Ha-Shilth-Sa Newpaper April 7, 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. 07—April 7, 2022 haas^i>sa Sales Agreement No. 40047776

‘Finally’: School survivors react to Pope’s apology Before Indigenous delegations from Canada, at the Vatican Pope Francis addressed abuse in residential schools By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor On the morning of April 1 Barney Williams shed tears, as an apology from Pope Francis summoned distant emotions from his childhood in residential school. “I think that there’s a lot of happy people like myself, breathing a sigh of relief and saying, ‘Finally’,” said the Tlao-qui-aht elder, who attended Christie Residential School on Meares Island as a child, followed by a stint in Kamloops at a Catholic-run high school. “I feel better that it’s happened now.” After a week of hearing from Canada’s First Nations, Métis and Inuit delegations who travelled to the Vatican, Pope Francis addressed the effects of the Catholic Church’s role in running most of Canada’s residential schools for over a century. “I also feel shame...sorrow and shame for the role that a number of Catholics - particularly those with educational responsibilities - have had in all these things that wounded you, and the abuses you suffered and the lack of respect shown for your identity, your culture and even your spiritual values,” said the Pope. “For the deplorable conduct of these members of the Catholic Church, I ask for God’s forgiveness and I want to say to you with all my heart, I am very sorry. And I join my brothers, the Canadian bishops, in asking your pardon.” The papal apology follows an unsuccessful request from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who travelled to the Vatican in May 2017. Ten months later the Prime Minister received a letter from a top representative of the Catholic Church in Canada, saying that an apology would not be issued, giving no explanation. But requests proved to be more successful after the remains 215 people were found in the former grounds of the Kamloops Indian Residential School in late May 2021. After the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation announced this finding on its land, a series of similar discoveries followed on former residential school sites across Western Canada. An apology from the Catholic Church was among the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action in 2015. As a member of the survivors committee, Williams had an integral role in the TRC. He doesn’t expect that the papal apology will satisfy everyone. “I’m not sure it’s going to help everybody,” said Williams. “A lot of people are still angry that a lot things weren’t

Photo by Melissa Renwick

Barney Williams, who attended the Christie Indian Residential School as a child, would like to see the Catholic Church do more to support the mental health of former students. done before. We think of families we’ve through, and worse,” continued ThompAlthough the traditions were introduced lost from alcoholism, drug abuse – it all son, referencing a tragedy that hit his under forced circumstances, some former stems from that dark chapter in Canadian Ditidaht community on Nitinaht Lake residential school students continue to history.” March 26. “Take an example at my viluse Catholic practices as they recover Bernard Jack continues to feel the lage, this young man got stabbed by his from past abuse. Jack sometimes wears effects of his time at Christie, and was brother for over drinking. Alcohol and a rosary as he leaves his recovery group shaken when the Pope’s address was drugs are a way over the years of taking home in Calgary to talk walks around the publicized. care of the abuse, taking care of the pain block. “It just made me think of all those to try and hide it, try and cover it up.” “I had really nothing to believe in, and I priests and nuns that touched me,” said Now that the Catholic Church has adonly wore that rosary when I was feeling Jack, who saw the assimilationist nature dressed the abuses of some of its memlost,” said the former Christie student, of residential school create distance with- bers at the institutions, Williams would although he hopes to benefit from more in his family. “We just lost all connection like to see more mental health supports Indigenous culture as pandemic measures with people, with our own relatives.” for school survivors who often face are eased. “I just had a session yesterday Multiple accounts of abuse also came multi-week waiting periods when they with my elder, now that the restrictions from residential schools run by other seek help. have been lifted, I’m going to try to get churches, such as the Alberni Indian “It’s still a waiting list when you go in,” back to their spirituality: smudges, drumResidential School, which was manhe said. “The guy needs help right now.” ming and even back to the sweats. I’d aged by the United Church when Charlie “Voicing an apology is never enough rather go that way than kneel down and Thompson attended. unless you take responsibility for what hold my rosary, that’s hard to forgive that “Some of us were being abused by boys happened to innocent children,” stressed way.” and girls too,” he said. “That’s what Thompson. “What is that abuse worth? During his address to the Indigenous space was created, they made us into How can you be compensated for somedelegations, Pope Francis noted that he something that we weren’t supposed to thing that you had no part of? That you hoped to visit Canada to address the issue be.” were an innocent child taken advantage further, some time around the Feast of St. “We didn’t know how to be parents of by men and women. You can’t leave Anne on July 26. when we started having children. We the nuns out of this, they were part of it put our children through what we went too.”

Inside this issue... First nation leaders praise UNDRIP plan.......................Page 3 Ahousaht healing centre plans.......................................Page 5 MMFN youth gathering.............................................Pages 8-9 Housing affordability and living wage..........................Page 11 Ahousaht water taxi woes.............................................Page 15

If undeliverable, please return to: Ha-Shilth-Sa P.O. Box 1383, Port Alberni, B.C. V9Y 7M2

Page 2— Ha-Shilth-Sa— April 7, 2022

Detox centre urgently needed in region, says NTC Despite the highest rate of fatal overdoses, the closest facility is hours away from the Alberni-Clayoquot region By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Vancouver Island, BC - Six years after the opioid crisis was declared a public health emergency by the province, the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council is calling for immediate action on Vancouver Island, as families continue to be torn by tragedy at an increasing rate. With few facilities in the region, the NTC is urging provincial and federal governments to fund a seven-day-a-week “rapid access addiction clinic”, as well as a certified detox centre that works in a “culturally-safe and trauma-informed way”. This support is needed in Nuuchah-nulth territories on the west side of Vancouver Island, said NTC President Judith Sayers in a statement issued Friday, April 1. “We say ‘No more deaths’ – we must fix this problem now!” stated Sayers in the press release. “We can’t keep saying this is a crisis, an emergency, if we haven’t taken drastic steps to prevent more deaths. The time to act is now – let’s act together to save lives.” Since the provincial public health emergency was declared in April 2016, the rate of deaths in B.C. has increased 400 per cent, with fatalities due to illicit drug use surging with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year was the most deadly yet: over 2,200 people died due to fatal overdose, a rate of six per day and a 26 per cent increase from 2020. Indigenous people face a particularly high risk, as the First Nations Health Authority reported a fatality rate 5.3 times

Photo by Denise Titian

Matthew C. sits with a friend outside the Port Alberni Safe Injection Site on 3rd Avenue. patches. that of the rest of the population in 2020. “We must reduce the fear and shame NTC Vice-President Mariah Charleson noted that an effective response to the that leads so many to hide their drug use, avoid services and use deadly drugs opioid crisis was part of the province’s alone,” stated a joint press release from recently released Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Action Malcomson and Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. “Addiction is not a Plan. “[W]e call on B.C. to prioritize the work choice, it’s a health condition.” For the last month and a half Grace in response to the toxic drug crisis that continues to disproportionately impact Frank has been helping her adult son, after he returned to Frank’s home in First Nations peoples, communities and Ty-Histanis. Fortunately, the young man nations with a plan and strategy that insecured a Suboxone prescription from his cludes capacity building, sustained funding and culturally appropriate resources,” doctor. “It’s always a rough go when he first she said. comes home,” said Frank. “I try to make Sheila Malcolmson, B.C.’s minister sure that he’s got everything that he needs of Mental Health and Addictions, has when he’s dope sick. He’s doing a lot betpledged “systemic change in our health ter than five, six weeks ago.” care system” through expanded access In past years Frank recalls travelling to to a prescribed safer supply of drugs, Vancouver to look for him in what many like Suboxone, Methadone or Fentanyl

consider the illicit drug mecca of Canada’s West Coast. “When I first started to look for my son I used to be terrified to walk on the Downtown Eastside in Vancouver,” she said. “Going to East Hastings and walking around for hours and hours, you watch all these people shooting up. I witnessed overdoses right in front of me.” From her experience she has found the critical time to be the few days after someone decides to get clean. There was a lack of support to get Frank’s son through this period. “They’re struggling with getting on Methadone or on Suboxone, they’re so dope-sick they need a fix again and that’s exactly what’s going on,” she observed. “They want to try, they’re waiting and they end up being dope sick, so they just go right back to it. It’s a pattern.” On Vancouver Island the local health area that covers Port Alberni and Clayoquot Sound saw 21 deaths by illicit drug use last year, higher than any of the 14 areas within Island Health. Yet the closest detox centre is on the east side of the island, an inaccessibility that has frustrated Frank in her efforts to help her son. “They expect them to be sober for a certain amount of time before they can take them in,” she said. “I really think that it would be a good thing to have something of our own in our own territory to do our cultural healing. I truly believe in it and I have seen some people who go through our cultural ways of healing, it seems to be working better than sending them off to Vancouver or somewhere.”

