Settlement Sites

This map is a representation of many of the major dwelling and settlement sites in HTG territory. It is not intended to be a comprehensive map of Hul'qumi'num peoples' locations of occupancy, rather a selection of 45 sites of long-term occupancy that are in the published ethnographic record. It is should not be considered exhaustive or exclusive (indeed there are many more historic and pre-contact occupancy/dwelling sites than represented here), and the points on the map do not represent to areal extent of their location on the land.

The wide, translucent lines highlight connections between sites that share the same place name (or place name root).

The narrow, dark lines highlight connections between historic occupancy/dwelling sites and contemporary Indian Bands.

Occupancy/Dwelling sites that have no connecting line may be connected to one or more contemporary Indian Bands within and/or beyond Hul'qumi'num member First Nations.

In much of the 19th and 20th century ethnographic and archaeological literature, scholars used the English terms "winter village", "summer camp", and "seasonal round" to describe Hul'qumi'num peoples' occupancy on the land. We are well aware that these are not Hul'q'umi'num'-langauge terms, and do not fully represent the complexity of Hul'qumi'num peoples' land use, occupancy and land tenure. The selected sites shown here are examples of areas of long-term occupation, sites of major historic populations, or sites of particular significance.

Today, Cowichan people recognize six (sometimes eight) ‘original’ villages within their communities (using the common English spellings): Quamichan, Somenos, Comiaken, Clemclemaluts, Koksilah, and Kanipsim (and sometimes Kilpalus and Theik). Historically there were six other named villages or residence groups in the Cowichan River Valley: Tl’uxuw’tun, T’eet’qe’, Xwkwa’qwhwnuts, Shts’uts’m’inus, Xul’el’t’hw, and Th’ith’xwum’qsun. Some of these villages (T’eet’qe’, Th’ith’xwum’qsun, Shts’uts’m’inus, and Xul’el’t’hw) have the same place name as other well-established villages (T’eet’qe’, Th’xwum’qsun (both on Valdes Island), Stz'uminus and Halalt, respectively). The Cowichan valley area residence groups merged by or around the last quarter of the 19th century, when the Indian Reserve commissioners were laying out Indian Reserve boundaries. Anthropologist Wilson Duff wrote that by 1888 these villages came to be recognized by government as the ‘Cowichan Tribes’ (Duff 1964). Anthropologist David Rozen (1985) has speculated that the Cowichan Valley villages were the original villages of these communities, which spread out to their current locations in the late prehistoric or early historic period. Another highly plausible hypothesis is that people from T’eet’qe’, Stz'uminus and Halalt, who were already established in their villages and went to Cowichan for protection in the early contact period at the height of the Kwagulth-Salish wars or for harvesting on the Cowichan River, always returned to their original villages. Future archaeological research may provide insight into the history of these movements.

The histories of most of the other Island Hul’qumi’num communities follow a similar pattern. Stz'uminus people still recognize four residence groups in their community: Shts’um’inus at Kulleet Bay, Thuq’min at Shellbeach, Hwkwumlehwuthun at Coffin Point and Xutl'nutstun at Oyster Bay. These are all recognized today as the Stz'uminus First Nation.

Penelakut presently has five village sites where people have formed residence groups on historic village and camp sites: Penelakut, Yuxwula’us, Hwlumelhtsu, Xinupsum (Galiano Island IR 9) and Tsussie. A sixth historic village site Sun’uw’nets, located in what is now the downtown core of the town of Chemainus, was the victim of inter-community violence in the 19th century, and according to traditions documented from Penelakut elders, remaining villagers were forced to move to Kuper Island by the colonial administration. Additional information about this history and sites of significance for Penelakut can be seen in UVic Ethnographic Mapping Lab Two Houses Half-Buried in Sand mapping project.

Lyackson historically was made up of three residence groups (T’eet’qe’, Th’exul, and Th’xwum’qsun) which by the mid-20th century had all aggregated at the village site of T’eet’qe at Shingle Point (the place name for which gives its name to the Lyackson First Nation). Today there are no residence groups of Lyackson people, all of whom have moved to urban centres as their reserve lands on Valdes Island have no electricity, running water or ferry service. Th’exul was never made a part of a Lyackson Reserve and has long been a private, non-Native residence. Additional information about this history and sites of significance for Lyackson peoples can be seen in UVic Ethnographic Mapping Lab's Lyackson Migration project.

The historic Halalt village on Willy Island recorded by Edward Curtis (1913:39) as being named “Tsíum” (as he wrote it), and by George Heaton (1860:2, 6) as “Tsâ-o-kum” (as he wrote it). According to Rozen (1985:125), the Halalt people moved to this site from their village on the Cowichan River when it was flooded out in the early part of the 19th century. Though these place names are clearly cognate, they have not been re-elicited from fluent speakers in recent years. Heaton suggested that Tsâ-o-kum meant ‘spit’ or ‘beach’, but the terms for these – s’ulqsun and tsetsuw’ respectively (Hukari and Peter 1993:254, 136) do not appear to be unequivocally related to the term Heaton recorded. Xul’el’t’hw [Halalt] is today most commonly mentioned as the name for the the ancient village-site on Willy Island, along with their site of ‘painted houses’ (the literal namesake of Xul’el’t’hw) on the Cowichan River. Having had an Indian Reserve also established for them nearby on Vancouver Island near where they had established potato patches, the Halalt people currently reside in their community at Westholme.

Finally, Lake Cowichan is a single residence group with direct connections to historic communities.

Curtis, Edward (1913) The North American Indian, Volume 9: Salishan Tribes of the Coast. New York: Johynson Reprint Corporation. [Google Books]

Duff, Wilson (1964) The Indian History of British Columbia: Volume 1, The Impact of the White Man. 2nd ed. Victoria: Royal British Columbia Museum. [WorldCat Record]

Heaton, George W (1860) Indian Tribes with the Chief of Each Tribe in the Cowichan, Chemainus, and Nanaimo Districts. Unpublished typescript, British Columbia Archives and Record Service, Victoria.

Rozen, David (1985) Place-Names of the Island Halkomelem Indian People. MA Thesis, UBC Department of Anthropology and Sociology, Vancouver. [UBC Library PDF]