Legacies

This comic strip is from "The 500 Years of Indigenous Resistance Comic Book", created by Gord Hill a Kwakwaka'wakw artist and historian.


Warning: Some of the images are graphic in nature and may be disturbing.

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Panel 1

This comic strip is from "The 500 Years of Indigenous Resistance Comic Book", created by Gord Hill a Kwakwaka'wakw artist and historian.

Warning: Some of the images are graphic in nature and may be disturbing.

Panel 2

“How did Europeans colonize the Pacific Northwest?”

(The title is white on a black background with a chalkboard-like font. All following images are hand-drawn and in black and white.)

Panel 3

“By the 1820s, the Hudson’s Bay Company was the main colonial power in the region, even as the fur trade declined. The company had numerous forts and ships.

In 1828, a Klallamvillage in Washington was destroyed by a company gunboat.”

(A drawing of men on a gunboat loading and firing cannons at avillage on shore.)

Panel 4

“In 1849, Vancouver Island was named an official colony, with the HBC acting as government.”

(A drawing of a fort with a British flag.)

Panel 5

“At the same time, settlement and selling land became a main concern of the government…For 30 years, Royal Navy gunboats were used to improve British colonialism + to bring the coast tribes under control.”

(A drawing of three men pointing at a map titled “Vancouver Island Colony”. One man says,

“The Kwakiutl are still head-hunting?”

and another man responds, “Yes, sir…”.)

Panel 6

“The gunboats served as military + police forces…

They were well-armed with up to 50 cannons + rockets as well as Royal marines.”

(A drawing of cannons lined up along the side of a gunboat, and a marine in uniform looking out at shore with a musket in his hands.)

Panel 7

“In 1862, a smallpox epidemic began in Victoria. Colonial authorities forced hundred of Natives out.

Infected, they returned to their villages, spreading the disease. An estimated 1 in 3 died in 2 years. The epidemic occurred as more European settlers arrived.”

(A drawing of a woman covered in smallpox lying dead on a beach. A crow pecks at her face. Behind is a longhouse and two others lying dead on the beach.)

Panel 8

“In 1871, BC became a part of Canada.

In 1874, the BC Lands Act was passed to open land to settlement.

Canada issued the 1875 Duty-of-Disallowance, striking down the BC Lands Act + citing the failures of the province to make treaties legally surrendering Native land.”

(A hand holds a paper titled ‘1875 Duty of Disallowance’.)

Panel 9

“In response, BC threatened to withdraw from Canada…

In 1876, Canada issued the Indian Act, extending government control over all Natives, inc. those in BC, ‘legalizing’ the theft of Native land.”

(A hand holds a paper titled ‘1876 Indian Act’. Beside are other papers titled ‘Band Councils’, ‘Reserves’, and ‘Status’.)

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Video: How are the Heiltsuk combining archaeology and traditional knowledge to re-tell Captain Vancouver’s story?

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A narrator reads a journal entry: “[At] two in the afternoon of Monday the 27th…we anchored in 12 fathoms of water…this way a fine sandy beach…by the felling of a few trees, a very good situation was obtained for the observatory and tents.” Captain George Vancouver, Restoration Bay, May 1793.

(A journal entry appears in cursive over an image of the ocean and mountains in Heiltsuk territory. Pensive music plays in the background.)

Dylan Burrows, an Anishinaabe Historian says: The Heiltsuk people witnessed the Vancouver expedition at the start of its second season as these uninvited guests remap their territory. Elroy White, invited us to Bella Bella to learn more about Vancouver's passage through his people's waters.

(Dylan is standing in a forest. His hair is tied back and he is wearing a beige short sleeved shirt.)

Elroy is an archeologist, Potlatch historian, dancer and hereditary leader who combines land based and traditional research practices, including the use of historical journals kept by Captain Vancouver and his crew. He spoke with us in Bella Bella's big house about why he became an archeologist.

