Ha-Shilth-Sa Newspaper April 8, 2021

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INTERESTING NEWS Canada’s Oldest First Nations Newspaper - Serving Nuu-chah-nulth-aht since 1974 Canadian Publications Mail Product Vol. 48 - No. 07—April 8, 2021 haas^i>sa Sales Agreement No. 40047776

Photo by Denise Titian

Friends of homicide victim, Clifton Johnston, are blanketted by Johnston’s mother, Iris Clarke, during candlelight vigil at the Port Alberni Friendship Center

Suspect arrested in Mar. 27 death of Clifton Johnston Young Ahousaht man remembered for his kindness and hugs at candle light vigil By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Port Alberni, BC - A two-block section of 4th Avenue in Port Alberni was cordoned off as police investigated the death of a man found lying near the entrance of the Port Alberni Friendship Center on the morning of Saturday Mar. 27, 2021. “EHS and Police responded to the 3500 block of 4th Avenue Port Alberni and located a deceased man on the sidewalk. The man is believed to be in his twenties. The death is being treated as suspicious and the police are investigating,” reads the RCMP statement. Later that evening, police notified the family of 20-year-old Clifton Alec Johnston, from Ahousaht, that he was the victim of a homicide. Port Alberni Victims Services unit has been working closely with all those affected by this incident. “The Port Alberni RCMP continues to work with partners including the RCMP Forensic Identification Section and the BC Coroner’s Service on this investiga-

tion. A report to crown counsel has not yet been submitted, charges have not yet been approved, and thus the suspect will not be identified,” the statement continues. The investigation is continuing and police believe the suspect and victim knew each other and there is no on-going risk to the general public. Johnston, a resident of Abbotsford, B.C., grew up in Ahousaht and Port Alberni. He graduated from Alberni District Secondary School, making many friends there. He came to Port Alberni with his family that weekend. “I just dropped him off for a visit and was supposed to pick him up,” said Iris Clarke through her tears as she clutched framed photographs her son to her heart. Clarke is the mother of 20-year-old Clifton Johnston. She was speaking to a crowd that gathered at the sunset candlelight vigil for her son at the Port Alberni Friendship Center on Mar. 29. Clarke, who also lives in Abbotsford, BC, with her husband and younger

Inside this issue... Healing practices pilot project....................................Page 3 Bid for marked chinook fishery..................................Page 5 Ken Watts leads a healthier lifestyle...........................Page 8 Job opportunities board..............................................Page 9 Planning for SD70 grad............................................Page 11

children, invited friends and family there to remember her son and to support one another as they grieve his loss. After welcoming people, Clarke set out three framed photographs of Clifton near the concrete stairs where his body had lain two days before. She thanked the people for coming, telling them that she could see by the number of people there that there as a lot of love for Clifton. There was no talk about what may have happened to him – it was all a show of love and support and tears. Many people laid flowers and candles at the site. Leslie Mickey performed a Hesquiaht prayer chant, asking people to be strong, to heal, and to support the family. Ahousaht elder Wally Samuel said that elders had gone down to the site on the afternoon of Mar. 27 to perform a cleansing ceremony, not knowing who the victim was. “Some people said it’s probably just someone from the ghetto – well, that doesn’t matter, we’re all human,” Samuel told the crowd. As it turned out, the young man was

related to the elders that performed the cleansing ceremony. Samuel said Johnston was good friends with his granddaughter, whom he went to school with when he was living in Port Alberni. “He was a happy, fun-loving young boy,” said Samuel. Others have described him as quiet, with an infectious smile. Iris shared stories about her son while holding a bumble bee stuffy. She said that she has cried endlessly, adding that this is a pain that no mother ever wants to go through. Through her tears she remembered the tight hugs her son gave. “He had a pure heart and when we talked about his future, he said he wanted to be a bee keeper…of all things, he wanted to be a bee keeper, and he would have been good at it,” she said with a tearful smile before placing the bee stuffy next to his portrait.

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

Continued on page 2.

Page 2— Ha-Shilth-Sa—April 8, 2021

Photo supplied by Tristan Oliver

Members from the Alpine Club of Canada and the youth warriors pose in front of the 5040 hut, now known as Hišimy̓awiƛ, on the day of the naming ceremony.

Mountain hut at 5040 Peak is named Hišimy`awi+ For the first time an Alpine Club of Canada hut is named by Nuu-chah-nulth-aht By Melissa Renwick Local Journalism Initiative Reporter As the darkness of night set in, Hayden Seitcher resorted to his headlight to guide the way up 5040 Peak. It was only the beginning of October but the mountain was already covered in snow. Pushing through, the Tla-o-qui-aht man mounted higher until he noticed faint lights glimmering in the distance. He immediately recognized them as the 5040 hut. Alongside youth warriors, Evan Touchie, Ethan Tom, Daniel Williams and Tyson Touchie, Seitcher made the jour-

ney for the naming ceremony of the hut. Of the roughly 35 Alpine Club of Canada (ACC) huts, it is the first to be named by First Nations. The Quuquuatsa Language Society, an organization focused on Nuu-chahnulth language revitalization, decided on Hišimy̓awiƛ, which means “gather together.” For Seitcher, it felt like the perfect fit. “It doesn’t signify just one nation, it signifies everyone gathering together,” he said. Traditionally, the ACC have named their huts after a prominent or deceased club member, said Chris Jensen, project lead

for Hišimy̓awiƛ. “I wanted to do something a little bit different,” he said. “Something that honoured the history of the area.” The following day, the youth warriors gathered around a white bucket that doubled as a makeshift drum. Having forgotten their own, they used spatulas and other miscellaneous items from inside the hut as drumsticks, recalled Seitcher. Together, they sang a victory song during the naming ceremony. “It was something to celebrate,” he said. With views that extend hundreds of kilometres wide, “it’s a very powerful spot,” said Jensen.

There’s no better place to view the traditional Nuu-chah-nulth territories than the alpine, he said. It is unknown how huts will be named in the future, but Jensen said he hopes the ACC has turned a corner. “This may become the normal process,” he said. “It will be up to each project to decide how they name it, but I think this sets the precedent for this national organization and we hope future huts follow in this direction.”

