Ha Shilth Sa Newspaper April 4, 2024 issue

Page 1

Orphaned orca continues

Trap and transport is ‘on the table’, but Eha!esaht and DFO

Ehatis, BC - More than a week after being stranded in a lagoon near Zeballos, where her mother died while being grounded on a sandbar, a young orca appears to remain healthy and active as a team closely watches the situation.

Marine mammal experts with Fisheries and Oceans Canada expect that the killer whale could last for a few weeks without being fed, based on previous incidents with stranded transient orcas. Transient, or Bigg’s killer whales, are a species with a growing population, according to the DFO. They mainly feed on pinnipeds like seals and sea lions, but can also eat birds, which the young and stranded orca was seen doing over her first week in the Little Espinosa Inlet in Ehattesaht territory.

“The whale was again seen with a bird in its mouth, so the team is assuming that this was eaten as Bigg’s whales are known to eat birds,” stated an update from the DFO onApril 1. “It is not known if the whale is hunting and eating other types of prey.”

This is a promising sign, as feeding the young orca brings risk of it not learning to hunt in the wild.

“The reality is that helping the whale eat…the relationship might not be able to be broken,” said Ehattesaht Chief Councillor Simon John. “If it does eat from humans, it might get stuck with that.”

Members of the local Ehattesaht First Nation have named the whale kʷiisaḥiʔis (pronounced kwee-sa-hay-is), meaning ‘Brave Little Hunter’. Locals believe she ventured into the Little Espinosa Inlet with her mother during a high tide in the early morning hours of March 23, where the adult got stuck in a shallow section just down the road from the Ehattesaht village of Ehatis, which is next to Zeballos. Dozens of locals came to keep her wet and try to move her over, but sadly, the mother passed after 10 a.m. on March 23.

According to those at the scene, the mother had a dead seal in her mouth. She has been identified as a 14-year-old transient killer whale, while kʷiisaḥiʔis is believed to be one year and nine months old. kʷiisaḥiʔis was at least partially feeding off the mother, who was lactating.A necropsy revealed that the late mother was pregnant with another female.

The Ehattesaht have been working every day since with the neighbouring Nuchatlaht Tribe and visiting personnel from Fisheries and Oceans to find a solution

for the young one, undergoing “intense planning sessions to weigh the options going forward,” according to a daily DFO update.

The First Nation has brought in resources from its company Strategic Natural Resource Consultants, one of the largest resource consulting firms in B.C. This has brought additional support with biologists, boats, radios and drone cameras. Ehattesaht people have gathered by the water to send strength to the stranded young orca, and on March 27 paddled into the lagoon in a canoe to drum and sing for the killer whale.

“We wanted to provide some comfort to kʷiisaḥiʔis and to see if she would follow

canoe into Little Espinosa,” stated an

the First Nation’s chief and council. “It was really powerful seeing our people and guests on the water. They were there with purpose and good hearts and even a rainbow came over the lagoon as the sun tried to shine.”

“Despite efforts to entice the whale out of the lagoon, it appears that the second sand bar at the causeway remains a significant concern for the whale calf named kʷiisaḥiʔis, who remains reluctant to pass over it into deeper waters,” stated DFO, referencing the shallow section where the young orca’s mother died. The team has also tried to encourage the orca to leave the lagoon during high tide

by playing recorded calls from a nearby pod of transients. This didn’t work as they had hoped.

“In the past, underwater playback sounds have been highly effective as an attractant to move whales out of a potentially dangerous situation,” stated DFO.

“For the whale calf, kʷiisaḥiʔis (kwee-sahay-is), these proved to be repelling.”

The lagoon is almost three kilometres long, nearly one kilometre wide in a section and can be 100 feet deep during a high tide. But conditions can change quickly with the tides and weather patterns, and a rainy and windy Easter weekend forced the team to await better conditions before more attempts are made to lure the orca into the open ocean.

Success came within reach on Thursday, March 25, late in the afternoon at high tide. With 11 vessels in the lagoon, Oikomi pipes were suspended underwater, making a “wall of sound” to coax the orca towards the open ocean.

“Really the plan did work, but in the end little kʷiisaḥiʔis was not ready to move through the gap and into Little Espinosa,” stated Ehattesaht chief and council. “We did get her closer, but right close that flight or fight instinct took over and she swam back underneath us and went all the way back to the end of the lagoon. Everyone was pretty let down.”

“The whale calf broke through the wall of sound eventually to move back to the deep area of the lagoon,” stated DFO.

“This was disappointing for all involved, however, it demonstrated the potential effectiveness of this technique and the capacity for the highly diverse team to work in tandem for a seamless execution.”

Physically transporting the animal is up for consideration, but this brings an undesirable risk.

“Trap-and-transport is one of the considerations on the table, however, it would not be utilized until other options have been exhausted due to its complexity and potential risks to the calf and the responders,” stated DFO.

As the team awaits more favorable conditions for their next attempt, reports and photographs from a whale watching group show that two related pods were in Barkley Sound on Sunday, March 31, heading north towards Ehattesaht territory.

“One of the pods identified is the juvenile calf’s matriline, the other is extended family,” stated DFO, based on a whale researcher’s examination.

Canada’s Oldest First Nations Newspaper - Serving Nuu-chah-nulth-aht since 1974 Vol. 51 - No. 07—April 4, 2024 haas^i>sa Canadian Publications Mail Product Sales Agreement No. 40047776
NEWS If undeliverable, please return to: Ha-Shilth-Sa P.O. Box 1383, PortAlberni, B.C. V9Y 7M2 Inside this issue... On reserve child poverty double B.C. rate.....................Page 3 COVID study shows blocking ability of antibodies.......Page 6 Ahoushat hosts food soveregnity event.................Pages 8 & 9 Roy Vickers named elder-in-residence.........................Page 11 Hesquiaht family remembers 1964 tsunami.................Page 15
hope the calf can be coaxed out during
high tide
to survive in lagoon
Darlene Smith photo Darcy Kerr sits by a killer whale mother who died while she was stranded on a shallow section near Ehatis March 23. Her calf remains stuck in the lagoon. the update from

Province takes early action for wildfire season

Though hope remains for spring rain events, the province prepares for a challenging wildfire season in 2024

The province is preparing, earlier than ever, for what could be a challenging wildfire season with above average temperatures through fall and winter predicted to continue, persistent drought condition, and a lack of snowpack accumulation.

“It is no secret that we did not accumulate the snowpack that we were hoping for in many parts of the province,” said Bowinn Ma, Minister of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness.

“While we all hope to get more rain in the months ahead, we are taking action now to prepare for what could be a very challenging season.”

With the current forecasts and persistent drought conditions, reads a press release by the province, the province is preparing for what may be an active spring-wildfire season.

“This activity is expected to increase if there continues to be limited precipitation over the next several weeks and months.

Until significant and sustained rains occur, the risk of ignition will remain elevated,” it reads.

As of March 1, the province’s average snowpack is 66 per cent of normal, tying for the second lowest level of snowpack in the last fifty years, shared Jonathan Boyd, Hydrologist with the River Forecast Centre at a teleconference.

Vancouver Island snowpack levels are below the provincial average, with snowpack at 46 per cent of normal.

“Before the impacts of a potential continuation of drought conditions are felt we have to get through the spring

snowmelt related flood season,” said Boyd. “Mountain snowpack can continue to accumulate intoApril and potentially even May.”

With this year’s El Niño, a climate pattern characterized by warmer surface ocean temperatures at the equator resulting in warmer weather along the West Coast, forecasted to fade in spring, there is a chance of early snowmelt, he said. But, Boyd takes note of the last El Niño event in 2019.Alower than average snowpack, measured onApril 1, 2019, melted rapidly in the extreme heat experienced in May. While the province prepared for extreme drought, he said, July andAugust were cold and wet.

“We were dealing more with flooding than we were with drought or wildfire,” said Boyd. “There is no guarantee for drought to impact like… last year, but it certainly is possible, and it could be worse if we get similar climatic conditions as last year with this very low snowpack.”

Neal McLouglin, Superintendent of Predictive Services at the BC Wildfire Service, shared that with the lack of snowpack forest floors won’t be sheltered and limited fuel moisture recharge.

“More days of drying just means you can quickly escalate fire danger,” said McLouglin.

Areas throughout the province that are experiencing shallow snowpack at upper elevations, may be predisposed to lightning-caused fires as early as June, he shared.

In the 2023 wildfire season, the coastal fire region, saw a total of 365 wildfires burn over 89,000 hectares.According to BCWS, since the beginning of 2024,

16 wildfires have ignited throughout the province, 12 of which are human caused, while four remain undetermined. Only six of the 16 wildfires remain burning. No wildfires are currently burning in the coastal fire region.

“For the coast spring marks the transition into a dry season with the driest months typically coming in July andAugust,” saidAlyssa Charbonnaeu, meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC). “However, here too, it’s still possible to see storm systems that bring heavy rain, winds and even thunderstorms during the spring.”

For most regions throughout the province, fall and winter temperatures were warmer than normal alongside a precipitation deficit, shared Charbonnaeu at the teleconference.

Through mid-March to June, it is predicted that the province will continue to experience warmer than normal temperatures, she continued. While for mid-March to mid-April, dry conditions are expected to continue.

“Drought and wildfire conditions will be highly dependent on actual weather patterns, and the precipitation that we see through the spring and summer,” said Charbonnaeu. “We will only know about these individual weather events in the days leading up to them.”

Launched at the tail end of last year’s fire season, an Expert Task Force on Emergencies formed to provide real-time recommendations to navigate the 2024 wildfire season, reads the provincial press release.

