Toquaht First Nation
The Toquaht Nation is one of the smallest First Nations in terms of membership within the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council (NTC), and is the smallest of the Central Region First Nations. There are roughly 23 people currently living at the main village of Macoah, which is accessible off Highway 4 on Kennedy Lake, with the remainder of the citizens living in Ucluelet, Port Alberni, and other cities in the Northwest. The Nation has about 150 citizens in total.
Despite its small size the Toquaht Nation has, within the NTC and the Central Region First Nations, engaged in active political leadership, business initiatives, cultural events, and been a proponent of the Maa-nulth First Nations Final Agreement. On April 1, 2011, the Maa-nulth First Nations Final Agreement was implemented, the second treaty to be implemented under the BC treaty process.
For thousands of years the Toquaht Nation, like many Nuu-chah-nulth Nations, maintained a hereditary system of governance. Under the Maa-nulth First Nations Final Agreement, however, Toquaht moved towards an elected Chief and Council system, while maintaining traditional governance approaches. This hybrid model has the first two hereditary Chiefs holding permanent seats on Council, with three other Councillors being elected every four years. The government structure consists of a legislative branch, an executive branch, and a people’s assembly. The Toquaht Nation reserves the right to establish a judicial branch as well.
In January, 2009, in a traditional ceremony Bert Mack passed on Chieftainship to Anne Mack, who succeeds him after a reign of over 50 years. Kevin Mack is on Council as Chaa-maa-taa (Second chief), along with 3 elected Councillors: Carlos Mack, Noah Plonka and Naomi Mack.
The Toquaht Nation has a small administrative structure which oversees social and economic development programs, treaty implementation, and governance coordination. Their administration's phone number is 250-726-4230.
Business and Economic Development
The Toquaht Nation and its citizens manage or own businesses including:
- Barkley Sound Shellfish L.P.
- Toquaht Bay Marina and Campground L.P.
- Toquaht Development L.P.
- Toquaht Enterprises L.P.
- Toquaht Management L.P.
- Timber Mill at Macoah (currently not in use)
- Toquaht Heritage Society
- Toquaht Nation Traditional Canoe Project (in funding stage)
The implementation of the Maa-nulth First Nations Final Agreement freed the Toquaht Nation from the Indian Act and re-established self-governance and control over Toquaht traditional territories. Under the Maa-nulth treaty, Toquaht regained control of 1,489 hectares of land with an option to purchase 721 more hectares over 15 years. This was a significant increase to the 199 hectares of Indian Reserve lands that were held in trust for the Toquaht Nation under the Indian Act.
Ecotrust Canada. Jackie Godfrey, "The Toquaht Nation," in Daniel Arbour, Brenda Kuecks & Danielle Edwards (editors). Nuu-chah-nulth Central Region First Nations Governance Structures 2007/2008, Vancouver, September 2008.