Police ask witness to come forward with information Continued from page 1. Clarke again thanked the people for coming to support her, saying she loved her son and she knows they did too. Clarke’s mother, Marlene John, talked about the pain of losing a 20-year-old son through suicide, and now she’s lost a 20-year-old grandson. “Look after each other, please, all you young ones,” she pleaded before breaking down in tears. Elder Wally Samuel agreed, telling the young people to always let someone know where they’re going and when they will be back. “We don’t ask where you’re going to be nosey, we just want you to be safe,” said Samuel. The young friends of Johnston were invited to stand with the family, where they were blanketed, in a gesture of comfort and support. As the sun dropped below the horizon, lit candles were placed at the makeshift memorial. Police arrested a suspect on Wednesday, Mar. 31, 2021. “We have finished processing the crime scene but we are still asking the public for their assistance. If anyone was in the area at approximately 6:30 am on March 27th or may have witnessed this incident, please call us,” said Sergeant Clayton

Wiebe of the Port Alberni RCMP. On Thursday, April 1, 2021, the RCMP issued a statement asking that the witness that found Johnston to come forward. “As the investigation into Port Alberni’s recent homicide continues, investigators are now looking to speak with the man that first discovered the deceased in front of the Friendship Center on Saturday March 27th,” reads the statement. It goes on to say that the man who discovered the body was walking southbound on the east sidewalk of 4th avenue at approximately 7:15 a.m., Saturday March 27th. According to police, he was dressed in black and did not leave his contact information. “Police believe he may have information crucial to this investigation, and are urging him to come forward,” reads the statement. The Port Alberni RCMP are asking this man, or anyone who believes they know who he is, to please contact Sgt. Clayton Wiebe at (250) 723-2424 with the Port Alberni RCMP General Investigation Section. If you witnessed this incident or have any additional information you are urged to call the Port Alberni RCMP at 250723-2424.

Photo by Denise Titian

A growing makeshift memorial features a stuffed bee left by a heartbroken mom

April 8, 2021—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 3

Healing practices introduced to health care in Tofino Pilot project launched in Tofino to incorporate cultural cleansing practices as part of hospital care By Melissa Renwick Local Journalism Initiative Reporter When Dr. Luke Williston first heard about the Tla-o-qui-aht men’s group, his ears perked up. As one of Tofino’s primary care and emergency room physicians, Williston often treats patients who struggle with alcoholism and substance abuse. When he started seeing the same three men returning to the hospital nearly every month, Williston was at a loss. He arranged for counselling and prescribed medication, but none of his methods seemed to help. Thinking back to the men’s group, Williston approached Chris Seitcher, Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation cultural support worker, and asked about bringing a cultural healer into the hospital. They arranged for Dwayne Martin to perform a cleansing ceremony for the patients and the immediate benefits were “Hard to ignore,” said Williston. For the following year, Williston said he hardly saw those patients. “That’s the Western medicine in me,” he said. “I’m result-oriented and want to see people get better. If our way isn’t doing it, we have to be open to seeing what could work better and I know this does.” In February 2020, Williston and Seitcher organized a ceremony to introduce physicians, nurses along with x-ray and laboratory technicians to Nuu-chah-nulth traditional healing practices.

“If we introduce our culture to the hospital and if the doctors and the staff are able to understand it, they’ll be more open to having it there,” said Seitcher. The ultimate goal is to regularly incorporate culturally appropriate ceremonies for First Nations as a method of healing within the hospital. “Some of the illness that we struggle with in the First Nations population is related to this loss of identity, this stripping of identity from the past,” said Williston. The hope is that it’ll be a step towards reclaiming that identity, he said. Led by Seitcher and Nora Martin, who has been working as a cultural healer since 1976 and facilitates the Tla-oqui-aht’s women’s group, hospital staff participated in a talking circle and breathing exercises that included drumming and singing led by Seitcher’s son, Hayden. The men and women were then separated to experience cold water cleansing in pools that were set up at Načiks, otherwise known as Monks Point. “We deal with a lot of trauma and quite often, we go home carrying that with us and don’t let it go,” said Martin. “When you do a ceremony, you’re cleansing yourself of that trauma so that you can move forward in a good way.” Williston said he was “vibrating” after the ceremony. Simply put, “You feel better,” he said. Sometimes our physical injuries can be connected to our story or trauma explained Seitcher. By addressing the

Photo by Melissa Renwick

Chris Seitcher, Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation cultural support worker, poses for a photo on Long Beach in front of Esowista, near Tofino, on April 1, 2021. trauma through cultural healing, he hopes to instill First Nations with more connection to their culture and spirit. “Our elders would always say, ‘we are born with everything that we need – we are born with our gifts and we’re born with our ceremonies,’” said Seitcher. While Williston continues to push for healing ceremonies to be more widely incorporated into the hospital, the pilot project has been put on pause due to COVID-19.

His goal is for it to extend to RCMP employees, fire fighters, paramedics and the coast guard once physical distancing restrictions are lifted. “I believe our medicines, our culture and our traditions can take our people a long way in healing,” said Norah. “I know it works and that’s why I continue to do it. Our culture really makes a difference and really helps our people to heal.”

COVID-19 all Indigenous adults eligible for vaccine By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter A spike in COVID-19 cases in the province has health officials taking preemptive action in order to protect people. “Rising case levels, variants of concern, increased transmission and an increase in more severe cases are huge concerns,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “B.C. public health officials are making the tough choices now to break the chain and protect our communities.” The latest efforts by the province to reduce the spread of the virus is being referred to as a circuit-breaker – a set of tight restrictions designed to break the chain of transmission of the deadly corona virus. The restrictions include a three-week closure of restaurants, bars and pubs with the exception of service at outdoor patios. In addition, all indoor public gyms and fitness centres, indoor worship centres and other such indoor gathering places were ordered closed from Mar. 31, 2021 to Apr. 19, 2021. Public schools are open with students down to grade 4 being asked to wear masks. All workers are encouraged to work from home where possible and travel is limited to essential, work or medical reasons only. But that didn’t stop Easter long week-

end travel on the Island. There were long lines at the BC Ferry terminals and outof-province license plates were seen in several island tourist destinations including Tofino. On Vancouver Island as of Apr. 6, there are 463 confirmed active cases of COVID-19 including 73 new cases. There are thirteen people in hospital, two that are in ICU. Twenty-nine Vancouver Islanders have died of COVID-19 since the pandemic began last year. In British Columbia there are 1,068 new cases bringing the province’s active case count to 8,671. There are 328 British Columbians in hospital with 96 of those in critical care. Since the beginning of the pandemic there have been 1,463 confirmed COVID-19 deaths in BC. Over time, viruses can mutate. The mutations are known as variants. There are several known variants of the COVID-19 virus. Three variants of concern in the province are B.1.1.7, P.1 and B.1.351. The P.1 variant, first reported in Japan but later identified in Brazil, may be able to re-infect people who have had COVID-19. Some current treatments and vaccines may not work as well on cases of this variant. Because of this and the ongoing spread of the virus, people are asking to continue to practice safety precautions like avoiding crowds, wearing masks and washing