Through recommendation, the province announced several wildfire initiatives to support the province through the antici-

pated wildfire season. Predictive wildfire technologies to pinpoint fire activity, expansion on tools and equipment for BCWS firefighters, streamlining Emergency Support Service (ESS) responders training to one day, and strengthen BCWS’s firefighting hiring process for rural, remote, and First Nation applicants, are among some of these initiatives, reads the press release.

“As the impacts of the climate crisis intensifies, we learned from past years that we have to be ready to support more people even faster than before,” said Ma, noting that an expanded team of emergency support specialists are prepared to be deployed into communities who need support through the wildfire season.

While the province takes steps to prepare for wildfire season, individuals are encouraged to take necessary steps toward preparedness including creating their own evacuation plan and kit, update home insurance policies, stay informed of weather, and FireSmart your property, among others.

“Last year’s wildfire season was the worst in our province’s history, and we know how incredibly difficult it was for everyone,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Forests, in the press release. “Our top priority is keeping people safe, which is why we continue to take significant action to prevent and prepare for wildfires as we head into spring and summer.”

“As we go through the months of May and June, if we’re starting to see some significant rainfall events, that’s a really good thing, it can really set the stage for maybe a different outcome for the longer fire season ahead,” said McLouglin.

Page 2— Ha-Shilth-Sa—April 4, 2024
BC Wildfire Service photo Last year brought several fires to Vancouver Island, including a blaze on Cameron Lake bluffs that crippled a critical transportation route for most of the summer.

On-reserve child poverty is double B.C.’s average

Families need more support for their children amid high costs, says B.C. representative for children and youth

In late February the First Call Child and YouthAdvocacy Society released their annual Poverty Report Card, announcing that in 2021, 14 per cent of children were living in poverty - while on reserves this is more than double the provincial rate.

“We are seeing recent results of three separate surveys that tell us very clearly that many kids in this province are not ok,” said the Representative for Children and Youth Jennifer Charlesworth in a press release announcing worrisome data from 2021. “This frankly alarming data is highlighting that we urgently need to be doing more to support the health and wellness of our young people.”

First Call’s annual report card indicated that 126,120 children are experiencing poverty in the province, making B.C.’s rate 14.3 per cent in 2021. While the child poverty rate is 1.3 per cent below the national average, children five and under are experiencing a rate of 13.8 per cent, increasing by 6.2 per cent since 2020.

One in seven children in British Columbia experienced poverty that year, but for First Nation children living on reserves the child poverty rate was over double at 31 per cent, while rural reserves met a rate of 35 per cent.

Data collected was based on only 67 First Nation reserves in British Columbia. In an interview with Ha-Shilth-Sa, Charleson shared that they are anticipating a continued increase in child poverty rates in 2022 and 2023.

“One of the greatest contributors to

poverty is the cost of housing,” said Charlesworth. “And now more recently, and especially in the last couple of years, so that isn’t even showing up in this data, is the cost of living and the cost of food.”

Charlesworth notes that salaries have not increased to the same degree as the cost of living.

“The most important thing from my perspective as an advocate is, families need support in order to nurture their children,” said Charlesworth. “Children

are nested in families and families are nested in community.”

PortAlberni was among the highest reported poverty rates in the First Call report, sitting at 20.3 per cent, only second to Prince Rupert with a child poverty rate of 22.7 per cent.

According to theAlberni Clayoquot Health Network, based on data from 2016, 1,880 children throughout the region experienced poverty. Children of a two-parent household experienced poverty rates at 15 per cent, while children with one parent hold a poverty rate of 62 per cent.

“Indigenous ways of knowing are so important because it was always envisioned that the village raises the child, the extended family raises the child,” said Charlesworth.

With a lack of sufficient income, housing security and food security it becomes very difficult to nurture children, Charlesworth noted.

“We need to be taking a look at equity and substantive equality, so that wherever a family resides, whether it’s on-reserve or off-reserve, and then they have access to the services that they need,” said Charlesworth.

According to the First Call report, government transfers, such as provincial social assistance (welfare), Canada Child Benefits, and COVID-19 pandemic benefits play a significant role in reducing

child poverty rates in the province.

“In 2021, without government transfers to family incomes, British Columbia’s child poverty rate would have risen to 29.6 per cent, leaving 260,470 children poor that year,” reads the report.

In 2021 government support for lowincome families kept 134, 350 children out of poverty in B.C.

The report outlines recommendations, including the collaborative effort of federal, provincial, and First Nation governments to address the multiple factors that contribute to child poverty for Indigenous children, assurance of Jordan’s Principle application, and assurance of culturally safe supports for children living offreserve.

“There needs to be sufficient resources made available because traditional economic distribution and resources and whatnot have been taken away as a result of colonization,” said Charlesworth. “I think it’s really important to see those inequities and recognize that poverty has so many ripple effects [and] food insecurity has so many ripple effects through the lifespan.”

“It’s unconscionable to me that we would stand by and not address those inequities so that there is an opportunity for all children to thrive [and] to have the basics of what they need,” said Charlesworth.

April 4, 2024—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 3 TSESHAHT MARKET GATEWAY TO THE PACIFIC RIM Hours of operation - 7:00 am - 10:00 pm Phone: 724-3944 E-mail: manager@tseshahtmarket.ca Find us on Facebook
B.C. Representative for Children and Youth Jennifer Charlesworth says recently released data shows that more is urgently needed to support the health and wellness of youngsters.

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As ofApril 2, public buses will run along Vancouver Island’s west coast, from Hitacu to Tofino, seven days a week, from 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

New public transit connects west coast

Hitacu, Ucluelet, Esowista, Ty-Histanis, and Tofino will soon be linked with buses

Tofino, BC - OnApril 2, the communities of Hitacu, Ucluelet, Tofino, Esowista, Ty-Histanis, and Tofino will be connected through a long-anticipated year-round transit service.

“TheACRD is excited that we can finally offer this essential service to residents on the west coast,” said John Jack, chairperson for theAlberni-Clayoquot Regional District (ACRD), in a press release. “For too long reliable public transit has been a challenge for people as they struggled to get back and forth to work, school, recreational activities, appointments, or shopping. This service will fill that void, and we look forward to connecting the west coast.”

The West Coast Transit service, administered through theACRD and operated by Pacific Western Transportation, will run seven days a week, except for statutory holidays. The system is primarily cashless, but trips can be paid for through the Token Transit app.

Students with an ID card and children under 12 ride for free, while a singl- ride pass is $5.50, a day pass is $10, 10ride paper pass is $50, and a monthly pass is $100. The 10-ride passes can be

purchased at Tofino and Ucluelet Co-op grocery stores.

The West Coast Transit System opens up opportunities for residents and businesses that would not otherwise be available without access to transportation, said Eddie Kunderman, operations manager at theACRD. This includes better access to groceries, recreation, and employment opportunities.

“This was theACRD really identifying an interim service model to ensure that the service was ready for the residents as soon as possible,” said Kunderman. “I think it will reduce the strain on households that will allow them to make feasible transportation plans.”

“This has been something that’s been flagged for a while,” added Kunderman.

For Tla-o-qui-aht, their communities of Ty-Histanis and Esowista are located roughly 15 kilometres from Tofino’s downtown.

“Alot of our members don’t have cars or access to cars,” said Jim Chisholm, Tla-o-qui-aht’s tribal administrator. “So I think it’s a tremendous thing [and] I think it’ll open up avenues for a lot of our members to gain employment or to - if they’re currently employed - I think it’ll be a bonus for them.”

Chisholm notes that members will

receive greater access to grocery stores, outside services, and safe transportation with this new bus service.

“We see some of our members hitchhiking or trying to get family members to give them rides back and forth,” said Chisholm. “I think it will give them a sense of independence.”

“I think it’s a really positive thing for our members,” he added.

The West Coast Transit system is an interim year-round service, in lieu of BC Transit’s presence in the area. But Kunderman hopes that with provincial funding, BC Transit will come on board to collaborate with theACRD on the transit service.

“I think it’s a great start,” said Kunderman. “I think it’s really going to increase the opportunities.”

He hopes that in the coming years, the scheduled service hours can extend beyond 6:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. with an increase in the number of round trips.

“It’s really been a team effort to get the service up and running,” said Kunderman of the work from the districts of Ucluelet and Tofino, alongside Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ, Toquaht, and Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations.

To find more information, including bus stop location and times, visit West Coast Transit Service (acrd.bc.ca)


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Kleco! Kleco! DEADLINE: Please note that the deadline for submissions for our next issue is April 12, 2024 After that date, material submitted and judged appropriate cannot be guaranteed placement but, if material is still relevant, will be included in the following issue. In an ideal world, submissions would be typed rather than hand-written. Articles can be sent by e-mail to holly.stocking@nuuchahnulth.org (Windows PC). Submitted pictures must include
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to every Nuu-chah-nulth person including those who have passed on, and those who are not yet born.Acommunity newspaper cannot exist without community involvement. If you have any great pictures you’ve taken, stories or poems you’ve written, or artwork you have done, please let us know so we can include it in your newspaper. E-mail holly.stocking@nuuchahnulth.org. This year is Ha-Shilth-Sa’s 50th year of serving the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations. We look forward to your continued input and support.
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Tseshaht breaks ground for the new Somass Hall

With the help of government grants, the new $9-million facility will offer 7,000 square feet of community space

PortAlberni, BC –Aparking lot with an unpaved patch of weeds and scotch broom – that marks the site of the 70-year-old Somass Hall, which was demolished in 2019. But that is about to change as Tseshaht people came to witness the ground breaking ceremony for the new $9 million-plus project that will replace the old beloved hall.

