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Cowichan Tribes is the band government of the Cowichan, a group of Coast Salish peoples 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.[2]

Cowichan First Nation

Band number 642
Country Canada
 • TypeFirst Nations Council
 • ChiefWilliam Charles, Seymour Sr.
 (Feb 2015)
 • Total4,778
 1,234 males, 1,217 females on reserve. Remainder live off reserve[1]
Time zoneUTC-8 (Pacific Time Zone (PTZ))
 • Summer (DST)DST
Postal code span
V9L 5J1
Area code(s)250
Main Office: 5760 ALLENBY ROAD, Duncan, British Columbia
Cowichan girl, 1913 (Edward Curtis).

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').

Tribal areaEdit

Qumutsun Village, 1912 (Edward Curtis).

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.[3]

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).[2]


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 BusinessEdit

Cowichan Tribes currently owns and operates Khowutzun Development Corporation (KDC) group of companies, which includes the following subsidiaries with a combined 2004 revenue of $60 million:[4]

  • 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)

Cowichan Tribes are also known for a distinctive type of knitting, most especially Cowichan sweaters.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Registered Population - Lheidli T'enneh". Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
  2. ^ a b Cowichan Tribes Cowichan Tribes Overview.
  3. ^ "Cowichan Tribes".
  4. ^ "Cowichan Tribes: Economy". Cowichan Tribes. Retrieved 17 March 2015.

External linksEdit