(Elroy sits in front of two-house posts inside the Big House. He has gray hair and glasses. He is wearing an orange t-shirt and jeans.)

Elroy: When I was a kid, I wanted to be an explorer, but I didn’t know how to do it at the time. As I started to learn my culture, I realized I didn’t have to go very far away, I could just do it around my territory. And so, I started using the tools of archaeology to help me become more familiar with the sites of my ancestry. And I became a teacher and singer, here, in these big houses. You know, these songs and dances are connected to these house posts, connected to the front of the Big House, they’re connected to the drum log, and each chief has their own set of songs and dances and histories. So, if somebody says ‘I have this kind of dance,’ they’re actually sharing a part of their history that goes back, and has been passed down through different generations. So, when I was trained as an archaeologist, I was trained to think of things as material culture; it’s a physical thing. For me though, I’m a potlatcher, I see family trees, I hear songs, and I feel their presence on the land – which is something you shouldn’t do as a scientist, but I’m not strictly a scientist.

(We see a docked open ocean cruiser.)

Dylan: Early the next morning, we travelled with Elroy on board the Northern Lights to learn more about his work.

Elroy: I still remember Vancouver’s journals; just not his, but any fur trader or any notable person who made notes. I’m trying to correlate their notes with the information that we know, our cultural history.

(Elroy is talking to Dylan while the boat travels. Sound of the engine in the background.)

Dylan: Heiltsuk people had always traded furs with their neighbours, and they had been trading them with Europeans for several years before Vancouver’s arrival. More than 50 village dotted this territory when Vancouve visited the coast.

(Map of the Northwest coast showing Heiltsuk territory outlined.)

Traditionally, Heiltsuk disassembled their big houses and moved with the seasons to different parts of the territory to trade, to hunt, or gather food according to the chiefs’ inherited right and strength, but also responsibility to care for their people and the lands they occupied.

In 1862, the smallpox epidemic killed as much as two-thirds of the Indigenous inhabitants of the Northwest Coast. Under pressure from missionaries and colonial officials, Heilstuk gradually evacuated many of these villages and gathered at Old Town and later at Bella Bella. Elroy has been studying these ancestral villages for nearly twenty years. Today, we’re going to visit some of them.

(A map of Heiltsuk territory shows the location of Old Town and Bella Bella.)

Elroy: Okay Dylan, we left Bella Bella. That’s where all our people amalgamated together, all our tribes after smallpox hit. And now we’re travelling south through Lama Pass. We’re going to go east towards King Island, and we’re going to make a quick visit to ‘Háƛ̓iğvis, or Port John.

(A map of Heiltsuk territory shows the route from Bella Bella to the first stop.)

Dylan: Elroy’s research locates and maps ancient stone fish traps located near these ancestral villages. He also works with the Heiltsuk Integrated Resource Management Department to map culturally significant sites. These stone wall structures near rivers and creeks were widespread along the Indigenous coast. Fish drifting inshore on a rising tide swim over the stone wall and then become trapped when the tide recedes.

(A graphic demonstrates how the fish traps work.)

Elroy: My father’s family, the White side, on his dad’s side, this is where they grew up. This was their village. Just to know that my family actually worked in these traps at one time, they walked these beaches, they went up the creek, they probably went over to the rock art when they had some time to go take a look, look at those paintings.

Dylan: Carved or painted rock art is often found near these ancestral villages. High on a cliff overlooking the village site. Elroy re-discovered a painting that may be connected to Vancouver’s visit. Some scholars believe this image represents a sea monster’s mouth, other popular interpretations think it is a UFO. Elroy has another interpretation.

Elroy: To me, the shape of the bottom resembles a gḷ́w̓a, a canoe. And the top part, to me that looks like the top of a canvas boat. And inside of it, you can see straight, they look like paddles sticking up. They’re not people, they’re paddles. That’s what I think they are. And the people below are the ones who are greeting the boat. And when I think of George Vancouver’s notes, the people went out to him. Vancouver didn’t go to the village. So, these people look like they’re going to surround the boat for trading purposes.

