Tour An Ancient First Nations Village Site on Vancouver Island

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I still remember my first Kiixin experience (while on assignment with ZenSeekers) in 2018, in fact I can still feel it with all of my senses, from 250km away. The walk through the lush coastal rainforest, following guides from the Huu-ay-aht First Nations, the scent of sun-kissed cedar washed over by a wave of crisp sea air as we approached the beach. The beat of our guide Wishkii‘s drum, the song he sang, and the story of the 5,500+ year old Kiixin National Historic Site all around us. The house posts that remain, the whale bones embedded in the earth that add even more to the story. It’s a spiritual feeling that’s stayed with me for over three years. Now, imagine how significant this place must be to Huu-ay-aht, and how fortunate we are that they have graciously opened it up to visitors.

Kiixin Tour, Wishkii - Photo by Jaiden George for ZenSeekers
Kiixin Tour, Wishkii – Photo by Jaiden George for ZenSeekers

Tour An Ancient First Nations Village Site

Kiixin National Historic site is located on Vancouver Island’s west coast, just outside of Bamfield within Huu-ay-aht First Nations traditional lands.  Read more in this interview with Wishkii that Jaiden George wrote for ZenSeekers.

“Kiixin is our National Historic Site, and one of the main reasons why it was designated that is because it’s the only place on the South Coast of British Columbia where you can see actual remnants of traditional longhouses,” Wishkii told ZenSeekers. “It’s truly a chance to go on a journey with the ancestors, a journey through time.”

Kiixin Tour, Wishkii - Photo by Jaiden George for ZenSeekers
Kiixin Tour, Wishkii – Photo by Jaiden George for ZenSeekers

Wishkii is a desginated speaker for the hereditary Chief and is one of several guides for Kiixin Tours. “On the tour I get the chance to talk about Huu-ay-aht’s history and culture and most importantly the family of our chief and my own family’s history. It’s an opportunity for me to share that and talk about that on a regular basis.”

Four hour tours are offered daily and several times on weekends. It’s so much more than a walking tour to a beautiful place. There is so much meaning behind in this forest and on these shores.

Kiixin Tour, Wishkii - Photo by Jaiden George for ZenSeekers
Kiixin Tour, Wishkii – Photo by Jaiden George for ZenSeekers

“Kiixin provides a link to the past and gives us an opportunity to look at where we’re at now, and plan for the future so that we can make our world a much better place, an educated place.” Wishkii says Huu-ay-aht means resiliency; Through disasters, hunger, famine, war, and colonialism. “I believe in learning and unlearning both at the same time, because we were always taught from a certain perspective – a colonial perspective – of the history of this land but now we have an opportunity where we can see beyond those 150 plus years that our village is ancient and that there’s a tremendous amount of history.”

Kiixin Tour, Wishkii - Photo by Jaiden George for ZenSeekers
Kiixin Tour, Wishkii – Photo by Jaiden George for ZenSeekers

Kiixin gives visitors the opportunity to see a full circle of connectivity, the past, present and the future of Huu-ay-aht.

“Even the hike in itself, you get a chance to see how connected we are to Mother Nature and as we get into the village site you get to see how connected we are to even the cosmos.” The Kiixin logo features three stars which reflect this continuous presence and connection. “Having that Huu-ay-aht perspective and that view, that vantage point, shared with the world helps in the reconciliation piece of where we are, modern day.”

Kiixin Tour, Wishkii - Photo by Jaiden George for ZenSeekers
Kiixin Tour, Wishkii – Photo by Jaiden George for ZenSeekers

On the tour you’ll visit the ancient village site, which is 5,500 plus years old — 5,500 being the earliest confirmed date but it’s believed to be much older. You’ll see remnants of the village including standing posts from the Whaling House.

There is a nearby village, where Huu-ay-aht have modern structures, and they felt it was important to preserve the historic site as it was, to maintain that link to the past. “It’s very important to the continuum of Huu-ay-aht,” Wishkii says. “To always look at: Where have I been, where am I now, and where do I want to be? Moving into the future.”

Kiixin Tour, Wishkii - Photo by Jaiden George for ZenSeekers
Kiixin Tour – Photo by Jaiden George for ZenSeekers

The Kiixin National Historic site plays a role in cultural tourism, and the sharing of Huu-ay-aht culture for all. It also benefits the community, as when you visit you can support Indigenous owned-and-operated businesses, from accommodations to shops. Wishkii believes that it’s another way that demonstrates how everything is connected.

Book your 2021 tour now until mid-September or plan ahead for next season.

