Rainforest Solutions Project

Promoting conservation and economic alternatives in British Columbia's Great Bear Rainforest

About Our Work

First Nations

History of First Nations in the Great Bear Rainforest extends beyond human memory, with archaeological evidence dating settlements from the end of the most recent Ice Age, more than 10,000 years ago. Today, the region remains home to First Nations peoples whose histories, identities and spirituality are inextricably linked to the lands and waters of the rainforest. The total population of coastal First Nations is estimated at 18,000 to 20,000, which is over half of the population of British Columbia’s Central Coast and over one-third of the populations of the North Coast and Haida Gwaii.

First Nations continue to protect and assert their rights and title throughout the Great Bear Rainforest. Some are involved in modern treaty and self-government negotiations with federal and provincial governments that aim to resolve longstanding questions about title to lands and resources and to renew First Nations’ jurisdiction over their communities and futures.

The coastal First Nations are not a single people. Each First Nation has distinct traditions as well as unique circumstances and aspirations. At the same time, their languages, oral histories and ecological knowledge reflect the shared philosophies that underlie a deeply-rooted ethic of conservation and a millennia-old commitment to the sound stewardship of coastal ecosystems.

Learn more about the First Nations which have traditional territories in the Great Bear Rainforest region:

Nisga’a Lax Kw’alaams Gitanyow Metlakatla
Kitsumkalum Kitselas Gitxaala Haisla
Gitga’at Kitasoo/Xaixais Heiltsuk Nuxalk
Ulkatcho Wuikinuxv Haida Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw
Gwawaenuk Dzawada’enuxw Da’naxda’xw/Awaetlala ‘Namgis
Tlowitsis Kwiakah Xwémalhkwu (Homalco) K’ómoks
Kwicksutaineuk-Ah-Kwa-mish Mamalilikulla-Qwe’Qwa’Sot’Em We Wai Kai
(Cape Mudge)
Wei Wai Kum
(Campbell River)