Tla-o-qui-aht Nation Building Strategy: Ha'wiih and Ma'uas (Chiefs and Houses)




Masso, Marc

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For one hundred and fifty years, Canada has tried to assimilate and deconstruct the identity of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations people. Their family based governance structure was replaced with tools of the oppressor, and the existence of their nationhood has been denied. This has made for difficulties in obtaining a just and fair modern day “treaty” process that recognizes the connection to the land that the Tla-o-qui-aht have. This project details Tla-o-qui-aht’s present and past governance structure, and outlines paths that Tla-o-qui-aht are taking to reach their goals of self-governance and of ultimately creating a ‘Tla-o-qui-aht Nation Constitution’ which is based on their values and traditions, by conducting Chief and Elders forums. In taking steps to revitalize the tools within the Tla-o-qui-aht Ancestral Governance Model (AGM: which refers to the pure, pre-colonization governance structure and traditions that the Tla-o-qui-aht ancestors once practiced), Tla-o-qui-aht’s main objective with this project was to consult with the oral historians of Tla-o-qui-aht, and to document their knowledge pertaining to Ha’wiih (Chiefs: see definitions, Appendix A) Lineages



elders, historians, treaty, values, traditions, governance, self-governance, nation, constitution, revitalization, chiefs, ancestral, reconcile, Ha'wiih, Haahuulthii