According to Tseshaht elder Cody Gus, the original Somass Hall was built by the forestry company Bloedel, Stewart and Welch at the end of World War II. The company ran railroad tracks through the Tseshaht reservation beside the Somass River and the hall was given in exchange for use of the land.

Over the years, the old Somass Hall served as a community hub not only for the Tseshaht, but also for the larger Nuuchah-nulth community. It was used for graduations, weddings, funerals, cultural events and political meetings. Eventually, there came a time where the building became structurally unsafe, and so the difficult decision was made to demolish it.

Good news came inAugust 2022 when the federal government announced it would contribute $3.4 million, about 75 per cent the cost of a new, better Somass Hall. Tseshaht First Nation would cover the remaining $1.1 million.

The new 7,000 square foot building will stand on the footprint of the old Somass Hall, but it will have a basement.

Indigenous Services Canada said the new Somass Hall will be constructed to post-disaster standard, meaning that it

can be used as an emergency shelter by the community for two or three days. It will have a commercial kitchen, meeting rooms, washroom facilities, storage and parking space.

OnApril 2 people gathered at 6200 Gallic Road to witness the ground breaking ceremony. Surrounded by both elders and children, Tseshaht Chief Councillor Ken Watts got things off to a proper start with a traditional prayer chant. Elder Helen Dick joined him to say a prayer in the Tseshaht language.

Watts acknowledged people that were instrumental in getting the project off the ground. He went on to say that they are excited for the new building and want it to last for many generations. With that in mind, Watts said the nation was successful in securing another federal grant in the amount of $6.3 million, bringing the price tag for the new Somass hall to over $9 million.

The new funding is provided with child safety and support in mind, so Chief Watts said the entire basement of the new facility will be dedicated to programs and activities for youngsters.

“The basement will be dedicated to prevention services and keeping kids safe,” said Watts. “It’s more than just a hall four our people – it’s very special and we’re looking forward to be able to dance here again.”

Tseshaht elder Cody Gus and young Lanaley Hassell were invited to break the ground with a beautifully designed ceremonial shovel.

Atimeline for construction was not shared, but Watts promised there would be a big opening ceremony when the building is complete.

‘Exercise extreme care’: Another hole on Nitinaht road

Nitinaht, BC - On March 24, Ditidaht First Nation issued a warning to motorists of a hole extending five feet wide on Carmanah Mainline near the Nitinaht Lake Hatchery.

As of Sunday, March 24, the site is marked with traffic cones, but the notice issued by the First Nation reads that the hole “necessitates immediate attention” for the dangers that it poses to motorists.

“Responsible authorities for the area are being duly notified,” reads the notice.

“The sinkhole demands vigilance from all road users. The gravel roads in the area require cautious navigation, and motorists are urged to exercise extreme care while driving.”

An additional statement released by the Nation on March 26 stated that they expect repairs for the five- foot hole within the next two days.

“It is imperative that all travelers exercise caution and adhere to safety protocols,” the first notice read.

But this isn’t the first hole for Carmanah Mainline this year. In February, an opening three feet wide and four feet deep was discovered along Carmanah Main due to a collapsed culvert near the Ditidaht First Nation’s community at Nitinaht Lake.

Luckily, due to the nation’s newly hired director of infrastructure, a temporary culvert was installed within hours.

Ditidaht First Nation’s members depend on Carmanah Mainline, part of a series of logging roads extending from PortAlberni through to Duncan. The First Nation

calls upon the provincial government to “address road improvements, enhance road safety measures, and establish a routine inspection and maintenance schedules.”

This past summer, when Highway 4 was closed due to the Cameron Bluffs wildfire, traffic was rerouted along Bamfield Road to Carmanah Mainline, where residents of Tofino, Ucluelet, PortAlberni and surrounding communities depended on the logging road.

“Such measures are crucial to ensuring the safety and well being of all individuals traversing these roads, as well as preserving the integrity of Ditidaht First Nation traditional territory,” reads the First Nation’s notice.

On March 1, due to extreme weather conditions, eleven trees fell, obstructing access to Ditidaht’s main village next to Nitinaht Lake. That night, Lake Cowichan RCMP and Ditidaht First Nation Emergency Services worked together to clear the road, reads the March 26 statement.

On March 24 a hole was discovered on the Carmannah Main logging road, the second found this year near the Nitinaht village.

The Ditidaht have faced decades of continued challenges with the road extending to their village. Known for its flooding in heavy rainfall, Ditidaht’s March 26 notice mentioned loved ones lost due to the inadequate road.

“Chief and council emphasize that these

challenges are not new to Ditidaht First Nation, recalling past tragedies resulting from inadequate road infrastructure,” reads the March 26 notice. “In 1982, the loss of a loved one due to flooded roads, inaccessible by both road and air ambulance, serves as a stark reminder of the life-threatening consequences of neglecting road maintenance and safety standards.”

Despite this, in recent years Ditidaht completed a comprehensive Feasibility

of South Road leading to the village, but the First Nation is without government funding required to begin work toward changes to eliminate floods.

“[Ditidaht First Nation] urge the establishment of a formal agreement to ensure that road improvements, safety measures, and routine maintenance align with provincial standards, safeguarding the well-being of Nitinaht Lake residents and visitors,” the notice read.

April 4, 2024—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 5
Denise Titian photo Tseshaht elder Cody Gus and young Lanaley Hassell were invited to break the ground for the new Somass Hall onApril 2. Judi Thomas photo

COVID study shows ‘blocking ability of antibodies’

Despite fears of infection in remote communities, vaccination rates were not higher than the general population

Over 95 per cent of Nuu-chah-nulth-aht have antibodies against COVID-19, according to a multi-faceted, large-scale study into the effects of the virus.

Undertaken by the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council in partnership with Simon Fraser University and the National Microbiology Lab, the multi-year study has just completed its initial analysis of data collected from over 1,000 people, comprising roughly one tenth of the Nuuchah-nulth population. With an emphasis on maintaining collaborative agreements with 14 Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations, the study drew upon 1,040 surveys and 851 blood samples that were voluntarily given, with 416 participants taking part in “talking circles” to provide insights into how people responded to COVID-19 and its vaccinations.

But while the vast majority of participants show an immune resistance to the virus – either due to vaccination or from overcoming past infection – the blocking ability of antibodies decreases with the Omicron variant.

“Over time, as new versions of the virus emerge, the blocking ability of antibodies decrease,” states a report on the study.

“Getting boosted with updated versions of the vaccine can increase/improve protection from new versions of the virus.”

In the early stages of the pandemic, Indigenous people were deemed to be at a higher risk from COVID-19 than the general population – particularly among those in remote communities with limited access to medical care. For this reason, residents of coastal Nuu-chah-nulth villages were among the first in British Columbia to get vaccinated when teams of health care workers brought in thousands of Moderna doses in January 2021.

Two years into the pandemic, the approach appeared to be working.As of April 2022, data from the First Nations HealthAuthority listed over 21,000 Indigenous cases in the province with 258 deaths, statistics that align with B.C.’s general population.

But not all Nuu-chah-nulth people were comfortable with getting vaccinated.

Results from the NTC’s COVID study show that 82 per cent of participants got at least two shots to be fully vaccinated, while nine per cent received no shots at all. This is close to B.C.’s 85.55 per cent rate of full vaccination, which shows 57

per cent of the province with three or more COVID shots.

The rate of additional vaccination also declined among Nuu-chah-nulth, according to the study, as 30 per cent of participants had three shots, 14 per cent indicated four and just five per cent received five or more doses of vaccination.

In September 2021 the province began introducing vaccine mandates for health care workers and other sectors, with the requirement of full vaccination to visit restaurants or enter certain public facilities. In most cases, this did not apply to additional doses beyond the two that were initially required.

Dr. Roger Boyer II is the COVID study’s director of research. From the project’s talking circles it was evident that a handful of people had a strong distrust of the government’s use of the vaccine.

“They were just very hesitant,” said Boyer. “They were wondering what was in the vaccine. Were we just guinea pigs? Were they testing us again?”

Input gathered over the course of the study indicated fears of trusting a vaccine with unpredictable side effects that could cause long-term reactions. Boyer heard from some participants that didn’t want to get “re-traumatized”.

These concerns were evident among some residential school survivors who participated in the study. Boyer heard from one former student of Christie In-

dian Residential School who still has 14 scars over the middle of the spine due to testing during childhood.

“All those types of re-traumatizations would come up, and the questions and conspiracies,” he said. “Their big concern was, ‘We don’t know a whole lot about this virus, we don’t know a whole lot about the vaccine, and now we are a test population for Moderna’.”

But as COVID-19 has stepped away from the spotlight of public health concerns, some in the healthcare profession fear the pandemic has left a sour hesitancy towards vaccines that could impact other diseases. This became evident during sessions Boyer held with NTC nurses as part of the COVID study.

“Is there going to be a rise in the community of other viruses that once were not here anymore?” said Boyer of the concerns he heard from nurses, which pertains to polio, measles, mumps and rubella. “These are the standard vaccinations that kids usually get.Are parents now making the choice to not vaccinate their kids, which is a huge public health herd immunity issue?”

COVID-19 brought heightened concerns of infection in remote Nuu-chah-nulth communities, where households are often large in close quarters and access to medical facilities requires a several-hour excursion. This brought a wave of lockdowns along the west coast of Vancouver Island, with access limited to residents

and healthcare workers. Exit from the communities was often also restricted to one person per household to undertake grocery runs and other necessary trips.