Correction: The Ha-Shilth-Sa published a story in the Februaury 25th newspaper, page 10 •tled Nuu-chah-nulth Cultural Centre Proposed for Port Alberni that stated the Tseshaht First Na•on provided their support to the group of individuals proposing plans for the cultural and interpre•ve centre. This informa•on is incorrect. The Tseshaht First Na•on is not working closely with the developers of the project and have not offered outright support. The Tseshaht First Na•on only supported the group’s applica•on for exploratory funding and have made it clear that their consulta•on, partnership, collabora•on and consent are required as the project develops.

hands frequently, even if they are vaccinated. The province is ahead of schedule on vaccinating people, announcing that they are in phase three of a four phase immunization process. To date it has administered 912,056 doses of vaccine; 87,474 of those are second doses. The highly contagious variants are exacerbating the spread of the virus especially among the younger age groups, like those ages 20-39. For this reason, the province is in a race to get the adult population vaccinated as soon as possible. “Community (herd) immunity could be reached when a large majority of people in B.C. are immunized against COVID-19,” states the provincial website. “When you choose to be vaccinated against COVID-19, you are helping save lives by protecting your household and your entire community from the virus,” it continued. They go on to say that the lifting of current restrictions will be based on many factors, including the number of people immunized and level of community immunity, the number of COVID-19 cases in the province and health care capacity. Beginning Apr. 6 those 71 years and over, born 1950 or earlier may register for a vaccination appointment. Indigenous people age 18 and over may now book an appointment any time, no matter where in the province they live. Visit https://www.getvaccinated.gov. bc.ca/s/ to book online 24 hours a day or call 1-833-838-2323 from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. to book an appointment. First Nations Health Authority states that as of early March 2021 all Nuuchah-nulth Nations (communities) have received first dose vaccine. Second dose clinics were held for a number of communities that received vaccine in early

January. Remaining community clinics will be aligned to the new schedule released by the Provincial Health Officer, which extended the timeline between first and second dose from 42 days to 16 weeks. VI FNHA has been focusing on advocacy for whole of community approach (18 years+) for all Indigenous community members who reside outside of the confines of reservations/ treaty settlement lands. “We continue to work in partnership to plan for Indigenous away-from-home clinics and support the broader mass immunization clinics to promote culturally safe access to vaccine,” said FNHA in an email. The PAFC is hosting a vaccination clinic on April 8 – 9 and April 12, 2021 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. To register, for the PAFC vaccination clinic, call Darlene Leonew, Michelle Hnennyj or Jackie Wells at 1-250-7238281. This clinic is open to all people 71 and older and to Indigenous people over the age of 18. Bring your Care Card, a mask and wear a short-sleeved shirt to your appointment. Children are back in school, but parents are asked to keep their child home from school if they feel sick or have any sign of illness. Get tested immediately if you or anyone in your family feels sick. The provincial health authorities assure people that there is strong evidence that the vaccine is safe and works for all adults–including seniors/Elders – and that it is highly effective across age, sex, race and ethnicity. FNHA advises that it is important that everyone, including Indigenous people, continue to follow safety guidelines as set by the BC Ministry of Health, even after they have received a vaccination.

Page 4— Ha-Shilth-Sa—April 8, 2021 Ha-Shilth-Sa newspaper is published by the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council for distribution to the members of the NTC-member First Nations, as well as other interested groups and individuals. Information and original work contained in this newspaper is protected by copyright and may not be reproduced without written permission from: Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council P.O. Box 1383, Port Alberni, B.C. V9Y 7M2. Telephone: (250) 724-5757 Fax: (250) 723-0463 Web page: www.hashilthsa.com facebook: Hashilthsa Ntc

2020 Subscription rates: $35 per year in Canada and $40 per year in the U.S.A. and $45 per year in foreign countries. Payable to the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council. Manager/Editor/Reporter Eric Plummer (Ext. 243) (250) 724-5757 Fax: (250) 723-0463 eric.plummer@nuuchahnulth.org Reporter Denise Titian (Ext. 240) (250) 724-5757 Fax: (250) 723-0463 denise.titian@nuuchahnulth.org Reporter Melissa Renwick (416) 436-4277 Fax: (250) 723-0463 melissa.renwick@nuuchahnulth.org

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DEADLINE: Please note that the deadline for submissions for our next issue is April 16, 2021 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 a brief description of subject(s) and a return address. Pictures with no return address will remain on file. Allow two - four weeks for return. Photocopied or faxed photographs cannot be accepted.

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New Indigenous-owned kelp company Keltsmaht Kelp looks to bring sustainable business opportunities to Clayoquot Sound By Melissa Renwick Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Tofino, BC - Stevie Dennis and Jordan White live in their respective boats that are moored across from each other on Strawberry Island, in the Tofino inlet. For the business partners and friends, the ocean is their very lifeline. Recently, they further cemented their ties to the sea by launching their new business, Keltsmaht Kelp. Their aim is to integrate the natural benefits of kelp into the every day, while conducting ecologically-minded business. As they work towards establishing a kelp farm in Ritchie Bay, the duo recently released its first product, kelp probiotic. “It’s plant food,” said Dennis. “That’s the easiest way to think about it.” Using wild bull and giant kelp foraged within traditional Ahousaht territory, Dennis and White tested over 60 variations of the kelp probiotic before releasing it to market. Now, it lives on the shelves at eight different garden stores across Vancouver Island, including Borden Mercantile Co. Ltd. in Victoria, Buckerfield’s in Langford and Kleijn Nurseries and Garden Centre in Nanaimo. The business endeavor was a natural progression for Dennis, who grew up on boats helping his parents run one of the first whale watching companies in Tofino by guiding. As he grew older, the Ahousaht man transitioned into working on a packing boat and commercial fishing boat, before returning to work as a guide for the Clayoquot Wilderness Resort around five years ago. It was there he first met White, who was paired as his roommate. Bonding over their love of all things oceanic, they became fast-friends. When White moved on to study business at The University of Victoria and discovered his passion for kelp through an elective course, seaweed quickly became the subject of their conversations. Before long, the old roommates started dreaming of ways to morph their mutual interest in kelp with creating sustainable business opportunities in Clayoquot Sound.

