Huu ay aht
The Huu-ay-aht First Nations (HFN) is a self-governing, modern treaty Nation whose lands are located in the Barclay Sound region on the west coast of Vancouver Island at the entrance to the Port Alberni inlet. The lands and waters making up our traditional territories (Ha-houlthee) have been occupied by us since time immemorial. Today, Huu-ay-aht citizens number close to 750 and primarily reside around the village of Anacla, the Nation’s principal community close to Bamfield, as well as Port Alberni, the closest population center. The balance of our citizens live across Vancouver Island, in the Vancouver area, and beyond.
Huu-ay-aht First Nations is a member of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council and one of the 5 First Nations signatories to the Maa-nulth Final Agreement, the first modern-day treaty to be concluded on Vancouver Island. The treaty came into effect on April 1st, 2011, when the five Maa-nulth First Nations’ laws came into effect, marking a new era of ownership and self-government. Today, our Nation operates under a “made in Huu-ay-aht” Constitution, which supports the laws and policies that establish how the Huu-ay-aht government makes decisions on behalf of its citizens. As a result of the Treaty, the Huu-ay-aht First Nations has full ownership and jurisdiction over more than 8,200 hectares of land within their territories and continue to have rights throughout our Ha-houlthee (traditional territories).
With full control over these undisputed lands owned in fee simple, our Nation is able to govern the lands under our own laws. Seeking to leverage this strength, HFN Council and Hereditary Chiefs (Ha’wiih) have been actively seeking opportunities to engage in responsible and sustainable economic development in order to forward the HFN vision of working together to establish a healthy, prosperous, and self-sustaining community. Maintaining their historic role as caretakers of the lands, waters, and resources of their Ha-houlthee, the Huu-ay-aht Ha’wiih work closely with Elected Council to ensure that all development considerations are informed and guided by the long-held principles of iisaak (respect), uu-a-thluk (taking care of), and hishuk tsa’wak (everything is connected). Furthermore, Huu-ay-aht citizens themselves contribute to the governance of the Nation through regular People’s Assemblies, which employ a “direct democracy” model.
Building on a rich history, Huu-ay-aht First Nations is working to build a bright future for generations to come.