Ha Shilth Sa Newspaper April 18, 2024

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Eric Plummer photo

Huu-ay-aht members celebrate the completion of an upgraded road to Bamfield at the House of Huu-ay-aht last fall. Money from a successful claim will help to pay for maintenance on the recently upgraded road toAnacla and Bamfield.

Huu-ay-aht gets $35.7M Specific Claim

Seventeen years after filing the claim, a tribunal has determined that Canada unfairly allowed a company to log on First Nation’s reserve land in the ‘40s and ‘50s

Anacla, BC –ASpecific Claims Tribunal has found that Canada breached its fiduciary duty when it allowed a logging company to harvest timber on Huu-ayaht’s IR 9 without a license.

In June 2020 the claim filed by Huu-ayaht against Canada was accepted for negotiation in the Specific Claims process. This allows First Nations to file legal claims against the Government of Canada for failing to follow the IndianAct or for breaches of its fiduciary duty to protect the interests of First Nations in relation to their reserve lands or other assets, like timber. The Specific Claims process is an alternative to the often longer and more costly court proceedings.

According to Huu-ay-aht, the logging on Keeshan IR 9 took place in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Huu-ay-aht did the work to prove that the logging had a negative impact and cost to the nation.

“The second step was to determine how much compensation we should receive – we were able to convince the tribunal that the money would be used in the most beneficial way possible and we achieved our target,” said Sayaačatḥ, elected Chief John Jack.

At the November 2023 People’sAssembly, the HFN Government presented

information that Canada acknowledged its breach of duty to Huu-ay-aht First Nations and has agreed to compensate the nation, a settlement value of $35,677, 814.

In a letter dated March 18, 2024 to Huuay-aht citizens, Chief Jack wrote, “We ae pleased to announce a significant development in the ongoing efforts to address historical grievances through the Specific Claims process. This announcement concerns a settlement between Huu-ayaht First Nation and the Government of Canada regarding a specific claim filed by the Nation in 2007 regarding IR#9 logging.”

The letter goes on to outline how the settlement will be used for the benefit of Huu-ay-aht citizens. Starting with a $1,000 per citizen distribution, the nation plans to invest in new and existing HFN Government programs, infrastructure, loan repayment, economic development, the HFN Trust Fund and more.

Jack says that the nation has been planning for the past four or five years for the best way to use the settlement funds. He said some of it would be used to pay for Huu-ay-aht’s share of TFL 44, the Oomiiqusu Center in PortAlberni to support Huu-ay-aht mothers and their children, as well as for the maintenance and continued improvement of the Bamfield Road. Some of the settlement will be used with

an eye to future generations, like the $4.7 million going into the HFN Trust Fund and a capital investment of $500,000600,000.

“The re-investment back into Huu-ayaht finances will help our Nation succeed in the long term, the financial mechanism to hold the funds are being researched by our financial experts. The goal is to reinvest in the best financial management that will provide the most return,” said Jack in a letter to HFN citizens.

“We want to make sure that our government programs are topped up for the future,” said Jack.

He went on to say that the plan is to invest in the future for Huu-ay-aht citizens so that they have certainty for whenever they decide to move home.

Jack said he wants to help people create stability and certainty so that young Huuay-aht parents can raise their families and have a good life.

“Investing in the stability of the future is what I’m most proud of,” said Jack.

In his letter to HFN, Jack expressed gratitude for all that helped them reach the settlement.

“Together, we continue to strengthen our Nation and endure a just resolution for the challenges of the past,” he added. “We are trying to be good stewards of this money.”

Rescue team rethinks approach for killer whale

Young orca appears active and healthy, despite spending over three weeks stranded in lagoon

Ehatis, BC - The team overseeing the rescue of a stranded killer whale is rethinking its strategy, after previous attempts have not managed to move the young orca from a lagoon near Zeballos. The local Ehattesaht First Nation has named the killer whale kʷiisaḥiʔis (pronounced kwee-sa-hay-is), meaning ‘Brave Little Hunter’. Identified as female, kʷiisaḥiʔis first came to the waters of Little Espinosa Inlet during high tide over three weeks ago with her mother.

Locals spotted the adult transient orca stuck on a sandbar early in the morning of March 23, a slaughtered seal in her mouth. They were unable to move the mother from her side, and the adult killer whale died due to drowning later that morning as kʷiisaḥiʔis, who is less than two years old, swam in the nearby shallow water.Anecropsy of the mother revealed that she was pregnant and lactating, at least partially feeding the young orca who survived.

In the weeks that followed kʷiisaḥiʔis has remained active and appears healthy, diving in the lagoon’s waters for six to eight minutes at time. She has been overseen by a growing team of experts and locals, composed of members of the Ehattesaht and neighbouring Nuchatlaht First Nation, as well as personnel from Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the VancouverAquarium.

She has been seen eating ducks, catching them from below, but it’s unknown what else kʷiisaḥiʔis has subsisted on.

“It’s difficult to tell if she’s eating anything,” said Marty Haulena of the VancouverAquarium’s Marine Mammal Rescue Society. “There have been reports of her eating duck, there are seals in the lagoon, which would be her normal food source. There are fish in the lagoon, which wouldn’t be a normal food source but might be an opportunistic food source for her.”

Continued on page 2.

Canada’s Oldest First Nations Newspaper - Serving Nuu-chah-nulth-aht since 1974 Vol. 51 - No. 08—April 18, 2024 haas^i>sa Canadian Publications Mail Product Sales Agreement No. 40047776 INTERESTING NEWS If undeliverable, please return to: Ha-Shilth-Sa P.O. Box 1383, PortAlberni, B.C. V9Y 7M2 Inside this issue... Residential schools survivors share in healing...............Page 3 Research tracks fecal pollution in shellfish areas...........Page 6 Island’s first youth detox centre......................................Page 9 Are these masks made by Nuu-chah-nulth artists?.......Page 14 Royal BC Museum updates exhibits............................Page 15

Mowachaht/Muchalaht soon to open ‘upscale hotel’

This spring Gold River will see the opening of an upgraded hotel expected to be a ‘go to’ place in the region

Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation (MMFN) will be opening the doors of their new hotel, Baymont by Wyndam, previously known as the Gold River Chalet, alongside new tourism information services aiming to bring more visitors to the region.

Gold River Chalet closed its doors in April of 2023, according to the hotel manager Rohinton (Roy) Kharadi. Over the last year the building underwent “complete renovations,” he noted.

“Total wow,” said Kharadi, when asked what past hotel visitors can expect with new renovations.

The hotel is now pet friendly with air conditioning and heating, while the rooms underwent complete renovations.

Previously with only four kitchen units, they have now jumped to nine, with the addition of a meeting room, a large new suite, and two accessible rooms, he shared.

Additions are inclusive of a restaurant, gym, and hot tub.

Kharadi expects the Baymont by Wyndam to be among the “go to” places in Gold River.

“I’m excited for the community because this is something which everybody’s waiting for,” said Kharadi. “It will benefit the local community here as well, because there are very few dining options in [Gold River].”

The Baymont by Wyndam will hold a soft opening on May 15, and a totem pole raising ceremony will be held on May 22. “Gold River has never had [an] upscale hotel,” said John Gauthier, tourism and



marketing manager for the nation. “It’s always been sort of geared towards loggers and construction crews.”

Located on the same property as the Baymont by Wyndam will be a MMFN welcome house where visitors can learn about the region’s attractions.

In conjunction, MMFN has launched a new tourism information site, Explore Nootka, where visitors can learn about the region’s offerings and prepare for their visit.

“[Explore Nootka is] a home where all these different services that exist around the Nootka region, whether it’s Gold River, Tahsis, or elsewhere…they have a common area where they can let visitors

a very smart

Continued from page 1.

“The immediate need is to get her some nutrition,” he added. “Ideally that’s not in this lagoon.”

Transient, or Bigg’s killer whales, are more accustomed to the salt waters of the open ocean. The team has observed that the weeks in the lagoon could be having an effect on the young orca’s skin.

“Her skin is starting to turn a little bit white,” said Haulena. “It might have to do with the salinity in that lagoon.”

The most recent rescue effort occurred on Friday,April 12, an operation that was the result of several days of coordinated planning. At 6 a.m. a team of 50 assembled at the lagoon, launched half a dozen vessels onto the water to corral the orca into a shallow section that had been carefully mapped. The plan was to get kʷiisaḥiʔis into a sling, lifted by crane onto a truck, then transported over to a barge for the 19-kilometre journey to the open ocean.

But the young whale refused to leave the deeper water where she has spent most of her time, and by 12:45 p.m. the operation was halted.

