Saturday, July 27, 2013

Day in Alert Bay

Alert Bay is the last Native working fishing village, we were told.
We had to get there by ferry from Port MacNeil, a mostly a logging town & used to be a mining & fishing town.

Mining became unprofitable on the north end of Vancouver Island. Port Hardy was in some ways a shrunken town, with evidence of used-to-be businesses. Port MacNeil much less so.

Alert Bay is a lively place. Lots of walkers, cyclers, along with the usual cars.
The buildings.... colorful, some quirky-delightful.....

some a bit iffy...

 Then the graveyard down at the south end of the bay. We could only walk around it. It was sacred ground & that was palpable.
 It was being mowed. 

Then there  is ....amazement...
 ....the unexpected...
 ....& as always for me, the romance of decay....
 We walked to the north end of the bay to see 2 opposite structures.
 The wonderful, uplifting one is the U'mista Cultural Center. There is a collection of artifacts confiscated during a potlatch suppression. These have been returned & are on display. 
The other is the gloomy residential school.
  Cultural center, left; residential school ahead.

 I found these windows said a lot. Bricks are falling out, there is some vandalism, but I would have expected even more.  There is discussion about taking it down. Of course. Why is it still there, I wondered.

                                       It was massive!!

 That's enough for now. The people were friendly, we ate well, and there was much talk amongst us that evening.

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