Ha-Shilth-Sa Newspaper April 21, 2022

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INTERESTING NEWS Canada’s Oldest First Nations Newspaper - Serving Nuu-chah-nulth-aht since 1974 Canadian Publications Mail Product Vol. 49 - No. 08—April 21, 2022 haas^i>sa Sales Agreement No. 40047776

Photo submitted by David Dowling

Students at Kyuquot Elementary Secondary School display blankets that they now use during the school’s morning assembly. The blankets were designed by First Nations artists living on Vancouver Island.

‘Going the right way, together’: Ahousaht signs MOU Agreement with the province the result of 18 months of negotiations, with 89 tasks to be completed in five years By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Maaqtusiis, BC – The provincial Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, Murray Rankin, arrived in Ahousaht April 13 to sign an historic agreement with Ahousaht Ha’wiih and elected council. The agreement, called AHP-CII-UK, is an MOU (memorandum of understanding) that took about 18 months of negotiations between the provincial and Ahousaht governments to craft. AHP-CII-UK, which translates to English as “going the right way, together”. The canoe is an important symbol to the Ahousaht First Nation, and the MOU envisions building a strong canoe so the province and the Ahousaht people can paddle together in the same direction, said a ministry news release. In his opening remarks, Elected Chief Greg Louie said it was at a meeting Ahousaht had with John Horgan about three to four years ago when they told the premier that they wanted to start reconciliation negotiations with the province. By moving forward with reconciliation, it is hoped by both sides that a new relationship between the governments will help advance long-lasting reconciliation through respect, co-operation, partnership and a recognition of Ahousaht First Nation rights. According to Louie, Premier Horgan immediately said yes to the idea of reconciliation negotiations. “He directed then minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation Scott Fraser to start it,” Louie recalled.

Photo by Denise Titian

Murray Rankin, B.C.’s minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, signs an agreement with Ahousaht Chief Councillor Greg Louie on April 13 in the First Nation’s village of Maaqtusiis. Luigi Sposato, executive director of Land Use Planning with the provincial government, was appointed lead negotiator on behalf of the province. Ahousaht appointed lead negotiators Greg Louie and Tyson Atleo and named several Ahousaht Joint Committee members, made up of elected councilors and elders, for consultation during the talks. Meetings were conducted via Zoom due to public health orders resulting from the pandemic. Over time, the teams came up with

Inside this issue... Billions in Liberal budget for Indigenous issues............Page 3 Push for a new hospital in Tofino...................................Page 5 Coalition stands behind fish farms................................Pages 8 All Native Basketball Tournament................................Page 11 VIU expands Indigenous gathering space....................Page 14

six priority topics, that they refer to as paddles, to concentrate on as the parties move toward reconciliation. Louie said they chose paddles as an analogy to represent the work that needs to be done to reach a destination. “This AHP-CII-UK agreement is the start of an acknowledgment of who the Ahousaht people are, and have been since time immemorial,” said Chief Louie in a statement provided by the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation. “I am happy the province

is learning about the Ahousaht way in our hahouthee, and I believe this agreement is a steppingstone to a strong relationship and a better future for everyone.” The MOU was signed in July 2021, but the parties could not get together until April 13 to celebrate the occasion. Minister Rankin was thanked by the people of Ahousaht for demonstrating his willingness to get to know the community by agreeing to spend the night and tour the village. Continued on Page 2.

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Page 2— Ha-Shilth-Sa— April 21, 2022

Woman dies under suspicious circumstances Ceremony held at site of vehicle incident, before the Belcourt family brought their daughter home to Merri• By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Port Alberni, BC – A woman found deceased on street near Victoria Quay in the early morning hours of April 2 has been identified as 30-year-old Nicola-Cree Belcourt. It appears she had been fatally injured due to an incident involving a vehicle that was not at the scene when police arrived. According to the RCMP, on April 2, 2022, at approximately 2:30 a.m. police came to find an unresponsive woman near the intersection of Roger Street and Victoria Quay. “BC EHS and Port Alberni Fire Department were already on scene and attempting life-saving measures, however a woman was pronounced dead on scene,” reads an RCMP media release. Belcourt had moved to Port Alberni within the last year from her home of Merritt, B.C. in the Nicola Valley. On Saturday, April 9, her mother, Jacqueline Swakum, arrived in Port Alberni along with her two remaining children, Thomas and Jayme Spence, to bring their loved one home. It was a day trip because the family needed to get back home to tend to cultural practices prior to the funeral. Tseshaht Chief Councillor Ken Watts says he believes Belcourt’s family made a post on social media announcing that they were coming to Port Alberni to bring their loved one home. “Some of our people saw the post and decided to do something to help,” said Watts. “Our council member Ed Ross offered to take lead in pulling people together to take care of cultural protocols on both sides.” People from both Tseshaht and the larger Port Alberni community pulled together to support the cultural business that Belcourt’s family wished to do. Watts said that they provided a quiet space for the family to rest before going to the site where their loved one lost her life. At noon that day, lower Roger Street

was closed off temporarily by the RCMP as the people gathered to release Belcourt’s spirit and to cleanse the area of any negative energy that might linger. Watts said that many other Nuu-chahnulth people were there to support the family, to hold them up, as they shook the hands of those that attempted to helped Belcourt. First responders were recognized and invited to take part in healing smudge ceremonies. RCMP Const. Richard Johns said that officers who attended the incident on April 2 were unable to come to the ceremony. “There were officers on scene to assist in ensuring that other first responders were acknowledged,” he told Ha-ShilthSa, adding that the first responders he spoke to were honoured to be invited. “It is truly an honour to be involved in a ceremony which holds such a great meaning to the communities that we serve, and to know that the community cares so much about its first responders as to invite us” There have been no arrests made in Belcourt’s death. “Our officers have spoken with witness and have canvassed for video in the area. Officers have identified the vehicle of interest, which has been seized as the investigations continues,” Constable Richard Johns stated. Police ask that if anyone has dashboard camera video in the area between 1:30 a.m. and 2:45 a.m. on April 2, or may have witnessed anything of concern, to call the Port Alberni detachment at 250723-2424. Const. Johns said that the Port Alberni RCMP General Investigative Service have assumed control of the investigation and are continuing to work with the Integrated Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Service and the BC Coroners Service. The family of Belcourt thanked the Tseshaht First Nation for their support and words of encouragement before they brought their loved one back home to Merritt. They also thanked first respond-

Facebook photo

Thirty-year-old Nicola-Cree Belcourt was found deceased on Roger Street near Port Alberni’s Victoria Quay in the early morning hours of April 2. ers and the Port Alberni RCMP, who were there for Nicola-Cree. Watts sympathized with the family. “No mom should have to deal with that, that was her daughter,” he said. Watts is grateful to the people who got together on short notice to support the family. He askes that anyone with information to please come forward and

contact the RCMP. “We will do what we can to answer their questions,” said Watts of Belcourt’s family. “Her life shouldn’t have been cut short, we ask that people with cameras and information come forward.”

Agreement recognizes First Nation’s title and rights Continued from page 1. Chief Louie talked about the endless needs assessment surveys sent by government in the past that didn’t go anywhere. He called them ineffectual. He recalled a time when a group of senators flew into Ahousaht then left after an hour. “What a waste of resources,” said Louie, adding that they probably could have bought a house with the money spent on that trip. Minister Rankin thanked Ahousaht, adding that the province is committed to this reconciliation journey. The MOU will guide next steps to reconciliation. Ahousaht will meet with representatives of the provincial government on a regular basis to build on the six paddles: language and culture; community infrastructure and housing; health and social development; natural resource management; economic development; and governance, recognition, and accountability. Rankin said that this MOU is different in that it is an action plan containing 89 tasks that both sides have agreed to work on. “The law requires us to deliver an annual report to show which of the 89 tasks

have been done over a period of five years – so we are accountable to you,” he stated. “The AHP-CII-UK memorandum of understanding represents the important next steps in the working relationship between Ahousaht First Nation and B.C.,” Rankin said. “It will guide our discussions on vitally important topics in a way that respects and recognizes the many essential aspects of Ahousaht’s vision for their community. Together, we are building a robust canoe that will carry us toward a prosperous future.” “Under the MOU, Ahousaht First Nation and the province will develop a way forward that recognizes Ahousaht’s culture, history, title and rights. Ahousaht has a fundamental and interconnected relationship to the ‘hahouthee’ - the Nation’s territory,” said the ministry in a statement. They went on to say that the agreement will begin to address the profound impact of colonization on their hahouthee by working together to improve socioeconomic opportunities for the Ahousaht community, strengthening the First Nation’s governance, as well as building B.C. and Ahousaht’s government-togovernment relationship.

