Feel the calm, connection at Tin Wis, Tla-o-qui-aht owned Tofino resort
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Tin Wis Resort invites ethical travelers to connect to Tla-o-qui-aht culture, support Nation building efforts and Tribal Parks Allies, and experience the effect of the area's calming waters.
Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation – As you arrive in Tofino, named one of the world’s greatest places by Time Magazine (2022), pause and imagine how this same scene would have unfolded 5000 years ago. Because that’s literally how long Tla-o-qui-aht Nation has been welcoming visitors. For over 5000 years, Tin Wis Resort (10 minutes from downtown Tofino) has been a destination for travellers along the most ancient highway of them all: the ocean.
“Tla-o-qui-aht have hosted international visitors for thousands of years and when they would arrive, they would first come to our village sites, including right here at Tin Wis,” says Gisele Martin.
“Tin Wis literally means calm waters or calmed waters,” says Martin (pictured above). “The beaches south of here have pretty big surf, but as soon as you get to Tin Wis, it's a much safer place to swim. It's easier to stand up paddleboard and it's also easier to anchor whales out here.”
““Nuu-chah-nulth Nations, which include the ƛaʔuukʷiʔatḥ / Tla-o-qui-aht, are known for their ocean-going canoes and traditional whale hunting. That's one thing that differentiates Nuu-chah-nulth apart from many other nations on the coast. And this, Tin Wis, was an important whale hunting village site.”
On the site of this former village, Nation-owned Tin Wis Resort offers guests a way to travel and stay ethically, as you connect to the history and the culture of this place.
“When visitors come to this place, to Tofino, they're coming to unceded Tla-o-qui-aht territory, to the Ḥaaḥuułi of the ƛaʔuukʷiʔatḥ ḥaw̓iiḥ” explains Martin, a Tla-o-qui-aht citizen.
For Tin Wis Resort’s Assistant GM and Tla-o-qui-aht Citizen, Maria Clark, the Tin Wis Resort is a cultural bridge where travellers and Tla-o-qui-aht can connect. “I see Tin Wis as a legacy for the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations."
"I think it will change hopefully the idea of the past and this being a former residential school. And be something that can be remembered more positively for our people and for the future generations.”
Clark explains how Tin Wis creates jobs and opportunities, “and it gives us an opportunity to have an interpretive experience with the guests who come from all over the world.”
Next to the legacy building, Clark takes pride in the response that the resort inspires from an array of local and international guests. “The biggest comments we hear from the guests here at Tin Wis are usually that they're overwhelmed with its beauty and the nature."
"Quite often, the seclusion of Tofino and the quietness really resonates with them. There is such a different lifestyle here. There's no sense of time, no sense of rushing. So, our guests are usually very appreciative, and they thank us quite often for sharing our space.”
Saya Masso, Tla-o-qui-aht Lands and Resources Director, sees a bright future in leveraging the destination Tin Wis Resort has become.
“I think Tin Wis is going to grow in the manner that provides these opportunities for outreach. To showcase who we are, to showcase our culture, to let people be aware of what it is to be a Tribal Park Ally.”
Tribal Parks Allies is now a network of over 100 businesses across Tofino who provide one per cent of their profits back to Tla-o-qui-aht in recognition for their ancestors and current leadership for standing up to colonial attacks on their land.
Land that has now become one of the world’s most intact biospheres. Funds fuelling a team of Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Park Guardians and their efforts to preserve, restore and protect these ancient gardens.
“Tin Wis is the backbone to Tla-o-qui-aht's tourism interests. It provides the venue for any marine tours, terrestrial tours,” explains Masso.
“Our ambition is to enter the realm of food providing, sharing our culture, helping the tourists understand the Tla-o-qui-aht perspective, to see our culture, to see our art and to understand our stories and how they can participate in our future.”
A cultural bridge, but also an economic one where travellers can support in fueling Tla-o-qui-aht’s future, “proceeds from the operations of Tin Wis go towards our new longhouse, gymnasium, and very much needed youth-focused programs, leading to the survival of our culture and Tla-o-qui-aht language."
“What happens with this property and how it is used for Tla-o-qui-aht future is really important,” says Masso. “It being linked to our past, as an ancient village and to where we're going, it's important that this property be used properly to harness benefits for our future."
"That it remains as a place to reach people. There's a lot of people that come to visit Tofino. And it's important to use this as an engine to reach people and to supply benefit to Tla-o-qui-aht.”
When you go
You will find the full past, present and future story of Tin Wis here.
Stay at Tin Wis Resort
Supporting Tla-o-qui-aht’s rise in Tofino’s visitor economy is easy!
Simply book a stay at Tin Wis this fall.
Be sure to inquire about Tin Wis Resort’s Indigenous rates; the resort accepts status cards.
Learn about Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks Allies
Discover why Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks model was covered in a multi-page National Geographic spread this summer.
Read how the Tribal Parks model supports the Nation's growth and conservation efforts.