April 7, 2022—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 3

First Nation leaders praise UNDRIP action plan A specialized secretariat is part of the province’s plan to follow through with 89 actions listed for next five years By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Victoria, BC - Although it took more than two years to produce since the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act was passed in Victoria, First Nations leaders are calling a recently released action plan “a step in the right direction”. In late November 2019 British Columbia became Canada’s first province to put the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples into law, with the passing of Bill 41, or DRIPA. The legislation serves as a commitment for the government to uphold basic human rights for Indigenous peoples in B.C., tasking the province to align its laws with the UN declaration, an international document that upholds the self determination and territorial authority of Aboriginal communities. DRIPA was developed by the province in consultation with the First Nations Leadership Council, a body composed representation from the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, the B.C. Assembly of First Nations and the First Nations Summit. More than two years later, an action plan on accomplishing this was unveiled by the province March 30, detailing 89 initiatives to be undertaken over the next five years. The document emphasizes Aboriginal rights and title over territorial lands, with an emphasis on self determination. Actions include reforming B.C.’s forestry policy to align with UNDRIP, an external review of discrimination in the education system, implementing recommendations from the In Plain Sight report

Jerry Jack on systemic racism in health care and policing reform that addresses systemic bias in law enforcement. “There’s some really good recommendations in there,” said Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council President Judith Sayers, after returning from the B.C. legislature, where the plan was presented. “It’s a really good starting point for us to begin the work.” “Today marks a step in the right direction,” said Mowachaht/Muchalaht Ha’wilth Jerry Jack, who spoke on behalf of the B.C. Assembly of First Nations when the plan was announced. In the wake of the colonial development of B.C. over the last century and a half, the action plan listed inequalities currently facing Indigenous people, including overrepresentation in prisons and the

foster care system, lower rates of formal education, as well as higher poverty and unemployment. Other measures detailed in the plan include “concrete measures to increase literacy and numeracy achievement levels” of Aboriginal students and the implementation of the First Nations Justice Strategy, which addresses the growing overrepresentation of Indigenous people being incarcerated. “We cannot step away from our past the joys and the sorrows - but we must, we must learn from it,” said Premier John Horgan during the announcement. “I think together we can change the trajectory or our shared history,” emphasized, Murray Rankin, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation. Horgan referenced the history of First Nations being in conflict with the provincial government, something that Chief Jack mentioned as he spoke of the action plan with optimism. “I went with my dad in the ‘70s to blockades fighting for our land and our rights,” he said. “I don’t want my grandkids to grow up in the struggles I had to have our rights recognized.” “If we are to be part of the transformational change and face challenges of our generation with integrity, wisdom and love, we must all work together,” added Jack. The small group of First Nations with a modern-day treaty are highlighted in the action plan, which notes the Shared Priorities Framework signed by the premier and leaders from these eight groups this year to ensure “timely, effective and fully resourced” implementation of the formal agreements. Five of these First Nations

are part of the Maa-nulth treaty: the Huuay-aht, Toquaht, Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ, Uchucklesaht and Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k’tles7et’h’. “Modern treaty nations have a unique and distinct relationship with the province and we are pleased to see the action plan reflects this and speaks to our Shared Priorities Framework,”said Uchucklesaht Chief Councillor Charlie Cootes in a statement. Although the action plan did not include a recommendation from the NTC to prioritize clean energy opportunities for First Nations, Sayers was pleased to see language on revitalizing wild salmon populations. But it remains to be seen how exactly the province can carry out the ambitious plan over the next five years. “There’s some good intentions here. But the question is, are we going to get it done? Are we going to do it soon enough?” she asked. “I think it’s going to be up to us as First Nations to keep pushing them politically and moving things faster than they want to.” When DRIPA was passed in 2019, the province was faced with approximately 5,000 laws that needed to be realigned with the UN declaration. Rankin would not address how many of these laws have been revised so far, but noted that a secretariat is now in place to ensure the responsible adoption of UNDRIP. “The question will be how we can prioritize the existing laws. Which ones are we going to do first?” said Rankin. “Some of it will not be done, I’m sure, for a generation, but a lot of it will be done right now.”

DRIPA shows different approach than B.C. court case By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Victoria, BC - The value of working together was emphasized with a plan on how the province will adopt UNDRIP – but this might be hard to believe for members of the Nuchatlaht, as the First Nation fights for Aboriginal title in court. On March 30 an action plan was released, listing a wide variety of initiatives in the provincial government’s effort to realign laws and policy with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Among the plan’s main goals is enabling Aboriginal people to “to own, use, develop and control lands and resources within their territories in B.C.” The plan also noted the need to stop fighting First Nations in court over territorial rights. “The province recognizes the need to shift from patterns of litigation, and expensive and slow negotiations about title and rights, to cooperative implementation through effective government-to-government relationships,” reads the plan. But a “pattern of litigation” is what the Nuchatlaht currently face, as the small Nuu-chah-nulth nation is in the first weeks of a B.C. Supreme Court trial over its claim to 20,000 hectares of land on northern Nootka Island. The Nuchatlaht are not claiming compensation from the province or Western Forest Products, which currently holds provincial forestry tenure over the area – but argue that B.C.’s Forestry Act and Parks Act affected its right to use territory the First Nation has called home for countless generations. Nuchatlaht members have continually observed that the area has

Photo by Eric Plummer

A plan to integrate the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples into provincial policies was released during the second week of a trial in the B.C. Supreme Court, where the province is disputing the Nuchatlaht First Nation’s claim to territory on Nootka Island. Pictured are Nuchatlaht members and supporter on the court steps March 21. been heavily logged, damaging salmon habitat and other traditional uses of the remote region. When the case was directed to Premier John Horgan during a press conference on March 30, he said taking the Nuchatlaht to court was a last resort after discussions failed to resolve the issue. “It speaks to the diverse nature of British Columbia; Indigenous and non-Indigenous, we’re not always going to agree,” said Horgan. “But courts are obviously the last recourse when there’s disagreements.” The premier added that there have been other disputes with First Nations in recent years that the province would have fought in court “as a matter of course”, but these were settled through negotiation. “The case in Nuu-chah-nulth territory

that you’re referring to is one that, unfortunately, couldn’t get resolved without it ending up in a court room.” “According to Nuchatlaht, when I talked to them, that’s not true,” said Judith Sayers, president of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council, after attending the release of the province’s action plan. “There wasn’t any real push to settle title.” Now public recognition of UNDRIP, and the province’s Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People’s Act, hangs over the Nuchatlaht trial, which is expected to be in court for months. The First Nation’s legal team is tasked to prove the continued occupation of northern Nootka Island since 1846, which is the date the British Crown asserted sovereignty over the area. “In 1846 the Nuchatlaht were there in

an organized society, occupying the land as their forefathers had before them for centuries,” said Jack Woodward, who leads the First Nation’s legal team, in his opening statement on March 21, the first day of the trial. “You can’t say that the groups in 1846, or the date of sovereignty, were necessarily Nuchatlaht,” argued Jeff Echols, who represents the province, in his opening statement the following day. He said that the modern-day Nuchatlaht does not presumptively gain Aboriginal title from other groups who occupied northern Nootka Island over 150 years ago. “There were other local groups like Nuchatlaht in the claim area,” said Echols.

Page 4— Ha-Shilth-Sa— April 7, 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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Photo by Melissa Renwick

Tyee Ha’wilth Hasheukumiss (left) hands a $10,000 cheque to Doug Paulfrey, Tofino Salmon Enhancement Society manager, to invest back into Ahousaht’s rivers, in Tofino, on March 24.