“It’s very reluctant to leave that area,” said Paul Cottrell, the Pacific Region’s marine mammal coordinator with Fisheries and Oceans Canada. “We fell a little short, but it was quite close. Some of the techniques that we’ve used in the past were less effective.”

The team has so far employed a number of methods to encourage kʷiisaḥiʔis to swim out of the lagoon, including the audio playback of calls from other

and tourists know about their services,” said Gauthier. “What we’re doing is we’re promoting and letting people know that these services are available in the Nootka region.”

Tourism operators in the region are welcome to partner with Explore Nootka where their services will be included on the website, brochures and at the Baymont by Wyndam’s upcoming MMFN welcome house, where information of the services will be presented to visitors.

“It’s going to be hand in hand operations on both sides,” said Kharadi. “If they book packages on excursions and things like that, people can come and stay in the hotel, or vice versa. We can look at

people who want to book the hotel [and] can also have options to book the excursions.”

Gauthier notes that the MMFN welcome house will be opened next fall.

“What we’re trying to do is just really encourage everyone who provides a service to really come together,” said Gauthier. “[And] present a cohesive picture to the visitor.”

Explore Nootka has a temporary landing page for guests to visit, with information about the Upana Caves, Tree to Sea bike trail and Nootka trail, among others, until their final landing page will be completed by the end ofApril.

animal’: Orca evades corral tactic

transient pods spotted in the region and Oikomi pipes suspended from a line of vessels, creating a moving underwater wall of sound.AHukilau has also been employed, which is an ancient Hawaiian fishing method that entails a row of floats with lines suspended underwater.

“Our little whale may have known our plans too well,” remarked Haulena.

“This is a very smart animal,” observed Cottrell. “With these tried-and-true methods that we’ve used, the animal has figured out them and they’re not effective now.”

The team is now considering an operation in the lagoon’s deeper water, which reaches up to 100 feet down at high tide. This could entail the use of a purse seine, a large net used in the open ocean to catch dense schools of fish like tuna. Like a curtain, a purse seine vertically lowers into the ocean to surround a large group of fish. The bottom of the seine net is then drawn closed, creating an underwater pouch for capture.

“Apurse seine is available to us to try to achieve trying to net it - in everything with that, it may take a bigger vessel,” said Ehattesaht Chief Councillor Simon John. “We talked to a friend on that and trying to get his capacity here to work in deeper water if we are going to seine for it.”

Ironically, this fishing method is normally considered a risk to marine mammals, as they get caught in the net with other fish, according to the National Oceanic andAtmosphericAdministration Fisheries.

“There’s going to be a lot of planning around that to make sure it’s safe for the animal and also all of us that are working in that environment,” said Cottrell. The end hope is that kʷiisaḥiʔis can eventually join one of the related transient pods that have been sighted off the west coast of Vancouver Island.At the end of March two related pods were sighted in Barkley Sound, and the rescue team hopes that they will pass through Ehattesaht territory, where the young orca could be waiting in a net pen.

“There’s a very high likelihood in a short amount of time there will be some sort of interaction or reunion,” said Cottrell.

Meanwhile, the continued presence of kʷiisaḥiʔis has had a growing impact on the Ehattesaht First Nation, which has its main reserve community of Ehatis just

down the road from where the young orca is stranded.

“For as long as we can remember our letterhead has always carried the phrase ‘the council speaks first for the children and secondly for the elders’,” stated an update from Ehattesaht’s elected chief and council. “It is our turn to speak for kʷiisaḥiʔis and to act on her behalf as she is one of our children.”

The First Nation’s chief and council has also noted that the young orca’s unanswered calls have been the hardest part of the past few weeks.

“They are sorrowful and as they go unanswered your heart sinks,” they stated.

“The whale experts can tell us only so much but we do know that getting her into the open ocean is the only chance her little voice will be heard.”

Page 2— Ha-Shilth-Sa—April 18, 2024
Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation rendering The old Gold River Chalet becomes the Baymont by Wyndham this spring, following the First Nation’s purchase of the hotel over a year ago. Paul Cottrell (left), the Pacific Region’s marine mammal coordinator with Fisheries and Oceans Canada sits with Ehattesaht Chief Councillor Simon John and Marty Haulena of the VancouverAquarium’s Marine Mammal Rescue Society.

Residential schools survivors share in healing

On April 10 former students of Christie and Ahousaht residential schools ventured to Ahousaht for an event

Ahousaht, BC – Fifty plus years ago they were very small children being herded onto boats destined for Indian residential schools inAhousaht territory – those raised in the Catholic faith went to Christie Indian Residential School on Meares Island while the Protestants went toAhousaht Indian Residential School on Flores Island.

Today, the remaining survivors are elders, some walking with the support of a cane. OnApril 10 those that were able boarded boats heading toAhousaht, to reflect on their experiences and to be supported in their healing. This time, they boarded the boats willingly.

On that day, the ʔahʔiiḥčp ʔukʷił ʔiqḥmuut (Honouring OurAncient Ones) project invited survivors to Ahousaht to hear information gathered during the first phase of research and other work related to the two residential schools that operated inAhousaht territory during the 1900s.

They were also there to find out how many potential unmarked grave sites were identified during the ground penetrating radar scans on the grounds of both schools. Specific information from project’s investigation wasn’t reported, but attendees heard that the focus of the event would be on celebrating the resilience and strength of ancestors and honouring all children past and present.

“The government and others want to know the numbers, butAhousaht has changed the narrative to focus instead on the child…who they were and where they went to,” said Hesquiaht Chief Councillor Mariah Charleson.

Charleson attended the gathering with Hesquiaht survivors of Christie Indian Residential School, most of whom were kept at the institution during the1960s and later.

“I am 36 years old, and we are the first generation that have not gone there. We’ve always heard about Christie – its impacts persist to this day,” said Charleson. These impacts are felt by all Hesquiahts and the neighbors who went there, she added.

Charleson said that Hesquiaht First Nation arranged boat rides to the event for their people both in Hot Springs Cove and in Tofino. She noted that they were greeted byAhousaht youth at the wharf in Tofino and inAhousaht.

“Right away you could tell they put a lot of thought and care into this for the warriors,” said Charleson.

She noted thatAhousaht’sAnneAtleo made a statement, referring to Indian residential school survivors as warriors. It is a move that Charleson supports.

“We want to be the owners of our own stories instead of going by what’s written in text books,” said Charleson. “The focus is on the story of every single child – calling them warriors makes them feel like they matter.”


The first part of the day was dedicated to warriors who came from Tseshaht, Hesquiaht and other places. They heard speakers sharing information about both the archival and archaeological research, fieldwork and oral history gathering that took place over the last three years. The research focussed on identifying and locating missing children from both Ahousaht Indian Residential School in Maaqtusiis on Flores Island and Christie Indian Residential School on Meares Island.

“They were on top of things – we felt safe & supported, welcome and respected,” said Charleson.

“There were no figures offered regard-

Residential School. ing the number of potential unmarked graves at the gathering. It was a difficult decision, but one that was made as a team,” reads a statement issued byAnne Atleo’s research team. “It is important to remember that each figure is a child, and ʕaaḥuusʔatḥ (Ahousaht) First Nation would like to honour those children and their families.”

In addition to the Hesquiaht survivors, the last remaining former student of Ahousaht Indian Residential School came back in the village. Cody Gus, 93, arrived inAhousaht more than 85 years ago. The Tseshaht man was a very small child when he was sent up the coast to Ahousaht, becauseAlberni Indian Residential School had burnt down.

Tseshaht Elected Chief Ken Watts acknowledged the connection between the Nuu-chah-nulth nations, even through residential schools.

“Our Nations are connected through this tragic history. When fires occurred at theAlberni Indian Residential School (AIRS), students were moved to the Ahousaht Indian Residential School,” he said. “There are many intermarriages between Tseshaht First Nation and Ahousaht First Nations members, creating a long-interconnected history. We also know many of our Nuu-chah-nulth peoples were sent to and transferred between these institutions and others across the province.”

“We are sending our healing and loving prayers to our ʕaaḥuusʔatḥ (Ahousaht) brothers, sisters, leadership, staff and all survivors of these institutions and those who never made it home,” stated Watts on behalf of Tseshaht First Nation.

Gus was blanketed and honoured at the event.

The evening was spent celebrating the survival of culture, as hosts and guests joined in song and dance.

Chief Charleson joined her people in Hot Springs Cove for a community dinner onApril 12. She said they want to keep the positive momentum going forward and announced that her nation would host Hesquiaht Days this summer.

