Native First Nations People of the Jervis and Princess Louisa Inlet
The People of Jervis and Princess Louisa Inlets
Centuries before boating and kayaking enthusiasts began flocking to this area, the Sechelt Indian Band called these waters their home. The inlets’ marine life and old-growth forests were enough to sustain their populations and communities enjoyed a close relationship to the land, thriving off its richness. Paddling through Jervis Inlet, you will have the chance to see evidence of their presence in petroglyphs marked onto the inlet’s granite walls.
Like so many aboriginal people across Canada, the Sechelt First Nations people have struggled in recent centuries, facing a depleting population, loss of land and endangered traditions. You will notice paddling through Jervis Inlet that logging corporations have recognized the richness of their forest and capitalized on the environment to which they had traditionally sustained themselves. Still, the Sechelt First Nation is taking strides to strengthen their area presence and preserve their language and traditions.
In 1986, the Sechelt First Nation became its own, independent, self-governing body. This means they are a unique extension of the British Columbia government, holding jurisdiction over its land and claiming the authority to provide services such as education to its residents. Breaking away from the British Columbia government has given the people of this nation a legitimate opportunity to preserve traditions and language by educating their own residents.
The Sechelt First Nation today is often referred just as Shishalh for the language they speak. Within Jervis Inlet, two subgroups of Shishalh people flourished, they were the xenichen at the head of the inlet and the ts ‘unay at Deserted Bay. To learn more about the Sechelt Indian Band and their rich history, stop into Sechelt on your way to the Egmont launch site. In Sechelt you will find the band’s headquarters as well as the Tems Swiya Museum, which offers an abundant collection of artwork and teachings about Shishalh land, history and culture.
Learn more about Kayaking the Jervis Inlet with Kits Kayaking Tours