Photo by Denise Titian

Teacher Terri Robinson stands with her Grade 3 class from Maaqtusiis Elementary showing their knowledge of Ahousaht language to Minister Murray Rankin on April 13. They introduced themselves in their language and said an Ahousaht prayer to get the ceremony going in the right way. Both sides agreed to move forward with respect. “When you work together, mountains can be moved,” said Louie. “We put the framework together, now it’s time to put

meat on the bones.” There are more than 2,100 registered Ahousaht First Nation members. About half of them live on Flores Island, at Maaqtusiis.


April 21, 2022—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 3

Liberal budget commits billions to Indigenous issues It’s not an NDP budget, but the new agreement with the Trudeau government has increased social spending By Karly Blats Ha-Shilth-Sa Contibutor Ottawa, ON - Although the recently announced federal 2022 budget commits $11 billion over six years towards housing, health, social services and education for Indigenous people, Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns says it still falls short of addressing some injustices facing First Nations. The NDP caucus has entered into a Supply and Consent Agreement with the minority Liberal government. According to Johns, the agreement aims to bring stability to parliament and get Canadians the help they need “following a sustained period of chaos and disruption in national politics.” The agreement enables the two parties to work towards common goals such as dental and pharmacare, action on climate change and Indigenous reconciliation. Johns said the NDP are pushing the Liberals to deliver the promises they make in the first year of the agreement, including funding for First Nations, that he says is inadequate. “One of the biggest disappointments was actually around Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG). No new money, absolutely appalled, disappointed to say the least,” Johns said. “[The Liberals] basically repeated what they already announced for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and two spirit lgbtqia+, so it’s extremely disappointing and we will keep fighting for them to deliver more money and to accelerate the implementation of the federal pathway on this.”

Photo by Karly Blats

Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns says the federal 2022 budget falls short of addressing some First Nation injustices. The Federal Pathway to Address Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ People is the government of Canada’s contribution to the National Action Plan, called for by the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. It outlines the Government of Canada’s approach to ending violence against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people.

“In terms of the government’s commitment, they haven’t delivered on it…they have not delivered on the Federal Pathway that they’ve promised around Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls,” Johns said. “We’re calling for a clear plan and obviously resources around all of the calls to justice. This is our top priority. We’re going to continue to put pressure on the Liberals to step up.” The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) says in a press release that the federal budget delivers funding at levels that could make a real difference in the lives of Indigenous women, but falls short on MMIWG. “The $11 billion over six years that has been promised to Indigenous people is targeted at some of the most urgent issues, including housing, health, social services, and education. We are also pleased to see that more money has been set aside for infrastructure on reserves, and to help First Nations locate burial sites at former residential schools,” states the press release. “We would have liked to have seen additional funds to stop the violence and genocide addressed in the National Inquiry’s Final Report on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.”

“Three hundred million dollars is a drop in the bucket, it’s disappointing.” ~ Gord Johns, Courtenay-Alberni MP Additional funding for First Nations communities announced in the budget include $4.3 billion over seven years to help improve Indigenous housing, including a $300 million investment over five years, starting in 2022-23, to co-develop and launch an Urban, Rural, and Northern Indigenous Housing Strategy. In addition, $2.4 billion over five years is in the budget to support First Nations housing on reserves.

“Three hundred million dollars is a drop in the bucket, it’s disappointing,” Johns said. “A new Indigenous Urban, Rural and Northern Housing Strategy is something we’ve been fighting hard for. The NDP was able to secure a doubling of the federal housing commitment to Indigenous housing from $2 billion to $4.3 billion.” In addition, Budget 2022 proposes to provide $398 million over two years, starting in 2022-23, to support community infrastructure on Canadian reserves, of which at least $247 million will be directed toward water and wastewater infrastructure. Budget 2022 also provides additional funding of $209 million to increase the support provided to Indigenous communities to document, locate and memorialize burial sites at former residential schools, to support the operations of a new building for the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation and to ensure the complete disclosure of federal documents related to residential schools. Johns said another area where the liberals fell short on the budget was their commitment to the toxic drug supply and overdose crisis. “The fact that they only budgeted $100 million for the toxic drug supply and overdose crisis that’s claimed over 27,000 lives and has disproportionality impacted Indigenous people in B.C. …that’s about $33 million a year spread out over 10 provinces and three territories,” John said. “That just shows that stigma exists right in the government in terms of the resources they’re applying to this - and that money is for treatment, for recovery, prevention, education and a safe supply and that’s just completely unacceptable.” An additional $227.6 million over two years, starting in 2022-23, is proposed in the budget to maintain trauma-informed, culturally-appropriate, Indigenous-led services to improve mental wellness and to support efforts initiated through Budget 2021 to co-develop distinctions-based mental health and wellness strategies. “This isn’t an NDP budget. We’re using our power to secure results the Liberals haven’t delivered. Results that will make a big difference in peoples lives,” Johns said.


Page 4— Ha-Shilth-Sa— April 21, 2022 Ha-Shilth-Sa newspaper is published by the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council for distribution to the members of the NTC-member First Nations, as well as other interested groups and individuals. Information and original work contained in this newspaper is protected by copyright and may not be reproduced without written permission from: Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council P.O. Box 1383, Port Alberni, B.C. V9Y 7M2. Telephone: (250) 724-5757 Fax: (250) 723-0463 Web page: www.hashilthsa.com facebook: Hashilthsa Ntc

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Huu-ay-aht, Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ mark 10 years Two First Nations were the first in B.C. to gain voting rights in a regional district By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Port Alberni, BC - With an emphasis on the path to “economic reconciliation,” April 13 marked 10 years since First Nations gained director status with the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District. Leaders from the Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ and the Huu-ay-aht First Nations spoke before a full board meeting on April 13, a decade since they became the first Indigenous communities in the province to gain representation on a regional district. “It’s been a big step for us to be involved at this level,” said Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ Government President Chuck McCarthy. “We’ve always been told under [Indigenous and North Affairs Canada] what to do, when to do it.” Alan McCarthy, a legislative member of the Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ Government, noted how the ACRD quickly responded to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action. “This table has supported First Nations issues,” he said. Alan McCarthy is a survivor of the residential school system, as are Huu-ay-aht Chief Councillor Robert Dennis Sr. and Huu-ay-aht Ha’wilth Jeff Cook, who both attended the Alberni Indian Residential School in the late 1950s and 1960s. “It was not the best place to be, but it enabled us to get an education,” said Dennis. “For me it was a very bad experience. So bad I remember one time running away.” As the province reassess the future of its forestry industry, including the deferment of old growth logging in various areas in consultation with First Nations, Dennis emphasized the need for the government to listen to those with deep ancestral ties to the land’s timber. “We need old growth for our cultural purposes,” he said, warning against calls to halt the harvesting of all old trees. “Cultural genocide, that’s what I call it. Somebody trying to cease my right to practice my culture, and use it for whatever purpose I want to use that cedar tree for.” In recent years the Huu-ay-aht have gained a growing stake in Tree Farm Licence 44, a large section of Crown land

