Nuu-chah-nulth economic development and the changing nature of our relationships within the Ha'hoolthlii of our Ha'wiih




Atleo, Clifford Gordon

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



This thesis examines Nuu-chah-nulth economic development and the changing nature of the relationships within our territories - the Ha’hoolthlii of our Ha’wiih - since Europeans first arrived and the occupation of our lands and waters by Settlers. I explore the implications of these changing relationships on Nuu-chah-nulth identity and our relational obligations within a worldview that understands that Heshookish tsawalk – “Everything is one.” I take a process-oriented perspective on identity beginning with the premise that living Nuu-chah-nulth-aht is more powerful and significant than simply being Nuu-chah-nulth. The recent proliferation of controversial economic development activities within Nuu-chah-nulth territories has spurred my interests in these issues. The form of economic development has some key characteristics that concern me. The first is that the economic development projects under way are of a particularly harmful and unsustainable nature. The second is the emerging trend of Nuu-chah-nulth partnerships in these ventures, epitomizing what I characterize as Aboriginal economic development. Instead of opposing development that threatens our traditional and adaptive practices, we are now involved as proponents and participants. To my surprise, these trends are not merely recent manifestations, but go back all the way to the arrival of Captain James Cook on our shores in the eighteenth century. At the heart of my research is our historically extensive participation in the various coastal commercial fisheries that have dramatically declined in recent decades. The purpose of this thesis is to create greater understanding of our present predicaments, re-evaluate our sense of agency, and encourage further critical debate on the potentially harmful economic development projects that will allow us to re-evaluate and heal our relationships within our territories.



Indigenous Governance, Economic Development