Ha-Shilth-Sa Newspaper August 27, 2020

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INTERESTING NEWS Canada’s Oldest First Nations Newspaper - Serving Nuu-chah-nulth-aht since 1974 Canadian Publications Mail Product Vol. 47 - No. 16—August 27, 2020 haas^i>sa Sales Agreement No. 40047776

TB epidemic brings guide for COVID Pandemic Following up with an infected person’s contacts needs to be done by those who are closer to home, say nurses who are looking back to a 2007 tuberculosis epidemic By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Port Alberni, BC - Public health authorities are preparing for the “second wave” of the novel coronavirus, but numbers over this summer show that a surge in infections has already arrived. Currently there are over 900 active cases of COVID-19 in British Columbia, a number that steadily grew this summer since infections reached a low in early June. In an effort to better track how new infections are spreading, on Aug. 12 the province announced the hiring of 500 additional health professionals to find people who have been in contact with new cases, ensuring that necessary quarantine and preventative measures are followed to reduce further spread of the highly infectious respiratory disease. “These new contact tracers will work with existing public health teams to help track down all those who may have been exposed and support people to self-isolate when necessary,” stated Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer in a press release. “This role becomes even more crucial to contain the spread as we continue to open up our schools, economy and social activities, and as we prepare for the upcoming cold and flu season this fall.” During recent talks with First Nations representatives, Henry took interest in a model employed in 2007 to control a tuberculosis epidemic in Port Alberni. From 2006 to 2008, 33 cases of the lung disease were identified – a spread far above the modern rate of infection in B.C. - mostly affecting Indigenous people. To control infection, a team of TB wellness workers were hired by the Vancouver Island Health Authority, with another wellness worker on staff with the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council’s nursing department. Working full-time throughout the week, these workers focused on following up with confirmed cases, ensuring they were undertaking necessary actions for treatment and to prevent infecting others. NTC nurse Francine Gascoyne is part of a working group exploring the TB model in place 13 years ago and how it could benefit the current pandemic. Some of the wellness workers were Nuu-chah-nulth and had extensive knowledge of who the infected people were in contact with. “They already knew a lot of the people that were named as contacts,” said Gascoyne. “That whole relationship piece

measures contribute to rising ODs By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor

Photo by Eric Plummer

By late August B.C.’s active COVID-19 cases rose to over 900, a summertime increase that led health authorities to hire more professionals for contact tracing. Pictured is a gathering in Victoria this June. was key in the success of people that west coast. were on their treatment plan.” “We don’t know how busy things are NTC Vice-President Mariah Charleson going to get if there’s to be a case,” said said that the First Nations Health Author- Gascoyne. ity is looking into seeing how the TB Like the novel coronavirus, tuberculosis model could be applied to COVID-19. spreads through the air when a contagious The approach would enable contact tracperson coughs, sneezes, sings or talks. It ers to work with those who are already usually affects the lungs, but COVID-19 familiar with them. presents different risks, including its “This would make contact tracing highly infectious nature. culturally sensitive, in a time where our “There are things that we can take from health authority is being investigated on our TB wellness model and apply it to the racism that occurs within each health COVID-19 contact tracers, but it will region of B.C.,” said Charleson. “Everylook different in the sense that the coroone at the table liked the model and there navirus is much more easily spread,” said was a lot of excitement from it. There Gascoyne. “A person with active TB, you will be a sub-table formed as a result, and have to be around them in an enclosed we should get some action on implement- room for hours.” ing this very soon.” Contract tracing during the current panOn Aug. 14 Ahousaht announced the demic will also bring the need for face infection of a member, the first Nuuand hand coverings, among other equipchah-nulth person confirmed to have ment to ensure workers aren’t spreading COVID-19. Information provided by the the virus themselves. FNHA ensured this case is not on Van“If they are going to be really close to a couver Island, but the news alerted health person that might have the virus, they’d workers to prepare for future infections in have to be donned in PPE to ensure that First Nations communities on the island’s they’re protected,” added Gascoyne.

Inside this issue... Moore’s family doubts investigation..........................Page 3 Solar project in Yuquot...............................................Page 5 Watching over the dead.........................................Pages 8-9 Grant expands maple syrup business........................Page 10 Logging blocked from watershed.............................Page 15

Victoria, BC - A sombre message was delivered by officials on Aug. 25, pointing to the toll COVID-19 measures have taken on British Columbia’s other public health emergency. July brought 175 more deaths due to illicit drug use – tying June as the highest monthly total of suspected overdose fatalities since the opioid crisis was declared in 2016. This marks the third straight month with over 170 suspected overdose deaths – part of an increase that began when COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic in March. Last month’s total represents a 136 per cent increase over the fatalities reported in July 2019. Paramedics responded to over 2,700 overdoses – the highest monthly total to date in B.C. Patients survived in 95 per cent of these incents, according to the Coroners Service. “The number of people dying in B.C. due to an unsafe drug supply continues to surpass deaths due to homicides, motor vehicle incidents, suicides and COVID-19 combined,” said Lisa Lapointe, B.C.’s chief coroner, during a press conference. “This health emergency continues to take a tragic toll on people from all walks of life and in all communities of the province. Access to key harm reduction services in the midst of a dual health emergency has been a challenge, and the extreme concentration of the illicit fentanyl being trafficked is resulting in deaths within moments of use.” The closure of the US border and disruption of the normal chains of illicit drugs has been blamed for the increasingly toxic supply. But a host of other effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have been identified by public health officials, including mental health issues, isolation resulting from stay-at-home orders and challenges in accessing safe consumption sites that have been hindered by following social distancing measures. “The dual health emergency of the overdose crisis with COVID-19 have created challenges across the province, including reduced access to key harm reduction services,” said Lapointe. “They are not as widely available as they could be.”

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Page 2— Ha-Shilth-Sa—August 27, 2020

‘A ghost is there’: Pandemic concern grips families Despite its remote location, fears over COVID-19 spreading has led some in Kyuquot to lock down for months By Melissa Renwick Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Kyuquot, BC - Leading up to the New Year, Lucy Paivio kept close watch on the news. As information started to spread about the imminent pandemic, she knew that she had to get out. Before there was any talk about going into lockdown, Paivio begged her husband to make one final trip from their home in Kyuquot to Campbell River. It was the beginning of March and the global frenzy was cautioning her to load up on groceries. “Every month I saw it getting worse and worse and then it finally hit home – in Canada,” she said. Unlike others, Paivio wasn’t driven by fear. “I got brought up believing in our creator,” she said. “When he tells us to go into hiding, it’s for a reason.” Once Paivio returned from Campbell River, she listened to her ancestral teachings and stayed holed up until early June. Despite already living in a small, isolated community, residents in Kyuquot feared the unknown. “It’s like a ghost is there,” said Janice John-Smith. “What if we meet up with that ghost and get sick?” For John-Smith, the anxiety of catching COVID-19 was crippling. “I was so worried about our family,” she said. “I reminded them every day [that] this is happening – we’re still in this pandemic.” The 63-year-old shares her house with her husband, two children and six grandchildren. They usually have an open-door policy, but from the onset of lockdown in Kyuquot, John-Smith laid out strict house rules. “I keep telling my kids, ‘I’m not strong enough to fight this virus if we ever get hit by it’,” she said. “So we all worked really hard to keep our home healthy.” From March 21 to June 18, food distribution trucks drove through the community’s streets every two weeks. Residents

Photo by Melissa Renwick

Janice John-Smith poses for a photo outside her home in Kyuquot, on August 14, 2020. lined up with boxes, totes and wheelbarrows to collect their share of the food. The First Nation dispersed fruits, vegetables, flour, meat and canned goods to help residents get through the pandemic and limit their need for essential travel. John-Smith remembers lining up for the first time. She was overcome with emotion after seeing how her nation stepped up to help feed the community. While it was well intentioned, Marilyn Short, Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k’tles7et’h’ First Nations legislative clerk, said that without grocery expenses, some used the extra money to buy alcohol. “They were getting it shipped by Air Nootka every mail day,” she said. “People were getting hurt because they were so drunk. Falling down stairs [and] breaking bones.” It was a sentiment echoed by Paivio.