(Images of the rock art being described are shown.)

Dylan: Could he be correct? We know that Vancouver expedition completed their survey work on board small open sailing boats. Here’s what Archibald Menzies, Vancouver’s surgeon and naturalist noted in his journal:

Narrator reads a journal entry: “Our boats and people were much better fitted out for withstanding the inclemency of the weather than they were in the previous season…a large awning spread over the whole boat that equally screened the people & their provisions & clothing from getting wet in rainy weather which was…apt to [drain] their strength in their constant & fatiguing exercise on the oars.” May 29th, 1793.

(A journal entry appears in cursive over a painting of one of Vancouver’s small boats.)

Dylan: We left here to travel up Johnson’s Channel.

(A map of Heiltsuk territory shows the boat’s route north up the channel.)

Elroy: We’re no longer in Y̓ísdáitx̌v territory, we’re now in W̓uíƛ̓itx̌v. Which means inland people, and we’re coming up to a village where Vancouver had travelled by and he noticed a village on a rock. He describes a rock, and he mentions it – I think it was only one house. And on that house there’s a form line or a design on the front, just like our Big House in Bella Bella. And I really believe that where we’re going to today, we are actually going to see which island that he passed along the way. And there’s the island right there.

Narrator reads a journal entry: “The village was situated on a bare rock about fifty yards from the main land…This Rock was covered with Houses built close to each other…it had more the appearance of one large House than many different ones, they were most curiously painted in all colours, with the most extravagant grotesque figures of Men, Beasts and Fishes…” Midshipman Edward Bell, June 13th, 1793.

(A journal entry appears in cursive over an image of a small island with large spruce trees.)

Dylan: Earlier, Elroy explained to us how to understand this house decoration known as form line art.

Elroy: Any kind of form line are designed to represent a supernatural being or a crest figure. So, we’re all part of crests. The main crests, so far, are Raven, Eagle, Killer Whale, and Wolf. And if that was their house, they would have been on the front of the big house, and they would be informing everybody you know who’s house you were going to. And they have their own stories, what we call núyṃ́, and it’s a story of creation or first generation meaning that they have old, old ancestry.

Dylan: Back on the boat, Elroy explains his archaeological methods for identifying village sites.

Elroy: There are certain criteria that we look for where a village would have been situated, and one of them would be tall spruce trees, bushes in the front, then it would have had a sloping side. And if we were able to inspect the ground, it would have had black, greasy shell midden. In this case, this one here has a rock carving in front of it, which lends further support that this is where Vancouver went by and noticed the house with the form line design. So, this island here, it looks small, but once you walk on it, it’s very big. And where these spruce trees are, they probably are growing on the old big house frames. They are less than 200 years old. Where all the water is rippling over the rocks, that’s where the rock carvings are. Yes, They’re under water now. The tide is way too high.

Dylan: At the next village site we learned more about Elroy’s work with Heiltsuk youth.

(A map of Heiltsuk territory shows the boat’s northwest route.)

Elroy: I’ve been to this village a number of times and I bring a lot of kids here. The head chief here was Wakas. There’s apparently ten to twelve, or maybe even twenty homes at one time.

Dylan: What are the youths’ reactions when they come to this place?

Elroy: They’re really excited because many of them are descended from the current, or the late Chief Wákas. So, they’re reconnecting to the place where their ancestry came from. And the other thing that they’re excited about is that they get to help my crew do some archaeology work so that we can understand the site a lot better through science and through oral history.

Dylan: When their work was completed, the boats returned to the observatory at Restoration Bay to board the HMS Discovery and HMS Chatham and sail back out to sea.

It is unclear what might have been their last stop in Heiltsuk territory – it could have been the winter village at this location or was it the summer village site at Cape Swaine?

Elroy tells us more about what these large villages were like.