Fee helps ‘preserve what we have left’ Stewardship society thanks businesses that contributed to salmon enhancement By Melissa Renwick Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Tofino, BC - Since time immemorial, Byron Charlie said the Ahousaht First Nation has been taking care of the salmon rivers within their traditional territory around the Clayoquot Sound, off the west coast of Vancouver Island. “This has been our job since the beginning of time,” he said. “The only thing more integral to the fabric of coastal B.C. than the ancient rainforests is the Pacific salmon.” Charlie has been working as a full-time guardian for the Maaqutusiis Hahoulthee Stewardship Society (MHSS) for the past year. It’s a role the Ahousaht man considers his sense of duty. “The Department of Fisheries and Oceans has mismanaged our salmon for a number of years,” he said. “Our goal is to preserve what we have left and do our best to bring back the plentiful, pristine beauty that our lands once held.” Vancouver Island’s once “legendary” runs of Chinook salmon, coho, Chum, sockeye and pink have starkly declined over the last 50 years, said Charlie. It’s been around 30 years since salmon have returned to Anderson Creek, said Charlie. But after carrying out restoration

work last year, two chums returned. “That was a big win,” he said. To continue this vital restoration work, MHSS created a stewardship fee and guardian program. Through the support of local businesses and organizations, such as Paddle West Kayaking, Tofino Water Taxi and Redd Fish Restoration Society, Charlie said MHSS is able to undertake restoration work and sustainable management within Ahousaht’s hahoulthee, or traditional territory. “Our role is to exercise stewardship [and] sustainable management of our resources and our hahoulthee,” said Charlie. The goal is to blend Indigenous ways of life with western values to preserve the ecological integrity of the region, he said. On March 24, Charlie invited supporters to the Tofino Salmon Enhancement Society to present plaques of appreciation and show how the funding is being used. Ryan Rogers was among those honoured by MHSS. The Paddle West Kayaking owner said, “it just feels good to give back.” Paddle West is one of many kayaking companies in Tofino charging a $15 stewardship fee on top of their tour rates. The additional fee is given to MHSS,

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who is putting the funding right back into the rivers, said Ahousaht Tyee Ha’wiih Hasheukumiss (Richard George). The stewardship fee has been wellreceived by visitors, said Rogers. “Especially when they know that it’s going towards the hatchery, or the rejuvenation of salmon rivers,” he said. This year, MHSS was able to present the Tofino Salmon Enhancement Society with $10,000 from the funding collected. Hatchery manager Doug Palfrey said it will be used towards river enhancement work within Ahousaht territory. The stewardship fee funding will also be used towards informational signage placed throughout the nation’s territory, bathroom upgrades and the installation of bear caches on Vargas Island, said Hasheukumiss. “For the last 25 years, the tourism industry really hasn’t acknowledged the First Nations,” said Hasheukumiss. “We’re trying to bridge the gap within the tourism industry.” There’s a reason why Ahousaht’s land is pristine, he added. “What we protected in the past is what we’re still protecting,” Hasheukumis said.

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April 7, 2022—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 5

Third-party management avoided by strict finances Ahousaht paid off $1.3 million in debt, an amount that would have cost $55,000 annually in interest payments By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Ahousaht, BC – Nine years after Ahousaht hired Certified Financial Accountan, Rob Bullock, the nation has greatly improved its financial status. The financial situation was so bad, that the nation would have faced harsh consequences through Indigenous Services Canada if things were not turned around. “We could have gone into third-party management,” said Chief Councillor Greg Louie. That would have meant that control of Ahousaht’s finances would be temporarily transferred to another body. The Government of Canada delivers funding for programs and services in Indigenous communities through Comprehensive Funding Agreements. In order for First Nations governments to receive timely transfer payments from the federal government it must meet obligations set out in the agreement, including the timely the submission of regular financial records and audit reports to ISC. When ISC decides that a First Nation is to be placed into Third-Party Funding Agreement Management, the government designates a Third-Party Funding Agreement Manager (TPFAM) to handle the First Nation’s funding agreement. In addition to managing finances on behalf of the First Nation, the TPFAM works with the Indigenous government to remedy the underlying issues that caused the need for Third-Party Funding Agreement Management. According to ISC, Third-Party Funding Agreement Management is a temporary measure to ensure the continued delivery of programs and services to community members and is applied by the department only as a last resort. “One of our councillors back then said we are bleeding badly,” said Louie. He went on tell Ha-Shilth-Sa that they asked Bullock to review their finances and give an honest opinion. Louie said they were told they were in a bad, critical financial state. “This council inherited $1.3 million in high-interest loans and those have now been cleared,” said Louie. According to Louie, in order to keep the transfer payments flowing from ISC,

Ahousaht had to develop a Management Action Plan (MAP). In addition, they were required to deliver financial reports to the federal government quarterly and monthly to another arm of the government. With Bullock overseeing Ahousaht’s finances, strict protocols were put in place. Louie said that staff and council members were required to take both governance and financial training courses. Ahousaht has been slowly reducing its debt over the years. “Debt comes in two forms, amounts that are tied to a house or housing complex that generates rent and debt that is used to pay overdue bills, bad debts and similar,” Bullock stated in an email to Ha-ShilthSa. He went on to say that the second kind of debt is very expensive, as it always has a higher interest rate. According to Bullock, who serves as Ahousaht’s director of finance and their executive director, Ahousaht significantly reduced its debt load in March. “Ahousaht paid off $1.3 million in debt which would have cost over $55,000 annually in interest alone. That can pay for one full-time employee among other things,” Bullock said. Ahousaht’s staff and council now meet monthly to share updated financial reports in accordance with their Financial Administrative Law, which Louie says they follow closely. “We are 3.5 years out of MAP and are now able to start projects that we couldn’t do before,” said Louie. Ahousaht can now secure loans at lower interest rates, saving the nation money. Louie is proud to say that Ahousaht has had five or six years of good audits. Ahousaht has recently had $4 million taken off of its books in treaty debt that has been written off by the federal government. “The feds made a decision to eliminate treaty debt for all First Nations,” said Louie. On a better financial standing, Ahousaht has launched $28 million in projects, some of which have been completed under budget. “Because our finances are good,” said Louie.

Photo submitted by Ahousaht First Nation

Ahousaht people blessed the ground that will soon be home to their very own healing center. The ceremony took place on March 28 adjacent to the site of the former Ahousaht Indian Residential School.

Ahousaht Healing Centre to be completed fall 2022 First Nation’s holistic centre pitched the idea of a local treatment facility and received a $2.5 million donation By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Ahousaht, BC -Ahousaht people have blessed the ground that will soon be home to their very own healing center. The ceremony took place on March 28 adjacent to the site of the former Ahousaht Residential School, said Elected Chief Greg Louie. Louie said that there are members willing to go to a treatment centre for addictions, but barrier exist in the long wait and endless requirements needed to get in. “Many give up and we thought there has to be a better way,” said Louie. In September 2019 Ahousaht made the announcement about the planned healing centre but the COVID-19 pandemic effectively put the brakes on projects like this one. At that time, Julia Atleo, manager of Ahousaht’s holistic centre, said she hopes many people will find sobriety and healing at this new facility. In addition, she hoped that with the help of a physician, it will also offer much-needed detox beds.

Chah Chum Hii Yup Tiic Mis, Ahousaht’s holistic centre, pitched the idea of a local treatment facility and received a very generous $2.5 million from a private donor. “They want to support First Nations healing and wellness and so we are pleased, thankful, grateful for this gift,” said Louie. The centre will feature a meeting space with kitchen facilities, offices and accommodations for non-residents taking part in programs there. Louie says that the facility will not only be for Ahousaht members, but also for all other Nuu-chah-nulth people who wish to take part in programs offered there. The work being done will focus heavily on culture, said Atleo in 2019. Louie said the new facility will be used to better the future of Ahousaht’s youth through addictions counselling, workshops and healing services, which will all be based in cultural wellness teachings. With the site cleared, construction will begin soon and is expected to be complete in fall 2022.


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Housing crisis hits Tla-o-qui-aht with eviction notices The First Nation has a waiting list of over 100 families needing homes, while outstanding rent totals $1.3 million By Melissa Renwick Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Tofino, BC - Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation members gathered in front of the nation’s main office near the Best Western Plus Tin Wis Resort in Tofino to protest recent housing evictions on March 31. Nora Martin said she was evicted from her home in Ty-Histanis on March 30 after being asked to pay for arrears that her son hadn’t covered. The arrears further accumulated during the COVID-19 pandemic after Martin said she was told by chief and council that she was eligible to defer her monthly rent for one year. Now, Martin said she owes over $24,000 in arrears. While she tried negotiating with the nation to pay nearly double her monthly rent until the arrears were paid off, Martin said the nation’s administration denied her request. “I have nowhere to go,” said the elder. “I’ve been floating around couch surfing.” Over the past six years, the nation has accumulated $1.3 million in arrears from people not paying their rent, said Tla-oqui-aht First Nation Tribal Administrator Jim Chisholm. “Our chief and council have a monetary responsibility on behalf of all the people in the nation to manage their assets, which includes our housing,” he said. “Nobody in this world gets to live for free.” Chisholm said the nation gives everyone an opportunity to negotiate a payback on arrears. “The last thing we want to do is put a member of ours out on the street,” he said. “That’s the last thing we want to do.” But, he said, Tla-o-qui-aht has to be “fair and equitable to everybody.” Chisholm said he wasn’t at liberty to talk about Martin’s personal financial situation, but noted that “she does not meet the payback criteria that we need.”

