naaʔuu Indigenous Experience in Tofino with Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation

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You are invited to feast with Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation in Tofino this season as you savour naaʔuu, an Indigenous cultural experience through food, art, song and dance.

Roberta Tom for Naauu prep in British Columbia 2024, for Zen Seekers.
naaʔuu Indigenous Experience in Tofino with Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation caterer Roberta Tom – Photo by Bryanna Bradley for ZenSeekers.

naaʔuu Indigenous Experience in Tofino with Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation

  • Dates: Fridays and Saturdays in June, 2024 6pm to 9pm
  • Location: Best Western Plus Tin Wis Resort (1119 Pacific Rim Hwy, Tofino)
  • Tickets: Available online now. Miss604 readers get $40 off! Use code: 40Miss604 at checkout.

You’ve maybe hiked, walked, surfed, and enjoyed its storms, but Tofino’s magic comes from another very special source: its people, culture, and history.

This limited event series supports Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks work in restoring and furthering the nation’s lands, language and culture.

I was fortunate to experience naaʔuu during its limited run last year, where we gathered inside the resort’s conference center, which was transformed into the feel of a traditional longhouse. The three-hour Indigenous experience shared cultural presentations, and depicted the Nation’s history through song, dance, and traditional carvings coming to life over a delicious dinner.

It’s informative, enchanting, mesmerizing, and deeply moving. All of your senses come alive with intrigue, from the scent of cedar, to the taste of the bannock, and your heart – and belly – will be delightfully full.

Thunderbird totem in Tofino - Bryanna Bradley for Zen Seekers.
Thunderbird totem in Tofino – Bryanna Bradley for ZenSeekers.

The Food

Named after a Nuu-chah-nulth word that translates to “come together” and “feast,” naaʔuu’s menu, crafted by caterer Roberta Tom, includes dishes such as bannock with berry preserves, BBQ cedar plank salmon, foraged greens, steamed crab, herring roe, baked halibut, roasted potatoes with herbs, and more. Savour some nettle tea or a nettle tea brownie for dessert.

Catering at naauu photo by Bryanna Bradley for ZenSeekers
Catering at naaʔuu photo by Bryanna Bradley for ZenSeekers

“I wanted to show the world that we know about Chinese food. We know about Italian food. We eat all those kind of foods when we go out and about. But I never see any restaurants that would do the food that’s from our area,” says Tom. “That was my dream.”

“I have been taught by my mother and my grandmother, my grandparents about food and about the importance of food and the way we have harvest in different locations, different seasons. We take what we need, and that’s all. And then if we have extra, we share.”

Read more about the Women of naaʔuu

Co-Producer Maria Clark sees naaʔuu as a springboard to a much more ambitious plan for Tla-o-qui-aht citizens to realize a bigger piece of Tofino’s multi-million-dollar tourism economy. “naaʔuu provides a platform for our people to showcase our culture, on our terms and includes spin offs to future opportunities growing Tla-o-qui-aht’s piece of the Tofino Tourism pie.”

The Art & Culture

Ivy Cargill-Martin is a Tla-o-qui-aht multidisciplinary artist, as well as the art director of the naaʔuu experience. She will be bringing to life large scale Tla-o-qui-aht curtains that will be on display in the Tin Wis Conference Center, one of the many highlights of the naaʔuu evenings. 

“It’s definitely our way of storytelling and keeping traditions alive in a sense, there was no written information… the totem poles tell a story, our family curtain tells a story. Being able to do these curtains is fun because now I get to tell a story too.”

Get your tickets for naaʔuu here
Dates: June 7, 8, 14, 15, 22, 28 & 29

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