by Patrick Strzalkowski

Our class left for Hesquiat territory on the morning of August 24th in the water taxi Wolf Dancer. For two hours we travelled north along the western side of Vancouver Island, covered at the time by a dense fog. The seven of us eventually arrived at the Hooksum Outdoor School run by Steve and Karen Charleson. Hooksum educates about 100 people every year. Most visitors, staying for 28 days, are trained in first aid and kayak guiding. On top of the two certificates, students learn to be comfortable in Hesquiaht territory. We too were invited to treat Hooksum, as Steve and Karen put it, “not like a remote wilderness nor like an adventure holiday, but instead like our own living room.” This was the first gesture in welcoming us into their “hahoutli.”