Photo by Melissa Renwick

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation members gathered in front of the nation’s main office near the Best Western Plus Tin Wis Resort in Tofino to protest recent housing evictions on March 31, 2022. Sheila Seitcher, Tla-o-qui-aht First Nafront of the main office to listen to the tion housing manager, said if a resident protestors. has not paid rent for three months, they John Lucas Jr. was among the protestors get a first, second, and third warning belooking for answers. The Tla-o-qui-aht fore being served an eviction notice. man moved to Ty-Histanis with his mom Even after being served an eviction and dad one year ago because their house notice, Chisholm said members have an in Optisaht was condemned. Despite opportunity to negotiate a repayment plan only needing three bedrooms, they were on their arrears. moved into a four-bedroom house, he “Everybody has been granted the same said. process to come in and sign a tenancy His family wasn’t told they’d be responagreement,” said Seitcher. “[Unless] sible to cover the additional monthly cost either somebody has refused to work with of $180 to live in the larger house until a us or decided to seek legal [action].” year after they moved in, Lucas added. During COVID-19, Chisholm said the “Now [council is] trying to say we owe nation offered a three-month deferral on a whole year of rent,” he said. “They’re rent to those who needed it. trying to get me and my parents into a “It might have put some people in ardifferent home … we’re not getting evictrears,” he said. “It didn’t cause somebody ed, but that’s what it feels like. We’ve to get evicted. We don’t evict somebody been in that house for a whole year and for being in arrears for three months.” we’re comfortable.” Martin’s sister, Grace, criticized the naCouncillor Joe Martin said he agreed tion’s council members by saying they’re with the protestors. only willing to make an exception for “I’m on the same side as you,” he said. some members. “I understand the social issues that our “It’s favouritism,” Grace yelled to the people have. Some people just didn’t pay council members who had gathered in rent because of social issues. We have to

work on those things. We have a lot of things that we are working on.” Housing is one of the “ugliest” issues that council has to contend with, said Joe. “It’s not easy,” he said. “It’s not easy at all.” When members don’t pay rent, Chisholm said they’re taking away funds from cultural, language, recreational and educational programs. “We’re all human beings and we don’t want to see people on the street, but we also believe in equity and fairness,” he said. “We have over 100 families on our housing list … they want to come back here but they can’t because there’s no housing available. And we have people here that think it’s their right not to pay rent. It doesn’t work.” Tla-o-qui-aht hasn’t increased their rent prices since 2011, said Chisholm. A four-bedroom house within the nation’s communities rents for a maximum of $880, while a one-bedroom unit rents for $350, said Seitcher. Meanwhile, the median cost of a one-bedroom rental unit in Tofino and Ucluelet rose by 71 per cent between 2017 and 2020 to $1,200, according to the 2021 Clayoquot Biosphere Trust’s Vital Snapshot report. Two-bedroom units saw an increase of 6 per cent to $1,480, and three-bedroom units surged by 38 per cent to $2,200. The nation held a community housing meeting two weeks ago, which they opened to the public. Chisholm said the housing manager and financial manager were both in attendance to address the community’s concerns. None of the members who gathered to protest attended, said Chisholm. Grace said a two-hour meeting isn’t enough time to “deal with all of the issues that need to be dealt with.” “[Council] is there to … speak on our behalf and advocate for us, but they’re not doing that,” said Martin.

April 7, 2022—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 7

Confusion brews with over-the-counter drug coverage Constant changes to First Nations coverage plan prompts pharmacists to warn patients to check beforehand By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Many Nuu-chah-nulth people are aware that through their health coverage provided by Pacific Blue Cross, they have access to free over-the-counter medications and supplies. There is a long list of OTC medications called Plan W on the First Nations Health Authority website stating what people on this plan have free access to. Ideally, people under this plan can go to their pharmacist to ask for their OTC medications, and the pharmacist does the necessary prep work and hands the items to the client. But people are reporting that this has not been the case at some pharmacies. The Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council’s health department has received queries from Nuu-chah-nulth-aht attempting to access OTC products at the Walmart pharmacy in Port Alberni. According to the NTC’s Director of Health Lynette Lucas, these people are being told they must have a prescription from their doctor to get the OTC items they need. The Health Benefits Program is available to First Nations people with Indian status who live in B.C. Health Benefits has partnered with BC PharmaCare to offer PharmaCare Plan W to First Nations people living in the province. Plan W is an 18-page listing of over-the-counter items that are available for free to those with coverage. The list is constantly updated, and some items get delisted. It includes items like OTC pain relievers, antihistamines, anti-

Photo by Denise Titian

There is a long list of over-the-counter medications called Plan W presented by the First Nations Health Authority stating what Indigenous people have free access to, but pharmacists caution that this list is continually changing. biotic cleansers and ointments, treatments to see their doctors when the medication listed – the list is always changing,” said for nausea, constipation, dry eyes, fungal is available by prescription only. Taniegra. infections, head lice, warts and much The NTC’s Non-Insured Health Benefits Many items are removed from the list more. Coordinator Robert Cluett has reached while other items are added to the list. Walmart pharmacist Stineli Taniegra out to several pharmacies to ask whether Taniegra says pharmacists have to keep a told Ha-Shilth-Sa that they dispense Plan or not they dispense OTC products withcareful eye on the list to ensure what they W products all the time, but there’s been out a doctor’s prescription. Most pharma- dispense will be covered by a medical a misunderstanding. cies in Port Alberni and other urban areas plan. “Sometimes people ask for medications on Vancouver Island work with the proTo view the list, go to PharmaCare Plan on the list that are no longer covered,” gram. But some people think they don’t. W on the B.C. government website (gov. said Taniegra. “People should go over the list (Plan bc.ca). When that happens, patients are advised W) to make sure what they want is still

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Uncovering roots using grandmother’s wisd

Nuu-chah-nulth youth ‘open up like bu•erflies’ while learning family histories through a genealogy database that dates back to th By Melissa Renwick Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Tsaxana, BC - Linus Lucas Sr. created a Nuu-chah-nulth family tree five years ago to help children and youth in care reconnect with their families. The senior Quu’asa wellness worker now has a genealogy database filled with approximately 21,000 people with Nuuchah-nulth roots. Drawing from first-hand knowledge and the Royal BC Museum’s genealogy archives, Lucas said the database contains family records that date back to the mid-1800s. In effort to encourage Nuu-chah-nulth youth to understand their own family lineage, Lucas attended the NTC Northern Region Youth Gathering at the House of Unity, near Gold River on March 29. Prior to colonization, Lucas said it was common for grandmothers and elders to sit with children and share stories about the life lessons “they needed to know.” Many of those lessons were aimed at helping youth to understand who they were, where they came from and who they were related to, Lucas said. When the residential school system pulled families apart, many of those teachings were disrupted, he added. Not only were children separated from their grandmother’s wisdom, they were separated from each other, said Lucas. Even if children attended the same school, Lucas said they weren’t allowed to mingle and learn about each other’s family ties. “I have a lot of relatives that are cohabiting with their own relatives,” said Lucas. “Many of our survivors of residential school don’t have the ability to let their own children know who they’re related to.” Grandmothers from Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation, Ehattesaht/Chinehkint First Nation and the Nuchatlaht Tribe attended the gathering to help the young people understand their family history. Margaret Amos was among them and said that traditionally, youth were “constantly” reminded who their relatives were. “It’s important for everybody to know their ties,” she said. “Not just who they’re related to, but how they’re related.” Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation Youth Worker John Amos echoed Margaret and said “kids today don’t know who is who.” “I was always taught you couldn’t be with your first, second, third or fourth cousin,” he continued. “My grandma always taught us who we were related to and who we couldn’t be with. I took her words to heart and mind.” Amos said he hopes to rekindle the connection between the nations and their grandmother’s wisdom so that “we know who everybody is.” Margaret said that since families were disrupted by the residential school system, “many of our children have lost their spirit– their identity as Aboriginal.” “We have to find a way to instill it in them,” she said. Part of that work is reconnecting the youth back to themselves through genealogy so they know who they are, said Lucas. Amos’ 14-year-old daughter, Talishe, joined the youth who attended the fourday event hosted by the Quu’asa wellness team and the Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation. Talishe said she struggles to express her feelings and, because of that, has felt alone for a “very long time.” But as she’s come to learn more about