(A map of Heiltsuk territory shows the boat’s route going west out to the open ocean.)

Elroy: This is the village of Qaba, and it was part of the Q̓úqvay̓áitx̌v tribe, and it was the winter village at one time up until 1890. There was a number of families here, and the biggest house here was right in the middle, and it belonged to a chief named Woyala – he was a big Killer Whale chief. Beside him would have been Chief Q̓ait and he was from the Eagle crest. And then there was other chiefs: Chief Q̓víɫtakv, Himasbat from the Raven, Hṃ́zit was also here because his ancestry was literally with every tribe of our territory. So, this is the place, I believe where when the Discovery in the Chatham came here and they anchored somewhere nearby and they kept referencing that there were activities going on in this winter village.

Narrator reads a journal entry: The Chiefs generally approached us with the ceremonial first rowing round the vessel and departed in the same manner, singing a song that was by no means unpleasing. This was sometimes continued until they had retired a considerable distance. They seemed a happy, cheerful people and to live in the strictest harmony and good fellowship with each other. They were well versed in commerce. About 180 of the sea otter pelts were purchased in the course of their several visits. Captain George Vancouver, June 1793.

(A journal entry appears in cursive over a painting of the HMS Discovery with a canoe nearby.)

Elroy: Wow, we sure made a journey. Holy cow! We went around three islands, and we went through three tribal groups too. And it shows that these big chiefs just didn’t stay in their own tribes. At that time, they were really looking for people to trade with, and then trading amongst themselves and doing their own seasonal gathering of food, and so on. It’s amazing how when we mind map these family trees, we can actually correlate these with the historical journals.

Dylan: Just mind blowing.

Elroy: Sharing the núyṃ́s and the songs. So, I’m putting those altogether. It’s an approach that I prefer to use, and I call it M̓ṇúxvit. That literally means to become one or unite. So, instead of using just one approach, it’s combining them all together.

Dylan: And, you know, that's what we're doing right now, bringing together oral histories, the written historical record to rewrite the history of this place or, you know recover the history of this place.

Elroy: Mm hmm. That's true.

(Elroy and Dylan talking together on the boat.)

(Drone footage shows the boat near the village site. Pensive music plays in the background as the image fades out to black.)

Video: What has been the impact of colonization on the people of Yuquot?

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(Drumming and singing music plays. Sound of wind blowing in the background. A coloured photograph of Chief Ambrose Maquinna, with white hair, square glasses, and wearing a t-shirt with a drawing of Chief Maquinna from the late 1700s. Text reads: “This film is inspired by the writings of the late Chief Ambrose Maquinna.)

Type written text quote on a beige background reads: “We are the Mowachaht and Muchalaht First Nation, the people of Nootka Sound on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. This region has been the homeland of our ancestors since the beginning of time. …. We are here to share with you our understanding of our history and our culture and in particular Yuquot, our most important community” Chief Ambrose Maquinna, Gold River 1997

Narrator: Yuquot means “where the winds blow from all directions.” For us, Yuquot is the center of the world and the best place to be, between the abundance and energy of the ocean and the majesty and richness of the forest and inlets.

(Short video snippets of Yuquot cove and the surrounding forested hills and beaches. A pan over a carved welcome post.)

Narrator: It is a place of power and change. A place of many stories, including the story of the first Chief Maquinna meeting the Europeans when they arrived here in their “Floating Houses” over 200 years ago.

(A drawing of Chief Maquinna from the late 1700s, wearing traditional regalia and a woven hat. A painting of the ship HMS Resolution.)

Narrator: We were pleased with the trade – exchanging a few furs, for items we greatly valued, like iron and cloth. We were careful to make friends with all our visitors. Our skills in diplomacy and in barter earned Yuquot the name Friendly Cove.

(Sketch of villagers trading with fur traders.)

Narrator: The fur trade brought Yuquot to the center of Western history.

(Painting of British and Spanish ships anchored at Yuquot.)

