The territory of the Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nations (MMFN) on the west coast of Vancouver Island includes Nootka Island and the village of Yuquot, which means ” where the wind blows from many directions,”. Yuquot historically served as a gathering place where multiple Nations would unite during the summer harvest season to show strength, hospitality, and engage in commerce. Once enemies, peace was established between the Mowachaht and Muchalaht, and Yuquot became the main village for both Nations. Today they are the Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation.
Yuquot has additional historical significance as the first site of European contact on the West Coast of Canada and is therefore designated as a National Historic Site. Captain Cook’s initial landing in Yuquot in 1778, and his positive assessments of the hospitality of the people and the fortunes to be made from Sea Otter furs led to more than a hundred more trade vessels visiting Yuquot before the end of the 18th century. During this time, Yuquot became known as “friendly cove”. The activities of British and Spanish traders eventually forced the Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation community away from the waterfront village to vacant land near a mill located inland. The mill and surrounding lands were then contaminated, and the Mowachaht/Muchalaht were pushed further inland, to the land where they currently reside.
Over the years, the MMFN has developed, upgraded, and maintained infrastructure at Yuquot to reestablish a stronger First Nations presence at the site and to encourage tourism as an economic development opportunity. This includes dock and moorage facilities, camping and cabin accommodations, an office and gift shop, and access to the famous Nootka Trail.
As part of the MMFN Community Energy Planning process that occurred in 2018, the Pacific Regional Institute for Marine Energy Discovery (PRIMED) at the University of Victoria carried out a wave resource assessment for MMFN Traditional Territory on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. The significant wave energy resource that was identified led MMFN to pursue a follow-up front end engineering design (FEED) study to evaluate technologies and project design options. The project aims to provide clean energy at Yuquot via an innovative Wave Energy Converter system that involves fastening a buoy to a pulley system anchored to the sea floor at a depth of 20-40m.