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On the West Coast of Vancouver Island the First Nation Group is the Nuu-chah-nulth tribe. There is evidence that some villages are 10.000 years old. Before contact there were more than 10.000 people of one tribe living just one that peninsula, but due to the epidemic they were reduced to just 129 people by 1929! Nuu-chah-nulth literally means people of the mountain and the sea. The two are very interconnected within their culture and beliefs. For them everything is connected, everything is one.
They only started to have a written language about 20 years ago. Each of their totem poles is like an encyclopedia, for instance one totem pole is just about the constitution and the laws of the land their people live by. The cedar tree is very important to them and is also called “the tree of life”. They use it for everything: their houses, their canoes and their totem poles. They would never cut down a whole tree unless they need and would use the entire tree.
The dug-out canoes are one of the most important pieces of their culture. It takes about 3 people and 4-5 weeks to finish one. A canoe means independence and access to all the resources of this part of the world and keeps them connected to their environment.