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U'mista Cultural Centre, Alert Bay
(Picture BC photo)

Alert Bay

Aboriginal artwork (Tom Ryan photo)

Aboriginal artwork (Tom Ryan photo)

Alert Bay is a rare and remarkable aboriginal cultural destination, steeped in history, natural beauty, and living tradition.

Some 1,300 people reside on the sheltered southside of Cormorant Island, a tiny chunk of rock and trees on the edge of Vancouver Island's Inside Passage. This famously wild and scenic region of mountains, islands, and ocean is renowned for its world-class ecotourism – bird watching, whale watching, and hiking included.

The 'Namgis peoples, a First Nations band within the larger Kwakwaka'wakw nation of northern Vancouver Island, live here on a small slice of territorial lands traditionally known as 'Yalis. They live in hand-waving harmony side-by-side with the largely non-native population that resides in the Village of Alert Bay. Two island museums – one, the internationally renowned U'mista Cultural Centre – colourfully chronicle the tale of these very different cultures.

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