K'AWAT'SI TOURS

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A Brief History

Vancouver Island is the product of hundreds of millions of years of shifting tectonic and volcanic processes. The Island was created through uplifting, faulting and lava deposits near the Equator approximately 380 million years ago. Much later, millions of tons of shell and marine life were deposited and layered to create limestone and coastal landforms. More recently, receding glaciers 12,000 years ago scraped and scoured the island and mainland creating landforms and mountain shapes you can see today.

The First Nations in North America and South America are believed to have come from a common Asian ancestor that used a land bridge exposed by the receding Cordilleran glacier 8,000 years ago. This land bridge is called Beringia, that would have provided access from modern day Siberia to Alaska. The Kelp Theory is now a widely accepted hypothesis as to why these brave people travelled to the Western World. Kelp forests and other marine plants provide a healthy foundation for an abundance of marine life, which would be appealing to primitive explorers.

Newly exposed land, sheltered bays and inlets allowed these First Nations on the North Island to evolve an entirely new way of life; it would have offered hunter-gatherers limitless resources to thrive. The forests provided wood to build shelters, create artwork and traditional canoes which allowed these people to become the first masters of nautical navigation on these waters.

“The ancestors of the Gwa’sala came to Earth from above. One of them came down as a brilliant event wearing the sun mask, and, taking it off became a man, Tlagalixala. Another of the ancestors landed as a whale. He came from the North end of the world and, building a house, established one of the groups of the tribe.” – Adapted from Boas and Hunt, Kwakiutl Tales, 1908.

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