ANACLA (Bamfield) – Near a pristine beach, the ancient village of Kiixin is veiled behind cedar branches. Intricately carved house-posts still stand, a testament to the ancestral homeland of Tyee Ha’wilth Nutchquoa (Head Chief Derek Peters) and the ancient capital of the Huu-ay-aht First Nation.
“We have kept Kiixin covered for a hundred years, and now we’re almost ready to share it with the world,” said Huu-ay-aht Chief Councillor Robert Dennis.
Designated as a National Heritage Site in 2000, the village of Kiixin (pronounced ‘KEY-hin’) was the centre of Huu-ay-aht government and once included 15 massive longhouses.
Today, dozens of the large house-posts still stand, and middens behind the largest longhouses are laden with whalebones from the once-common feasts.
“Kiixin will soon become a cornerstone of our tourism strategy, as we work with Parks Canada to become partners on the West Coast Trail and show off the natural history of our area,” said Dennis.
The pair of carved welcome figures that have greeted visitors to the Royal BC Museum in Victoria for the past few decades were taken from Kiixin, and the site continues to fascinate anthropologists and archaeologists.
As part of the historic Maa-nulth final agreement on April 1, the Huu-ay-aht First Nation will work with Parks Canada, jointly managing the West Coast Trail Unit of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve within their traditional territories.