K’ómoks First Nation Origin Stories

A long time ago, Cia’tlk’am descended from the sky.

A long time ago, Cia’tlk’am descended from the sky. He wore the feather garment Qua’eqoe and settled in Nga’icam (Cape Mudge). He became the ancestor of the Catloltq (Comox). With him, his sister Te’sitla arrived. She was so big that she needed two boats to cross the sea. The brother and sister wandered through all countries and visited the Nanaimo…

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A long time ago, two men, Koai’min and He’k’ten descended from the sky.

A long time ago, two men, Koai’min and He’k’ten descended from the sky. They became the ancestors of the PE’ntlatc (Pentlatch). Once the sea receded far from its shore and the women went out far and filled their baskets with fish. The bottom of the sea remained dry for a long time. But He’k’ten was afraid that the water would rise that much higher later on…

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Origin of the Qhwimux Tribe.

In the beginning, long ago, there were no people living at Punt-Lutz. Then, a long way back in the woods where there was a lake, a man was made. For a long time he lived there alone eating the roots that he found, and after a time, he woke up, and he saw a woman standing looking at him. She was a fine, tall woman, with long hair that reached right down to her feet; but she had no arms. The man jumped up and ran to catch her…

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K’ómoks First Nation Historical Timeline

“A long time ago, Cia’tlk’am descended from the sky. He wore the feather garment Qua’eqoe and settled in Nga’icam (Cape Mudge). He became the ancestor of the Catloltq (K’òmoks). With him, his sister Te’sitla arrived. She was so big that she needed two boats to cross the sea. The brother and sister wandered through all countries and visited the Nanaimo, Ni’ciatl (Ni-Such), Tlahu’s (Kahuse) and many other tribes who all became their younger brothers. {Boas 1895:86}”

1750 K’òmoks Village 1750-1830 the Lekwiltokw started a southward move into K'ómoks Territory, pushing the Ieeksun to join their relatives at Puntledge. 1755 K’òmoks Nation The Indian Department is established by the British Crown. 1750-1830 K’òmoks Village 1750-1830 the Lekwiltokw started a southward move into K'ómoks Territory, pushing the Ieeksun to join their relatives at Puntledge. 1850-1860 Indian Legislation The then British Colony, the Province of Canada passed An Act for the Better Protection of the Lands and Property of Indians in Lower Canada and An Act for the protection of Indians in Upper Canada from imposition, and the property occupied or enjoyed by them from trespass and injury statutes into legislation. In 1857 the then Act to Encourage the Gradual Civilization of Indian Tribes was Amended to the Laws Relating to Indians statute into legislation. In 1860 the Indian Lands Act was passed. 1862 Small Pox Outbreak The smallpox outbreak in 1862, resulting in about a 53% decline of the K'ómoks people. 1875 The E&N Railway The E&N Railway Act expropriates a large portion of the K'ómoks Traditional Territory and the land grant was completed without acknowledgement of K'ómoks First Nation rights or title to their Traditional Territory and failed to compensate them. 1876 Reservation Established The Joint Indian Reserve Commission and Indian Reserve Commission (JIRC) confirms the K'ómoks IR#1 (Courtenay). 1876 The Indian Act All previous Aboriginal legislations are solidified into one piece of legislation: The Indian Act, by the Government of Canada to deal with the "Indian Problem." 1878 Second Reservation Established Joint Indian Reserve Commission and Indian Reserve Commission (JIRC) adds two more reserves, the IR#2 Puntledge and IR#3 Goose Spit 1883 Comox Coal Fields The Comox Coal Fields developed, which would alter the K'ómoks Traditional Territory forever. 1878 Second Reservation Established Joint Indian Reserve Commission and Indian Reserve Commission (JIRC) adds two more reserves, the IR#2 Puntledge and IR#3 Goose Spit 1940 Joe Nim Nim Joe Nim Nim, the last K'ómoks Pentlatch speaker passes away. 1941 The Salmon River The Salmon River became the K’ómoks IR#4. 1957 Totems at Lewis Park Chief Andy Frank organized a traditional ceremony to raise two totem poles at Lewis Park. The poles were arranged for by the Royal BC Museum, and carved by Mungo Martin, David Martin, and Henry Hunt. The Courtenay Board of Trade had previously acquired 2 poles believed to be carved by Chief Joe Wallace, but the poles became badly decayed before he could raise them. Rather than replicate the Wallace poles, Mungo created his own version of the same figures. Ancient songs and dances were performed, and many high-ranking First Nations people attended in ceremonial regalia. 1958 The K'ómoks bighouse The K'ómoks bighouse is constructed (only the second built on the coast since the early times), it was originally located at Centennial Park. 1960 The Right To Vote Until 1960, the only way a First Nations person could vote was to give up their status. In 1960 the federal government extended the vote to include all status Indians, thereby dropping the need to give up their status. 1972 The Community Pool The K’ómoks Band Council approves and begins the construction of an outdoor community swimming pool. The pool was an important part of many KFN members’ childhood memories. It brought the community together for many years. 1974 Big House Moved Chief Norman Frank moves the bighouse (Kumugwe) to K'ómoks IR#1, to honor the late Chief Andy Frank’s wish to see it on reserve land. 1985 Change to the Indian Act Bill C-31, An Act to amend the Indian Act 1985 passes. Ending discrimination against Indian women who married non-Indians. It results in the addition of many new members to BC Indian bands. 1986 Public Pool Closed 1986/87 Due to high maintenance costs, and safety concerns, the K'ómoks community pool is closed. 1986 New Housing Developed 1987/88 Following the amendment to the Indian Act, there was an increase in band membership, creating a need to expand housing on reserve. A new housing subdivision began on the IR#1. 1989 McIvor v. Canada McIvor v. Canada - "The Court ruling stems from a civil law suit that Sharon McIvor launched in October 1989, in her bid to acquire the ability to transmit Indian status to her grandchildren. Ms. McIvor claimed that section 6 of the Indian Act was discriminatory in that it treated the descendants of Indian women who married non-Indian men differently from the descendants of Indian men who married non-Indian women." 1993 K'ómoks administration office A K'ómoks administration office is built. 1994 The I-Hos Canoe The I-Hos Canoe is carved out by Calvin Hunt, Mervyn Child, and others. 1995 The I-Hos Gallery The K'ómoks First Nation opens the I-Hos Gallery on the IR#1 (Courtenay). "I-hos" (prenounced I-hoa-s) the double-headed sea serpent, and "Queneesh" the white whale are captured on the distinctive, carved cedar housefront of the gallery. 1997 Hamatla Treaty Society. K'ómoks joins the Hamatla Treaty Society. 2001 The KDC Health Center K'ómoks gets a health centre on IR#1 2003 New Housing Development A new housing subdivision on IR#1 begins. 2004 Pentlatch Seafoods Pentlatch Seafoods Ltd. Incorporated. 2005 Puntledge Rv Campground and Interpative Center The Puntledge RV Campground and Nim Nim Interpretive Centre open on IR#2 (Courtenay). 2006 K'ómoks withdraws from the Hamatla Treaty Society K'ómoks withdraws from the Hamatla Treaty Society, to independently pursue a treaty. 2007 Statement of Intent. BCTC accepts K'ómoks' Statement of Intent. 2012 The K'ómoks Treaty Agreement The K'ómoks Treaty Agreement In Principle is approved and signed. 2013 Salish Seafoods The K'ómoks First Nation purchases Aquatec Seafoods, and becomes Salish Sea Foods. 2014 "People Gathering Together” Festival July 2014, members of the K'ómoks First Nation embarked on a traditional and spiritual journey to Bella Bella for the Qatuwas “People Gathering Together” festival. The Tribal Journey is a semi-annual event in which first nations from up and down the West Coast as far north as Alaska, and as south as Washington and Oregon travel by canoe to gather and honor our ancestors and share our cultures. 2014 New Administration Building Opens The new administration building opens: Since time immemorial, the K'ómoks people would gather together every year and form the Kwanis'awt'xw or Whale House. This was our true power: unity. On this day, December 12, 2014, we called our people to once again come together in the Whale House. We call on our ancestors to guide us; to ensure that the decisions made within the walls of this new building will be sound ones that benefit the continued strength of the K'ómoks people. 2015 The K'ómoks Guardian Watchmen The K'ómoks Guardian Watchmen are launched. 2016 Land Code Ratified A Land Code is ratified by the people of the K'ómoks First Nation, at a vote of 92%. 2016 Water and Sanitary Sewer Services Agreement March 17, The K'ómoks First Nation and the City of Courtenay signed a water and sanitary sewer services agreement for the Puntledge IR#2. 2016 Memorandum of Understanding October 5, The K'ómoks First Nation and TimberWest Forest Corp. sign a Memorandum of Understanding 2016 Forestry Tenures Opportunity Agreement The K’ómoks First Nation, Qualicum First Nation, Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and John Rustad, Minister of Aboriginal Relations – sign a Forestry Tenures Opportunity Agreement, a Disposition Agreement and First Nations Woodland License.