Quote on screen: “Many more ships began to arrive at Yuquot. This was a good time for us. We learned that they did not all come from the same nation, or speak the same language. We learned, too, that some of our visitors were good people, and others were scoundrels.” Chief Ambrose Maquinna, Gold River, 1997

(Hereditary Chief Michael Maquinna of Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation is interviewed on screen, with an enlarged sketch behind of their ancestral village.)

Hereditary Chief Michael Maquinna: “Initially it was not a bad thing to begin with however as time has gone on we realized perhaps it did not turn out quite so well for First Nations people.”

Narrator: As the sea otter became scarce the ships stopped coming to Yuquot. Although the fur traders left our territory, the disease they brought remained. The results were devastating.

(Drumming and singing music in the background becomes louder and more forceful. A painting showing the fur trading ships switches to video of the now empty cove.)

(Archival 1993 interview of Chief Jerry Jack with black hair, large glasses, and a blue windbreaker. He uses many hand gestures when speaking.)

Chief Jerry Jack: Some tribes in our nation got wiped right out. There wasn’t one survivor. Not one.

Quote on screen: “We know that we once numbered many tribes, counting among us several thousand…By the beginning of the 20th century we numbered fewer than 300” Chief Ambrose Maquinna, Gold River 1997.

Narrator: No one today can imagine what suffering this brought to the few of our people who survived.

(Black and white 1896 photographic of twenty Muchalaht people, some elderly and others young children. Photo by E. Flemming.)

Quote on screen: “Since those sad days we have lived through other indignities at the hands of the Canadian government: the loss of our territories, the loss of control of our own affairs, the loss of our children – our future – to residential schools” Chief Ambrose Maquinna, Gold River 1997.

(Ghoo-Noom-Tuuk-Tomith is interviewed. He is elderly, with graying hair. He wears a Rodgers baseball cap and red plaid jacket. He sits by a large tree.)

Ghoo-Noom-Tuuk-Tomith: And my name is Ghoo-Noom-Tuuk-Tomlth. That’s my real name, and it means “spirit of the wolf,” and that name was taken away when I went to residential school.

(Melancholy music. Photographs of residential school buildings.)

Ghoo-Noom-Tuuk-Tomith: The Catholic Church gave me Catholic names, like Joseph Peter; that’s why my name is Raymond Joseph Peter. Raymond was a given name, Joseph Peter was given to me by the Bishop without my parents’ consent, or without my parents’ permission. There was 12, 14 children here. They were taken away and put on a steam ship to go to residential school in Kakawis Tofino.

(Series of black and white photographs of small boys working with shovels and spades by the beach, holding toddlers, and posing in school uniform for a class photo.)

Ghoo-Noom-Tuuk-Tomith: And little did we know where we were going…We didn’t know we were going to a jail.

(Black and white image of residential school and church staff. Another photo of a priest with young residential school children.)

Narrator: When the government took the children, it was a devastating emotional blow to everyone. The children could not learn their language, traditional skills and histories.

Ghoo-Noom-Tuuk-Tomith: All the time we were there, it was work, work, work and hardly any school. It was mostly like building roads, packing up coal or wood for fire for the furnace.

(Posed black and white photos of girls and boys at residential school.)

Ghoo-Noom-Tuuk-Tomith: Us children were forced to do that kind of work, and it was really tough on us children. It was terrible! And we’d get strapped for disobeying. Get strapped on our hands or on our bum. The children were, when they died, the parents weren’t informed. They were buried at the school there, without the parents’ knowledge of how their children died or what they died from.

Narrator: In 1917 the Nootka Packing Company established a cannery near Yuquot.

(Black and white photograph of cannery buildings built on a pier with many fishing boats anchored along it. Photos of women workers with smocks and their hair tied up.)

Narrator: Almost everyone worked there. While women worked in the cannery the men crewed on boats rented or bought with loans from the company.

