First Nations cultures are an intrinsic part of the Alberni Valley’s makeup. Both the Tseshaht and the Hupacasath figure prominently in the current affairs of the area.
For thousands of years, the Hupacasath people have owned, used and occupied their traditional territory on Central Vancouver Island. Known as the most inland tribe on Vancouver island, their territory included the north end of the Alberni Inlet, Sproat Lake, Great Central Lake and the settled part of the Alberni Valley.
The native tribe is the Tseshaht people. Their traditional territory extends out to the Broken Group Islands in Barkley Sound, their traditional summer residence. In fact, they say they were created on Benson Island in the Broken Group.
These two tribes are two of the 14 nations that make up the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council.
Come visit the Ahtsik Native Art Gallery, with a variety of native art on display. Or visit Sproat Lake Provincial Park to view one of the most striking panels of prehistoric petroglyphs in BC. You can also visit the Tseshaht administration building on the bank of the Somass River by the Highway 4 bridge. It won two prestigious architectural awards.