Andrew Savey-Johnson (above centre) drums during the NTC Northern Region Youth Gathering at the House of Unity, in Tsa’xana, near Gold Rive her family’s history and lineage, Talishe said “it’s helped me to know that I’m not alone.” “My dad always talks about who he’s related to and it just gets me a little more interested in my family every time he speaks,” she said. Throughout the day, which began with a talking circle and ended with drumming, singing and dancing, youth stopped by to sit with Lucas and retrace their family history through his genealogy database. Lucas said that after a young boy found out he had roots in Hesquiaht First Nation, he started “puffing” his chest out. When the youth learn that they have relatives in communities outside their own, “it makes them stand up a little taller,” Lucas said. Audry Smith attended the gathering as a grandmother with her sister, Jessie Mack. The event was an opportunity to “break the cycle” by sharing the teachings that had been passed down to them. “I like to see the children open up,” said Smith. “Open up like butterflies.” It’s been two and a half years since a youth gathering was held at the House of Unity due to COVID-19 restrictions, Margaret said. While it’s going to take a “little while longer” for the community to get their strength back, Margaret said that through daily practice cultural traditions will be rekindled. But the change won’t happen overnight, she said. “But what we have is a start,” Margaret added. “It’ll get better.”

April 7, 2022—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 9

her’s wisdom

base that dates back to the mid 1800s

Photo submitted by Tseshaht Pride

The Tseshaht Pride placed second in the girls’ under-17 division at the Junior All Native Basketball Tournament.

Tseshaht Pride earns second place from Junior All Native Basketball Tournament After COVID-19 cancellations held off the youth tournament over the last two years, Tseshaht was one of 22 basketball clubs that competed in the girls’ under-17 category Photos by Melissa Renwick

of Unity, in Tsa’xana, near Gold River, on March 29, 2022.

By Sam Laskaris Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Kelowna, BC – After six years at the Junior All Native Basketball Tournament (JANT), Joe Charleson Jr. managed to lead a squad to a podium finish. Charleson has been a familiar face at the prestigious youth hoops event, which attracts Indigenous clubs from across British Columbia. Charleson coached the Tseshaht Pride, a girls’ under-17 squad, to a second-place finish in its division at this year’s tournament, which was held in Kelowna and wrapped up on Friday, March 25. “This is the sixth year I’ve been to the tournament and the best finish before was Top 5 in 2019 with this group,” Charleson said. The COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of both the 2020 and ’21 tournaments. Charleson was unsure of what to expect from the opposition at this year’s event. “After two years of COVID and three years since the last tournament, it was a matter of who’s going to show up,” he said. The girls’ under-17 division attracted 22 entrants. “You can’t be mad with second place when there are 22 teams there (in your division),” said Tseshaht captain Jenelle Johnson-Sabbas. The Pride played six contests at the tournament. It was defeated twice by the eventual champs, a host Kelowna squad called Syilx. Tseshaht kicked off the tournament winning its first three matches. For starters, it registered a convincing 7911 victory against a team from Lytton. Charleson believes that initial lopsided triumph set the tone for his charges for the

remainder of the tournament. “The confidence level in the players just went up, up and up,” Charleson said. Tseshaht then racked up wins against teams from Vancouver and Bella Coola in its next two outings. The Pride were then downed 71-54 by Syilx in its fourth game. Despite that loss, the Tseshaht club was able to continue on since the tournament featured a double-knockout format, meaning squads had to lose two games before being eliminated from further action. The Pride then downed a Greenville side 74-67 in its next match. At the point Tseshaht and undefeated Syilx were the only two remaining clubs in the division. The Pride would have required two straight wins to capture the division since Syilx had yet to lose. The Syilx club, however, was able to win the championship by defeating the Pride 66-50. “They had a couple of good players and they were a good all-around team,” Charleson said. Charleson added he was pleased with the efforts his charges displayed throughout the whole event. “I would have been satisfied with wherever we finished,” he said. “The expectation was to have a really good run, which they did.” Johnson-Sabbas believes her squad fared even better than they thought they could. “We didn’t have high expectations,” she said. “If we made it to the semi-finals, that would have been good enough.” The squad ended up bringing home some hardware, a trophy for its runner-up finish. All team members also received jackets for their team finish. “It was a good way to end our season, bringing home second place,” Johnson-

Sabbas said. Four members of the Pride were also recognized for their efforts at the conclusion of the tournament. Natalie Clappis was chosen as the best defensive player of the event. Sabbas-Johnson and Jennifer Dick were both selected as tournament all-stars. And Charleson was named the best coach in the division. Charleson believes his squad will be capable of also having an impressive showing at next year’s tournament as well. “I’m hoping to,” he said. “Our younger girls are coming along quite well.” The Pride roster included just three players who will no longer be eligible to compete in the under-17 grouping. Those who have aged out of the division are Sabbas-Johnson, Trinity Williams and Jayme Bulwer. Other players on the Pride roster were Jayla Sabbas, Brandii Lucas, Kura Rorick, Jaiden Knighton, Naimah Robinson, Hailey Watts, Cassidy Watts and Taimanni Robinson. The 2023 JANT will be hosted by the Snuneymuxw Native Sons in Nanaimo. A total of 65 clubs participated at this year’s event. “This week has really been a true celebration of our children and the importance of sport to wellness,” said tournament director Tara Montgomery. “Over the last week we have heard from young athletes, and their families, community members and coaches how happy they were to all be brought together and with the tournament in general.” Members of the Pride returned home on March 25 following their last tournament game. Tseshaht First Nation staged a celebratory dinner for the club the following day.

Page 10— Ha-Shilth-Sa— April 7, 2022

Photo submitted by VIU

Vancouver Island University Chancellor Judith Sayers was honoured in her new role through a talking stick gifting ceremony on March 24. The talking stick was crafted in the traditional Coast Salish style while paying homage to Sayers’ Nuu-chah-nulth heritage.

Talking stick gifted by UVic to Chancellor Sayers Made by a chief and master caver from Snuneymuxw First Nation, the piece was crafted in Coast Salish style By Melissa Renwick Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Nanaimo, BC - Vancouver Island University (VIU) Chancellor Judith Sayers was honoured in her new role through a talking stick gifting ceremony on March 24. Carved by Ts’usquinuxn (William Good), a hereditary chief and master caver from Snuneymuxw First Nation, the talking stick was crafted in the traditional Coast Salish style while paying homage to Sayers’ Nuu-chah-nulth heritage. It was gifted to Sayers by the University of Victoria, which commissioned the creation of the piece. Traditionally, talking sticks were carved for a chief as an acknowledgement of their position and prestige within a nation. They would be carved to reflect the clans the chief belonged to, and would be used while giving speeches at potlatches,

during ceremonies and sacred events. It was custom for a chief to have two talking sticks, Ts’usquinuxn described. A large, long talking stick would be placed on the floor during potlatches, where the chief would deliver speeches. A chief would also carry a smaller talk stick, similar to a sceptre, so everyone knew who they were, Ts’usquinuxn added. A thunderbird and lightning snakes were carved into the talking stick for Sayers to highlight her Nuu-chah-nulth culture. A grey whale was also carved into the stick to represent the significance of Nuuchah-nulth whalers, and a killer whale was included to give Sayers fortitude. “This is to represent your journey here, your work and to give you the strength that you need to do it,” said Ts’usquinuxn’s daughter, Aunalee. A halibut and salmon were also included in the carving to represent the wealth and

culture Sayers brings to VIU. During the ceremony at the university’s Nanaimo campus, Ts’usquinuxn’s said he was honoured to carve the talking stick for Sayers. “You deserve it,” he said. “I hope it means a lot to you.” While addressing the crowd gathering at VIU, Sayers said “my heart is more than full today.” “It’s an amazing, powerful piece of work,” she said, “You have given me a tool to assist me in my role here as chancellor.” Indigenous people have been struggling to be recognized for so long, said Sayers. “We have a huge body of knowledge – Indigenous wisdom – that we can share,” she said. “We can’t always share it in a written dissertation or thesis, but we can do it in forms of art. We can do it in forms of ceremony. And institutions of learning, such as [the University of

Victoria] and VIU are embracing those changes.” VIU President and Vice-Chancellor Deborah Saucier said universities often take pride in being exclusive. “We mark greatness by whom we include, how we support them to reach their dreams, and how in doing so we allow people to meet their potential,” she said. “We are rooted in this place and we will make Snuneymuxw and the nations we serve proud.” There are many challenges and barriers to get through in order to change the role Indigenous peoples play in the world of academia, Sayers said. “[The talking stick] gives me a greater voice,” she said. “An opportunity for a greater voice going forward and helping to be part of the change with all of you. We walk together.”

