Ucluelet First Nation

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Ucluelet First Nation is the First Nations treaty government of the Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ in the Canadian province of British Columbia (located on the west coast of Vancouver Island on the northwest side of Barkley Sound).


Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ – Ucluelet First Nation is located in the community of Hitacu, on the west coast of Vancouver Island, on the eastern shore of Ucluelet Inlet.


Prior to the Treaty, Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ was called the Ucluelet First Nation and the community where Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ lived was referred to as Ucluelet East or Ittatsoo IR1. In reclaiming their identity, the community opted to revert to the traditional name Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ and to use the traditional name of the community Hitacu. Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ = People of the calm harbour—So when referring to the entire nation as a group of citizens the Nation refers to itself as Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ (pronounced Yuuthlu-ilth-ath).

Reviving the traditional spoken language and adopting the International Phonetic Alphabet to use the written form of the language has been a priority for the Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ Government post treaty.

Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ – Ucluelet First Nation is part of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council (NTC) – an alliance of 14 Nuu-chah-nulth Tribes who share many aspects of their culture, language and traditions. The NTC is a non-profit society whose role it is to represent its member nations and provide a variety of programs and services to them.


Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ have lived off the lands of the west coast of Vancouver Island since time immemorial. During colonization 17 smaller tribes were brought together to live as one in the community of Hitacu. The traditional territory, or ḥaaḥuułi as it is called in the Nuu-chah-nulth language, extends to Kʷisitis, or the "other end of the beach", located in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve and to the Effingham and Nahmint areas in Barkley Sound.


The governments of Canada, British Columbia, and each of the five Maa-nulth First Nations (Huu-ay-aht First Nation, Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k’tles7et’h’ First Nations, Toquaht Nation, Uchucklesaht Tribe, and Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ) are Parties to the Maa-nulth First Nations Final Agreement - Vancouver Island’s first modern-day treaty and the first multi-nation treaty under the British Columbia treaty commission process - which came into force on the Effective Date of April 1, 2011.

The Treaty is intended to remove barriers to socio-economic prosperity by settling claims of Aboriginal rights to land and resources, and by enabling each of the five Maa-nulth First Nations to govern themselves. A comprehensive land claims agreement, which also sets out the governing authorities of the Maa-nulth First Nations. Through the Treaty, Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ received 199 hectares of its former reserve lands and 5,147 hectares of former Provincial Crown Lands, plus 92 hectares of fee-simple and surplus federal government lots that are located within the District of Ucluelet.


Today, the community lives reasonably within their means. With a downturn of the major forestry industry, shortage of work in the fishing industry and closure of on-shore local processing plants, many members of the community are now employed in the rapidly growing tourism industry, while others are upgrading their education or gaining employment with smaller forestry companies.

The goal of the Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ is to continue with the planning and development of the new subdivision or Official Community Plan (OCP), which will provide more housing units and community centres for the Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ.

The children/youth (Kindergarten through Grade 12) commute to school by bus to the town of Ucluelet where they attend either Ucluelet Elementary School or Ucluelet Secondary School. In Hitacu, educational programs are offered through the Adult Basic Education Centre or at the qʷayac̓iikʔiis Day Care. During the summer, children/youth join a summer day camp where they participate in many different activities that offer them experience and encourage exercise.

The summer season is a time for community members to harvest, prepare and stock food for the winter season. During this time many items such as halibut, salmon, herring and berries are prepared traditionally by smoking or drying; or by jarring. Throughout the year other traditional foods are stocked such as deer, ducks, herring eggs, crab, sea urchin, clams, oysters and mussels.

The Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ is proud to have the talent that thrives in and outside our community. There are many men and woman, who express themselves traditionally and artistically through carving, beading and weaving. Marking our time in history, the first ever totem pole was raised in March 2005. Artist, James Cootes (a.k.a. Hudson) designed the totem with a thunderbird, killer whale, bear and a salmon. The pole is located at Kʷisitis (Wickanninnish Beach) and sits as a welcoming figure noting a historical place where Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ ancestors gathered during the fishing season.


The Nation has approximately 685 citizens, with approximately 70% of those citizens who are urban - living outside of Hitacu - mainly on Vancouver Island in Port Alberni, Nanaimo and Victoria.


Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ Government – Ucluelet First Nation is located in the community of Hitacu, on the west coast of Vancouver Island, on the eastern shore of Ucluelet Inlet. The community of Hitacu is located approximately 14 kilometres from the township of Ucluelet, and is located approximately 18 kilometres from the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.

Hiłstiis Hupiiʔuł—Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ - Ucluelet First Nation Port Alberni Satellite Office is located in Port Alberni, British Columbia. Pronounced ‘hilth-stees hupee-ulth’, the word means: Hiłstiis = Head of Canal (meaning Port Alberni) and Hupiiʔuł = Helping Place.

Hereditary System[edit]

The hereditary system of the Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ originates from a congregation of 17 Ucluelet tribes, which each had a Ha’wilth (Chief) and associated Ha’houlthee. Most Ha’wilth retained a Tsaksi (speaker on behalf of the chief) who represented the Ha’wilth in tribal affairs. The Ha’wiilth had a number of Tupatsi, or advisors, who played an important role in influencing the direction of tribal affairs. When Europeans arrived in the 18th century, these tribes were still vibrant as autonomous entities, operating in a manner similar to a federation. However, with the development of, dare we to say, atrocious Canadian assimilation policies for aboriginal groups, the Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ tribes eventually merged to form the current Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ.

So while many of the 17 tribes are defunct today as governance structures, families are aware of which house and tribe they belong to historically. The current Tyee (head Ha’wilth) for the Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ is Wilson Jack.

Most importantly, as proposed in the Maa-nulth Treaty, the Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ Constitution sets up an integrated hereditary/elected governance system which permanently reserves a seat for one Ha’wiih on Council.

Elected System[edit]

(Quoted from the nation's Election Act YFNS 8/2011)

Through our inherent right to self-government, the Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ has preserved and protected our territories and culture with the advice and counsel of our Ha’wiih. While embracing our past and relying on the guidance provided by our Ha’wiih, as a self-governing treaty first nation, the Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ also recognizes the importance of responsible government and the honour and integrity of our elected representatives.

The Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ assumes the responsibility of providing transparent and accountable government through impartial, open, fair and free elections. This requires an electoral process that is conducted with honesty and integrity for the common good of all Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ citizens.

Through the establishment of election rules and procedures to realize these goals, Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ elections will be conducted in a manner that promotes public confidence and trust in the integrity of Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ elected officials and the Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ government.

The Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ adopted the Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ (FN) Elections Act (YFNS 8/2011) based on these values.

(End Quote)

Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ Government consists of a Legislative branch, an Executive branch and a People’s Assembly (referred to as the Hitacu Assembly). The Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ Legislature consists of eight legislative members, including the President (elected Chief) and a representative of the Ḥawiiḥ Advisory Committee, which is composed of Hereditary Chiefs. Four of the Legislative members are appointed to the Executive Branch of the Legislature along with the President. The Executive has the duty and power to enforce Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ laws and manage Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ affairs, Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ financial administration and the operation of the Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ government in accordance with Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ laws. The Legislature meets to review recommendations from the Executive and to enact legislation.

Business and Economic Development[edit]

Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ Government believes that a healthy and prosperous future requires the nation and its members to pursue development that is socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable and free of political influence.

YFN Holdings Limited Partnership oversees the businesses owned and or operated by the Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ and seeks to attract new investment. Here are some of our business activities. 1. Wya Point Surf Shop

Operated by UFN Member Tyson Touchie www.wyapointsurfshop.com

2. Wya Point Resort: www.wyapoint.com

Luxury Lodges (9) Yurts (15) Serviced RV Sites (7) Unserviced RV Sites (12) Camping Sites – Walk-In Tenting Sites (20) YFN Private Camping Site (must sign in at Welcome Centre for parking pass)

3. Kʷisitis Gift Shop located in Kʷisitis Visitor Center at Wickanninish Beach in Pacific Rim National Park


4. Thornton Motel, 1861 Peninsula Avenue, Ucluelet, BC


Standard Suites (6) Queen Suites (6) 1 and 2-Bedroom Suites with full kitchens (4)

Looking Back[edit]

The Treaty opens many opportunities for economic development. One of the key questions is how to attract people back to the community. The housing situation has dramatically improved with some innovative projects. The next step is to create jobs so that people can feel drawn back “home.”



  • "Nuu-chah-nulth Central Region Governance Structures". Ecotrust Canada. September 2008.

External links[edit]