Alert Bay or 'Yalis, meaning "Spreading Leg Beach" was an ancient resource site and has been a traditional home of the 'Namgis people for several thousand years. It is located on Cormorant Island in the Queen Charlotte Strait. In 1860 the site was renamed "Alert Bay" after a British naval gunship. Colonial entrepreneurs set up a fish saltery at 'Yalis in 1870 and persuaded the 'Namgis people to relocate there from Xwalkw to provide labour for the new factory.
The Namgis Burial Grounds at Alert Bay is an old native cemetery and one of the few remaining locations on the BC coast where totems remain undisturbed on their original site. The grounds of the cemetery are now closed to the public, but the totem poles can be viewed from the roadside.
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