But this didn’t bring lower infection rates, according to the recent COVID study, which shows little difference between urban and “at-home” Nuu-chahnulth-aht. Fifty-five per cent of those who participated in the study tested positive for COVID-19 at some point, with a 66-per cent rate from the northern region. This region includes the Ehattesaht village of Ehatis, located next to Zeballos, which is a two-hour drive from the closest hospital in Port Hardy. In December 2020 Ehatis encountered 28 cases, comprising over one quarter of its on-reserve village, presenting an outbreak that other Nuu-chah-nulth settlements feared. Fortunately, there were no fatalities.

Over the course of the study input and samples were collected from 37 Nuuchah-nulth communities, as well as Port Alberni, Nanaimo, Campbell River, Victoria, and Vancouver.

Across this wide region, 48 per cent of those in households with two or three people got infected, while people who live alone had a higher rate of 62 per cent.

“We assume that they had to fend for themselves, go out and get their own groceries, go do their own services during that two-year time,” said Boyer of those who live alone.

But larger households recorded a higher rate of infections that reached 70 per cent of those surveyed.

“People who had four or more living in their household, that’s where the majority of the positive self-reporting testing came from,” said Boyer.

“We can, with some confidence I would say, determine that a joint effort, a joint pandemic plan across the regions would be beneficial,” he added. “The strategies around vaccination were strong, the strategies around isolation were effective, the communication in the communities was beneficial - but when it comes to the virus there were no unique strategies that nations put in place that had an impact on COVID or the COVID virus.”

For those who provided a blood sample for the project, individual results are now available. These can be provided within 10 business days by giving your legal name and date of birth to covid19results@nuuchahnulth.org.

Page 6— Ha-Shilth-Sa—April 4, 2024
Denise Titian photo Molly Lucas provides a blood sample for a research project into the effects of COVID-19 and its vaccine on Nuu-chah-nulth people.

Ahousaht hosts Island Indigenous Food Gathering

Local food and Indigenous diets emphasized, as just 10 per cent of Island’s sustenance is grown in the region

PortAlberni BC – First Nations people from all over the province arrived at the Tseshaht First Nation’s gym, Maht Mahs, on March 21 to share knowledge and celebrate Indigenous foods.

Hosted byAhousaht First Nation, the gathering was held with the support of Tseshaht, who warmly welcomed people to their territory and assisted in feeding and caring for them over the two-day event.

“Ahousaht is proud to support the Island Indigenous Food Gathering,” said Ahousaht Chief Councillor naasʔałuk, John Rampanen.

He went on to say that it is important to begin to address food security concerns after recent challenges Vancouver Islanders have faced.

“We have climate change, the heat dome, the Cameron Bluffs wildfire and COVID showing us how vulnerable we are with food security,” he added.

Events like the Island Indigenous Food Gathering allow people to draw from the strengths of their ancestors and do it in a modern context, Rampanen continued.

The event got off to a start at the Tseshaht longhouse, next door to Maht Mahs. With wood crackling in the fire pit, people were warmly welcomed to Tseshaht territory.Ahousaht elder CliffAtleo Sr. told the people they would spend the next couple of days taking part in conversations about enhancing food availability and access.

The longhouse remained open for the entirety of the event as cultural helpers offered brushing, medicine consultations and other services.

Inside Maht Mahs and at other, smaller venues around the area guests were invited to participate in information and break-out sessions. In addition, there were guest speakers leading guided topics like emergency food planning, food security and sovereignty planning. There were several food information tables lining the walls of Maht Mahs where resource people shared health information, or offered samples of home preserved foods, teas and medicines. In addition, guests were treated to traditional foods during the meal times – like smoked salmon, halibut, crab, herring and herring spawn.

During group discussions people shared ideas about food, nutrition and even attitudes about food. For example, a young woman recommended that mothers be encouraged to breastfeed their babies. This would mean working to change attitudes and end stigmatization around

breastfeeding in public. There is scientific proof that breast milk and breastfeeding is far safer and nutritionally superior to bottle feeding infant formula.

Another idea shared was the re-establishment of food trade.

“We don’t have elk, but we have fish,” said Geneva Touchie, adding that no money is involved.

Over the two days people explored their own traditional foods and that of neighboring First Nations.

“This is very valuable to Nuu-chahnulth for many reasons,” said Nuu-chahnulth Tribal Council Vice-President Les Doiron. “It’s important to understand the power and authority over our traditional foods…foods our ancestors laid the groundwork for.”

“We need to get back to the old ways of eating…before contact we didn’t have the diseases we have today,” added Doiron. Doiron pointed out that traditional diets are necessary for Nuu-chah-nulth-aht and stated that it’s important these foods are introduced in institutions like care homes and hospitals.

“It’s integral to our health and wellbeing,” he noted.

Traditional food is also important to citizens living in urban settings. Doiron pointed out that there is not enough space for everyone to live on reserve and they miss out on things like smoked fish, crab

and sixmuu (herring spawn).

Island Indigenous Foods Gathering Coordinator JacquelineAdams remained extremely busy during the event but took time to sit with Ha-Shilth-Sa for a quick minute. She said when she thinks about food security, it brings to mind the beginning of the pandemic and about intergenerational trauma.

“I watched our people rally to take care of each other...it was so moving when the Tla-o-qui-aht people delivered halibut to the Namgis (Alert Bay),”Adams reflected. “It is our way to take care of each other with food and it seems we’ve lost the ability to talk about it.”

According to studies after the 2023 Cameron Bluffs wildfire, which effectively cut off PortAlberni and communities to the west from food supply chains, in the event of an emergency Vancouver Island would have only three or four days of fresh food.

According to FED, a Victoria-based urban agriculture society, about 10 per cent

of Vancouver Island’s food supply was grown locally in 2019.

“Up until the 1950s, 85 per cent of our food supply was grown locally here on the island,” they wrote.

Since 2019 some Island communities have planted community gardens to support local food sustainability. The United Way is one of the major sponsors of the Island Indigenous Foods Gathering 2024. Spokesperson Julie Rushton was grateful to be part of the event. She said that food and diets for Indigenous people have been deconstructed by colonialism over time.

“That is why this is so important to the United Way, to hear about needs in the community will help us, in turn, to support the community,” she said.

Rampanen says he believes that there will be more Island Indigenous Foods Gatherings in the future and other similar events, because there is a hunger for such information sharing.

“I think there will be more,” he said.

April 4, 2024—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 7
Denise Titian photos Avisitor to the Food Soveregnity event on March 21 tries wild berry fruit leather that was passed around to the attendees. The event presented a variety of preserved food, including octopus and seal grease (above).

Food sovereignty event brings talk of barter economies

People share their desire to revitalize the ancient practice of trading for food to preserve community sustainability

PortAlberni, BC -In late March Nuuchah-nulth and surrounding communities gathered at Maht Mah’s forAhousaht’s food sovereignty event.After a full day of presentations, attendees and presenters gathered to competitively trade teas, herbs, seeds, smoked sockeye, soaps, and other goods, representing an economy that traces back thousands of years.

“Traditionally, we had vast trade routes,” said Nitanis Desjarlais, a traditional food advocate, noting there was language associated with trading. “It opened up our plates to this variety of foods, and it strengthened our relationships.”

“It was a currency,” added Desjarlais. “And it still is now.”

According to a University of British Columbia document, the First Nations of B.C. were the most “active and expert” traders in NorthAmerica, in some cases an economy traced back to 8,000 years ago.

Nuu-chah-nulth traded dried herring, halibut and cedar baskets for camas bulbs and swamp rushes (used to make mats) with the Coast Salish, reads the document.

“We were wealthy, very wealthy because it was managed as such,” saidArchie Little of his Nuu-chah-nulth nation, Nuchatlaht.

Though herring season is in spring, Little shared that historically, smoked, dried and salted herring and roe was a delicacy known to Nuchatlaht year-round.

“We had tons and tons and tons of herring and roe,” said Little. “It was shared, it was traded, it was potlatched.”

“The Nuchatlaht people ensured Nuchatlaht was always wealthy and we only took what we needed,”added Little, noting that this preserved traditional resources for generations to come.

For Nuchatlaht, because of their wealthy and rich hahaoulthee they didn’t have a need travel anywhere else to secure resources, said Little. Though, he noted that others would travel to Nuchatlaht territory for their wealth of resources.

Little reflects on a grass that grows on one of the island’s in Nuchatlaht territory, that he’s been taught was traded with East Coast NativeAmericans.

“They’d come up here to get that grass from Nuchatlaht,” he said.

When other nations would access resources on Nuchatlaht territory, they would give a portion to the chief, who would then feed his community, said Little.

“The ḥawiiḥ, the chiefs, had respect for each other,” said Little. “If they accessed [resources] out of Nuchatlaht hahoulthee, they paid taxes.”

“That’s what we need to get back to,” he added.

Despite the wealth of Nuchatlaht hahoulthee, due to government policy and regulations the First Nation’s members now leave their territory to fish and make a living, said Little.

“We had a healthy economy, except it benefited everybody, not just the richest guy on the reserve, but everybody was rich,” he explained.

When colonization met the shores of the west coast of Vancouver Island, a new capitalist economy was implemented, which Little says was focused on achieving personal gain.

“They seen the wealth of the people, the wealth of the land, wealth of the ocean, and wealth of the air, but they didn’t like how it was utilized,” he said.

“It’s like a thread. If we don’t do it right, that thread breaks, then we have nothing,” said Little. “Then, what do I leave my chil-

Attendees ofAhousaht’s food sovereignty event gathered to competitively trade and barter their goods with others there. Laughter filled the room, as people bid against one another to win over the bidder.

dren, what do I leave my grandchildren?”

