Coast Salish Culture

Snuneymuxw is part of the Coast Salish world, which is made up of the speakers of five main languages: Squamish, Hul'q'umin'um', Nooksack, Northern Straits, and Clallam. The Coast Salish Territory extends throughout large parts of both present-day British Columbia and Washington State, including parts of the Strait of Georgia, Strait of Juan De Fuca, the Lower Fraser Valley and Puget Sound. The Salish Sea is part of the marine areas of our Territory.

The language of Snuneymuxw is Island Hul'q'umin'um'.  Like much of the Coast Salish world, the seasonal round characterized our pattern of life. Our village sites dot the landscape throughout mid-Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands, and the Fraser River.  Our main winter village site is Stlilnup (Departure Bay), and its importance is marked in our creation stories.

Coast Salish culture is dynamic and diverse. The Coast Salish world is bound together by certain shared values and relations, and a worldview that recognizes the interconnectedness and spirit within all things. Certain common expressions of Coast Salish culture have become particularly renowned all across the globe – such as our art of weaving, and the use of the spindle whorl. Similarly, Coast Salish culture is expressed through the importance of, amongst other things, our fisheries.

Our relationships throughout the Coast Salish world are governed by our own laws and protocols, which reflect values of recognition, respect, and honour. Through those laws and protocols, Snuneymuxw self-determination and Territorial sovereignty is respected throughout the Coast Salish world. Beyond the Coast Salish world, we also have always had deep and enduring connections with neighbouring Nations, including the Nuuchahnulth in the mid and western part of Vancouver Island.