INTERESTING NEWS Canada’s Oldest First Nations Newspaper - Serving Nuu-chah-nulth-aht since 1974 Vol. 46 - No. 15—August 8, 2019
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Archaeologists unearth evidence of geoduck harvest Discovery at an ancient Tseshaht village site is expected to have widespread effects on Aboriginal fishing rights By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Broken Group Islands, BC — Archaeologists working on Keith Island have made a significant discovery that proves Nuu-chah-nulth-aht ate geoduck clams prior to contact with Europeans. Archaeologist and assistant professor Iain McKechnie said several shell fragments and a large, intact geoduck clam shell was found more than a meter deep in a pit on Keith Island, in Tseshaht territory, on July 13. “To my knowledge this is the first time I’ve seen geoduck archaeological remains – we are confident that this is not a horse clam,” McKechnie stated. He went on to say that this is the first find of this type in Nuu-chah-nulth territory and even on the coast of British Columbia. “I am not aware of others,” he said. Over the past three summers archaeology students unearthed thousands of artifacts on Keith Island, including a full set of bones from a woolly dog that is now extinct. The geoduck shells were found nearby, in a place that had been used continuously by Tseshaht for hundreds of years. Archaeologist teams work at the site for two weeks each summer. This year is the third at Keith Island. The work is made possible through a partnership between the UVic Archaeology Field School, Parks Canada and Tseshaht First Nation. McKechnie said the shells were located in a deposit that is at least 500 years old but could date back as much as 1,000 years. “It was in a feature with other clams,” he said, adding that it appeared that the collection of shells may have been part of an ancient clam bake. The shells appeared to be arranged purposefully and many intact shells were found with both sides of the shell aligned. In addition, the shells in that layer of earth had evidence of oily residue inside the shells along with charred organic materials, like vegetation. What this shows is that past generations of Tseshaht harvested these and more than 40 other species of shellfish, and brought them home for processing at this site, said McKechnie. “This (dig site) contains a record of the people living here; it gives us information about the people living here, where they were going for food, what they are eating and how they harvested their food,” said McKechnie. Denis St.Claire has been an archaeologist since 1970 and has close ties with
Photo by Denise Titian
The discovery provides evidence that the First Nation historically harvested geoducks, and could progress the Nuu-chahnulth right to undertake the practice in modern times.
Archaeologist and assistant professor Iain McKechnie holds an intact geoduck clam shell recently found more than a metre deep in a pit on Keith Island. Tseshaht First Nation, having consulted until it fell. and formed friendships with elders early There were pits on each side of the on in his career. He pointed to a long ridge, each about two meters square and ridge that runs parallel to the beach, sayjust under two meters deep. The UVic ing that it was a mulch pile made up of archaeologists uncovered several generabones and shells that would have been tions of cooking hearths in one pit and outside the longhouses that were once even a shadowy impression left from a there. wooden house post. A few feet away lies a toppled tree, its The island was inhabited up until the roots studded with seashells hundreds of 1950s so the top layers of soil contain years old - shells that nurtured the tree items that came after contact, like metal
Inside this issue... Waiting for language pole funding............................Page 3 Protected old growth trees.........................................Page 4 Summer of fish farm discontent................................Page 8 Tseshaht’s new language house............................... Page 12 PAFC summer culture camp....................................Page 15
nails and wood stove parts. “This island contains both a past and current history,” said St. Claire. The geoduck shells and other materials unearthed at Keith Island this summer will be sent to the University for analysis. Tseshaht Councilor Luke George said that members of his nation heard the news about the geoduck find and were excited. “It is exciting to have proof that helps our case when it comes to our rights to harvest shellfish; this solidifies something for Tseshaht and for that, we are grateful,” he said. The find proves that Tseshaht had access to and consumed geoduck clams, among other species. This discovery could support other coastal First Nations’ fisheries rights claims when it comes to shellfish. Geoduck clams were excluded from the 2009 Nuu-chah-nulth fisheries court case victory. In 2009 the B.C. Supreme Court ruled that Nuu-chah-nulth-aht have a constitutional right to fish and sell fish from their territory. Geoduck clams were not included in the decision because the court argued that the species have only been harvested since the invention of modern equipment and there was no evidence that First Nations collected them.
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Page 2— Ha-Shilth-Sa—August 8, 2019
Rockfall forces another closure for Tofino highway Motorists were held up all morning on July 31 due to an unexpected delay from rock debris over Kennedy Lake By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Sproat Lake, BC - On July 31 travellers headed to Tofino and Ucluelet were again forced to change their plans, due to the second unexpected closure of Highway 4 last month due to rock debris. The only road to the Vancouver Island west coast communities was since early in the morning, and didn’t reopen until after 1 p.m. with an alternating single lane. Rock debris blocked the highway 14 kilometres east of the southern boundary to the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve – the same location where early morning blasting caused a boulder to hold up the road until 4 p.m. on July 9. “The crew is working as quickly as possible to reopen Highway 4 to traffic. The estimated time of opening is between 12:30 to 1 p.m. today,” stated the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure in an email to Ha-Shilth-Sa on July 31. “The ministry apologizes for any inconvenience caused by the extended closure.” The 1.6-kilometre stretch of highway over Kennedy Lake is undergoing extensive construction, where cliff-side blasting and excavation is being conducted daily during scheduled road closures. Over the last week of July closures were planned from 1-4 a.m., 5-7 a.m. and 10 p.m.-midnight. “Rock blasting and major earthworks are only conducted during the scheduled nighttime closure times and prescheduled road closures were in effect; however, the closure beyond 7 a.m. was unexpected and was the result of a routine blast, where more rock debris came down than expected,” said the ministry. “We understand the frustration and inconvenience caused by these closures, given that Highway 4 is the only route in and out from the communities of Tofino and Ucluelet. “ Irine Polyzogopoulos was headed west
Photo by Irine Polyzogopoulos
The closure was caused by rock blasting at the Kennedy Hill site, which was preceded by another unexpected delay July 9. from Port Alberni to work in Tofino shortly after the highway was scheduled to reopen, when she was stopped by a flagger at 7:35 a.m., approximately 15 kilometres west of Sproat Lake Landing. At that time the road wasn’t expected to reopen until at least 10:30 a.m. “The flagger was giving me a warning that the highway was closed,” said Polyzogopoulos, who decided to turn around based on the flagger’s description of the incident. “Based on the fact that the rock that was blocking the highway was larger than the last time - and the last time didn’t clear until 4 p.m. - she wasn’t hopeful that the 10:30 a.m. reopening
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would actually occur.” Much of the route to the west coast doesn’t have cell phone or internet connections. Fortunately, this warning from the flagger came near a rest stop with bathrooms, Wi-Fi and cell reception, where Polyzogopoulos was able to notify contacts in Tofino of the travel delay. Along with other motorists, she headed back to Dellas Café at Sproat Lake Landing to wait the closure out. “There’s been tourists coming in and out and playing the same game here, using the Wi-Fi and looking on DriveBC for updates,” she said. “There was a guy with a canoe and kayak strapped to the top of
his car.” The ongoing highway work is part of a $38.1-million project funded by the provincial and federal governments to make the winding stretch of road along Kennedy Lake safer. The project includes widening each of the two lanes to 3.6 metres, while adding a 1.5-metre paved shoulder to either side. A concrete barrier is also planned to prevent vehicles from falling down the cliff into the lake. In 2010 two paramedics lost their lives when their ambulance drove off this cliff, falling 33 metres into Kennedy Lake below. The Highway 4 project is expected to be completed by next summer.
