The tabla behind Toba Inlet's Name

The Story Behind Toba Inlets Name

Originally Published on Cortes Radio

Toba is not an English word, or Coast Salish. The first Europeans to visit this remote fjord on the West Coast of British Columbia were Spanish. Deep Roots story producer Roy L Hales interviews Michelle Robinson and Ken Hanuse, from the Klahoose First Nation, and local historian Judith Williams about the story behind Toba Inlet’s name?


On June 24, 1792, Captain Dionisio Alcalá Galiano made the following log entry for his schooner Sutil:

“At sunset [Captain CayetanoValdés returned. He had followed the Canal de la Tabla and inspected the vicinity. [The inlet], which appeared [of] considerable [width] at its beginning, came to an end in a few leagues; its shores were very high, with sharp peaks, its depth great, and the inlets he saw were full of small islands. On its east shore Valdés found a plank [tabla], for which he named the inlet and of which he made a drawing. It was covered with paintings, which were apparently hieroglyphics of the natives. He found some abandoned villages, but not one inhabitant.” 

Questions Behind Toba Inlet’s Name?

Where is this mysterious tablet with hieroglyphic writing today?
What did the writing say?
Why is this important to the Klahoose Nation?
If the Spanish gave Tobla Inlet its name, why does their log entry say “the Canal de la Tabla” rather than Tobla Inlet?


Roy L Hales is the President of the Cortes Radio Society (CKTZ 89.5 FM), where he has hosted a half hour program since 2014, and editor of the the ECOreport, a website dedicated to exploring how our lifestyle choices and technologies affect the West Coast of North America. He lives on Cortes Island and is a research junkie who has written about 2,000 articles since he was first published in 1982.

Illustrations: (top) The tabla behind Toba Inlet’s Name; 

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