Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Quamichan Indians

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Catholic Encyclopedia (1913), Volume 12
Quamichan Indians

by James Mooney


The largest of the numerous small bands attached to Cowichan agency, at the southeast end of Vancouver, British Columbia. They are of Salishan stock and speak the Cowichan language, which is spoke also by several of the associated as well as upon the opposite mainland. Their chief settlement is in Cowichan valley, about forty miles north of Victoria. In their primitive condition they subsisted by fishing, hunting, and the gathering of wild berries and roots. Their customs, beliefs, and ceremonials were practically the same as those of their neighbours, the Songish and Sechelt. Frs. J.B. Bolduc and Modeste Demers visited them as early as 1847, but they were chiefly converted by the Oblate Fathers, who arrived at Victoria in 1857. They are now civilized, industrious, and moral, in fairly good houses, living by farming, fishing, hunting, and by working on the railway, in canneries, etc. From probably 1000 souls sixty years ago, they have been reduced by smallpox and other diseases to 300 in 1901, and 260 in 1909, of whom all but about 60 are reported to be Catholics, the rest Methodists (see also SONGISH INDIANS).

JAMES MOONEY