September 02, 2009 | Tips from Travellers >
Alert Bay, Historic & Heritage Sites
View a larger image on flickr.com
British Columbia's coastline is dotted with many remarkable communities, many accessibly only by boat or seaplane. These communities, in turn, are home to remarkable people and stories. One such place is Alert Bay, home to the 'Namg is First Nation.
In the mid-1980s, the 'Namg is built the Umista Cultural Centre to house dozens of ceremonial potlatch masks that were repatriated to the tribe after being confiscated in the 1920s. The cultural centre is provides visitors with an understanding of the masks, their artwork, and their place in coastal first-nations society, as well as an overview of the often painful story of BC's First Nations over the past two centuries. Today, the surrounding village of Alert Bay is a contemporary First Nations community, and it's picturesque location on Cormorant Island is an easy ferry-ride from Port McNeill. Alert Bay should certainly be included in the travel plans for anyone visiting Northern Vancouver Island, and the Umista Cultural centre is a gem of the Pacific Northwest.