shíshálh Nation | Sechelt, British Columbia, Canada

shíshálh Nation | Our History, Heritage & Territory

shíshálh - Sechelt First Nation

The Sechelt (shíshálh) First Nation, located on BC's scenic West Coast is proud of our heritage and community values. Our spectacular scenery and natural resoures in the territory have sustained our people and way of life for centuries. We thrive on a communal lifestyle that respects the wisdom of our elders.

Chief and Council

Chief Calvin Craigan

Chief Calvin Craigan is believed by many in the shíshálh Nation to have been destined from his youth to lead his people to a better future through the wisdom of the Elders, hard work, shared responsibility and a return to what the ancestors called   the family centre in which no one is left out or behind and  we care for our own. Calvin is widely known and respected for his business acumen and his problem solving skills. This is Calvin Craigan's second tour as Chief of the shíshálh Nation and he was on Council for four years as well as working with the SIB Fisheries Company as the business manager.

Chief Craigan has been quoted as saying to the community of Sechelt and British Columbia at large "Our people suffered through unimaginable horrors and abuse at the hands of the Residential School system, many of our Elders still can't speak out loud about what they saw happen to others and what happened to them. It's now time for healing and we don't need your sympathy and we are well beyond the need for your empathy. What we need is your compassion as we regain that which was stolen from us, our pride, our dignity, our culture and our independence. As of now this Nation shall rise again.”  Kwikwenamtawlth - taking care of our people.

Chief Craigan has assembled a strong, loyal and  talented team to assist him in his new role of Chief beginning with his wife of  50 years Jenny Craigan and he expects the next four years to be filled with positive changes and benefits for members who share his vision of stepping up, doing your part, and sharing the responsibilities of keeping the shíshálh Nation reputation of being a leading First nation alive and prospering throughout his term of office.

Councillor ?akista, Garry Feschuk

?akista has served as Chief for six terms and as is currently on his third term as a Council member for a total of twenty-seven years of elected official service for the shíshálh Nation, recently elected (2014). Throughout his years of service he has dedicated himself to his community, creating many new opportunities and spearheading many initiatives. As part of the shíshálh Nation his mission is to govern responsibly for the betterment of the whole community.

Councillorf ?akista is part of the Frog clan that originated from Narrows Inlet known as tewankw, life partner is Pauline (Johnson) Feschuk and they have been married for 36 years. They were blessed with (3) three children: Adrienne, Steven and Kellen along with their beautiful grandchildren: Ava, Noah, Taysia, Evah, Tilisiya, Luka and Lillian. During ?akista's leisure time he spends with his wife, grandchildren and on the sidelines of a soccer field; whether it's coaching the Sechelt Renegades men's soccer team or cheering on the shíshálh Nation youth teams.

Mayuk, Councillor Randy Joe

Randy Joe, was recently elected to Council in 2014. A proud member descendant from a long line of strong people, both from shíshálh and Stoney Creek Nation. He is the son of Mayuk, William Joe and Melanie Paul.

Fathers side:
Grandparents: Clarence Joe and Lena Jeffries
Great Grandparents: Basil Joe and Maryanne Bailey, Abraham Jeffries and Mollyanne Billy.
Great Grandparents: Joe LeDally and Julie and William Jeffries and Lydia.

Mothers side:
Grandparents Jean Paul and Anzel.
Great Grandparents: Saketla and K'keus, Paul Kelcho and Julie Touey, and Isadore and Catherine, Basil and Capeuble (Catherine)
Mary John: was Randy's Aunt (Stoney Creek Woman)
Six Mile Mary was Randys great great grandmother.

Randy is proud to carry his fathers name Mayuk, given to him by his elders of which he passed on to his oldest grandson Kalem Joe in a ceremony. From there it will be passed onto his first great grandson..."the oldest son of the oldest son" and so on... Randy has been a hard worker all his life, and has sustained his family for years as a logger, fishermen and in the mining industry. He is always giving his best to all that he does.

Councillor Christopher August

Councillor Christopher August was born and raised in Sechelt, his family ancestries originate from tsunay (Deserted River). Chris is great grandson of the Late Chief Alfred and Eliza August, grandson of Valentine August and Carol Johnson, son of Kevin and Natan August. Chris has been with his wife Angie for 10 years and share two wonderful children, William and Kylie.

Chris was first elected September 22, 2012 to the shíshálh Nation Council. Chris's goals are to see the shíshálh Nation to become independent of all government support. He dreams of a day when shíshálh not only become self sufficient but begin to prosper as a Nation. That we are able to rise from oppression of previous generations to return to the proud and powerful people that we are meant to be.

When Chris is not working as an elected official for the shíshálh Nation, he is enjoying an active healthy life style. He spends as much free time as he can playing with his children and taking them to their extra-curricular activities. He is also currently learning many of the shíshálh traditional teachings and language. Chris is learning to sing and drum with xwamtsut ambassadors and how to hunt in the shíshálh traditional territory.

