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Undoubtedly in the past, every Indigenous group had a name for what we now call clam gardens, or sea gardens, in English. Only a few of those names have been recorded.

The Kwakwala term, lú  ʷxiwey, for a “clam garden” refers to the rock wall formed by rolling rocks to the lower intertidal. 

In the Ahousaht dialect of Nuu-chah-nulth, the term t’iimiiḵ ("something being thrown" or "move aside rocks") identifies a particularly good clam beach in Clayoquot Sound that was known as a place where clams were cultivated.

The Northern Coast Salish Klahoose and Sliammon (Tla’amin), speakers of Mainland Comox used the term wúxwuthin ("held back at the mouth") to refer to the rocks that are piled on the sides of the beach or at the low water mark while digging clams to make it easier to dig in the future.  

Q̓íx̌itasu shared with us the Haíɫzaqv term, λápac̓I, which means "to dig for clams in an enclosure/ container."

Dorothy Kennedy and Randy Bouchard note,

“The Tl’úhus [Klahoose] people made a conscious effort to cultivate clean clam-beds. As they dug clams, the people removed the rocks from the gravel and piled them on one edge of the beach, or in the water beyond the mark of the lowest tide. These piles of rocks are called wúxwuthin…”. 




John Harper

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Image by Joel Durkee
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