Cow Bay Tl'ihtl'aa The Bridge CMT Kutcous ca?ak The River

Purpose of the Guide The Wildside website

“I asked my grandfather, ‘Why do you teach me all these stories?’ “It’s the discipline of your life,’ He said.“
– Stanley Sam Senior, Ahousaht First Nations

Purpose ImageThis website and corresponding booklet have been created as a resource on the rich cultural and ecological knowledge along Wildside trail. This resource is intended for the use of the present and future generations to whom this land belongs. The website has been designed to be an easily accessible tool to support youth, aspiring guides and stewards of the land from First Nations communities in Clayoquot Sound as they carry on the traditions and legacies of their ancestors.

Designed along with a guiding handbook and smartphone/tablet adaptability, the website outlines six culturally significant sites on the western portion of the Wildside trail. For each site ecologically significant information and culturally relevant material is provided. Within each site page, pictures and ecological information about the plants and animals found there are listed. As much as possible Nuu-chah-nulth names have been included for each species and place listed. Under the ‘Cultural History’ link at the bottom of each site page, place-based cultural histories from Stanley Sam Sr.’s book, Ahousaht Wild Side Heritage Trail Guidebook, are included. Traditional inspired ecological practices and wilderness based learning exercises designed though out the fieldwork for this project have also been included for the use of guides or teachers to facilitate engaged learning along the trail.

This website is also designed to be used as a tool for wilderness immersion curriculum for youth who are involved in wilderness education, language revitalization or cultural camps on the Wildside Trail. The information and histories included on the website have been informed by Qaamina Sam and Stanley Sam Sr, as well as by the Ahousaht Wild Side Heritage Trail Guidebook written by Stanley Sam Sr. This information has been shared with the intention of informing this site as a resource for their grandchildren, great grandchildren and youth of their communities. All cultural information is belonging to them and is intended only for the use of the community to which it belongs. Activities, histories and ecological observations included in the map and booklet are grounded in the Nuu-chah-nulth worldview of Hish-uk-ish Tsawalk, which acknowledges that we are all one and all interconnected. Therefore these teachings embody the understanding that each place and species along the trail must be treated with kindness and respect. This website has also been formatted into a booklet to be given back to the community of Ahousaht; specifically to Qaamina Sam and the Ahousaht Holistic Center for use in wilderness immersion and cultural resurgence camps..


The heart of this endeavor is dedicated to the current and future generations born to this culturally rich, ecologically diverse and precious part of the world. This website has been designed as a resource to help you remain connected with your land and its teachings. And if you so choose, to support you to share the beauty and importance of the Wildside Trail with the many visitors who come to visit it each year. As the youth, you are an integral part of ensuring that this land continues to be protected and honored for its teachings and life giving capacities, as your ancestors have done for time immemorial. In this increasingly technological world, the website is intended to be a tangible resource for you, as well as your family and community, to support strong and ongoing relationship with your land. While this website is simply a tool to facilitate a deeper familiarity of the trail, it is the land itself that holds the wisdom, healing and magic that is your birthright.

It is with overwhelming love and respect in my heart that I dedicate this website to Shanille, Stan, Kylie, Jeremy, Janae, Mal’yiah, Sun, Savanah, Kenyon, Rajon, RJ, Hunter, Cain and Payton. And to all the world’s grandchildren, it is for you that I do this work. For all the children of Ahousaht who have shared in learning and adventures with me on the trail, is my hope that this website will nurture your own work as stewards and warriors for your land, language and culture.

Qaamina and Nikki


Acknowledgement ImageThis project, booklet and website were inspired by Qaamina Sam, and his father Stanley Sam Sr. and their vision for sustainable and autonomous eco-tourism within their community. As an apprentice of Qaamina’s for the past 6 years, everything I know about the ocean, land and wildlife in the Clayoquot Sound region has come from his generosity, humor and patient tutelage. During each of the innumerable trips Qaamina and I have taken on the Wildside, he has always taught me something new and enlightening. All of his teachings are grounded in the Nuu-chah-nulth worldview of Hish-uk-ish Tswalk, meaning that everything is one and all things are interconnected. For this reason, I have always been taught of the importance of respecting each place we visit on the trail, as well as the plants and animals we meet along it. Qaamina has taught me to regard the wilderness as a teacher and has trained me how to look and listen to its rich and powerful wisdom.