When You Go

Getting to Kiixin can be done in two ways:

  • Driving out of Port Alberni, noting that it is an approximately 1.5-hour drive along an active gravel logging road.  A vehicle with good tires and ideally 4X4 is recommended.
  • Float plane via Pacific Sea Planes 

Accommodations located within Bamfield are less than 10 mins from the Kiixin National Historic Site include Huu-ay-aht First Nations group of businesses:

Kiixin Tours are approximately four hours in length, offered daily and multiple times on the weekend. Day tours are by donation (don’t forget to tip your guide) while the evening tours are $30 per person / $50 per couple. Book online here.

BC Vaccine Card & Proof of Vaccination

Comments 10 by Rebecca Bollwitt

A BC Vaccine Card is coming. By order of the Provincial Health Officer (“PHO”), proof of vaccination will be required to access some events, services and businesses. Starting September 13, you must have at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. By October 24, you must be fully vaccinated.

BC Vaccine Card & Proof of Vaccination

Proof of Vaccination in BC

The requirement applies to all people born in 2009 or earlier (12+) and covers:

  • Indoor ticketed concerts, theatre, dance, symphony and sporting events
  • Indoor and outdoor dining at restaurants, pubs and bars
  • Nightclubs and casinos 
  • Movie theatres 
  • Gyms, pools and recreation facilities 
    • Does not include youth recreational sport
  • Indoor high intensity group exercise 
  • Indoor organized gatherings like weddings, parties, conferences, meetings and workshops
  • Indoor organized group recreational classes and activities like pottery and art
    • Does not include K to 12 school and before and after school programs
  • Post-secondary on-campus student housing

Events, businesses and services will ask to see your Proof of vaccination and valid government ID.

The requirement is in place until January 31, 2022, subject to extension.

You’ll be able to show your proof of vaccination easily using the BC vaccine card website. 

Vaccination Key Dates

September 13: Partially vaccinated: By September 13, you must be partially vaccinated. You’re partially vaccinated with 1 dose. 

October 24: Fully vaccinated: By October 24, you must be fully vaccinated. You’re fully vaccinated 7 days after dose 2. 

The secure website will be available for September 13, 2021 and will provide confidential access to your proof of vaccination.

You’ll be able to save your vaccine card to your smartphone and show it when accessing events, services and businesses. A secure paper option will also be available for September 13.  

To access your BC vaccine card, you’ll need to provide:

  • Name
  • Date of birth 
  • Personal Health Number (PHN)

Read the full details of this announcement online here.

vaccine website

How to Get Your Vaccine Card

(Update Sept 7, 2021)

This morning the government soft-launched the vaccine card website. Due to a high volume of traffic the website is experiencing delays so I would recommend you try any time in the next couple of days, early morning or late night.

Here’s how to get your card:

  • Go to this website and click on Get my BC Vaccine Card
    • You’ll need your Personal Health Number, Date of Birth, and a date of one of your two vaccine doses.
    • Your QR code will appear and you can take a screenshot on your phone or computer to save the code. You can keep it on your device or print it out after that.
  • You can also call 1-833-838-2323 7 days a week from 7am to 7pm and they will mail you a paper copy.

You can still show your vaccination card (the one handed to you when you got your doses) until September 27th as proof of vaccination. After that you will need to have this vaccine card (code) to enter some non-essential establishments.

q̓ʷɑti̓cɑ: k̓ʷam̓k̓ʷəm̓ tə šxʷhəliʔ Phyllis Atkins: Divine Connection

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This fall, Surrey Art Gallery launches the solo exhibition q̓ʷɑti̓cɑ: k̓ʷam̓k̓ʷəm̓ tə šxʷhəliʔ / Phyllis Atkins: Divine Connection from September 18 to December 11, 2021. q̓ʷɑti̓cɑ / Phyllis Atkins makes paintings and sculptures that draw from both Coast Salish tradition and her own personal journey to connect with the world around her. In her first solo exhibition at the Gallery, she presents three new life-and spirit-affirming artworks. 

q̓ʷɑti̓cɑ / Phyllis Atkins next to her public artwork A Bear’s Feast (sƛ̓ənəqs kʷə speʔəθ) in civic collection of City of Maple Ridge. Photo by Oliver Rathonyi-Reusz.
q̓ʷɑti̓cɑ / Phyllis Atkins next to her public artwork A Bear’s Feast (sƛ̓ənəqs kʷə speʔəθ) in civic collection of City of Maple Ridge. Photo by Oliver Rathonyi-Reusz.

q̓ʷɑti̓cɑ: k̓ʷam̓k̓ʷəm̓ tə šxʷhəliʔ Phyllis Atkins: Divine Connection

  • When: September 18 to December 11, 2021
    • Drop-in launch on September 18, 2021 from 7:00pm to 9:00pm at Surrey Art Gallery. Formal remarks begin at 7:30pm.
  • Where: Surrey Art Gallery (13750 88 Ave, Surrey)
  • Admission: Free

The exhibition foregrounds the importance of circular form and symbolism: while each work alludes to icons such as the moon or weaving technologies, the repeating circular shapes also evoke a handheld drum and its critical importance to Coast Salish culture and revitalization.

