The Sechelt Nation


The Sechelt Nation, a division of the Coast Salish family of First Nations, originally occupied the southern portion of what is now known as the Sunshine Coast of BC. At the time of contact with Europeans, the shishalh (Sechelt people) were a populous and peaceful people occupying some 80 scattered village sites. Estimates of original population range from 5,000 to 20,000, but by the time of the first official census in 1881, the Sechelt population had plunged to 167, mainly due to introduced diseases. In this century, the band staged a remarkable comeback. Today the Sechelt are one of Canada's most progressive First Nations groups, running a number of successful businesses. In 1986 the passage of Bill C-93 made the Sechelt Indian Band the first in Canada to achieve self-government. The band now numbers more than 1,000 members, about half of whom live on band lands.