“It affects the community because we worry about the fighting drunks,” she said. “We have to deal with it – we’re the ones that get hurt. The sober ones have to face it.” John-Smith kept to herself. Before any of the distributed food entered the house, she washed every item in water that was mixed with bleach. Other than those she lived with, no one was allowed inside – not even her daughter who lives a block away. “We’re such a small community – we can go just like that,” she said, snapping her fingers. “We’re too small to get this – our community is too small.” When the kids started getting cabin fever, John-Smith would load them into her boat and take them to a nearby beach so they could be free. For John-Smith, there were rare mo-

ments of reprieve, like when her oldest granddaughter asked for guidance on how to make a shawl. “She’s never had the patience for beading and sequins,” she said. “We worked on it for days. She said it really calmed her.” Eventually, the stress took its toll and on July 2, John-Smith was flown to Victoria to be treated for a heart attack. “I was so stressed out from this pandemic that it made me sick,” she said. While John-Smith is recovering well, her fear of COVID-19 remains. “I’m still afraid,” she said. “It’s still there. I really believe the second wave is coming and our numbers are up in B.C. – I remind my family all the time, ‘it’s going to come and we don’t want to get it’.”

Photo by Melissa Renwick

Starfish on Chesterman Beach in Tofino, on August 10.


August 27, 2020—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 3

Moore’s family raises doubts about investigation Lawyer files two complaints to police commission, fearing lack of transparency in aftermath of fatal shooting By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Edmunston, NB - Amid fears that the existing process won’t uncover answers, the family of Chantel Moore has sent two complaints to the New Brunswick Police Commission. Under the direction of the family, the submissions were made by law firm T.J. Burke, citing stipulations under New Brunswick’s Police Act that were broken when the 26-year-old was shot by an officer on June 4. Moore, a member of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation, was killed by a Edmunston Police Force officer after he was called to check on her safety in the early morning hours. The municipal police force has stated that the officer was defending himself when Moore approached him with a knife. The officer fired five times, and the complaint alleges the improper use of a firearm, misuse of authority and abuse to Moore that contravenes the policeman’s responsibility to the public under New Brunswick’s legislation. Weeks after the tragedy, the officer was back on the job, assigned to administrative duties with the Edmunston Police Force. The complaint calls for the officers dismissal. A coroner’s inquest into the circumstances of the death is forthcoming, and the Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes, an independent police watchdog that investigates incidents in Quebec and New Brunswick, is investigating. The BEI can make recommendations to the provincial Crown prosecutors to lay charges, but this action has not been taken since the agency began investigating fatal shootings by police in 2016. Over the last four years 26 investigations into fatal shootings have been launched, six of which are ongoing, while one is being considered by Crown prosecutors and 19 others are closed, resulting in no charges. “Before BEI’s creation those incidents were investigated by police forces themselves (i.e. provincial police force mandated to investigate municipal police forces and vice versa),” stated the agency’s communications in an e-mail to Ha-Shilth-Sa. But half of the BEI’s investigators are former police officers, leading Moore’s mother, Martha Martin, to doubt that the

Photo by Eric Plummer

Martha Martin speaks at a gathering before the B.C. legislature in Victoria on June 18. Martin’s daughter, Chantel Moore, was fatally shot by a police officer during a wellness check in New Brunswick on June 4. someone can end up being shot dead by answers.” process will lead to a justified result. a police officer during a wellness check. Another complaint from T.J. Burke to “How do you expect to have confidence During a trip to Vancouver Island on Aug. the New Brunswick Police Commission in this BEI that has never laid charges 15 Canada’s NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh addresses the conduct of Edmunston on anybody?” she asked. “When there’s and Mid-Island MP Gord Johns met with Police Insp. Steve Robinson during a no transparency and everything seems television interview with CTV news after Moore’s family, part of the gathering to be hidden, where do you gain trust in pressure from political leaders for the the tragedy. A reporter asked Robinson if them?” investigative process to produce answers. more that one shot was fired at Moore. The agency’s website states that, “Im“Part of pursuing justice for Chantel “I can’t comment right now on that,” partiality is central to our work, because Moore means that two police officers’ said Robinson while laughing. all are equal before the law.” conduct in this case must be scrutinized The municipal police force issued a Reports to the provincial Crown proseby an independent body,” said Judith statement explaining that Robinson’s cutor, or Directeur des poursuites crimiSayers, president of the Nuu-chah-nulth nelles et pénales (DPCP), are not publicly mother tongue is French. Tribal Council, in a press release, “they “I understand that my reaction on camreleased. must be held accountable for what they era caused frustration and concern,” said “These reports, and any additional redid and to face the consequences for their ports required by the DPCP, are not made Robinson in the statement. “I sincerely actions.” apologize if it was interpreted or perpublic because they contain sensitive On average, BEI reports are produced information, including names, statements ceived as recklessness or lack of compaseight months after an investigation is sion. This is absolutely not the case.” from witnesses and the people involved, launched. This apology was rejected by Moore’s and evidence,” stated the BEI. “There’s some of stuff that I can’t talk family. “They need to be more transparent with about right now because it’s still an open The circumstances of Moore’s death people,” said Martin. “They uncover investigation and I have to be careful of have raised questions across Canada, what they want and release what they what is being said,” said Martin. want. I think it’s really unfair to famileading Indigenous Services Minister lies that are grieving and are waiting for Marc Miller to openly question how

Drug fatalities continuing, surge began with COVID-19 Continued from page 1. “During the COVID-19 crisis with social distancing, of course, they were not open as many hours as they had been because there were not as many staff available as there had been in the past,” continued Lapointe. While speaking about the pain the opioid crisis has brought families the voice of Dr. Bonnie Henry broke with emotion. “It’s also dismaying to know that all of the work we have done in responding to COVID-19 has been a contributing factor to the numbers of deaths that we’re seeing from the toxic drug supply here in British Columbia and across Canada,” said the provincial health officer. First Nations have been impacted by the overdose crisis at a rate more than five times that of the rest of B.C.’s population. Figures released by the First Nations Health Authority show 89 suspected overdose fatalities from January to May, showing a 93 per cent increase since before the pandemic. “It really is about pain and intergenera-

tional trauma,” noted Henry. “One of the things that we know are keeping people, Indigenous people, First Nations people from seeking help, is the racism that they have experienced in our health care system.” Absent from the press conference was Judy Darcy, B.C.’s minister of Mental Health and Addictions, but in a statement provided to media she outlined efforts undertaken by the province this year to fight the opioid crisis. “Since March, we have introduced new guidance to give people access to a safe supply of prescription medications,” she said, adding that the number of youth treatment beds has doubled and government has invested $10.5 million to increase overdose prevention sites. Darcy also mentioned more outreach teams, recovery services and registered nurses to provide a safer drug supply, such as hydromorphone, which has not been linked to any fatal overdoses. But the NDP government has also rejected calls from the provincial health of-

ficer to decriminalize possession of illicit drugs, indicating a rift between policy makers and health officials over the most effective means of curbing fatalities. “If hydromorphone is our answer, then we’re failing miserably,” said Guy Felicella of the BC Centre on Substance Abuse. During the press conference Felicella shared that he is a recovering addict who suffered six overdoses. “I’m someone who’s lucky to have survived this crisis,” he said. “There are so many people I know that are waiting for the same chance that I’ve had, but we’re not giving people that chance, and we’re losing hope.” What is needed is a safer supply for users, stressed Felicella. “The absence of a policy to support access to a legally regulated safer supply is killing people. Every hour and every day our failed policies are forcing people to play Russian Roulette, and the odds are going against them,” he continued. “A safer supply would mean pharmaceutical

Dr. Bonnie Henry alternatives to the toxic drug supply that would include heroin, injected hydromorphone and possibly even powered fentanyl – and we would consider how people use their drugs, whether it’s by injection or inhalation.”