“I am on my true life path, honouring my gifts from the Creator and sharing them with others,” says Atkins. “Divine Connection is a reflection of my life, my healing journey.”

The focal point of the exhibition is ƛ̓a tə qələms tə c̓ic̓əɬ səy̓em̓ / The Creator’s Eye, a multimedia sculpture that combines a circular painted panel elevated two metres off the ground with long strands of woven cedar tumbling from its bottom edge. This artwork is partly based on a Coast Salish spindle whorl design. A spindle whorl is a traditional tool, using a disc and shaft, for spinning wool. The eye in the middle of Atkins’s artwork is enclosed between two faces.

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Megaphone Breakfast Fundraiser

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Join Megaphone Magazine on September 22nd for the annual Megaphone Breakfast Fundraiser! This will be a hybrid in-person and online event that will look slightly different to previous breakfasts but will still bring you the same heart-warming, inspirational and meaningful connection to vendors that make the event so special.

Megaphone Breakfast Fundraiser

Megaphone Breakfast Fundraiser

When: Wednesday, September 22, 2021 from 7:30am to 9:00am
Where: In-person at 312 Main St, Vancouver & online
Tickets: Book online or in-person ticket here ($38-$81)

Funds raised will help Megaphone’s Vendor Program come back strong after a challenging pandemic year.

Prior to the program, guests will have a chance to visit with Megaphone vendors and peers at various stations, where they’ll help you navigate the app, flip through the Megaphone magazine and Hope in Shadows archives, and be the first to hear about a special project Megaphone peers are releasing soon.

After catching up, guests will sit down to hear the keynote address from climate justice advocate, Kai Nagata, and celebrate the announcement of Megaphone’s Vendor of the Year 2021. Be inspired as we take another step together in changing the story on poverty!

The in-person tickets for this event are limited to 50 in order to maintain the health and safety of vendors and guests. If in-person tickets have sold-out or you’d prefer to tune into the program livestream, they’ve tried to make this a special experience for you too.

Online guests can choose to bring their own breakfast or opt for receiving a $15 JJ Bean gift card to purchase a coffee and breakfast from whichever location they prefer before jumping online from the home office at 7:45am to be part of the Megaphone Breakfast program. 

About Megaphone

Published every month, Megaphone is a magazine sold on the streets of Vancouver by homeless and low-income vendors. Megaphone also runs writing workshops in the Downtown Eastside and downtown Vancouver for marginalized writers. Shop online now or find a vendor near you.

Miss604’s Rebecca Bollwitt is a proud contributor to the magazine, since April 2021, writing the Heartbeats column that shines a spotlight on non-profit organizations in the community and the amazing people behind them.

Sho Sho Esquiro: Doctrine of Discovery

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Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art presents the Canadian premiere exhibition of Sho Sho Esquiro: Doctrine of Discovery from September to June.

Sho Sho Esquiro: Doctrine of Discovery
Top Left: Grace(2016),Also called Moma yeh estsu yeh Giyets’ edih – Honouring our Mothers and Grandmothers. Lynx paws, recycled Indonesian prayer scarves, 24K beads, brocade upholstery fabric, twill edging. Photograph courtesy of the artist. Bottom Left: Sho Sho Esquiro(2016).Photograph by Matika Wilbur. Right: They Stole the Children from the Land Notre Dame, Paris, France(2019).

Sho Sho Esquiro: Doctrine of Discovery

  • When: September 22, 2021–June 5, 2022
    • Open Wednesdays to Sunday 11:00am to 5:00pm
  • Where: Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art (639 Hornby St, Vancouver)
  • Tickets: Book online in advance or upon arrival for $6-$13.
    • Free admission from 2:00pm to 5:00pm every first Friday of the month thanks to the Downtown Vancouver BIA. Free for current SFU students. Free for Indigenous Peoples and Gallery Members.

The solo exhibition by award-winning designer, artist, and activist Sho Sho Esquiro showcases meticulously crafted couture gowns, raw textiles, paintings and photographs to celebrate the beauty, strength and resilience of First Nations communities in the face of historical and ongoing trauma.

Curated by Miranda Belarde-LewisSho Sho Esquiro: Doctrine of Discovery inspires conversations around genocidal colonial practices, confronts the theft and murder of Indigenous women and children, and honours activists on the front lines.

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