The Nuxalk First Nation Indian Band represents almost 60% of the Bella Coola Valley's Population. The Nuxalk Indian Band are recognized under the Indian Act through the Indian Act Band Council system. Elections within the community effect a twelve member council and band Chief. Federal funding for education, housing, health benefits, and social service benefits are paid through the band council offices.
As is found in many bands, a second organizational government exists within the Nuxalk and is comprised of hereditary chiefs from the Nuxalk Nation. The 'Nuxalk Nation Government' (NNG) based at the House of Smayusta ('creation stories' which are the traditions, language and culture given by the Creator). Up to 20 hereditary chiefs are found in the Nuxalk Nation. (www site at NuxalkNation.ca)
In 1996, Statistics Canada reported a total Aboriginal population of 2,175 natives, or 56% of the 3,915 total count, for the Central Coast Regional District. The Nuxalk have a history of large population swings. Elders speak of a strength of tens of thousands at certain times while others report, for different periods, only a few hundred.
"It seems that at a former time the tribe was quite populous, but, owing to various epidemics and the introduction of other diseases, its numbers have dwindled down so that at the present time it has been reduced to only a few hundred souls." (Boas, Franz - 1898)
The Central Coast Regional District site has information on the First Nations.