Ruler of the Undersea
The large and rich tasting Komo Gway Oyster has a wonderful story behind it that rivals any commercial oyster farms out there.
These famed oysters are cultivated on the beaches of British Columbia by Pentlatch Seafoods LTD. a wholly owned commercial fishery of the Comox Valley within the traditional territory of the K’ómoks First Nation.
K’ómoks literally means the “Land of Plenty”. The K’ómoks First Nation, through their oral history, trace their habitation within their traditional territories back to the creation. Anthropological data shows the inhabitation of coastal people (Coast Salish) goes back at least 8,000 years, approximately to the time of the retreat from the last ice age. The K’ómoks First Nation today represents a historical blending of the descendants of the Island K’ómoks and Puntledge (Pentlatch) tribes.
The Legend of the Pentlatch Peoples
A long, long time ago, two men, Koai’ min and Hek ten, descended from the sky and they became the ancestors of the Pentlatch people. The Pentlatch lived in big cedar planked houses in the Comox Valley. The nights then were very quiet except for the sounds of the water, sea birds and the hooting of owls.
At that time the sea bed reached far from the shore which allowed the people to walk out and easily fill their baskets with fish. One night, in a dream, an old Chief was forewarned of the coming of a great flood. He was told by the Creator to prepare four canoes, great lengths of cedar rope and select members of the community. Not long after it began to rain. It rained and rained for days. Soon the waters filled the valley until there was no land in sight.
Eventually they spotted a large white whale. They attached the ropes to the whale to prevent them from being washed away in the resulting flood. When the waters receded, the whale was stranded in a local lake which later froze and became known as the glacier Queneesh or White Whale. The glacier today still presides over the valley of the K’ómoks (Comox Valley).
During the flood, the local villages were destroyed and only those people in the four canoes survived, the descendants of which formed the four honoured houses of the K’ómoks people – the Pentlatch, Sethloot, Leeksun and Sasilta.
The K’ómoks First Nation respects and honours these legends and the traditions of our ancestors. By strengthening our connection to the sea and by pursuing economic opportunities to provide sustainability and self-sufficiency for future generations we are honouring traditions while building for the future.
One such pursuit is the development of Pentlatch Seafoods Ltd. a company wholly owned by theK’ómoks First Nation and named in honour of the house of Pentlatch. The K’ómoks further acknowledge their heritage by choosing as their primary brand the mask of Komo Gway – The Ruler of the Undersea.