August 8, 2019—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 3
Officials hope for funding to complete totem pole Funding for the Language Revitalization Pole has dried up, causing work on the piece to slow down in Alberni By Sam Laskaris Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Port Alberni, BC – A major snag has been hit in the quest to raise a Language Revitalization Pole at the University of Victoria this fall. Funding for the $400,000 project has completely dried up after about $140,000 worth of work has been completed. And now officials can only patiently wait and hope additional funds come in so that work can continue and that the pole can indeed be raised in 2019, which is the U.N. Year of Indigenous Languages. The First Nations Education Foundation (FNEF) had been commissioned to raise funds for the project. That included bringing aboard renowned Hesquiaht First Nation carver Tim Paul to design and help carve the pole. FNEF Executive Director Scott Jeary estimates about half of the necessary carving work on the pole has been finished. Carving began this past March. But the next hurdle which has to be completed – and cannot proceed with more funds – is some structural engineering testing at the University of Victoria, at the proposed location of the pole. “The structural engineering needs to occur in the summer months,” Jeary said. “It kind of needs to be done now.” Though all money raised thus far has been used up, Jeary said work on the totem pole, which is taking place on the Port Alberni waterfront, has not completely stalled. Carvers are still working on it, just at a slower pace and when they have time to do so. “The group working on it are doing it out of the goodness of their heart,” Jeary said. Jeary added it was his foundation’s decision to commence work on the project even though all funding was not set. After speaking to government officials at various levels, he was convinced this was a project that would be well supported. But government funding has not transpired yet. “We all knew that all the funds were not in place when the carving began,” Jeary said. “We also knew that if carving did not begin when it did we would not be able to meet the deadline and at the same time, media attention around the carving of the pole could help a great deal in raising those funds.” Awareness of the pole has been gener-
Photo by Eric Plummer
Gord Dick directs the lowering of an 800-year-old cedar log at Port Alberni’s waterfront in March that would become a totem pole carved under the direction of Hesquiaht artist Tim Paul. Work on the pole has slowed down due to a shortage of funds. from two major funding programs it has with operational requirements,” he said. “Funding is a collaborative “We take the role seriously and I do very applied for. If funding does materialize from either of those sources soon, Jeary personally accept that responsibility to effort but it was my organipush the message forward and realize the said the entire project would be able to be zation’s primary responsibil- funding required to complete.” completed on time. ity to get those funds in place In June Scott Fraser, the minister of Paul was not caught off guard when and the fact of the matter is it Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, funding for the project dried up. “You always have hiccups when you’re said his government was committed to has not kept pace with opera- true and lasting reconciliation with Indig- looking for any sort of funding or donations,” he reasoned. “You deal with enous people. tional requirements” things as they roll in or as they don’t roll Fraser said the B.C. government investin.” ed $2.8 million to support First Nations ~ Scott Jeary, language revitalization in Nuu-chah-nulth Paul added though funding has yet to be finalized, it is vital to continue work now from 2018-20. FNEF Executive Director territory on the pole, which symbolizes the impor“Given the current state of Indigenous tance of language and cultural teachings languages in B.C., it is critical that fundated in part by a film documenting work for Indigenous people. ing be strategic and focused on programs being done. “The most important thing for us is to that foster fluent speakers,” Fraser said. “The film we have created around the go ahead,” he said. “My area is working process is excellent and it has contributed “We will continue to focus our funding on this pole. The area for other people is on language programs that have strong to getting our message out there,” Jeary to get the funding.” outcomes for communities and people said. Jeary is holding out hope government through established best practices in Jeary added the FNEF is shouldering funding is forthcoming. any blame for the fact full funding for the language revitalization.” “I’d be very frustrated if we don’t get Fraser added government officials have pole has not been met. had numerous discussions with FNEF of- it up this year,” he added. “The pole “Funding is a collaborative effort but it ficials to discuss various programs to help will get finished. I don’t have any doubt was my organization’s primary responsiabout that. Having it completed this year get their pole funded. bility to get those funds in place and the though is very important.” Jeary said the FNEF is awaiting word fact of the matter is it has not kept pace
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54 big coastal trees are now protected from logging Some of the biggest trees are preserved, but old-growth continues to be a major portion of logging on the coast By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Vancouver Island, BC — Some of the largest trees in B.C. have gained protection, thanks to an announcement from the provincial government in mid-July, including at least eight giants in Nuuchah-nulth territory on Vancouver Island. On July 17 B.C.’s Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development listed 54 trees that were previously unprotected will now be preserved from logging. These trees are on Crown land and among the largest in the province, as they are listed in the Big Tree Registry compiled by the University of British Columbia. Some of these trees are in Nuu-chahnulth territory on western Vancouver Island, including a Sitka Spruce near Port Renfrew that measures 62.5 metres in height with a diameter of 3.71 metres, another 49-metre Sitka spruce on the south portion of Meares Island and a western red cedar on the north part of Meares measuring 46.9 metres in height and 5.64 metres in diameter. Also listed among those to be protected is the iconic Big Lonely Doug, a 70.2 metre Douglas fir that was left to be the only tree standing in a clearcut near Port Renfrew. In a measure to prevent similar scenarios in the future, each of the 54 trees will be surrounded by a one-hectare buffer zone that will also be protected, according to the province. “These trees represent an important part of B.C.’s natural heritage, and British Columbians have said they want them preserved,” stated Minister of Forests Doug Donaldson. “What we are announcing today is the start of a broader conservation about the future of old-growth management in this province.” The announcement follows growing concern last year over accelerated oldgrowth logging in the Nahmint Valley south of Sproat Lake. In May 2018 the Ancient Forest Alliance discovered a Douglas fir measuring over three metres in diameter that was logged in the area, dimensions that would rank the tree
among the largest of its species in Canada. Over the last three years BC Timber Sales has auctioned over 300 hectares of old-growth in the Nahmint Valley for harvest, including five timber licences that were sold without the consent of the local Tseshaht First Nation. In November the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council called on the provincial government “to work with them in slowing down, or even stopping, the rapid disappearance of old-growth forests within Nuu-chah-nulth territories.” “Old growth forests are valuable ecosystems than can never be reproduced,” stated NTC Vice-President Andy Callicum in a media release. “The forests play an important role in protecting wildlife
“Old growth forests are valuable ecosystems than can never be reproduced” ~ Andy Callicum, NTC Vice-President throughout the winter, and for providing Nuu-chah-nulth peoples the medicines and roots contained in them.” In Victoria last April the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation and their supporters celebrated the 35-year anniversary of Meares Island being declared a tribal park. During the event Tla-o-qui-aht carver Joe Martin spoke of the importance of using only what one needs from the forest. “We’re not allowed to just go and take a tree,” he said. “There’s a protocol with it: you have to go visit that site several times.” “Sit with it for a long time to make sure there’s no eagle’s nest, wolf dens or bear dens around,” added Martin. “Mother nature will provide for our need, but not our greed.” But this might not align with the economic aims of BC Timber Sales, which declares its vision as “to be an effective timber marketer generating wealth through sustainable resource management.” BCTS operates in 33 communities
Photo by TJ Watt
Fifty-four of the biggest trees in the province are now protected from logging, including a Sitka Spruce near Port Renfrew. across the province and supports over 8,000 jobs through its sales and management of Crown forest land. The logging of old growth continues to be a big part of these operations. “As with previous years, the amount of harvest being auctioned by BC Timber Sales on the coast this year is approxi-
mately 50 per cent old growth and will continue to be for the foreseeable future,” stated a BCTS spokesperson in an email to Ha-Shilth-Sa. “This is what the timber supply, economic base and community employment across the coast is based on.”
Pacheedaht FN and Anderson Timber Pass Audit By Deborah Potter Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor
After only two months, the Pacheedaht Andersen Timber Holdings LP (PATH) received the results for the audit for tree farm licence (TFL) 61, located on Pacheedaht territory. PATH had completed their work in May 2019, and the audit began soon after with the Forest Practices Board and their independent watchdog. After extensive research, the FPB found compliance with the Forest and Range Practices Act and the Wildfire Act. The district was randomly selected by the FPB in May after PATH had finished, they began first by looking in to see if it was active, following with what was happening in TFL 61. With that information, the FBP moved forward with the audit. “PATH did a good job meeting all of its legal requirements, including maintaining (the) visual quality,” says Kevin Kriese, chair of the Forest Practices Board. The audit consisted of the harvesting of 14 cut blocks, construction of 12 kilometres of road and six bridges, as well as the maintenance of over 400 kilometres of road and 64 bridges. They also covered
Photo by Eric Plummer
Forestry practices in TFL 61, which is located north of the Jordan River (pictured), recently passed a randomly selected audit from an industry watchdog. silviculture and fire protection activities between the Pacheedaht First Nation and used recreational area, as the Kludahk that happened over the course of the two- Andersen Timber. trail and the Juan de Fuca marine trail run year project. TFL 61 is located between Port Renfrew in and around the TFL. The licence is managed by a partnership and the Jordan River, and is a regularly
August 8, 2019—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 5
Agreement sees elk relocated to Henderson Lake area The dozen animals will be monitored by Uchucklesaht members, B.C. Wildlife officers and guide outfitters By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Port Alberni, BC – What do you do when you have too many elk? You share them with the neighbors. That is essentially what happened when 12 elk were translocated from the northeast side of Vancouver Island, where the populations are healthy, to the Henderson Lake area, where there are no elk. The Uchucklesaht Tribe has signed an elk transfer protocol agreement with the province of British Columbia and members of the Wildlife Stewardship Council. The agreement will allow for the translocation to a remote area near Henderson Lake, where it is hoped they will thrive. In return, Uchucklesaht Tribe agreed to care for the transplanted herd made up of young males and pregnant females. There will be no harvesting of this herd permitted until it reaches sustainable numbers. “They are alive and well and we know where they are,” said Uchucklesaht Chief Councillor Charlie Cootes of the dozen Roosevelt elk released near Henderson Lake in February. They are being monitored by Uchucklesaht members, provincial wildlife officers and various guide outfitters through game cameras set up in the area and in-person observation. The elk are not only being monitored for poaching but also for predation by wolves and other wildlife. This is the second translocation of elk from the northeast end of the island into Nuu-chah-nulth territories in the past year. In 2018 a small herd of elk were translocated from the same area to Huuay-aht treaty settlement land. Several groups worked together with the First Nations to make the translocation a success, including the provincial government and the Wildlife Stewardship Council. All five Maa-nulth nations are members of the Wildlife Stewardship Council. The WSC is made up of dozens of members, including 18 First Nations and a host of outfitters. According to Ron Frank, who for several years has been a forestry consultant for First Nations, Vancouver Island had an abundant Roosevelt elk population until the 1920s when the government allowed a commercial harvest, which devastated the elk herds. First Nations on the northeast of the island pushed for and achieved a say in wildlife management. Their model of managing wildlife has resulted in elk herds that are not only surviving, but thriving. Uchucklesaht Chief Councillor Charlie
Photo by Denise Titian