According to Statistics Canada, in 2022 Indigenous families who were above the poverty line experienced food insecurity at a rate of 31 per cent - more than double that of non-Indigenous households. For families living off reserve, the food insecurity rate amounted to 34 per cent.

“Indigenous food sovereignty is even more specific to Indigenous peoples and our knowing the significant role that we’ve played, that our bio-cultural heritage has played in contributing to the food system,” said Dawn Morrison of Secwépemc, a keynote speaker atAhousaht’s Food Sovereignty event. “And yet, we still experience these gaps.”

When agriculture was introduced to B.C. in the 1800s the IndianAct, Civilization Act, and B.C. LandAct were also implemented, which dispossessed First Nations from their land and culture, said Morrison, “That displaced us and imposed a settler colonial narrative of agriculture that saw hunters and gatherers as inferior,” said


“The traditional economies have withstood the test of time,” she continued. “It’s not just the food, it’s also the knowledge around the food that we share.”

Morrison continues to see traditional rituals and protocols practiced by every First Nation that she’s been to.

“People are still giving and sharing and trading and have values around learning to live with less,” said Morrison. “That’s a very different economy than the capitalist model that we’re kind of being forced to work in.”

According to Little, trading still occurs throughout Nuu-chah-nulth through events such as potlatches. He also notes that commercial fisheries contribute to Nuchatlaht for obtaining resources in their territory.

“It’s still going on today, not as big, but it’s still happening,” said Little.

But for Jeneva Touchie (Huḥtik) of Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ, in the face of road closures and wildfires, establishing food trading networks throughout the nations of Nuu-

chah-nulth means ensuring the needs of each community are taken care of.

“We’d be able to kind of just interact with each other and really uphold each other as nations and to ensure food security for all of our citizens and our members,” said Touchie, noting that if one nation had an abundance of one resource and a lack of another, they could trade for the resource they need. “It’s something that we definitely need to get back to.”

“I’ve been trading food for most of my life,” said Desjarlais, who trades food in important places to her, like her hometown of Prince Rupert or in NorthernAlberta, where her mother is from.

For Desjarlais, the stories and culture that accompany food makes each item more valuable in a trade.

“If there’s money exchanged, it wouldn’t even come close, that’s why I don’t sell my food,” she said.

“Food is always the base of who we are,” said Touchie of what she has learned from her elders. “Everyone took care of each other.”

Page 8— Ha-Shilth-Sa—April 4, 2024
Alexandra Mehl photos

ensuring the needs of taken care of. of just interact with uphold each other food security for our members,” said one nation had an resource and a lack of for the resource something that we definitefor most of my who trades food in like her hometown Alberta, stories and culture that each item more exchanged, it wouldn’t why I don’t sell my base of who we are,” has learned from took care of each

Educators advocate for cultural diabetes support

Despite high rates of diabetes in communities, gaps in education and services prompt Indigenous-led approaches

Despite high prevalence rates of diabetes in First Nation communities, gaps in education and healthcare services prompt diabetes educators to bolster culturally safe, Indigenous-led and accessible services for people with the condition.

MatildaAtleo, an Indigenous educator in diabetes for First Nations HealthAuthority (FNHA), takes every opportunity to educate people about the disease.

“I’m aware that there are people that have diabetes and don’t even know it,” saidAtleo. “There’s likely a high prevalence of diabetes in First Nations.”

“Just being First Nation you’re at risk,” she added.

According to Diabetes Canada, due to the “intersecting factors” of historic colonial policies, barriers in accessing healthy and affordable food, alongside a genetic predisposition for type 2 diabetes, First Nations are at a higher risk in developing the disease (type two).

While 17.2 per cent of Indigenous people living on reserve are impacted by diabetes (type one and two), the prevalence rate for off-reserve First Nations sits at 12.7 per cent. The national rate is 10 per cent, according to Diabetes Canada.

Since last fall the FNHAhas been engaging with First Nation communities on Vancouver Island to develop an Island-wide diabetes strategy.

“There are a lot of gaps in service, there’s that big need,” saidAtleo. “Even just awareness.”

Atleo envisions accessible health care where First Nation people can access diabetes testing and screening outside of a hospital environment.

“They prefer to go to someplace where they feel comfortable,” saidAtleo.

First Nations who are diagnosed with diabetes are not getting the education they need in western healthcare systems, according toAtleo.

“Alot of people are not getting the education… as soon as they’re diagnosed to know what they need to do,” she said. “I’d love to see us doing some sort of traveling [on] the Island to different communities, different regions and doing screening.”

Atleo notes that it’s important First Nations people have a place to access

services where they feel safe and not experience shame or worry about being treated poorly and not be listened to.

“People would be so willing to come,” saidAtleo. “I think it gives them hope, and they say, ‘There are people that really care’.”

Rachel Dickens is a dietician with the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council. She echoes Atleo, sharing that when it comes to diabetes information, it can be confusing and hard to access.

In May of 2022, 74 Nuu-chah-nulth representatives gathered with FNHAand Island Health to develop a Nuu-chah-nulth lead approach to diabetes, shared Rachel Dickens, who is Ts’msyen of the Lax Kw’alaams First Nation.

Since then, a committee consisting of Dickens,Ahousaht’s traditional food advocate Nitanis Desjarlais and the Uut Uuštukyuu Society’s Erin Ryding organized a diabetes retreat with an aim to support families managing the disease while connecting them to traditional foods and ceremony.

“As far as we know, diabetes retreats aren’t happening,” said Dickens.

“I think the goal… for the retreat is giving the information broadly out to different generations so that this information is within communities,” said Dickens. When Dickens reflected on the impact of the retreat she shared some of the comments made by those in attendance.

“I realize my worth, I’m valuable, I need to care for myself,” she observed. “Some people [said], ‘I’ve never not had juice

for four days straight, or this is the least amount of salt I’ve eaten, I feel so good’.”

The retreat was held over a period of four days, with ceremonies interwoven throughout, said Dickens. Hunters and harvesters provided traditional foods like seal, while anAhousaht chef prepared meals.

“We treated diabetes like a family,” said Dickens. “Something a family should kind of understand rather than just the individual.”

“It’s overwhelming and scary,” said Ahousaht memberAngus Campbell of the learning that comes with a diabetes diagnosis.

Campbell doesn’t always have the time to read about diabetes, but when Dickens takes the time to sit and talk with him about the disease, it makes a difference.

“It took a while before I realized [Dickens] was there,” said Campbell. “The help that she’s been, it seems like it’s a different atmosphere.”

“It’s just about a pandemic when you have that many people that have diabetes,” said Campbell. “We need to get people to know it’s our eating habits that get us to where we are.”

For gut health, stop eating ‘dead food’

PortAlberni, BC – Chef Ximana Nola

Mack of Nuxalk works with traditional foods that she grew up on. Highly sought after, Chef Nola was invited to cook for the Prime Minister of Canada. She was a guest at the Island Indigenous Foods Gathering on March 21-22 and delivered a presentation on how traditional foods, medicines and alternative recipes can be used to heal our gut and improve the overall wellness of Indigenous peoples.

Ximana Nola Mack started off by saying that she was raised up in a smokehouse, learning how to prepare and care for traditional foods by her elders.

She is proud to tell people that she is Nuxalk and Carrier, with her mother coming from Bella Coola, and her father from Fort St. James.

“My Nuxalk name ‘Ximana’means bright light woman,” Nola shared.

Mack, a graduate of culinary school, noted that in a world cuisine course she took NorthAmerican Indigenous food is not represented.

“I’m trying to make that change,” she said, adding that she’s working on developing First Nations recipes and menus.

The young chef not only owns her own restaurant but also caters and teaches about traditional Indigenous foods. She became emotional when she spoke of opening her restaurant in 2019, which she named after daughter, who died not long before the opening. Her daughter was born in 2017 with some health challenges.

“I want to show that her life is meaningful and had purpose,” Mack shared. And so, the restaurant in downtown Bella Coola is named Phoenix Spirit Cafe.

At first, Mack says she served what people wanted.

“Poutine, fried food, garbage food – I was embarrassed,” she shared. And then the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

Still grieving the loss of her daughter, Mack was working 18 hours a day and living off of restaurant leftovers, pastries and sugary drinks.

“My health was going downhill – hair loss, skin issues,” said Mack. She turned to an empowerment coach to begin healing and said she started to learn to love herself again. She made the decision to stop eating what she calls dead food.

“Dead food is processed food where everything good and nutritious is killed by processing,” she explained.

Mack turned to traditional foods – bone broth, eulachon grease, soap berries, fish and game meat. Foods that are fresh and alive. It wasn’t long before she saw her skin clear and her hair thickened.

Chef Mack teaches about live and dead food.At the presentation she shared a platter of delicious fruit leather, made of berries, rose hips, nettles, maple syrup and a few other simple, natural ingredients.

Besides culinary school, Chef Mack credits her elders, including her mother-in-law, for teaching her lessons passed down from people that lived in the 1800s.

“I call myself the Medicine Chef,” she smiled.

She urges people to cook with organic, natural ingredients. To use things like freshly ground flours, healthy fats like ghee (organic butter with milk solids removed), herbs and natural sweeteners.

“You want to extract all flavors from natural ingredients,” she explained.

Afollower ofAyurveda, an ancient Indian

system of medicine based on the idea that disease is caused by an imbalance or stress in a person’s consciousness, Mack recommends that people take the free Dosha Quiz online to learn more about a natural diet that suits their specific needs.

