Listen to your Elders about “The Heart of the People”!

This is the first part of the documentary “The Heart of the People”.  A unique opportunity to listen to Elders who are no longer with us, but speak about the Sarita River from the bottom of their tiičma (heart):

  • Willie Sport – cultural historian, fisher and trapper.
  • Lizzie Happynook – weaver whose pieces are exhibited at the Alberni Valley Museum.
  • Peter Joe – boat builder and former resident of the area.
  • Annie Clappis – member of the Huu-ay-aht Community Language Speakers.

You can also understand the history around the Specific Claims Tribunal of the Huu-ay-aht
First Nations regarding the value of the compensation Canada owes the Nation as a result of the way timber on former Numukamis IR1 was sold to MacMillan Bloedel in the 1940s. Forester Consultant Herb Hammond talks about how, in his opinion, the hemlock looper was used at that time as an excuse to log indiscriminately.


High wind and heavy rain warning for Wednesday evening and Thursday morning

Amelia Vos, Environmental Technician, shared this weather report. Heads up to everyone working in the field, crossing harbour or driving on the Bamfield road. High wind and heavy rain are expected later today. Look out for your neighbours and prepare for severe weather and potential power outage. For any questions about the Huu-ay-aht emergency preparedness plan, please contact Amelia via email ( or phone 250.728.3414 ext.119

Weather Event Impacts:
Potential for tree damage, power outages, and localized urban flooding.

Weather Event Estimated Start Time and Duration:
Wednesday evening into early Thursday morning.

After today’s run-of the-mill low pressure system, a deeper more intense storm system will approach the west side of Vancouver Island Wednesday afternoon. Strong winds and moderate precipitation is expected over the South Coast beginning late afternoon Wednesday into the early morning hours of Thursday.

  • The strongest winds are expected along the west side of Vancouver Island.


  • Southeast winds up to 80km/h are forecast for the west side of Vancouver Island including Tofino and Bamfield.


  • A strong wind warning might be issued for the west side if the current forecast holds. Hurricane-force wind warnings will likely be issued for the West Coast Vancouver Island South marine forecast region.


  • Total rainfall amounts of 50-80mm are expected along the west side of Vancouver Island, the North Shore Mountains and the Sea-to-Sky corridor.


  • The freezing level will rise from 900m to 1500m with the approach of the storm so most of the precipitation will fall as rain for elevations below 1500m.


  • Strong winds are also expected to spread into the Georgia Strait Wednesday night.


  • Additional wind warnings and rainfall warnings may be issued as the make-up of the storm becomes more certain.


Confidence Level:

Moderate – Weather models have had particular difficulty with the intensity and path of recent storms. There is relatively good agreement among the various models for the strong winds and moderate rainfall amounts. As always, forecast certainty will increase with the approaching storm. Please monitor the latest forecasts and warnings as they will change.

Prepare for potential power outages. Ensure culverts and storm drains are free of debris. Monitor forecasts and alerts for updates.

For updates and alerts:
Environment Canada Forecasts:

Environment Canada Alerts:

Marine Forecasts & Warnings:

BC River Forecast Centre Flood Warnings & Advisories:

Environment Canada Weather Blog:<>


Source: Matt MacDonald

A/ Warning Preparedness Meteorologist

Prediction and Services Directorate  – Operations West Meteorological Services of Canada Environment and Climate Change Canada (EC3)

401 Burrard St, Vancouver, BC  V6C 3S5

(604) 664-9264

Come to our Community Engagement Sessions

UPDATE: Victoria’s Engagement Session has been changed to today, December 18, 2015. They will be held at the Uptown Community Room in the Uptown mall, beginning at 5:30 p.m. with dinner and the meeting to follow.

Our Executive Council has identified Economic Development as a top priority for the Nation.

First thing in the new year, we are holding Community Engagement Sessions in Anacla, Port Alberni, Nanaimo, Victoria and Vancouver.

This will be an opportunity to share with citizens the financial plan moving forward in the morning. They will also unveil the Nation’s Economic Development Report and Plan in the afternoon.

čuu kʷaač (Join us!)

January Community Engagement Sessions

Kiixʔin yaxšiƛin – Brushing ceremony

By Wish-key

First off, I would like to, and on behalf of Tayii ƛiišin, thank all who participated in the day at Kiixʔin. This was for certain a Team Huu-ay-aht effort.

The day started out beautifully and nature, it seemed, was on our side for this important ceremonial brushing out at Kiixʔin. The day was clear, the air was crisp, and Team Huuayaht was preparing to start the hike to Kiix?in – our First Village and birth place of the Huu-ay-aht Peoples. Participants included Christine, Stella, Mila, Cory, Steven, John, Ambar, Chelsea, Rowan and myself, Wish-Key.

