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The Chemainus First Nation is the next largest group, comprising about 18 percent of the Hul'qumi'num population. Historically, (as discussed below) the Chemainus mostly occupied the northern portion of the territory, with villages located in Ladysmith Harbour, Kulleet Bay, and in the lower reaches of the Chemainus Valley. Today, most Chemainus reserves and settlements are located in the northern part of the Hul'qumi'num territory, with two small reserves in the lower Chemainus Valley.


The Chemainus people have traditionally lived in winter villages located on three sites in the northernmost part of the Hul'qumi'num territory — in Kulleet Bay, in Sibell Bay, and in the Coffin Point area (Figure 3). Kulleet Bay is the anglicized form of k'elits', the Hul'qumi'num name for this area (meaning sheltered area or protected bay). Kulleet Bay is sometimes referred to as Chemainus Bay. Located just south of Yellow Point, this was an important area for the Chemainus; it was not only a protected natural harbour but also was very rich in marine resources such as shellfish and (in season) herring. The permanent village here, named shts'emines, is the origin of the English name Chemainus. This is also the origin of the name for the Chemainus people; The Indian Reserve Commissioner Gilbert Malcolm Sproat referred to the residents of this village as the 'Chemainus Indians proper' to distinguished them from other Chemainus peoples, such as those living at Sibell Bay.

Sibell Bay, located northeast of Sharpe Point and directly across Ladysmith Harbour from the present-day location of the town of Ladysmith, is the site of the second Chemainus permanent winter village. The Hul'qumi'num name for this place is thek'min (anglicized to 'Sicameen'), meaning 'spearing place' which indicates that it was a good place to spear fish. This area was also rich in shellfish such as clams, oysters, and scallops. Within Sibell Bay, Shell Beach is the site of the settlement, and at one time the people living here were known as the "Shell Beach Band." Rozen's sources note that there were probably five large houses in this village at one time (Rozen 1985, 89-90).

There is also evidence of a third Chemainus village site, at Coffin Point, known as Kumalockasun. The Kulleet Bay and Sibell Bay sites were incorporated into the Chemainus' 1082-hectare main reserve (Chemainus No. 13) which was finalized by the Royal Commission in 1913. According to Rozen (1985, 90), at this time the people living at Kulleet Bay and Shell Beach were amalgamated with other groups from the Coffin Point area to form the "Chemainus Tribe." The Coffin Point area was excluded from this reserve.

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