Barbara Touchie (1931-2014)

Backgrounder

Born June 20, 1931, Barbara Touchie was a life-long resident on the west coast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia.

Her father was from the Toquaht Nation and her mother was from the Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ Nation. Barbara Touchie made the Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ territory her home following her marriage to Samuel Touchie. Her family of eight daughters and seven sons quickly grew, and includes 76 grandchildren, 17 great-grandchildren and six great-great grandchildren.  

For over 40 years, Barbara Touchie made many contributions to her community and the communities of Ucluelet and Tofino, and was dedicated to revitalizing the Nuu-chah-nulth language.

During her 25 year career with Parks Canada at Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, she devoted countless hours to preserving and sharing her culture with Parks Canada, its staff and visitors.

Following her retirement, Barbara Touchie remained dedicated to her passion of sharing her culture and became an instrumental member of the Nuu-chah-nulth Working Group from 2007 to 2011. The group – which includes representatives from the Ditidaht, Huu-ay-aht, Pacheedaht, Toquaht, Tseshaht, Hupacasath, Tla-o-qui-aht, Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ (Ucluelet), Nuu-chah-nulth Language Group, and Nuu-chah-nulth Cultural Centre – provided traditional knowledge and cultural guidance on revitalizing the former Wickaninnish Interpretive Centre to the now renowned Kwisitis Visitor Centre in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.

Today, visitors can experience first-hand the legacy Barbara Touchie has left behind. Because of her, visitors can walk through the Kwisitis Visitor Centre and experience an unforgettable introduction to the Nuu-chah-nulth culture, history and language.  

A true ambassador and embodiment of the Nuu-chah-nulth culture, her passion for teaching the language and keeping it alive is evident in various publications of the Nuu-cha-nulth phonetics and the Barkley dialect. Her collaborative nature during the renovation of the Kwisitis Visitor Centre and other projects earned her the respect of Elders from neighbouring tribes.

Barbara Touchie’s last large project was for the David Suzuki Foundation, transcribing the Declaration of Interdependence into the Nuu-chah-nulth language.

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