First Nations People Of Hotham Sound British Columbia
The People of Hotham Sound
Hotham Sound and many of the Sunshine Coast’s great paddling spots surrounding are the original territories of Sechelt First Nation people. The Sechelt people have traditionally spoken the shashishalem or salishan language. Although they, like many aboriginal groups, have struggled with a loss of language over the past century; young Sechelt people, also referred to as Shishalh, are making efforts to learn the language from their elders and the group has erected monuments and museums as ways of inviting the outside world to share in their rich area history. Paddlers stopping through the town of Sechelt on their way to Egmont have the chance to learn more about the heritage and history of the Sechelt First Nations. In Sechelt, visitors are welcomed to the tems swiya museum that offers a retrospective observation of the shishalh territory, cultures, and communities. The shishalh tl’e enak-awxw, or Feast House, is a traditional long house that was built in Sechelt ten years ago as a way for the Sechelt people to return to their historic ways of gathering and as a way to share with outsiders an important part of this Indian Band’s traditions.
Just over twenty years ago, in 1986, the Sechelt Nation gained unique and elite status when it became its own, totally independent, self-governing body. This means that the Shishalh are essential a third order to the Canadian government and that finally, after years of being controlled by exterior forces, the Sechelt people hold jurisdiction over their land and have been given the authority to provide services, such as education, to its people. With this authority, the Sechelt Nation has made strides in preserving historical artifacts and traditions as well as the shashishalem language that became endangered when the band did not have authority of their children’s education.
Learn more about Kayaking the Hotham Sound with Kits Kayaking Tours