"It is not in numbers but in unity that our greatest strength lies" Thomas Paine. I look forward to standing beside all members from the shíshálh Nation. To achieve any great goal it is going to take hard work, perseverance and unity between all of the shíshálh Nation to achieve.

ye-ytlel-mitem, Councillor Ben Pierre Jr.

Ben has worked for the shíshálh nation for a period of 11 years in the Health and Social Development field. Working in the front-line was both challenging and exciting for him. During those 11 years ,Ben also served three terms (9 years) as an elected official for the shíshálh Nation. After being a political advocate for his Nation for nine years, he decided to take a personal leave. Seven years later Ben was re-elected through a bi-election that was held on February 2, 2013 as he felt it was time to re-engage as a leader for his Nation.

Ben was born and raised in Sechelt, BC and comes from the Joe and Pierre descendants. Following the matriarchal tradition his Grandmother Carrie Joe originated from Kalpilin (Garden Bay/Pender Harbour), Shíshálh Nation and his Father Benedict Pierre (Sr) comes from the Fraser River, Katzie Nation. Ben is proud to be connected to his families in the Katzie and shíshálh nation Nation. Ben is culturally and spiritually connected to his traditional lands and resources. His shíshálh nation name is ye-ytlel-mitem. (Running After) and honours all the sacred heritage traditions and teachings passed on by the past and present Elder's.

Ben is also a loving father to his six beautiful children and two step children and will continue to be an advocate to achieve a united self-reliant and independent shíshálh Nation.

Our Vision

To achieve self-reliance and independence for the shíshálh Nation we recognized that our collective success depends on knowing our history, understanding our present circumstances and charting a path that leads towards a healthy and prosperous future.

In 1986 the shíshálh Nation became an independent self-governing body . . . a unique third order of the government of Canada. The Sechelt Indian Government District holds jurisdiction over its lands and exercises the authority to provide services and education for its residents.

Territory Description

The shíshálh territory has always been defined by natural landmarks from the named mountain tops down through their valleys, brooks, steams, rivers and lakes to the coastal shores, inlets and open waters forming the regional watersheds. Those territories include the entire area draining into lilkw' émin (Agamemnon Channel) swiwelát (Princess Louisa Inlet)?álhtulich (Sechelt Inlet), stl'ixwim (Narrows Inlet), skúpa (Salmon Inlet), smit (Hotham Sound), and part of sínku (the open waters of Malaspina Strait and Georgia Strait) including the southern half of slháltikan (Texada Island) and chichxwalish (Sabine Channel).


The name shishálh, from the language of sháshishálem, refers to the entire population descended from the four sub-groups that officially amalgamated in 1925. They include xénichen at the head of Jervis Inlet), ts 'únay (at Deserted Bay), téwánkw ( in Sechelt, Salmon and Narrow Inlets), and sxixus.

However you travel, you'll know you have arrived when you see the massive sloping roof of the House of héwhíwus (House of Chiefs) complex and the Raven's Cry Theatre. The raven, a mischievous bird in shíshálh folklore, is a gatherer and collector of stories. This storytelling house of the raven features plays, concerts recitals and big screen movies nightly.

Visitors are invited to attend cultural events throughout the year, hosted by our community.

The tems swiya museum welcomes you to a journey encompassing the shíshálh land, history and culture. Stop by the tsain-ko gift shop and take home a reminder of your visit to Sechelt.

The newly built long house represents a proud return to age-old celebrations and gatherings. The shíshálh tl'e enak-awxw (Feast House), a joint project with the Sechelt Indian Band, the Federal Government and the First People's Cultural Foundation, celebrated its grand opening in October 1996. This celebration also marked the Sechelt Indian Band's 10th Anniversary of Self Government. A totem pole was raised to represent the people from xénichen (Hunaechin). The other poles raised represent the people from t'sunay (Deserted Bay), téwánkw (in Sechelt, Salmon and Narrows Inlets), and sxixus (Pender Harbour). A fifth and final pole placed in the middle represents the shíshálh as it exists today. It is located in the centre of the other four marking the amalgamation of the Band.

Shíshálh Nation Vision Statement

We, the shíshálh People, were put here by the Creator as keepers of our waters and Lands. We have lived in our territory according to our own laws and systems of government since time immemorial and will continue to do so forever. We will give back to the earth the respect and sanctity it rightfully deserves. We will honour our lands, waters and air as our ancestors have taught us. We know how the environment used to be and we will work to rehabilitate our territory´s natural resources to what they once were.

Our Vision for the Future of Our Territory

Our cultural practices and customs, including those related to the use of land, waters and resources, will be revered and will be handed down from our ancestors through our Elders and youth with respect. We will preserve sháshíshálem (our shíshálh language) and continue to promote its use and our cultural ways so that they continue as they have been for countless generations.

