First Nations of the Alberni Valley
Port Alberni is located on traditional territory of the Tseshaht and Hupacasath First Nations, two of the fourteen nations of the Nuu-chah-nulth people of western Vancouver Island. The Huu-ay-aht First Nation, Uchucklesaht Tribe and Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council also have government offices in Port Alberni.
To learn about a place, first you must learn about its people.
First Nations Artisans and Attractions in the Community
Ahtsik Gallery specializes in handmade traditional art of the northwest coast. Ahtsik means “Creating to the best of your abilities,” the guiding philosopher of owner and artist Gordon Dick.
Carved from yellow cedar, this Nuu-chah-nulth Whaling Canoe sculpture is a tribute to the seafaring culture of the local Tseshaht and Hupacasath First Nations. The sculpture was originally housed in the Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria and is now on display at the Victoria Quay.
Location: Victoria Quay, Port Alberni, BC V9Y 6G3 (map)
The museum features collections of local Nuu-chah-nulth First Nation arts and culture; exhibits exploring the area’s industrial roots in forestry and fishing, local folk art, and hands-on displays for youngsters. Send a message on the telegraph or explore the drawers in this visible-storage museum. Come discover the mixture of cultures and people that come together to make the Alberni Valley the heart of the West Coast.
First Nations Historical Site on Vancouver Island
Those interested in exploring more First Nations history on Vancouver Island may want to visit the Kiix̣in historical site. Kiixin is the only known traditional First Nations village remaining on the west coast of southern B.C., with significant standing house remains. It is commemorated as a National Historic Site. Tours run May through September, and visitors are invited to hike the trail to Kiix̣in, while exploring Vancouver Island’s pristine rainforest, beautiful protected beaches, and significant standing house remains. Along the way, guests will learn much of Huu-ay-aht’s knowledge and history, as well as Indigenous culture in the region.
Approximately 2 hrs by car from Port Alberni, the Kiixin National Historical site is located on the rugged and beautiful west coast of Vancouver Island, in the remote community of Bamfield.
How to Get There
From Port Alberni, there are several ways to travel including car, boat and air.
- By Car: Take Ship Creek Rd to Franklin River Road for 2.4km (3 min). Continue on Franklin River Rd/Bamfield Main for 87.4km (1 hr 55 min)
- By Boat: Lady Rose Marine Services provides daily sailings (4hr 30min) to Bamfield year round
- By Air: Pacific Seaplanes has a regular flight (15 min) from Port Alberni to Bamfield (May 1 – Sept 30)
Visit kiixin.ca to learn more and book a guided tour.