Uchucklesaht Chief Councillor Charlie Cootes (centre) said his nation historically hunted elk, but it hasn’t been possible in modern times with no elk left in the territory. Cootes said his nation historically hunted elk, but it hasn’t been possible in modern times with no elk left in Uchucklesaht territory. But the Kwakiulth have cooperatively managed the elk herds in their territory and the numbers rebounded tremendously. John Henderson of the Wei Wai Kum First Nation in Campbell River says the conservation success is due to a partnership between First Nations, the provincial government, the Wildlife Stewardship Council and guide outfitters; all of whom have a shared responsibility for the wildlife. In the North Island area the herd proliferated to the point that they have an overabundance of elk. Some of the elk are roaming into towns, wandering across highways, competing with agricultural Bureau of Land Management/Wikimedia Commons photo interests. They end up being nuisance Roosevelt elk returned to the Henderson Lake area this year when 12 were transanimals. ported from the northeast of Vancouver Island in February. Rather than cull them, they are now being looked at as available animals which hunting until it is determined that there is the road in his territory. He thanked the can be trapped and translocated to areas a viable breeding population in the herd. Wildlife Stewardship Council. of the island that have no elk. The elk protocol signed on July 17 speaks Uchucklesaht thanked their neighbors In order to obtain animals for translocato the importance of taking care of the from the east side of the island for giving tion to Henderson Lake, traps are set. The elk for future generations, says Frank. All them an opportunity to start a new elk live animals are then loaded into trailers Maa-nulth nations have wildlife harvest herd around Henderson Lake. and trucked to a barge. The truck and plans. “They’re good neighbors,” said Ron trailers are barged up the Alberni Inlet to Uchucklesaht Ha’wilth Tom Rush told Frank of the Wei Wai Kum and Cape Uchucklesaht Inlet. the crowd that he got to see video of the Mudge nations. In February there was still snow on the elk being released and was excited to They share a common boundary with logging roads, so the trucks went as far see them look around then wander up Nuu-chah-nulth nations, he pointed out. as they could and released the elk in a remote area. Uchucklesaht Tribe has committed to caring for the transplanted herd in accordance with the protocol agreement. Ron Frank says there will be no elk
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Page 6— Ha-Shilth-Sa—August 8, 2019 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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New health benefits Plan set to launch By Deborah Potter Ha-Shilth-Sa Staff Port Alberni, BC – Starting Sept. 16, First Nation’s will see a change in their FNHA benefits plan. The First Nations Health Authority is set to transition their dental, vision, medical supplies and equipment benefits from the federal non-insured health benefits program to their new partner, the BC-based provider Pacific Blue Cross. FNHA says that providers and clients will find the new system to be easier to use, and have fewer requirements for pre-approvals and quicker turnarounds for adjustments and payments. It will also provide improved coverage for “many health services”, such as teeth cleaning, dentures, eye exams and glasses. There will be no reduction to existing coverage, and benefits will be improved for many preventive health services and special needs. The new plan includes:
“Some (providers) will have been set up with Pacific Blue Cross for preauthorized payments, and some clients will have to pay beforehand.” ~ John Moody, FNHA media relations Dental a dental fee guide in line with the British Columbia Dental Association’s suggested rates more coverage for preventive dental care services, such as scaling and cleaning fewer restrictions on dentures pay-direct claims at most dental clinics in BC Vision no pre-approvals required for routine eye exams or standard prescriptions (within frequency limits) $100 every two years for routine eye exams
COVERAGE: Although we would like to be able to cover all stories and events, we will only do so subject to: - Sufficient advance notice addressed specifically to Ha-Shilth-Sa. - Reporter availability at the time of the event. - Editorial space available in the paper. - Editorial deadlines being adhered to by contributors.
Patients can expect changes to dental, vision and medical supply benefits Sept. 16 $275 every two years for prescription be able to take pre-authorized payments eyewear ($415 for high-index lenses) for Pacific Blue Cross users, and some pay-direct claims at participating optical providers will need payments upfront to stores be reimbursed to patients later. “It will depend,” said John Moody of Medical Supplies & Equipment FNHA media relations. “Some (provid(MS&E) ers) will have been set up with Pacific similar coverage for all equipment and Blue Cross for pre-authorized payments, supplies and some clients will have to pay beforeability to see exactly what is covered, hand.” and how much is covered The new benefits plan change is based simpler and faster pre-approvals off of “extensive engagement” from the FNHA with clients, First Nations health Robert Cluett, non-insured health leaders, and their health care providers. benefits coordinator for the Nuu-chahThey led 51 focus groups with 98 comnulth Tribal Council, says that the biggest munities across the province about how shifts will be regarding vision. they could improve health benefits plans. “It will be a huge change,” said Cluett. Health care directors and providers were “It will affect thousands of people.” approached as well about what needed Currently, the process for eye glasses to be changed the most. Health care and exams for Nuu-chah-nulth individuproviders were spoken to about cultural als goes through the tribal council for safety and humility, which was an issue pre-approval, then back to the patient’s expressed by both clients and health care provider. Instead of going through NTC, leaders. the new benefits plan will go through the Medical transportation, mental health third-party insurance company Pacific support and pharmacy benefits are still Blue Cross. being covered by PharmaCare Plan W, It is still up in the air regarding preand not through the province or a thirdauthorized payments. There will be some party health insurance. providers across the province that will
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. This year is Ha-Shilth-Sa’s 45th year of serving the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations. We look forward to your continued input and support. Kleco! Kleco!
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August 8, 2019—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 7
Canada signs fisheries agreement with seven nations Deal with Coastal First Nations group offers co-management of marine resources - but the DFO retains control By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Vancouver, BC – Federal officials were in Vancouver July 26 to sign an historic agreement with members of B.C.’s Coastal First Nations, announcing improvements in community-based fisheries in parts of the north and central coasts of British Columbia. Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard Jonathan Wilkinson and Carolyn Bennett, minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, attended a press conference with members of the Coastal First Nations to make the announcement. The seven participating First Nations to the agreement are the Heiltsuk Nation, Kitasoo/Xai’xais First Nation, Metlakatla First Nation, Nuxalk Nation, Wuikinuxv Nation, Gitga’at First Nation and Gitxaala Nation. They are located in the central and north coasts of British Columbia. The Coastal First Nations Fisheries Resources Reconciliation Agreement promises to allow the seven nations more access and co-management powers in their community-based fisheries. “Today’s agreement is the culmination of a three-year Heiltsuk-driven process, that began with the question, ‘What would Reconciliation with Canada look like to Heiltsuk?’,” said Marilyn Slett, chief councillor of the Heiltsuk Nation. “We commend Canada for meeting us on our terms and showing that things can be done collaboratively. We look forward to walking more steps together on the path towards reconciliation.” “This agreement will advance economic opportunities and collaborative governance, as well as expand communitybased commercial fishing access in traditional territories for the seven nations represented by Coastal First Nations,” reads the DFO news release. It goes on to say that Coastal First Nations will have better access to existing commercial fishing licenses and quota, and an enhanced role in fisheries governance.
Ha-Shilth-Sa Archive photo
Archive photo of commercial fishermen working the west coast of Vancouver Island in the early 1980s. But Canada stops short of relinquishing their management powers. “However, as with all fisheries in Canada, overarching management and associated decisions remain with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans,” says the release. Chief Slett, who is also president of Coastal First Nations, is optimistic. “This agreement will get families and fishers back on the water and re-establish a small boat fleet in our communities. By working together – on a nation-to-nation basis - we will provide opportunities for our communities to fully participate in the fishing economy; create new jobs and investments; and increase economic opportunities and build capacity.” The goals of the agreement include increased commercial fishing opportunities, community-based fisheries capacity
for First Nations on the north and central coasts of British Columbia and the establishment of a collaborative governance and management arrangement that will involve other First Nations and stakeholders. There are provisions in the agreement to provide support for First Nations access to fisheries licenses and quota while also borrowing income generated through a corporate fishery model to support community-based fisheries. Increased access to licenses and quotas for Coastal First Nations will come from existing licenses that are currently issued to retired or soon to retire fishers and operators. “We will continue to work with communities and stakeholders not represented by the Coastal First Nations to include their views and concerns into all fisheries
management decisions,” said DFO in a statement. “Fish are central to the culture and livelihood of many First Nations on the coasts. That is why it is so important to work collaboratively and conclude agreements such as this one that advance fisheries management and recognize the critical partnership role that First Nations communities like Coastal First Nations need to play,” said Minister Bennett. “When we change the dial from a topdown approach to engagement with First Nations and fisheries access, to a focus on the co-development, co-design, and co-delivery of resource management, the result is a move toward self-determination, and real, sustainable prosperity for Canada’s First Nations,” said DFO in its statement.
New food processing unit approved in Port Alberni By Deborah Potter Ha-Shilth-Sa Staff Port Alberni, BC – Eight years after the Port Alberni fish plant shut down, council is eyeing up the property for a brand new regional food innovation and processing hub. Supporting all things local is what is going to be emphasized in the new food processing unit. From fishermen to farmers and everything in between, a wide variety of foods are planned to come through the processing hub. Fish will be the main priority, as well as other seafood, such as seaweed, clams, and oysters. Fruits and veggies, as well as poultry and other meats will also make an appearance in the soon-to-be food processing hub. While the building itself won’t be able to employ many, Port Alberni’s economic development manager Pat Deakin says it will be able to help maintain the employment and service of local farmers and fishers. It will also help keep locally grown food where it should be – local. Larry Johnson, a member of the Nuuchah-nulth Seafood LP board of directors, confirmed that the processing unit will
only be using wild fish, not farmed. Nuuchah-nulth Seafood LP will be working alongside commercial fisherman and assist with domestic wild fish. In 2015, Nuu-chah-nulth Seafood LP partnered with another fish plant in Nanaimo. St. Jeans is a cannery and smoke house, and now is partnered with NCN seafood to “build on legacies”, sell and process seafood with an Indigenousfriendly mindset, according to Nuu-chahnulth Seafood. Partnered with the new project are the Port Alberni Port Authority, Canadian Seafood Processing Ltd, North Island College, Nuu-chah-nulth Seafood LP, and the ACRD Agricultural Development Committee, as well as a hearty grant of $750,000 from the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture for training and equipment. For Nuu-chah-nulth people, Johnson says that they will be able to care properly for the salmon that they catch locally, as the plant will be a functioning ice plant for them. “It’s still in the new planning stages,” says Johnson. In Vancouver, another food processing hub had just opened up back in February. Pat Deakin, as well as the other partners
Photo by Deborah Potter
From fishermen to farmers and everything in between, a wide variety of foods are planned to come through a processing hub in Port Alberni. Fish will be the main priority, as well as other seafood, such as seaweed, clams, and oysters. will be taking a trip to the Vancouver facility to observe, in hopes of mirroring the new processing unit for the upcoming project in Port Alberni. While the current fish plant maxes out at 1,200 square feet, Deakin hopes to
expand the building up to 4,000 square feet, with ample room for equipment and storage. As it is still in the early planning stages, an estimated opening date has not been determined.
