Inhabited by Huu-ay-aht ancestors for more than 5,000 years, Kiix̣in is the only known remaining complete traditional First Nations village on the southern B.C. West Coast. Though the National Historic Site has lain empty for more than 300 years, the Huu-ay-aht First Nations has brought Kiix̣in back to life as an authentic tourism experience that brings visitors intimately close to the region's culture, history and nature.
During the Kiix̣in experience, guests hike the trail to the site, exploring Vancouver Island's pristine old-growth rainforest and beautiful protected beaches. Along the way, guides will share Huu-ay-aht's knowledge, history, and culture, weaving stories that transport guests back to Kiix̣in as it first stood. Once they have reached the site, visitors will see significant standing remains of the original fortress, where 15 to 20 original longhouses once stood. Guests will wander among the ruins; explore the surrounding forest and beaches; and gaze upon the fortress look-out, where
the Huu-ay-aht once kept watch for invaders and grey whales.
Each tour to Kiix̣in lasts approximately three hours and is guided by Huu-ay-aht traditional knowledge holders. The tours were originally launched last summer as part of a pilot project. This year Huu-ay-aht plans to offer a full tour season from May 19 to September 30. Tours to the site are complimentary.
The Kiix̣in Village and Fortress National Historic Site of Canada is located on the west coast of Vancouver Island, strategically set between the exposed, rugged outer coast and the protected inner waters of Barkley Sound, British Columbia. The 19th-century village and fortress exhibit evidence of occupation dating back to 1000 B.C.E., and is still considered a sacred site to present-day Huu-ay-aht First Nations. Official recognition refers to four distinct archaeological sites, which include the main village and fortress sites and two other related archaeological sites.
Kiix̣in is the traditional capital village of the Huu-ay-aht, a Nuu-chah-nulth First Nation. It is the only known First Nations village of more than 100 villages on the southern British Columbia coast that still features significant, standing traditional architecture. Much is known about Kiix̣in thanks to a wealth of historic information collected from oral histories, archaeology, and archival records, which demonstrate continuous occupation of the area for almost 3,000 years. The area is characteristic of Nuu-chah-nulth defensive sites and warfare patterns, resource extraction and commercial practices, and illustrates the changing Nuu-chah-nulth political and economic patterns of the 18th and 19th centuries.
The Kiix̣in tours will depart daily from Bamfield, B.C., and are complimentary. To book, e-mail [email protected] or call 250-735-3432. For more information, visit www.Kiixin.ca.