Klahoose First Nation territories span from Cortes Island to the Toba Inlet and the Toba Valley in proximity to our neighbours of the Homalco and Tla’amin Nations and includes portions of the Discovery Islands and Desolation Sound and the northern end of the Sunshine Coast and the Salish Sea, British Columbia.
The Coast Salish people have lived here since time immemorial. Village sites through the sound have been seasonal homes for hundreds and even thoughts of First Nation people. Desolation Sound 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, abundant wildlife 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 a Lund, has been know by boaters as some of the calmest and warmest waters on the Pacific Coast.
Homfray Channel - Thee chum mi yich – meaning travelling further back inside the passage.
Klahoose Wilderness Resort sits on the remote shores and calm waters of Homfray Channel (Thee chum mi yich – meaning further back inside), just north of Aap'ukw'um (Forbes Bay) and also the Desolation Sound Provincial Marine Park, the Sunshine Coast and just south of Yekwamen (Toba Inlet) in the lush rainforest and coast mountain range of the beautiful British Columbia's Pacific Coast.
qʷaga hošt - come on lets go...
Yekwamen - Toba Inlet
Yekwamen (yɛkʷamɛn) or Toba Inlet, just north of the resort, has been the home of the Klahoose people since time before memory. 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 inlet is flanked by tower glacier peaks with cascading waterfalls and is home to many grizzly bears. We have been operating grizzly viewing bears viewing tours here since 2016.
Toba Inlet was historically significant location for hunting deer, catching salmon and ooligan and foraging for berries. The rivers geography enable a unique deer hunting techniques. It 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 where raised in Toba Inlet, there are currently no full-time residents.
Toba Inlet is not an English name, or Coast Salish. The first Europeans 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 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.”
This mysterious markings on a wooden plank (tabla or plancha) found in Toba Inlet (shown below), was 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 is 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 obviously 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 was done by researcher Nick Doe and also matches Klahoose oral history of tides and moons with man who lived in the middle of Toba Inlet and pulled a plug in the earth draining the water. 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 Frist Nation and local historian Judith Williams.
Grizzly Bear Viewing
The Klahoose peoples have lived in Yekwamen or Toba Inlet on the central west coast of British Columbia, since time before memory.
Here on the edge of the great bear rainforest stands, towering cedar trees interwoven with glacial streams and rocky shores that welcome the arrival of spawning Pacific salmon each year, a cycle that has taken place for a millennial on the traditional territory of the Klahoose First Nation people. 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. In 2017, Kevin Peacey was elected in as Chief of Klahoose, and has been re-elected in 2021 now serving his third term as Chief. Since then we have expanding the viewing areas, all set in different locations along the remote river in Toba Inlet. We provide 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 August to October our guests of Klahoose Wilderness Resort enjoy grizzly bear viewing tours, led by our Klahoose guides in Toba Inlet.