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Esquimalt First Nation

The Esquimalt Nation is a small nation on the water of Esquimalt Harbour. What is now Victoria used to be shared by five other communities: the Cheko’nein, the Chilkowetch, the Swenghwung, the Hwyuwmilth, and the Teechamitsa.

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The Esquimalt Nation is a small nation on the water of Esquimalt Harbour. Our traditional name is Xwsepsum, also written Kosapsum. Our connection with the land and the resources of our large territory goes back thousands of years. In that time, we have learned to live in a finely balanced relationship with the seasons, the lands, the tides, and the seasons of our lives that have sustained us. We repaid the land through our commitment to stewardship, and through our ceremonies. We understand this obligation as our Sacred Trust.

What is now Victoria used to be shared by five other communities: the Cheko’nein, the Chilkowetch, the Swenghwung, the Hwyuwmilth, and the Teechamitsa. We spoke the same language and, to a large extent, shared the bounty the land and sea had to offer us. When the British (under James Douglas) arrived in our territories, our ancestors – led by our ancestor Sisunuq and others – greeted him. A treaty signed with Douglas in 1850 – only six generations ago – guaranteed continued access to fishing and hunting, and maintenance of our spiritual relationship with the land, the resources, and our ancestors.

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