Redefining the Cultural Landscape in British Columbia: Huu-ay-aht Youth Visions for a Post-Treaty Era in Nuu-chah-nulth Territory
AbstractCenturies of colonial policies have influenced First Nations autonomy while preventing decision-making in accordance with their Indigenous cultural protocols. Against this backdrop, on April 1, 2011, the Maa-nulth Treaty went into effect for five Nuu-chah-nulth signatories, including Huu-ay-aht First Nations. The Treaty concerns never before ceded territories and includes provisions for land-use planning and rights to legal authority. Now comes the task of future planning for Maa-nulth signatories, which will require extra care so that Nuu-chah-nulth cultural values are reflected appropriately. Modern treaties, however, remain complex, vaguely understood processes. Consequently, in preparation for implementation, Huu-ay-aht Council wished to understand their youths’ visions for the future of their Nation. Based within a larger community-based participatory research project, this study used the interactive multimedia technique of digital storytelling to work with Huu-ay-aht youth to redefine their cultural landscape in a post-Maa-nulth era. Their stories show that while youths’ perceptions and priorities involve the inclusion of services within their traditional territories, their visions are rooted in a distinctive Huu-ay-aht culture that integrates novel art forms and ever-evolving cultural identities. These findings suggest that the next generation of Huu-ay-aht leaders have innovative, culturally rooted visions for their nation in a post-Treaty era.
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