Your Chance to Turn Tofino Tides
This story comes with a soundtrack: a soundscape of tinwis, Tofino within Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation.
For your audio pleasure while reading this latest #ZenSeekers feature, we encourage you to slip away to the beach, right now—just hit play.
Tofino, BC in Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation — Given the oceanfront location offered by Tla-o-qui-aht’s Tin Wis Resort, your stay is within one of the planet's most diverse landscapes.
Along Tofino and the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation’s homelands you will find five beaches and around a dozen surf breaks that all add up to some of the best beach’n it potentials in the world. (For those lucky enough to visit here, we at ZenSeekers recommend you support Indigenous and stay at the Tin Wis.)
But all is not right within this ecological oasis, and here is your chance to leave things better than ever.
Support Tin Wis Resort, Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks and ZenSeekers quest to turn back the clock with the return of this region's traditional name for its beaches. Leaving things better than they were; it's a concept to live by and "regenerative tourism" is a new phrase we will all be hearing a lot more.
Tin Wis Resort is located on what is today known as Mackenzie Beach, but as this language warrior explains, why not say it as it is.
WATCH: why support Tla-o-qui-aht recognition of their homelands
“tinwis is what Tla-o-qui-aht know this place as. tin meaning calm, and wis meaning beach, so 'calm beach',” explains Indigenous First Nations Rights Activist Moses Martin.
Martin led the Tla-o-qui-aht as Chief of the First Nation battle against the Province back in the mid-80’s to keep their old growth standing.
Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation won that battle after $3 million in legal bills and a ground-breaking legal judgment that’s had a ripple effect for Indigenous rights around the world.
“Language is so important to us, and that's been our biggest loss from the residential school system, is the loss of our language and the understanding of that language. I have eight kids, and as they grew, I taught none of them the language because I was so afraid to, given it was beaten out of me through school,” explains Moses.
Now you can be a part of their efforts: join us in signing this petition to turn back the clock.
Help us kick the colonial to the curb and welcome back the real meaning to this place, by restoring the original tinwis name to what is now known as MacKenzie Beach.
For Moses it’s not just enough to learn that language, but to live it. By living it, his first rule is to live by ʔiisaak, the word for respect. You can read about the ʔiisaak pledge here.
“When there's a place name on the land in Nuu-chah-nulth (Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation is one of 14 nations with the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council across Vancouver Island), it's usually describing what it was used for or a reference point of some sort that tells what that place of land is actually providing to our people,” explains Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation’s lands director Saya Masso.
"Those are like place names that in our language you would hear the word and you would know that that's a calm beach for this example; the name had meaning to the place.
Our traditional place names were more earthly and they aren't just picked out of a dictionary and put on the land. They're actually translated from the land to the people. And you can really get a fundamental connection to the land through that.
Our Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Park program is certainly trying to provide that connection for people,” explains Masso.
“tinwis renamed tinwis officially would be a really big step towards reconciliation, towards elevating Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation back into its role on these lands, letting people know the place name that it's been for thousands of years.
We want it to happen for our grandchildren.”
Support the change to tinwis
“Well, we hope you take action and sign up at change.org. Get behind this movement and yeah, let our politicians and mayors and leadership know that this is something that needs to happen,” says Saya Masso.
Sign by Nov 15, 2023 and you will be entered in a draw for a two night stay at Tin Wis Resort.
In conversation with Saya Masso
Watch Tla o qui aht Tribal Parks leader Saya Masso and ZenSeekers founder Jim Barr in conversation, to learn more about why Tla o qui aht First Nation traditional placenames are a key piece to their cultural resurgence.
When you go
A stay at Tin Wis Resort supports Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation advance its tourism interests while supporting Indigenous Tourism that propels language and cultural resurgence. Supporting by staying here only furthers the actions Tla-o-qui-aht are taking to bring forward the area's past, present and future, together.
Join us in leaving things better than they currently are, the action is easy, simply click here and help re-establish history.