Ahousaht

Ahousaht, the largest Nootka First Nation on the west coast of Vancouver Island, BC, population about 1500 (1996). Ahousaht is a Nootka word meaning "facing opposite from the ocean" or "people living with their backs to the land and mountains."

Originally the Ahousaht were a small nation on the outer coast of Vargas Island and adjacent Vancouver Island. In the late 18th century, the Ahousaht, with firearms obtained from Mowachaht kinsmen, conquered the much larger Otsosaht tribe and took their territories of Flores Island, Millar Channel and Herbert Inlet. The Ahousaht have intermarried with 2 neighbouring nations, the Manhousaht of Sydney Inlet and Shelter Inlet, and the Kelsemaht of the east coast of Vargas Island and Bedwell Sound. These nations have formally amalgamated with the Ahousaht nation in the 20th century. Today, the Ahousaht live in the village of Mahktosis, also known as "Ahousat." Many Ahousaht members also live in Port Alberni and in Victoria.