Phrase of the week: %uušc^akiš%a> h=utaksup %ah= +aa@ih=qsup nanac^tas +aaqac^i+%a>quu Pronounced ‘Oos chuk silth ish alth whoo r tak sup ahh r tlaa hirk sup nah na ch t as taa ga chilt alt coo’, it means, ‘It’s important for our young people to experience what growing up means’. Supplied by ciisma.

Illustration by Ivy Cargill-Martin

April 7, 2022—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 11

Affordable housing, living wage needed, says report One in five people in the ACRD lives in poverty, says a new action plan presented to Port Alberni city council By Karly Blats Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Port Alberni, BC - Housing affordability is a main concern for Port Alberni city council when it comes to reducing poverty in the Alberni Valley. City council received the Poverty Reduction Action Plan from the AlberniClayoquot Health Network on Monday, March 28 that provided several recommendations to help individuals out of poverty and to avoid becoming destitute in the first place. Marcie DeWitt, Alberni-Clayoquot Health Network coordinator, provided council with highlights from the 63-page report that she said should provide advocacy tools for municipal governments in the region. The Building Prosperity Action Plan outlines poverty reduction strategies and areas of focus for Alberni Clayoquot communities to direct attention in order to see meaningful change. Consultation for the report was done through a community engagement survey, interviews with people who experienced poverty, focus groups and public input from provincial poverty reduction. DeWitt said priority populations in the Alberni-Clayoquot that need specific attention include youth and young families, single-parent households, individuals earning below the living wage and populations that receive higher levels of stigma and racism. “Those were the primary areas that we saw a lot of the challenges and throughout our community engagement this is who we heard from the most,” DeWitt said. In the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District (ACRD), 21 per cent of all respondents live in poverty, 1,880 children live in poverty with a 15 per cent poverty rate for children in two-parent homes and 62 per cent poverty rate for children in a single-parent home. Forty-seven per cent of renters said they’re spending more than 30 per cent of their monthly income on shelter costs. “We saw two main areas of focus within the recommendations, the first being to build and enhance the protective factors which support community members,” DeWitt said. “Those are things that keep people out of poverty, keep money in their pocket, keep stability in their lives. And then there’s the piece around creating clear pathways out of poverty, so ensuring that if somebody is accessing supports they have very clear ways

Photo by Eric Plummer

A man collects cans on 3rd Avenue in Port Alberni. A new report is blaming rising housing costs and the lack of a living wage for many people as factors fueling poverty in the region. that they are able to build prosperity and build resilience to ensure that they are capable in coming out of those situations as well.” The plan recommends advocating for a living wage and the creation of a national housing strategy. It also stresses the need to support funding mechanisms that help people access treatment and care, while increasing community education around the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action and United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. The plan states that many communities in the ACRD have a historically lower median income than the province of B.C. The after-tax median income for the ACRD in 2015 was $49,679 with a growth rate of 2.3 per cent. The median income for B.C. for the same period was $61, 280 with an 11.5 per cent growth rate. These lower incomes faced a higher cost of living in remote communities, while living in tourism destinations adds to the financial pressure in the region. Another factor which could lead individuals and their families to poverty is high home prices in the Alberni Valley.

Preliminary data from the regional housing needs assessment shows huge growth in the market and an increasing demand for rentals across communities. Over the last decade, Vancouver Island saw a 31.5 per cent increase to the cost of home ownership, west coast communities in the ACRD saw an 82 per cent increase and Ucluelet saw the highest increase at 102 per cent. “One thing I didn’t see much mentioned here is really what I think is becoming one of the larger issues around poverty and who is going to end up being in poverty,” said Mayor Sharie Minions. “That is around the generational wealth gap that I think owning or not owning real estate is and that is an issue that I think we have somewhat overlooked at a local government level.” “If your parents were fortunate enough to own real estate then you probably would have the opportunity to own real estate at some point in your life too,” continued Minions. “If they weren’t, if they were renters and they continue to be renters, then you’re paying $3,500 a month for a four-bedroom house in Port Alberni and you have no hope of ever

being able to purchase a home, and that generational wealth gap is just going to continue to create huge, huge inequity within our communities.” Minions said housing affordability is an issue that local governments at a regional level need to start talking about more intentionally. “I think there will be no larger determinant of whether you grow up with wealth or in poverty than owning real estate unless there’s some major changes going forward,” she said. The City of Port Alberni held a public hearing on March 29 to hear from applicant Gary Carniato, who is proposing to build 40 affordable apartments in two separate three-storey buildings at the corner of Burde Street and Fifth Avenue, next to the Phoenix House transitional facility. The apartments would include bachelor and one-bedroom rental housing, both of which are in high demand as identified in the latest Alberni Valley Housing Needs Assessment. City staff and the Advisory Planning Commission are in favour of this development.

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RCMP investigates death Health Corner Not Fussy over breakfast? By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa reporter

Here is what the fuss is all about! Does this sound like you? Or someone you know? “It’s too busy in the morning to eat.” “I am getting the kids ready for school.” “I don’t feel hungry in the morning.” “I like to sleep and then I don’t have time for breakfast.” “I am trying to lose weight.” “I am too tired to eat in the morning.” Did you know that breakfast can increase your: • Energy • Brain power • Nutrition Breakfast can help you to have: • A healthy weight and • Better blood sugar control And breakfast can help you: • Eat better and snack less Here are some reasons why, and ideas to help you have a healthy start to the day: Breakfast helps you have more ENERGY. We need and use energy while we sleep to repair muscles and grow. Our body has enough energy stored to last about 12 hours. Once all of your energy stores are used up, your body starts to run on empty, and you might be tired or feel sluggish. If you last ate at 8 p.m. last night, that means by 8 a.m. today, you need to fuel up! So if you are dragging in the morning, breakfast might give you a boost! Breakfast gives you more BRAIN POWER! Do you sometimes feel brain fog and find it hard to focus in the morning? This happens more when you don’t have breakfast because your brain hasn’t received the energy it needs to get going. Studies show that not having breakfast affects your attention, ability to concentrate and memory. This can make some tasks feel harder than they normally would. Children and youth who eat breakfast learn better than those who skip breakfast. They also feel a greater level of connectedness with teachers and other adults in their lives, which helps their mental health. If it is hard for you or your kids to wake up and focus in the morning, Breakfast could help! Breakfast foods are full of NUTRITION! Breakfast foods are often rich in folate, calcium, iron, B vitamins and fibre. For many, breakfast provides 1/3 of your day’s total nutrition. People who eat breakfast are more likely to eat enough foods that have the vitamins and minerals and fibre they need to be healthy. Because many breakfast foods can be very nutritious (mush, fruit, eggs, low sugar cereals), eating more later does not always replace the nutrition that breakfast can give. Breakfast helps you keep a HEALTHY WEIGHT! AND BLOOD SUGAR CONTROL. People who eat breakfast are less likely to be overweight or obese. Or have Type 2 diabetes. Breakfast helps you: • keep your blood sugars in a healthy range • control your appetite • Eat better…. Breakfast can stop you from getting super hungry or hangry,

before you start to grab foods that aren’t good for you (high calorie, high fat foods with added sugars or salt). And breakfast can help you snack less. People who skip breakfast tend to nibble on snacks during the mid-morning or afternoon, often because they feel low in energy. Without the extra energy that breakfast can offer they turn to high-energy food and drinks to get them through the day. Often these foods don’t have the nutrition they need, and over time they feel even more run down. If you do skip breakfast, try a nutritious snack such as fresh fruit, veggie sticks and hummus, seaweed snacks, or smoked fish. If breakfast is a challenge for you, here are some ideas to help have a healthy breakfast more often. If you are too busy to have breakfast, you could try….. • Prepping the night before. Or prep on the weekend. • For a grab and go breakfast try overnight oats, a sandwich, fruit and yogurt, boiled egg…..you choose! • Bringing your packed breakfast with you to work or school. Enjoy them when you get there. • Keeping healthy breakfast foods in the car or at your desk and enjoy as you travel. • Setting your alarm for 10 to 15 minutes earlier than usual to give you time to have breakfast at home. • Swapping out other habits in the morning (such as checking your emails or scrolling social media) and use this time for breakfast instead. If you are not hungry when you get up, you can try… • Eating a smaller meal for dinner, • Eating dinner earlier, • Cutting down on evening snacks so you’re hungry in the morning Or eat breakfast an hour or two after you get up • switch your breakfast to midmorning snack time instead or try some new breakfast ideas….as Mikey used to say, “try it, you’ll like it!” Healthy breakfast ideas • mush – when choosing oats, go for the plain variety and add your own fruit after. Instant packets that are flavoured have a lot of sugar • wholegrain cereal with milk, natural yogurt and fresh fruit. Choose cereal high in fibre and no added sugar, or low in sugar. • fresh fruits and raw nuts • Peanut butter on whole wheat toast, • poached or boiled eggs with fruit • fish hash • smoothies made from fresh fruit or vegetables, plain yogurt or milk Our days seem to go faster and faster. No matter how fast your days go, breakfast will help you have the energy and nutrition to feel better, think better, and eat better. For you and the kids, breakfast still is an important meal for the day.

