January 26th, 2021 – Virtual Indigenous Ceremony: Reimagining Ways of Connection with Uut Uustukyuu


A UBC Learning Circle series centered on exploring ways to adapt to our current pandemic reality while using technology to conduct and participate in ceremony in a virtual space. These sessions will take a look at the importance of Indigenous spirituality and how our communities across the province are creating innovative ways to uplift one another. Honoring balance and harmony with the land is central to Indigenous ceremonies and traditional practices; how can we ensure that this balance continues in a good way despite the challenges we are living through? What does this resilience look like within different Nations?

NuuChah Nulth are people where the mountains meet the sea. We are a group of 14 First Nations along the west coast of Vancouver Island.

While Nuu Chah Nulth people have had a medical system and specialized practitioners since time immemorial, the work went to sleep to protect it from colonizing forces and to keep it sacred. We are now reawaking our society of healers, and newly formalizing it in the current landscape of medical services, recentering indigenous healing models in health services. We are a traditional practitioner’s network offering cultural healing and traditional medicines and do this work when asked across the province.

We have reawakened to different ways of doing things. One of our biggest teachings is of humility and accepting what is and, doing what works. We have been taught that we have to keep moving forward. One of the paths in front of us right now is virtual ceremony.

This session will introduce you to Uut Uustukyuu practises used to help people move forward in a good way through ceremony that provides an opportunity to experience change. These ceremonies and Haapuupa (teachings) are for people of all cultures who come with an open mind and humble heart.

Thank you for your interest and participation!

This session’s video is now available for viewing.

Thank you to everyone for your continued interest in our events.

We would like to reiterate that everyone is welcome to our UBCLC sessions.

Our events aim to embody a safe space for everyone of all different backgrounds to have their opinions and voices equally heard.

Date: Tuesday, January 26th, 2021 (PST)
Time: 10 a.m. to 11:30 am

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About the Presenters:


Levi Martin, Tla-o-qui-aht Elder and Cultural Educator

Levi Martin was born in Opitsaht, a Tla-o-qui-aht Nation village on Meares Island, on the west coast of Vancouver Island near Tofino. As a boy, he was given the name Kaa-mitsk, “fighter and hunter.” He set up snares, trapped birds, and spent many hours outdoors near Opitsaht. Levi was the youngest of 16 children, all born to George and Martha Martin. Nuu-chah-nulth was his first language, since he had no need to speak English until he was sent to the Christie Indian Residential School for native children run by the Catholic Church from 1898 to 1983. At age 11, he returned home to Opitsaht to continue his schooling, and as a teenager, he moved to Vancouver for a carpentry course and worked as a carpenter for one year.

Upon returning to Opitsaht in the early 1960s, Levi worked briefly in logging, then began Clayoquot Sound’s first water taxi business, taking tourists out to see whales and to go fishing. In 1976, Levi left the water taxi business and began carving and painting. He also began teaching native art and Nuu-chah-nulth language to younger Tla-o-qui-aht members as well as members of other Nuu-chah-nulth tribes. This was his opportunity to share knowledge, wisdom, and “a different way of doing things.” It became increasingly important to Levi to ensure that the Tla-o-qui-aht were learning as much as possible about their history and culture. For Levi, this is about “…getting back to the way of our people, to fight for ourselves instead of waiting for the [Canadian] government.”

In the late 1990s, Levi was part of the Nuu-chah-nulth Healing Project, a decade-long project in which facilitators like Levi worked with Nuu-chah-nulth survivors of Indian Residential Schools. Today, he is a recognized Elder, language teacher, and knowledge holder. His Nuu-cha-nulth name today, which was given to him by his older brother, is Kaa-muth, “one who is all-knowing.”


Jessica Barudin is Kwakwa̱ka̱ʼwakw, a member of the ‘Namgis First Nation with ties to the Kwakiutl and Haxwamis on her mother’s side and Russian-Jewish on her father’s side. She is a proud mother of two daughters, wife, Sundancer, Indigenous health researcher, yoga teacher and doula. She has spent the last ten years working professionally in Indigenous peoples’ health and education including a variety of roles in health research, health promotion, project management, and community engagement. Jessica has a Masters of Applied Science in Physical Therapy from the McGill University and an Undergraduate Degree in Human Kinetics from the University of British Columbia. Jessica currently works with the First Nations Health Authority as the Traditional Wellness Specialist for Vancouver Island.



Steven and Allison Howard. Allison is a social development worker for Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation while Steven works in maintenance at Best Western Tin Wis Resort. The couple lives at Ty-Histanis, near Tofino. The Howards are well known for hosting an online Potlatch on Facebook called Oo’ii Healing Potlatch Online. The English word for Oo’ii is medicine. The post was made Nov. 25 and has over 600 attendees signed up to watch in just two days. Steven believes that without the ability to gather because of the pandemic, people are starting to suffer and struggle again with alcohol and drugs because they miss being together. This new way of contemporary online celebration allowed families to digitally gather together. While together this online community: sang, shared songs, and created a meaningful shared space for mutual healing. Be sure to check out their past Facebook event here


Elder Dave Frank (unfortunately Elder Dave was not able to join us during the day of) from Ahousaht First Nation, Dave is a Sacred Knowledge Keeper and Healer in his community. Dave’s Traditional name is hayuk̓čiisinap, meaning one who calls 200 ancestors to help in ceremony. He first brought his gifts to health service work as the Program Coordinator for the Circle of Healing for Ahousaht. Following this, he spent 12 years as the Community Health Service Manager before shifting to the role of Senior Cultural Advisor for Chah Chum Hii Yup Tiic Mis. He is now the Tsuuyuk Coordinator of Uut Uustukyuu. He works across Canada and the U.S to provide healing, cultural support and education to Ahousaht members, other nations, organizations and government bodies.







  • Uut Uuštukyuu Healing Services – Document

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