(Black and white photograph of eight fishing boats lined up by the cannery.)

Ghoo-Noom-Tuuk-Tomith: We were doing really well, taking care of ourselves. Not getting rich, but actually living off the fishing industry. It was mostly just the First Nations people, Japanese and Chinese people. All the managers and bosses, they were all white people.

(Black and white photos of women cannery workers, and white cannery owner.)

Narrator: Canneries were once all along the BC coast. But, in order to increase their profits, the canning companies closed down the more remote canneries and built bigger ones in the cities.

(Animated map of canneries along the BC coast. Over time, there are fewer and fewer canneries.)

Narrator: The Nootka cannery closed in 1945. We tried to establish our own fishing cooperative.

Ghoo-Noom-Tuuk-Tomith: And that was destroyed to nothing. Took away the fish camp, took away everything. And it really, really hurt us. That was our living. Like I said, not to get rich, but living, eh.

Narrator: Rather than help to sustain our community, the government wanted to force us to leave Yuquot.

Ghoo-Noom-Tuuk-Tomith: We had 26 trolling boats here. They torched them away; they took some on a beach, and burnt them with the RCMP there. Because our people were afraid; our people were totally afraid of Indian Affairs, and the Commissioner, and the RCMP.

Narrator: The closing of Yuquot’s elementary school was the last straw. It meant we had to send our children away to Residential school at an even younger age. Families began to leave.

(Black and white photograph of a small one-story schoolhouse. Photo of a relative holding a young toddler.)

Chief Michael Maquinna: I left Yuquot when I was a youth. I lived there till I was about four or five years old. The times I remember was quite extraordinary and very family-oriented, very healthy community. We were vibrant by way of having economics and certainly had a good livelihood with regards to some of our resources and particularly the fishing industry.

(Series of black and white photographs of villagers smiling and posing for the camera.)

Narrator: The government permitted logging companies to begin cutting down our old-growth forest in the 1930’s.

(Contemporary image of dozens of log stumps on the banks of an inlet.)

Narrator: A major Hydro dam was built on our territory in the 1950’s.

(A black and white photograph of the large dam construction site.)

Narrator: The Myra Falls mine opened here in 1966. We were never consulted or adequately compensated for these resource developments.

(A colour photograph of the mine, with the excavated hillside behind.)

Chief Michael Maquinna: We’re colonized to the hilt and we hope to decolonize ourselves from that. Hopefully, as time goes on, we can achieve decolonization.

Narrator: In 1964, the Tahsis Company, opened a Pulp and Paper mill at Ahaminaquus near Gold River. Indian Affairs offered to build a new reserve for the band – 100 meters away from the mill.

(Videos of the inside of the pulp mill, with large machinery.)

Narrator: The band had agreed to move on the promise of the new jobs the mill would provide. Everyone was hopeful it would mark the start of a new modern time. But only a handful of us ever worked at the mill.

(Film footage of the Ahaminaquus housing development in the 1990s.)

(Margarita James is interviewed. She has a floral shirt, purple glasses, and gray hair pulled back. She sits in front of a bookshelf.)

Margarita James: My son Jordan was just a baby and I had him in a carrier on our deck as we do, nice day. I thought it was a nice day until I turned to look at him and he had fines all over him. It was like flour or powder sugar, all over him. And I said to his dad, “This is horrible.” And he said, “Well, it’s that mill.”

(Archival video of a Chief Jerry Jack pointing out an overhead photo of the reserve next to the mill.)

Chief Jerry Jack: Because of our people’s living conditions, here on the reserve has been another horror story. We are only living on 9 acres! This is the only piece of land we have left here. This here, and the mill leases out the rest. And a lot of our people are living in poverty here and we have a mill sitting right on our reserve. The smog and the smell and the noise. It’s just been really… It’s just been horrible, it’s just been horrible.

Margarita James: The mill during that time was horrific, like what Jerry Jack said, “It was a horror story.” Fines spewing out. The river, the fish were being affected – the stocks were being affected they’d been reduced to a handful.

