“Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks are watersheds in Tla-o-qui-aht traditional
territory, managed to integrate human and ecosystem well-being, as taught
by our ancestors and adapted to today’s situation.”
In recent history, Meares Island was formally declared a Tribal Park by our
Hawiih (hereditary chiefs) in 1984. In 2007, Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations took
several more formal steps to carry out traditional teaching principles, by
signing an agreement to pursue joint sustainability with the District of Tofino,
and by partnering with Parks Canada on a Tribal Parks Establishment Project,
with the first focus on Haa’uukmin (Kennedy Lake watershed).
What is the difference between a park and a “tribal park”?
A park is usually a protected area which excludes most human activities apart
from recreation. A tribal park integrates human activities while caring for the
ecosystem at the same time – this was done successfully by our ancestors,
resulting in superior ecological integrity of the whole landscape in the
To pursue tribal parks actively today means that we must look to uses which
avoid harming and instead benefit the land and water. For example, clear-cut
logging and industrial mining would be prohibited, while low-impact eco-
tourism, habitat restoration, and carefully-controlled run-of-river energy
generation would be allowed. To be successful, tribal parks will need to
manage existing land uses and interests, and provide a comprehensive
vision for present and future generations.
The purpose of the Tribal Parks establishment project is:
To establish a Tribal Parks administrative organization; and, to develop the
required governance tools to operate Tribal Parks, including a watershed
management plan and a community development plan; and, to initiate
and partner in business opportunities that promote sustainable
The power to create Tribal Parks comes from our Ha'wiih and we intend
to respect them by incorporating them into Tribal Parks governing structure to ensure proper representation. By
creating a Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Park land use plan, we hope to present our Ha'wiih and their Muschum designated
areas that would remain highly protected. Alongside this, we are proposing areas that could have possible low
impact sustainable industry that would benefit all Tla-o-qui-aht.
To re-establish a healthy integration of economy and environment in which there is a balance of creation and consumption and a
continual investment in biological and economic diversity.
We will realize our vision by practicing the teachings of our ancestors, working in close cooperation with our neighbours, and having
transparent communication with all of our stakeholders.