Klahoose First Nation territories span from Cortes Island to the Toba Inlet and the Toba Valley, and is in proximity to our neighbours of the Homalco and Tla’amin Nations, which includes portions of the Discovery Islands, Desolation Sound, and the Northern end of the Sunshine Coast, and the Salish Sea.
The Coast Salish people have lived here since time immemorial. Village sites through the sound have been seasonal homes for hundreds of First Nation people. Desolation Sound's name was given by Captain George Vancouver in 1792 who noted:
"This Sound afforded not a single prospect that was pleasing to the eye, the smallest recreation on shore, nor animal or vegetable food. Whence the place obtained the name Desolation Sound."
Today Desolation Sound is renowned for its natural beauty, and abundant wildlife. These features are woven into the fabric of the people that have lived here for thousands of years before European contact.
Desolation Sound Marine Provincial Park, located mid-way between the resort and Lund, is known as some of the calmest and warmest waters on the Pacific Coast.
Klahoose Wilderness Resort sits on the remote shores and calm waters of Homfray Channel which are just north of Aap'ukw'um (Forbes Bay) , and also the Desolation Sound Provincial Marine Park.
Klahoose Wilderness Resort resides on the ocean shoreline of Homfray Channel - 'Thee chum mi yich' – means travelling further back inside the passage.
qʷaga hošt - come on lets go...
Yekwamen - Toba Inlet
Yekwamen (yɛkʷamɛn), or Toba Inlet, which is just north of the resort, has been the home of the Klahoose people forever - this is one of the principle inlets on the BC coast. Toba Inlet is relatively short in comparison to other major coastal inlets, with an average with 2.5 km and length only about 35 km. The Klahoose territory is flanked by towering glacier peaks, cascading waterfalls, and is home to many grizzly bears. The Klahoose have been operating grizzly bears viewing tours here since 2016.
Toba Inlet was a historically significant location for hunting deer, catching salmon, Ooligan, and foraging for berries. This area was the traditional winter location for the Klahoose peoples prior to movement of the village site to Squirrel Cove. Although there are current Klahoose members who were raised in Toba Inlet, there are currently no full-time residents.
Toba Inlet is not an English, nor Coast Salish name. The first Europeans who came to this remote inlet of British Columbia were Spanish. During the 1792 expeditions, the Spanish crew mapping Toba Inlet recorded finding a large wooden tabla with depictions of man, goats, and moons (see image below). On June 24, 1792, Captain Dionisio Alcalá Galiano made the following log entry.
“At sunset [Captain Cayetano] Valdés returned. He had followed the Canal de la Tabla and inspected the vicinity. [The inlet], which appeared [of] considerable [width] at its beginning, came to an end in a few leagues; its shores were very high, with sharp peaks, its depth great, and the inlets he saw were full of small islands. On its east shore Valdés found a plank [tabla], for which he named the inlet and of which he made a drawing. It was covered with paintings, which were apparently hieroglyphics of the natives. He found some abandoned villages, but not one inhabitant.”
The mysterious markings on a wooden plank (tabla or plancha), which were found in Toba Inlet (shown below), were drawn by Jose Cardero, who was part of the 1792 Spanish crew of the Mexicana commanded by Valdes. That June 24, 1792, they explored Homfray Channel and travelled the 32 kilometres up to the head of Toba Inlet. The drawing of the wooden plank made such an impression that was reproduced in the atlas of the 1792 expedition and has been included in many articles and books about Spanish explorations of the BC coast and the original drawing is in the Museo de America in Madrid.
t̓əgəm - moon xʷɛɬay - goat tumɩš - man
The plank was of significance to the Klahoose and an interpretation of the “hieroglyphics" with lunar moons representing lunar months, goats, and a man at the centre of the calendar. Researcher, Nick Doe employed Klahoose oral history of tides and moons to a man who lived in the middle of Toba Inlet and pulled a plug in the earth which drained the water (depicted below).
If you would like to hear more about how Toba Inlet got its name you can listen to Cortes Radio Society interview with Michelle Robinson and Ken Hanuse from the Klahoose First Nation and local historian Judith Williams.
Grizzly Bear Viewing
Here on the edge of the Great Bear Rainforest, stand towering cedar trees interwoven with glacial streams and rocky shores that welcome the arrival of spawning Pacific salmon each year. This breathtaking rainforest backdrop draws xawgəs (grizzly bears) to this remote river where they socialize with each other and feast on the bounty of fresh salmon.
xawgəs - grizzly bear
Our first grizzly bear viewing platform was constructed in the summer of 2016, when James Delorme was chief of Klahoose. Since then, we have expanded the viewing areas, all set in different locations along the remote river in Toba Inlet. We have six fixed viewing towers that provide optimal sight lines to this natural phenomenon. Our grizzly bear tours are intentionally small to allow for the most intimate experience with the bears. Listen closely and you will hear their heavy breaths mingle with the rushing water - it is an exhilarating and truly amazing spectacle not to be missed!
From May to early June we often view Grizzly Bears along the shores of Toba Inlet by boat. From late August to October our guests of Klahoose Wilderness Resort enjoy grizzly bear viewing at our fixed platforms, led by our Klahoose guides here in Toba Inlet