Lyackson First Nation on Vancouver Island and Valdes Island

Hwi’yu’nem ch – Welcome

We are a nation, building a nation. We, the Lyackson of this generation, understand the responsibility of our heritage and work in the present. We are in our canoe paddling home…

This Vision is written as if it is some time in the future. It is an ideal picture, in which all the Lyackson peoples’ hopes for Valdes Island have been realized.

We, the Lyackson people, have paddled home …

starfish and seaweed

Valdes Island is the centre of the Lyackson community and our Nation finally has full control over this territory of ours. Some of us live here, while others regularly visit, or stay here for the summer.

We come and go in a big boat we have that makes regular crossings. It lands at a wharf with a protective breakwater. On the Island we travel by foot or in electric golf carts, sharing a few utility vehicles for work projects.

Our houses are modest, fitting into the natural environment, with vegetable gardens outside. We have running water and electricity. There is a nurse and an emergency landing. People with jobs here mainly work from their homes, in arts such as traditional carving or at computers that link them to the outside world. Several work in recreation and tourism, renting out equipment and guiding. A few are charged with watching over the use and resources of the island, particularly to ensure burial sites and other sacred sites are protected.

The Island is very important even to Lyackson people who don’t live here. We treasure it as a place for recreation, rest and renewal. We share our retreat centre with other Hul’qumi’num people who are grateful for the opportunity for healing and recovery in a peaceful place close to their own homes. We look forward to cultural activities at the longhouse and outdoors, all year round. Almost everyone comes together on Valdes Day each July, when we feast, tell stories and race canoes. A summer camp focuses on recreation and cultural education for youth.

Cliffs from the sea

Tourists respect Lyackson ownership of the Island. They stay in a lodge, in B&Bs or at the campground. Visitors appreciate the cultural value of Valdes and learn a lot about First Nations from their experience of the Island.

We are proud of how we have restored burial sites and protected the natural and cultural heritage of the Island. We are using the resources sustainably, harvesting only what nature can provide without degradation, largely by traditional methods. This is a beautiful, sacred place, befitting a nation that understands the responsibility of our heritage.