Thetis Island and Penelakut (formerly known as Kuper) Island could not be any more different. Thesis is in many ways a typical Southern Gulf Island. Pretty, peaceful, quaint, and green, it is home to retirees, artists, some farmers, and a handful of commuters who travel regularly to Vancouver Island for school or work. Penelakut is instead a First Nations’ reserve, and a reserved one at that. To even catch the ferry from Chemainus to Penelakut you first need to phone the Chief and Council office and ask for landing permission. Penelakut was scarred by a particularly harsh residential school, and more recently by unemployment and related economic struggles. The two communities come together at low tide, however, when it’s possible to walk from one island to the other. And of course they come together through the same ferry boat–on which islanders meet.