Nitinaht Lake, BC – A Ditidaht man has died after being stabbed in a residence within the First Nation’s community west of Lake Cowichan on Saturday, March 26. An RCMP spokesperson said it appears the incident occurred in Malachan, Ditidaht’s primary reserve located at the head of Nitinaht Lake. In a media release dated March 27, police say on the previous day numerous 911 calls were received reporting an

altercation between two men in a rural (location) of the Lake Cowichan area. “When police arrived, there were several people in the residence and one man had been stabbed. BC Emergency Health Services arrived and declared the man to be deceased. One man was taken into custody and later released,” the RCMP stated in their media release. The Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit and Lake Cowichan RCMP are investigating the circumstances along with the BC Coroner Service. Police say that this is an isolated incident and there is no risk to the public.

Le!ers to Editor

Photo submitted by David Dowling

Students at Kyuquot Elementary Secondary School celebrate the signing of the Maa-nulth Treaty at their morning assembly, just before spring break in March. The Maa-nulth Final Agreement is a modern day treaty between the governments of Canada, British Columbia and the Huu-ay-aht, Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/ Che:k’tles7et’h’, Toquaht, Uchucklesaht and Yuułuʔiłʔath First Nations. It came into effect April 1, 2011. Klecko to Ted Whitmore in Ahousaht from the bottom of my heart for making it possible for us to fly down to my granddaughter’s, Ruby Anne Williams, funeral on Saturday, April 2. This man has now become our friend forever now that I know who he is. -Ray Williams, Yuquot

April 7, 2022—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 13

Employment Opportunities 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

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Mosaic defers logging of old-growth forests Vancouver Island and Haida Gwaii’s old forests will be protected for the next 25 years due to carbon offsets By Melissa Renwick Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Vancouver Island, BC - British Columbia’s largest private landowner, Mosaic Forest Management, is halting logging in nearly 100,000 acres of old-growth forest for the next 25 years. The forestry company announced the deferral on March 16 and said it’s transitioning to a carbon credit program, which is expected to generate several hundred million dollars in revenue. Hailed the BigCoast Forest Climate Initiative, Mosaic said it’s the largest project of its kind and is aiming to capture and store more than 10 million tonnes of -carbon dioxide. It’ll be “equivalent to, or exceed what [Mosaic’s] logging revenues would’ve been from logging these stands,” read a release from the Endangered Ecosystems Alliance. These deferrals will impact old-growth and mature forests on Vancouver Island and Haida Gwaii, including the McLaughlin Ridge, Cameron Valley Firebreak, Cathedral Grove Canyon, lands adjacent to MacMillan Provincial Park and Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park near Port Alberni. The Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development said carbon offsets projects are produced and sold under two types of programs: voluntary markets, and regulatory markets. Mosaic’s project is a voluntary market program certified under the Verified Carbon Standard. “Voluntary markets enable businesses, governments, non-profit organizations, universities, municipalities, and individuals to offset their emissions outside a regulatory system,” the ministry said. “Under a voluntary market, entities set their own voluntary targets for reducing their greenhouse gas emissions.” In a voluntary market, Endangered Ecosystems Alliance Executive Director Ken Wu said companies or organizations might be inclined to purchase carbon offset credits because they have an “environmental conscience,” or because their consumers care. It’s different from a compliance market, where companies need to hit specific emission targets in order to avoid being “penalized by the government that’s regulating them,” he said. The move is “an important step forward” that allows the forests to stay intact “until they can be protected in legislation,” said Wu. “We’ve fought hard for decades to keep dozens of these old-growth forests on Mosaic lands from being logged,” said Wu. “From a conservation perspective, 25 years is a big deal because everywhere else, we’re looking at two-year deferrals, or none.” “If this pans out,” Wu said Mosaic should be “commended.” Carbon offsets have been criticized by climate activists over a number of loopholes, said Wu. Namely, that some companies are trying to offset their emissions for forests that were already off-limits to logging. This does not apply to Mosaic’s stated approach, which Wu said is preserving forests that could otherwise be logged. Garry Merkel, professional forester and B.C.’s old-growth strategic review panel expert, said the shift from logging to carbon offset credits is the “start of a movement.”

Photo by T.J. Watt

Ken Wu, executive director of the Endangered Ecosystems Alliance, stands with old-growth Sitka spruce trees on Vancouver Island. benefits for primary forests throughout The shift, he said, is driven by climate ment decisions at the end of the initiative, change and “because there’s money in it.” coastal British Columbia,” said Katrine in 2047. Conroy, Minister of Forests, Lands, “Climate change has pushed all of us “Our partnership with the Indigenous Natural Resource Operations and Rural to start to think really hard about both Protected and Conserved Areas InnovaDevelopment. mitigation and adaptation,” he said. tion Program is designed to help imple“This innovative approach supports our Because carbon offset programs present ment this research across the entirety of government’s vision for forestry where a new opportunity to generate revenue, the forests included,” said Mosaic. we take better care of our oldest forests, companies, governments and Indigenous The Endangered Ecosystems Alliance First Nations are meaningful partners in groups are able to manage business difsaid the province has “opened the door ferently, while still being able to afford to forest management, and communities to a major policy overhaul in old-growth benefit from sustainable, family-supportoperate, said Merkel. forest management” by hiring a team to “There’s little industries that have arisen ing jobs for generations to come,” she identify 2.5 million hectares of the most said. out of reaction to climate change,” he at-risk old-growth forests for potential Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council Presisaid. logging deferrals, subject to First Nations dent Judith Sayers said “there is value in Despite that, Merkel said large-scale consent. what Mosaic is doing,” but questioned change will require “substantial restrucTo help finance the transition, the provthe long-term plan. turing of an entire administrative sysince has committed $185 million over the “What are they going to do after 25 tem.” next three years to provide support for “Timber is kind of like God in this prov- years?” Sayers asked. “There’s still work forestry workers, industry, communities to be done to make sure they’re not cutince,” said Merkel. “It’s a cultural thing and First Nations who may be impacted ting down the old-growth.” because we’ve grown up with it for so by the new restrictions. While Sayers said intact forests present long. We have a very deep bias towards it Meanwhile, the province has not “proan opportunity to expand guardian proin the entire bureaucracy, and frankly, in vided any funds for private land acquisigrams by restoring traditional roles, such our society at large.” tions, which is needed to buy old-growth as river keepers and forest keepers, defer- forests for new protected areas on private It’s going to take “real discipline to rals may limit certain cultural practices. actually unearth those biases” and make lands, such as these Mosaic lands,” the “If it’s a total deferral, we can’t access “deep systemic changes,” said Merkel. alliance said. [the forests] for culture purposes,” she The price of carbon is projected to Sayers said that protecting old-growth said. “If we defer everything, where are double in the next few years, he said. forests not only preserves the biodiversity we going to get our old-growth logs for That means these trees are worth more of the region, but the cultural traditions of our canoes or our totems?” standing than they are cut down, Merkel the First Nations who rely on the ecosysMosaic said it’s in discussion with First added. tems. Nations about how they’d like to contribProblem is, he said, “huge infrastruc“We need to manage our own forests,” ute to designing ecological and cultural ture” relies on logging, and when you she said. “It has to be up to the First Naresearch efforts that will inform managefactor in the cost of shutting down mills tions.” and laying people off it becomes “unaffordable.” And yet, he said “changes don’t happen if companies, individuals and groups GATEWAY TO THE PACIFIC RIM don’t make a number of small pushes.” Mosaic is an example of a company making “a push,” said Merkel. The more people that do that, he said, the more it becomes the norm. Andy MacKinnon, Endangered Ecosystems Alliance science advisor and forest ecologist, said B.C.’s remaining oldgrowth forests are “critically imperilled.” “Mosaic’s BigCoast Forest Climate Initiative represents a progressive new approach to forest management on private lands in B.C.,” he said. “It’s an excellent example of how innovative thinking can lead to new strategies that will yield Hours of operation - 7:00 am - 10:30 pm multiple benefits – social, economic and Phone: 724-3944 environmental – from not logging our E-mail: claudine@tseshahtmarket.ca forests.” The initiative promises to deliver “real Find us on Facebook


