Christopher Williams explains why he admires Tayii Ḥaw̓ił Derek Peters

Tayii Ḥaw̓ił Derek Peters is Christopher Williams’ uncle. Christopher has found a role model in him. In this digital story, he explains how Derek has supported and cheered him up (čumqstup) in difficult moments of his life.  This young Huu-ay-aht talks about how to overcome intergenerational effects of colonization and Residential Schools through praying and “Native Pride.”


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

Ancient Spirit Modern Mind: Team Huu-ay-aht!

By Wish-Key

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We are Huu-ay-aht, and we are Modern Treaty. Most importantly, we are in a place of redefining ourselves as People. I think that our present day motto of Ancient Spirit, Modern Mind couldn’t be more accurate to where we are as Peoples. In our Nations business moving forward, I believe it would be to our benefit to reflect upon both our Ancient Spirit and our Modern Mind, as well. Some modern history was made on the weekend of November the 20th to the 22nd, 2015 at our Annual People̓s Assembly.

Three Principles: In Huu-ay-aht we have an oath of citizenship included within that, are the three principle values of the Huu-ay-aht. Those principles are as follows: ʔiisaak (Respect with caring); Hišuk ma čawaak (Everything is one and connected) and ʔuʔaałuk (Taking care of). They have guided our people since Yakʷiimit (the beginning of time), they will continue to be our guide as we move forward even in the modern day. For these principles were designed for the Huu-ay-aht of all time – a reminder that decisions we make are inclusive of our ancient teachings and with the future generations of Huu-ay-aht in mind.

Witwaak: Our braves that secured the People’s Assembly, customarily designated for our potlatches or sacred ceremonies. Tayii ƛiišin Derek Peters suggested in a meeting that it is a possible to have our Ancient Spirit present during the People’s Assembly, to back up and support our Speaker of the House šišiišwalap Angela Wesley to help maintain order during the Assembly.

Yaałuu?a Jeff Cook was assigned with the task of recruitment of Huu-ay-aht braves to serve as our Witwaak, and what a fine job he did. The entire weekend Edward Johnson Jr., Jack Cook, Charlie Clappis, Harry Brossault, Terry Nookemis and Doug Johnson secured the building and maintained order in the Assembly.

Talking Stick: A tool of our ancient spirit, take note that one always uses the Talking Stick in the receptive hand or the left hand. That reminds the speaker to speak from a place based out of both the ancestral teachings and of the heart as well. ƛiišin had his talking stick present for the entire People’s Assembly. When things are said while holding on to the Talking Stick, it represents that the words are coming directly from the Tayii House. In essence Making of new Traditional law, and, most particularly, when proclaiming change within. This was done during the People’s Assembly November 22, 2015.

Proclamation: On the before-mentioned date, Tayii ƛiišin proclaimed that when we conduct the business of Huu-ay-aht, we do so as a team. We are Team Huu-ay-aht that includes Huu-ay-aht’s Citizens, Employees, Contractors and Committee representatives, all who are involved in the business of Huu-ay-aht. We are Team Huu-ay-aht. Our job is to remember Hišuk ma čawaak – we too are one and connected. So, if you are on Team Huu-ay-aht and in our business, we include the customs of our Ancient Spirit – our Songs, our dances, our language, and you have a desire to participate please, by all means do so. We are in a place of redefining the Huu-ay-aht, and we each have our own role in that definition.

Redefining Huu-ay-aht: As stated in the opening we are Huu-ay-aht, and we are Modern Treaty. We are redefining who we are as People. The clock has been reset, so to speak, and this time like no other will be looked upon as a new beginning for our People. How do we wish for that to look? I, for one, do not want to forget my Ancient Spirit. I don’t want to disregard my Modern Mind. I want to reflect upon them both to the best of my ability. Now, I wish to remember the words of Tayii ƛiišin who said of our ƛiiƛiiḥa Huu-ay-aht Song, a song, I might add, that belongs to us all, “Our canoe, and Our People best move in Unity!”

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.

One week for the People’s Assembly 2015

Did you know that last year’s event broke the previous turnout record? In 2013, approximately 138 eligible voters attended the event in two locations. Charlie Clappis, General Manager for Huu-ay-aht Group of Businesses, had initially predicted 170 eligible voters for 2014. In the end, more than 300 citizens of all ages participated in the two-day gathering.

On Saturday morning, November 21, you are invited to have breakfast and, as the Nations’ ancestors used to teach, also internalize the messages offered by a keynote speaker (TBD).

Read more about the event here.