Photo by Melissa Renwick

Stevie Dennis holds up wild giant kelp found near Tofino.

“If we can create kelp farms here in Clayoquot Sound and give that opportunity to community members, it’s a win for everybody” ~ Stevie Dennis “I’m a product of my environment,” said Dennis. “Working with kelp was something that I saw as an opportunity to give back. We’ve taken, we’ve taken, we’ve taken almost every day of our lives and we rarely ever give back to the environment.” During his fourth year of university, White returned to Tofino in 2019 while working as a co-op student researching kelp in partnership with North Island College. Dennis, who was working for the Maaqutusiis Hahoulthee Stewardship Society, was his boat driver. They spent the day dropping kelp test lines for Cermaq, before asking themselves, “What are we doing working for other people doing what we love?” recalled White.

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It was a tipping point for the kelp enthusiasts, who became determined to bring Keltsmaht Kelp to life. Named after Dennis’ mother’s side of the family, who were from Kelsmaht Nation, it is meant to serve as a reminder of his family’s teachings. “My grandpa always said, ‘know who you are and don’t forget it,’” recounted Dennis. Seaweed aquaculture is not only the fastest-growing sector of global food production, but offers opportunities to mitigate climate change by sucking carbon from the atmosphere. “When you think kelp, you think green,” said Dennis. Their ultimate goal is to become a carbon-negative company. “The possibilities are limitless,” said Dennis. “You could turn it into food, you could turn it into fuel, you could turn it into a bioplastic, you could even grow it and let people pay for carbon [offset] credits.” For Dennis, kelp presents an alternative opportunity for work within the region. “If we can create kelp farms here in Clayoquot Sound and give that opportunity to community members, it’s a win for everybody,” said Dennis. “It’s a win for the people and it’s a win for the ecosystem.”

Ha-Shilth-Sa belongs to every Nuu-chah-nulth person including those who have passed on, and those who are not yet born. A community 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 47th year of serving the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations. We look forward to your continued input and support. Kleco! Kleco!

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April 8, 2021—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 5

First Nations oppose bid for marked chinook fishery Recreational anglers and MPs push for 2021 adoption By Mike Youds Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor West Coast Vancouver Island , BC – A DFO decision whether to allow recreational fisheries for fin-clipped hatchery chinook could come within weeks amid strong objections from First Nations including Nuu-chah-nulth-aht. Mark selective fisheries (MSF) — used in the Salish Sea recreational coho fishery and U.S. waters — permit retention of hatchery-produced salmon marked with a clipped adipose fin. Unmarked wild fish must be returned to the water. The recreational fishing sector has vigorously supported MSF as a chance for coastal communities to recover from twin blows, the economic fallout from COVID-19 and strict conservation measures in place to protect Fraser River chinook salmon. “It is a potential lifeline,” said Pat Ahern, president of the West Coast Fishing Guides Association. “It is clear that the fishery management measures required to rebuild Fraser stream-type chinook will result in the collapse of the recreational fishery infrastructure unless mark selective fishery management for chinook is applied more broadly in the years ahead,” the Sport Fish Advisory Board stated in a proposal to DFO in April 2020. Political pressure has increased since then. SFAB petitioned Parliament in December 2020, imploring Jordan to direct DFO to “purchase and begin operations of adipose fin-clipping machinery for the existing production of chinook hatcheries in the Pacific region; and as soon as the adipose fin-clipped chinook salmon reach the minimum legal size for retention, implement a mark-selective fishery for hatchery marked chinook salmon.” While Nuu-chah-nulth nations are not opposed to mark-selective fisheries, they have raised concerns about DFO’s process for considering the proposal as well as numerous technical issues, said Eric Angel, NTC fisheries program manager. “The big one is priority access,” said Jim Lane, Uu-a-thluk’s southern region biologist. “Rights-based fisheries are a priority for First Nations.” As the First Nations Fisheries Council (FNFC) contends in a preliminary list of concerns: “Opening a recreational fishery during a closure where First Nations have been instructed to not harvest fish under Section 35.1 and by Supreme Court decision (e.g. Ahousaht Indian Band and Nation v. Canada); conflicts with priority rights and court decisions.”

Photo by Mike Youds

Robertson Creek hatchery staff taking chinook milt. Last month, 25 B.C. Opposition MPs, including Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns, the NDP fisheries critic, endorsed the MSF proposal in a letter to Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan. Johns later clarified his conditional support for the concept after hearing from NTC, Angel said. “A mark selective chinook fishery can only be implemented in a manner that supports restoration and conservation of Pacific salmon,” Johns wrote. “Further, there must be assurances that the Crown is committed to fulfilling its duty and its responsibility to meaningfully consult and achieve consent from Coastal and Interior First Nations impacted prior to making a decision on moving forward with mark selective fisheries.” Nuu-chah-nulth nations together with Ha’oom Fisheries Society (formerly known as T’aaq-wiihak Fisheries) and FNFC have made their position clear. “Nuu-chah-nulth nations have serious concerns about the SFAB’s MSF for Nuu-chah-nulth waters and are demanding DFO engage in meaningful consultations on this issue with Nuu-chah-nulth Nations before DFO authorizes this proposed fishery,” NTC President Judith

Sayers wrote in a March 19 letter to DFO’s fisheries management branch. When Uu-a-thluk and Ha’oom representatives met with DFO in early 2020 to discuss the potential of MSF on the west coast of Vancouver Island, they concluded significant work was needed to address the technical issues. “The considered value of mark selective fisheries has never really been assessed nor has it been shown to work that well,” said Jim Lane, Uu-a-thluk’s southern region biologist. Adipose clips are used to indicate potential presence of coded wire tags, a stock assessment tool used by Canada and the U.S. since the 1970s, guiding chinook and coho management decisions on the West Coast. Recreational fisheries targeting clipped chinook would render ineffective coded wire tagging as a measure of exploitation rates, FNFC stated in its submission. “Implementation of chinook MSFs would require modification of sampling programs, protocols, and reporting systems and revision of management planning and post-season evaluation tools

