This week – hundreds of years ago – a colossal earthquake struck the central west coast of what is now known as Vancouver Island.
According to First Nations elders, the 9.0-magnitude quake in 1700 CE kick-started a tsunami that devastated an entire village, wiping out the 5,000 residents who lived in Anacla.
“We are able to use our history to learn from the past and prepare for future tsunamis,” Robb Johnson, member of the Huu-ay-aht peoples, told Prepared BC.
Awesome morning at Pachena Bay! Stopped and saw the House of @HuuayahtFN and learned more about west coast First Nations history. As well about brackish water that forms when freshwater meets the ocean. We also saw 4 bald eagles and seals! pic.twitter.com/ZvmG8SmU24
— Mr. Erickson (@ateachersaurus) March 13, 2020
In 1990, records reveal the community decided to relocate new housing to above sea level, on hills across the Pachena River – to prevent a similar event.
Rebuilding includes addition of a general store, gas station and the development of the Pachena Bay Campground.
To this day, the tale of what happened to Anacla is handed down to younger Indigenous generations through oral history.
#OnThisDay in 1700 a 9.0M #earthquake struck off the west coast of what is now called Vancouver Island. Read the seismic oral history, graciously shared by Huu-ay-aht elders, in our Earthquake and #Tsunami guide (PDF, 1.5MB): https://t.co/eVztD5EEcV pic.twitter.com/gqKQQYflFU
— PreparedBC (@PreparedBC) January 26, 2021
Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.