Local First Nations
Cowichan (Quw’utsun) Nation
With over 5,000 members, Quw’utsun is the largest single First Nation Band in British Columbia.
About half of members live on the Cowichan Tribes Reserve. The demographic consists of a relatively young population, with a large percentage of the population under the age of 35.
There are seven traditional villages: Kw’amutsun, Qwum’yiqun’, Hwulqwselu, S’amuna’, L’uml’umuluts, Hinupsum, Tl’ulpalus.
Cowichan has been delegated responsibilities for a variety of member services including Children & Families, Education, Health, Housing, Membership, and Social Development.
- Total Reserve area is currently 2,400 hectares (5,900 acres), made up of nine Reserves.
- Core Traditional Territory is approximately 375,000 hectares (900,000 acres).
- Governed by a Chief and 12 Councillors, within the framework of the Indian Act.
- Part of the Hul’qumi’num Treaty Group. In Stage 5 (Final Agreement negotiation) of the Treaty Process.
- Delegated responsibilities in Children and Families, Education, Health, Housing, and Social Development.
- Own and operate Khowutzun Development Corporation (KDC) group of companies, which includes:
- Khowutzun Forest Services Limited Partnership (KFCLP)
- Collective annual revenues of over $90 million.
- One of the single largest employers in the region.
Malahat (MÁLEXEȽ) Nation
MÁLEXEȽ (Malahat) Nation's main reserve is located near Mill Bay, BC, approximately 40 kilometres northwest of Victoria. MÁLEXEȽ is one of the First Nations that constitute the W̱SÁNEĆ Peoples. W̱SÁNEĆ means "the emerging people" in SENĆOŦEN, a W̱SÁNEĆ language, referring to an ancient story of a great flood the land emerged from. SENĆOŦEN is one of several languages the W̱SÁNEĆ people traditionally spoke in order to communicate with other Nations. They have occupied the Saanich Peninsula, Gulf Islands, San Juan Islands and surrounding area for thousands of years. W̱SÁNEĆ refers to the people as well as the land and is where the English derivation of "Saanich" comes from.
The W̱SÁNEĆ Peoples are descendants of the original signatories to the Douglas Treaties in 1852 which protects their village sites and the rights to hunt and fish as formerly. While the written text of the document identifies a transfer of land, the oral history describes a peace agreement between two societies. The implications of this treaty are still emerging today.
MÁLEXEȽ means "caterpillar" in SENĆOŦEN, referring to a historical infestation of tent caterpillars in the area.
The main Malahat reserve is 237 hectares and located outside of the CRD. They also have joint control of a smaller, unpopulated 4.8 hectare reserve at Goldstream within the CRD. Malahat Nation has roughly 350 members. They are a party to the Douglas Treaty and are negotiating a modern treaty as one of the Te'mexw Nations through the BC treaty process.
Malahat Nation is governed by a Chief and three Councillors. Elections are held every two years in January on even-numbered years.