to represent fishery impacts under MSF regulations,” FNFC noted. “In short, DFO doesn’t have the data systems in place to manage the essentials of mark-selective fisheries,” Lane said. In her response to the SFAB petition, Jordan said DFO is still considering pilot recreational MSFs to selectively target hatchery chinook subject to monitoring and consultation with First Nations. A limited number were approved as pilot projects in 2020. Opposition MPs have criticized the Liberal government for stalling as communities struggle. Critics of the MSF chinook proposal generally feel a lot more work is required. There is also a sense among First Nations that the recreational sector is shown preferential treatment when they have made sacrifices for wild chinook conservation. “It’s been presented that this is generically good, but there’s no evidence to support that,” Lane said, listing various concerns with MSF, not the least of which is incidental mortality among wild chinook. “You’re looking at open mixed-stock fisheries as opposed to terminal fisheries,” he said, citing terminal fisheries in Alberni Inlet as examples specifically targeted at Robertson Creek hatchery production. “Even in a terminal area, it would still be a challenge,” Lane added. “When you’ve got other stocks moving through, it’s way more complicated.” Ahern feels the recreational fishery is monitored well enough to ensure MSFs could work. “I think part of the problem is people may not be familiar with how the fishery is monitored,” he said, outlining a variety of tools already used and potential of a new app, FishingBC. Ahern pointed to the intertwined economies of smaller coastal communities and Indigenous business interests in the recreational fishery. He also emphasized a desire for more direct dialogue with First Nations, citing the example set by west coast salmon roundtables. “I do think, from the public fishery perspective, many folks in our community are not sure how to reach out and have deeper engagement with First Nation communities,” Ahern said. “We all live and work together in a broader community and it would help to start a conversation around how we can appropriately connect.”


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Page 6— Ha-Shilth-Sa—April 8, 2021

Photo submitted by Hesquiaht Place of Learning

Thanks to provincial funding, a solar energy project is expected to commence at the Hesquiaht Place of Learning this summer.

Hesquiaht receives funding for solar panel project Solar energy project will help eliminate use of diesel in Hesquiaht community “This announcement is part of our long journey towards sustainable energy production, which is key to preserving our rich biodiversity, clean air and pristine waters”

By Sam Laskaris Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Hot Springs Cove, BC – A Nuu-chahnulth First Nation will soon no longer have to rely on diesel at one of its main facilities. That’s because it was announced in late March that Hesquiaht First Nation will receive some substantial provincial funding which will allow it to proceed with a solar panel installation project at its community school located in Hot Springs Cove. Through its Renewable Energy for Remote Communities (RERC) program, the province will provide $419,000 to construct a 136-kilowatt solar panel installation at the Hesquiaht Place of Learning. The remote village of Hot Springs Cove, located north of Tofino, is off-grid. It currently relies entirely on diesel fuel shipped in by barge to power its generators. “This announcement is part of our long journey towards sustainable energy production, which is key to preserving our rich biodiversity, clean air and pristine waters,” said Josh Charleson, the Chief Councillor for Hesquiaht First Nation. The RERC program is part of the province’s larger CleanBC project. “Our CleanBC goal is to reduce diesel consumption for power generation in remote communities by 80 per cent by 2030,” said Bruce Ralston, who is the Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources. “By building partnerships and creating opportunities with Indigenous communities and businesses, we can help remote communities get off diesel and benefit from more efficient, healthier and cleaner fuel sources.” The Hot Springs Cove project will cost $682,000, meaning the province will provide slightly more than 60 per cent of the

~ Josh Charleson, Chief Councillor Hesquiaht First Nation

Josh Charleson funding through its RERC program. Funds are also being provided by the New Relationship Trust via the BC Indigenous Clean Energy Initiative program as well as in-kind contributions from Hesquiaht First Nation. Hesquiaht officials are hoping the solar panel installations will commence around July of this year and be completed a few months later, hopefully by September. Planning for the project, however, took a few years. Pre-feasibility studies were completed in 2018 and the final feasibility studies were done last year. Engineering work and the system design for the project were finalized last month. George Heyman, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, is pleased to see his government is providing funding for positive changes. “We’re working in partnership with Indigenous peoples to support clean energy to reduce pollution in remote communities and address climate change,” he said. “This investment in solar energy for

Hesquiaht First Nation will improve local air quality and help build a better future for students and people at Hot Springs Cove.” On the day of the Hesquiaht funding announcement, provincial officials also revealed plans to assist two other First Nations. The province will give $875,000 to the Lhoosk’uz Dene Nation for its heat and power project and the Kwadacha Nation will receive $486,000 for its solar energy project at its community school. Norma Bird, tribal administrator, is among those thrilled to see her First Nation going ahead with its solar photovoltaic (PV) system. “Once installed, the solar PV system will require little to no maintenance on an annual basis,” she said. The Hesquiaht Place of Learning opened in 2007. At one time it offered both pre-school classes through its Headstart Program as well as elementary education for those starting in Kindergarten and going up to Grade 7. At its peak, the school had about two dozen students in its combined programs. But the Headstart Program has since been discontinued. And the school, which can now offer classes up to Grade 9, has

just three students this year. The facility, however, has many other uses, including a room which has been turned into a computer lab where Hesquiaht adults are offered various educational classes and online courses. Other rooms in the facility also serve various purposes. “Presently the community uses the gymnasium mainly for community basketball nights,” Bird said. “But the gym is also used for videoconferences, cultural gatherings and other community events.” For example, the gym was recently utilized as the operations staging center to distribute COVID-19 vaccines to community members. “The community also frequently uses the school’s kitchen and foyer to prepare and host meals,” Bird said. “The library has also been used for various workshops that support the community.” Bird added the school is also utilized as a meeting place for members of the community whenever there are tsunami alerts. The Hesquiaht project was included in the second intake of the RERC program. This initiative was created to assist remote B.C. communities that are not connected to the provincial electrical grid and thus rely on diesel power generation stations. In 2019 the provincial government had pledged up to $16.5 million for its CleanBC program. This funding was to help cover the capital expenses of projects ready for construction. Four projects were the initial recipients of funding in March of 2020. They collectively received $13.8 million in funding.