Page 4— Ha-Shilth-Sa—August 27, 2020 Ha-Shilth-Sa newspaper is published by the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council for distribution to the members of the NTC-member First Nations, as well as other interested groups and individuals. Information and original work contained in this newspaper is protected by copyright and may not be reproduced without written permission from: Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council P.O. Box 1383, Port Alberni, B.C. V9Y 7M2. Telephone: (250) 724-5757 Fax: (250) 723-0463 Web page: www.hashilthsa.com facebook: Hashilthsa Ntc

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Building of Long Beach trail marches on Extending from Ucluelet to Tofino, the multi-use trail is budgeted at $55 million By Melissa Renwick Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Long Beach, BC - Construction of “ʔapsčiik t̓ašii, the multi-use pathway that will extend between Tofino and Ucluelet, remains on target to be completed in March 2022. The $55.1 million infrastructure project is aimed at allowing Canadians to connect with nature, while also supporting economic opportunities within the region. “Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is seen as the place that connects people and communities in the region,” said Parks Canada. “ʔapsčiik t̓ašii is the result of a long-time vision shared by local residents’ communities, including First Nations communities, as well as visitors.” After welcoming the return of visitors to Vancouver Island’s west coast during Phase 3 of B.C.’s restart plan, Tofino has been struggling to deal with the unexpected volumes of tourists and the onslaught of trash they are leaving behind. “When you open up trails, there’s tourists that will leave garbage everywhere,” said Terry Dorward, Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks project coordinator. “[Are] there going to be opportunities there for our people to ensure that this place doesn’t become a disastrous area, with more and more tourists [and] illegal camping? That’s what we’re seeing right now.” Although Tla-o-qui-aht leadership, Hereditary Chiefs and elected council support the trail for its economic opportunities, there are some ongoing issues that have yet to be worked out, said Dorward. “When garbage is left behind, it can have a detrimental impact [on] the health of the national park reserve and the experience of visitors,” said Parks Canada. “Parks Canada provides dumpsters and garbage cans for waste throughout the national park reserve. We ask visitors to take the time to dispose of their waste properly.” Based on the Rocky Mountain Legacy Trail in Banff National Park, Parks Canada predicts that an average of 500 visitors will use the “ʔapsčiik t̓ašii daily. “There’s a lot of money flowing,” said Dorward. “A lot of opportunities as Tlao-qui-aht that seem to be passing us by.”

Photo by Melissa Renwick

Construction for the new ʔapsčiik t̓ašii continues in front of Long Beach, within the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, near Tofino, on August 25, 2020. Parks Canada said that before work ties. began on the ʔapsčiik t̓ašii, they worked “One such opportunity was the incluwith Tla-o-qui-aht and Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ First sion of an Indigenous Benefits Package Nations to identify short and long-term in the trail bed construction contract,” economic benefits. said Parks Canada. “The Indigenous This included support conducting a Benefits Package commits Hazelwood “traditional use study and identifying tra- Construction Ltd, the trail bed contracditional ecological knowledge in relation tor, to provide employment and training to the proposed route so their interests opportunities to members of both Nations are recognized and accommodated,” said during the building phase.” Parks Canada. Job fairs were hosted within Ty-Histanis In their ongoing discussions, Dorward and Hitacu on June 5, 2019 and January hopes that Parks Canada will support a 21, 2020, where interested community larger guardian program so that long-term members met with the contractor and environmental monitoring of the area can Parks Canada to discuss employment opcontinue after the pathway’s completion. portunities, said Parks Canada. “We suffer from high levels of unemAs the project marches on, conversaployment,” said Dorward. “We have a lot tions between the Nations, Parks Canada of homes being built at Ty-Histanis and and Hazelwood Construction Ltd will we need jobs for our people – jobs that persist. are going to be sustainable [and] jobs that “Parks Canada is committed to ensuring are going to be local.” that all infrastructure projects are costBy working collaboratively with Tla-oefficient,” said Parks Canada. “While qui-aht and Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ First Nations, respecting the mandate to protect the Parks Canada is aiming to create ecoecological integrity and cultural heritage nomic opportunities within the communi- of protected places.”

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August 27, 2020—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 5

Solar project lights up Yuquot visitor facilities Tourism development gets Clean Energy Initiative boost with a $100,000 grant from the provincial government By Mike Youds Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Tsaxana, BC – A solar-powered lighting project, part of tourism development at Yuquot, is temporarily on hold due to a pandemic closure. Mowachaht-Muchalaht First Nation (MMFN) was planning to complete the first phases of its photo-voltaic installation at the Friendly Cove village site this summer, said Dorothy Hunt, MMFN lands manager. Power supply is a key component in a series of improvements at the village, MMFN’s ancestral home, centre of the Nuu-chah-nulth world and a national historic site. “The Mowachaht-Muchalaht people have had many projects that ended up not being built because of a lack of power at Yuquot,” Hunt said. Last year, MMFN obtained a $100,000 B.C. Rural Dividend grant to install a solar panel system at the Yuquot general store. This year, an application to the B.C. Indigenous Clean Energy Initiative (BCICEI) brought another $150,000 that enables completion of the local power project. This has been the quietest of summers at the site, though. When the provincial government moved to its third phase of reopening the economy earlier in the summer, MMFN opted to play it safe. “Because of COVID-19, we’ve closed Yuquot to tourists,” Hunt said. “We do have a lot of phone calls about Yuquot and the Nootka Trail. We’ve informed them that it’s not allowed at the moment. The chiefs just wanted to be cautious.” Kyuquot has also been closed since spring. Yuquot Spirit Summerfest, MMFN’s annual celebration and campout, had to be cancelled this year as part of the closure. Aside from the Williams family, the only MMFN members to reside full time at Yuquot, there are the staff at nearby Nootka Sound Lighthouse.

Phase 1 of the solar power initiative is mostly complete. Phase 2 will light up the trail to six existing guest cabins and a display of village artifacts. The solar installation contractor is anxious to return and complete the project, Hunt said. “We’re just waiting for the right time to go and connect it all,” she said. Despite its relative isolation from the outside world — removed from power grids and roads, accessible only by boat or air — Yuquot normally attracts thousands of visitors at this time of year. They are drawn by the unique historic and cultural legacy of more than 4,000 years of Nuu-chah-nulth settlement, the place of first contact with European explorers and traders in the 18th century. A feasibility study is underway that should help to spearhead development of a cultural and interpretive centre at the site, Hunt said. “It’s been high on our agenda for a number of years,” she said. In addition, MMFN has a pending application to have Yuquot designated a UNESCO world heritage site, one of 42 proposed across Canada. In Gold River, MMFN has added 120 sites at its RV campground and continues to work on its Welcome House guest facility. One of the guiding concerns of MMFN’s tourism development initiatives has been the importance of preserving the ambience of Yuquot, an interest supported by clean energy. BCICEI typically supports planning for clean energy generation, efficiency and storage projects involving hydro, wind, biomass, solar, marine and geothermal sources. The fund has so far invested more than $3.5 million in 31 projects, including 10 in off-grid or diesel-dependent communities. One of its priorities is to assist remote communities in reducing fossil fuel dependency. “Many Indigenous communities throughout B.C. are leading the way in developing clean energy alternatives,

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Margarita James welcomes Parks Canada representatives beneath the Welcome Pole during Summerfest. The celebration had to be cancelled this year especially when it comes to reducing reliance on diesel generators in remote areas,” said Alberni-Pacific Rim MLA

Scott Fraser, minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation.

