Tayii Ḥaw̓ił ƛiišin (Derek Peters) was born in Port Alberni in 1974. He was raised by his parents Spencer and Nora Peters. His paternal grandparents are Art and Agnes Peters and Edward and Mabel Nookemus, on his mother’s side.
ƛiišin’s first job was with Huu-ay-aht First Nations, as a student. He went on to work in forestry, managing Huu-ay-aht’s silviculture crew on contract and doing forestry engineering. He also served two terms on elected council. ƛiišin has been involved in the B.C. Treaty Commission process on the negotiating team when Huu-ay-aht started negotiating its own treaty, from approximately 1994 to 2011. Along with the Huu-ay-aht First Nations Communications team, the Maa-nulth Treaty was successfully ratified.
In 2008, ƛiišin took on the Head Hereditary Chief (Tayii Ḥaw̓ił) responsibility. He now represents the Nation’s hereditary chiefs an Huu-ay-aht traditional interest to protect and take care for future generations. He sees his main role with the Nation as looking out for the well-being of all Huu-ay-aht First Nations citizens, the land, resources, and culture.
Together with his wife Irene Peters, Hominiki, they are raising their daughter Olivia Peters, Hupathuus.
“I’ve seen my tribe grow in the short time I’ve been here involved from approximately seven employees to what it is today,” he says. “I was born and raised in my traditions from birth, and I’m glad to be part of the Nation.”
He respects the motto of Ancient Spirit Modern Mind and sees his role in this to always ensure the traditional ways are respected in this modern world. This is done in part by respecting the sacred principles. These are: ʔiisaak – Utmost Respect – Personal and collective respect for the community and its people, traditional knowledge, the natural world, the metaphysical world, and other peoples and communities; ʔuuʔałuk – Taking Care of…. – In this context, this is about taking care of present and future generations, as well as taking care of self and the resources provided by the land and the natural world; Hišuk ma c̕awak – Everything is One – A notion of the interconnected, interdependent, and reciprocal relationship between the people, the land, and the wider world(s).