Clayoquot Sound remains the unceded territories of three Indigenous Nations: aaḥuusʔatḥ (Ahousaht), hišqʷiʔatḥ (Hesquiaht) and ƛaʔuukʷiʔatḥ (Tla-o-qui-aht). These three Nations are part of the nuučaanułatḥ (Nuu-chah-nulth Nations). Within Canada, Indigenous Nations hold inherent rights and title recognized by Canada’s Supreme Court, enshrined in the Canadian constitution, and acknowledged through International law including the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Worldwide, 80% of ecologically intact and productive areas are defended by Indigenous Nations. Friends of Clayoquot Sound recognize the governance, laws, and jurisdiction of Indigenous Nations to be the highest of the land, air, and sea. Our work is developed with the guidance of the Nuu-chah-nulth advocates, in solidarity with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action.
“There are three First Nations cohabiting Clayoquot Sound: aaḥuusʔatḥ (Ahousaht), hišqʷiʔatḥ (Hesquiaht) and ƛaʔuukʷiʔatḥ (Tla-o-qui-aht). Clayoquot Sound is an anglicized version of “tla-o-qui-aht” [pronounced: klaw-oh-kwee-awt] which is the residing Nation on what is now known as Tofino. These three Nations are part of the nuučaanułatḥ (Nuu-chah-nulth Nations) located along the west coast of Vancouver Island, and share a long history in this area with a common connection to societal staples that include whales, cedar and salmon.
These three gifts have continuously supplied the Nuu-chah-nulth with the lifeblood that has forged an ancient and holistic way of life among the lands and waters of Clayoquot Sound.
Whaling practices among the Nuu-chah-nulth involve a deeply spiritual connection inwardly toward self and outwardly expressed toward the whales and ocean. Whales have been a significant trade item for Nuu-chah-nulth peoples for countless generations.
Cedar trees provide many of the day-to-day comforts in Nuu-chah-nulth life. In addition to the provision of heat and light, cedar wood has been used for woven mats, clothing, utensils, longhouses, paddles and canoes. Cedar also has a strong spiritual significance and is used for cleansing and other spiritual practices.
Salmon provide the fuel and energy for the Nuu-chah-nulth Nations to continue to strengthen and thrive. The cultural connection to the water is closely connected to the abundance and livelihood of salmon. Cultural protocols and celebrations are commemorated annually to honour the return of various salmon species and to express gratitude for the sustenance they provide.
For an immeasurable duration of time the Nuu-chah-nulth people have enjoyed a plentiful and abundant lifestyle upon these lands and continue to hold a deep-rooted connection to these ancestral grounds. The Indigenous foods systems, spiritual and cultural sites, medicinal harvesting grounds, and homelands of the first peoples over time combined to develop a holistic way of life that recognizes the spirit within all living beings that share this territory. Wars have been fought, celebration songs have been sung and through trying times and feasting alike, the people of this land have not only managed to persevere but have thrived.
Fast forward a few millennia and this way of life was suddenly and abruptly faced with a most challenging societal shift: colonialism. The arrival of a new way of life, coupled with disease and an avaricious and assimilative political agenda, ushered in what many believed to be the beginning of the end of the Indigenous way of life. Along with the decline of the Indigenous population through waves of epidemics, loss of culture through federal legislation (including administering the residential school system) and the development of reserves under Indian Affairs, band-operated governance tried diligently to remove the Indigenous way of life from Indigenous people, but fortunately was not successful on all accounts.
Today, the cultural landscape of Clayoquot Sound honours a diverse array of ethnicities and backgrounds, each with unique and significant teachings and insights waiting to be shared. It has been more than two hundred years since these lands have become co-inhabited and it appears that we, as a people, are now prepared to take courageous steps to move forward together, to build cultural bridges and forge a new path that honours and recognizes a truer history, a deeper understanding of where we are and where we would like things to be for our future generations.”
– by naas-a-thluk (“takes care of the day”)
Canada Commits $2.3 Billion to 25% Protection by 2025: Funding for Indigenous Protected Areas is Necessary
The Government of Canada has committed to conserving 25% of lands and 25% of oceans in Canada by 2025. In the 2021 Federal Budget, Canada committed $2.3 billion to conserve up to 1 million square kilometers more land and inland waters -- including through Indigenous...
We are all hurting from the shooting of a Tla-o-qui-aht mother by the RCMP who survived in a coma on the Mothers’ Day weekend. This was the third shooting by the RCMP of Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation members in the last year -- including Chantel Moore and Julian Jones...
In the weeks before the BC Government’s announcement, Pacheedaht Elder Bill Jones released an official letter of invitation to Indigenous and non-Indigenous forest defenders to unite on his territory to defend the ancestral rainforests of his family -- the unlogged...
Last fall, prior to the election, the BC Government announced logging would be deferred [paused] for over 350,000 hectares of forests provincially, including 260,000 hectares in Clayoquot Sound. The logging deferral, a first in colonial history, signaled that the BC...
Since re-election of the BC NDP in 2020, the war in the woods has reignited. What’s happening at the Fairy Creek Blockades is near deja vu of the Clayoquot Blockades that Friends of Clayoquot Sound organized in 1993, where over 900 people were arrested protecting the...
Related Reports & Publications
FOCS Summer Newsletter 2018 |
July 19, 2018
FOCS Summer Newsletter 2018 Share this: https://focs.ca/2018-summer-newsletter-is-here/focs-summer-2018/
CSCA Media Release re AFN vision (Jan 2017) |
January 25, 2017
CSCA Media Release re AFN vision (Jan 2017) Share this: https://focs.ca/environmental-groups-applaud-ahousaht-land-use-vision/csca-media-release-re-afn-vision-jan-2017/
Press Release: MHSS Land Use Vision |
January 24, 2017
Press Release: MHSS Land Use Vision Share this: https://focs.ca/environmental-groups-applaud-ahousaht-land-use-vision/mhss_landuse_prfinal/
FOCS Winter Newsletter 2016 |
December 19, 2016
FOCS Winter Newsletter 2016 Share this: https://focs.ca/fallwinter-2016-newsletter-now-available/focs-winter-16/
FOCS Newsletter Summer 2016 |
August 11, 2016
FOCS Newsletter Summer 2016 Share this: https://focs.ca/the-summer-2016-focs-newsletter-is-here/focsnews_june_16_5/
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