Alert Bay, British Columbia

Alert Bay is a place in the Canadian province of British Columbia. It is located 3 km off the northeast coast of Vancouver Iceland on Cormorant Iceland.

Almost half of the population, according to own data of respondents 260, belongs to the indigenous people, most of them one of the 12 tribes of the Kwakwaka'wakw. This is a group of First Nations ( Indians), is the city in their traditional territory. The three regional First Nations are represented by Musgamagw Tsawataineuk Tribal Council. These groups include the Kwakwaka'wakw Mamalilikulla that Kwicksutaineuk and especially the ' Namgis, lies in their traditional territory Alert Bay. In the village the Alert Bay Indian Reserve, in which alone 537 inhabitants is located.

Of the visible minorities in Canada (visible minorities) designated groups are Filipinos resident, whose number in 2006 was 15.

In the village stands the tallest totem pole in the world. It consists of three parts and is supposed to be 56.4 m high. Alert Bay is accessible only by boat or plane. The town's name comes from the British ship HMS Alert back in 1856, which has about 1860 surveyed and mapped the region. The local newspaper called North Iceland Gazette.


1792 appeared the first European ship the Discovery under George Vancouver in the region and has performed with the ' Namgis in contact. Their chief was Cheslakee. 1849 established the Hudson 's Bay Company for the protection of a coal mine near the village of Fort Rupert Tsaxis. The fort was the first permanent establishment of the British in the area of the Kwakwaka'wakw, Kwakiutl and Kwixa but claimed the coal itself you retook their village and forced on February 8, 1851 an agreement with which they were the only tribes of the Kwakwaka'wakw that have signed one of the so-called Douglas - contracts. Thus, contracts are referred to, which were completed with Governor James Douglas. They saw before eight reserves to Beaver Harbour and at the mouths of the Keogh River and the Cluxewe River. A larger forest area on Malcolm Iceland was also included.

1862 broke out a severe smallpox epidemic that hit hard the groups in the north of Vancouver Iceland. In December 1865, the HMS Clio appeared before the village, and ordered to destroy it completely. Although the Kwakiutl suffered heavy losses (eg, 70 canoes ), they built 26 houses in front of Fort Rupert on again. This village should be up to 1900, the central place of worship, famous for its potlatches be until it of ' Yali (Alert Bay) in the field of ' has been increasingly displaced Namgis. So moved the Church Missionary Society of London, their mission from Fort Rupert to ' Yali and the Kwawkewlth Indian Agency followed in 1896.

Already in the 1870s attracted the spawning trains of salmon in the River Nimpkish two entrepreneurs. S. A. Spencer and Wesley Huson processed salmon for the first time and founded a company that preserved the catches with salt. To get clean water, they built a dam, but dried thereby from the ground in other areas, the water table fell there and the trees were dying. Only the Red Cedars, giant trees of life are still there today and form the Gator Gardens. Many Indians participated in the fishing, the women took them out. Other fish processing companies followed.

But the timber industry was, as in many places. Rigorous by cutting down the lower standing and easier -to-reach trees that pose a risk to the spawning trains, and thus for the entire fishing industry The steep, rainy valleys were purged, destroyed the spawning areas. Salmon fishing has thus become insignificant, the livelihood of the ' Namgis was severely damaged.

The methods by which Franz Boas and other " art objects" brought into the possession of, are very controversial today. These " raids " by collectors and scientists describes Douglas Cole, Captured Heritage. The Scramble for Northwest Coast Artifacts of 1985. Fact that much of it was destroyed during the destruction of Hamburg in World War II, is especially bitter for the Kwakwaka'wakw. After all, this book has the effect that the Kwagiulth Museum and Cultural Center on Quadra Iceland and the U'mista Museum and Cultural Center in Alert Bay could bring back some artifacts from other museums.