Photo by Eric Plummer

Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District Board Chairperson John Jack (centre), who is an elected councillor with the Huu-ay-aht First Nations, shakes hands with Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ First Nation President Chuck McCarthy (right) and Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ Legislative Member Alan McCarthy on April 13. The two First Nations celebrated 10 years with the regional district as voting governments. 2014, as did the Toquaht Nation in Octo“Cultural genocide, that’s ber 2016. In Vancouver Island’s north the what I call it. Somebody try- Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k’tles7et’h’ First Nations, the fifth signatory to the Maa-nulth ing to cease my right to prac- treaty, joined the Strathcona Regional tice my culture, and use it for District one year ago. Penny Cote, Sproat Lake’s ACRD direcwhatever purpose I want to tor of 17 years, called the movement of use that cedar tree for.” First Nations joining the regional district “one of the biggest events that’s ever happened in my career.” ~ Robert Dennis Sr. “We are in this together,” she said. “We Huu-ay-aht Chief Councillor all have challenges. Your challenges are our challenges.” But other First Nations still have yet within the First Nation’s territory south of to gain voting status with the ACRD, Port Alberni. Dennis calls this newfound including the Tseshaht and Hupacasath in control over the Huu-ay-aht’s territorial Port Alberni. resources “economic reconciliation”. “I would like to see all First Nations in “The opportunity is there if we do it our community participate in the regional right, and doing it right is managing district and have a voice and a full vote,” the forest in a good way, including old said Dr. Kel Roberts, who represents growth,” he said. “Port Alberni was built Long Beach. “Whether they’re treaty naon the forestry economy, and we should tions or not, it’s extremely important.” never lose sight of that. I know people “Huu-ay-aht and Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ are a say that it’s a sunset industry. Maybe it is, model for Canada, but there’s a lot to but there’s still opportunities.” be done,” added Courtenay-Alberni MP After the Huu-ay-aht and Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ Gord Johns. “Nations shouldn’t have to joined the ACRD in 2012 the Uchuckbe in treaty to have a seat at the table.” lesaht Tribe would follow in February

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April 21, 2022—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 5

The growing push for a new hospital in Tofino Chamber of commerce urges province to prioritize a new facility, as Ahousaht sees ‘revolving door’ of patients By Melissa Renwick Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Tofino, BC - The Tofino General Hospital (TGH) was built in 1954 to service a regional population of 400 people, according to the Tofino-Long Beach Chamber of Commerce. Since then, the region’s population has grown to around 10,000, with visitation levels reaching an estimated 600,000 people per year in 2018, the chamber added. In a letter addressed to Health Minister Adrian Dix on March 28, the chamber urgently stressed the need to replace the hospital to accommodate this growth. While Island Health said “renewal” of TGH has been noted among their priority projects, the chamber is concerned that it could take another 10 years at the provincial level before a new facility is built. “A decade is too long a time frame to rely on the current facility,” said TofinoLong Beach Chamber of Commerce President Laura McDonald. “As visitation and regional population numbers increase each year, the pressure put on the current hospital … is too great.” When six people tragically died after a whale watching boat capsized off Tofino’s coast in 2015, the chamber said TGH was “woefully inadequate” to handle the emergency. “It was chaos,” said Tofino General Hospital Foundation Director Camilla Thorogood. “The waiting room seats four or five people, and there were dozens of people there trying to help.” According to PreparedBC, the “odds of a damaging earthquake” hitting British Columbia’s coast in the next 50 years are one in three. “Evaluations of the hospital indicate that the building could face potential disaster during an earthquake – just when the people of the west coast need it most,” read a 2019 Vital report by the Tofino General Hospital Foundation. A 2015 Asset Detail Report for the hospital further emphasized that it “will likely suffer serious damage or collapse during a severe earthquake”. “Not only does this present an unacceptable threat to the local population, it is even more difficult to invite visitors in such numbers to a region that does not have adequate emergency health facilities,” the chamber wrote in their letter. Island Health said it “recognizes the need to address the aging infrastructure at Tofino General Hospital.” Over the past 10 years, Island Health said it has invested more than $3.8 mil-

Photo by Melissa Renwick

The Tofino General Hospital serves a regional population of 10,000, far greater than what the facility was originally built for in 1954. lion in projects and equipment for the facility. Island health added that it works closely with the Ministry of Health and has received approval to begin preparing a concept plan for a “proposed TGH project.” That work is expected to begin in the “near future,” they added. “While this is an important first step in the process, it should be noted that there are many steps between conceptual planning and final approval for a project of this type,” Island Health said. “These steps can take several years to complete.” In the meantime, Island Health said it will continue to “ensure the hospital is maintained to a standard that enables us to deliver the best care possible.” The Tofino hospital serves around 1,800 First Nations residents from the surrounding communities, including Tla-o-qui-aht, Toquaht, Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ Hesquiaht and Ahousaht First Nation, according to the vital report. Ahousaht First Nation Elected Chief Greg Louie said he’s advocating for a new hospital on behalf of his nation, and the region at large. “The hospital is small, it’s antiquated, it’s outdated, and there are some services that the hospital needs improvement on,” he said. “First Nations are the fastest growing population within the region, and with Tofino being a very attractive tourist centre, the hospital is just far too small.” In its current state, the hospital doesn’t

Greg Louie have a maternity ward. That means that women and families need to travel to Port Alberni, Nanaimo or Victoria to receive care. It’s not only financially burdensome, but time consuming, said Louie. The Ahousaht chief councillor said the hospital also doesn’t have psychiatric designation, which was especially challenging during the height of COVID-19. Mental wellness is not addressed adequately, Louie said. Without a psychiatric designation, he said that patients are released without receiving comprehensive care. It “creates a revolving door” of patients circling in-and-out of the hospital, he said. Thorogood said the current infrastructure lacks a cultural area or large space for people to gather when someone is passing. “It’s quite important,” she said. “We need some sort of space for that.” Louie echoed the sentiment by saying that when Ahousaht members are in the hospital at the end of their life, family members need somewhere to go.

“Their room fills up, the hallways fill up, the small waiting area fills up, there’s people in the front entrance [and] there’s people outside,” he said. “A lot of family members come to the hospital, so having that space is very important – culturally and spirituality [it’s] very important to our people.” During a meeting on Jan. 17, Louie said the health minister assured him that “the Tofino hospital is next.” Decisions will need to be made collaboratively between local, provincial and First Nation governing bodies, said Louie. “We really should have input on this together,” he said. A site for the new hospital has not been solidified, but Tofino General Hospital Foundation Chair Arlene McGinnis said, “We feel a good site for the hospital is on the land where it sits now.” McGinnis said the foundation land across from Tonquin Medical Clinic is designated for medical use only. “We can’t use it for anything else,” she said. “We’d like to see it used as a part of the hospital project.” Thorogood said the foundation is “strongly” opposed to the hospital being moved to a new location because it would make it more difficult for off-shore residents to access care and provide support to loved ones. “Talking to your loved ones makes you feel a little more connected and not so isolated,” she said. While Thorogood said the province has been “very supportive” of the foundation, they haven’t seen any tangible moves forward. “I think they’re listening,” she said. “They’re well aware of us. We’ve been a loud voice.”

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les sam@shaw.ca


Page 6— Ha-Shilth-Sa— April 21, 2022

‘Close this science gap’ in old growth, say Huu-ay-aht The First Nation moves to protect its long-term forest interests, identifying over 4,000 tall trees to be preserved By Mike Youds Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Huu-ay-aht First Nations have a relatively small territory, yet they hold big ambitions in forestry. Notched out of the Island’s west coast, Huu-ay-aht-owned land spans 8,200 hectares of the Sarita River watershed along Barkley Sound’s south shore while the nations hold additional rights in their larger ḥahuułi, including Tree Farm Licence 44. This location has more than a little to do with HFN’s strategic interest in the forest industry as it undergoes upheaval and potentially transformative change through the provincial government’s promised forest sector “modernization,” implementation of DRIPA and recommendations of the strategic old growth review. A little to the south of Huu-ay-aht territory, Pacheedaht First Nation has endured two years of protest and police presence near Fairy Creek, the largest act of civil disobedience in Canadian history. To the north, Clayoquot Sound was a flashpoint in the War in the Woods 30 years ago, the country’s second largest act of civil disobedience. “Our biggest threat is that people are calling for a halt to all old-growth logging in B.C.,” Huu-ay-aht Chief Councillor Robert Dennis said during a recent UBC forestry panel discussion. He shared a photo of massive logs supporting the House of Huu-ay-aht in Anacla. “To me that means, OK, Huu-ay-aht, we’re not going to allow you to build any more structures like that.” Less than a year after Huu-ay-aht-owned Huumiis Ventures acquired a 35 per cent stake in TFL 44, the new partnership with Western Forest Products — C̕awak ʔqin (Tsawak-qin) Forestry — is forging ahead with long-range plans to advance to carbon neutrality and fresh analysis of old growth trees in the TFL, research released ahead of an old growth summit hosted by Huu-ay-aht First Nations in Anacla April 28. Next week’s gathering brings together coastal Indigenous representatives to share information on their stewardship and resource management planning and decision-making processes. Its purpose is to hear from forestry professionals on the so-called “science gap,” wide discrepancies in scientific estimates of old growth forest in B.C., a bone of contention in a continuing conflict over what remains of trees 250 years old and older. “The need for large-scale deferrals would likely be justified by reliance on the untested assertion in 2020 by technical advisors to B.C. that there is only three per cent of productive old growth left in B.C.,” HFN said as it announced the summit in November. “Other forestry technical advisors say there is 30 per cent of similarly labelled productive old growth left within a highly protected land base. As the rights and title holders who make the final decisions on forestry in our territory, Huu-ay-aht needs to close this science gap.” Far from shying away from controversy, HFN has elected to take a lead hand on the politically charged issue of old growth preservation and deferrals, heading off any potential constraints on their right to manage their forests as they see fit. C̕awak ʔqin Forestry released results April 6 of a TFL 44 technical analysis that backs up Huu-ay-aht assertions about remaining old growth. The study found

