U'mista Cultural Centre, Alert Bay
(Picture BC photo)

Alert Bay

Aboriginal Experiences


Gilakas'la! This word of welcome and thanks is frequently heard from the 'Namgis peoples of Alert Bay.

Their home on Cormorant Island (known as 'Yalis) is the cultural arts and heritage centre of the Kwakwaka'wakw, a collection of First Nations bands inhabiting the northeast coast of Vancouver Island.

U'mista Cultural Centre

The U'mista Cultural Centre is a remarkable museum at the southwest waterfront end of Front Street that celebrates the enduring cultural traditions of the Kwakwaka'wakw. Of particular note is its collection of masks and regalia related to the potlatch, the once-banned ceremonial ritual that regulates all aspects of Kwakwaka'wakw social life. 

Big House & World's Largest Totem

Overlooking horseshoe-shaped Alert Bay from an elevated plateau, the Big House (Gukwdzi) is the ceremonial meeting place of the 'Namgis.

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