Introducing mułaa (Rising Tide)
Resting on traditional Tla-o-qui-aht homelands, the culture and ideas around Merge’s brand has been kindled by the inlets, islands, hot springs, lakes, ancient forests, wildlife, and white sand beaches surrounding us. As a settler-owned and operated small business we uphold rituals in continuous learning and humility to be respectful visitors in this truly sacred ecosystem.
Our connection to the water is through our spirits. It cleanses our mind, body, and spirits at the same time. It refreshes our purpose and our being. – Chris Seitcher (How Nuu-chah-nulth ‘Rising Tide’ uses surfing to rediscover their bond with the ocean June 21, 2022)
Introducing mułaa (Rising Tide)
The original stewards of this peninsula, the Nuu-chah-nulth, have seen a great disruption to their connection and relationship to these lands and waters. This connection was greatly threatened by the impacts of colonization, residential schools, Indian hospitals, anti-Indigenous laws and systemic racism.
In honour of our commitment to support ongoing acts of decolonization and respect for our traditional land stewards, we would like to introduce you to mułaa (Rising Tide), an Indigenous Led Surf Team for Nuu-chah-nulth Nation members.
Helping Nuu-chah-nulth youth overcome barriers to health and well-being:
The spiritual, emotional, and mental stress inherited through the traumatic legacies of colonialism have led to high rates of mental illness, youth suicide, and physical illness.
Research has shown that when youth reclaim and practice their Indigenous identity, mental illness rates decrease. For the last two years, mułaa (Rising Tide) has offered community-driven, youth programming that nurtures physical activity, cultural practices, good relationships, and wellness traditions encouraging holistic, and connected well being.
Mułaa creates space for traditional and ancestral teachings:
The ground that you walk on is made up from the dust of your ancestors. So, when you walk on this earth, you walk slowly with honour – Levi Martin (How Nuu-chah-nulth ‘Rising Tide’ uses surfing to rediscover their bond with the ocean June 21, 2022)
Inviting elders and knowledge holders to different sessions, mułaa weaves traditional teachings around land and water stewardship, ancestral teachings, and holistic health into participants' newfound surf culture.
It’s always important to have that sacred connection. All the life sources that are in the ocean. There’s a lot of things out there that is very, very powerful of what our ancestors used to keep them so healthy and strong. “ – Levi Martin (How Nuu-chah-nulth ‘Rising Tide’ uses surfing to rediscover their bond with the ocean June 21, 2022)
Mułaa promotes nation to nation connection:
The 14 Nuu-chah-nulth Nations are spread out across Vancouver Island from Kyuquot up north to Ditidaht in Nitinat Lake, so logistically, it can be quite expensive to get all nations together. Currently, all youth participating are from Tla-o-qui-aht and Ahousaht First Nations, but mułaa is working hard to increase nation-to-nation connections with community support for program growth.
Their dream is to bridge connection in the ocean across families and youth who wouldn’t normally get the opportunity to spend time together.
Mułaa promotes inclusivity and invites knowledge holders from various communities to share teachings around the connection to nature, healing, and Nuu-chah-nulth world views.
Mułaa is rewriting surf culture on Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation (TFN) Homelands
Many of us female surfers have experienced gender minority stress in the lineup and the internalized rejection and shame that intrudes our thoughts. When we see more people that look like us in the water, we’re able to attract more confidence and visualize ourselves succeeding.
Like gender minorities, racial minorities also need more representation in the surf. Mułaa fosters a broader representation of Indigenous people in the water, starting with building confidence in the youth that can be harnessed into all areas of their lives.
Nuu-chah-nulth youth are strong, resilient and play a significant role in the future leadership of Nuu-chah-nulth communities. Helping youth to feel strong and healthy will help them one day fill community leadership roles to their fullest ancestral responsibility and highest personal power.
Join Merge and support mułaa today:
Donate to mułaa’s Go Fund Me today and support:
- mułaa programing and capacity building (Including Bronze Cross certifications)
- Storage facility construction for program gear
- Surf coach sessions and rentals
- Buying wetsuits and surfboards for youth meetups
Practice Continuous Learning
Commit to learning and understanding historical and ongoing acts of resistance and decolonization such as:
- Idle No More,
- Land and water defences,
- The Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples,
- The TRC,
- The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
Community supporters should continually reflect on our own positionality, our impact in advancing mułaa, and how this culminates in both cultural safety and humility.