1. I am a researcher wanting more information on the Nuxalk…
There are many publicly available materials about Nuxalk history, culture and language at academic, public and online libraries. Although many of these sources are interpretations of Nuxalk by non-Nuxalk researchers and armchair academics, they are a good start in general knowledge about who we are. More in depth Nuxalk knowledge is culturally situated within our families, villages and potlatch system and is acquired through practical application and apprenticeship. For this type of research, please be aware that this requires certain protocols and standards of methodology to be met to protect both Nuxalk knowledge and knowledge keepers.
* Due to limited volunteers for this website, individual questions regarding Nuxalk names, language and cultural information cannot be answered.
2. How is “Nuxalk” pronounced?
Nu-xalk. The “xalk” is pronounced almost “hulk,” but with athroat-clearing noise like the German ach.
3. How do I get to Bella Coola?
View: Google map of Bella Coola.
Depending on where you are coming from and the season:
Airport to the Bella Coola Airport; flight time is roughly 1hour 15min;
- or take an adventurous and environmentally friendly option and bike, run or walk etc
Once you are in Bella Coola, you can get around the community on the Bella Coola Valley Transit Bus.
4. Where does the name “Bella Coola” come from?
There are several theories about the name ‘Bella Coola.’ Some people believe it is the name that the Kwakwaka’wakx and/or our neighbours, the Heiltsuk, had for us and was taken to be the name of our nation by explorers who met them first. Others believe it may be a Norwegian derivitive, as many Norwegian settlers also made the valley their home. However, it is not our name for ourselves; we are a collective of villages and families from a common language group that were relocated to the village of Q’umk’uts’, on which present day ‘Bella Coola’ is now built.
5. Where can I get a tour of the Thorsen Creek petroglyphs (rock carvings) or Tallio Hotsprings?
As of April 30, 2008, the Nuxalk Nation Band Chief and Council have officially declared the petroglyphs and Tallio hotsprings as sacred sites. Commercial activities have since been banned from these areas.
6. I would like to visit Bella Coola and am interested in meeting Nuxalk people, what should I do?
Depending on the nature and time of your visit, there are many options for you to consider. Local artists may be contacted through the various Nuxalk galleries and businesses listed on this site. Children’s groups may be interested in visiting the Acwsalcta School and Nuxalk locals can always be found visiting on the banks of the river during summer months, watching locals fishing. In fact, if you visit our valley at any time of the year, you will meet Nuxalk people wherever you go, as about half the population in the valley is Nuxalk. If you have a specific group of people in mind, contact the Nuxalk Nation Band Administration for more details: phone 250.799.5959
7. I am interested in moving to Bella Coola… what is the Nuxalk perspective on people purchasing property in Bella Coola?
Nuxalkmc are very friendly and widely known for our hospitality to guests in our valley and ancestral territory. People considering purchasing property in the valley should be aware of the political and historical context of the unsettled land question that continues to exist between our sovereign Nuxalk Nation and the Crown. Nuxalk ancestral territory has never been given up or won in battle, treaty or other means and crown title to these lands has not been established in any court of law. This means that legal ownership to land and resources within Nuxalk ancestral territory (including the Bella Coola Valley) has not yet been settled between the Crown and the Nuxalk Nation. We, the Nuxalk, assert sovereignty over our lands and do not recognize the authority of the Crown to sell off our lands. Newcomers should also be aware that throughout the valley exist locations of numerous villages and family owned fishing, hunting and gathering areas, over which Nuxalk people continue to exercise rights and responsibilities.
8. I am interested in working/volunteering for the Nuxalk Nation, what should I do?
Please send a letter to the Nuxalk Nation Band Administration Office or phone for more information: 250.799.5959
9. Is there a tourism office to get more information?
During the summer months, there is a tourism office located in downtown Bella Coola.
For more information, go to www.bellacoola.ca
10. How many Nuxalk people are there in the valley? Elsewhere? How does this population number compare to historic (pre-contact) populations?
Official INAC records indicate that the current on-reserve population of Nuxalkmc in Bella Coola is 893. The total living on and off reserve is approximately 1411. Historic population estimates are as high as 35,000.
11. How many Nuxalk reserves are there? How big are they and how does this compare to the size of the traditional Nuxalk territory?
There are seven Nuxalk reserves totalling approximately 2,025 hectares, which is only 0.1% of the 1,800,000 hectares of Nuxalk ancestral territory.
12. How do I say “hello” in the Nuxalk language?
“Yaw ” (click to hear audio). If you are brave, you can attempt to say “hello friend” which is “yaw smatmc” which is pronounced as yaw smah-dumc with a throat clearing sound at the end. Please visit the Nuxalk language page on the First Voices website to hear Nuxalk language audio clips.