As we walked out toward the first village, I remained quiet, listening and preparing my spirit for the journey we were about to embark on. I learned plenty from the team as they have a vast amount of experience out in the field. The crew was discussing and identifying Culturally Modified Trees along the muddy hike out to Kiixʔin. The discussions, it seemed, set the tone for all along the way, and especially when discussing the age of some of the CMTs. It was quickly made very clear that we were indeed going to an Ancient Village. That added to the significance of the spiritual work we were about to embark upon.

Kiixʔin yaxšiƛin: We all know that Kiixʔin is our first village and yaxšiƛin means “we brushed.” The ceremony too is a reflection of our Ancient Spirit and in order to allow for transformation and growth. We had to prepare this space spiritually for transformation. This was done by the Brushing ceremony, and the tools we used were an Ancient Spirit Chant, a rattle, a thunder drum, boughs of cedar and, of course, the brushers themselves.

We literally brushed all around each of the eight identified long house dwellings and, in particular, the posts that are remaining. We had two male and two female brushers, to represent the Ancestors or Grandparents and equality amongst genders. They were armed with boughs of cedar, the most sacred of all ever greens and that represents life and the air that we breathe. This ceremony will prepare the space spiritually, and that will allow for transformation to manifest physically. The work that is intended for the site will start off cosmetically first, but it will continue to transform through time in order to live up to its designation of a National Historic Site of Canada.

This was definitely a daunting task, and much bigger than even I had expected. We dealt with this by taking shifts. As we moved from house to house, we passed on and shared our duties. With all of Team Huu-ay-aht taking turns in brushing of spaces, singing Ancient Spirit chants and even doing the drum roll on the thunder drum. Whatever the task we were assigned we also shared. With one exception Naa`siis mis ʔaksup or Stella Peters from the tayii family. She did not give up her boughs. She remained consistent and was a trooper brushing each and every site that needed brushing.

At the end of the ceremony, we reflected on the beach, the importance of Kiixʔin the birth place of the Huu-ay-aht, on the work we done on that day and the work that will happen in the future. That is a key point to why we have our three principles of Huu-ay-aht. They are: ʔiisaak (Respect with caring), Hišuk ma c̕awak (Everything is one and connected) and ʔuʔaałuk (taking care of. They are a reminder to us to think of time in a continuum remember past Huu-ay-aht, present day Huu-ay-aht and future Huu-ay-aht. For, all that we decide for the people of Huu-ay-aht, must be based on the principles and values of our people.

This work was very special as this is not only our First Village, and birthplace of the Huu-ay-aht, it is currently an undeveloped National Historic Site of Canada. One day this place will draw people from all over the world, so that they too can come and see the oldest remains of a long house on Vancouver Island. Team Huu-ay-aht got together and prepared this space spiritually for transformation for the benefit of Huu-ay-aht of all time. Pay attention to Kiixʔin the First Village for it is on a state of growth, and it will transform into the natural wonder that it is.

Participate in the Huu-ay-aht Tsunami Debris Cleanup!

Tsunami debris is a danger to wildlife. As it was originally submerged in the marine environment (e.g. docks and  ships), it can contain coastal aquatic invasive species. There is also terrestrial origin debris such as electrical goods, clothes and door frames. None of us would like to be exposed to these! Give us a hand, then!

Amelia Vos, Environmental Technician, is happy to announce that Huu-ay-aht will be participating in the Tsunami Debris Cleanup Event of  Edward King and Diana Island. Staff, Anacla residents and Huu-ay-aht citizens are invited to volunteer with the Marine Station students. This is an excellent time to showcase the values of our Nation by working together to keep our coastal ecosystems clean and healthy.

Join us on November 12th and 13th, from 10 am to 2 pm, on the islands mentioned above, which are part of Huu-ay-aht’s Traditional Territory. Every participant will get a complimentary t-shirt, lunch and beverages. Contact Amelia now via email ( or call her at 1-888-644-4555 or 250-728-3414 to register.

Click on the image to download some historical facts on tsunamis in this country:


Source: Catalyst for Science

James Spencer, Registered Professional Biologist who currently manages JAS Projects as an Environmental and Economic Development Consultant, and Amelia received a contract through the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council (NTC) to coordinate tsunami debris cleanups in all the 14 Nuu-chah-nulth Nations. So far,  they have organized two successful cleanups with Toquaht and Uchucklesaht First Nations (UFN).  They will continue to coordinate with Tseshaht, UFN, Hesquiat, Ahousaht, and Ditidaht.  To guarantee the continuity of this project, local First Nations must support the initiative.

One of the main objectives is to raise awareness on how to respond to marine and tsunami debris in and on coastal territory.  Huu-ay-aht First Nations looks forward to working with its neighbours to get stronger and more in touch with nature as our ancestors taught us.

Did you know?

Enjoy this virtual exhibit about The Great Tsunami of 1964! Click on the image to see the gallery and read the stories:


Tsunami Smart: Get the 101

Other resources

Emergency Info BC

Remembering the 1964 Port Alberni tsunami

This Week in History: Huge earthquake set off a tsunami that devastated Port Alberni

Natural Disasters CBC Digital archives