The community camp was an annual celebration of culture and family but had been side railed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

April 18, 2024—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 3
Charleson saidAhousaht was well prepared with several forms of cultural and mental health supports in place. Nora O’Malley photo Tseshaht elder Cody Gus, 93, is honoured at the Thunderbird Hall inAhousaht onApril 10. He’s the last survivor of theAhousaht National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation photos The Christie Indian Residential School operated on Meares Island from 1900 to 1971 (above and bottom photos), drawing in countless Nuu-chah-nulth children.


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Bus makes ‘huge’ change for west coast

Service is looking to operate for years to come, with future support from BC Transit

Long Beach, BC - Over its first week of operating, the introduction of a public bus in Clayoquot Sound has already enormously benefitted those in Tla-o-quiaht communities, says the First Nation’s elected chief.

“It’s going to make a huge difference, it already has since it’s been operating,” said Tla-o-qui-aht Chief Councillor Elmer Frank at an event onApril 9 marking the start of West Coast Transit, which began running buses in the regionApril 2. “Yesterday the morning shuttle was down or not operating. It did affect a lot of our members trying to get to work and from work, especially with the cost of the gas prices now. I think people are going to start taking advantage of the transit.”

The service is being offered by the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District, running buses between Tofino and Ucluelet seven days a week. With two buses running on weekdays, service is about every hour at stops that include locations in Ty-Histanis, Esowista and the Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ community of Hitacu. The first bus leaves the Ucluelet Community Centre at 6:30 a.m. on weekdays, ending its operations by stopping at the same location at 7 p.m.

“We have people trying to get across to work or get from one place to another,” said Chuck McCarthy, president of Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ Government, during the event. “My daughters went from Hitacu over to Tofino, sat there, had lunch and came back on the bus. That’s a start, not everybody can drive.”

Afare is $5.50, or $10 for a day pass. The bus operates on a cashless system using a phone app or tickets purchased at the Tofino or Ucluelet Co-op grocery stores. With one bus running on weekends, service is approximately every two hours.

This is the first time the region has benefitted from public transit in over a decade, as Frank recalls a bus service owned by the Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ, Toquaht, Tlao-qui-aht,Ahousaht and Hesquiaht First Nations that operated for six or seven years. Island Link began operating that service approximately 20 years ago.

Lately members who don’t have a

vehicle have had to rely on ride sharing services.

“It’s been a real challenge for some of our people to have to pay $40 or $50 for ride sharing or something when they have to go to work,” said Frank. “I think that it’s really going to help with costs of looking after those who are in need of rides to and from work or to and from the grocery store.”

Affordability is a particularly critical issue in the region, where a living wage of $26.51 makes it one of the most expensive places to live in B.C., according the Clayoquot Biosphere Trust’s 2023 Vitals Signs report. The report stated that 68 per cent of those in region use a car to get to work, while 21 per cent walk and six per cent ride a bike to their job.

“It’s a real high cost to stay employed, and with the transit and the subsidies that come with it, that’s certainly going to help with going to work affordably,” said Frank.

The bus also attends to a safety concern, as hitchhiking remains common in the west coast region.Although it has declined in recent years, 15 per cent of youth surveyed for the Vital Signs report said they hitchhike from time to time.

“I was one of those people that had to hitchhike from town to town for appointments and work, and actually even out to PortAlberni for appointments,” said Vaida Siga, theACRD’s director for Long

Beach, at the West Coast Transit event on April 9. “It’s a safety issue that’s being addressed, it’s a climate change issue that’s being addressed.”

“It will be a key part of reducing the potential isolation residents may feel due to the lack of safe and affordable transportation options,” added Penny Cote, the ACRD’s Sproat Lake director.

The service has been years in the making, and at least for its first year will be funded by the municipalities of Ucluelet and Tofino, the Long Beach area, as well as the Toquaht, Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ and Tla-oqui-aht First Nations. The total annual cost of the service is approximately $670,000, and it is yet to be determined how much of this will be covered by fares.

“It’s being funded through a tax requisition through the partner communities,” saidACRD Operations Manager Eddie Kunderman, noting that securing provincial funding has been a challenge. “The province has had a tough time with COVID, there were issues with bus procurement in the very first year.”

But provincial support is expected to come some time in 2025, as theACRD received confirmation this month that BC Transit funds will be in place next year.

“It has been confirmed that it will be available,” said Kunderman. “The plan is that BC Transit eventually will step in and it will be a BC Transit service.”

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Page 4— Ha-Shilth-Sa—April 18, 2024
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Eric Plummer photo Charles McCarthy, president of the Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ Government, cuts a ribbon marking the introduction of the West Coast Transit bus service.

Funding ends Nuu-chah-nulth Education Workers

Schools on western Vancouver Island are faced with meeting needs of a support program in place since 1988

Achange in federal funding parameters is causing the end of the Nuu-chah-nulth Education Worker program after 36 years of operating, forcing school districts to adapt to stay on track with their Indigenous students.

The Nuu-chah-nulth Education Worker program began as a pilot in 1988 with two positions, and has since grown to a staff 14 who work in schools across western Vancouver Island, from PortAlberni and Ucluelet to Kyuquot. Ten NEWs currently assist Nuu-chah-nulth students and families in School District 70’s facilities in PortAlberni, Tofino and Ucluelet, while another four work in SD84 in Gold River, Zeballos and Kyuquot.

The NEWs help students and their families navigate through the education system, explained Ian Caplette, director of Education, Training and Social Development for the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council, which manages the program.

“Primarily their role is to be a point of contact for Nuu-chah-nulth students and Nuu-chah-nulth families, to provide some support with navigating school,” he said. “With NEWs in place, it’s a little bit easier for them to feel that they belong.”

Funding for the NEW program comes from Indigenous Services Canada, as part of the Comprehensive FundingAgreement. This block of federal funds is directed to seven Nuu-chah-nulth nations that are part of the agreement, and in School District 70 this includes Tseshaht, Hupacasath and Tla-o-qui-aht, although students from all Nuu-chah-nulth nations have benefitted from the NEW program.

But the funding model has changed, leaving not enough to employ Nuu-chahnulth Education Workers.

“The parameters around the funding have changed, so there’s no flexibility within that,” said Caplette. “The capacity that the NTC has to pay for our side of that service has evaporated. We don’t have that ability anymore, and that’s because Indigenous Services Canada changed their funding agreement.”

NTC President Judith Sayers has pushed for the feds to restore support for the NEW program under the Comprehensive FundingAgreement.

“The CFAbasically gives ISC the latitude to change any formula they want without talking to us, which goes contrary to everything - reconciliation, UNDRIP,” she said. “They didn’t ask, they just did it.”

It’s a complicated dilemma, compound-


ed by the issue that funding directed to a few nations is being used by members of other tribes in an urban setting like Port Alberni.

“These workers in the schools were servicing all of Nuu-chah-nulth, but only being paid for by a few of them,” said Sayers. “It’s really a complex situation, but there’s no way that these three nations can actually carry the number of workers that are required for all of the schools in PortAlberni.”

School District 70 also received funding to pay for half the NEW program in its schools. The district has responded to the end of the program by hiring many of the existing NEWs to serve as Indigenous support workers once the Nuu-chah-nulth program ends. So far the school district has made positions for eight Indigenous support workers, replacing the current 10 NEW positions.

This will enable the established relationships with NEWs to remain in place, said Jaime Hansen, SD70’s director of instruction for Indigenous Education, as the workers continue to liaise with families about matters like managing student attendance.

“We’re just happy, as a school district, to continue this program with the nations because it’s very valued in our schools,” said Hansen. “They have helped build

amazing relationships between the community and the school district.” SD84 has yet to come to a decision about the matter, but Kyuquot is trying to create a position to replace its current NEW who works in the remote community’s school.

This could bring some relief to concerned parents who hope to see the NEWs that they have developed relationships with remain. The program has helped to bring more Nuu-chah-nulth staff into the region’s schools, where a high proportion of the student population identifies as Indigenous.Approximately one third of School District 70 is aboriginal, while an even higher proportion of SD84 is Indigenous.

“The school system does not particularly have a lot of people employed within it that are Nuu-chah-nulth,” said Caplette of the benefits of the NEWs. “They know the family connections and they make connections with the students about that.” It’s part of a movement among British Columbia’s school districts to give First Nation youngsters a sense of belonging, thereby moving beyond the dismal graduation rates seen a generation ago.

One of the most recent developments in this movement is an amendment to B.C.’s EducationAct introduced last fall. With the aim of giving Indigenous communities more say in the direction of their children’s education, Bill 40 requires the forming of Indigenous Education Councils in school districts across the province, bodies that will work with boards of school trustees.