Photo by Mike Youds

Huu-ay-aht Chief Councillor Robert Dennis Sr. sees calls to halt all old-growth logging as a threat to the First Nation’s culture. Much of Tree Farm Licence 44, below, covers Huu-ay-aht territory. three-quarters of old growth in TFL 44 is protected or outside the timber harvesting land base. While some studies estimate as little as one to three per cent of more productive old growth (valley bottom) forest remains across the province, the study suggests TFL 44 has 29 percent. The analysis provides a baseline for the Huu-ay-aht integrated resource manage plan (IRMP) expected to take shape over the next two years, said Joel Mortyn, a forester who authored the report. “From a conservation focus, the data tells us that old forests are less represented in the highest productivity stands and the drier ecosystems in TFL 44, and the current Indigenous-led planning process will be important in addressing those areas,” Mortyn said. “It is also clear that old growth is not at risk of disappearing from TFL 44 and will, in fact, be higher than current levels in the future due to the established network of protected areas.” The study was peer reviewed by experts in the field of forestry, ecology and timber supply analysis, C̕awak ʔqin said. “Facts matter, and so do millennia of on-the-ground knowledge passed down through our ancestors,” Dennis said. “This study confirms what we have always known – that there is more old growth than claimed and that even under existing forest stewardship regimes, the amount of old growth will grow over our Indigenous seven-generation planning horizon. It’s time to move past the battle of numbers and continue planning for a future where we continue to have old growth in perpetuity, as well as strong resilient communities where everyone and everything benefits.” “The report shows the state of our forests after a century of excluding our people from the lands we have lived on and from since time immemorial,” said Huu-ay-aht Hereditary Chief ƛiišin, Derek Peters. “Now the world is turning to our nations to lead the journey to an

even better way where, through Indigenous leadership grounded in respect, we ensure a brighter future for everyone and everything.” C̕awak ʔqin put another feather in its old-growth protection cap last week, announcing that trees within TFL 44 above 70 metres in height will be retained while the IRMP is completed over the next two years. Previously, only trees more than 80 metres high were retained. Using LiDAR remote-sensing data, the company has identified more than 4,000 tall trees and said it will ensure that forest reserves are left intact around them. An estimated area of 14,000 hectares of existing and planned preserved forests in TFL 44 is associated with tall trees. By comparison, the provincial government’s technical advisory panel recommended deferral of harvest of 11,860 hectares in TFL 44. Over the next two years, foresters and

ecologists, working with Witwak Guardians employed through a stewardship monitoring program, will verify tall trees and work with TFL 44 nations on longterm retention measures. “This change in tall tree retention aligns with Huu-ay-aht First Nations practices on its lands and tenures and maintains options for long-term decisions made through the TFL 44 IRMP process,” said Shannon Janzen, forester and chair of C̕awak ʔqin’s board. The company said it will continue monitoring planned harvest areas to ensure “very large” diameter trees are left unlogged unless requested by First Nations for cultural purposes. Next week’s Anacla summit includes a tour of the Huu-ay-aht ḥahuułi along with discussions about Huu-ay-aht’s approach to old-growth management and the IRMP process.


April 21, 2022—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 7

A long and winding path of protecting old forests A forestry panel searches for common ground amid divided opinions on how to best protect old growth in the province By Mike Youds Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor B.C. has to bridge deep divisions before it can put healthy ecosystems and biodiversity ahead of timber supply, says a co-author of the province’s Old Growth Strategic Review. “This sector has been rife with conflict for a very long time and there’s a lot of scared people out there,” said Garry Merkel, a registered forester and member of Tahltan First Nation. “Everybody is afraid for different reasons. We see each other as enemies and it causes deeply rooted behaviour that stops us from coming together and solving this collectively.” Merkel gave his view of the historic rift April 7 as part of a UBC Forestry panel of experts invited to find common ground, “a path forward” to protect old growth forest in the province. The online discussion included Huu-ay-aht Chief Councillor Robert Dennis, forestry consultant Cam Brown and ecologist Rachel Holt. Despite reassurances from Forest Minister Katrine Conroy, neither Holt nor Merkel is satisfied with the provincial government’s progress adopting recommendations from the 2020 review. Both agreed that key changes — the so-called paradigm shift in thinking — won’t happen unless it can be enshrined in law. “We’re seeing very little movement on the recommendations,” Holt said. “We need to do a whole bunch of work and that hasn’t happened yet.” “We’ve been struggling in our implementation of this strategy,” Merkel said,

Garry Merkel speaking in a collective sense (he continues to serve on an old growth technical advisory panel along with Holt). “I’m not sure if it’s an intent problem or it’s just so big that, frankly, we’re a little bit lost right now and confused. I see it translating myself as confusion, and I think it’s fixable.” Six months ago, the provincial government promised to engage with First Nations to find agreement on deferring harvest of old growth forests. Logging deferrals, recommended by the strategic review, are a temporary measure to prevent irreversible biodiversity loss while they develop a long-term approach that prioritizes ecosystem health and local resiliency. Huu-ay-aht First Nations were among the first to respond, confirming in December that 33 per cent of their Hahuuli and TFL 44 remains old growth while asserting title at the same time. “Give us our two years to develop an integrated resource management plan and let that be our plan moving forward,” Dennis told panel participants April 7.

Photo by Eric Plummer

The House of Huu-ay-aht (above) is constructed from giant cedar and spruce logs two metres in diameter, hewn from old growth forest. Raw logs are exported from Port Alberni’s harbour (below). “Let us develop that plan. Our land, our decisions.” The province has so far received responses from 188 of 204 First Nations. To date, 75 have agreed to defer logging of at-risk old growth. More than 60 have asked for more time to decide while incorporating local and Indigenous knowledge. Only seven First Nations opposed any deferrals in their territory. “By deferring harvest of nearly 1.7 million hectares of old growth – an area equal to more than 4,100 Stanley Parks – we are providing the time and space we need to work together to develop a new, more sustainable way to manage B.C.’s forests,” Conroy said in an April 1 update. The early April panel discussion was intended to offer a range of opinions while finding commonalities among them. Brown, a consultant to industry, argued there is more old growth forest remaining than the three percent claimed by Holt and colleagues in an independent study. “I would suggest 36 per cent of the old growth today is big,” Brown said. “Truly large stands are quite rare. It’s just not necessarily as dire as (three percent) would suggest.” He agrees forest management must change but feels there has been progress since the 1990s. “There’s been a balance struck there for right or wrong,” Brown said. “Where we’re going here is a continuation or evolution of sustainable forest management practices that is bringing in First Nation values and more likely to put emphasis on ecosystem health than timber values.” There is no such balance, Holt contended, pointing to the old growth review: “They said we haven’t had balance at all, that we need to shift how we manage our forests,” she said. Instead of embracing change, the forest industry took issue with the numbers, insisting there is more old growth than claimed, Holt said. They didn’t buy into the concept of change recommended by the review panel. “We have to stop combining the various types of old growth into one large number,” Holt said. “When you see a big number, it’s meaningless. There is very little left of the original large-structure