1914 Edward Curtis turned the documentary In the land of the headhunters. Basis for the film, which was within one year, Alert Bay was. So Curtis was taking a major risk, because 1884-1951 was not only banned in Canada, ritual celebrations, such as the potlatch to commit, but it was also an offense to show it in public. Here, Curtis tried to turn a kind of wholesome entertainment, but the company was not a success.

1921 tried the Canadian government for the banning of the central culture of the Kwakwaka'wakw Potlatch enforce. To this end, they confiscated on the basis of the Indian Act numerous masks, copper shields and other culturally significant objects. It was not until the 1970s, they demanded their property back to the owner. The objects are now on display at U'mista Cultural Centre, which was established in 1980. Today there are also seen music and dance performances. It supports scientific research at the regional cultures.

In addition, all Canadian Indians called Residential Schools were established. In Alert Bay, this was from the 20s to the 70s, the St. Michael's Residential School. There was, as in most schools of this type, stocky with heavy penalties that the children their language is not used but spoke English. Other cultural expressions were strictly forbidden. In 2008, Prime Minister Stephen Harper apologized for the conditions in the schools.

From Tsaxis came Mungo Martin (1879 - 1962), who contributed to the renaissance of the carving like the entire Pacific Indian culture. He was hereditary chief of the Kwakiutl. In 1947 he went to Vancouver in 1952 to Victoria, where he left the piles before the Royal British Columbia Museum. After the lifting of the ban of the potlatch in 1951, he celebrated in Victoria a first public potlatch.

1959 was built in Alert Bay, a library with an attached museum, the Alert Bay Public Library and Museum. Mungo Martin carved a totem pole for the house. In addition, an administration building, a recreation center, the T'lisalagi'lakw School, a private school with a culturally appropriate teaching content and the Big House was born. There you will find the artifacts of local cultures.

The judge and traditional chief Alfred Scow of the Kwicksutaineuk First Nation, also called Gilford Iceland band, is the first Indian who rose in British Columbia to a high judicial office. He sits the Provincial Court in Coquitlam. He was born in Alert Bay, where he attended St. Michael's Residential School.

Signed in 1999, the community of Alert Bay called Alert Bay Accord, which has a better cooperation with the ' Namgis as a target. 2003 established a five-member Culturally Modified Tree Field crew, whose job it is to examine Culturally Modified Trees and to provide, where appropriate, under protection. Here are trees that have machining marks, dating back to over a thousand years. The crew puts out about 20 times a year in order to take new discoveries in inspection. The results are incorporated into a database, which now has more than 1,200 entries. 2005 In addition, a project to record the creation myths of the five Namima or clans of the ' Namgis began.

The granting of local autonomy for the church took place on January 14, 1946 (incorporated as the Village ).


The census in 2011 showed a population of 445 inhabitants of the settlement. The population of the settlement has thereby decreased compared to the census of 2006 at 2.4%, while the population in the province of British Columbia at the same time grew by 7.0%.


In Alert Bay, the biggest employment sectors are public administration as well as the retail sector.

The average income of all employees from Alert Bay in 2005 was slightly above average C $ 25 594, while at the same time only 24 867 C $ was the average for the entire province of British Columbia. The difference in earnings between men ( 20 739 C $; province average = 31 598 C $ ) and women ( 29 682 C $; province average = 19 997 C $), based on the average income of all workers in the province, falls inversely from Alert Bay as compared to the entire province. Male employees earn well below average here either compared to the provincial average of all employees as well as comparison of all male employees in the province, while the income of female workers is well above average in both comparisons.


In the harbor you will find the ferry terminal on the island. From Vancouver from Iceland (via Port McNeill Ferry Terminal) ferries of the company BC Ferries in a round by Cormorant Iceland (via Alert Bay ) and Malcolm Iceland (via Sointula ).

About 4 miles southeast of the village there is the airport from Port McNeill (IATA: YAL, ICAO: CYAL ). The airport has only one paved runway, and runway of 732 meters in length. In the port of the island community is the local water aerodrome ( Transport Canada Identifier: CBC3 ).