Seal Islets

Feature Type:Islets - Small island. Plural of Islet.
Status:
Name Authority: BC Geographical Names Office
Relative Location: Just N of Denman Island, W side of Strait of Georgia S of Comox Harbour, Nanaimo Land District
Latitude-Longitude: 49°37'36''N, 124°51'02''W at the approximate centre of this feature.
Datum: NAD83
NTS Map: 92F/10

Origin Notes and History:

Seal Islets adopted 10 July 1923 adopted 10 July 1923 on Ottawa file OBF 0784, as labelled on British Admiralty Chart 333, 1900 et seq, and as labelled on BC Lands' map 2A, 1913.

Source: BC place name cards, or correspondence to/from BC's Chief Geographer or BC Geographical Names Office

Labelled "White Spit" on British Admiralty Chart 580, 1862 et seq.

Source: BC place name cards, or correspondence to/from BC's Chief Geographer or BC Geographical Names Office

The K'ómoks name for Seal Islets (or Seal Island) is kw'ulh. The exact meaning on the name is not known or no longer remembered, however many sources know this name, and recall coming here many times to dig shellfish and get seals. These islets were a well-known area for this activity. One source said that the name kw'ulh referred specifically to the outside islet. The Seal Islets were a very important clam-digging and cockle-digging area for the Comox people. The clam-beds were particularly good furthest north on the shallow point, which is actually an extension of the northern tip of Denman Island, and Native people came from many miles away to get them. One source indicated that the seals congregate on the most northerly of the Seal Islets and were most easily killed there; people camped on the most southerly of the Seal Islets although they had to get their water from the spring on Sandy Island. One source advised that there was a seal trap on Seal Island, which was "just a set of lattice work flat under water under seal rocks" (Barnett 1935-1936). Seal hunting on these island has been recorded in traditional stories. A story about four brothers, recorded by Franz Boas and published in Kwakiutl Tales in 1910, started at the Comox Harbour village and eventually saw the brothers go "to harpoon seals at the island in front of Pentatch, which is named K·!o´la" (information shared in March 2008 by K'ómoks First Nation, in turn excerpted from Island Comox Land Use and Reserve History, revised draft 18 June 1999, p.134)

Source: K'ómoks First Nation