Photo by Mike Youds

forest. Failing to take this into account will result in failure to properly manage remaining old growth forests.” First Nations are confronted with a Hobson’s Choice, a supposed free choice in which only one option is offered, Holt said. “In the First Nations context, they’re not being offered change,” Holt said. “They’re being offered the forestry industrial model that got us here and that is the problem.” Carbon emissions from forestry exceed every other industry while the number of jobs created per cubic metre of timber harvested is a fraction of that achieved in Europe, Holt said. She cited the example of Western Forest Products, which exports rough-cut cedar to New Zealand: “That is problematic from every element and we need to stop doing that.” Dennis began his panel talk by showing a photo of the House of Huu-ay-aht, constructed from giant cedar and spruce logs two metres in diameter, hewn from old growth forest. “Moving forward, we want to continue to be able to have these kinds of structures in our territory as our population grows,” said Dennis, a former logger. “That’s what that means to me … the land is our culture.” The number of Huu-ay-aht people employed in the forest sector has grown during his time in office to 44 from just

two in 1995, he noted. “We’ve seen different companies log the valley and we didn’t like what we saw,” Dennis said. “With this current government, I’m happy how we’re working together to find a balance. It’s our turn to be in the driver’s seat.” Of the 35 salmon streams in Huu-ayaht territory, only three or four remain productive, a decline generally attributed to logging impacts. “You wrecked it; we’re going to fix it. We’re going to find (the path forward) in a very balanced way,” following sacred principle of Hisuk Ma C’awak, everything is one, he said. Merkel said the common sentiment expressed during the old growth review was a desire for change: “The general public has already made a shift and wants to see things done differently,” he said. First Nations are pushing the envelope by taking a new approach and thinking of the land as a whole, he said. “That’s really pushing us to a whole new standard of land care.” He urged all sectors to “move beyond the games.” “The old growth report was really not about old growth,” Merkel said. “It’s more about changing the way we look at the forest … Start thinking about this, not as a source of timber, not just as forest, but as a whole.”


Page 8— Ha-Shilth-Sa— April 21, 2022

Coalition supports fish farms in First Nations terri Hasheukumiss of Ahousaht is speaking up with an Indigenous group in favour of keeping salmon farms for the social and economic benefi By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Ahousaht, BC - In two and a half months salmon farms throughout the B.C. coast are due to expire, with no firm commitment yet from the federal government to renew these licences. But as uncertainty hangs over the controversial industry, the man speaking for Ahousaht’s Tyee is standing in support of aquaculture in his territory, with a claim that a failure from the government to support salmon farms in Ahousaht waters will betray commitments to reconciliation with First Nations. “Cermaq has done more for wild salmon conservation and restoration in our territory than the federal or provincial governments combined,” said Hasheukumiss (Richard George), who is standing in for his father, Ahousaht Tyee Ha’wilth Maquinna (Lewis George). Cermaq runs 14 sites in Clayoquot Sound, which are among the 79 salmon farming licences up for renewal on June 30. As Fisheries and Oceans Canada undergoes consultations with coastal First Nations this year on the future of salmon farming in the province, Minister Joyce Murray is operating under a mandate to make “a responsible plan to transition from open net-pen salmon farming in coastal British Columbia by 2025,” according to the directive delivered by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. For years environmental groups, as well as notable advocacy from the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, have been calling for the removal of ocean-based salmon farms to have the facilities placed on land. Many are concerned that the practice is a factor in the collapse of wild Pacific salmon stocks, as the close proximity of farmed fish act as a breeding ground for sea lice and other pathogens that can pass onto wild species as they migrate by net pens. But this year a coalition of Indigenous groups are standing behind the industry, warning that removing salmon farms from the B.C. coast would lead to economic devastation for the 17 First Nations who currently have agreements with aquaculture companies. Along with leaders from the Kitasoo Xai’xais, Tlowitsis and Wei Wai Kum First Nations, Hasheukumiss is defending what salmon farming has done for his community. Since 2006, Cermaq has run its farms in Ahousaht’s waters under a protocol agreement, which entails employment, environmental stewardship, wild salmon enhancement initiatives, benefit sharing arrangements and community projects, which have helped the nation to progress economic initiatives in its territory. Nineteen Ahousaht members work for Cermaq, but since 2015 the relationship has also brought $325,000 for the Ahousaht Salmon Enhancement Program and $287,500 from the company for the Ahousaht Employment and Training Program. Another $595,000 in support came from Cermaq over the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, a period that brought lockdowns and curfews as Ahousaht worked to prevent infection from entering its remote community. Habitat restoration work, clean up projects, scholarships, sports and cultural events have also been supported as part of the agreement with Cermaq. “Right now we’re currently in the process of purchasing an $8-million resort to go to health and wellness, which is going to create not only 50 jobs, but also is going to do great, great work for our nation moving forward,” said Hasheukumiss during an

Photos submitted by Coalition of First Na

Johnny Amos (far right) manages Creative Salmon’s Baxter Islet farm site in Tofino Inlet in Tla-o-quiaht territory. Johnny, along with all his crew, l o-qui-aht community of Ty-histanis. From left: Isiah David, Donovan Hayes, Sean Hayes, and Connor Yellowbird. Al Titian (below) is a boat operato event hosted by the Coalition of First Nations for Finfish Stewardship on March 21. “To protect these rights of our economic self-determination, our members, our nations call on the federal government to immediately reissue salmon farming licences in our territory.” Years of opposition over salmon farms east of Vancouver Island led to the cancellation of 19 licences in the Discovery Islands, which was announced by former fisheries minister Bernadette Jordan in December 2020. The coalition warns that future closures will harm the social fabric of their communities. “Leaders in this coalition have seen and experienced the devastation that poverty can have in their communities, with high unemployment, addiction, and suicide,” reads a statement from the coalition issued in March. “Having long-term economic opportunities (like current agreements with salmon farming companies) that the nations manage is the foundation for the renewal of their communities.” While salmon farming presents employment opportunities that might otherwise be hard to come by in remote coastal communities, many fear that the practice has disrupted wild stocks. After peaking at over 40 million in the early 1990s, Pacific

salmon catches have declined to under 10 million for most years over the last decade, according to the DFO’s State of the Salmon Program. Now three quarters of the salmon harvested in B.C. come from fish farms. “Sea lice is one of the biggest environ-

mental concerns our nation has,” said Hasheukumiss, noting how Cermaq has closely monitored this pathogen in recent years. “This has been a big step forward holding Cermaq accountable.” Since 2016, Cermaq has funded a wild juvenile salmon monitoring program in


April 21, 2022—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 9

ations territory

al and economic benefit of First Nations

Bamfield Marine Science Centre video still

Nova Harvest President J.P. Hastey uses stack farms to grow oysters in deep water in Barkley Sound.

Ocean farming produces shellfish seed Oyster and clam farming is benefi•ing the surrounding ecosystem, says company By Karly Blats Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor

Photos submitted by Coalition of First Nations for Finfish Stewardship

ory. Johnny, along with all his crew, live in the nearby Tlard. Al Titian (below) is a boat operator with Cermaq. Clayoquot Sound, collecting samples of chum and coho from 18 locations near its farms in March, April and May during outmigration periods. Over 800 salmon were analysed each year, with lice detected on anywhere from 20 to 40.8 per cent of fish, the highest counts recorded in 2018 during Clayoquot Sound’s outbreaks that caused emergency measures in some farms. Last year 28 per cent of the salmon sampled had lice, an average of just over two motiles per fish. Cermaq has dealt with Ahousaht’s concerns by lowering the regulated threshold of three lice per salmon to 1.5 for farms in the First Nation’s territory. This applies to the period of salmon outmigration, running from February to the end of July. While the industry awaits a decision from the federal government, Hasheukumiss has been struggling to replicate the positive relationship he had with Jordan, as he met with the former minister in person several times. As the feds weigh differing influences vying to change the direction of salmon farming, the Ahousaht leader fears he may be “dealing with another minister that’s really pushing for the activist side, listening to the activists prior to listening to the Indigenous and our concerns moving forward.”

