Heiltsuk Nation

Bella Bella

Members of Heiltsuk celebrate a Tribal Canoe Journey. Photo by Darryl Dyck, courtesy of The Canadian Press.
Members of Heiltsuk celebrate a Tribal Canoe Journey. Photo by Darryl Dyck, courtesy of The Canadian Press.
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The main community of Heiltsuk is located in Bella Bella on BC’s Central Coast

Heiltsuk Nation

The Heiltsuk territory encompasses many inlets, islands, rivers, and mountains, containing old growth forest and dense undergrowth.

Historically, the Heiltsuk inhabited over 50 major villages across their territory with the main community located at ‘Qélc village on Campbell Island, close to the Hudson’s Bay trading post of Fort McLaughlin.

While the Heiltsuk called this village ‘Qélc, it is thought European settlers referred to it by its geographical name Pélbála which eventually gave rise to the modern English name Bella Bella.

Heiltsuk Community at Bella Bella. Photo courtesy of Heiltsuk Nation
Heiltsuk Community at Bella Bella. Photo courtesy of Heiltsuk Nation

Wáglísla, now known as Bella Bella, remains the main community location for the Heiltsuk Nation and is the largest First Nation community in the Great Bear Rainforest. It boasts a Heiltsuk fish processing plant, BC Ferries terminal, and regional airport.

Heiltsuk Integrated Resource Management Department. Photo courtesy of HIRMD
Heiltsuk Integrated Resource Management Department (HIRMD). Photo courtesy of HIRMD

The Heiltsuk Integrated Resource Management Department is also located in Bella Bella; allowing for an integrated approach to stewardship and decision-making relating to land, water and cultural resources within Heiltsuk Territory as well as providing technical advice to the Heiltsuk Tribal Council.

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