Prior to the formation of the Mowachaht, the Aboriginal group at Yuquot was the first Nootkan people to have extensive contact with Europeans. They traded sea otter pelts with Capt James COOK in 1778, and controlled all Aboriginal trade with his ships. Cook's crew found that the sea otter pelts could be sold for great profit in China, and a maritime FUR TRADE in sea otter pelts began in 1785. Yuquot, known as Nootka and Friendly Cove, soon became a major trading centre. The Yuquot, led by Chief MAQUINNA, controlled the trade at Nootka Sound, and became wealthy and powerful. In 1789 a Spanish expedition built a military post at Yuquot, and seized British trading ships, resulting in the NOOTKA SOUND CONTROVERSY. By the mid-1790s the trade declined at Nootka Sound. This may have influenced Maquinna to capture the trading ship Boston in 1803, ending the sea otter trade at Nootka Sound.
Reduction from prolonged warfare and European-introduced diseases caused many of the groups to amalgamate. In the 19th century the two Aboriginal groups of Tahsis and Tlupana Inlets joined, forming the Mowachaht. In the early 20th century the MUCHALAHT band officially merged with the Mowachaht band. Today the Mowachaht live at the village of Ahaminaquus, near Gold River, and at Yuquot. The combined population of the Mowachaht and Muchalaht in 2001 was less than 180 people.
Author JOHN DEWHIRST
Links to Other Sites
Canadian Aboriginal Writing and Arts Challenge
The website for the Canadian Aboriginal Writing and Arts Challenge, which features Canada's largest essay writing competition for Aboriginal youth (ages 14-29) and a companion program for those who prefer to work through painting, drawing and photography. See their guidelines, teacher resources, profiles of winners, and more. From the Historica-Dominion Institute.
Encyclopedia of Canada's Peoples
The website for the "Encyclopedia of Canada's Peoples." Click on the links for feature articles about Canada's many multicultural communities, access to their extensive digital archives collection, learning modules, and much more. From "Multicultural Canada."