Kiixin Village tour ~ Rediscovering Our Lost Connection to Nature
A place of immense cultural and historical importance, the Huu-ay-aht people offer guided tours to the site – a unique opportunity for visitors to be welcomed into an ancient and sacred space, to learn about the past, present and future of its original inhabitants. Why is the Kiixin Village tour so important in this moment in time?
Nurturing Environmental Compassion – Kiixin Village Tour
Words and Photos by Jaiden George for #IndigenousCoastBC
Too often in an age of social media are we removed largely from lived experience, instead moving increasingly towards experience by proxy – creating a fundamental disconnection between ourselves and the natural world, especially for those who live in urban environments.
To develop a true understanding and connection to the land on some level, you necessarily have to spend time on it – and there is no better way to do so than by learning from the original peoples of that land. The Kiixin Village Tour in Bamfield (pictured below), is a perfect example of this in action.
David Suzuki famously said that “there is no environment ‘out there’ separate from us. The environment is embedded within us.” – This is especially true for the Huu-ay-aht, the Nuu-Chah-Nulth, and Indigenous peoples as a whole – where the phrase takes on a literal meaning. Resources are not reduced to a means to an end, but are literally ingrained into all aspects of life.
Building on this connection further it reminds of the interview that I did with SFU Glaciologist Gwenn Flowers on the topic of glacial recession. Gwenn points out that “many of us actually forget that we have this connection to glaciers, many people don’t see glaciers in their daily lives, they don’t even maybe know that they exist upstream from the water the they use.” – This notion directly reflects the disconnection caused by experience by proxy. How can you empathize with the land if you do
not have a personal connection to it? How can you fully comprehend how your day to day actions have an impact on it?
Lived experience is critical, if not downright necessary to developing and strengthening environmental compassion. Walking through an old growth forest, learning the history, listening to the sounds and paying attention to the scent puts things into perspective – and perspective is the key word here.
If more people were open to the viewpoints of others, open to acknowledging the damaging colonial history in North America, and open to recognizing opportunities to learn and grow, we would move forward confidently in remaining connected to that which sustains us – the land.
Jaiden George is a photographer, writer and filmmaker from Tofino, B.C. A future Hereditary Chief, his work primarily concerns the conservation of Indigenous land and culture, examining contested spaces, human presence and environmental crisis in the Pacific Northwest – extending also to race relations in photographic representation and alternative methods of environmental activism in visual culture. He is currently in his third year at Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver, B.C. ( you can follow him on his instagram account HERE )
Situated on the southwestern coast of Vancouver Island is the tight-knit community of Bamfield, home to the Huu-ay-aht First Nations, and access point to the ancient Kiixin Village – the only known traditional village site on the coast of southern B.C. to still contain standing structures.
Learn more about Jaiden’s experience on the Kiixin Village Tour in his article on ZenSeekers.com – https://www.zenseekers.com/story/portal-past-kiixin-were-here-tell-our-story
When You Go
- Want to hike to Kiixin? Learn more here.
- Although Kiixin tours is virtual for 2020, Bamfield has started a slow careful reopening. Please adhere to health authority guidelines understanding you are travelling within sensitive First Nations territory during the Covid-19 Pandemic.
- Looking to get the most out of your trip to Kiixin? Check out our one-day itinerary.
- Start exploring your west coast BC options with Destination BC
- Kiixin is only 15 minutes from the community of Bamfield, home to hotels, restaurants and some serious west coast charm.
- Choose to support Huu-ay-aht by choosing to support one of their businesses while traveling. Start your planning here.
Disclosure: This post was published in a paid partnership with ZenSeekers
For more BC First Nations travel destinations for cultural and historical learning opportunities read more in my stories below. #IndigenousCoastBC
For more road trips and travel destinations check out my Mindful Explorer Road Trip Page . As well I am always grateful for a follow on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter where I share more frequent photos and stories daily. #ExploreBeyondTheUsual #MindfulExplorer