Before European contact, the Nuxalk A population was approximately 35,000 (based on oral histories and academic research). After the small pox epidemic of 1862-64 (following waves of new gold seekers and settlers), Nuxalk villages were devastated to approximately 300 survivors. Nuxalk people were scattered throughout the territory and either relocated on their own to survive, or were forcibly removed by the Department of Indian Affairs, to form a settlement in what is now known as Bella Coola. Knowledge of family ancestry remains strong in Nuxalk families, including villages of descent, family crests, as well as songs and dances that tell the histories of our people in our smayustas.
Subsistence activities on these lands and trading with other Nations have always been central to the Nuxalk way of life. We are salmon people of the rainforest and without healthy and abundant lands and water, our very existence is seriously threatened. We, the Nuxalk, maintain our rights and title to our entire traditional territory and continue to strive to maintain our traditional systems of governance and powers, citing a long and rich cultural history as evidence of our continued use and occupation.1
Footnotes / References
1. This information was copied from the Nuxalk Nation website: http://www.nuxalknation.org/content/blogcategory/16/40/
Audio Clip References
A. Nuxalk - Nelson, Chris (2008). Nuxalk Language Archive.