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Housing for Indigenous women opens in Victoria Surveys indicate high numbers of Nuu-chah-nulth are among the homeless population in downtown Victoria By Karly Blats Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Victoria, BC - A new supportive housing facility has opened in Victoria, giving 22 Indigenous women experiencing or at risk of homelessness a safe and culturally appropriate place to live. The Spaken House, also known as Flower House, is a modular two-storey apartment building with 21 self-contained units, each with a private washroom and mini kitchen. Shared amenities include an office, laundry room, commercial kitchen and a dining lounge area. The Aboriginal Coalition to End Homelessness Society (ACEH) will operate the building and will have staff on site 24/7 to support residents. The Province of B.C. provided $3.8 million to the project through the Rapid Response to Homelessness program and will provide annual operating funding of approximately $997,000. According to a press release from the Province of BC, the Spaken House, located at 833 Hillside Ave., is the first supportive housing of its kind in British Columbia. It provides culturally appropriate supports for Indigenous women, as well as access to teachings from elders, traditional foods, cultural crafts and landbased healing. In addition, an elder and an “aunty” will be onsite two days per week to provide additional one-on-one support. Fran Hunt-Jinnouchi, ACEH executive director, said Spaken House received more than 90 referrals of Indigenous women needing a home. “We looked at trying to create a solid mix of people. We were looking at some who had been chronically homeless, they really need that break, others who were maybe starting to try to get their lives on track,” Hunt-Jinnouchi said. “We’re also looking at who has expressed a desire for culture and the spiritual part of what it is that we do as well. According to a BC Housing homeless count from 2018, 36 per cent of the 931 people experiencing some form of homelessness in Greater Victoria identify as Indigenous. “Our work has really been based on the voices of the street community from

Province of BC photo

Fran Hunt-Jinnouchi, executive director of the Aboriginal Coalition to End Homelessness, and Rob Fleming, MLA for Victoria-Swan Lake, stand with others from Spaken House. chah-nulth in there as well.” About nine women have already moved when we first started and it really framed Additional unique features to Spaken into the home with plans for the remaineverything around what their needs ing residents to move in soon. were,” Hunt-Jinnouchi said. House include a therapeutic garden with “Our people have been needing this for Back in 2016, Hunt-Jinnouchi and the plants and natural medicines, which will a long time and I hope it leads to more ACEH did a survey of 100 people experi- serve as a resource for healing and wellbeing. amazing housing successes,” said Gloria encing homelessness in Victoria’s downRoze, elder with ACEH in a press release. town core and out of that 100, 48 per cent “The house is much more than a “I have seen land-based healing work were from one of the tribal groups on house…there really is the pathway to healing and recovery and reunification for our people in positive and profound Vancouver Island. with families,” Hunt-Jinnouchi said. “We ways. Culturally supportive housing “I believe 32 were Nuu-chah-nulth out of the 48, that’s an extremely high numwere able to work with BC Housing to in- is a pathway for the spirit and internal clude a townhouse which we call a family growth. You feel the love when you step ber,” Hunt-Jinnouchi said. into Spaken.” Hunt-Jinnouchi said there are Nuu-chah- house. It’s a three-bedroom townhouse nulth women living in Spaken House. that is part and parcel to Spaken House Rob Fleming’s MLA for Victoria-Swan Lake, said Spaken House will provide “We were also able to house five people and the goal there is to help provide a urgently needed homes for Indigenous in independent housing in [Victoria’s] safe environment for the women to have visits with children in care, or children women in the community, surrounded West Shore and two of those five were by their tradition and culture, in a press Nuu-chah-nulth,” she said. “We also have staying with extended family because release. the culturally supportive house which is from our lens that’s what lends itself to our Indigenous alcohol harm reduction healing, getting stronger and strengthenprogram and we definitely have Nuuing [residents’] spirits.”

Recipe: Baked honey garlic salmon in foil 1 pound (450g) side of salmon 1/2 cup (125ml) honey 4 cloves garlic, minced 1/2 cup whole-grain Dijon mustard Juice of 1/2 lemon 1 tablespoon olive oil 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes 1/4 teaspoon Cayenne pepper 1/2 teaspoon paprika Coarse salt and black pepper 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro, for garnish 1 lemon, sliced, for garnish 1. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a baking sheet with a large piece of foil to create a packet. 2. In a bowl, combine honey, mustard, lemon juice, oil, paprika, red pepper flakes, Cayenne pepper and a pinch of salt. Stir to combine and set aside. 3. Place the salmon onto the lined baking sheet. Pour mixture over the salmon, and spread evenly. Sprinkle with a good amount of salt and pepper. Fold the sides of the foil over the salmon. 4. Bake salmon in foil until cooked through, about 10-15 minutes, depending on the thickness of your fish and your preference of doneness. Carefully open the foil, and broil under the broiler for 2-3 minutes on medium heat to caramelize the top of salmon. Garnish with cilantro

and serve immediately with lemon slices. Enjoy!


August 27, 2020—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 7

Seamounts show ‘shocking’ signs of climate change A new study released from 2019 expedition shows northwest Pacific has lost 15 per cent of its oxygen since 1960 By Mike Youds Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Seamount life 400 kilometres off Vancouver Island’s west coast is showing effects of climate change caused by the burning of fossil fuels, scientists have concluded. What makes the discovery — resulting from a scientific expedition last summer that included Nuu-chah-nulth representatives — of particular concern is its location. Undersea mountain ranges are among the most stable habitats on the planet, remote places where life-sustaining conditions have changed only on an immense geological time scale. Research by a team of DFO scientists, using remote submarine cameras and data going back 60 years, shows that “rapid deep-ocean deoxygenation” and increasing acidification in the Northeast Pacific threatens volcanic seamounts, rich offshore oases of marine life. “In the next 100 years, all the animals we found in this study are likely to face extinction,” said Cherisse Du Preez, a marine ecologist and deep-sea explorer who described the findings as “pretty shocking.” “It’s a sobering thought considering we just discovered many of them,” she added. Extirpation — or local extinctions — could come much sooner, within 40 years, she added. Du Preez and two colleagues from DFO’s Institute of Ocean Sciences in Pat Bay, Tetjana Ross and Debby Ianson, released a study in mid August revealing seamount habitats are already showing signs of retreat. They reported their findings to an international audience of hundreds of scientific colleagues around the world, Du Preez said. “Climate change is causing our oceans to lose oxygen and become more acidic at an unprecedented rate, threatening marine ecosystems,” they note. “In deep-sea environments, where conditions have typically changed over geological time scales, the associated animals adapted to these stable conditions are expected to be highly vulnerable to any change or direct impact.” Based on their analysis, the upper 3,000 metres of the Northeast Pacific have lost 15 percent of oxygen since 1960. While distant from the coastline, the area of concern is more than a dot on the map of the ocean floor. Scientists have circled the southern portion of the Offshore Pacific Bioregion — 133,000 square kilometres or four times the size of Vancouver Island — as a proposed marine protected area (MPA). “We couldn’t explore this world until very recently,” Du Preez explained. She said the area is vast and about two kilometres in depth, which makes the findings all the more significant. “This is a very large body of water,” she said. “We’re talking about everything off the B.C. coast in your area. It’s extremely large. That’s one thing.” Recent estimates indicated seamounts represent 28.8 million square kilometres of the earth’s surface, a greater area than tundra, deserts, savannah and other landbased habitats. Another critical aspect is the nature of seamount animal life, which thrives around a diverse ecosystem of crustaceans, corals and molluscs that remain stationary throughout lengthy life cycles. The mountain is their one and only home over a long life. “These animals, the fish, live to 200 years old and coral have been dated to

