In 1968, the shíshálh Nation (legal name: Sechelt Indian Government District) became the first self-governing indigenous community in Canada. Their administrative and educational centre, along with the Raven’s Cry Theatre, Tems Swiya Museum, and Tsain-ko gift shop, is located on the west (“water”) side of Highway 101, across from Sechelt Hospital (built on land donated by the shíshálh for that purpose) near downtown Sechelt.
Members of the shíshálh Nation own, operate, or lease land to some of the Coast’s most innovative industries. Lehigh’s high-profile sand and gravel operation on shíshálh land uses cutting-edge extraction methods for the product it ships worldwide, and is restoring areas where mining is complete. Herds of Roosevelt Elk now graze on new meadows on the reclaimed lands. Salish Soils composts the Coast’s green waste, organics, and morts from area fish farms. Its high-quality topsoil is being used on other reclaimed mining land as it is converted for farming. Other operations focus on logging, fishing, and land management (e.g. operation of Tsain-ko shopping mall).
The shíshálh nation recently opened a purpose-built child development centre for its Mem7iman preschool. Using a Reggio Emilia approach to education, it provides a culturally rich learning experience designed to connect students to the natural landscape and shíshálh heritage. It is open to the Sunshine Coast community as well as band members.
The shíshálh have been at the forefront of the First Nations’ cultural revival. They were the first to tap into the elders’ knowledge of the Salish language, producing a comprehensive dictionary and offering language courses to revive the tongue. The Tems Swiya museum’s archeology department has been instrumental in preserving and repatriating artifacts from the past. A major archeological find – an ancient burial site in Porpoise Bay – caught the attention of the National Museum of Man. The resulting exhibit was duplicated for Tems Swiya and opened on July 1, 2017 with appropriate ceremony. The museum offers informative tours of its facility and exhibits, as well as of the totems and monuments on the shíshálh lands.
|Form||Chief and Council|
|Number of Elected Officials||5|
|Next election date||To be determined|
|Manager, Sechelt Indian Government District||Peter Jmaeff|
|Total Population (2016 Census)||692|
|Water||Treated: sourced from SCRD Chapman/Gray watershed system|
|Sanitary||Connected to District of Sechelt sewer system|
|Special Events and Attractions||Tems Swiya Museum, Residential School Memorial Monument, Totems at Tsain-ko Village Shopping Centre, Band Hall, and waterfront seawalk. See: Annual Festivals & Events|
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