We are a small, semi-rural community of about 500 on-reserve community members, with about 350 of our band members living off-reserve. The Tsulquate reserve, where most of us live, is adjacent to the town of Port Hardy on the North-eastern tip of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. Tsulquate is within the boundaries of the Regional District of Mt. Waddington. We are a member of the Kwakiutl District Council.
Prior to 1964, we lived as two separate tribes. The Gwa'sala people mostly lived and traveled around Smith Inlet and the surrounding islands. The 'Nakwaxda'xw people were in Seymour Inlet, the Deserter's Group, Blunden Harbour, and surrounding islands. While many of our practices were similar, we spoke different dialects and each tribe had our own distinct culture. In 1964 we were amalgamated with each other (and the Kwakiutl, temporarily) and relocated to the Tsulquate Reserve, far away from our home lands. For more information about this and other aspects of our history, please visit the History & Vision page.
We are considered part of the Kwakwaka'wakw Nation, stretching from the Campbell River area up to Smith Inlet. We belong to the Wakashan or Southern Kwakiutl language group.