Halkett Island
Feature Type:Island - Land area surrounded by water or marsh.
Status: Official
Name Authority: BC Geographical Names Office
Relative Location: N end of Victoria's Upper Harbour, Victoria Land District
Latitude-Longitude: 48°26'20"N, 123°22'52"W at the approximate centre of this feature.
Datum: WGS84
NTS Map: 92B/6
Other Recorded Names:
Deadman's Island
Origin Notes and History:

Halkett Island adopted 1 May 1934 on National Defence sheet 92B/6, Victoria, as labelled on British Admiralty Chart #1897, published in 1848 from 1846 surveys by Captain Kellet. So-labelled on all subsequent Admiralty Charts. See Halkett Point for origin information.

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

"Deadman's (Halkett) Island in Selkirk Water on the upper harbour was another burial ground. This was presumably the "Island of the Dead" of the 1850 treaties, marking the boundary between the Kosampson and the Swengwhung. The Colonist of July 1, 1867, reported the destruction of this graveyard, in its laconic style of the time: 'The Indian remains and graves on Deadman's Island were burned yesterday afternoon, together with the trees and shrubbery thereon.' Follow-up stories reveal that two young men were arrested, and one was fined $50... for the desecration of Indian remains." In his book "Some Reminiscences of Old Victoria', Edgar Fawcett recalled how he was involved in what was presumably the same incident. Four schoolboys, himself included, were bathing at Deadman's Island, and had lit a fire to warm themselves. "Broken coffins were lying about, and piles of box coffins and trunks; these were set fire to, and the boys promptly made off to the escape the wrath of the Indians...the whole island was swept by flames - trees, scrub and coffins being burnt up." (Fawcett, 1912, p.287) His memory seems to have not been perfect, however, for he gave the date as 1861, and did not mention the legal consequences that followed." (BC Studies No. 3, Fort Victoria Treaties, by Wilson Duff, 1969, p.44)

Source: included with note

"The boundary between [the Kosampsom and the Swengwhung] given in the treaties, Deadman's Island [now Halkett Island] in the upper part of the Inner Harbour, does not agree with any of the ethnographic information. Most informants located the Swengwhung well above that point on the Gorge...on the other hand, [one informant] claimed that the Kosampsom owned the entire Gorge and Inner Harbour. When the treaties were made, the Kosampsom were presumably living at the Parliament Buildings site, and the Swengwhung at the new Songhees village across from the fort. Douglas must have judged the Swengwhung claim as stronger than that of the Kosampsom as owners of the Inner Harbour. The best interpretation would seem to be that both groups formerly wintered up the Gorge, that the Kosampsom village on the Inner Harbour was occupied mainly after 1843, and that in setting the boundary between them for the purposes of the treaties, the Kosampsom had the more persuasive spokesman." (BC Studies No. 3, Fort Victoria Treaties, by Wilson Duff, 1969, p.35)

Source: included with note

Note that per Privy Council Order #1994-0774, 5 May 1994, this island had originally been part of Songhees Indian Band reserved lands, then, to resolve and extinguish a specific claim by the Band pertaining to the cutting-off in 1924 of this land from its reserve, this island was set apart for the use and benefit of the Songhees Indian Band as (Deadman's) Halkett Island Indian Reserve 2. Effective date of the Privy Council Order is 23 June 1993 according to Geographical Names Board of Canada Secretariat.

Source: BC place name cards, files, correspondence and/or research by BC Chief Geographer/Geographical Names Office.