Bamfield, BC - Regenerative ocean farming is taking place in Barkley Sound in the traditional territory of the Huu-ay-aht First Nations to maintain the sustainable creation of ocean products like oysters and clams. Aquaculture company Nova Harvest has been operating out of Bamfield since 2011, producing oyster and clam seed for local shellfish farmers while applying innovative, science-based solutions to support the development of the shellfish industry in the province. Nova Harvest operates a hatchery where they breed millions of oyster seed and an ocean-based nursery for the seeds to grow. The company uses regenerative ocean practices by growing the shellfish using no additional fresh water, fertilizer or feed. Indigenous people in B.C. have been farming renewable ocean crops like shellfish and kelp for thousands of years. When shellfish are farmed in protected coastal areas, they create additional habitat space for species like sea cucumbers, rock fish and juvenile salmon. The Bamfield Marine Science Centre (BMSC) has produced a series of documentary-style webinars focusing on climate action. In their final webinar of 13, host Aneri Garg spoke with Nova Harvest staff to highlight the company’s regenerative farming methods. “The majority of what we produce is oyster seed for the B.C. oyster industry, we also do some Manila clams,” said hatchery manager Angela Fortune in the BMSC webinar. “We have ocean nurseries, a farm and a processing plant. With that we have three ocean tenures and have recently just started a joint venture/partnership with the

investment arm of the Huu-ay-aht Group of Businesses.” Fortune said oysters and clams are the most sustainable protein on the planet and growing them has a net positive impact on the surrounding environment. “The biodiversity of an area surrounding a shellfish farm is incredible. All the different animals around it like to settle in and grow, or the filtering of water that helps other species get light or increase water quality,” Fortune said. Once the oysters are large enough, they leave the main hatchery and move into Nova’s greenhouse nurseries. Then they’ll either be sold to customers, or if they’re staying local to the west coast, they’ll be put into a floating upwelling system. The floating upwelling system is a structure that floats at the surface of the water and acts as a nursery for the growing oysters. Held in tanks off each of the offshoot arms, oyster larvae are constantly feeding on the naturally occurring algae in the water. Nova Harvest also farms using a system called flip farms, which is a method of growing oysters in bins at the surface of the water along long lines of rope. Originating from New Zealand, this farming system helps keep water flowing through the bins to keep oysters well fed. “Anywhere you put a hard substrate, life finds it and starts growing a system around it,” said J.P Hastey, president and founding member of Nova Harvest. “That’s what oysters are, just massive amounts of surface area. They’re removing nutrients from the environment, they also are supplying habitat or substrate for other things to live on, in and around and that’s kind of the ecosystem that gets created by these farms to provide that net benefit to the system.”

Another system Nova Harvest uses for farming oysters is called stack farms which consist of vertical stacks to grow oysters in deep water. “[Stack farms] are a lot more efficient use of the water column in a specific area. You can get a lot more production out of your farm, being able to farm beyond just the water surface area,” Hastey said. “You have a lot more access to a lot more water, a lot more flow.” Hastey said his team is working with business partners, like the Huu-ay-aht, to develop a new technology to automate many of the components of farming. “That’s something we think is really important for developing the industry and growing more product,” Hastey said. “Our goal or vision is to have a scaleable farming model so we can grow really meaningful supplies of shellfish, so that means limiting handling at every step that we can. Workers aren’t doing jobs that machines should be doing, they’re focusing more on operator-type positions of the machines and that way we could handle more product and push more to the consumer.” Hastey said the more oyster farming Nova Harvest does in Barkley Sound, the better the environment will be around the system. “Regenerative farming is kind of a new term you’re hearing to describe this but it has been going on since the beginning of shellfish farming, which is something the First Nations did thousands of years ago,” he said. “[Oysters] are one of few things you can grow that have a net benefit on the system…and that’s what’s really amazing about it.” Nova Harvest is also an anchor tenant at the regional food processing hub, The Dock +, next to Tyee Landing in Port Alberni.


Page 10— Ha-Shilth-Sa— April 21, 2022

Tseshaht celebrate nearly complete basketball court The NBA-sized facility built on the former site of a student dormitory at the Alberni Indian Residential School By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Port Alberni, BC - On a crisp, spring morning children from Haahuupayak Elementary school danced on the site where, generations before, their ancestors were housed at the Alberni Indian Residential School. A basketball court is nearly complete on the location where Peake Hall once stood, a structure built in 1954 to serve as a dormitory for the assimilationist institution, which took in First Nations children from across the West Coast and B.C.’s Interior. After being run for most of a century, the residential school closed in 1973, followed by the demolition of Peake Hall in 2009. On April 14 the Tseshaht First Nation celebrated the new basketball court, with traditional performances by the students before some residential school survivors who knew Peake Hall intimately. “It was a good feeling that it’s being put to a good cause,” said Wally Samuel, who attended the residential school as a child. “A good use, for an area where we had bad times.” The basketball court has NBA dimensions, with ten feet from the court boundary to the surrounding fence to provide a spacious area where spectator benches will be installed. “We still have lines to paint, lighting to install and benches,” said Tseshaht Chief Councillor Ken Watts. “We got a donation from a local fundraising group for that.” Supported by the First Nations Gaming Revenue Limited Partnership, Cisaa Forestry LLP, some internal funds and local donations, the court was built at a cost of over $75,000, during a time when the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt the execution of building projects. “Everything from asphalt to the hoops to everything else has all been delayed for the past several months due to COVID,” said Watts. It was the pandemic’s effects on the First Nation’s ability to keep physically active that highlighted the need for such a facility. “Many members since COVID-19 have said, ‘Hey, our kids are sitting at home, they’re not getting out, they have to keep

Photos by Holly Stocking

Students from Haahuupayak Elementary School dance on a new basketball court, on the site where a building from the Alberni Indian Residential School once stood. their distance’,” Watts noted, adding that an outdoor facility made sense as concerns of infection continued. “Many people in our community have been saying, ‘We need to create a space for our youth to participate in physical activity.’ Basketball being such a core staple of our community’s sports and recreation, that seemed like a logical fit.” Next to the basketball court Caldwell Hall still stands. Currently being used by the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council, the former residential school building remains a reminder of the institution’s painful legacy. The Tseshaht have hopes of using the site for a future multi-purpose building that facilitates health and wellness-focused activities, but more details need to be worked through before any firm plans can be made, explained Watts. “The teardown of Caldwell Hall will happen, we just need to finalize when with Canada. But we also need to have some certainty that they’re going to help

us rebuild,” he said, noting that other locations on the First Nation’s reserve could house a multi-purpose building as well. “We’re doing feasibility studies on a few different properties to see if it can go there.” Although finishing touches like lines and benches have yet to be put in place, the basketball court was already being used by locals on the afternoon of the celebration. Watts said that when it is finally complete, residential school survivors will have the first chance to bounce a ball on the new court. “Hopefully by the end of school we have the whole project done,” he said. “We have a ton of members who are interested in getting out there and playing. Before we do that, we want to provide space for survivors, and also make sure our kids are there.” “I look forward to seeing young people having fun there and learning how to be a team - teamwork and community activity,” added Samuel. “It’s great that it’s

accessible to a lot of young people. One of the problems of sustaining sports is lack of facilities where people can go just drop in and play a sport.”

Phrase of the week: Hu%ak%uyi q’iic^i>%it%iš%a> %uu%its %iih=tup Pronounced ‘Who ugk oo you qwi chilth it ish alth ooh it’s iih tup’, it means, ‘The Whales fed us for a long time!’. Supplied by ciisma.