DFO photos

Artist Joshua Watts and Uu-a-thluk’s Aline Carrier provided live images for viewers during the 2019 scientific expedition. 4,000 years,” Du Preez said. “We’re a blip in their lifetimes.” ‘Need to stand up’ To help pursue greater environmental protection of the seamounts, two Nuuchah-nulth representatives, Uu-a-thluk’s Aline Carrier and artist Joshua Watts, took part in the 2019 expedition. “We went out to sea knowing seamounts were under consideration for protection,” Du Preez said. “The movement to protect places in the oceans requires everyone involved to speak their minds, so it was very important to have First Nations cultural representatives on the voyage so that everybody has a level playing field and can consider the future of these treasures off the B.C. coastline.” Carrier, marine emergency preparation co-ordinator for the NTC fisheries program, said she was not surprised to read of the research findings. “While we were out there, we were also witnessing surface temperatures so high,” Carrier said, “It was in the middle of the Blob,” which is a recurring warm-water anomaly off the West Coast first identified in 2013. “The surface temperature was up to 19 C. That’s another influence of climate change, so we were kind of expecting to see something not necessarily positive.” Understanding what’s going on hundreds of metres down in the ocean can shed light on what’s taking place closer to shore and increase public awareness, Carrier noted. The knowledge could benefit west coast First Nations. “It might help to understand effects on coastal ecosystems because everything is related,” Carrier said. Watts said he found seamount waters resonant with the Nuu-chah-nulth world view, “heshook-ish tsawalk,” everything is one, everything is connected. Traditional Nuu-chah-nulth whalers would have known about the offshore mountains, he believes. “I do really think that western science is starting to catch up to traditional knowledge,” Watts said. Following the voyage, he gave a presentation to the Ha’wiih, the hereditary chiefs, prompting a discussion around Nuu-chah-nulth assertion of title to ensure proper stewardship. “When I showed this, it really struck a chord,” Watts said. “I think the results are very concerning and very alarming, and I think we really do need to stand up for this area.” Amplifying that message is important to

A submersible drop camera used to observe seamount life is lowered from the Coast Guard vessel John P. Tully.

Watts, whether that involves speaking or expressing ideas through his artwork. ‘Amazingly adaptive’ Due to the gravity of their research, the study’s authors wanted to get word out as soon as possible, Du Preez said. That’s why they wasted no time in presenting the paper to colleagues around the world. “That’s probably the fastest way to get everybody on board,” she said. Though troubled by the findings, Du Preez is encouraged, both by the “amazingly adaptive” life of seamounts and a move to ensure greater environmental protection. In 2017, DFO proposed a new marine protected area that would apply to 75 per cent of known seamounts off the B.C. coast and all that are shallow enough to be disturbed by human activity. As well, the status would protect all known hydrothermal vent fields.

The goal is to have a marine protected area established by next year, although progress has been slowed by the COVID-19 pandemic. That promises longterm safeguards from oil and gas activity, mining, dumping and bottom trawling. “We’re imploring them to mitigate every known impact there is. I’m hoping these animals are going to survive down there,” said Du Preez. There is a broader message that scientists also hope to convey: that seamounts serve as an environmental warning, a barometer for human impacts where they might be least expected. “The co-authors very much look at this paper as a case of the canary in the coal mine,” Du Preez cautioned. “We were able to collect data to show what’s going on here, but that’s not the case in other parts of the world.”


Page 8— Ha-Shilth-Sa—August 27, 2020 By Melissa Renwick Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Kyuquot, BC - While attending school on Aktis Island as a young boy, Frank Short’s teachers would strap him across the hand with a wooden yardstick. He tolerated the pain until Grade 7, when he decided to drop out. To this day, the 65-year-old is reminded of his early childhood by the throbbing pain in his right hand. It’s a permanent scar that aches every day. Although Short wasn’t taught through the school system, he was educated by the elders within his community on Aktis Island, which served as the Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/ Che:k’tles7et’h’ First Nation’s main village. His grandfather, Sam, was among them. Short is a man of few words. He never cared to sing or dance, but would closely observe his grandfather, who carved canoes and prepared the dead for burial. At the time, Sam was Kyuquot’s cemetery caretaker who watched over Mission Island, where the First Nation continues to lay their dead to rest in Kyuquot Sound. When a community member passed, Short recalled his grandfather wrapping their body in sheets. Sam would help to coat the bottom of the family’s canoe with cedar and brush the boat to cleanse it before the casket was placed inside. He never saw the bodies being transported. “We were told to stay in until the mourning was over,” said Short. When the time came for Sam to pass down his role as caretaker, Short stepped in. “My dad used to say I picked up from where he left off,” he said. In his earlier life, Short struggled with a drinking problem. “I tried to pay back the community by doing that gravesite work,” he said. “I was not a nice person when I was an alcoholic, so I decided to give back.” Since the early ‘80s, Short has been working as the Ka:’yu:’k’h’/Che:k’tles7et’h’ First Nations’ cemetery caretaker. He maintains Mission Island by clearing brush from the gravesites and helps to map out the burial grounds by consulting with family members on where they’d like their loved ones placed. With four or five other men, he is responsible for digging the graves,

Watching over the dead as Kyuquot’s ce Frank Short continues his grandfather’s tradition in Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k’tles7et’h’ territory, aw

A totem pole carved by Arthur Nicolaye stands within the Kyuoquot cemetery on Mission Island. It was made in honour of his grandson, the late Ed which fall six feet deep into the earth. While most shy away from death, Short has looked it in the eye for nearly 40 years. He has even become comfortable with it. “It helps me with my strength in myself,” he said. Prior to the arrival of the Catholic Church, Kyuquot had a burial site on Dead Man’s Island, where bodies were placed inside a

cave. When the church moved in, the ritual became taboo, as it wasn’t a traditional Christian ceremony. Shortly after, the nation’s burial grounds were moved to Mission Island. Signs of white settlement are imprinted on the island with gravestones that date back to the early 1800s. Up until just over two years ago, the

Catholic Church maintained ownership of the island. Upon this discovery, Bishop Gary Gordon of the Diocese of Victoria, made moves and finalized the return of the island to the Ka:’yu:’k’h’/Che:k’tles7et’h’ First Nations over the Easter long-weekend in 2018. “As long as it belonged to the church there was no vested interest to develop it and


August 27, 2020—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 9

yuquot’s cemetery caretaker

les7et’h’ territory, awaiting the time when his nephew will take over

Marilyn Short thinly slices salmon for her smokehouse. Photos by Melissa Renwick

n honour of his grandson, the late Edward Jackson, on August 12, 2020.

ned ownership , Bishop Victoria, d the return of the tles7et’h’ aster long-weekend church there develop it and

we weren’t allowed to because it was private property,” said Daniel Blackstone, Ka:’yu:’k’h’/Che:k’tles7et’h’ First Nations family support network coordinator. Alongside a carpentry crew that is currently in training in Houpsitas, the Nation’s youth warriors have plans to build a caretaker cabin on the island. “It’s to provide a place for the warriors to do their activities,” said Blackstone. “But it’s going to be a shared resource with people so they have a stockpile of tools to work on the gravesite, because right now we have to haul everything over there if somebody passes.” To access the burial grounds, Short has to anchor his boat out in the water and climb over rocky terrain before reaching the beach on Mission Island. “Regardless of the weather, when somebody needs to be put away, that’s what he does,” said Blackstone. Along with the cabin, Blackstone dreams of building a gazebo so that when there’s a congregation, community members will have a dry place to stand during the service. But as the winter storms become more erratic, the larger tides are causing Mission Island’s shorelines to recede. Short worries that are running out of room. When someone passed, Short remembers his grandmother telling him, “there are reasons – you don’t question the reason.” Despite those words, there was nothing that could have prepared him for the pain of digging his own parent’s graves. “It was a hard one to do,” he said in a near whisper. Short’s mother, Sarah, was ailing from

