U'mista Cultural Centre

Top choice in Vancouver Island

This must-see longhouse-like facility proudly displays dozens of culturally priceless Kwakwaka'wakw artifacts confiscated when potlatch ceremonies were outlawed in Canada, and distributed to museums and collections around the world. The cultural center has been slowly negotiating their return and the main gallery here is a wonderful manifestation of their efforts (and ongoing work). The mask collection is especially haunting. Summer programs include book readings and cedar-bark-weaving demonstrations, while the on-site gift shop brims with ethically sourced First Nations art.