April 8, 2021—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 7

Eha•esaht to benefit from Internet upgrades in 2021 BC provides $10 million grant to bring high-speed Internet to remote community of Zeballos By Sam Laskaris Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Zeballos, BC – Some people might have simply glanced over the recent news that the provincial government will be providing funding for some remote communities in British Columbia to improve their Internet capabilities. But for Julie Colborne, the mayor of the village of Zeballos, located within the traditional territories of the Ehattesaht First Nation, the news is rather significant. “Economically it’s a game changer,” Colborne said. “It puts us on an equitable and more equal playing field with everyone else.” Currently those in Zeballos, which has a population of slightly more than 100 residents, must rely on a satellite uplink to connect to the Internet. “Sometimes it is weather dependent,” Colborne said of the ability to access the Internet in her village. And storms have the ability to wipe out Internet access, perhaps for many hours at a time. But that will change with the announcement that the provincial government remains committed to major connectivity investments. Bringing more reliable Internet access is part of the StrongerBC: BC’s Economic Recovery Plan. Last September provincial officials announced they would provide $90 million in grant money to support broadband and cellular infrastructure to assist those in Indigenous and rural communities throughout B.C. That funding announcement was an expansion of the Connecting British Columbia initiative. Those from Ehattesaht First Nation and Zeballos will benefit from Internet upgrades that are part of a $10 million project that will be spearheaded by CityWest. This project, which will enhance connectivity for more than 2,800 households in four First Nations villages and the communities within their territories. Besides Ehattesaht, the others included in this project are Haida Nation, Klahoose First Nation and Nuxalk Nation. Lisa Beare, the Minister of Citizens’ Services, is pleased to see the provincial

Submitted photo

More than 100 Zeballos residents along with their Ehattesaht neighbors will have high speed fibre optic Internet service by the end of 2021 thanks to funding from a provincial grant. made. tunities for more diverse economies with government doing its part to upgrade “Businesses are easier able to connect good, stable jobs well into the future.” Internet capabilities for some B.C. resiwith people purchasing their services,” Ehattesaht First Nation and Zeballos dents. she added. residents will benefit as they will be able “We’re rolling up our sleeves and joinStefan Woloszyn, who is the CEO of to hook up with the Connected Coast ing with communities, First Nations and CityWest, is glad his telecommunicaproject. service providers to usher in a new age This venture, managed by CityWest and tions company will be able to provide of connectivity along B.C.’s stunning increased capabilities for many. the Strathcona Regional District, utilizes coastline,” Beare said. “Improvements “We have heard from community leadto Internet access will begin to arrive this fibre-optic cables installed in waters. ers about how connectivity is critical to Colborne said local residents will year, unlocking opportunities for people, foster growth in the digital economy and eventually be connected to these cables families and workplaces in coastal navigate the challenges of the COVand have access to high-speed reliable areas. Connectivity brings the world to ID-19 pandemic,” Woloszyn said. “The Internet and cell service. our doorsteps. Together, we can ensure Strathcona Regional District and com“Any Internet upgrade is a good news people in coastal communities have the munities have worked tirelessly with us story,” she said. internet access they need.” to improve connectivity for people on the Colborne said the COVID-19 pandemic Michelle Babchuk, the MLA for North coast.” has brought to the forefront the imporIsland, is another politician that is happy Despite the funding announcement to tance of reliable Internet since many with the coming changes. improve Internet capabilities in varipeople are now working from home and “I’m pleased to see we are approaching ous communities, Colborne said those a day when everyone on our coast has the online learning has become the norm for changes will not happen overnight. internet access they need,” she said. “Our many students. “I believe it’s a three-year start up to Colborne said locals will no longer have region is in the midst of significant ecofinish,” she said of the project, expected to feel as if they are at a disadvantage nomic shifts, and connecting communito commence at some point in 2021. once the Internet changes have been ties to high-speed internet brings oppor-

Chantel Moore’s birthday celebrated by family By Melissa Renwick Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Tofino, BC - On the evening of March 31, close family members in Tofino gathered on the First Street dock to celebrate what would have been Chantel Moore’s 27th birthday. It was a way to “keep her memory alive,” said Grace Frank, Moore’s grandmother. Moore, of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation, was fatally shot in her New Brunswick apartment during a wellness check by an Edmundston police officer on June 4, 2020. Quebec’s police watchdog, the Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes (BEI), has completed its investigation into the shooting, but her family says they have yet to receive any answers. Alongside her husband, sister, three sons and nephew, Frank released red and yellow-coloured balloons into the air while singing, “happy birthday.”

The colour yellow was meant to embody Moore’s signature phrase, “stay golden, peeps,” said Frank. “Yellow was her colour,” she said. With Meares Island standing watch in the background, the family laid down yellow roses and candles on the dock. Once home, they shared a meal of burgers and poutine. It was Moore’s meal-of-choice for her 25th birthday – the last birthday Frank got celebrate with her granddaughter before she moved to the east coast. Over cake, they took turns sharing stories about Moore through weepy eyes. The day was “really, really hard,” for Moore’s mother, Martha. “It’s hard to want to do anything,” she said from her New Brunswick home. “It’s still so fresh. I spent most of the day in tears.” With no answers about the death of her daughter, “you can’t move forward,” she said. “It’s every parent’s nightmare.”

Photo by Melissa Renwick

Family and friends lay flowers down on the First Street dock in Tofino in honour of Chantel Moore’s birthday, on April 1, 2021.

Page 8— Ha-Shilth-Sa—April 8, 2021

Wa•s leads a healthier lifestyle after passing of father Ken Wa•s says it’s all about taking that first step on the path to wellness By Karly Blats Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Port Alberni, BC - When Ken Watts’ father, George Watts, passed away while he was in his third year of university, the elected chief of the Tseshaht First Nation made the decision to lead a healthier lifestyle and begin his wellness journey. George Watts, a prominent Nuu-chahnulth leader, suffered a massive heart attack at age 59 while he was helping his son move apartments. Watts went on to finish university and became the Vice President of the Nuuchah-nulth Tribal Council (NTC) from 2012 to 2017. “During that time sometimes I overworked myself and I needed to ground myself a little more and I actually ended up getting a carotid body tumour,” Watts said. “I really struggled with my mental health then and my anxiety because they didn’t know if it was cancerous or not.” Luckily the tumour on the side of Watts’ neck, who was 32 at the time, wasn’t cancerous and he underwent surgery to remove it. “I waited on a wait list for six months to get it removed and it just drove my anxiety through the roof,” Watts said. “I was on anti anxiety pills, same as anti depressants, and I got really stressed about it and it really threw my health for a whirl. I gained a lot of weight because I was just eating and not exercising and somewhat depressed.” During this time Watts would visit his doctor and chiropractor on a regular basis who both told him he was too young to be feeling so rough and that he needed to be careful because his dad was diabetic. “I got a bunch of blood work done and [the doctor] said ‘you have high cholesterol, Ken and if you don’t change your life you’re going to end up like your dad,’” Watts said. “[My dad] never got a chance to see me graduate from university or see me get married or see my kids born so I always said I’ll never let that happen.” That was all Watts needed to hear to begin changing his lifestyle. In 2018 as a New Years’ resolution Watts began going to the gym three to five days a week and began eating healthier. He also quit vaping e-cigarettes.