stomach cancer. While traveling home from Campbell River on an icy road four year ago she was fatally injured in a car crash. The sting of her absence continues to mark Short like an open wound. Although it is impossible to turn back time, signals from his ancestors allow Short to stay connected to the departed. When it came time to bury his mother on Mission Island, Short looked across the water to Aktis. As her body was carried from the boat to her gravesite, five wolves emerged from the forest on the west end of the island, where their family home used to stand. The pack of wolves strolled down to water’s edge and waited. When the burial was over, they were gone. “The wolves came to pick her up,” said Short. “Welcoming her into their world.” His father was put to rest one year later after losing his battle with cancer. “The night before he left, I went to see him,” said Short. “To thank him for everything he’s taught me – especially fishing. And when I dream of him, he asks me to go fishing. I dream of him lots. Especially when I’m doing something that I need to question.” Now, when Short visits his mother’s favourite beach on Mission Island, he finds two eagles sitting in the sand facing each other – talking. It brings him comfort knowing that his parents are just a boat ride away. As Short begins to transition out of his role as cemetery caretaker, he has been passing down his teachings to his nephew, Matthew Jack. They approach death in the same way. “It’s the circle of life,” said Jack. “Everything continues on.”

James Hansen hands Frank Short the boat anchor on Mission Island, near Kyuquot


Page 10— Ha-Shilth-Sa—August 27, 2020

Hupacasath’s new grant expands maple syrup business First Nation looks to more than double production beyond the 1,300 bigleaf maple trees currently being tapped By Sam Laskaris Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Port Alberni, BC – Talk about a sweet deal. Thanks to some provincial funding, Hupacasath First Nation will be greatly expanding its already successful maple syrup operation. The Nuu-chah-nulth First Nation recently received almost $100,000 in grant money to increase the productivity of its Kleekhoot Gold Bigleaf Maple Syrup Farm. The maple syrup farm was one of 153 projects from across British Columbia to receive a grant from the provincial government, which handed out almost $14 million via one-time grants. This funding is targeted to assist individuals, communities and economies in rural B.C. About $9 million of the funding is to help rural community development. Funding was provided to assist 114 projects in this category. And the remaining funding, almost $5 million, was awarded to 39 trail and recreation projects. First Nations, municipalities and not-for-profit organizations were eligible for the grants. Hupacasath Chief Executive Officer Rick Hewson said his First Nation had submitted a grant request through the Rural Dividend Fund to the provincial government in the spring of 2019. “Unfortunately, we were not funded in that initial round,” Hewson said. All those that had submitted applications via the Rural Dividend Fund were notified that provincial officials had a change of heart and money would be reallocated to assist forestry workers and those affected by mill closures. Earlier this year, however, provincial officials went back and reviewed applications for the 2019 Rural Dividend Fund. Many of those applicants were awarded funding to provide a boost during the pandemic. “Unfortunately, it was a result of COVID-19,” Hewson said of the funding. “But that was very exciting news (when we found out we would receive a grant).” Besides Hupacasath First Nation, three other Nuu-chah-nulth groups were also notified that they would receive funding. They were the Bamfield Huu-ay-aht Community Forest Society (BHCFS), Nuu-chah-nulth Seafood Limited Partnership (NSLP) and Tseshaht First Nation’s

Submitted photo

The Hupacasath First Nation currently produces approximately 2,000 bottles of maple syrup a season from trees on its reserve land. Commercial and Industrial Land DevelHewson said Hupacasath began its its grant money towards expansion. opment. operation, which now includes a pump “Our goal is to have 4,000 to 5,000 trees The BHCFS received $32,450 to suphouse, after local officials visited maple under tap,” Hewson said, adding the export the planning, initial layout of trails syrup businesses in Quebec in 2018. pansion project, which will also include and the construction of a trail loop within Hupacasath’s business has been expandbuilding new pump houses, will take the Bamfield Huu-ay-aht Community ing since an initial trial run of 100 trees place over the next 24 months. Forest. The forest is located beside the to figure out how much sap they could Hupacasath officials are in the midst communities of Bamfield and Ancala. produce. of figuring out if all the trees they will Meanwhile, the NSLP was granted Hewson said there is a need for expanbe tapping in the future will be located $170,784. This money will be partly sion now. within its territory. used to determine the capacity to deliver “The demand is an interesting one,” he “That’s first and foremost where we’re large-scale ocean farming of seaweed by said. “So far we’ve only been able to pro- looking at,” Hewson said. “But we’re in communities on Vancouver Island’s west duce about 2,000 bottles in a season.” discussions as well with different privatecoast. All of those bottles disappear quickly ly-owned lands.” And Tseshaht First Nation received once they are offered for sale. Restaurants Hewson added Hupacasath officials real$100,000, money that will go towards and cruise ship terminals are among those ize they have a business which is attractdetermining how to best utilize land to who are keen to sell Hupacasath’s maple ing plenty of attention. increase its economic development. syrup. “Commercial maple syrup sugaring is Hewson said the provincial grant money “The issue is they want a consistent sup- pretty unique in B.C.,” he said. Hupacasath received will go towards ply,” Hewson said. The First Nation has benefitted from the expanding its existing maple syrup operaHewson added that can’t be done unless more than 22 million people seeing an tion. As of this year, the company has the business expands. American-made documentary on Hupabeen tapping about 1,300 bigleaf maple “Our goal is at minimum to produce casath’s maple syrup business last year. trees located on the First Nation’s Num5,000 to 6,000 bottles a year,” he said. “After that we received orders from all ber 2 reserve, Kleekhoot. To that end, Hupacasath will be putting over the United States,” he said.

Phrase of the week: siiqu>%is^%a> ya%iss @uh=%is^ hasaamac hitinqis%i Pronounced ‘Seek ilth ish alth yaa ee see ohr ish haasawmuts hee tin qis’, this means, ‘They are cooking clams and crabs down the beach’. Supplied by ciisma.

Illustration by Ivy Cargill-Martin


August 27, 2020—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 11

Quest for sustainable herring fisheries drives research Computer modelling examines the potential for a smaller-scale harvest, looking into area-based management By Mike Youds Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor An ocean surface churned to a silvery froth by schools of ƛusmit — Pacific herring — is not so common as it once was on the west coast of Vancouver Island. A staple in traditional Nuu-chah-nulth diets, herring populations began to decline in the 1990s, as they did along most of the B.C. coast. Lower ocean productivity is believed to be the primary cause of herring decline, which has impacted food and ceremonial fisheries for years. That doesn’t mean that hope of renewal in herring fisheries has faded, though. New research — a four-year Uu-a-thluk study backed by $390,000 from the B.C. Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund — is intended to find a new balance. The study is the only Nuu-chah-nulth project so far supported by the joint federalprovincial fund, established in 2019 to improve productivity and sustainability of marine resources. “We’re working in partnership with DFO and Landmark Fisheries Research in Vancouver,” said Uu-a-thluk biologist and Deputy Program Manager Jim Lane. The project involves mapping management practices using computer modelling while also looking more closely at marine predation, he explained. In essence, the research represents a marked departure from the assumption, long adhered to by DFO in its management practices, that there is only a single stock of herring on the Island’s west coast, one of five along the whole of the B.C. coast. “Nuu-chah-nulth believe they should be harvesting on a smaller scale,” Lane said, noting the need for smaller areas to better manage the species. Based on traditional knowledge over time, Nuu-chah-nulth have long maintained there are, to the contrary, multiple herring stocks. There are differences in age structure, size, timing and spawning areas that reinforce this belief. “They look at key observations over a very long time-frame,” Lane said. The Council of Ha’wiih Forum on Fisheries agreed in 2017 to limit Nuuchah-nulth herring catches to social and ceremonial purposes for up to four years or until stocks show a sustained recovery in their Ha-houlthee. A commercial seine fishery that closed 15 years ago later became a bone of contention with First

