A Local Knowledge Holder and Voice
Those who are fortunate enough to visit the Clayoquot Sound can all agree there is something extremely powerful and beautiful about it. The vast number of trees, the ebb and flow of the high and low tides, the feeling of mist on your face as you walk the numerous beaches, and most importantly, the inhabitants of this pristine area.
Clayquot Wild - Wildlife & Custom Tours is one of many tour operators in the area. What differentiates it from the others isn’t the fact that it’s been here since 1995, nor because of the tours they offer, rather the unspoken connections it shares with the natural world. Owner and operator, Moses Martin is the Chief of Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations and has been navigating this land for many years. His calm, cool, and collected demeanor is so influential considering what he has experienced during his lifetime here in the Clayoquot Sound.
To provide some background, Moses was the elected Chief during the “War in the Woods” back in the early 1980’s. During this time, a logging company by the name of MacMillan Bloedel was set to clear cut 90% of Wah’nah’juss Hilth’hoo’iss, also known as, Meares Island. Chief Moses Martin greeted these loggers by saying “I would like to ask you to join us for a meal, but you have to leave your chainsaws in your boats. This is not a tree farm, this is Wah’nah’juss Hilth’hoo’iss; this is our garden, this is a tribal park.”
In 1984, Chief Moses Martin helped Meares Island become a protected Tribal Park that would no longer be under threat. He is a man who believes in working together to protect the land for future generations to come and that power comes by standing beside each other in times of hardship. As a Chief and long- time political leader, he has committed his life to becoming a voice for his people and standing up tall for what he believes in.
The idea that everything is one, and everything is connected, hišukniš c̓awaak is truly a basic foundation of life for the Nuu-chah-nulth people. Iisaak - to respect everything you impact is another principle Moses Martin bases his life on. Moses is an elder to many people, passing on his teachings and values to younger generations of his tribe. He prides himself on building relationships within the municipalities of Tofino and Ucluelet, as well as neighbouring tribes, and leaders across the country. Working together and standing beside each other is among one of his most important teachings in terms of protecting the land he loves so dearly.
As previously stated, Clayoquot Wild has been a long time local and First Nations guiding company since 1995. The idea of passing on teachings to tourism and other indigenous communities truly encompasses Chief Moses Martin’s way of life. Passing on historical knowledge not only to local community members, but also others from all over the world is a step in empowering people far and wide. His work is evidently present in the communities of Tofino and Ucluelet however, by operating Clayoquot Wild, he is also bringing people together to stand alongside each other, and work to protect future generations to come.