canada
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
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
Connection in which they have become noted. The name of the
Cowichan has been given to a lake, river and valley on Vancouver