Members of Cowichan Tribes and Somenos Marsh Wildlife Society have unveiled new trail signage on the Somenos dike. Pictured are Jared Williams, Qwustenuxun, Genevieve Singleton from Polster Environmental, and society president Paul Fletcher. (Somenos Marsh Wildlife Society)

New trail signage recognizes area’s First Nations history

S’amunu Trail recognizes long presence of Cowichan people in area.

Members of Cowichan Tribes and Somenos Marsh Wildlife Society helped unveil new trail signage on the Somenos dike on Oct. 5.

S’amunu Trail recognizes the long presence of Cowichan Mustimuhw (people) in the marsh area.

S’amunu Village once lined the shores of Somenos Lake, and was 7,000 people strong prior to colonial contact in the 1800s.

The trail name was suggested by Somenos Marsh Wildlife Society, which had consulted with members of Cowichan Tribes.

Cowichan Elders shared their traditional knowledge and language, which is outlined on the signs.

North Cowichan council agreed to the new name for the previously unnamed trail in early 2021.

“S’amunu Trail and the signage is one small action to help preserve and share the traditional Cowichan names and history of this area,” said Mayor Al Siebring.

“I hope the many people who use this trail learn about S’amunu Village and about the long presence of the Quw’utsun Mustimuhw here.”

Society president Paul Fletcher said the organization is thrilled that the trail that borders the S’amunu/Somenos Conservation Area now recognizes the Quw’utsun presence there for many thousands of years.

S’amunu Trail is part of a longer dike trail system in the Somenos Marsh area.

The trail is popular with walkers, joggers, cyclists, and dog walkers.