Beecher Bay (SC’IA⁄NEW) First Nation’s main community is on Beecher Bay in East Sooke, 30 km southwest of Victoria. For thousands of years, Beecher Bay First Nation peoples have used and occupied the lands and waters of the south coast of Vancouver Island. They can trace their ancestry to people who spoke four different dialects. Historically, the predominant language was Hul’q’umi’num’. The community recognizes all four languages although they are not all currently spoken.
As with other First Nation names in the region, the place name “Sc’ianew” identifies what the inhabitants needed to know about the locale. The word “SC’IA⁄NEW” (pronounced CHEA-nuh) translates from the Klallam language as “the place of the big fish,” indicating the richness of the sea life in the region that sustains the Nation and the neighbouring First Nation communities with food, shelter, medicine and clothing. With their strong relationship to the waters of the Salish Sea, they are known as the salmon people.
Today, the Beecher Bay community continues to apply their long knowledge of environmental management in sharing their land and marine resources.
261 (as of March, 2020)