The City of Powell River was established as a company town in 1910 by the Powell River Company to produce newsprint. However, the history of the settlement reaches further back in time. The paper mill was located on the traditional territory of the Tla’amin Nation on the site of the village known as tiskʷat. Archaeological sites indicate that the Tla’amin culture occupied the region for at least 7,600 years before present, but further studies may push that date substantially into the past. Evidence of the extent of Tla’amin land use in the past can be seen in the fishing structures, clam gardens, and canoe runs that abound along the entire intertidal zone of the City of Powell River and beyond. The extent of these structures and other archaeological sites suggests the area resources sustained a population much larger than exists here today.
Prior to contact, Tla’amin territory was vast and heavily populated. Historically, the Tla’amin, and adjacent First Nations of Klahoose, Homalco and K’omoks were one people without borders. Oral traditions form a collective living memory, which when combined with archaeological data, provide a more complete picture of the past. The map, entitled ʔəms gɩǰɛ (Our Land), presented here documents the place names as remembered by the residents of the Tla’amin Nation.
We welcome you to our presentation of place names for all our traditional territories. We raise our hands to all our ancestors who have left documented stories of their travels up and down the coast. We also thank our present elders who have shared their stories with us. Their combined stories show that they travelled extensively to trade for what they needed. They had many sites in which they could gather different foods required for a healthy life.
Meaning:to come out into the open
Crew standing between number 3 and 4 paper machines at the Powell River Company Mill in 1914. Note the occupational health and safety requirements of the time.