Photo submitted by Ken Watts

Tristan Galligos, Priscilla Sabbas-Watts, Kailand Watts, Noelani Watts and Ken Watts. “In 2018 I think I was about 215 pounds at my most and then I got down to 185 but I didn’t want to lose too much so now I’m around 200 pounds and I’m perfectly content with where I’m at,” Watts said. “I think diet is still a bit of a struggle with where I’m at right now. When you’re in a rush and now that I’m chief councillor sometimes I have a hard time finding that balance.” It’ not just the physical wellness for Watts, he said when he’s not practicing spiritual, cultural, emotional and mental health routines he feels unbalanced. “Since my dad passed I’ve gone in and out of counselling just to help talk to somebody,” Watts said. “I think if there was something that was bothering me mentally, a lot of it could be dealt with at the gym. If it was me holding on to things the gym was like my release or my outlet

to let it go. So there’s a deep connection between the mental and the physical.” Watts said he’s always been willing to reach out to Nuu-chah-nulth staff, family or friends when he’s feeling off mentally or culturally. “It’s tough during COVID, I’ll be honest that’s been the tough part spiritually,” Watts said. “The lack of singing, coming together and singing. COVID-19 hasn’t helped and it’s challenged me and everybody else.” It’s important to have supports when starting your wellness journey, Watts said, and to reach out for help when you need it. “In our Nation we have staff, family support and a wellness team,” Watts said. “I think first starting with your staff and talking to your doctor too, I think that was really an eye opener for me for

my doctor to tell me ‘hey you’re not healthy.’” Since beginning his wellness journey, Watts said he’s gotten completely off anti depressants which he attributes to a consistent gym schedule. “What I’ve realized is finances can be a burden for some people but when my dad passed I used to try to encourage him to walk just a little bit everyday, take a few more steps every day,” Watts said. “There’s people at every end of the spectrum. You don’t need a gym to become healthy…but I think once you see results that’s when it’s a game changer.” Watts said it’s all about taking that first step, whether it’s going to the gym or calling somebody for support. “You just have to take the initiative. You’ve got to put in the work yourself,” he said.

Phrase of the week: Wikit%iš hu%ak qwiyumit%ii %aah=uus@aqsup N’aciic^i+ %uc^nah=is puukmis Pronounced Wik it ish who ugk qwi yu mit ee Nah gee chilt Ooh chi nah irs Pook mis, it means ‘It wasn’t too long ago, a young fella from Ahousaht saw a young Sasquatch’. Supplied by ciisma.

Illustration by Ivy Cargill-Martin

April 8, 2021—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 9

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Page 10— Ha-Shilth-Sa—April 8, 2021 Non-Insured Health Benefits - NIHB Coverage – Travelling Out Side Of Country General Principles 1.

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

Ha-Shilth-Sa archive photo

Jan. 12, 2018 MLA Scott Fraser (centre), who was also Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, signed a new agreement with the five nations in the Maa-nulth treaty in Port Alberni.

Maa-nulth Treaty nations mark 10th anniversary By Melissa Renwick Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Ten years ago, history was made when the Maa-nulth Treaty was signed on April 1, 2011. The government-to-government agreement between Canada, British Columbia and five Nuu-chah-nulth nations was among the first Final Agreements reached under B.C.’s treaty process. It established Huu-ay-aht, Uchucklesaht, Ucluelet, Toquaht and Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k’tl7et’h’ First Nations as self-governing nations. “On April 1, 2011, the citizens of the Maa-nulth First Nations marked the treaty coming into effect with a symbolic gesture - burning the Indian Act,” said Murray Rankin, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, in a release. “The Maa-nulth First Nations regained control over lands and resources and governance of their own nations once again. Its 10-year anniversary was reason to celebrate, but as “virtual fatigue” sets in, Huu-ay-aht elected chief Robert J. Dennis Sr. said the nation will pay tribute to the occasion when they are allowed to gather again. Instead, the nations are preparing a video and booklet to commemorate the milestone. “The video will highlight where we came from, where we are and where we are going,” said Cynthia Blackstone, Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k:tles7et’h’ First Nation (KCFN) chief administrative officer. “It has been a long process, and one that will still take time as we develop our relationship with B.C. and Canada, and as our citizens continue to prepare to participate fully in the growth of our nations.” In reflecting on the benefits of the treaty, top of mind for Dennis was that it allowed Huu-ay-aht to develop their own set of laws that function in the best interest of its members. “We went into treaty to try to make things better for our people,” he said. “If we don’t like our laws, we can change them.” Jeffrey Cook was Huu-ay-aht’s first elected chief under the treaty. As he recalled his time in office, he echoed Dennis’ sentiments. “We’re responsible for our own decisions and our own life,” he said. Since signing the treaty, Dennis said the nation has been able to add 1,230 hectares of private land to their holdings.

“The purchase of private land in the Bamfield Inlet has enabled Huu-ay-aht to participate in the local Bamfield economy,” said Dennis. Not only has it created employment opportunities, but it has allowed members to remain in their traditional territories. Similar to Huu-ay-aht, Blackstone said one of the major developments since signing the treaty was that KCFN now holds full ownership of their land. “[Our land] is no longer held reserved for us by the Crown,” she said. “The lands are registered in the name of KCFN.” As of April 1, KCFN has their own voting members on the Strathcona Regional District Board of Directors and on the Comox Strathcona Regional Hospital District Board, said Blackstone. Joining forces with other self-governing nations across Canada, Blackstone said KCFN are creating a new “need-based fiscal relationship with Canada.” “This would not have been realized without KCFN having become selfgoverning nations through the treaty,” she said. “This new fiscal relationship is finally affording us the ability to expand our staff, services [and] assets.” As the federal and provincial governments work “very cooperatively” with Huu-ay-aht, Dennis said the nation’s financial position has increased “dramatically” since treaty. “It enabled us to participate in the economic development of our community,” he said. The Maa-nulth Treaty was a culmination of over 15 years of negotiations between the five nations, the government of Canada and the province, said Rankin. “Treaties are an important pathway to meaningful reconciliation,” he said. “They help to support strong, healthy, thriving communities that benefit people today and for generations to come. The Maa-nulth First Nations now share in the wealth of resources in their territories, and have legislative tools to strengthen their language, culture and heritage. The nations can pursue economic opportunities to benefit their citizens and chart a course for the future they want.” According the BC Treaty Commission, there are seven First Nations implementing modern treaties, including the five Maa-nulth First Nations. “In a nutshell, we are better off under the treaty,” said Dennis. “But there’s always a lot of work to do.”

