Yuquot (Friendly Cove)

Yuquot or Friendly Cove translates to “Where the Winds Blow from Many Directions”. Located on Nootka Island, a large island off the coast of Vancouver Island in Nootka Sound, Yuquot is reputed as the ‘birthplace’ of British Columbia. It was in Yuquot in 1778 that Captain James Cook arrived making the first recorded landfall and sustained contact between the Mowachaht/Muchalaht people and Europeans.

Entry pole to a Chief's house from Yuquot. Photographer and year unknown.

Mowachaht/Muchalaht people maintained residence in Yuquot during the summers for generations. At the time of contact there was an esitmated 1,500 people residing at the village in 20 large, multi-family longhouses. The buildings ranged in size from 24 to 30 feet wide and about 150 feet long. At this location there were ample resources, and the people engaged in fishing for salmon and dogfish as well as picking berries like blueberries, huckleberries, sallal berries, and salmon berries.

The people of Yuquot were also known to be great whalers and had a whaling society that flourished for hundreds of years. They built a shrine commemorating the members of the society, which is comprised of carved human and whale figures as well as 16 human skulls.

 

 

 

 

Panorama of Yuquot village. E. Fleming, 1896. BCA.

Yuquot is also known for being the site of the “Nootka Incident”, which refers to a political dispute between the Kingdoms of Great Britain and Spain that nearly erupted in war. The dispute was over trading rights with the people of Yuquot, and was resolved peacefully in the Nootka Convention.
 
Today, people still reside at Yuquot, and the population is believed to be less than twenty permanent residents.

Textual information for this page: Curtis, 1930; Joyce & Gillespie, 2000; Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation; Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Organization.