Illustration by Ivy Cargill-Martin


April 21, 2022—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 11

Young players shine at All Native tournament Basketball event returns with the typical pre-pandemic crowds after a cancellation in 2021 due to COVID-19 By Karly Blats Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Prince Rupert, BC- With COVID restrictions easing, Two Nuu-chah-nulth basketball teams were able to once again travel to Prince Rupert for the 2022 AllNative Basketball Tournament (ANBT). Running from April 3 to 9 this year, the annual basketball tournament took a oneyear hiatus in 2021 due to the pandemic, but this month the event was back in action again for the 62nd year. Tournament president Peter Haugan said organizers were unsure how the tournament would look with COVID restrictions just recently easing and whether supporters would still come to the event. But he said it was as if the event never stopped and “flowed along like it normally does.” “The fan support in the initial opening ceremonies of course is always sold out and then through the week it seemed like [the crowd] was down a little bit but it picked up on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday.” Haugan said. “The atmosphere was the same…we didn’t know as an organization how it was going to go. We had to screen people at the front and we didn’t know how that was going to work, but it went fine.” Haugan said there were a lot of close games throughout the week and teams were happy to see the tournament back in action. “The communities are so used to having this tournament,” Haugan said. “It’s a bright light they see every year where they can come back and visit with old friends and meet new ones and compete in the sport, but also there’s more to it then that it’s a lot of culture.” Cultural events and exhibits are also part of the week-long event. The tournament’s Women’s Division champions were All My Relations from Vancouver, the Senior Men’s champions

Photo by Mariah Charleson

The Hesquiaht Descendants placed sixth our of 16 teams in the Women’s division at the All Native Basketball Tournament in Prince Rupert April 3-9. Left to right: Janae Sam, Jada Touchie, Francine Charleson, Shania Sabbas, Mariah Charleson, Destiny Hanson, Dalainee John, Chantelle Thomas, Zacari Thomas, Shauntelle Dick-Charleson, Jaylynn Lucas, Bev Hansen-Michael. were the Kitkatla Warriors, the Intermedi- we would have easily been top three,” team has played in a tournament together ate Division champions were the Burnaby Charleson said. “We had four 18-yearin more than two years and with the Chiefs and the Masters champions were olds, they all did amazing, it was their ANBT being such a big event, there were New Aiyansh, who took their second con- first All-Native tournament and our first some nerves around gathering in large secutive Masters title. tournament in a few years being able to groups. Two of the 55 teams competing were compete as a team, so I’m really, really “Definitely a little bit anxious, just that Nuu-chah-nulth—the Hesquiaht Dehappy with the outcome and how everyfeeling of being in such a crowded place, scendants in the Women’s division and body played.” I think there was definitely some nerves Ahousaht (Maaqtusiis Suns) in the Men’s Charleson said her teammates are all involved,” Charleson said. “I literally Senior division. Hesquiaht but live spread out from one only went to the gym for my games. I Mariah Charleson with the Hesquiaht another, so practicing before the tournathink everyone took precautions. FNHA Descendants said she’s proud of how ment was challenging. The team has (First Nations Health Authority) was strong her team played, finishing sixth players from Bella Bella, Vancouver, there and they were giving out free test out of 16 teams. Nanaimo, Kyuquot and Port Alberni. kits.” “We only lost to the two best teams in “Me and a few of my teammates play in Charleson said a lot of people came out the tournament and managed to come a league in Nanaimo together, the girls in to watch the games and that the crowds out with three wins so we did really, rePort Alberni play together and luckily the were at similar capacity as in previous ally well and if we had a different draw older ladies on the team, we’ve played years. She said she’s also grateful for all together for years, and then the younger the supports back home who were cheergirls, they all played together on the ing the team on remotely. Hesquiaht Storm,” Charleson said. “Half Ahousaht’s Maaqtusiis Suns placed of us have played together and the other fourth out of 14 teams in the Senior half have played together and [the tourna- Men’s division. ment] was just our first time all playing Sun’s assistant coach Tom Campbell together. I’m really impressed how every said the team played strong in all five of body performed.” their games, especially the young players. A stand out moment for Charleson, who “We had five guys age 18 and under, was named an All Star player, was the so we had a very, very young team,” team’s first game against Bella Bella. She Campbell said. “Three of them stood out said her team played strong and took a like a sore thumb in the crowd with their win. performance on the floor—Gredy Barney, “We played against the young, fast Bella Russel Robinson, Qwammi Robinson and Bella team. It was good for us to start that Ray August, they battled it out with all way,” Charleson said. “I feel like it was the big boys every game.” a statement game where people knew we Two Ahousaht players received All were there after that. All of our games Star Awards—Luke Robinson and Jalen were really good.” Charleson. Charleson said it was the first time her


Page 12— Ha-Shilth-Sa— April 21, 2022

President’s message to Nuu-chah-nulth-aht Hello everyone, hope you are all doing well and enjoying the coming of spring. Also hope you are taking precautions as the sixth wave of COVID is coming through our communities. March/April have been very busy months. B.C. is doing a lot of “dialogues” with First Nations on clean energy - the roadmap to 2030, anti racism data legislation and cultural heritage. I participate in as many sessions as I can, reading their material and putting forward a strong Nuu-chah-nulth position regarding the environment, our rights and the need to be self determining in the forests, the economy, our culture and language. Huu-ay-aht and Ditidaht in particular have been very vocal about having the management of the forests in their territory. The province finally tabled its Action plan regarding their Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act. The Action plan is for all ministries of government that need to change, policies and actions with regards to rights set out under the Universal Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. I attended at the legislature and was able to sit on the floor behind MLAs to witness the launch of the Action Plan and see Cheryl Casimir (First Nations Summit), Jerry Jack (Mowachaht/Muchalaht) who spoke on behalf of BC AFN and Don Tom on behalf of UBCIC. Seeing our leaders speak in the legislature happens a lot more often than it used to. I remember Joe Gosnell, Nisga’a, speaking to the legislature but from the far end of the hall behind a roped off area - not officially in the legislature. It is a step forward but so much work has to be done in actually doing the actions they have set out working with First Nations in an appropriate manner. There was a delegation of Indigenous peoples that travelled to Rome to see the Pope. They were seeking an apology and other actions. He did apologise to those who were there and it was televised but it was not an apology to all Indigenous peoples who went to residential schools. There were many mixed emotions of people who were happy with the apology but others said there has to be more than words to be a real apology. Others did not want an apology from him at all. Throughout Nuu-chah-nulth I saw varying views of those being interviewed by media, those expressing their thoughts on Facebook and just talking to people. He does plan a visit in the summer and where he goes and what he does it is not known. We sent out a press release asking for more than just an apology but money so we can provide more services to Nuu-chah-nulth, including counselling, language and healing centres, etc. We also issued a press statement demanding more to be done on toxic overdose deaths. Though it has been a public health emergency since 2016, deaths from overdoses have increased. Much resources were put into COVID we need the same kind of investment in preventing overdose deaths as we are losing too many of our people. I did several TV interviews an radio interviews raising the profile of this issue. A group of Nuu-chah-nulth people and staff participated in the hiring of the next School District 70 superintendent to replace Greg Smyth, who is retiring. I participated in the final found of interviews and though we only made recom-

Non-Insured Health Benefits - NIHB Coverage – Travelling Out Side Of Country General Principles 1.

Prior approval is required.

2. The client must: a. Be eligible for the NIHB Program; and b. Be currently enrolled or eligible to be enrolled in a provincial or territorial health insurance plan and continue to meet residency requirements for provincial/territorial health coverage.

mendations and did not have final say on the hire, we were happy they hired Tim Davie, who is Haida, to be in that position. First time a First Nation person has ever been in such a position. Times are changing and we need attitudes and policies and actions to change for our students in school. We continue to work with the Haida, Quatsino and Pacheedaht to establish a Marine Protected Area off the west coast of Vancouver Island. We had a meeting with the fisheries minister last month and were not too hopeful with her direction. This recent meeting was with the Regional Director General Rebecca Reid and her staff and we felt they were a bit more open to working with us for comanagement at least on the environment. This is work in progress and I hope to be able to share better news with you in the future. It is important to Canada that they establish this MPA and we will not allow it to happen without a strong say in protecting what is important to us. I am working with a provincial group to establish working with First Nations as we look at changing the Heritage Conservation Act to more fully protect our sacred, cultural and burial sites. Right now, they are protected until the archaeology branch allows a developer to destroy wholly or partially our sites. We will be coming to talk to all the First Nations people and leaders in what they want to protect and how they want to manage their sites. By mid-July we hope to get this done, so watch out for dates of gatherings to discuss these very important topics. We were able to approve the 2022-2023 NTC budget. ISC is only providing a 2 per cent increase in funding this year, not much when we look at inflation and growing membership. Most of the funding we receive is formula driven as approved by motions of the society members. Many items were brought up that are not funded sufficiently, if not at all. We still have a ways to go for the government to be providing us with enough funding for all needs for our members. I also had a meeting with Dr. Bonnie Henry and Dr. Danielle Behn Smith. They wanted to meet with us to let us know they would only be providing weekly numbers for COVID cases. We had some good discussions of ongoing concerns in our communities. These are some of the highlights of my work in the past month and look forward to sharing more next month. Take care everyone. Cloy-e-iis Judith Sayers