The idea for this website originated from the many trips Qaamina and I have guided together; with every trip we witnessed the incredible healing power of this place both for our guests and for ourselves. Qaamina expressed to me his desire to ensure that his grandchildren will one day be able to guide this trail with the knowledge of their language and the history of their people. As many of the knowledge keepers and language speakers in his community pass away, he holds an acute awareness of the importance for the youth of Ahousaht to reclaim and reconnect to their language and culture. As well as the potential for healing of the thousands of guests who visit Clayoquot Sound each year, who are disconnected from their own places and cultures. Together, we have dreamed of a future for the land and people where the healing and reclamation of both take place in relationship with the other. This website is meant to be a contribution towards a greater movement of land-based resurgence, an ongoing legacy of Clayoquot Sound carried on by countless Indigenous communities, families, individuals and allies.

Kleco Kleco! With heartfelt thanks and admiration for their talent and generosity, this website showcases the photographic work of Trevor James, Ilja Herb, Qaamina Sam, and Justus Lowry. With humility and gratitude I thank Taiaiake Alfred, Jeff Corntassel and Duncan Taylor for believing in my vision and being warriors within the academy whose courage and commitment has made the space for me, and so many other Indigenous students, to carryout meaningful work. Thank you to Ken Josephson who leant me his brilliant mind and enthusiastic spirit. Finally, to Qaamina, Ruth and Stanley Sam Sr., you have led me back to my spirit, you have reminded me who I am and shown me what it means to be quuʔas, Yah ah kook Sulth.

Note Regarding Language

Where-ever possible the Nuu-chah-nulth words and names used have been spelt using the Nuu-chah-nulth alphabet. However, in the cases where I did not have access to the alphabet they have been spelt phonetically under the instruction of Qaamina and Stanley Sam Sr. Additionly, First Voices Nuu-chah-nulth has been used as a resource to cross-reference and verify spelling and pronunciation.


All stories, activities, ecological information and site descriptions are original material informed under the guidance of Qaamina Sam and Stanley Sam Sr. In addition, The Ahousaht Wildside Heritage Trail Guidebook, written by Stanley Sam and published by the Western Canada Wilderness Committee, served to confirm much of the cultural information and has been referred to throughout the website. Some of the place-based activities are inspired by Rediscovery curriculum written by Thom Henley. Further ecological information regarding plants and animals species have been supported in reference to Plants of Coastal British Columbia compiled by Jim Pojar and Andy MacKinnon, published by the B.C. Forest Service. Biological facts regarding coastal species were verified with reference to National Geographic Animal Facts Page ( and Ian Sheldon’s Animal Tracks of British Columbia published by Lone Pine. For complete site references see below.

Photographs are credited to Trevor James, Justus Lowry, Qaamina Sam, Ilja Herb and Nicola Sanchez-Hood. All video footage was recorded and edited by Justus Lowry.

Website Sources and References

Ahousaht First Nation Band Council”- December 10, 2012.

BC Ministry of Education. “Traditional Nuu-chah-nulth Food Harvesting and Preparation.” Native Studies Program, School District No. 70 (Alberni).

Charleson, Steve. Personal Interview. November 2010.

Eldridge, M. (1997). “The significance and management of culturally modified trees.”Final report. Vancouver Forest Region and CMT Standards Steering Committee. B.C., Canada. Print.

“First Voices: Nuu-chah-nulth” December, 3 2012. Web.

Henley, Thom. (1989, 1996). Rediscovery, Ancient Pathways, New Directions. Edmonton: Lone Pine Publishing. Print.

“National Geographic Animal Facts Page” December 10, 2012. Web.

“Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council” December 3, 2012. Web.

Penn, Briony. (1999). A Year on the Wildside. British Columbia: Horsdal & Schubart. Print.

Pojar, J. and MacKinnon, A. (eds.).  (1994). Plants of Coastal British Columbia. Canada: B.C. Ministry of Forests and Lone Pine Publishing. Print.

Sam, Qaamina. Personal Interview. November 2010.

Sam, Qaamina. Personal Interview. November 2012.

Sam, Stanley Jr. Personal Interview. November 2012.

Sam, Stanley Jr. (1997). Ahousaht Wild Side Heritage Trail Guidebook. Canada: Western Canada Wilderness Committee. Print.