Tsahsiits Oral Histories

Below are a selection of oral histories recorded in Ahousaht at the request of Elder Tsahsiits. Tsahsiits, also known as Stanley Sam Sr., has lived in Ahousaht since his birth on February 29, 1928. He has written two books, The Ahousaht Wild Side Heritage Trail Guidebook and Tsahsiits Himwica Disciplines Linguistics: For a New Beginning of Life. He is one of the central historians from his community, and has been referenced by innumerable bodies of research pertaining to the history of Clayoquot Sound written over the past 60 years.

Stanley was born in a time when Nuu-chah-nulth was still spoken as the main language in Ahousaht. As a baby he was sick and was healed in the traditional spiritual way. However, because he was not as healthy as the others, Stanley did not go to residential school until he was nine years old. For this reason he was able to stay at home and learn his language and stories from his grandfather, “My father let me stay with my grandfather. That’s where it started. He was always telling me a story”. During his time with his grandfather, Stanley learnt many stories that taught about the lands and animals which compose the web of life to which the Nuu-chah-nulth people belong. Every story had a moral and taught the disciplines of life: to never lie, steal or make fun of people, to treat others with respect, to be kind and brave. Because Nuu-chah-nulth stories and teachings are part of a rich and longstanding oral tradition, the stories Stanley was taught by his grandfather were never written down. In Stanley’s words, it is the Nuu-chah-nulth way to learn them by heart and to remember them. To this day, when Stanley shares his stories, he can still hear the song of his grandfather’s voice as he first heard them.

It is Stanley’s greatest hope to pass on the wealth of knowledge, history and life wisdom bestowed on him by his grandfather to his great-grandchildren and the future generations of his community. He has requested that these stories be shared so that the youth of his community may learn about where they come from, who they are and how to live in a good way. These stories are a gift from Tsahsiits and should be treated with the utmost respect; it is his wish that the recordings be used to carry on the incredible oral tradition of the Nuu-chah-nulth people.

*The recordings below are a small selection from dozens of recordings shared by Tsahsiits with the request that they be kept for and shared with future generations. Because the internet is not an appropriate place to share sacred knowledge, only a handful of stories appropriate for sharing are included here. If you are a Nuu-chah-nulth educator, youth, community member or otherwise related to the content of these stories please contact Qaamina Sam (info on Contact Us page) for permission to access the additional recordings.

Arrival Of European - Hesquiaht

Cave Closing On Men

Local Place Names

Makah Story

Sasquatch Stories And Names

Qʷayac̓iik Story

Story Of Whitepine Animal

Shahman Story