The first step inAyurveda is to heal the gut and that starts with a hot cup of water first thing in the morning.

“Your gut wants the warmth,” said Mack, adding that people can flavor their water with fresh lime, lemon or ginger.

Mack is takingAyurveda and Indigenizing it.

“I’m pretty sure our food was science back then,” she said.

“I teach this because we all need to know who we are and where we come from,” said Chef Mack, adding, “we’ve had it before and it’s good to bring it back.”

April 4, 2024—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 9 economies sustainability
Alexandra Mehl photos e. Laugh- Nola Mack MatildaAtleo, an Indigenous educator in diabetes for the First Nations HealthAuthority, shares diabetes information with attendees atAhousaht’s Food Sovereignty Event in late March.

Tla-o-qui-aht reprises naa%uu cultural experience

Three-hour event showcases First Nation’s art, language, storytelling and dance, with a culturally inspired meal

Tofino, BC – Tla-o-qui-aht is bringing back its successful Indigenous tourism experience to Tin Wis Resort in May 2024.

“Given its debut success in 2023, Tlao-qui-aht First Nation and its Tla-o-quiaht Tribal Parks initiative are pleased to announce the return of its Indigenous tourism experience, titled naaʔuu (meaning ‘feast’in Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation language),” they wrote in a March 13 statement.

Naaʔuu is a three-hour event delivered to visitors by Tla-o-qui-aht people. Guests who purchase tickets will enjoy a “Tla-o-qui-aht inspired dinner”, followed by a performance that promises to wrap guests in Tla-o-qui-aht history, culture and perspective, “shared through song, food and engaging content,” according to the First Nation.

Tin Wis Resort is owned by the Tla-oqui-aht First Nation, so it makes sense that it will serve as the venue for naaʔuu.

“We are honoured to be the host venue for the event series, knowing that this establishment is meeting the original goal set out by our leadership – to be fostering our culture and bringing more opportunities for Tla-o-qui-aht people,” said Tin Wis Resort assistant manager and Tla-oqui-aht citizen, Maria Clark.

In addition to the presentation and meal, the Tin Wis Resort Conference Centre will host artists who will display their works and provide demonstrations. Some pieces may be available for purchase.

“naaʔuu presents the chance to listen, learn, and join the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation as we embark on a journey through our past, present and future generations,” explains naaʔuu’s artistic director, Ivy Cargill-Martin.

She went on to say that she is pleased to be a part of bringing Tla-o-qui-aht stories to life through her art and her own personal way of storytelling.

Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks lead Saya Masso said that events like naaʔuu serve to move the First Nation’s people forward in cultural and language resurgence, while allowing visitors to learn about Tla-o-qui-aht history through their


In its inaugural season, naaʔuu, generated more than $60,000 from tickets, while the art show made $13,430 in sales, according to the 2023 final report. That event happened in March 2023, just ahead of the start of the busy tourist season.

All proceeds from naaʔuu go to support Tla-o-qui-aht’s efforts in cultural and language resurgence.

The naaʔuu experience will begin at 6 p.m. and will show on May 24 and 25. It will show again on June 7, 8, 14, 15, 22, 28 and 29th.

For more information about naaʔuu visit www.naauu.com or contact Saya Masso at lands@tla-o-qui-aht.org or call him at 250-725-3350.

Page 10— Ha-Shilth-Sa—April 4, 2024
Phrase†of†the†week:†+uh=%a>%iš†%a>†+uupkš†i>†c^imš†%ii†%a>†waa%ic^mit%i%a> Pronounced ‘Thup slith alt is chims ee alth wah itch mit ee alth’, it means ‘This is the time the bears wake up from their big sleep!’. Supplied by ciisma. Illustration by Koyah Morgan-Banke Eric Plummer photos Timothy Masso wears masks made by Hjalmer Wenstob for the Naaʔuu cultural event in March 2023 at the Best Western Tin Wis. The three-hour event returns to the venue this year with performances in May and June.

Vickers named Art Council’s first elder-in-residence

New role entails mentoring Indigenous artists while providing insight and guidance to the B.C. Arts Council

Tofino, BC –Acrowd gathered in Roy Henry Vickers gallery, which has been on Tofino’s Campbell Street since 1986, as the B.C.Art Council announced the world-renowned Tsimshian, Haida and Heiltsuk artist as the inaugural elder-inresidence.

“I am so proud and moved to be able to announce that this great person here will be the first new elder-in-residence role at the BCArts Council,” announced Lana Popham, minister of TourismArts, Culture, and Sport, to the group of people gathered.

Vickers’role as elder-in-residence will not only provide an Indigenous voice to the B.C. arts council, but also give mentorship opportunities for First Nations artists.

“He’s a designer, he’s a carver, he’s a writer, he’s a printmaker, he’s an artist, he has a lot to offer,” said Sae-Hoon Stan Chung, chair of the BCArts Council.

“Particularly those mid-career youth artists who want to figure out how to enter the market [and] how to stay in the market.”

But it’s not always about the market and “success in traditional terms”, shared Chung.

“He wants to understand where you are as an artist, and help you develop in a way that you want to develop,” said Chung.

Chung goes on to share that Vickers is

the first Indigenous artist in Canada to own his own gallery. He hopes that Vickers’mentorship can help guide Indigenous artists to have similar ownership of their art.

Before Vickers started his journey as elder-in-residence, he significantly impacted the B.C.Arts Council through his involvement from July 2019 to January 2023.

Through suggestions from Vickers, BC

Art Council meetings shifted to include more relevant topics and approaches to Indigenous artists, shared Chung to the audience. Vickers’input even resulted in changes to the organization’s policies to focus on relationships.

Mentorship will be accessible through funding mechanisms, said Chung. He noted that there will be funding opportunities for youth to travel to conferences and festivals where Vickers will be fea-

tured as a speaker.

“It supports truth by listening to elders, like myself, who have grown up and know the land,” said Vickers, when asked how this role supports truth and reconciliation.

“I’m glad that I’ll have the elders voice to do this,” he said, noting how arts, culture, healing, and the environment holds a place close to his heart. “It’s one of the biggest honors of my career.”

Vickers, said Chung, represents the wisdom and knowledge needed to heal.

For the BCArts Council, recognizing the harmful impacts of funding systems that excluded Indigenous people is a part of truth and reconciliation, shared Chung.

“We want to show Indigenous communities that we’re serious about truth and reconciliation, and we’re serious about saying, ‘Sorry, we didn’t get this right in the past, but we’re trying to do things differently now’,” he said.

“One of the things that we’re doing is making sure that Indigenous elders have a chance to affect Indigenous youth and Indigenous communities with the appropriate roles,” said Chung.

“I’m proud to be the first Elder-inResidence for the BCArts Council,” said Vickers in a press release. “This role allows me to serve both my local community and the larger arts community.

I’m looking forward to sharing my perspectives and stories and working with the council to support artists across the province.”

Chief approves Tofino’s vote to restrict short-term rentals

Tofino, BC - Tla-o-qui-aht Chief Councillor Elmer Frank says Tofino mayor and council made the right move to opt-in to B.C.’s new short-term rental (STR) regulations, despite being exempt as a resort community.

During a March 12 meeting, Tofino council discussed community housing concerns for over an hour before ultimately voting 5-2 in favour of Bill 35 - STRAccommodationAct, which seeks to regulate short-term rentals throughout the province by restricting services like Airbnbs to the host’s principal residence, plus one secondary suite or accessory dwelling unit on the property.

“I honestly think it’s a positive move for the outcome of trying to make Tofino sustainable,” said TFN chief Frank. “Take a look at the job market right now. There are so many jobs in Tofino that are open for applications, but along with those jobs there is no housing.”

He went on to share that business owners are required to create staff accommodations, and when those options are exhausted, many people opt to live in RV campgrounds.

“I’ve lived in Tofino all my life. Fifty years,” said Frank. “There’s been a large growth in the commercialization of housing and it’s been really pushing out a lot of the locals that used to live in Tofino, in terms of continuing to make Tofino affordable living.”

Prior to the March 12 vote, the TofinoLong Beach Chamber of Commerce sent a letter to Tofino Mayor Dan Law and his council asking for more time.

“The board does not feel that members of the community – and certainly our

organization – have had adequate time to consider the potential impacts, both positive and negative, that it could have on Tofino,” reads the letter dated Feb. 23. The District of Tofino, which operates on the traditional territory of the Tla-o-quiaht First Nation, received a total of 114 letters throughout the month-long community consultation process and about 54 per cent of participants did not want to opt-in to Bill 35, a staff report to council said.

“We felt like this needed a bit more time,” said Chamber President Laura McDonald. “(The decision to opt-in) certainly came as a surprise. It’s going to be interesting to see where it goes.”

McDonald emphasized that the chamber has been talking about housing and affordable homes for years and years. She was unsure how the new STR regulations would impact Tofino’s business community.

“I don’t know how we would measure the impact that this decision is going to have on business because there are so many things at play now for our business community,” she said.

Frank told the Ha-Shilth-Sa that it would be “very tough” for any Tla-o-quiaht family who wants to live in the core of Tofino to find something suitable.

“It is going to affect some people definitely, like how they will be able to afford their mortgages, but more so in the longterm I think it’s going to be beneficial to continue to maintain the community atmosphere of being a Tofino local,” he said.

“It’s a tough struggle for those that do want to become local and stay here and make this their home,” continued Frank.

