Coastal Voices goes to Kyuquot

The Coastal Voices team just returned from an amazing trip to the community of Kyuquot – home to the Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Chek’tles7et’h’ First Nation. Where is Kyuquot? It’s here, on the outer west coast of Vancouver Island.

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We were invited there to co-host a community workshop – Adapting to Sea Otters and Changing Access to Shellfish and Fish – and talk to the community members about their experiences living alongside sea otters, which were re-introduced into the territory in 1969. Travelling with us were some Heredity Chiefs from other First Nations in B.C. who have not yet experienced sea otters returning to their territory. They joined this Coastal Voices ‘road trip’ to learn from the Kyuquot community about the impacts that otters have had in the area, but most importantly, what factors facilitate a better co-existence with, or adaptation to living with sea otters.


From left to right: Ilja (our film maker), Toquaht Chief Wii-tsts-koom Anne Mack, Haida Chief Skill-Hilans Allan Davidson, Evelyn Pinkerton (SFU researcher), Kii’iljuus Barb Wilson (SFU researcher), Laurie Wood (team organizer/amin), Anne Salomon (SFU researcher), Haida Chief Git Kinjuaas Ron Wilson and ME!


We had a chance to get out on the water and see some otters! This was the first time that the Haida and Toquaht Chiefs have seen a real otter. It was a beautiful day and a breathtaking seascape!

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Our local guide Kieth Cox (Fisheries Technician for the Kyuquot Nation) smiles while Barb photographs her first live sea otters!


After being inspired by the local seascape, our team got to work planning the workshop.


The Coastal Voices crew sits in the beautiful Kyuquot Band office meeting room with Tony Hansen (Fisheries Manager and workshop co-host) and other fisheries technicians to discuss goals and plans for the workshop.

After lots of planning and discussion, the evening of our workshop finally arrived. We had a great turn out (~40-50 people), lots of delicious food, and tons of really good dialogue. We appreciated greatly the discussion and stories that people were willing to share. We wrote notes on flip chart, recorded ideas on our laptops, conducted a survey, watched several video clips (including the coastal voices short film) and gave away some fun door prizes!


Chief Peter Hansen begins the evening by welcoming us to the territory and thanking the community for coming.


Barb overviews the evening and tells a story about how we got here and what the Coastal Voices project is hoping to achieve.


View from the back of the room.

After the workshop was over we stayed a few more days to continue talking and interviewing local people. I stayed on beyond this and enjoyed some great experiences with wonderful people in the community sharing food and sharing stories. Myself and the team are deeply grateful for everything and look forward to reporting back to the community as progress on the project continues. Thanks!