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

April 8, 2021—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 11

Planning for Grad commences amid pandemic restrictions Parents/caregivers invited to online SD70 information, support and planning session By Mike Youds Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Educators want to engage parents and caregivers in an online Zoom session focused on helping secondary students in Grades 8-12 get to graduation and beyond. “We would like to increase the success and decrease the stress,” said Dave Maher, district principal of Indigenous education and Eighth Avenue Learning Centre in Port Alberni. “We want to inform Nuu-chah-nulth families about what graduation will look like this year and what students have to do to graduate,” said Richard Samuel, NTC’s cultural development supervisor. They also want the discussion to range beyond the usual grad-year considerations to provide a better understanding of how students can work towards their long-term goals. The idea is to provide advice in timely fashion so that students are aware of expectations and can take necessary steps to achieving their ambitions, they said. Maher and Samuel will host the online session Wednesday, April 14, 7:30-9 p.m. (meeting ID and passcode included at the bottom of this article). Parents and caregivers of students enrolled at Alberni District Secondary School, Ucluelet Secondary School and Eighth Avenue Learning Centre are invited to join them online. Online conferencing has become an essential communication tool during the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic, a means of overcoming the limitations of social distancing. In this instance, the plan is to follow up on the Zoom session by holding community meetings with Nuu-chahnulth nations and then progressing to meetings with families. “With Zoom, we’re trying to reconnect with parents and give them a sense of hope that the finish line is there,” Maher added. “We want parents and kids feeling good about themselves, connected with

Photo by Eric Plummer

Looking back at the 2018 Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council Grad celebration. the future and having a sense of moving forward.” They want to address two key aspects in the 90-minute session: What students need in order to graduate and, given pandemic-related uncertainties, a “best guess” of what graduation will look like so that everyone can prepare. They have a lot of information to convey but don’t want to overlook the basics. “Richard and I thought it is really important to go over what is graduation,” Maher said. “What are the improvements you need to make in order to graduate?” They decided to take the online approach after hearing “many parents” express disappointment that the students are not prepared by graduation to move onto the next stage of their lives. “We need to ensure that parents and caregivers understand what their children are going through,” Samuel said. He oversees the activities of a team of ten Nuu-chah-nulth education workers specialized in helping students academically, culturally and socially.

Graduation means different things to different people, Maher noted. Graduation may be a stepping stone to post-secondary education, vocational training or the labour market, depending on individual interests, strengths and aspirations. “What are the next steps? How can we best ensure success moving into the next phase of their lives? What are the dreams they have? We’d like to make sure we’re having those conversations,” Maher said. Key discussions with school counselling staff and NTC support workers should ideally begin long before graduating year. “As early as we can,” Maher said. Nuu-chah-nulth education support workers have been having those direct conversations for 40 years. More recently, they have teamed up with the school district to ensure that communities are kept informed. Greater co-operation over the last five years has helped to increase awareness. “It’s a work in progress, but part of that is encouraging families to be an active part of the equation,” Maher said.

There are just under 4,000 students enrolled in SD70 schools, 1,350 of whom identify as Indigenous, about 30 percent. Of the Indigenous student population, 60 per cent are Nuu-chah-nulth and 15 per cent are Metis. A majority of students returned to classroom learning in September after school closures last spring due to COVID-19. Some families opted to continue with home learning. With students and families withdrawing from social contact due to the pandemic, educators have noticed more students lacking confidence as they go into schools, Maher said. “We want to keep the momentum happening in life, to keep them moving forward, so students still have that North Star to look up at and their future for them is bright,” Maher said. To take part in the April 14 online session, use Meeting ID: 842 8361 6224 and Passcode: La8B62.

NTC going paperless for this year’s K-12 scholarships By Karly Blats Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor The Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council (NTC) education program is going paperless this year for their elementary and secondary scholarships. Nuu-chah-nulth students in Kindergarten to Grade 12 from Ahousaht, Ditidaht, Ehattesaht, Hesquiaht, Hupacasath, Huuay-aht, Kyuquot, Mowachaht/Muchalaht, Nuchatlaht, Tla-o-qui-aht and Tseshaht have until May 14, 2021 to submit their applications. The four scholarship categories are academic, artistic, athletic and cultural. “In previous years we’ve offered paper (scholarships) and we also had events,” said Richard Samuel, NTC cultural development supervisor. “We want to have less of an environmental impact so we’re going paperless this year and the event itself is also going to be virtual.” Students may submit applications for more than one category. “There’s the four main categories and students are welcome to apply for all if they want,” Samuel said. “We’re not discouraging anyone from applying.” Once the deadline passes, a selection committee will review the applications and select scholarship winners. The scholarships are $200 each for students in

Grade 4 to 12. For students Kindergarten to Grade 3, names will be drawn from the pool of applicants for a $50 prize. A student must have good attendance, participate in school and cultural activities and be helpful to others. Supporting documentation is required for all NTC K-12 scholarships. Students must submit a short essay and provide a support letter for each scholarship applied for. Students who are applying for more than one NTC scholarship award must submit separate essays and documentation for each award and the application form must indicate the NTC Scholarship applied for. All individuals chosen for a scholarship will be asked to submit a photo of themselves for a ceremony that will take place virtually. “We also inform the Nations to let them know who won the scholarship from their particular Nation,” Samuel said. Applications can be submitted through the NTC website and they offer a drop box option for applicants to submit large files like videos or other multimedia. Applications and supporting documents can also be emailed to scholarships@ nuuchahnulth.org, or faxed to Richard Samuel at 250-724-9682 or mailed to the NTC main office.

Photo by Denise Titian

2019, the last year Nuu-chah-nulth-aht gathered for an NTC Scholarship ceremony at Port Alberni’s Athletic Hall.

Page 12— Ha-Shilth-Sa—April 8, 2021

Art work by: Kaitlyn Powell, Grade 12 student, Eighth Avenue Learning Centre

Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council & SD70 (Pacific Rim) Presents: 2021 Spring Festival Theme: Coming back to who we are, holding tight to the roots. huu%ii%in +up^ac^ukqin. - Let’s take back our roots. su%i>%in h=aah=uupay^ak. - Let’s hold on to our teachings.

Virtual event: May 2021

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