“The membership and function of IECs will recognize and reflect the local First Nations in whose territories the board operates,” stated the B.C. Ministry of Education in a press release from Oct. 25. “IECs will support boards in the provision of ongoing, comprehensive and equitable education and support services for Indigenous students, including providing Indigenous perspectives for the benefit of all students, and advice on and approving the board’s spending plans and reports in relation to Indigenous education-targeted funds.”

In SD70, this has strengthened a preexisting Indigenous committee from just holding an advisory role, explained

Hansen. The district’s Indigenous Education Council is made up of representatives from Nuu-chah-nulth nations in the region, as well as one member from the Alberni-Clayoquot Métis Society.

“This committee has say over the targeted funding and what they see is the best use for that funding within our school district,” said Hansen, adding that this council can also give direction to the new Indigenous Support Worker program.

Results from districts in Nuu-chah-nulth territory indicate that efforts over recent decades could be helping with the rate that students complete high school within six years of entering Grade 8.

In SD70 the high school completion rate was 76 per cent among Indigenous students last year, six points behind the rest of the school. Back in 2009 just 20 per cent of Indigenous students finished high school within the six-year time frame, while the rest of the student population had a completion rate of 63 per cent.

In SD84 the most recent data from 2022 shows Indigenous students with a 64-per cent completion rate, 10 points behind others in the schools.

Sayers believes that the NEW program has been part of what has led to this upward trend in graduation rates.

“I know that Tseshaht, Hupacasath and Tla-o-qui-aht also have tutors in their communities that help the students,” she said. “There’s been a lot of efforts in the school, cultural programming and other presence of Nuu-chah-nulth in school where there never used to be.”

This has required schools to adapt to the cultural backgrounds of many of their First Nations students, explained Caplette.

“Their identity is formed and reflective of their cultural heritage and their social lives,” he said. “That’s not present in the overt curriculum of what a school does.”

But the NEW program has helped to foster a school environment where a young person feels they belong, something that Caplette has seen transfer over into adulthood.

“We find a lot of people still struggle with a sense of belonging within their employment even,” he said. “Much of that is similar conditions to what is faced in K-12 education system.”

April 18, 2024—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 5
Eric Plummer photo came to theAlberni District Secondary School’s lower atrium on Sept. 28 for a welcoming dinner, an event where several Nuu-chah-nulth education workers were present. Changes in federal funding have forced the end of the NEW program this June.
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Research tracks fecal pollution in shellfish areas

Advancing methods could point to leaking septic systems or cruise ships illegally discharging off the B.C. coast

Comox Valley, BC -Anew research project is underway in the Comox to Deep Bay region that strives to pinpoint the source of fecal pollution in marine waters used for shellfish harvesting. Current surveillance methods in B.C. can only detect the presence of fecal bacteria in the water, but not the source — human or animal.

Andrew Sheriff, fisheries program lead at Malahat Nation, highlights the significance of shellfish to Coastal First Nations.

“They are local, healthy and available year-round and have deep cultural ties both historically and today,” he wrote in an email.

“The importance of shellfish can be seen both through their ubiquity in oral histories, including some origin stories, and through the extensive archaeological evidence in shell middens and clam gardens,” Sheriff continued. “In many areas, individual shellfish harvest beaches have been stable, continuously harvested food sources for thousands of years. These beaches were tended with great care and ingenuity, increasing productivity and creating habitat for target clam species.”

Fecal pollution in marine waters can lead to prolonged, costly closures of shellfish harvesting areas and recreational beaches. The new precision test seeks to empower local communities to gain greater control and implement better management options to respond to contamination.

“With the ability to track sources of sanitary contamination, mitigation methods and mechanisms can be developed to remediate harvest beaches,” explains Sheriff. “Addressing contamination sources would remove one of the largest long-term barriers to nations’ability to harvest shellfish. This is a major step towards repairing the damage inflicted on nations by microbial contamination in the marine environment.”

Nico Prins, executive director of BC Shellfish GrowersAssociation, agrees.

“I’m optimistic that this is the first step in the right direction so we can start identifying the sources. Currently, they refer to potential points of contamination as either being a single point source or a non-specific source. The problem with non-specific is you don’t know where it’s coming from or where it is so you can’t manage it or remediate it and that’s typically the issue,” said Prins, adding that potential sources could include leak-

ing septic systems or vessels illegally discharging.

“There’s a much bigger conversation to be had. B.C. is a destination where cruise ships are allowed to discharge,” said Prins. “Technically, vessels are not allowed to dump at all in Washington State as they come through Puget Sound, then they are again allowed to dump in B.C., and they’re not allowed to dump in Alaska.”

In 2023, Transport Canada implemented new permanent measures for cruise ships in Canadian waters that states “cruise ships must not discharge greywater and sewage within at least three nautical miles from shore.”

Prins thinks the new discharge measures are “nonsensical” and Transport Canada should just make the entire Pacific Coast a non-dumping zone.

“There are specific exceptions to that rule where you go through the narrow Johnstone straight. If you are cruise ship operator you could potentially see a gap there,” he said.

Research method

Co-lead researcher Dr. Natalie Prystajecky from the BC Centre for Disease

Control (BCCDC) says the pollution monitoring project is in its first year.

“We are doing the lab work to develop the test. The test that we’re doing is a DNAbased test. It’s PCR, so it’s the same type of test that was used to diagnose COVID,” Dr. Prystajecky explained. She said the technology is about the size of an air fryer and is connected to a computer.

“The idea and the technology is not new, I think applying it to the shellfish industry is a bit newer,” Dr. Prystajecky notes. “Shellfish have this amazing ability to filter large volumes of water, and if those volumes of water are contaminated with bugs that can cause infections, like norovirus, then it can cause illness in humans, and that’s why us at BCCDC are involved with this because we are involved with outbreaks.”

The project involves collecting samples of water, filtering those samples, then running it through the PCR device. Dr. Prystajecky said they’re often testing 20 to 40 samples at a time and it takes about half a day to determine if the pollution is coming from human fecal bacteria or animals.

“In general, we’re advocating for riskbased sampling, so you sample at time periods where you know there is the biggest risk of pollution,” she said. “It’s hard to predict when that cruise ship is going to go by though.”

Knowledge translation is a huge part of the project, and Dr. Prystajecky would like to one day hand the testing off to the Malahat Nation or labs on the Island.

“We want the community to be the end users,” she said. “It’s the right time to do this kind of work. There’s a lot of attention on the sustainability of our fisheries, the sustainability of local food and it’s really important to do what we can to keep the water safe as well as our food supply safe.”

Dubbed GEMSTONE (Genomic Ecological Microbial Source Tracking for Oceans Nature and the Environment), the project partners the BC Shellfish Growers Association (BCSGA) and the Malahat Nation with a research team from the University of British Columbia (UBC) and the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC). It is funded through Genome British Columbia’s (Genome BC) GeneSolve Program.


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GEMSTONE photo Research is conducted near Comox to pinpoint the source of fecal pollution in waters used for shellfish harvesting.
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Justice Council releases plan for Indigenous women

Aboriginal females represent four per cent of Canada’s population, but account for half of women incarcerated

Vancouver, BC - With Indigenous women accounting for 50 per cent of the federal female inmate population - a statistic that has almost doubled since 2006 - the BC First Nation Justice Council released the final draft of a document aimed to build better and safer outcomes for women, girls, and two-spirit folks.

“Indigenous women today are still at the margins of society and at the negative end of Canada’s socio-economic indicators,” said Kory Wilson, chair of the BCFNJC and lead on the Indigenous Women Justice Plan, in a press release.

“It’s time to act; time to implement. We need to transform the justice system so that my three daughters are not more likely to be incarcerated, or worse, because they are Indigenous.”

Though Indigenous women represent four per cent of Canada’s population, they account for half of women incarcerated in federal prisons and are four times more likely to be victims of violence.

Between 2009 and 2021, Statistics Canada reports that 490 Indigenous women were murdered, equating to a rate six times higher than that of non-Aboriginal victims.

Stemming from the BC First Nations Justice Strategy, the BCFNJC was tasked to complete the final draft of the IWJP in a 12-month time period. The draft is inclusive of feedback from 17 in-person and three virtual engagement sessions held in the fall of 2023 in communities throughout the province, including PortAlberni. It builds off of high-profile reports and recommendations, such as the National Inquiry into MMIWG2S+ Calls for Justice, Red Women Rising Report, and Highway of Tears symposium report.

“There’s no space for women in the current justice system,” said Darla Rasmus-

sen, a steering committee member for the BCFNJC. “It completely erases us.”

Throughout First Nation communities, Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit folks hold sacred roles as matriarchs, knowledge keepers, healers, teachers, artists, and storytellers, reads the press release.

