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Indigenous Peoples

Ucluelet is a Nuu-chah-nulth (Nootka) word most known as ‘People of the Safe Harbour.’ More accurately Ucluelet People, lit. ‘Dwellers of the Protected Place Inside’. The Ucluth peninsula has been inhabited by the Yuu-tluth-aht Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ people as far back as 4,300+ years ago.

The Ucluth Peninsula has a significant First Nations history, inhabited by the Yuu-tluth-aht Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ (Nootka) people for thousands of years. The Yuu-tluth-aht Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ have stories and legends about living in the Ucluelet area dating back as far as 4,300+ years ago. One of Nuu-chah-nulth’s primary teachings is ‘Hishuk ish is’ awalk’ or ‘Everything is one.’ The land and the sea gave them food and supported their livelihood and culture and we continue to honour that spirit here today.

Photo by Mark Penney

Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ (Ucluelet First Nation) are a post-contact consolidation of at least seven previously independent primary groups that each consisted of multiple sub-groups and families (Inglis and Haggarty, 1986

The modern Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ are the descendants of the following primary groups:

  • Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ – from yuułuʔił village, Ucluth Beach
  • Huʔułʔatḥ – from Huʔuł village, to the far right of Florencia Bay Beach (Pacific Rim National Park)
  • K̓ inaxuumasʔatḥ – From kʷisitis village, Wickaninnish Beach (Pacific Rim National Park)
  • Hitac̓ uʔatḥ – from hitaču village
  • Hinap̓ iiʔisʔatḥ – from Hinap̓ iiʔis village, Spring Cove
  • W̓ aayiʔatḥ – from W̓aayi village, Wya Point
  • Kᵂaayimt̓aatḥ from kʷaayimt̓a Village. Which is a beach in hitacu (unknown English name)

 

Additional known primary groups descend from locations including:

  • ƛakmaqisʔatḥ – Clakamucus, upper Ucluth Peninsula
  • namint – Nahmint Valley

Ucluelet resides on the Ucluth Peninsula, traditional territory of the Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ. Lands and beaches along the peninsula, in conjunction with those listed above; Big Beach (ʔiiḥatis), Little Beach (ƛawačaqtu), Hitinqis Park (Hitinqis Tašii), Terrace Beach (čiisanapuwis), Amphitrite Point (ʔič̓aačišt), and the now Pacific Rim National Park; Island off Florencia Bay Beach (qaanimč̓a) and South Beach (tuč̓uuwis), are rich in Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ history and remain sensitive environments.

Today, Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ (Government) is a modern treaty government, located in hitac̓u. There are approximately 700 Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ citizens, 200 located in hitac̓u and residing urban citizens throughout Vancouver Island, across Canada and the United States. The Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ Government jurisdiction extends over nearly 5,500 hectares of Treaty Settlement Land surrounding the community of hitac̓u, as well as territory north of Ucluelet, in the Effingham Inlet, and along the Nahmint River.

The Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ Government is a member of the Maa-nulth Treaty Society and through the Maa-nulth First Nations Final Agreement, is a modern treaty nation operating with a government-to-government relationship with Canada and the province of British Columbia. The Maa-nulth Final Agreement came into effect on April 1, 2011. In short, Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ was released from the Indian Act, giving authority over lands cultural preservation, exercising treaty rights, and government operation.