The village of Gwayi – Kingcome Inlet is the main village site of the Dzawada’enuxw and the current population base is about 100-120 depending on the time of year. The total membership of the Dzawada’enuxw is approximately 580 with the majority of members living off reserve.
The community is extremely isolated with travel in and out by seaplane or by boat only. The village is located upriver in the Kingcome Valley; about a 30 minute boat ride from the inlet.
All goods must be brought up river by open punt from the government dock in the Inlet where planes and water taxis land.
The river is no longer safe for planes to land and there is no dock along the river or near the village.
The community of Gwayi has a church, soccer field, Old Bighouse, New Bighouse, Health Centre, Elementary School, Band Office and approximately 45 homes. The School goes up to grade 7, at which time the children are forced to board out for grade 8-12. Language and Culture is a concern and reviving these has been identified as one of the most important issues.
The Dzawada’enuxw Band is the main employer with a staff of approximately 20 people.
Logging and Fishing were once the mainstay of the community’s economic base but both industries have decreased to the point that they are almost non-existent.
Most of the traditional land has not been developed with the exception of logging which has left its mark.
There are approximately 500 members registered.
The Dzawada’enuxw have five “legal” reserve sites: Gwayi, Charles Creek, Belle Isle, Kwages (McIntosh Bay), and Kukwapa (Fly Island). The Dzawada’enuxw have never ceded their title or rights to any of the land within the traditional territory.
The band has signed a Forest Range Agreement that is in the process of being renewed as it expires in 2012.
The Kwiḵwa̱sut̓inux̱w Ha̱xwa’mis First Nation (KHFN) includes approximately 270 members occupying a territory along British Columbia’s central coast. The land base has been confined to 13 reserve sites, a land area of 594.5 km2 .
The main reserve, Gwa-yas-dums Village, is located on Gilford Island, BC, northeast of Port Hardy on Vancouver Island.
Traditionally they have occupied an area that includes all of Gilford Island and extends from Tribune Channel into Bond and Thompson Sound to the northeast, and to Wakeman Sound in the north.
KHFN have never ceded, surrendered or abandoned the rights to their traditional territory and their aboriginal rights to this territory have not been extinguished.
The KHFN is comprised of 2 nations as the Haxwa’mis (Wakeman Sound) were amalgamated in the last century.
While there is no one living in Wakeman Sound right now, the plan is to repopulate that village site. Right now the KHFN is focussing on rebuilding their village with massive capital projects in housing and infrastructure have taken place in the last few years.
A whole new subdivision in the village has been created up the hill.
The KHFN has signed a Forest Range Agreement with the province and as well is working on co-management of the conservancies in the traditional territory.
KHFN just received confirmation that we will receive funding for our Water Treatment Facility this year. Last year we built six of our homes and we have submitted for funding to build six more this fiscal year.
In 2005, KHFN launched the Comprehensive Planning Process (which won a National Planning Award with Ecoplan International) which prioritized a 25 year action plan.
Eight key objectives are organized into nine main categories of actions.
- Government & Administration
- Health & Healing
- Education & Training
- Cultural Protection & Learning
- Gwa-yas-dums Facilities & Infrastructure
- Territorial Resources
- Gwa-yas-dums Tourism
These initiatives include policy and governance tools, planning and feasibility studies, capital projects, promotional tools and community initiatives, new programs, training and capacity, and more.
The foundation of KHFN’s CCP is the long term vision the members have for their great Nations. Their vision for the Kwikwasutinxw Haxwa’mis Tribes is to build on the health and wellness of the people, communities, lands and resources for future generations.
The unified members and communities of Gwa-yas-dums Village and Wakeman Sound work together to promote territorial sovereignty and community self-government by ensuring our culture, rights and values are respected and practiced throughout the traditional territory.
Gwawaenuk Governance follows a traditional Hereditary Head Chief Governance Structure. Chief Charlie Williams is the Hereditary Chief of Gwawaenuk. Chief Williams takes his direction and guidance through discussions with the Heads of each family in the Tribe.
Each head family member is updated regularly by Chief Williams personally and important immediate decisions made between the Chief and head family members.
Large and over arching community planning and decision are made at community meetings attended by the entire community, children as well.
The benefit and strength of the Hereditary system, is the continuity if brings to long term community planning, external party relationship building and program /project history and accountability.
In addition this system ensures that all major decisions impacting the Tribe are guided by traditional protocols and priorities.
Historically Heghums has been the main village and winter site for Gwawaneuk, and is the main Gwawaneuk village today. It is where the Gwawaenuk Tribe has always lived and wants to continue living and working.
Accessibility: Heghums is a remote coastal village, accessible by boat from Port McNeil or Port Hardy; it is approximately a 1.5 – 2 hour boat ride and has emergency evacuation via medi-vac, recently improved by the addition of a replacement dock in the community that is also a helicopter pad.