We have built a bond with the land we occupy and work together to sustain our people, throughout history land ownership was in place; but not like the systems built today. Different levels of families possessed land rights; heirarchal, hereditarial system, nobility, and historical knowledge gave possession over certain patches of land i.e. hunting territories, fishing territories, wild berry and wild root gathering. The families honored and respected these possessions, and respected their connection with mother earth to ensure that natural resources were always and would forever be plentiful to the people. It is these cultural practices that played a large part in the amount of wildlife and harvests on Vancouver Island. This collective knowledge was grounded in a deep respect and understanding of how all life played a role in the survival of the people. These beliefs manifested themselves in their everyday activities and were governed, not only by the high class people in the community, but also by the Elders. Elders linked the younger to the older generation with their values and wisdom. They guided the people in their understanding that there were consequences for disrespecting the resources that provided life for the community.
As a tribe living in the Coast Salish territory our main cultural practices are similar to those living in and around the Salish Sea. There are many levels of cultural knowledge and many protocols that govern the way these cultural practices are used. Today you see our people sharing different aspects of our culture to develop relationships with those that surround our villages, you may notice our people sharing our culture through many ceremonies; through artwork, the speaking, dancing, cooking & singing are among some of the more noticeable practices shared with non Coast Salish people.
Our way of life is complex and we carry many standards of practice and beliefs that we hold sacred therefore there is a lot that you wouldn’t be apartheid to, but if you come from these Coast Salish nations or other First Nation tribes, it would benefit you to visit with your knoweldge keepers, your cultural practitioners, & your elders to learn and understand your history and the way of life of your ancestors. Hul’q’umi’num’ is the dialect of our village, we are 1 of 3 groups who speak a language known as Halkomelem.
- – The First is an Island group, spoken by natives whose winter villages were in Vancouver Island or in the Gulf Islands,
- – The Second is a Downriver group, spoken by six separate but closely related First Nations in the Georgia Strait area around the mouth of the Fraser River: the Chemainus, Cowichan, Halalt, Lake Cowichan, Lyackson, and Penelakut, and
- – The Third an Upriver group, spoken by the upriver Stó:lō of the Fraser Valley (from Matsqui on upstream).
The level of Hul’q’umi’num’ practice and understanding is growing substantially compared to earlier years, we’ve recently formed a language revitalization working group as one of the first steps to planning the advancement of our language. We’ve participated in a DVD production that outlines the status of our language titled “The Footprints of our Elders” and we continue to work on projects that help in the delivery of language understanding and practice.
– We the Nanoose are made up of mostly Coast Salish people, but throughout history we’ve built relationships with many off reserve nations, whether villages or adjacent tribes, were related by marriage, feasting, ceremonies, and common or shared territory.
– Our traditional territory is comprised of over 3000 hectares, however our indian reserve land base is around 50 hectares. Our current village site located on the east side of Nanoose Bay, B.C. is viewed as one of our historical summer camps, occupied mainly to harvest the beaches. On the north eastern side of Nanoose Bay, B.C. it is known that this is one of the main village sites of the Nanoose people, known as Maelstrom Cove; at the bottom of the Nanoose Hill, (Notch Hill).
– The word Nanoose (To work or push inwards) has been altered throughout history:
Sno-no-was, Sno-noos, Nuas, Nanooa
– We went from a longhouse environment, to a 5 home reserve in the 70’s, to a 90 home environment in 2010
– The Bob & White case directly advocated for aboriginal rights for First Nations (David Bob Sr.)
– Our team received the Sterling Award for Environmental Sustainability in 2009, for restoring a natural habitat on our beaches with the Greenshores Project
– Our state of the art sewer plant is one of the top 5 in British Columbia
– We’re re-acquiring our true control in relation to jurisdiction over our own lands with the culmination of our Land Code
– We are in the process of enhancing the success of our future through Comprehensive Community Planning
– We were instrumental in the formation of Qop Thut Sulxwen Society