First Nations

There are 203 First Nations in British Columbia, gathered under the British Columbia Assembly of First nations (BCAFN), which in turn, falls under the National Assembly of First Nations (AFN). The purpose of the BCAFN is to:

  • advance the rights and interests of First Nations people in British Columbia;
  • restore and enhance the relationship among First Nations people in British Columbia, the Crown and people of Canada;
  • develop and promote programs and policies for the benefit of First Nations people in British Columbia including but not limited to economic, social, education health and cultural matters; and
  • work in coalition with other organizations that advance the rights and interests of indigenous people


The Saanich Nation, consists of five bands, Tsawout, Tsartlip, Tseycum, Malahat and Pauquachin, four located on the Saanich Peninsula and the Malahat Nation located on the southern part of Vancouver Island.

Tsawout First Nation – the Tsawout First Nation main village, is about 15 minutes north of the City of Victoria and lies on the east side of the Saanich Peninsula along Saanichton Bay. Saanichton Bay has historically been, and continues to be significant to the Saanich peoples of Tsawout. The bay provided shelter from the prevailing southeast gales of winter, a year-round source of food, as well as playing an integral role in the Tsawout economic, societal, social, and spiritual life. Because of these reasons Saanichton Bay was one of the main winter village sites of the Saanich peoples, and that is why Tsawout “Indian Reserve” is located there today. Read more…..


Tsartlip First Nation – Tsartlip First Nation is located in the Saanich Inlet, adjacent to Brentwood Bay, 20 minutes north of Victoria, BC. One of four W?SÁNE? communities located on the Saanich Peninsula, Tsartlip has over nine hundred (1000) members (700) of which live in the First Nation community. It is a vibrant community. Maintaining its cultural identity and traditions, community members live, work and play an important part of the diverse suburban landscape of Greater Victoria. Through great work of the ?AU,WE?,?EW? Tribal School, located on Tsartlip, the Saanich language, SEN?O?EN, is alive, a major accomplishment as a few years ago there were only a few fluent speakers of the language. Read more…


Tseycum First Nation -Tseycum is one of the four Saanich villages of Southern Vancouver Island, at the centre of Patricia Bay on the Saanich Peninsula. In the Sencoten langauge Tseycum is spelled Wsikem and means Land of Clay. Saanich people were previously nomadic and camped at various places on the Saanich Peninsula and the Gulf Islands in order to benefit from the various habitat and wildlife at these different locations. The proof lies in the burial sites and artifacts that are found when new development is in progress. The Tseycum people were also known for their social activities with other tribes, often visiting Bands on the mainland for cultural and social purposes. Read more…




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