BC Geographical Names

Name Details:

Name: Cumshewa Inlet
Feature TypeClick here for a list of
Feature Types.
:
Inlet (3) - Elongated body of water extending from a sea or lake
StatusClick here for an explanation of Status.: Official
Relative Location: Between N side of Louise Island and Moresby Island, Queen Charlotte Land District
Latitude-LongitudeClick here for an explanation of Position Type.: 53°02'33''N, 131°46'43''W at the approximate centre of this feature.
DatumClick here for an explanation of Datum.: NAD83
NTS MapClick here for an explanation of NTS Map.: 103G/4
Related MapClick here for an explanation of Related Maps.: 103B/13
103G/4
  Nearby names within
  

Origin Notes and History:

Adopted 6 April 1926 on C.324.
Source: BC place name cards, or correspondence to/from BC's Chief Geographer or BC Geographical Names Office
Cumshewa Inlet received its name from the white fur traders, whose custom was to name a region after the most important chief of the area. Cumshewa was the home of Chief Go'mshewah. Robert Haswell, writing in the log of the Columbia, called the inlet "Tooscondolth Sound"; Ingraham's 1791 journal identifies "Cummashawaas"; identified as "Cumchewas Harbour" in Sailing Directions, Queen Charlotte Islands - Western Coast of North America, 1853, p.5, remarks by George H. Inskip, Master, RN (British Library 10496.i.29); G.M. Dawson first used the current spelling "Cumshewa" in 1878; Herbert Carmichael's mining report (1902) identifies "Gumshewa".
Source: BC place name cards, or correspondence to/from BC's Chief Geographer or BC Geographical Names Office
"Cumshewa Inlet / Gumshewa: Probably a Bella Bella name meaning "rich at mouth of river." (from J.R. Swanton's "Haida Texts" 1905.) Named by the early traders, c1788, after the principal and hereditary name of the chief residing there. Shown on the chart in Ingraham's journal, 1791-92, as "Cummashawa's harbour and bay." The village, an important one, is situated on the north shore of the inlet, and in former years the tribe was a large one, through now few in number, its members residing with the Skidegate tribe but using their own village occasionally as a fishing station. As the Indians residing in this inlet were known to have communicated freely with the west coast, unlike the Skidegate Indians, it was probably Gumshewa who is mentioned by Captain Dixon while cruising along the west coast in July 1787, as "an old man with authority," and to whom he gave a light horseman's cap. A few days afterwards, the vessel having rounded Cape St. James, the same old chief was met with on the east coast, who now appeared to be a person of the first consequence. He had lost his cap, and on coming on board showed Dixon the wounds he had received in battle defending his property. He begged for another, which was given hime, intimating at the same time he would never lose this one but with his life. Dixon further remarks that the second cap was not bestowed in vain, for he was extremely useful to them in their traffic, everything being referred to the chief by his followers, and his ruling was final" Named about 1788 after the Indian chief here. In 1794 Cumshewa and his Haidas massacred the crew of the American trading vessel Resolution.(From, Akrigg, G.P.V. & Helen B., "1001 British ColumbiaPlace Names", Discovery Press, Vancouver, 3rd Edition, 1973, page 48).
Source: Walbran, John T; British Columbia Coast Names, 1592-1906: their origin and history; Ottawa, 1909 (republished for the Vancouver Public Library by J.J. Douglas Ltd, Vancouver, 1971)
"Named afbout 1788 fter the Inidan chief here. In 1794 Cumshewa and his Haidas massacred the crew of the American trading vessel "Resolution". Cumshewa is derived from the Kwakwala Indian word meaning 'rich at the mouth[of the river].' "
Source: Akrigg, Helen B. and Akrigg, G.P.V; British Columbia Place Names; Sono Nis Press, Victoria 1986 /or University of British Columbia Press 1997