Bella Coola

ETHNONYMS: Bellacoola, Belhoola, Bilqula

The Bella Coola are a North American Indian group numbering about six hundred who live on and near a reserve at Bella Coola, British Columbia. The Bella Coola language is classified in the Salishan-language family. In the late nineteenth century the Bella Coola numbered about fourteen hundred and occupied the shores of the Bella Coola River and its tributaries in British Columbia. Contact with White traders was limited until the discovery of gold in the Bella Coola territory in 1851. During the late nineteenth century, the tribe was decimated by smallpox, liquor, and starvation.

Subsistence was based on fishing, hunting, and gathering and included some trade. The social structure was complex, consisting of chiefs, shamans, an aristocracy, commoners, and slaves. The Bella Coola were divided into five geographical groups, with the main political units being autonomous village communities headed by chiefs.

The traditional Bella Coola cosmology consisted of two heavens above the earth and two hells below and was ruled over by a supreme female deity named QAma'its.


Boas, Franz (1900). The Mythology of the Bella Coola Indians. American Museum of Natural History, Memoir no. 2, 25-127. New York.

Kopas, Cliff (1970). Bella Coola. Vancouver: Mitchell Press.

McIlwraith, T.F. (1948). The Bella Coola Indians. Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 1948.

Also read article about Bella Coola from Wikipedia

User Contributions:

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Mar 10, 2010 @ 3:15 pm
The bella coola were one with the raven, the raven was there idol and they loved it so. They made statues and carvings of raven every were.
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Sep 17, 2010 @ 1:01 am
Any online document about the tribe? It would be very useful for a documentary, but i have no possibility to buy those books. Thanks...
Matthew Cutler
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Sep 13, 2011 @ 3:15 pm
What did the Bella Coola Tribe do for transportation ?
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Oct 25, 2011 @ 5:17 pm
umm.. do you have anything abou there clothing because i need a picture of traditional hats can you maybe get back to me by tonight!!
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May 29, 2012 @ 11:11 am
What were the Relgion of th Bella Coola? I really need to know this for a project
Nixon Mataia
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Jun 4, 2012 @ 8:20 pm
I am very interesting more about the people of Bella Coola, especially the Nuhax nation.
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Jan 22, 2015 @ 8:20 pm
I want to know more for a project have due in two weeks ,so if you can get back to me...
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Jan 22, 2015 @ 8:20 pm
I would like to know more for a project due in two weeks I have...
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Mar 3, 2019 @ 11:23 pm
Hey. I was wondering how had made this website and when. I'm using it for my research project and I need to cite my websites.

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