Our leaders will continue to be guided by our cultural values and by the wishes of our community, who will be fully engaged in planning and management for our future.

Our people will welcome opportunities to accept new ideas and innovations that can assist us in managing our territory and resources on a sustainable basis. We will anticipate changes to our territory and adjust to new challenges, such as climate change.

Our members will be active throughout the territory and continue to access all areas for economic, subsistence, cultural or other needs. In this way we will maintain our connection to the land and waters of our territory, and all that it symbolizes for our people. We will resettle some of the village sites that were in place before Europeans arrived.

Key areas of our territory will be protected from development, to preserve areas of cultural importance so that our land and waters can continue to support healthy populations of wildlife and we ourselves as a people that depend on them for our way of life. The natural ecosystem processes that have occurred over thousands of years in our territory will continue unimpeded.

We will adopt ecosystem based management approaches that reflect our understanding of the connection among all things, and the need for planning over extended timeframes and at multiple scales.

Our decisions regarding land and resources will continue to reflect our humility and connection to all things, and our commitment to sustainability for current and future generations. Our decisions and actions will make clear that our interest in resource development is not driven by simple economics, but by sustainability for all people that choose to make our territory their home.

We will secure greater authority over the management of land, water and resources within our territory. Land within our territory will no longer be alienated from us, and we will secure compensation for resources that have been removed without our consent. Over-harvesting and destructive resource extraction will cease.

We will achieve greater self-sufficiency as a people, and will sustain ourselves with more of our materials and energy so that we can thrive within our territory and reduce our dependence on others for our well-being.

Our communities will be safe, secure and healthy. Our young people will achieve health and educational standards that compare favourably with the rest of Canada.

We will establish cooperative relationships with those who have chosen to make our territory their home, and with commercial and industrial interests that operate within out borders.

Sustainable Industry and commerce will thrive in our territory, and operate in a manner that assures the long-term health of the land, resources and our people as well as the economic well-being of our people.

Guiding Principles for Planning & Management of Land and Resources

Guidance of Ancestors and Elders: All shíshálh Nation land use planning and resource management activities shall be undertaken in a manner that is consistent with the teachings taught to us by our Ancestors and Elders.

Respect: shíshálh Nation use and management of the land shall always reflect our deepest respect for the land and the interconnectedness of all things.

Sustainability: shíshálh Nation use and management of resources shall be guided by our commitment to sustainability both in the present and for all generations to come-which means maintaining diverse and abundant wildlife and ecosystems in perpetuity while providing for diverse cultural, social and economic activities that support a balanced, healthy, secure and sustainable quality of life.

Self-Reliance: Our use and management of land and resources shall seek to increase the self-reliance of the shíshálh Nation, so that we can support our own communities and others that have chosen to make our territory their home over the long term.

Cultural Practices: shíshálh Nation planning, use and management activities shall ensure that access is maintained for our people so that our cultural practices can continue unimpeded throughout our territory.

Cultural Sites: Sites of our past, current and future use and occupation of the territory shall be respected and preserved.

Ecosystem-Based Approach: Management of our shíshálh Nation territory shall adopt a holistic, ecosystem-based approach that considers the entire ecosystem in determining use of specific areas and setting harvest rates that focus on what to leave behind, rather than what to take.

Capacity Building: We shall strive to provide opportunities for members of the shíshálh Nation, particularly the youth, to build their skills and experience in management of lands and resources, so that they and all future generations continue to act as stewards of our territory.

Knowledge: shíshálh Nation planning and management approaches for land and resources shall incorporate both our own cultural and local knowledge as well as western science-based understandings.

Space and Time: shíshálh Nation planning and management approaches shall take into account multiple spatial scales and time frames, and seek to maintain or increase resilience in the face of critical and long-term issues such as climate change.

Precaution: A precautionary approach shall be adopted for land planning and management, so that decisions err on the side of caution when information is limited.

Consent: Development of land and resources shall only proceed when the risks of impacts on our territory are well understood and accepted by the shíshálh Nation.

Benefits: The shíshálh Nation shall benefit fairly from development and use of land and resources within our territory.

Monitoring: The condition of the land and resources across shíshálh Nation territory shall be monitored, and knowledge of trends and responses to change shall be incorporated into future decision-making through adaptive management.

This information is provided for the use and benefit of Sechelt Nation members only, and was prepared to provide Sechelt Nation members with access to general overview information concerning Sechelt Nation traditional uses and land and marine use planning initiatives. This information is not intended, and cannot be relied on, as representing all information and evidence regarding Sechelt Nation Aboriginal title and rights within Sechelt Territory. This information cannot be used or relied on by any third party (government, company, municipality or individual) without the informed consent and further input of the Sechelt Nation.

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Recently Aired on TV

Healing The Future

Episode: 203 Date: 2016-02-15

voices of shíshálh