Ahousat
The village of Ahousat is located on the southeast shore of Flores Island off the west coast of Vancouver Island, near the town of Tofino. Ahousat is populated predominantly by members of the Ahousaht First Nation, which is the largest contemporary member nation of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council.1 The Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council consists of 14 First Nations located along the west coast of Vancouver Island, spanning 300 kilometers from Brooks Peninsula in the north to Point-no-Point in the south.2
The village was not always located on Flores Island; originally, the village site was located on Vargas Island, not far from its current location.3 The word Ahousaht means facing opposite from the ocean or people living with their backs to the land and mountains, in the Nuučaańuł language, aptly reflecting the Ahousaht's strong maritime traditions.4
This despatch, from Commander John W. Pike to Rear Admiral Joseph Denman, discusses several Indian outrages upon white men. One of these outrages is what historians call the “Ahousaht Incident,” an event in which a group of Nuu-chah-nulth captured the Kingfisher and killed its crew in Clayoquot Sound.5 According to Barry M. Gough, the incident incited one of the worst punishment actions carried out by the Royal Navy, on behalf of the Crown, against Indigenous Peoples on the northwest coast.6 In total, at least nine villages and 64 canoes were destroyed and 15 Indigenous individuals killed.7
By 1895, the Presbyterian Church had opened a day school for Ahousaht children.8 In 1903 this day school was incorporated into Canada's Indian Residential School System.9 A school system created for the purpose of separating Aboriginal children from their families, in order to minimize and weaken family ties and cultural linkages, and to indoctrinate children into a new culture—the culture of the legally dominant Euro-Christian Canadian society.10 You can read more about Canada's Indian Residential School System in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Final Report, published 2015.11 The Nuu-chach-nulth Tribal Council also completed their own report into residential schools and published their findings in a book titled: Indian Residential Schools: The Nuu-chah-nulth Experience in 1996.12
Mentions of this place in the documents
People in this document

Denman, Joseph

Pike, John W.

Vessels in this document

Kingfisher

Places in this document

Clayoquot Sound

Vancouver Island

The Colonial Despatches Team. Ahousat. The Colonial Despatches of Vancouver Island and British Columbia 1846-1871, Edition 2.2, ed. The Colonial Despatches Team. Victoria, B.C.: University of Victoria. https://bcgenesis.uvic.ca/ahousat.html.

Last modified: 2020-12-02 13:40:34 -0800 (Wed, 02 Dec 2020) (SVN revision: 5008)