“Women had a legitimate role in society,” said Lydia Hwitsum, BCFNJC council member. “There was an extraordinary effort by the colonizer to ensure that women didn’t have a voice… right from the beginning, there was a strong, strong colonial specific oppression of Indigenous women.”

“In our communities we are matriarchal,” said Rasmussen. “It’s the women in our communities that are guiding our people from the youngest to the oldest.”

“Our men are there to hold us up and support us in that voice.”

“What we have is a continuous intentional oppression that led to marginalization of Indigenous people, and then the most vulnerable being, of course, Indigenous women and girls,” said Wilson.

The IWJP, adorned with artwork by Tlao-qui-aht member Marika Swan, includes two appendices: a proposed collaborative action plan, a framework for the BCFNJC moving forward, and resources and toolkits. The strategy is divided into categories such as policing, prevention, child welfare, placing Indigenous voices at the forefront with steps moving forward.

“We just want to make sure that we have all of the information possible, and that we’re creating something that is effective and is efficient and will move towards action,” said Wilson of the reports and recommendations that informed the IWJP.

Outlined in the proposed collaborative action, BCFNJC provides a framework moving forward that will address calls and recommendations from engagement, reports, and activists, reads the IWJP.

Among the various actionable items throughout the strategy is the development of services at BCFNJC’s Indigenous justice centers and legal aid services that fill in gaps for Indigenous women, such as harm reduction services for intimate partner violence and sexual violence.

This will be done through expanding MMIWG2S+ services, such as theAunties program, providing resources to help navigate the justice system, and the development of “culturally safe and trauma informed access to resources”, among

others, reads the IWJP plan.

“My hope is that us women are going to take our power back, and that we are going to take parts of that justice plan, we’re going to bring them into our communities, and we’re going to create the justice plan that each of our [communities] needs,” said Rasmussen.

“I hope that our women are going to rise from this,” she added. “We’re going to fill all those little cracks and gaps, with love, and with knowledge, and with empowerment and encouragement, because we can do this.”

April 18, 2024—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 7
Alexandra Mehl photos Panelists at the third annual First Nations Justice Council forum launch the Indigenous Women Justice Plan with 507 attendees present at the conference in Vancouver onApril 8.

Applications still open for Tofino affordable housing

Tla-o-qui-aht representatives tour the development, as the First Nation faces a long wait list for available homes

Tofino, BC - The smell of fresh paint wafts through the halls of Tofino’s new Headwaters North rental apartment building as site superintendent Keith Glen takes Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation officials on a tour of the mint 35-unit condo.

Easter Weekend was a celebrated movein day for 30 or so west coasters, having likely endured vexing housing struggles over the years.

“This is needed in the worst way,” said Glen from the kitchen of one of five accessible, wheelchair-friendly units.

The one-bedroom accessible dwelling rents for $375 for applicants on Deep Subsidy rental assistance.

Located in the Tonquin neighbourhood, Headwaters are two separate buildings (North and South) developed by Catalyst Community Developments Society on land leased from the Tofino Housing Corporation (THC). The development is funded by BC Housing, Canadian Mortgage Housing Corporation, the Rural Dividend Fund, THC and the District of Tofino.

Headwaters North, a 35-unit building, is almost full, but the 36-apartment Headwaters South is still taking applicants, according to THC Executive Director Kelly Lin. Out of the 30 or so people that moved-in to Headwaters North, only two were First Nations, Lin notes. To stir up interest from local band members, she’s been meeting with leaders from TFN and Toquaht.

TFN TribalAdministrator Jim Chisholm was impressed with the build, and encouraged Tla-o-qui-aht members to consider applying.

“Most of them are spacious and well laid out,” he said. “I think they’re great units. They are extremely well priced, affordable and very nice and modern. I would be very supportive of our member-

ship coming down and looking at these.”

“We have a very long housing list in our community. We have tremendous demand for housing,” Chisholm continued. “If any of our members want to get in, we would help them get through the paperwork.”

The new rental units at Headwaters allocate 20 per cent to those on fixed incomes, 50 per cent to those with lower incomes and 30 per cent of the units are rented at average market rates. Individuals applying for Headwaters Deep Subsidy or Rent-Geared-to-Income (RGI) units must also apply to the BC Housing Registry.According to Lin, there are still 12 units available at Headwaters South

building and they’re aiming for a July 1, 2024 move-in.

Tofino’s former chief administrative officer Bob Macpherson was on the site tour as an advisor for the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Economic Development Corporation. He likened the construction of Headwaters to being in the “hope business”.

“These projects are absolutely critical to the success of this community. There is no success without affordable housing in this community,” said Macpherson.

The Headwaters buildings feature Electric Vehicle (EV) charging stalls, a common room for birthday parties or family dinners, storage and a shared laundry room.

Lin told the Ha-Shilth-Sa that the original Feb. 2 deadline for Headwaters South submissions doesn’t apply since THC has done a lottery.

“I would encourage First Nation members to apply. If the applicants have a rental elsewhere, the question is, ‘How will they afford the rent?’As long as they don’t own real estate and can pay rent, we can discuss,” said Lin.

Anyone living in theAlberni Clayoquot Regional District interested in submitting an application form is welcome to visit: https://tofinohousingcorp.ca/home

Victoria gets culturally supportive housing for youth

Victoria, BC - In March the Victoria region opened its first culturally supportive housing for Indigenous youth aged 12 to 19. Operated byAboriginal Coalition to End Homelessness (ACEH), the program is designed to connect youth to their culture and build skills that support their transition as they age out of care.

For several yearsACEH has been providing services to the Indigenous population in Victoria’s downtown, said Julia O’Quinn, director of community programming for the organization.

“During that time, we’ve seen so many of our young ones, First Nations, Inuit, Métis youth, aging out of care at the age of 19, without any support,” said O’Quinn. “Oftentimes in the first one or two years of aging out of care, [they] will end up unhoused.”

According to the 2023 Greater Victoria Point-in-Time Survey, 33 per cent of the 1,665 unhoused people surveyed identified as Indigenous. Sixty-one per cent of these Indigenous people first experienced homelessness in their youth, and 49 per cent had experiences in the foster care system.

Of the overall survey, 17 per cent of those who were in foster care experienced

homelessness within a week of leaving care and 27.2 per cent were within less than a year.

Youth accounted for 7.7 per cent of the survey’s respondents, with the youngest at 14 years old.

Atotal of 35.6 per cent of youth respondents were unsheltered at the time of the survey, while 8.5 per cent were in emergency shelters, and 54.2 per cent were temporarily housed.

Youth experiencing homelessness in Victoria who identified as LGBTQ2S+ represented 30.5 per cent of respondents, nearly eight times the national average.

“As an organization to end homelessness, it’s not only important to address the immediate need of those who are unhoused, but also to do that prevention work with our young ones, to raise them up with their culture, to raise them up with connection to elders, [and] to grow up with a family,” said O’Quinn.

Many of the youth in care may be disconnected from their ancestral language, community and traditions, shared O’Quinn. The new culturally supportive youth housing is designed to bridge connections to their culture.

“The idea behind opening this house, as the first culturally supportive house for Indigenous youth in Victoria, is to ensure they grow up being able to realize and be

connected to their rights as Indigenous people,” said O’Quinn.

The six-bedroom home includes a smokehouse, a native plant garden and a greenhouse, she shared.

Through the programming youth will develop their land-based skills, said O’Quinn, but it will also help them prepare to transition out of care with healthy habits, skills and focusing on goals they can strive to achieve.

“Our idea is to work with them [before they age out] to start planning and preparing for that transition to make sure

they’re in those good habits of doing their laundry and knowing how to cook their favorite meal,” said O’Quinn.

For youth who may be using substances, as they turn 19 theACEH has two culturally supportive houses in Victoria available for them to transition into, said O’Quinn.

“There’s sort of that seamless continuity of care and housing,” she added.

For those preparing to live independently, theACEH offers a culturally aligned integrated support program for youth over 19. This support includes a rent supplement and services such as a counselor, cultural mentor, nurse practitioner and case manager.

“We have those two sorts of pathways, if you will, available through the [ACEH] already for youth when they turn 19,” said O’Quinn.

“Going from living in a family home or community environment to then being on your own is a really big transition, and pretty scary,” said O’Quinn. “[For ACEH] there’s that sense of continuity, like we’re always your family, [and] we’ll still be here for you every day.”

“The season ahead will bring opportunity to build family and community; plant food and medicines; and spend time together on the land,” reads anACEH Facebook post.

