Through my backpacking, hiking and cycling throughout Vancouver Island (and B.C.) I am constantly experiencing magical places full of natural wonder and beauty. In step with these outdoor experiences I am striving to educate myself on the traditional territories of the First Nations whom have called these lands home for millennia. It is important as outdoor enthusiasts that we move forward in a good way. It is our responsibility as non-indigenous to recognize and honour the the culture, language and history of the sacred lands we visit and live.
There are many resources available to learn digitally now such as Native-Land.ca and First People’s Map of BC . Online is a great way but when possible first hand teachings and experience are so much more immersive. I have had several opportunities over the last few years to learn first hand about the Traditional First Nations Territories I have visited across BC. The most recent experience for me was with Huy-ay-aht First Nation at Bamfield, along the rugged west coast of Vancouver Island at the mouth of Barkely Sound. It is here that I participated in the truly awe inspiring while equally transformational and educational Kiixin Tour.
Kiixin Tour ~ Learning the Past, Present and Future Together
It is with much appreciation and gratitude that the Nation welcomed me on assignment with ZenSeekers to share my experience and bring awareness to the Kiixin historic and cultural tour. You can read my full story here on the ZenSeekers website; Touring Kiixin at Sunset Opens Eyes and Minds
The Kiixin Tour provides you a full educational opportunity to learn about Huu-ay-aht history and knowledge but also insight into the further reaching Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations of the region. The tour starts with a hike deep into an ancient old growth forest with a First Nation guide (the only way to visit Kiixin) where the trail eventual opens to a protected sandy beach amongst a rocky coastline. Here is where the tour immerses you directly into the last standing First Nations village site on Southern BC’s coastline. The village dates back to 1000 BCE and is a very sacred site for the Huu-ay-aht First Nation, connecting the past to the present.
Kiix̣in is the traditional capital village of the Huu-ay-aht, a Nuu-chah-nulth First Nation. It is the only known First Nations village of more than 100 villages on the southern B.C. coast that still features significant, standing traditional architecture. Much is known about Kiix̣in, thanks to associated historic information gleaned from oral histories, archaeology, and archival records. This demonstrates continuous occupation of the area for almost 3,000 years. The village is characteristic of Nuu-chah-nulth defensive sites and warfare patterns, resource extraction and commercial practices, and offers key insights into changing Nuu-chah-nulth political and economic patterns in the 18th and 19th centuries. – from the Kiixin Tour Wesbite
I am grateful for my time with my guides Stella Peters and Wiisqi who were very kind First nations knowledge keepers. Through personal stories, drumming, songs, cultural teachings and also reference to current Truth and Reconciliation topics I was able to gain a but more insight into the Indigenous ways. It also helped me to better relate to the Nuu-chah-nulth saying that I often reference; iisaak (respect), uu-a-thluk (taking care of), and hišuk ma c̕awak (everything is connected)
I will leave you with my images from our experience and hopefully it inspires you to make the journey to accept the offer of Huu-ay-aht teachings at a Kiixin Tour. ~ Tlecko (Nuu-chah-nulth for thank-you)
Kiixin Tour ~ When You Go
- Kiixin Tour is located near Bamfield at the southern tip of the Alberni Inlet in Barkley Sound on Vancouver Island’s West Coast. Bamfield is reached by traveling south from Port Alberni or west of Lake Cowichan on remote winding gravel roads.
- Kiixin Tour’s 2021 season is now open and accepting bookings for a complimentary site tour. The Kiixin Sunset Tour starts July 16, so reserve your spot today! Learn more here.
- When visiting Bamfield on your #IndigenousCoastBC trip to Kiixin for a tour there are several options to make it an overnight and extend your stay. Visitors can choose to stay in more creature comforts at the Upnit Lodge or the Hacas Inn. For those wishing to be a little closer to nature the Pacheena Campround is a great option for camping.
- Great meals and snacks for your visit or taking in any of the regions activities can all be found with a visit to The Market & Café.
Disclosure: This post was published in partnership with ZenSeekers
Related Travel Ideas When Travelling to Bamfield
For more travel destination ideas to experience on your visit to Kiixin and Bamfield read more in my blog posts listed below.
Fastpacking the West Coast Trail > doing the West Coast Trail, take an extra day to visit Kiixin
Visit Bamfield on Vancouver Island : Top 10 Activities – so much to do, extend tour stay in Bamfield
Port Alberni Waterfall Day Hikes – great quick stops when travelling to Bamfield
Vancouver Island Sunshine Coast Bikepacking Loop – on your bike?, make the side trip to Bamfield
For other road trips and travel destinations check out my Mindful Explorer Travel Destination page . As well I am always grateful for a follow on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter where I share more frequent photos and stories daily.