“Nuu-chah-nulth believe they should be harvesting on a smaller scale” ~ Jim Lane, Uu-a-thluk Deputy Program Manager Nations. Five nations fought and won against Conservative fisheries minister Gail Shea after she tried to override staff recommendations and reopen the commercial fishery in 2014. The ink had barely dried on a Herring Rebuilding Initiative launched the previous fall. DFO and Nuu-chah-nulth nations were already engaged in that process. The same scenario to reopen the commercial fishery played out the following year, only the nations — Ahousaht, Ehattesaht, Hesquiaht, Mowachaht/Muchalaht and Tla-oqui-aht — lost that round. The west coast fishery opened in 2015, but commercial boats soon left the region with empty holds when herring didn’t show up in sufficient numbers. Despite overall decline, west coast Vancouver Island herring stocks have shown a degree of population recovery since 2012, Lane noted. A slow but steady increase after that seems to have levelled off at an estimated abundance of 20,000 to 22,000 tonnes - roughly doubling the lows seen from 2005 to 2010 - though well short of what might be considered a recovery. Thirty years ago, abundance was much higher, around 60,000 tonnes. An increase to 45,000 or 50,000 tonnes is a more realistic goal now. “If herring are fluctuating at lesser levels, how do you manage them?” Lane asked. “Right now, we’re still looking at a stock in rebuilding mode. When do you declare it rebuilt?” To what extent can Nuu-chah-nulth herring harvests be maintained in sustainable fashion? “Are there evidence of different stocks for managing herring on a smaller scale and how would that look?” Lane asked. Smaller scale management of herring stocks is already practised elsewhere

DFO photo

A commercial seiner fishes herring in the 1970s. along the North American west coast in by the emergence of the commercial Alaska, Washington State and California, herring roe fishery in the 1970s. These he noted. A stock in San Francisco Bay is industrial-scale fisheries remain closed managed as a distinct entity. coastwide due to poor returns, the sole The research goal is to evaluate manexception being one off eastern Vancouagement options, not only for Nuuver Island. Conservation groups, joined chah-nulth food, social and ceremonial last year by Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord harvests but for commercial herring Johns, NDP fisheries critic, have petifisheries as well. All 14 Nuu-chah-nulth tioned Ottawa to close that fishery as First Nations have an ecological, cultural well. and economic stake in sustainable herring Uu-a-thluk, through a herring technical fisheries. working group, has been conducting her“We’re trying to see what would be an ring management simulation for the last appropriate scale of herring managefew years with DFO, incorporating Nuument,” Lane said. chah-nulth objectives — stock abundance DFO attributes herring declines to inand conservation among them — into the creased natural mortality, but the precise process. Those objectives can be modcauses of that remain unknown. That’s elled with “spatial scale,” which is the where the second component of the order of magnitude of an area of study. research could further understanding of The research looks at 16 areas in all. how marine predators, whether hake or Given the governing factor of lower other species, affect west coast herring. ocean productivity, the west coast isn’t Commercial herring fisheries expanded going to see a return to the way herring more than 50 years ago, becoming only used to be fished, Lane said. second in value to salmon fisheries on the “That type of fishing is not sustainable,” B.C. coast. Overfishing brought a colhe said. The same can be said of fisheries lapse of the stocks in the 1960s, followed anywhere for that matter, he added.

Mimicking natural a habitat for the sake of salmon By Melissa Renwick Local Journalism Initiative Reporter With a hunched back, Kyle Adams wheel barrowed gravel down a dimly lit culvert underneath the highway leading into Tofino. Murky water pooled around his ankles as he dripped with sweat, careful not to slip. Alongside a team from Central Westcoast Forest Society (CWFS), Adams helped to fill the metal culvert, which connects Mackenzie Creek, with gravel and boulders. “It’s going to reduce the velocity of the stream so it’s not just going to come shooting through that culvert,” said Chris Dolphin, environmental monitoring coordinator for CWFS. During winter months, the heavy rain would create an impediment for fish, he said.

According to the Mackenzie Creek Culvert Assessment Summary, it is unknown whether any work has been done to the culvert in 15 years. The addition of gravel and boulders create little eddies and pools that provide velocity relief. By mimicking a riverbed, it allows for safer passage of juvenile fish to move downstream, while simultaneously making it easier for fish to get up the creek. Adams, who is from Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation, has been working as an environmental monitor for CWFS since 2012. With many of B.C.’s salmon stocks in peril – including the Fraser River sockeye run, which is expected to be the lowest return ever recorded – Adams said projects like these are helping to make a difference. “I feel accomplished looking back at the work later on,” he said.

Photo by Melissa Renwick

Kyle Adams, an environmental monitor with the Central Westcoast Forest Society, unloads gravel in the Mackenzie Creek culvert, in Tofino, on Aug. 11.


Page 12— Ha-Shilth-Sa—August 27, 2020

‘Extreme flow,’ sediment compounds Big Bar crisis Fraser sockeye arrive late this year, begin ‘tubing’ past river rapids at the site of last year’s disastrous landslide By Mike Youds Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Lillooet, BC - More than a year after discovery that the Big Bar Slide had effectively blocked B.C.’s most important salmon pathway, sockeye are finally moving up the Fraser. Sockeye and chinook were holding en masse in the lower river below the landslide due to historically high river levels, record flows that only began to subside in late July. Not until July 25 were sockeye observed at Big Bar. The delayed migration isn’t the only factor worrying all who have a stake in the province’s largest and most vital salmon watershed. Increased flow combined with higher sediment loads in the river are taxing fish even before they get to Big Bar near Lillooet, said Gwil Roberts, director of the tripartite response team that includes Fraser basin First Nations. “This is a concern for Fisheries and Oceans Canada,” Roberts said during a media briefing July 27. “Salmon are more tired and have to rest more often. The river is having a heavy impact on that biologically inherent push. Yes, it will affect spawning.” The last media briefing on the Big Bar emergency was held in June, when the annual waves of Interior-bound salmon were expected to reach the slide in significant numbers. That did not materialize. Fewer than 300 salmon were radio tagged below the slide. Another 125 salmon had made natural passage, overcoming the force of the falls. Only 128 fish had been counted 40 kilometres upstream from the slide. Within the past week, sockeye at last began arriving by the hundreds. Higher than average snow packs and spring precipitation combined to make the annual freshet intense and sustained. For almost the entire spring and early summer, the river has been in flood, its flow 60 to 70 per cent above average. At its peak, the river reached 7,800 cubic metres per second (cms) at Hope. The critical point is considered 5,000 cms. “Only when it drops below that do we see many fish moving,” said Michael Crowe, the response team’s manager of biological services. High flows have made it more challenging for workers at the canyon site as they have had to work around river fluctuations within an already constrained schedule. “We’re definitely in an event … well within the very highest water flows ever recorded there before,” Crowe said. Response team members remained confident, however, that mitigation measures