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Clayoquot Sound’s summer of discontent over farms Aquaculture industry faces growing protests on Island’s west coast, after sea lice problems continued this year By Mike Youds Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Open net-pen fish farming on the Island’s west coast is facing stronger community opposition this summer as the aquaculture industry works to prevent another explosion of sea lice and DFO promises tighter regulation. Clayoquot Sound’s summer of discontent has brought public demonstrations and a boarding of two Creative Salmon fish farms at Waren Island and Indian Bay by Tla-o-qui-aht citizens on June 11. With support from their Tyee Ha’wilth Hiyoueah and the Sea Shepherd Society, the boarding party captured video images of farmed salmon with deformities and signs of disease as well as wild salmon and herring trapped in open net pens. Those images disturbed surrounding communities, leading to a flotilla protest on June 24 that drew hundreds of participants. Earlier last month, a rally was held outside the Tofino office of Cermaq Canada, one of the main aquaculture
“We’re seeing millions and millions of lice growing and spreading from these farms. One farm had 50 lice per fish … What we have is a huge explosion of sea lice and wild salmon are covered with them,”
~ Jared Dick, NTC central region biologist companies on the coast, and an alliance of Indigenous leaders led a talking circle and march to Cermaq’s processing plant. Cermaq operates more than half of the 27 fish farms in Clayoquot Sound, though it harvested and closed three of its farms after sea lice counts spiked beyond the regulated threshold last summer. “We’ve had very low counts on our farms,” Amy Jonsson, communications specialist with Cermaq, said in early July. In an open letter published June 20 in Ha-Shilth-Sa and the Tofino Westerly News, Cermaq Canada Managing Director David Kiemele acknowledged that Ahousaht had placed the company on notice over continued sea lice problems and pledged to do better. Ha-Shilth-Sa made repeated efforts to contact Cermaq officials for an update on the sea lice problem. Despite promises, the company did not follow through. Tsimka Martin, who was part of the boarding party and helped shoot the video, co-founded the group Nuuchahnulth Salmon Alliance this spring. She’s worked with other local groups demanding an end to open net-pen farms in Clayoquot Sound. “I’m really convinced that when my community sees this footage, they will be convinced of this, too,” she implores in the video, posted on Facebook. Martin feels open-pen fish farms in Clayoquot Sound can be removed if enough people speak out. She later explained to Ha-Shilth-Sa that their concerns include a variety of fish diseases associated with fish farming and are not limited to sea lice.
Photo by Ha-Shilth-Sa Newspaper
This summer the Hydrolicer arrived in Tofino, a $13.5-million investment from Cermaq Canada to control sea lice in its farms. “I think what has to happen is that there needs to be a strong enough movement,” she said. “Obviously, the industry is going to fight back any way they can … I think it’s important to keep the demonstrations going because that keeps a spotlight on the issue.” Amid varied reports of sea lice conditions this summer, frustration has grown as anecdotal and scientific reports accumulate, mounting evidence that questions the ability of marine-based fish farms to control and contain sea lice. Reports of sea lice infesting juvenile chum have caused additional alarm. While not fatal to adult salmon, sea lice can kill juveniles. “We’re getting nowhere,” said Roger Dunlop, NTC’s northern region biologist. Sea lice in some cases have developed an immunity to SLICE, a drug commonly used to control infestation. That has forced the industry to seek new treatments that include hydrogen peroxide, a flee-control ingredient called Lufenuron (approved strictly for emergency use) and a $13.5-million treatment barge that was to begin operations in Clayoquot Sound this summer. Doing some simple calculations, Dunlop doesn’t believe DFO’s threshold of acceptability —three sea lice motiles per farmed fish — is safe. With 5,000 Atlantic salmon per pen, numbers soar rapidly, he figures. He also questions the effectiveness of hydrogen peroxide. “As long as we have fish farms with open net pens out in the water, you’re going to have lice and fish farms are not going to be able to control them,” Dunlop said. Jared Dick, NTC central region biologist, has been researching the sea lice problem in relation to wild fish after last year’s farm outbreaks in Clayoquot Sound. While sea lice are naturally occurring, beach seining on Vargas Island in June 2018 revealed a presence that was alarming. “We started seeing juvenile chum completely covered with lice,” he said. “Adults were covered in lice at all stages.” Similarly, bi-weekly counts at fish farms indicated their sea lice counts were escalating as well. “We’re seeing millions and millions of lice growing and spreading from these farms. One farm had 50 lice per fish … What we have is a huge explosion of sea lice and wild salmon are covered with them,” Dick said. “It’s not just a coinci-
“I do understand the situation up in remote places and providing employment, but I think we’re all adaptable and intelligent people and can figure out other employment.” ~ Tsimka Martin dence.” With emergence of sea lice resistance to conventional treatment, the situation has spun out of control, he believes. Alternative treatments are not fully effective, leaving lice to re-attach. Where is the precautionary principle in all of this? “It’s non-existent,” Dick said. The principle — adapted from the Hippocratic oath to “first do no harm” — has become integral to international accords enshrining environmental protections. The principle recognizes a duty to prevent harm even when scientific evidence remains inconclusive. Minister of Fisheries Jonathan Wilkinson has cited the precautionary principle while rolling out DFO’s responses to the sea lice problem. On June 28, the government promised more rigorous conditions of licence for fish farms, stronger enforcement and a new area-based management. “The Government of Canada recognizes that, in working within a precautionary approach, we need to ensure sea lice management measures include robust enforcement actions and that these measures meet the highest international standards. We are committed to taking
action now to address recent sea lice incidents and concerns that have been raised by interested observers regarding sea lice and wild salmon.” With hundreds of jobs at stake at west coast fish farms — including employees from First Nations — there has been reluctance to take on the industry. That rationale doesn’t hold water for those who have stepped up protests this summer, though. “Certainly, I feel that the long-term existence of wild salmon is more important than those jobs,” Martin said. “I do understand the situation up in remote places and providing employment, but I think we’re all adaptable and intelligent people and can figure out other employment.” While there are major economic pressures, the onus should not be placed on coastal First Nations to come up with solutions, she added. Some defend fish farming, but a larger proportion of the community favours the movement to return to proper stewardship of the land, Martin believes. The solution isn’t as simple as moving fish farms onto land, Dick said. “Unfortunately, with globalization of the market, costs will rise and they can’t compete,” he said. “That’s a big hindrance to moving to land.” Land-based fish farms would almost certainly gravitate to central locations such as Nanaimo or Vancouver, depriving coastal communities of a significant source of employment, he added. While Dick wants to acquire more evidence before reaching a conclusion, Dunlop is adamant. “They’re externalizing all their costs on the Canadian public for their pollution,” Dunlop said. “It’s not an ecologically sustainable industry in any manner. It can make money for a few.”