April 7, 2022—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 15

Water taxi inequities leave people waiting on the dock Fuel prices and COVID measures have taxed small operators, forcing many to focus on charters to cover costs By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Ahousaht, BC – When Ahousaht began debt reduction measures nearly a decade ago, one of the largest contributors to the financial burden, Ahousaht’s sea bus, was sold, to the dismay of many residents. Although it was expensive to run, the Ahousaht sea bus still delivered consistent scheduled runs at affordable rates for residents and visitors. It also served as the exclusive emergency vessel. For $900 billed to the medical department, patients were transported to the nearest hospital in Tofino, night or day. Its size made it both safe in rough seas and capable of carrying a large number of passengers to and from the isolated Flores Island village that about 1,000 people call home. But the service could not survive. The large boat was expensive to run and maintain, and along with crew members salaries the band-owned business was swimming in more and more debt every year. Many times, the large vessel left the dock with few or no passengers at all. The beloved boat was sold nearly ten years ago. Prior to its sale, it had exclusive access to emergency patients needing transport to Tofino General Hospital. That, says water taxi operator Tom Paul, is where the trouble started for struggling private water taxi owners. Patient travel is the money maker Paul says that people are stuck in the days when the sea bus ran, and fares that it charged haven’t changed much despite the skyrocketing costs of fuel and maintenance services that a vessel needs. When the sea bus was running, a regular adult fare was $20. Small children rode for free while school-aged kids and seniors paid $10 each. But if a person is traveling for medical reasons, they get a patient travel voucher from Ahousaht’s medical department worth $45 per person. And those are the money-makers, said Paul. Even more lucrative for a water taxi business are the after-hour emergency boat trips, which net the owner $300 for a one-way trip – double that if the patient returns home on the same boat that day. Now that the sea bus has been sold, more members are running private water taxi businesses and they can transport emergency and patient travellers. But a series of factors is making it difficult to serve people in the way they enjoyed ten years ago. Kaileigh Taylor is a young Ahousaht woman who lived in the village with her parents all her life. She works in the kitchen of a popular Tofino restaurant. The commute by water taxi was not only expensive but also unreliable in terms of scheduling. “I was supposed to start at 8:30 a.m. but boats do not always run on schedule, so my boss was flexible (with hours),” said Taylor. She paid $40 a day to commute back and forth to work and sometimes waited up to three hours on the unsheltered dock in Tofino for a water taxi. “It took a lot of my paycheque and sometimes I’d have to borrow money from my parents to get to work,” said Taylor. Sometimes, she had to pay an expensive split charter to get on a boat. “I’d even offer to stand outside in the weather to get on a boat,” she said. Taylor says boats won’t run unless they have more than seven paying passengers. While this makes business sense, it leaves

Photo submitted by Tom Paul

Skyrocketing fuel prices and COVID measures have taxed small water taxi operators, forcing many to focus on charters to cover costs. Pictured is Marsha Mack, co-owner of an Ahousaht water taxi business A single, working mother, Titian prefers Ahousaht. Ahous Business Corporation a lot of people, elders included, stranded to charter a boat at the cost of $200 to and unsheltered in the weather as they Ltd. receives the BC Ferries subsidy but, $250 one way, both for keeping her famwait on the dock. due to confidentiality rules, they could ily and groceries together and also to get Tom Paul and his wife Marsha invested not disclose the amount. However, they to her destination in a timely manner. in a 25-foot aluminum boat, launching did say that Ahous Business Corporation Her weekend family trips on the water their six-passenger water taxi business is expected to provide more than 200 taxi alone costs $400 to $500. She says last September to supplement their intrips per year on a regularly scheduled comes. They named their boat Miss Mary it’s too hard to scramble for regular fare basis between Ahousaht and Tofino. boats when so many people are traveling after their youngest daughter. The Ahous Hakoom, owned and operat the same time. They paid $70,000 for the boat and ated by Ahousaht’s hereditary chiefs “I used to do scheduled morning trips spent $35,000 in upgrades, including a through their umbrella business organizabut I don’t anymore, it’s just not worth new engine, safety gear, a radar and intion, the Maaqtusiis Hahoolthee Stewit,” says Paul. surance. It costs $500 to fuel up his boat, ardship Society (MHSS), is subsidized He recalled a time he left the dock and which, he says, will get him seven return by BC Ferries and is required to deliver was called back by other boat operators. trips between Ahousaht and Tofino. regular, affordable passenger service “They said there’s passengers waiting to to Ahousaht. According to MHSS, that “It costs $1,000 just to pull your boat go home, but when I got there, they were out of the water for scheduled maintetranslates to four days per month of mostly half-fares, all the others were nance,” said Paul. subsidized water taxi service. But, MHSS taken by the other boats,” said Paul. Water taxi owners faced additional exsaid the boat goes beyond their contract But that is the nature of the business, penses when COVID-19 pandemic safety obligations, running several more trips said Paul, and he took the passengers regulations were put in place. They were over the week. home, saying he wants to provide a safe required to step up sanitization protocols An MHSS employee recently posted service for the people. and install partitions between the seats. an updated schedule on social media. At “It can be a very lucrative business, but In addition, limits were placed on the this time of the year the Ahous Hakoom number of passengers that could be trans- it is also cutthroat,” said Paul, adding that makes at least three daily scheduled runs everyone is trying to survive. “You can ported and fewer people were traveling to and from Ahousaht. The boat will go to the main dock in Tofino any Saturduring the worst of the pandemic. leave Ahousaht at 9 a.m., 2 p.m. and 4 day and see all the people lined up on the p.m. It leaves Tofino for Ahousaht at 10 Even then, the fare for scheduled water dock waiting for water taxis.” taxi runs remained the same. a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. With fuel prices climbing to astronomiIt appears, with the weather warming Operators focus on charters cal highs, Paul says boat operators have up and pandemic safety measures eased, It was around the start of the pandemic to be judicious about when to run their the Ahous Hakoom has increased reguthat boat operators moved away from boats. At the same time, they need to larly scheduled passenger service to and scheduled water taxi runs to mainly offer hustle to get the most lucrative fares. from Ahousaht, bringing relief to many charters. Two years ago a boat charter “It costs $500 to fuel up and you burn residents. averaged $150 but now it’s $200 and up at least $60 in fuel for a return trip to Kaileigh Taylor has been offered staff to $250 for a one-way trip on the bigger Tofino,” said Paul. accommodation from her employer. boats. On April 1, a member of Ahousaht She pays $600 a month for her room in BC Ferries subsidy posted on social media that a boat charter Tofino, far less than she paid in monthly Few people know that BC Ferries has, had cost them $275. water taxi fares. for years, been subsidizing water taxi This makes things difficult for those “I prefer it this way,” said Taylor. transport in Ahousaht. B.C.’s Ministry of that can’t afford a boat charter – people She said she is grateful to the water taxi Transportation and Infrastructure supthat have low income, seniors and single operators that never turned her away. ports, through a service fee, a number of people. “People like Chris Frank, he will take contracted routes under the Coastal Ferry June Titian has an adult son and five you if he has room,” she said. Services Contract, according to Deboschool-age children. Taking a scheduled Still, she worries for the people who boat on the weekend for her entire family, rah Marshall of British Columbia Ferry must wait on the dock. Services. if she could get one, would cost $90 one “Even a bench, a cover of some sort so BC Ferries, in turn, administers conway. But there are few boats that make people don’t have to stand in the freezing tracts for the ministry on these unreguscheduled runs and if they do, there usurain,” Taylor suggested. lated routes, including a water taxi in ally isn’t room for the entire family.

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