“Hishok - Tseshaht whaling; one with the whale spirit”
Author: Tseshaht First Nation
ISBN 987-1-312-91607-4 $69.99 CAD
ISBN 978-1-329-11733-4 $6.99 CAD
This book entitled "Hishok - Tseshaht whaling; one with the whale spirit", was researched and authored by Tseshaht First Nation. Since the beginning of time at the island of C`išaa (sis-shaa), a place on what is known today as Benson Island one of the Broken Group Islands in central Barkley Sound where Kapkimiyis created our first Tseshaht ancestors, Nasiyato and Naasiathlim, that is when Kapkimyis's traditional hishok teachings began, as a result the Tseshaht grew to become a strong nation with great whalers and providers.
After the amalgamation of the various neighboring Nuu-chah-nulth groups, to what is now known as Tseshaht First Nation. Our Kings prominence can be demonstrated through our traditional Tseshaht territory which expanded to include much of central Barkley Sound, including large areas of the Alberni inlet and the Somass River with large villages and seasonal harvesting sites.
Whaling was a highly prestigious activity and as such was restricted to Hawilth or King. After a successful hunt, the whale would be towed back to a main village such as C`išaa, where traditional butchering took place on the beach at low tide. the blubber and meat from a hunted whale would be traditionally allocated only to the King and his crew. The King was traditionally obligated to hold a feast in the village, also giving out the leftovers, called mamuut (mam-oot), in an informal distribution. A famous site called hamota where whale bones were piled in attempt to fill a ocean passage with those of earlier kills, as a monument to the whaler's prowess. Humpback whales (ʔiiḥtuup or ee-ah-toop) and the occasional Gray whale (m̓aaʔaak or maa-ock) were the main species hunted.
The art pieces and history panels in this book holistically display whaling as a part of the Tseshaht culture and history. You will find whaling history that has been passed down for generations is central to our Tseshaht identity as whalers, such as Tiic̓kin (thunderbird) the first great whale hunter. To understand the true bond of "hishok" (oneness) with the natural and spiritual world was a true Tseshaht Whaler.
Brought to you by:
Tseshaht First Nation
First People”s Cultural Council
Department of Canadian Heritage