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Salmon restoration fund snubs 350 kilometres of coast Fisheries struggle to grasp a government program that left the west coast of Vancouver Island out of grants By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Vancouver Island, BC - In an effort to help the West Coast’s dwindling salmon stocks, this summer Fisheries and Oceans Canada announced 23 projects that would benefit from $13 million in federal and provincial funding. But the B.C. Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund’s first round of approved initiatives did not include any Nuu-chahnulth-led projects - despite the fact that the First Nations call over 350 kilometres of the province’s coastal waters home. Traditional Nuu-chah-nulth territory comprises a significant proportion of British Columbia’s salmon habitat, stretching from Point-No-Point on southwest Vancouver Island to Brooks Peninsula in the north. A total of 192 applications were received for the fund, which totals almost $143 million to be dispersed over five years. Twelve percent of submissions were approved for support in a DFO announcement on July 5, which states that the selected applications “demonstrate the closest alignment” with improving fisheries and seafood processing, restoring salmon habitat, as well as making aquaculture more sustainable. The next round of applications takes place in the fall. Successful submissions included a mobile app launched by the Sport Fishing Institute to provide online information and catch monitoring, as well as another project by the SFI to maximise the social and economic potential of the sports fishing industry. “The project aims to improve representation of the fishing community and increase participation in the fishing sector by youth, new Canadians and others,” stated the DFO release. Infrastructure upgrades and habitat restoration work on the Lower Fraser River were also approved, following a submission by Tides Canada and the Watershed Watch Society, and an evaluation of the natural boundary of Cowichan Lake by the valley’s regional district and the Co-
“Right now we’re the only ones putting funding into the renewal” ~ Robert Dennis Sr., Huu-ay-aht Chief Councillor wichan Tribes will receive funding. But directly west of Cowichan Lake the Huu-ay-aht First Nations are wondering how to follow through with their plans to rebuild the Sarita River, which suffered decades of degradation from logging in the area. Their application to the Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund was declined. Huu-ay-aht Chief Councillor Robert Dennis Sr. believes that the DFO and the province need to give attention to all chinook rivers in B.C. to improve the state of the species. “If there’s 600 chinook streams in B.C. and you’re only focusing on two or three, I don’t think you’re going to get the desired outcome,” he said. “In order to enhance our chinook stocks in B.C. we can’t just focus on the big rivers. All the smaller rivers around the province have a very significant contribution to the chinook population.” Uu-a-thluk, the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council’s fisheries department, made five applications to the salmon restoration fund - four of which were deferred to the next submission date, while one was denied. In a July 25 letter, the Salmon Restoration Fund responded to Uu-a-thluk Program Director Eric Angel by agreeing to attend the next Council of Ha’wiih Forum on Fisheries Oct. 8 to present the fund’s objectives, eligible projects and adjudication procedures. “We are also continuing to work through the 192 expressions of interest that we received in the spring and will be reaching out to proponents later in the summer and early fall to further discuss the remaining
Robert Dennis Sr. expressions of interest,” wrote Christie Whelan, the fund’s manager of partnerships and outreach. Uu-a-thluk’s proposed initiatives include rebuilding recreational and commercial fishing opportunities for Nuu-chah-nulth, a partnership to manage herring fisheries, tools for salmon management and research, assessing chinook from hatcheries on the west coast of Vancouver Island, as well as a conservation project involving the recovery of genetic samples of chinook from Nootka and Kyuquot sounds. Over his lifetime Dennis has witnessed the drastic decline of salmon in Huu-ayaht territory. As a boy he recalls hand trolling with one line on the Sarita. “Any direction you’d look you would see a salmon jumping in the bay. But now if you go there, you’re lucky to see a salmon jump,” said Dennis. “We started to see the change on the river in the ‘60s and ‘70s.” By 1997, 62 per cent of the Sarita Watershed was logged, including 97 per cent of its flood plain, according to the Huu-ay-aht First Nations. Now the lower sections of the river are twice as wide as it once was, while landslides from logged slopes have deposited sediment into streams. This affects the spawning habitat of chinook, coho and chum salmon. “It’s that over-logging that contributes a lot of the silt in the river,” said Dennis. “There’s boulders going down to the river where we’ve never seen them before.”
With its central importance to Huuay-aht life, the degraded state of the Sarita led the First Nation’s elders to mandate that the river receive “serious consideration”. In 2017 the Huu-ay-aht hired LGL Limited to plan the Sarita and Pachena Watershed Renewal Program, with the goal to find ways of revitalizing their ecosystems. Last year 10 of the First Nation’s members were employed in rebuilding the Sarita, but challenges have come in 2019 due to the halting of a partnership the Huu-ay-aht have with Steelhead LNG. Earlier this year the Vancouver-based company announced it would cease work on the Kwispaa LNG project planned for Sarita Bay. “We really appreciate the funding we got to do that work,” said Dennis of how the Steelhead partnership benefitted the Sarita River. “A very significant portion of our accommodation went to the renewal work.” Now the Huu-ay-aht depend on logging in their treaty land to finance the Sarita renewal, with $5 for every cubic metre of timber being reinvested into the river. “Right now we’re the only ones putting funding into the renewal,” said Dennis. “We only get the money when the logging is done, so hopefully over the next three to four years we will be able to contribute one million dollars to the renewal work.” The chief councillor suggests that if $2 per cubic metre logged were applied to river renewal work, a different outcome would result from the province’s efforts to reverse the decline of salmon stocks. No such measure is in place, despite a stipulation in Canada’s Fisheries Act stating that, “No person shall carry on any work or undertaking that results in the harmful alteration, disruption or destruction of fish habitat.” “People come in - resource development - they make the profit, severely impact our lands and leave us with the damage,” reflected Dennis, stressing that such activity affects his Aboriginal fishing rights. “If your activity is impacting fishery there should be some kind of a contribution effort.”
Canoe journey to Washington stops in Port Renfrew
Photo by Denise Titian
The Paddle to Lummi drew participation from several Nuu-chah-nulth groups in July, who travelled by canoe from their home territory to the Washington State destination. On July 11 canoes stopped in Port Renfrew, including groups from Ahousaht, Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k’tles7et’h’ and Tseshaht (pictured).
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Ehattesaht brings Northern Region Games back to life Event hosted for the first time in three years, after Sugarloaf Bridge closure and forest fires forced cancellations By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Zeballos, BC - Less than a year after forest fires dominated the mountainside over Zeballos, the Ehattesaht/Chinehkint welcomed a surge of activity to the tiny community once again for the Northern Region Games. The First Nation hosted the event July 19-22, bringing the games back for northern Nuu-chah-nulth nations for the first time in three years. With an emphasis on fostering connections in an informal environment, the games included 3-on-3 basketball, volleyball, a triathlon, traditional singing and dancing, as well as numerous other fun events. “It’s always been about the youth and keeping our tribes together,” said organiser Annie John, who relied on several volunteers to pull the event together. “Everybody was an important part of it. I had so much help.” The event was cancelled in 2017 due to closure of the Sugarloaf Bridge, a vital link that connects the Ehattesaht reserve to the Village of Zeballos. Then in midAugust last year a series of lightning storms sparked forest fires across northern Vancouver Island. For days crews were unable to contain a blaze on the mountainside over Zeballos, which filled the valley with thick smoke. Due to slope instability an evacuation order remained in place for a portion of the village until June 1.
“Last year we were supposed to host, but as you can see when you look out the door, the result of last summer is right there on the mountain” ~ Lyle Billy “Last year we were supposed to host, but as you can see when you look out the door, the result of last summer is right there on the mountain,” said Ehattesaht member Lyle Billy as he addressed a packed Zeballos community hall for dinner on July 21. “We were besieged by forest fire that lasted for about five weeks.” But this latest hosting of the Northern
Photos by Eric Plummer
On July 21 the Zeballos Elementary/Secondary School gym was filled with cultural performances on the last night of the games. Region Games revealed the community’s ability to rebound from last year’s fires. By the third day of the event almost 150 people came to participate, a significant injection of visitors for the tiny community. Approximately 100 people live on the Ehattesaht reserve, with another 100 or so residing in Zeballos. T-shirts for the 2019 event carried the Nuu-chah-nulth phrase ‘Tic-Kaa-IiKwink’, which translates into ‘brothers of thunder’ in English. This was the original name for the Northern Region Games when it started in 2001 for the Ehattesaht, Nuchatlaht, Mowachaht/Muchalaht and Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k’tles7et’h’ First Nations. That year Ehattesaht was the first host for the games, offering a summertime event closer to home than the Port Alberni-based Tlu-piich Games. Travel south was becoming increasingly expensive and time consuming for families, recalled Billy. “There was less and less of our people able to go down and attend those games,” he said. “That’s when the concept of the Northern Region Games came into play.”
August 8, 2019—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 11
In the heat of a July afternoon, the dunk tank proved to be a popular activity for games participants, while other events were held for children. The Northern Region Games concluded with the triathlon on July 22. The concept was initially brought up during a meeting by the late Mowachaht Ha’wilth Jerry Jack. “I waited a year and no one made a move, so the next year at a northern region meeting in Mowachaht I put it on the table,” said Billy, adding that the emphasis was always to offer a social venue for family to reconnect. “We didn’t want it to be a competition. We just wanted it to be fun for the kids.” That year the Ironman event was introduced, a run that includes a dash through the river that separates Zeballos from the Ehattesaht reserve. Billy said this was inspired by his youth, when his family were the reserve’s only inhabitants. Before the previous version of the Sugarloaf
Bridge was constructed, the direct route to Zeballos’ former theatre was through the river. “Sometimes we would walk to go watch a movie, so we’d have to cross the river,” said Billy. As the event’s organiser, Annie John has been in high demand since preparations for this year’s games began in early May. “I was stressed to the max,” she said on the last night of the games, relieved that the event was a success. “Tomorrow is the last half day and I kind of look forward to it - but at the same time don’t, because everybody is going to leave and Zeballos will be tiny little Zeballos again.”
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Tseshaht First Nation introduces new language house Beginner classes and fluent Nuu-chah-nulth speakers’ social evenings are among the many planned programs By Kelda Blackstone Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Port Alberni, BC – Tseshaht First Nation is implementing an innovative language program that is the first of its kind for the nation. Informed by Tseshaht community goals, the program’s top two priorities are to develop fluent speakers, as well as to archive and record the Nuu-chah-nulth language. The initiative is funded by the First Peoples Fund, the Nuu-chah-nulth Education Training Program (NETP), the Nuu-chah-nulth Economic Development Corporation (NEDC), and First Voices. The language program team includes language coordinator Dawn Foxcroft, language worker Linsey Haggard, and data technician Grant Watts. Watts is currently working to increase content in the online Tseshaht First Voices Portal database, with a goal of adding a few thousand additional words and phrases. “I’ve definitely used it quite a bit in my language learning and teaching,” said Foxcroft, of the Tseshaht First Voices Portal. “It’s been a useful tool for me. I’m sure it’s been a useful tool for many other people, so if we can build that up, that can also help people who are living away from the community, to have access to language and opportunities to learn.” The team is busy setting up the new language house on Tseshaht First Nation land at 7000 Pacific Rim Highway. In September, beginners’ language classes will resume on Tuesday evenings from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. They will also host monthly gatherings for fluent Nuu-chahnulth speakers, providing a space to speak the language, support each other, and learn from each other. “What we want to do,” explained Foxcroft, “is create this space for language ... that can hold up our language, that our nation has provided. We want to make it beautiful and comfortable, so that it’s a space that can really honour the language and honour the learners, and especially honour our speakers who have carried our language forward and have fought to keep the language.” The language team is creating a longterm strategy for fluency. Other communities in the province as well as elsewhere in Canada can provide models for what
Tseshaht supplied photo
The Tseshaht Language Program team, from left to right: Grant Watts, Linsey Haggard, and Dawn Foxcroft.