Page 8— Ha-Shilth-Sa—April 18, 2024
Nora O’Malley photo Headwaters site superintendent Keith Glen, Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation TribalAdministrator Jim Chisholm, Tofino Housing Corporation Executive Director Kelly Lin and TFN HousingAdvisor Bob Macpherson take a tour of Headwaters South on April 12. Julia Quinn

Island sees first Indigenous youth detox centre

Facility will provide addictions detox, stabilization and treatment services for First Nations children and teens

Nanaimo, BC - Funded by both the provincial government and Island Health, Orca Lelum Youth Wellness Centre will open its doors to Indigenous youth aged 12 to 18 for detox and stabilization services, as the first of its kind in the province.

“The toxic drug crisis is a tragedy, one that disproportionately affects Indigenous people,” said Premier David Eby, in a recent press release. “Rooting treatment for addictions and mental-health issues in Indigenous knowledge has the power to transform a young person’s life.”

“Orca Lelum Youth Wellness Centre will provide that support, and our government is proud to support such an innovative approach to help vulnerable youth,” continued Eby.

Amid a toxic drug crisis that has plagued the province, First Nation people are six times more likely to die from drug poisoning. In the spring of 2023, the First Nations HealthAuthority (FNHA) announced 2022 as the most devastating year for First Nations amid the crisis, with 373 deaths from toxic drugs.

According to reports from the BC Coroner, 184 youth under the age of 18 have lost their lives due to the toxic drug crisis since 2016, but only one death has been reported by the BC Coroner so far this year.

“It’s hard to put the word excited or happy towards such a crisis, but we’re happy that we’re trying to work with a solution,” said Bill Yoachim, executive director for Kw’umut Lelum Child and Family Services, which oversees the Orca Lelum Wellness Centre. The centre will operate a total of 20 beds. Half will be dedicated to short term detox and stabilization, and the remaining 10 will be incorporated into a 10week holistic and culture-based treatment program.

“What we’re hoping to do is have a detox available and ready, and then from there on slide right into the treatment portion of the 10-week program,” said Yoachim.

For those utilizing the short-term beds, they will also have the opportunity to go into the 10-week treatment program, said Yoachim.

The detox beds also have the flexibility to fluctuate in the number of short-term detox spaces to the number of long-term treatment beds, he added.

According to the press release, in June the Orca Lelum Wellness Centre will begin opening in phases, though operations are expected to reach full capacity this fall.

With the treatment program operating up to four times per year, trauma and grief services are available for clients during the time the 10-week program is not offered. The center will accept drop ins and continuous intake.

In an email to Ha-Shilth-Sa, Chantel Nelson, office manager and executive assistant at Kw’umut Lelum Child and Family Services shared that Orca Lelum will be open to all Indigenous youth, though they will first focus on Vancouver Island, then later expand throughout all of the province.

“Having the access to detox that’s, first of all on Vancouver Island, is extremely important because most detox services are on the mainland or are really far away,” said Jaimey Richmond, a harm

reduction outreach worker with Usma Nuu-chah-nulth Child and Family Services, who works with youth aged 13 to 27. “Especially for youth that are living in remote communities it can be quite the commute.”

According to Yoachim, Kw’umet Lelum serves members of several Nuu-chahnulth nations who live in the Nanaimo region.

“We take our Nuu-chah-nulth relationship real serious,” said Yoachim. “We’re all intertwined.”

For Richmond, Orca Lelum reflects an organization that can not only address substance-use, but all aspects of health, inclusive of cultural wellness.

“That includes having that understanding and that background of all of the things that affect our youth, especially our youth in care,” said Richmond, noting the toll of intergenerational trauma, residential schools, foster care, and addiction in the family.

“That center is going to understand that and how that plays into their life today,” added Richmond.

“We have been in a toxic drug crisis, and we do know that it disproportionately affects Indigenous peoples and especially Indigenous youth,” she said.

“To me, this program, even opening its doors, is an avenue of hope for the future and leading the way in a positive way.”

“Let’s work together and give these young ones the fighting chance of [an] amazing life they deserve,” said Yoachim.

April 18, 2024—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 9
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Province of BC photo Provincial elected officials and staff from Kw’umut Lelum Child and Family Services stand outside the Orca Lelum Youth Wellness Centre in Nanaimo, as the facility prepares to welcome its first clients in June.

Barber business launched following COVID crisis

After 30 years in service industry, the pandemic pushed Brian Quick to transition into opening a barber shop in PortAlberni attending a hair dressing program then commuted to Tofino to work at Roar on the weekends.

Tofino, BC –ATla-o-qui-aht man has made the best of a bad situation.After losing work in the service industry in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Brian Quick launched into a new career that’s proving to be a winner in an otherwise competitive industry.

The Windy Clipper, a new barber shop, opened on the main street leading into the tourist town of Tofino in February 2024.

“I envisioned it to be a cool, funky little company,” says Quick, who designed the space. “It’s a good location, smack dab on the main drag into Tofino,” said Quick.

It’s a location that promises a steady flow of walk-in business during the busy tourist season.

Quick, 48, was born in Tofino General Hospital. He comes from the Masso family of Tla-o-qui-aht. He spent many years at the Meares Island village of Opitsaht before moving to PortAlberni for a short

time. Quick says he spent more than 30 years in the restaurant service industry until the COVID pandemic struck. When the provincial government offered retraining programs during the pandemic, Quick saw his opportunity. He enrolled in a six-month barber program that he completed in February 2022. Hoping to advance his training, Quick enrolled in a hair dressing program but that ended abruptly when everyone caught COVID. According to Quick, the program just fizzled out and nobody returned.

Following graduation, Quick worked briefly at a barber shop in PortAlberni, saving up money to open his own shop.

Eventually, Quick and his partner moved to an apartment at Tla-o-qui-aht’s Ty-Histanis community. Working at a restaurant on the weekends, Quick supplemented his income by styling hair from his home, building a regular clientele list.

“I still work at Roar,” said Quick, referencing the Tofino restaurant at Hotel Zed. An ambitious man, Quick said there was a period of time where he spent the week

“I did that for a year and a half, I was hustling away,” laughed Quick.

In that time, he saved enough money to open his own shop, with no business experience and on his own dime. Quick is proud to say that he didn’t apply for economic development funds to launch his new business.

He rented a space in an older storefront unit on Campbell Street.

“I hired a contractor to do the floor and bathroom – all the other work, I did myself,” said Quick.

The deep blue walls, he said, were inspired by the Russian cobalt blue trade beads that Nuu-chah-nulth-aht covet. Shelves are made of live edge yew wood, another nod to his Nuu-chah-nulth culture.

When the doors opened February 9, Quick’s regulars followed him to the new shop. Through word of mouth, the clientele list grew fast.

“I’m booked all afternoon,” said Quick. He promises quality hair cuts that you don’t get in discount salons. Quick offers precision haircuts, fades, grooming, beard/mustache trims and premium hair products.

While customers pay a little more at the Windy Clipper for a cut, it’s a local service and saves a trip to the city. Quick says he’s seeing customers coming to his shop from neighboring Ucluelet.

So far he’s pleased with the new business and looks forward to what the Tofino tourist season will bring.

“It’s scary but it feels incredible!” he said.

The Windy Clipper is open Tuesday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Walk-ins are welcome but people can book appointments by calling Brian at 250-266-9463. Appointments can be booked online at https://thewindyclipper. com/


Pronounced ‘Hish shook nish hee ne har naa ya kak is e kwee saa har i hoo pi e n’aas wik up oohs ya’, it means ‘We are all so worried about the baby killer whale, kwiisahi. Creator, please

Page 10— Ha-Shilth-Sa—April 18, 2024
take care of her’. Supplied by ciisma. Illustration by Christine Sparks Denise Titian photo In February Brian Quick of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation opened the Windy Clipper barber shop on Campbell Street in Tofino, offering precision haircuts.

Tseshaht, Ditidaht get emergency services funding

New training condenses current model to one day, allowing people to rapidly become an emergency responder

The Tseshaht and Ditidaht First Nations are receiving close to $30,000 each for emergency service equipment and training from the Province of British Columbia.

The B.C. government is launching a one-day training model for Emergency Support Service (ESS) responders in response to feedback from communities and input from the Premier’s Expert Task Force on Emergencies.

The new training, which starts May 4, condenses the current week-long training model, allowing people to rapidly become trained as an ESS responder during emergencies. This will make the training more accessible for many people who want to be volunteers. The course will prepare new ESS responders to provide trauma-informed and culturally safe support both in-person or by phone, which will help provide more ESS responders across B.C. in places that might not have a large volunteer capacity.

The government is also supporting almost 100 local ESS projects with more than $3.27 million through the Community Emergency Preparedness Fund (CEPF). Funding will help communities expand their capacity to provide ESS, as well as support the modernization of their programs to include more digital and remote support options.