“We’ve always been welcoming and we’ve always wanted to be working with

each other and to try to live with each other. Over the last 10 to 15 years things have changed. We still have that passion of doing that, but one of the main things we are missing is the local knowledge of each other, of who’s who. Back in the 1990s, we’d be able to drive by a certain vehicle and we’d know who it was.

That’s changed.”

Frank resides in the TFN community of Esowista, located on Long Beach about 15 minutes from Tofino. He said an economic development initiative submitted to Tofino’s former mayor and council over the 2014-2018 term to build housing on Tla-o-qui-aht-owned district lots was denied because of infrastructure.

“Not too long after that, we saw all these developments happen in Tofino when we’re told there’s no infrastructure; there’s no sewer, there’s no water. It frustrates us when we see all these other de-

velopments happening and puts a damper on our housing initiative,” said Frank.

TFN is in the midst of negotiating with the Government of Canada to add about 90 more housing units within the next four years in the community of Ty-Histanis, adjacent to Esowista. Chief Councillor Frank said theAddition to Reserve is tied to reconciliation with Indigenous Services Canada.

“Canada is eager to come forward to the table and start negotiating with Tla-o-quiaht,” he said. “There will have to be land and site prep with infrastructure needs. It’s a big highlight for us. It’s our continued goal to complete thatAdditions to Reserve.”

The province will be responsible for enforcing the new Principal Residence Requirement legislation, which takes effect for Tofino STR operators as of Nov. 1, 2024.

April 4, 2024—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 11
Nora O’Malley photo Tofino is aligning with provincial restrictions to short-term rental properies in hope of curbing its housing crisis. Pictured is a totem pole, or Čiinuł, gifted to Tofino by Tla-o-qui-aht carver Joe David in 2018 at theAnchor Park lookout. Alexandra Mehl photo On March 27 in Roy Henry Vickers gallery in Tofino Lana Popham, minister of TourismArts, Culture, and Sport, announced Roy Henry Vickers as the inaugural elder-in-residence for the BCArts Council.

President’s Message

Hello to everyone. Hope all of you are doing well and your communities are progressing forward in many different ways. Nice time of year when we start getting more light, herring have come and gone, and salmon will start moving through in the next month.Again, I express my deepest sympathies for the loss of so many of our precious people from our communities.

I was excited to attend the cleansing and launch of the harm reduction van that was an initiative of the NTC’s Teechuktl department. The department worked for several years of proposal writing to get the money needed for this project. This van will go out in the cities of Port Alberni, Nanaimo, Tofino and Campbell River to help improve the safety of Nuuchah-nulth who use street drugs and are homeless. The van has Naxolone kits, syringes, etc. as well as water and juice, blankets and there will two harm reduction workers with the van to help those in need. The van is beautifully painted with headdress dancers, humming birds, cedar and logos. We know this van will make a difference to many and it is easily identified driving around the various towns it will service.

This time of year is of course budget meetings, NTC does one for First Nations staff and one for the members of the society. The new fiscal year beganApril 1, 2024. The finances at the NTC are varied. We do have an NTC budget for all First Nations for tribal council funding. The Maa-nulth Nations negotiate their own funding from CIRNA, andAhousaht and Ehattesaht negotiate their own funding agreements with Indigenous Services Canada. The remaining seven do a collective comprehensive funding agreement with ISC. Nations not part of the comprehensive funding agreement can buy back services from the NTC and do so by way of agreement. Over the years, many formulas were adopted to make the budgeting process easier so there is not any money that is available to determine distribution. This year, ISC provided a 2 per cent escalator clause, that is they added 2 per cent to most budget items.

Every year ISC determines an escalator but it never keeps up with inflation or the population growth and needs in our communities. At times it has been as low as .75 per cent and the max has been 2 per cent. ISC says it all depends on the money they are allotted in the federal budget. At no time have the First Nations had a say in what the escalator is even though we have made many requests for increase in funding that actually reflect the reality of our situations.

It is important for Nuu-chah-ulth to know that NTC had to end the Nuuchah-nulth education workers (NEW’s) program because ISC made changes to the funding formula that did not allow us to pay for the workers. ISC did not ask NTC or work with us but changed the funding formula without our input and consent. Additionally, School District 70 paid for half the wages of the NEW workers and they decided to hire their own Indigenous service workers. Our education manager is working with SD 70 in order to keep our NEWs in a new capacity. We all know how very important these workers have been to our Nuuchah-nulth students and how much of a good difference they have made for our students and families, but we must face the fact that there is no more funding for these positions. The executive is doing what we can politically to go back to the

funding formula under our block agreement so we can restore this program, it may be in a different way to put in place supports for our students.

I spoke at the Indigenous Tourism Conference in March. Many Nuu-chah-nulth nations have tourism businesses in their territories and helping to promote First Nation tourism is important. The theme of my panel was Working with First Nations:Allies Partnerships Ethics and Protocols and explored ways to be allies and work with First Nations throughout the province. I also talked about the new relationship and reconciliation with First Nations including ethics in the use of art, imagery, practices and languages as well as protocols with other First Nations and Indigenous organizations.

Coming up fromApril 8-10 is the BC First Nations Justice Forum. B.C. is the only province where First Nations have a justice strategy in many different areas. Aforum is held yearly to get input from First Nations across the province. The B.C. First Nations Justice Council has funding for two delegates from each First Nation to attend. The BCFNHJC will be rolling out a strategy on the Indigenous women justice plan, discussions on policing and diversion legal services delivery. BCFNJC now has almost 10 Indigenous centres operating or being completed in the next few months. With funding from B.C. we will also have another five opening within the year. Wrap around services will be available for all those areas that have a justice centre. There will also be presentations and discussion on Indigenous laws in community, child protection. If any of this interests you I hope you will attend and add input into the developing strategies and action in justice. The BCFNJC has two tracks they work on; the first is improving the justice system as it is now and the second is restoring and implementing First Nations laws and institutions.

There is an existing federal First Nations justice plan that is being changed as well. Also, both B.C. and Canada are amending their laws to be in line with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. (UNDRIP)

There are other interesting events coming up inApril in the territories of the Nuu-chah-nulth including NTC sponsoring theAAROM fishing strategy where people will gather from around Canada. There are many exciting events being held by First Nations and I look forward to reporting out to you next on the events I am able to attend and the issues I am involved in.


Judith Sayers

ʔahʔiiḥčap ʔukʷił ʔiqḥmuut (Honouring ourAncient Ones)

April 10, 2024


9:30 am to 5:00 pm.Ahousaht invites you to be with us as we share information about our search for children who attended theAhousaht Residential School and children who attended the Christie Residential School. We will share results of Phase I of Ground surveys conducted at both school sites, a summary about the archival research as well as share an update about the interview process. If you attended eitherAhousaht Residential School or Christie Residential School and if would like to come to this event we can assist with travel expenses. Please contact us at 250 670 9563 ext. 503. Contact: AnneAtleo, RSRP Manager residentialschool.researchproject@ahousaht.ca

NETPCareer Fair

April 11, 2024

PortAlberni –Athletic Hall

9:00am-3:00pm Forward your information to Nuu-chah-nulth Employment & Training Program, 4090 8thAvenue PortAlberni Bc. Phone: 250723-1331 Fax: 250-723-1336 Email: shan.ross@nuuchahnulth.org or kirunn. sharma@ nuuchahnulth.org

Nuu-chah-nulth Baby Group

Every Monday

CYS - 4841 Redford Street, Port Alberni

10am-12pm. We offer Prenatal and infant development information, special guests, snacks provide and $20.00 food voucher

&Community Beyond

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

Page 12— Ha-Shilth-Sa—April 4, 2024
Florence Wylie photo Long-serving Finance Director Gudrun Haase was recognized by the Nuu-chahnulth Tribal Council during its budget meeting on March 26. Pictured is Haase at the Best Western Barclay Hotel in PortAlberni with NTC President Judith Sayers and Vice-President Les Doiron.

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 4, 2024—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 13

Ahousaht U13 boys win Junior All Native tournament

Tseshaht Pride U17 Girls finish second over the grueling tournament, being named Most Sportsmanlike team

Terrace, BC - Bulldozers. Untouchables. The 6-0 Team.

Coach Luke Swan Jr. and his U13 Ahousaht Guardians boys basketball team made the long journey home from Nisga’a North, Terrace, B.C. and the 2024 JuniorAll Native Tournament as undefeated champions.

“Last year we placed third and I think that lit a spark under their feet to work hard,” said Swan Jr. “As soon as September came around and we were able to get gym spots, everybody was right into tune for practice and getting into shape.”

“Our focus was being able to run for a long time,” continued the coach. “It was all running. Even right down to the last wire, we were running in the water, running on the beach, rain or shine, running a couple steep hills.”

And while the JANT 2024 Championship banner will add sparkle to the rafters of the Maaqtusiis Gymnasium, it might be winning the title of Most Sportsmanlike Team that emulates.

“TheAhousaht way is always with ʔiisaak, you know respect. That’s what we taught in the gym too,” said Swan Jr. “It’s bigger than basketball. The main thing is giving them that opportunity to keep building on their young lives, giving them new tools, giving them new friends and to learn all the time from their mistakes.”

The youngAhousaht Guardians bested a field of 24 teams, handily outscoring each opponent en route to a blowout 66-37 final game against Greenville, one of the host nations.

“I can go on all day and brag about these boys and how they did as a team and individuals, but the biggest thing being respect. They played with all the teachings from home and practice, like helping each other up whether it’s your opponent or teammate that falls,” said Swan Jr. Ahousaht member Devin Robinson doubled back to northern B.C. for the JANT as coach for the U13 Girls Snuneymuxw Islanders, a mostlyAhousaht squad based out of Nanaimo.Amonth earlier, Robinson went to Prince Rupert for the All Native Tournament, representing Ahousaht’s intermediate boys team. This time around, his young Snuneymuxw girls placed third overall and also earned the accolade of Most Sportsmanlike.