“It’s always great to promote and educate about Indigenous languages and to hold them up in any way possible” ~ Dawn Foxcroft, Language coordinator successful programming looks like. “There are things that are going on out there in the world that are working,” reflected Foxcroft. “So what does it look like for us and Tseshaht to create speakers, and what would work in our community?” The Royal British Columbia Museum (RBCM) has a permanent exhibit in Victoria, Our Living Languages: First Peoples’ Voices in BC. Foxcroft recalls visiting the Victoria-based permanent
exhibit with her university graduate class. “It’s always great to promote and educate about Indigenous languages and to hold them up in any way possible,” she stated. “It was really powerful hearing family members’ voices, seeing your language, seeing the diversity.” RBCM has now developed two travelling installments of the same exhibit, one of which is currently showing in the Alberni Valley Museum (AVM). The exhibit, which opened on National Indigenous Peoples Day and is a collaboration between RBCM and the First Peoples’ Cultural Council, will run until Oct. 5. It is a lead-up to a reconciliation exhibit initiated by School District 70, which will be presented at a later date. Between now and January, there will be many First Nations-focused exhibits, programs, and events, explained Shelley Harding, AVM education curator. Through film, photographs, and audio, the Living Languages exhibit displays the language revitalization work being done in British Columbia First Nations
communities. Kirsten Smith, collections curator at the Alberni Valley Museum, was impressed to learn how many First Nations languages there are in British Columbia. “It was just the norm to us,” she said, referring to the diversity of British Columbia’s First Nations languages. “Understanding the diversity of languages in B.C. alone is super valuable,” agrees Foxcroft. “I think it’s surprising to people...Of all the Indigenous languages in Canada,60 per cent are in B.C. alone. There’s a huge diversity of language here.” Layla Charleson-Rorick, a Hesquiaht First Nation language learner, summarizes the intention behind work such as Tseshaht First Nation’s language program in a quote in the exhibit: “Although our languages are in a critical state, we choose not to see them as dying or about to fail. As long as people strengthen language through continued use and effort, there is really nothing that can stop its resurgence.”
Phrase of the week - % iih= misuknis^ %aa
Pronounced ee hir mis suk nish alth a ee jum, it means ‘we treasure our elders’. Supplied by c^iisma
Illustration by Ivy Cargill-Martin
August 8, 2019—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 13
Mowachaht/Muchalaht eyes tourism potential in Yuquot Ancient Nootka Island site sees surge of visitors this summer with three water taxi trips a day from Gold River By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Yuquot, BC - Situated on the southern edge of Nootka Island, life in Yuquot is quiet for most of the year, where only one household remains in the ancestral home of the Mowachaht. But this was hardly the case on July 20, when over 100 people converged as part of the Mowachaht/ Muchalaht First Nation’s annual Summerfest gathering at the ancient site. This activity was part of a wave of visitation this summer to Yuquot, which is also known as Friendly Cove. To amplify its attention to tourism the First Nation hired a full-time coordinator over the summer months to help arrange travel to the site, which is only accessible by float plane or a one-hour boat ride from Gold River. The tourism coordinator is handling bookings for the six rental cabins at Yuquot, collecting fees from hikers on the Nootka Trail along the west side of the island, and making reservations for a water taxi the Mowachaht/Muchalaht have recently invested in. With seating capacity for a dozen passengers, the water taxi has been making three trips to the Nootka Island destination a day since early June, and this is expected to continue until late September. Dorothy Hunt, the First Nation’s lands manager, said eight members are currently employed on the water taxi. “We have four skippers and four deckhands,” she said. “We also have contracts with various logging companies, fish farms or some of the local fishery resorts. They don’t necessarily want to use their boats to get their guests out to Yuquot, so they contract us to do that for them.” Hunt mentioned a recent trip by 12 kayakers, who filled the water taxi - with their kayaks - to explore Nootka Island’s unique pebble shoreline. “We bring them to the end of the Nootka Trail, we drop them off and bring their kayaks out to Yuquot,” she said. “They hike the trail, get in their kayaks and kayak around for a few days.” The First Nation also has plans to develop a 45-site campground by the Gold River boat launch on ground where the community used to live before relocating to Tsaxana a quarter century ago. “What the nation wanted to do is really create their own economy launching some businesses,” said Mowachaht/ Muchalaht Administrator Kevin Kowalchuk. “One is the tourism, one is the water taxi as a start. Connecting Gold River with Yuquot was one of those key pieces to get guests out there.” A total of 20 members of the First Nation are employed this summer to assist with tourism in the region. Interac and credit card payments are now possible in Yuquot, and six cabins available for rental have undergone upgrades, including being equipped with camping stoves, lanterns, pots and pans as well as mattresses. All this activity takes place on an archaeological treasure trove, when digs have unearthed evidence of human habitation at the site for at least 4,300 years. Yuquot served as the summer home for the Mowachaht, who took to the surrounding oceans in search of whales to help sustain a complex community that would be the first Nuu-chah-nulth group to come into contact with Europeans when British explorer Captain James Cook landed at Yuquot in 1778. As the Mowachaht/Muchalaht prepared for more visitors this year, community
Photos by Eric Plummer
On July 20 over 100 people gathered as part of the Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation’s annual Summerfest gathering at Yuquot, which is also known as Friendly Cove. consultation revealed concern over how such an influx of tourism might affect the First Nation’s ancestral home. Kowalchuk recalled a word expressed by Tyee Ha’wilth Michael Maquinna. “The biggest concern that I heard is we need to keep the ‘ambiance’,” he said, adding that to minimize encroachments, future additions would not be much larger than the existing cabins. “We’re not doing anything major until the community is fully supportive of what we’re doing.” The Mowachaht/Muchalaht continued to live in Yuquot until the 1960s, when Canada’s Department of Indian Affairs relocated the community to a less isolated reserve by Gold River on the shore of Muchalaht Inlet. But this new home was in the armpit of a pulp mill, a location that proved to be bleak and frustrating for many of the First Nation’s members. On July 20 at the Yuquot church Maquinna spoke of this issue, and how life improved after the community moved in the early 1990s to its current home on the Tsaxana reserve north of Gold River. “It helped me see the future,” said the hereditary chief of the move 26 years ago. “Things started changing for me when I moved up to Tsaxana. In Tsaxana there was no pulp mill across the street. There’s lots of greenery, lots of sky, fresh air, no noise.” The early 1990s proved to be a seminal period for the First Nation, when historical difficulties met a surging desire for change and reconnection to ancestral culture. This was captured in The Washing of Tears, a documentary film about the Mowachaht/Muchalaht that celebrated its 25th anniversary by being available for anyone to see at NFB.ca. After the community and their visitors gathered in the Yuquot church to see the film this summer, Maquinna reminded his people of the importance of their ancestral home. “When we come to Yuquot, and go back to Tsaxana, I hope that our people keep the feeling of unity and strength that we get from Yuquot,” he said. “It originates from this place…it’s who we are and where we come from is Yuquot.”
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Minerals survey over NCN territory without consent Leaders of northern Nuu-chah-nuth nations were not informed of a helicopter assessment of regional resources By Sam Laskaris Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Ehattesaht First Nation – Rose-Ann Michael is understandably miffed. That’s because the elected chief of the Ehattesaht First Nation first found out about a massive helicopter survey, which will fly over her First Nation as well as other Nuu-chah-nulth territory, from a reporter working on a Ha-Shilth-Sa story. The minerals research project, which began this past week is expected to continue until the end of September, is being done by Geoscience BC. Geoscience BC is a not-for-profit society which garners research and data about minerals, energy and water resources throughout British Columbia. The helicopter project is being done to identify areas for potential mineral deposits on Vancouver Island. The belief is this venture may trigger a new mineral exploration in this part of the province. The project will cover a 6,127 square kilometre area, starting from Port McNeill in the north to the village of Tahsis in the south. “They should be consulting us if they’re exploring our territory,” Michael said. A Geoscience BC news release announcing the project said plans had been revealed this past March and that it had been shared with “industry, community and Indigenous leaders.” Michael, however, said she was totally unaware of it. And Kevin Kowalchuk, the administrator for the Mowachaht/Mulachaht First Nation, also said he had heard no information about this helicopter survey occurring. “It is surprising since the government is supposed to be consulting with us instead of us putting in legal injunctions to make it happen,” Michael said. Michael said she was going to take immediate action after hearing about the survey. “I’m going to have to email our council and figure out who to contact now,” she said. “It is disappointing. We should have been consulted on this.” Precision GeoSurveys, a company based in Langley, will be conducting the research for the survey. Its helicopter will fly about 27,000 kilometres during the survey. It will fly along lines 250 metres apart. During its research, the helicopter will fly at a constant height of 80 metres. But when it is over larger communities, it will be flying at 300 metres in the air. Christa Pellett, the vice-president of minerals for Geoscience BC, said the
Photo by Eric Plummer
A helicopter survey is being conducted over northern Vancouver Island to identify areas for potential mineral deposits. The belief is this venture may trigger a new mineral exploration in this part of the province. helicopter survey will provide meaningful data. “New large datasets are a powerful tool in identifying new natural resource opportunities, and are essential to informed decisions relating to the development of B.C.’s mineral resources,” she said. The survey will collect information about the magnetic properties of rocks below the ground and the radiometric properties of not only rocks but soils near the surface as well. Magnetic data accumulated can help geologists determine structures of rocks several kilometres below the ground and whether they should be investigated further. Upon completion of the survey, magnetic and radiometric data will be processed. Once the survey is complete, newly gathered data will be published. Besides being available publicly, compiled information will also be shared at The Association for Mineral Exploration British Columbia’s Roundup Conference this coming January in Vancouver. Geoscience BC will utilize collected data to update geological maps. Information obtained from its helicopter survey can then be used to determine mineral potential of certain areas. The data can also assist with making decisions about
Save The Date Governments making things Right for Nuu-chah-nulth Forum At the Tsawout Community Centre 7728 Tetayut Rd, Saanichton, BC
This forum will be about reporting out on Community Input-and how we move forward. All Nuu-chah-nulth welcome!! Time: 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM For more information please contact the NTC office.