“British Columbians come together and support each other during emergencies,” said Josie Osborne, MLAfor Mid IslandPacific Rim, in a press release. “This new training and equipment for local Emergency Support Service responders will help communities prepare and respond effectively in crises to keep their neighbours safe.”

The Tseshaht First Nation will receive $29,985 for ESS training and equipment that can be used by volunteers in the case

of a disaster or emergency.

“This includes, but is not limited to, things like cots, blankets, sleeping mats, freeze-dried food and first aid kits, to name a few,” said Kaitlin Minvielle, emergency program coordinator with the Tseshaht First Nation. “Funds will also be going towards some training initiatives like developing an ESS volunteer onboarding system and training program.”

Currently, the Tseshaht First Nation does not have specific ESS volunteers, Minvielle said, but when emergencies do arise, community members have been known to step up.

“That being said, we are working towards providing an ESS program and know that there are people in the community who would be interested in joining,” Minvielle said. “Having more ESS volunteers from within community will build

internal resilience. When people think ESS, they often think bigger disasters or emergencies, like wildfire or earthquake but that is not always the case. ESS can also support situations like individual house fires. Having an ESS team within Tseshaht will bolster community strength and resilience.”

The new one-day training will be available for anyone who wants to support their community.

“Access will most likely require individuals to be a part of an ESS team, however, the one-day session does aim to provide training to spontaneous volunteers during a disaster or emergency,” Minvielle said. “I would recommend people reach out to their local ESS teams if they are interested in volunteering. The ACRD has an ESS team and Tseshaht First Nation will soon be establishing a

Minvielle said there are many reasons why it is important for ESS volunteers to be trained in trauma-informed and culturally safe supports when responding to an emergency.

“Understanding trauma and how it can manifest in a variety of ways during stressful times will allow volunteers to respond with sensitivity and empathy, while remaining effective,” she said. “Culturally safe supports are crucial for providing safe spaces for all, while respecting cultural diversity. Having volunteers trained in cultural safety and humility hopefully will foster trust for people impacted by disaster.”

The Ditidaht First Nation will receive $29,928 for an ESS evacuation trailer and supplies.

BC Legislation would allow First Nations to own land

Victoria, BC - In earlyApril the provincial government introduced legislative amendments to the B.C. Land Title and Property LawAct, that, if passed, will remove barriers for First Nation bands to acquire, hold and register land.

“Many people in Canada do not know that First Nations could not own land in the province of British Columbia,” said Hugh Braker of the First Nations Summit. “Many people don’t know that in British Columbia, other provinces and in the federal system there are still laws that discriminate against Indigenous people that are founded in racism.”

This year marks 150 years since the establishment of the B.C. LandAct which “explicitly forbid First Nation individuals from having interests in land,” said Murray Rankin, minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation.

“First Nations in B.C. have pre-existing and inherent rights to land in our province, however, ever since British Columbia was a colony, First Nations have been faced with discriminatory and racist barriers to land recognition and ownership,” said Rankin.

Currently, most First Nations can only acquire land through additional administrative processes such as establishing a corporation, society, proxies or federal

trusts, reads a recent press release.

Most recently in PortAlberni, the Ahousaht First Nation formed their Citaapi Mahtii Housing Society to build a new affordable apartment building for their members living in the town, shared Braker.

“They had to go through all sorts of hoops just to try and do something for their own people,” said Braker.

But with Bill 13, Land Title and Property LawAmendmentAct, 2024, First Nations can legally register and hold land in the B.C. land title office and align the administrative process with corporations and modern treaty nations.

“This isn’t a veto, this is a commitment to make decisions together,” said Terry Teegee, regional chief of the BCAssembly of First Nations.

“If passed, these amendments will ensure that First Nations will have a choice, a choice as to how they will acquire, hold, and dispose of land,” said Rankin. “They can continue under a corporation, or trust, or the like, or they can choose to own land in the name of the First Nation.”


The proposed amendments are in alignment with the provincial government’s commitments to advancing the DeclarationActAction Plan as well as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Call to Action number 45, which is to reconcile Indigenous and Crown relationships and legal orders as full partners. The legislation also follows the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, reads the province’s press release.

Because of the existing law, First Nations have not been able to own land for development in the same way companies,

cities, and individuals could, said Braker.

“It’s a relief that this government has seen fit to finally change and write this terrible wrong,” said Braker. “Now First Nations people will be able to direct their First Nation to go out and take part in the economy.”

April 18, 2024—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 11
Tseshaht First Nation photo Tseshaht First Nation staff and volunteers responded to the rising water level on the Somass River in late January by preparing sandbags for the community’s most vulnerable homes. The First Nation plans to establish an Emergency Support Service team with funding from a recent government grant. team as well.” of B.C. video still Hugh Braker of the First Nations Summit Political Executive speaks at a press conference onApril 2 about proposed legislation to change laws preventing First Nations from acquiring land in B.C. Behind him stands Terry Teegee, regional chief of the B.C.Assembly of First Nations.

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.

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

ResponsibleAdult Certification

May 6 - 9, 2024

Ehattesaht Health Wing – Zeballos

The Nuu-chah-nulth Employment and Training Program is inviting you to start building your skills by becoming certified in the ResponsibleAdult training. Course content will include introduction to child care, planning for safety and emergencies, promoting good health and nutrition, exploring child development, guiding children’s behavior, planning for play and learning, Lets Play! Inspiring children’s experience. Please call toll free: 1.833.276.5849 to complete NETP intake or contact: Patrician McDougall patriciamcdougall@nuuchahnulth.org 250-201-1300

Driver’s LWorkshop

May 3, 2024

NETPoffice – 4090 8thAvenue, Port Alberni – or online

9:00 am – 3:30 pm Nuu-chah-nulth Employment and Training program present and In Person and Virtual Workshop. Driver’s L workshop will prepare you to take your Class 7LWritten Knowledge Test. Gain insight into taking the test from expert driving instructor. Limited space in person. Participants are required to pre-register. Virtual – Open to all regions. Lunch Provided. Support for test fees may be available. To register for NETP services contact Gregory.thomas@ nuuchahnulth.org or 250-723-1331.

2024 Youth Gathering

July 12-14, 2024

Beach Campout -Anacla

Hosted by Huu-ay-aht First nation. Registration details to come.

Nuu-chah-nulth Baby Group

Every Monday

&Community Beyond

CYS - 4841 Redford Street, Port Alberni

10am-12pm. We offer Prenatal and infant development information, special guests, snacks provide and $20.00 food voucher per family. Referrals when needed. NTC Nursing and Doula’s 250-724-3939. Enter from 4th avenue side, building with orange stripe.

Girls Group

Every Tuesday

PortAlberni – Usma culture space

5:00pm-7:00pm Girls ages 13-18. Need a safe space? Want to express yourself? Looking to learn to bake and cook? Do you enjoy doing crafts? Come join us for fun activities with food and refreshments every Tuesday!

Eating in Balance

Every Wednesday

PortAlberni Friendship Center

1:00pm – 3:00pm. Participants work together to make a meal, discuss health and food related topics. Participants who work (cook and clean) with the group will receive a $10.00 grocery coupon that can be used at either Quality Foods or Buy-Low Foods. Childminder on premises.Adrop-in group, no registration required. For more information about our program, please call and ask forAmber –250-735-6276 ext. 233.Apart of theASI Early Years program.

Cultural Brushings with Quu asa

Every Friday

RedfordAdministration Building, Port Alberni

9:00am-12:00pm Cultural Brushings in support of the Tseshaht Community. If you have any questions, please call Leanne Harding,AdministrativeAssistant 250-724-1225

Call Steve at 250 726 8003

Page 12— Ha-Shilth-Sa—April 18, 2024
STAY INFORMED Join our facebook group for the latest Nuu-chah-nulth community news. FOR SALE 22’ OALAluminum Boat built by Northwest Aluminum Craft built to Mutual Marine Standards, comes with 115 commercial 3 door traps (20 brand new) Tuff Trailer 2 totes set up for live haul all crates rope and floats. Turn key ready to go can be viewed at the Tofino crab dock. Willing to work
assist transition the NEW owner.
with and

Employment and Training

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

April 18, 2024—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 13
out our new Facebook page
Jobs and Events

Are these masks made by Nuu-chah-nulth artists?

San Francisco, California – The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) has reached out to the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council executive in an effort to identify the origins of two carved masks in their collection.

At least one of the masks may have come from a Nuu-chah-nulth grave. Under the NativeAmerican Graves Protection and RepatriationAct the university is required to return the items once identified.

