Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Presents naaʔuu a Unique Cultural Experience in Tofino

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Launching March 2023, naaʔuu is a ticketed cultural experience presented by Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation, which will support Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks’ work in restoring and furthering the nation’s lands, language and culture. Join this unique event series for an evening of food, art, and cultural presentations.

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Presents naa?uu a Unique Cultural Experience in Tofino
Tim Masso & Hjalmer Wenstob – Photo by Melissa Renwick for ZenSeekers

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Presents naaʔuu

  • When: March 2023
  • Where: Best Western Plus Tin Wis Resort in Tofino
  • Tickets: A limited number of tickets are on sale starting today.
    • Use code 30Miss604 for $30 off!

Named after a Nuu-chah-nulth word that translates to “come together” and “feast,” naaʔuu includes a delicious dinner that celebrates traditional coastal cuisine prepared by Chef Ian Riddick, with support from his Heartwood Kitchen team and Tla-o-qui-aht food suppliers.

“I’m really delighted to get involved because I really think that it’s a story that has to be told. One of the reasons that I was drawn to this area, and friends and family are drawn to this area, is because of this deep sense of history that was here before us,” says Chef Riddick.

“The art and culture of Nuu-chah-nulth and Tla-o-qui-aht, where we reside, it’s incredible and kind of drives us every day. Living here, getting a chance to work with Tla-o-qui-aht fishers, gatherers, and chefs, it’s a huge opportunity. To me, this is a really special opportunity for us.”

Held at the Tla-o-qui-aht-owned Best Western Plus Tin Wis Resort in Tofino, ticket-holders are invited to gather inside the resort’s conference centre, which has been transformed to look and feel like a traditional long house.

“We’ve been going back and forth about how the evening will look, but it’s really about bringing people together, almost in our house. Like inviting people into our house,” says Co-Producer Hjalmer Wenstob. “naaʔuu is really about sharing together and feasting together.”

ZenSeekers has more information about naaʔuu available here.

Tla-o-qui-aht Voices

“The evening itself is going to be culture and history, but told from the our perspective. Up until now we haven’t always been able to have the voice at the forefront of telling history so being able to tell our history is what we’re really excited about. We haven’t had this opportunity yet to really invite folks in to learn from Tla-o-qui-aht perspective, with their own voices.”

Wenstob says that naaʔuu will be done with Tla-o-qui-aht presenters, Tla-o-qui-aht hosts, Tla-o-qui-aht chefs and food will come from Tla-o-qui-aht.

“It’s really about inviting you in and being able to share a bit. I think the sharing element is what’s important, it’s not just us lecturing or even presenting. It’s about the cultural exchange and the experience in that way.”

naaʔuu events will also include an art show where local artists and makers will have their works for sale.

“I want folks to come in and have an experience that they’re proud of, that we’re proud of sharing, that they’re proud of hearing, and send folks off so they know a little bit more.”

Wenstob says that while he doesn’t expect anyone to learn everything in such a short amount of time at the events, it is an opportunity to ask questions then head out on their own adventure with Tla-o-qui-aht.

“With Truth and Reconciliation, we’re at the truth point still and this is an opportunity for us to share some truth, and for folks to ask questions and learn a little bit and just know where they are. Tla-o-qui-aht has been there from a scientific perspective for over 10,000 years, from our perspective, time immemorial.  This is our opportunity to open the door a little tiny bit, let a little bit of light out, and then folks have to go and do some exploration themselves.”

In the last two years, Wenstob has seen an increase in interest in learning about local history, the local nations, the language and the art. “To see that desire from the outside community means that this is the time. This is the time to start coming together and sharing, and really learning together and growing together. Up until now it’s always been at a distance – ‘us and them’ – and we have to break that down so this is an opportunity to start that work.”

When You Go

When you purchase naaʔuu tickets know that you are supporting Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks with an experience that will leave anyone with a Tla-o-qui-aht perspective on life and the lands they call home.

Related: Indigenous Art & Voices

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