DFO photos

Workers tag a salmon to monitor fish movement beyond the Big Bar landslide near Lillooet. The river flow situation further complicates what First Nations leadership in the province view as a salmon emergency of the highest order of magnitude. “Extreme efforts and resources must be put forth immediately to preserve cultures and a way of life that have existed for thousands of years,” Terry Teegee, B.C. Assembly of First Nations regional chief, said last winter, trying to spark the strongest possible response to the situation. If the crisis hasn’t hit T’aaq-wiihak salmon fisheries so far, it’s only because DFO hasn’t allowed west coast catches of Fraser-bound stocks for many years. The sole exception occurred two years ago, at this time in the season, when boats from Ahousaht, Ehattesaht/Chinekintaht, tubes must be raised and lowered conHesquiaht, Tla-o-qui-aht and Mowachaht/ Terry Teegee tinuously to correspond with the fluctuat- Muchalaht were allocated one percent of now in place will enable salmon to reach ing river. 14 million returning Fraser sockeye durspawning grounds in the Interior. By the end of July, about 1,000 sockeye ing a peak in the four- to five-year cycle. “We are very happy to say we have had passed through the tubes. B.C. River Roughly 30,000 fish were harvested, all the transport mechanisms in place,” Forecast Centre predicts river levels will generating an estimated $1 million, a Roberts said. continue to drop in the coming days, welcome boost to local west coast econoPeter Kiewit Sons, the main contractor another encouraging sign. mies. responsible for river channel clearing, Beach seining in tandem with truck Hopes that T’aaq-wiihak fisheries might was able to clear only a portion of the transport around the slide are used as a see more such openings now seem even slide debris during a limited winter lowbackup system. less likely — at least in the near future — water period. Netting and angling the salmon allows as a result of Big Bar. For the dozens of As a result, the team has had to adopt an opportunity to tag fish and capture First Nations within the vast Fraser River mitigation measures. These consist of a brood stock for enhancing vulnerable basis, the stakes are far higher. system of pumps and tubing called the populations. Once identified, these fish A salmon count for Big Bar passage, Whoosh, the primary means of getting are sent to hatcheries at Cultus Lake and updated daily, can be found at http:// fish past the slide. Six tubes of variVanderhoof. Fish from more resilient www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/pacific-smonous sizes are designed to accommodate stocks are released above the slide to con- pacifique/big-bar-landslide-eboulement/ salmon of all species and age classes. The tinue their journey to spawning grounds. smon-count-denombrement-eng.html.

“Extreme efforts and resources must be put forth immediately to preserve cultures and a way of life that have existed for thousands of years”

~ Terry Teegee, B.C. Assembly of First Nations regional chief

This panorama image of the Big Bar Slide shows progress made so far at the site south of Lillooet.


August 27, 2020—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 13

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

View more job postings at: www.hashilthsa.com Updated daily!


Page 14— Ha-Shilth-Sa—August 27, 2020

------- Employment Opportunities -------

View more job postings at: www.hashilthsa.com Updated daily!

Have You Moved? If you should be getting a copy of the Ha-Shilth-Sa paper delivered to your home, please contact : Holly Stocking at 250-724-5757 or holly.stocking@nuuchahnulth.org


August 27, 2020—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 15

Blockades halt logging road construction Located in Pacheedaht nation territory, a loosely affiliated collection of volunteers are blocking forestry access By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Port Renfrew, BC - Blockades are holding the line in three locations near Port Renfrew, preventing forestry activity from entering one of Vancouver Island’s few untouched watersheds. Driven by a loosely affiliated collection of volunteers, the first blockade was established Aug. 10 to stop roads from being built into the Fairy Creek valley, a remote tributary of the San Juan River system east of Port Renfrew. A week later a second blockade was set up to prevent access by Granite Main, another route that could lead into the Fairy Creek valley. Fairy Creek lies within Tree Farm Licence 46, a large section of Crown land that has been held by the Teal-Jones Group since 2004. “Teal Jones started blasting a new road on the far side of Fairy Creek, it was going to come in right over the top of the ridge,” explained Jeff, a Victoria resident at the second blockade who asked that his last name not be disclosed. “The reason we have a blockade here is that this is the other logical route to get into Fairy Creek. There is very recent old-growth falling that was happening up this road.” According to those at the site, this initial falling included large old-growth yellow cedar trees, a species that holds important spiritual value to Nuu-chah-nulth-aht. The Fairy Creek valley is within the traditional territory of the Pacheedaht, but the First Nation has yet to speak in support or opposition to harvesting in the watershed. However, Pacheedaht elder Bill Jones isn’t reluctant to share his opposition to the forestry activity. He recalls hunting in the Fairy Creek valley as a young man, and his uncles used the area for prayer and other spiritual practices. “I used to go up there hunting in my young manhood and they came out of the forest behind Fairy Lake mountain and surprised me,” recalled Jones. “They used to like to go into the woods for the private solitude and the peace there.” The region is home to massive stands of yellow and red cedar, reason enough to keep harvesting away from the valley, said Jones. “There’s a lot of yellow cedar in the Fairy Lake watershed, which is a revered and respected spiritual tree for our people, along with the red cedar,” he continued, adding that the road that Teal-Jones began to build was directed at a particularly old tree. “The road is going directly to a yellow cedar that a forester estimated to be about 1,500 to 2,500 years old. They are aiming the logging road right straight to the tree.” Support for the blockades has been consistent over August, with a steady flow of food, provisions and volunteers to man the posts for a few days at a time. A third blockade went up Aug. 22 to ensure logging trucks don’t gain access to the valley. Denman Island resident Eartha Muirhead accompanied Jeff at the Granite Main blockade. They are both veterans of past movements to stop the clearcutting of old-growth trees, including an arrest Muirhead sustained in Clayoquot Sound in 1993, possibly the largest movement of civil disobedience in Canadian history. “I think that growing up in old growth forests influences how you see the world,” commented Muirhead. “The

Photo by Eric Plummer

Eartha Muirhead stands with Steve Fischer at one of three blockades set up in August to block forestry access into the Fairy Creek valley. Teal-Jones has ceased road building in the area. natural world has so much wisdom. It is who we are in essence.” She saw someone from the forestry company come to the site on Aug. 10 to check on a road building machine on the other side of the blockade. Muirhead said he looked surprised to see people there, and although they invited him to cross the line to check on the machine, he voluntarily left. A drive up Granite Main overlooking the other side of the mountain that forms the Fairy Creek valley gives a quick indication of why so many are concerned for the untouched watershed. Large swaths of the mountainside are clearcut, with equipment still on site. One the other side of the cutblock, two thirds of the Fairy Creek watershed is protected as a Marbled Murrelet Wildlife Habitat Area, according to the Ministry of Forests. “Our government is committed to protecting old growth and biodiversity while supporting workers and communities,” said B.C. Forestry Minister Doug Donaldson in a statement sent to Ha-ShilthSa. “When it comes to this work, there have been some strides over the past 30 years, but our government wants a comprehensive science-based approach.” Nearly three decades since the mass arrests in Clayoquot Sound, old growth logging remains an integral part of B.C.’s coastal forestry industry. Information sent to the Ha-Shilth-Sa in July 2019 from BC Timber Sales clarified that approximately half of the timber harvested from Crown land that is auctioned annually is old growth, and will be “for the foreseeable future.” “This is what the timber supply, economic base and community employment across the coast is based on,” wrote a spokesperson for the provincial agency responsible for auctioning sections of Crown land. The TFL 46 management plan calls to maintain an annual harvest of 367,363 cubic metres of timber, less than half - or 180,000 - of which is second growth. “This harvest level is sustainable for fifty years, at which point it must fall to the

long-term sustainable level of 332,500 m3 /year,” states the management plan, which was drafted in 2010. This model for a sustainable harvest has not reassured Jones. “We have very little left, and likely within a short while it will be gone forever,” he said. “We have to save some for

the future and we have to save some for the children’s future.” The Ministry of Forests would not say if it will enforce forestry access to the Fairy Creek valley. For the time being, TealJones has halted road construction as the blockades remain in place.


Page 16— Ha-Shilth-Sa—August 27, 2020

The team at Ha-Shilth-Sa Newspaper has been working for over three years on having our collection of historical archive photos digitized and uploaded to Flickr.com to be available to the public. Featured here is a small portion of an album labeled ‘Elders’. To view this album, or any of the other albums, please visit or Flickr page at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ 157258270@N05/


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