Huu-ay-aht First Nations host 2023 Nuu-Chah-Nulth Artist Symposium

Huu-ay-aht First Nations hosted a two-day 2023 Nuu-Chah-Nulth Artist Symposium, on September 12 and 13, 2023, at the Best Western Plus Barclay Hotel in Port Alberni, BC.

This event was made possible through a grant Huu-ay-aht First Nations’ Economic Development Department was able to obtain through the Canada Council for the Arts.

“We would like to thank the Canada Council for the Arts for their support of Nuu-chah-nulth art and culture,” says Chief Councillor, John Jack.

He continues to say, “we believe that this a vital step and a first step in the direction to help organize, support and promote indigenous art and artists and helping to define how it is we can ensure authenticity and protect the cultural and economic importance of this aspect to our life as indigenous people.”

The first day, September 12, was a closed event solely for invited master artists. In attendance, there was 11 master artist from various backgrounds of work. There were cravers, jewellers, sculptors, weavers, and clothing makers.

The 11 artists included:

Artist Work Type
Tom PattersonCarver
Connie WattsMedia Artist & Designer
Tim PaulCarver
Rodney SayersCarver
Edward Johnson Sr.Carver
Geraldine Edgar TomWeaver
Hjalmer WenstobSculptor & Carver
Hipolite WilliamsCarver
Lavern WilliamsWeaver
Gerren PetersCarver & Jeweler
Gordon DickCarver

To start off the morning of September 12, 2023, guests were led by Master of Ceremonies (MC) Trevor Little in song and prayer, following a land acknowledgement that the event was being held on the unceded traditional territory of the Tseshaht and Hupač̓asatḥ First Nations.

Breakfast was served to the artists, and following this, master artists were broken into three groups and participated in round table discussions. This activity brought the group to lunch, and they resumed another set of questions after lunch.

Questions that the master artists answered are the following:

  1. How do we create a way to protect our art from being stolen and lost?
  2. What are some ways to protect indigenous artists from being taken advantage of?
  3. What art do we want to share with the world?
  4. What traditional forms of art should be protected and kept private?
  5. How do we inspire the next generation?
  6. What could mentorship look like?

On day two of the event, the public and vendors joined to converse with master artists and join in on the conversations of preserving and protecting Indigenous Artists’ rights and authenticity.

Through breakfast and lunch, individuals purchased from vendors, talked with artists, and participated in cultural songs. From this, the group was transitioned into sitting in a sharing circle discussion. People introduced themselves and shared their thoughts regarding Nuu-Chah-Nulth Art.

Throughout the two days, feedback was received from artists and the public which was collected and will be compiled into a report and will be sent to Canada Council for the Arts.

This is just the beginning of the Nuu-chah-nulth Artist Symposium. With the work Huu-ay-aht has started, there are hopes this can continue and become something bigger and meaningful to all Nuu-chah-nulth Nations to join in on and participate.

If funding is available for next year, there are already suggestions to incorporate traditional language with art to help educate the history and value of an art piece being created.

“I felt very lucky to be a part of this event. Witnessing various artists, vendors, and the public take the time to attend spoke immensely to the significant importance of this Symposium. Throughout the conversations, the biggest feedback was how we could positively support Nuu-chah-nulth artists and First Nation art and culture, as well as, the challenges they face. This Nuu-Chah-Nulth Artist Symposium laid the groundwork for this year’s goals, but also helped provide insight for next year.” Says Executive Councillor, Stephen Rayner.

The Huu-ay-aht First Nations anticipate that the results of this event will help fund a second Nuu-chah-nulth artists symposium in 2024.

We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.