“That was a big one. The girls didn’t play dirty. They took the punches without retaliating,” said Robinson, whose daughters Taimani, 11, and Shoni, 9, play

on the squad.

“I wish I did this a little bit sooner. I’m just giving back to our youth because our dad did it for us,” said Robinson. “Just allowing these kids to see all this, it fills my heart enough to see the smiles on their faces.After a couple years, they get to know one another and make friends. It’s something they all look forward to.”

The U17 Girls Tseshaht Pride finished second, falling only to defending champs Bella Coola. Coach Joe Charleson says they played with “no fear” and leading up to the final, the girls won four games over the span of two days.

“Defense got us there,” he said. “But (Bella Coola) had a player that went off on us and was scoring pretty much at will. It was a slow pace to that final because everybody was tired. It was a long week.”

The Pride was another Nuu-chah-nulth troop to take home the Most SportsmanlikeAward for their division.

“We didn’t complain about fouls. I spent half my time on the sidelines yelling at them not to reach on defense,” said Charleson. “There’s a number of other factors, but the girls were always respectful of other players that they played against.”

For individual awards, Jaiden Knighton and Genaveve Pierre were namedAllStars, Knighton also claimed Ms. Hustle

and Kionah Williams won Most Promising Player.

For theAhousaht Guardians, tournament MVP went to Louie Thomas,All-Stars went to Louis Frank and Vaughn Robinson, Jordan Francis claimed Most Inspirational Player and Ben Charlie brought back the award for Most Sportsmanlike Player.

On March 27 the community of Ahousaht gathered for a meal in the gym to celebrate the young basketball champions.

“Thanks to everybody for their support, and to all the people here not just in Ahousaht, but from all over that supported our teams, getting them to Ter-

race,” said Swan Jr. “Going forward, part of our goal is to build up the programs so nobody gets left behind. I spend so much time on council and this is 100-times more rewarding when you can actually be part of change in our youth’s lives.”

Aquick, couple days after returning home, Swan Jr. says he was already getting messages from all the boys asking, ‘Are we going to the gym at five?’

“We will continue through the summer,” he assured.

There were 11 teams representing Nuuchah-nulth and Maa-nulth at the 2024 JANT with seven teams coming from Vancouver Island’s west coast. Kelowna will host the tournament next year.

Page 14— Ha-Shilth-Sa—April 4, 2024
ProRez Studios photos TheAhousaht Guardians celebrate winning the U13 division at the JuniorAll Native Tournament on March 22. Snuneymuxw girls flash peace signs in semi-finals in Terrace, B.C. Tseshaht Pride battle for possession during the U17 Girls final.

On March

Hesquiaht remembers Easter Friday tsunami of 1964

After running up a hill in the dark, a family recalls houses floating in the cove as boats searched for survivors

Hot Springs Cove, BC – It’s been 60 years since the Hesquiaht village of Hot Springs Cove was struck by a late-night tsunami that left most of the residents homeless in its aftermath, but survivors are grateful that no local lives were lost as they reflect on memories of that terrifying night.

On March 27, 1964, a 9.2 megathrust quake shookAlaska at 4:36 p.m. Known as the GreatAlaska Earthquake and the Good Friday Earthquake, it was the second largest earthquake on modern record and the largest ever in NorthAmerica. The quake sent damaging waves across the Pacific Ocean and down the North American coast as far south as California and west toward Hawaii and Japan. Back then they were called tidal waves. Today they are known as tsunamis.

Over the years Ha-Shilth-Sa has shared the stories of many Nuu-chah-nulth survivors that witnessed the tsunamis that struck in Hot Springs Cove and Port Alberni.

Hesquiaht mother and son, Dolores Bayne and Ha’wilth VinceAmbrose, shared what they remember from that night in 1964.

“We were having dinner and someone outside was yelling, ‘Get out! Run to the hills!’,” saidAmbrose, who was five years old at the time.

Dolores recalled that it was Good Friday and she had been ironing clothes for Easter Sunday church services, while her husband BillyAmbrose was eating at the table with their younger children, Vince, Marion and Rose. Their older daughter, Doreen, was at Christie Residential School on Meares Island.

According to Dolores, her husband had salvaged an abandoned house from nearby Muchasnit and towed it to the village to fix it up for his family to live in.

At that time, they were living in Edward and Maude Jones’s house. The Joneses had moved to PortAlberni and allowed theAmbroses to use their house, which was on stilts on the west end of the head of the cove.

In 1964 the village was powered by generators, which were off by the time the tsunami struck. People that were still awake at 11 p.m. were using gas or oil

lanterns for light.

Busy with her ironing, Dolores said she heard something at the open back door.

“I saw junk floating by and water running in,” she remembered.

Speaking in the Hesquiaht language, someone shouted the word for ‘tidal wave’.

“Their dad (BillyAmbrose) yelled to get the kids upstairs, and I thought we might even have to go on the roof,” said Dolores.

On the way upstairs, the children were dressed in boots and coats. When the water receded the family ran outside and headed for the hill on the west end of the village.

“I had baby Rose and Vince on one arm and their dad had Marion,” said Dolores. At some point, Vince was handed over to Mike Tom Jr., who, at that time was a young married man with a baby girl. Mike had been running to the hill with his wife, baby and mother.

“They (the Toms) were carrying their mother and she fell…someone had to grab her by the hair to save her,” said Dolores.

On the way to the hill, the survivors had to cross what Dolores described as a channel of water, like a ditch, but with a fast-moving current.

“I slipped (and fell into the channel of water) and Mike grabbed me, saving me,” saidAmbrose.

After fighting through bushes and branches in the pitch dark, the family made it to safety. The family joined Chief BenAndrews, Hesquiaht Tyee Ha’wilth, and his wife Columba, where Jean Charleson lived.

“Jean put up a tarp and had blankets –she told us to put the kids under the tarp where her kids were,” said Dolores.

As the second surge of water receded, BillyAmbrose went back down to the house to retrieve blankets as Columba pleaded with him not to go.

“But the water came back up and he had to wait for it to recede,”Ambrose recalled.

From the safety of the hill, the family saw some of the village houses floating out into the cove as boats rushed to each one, looking for survivors.

“I saw a house floating with two people on the roof,” saidAmbrose.

As the rescue boat pulled the surviving

elderly coupleAlex and MaryAmos to safety, the house burst into flames. Dolores remembers seeing her uncle Matthew and aunt Mamie Lucas’house going up in flames while Sylvester Charleson and David Charleson used a skiff to check for survivors in the houses that were floating away.

The survivors, children included, slept outside, under the tarp, huddled in blankets overnight. Jean Charleson comforted the survivors with food and hot drinks. Her house and one on the opposite end of the village were the only two of the 18 homes that escaped the tsunami unscathed.

The following morning,Ambrose recalls seeing his family home for the first time in daylight. The house had been built on stilts but the waves had knocked one side off.

“The next dayAhousaht boats came to pick us up,” Dolores recalled. “We stayed there for a few days after salvaging what we could.”

The house that her husband had attempted to salvage for the family had also been washed away in the tsunami. “All that hard work was gone,” said Dolores.

Sometime later, residents came back to the cove where they were met with boxes and boxes of donated food, clothing and household goods. “I think they were from Vancouver,” said Dolores, adding that the Ahousahts had donated kitchen ware.

“We moved into one of Ivan Clarke’s cabins,” she recalled.

Ivan Clarke owned the general store in Hot Springs Cove and his buildings were undamaged by the tsunami.

On March 27, 2024, Hesquiaht Chief Councilor Mariah Charleson, whose grandmother Jean worked so hard to comfort the children and other survivors, acknowledged the 60th anniversary of that terrifying night.

“The aftermath of the tidal wave and the sheer devastation of the village has impacts that last to this day,” she wrote.

Sending her love to all the survivors of the tsunami, Charleson stated, “We, as Hesquiahts, have been displaced many times throughout history due to Canada’s mandate to assimilate us (creation of reserves system, IndianAct, Residential “School” System). The tidal wave in 1964 was another cause of displacement that has lasting impacts on all Hesquiahts leading to many of our people to be further displaced from our territories that have sustained us since time immemorial.

We are strong and intelligent people. We got through this traumatizing experience and we are still here as strong Hesquiahts.”

For both mother and son, the events of that night left long-lasting scars.

“It still chokes me up because Vince is here today…we could have lost him… and my grandmother and grandfather, we could have lost them,” said Dolores.

“This is why I react the way I do… whenever we get a tsunami warming, my mind goes into high gear,” saidAmbrose.

April 4, 2024—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 15
27, 1964, what has become known as the GreatAlaska Earthquake set off a tsunami, damaging 18 of the 20 homes in Hot Springs Cove at the time. Hesquiaht mother and son, Dolores Bayne and Ha’wilth VinceAmbrose, shared what they remember from that night in 1964.

• Resume support

• Job search strategies

• Cover letter creation

• Job coaching support

• Interview preparation

• Job start/retention supports

• Adult upgrading

• Trades training support

• Certified training

• Drivers training

• Individual certificate training

• Youth employment projects

• Access to wage subsidy

Page 16— Ha-Shilth-Sa—April 4, 2024
Nuu-chah-nulth Employment & Training Program Services
CONTACT US TODAY 1-833-276-5849 4090 8th Ave Port Alberni Monday - Friday 8:00am - 4:30pm
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