Press Releases


Salish Bear Totem by Stan Modeste Reinstalled at Malahat Summit

September 29, 2022

Duncan, B.C.

On September 29, 2022, a private cultural ceremony was held to reinstall the Stan Modeste Totem, Salish Bear, to its rightful place at the Malahat Summit. Hosted by the Modeste family, representatives of the Cowichan Tribes, Malahat, Halalt, Lyackson, Stz'uminus, and Penelakut First Nations, City of Duncan, Municipality of North Cowichan, and the Cowichan Valley Regional District were invited to bear witness to this important milestone ahead of Orange Shirt Day and National Day of Truth and Reconciliation on September 30th

“Historic injustices and ongoing racist attacks weigh heavily on our community,” stated Chief Lydia Hwitsum. “Quw’utsun people are taught by our Elders to help one another and work together for the good of all. It has been greatly appreciated to see and experience the support of the larger community for the repair and reinstallation of Stan Modeste’s Salish Bear Totem,” continued Chief Hwitsum.

Read the full press release here.

Cowichan Tribes Offices Closed on National Day of Mourning

September 14, 2022

Duncan, B.C. 

The Government of Canada has announced a National Day of Mourning to mark the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II. Please be advised that Cowichan Tribes Offices will be closed on Monday, September 19, 2022.

What this day represents for people across the country will be shaped by their historical experience, knowledge and understanding of how Canada came to be a nation at great cost to the original inhabitants of these lands. For the Canadian Government, this is a day of mourning. For the Quw'utsun Mustimuhw, this day is a time for sombre reflection on the impact the monarchy has had on our people. “Our cultural snuw'uy'ulh (teachings) are to recognize and respect those who have passed on and I extend my condolences,” stated Chief Lydia Hwitsum. “At the same time, we cannot overlook that during the late Queen's reign, the colonial model was exercised intensely on our people and around the globe," continued Hwitsum. “The resulting harms and intergenerational trauma have ongoing impacts in our community.”

Cowichan Tribes Approves Changes to Shtunni’s tu Hwulmuhw, Citizenship Code

July 5, 2022

Duncan, B.C.

In its recent Ratification Vote conducted in person, electronically, and by mail, Cowichan Tribes members passed changes to the Shtunni’s tu Hwulmuhw, or Citizenship Code, with 79% of votes cast supporting the amendments.

“The revised Shtunni’s tu Hwulmuhw makes it easier for people to understand who can apply for Cowichan Tribes membership,” said Chief Lydia Hwitsum. “This vote and these changes are an important milestone for our community, as the last amendments were made on June 28, 1992. We know a lot has changed in 30 years and we wanted to ensure our Citizenship Code reflected these changes.”

Read the full press release here.

Celebrating Watershed Restoration Project Completion While Planning for the Future

June 3, 2022

Duncan, B.C.

The Cowichan and Koksilah Rivers are at the heart of Cowichan Tribes. However, these rivers have been greatly affected by climate change as well as human impact.

“This is an important opportunity to demonstrate recognition and respect for Cowichan jurisdiction and leadership,” says Chief Lydia Hwitsum. “This level of investment, collaboration and shared decision making is crucial. I am thankful for the investments that have been made by all partners. We must continue this level of collaboration and recognition, as we face climate change and seek meaningful reconciliation with each other as well as our natural systems that support us.”

Read the full press release here.