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Siksika and Songish Indians of Canada

Siksika (Blackfoot). In historic times this tribe was on the upper course of the Saskatchewan River and extended southward into the present State of Montana. Their eastern boundary was in the neighborhood of the 150th meridian, and they stretched westward to the Rocky Mountains. At an earlier period all seem to have been some distance north of the International Boundary. (See Montana.)

Songish. Name given to the principal band of the group by the Whites, who adopted it, in a corrupt form, from the name of a sept, the Stsā“ńges. Also called:

Etzaamish, by the tribes of the south part of Puget Sound.
Lku“ngEn, own name.

Connections. The Songish constituted one of the dialectic groups of the coastal division of the Salishan linguistic family.

Location. At the southern end of Vancouver Island and on the west coast of San Juan Island, State of Washington.


There were three principal bands or tribes: the Sanetch, Songish, and Sooke. The Sanetch consisted of the following septs or bands: Mayne Inland, Panquechip, Tsartilp, Tsawout, Tsehump, to which the Saturna Island Indians should be added.

The following are Songish bands or septs: Chikauach (at McNeill Bay, Vancouver Island), Chkungen (at McNeill Bay, Vancouver Island), Kekayeken (between Esquimalt and Beecher Bay, Vancouver Island), Kltlasen (at McNeill Bay), Ksapsem (at Esquimalt), Kukoak (at McNeill Bay), Kukulek (at Cadboro Bay, Vancouver Island), Lelek (at Cadboro Bay, Vancouver Bay), Sichanetl (at Oak Bay, Vancouver Island), Skingenes (on Discovery Island off Vancouver Island), Skuingkung (at Victoria), Stsanges (between Esquimalt and Beecher Bay).

History. The Songish were probably first encountered by the Greek pilot Juan de Fuca in 1592, when he discovered the straits bearing his name. Spanish, English, and American exploring and trading vessels visited their country in ever-increasing numbers but the greatest change in their lives followed upon the settlement of Victoria, first as a Hudson's Bay Company post, in 1843. As this rose to be the capital of the province of British Columbia, it became a rendezvous of Indian tribes from all quarters and for all classes of Whites. It was at the same time a potent cause of the civilizing of the Songish and of their decline.

Population. Mooney (1928) estimates that there were 2,700 people of the Songish group in 1780; they had become reduced to 488 in 1906.

Connection in which they have become noted. The only claim of the Songish to special recognition is the fact that Victoria, the provincial capital of British Columbia, was founded in their country. The name of the Sanetch, a Songish band, is perpetuated in Saanich Peninsula and that of another Songish band, the s, in Sooke Inlet.

The Indian Tribes of North of America, by John Swanton, 1953

Canadian Indians

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