Chief Councillor Robert J. Dennis Sr. (Emchayiik)
Chief Councillor for Huu-ay-aht First Nations
Robert J. Dennis Sr. (Emchayiik) is the elected Chief Councillor for Huu-ay-aht First Nations, a modern treaty nation on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. Prior to his re-election in 2015 and 2019, he also served previous terms as chief from 1995 to 2011. Before that, he was a councillor for his Nation for six two-year terms and three years as Band Manager.
Robert lives in his Nation’s village of Anacla, near Bamfield, with his wife Sarah, where he is surrounded by family.
He was, and still is, a logger and fisherman. Fishing is not the only sport he enjoys. He is an avid sports fan, and he coached soccer, gymnastics, basketball, track and field, and softball.
During his tenure in office, Robert was Chief Negotiator for Huu-ay-aht for 14 years, successfully negotiating numerous Interim Measures with Canada and BC. He negotiated the Maa-nulth First Nations Final Agreement with Canada, British Columbia, Huu-ay-aht First Nation, Uchuclesaht Tribe, Ka’yu:uk’th’/ Che:k’les7et’h, Toquaht and Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ. He also served as the speaker for Tayii Ḥaw̓ił ƛiišin (Spencer Peters), a role his son now holds for the current head hereditary chief.
He implemented 23 Laws prior to the treaty’s effective date, successfully developed and implemented an Economic Development Strategy, and successfully negotiated numerous business deals as part of the overall economic accommodation for resource development and impacts on the Nation’s rights and interests. More recently, he was part of a team that has purchased 11 properties in Bamfield, negotiated partial ownership in the tree farm licence on Huu-ay-aht’s territory, and successfully lobbied for upgrades to the road that serves as an essential link for Nation’s village.
Robert is a passionate advocate for his Nation and his people. He works diligently with his council and Ḥaw̓iiḥ (hereditary chiefs) to ensure citizens have every opportunity to build a bright, safe future where they can celebrate their territory, language, and culture, and participate in their Nation’s business.