“While we have limited information about the two masks, we believe they came from the land referred to today as Vancouver Island,” wrote Polina Ilieva of UCSF in a letter to Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council executives. “One of them has been identified stylistically as likely Nuuchah-nulth, and we have reason to believe it was taken from a burial on Nuu-chahnulth traditional lands (on the northwest coast of the island). The other mask we know very little about.”

Notes included with information about the masks say that “Nootka” carvings (along with those of other tribal groups) were “collected” by Spanish and English explorers as early as the 18th century.

University hopes to return carvings to rightful owners, one is believed to be from northwest Vancouver Island museums, regardless of their origins.

The first mask, believed to be taken from a Nuu-chah-nulth grave, is made of red cedar measuring 14 inches by 7.5 by 6.25 inches and weighs two pounds six ounces. It has no artist’s signature and depicts a human face painted with red ochre, grey, blue and black paint. There is a nail head in the centre of the upper lip which holds a red cedar bite stick on the inside of the mask. The bite stick allows a dancer to hold the mask in position while dancing.

The mask was collected before 1900 and originated from a grave on the northwest coast of Vancouver Island.

The second mask is believed to be either a Nuu-chah-nulth or Kwakwaka’wakw rendering of a sasquatch or Tsonoqwa and was created about 1900. It is made of red cedar wood, bark, paint, nails and a white feather. It measures 12.24 inches by 11.25 by 6.5 inches and weighs 4 lb.

The university of California is looking for any information about two masks in its collection.According to an appraiser, the above mask is Kwakwaka’wakw or Nuu-chah-nulth, “likely depicting Tsonoqwa”.

6.2 oz with no signature.

Nasreen Broomand, a graduate intern at the California university, is interested in repatriating the works of art - especially in the case of the mask believed to have been taken from a grave. Repatriation is the process whereby human remains and certain types of cultural items are returned to lineal descendants, aboriginal tribes, and Native Hawaiian organizations.

The NativeAmerican Graves Protection and RepatriationAct brings penalties for selling, or otherwise profiting from, any NativeAmerican human remains. This also applies to associated and unassociated funerary objects, sacred objects and pieces of cultural patrimony currently held or controlled by federal agencies or

pieces, and has committed to observe any cultural protocols to move forward with the consultation and repatriation process.

“Due to the limited information we have on the second mask, we have invited consultation on that second mask from a number of Kwakwaka’wakw First Nations as well,” Ilieva wrote, adding, “we recognize that tribes represent the best sources of information on their own cultures, particularly in identifying ancestral remains and cultural resources for repatriation.”

President Sayers says that she will call meetings to discuss the masks and how they should be handled, should information come forward about them.

NTC President Cloy-e-iis, Judith Sayers, is reaching out to Nuu-chah-nulth artists, elders and historians for information about the masks.

“Can you identify either mask as Nuuchah-nulth? Do you know who carved the masks? Really, any information would help,” said Sayers.

If the masks can be positively identified the university will work with Nuu-chahnulth-aht to gather information about the

San Francisco State University is firmly committed to the repatriation of Native American ancestors and their belongings, and to the respectful curation of cultural materials. The primary goal of the SF State NAGPRAProgram is to return ancestral remains and cultural objects to NativeAmerican tribal communities.

If you have information about one or both of the masks, please contact NTC President Judith Sayers at the Nuu-chahnulth Tribal Council offices at 250-7245757.

Page 14— Ha-Shilth-Sa—April 18, 2024
This mask in the university’s collection is believed to be Nuu-chah-nulth, described by an appraiser as a “wood portrait face mask with red ochre, grey-blue and black painted geometric decoration.”

Royal BC Museum updates First Nations exhibits

Re-opened sections include a project that seeks to digitize 28,000 photos, audio recordings and moving images

Victoria, BC – It’s been just over two years since the Royal BC Museum closed its third-floor galleries to the public so that it could begin the process of decolonization of the exhibits. The floor is home to the First People’s Gallery, the Our Living Languages – First People’s Gallery and Becoming B.C., also known as the Old Town Gallery.

According to RBCM website information, when the First Peoples Gallery opened in 1977, First Nations works were usually classed as anthropological artifacts or examples of material culture rather than as art. First created in the 1960s and ‘70s, the third-floor galleries were due for much-needed updates. Today it offers the works of both past and present Indigenous artists, with updated contextual information.

The popular Old Town exhibit was updated and reopened in July 2023. Then onApril 2 the museum announced the reopening of the two exhibits in the First Peoples Gallery to visitors. The First Peoples Gallery reopened the Our Living Languages exhibit and RBCM is excited to announce the opening of the Jonathan Hunt House. Both installations were created in collaboration with First Nations.

“The museum is honoured to once again open the doors to Jonathan Hunt House and Our Living Languages,” says Tracey Drake, CEO of the Royal BC Museum.

“These spaces on the museum’s third floor share important Indigenous stories and this work is a reflection of the museum’s continued commitment to the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act by delivering unique experiences for British Columbians.”

The Jonathan Hunt House is a ceremonial piece and museum installation that allows visitors to enter a re-creation of the house of Chief Kwakwabalasami, the late Jonathan Hunt, a Kwakwaka’wakw chief who was born and lived his life in the community of Tsaxis, near Fort

Rupert, B.C.

The exhibit has been updated with the help and guidance of master carver and artist Richard Hunt, Jonathan Hunt’s grandson, who helped his father with the original installation in 1977.

“[I]n the potlatch system, the chief formally presents, to an invited audience, crest images, songs, names, and other prerogatives to which he claims inherited rights,” states information from the museum. “The audience’s recognition of the chief’s claim is its legal validation. Jonathan Hunt potlatched twice for this house, once at Victoria and once atAlert Bay, and spent thousands of dollars in the appropriate manner to confirm his right to display the house and its images.An arrangement between Jonathan Hunt, his descendants and the Royal BC Museum allows the museum to exhibit the house permanently, while cultural ownership of the house and its images remains in the Hunt family.”

Also featured at RBCM is Totem Hall, the central exhibit in the First Peoples Gallery. Visitors will see towering carved poles from around the province, including Nuu-chah-nulth works such as Numnuquamis from the Sarita River in Barkley Sound.

Nuu-chah-nulth carving and art is included in other displays on the third floor, along with the works of other First Nations.

Our Living Languages is another important and more recent exhibit that has been updated and reopened.

According to RBCM, Our Living Languages was developed in partnership with the First Peoples’Cultural Council.

“It shares the history of First Nations languages in B.C., the beauty and complexity of these languages, and the people working tirelessly to document and revitalize them,” stated the museum.

First opened to the public in 2014, Our Living Languages is an interactive gallery that allows the visitor to hear fluent speakers over headphones. Its content relies on the important work of digitiz-

ing old recordings of B.C.’s Indigenous people speaking their languages. Work that continues to this day, thanks to generous contributions of donors.

In 2017 Ha-Shilth-Sa reported that the TD Bank Group contributed $50,000 to support the Royal BC Museum’s First Nations Language Revitalization Project as it works to digitize and preserve hundreds of cassette tapes containing Indigenous languages for future generations.

The Royal BC Museum has more than 4,000 tapes to be digitized.Anotable contribution to the collection is the 171 cassette tapes from Tseshaht elders, the late Doug and Kathy Robinson.

OnApril 16 the Royal BC Museum was pleased to announce that it received $250,000 from the Wesik Family Foundation to continue their work on the IndigenousAudio-Visual Collection Digitization Project.

“This generous donation from the Wesik Family Foundation will support the digitization and preservation of language

and cultural traditions of more than 200 Indigenous communities and nations located throughout British Columbia.” said Drake. “Digitizing the audio-visual collection ensures long-term care and sharing of significant cultural knowledge and voices. We are extremely grateful to the Wesik Family Foundation for their financial support to advance this important work.”

The IndigenousAudi-Visual Collection consists of more than 28,000 individual photos, audio recordings and moving images (videos) taken across British Columbia from 1890 to 1990 through provincial linguistic and anthropological research. Currently, only 20 per cent of the collection has been digitized and the Wesik Family Foundation donation will contribute to preserving the remaining 80 per cent. The project will also facilitate the transferring of cultural knowledge back to the First Nations and Indigenous communities.

April 18, 2024—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 15
RBCM photos This spring the museum’s Our Living Languages exhibit reopens to the public, an interactive gallery that allows the visitor to hear fluent speakers over headphones. The Royal B.C. Museum’s First People’s Gallery includes Totem Hall, which has a pole that was carved by the Sarita River in Huu-ay-aht territory.
Page 16— Ha-Shilth-Sa—April 18, 2024
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