Kiis a hii cist: A successful ocean hunter

Tla-o-qui-aht territory

Gary Martin, 21, of Tla-o-qui-aht said “the toughest job I ever had was carving a dugout canoe, everything has to be exact.”

Joe Martin, master carver of Tla-o-qui-aht, began teaching Gary how to carve the 16-foot dugout in January of this year. Joe is pleased with Gary’s work ethic and said he is a hard worker.

Gary is a troller fisherman by trade, and when he is not fishing out on the Pacific Ocean he helps out with the family-owned and operated business the Clayoquot Wild, providing whale and bear watching, trips to the Hot Springs in the Hesquiaht hahoulthee and fishing trips in the Tofino area. Gary is also taking online university courses, and is planning on submitting an application to the University of Victoria for engineering and oceanographer courses. Both courses will take four years each.

While carving the canoe Gary said he learned a lot about family history, and was especially happy to know that his late grandfather Nuukmis- George Martin did not have all the tools that are available today. Joe said what they used was shell and bones, and used the width of their hands and fingers to make measurements.

Gary also learned about what to be aware of when selecting a log: ensure there are no nesting birds, wolf and bear dens and when you fall a tree, try and leave things undisturbed as much as you can.

Gary is planning on using the knowledge he learned from building his canoe while working on his fishing boat in duties like changing planks.

Once Gary is finished carving his canoe he hopes to launch it soon, and when he does he plans to use it for fishing as his grandfather did. He’s also planning on making a sail for Kiis a hii cist.

His uncle Levi Martin named his canoe Kiis a hii cist, basing it on Gary’s personality and his work.


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