First Nations Studies

Use these resources to learn about the First Nations peoples of British Columbia.

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First Nations Peoples of B.C.

This map illustrates the rich diversity of First Nations peoples of British Columbia. Like all maps, it is a rendition – a best attempt at reflecting a current reality, recognizing that "the map is not the territory".

The boundaries between territories are deliberately shown as blending into one another, in recognition of the complex territorial relationships involved. Many boundary overlaps are currently being negotiated by the First Nations as part of the B.C. Treaty Process. Names and pronunciations used on this map are as close as possible to those currently used by the First Nations.

First Nations peoples - territory map
 

A Basic Guide to Names*

Listed below are the First Nations Peoples as they are generally known today with a phonetic guide to common pronunciation.

The best way to learn how to say these names, is to listen closely to a native speaker pronounce the word and perhaps even ask for a quick lesson.

People Pronunciation Have Been Called Language Family
Haida Hydah Haida Haida
Ktunaxa Tun-ah-hah Kootenay Ktunaxa
Tsimshian Sim-she-an Tsimshian Tsimshian
Gitxsan Git-k-san Tsimshian Tsimshian
Nisga'a Nis-gaa Tsimshian Tsimshian
Haisla Hyzlah Kitimat Wakashan
Heiltsuk Hel-sic Bella Bella Wakashan
Oweekeno O-wik-en-o Kwakiutl Wakashan
Kwakwaka'wakw Kwak-wak-ya-wak Kwakiutl Wakashan
Nuu-chah-nulth New-chaa-nulth Nootka Wakashan
Tsilhqot'in Chil-co-teen Chilcotin Athapaskan
Dakelh Ka-kelh Carrier Athapaskan
Wet'suwet'en Wet-so-wet-en Carrier Athapaskan
Sekani Sik-an-ee Sekani Athapaskan
Dunne-za De-ney-za Beaver Athapaskan
Dene-thah De-ney-ta Slave(y) Athapaskan
Tahltan Tall-ten Tahltan Athapaskan
Kaska Kas-ka Kaska Athapaskan
Tagish Ta-gish Tagish Athapaskan
Tutchone Tuchon-ee Tuchone Athapaskan
Nuxalk Nu-halk Bella Coola Coast Salish
Coast Salish**   Coast Salish Coast Salish
Stl'atl'imc Stat-liem Lillooet Interior Salish
Nlaka'pamux Ing-khla-kap-muh Thompson/Couteau Interior Salish
Okanagan O-kan-a-gan Okanagan Interior Salish
Secwepemc She-whep-m Shuswap Interior Salish
Tlingit Kling-kit Tlingit Tlingit



*Adapted from Cheryl Coull's "A Traveller's Guide to Aboriginal B.C." with permission of the publisher, Whitecap Books.
 
** Although Coast Salish is not the traditional First Nations name for the people occupying this region, this term is used to encompass a number of First Nations Peoples including Klahoose, Homalco, Sliammon, Sechelth, Squamish, Halq'emeylem, Ostlq'emeylem, Hul'qumi'num, Pentlatch, Straits.

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