(Video of a small motor boat sailing past the pulp mill as it releases huge billows of emissions.)

Margarita James: Just the conditions, the heavy trucks on the road… and just the water coming down from the river that we were drinking. There was no proper sewage system with the village of Gold River. It was just horrible, just horrible.

Chief Jerry Jack: And it had a really big psychological effect on our people, a really big psychological effect on them. And when we started moving back here it wasn’t the same. Our people wasn’t the same.

Narrator: In the 1970s elected chief band counsellor Mary Johnson and hereditary chief Jerry Jack led a campaign to close the mill and compensate the band. It took almost 20 years to resolve.

Margarita James: I came in 1982 as an interim band manager. There was an opportunity for a project about researching the files, and what came out of that project was files on the mill lease agreement, the history of it.

Narrator: The research discovered that the government falsely claimed to have consulted with band members on the mill lease agreement. An environmental health inspection also pronounced a number of the homes at Ahaminaquus were “unfit for human habitation”.

Margarita James: Our lawyers said this is not right, so we Mowachaht/Muchalaht filed a lawsuit against the Government of Canada. And it took 10 years to get our day in court. The council of chiefs signed the offer from the feds and the province for $9.6 million to relocate the 28 existing households on Ahaminaquus #12. “Where do you want to move to?” Everybody said, the majority of the people said, Yuquot. But the $9.6 was not enough to relocate the 28 homes, be able to provide schools, health services. So, we had to step back and ask what are our other options?

(A map animated with arrows and dotted lines show the long distance by sea from Ahaminaquus to Yuquot)  

Narrator: In 1996 the Band agreed to move to a new reserve at TsaXana, north of Gold River. The Mill closed in 1999 following a number of environmental violations. But what was to become of Yuquot?

Margarita James: It was Ambrose really, he recognized the importance of the global history, the world history at Yuquot. How everybody appreciated that European story because it really also emphasized the importance of Chief Maquinna and how important he was to the history of Canada. Maquinna was the first to say, “We want to share Yuquot with the world.” So how are we going to do that?

(Uplifting music and contemporary videos of families boarding onto a boat.)

Margarita James: What was established was an annual summer celebration. One day. And when we had the discussion with the Elders, it was decided that we would just celebrate everybody’s history at Yuquot on that day. The first Summerfest was August 28th, 1992. And that day was a celebration of the meeting of Captain Vancouver, Chief Maquinna and the Spanish Captain Bodega y Quadra.

(Video clips of the Summerfest in the 1990’s until now.)

Narrator: Other measures to encourage more tourists to visit Yuquot followed: In 1993, Chief Max Savey established a water taxi service for Yuquot and Nootka Sound. Later, six tourist cabins were built. Working with Parks Canada, the Elders developed a plan for Nis’Maas – an interpretive center. At the center we want our people to be the storytellers, to remove the colonizer lens and provide visitors with an Indigenous perspective on our history.

(Design sketches of Nis’Maas. The buildings resemble long houses, with cases inside for cultural belongings.)

Margarita James: So that’s the plans we have in Nis’Maas. I just find it very interesting, awesome, and fabulous that we have that opportunity to do that and I hope it happens in my lifetime. 

(Margarita smiles and looks into the dstance.)

Narrator: In 1923, the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada recognized Nootka Sound as a historic site. But the plaque they produced said nothing about Chief Maquinna or the Mowachaht people, or Yuquot. At the Summerfest in 2021, we celebrated with Parks Canada the arrival of a new plaque that tells our story from our perspective, about Yuquot, the center of our world – where the abundance and energy of the ocean meets the majesty and richness of the forest and inlets.

(Contemporary video shots of Summerfest with tents pitched by the beach. Some videos of the carving of the new plaques. The video finishes with a pan out of the Yuquot welcome post and beach. Drumming and singing music plays.)