Cowichan Tribes is the band government of the Cowichan, a group of Coast Salish people who live in the Cowichan Valley region on Vancouver Island. With over 3,800 registered members, it is the single largest First Nations band in British Columbia.
When the band was created pursuant to the Indian Act, seven nearby peoples were amalgamated into one "band." The Quamichan/Kw’amutsun are the largest cultural group, but the nation also includes Clemclemaluts (L’uml’umuluts), Comiaken (Qwum’yiqun’), Khenipsen (Hinupsum), Kilpahlas (Tl’ulpalus), Koksilah (Hwulqwselu), and Somena (S’amuna’).
The traditional territory of the Cowichan people covered the entire Cowichan Valley, the surrounding area around Cowichan Lake, Shawnigan Lake, and extended into the Gulf Islands and the Fraser River. The lower reaches of the Cowichan Valley, particularly the area stretching from the present location of Duncan down to Cowichan Bay (and including the lower Koksilah River), was the most heavily settled.
Today, the total reserve area is currently 24 square kilometres (5,900 acres), made up of nine Reserves, with Core Traditional Territory is approximately 1,750 square kilometres (100,000 acres). The tribe comprises seven traditional villages (Kw’amutsun, Qwum’yiqun’, Hwulqwselu, S’amuna’, L’uml’umuluts, Hinupsum, Tl’ulpalus).
Cowichan Tribes is governed by an elected band council consisting of a chief and 12 councilors, within the framework of the Indian Act. It is part of the Hul’qumi’num Treaty Group which is currently at Stage 4 (Agreement in Principle) of the British Columbia Treaty Process.
The band is responsible for providing social programmes for children and families, education, health, housing, and social development.
Tribal Owned Business
Cowichan Tribes currently owns and operates Khowutzun Development Corporation (KDC) group of companies, which includes the following subisdarys:
- Khowutzun Mustimuhw Contractors Limited Partnership (KMCLP)
- Khowutzun Forest Services Limited Partnership (KFCLP)
- Khowutzun Millwork & Joinery Limited Partnership (KMJLP)
- Quw’utsun Cultural and Conference Centre (QCCC)
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