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Nuu-Chah-Nulth History from an Ahousaht Chief’s Perspective by Chief Earl Maquinna George.

I am Earl Maquinna George. I am a Nuu-Chah-Nulth First Nations person, and the hereditary chief, as the mamat’n’i (outsiders) call us, of the Ahousaht people. Europeans have called us Nootka.

Chief Earl Maquinna George, hereditary chief of the Ahousaht First Nation of Clayoquot Sound on the west coast of Vancouver Island, presents his compelling life story, told in his own words.

Born in the village of Maaqtusiis, on Flores Island, Chief Maquinna lost his mother when he was very young, and spent his childhood years, until Grade 8, at the Ahousaht Indian Residential School. Despite this institutional influence, he received traditional training from the elders at Maaqtusiis, as well as learning the skills of fishing and a sea-going life from his father, MacPherson George. He also worked as a logger and with the Canadian Coast Guard, eventually earning his skipper’s papers. He lost his first wife to illness, and he later re-married, taking responsibility for two large families. He took on a major role in Nuu-Chah-Nulth Treaty negotiations with the provincial and federal governments, and as an elder, began a university education, receiving a B.A. in History and an M.A. in Geography from the University of Victoria.

As well as chronicling his life’s experiences, this book offers a portrait of the issues and challenges faced by Aboriginal people in the 20th Century in Canada. It explains, from a First Nations’ perspective, the deep attachments to their lands and resources, and their long standing quest for social and environmental justice. It is deeply moving and fascinating portrait of a man whose name Maquinna reflects a lineage going back to the time of Captain Cook and for countless generations before recorded history.

Much has been written about the lives of First Nations individuals and about aboriginal cultures in British Columbia. Seldom, however, are the writings first-hand, from the people themselves. This book is a notable exception. It chronicles a lifetime of experiences, observations, and achievements of Tyee Hawiih Earl Maquinna George, First Hereditary Chief of Ahousaht. It reflects a time and a way of life, as well as a personal story, told with humour, wisdom, and truth.

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