Our Languages

tuwa akʷs χoχoɬ ʔa xʷ yiχmɛtɛt (ʔa) kʷʊms hɛhaw tʊms gɩǰɛ

“Care takers of the ‘land of plenty’ since time immemorial”
(Language: ʔay̓aǰuθəm (eye-uhh-juu-eth-em))

The K’ómoks First Nation is proud to be a part of two dominant cultures, Northern Coast Salish as well as Kwak̓wala. Although our last fluent speakers, Irene Wilson and Mary Clifton, died in 1994, K’ómoks has a few language warriors working towards bringing back the Island K’ómoks Dialect, Ayajusem. K’ómoks is currently learning Ayajuthum, which is the mainland K’ómokss dialect. K’ómoks is proud to have Kwak̓wala Culture as well. We are happy to be inclusive of all of our cultures through revitalization of our Northern Salish roots and celebration of Kwak̓wala culture. Kwak̓wala has been the most accessible language for K’ómoks to celebrate. K’ómoks has a Big House that has been used to potlatch and celebrate in the Kwak̓wala Culture.

To bring back Ayajuthum the K’ómoks First Nation Cultural Coordinator has been working closely with our sister nations, Homalco, Tla’amin, and Klahoose, who share the same traditional language. We are collaborating as a working group to find a way that we can all share in language and cultural teachings between our nations and how we can share this information with our communities.

OUR TEAM

Violet WilliamsCultural Coordinator
Violet’s traditional name is Hotsi given to her in the Smith potlatch in 2007 in the Alert Bay big house. Her parents are Alan Hardy and the late Angela Williams, her grandparents are Alice Hardy and Ernie Hardy Sr on her dad’s side, on her moms side they are Mary Puglas and Walkus Smith. Her family roots stretch from the end of the Puget sound to the top of the Kwakwala territory.
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