WATCH: The Capital Regional District and BC Hydro announced a deal Thursday that sees a First Nation take back a significant piece of its traditional lands and while it is a way to reclaim the past, the Pacheedaht First Nation is very much looking to the future. Luisa Alvarez reports.
From the songs they sang to the to the traditional costumes they danced in and even the way the food was cooked in underground pits, tradition was a way to pay tribute to their way of life on the summer solstice and National Indigenous Peoples Day.
But at Jordan River Thursday the celebration was about something even more significant to the people of Pacheedaht and Diitiida.
“The land has been returned back to our people,” said Roxy Jones, councillor with Pacheedaht First Nation.
The Pacheedaht First Nation reached an agreement with BC Hydro and the Capitol Region District to re-acquire 28 hectares, a portion of traditional lands, at Diitiida, now known as Jordan River.
The land is of great significance to the people of Pacheedaht and Diitiida. Its the land of origin for both tribes meaning before colonization they used to both live there as one group of people.
Now they’re looking into the future for the development of the lands but due to the high risk of a seismic event, the lands have been rezoned not to allow overnight dwelling.
“Our vision for this land is to establish some economic development and have our community run our own business,” said Jones.
They have plans to offer tourism initiatives such as surf shops, canoe rentals, an interpretive centre and restaurants.
“The plans that Pacheedaht has for the area are great, very compatible use of the zoning restrictions,” said Ted Olynik with BC Hydro.
Their plan to develop economic growth by offering tourism initiatives may take a few years to get off the ground but for now, they’re happy knowing their land of origin is forever back with the rightful owners.