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NATURE
· Light and Life in the Ocean
FIRST PEOPLES
· Mowachaht-Muchalaht First Nations
HISTORY
· A Coastal Place
This is a link to a map of the waters of British Columbia with optional close-ups of the Southeastern Valleys and Vancouver Island's West Coast.

FOCUS  Vancouver Island’s West Coast - Coastal Waters

Mowachaht-Muchalaht First Nations
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This is Spanish artist Echeverria's rendering of Chief Maquinna dancing for Captains Francisco de Bodega y Quadra and George Vancouver.
For over two hundred years we have hosted European dignitaries in our territory. In 1792, the Spanish artist Echeverria recorded Chief Maquinna dancing for Captains Francisco de Bodega y Quadra and George Vancouver in his bighouse at Tahsis. Mowachaht-Muchalaht First Nations.
All who passed Yuquot had to stop and honour our great chiefs. And it was here over two hundred years ago that the first Spanish and British explorers came, followed shortly afterwards by fur traders from Great Britain, the United States and France seeking the riches of our territory. Britain and Spain came to the brink of war in the early 1790s, each vying to control our place.
During a 1992 celebration at Yuquot, Chief Maquinna exchanged a chief's hat, woven by Cecilia Savey, with a Spanish official for the captain's hat from the Spanish navy ship Juan Sebastian de Elcano. R.Inglis, Mowachaht-Muchalaht First Nations.
This is a photograph of Chief Maquinna exchanging a chief's hat for the captain’s hat from a Spanish official.

The coming of outsiders has been a difficult time for us. New diseases decimated our people. Government tried to control our lives with the Indian Act and Indian reserves. Many things were not done right. We recognize, however, that we have to move forward from the pain and indignities of the past.

We are still the owners of our territory, and the resources still sustain our people. We must be partners in making decisions on what happens here and in sharing the wealth that is generated. No longer will we be pushed aside in our place.

We are moving forward in this direction. In 1997 the Government of Canada commemorated Yuquot as a national historic site. The commemoration on the plaque, written in four languages – Mowachaht, English, French and Spanish – reads:

"To the Mowachaht-Muchalaht First Nations, Yuquot has always been the centre of their social, political and economic world. Whaling was a vital part of the life of the Mowachaht-Muchalaht, and of all the Nuu-chah-nulth peoples. Near here once stood the Whaler's Washing House, a unique ceremonial structure and the most significant monument to a purification ritual on the West Coast of North America. In the late 18th century, Yuquot became an important site of early contact between First Peoples and Europeans. Explorers and traders were attracted to this safe harbour, which they called Friendly Cove. As a result, Yuquot, also known as Nootka, developed into an important centre of trade and diplomacy, and it was briefly the site of Spain's only military establishment in present-day Canada. Yuquot became the focal point of the Nootka Sound Controversy of 1789–1794, when the rival interests of Great Britain and Spain brought those countries to the brink of war."

Chief Yahłua, Mike Maquinna, standing beside the Heritage Sites and Monuments Board of Canada plaque which outlines the national significance of Yuquot. R. Inglis, Mowachaht-Muchalaht First Nations.
This is a photograph of Chief Yahłua, Mike Maquinna, standing beside the Heritage Sites and Monuments Board of Canada plaque at Yuquot.
A Gray Whale rubbing in the gravels on the outside beach at Yuquot. R. Inglis, Mowachaht-Muchalaht First Nations.
This is a photograph of two people at the outside beach at Yuquot where a Gray Whale is rubbing in the gravels.
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