3. For Transportation to Medical Services: For transportation to medical services outside of the country the client must be referred for provincially/territorially insured medical services by a provincial or territorial health care plan for treatment Shaganappi Plaza: wage change for Building Maintenance and Superintendent Windspeaker.com http://www.windspeaker.com/news/sweetgrass-news/building-maintenanceand-superintendent/ ammsa.com http://www.ammsa.com/content/careers/shaganappi-plaza-ltd-calgary outside of Canada. 4. For Supplemental Health Insurance Premiums: Full-time students enrolled in a post-secondary institution to study outside of Canada must provide a letter of confirmation that tuition, which is not an eligible benefit under the NIHB Program, has been paid. What is covered? For Supplemental Health Insurance Premiums: The cost of privately acquired health insurance premiums for approved students or migrant workers and their legal dependents will be reimbursed. For Transportation to Medical Services: Transportation benefits when eligible clients are medically referred and approved for treatment outside of Canada by a provincial or territorial health care plan. For further information on coverage outside of Country you are encouraged to call First Nations & Inuit Health Branch (FNIHB), Vancouver BC toll free @ 1-800-317-7878 What You Should Know- “Before” Leaving British Columbia If you are leaving the province, you should be aware that your coverage may not pay all health care costs. Health services provided outside Canada often cost more than the amount paid by the Ministry of Health Services. Sometimes the difference is substantial; for example, the amount we pay for emergency inpatient hospital care will not exceed $75 (Canadian) a day for United States of exceeds $1,000 (US) per day and can be as high as $10,000 a day for intensive care. In addition, some items/services that may be a benefit in BC are not covered outside the province; for example, prescription drugs and optometric services. Further, the Ministry does not subsidize fees charged for ambulance service obtained outside BC. We advise you to buy additional health insurance to supplement your basic coverage before you leave the province, regardless of whether you’ll be in another part of Canada or outside the country – even if your company or travel agency can advise you about extra coverage to pay for any difference in fees and to provide benefits not covered by the Ministry. If you have a pre-existing medical condition, you must mention this when purchasing additional insurance as most policies will not cover treatment of that condition outside the province. In some cases you may purchase an insurance policy where the insurance company has a signed agreement with the Ministry. This permits the company to pay physician and hospital claims and receive reimbursement on your behalf thus eliminating the need for you to handle your own claims. NOTE: Ambulance – If you require ambulance service while in another province or outside Canada, you will need to obtain service from an ambulance company in that jurisdiction and will be charged the fee established by the-out-of-province service provider. Fees range from several hundred to several thousand dollars. When purchasing additional out-of-province health insurance you are advised to obtain insurance that will cover emergency transportation while you are away and, if necessary the cost of transportation back to BC. MSP Contact @ 1-250-386-7171 or fax 1-250-952-3427 – In case the number s have changed the web site is: www.healthservices.gov.bc.ca/msp


April 21, 2022—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 13

Employment Opportunities Tseshaht First Nation Employment Opportunity The Tseshaht First Nation Administration Office is now accepting applications for : Part-time Elders Coordinator position. and Office Services Assistant (Casual) position. To view full job summary please visit www.hashilthsa.com/jobs HOW TO APPLY Submit a cover letter, resume and two (2) current references to: Tseshaht First Nation, Attention: Victoria White, Executive Director by mail: 5091 Tsuma-as Drive, Port Alberni BC, V9Y 8X9; or by email: vshrimpton@tseshaht.com

Port Alberni Friendship Centre Volunteers Needed Need work experience? The Port Alberni Friendship Centre is looking for interested applicants for various positions. Call 250-723-8281


Page 14— Ha-Shilth-Sa— April 21, 2022

VIU expands Indigenous gathering space for students Facility grows with $3.3 million, amid hopes of increasing Nuu-chah-nulth enrollment after pandemic decline By Denise Titan Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Nanaimo, BC – The provincial government announced it will provide $3.3 million to support Vancouver Island University’s expansion of Shq’apthut, it’s gathering space for Indigenous learners. The building, located on the Nanaimo campus of VIU, is a home away from home for Indigenous students where cultural, academic, recreational and social activities are promoted and celebrated. “Providing cultural spaces on campus is important to Indigenous students and has value to the entire university community. VIU is seeing an increase in Indigenous student enrolment, and we are excited to invest in the facilities that will help support their educational experience,” said Anne Kang, minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training. “By expanding Shq’apthut, we can help encourage and welcome Indigenous students to pursue post-secondary education.” Many Nuu-chah-nulth people have successfully completed post-secondary programs at VIU but there’s been a remarkable change in the past two years. Ian Caplette, the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council’s director of Education, Training and Social Development, noted that there has been a dramatic downturn in Nuuchah-nulth enrollment in the current year with 25 students enrolled. Caplette told Ha-Shilth-Sa there were about 110 Nuu-chah-nulth student applications in the 2019/2020 year for VIU programs. That was just before the COVID-19 pandemic began. “Ultimately, I think the pandemic has had an effect on enrolment but there have also been patterns,” said Caplette. Among other factors are student willingness to leave home to attend university. The Shq’apthut building is the university’s way to address the latter issue. It is there to provide a comfortable and familiar space for all Indigenous students, but especially for those leaving their home communities for the first time. According to a VIU news release, the expanded Shq’apthut building will add more ceremonial space, elder-in-residence offices and additional washroom facilities, all within a fully accessible building. “VIU is proud of its long-standing commitment to reconciliation and our collaborations with the nations,” said Dr.

Photos submitted by VIU

The provincial government has committed $3.3 million for the expansion of Shq’apthut, pictured below in artist renderings. After a dramatic decline in enrollment during the pandemic, there are hopes of attracting more Nuu-chah-nulth students. Deborah Saucier, VIU’s president and vice-chancellor, in a statement. “The expansion of Shq’apthut is a tangible demonstration of our strategic commitment to build stronger partnerships with Indigenous communities in the regions we serve.” “The new space will be heated and cooled by VIU’s District Geo-Exchange Energy System, which harnesses the geoenergy stored in sunken mine shafts under the campus. The surrounding site will undergo extensive landscaping that will exemplify and celebrate Indigenous culture,” the university added. “Working with the provincial government on this project will enhance the on-campus learning experience for Indigenous and non-Indigenous students at VIU and allow the elders the space they need to do their work.” And the elders could have the space they need to welcome a potentially large influx of Indigenous students coming in for the 2022/23 academic year, now that pandemic restrictions are being lifted. Caplette said the NTC’s education department has seen 143 Nuu-chah-nulth VIU application for the 2022/2023 year.

TSESHAHT MARKET GATEWAY TO THE PACIFIC RIM

Elder-in-Residence Xulsimalt, Gary Manson, of the Snuneymuxw First Nation sings at the university’s announcement on April 8 in Nanaimo.

Hours of operation - 7:00 am - 10:30 pm Phone: 724-3944 E-mail: claudine@tseshahtmarket.ca Find us on Facebook


April 21, 2022—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 15

Indigenous Students in School District 70 and School District 84 and all Nuu-chah-nulth are invited to apply for the:

Heečis (Eileen Haggard) Memorial Scholarship

Heečis spent much of her life working to better the lives of young Indigenous people both in her role as the Nuu-chah-nulth Cultural Supervisor and as an outstanding role model for Indigenous peoples. In addition to working to ensure that schools placed great importance in bringing Nuu-chah-nulth culture to classrooms, Heečis never stopped believing that all students have the ability to overcome challenges and believe in themselves, and in their culture. Heečis always treated students with great respect and love no matter what their circumstances. She really made a positive difference in the lives of students who struggled in school.

This year, the Haggard family would like to honour Grade 12 Graduate of Nuu-chah-nulth descendant and Indigenous Ancestry (reside in SD70 & SD84) who exemplify the qualities necessary to succeed and overcome challenges. Honoured recipients will be students who: • Have worked hard to excel to the best of their ability • Have overcome obstacles in their quest to obtain a high school diploma • Model and value their First Nation culture • Practice iisaak (respect) • Give back to their community

The heechis memorial scholarship application can be found: https://nuuchahnulth.org/services/useful-resources-applications-forms-policies-agreements

Due date for application is May 25, 2022 by 4:30PM


Page 16— Ha-Shilth-Sa— April 21, 2022


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