potential mineral resource development on Vancouver Island. Geoscience BC officials are hoping the project will also help provide economic stimulation and to engage communities, while sharing information and identifying possible training opportunities. Despite its rich history of mining and mineral exploration, officials believe
some areas of Vancouver Island have not been properly explored or have not been explored for some time. Geoscience BC conducted another project in 2012-13, its Northern Vancouver Island initiative, which spearheaded exploration and economic activity in some areas.
Hupiimin Wiikšaḥiiy’ap ‘helping us to be well ̓ NTC Nurses want you to know: HIV Treatment is Prevention
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It is possible to make the next generation HIV/ AIDS free Testing is free for anyone. We are strictly CONFIDENTIAL.
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August 8, 2019—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 15
Friendship Center Culture Camp strikes unity Five-day event at the Qualicum Bay Resort draws 80 campers, with expenses covered by the Friendship Center By Deborah Potter Ha-Shilth-Sa Staff Qualicum Beach, BC - When the Port Alberni Friendship Center first started their annual Culture Camp just outside Port Alberni many years ago, they only had two families camp with them. This year, at the Qualicum Bay Resort camp ground, they have over 80 campers, and another 40 people coming in and out throughout the days to visit. Taking place July 29-Aug. 2, the fiveday camping trip is one of the many free events the Friendship Center offers for the public. They provide everything, including transportation, camping supplies, and food. This is the first year the Friendship Center chose the Qualicum Bay Resort as their camping spot, but it’s proven to be a hit for the campers. The location has plenty of space for tents and campfires, with a large swimming hole for the kids who enjoy plenty of swimming. Near the back of the campground is a large waterslide, which was one of the things the kids enjoyed the most. As well, there was a playground, a cafeteria, and plenty of sitting tables that worked well for the many activities the friendship centre had planned. The daytime activities varied from cedar weaving, to drum making, to learning language with Language Nest Elders Julia Lucas and Patty Frank. Darlene Leonew, coordinator for Brighter Futures Coordinator and the Culture Camp, stresses the importance of connectedness. “Even with our Non-Nuu-chah-nulth guests, we want everyone to feel connected,” Leonew says to Ha-shilth-sa. The Culture Camp is an annual event hosted by the Friendship Center. It is open to any and all families, and tents,
Photos by Deborah Potter
Daytime activities at the camping event varied from cedar weaving, to drum making, to learning the Nuu-chah-nulth language. supplies, transportation, and food are all supplied. Every year, the Friendship Center always struggles with funding. The five-day camp is one that many look forward to year after year, and Executive Director Cyndi Stevens is not looking to pull the plug just yet. “We’re always looking for donations,” Stevens adds, “whether it is supplies or funding donations.” As the number of guests increase, so does the overall cost of the event. This year, Stevens estimates that the total cost for the camping trip be at least $18,000, and everything that was spent on the trip came solely from fundraising and donations. Donations they are asking for include
foam mattresses, tents, sleeping bags, fold up chairs, and money for the event. Donations can be brought to the Port Al-
berni Friendship Center at 3555 4th Ave. Next year’s culture camp is set to be near the end of July.
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The president’s message to Nuu-chah-nulth-aht Greetings to all Nuu-chah-nulth. Summer has been busy for all of us and I hope everyone is getting their food fish for the year. I took my summer holidays and travelled to New Zealand. During my holidays I attended the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association Annual conference (NAISA). This is a gathering of Indigenous academics and those in Indigenous fields from around the world. There were several of our Nuu-chahnulth who were presenting. Alana Sayers and Rachel George were on a panel on centering the seascape which focussed on the ocean. Associate Professor Charlotte Cote was on a panel on food sovereignty. Also, one of our NTC employees, Benedict Leonard from home and community care, presented on innovations in home care. There were other Nuu-chah-nulth attending the conference including Grace Ann Sutherland and Keenan Andrew. Great to see so many Nuu-chah-nulth involved in this large forum and making a difference in the academic world. It was an excellent conference with over 2,000 people from around the world attending. What was so great was the Maori welcome, culture, traditions and protocols we were able to experience. Their hospitality was amazing and we were well taken care of. It was great to see what a large presence Maori have in Aotearoa. I took the opportunity to explore the north island and see the Pacific Ocean from a more southern point of view. So many beautiful ocean fronts and waterfalls. The country has a lot of sheep, cows and horses. I took as many opportunities as I could to learn about the culture. I visited the treaty grounds at Waitangi and heard how the treaty came to be signed. It was a learning experience to see how other Indigenous people are exercising their rights, preserving their culture and language from a very young age. Back at home I got back to work and caught up many issues. I attended the Elders Gathering in Vancouver and said a few remarks on the opening day. If you ever have a chance to go to an elders gathering and witness the grand entry you will be empowered. Nation after Nation elders walk in, or roll in, and smile and wave at everyone. There is drumming and singing and dancing as Elders from Nations all over B.C. come in the room. There are workshops and pampering events, there is a dance and open mike, a chance to meet with all your old friends and make more. I stopped in at the Tseshaht longhouse on Saturday for the wrap up session of the two-week language course. The learners are soaking in the language and gaining more confidence in speaking our language. Congrats to those students who are working so hard to learn the language and become more fluent. Thanks to the organizers of this course that made learning such a good experience. I have been doing some work in clean energy as well. Spoke at a large conference in Saskatoon on clean energy and on a Presidents Roundtable where I was able to speak about how we can make our students attending post-secondary institutions into success stories. Canoe journeys has been happening and I know how empowering this is to our youth, and all our people who either pad-
Aug. 6 - 11 Port Alberni
Scheduled events include track and field, basketball, paddling and slo-pitch.
Port Alberni Child and Youth Services is hosting a picnic in Roger Creek park gazebo. There
-Kekinusuqs, Judith Sayers
Wednesday Thursday October
NTC’s DAC Fair
Oct. 2 - 3
dle, support their team or go and watch and cheer the canoes on. It is an exciting time for all who get involved. There are a good number of Nuu-chah-nuth canoes in the journeys and know that it will be a powerful ending to the journey and a great celebration of achievement. Kudos to all our canoe families that are part of canoe journeys. I have also done advocating on behalf of our Native Hawaiian allies who share the Pacific with us. The government in Hawaii has approved a 30-metre (18 stories) high and six-football-field- long telescope on sacred grounds of a mountain/volcano called Mauna Kea. The elders wanted to be arrested first and were first on the line when the police came to remove them. It was hard to watch the Kapuna-the wise ones being arrested and taken by police. Thousands of people are rallying and going to protect their sacred site. I wrote a letter to the governor of Hawaii telling him to respect and honour the sacred site and to stop arresting people. Within less than a day, I received an answer from the governor’s office telling me they were trying to keep people safe and were trying to negotiate with the people. I found out the Canadian government has provided $243 million for the construction of the telescope and in B.C. UBC and UVIC are also supporting the telescope. I drafted a resolution for the Chiefs in Assembly at AFN happening late July in Fredericton to consider supporting our allies and relatives and their efforts to protect their sacred sites. We have similar issues here in B.C. in trying to protect our sacred sites and the government chooses jobs and revenue over what is important to us. I am working with the province on amending the Heritage Conservation Act and an Ancient Remains policy. We are looking to have First Nations burial grounds the same as other burial grounds with the same protections. I continue to be involved in working on fisheries issues, the marine protected area and keeping informed on ongoing negotiations. Run sizes and the impact of climate change on our salmon have to be closely monitored. I was listening to the CBC radio show on southern resident Orcas. A representative of the Makah was speaking and talking about how the issue with the orcas shows the issues with their habitat. They are an indicator of the imbalance of our oceans. There are many issues yet to resolve in fisheries and climate change.
will be many activities for the whole family, face painting, yoga, singing and drumming, pizza party, bouncy castle and much more. For more information please call Debbie at 250-724-0202
Held at the Alberni Athletic Hall. More details to come.