About Canada Council for the Arts

The Canada Council for the Arts contributes to the vibrancy of a creative and diverse arts and literary scene and supports its presence across Canada and around the world. The Council is Canada’s public arts funder, with a mandate to “foster and promote the study and enjoyment of, and the production of works in, the arts.” The Council’s grants, services, initiatives, prizes, and payments support Canadian artists, authors, and arts groups and organizations. This support allows them to pursue artistic expression, create works of art, and promote and disseminate the arts and literature. Through its arts funding, communications, research, and promotion activities, the Council fosters ever-growing engagement of Canadians and international audiences in the arts. The Council’s Public Lending Right (PLR) program makes annual payments to creators whose works are held in Canadian public libraries. The Council’s Art Bank operates art rental programs and helps further public engagement with contemporary arts through exhibition and outreach activities. The Council is responsible for the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, which promotes the values and programs of UNESCO to contribute to a future of peace, reconciliation, equity, and sustainable development.

For more information about Canada Council for the Art, please visit:

Bamfield Main Road Update – September 19, 2023

Bamfield Main Resurfacing Project Header

Crews are starting grade preparation and chip sealing this week at kilometres 0 to 4. This will require vehicles to follow a pilot vehicle at this section. Delays are estimated to be a maximum of 15 minutes.

There are also some places where crews will work in zones along kilometres 0 to 36. Workers will be grading, sweeping, and placing chip seals. Please stay alert to pilot vehicles, road signs, and speed limits.


Huu-ay-aht has had a number of concerns brought to their attention in regards to vehicles speeding and putting other road users at risk, specifically around narrow sections of the road. Please be aware of the road signage and obey the speed limit of 60 km/hr. The Bamfield Main is still an active industrial logging road and road users are travelling on the Bamfield Main at their own risk. To ensure safety for everyone, please slow down.

Be aware and watch for construction equipment, flaggers, crews are on the road, and follow pilot vehicles.  

The RCMP will be monitoring for safe driving throughout the project and detour.

Please drive with your headlights on and drive with extreme caution.

You can also find road updates on our Social Media at: 

Child and Family Wellness hosts 2023 Baby Welcoming Ceremony

Huu-ay-aht First Nations Child and Family Wellness Team welcomed Huu-ay-aht babies on Friday, September 15, at the Lawn Bowling Club in Port Alberni, BC.

During the ceremony, families were gifted rattles, headbands, blankets made by ʔiič̓im (Elder) Barb Johnson, and baby books. Huu-ay-aht Culture Team, Cory Howard Sr. and Mel Edwards, and ḥaw̓ił Jeff Cook taught the families a cultural baby lullaby. 11 out of 15 families were in attendance.

The ceremony brought much laughter, cheer, and connection for all. Huu-ay-aht First Nations Child and Family Wellness Team would like to wish families and newborns many thanks for attending and sharing their new journeys with them and hope for ongoing connections in the future.

Oomiiqsu (Aboriginal Mother Centre) – Update August 28 – September 1, 2023


  • Poured basement foundation walls.
  • Stripped basement foundation walls.
  • Continued forming main building footings and foundation walls.


  • Pour footings for main building on south side.
  • Form stepped foundation walls.
  • Continue forming main building footings and walls.
  • Install rebar in main building footings and walls.
  • Install main electrical under footing conduit into electrical room.

Photos by IWCD

Bamfield Main Road Update – September 5, 2023

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September 4 to 9, 2023

Work Completed:

  • Kilometres 32 to 76 Chip Seal is completed
  • Sweeping of Chip Seal is completed between kilometres 36 to 46

Work to be done:

  • Grading and preparation between kilometres 29 to 20
  • Work continuing from kilometre 32 towards Port Alberni
  • Remaining Sweeping between kilometres 46 to 76 to be completed

Please Note: Single-lane alternating traffic with the guidance of a pilot vehicle will be used for the remainder of this project, kilometres 0 to 36 in zones as required, currently set up between kilometres 20 to 29.

Remember, following the posted speed limits is essential when driving on the new chip seal. The road surface will be dusty and slippery if sweeping is underway or has not been completed. Please avoid slow, sharp turns on the seal coat while it continues to set up. Please use four-wheel drive, as well, especially on the hills. These are necessary to ensure a safe work site and not cause damage to the road or vehicles.