Save The Date The NTC Annual DAC Ability Fair At the Alberni Athletic Hall, 3727 Roger Street Port Alberni, British Columbia
The theme chosen by the committee is “Nah-shuk-sulk” it was explained by an Elder on the committee that it is important for us to address the whole person – mind, body and spirit. We will be working with Teechuktl to organize a health fair that will provide both information and support, to promote education and wellness, and be sure to have some fun while we are at it! *** Any donations of fish or seafood for the evening dinner will be appreciated.
For more information or to make a donation contact the NTC office 250-724-5757
August 8, 2019—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 17
--------- NTC JOB OPPORTUNITIES ---------
View more job postings online at hashilthsa.com
Page 18— Ha-Shilth-Sa—August 8, 2019
Elders converge in Vancouver for 43rd gathering
Premier and Jody Wilson-Raybould make appearances, as more than 1,800 elders come from nations across B.C. By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Vancouver, BC – More than 1,800 elders and their support people arrived at the Vancouver Convention Centre July 23 for two days of pampering, reconnection and fun at the 43rd Annual BC Elders Gathering (BCEG). Hosted by the BC Elders Communication Center Society (BCECCS), the gathering drew hundreds of elders, many from remote First Nations villages to the hustle and bustle of big city Vancouver. Elders, most dressed in brightly coloured regalia, began arriving at the VCC by 9 a.m., a full hour before the start of the grand entry. They passed time by visiting with one another or by drumming and singing. Shortly after 10 a.m. the grand procession started with the Elder King and Queen accompanied by RCMP escorts dressed in Red Serge leading dignitaries, including BC Premier John Horgan, MP Jody Wilson-Raybould and others. The 2019 BCEG King and Queen were Allan (Olie) and Edwina Henderson, who agreed to step back into the role two years after they were crowned in Campbell River. Organizers said that they were unable to crown a King and Queen from the Downtown Eastside community as originally planned and were grateful that the Hendersons returned into the roles. The procession of elders wound down a long, wide hallway into the grand ballroom where more than 200 tables were set up for them. Once they were seated at their assigned tables, Master of Ceremonies John Henderson, a counsellor for Wei Wai Kum Nation welcomed them. He acknowledged all of the organizers, sponsors, volunteers and host nations that made the event possible. Squamish Nation was prominent in welcoming the elders to their traditional territories. Tsleil-Waututh and Musqueam Nations were also acknowledged as hosts, having territories in the greater Vancouver area. Chief Janice George welcomed the elders on behalf of Squamish Nation and got things off to a good start with a prayer.
“We want to erase that interruption in our culture – and that is what you elders do” ~ Chief Janice George, Squamish Nation Chief George talked about the importance of the cultural knowledge that the elders possess after the impacts of colonialism. “We want to erase that interruption in our culture – and that is what you elders do,” she said. MC Henderson talked about changes he has seen over years in his role as a politician. He urged the people to have a clear vision of what they want for future generations and to work to achieve those goals in a positive way. “UNDRIP (United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples) gave us the tools to make the changes with governments,” said Henderson. He went to say that it is his hope that resources like wildlife and fisheries are managed in a way that will sustain future generations.
Photos by Denise Titian
The 2019 BC Elders Gathering King and Queen Allan (Olie) and Edwina Henderson (centre) began the procession into the venue at the Vancouver Convention Centre, accompanied by BC Premier John Horgan and other dignitaries. Henderson introduced special guests MLA Melanie Mark, B.C. Premier John Horgan and MP Jody Wilson-Raybould. Both the premier and Wilson-Raybould have attended past elders’ gatherings. The premier announced that his government is working on legislation that will implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) as a means to address reconciliation with the Aboriginal peoples of BC. If passed, the province will be the first province in Canada to endorse UNDRIP. Premier Horgan was proud to announce that he is the first premier to appoint an elder advisor. Shirley Alphonse of T’Souke Nation has been appointed First Elder to the Premier. Melanie Mark is a Nisga’a woman and an elected MLA representing Vancouver/ Mount Pleasant. She is the first Indigenous woman to serve in cabinet and was appointed by Premier Horgan to the Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training post. She told the crowd that when she looks at the elders she sees resilience. “Our grandparents had to fight for our rights and for that, I am so proud,” she told them. “My two daughters have a better future because you fought for their rights and I am going to continue to fight for your grandchildren’s rights.” She told them to encourage their grandchildren to get to the finish line in terms of education and reminded them that it is never too late to go back to school. Keynote speaker Jody Wilson-Raybould took to the podium to a long chorus of cheers and applause. She talked about her family and community and how they instilled values and cultural teachings. The theme of this year’s BCEG was ‘All My Relations’ – a term used by many First Nations people. Wilson-Raybould is an Independent Member of Parliament for the riding of Vancouver Granville. Prior to that she was a member of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party and was appointed Minister of Justice and Attorney General – the first Indigenous person to hold that office. But conflict with the PM saw her removed from that seat to be minister of Veteran’s Affairs. Many perceived the move as a demotion. Eventually, Wilson-Raybould was removed from office and from the Liberal Party of Canada. On May 27 WilsonRaybould announced she would run in the next federal election as an inde-
pendent. Recent polls in her riding of Vancouver Granville have her leading in popular support, according to McLean’s magazine. She said it was her family, her community - all her relations - which sustained her in the days following what happened in Ottawa. She credits the value of honesty, of speaking her truth, which appeals to Canadians. “I received 15,000 letters of support and encouragement,” she said, simply by approaching her job with the teachings of her people. She is dissatisfied with Canada’s approach to reconciliation, noting that the federal government has fallen back to limited and incremental changes when it comes to UNDRIP. “I remain incredibly optimistic about our futures because building Indigenous nations ensures a stronger and better Canada,” she told the crowd. Following speeches the people were
served lunch in the large ballroom that was used for main events. The ever popular vendor’s room was just down the hall where people could shop for custom made clothing, jewelry, medicines, arts & crafts and more. On the second floor venue rooms were set up for smaller groups to visit for self-care or to get health information. The Pamper Me centre offered hair, nails, foot checks, palm/card reading and more. There was a quiet area set aside for elders that needed a rest and there was a health screening centre where elders could visit nursing staff. The evening events featured entertainment like comedian Howie Miller and the ever popular elder’s dance. One of the special guests said in her opening comments that she heard about the elder’s dances and she also heard the saying, “What happens at the elders conference stays at the elders’ conference!”
August 8, 2019—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 19
2020 Elder’s Gathering will return to Vancouver venue Event to be held at Convention Centre for the second year in a row after no successful community bids came in By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Vancouver, BC – For the second year in a row there were no successful bids for the upcoming BC Elder’s Gathering (BCEG) and that means that the BC Elders Communication Center Society will host the event in Vancouver. The announcement was made at the 43rd Annual BCEG on July 22 at the Vancouver Convention Centre (VCC) located on the waterfront of downtown Vancouver. Approximately 1,800 elders and support people attended the event, after more than 3,000 elders registered for last year’s gathering in Duncan, which saw an estimated 5,000 participants, including elders, hosts, dignitaries and volunteers. According to the BC Elders Communication Center Society (BCECCS), when there are no bids to host a gathering, the BCECCS is the default bid. That means that future gatherings that are hosted by BCECCS will be in Vancouver. The BCECCS hosted the BC Elders Gathering in Campbell River in 2017. But the Vancouver Island location is not on the table because Campbell River no longer has a catering company large enough to meet the needs of a BCEG. According to the BCECCS several factors must be considered when someone
offers to host the BCEG, including the size of the venue, suitable catering services and adequate accommodations for the traveling elders. “So, the Vancouver Convention Centre will be our society’s ‘go-to’ site of choice for the Elders Gathering should our provincial office host again,” wrote Donna Stirling, BCECCS Coordinator. “The elders have been more excited about this location than any others in many, many years and even though it costs more to stay in the lower mainland.” The cost seems to have been prohibitive for many elders with the $300 to $400 per person registration fee on top of travel and accommodation costs. Gourmet catered lunches and dinners were provided, but breakfast and snacks were dropped from the menu due to the high cost of food and servers. This was a problem from some diabetic elders that require healthy snacks to keep their blood sugar stable. Unaware that there would be no snacks, they were forced to search for nearby stores that sold things like fresh fruit. The last time the BCEG was held in Vancouver was in 2007. That was when registration fees started so that organizers could cover the cost of the food. And because the event is at the VCC, organizers must abide by their rules and
Photo by Denise Titian
A bird’s eye view of the reception area of the Vancouver Convention Centre as 1,800 Indigenous seniors arrived for the 2019 BC Elder’s Gathering standards. For this event 150 union servers delivered five star meals to the 1,800 elders and their support people over the two days. While food is paid for through registration fees from the elders or sponsors, the BCEG would not be possible without generous contributions from First Nations Health Authority, BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres, Indigenous
and Northern Affairs Canada, the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, BC Assembly of First Nations, B.C.’s Ministry of Environment and the Provincial Health Service Authority. Corporate sponsorship came from BC Hydro, Fortis BC, BC Housing, JFK Law, Cermaq Canada, Coast Hotels, Sure Copy, UPS and VOSH Audio Visual.
Nations gather for Tlu-piich Games in Port Alberni Photos by Denise Titian
The 37th Annual Nuu-chahnulth Tlu-piich Games got off to a sizzling start as temperatures hovered around 30 Celsius. That didn’t stop youngsters representing seven Nuu-chah-nulth nations from competing in track & field events under the hot sun. Track & field races began in the afternoon on Aug. 6. Opening ceremonies were held during a short break with Ahousaht elder Betty Keitlah (below), who has attended the games since the beginning, giving the opening prayer.
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