Ha-Shilth-Sa Newspaper Dec. 16, 2021

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INTERESTING NEWS Canada’s Oldest First Nations Newspaper - Serving Nuu-chah-nulth-aht since 1974 Canadian Publications Mail Product Vol. 48 - No. 24—December 16, 2021 haas^i>sa Sales Agreement No. 40047776

Residential school testimonies to be destroyed Court-ordered decision will hinder investigating of burials, says National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Reconciliation with First Nations was addressed in the opening lines of the Speech from the Throne on Nov. 23, as Governor General Mary Simon read the address to senators and members of the House of Commons to open the 44th session of Parliament. The speech also quickly referenced the discovery of unmarked graves at multiple former residential school sites, news that shook people across Canada this year. “We cannot hide from these discoveries; they open deep wounds,” read the throne speech, which came two months after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals secured another minority government in Ottawa. “We know that reconciliation cannot come without truth.” But as Canada brings attention to the realities that many residential school survivors have known for their whole lives, records of the testimonies that detail atrocities at the institutions await destruction in five and a half years. Depositions and information gathered by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission are set to be destroyed on Sept. 19, 2027. This follows a confidentiality condition under which former students gave their testimonies, stories that have informed over 38,000 claims made for the commission’s Independent Assessment Process. Along with the Alternate Dispute Resolution claims, the IAP led to financial compensation towards former students according to the severity and extent of abuse suffered, payments that totalled over $3.23 billion. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada was active from June 2, 2008 to Dec. 18, 2015, documenting the history and lasting impacts of the Indian residential school system. Operating across the country from the 1860s to the 1990s, over 150,000 Indigenous children were forced to attend residential schools, including an estimated 3,200 who died at the institutions, according to the TRC. The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation was established in Winnipeg to serve as the archival repository of information gathered during the TRC process. Although the national centre can preserve statements from approximately 7,000 people who helped inform the TRC, the destruction of thousands testimonies from survivors means that documents detailing “the magnitude and extent of the abuse” most fully will be lost, according to the national centre. “The Independent Assessment Process (IAP) records that are set to be destroyed

Photo by Eric Plummer

Charlie Thompson speaks alongside Ditidaht Ha’wiih on the former grounds of the Alberni Indian Residential School in June, as reaction spread across Canada over the news of unmarked graves found at the site of the Kamloops Indian Residential School. Thompson has encouraged other residential school survivors to “Tell your truth”. preme Court of Canada ruling. they couldn’t even talk, it was so painful in 2027 hold important information from “[D]isclosure of information contained for them.” survivors of residential schools that are Barney Williams, who attended Christie in the IAP documents could be devastatvital to uncovering the true history of and Kamloops Indian Residential School, ing to claimants, witnesses and families,” residential schools and to potentially is fully aware of the approaching destruc- continued the 2017 decision. “Further identifying missing children,” reads a disclosure could result in deep discord statement from the national centre sent to tion date, and had a copy of his records within the communities whose histories made for his family. As a member of the Ha-Shilth-Sa. “Records analysis requires are intertwined with that of the residential TRC’s survivors committee, Williams meticulous investigation work and takes school system.” recalls sitting before seven judges when a tremendous amount of time, attention The following year an order from the the Supreme Court of Canada weighed to detail and careful handling of records. Ontario Superior Court of Justice directed the option of preserving the records for Preserving these records would mean the TRC to undertake a multi-media camhistory against fulfilling confidentially more archival research can be done over paign to inform survivors that they have requirements of the IAP process. a longer period of time, potentially unthe right to request the preservation of “It was a pretty sad day when we were covering more missing children and more their records. But by 2021 this campaign there in that high court,” he said. “We of the residential school history.” appears to have had little effect on pre“The general public needs to know what were hoping they would overturn it, but they didn’t.” serving the testimonies for history. Out happened,” said Charlie Thompson, who of the 70,000 former students who shared “Destruction is what the parties had attended the Alberni Indian Residential their stories, only 27 have had their IAP bargained for,” reads the Supreme Court School as a child. “Because of what’s ruling from 2017. “The IAP was intended records preserved with the National Cenhappening today with children being tre for Truth and Reconciliation. to be a confidential process, and both found, it’s really more important that Bernard Jack, who attended Christie Inthese records be preserved.” claimants and alleged perpetrators had relied on that assurance of confidentiality dian Residential School as a child, fears Survivors can request a copy of their in deciding to participate.” history being “brushed under the carpet”. records, or ask that their testimonies be “I strongly disagree with destroying The judgement emphasized the potenpreserved at the national centre in Winnithat kind of evidence,” he said. “I want tial harm of releasing the testimonies to peg, by calling 1-855-415-4534 or online the Roman Catholic Church to own up to the public, noting sensitivities within the at https://nctr.ca/records/preserve-yourwhat they did to our nation.” records/iap-adr-records/. But many survi- churches that ran residential schools and Thompson doesn’t recall being informed vors aren’t aware of this option, nor were the families of former students. of the destruction of his testimony. For example, the Congregation of the they informed that their stories would be Sisters of St. Joseph of Sault St. Marie “They didn’t tell us that what we’re destroyed when testimonies were given, signing means that at some point your gave up its right to protect against acsaid Thompson. He recalls the IAP prorecords are going to be destroyed,” he cusations in court. cess being challenging and confusing for “[I]t would not have done so were there said. “These records are important. My many who shared their stories. records should be shown, should be read the slightest possibility that information “They had a hard time with all of the by people that need to understand what disclosed within the IAP information legal mumbo jumbo that was being we went through as children.” could become public,” stated the Suthrown at them,” he said. “Sometimes

Inside this issue... Record rainfall and severe weather patterns...................Page 3 Health discrimination.....................................................Page 5 Resolution needed for MPA talks...................................Page 8 New Ahousaht post office.............................................Page 11 Huu-ay-aht sets own forestry plan................................Page 15

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


Page 2— Ha-Shilth-Sa— December 16, 2021

Feed the People event prioritizes South Port areas In its 10th year, the Christmas event prepared 400 meals, focusing on Port Alberni’s areas of greatest poverty By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Port Alberni, BC - Teechuktl’s Feed the People event brought meals to the streets on Dec. 8, with a focus on Port Alberni’s areas of highest poverty. The Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council’s mental health department undertook the initiative for the 10th year in row, but for the second-year concerns over the spread of COVID-19 prevented the team from holding its usual indoor meal. With the help of donations from the community 400 meals were prepared, including hot turkey lunches cooked in the Tseshaht First Nation’s Maht Mahs kitchen. The event was coordinated by Irene Robinson, a southern region outreach wellness worker with Teechuktl, who saw her team deliver more meals than expected. “We got everything we needed this year, and more,” she said. Staff gathered outside of Maht Mahs on Dec. 8 to deliver the meals to a long list of needy recipients compiled by the department. Volunteer help was also provided by the Alberni Valley Bulldogs BCHL hockey team, as well as members of the Port Alberni RCMP. Police assisted in delivering meals to high-priority neighbourhoods on Third, Fourth and Fifth Avenue, including a growing collection of trailers set up on an empty lot next to a Fourth Avenue apartment building. “Right from the very beginning, homeless and low income were the priority,” said Robinson. This year’s homeless count indicated that a growing proportion of the city’s

unsheltered are Indigenous. Although the total number of homeless declined in survey, the count shows that those who identified as Aboriginal rose from 48 per cent in 2018 to 65 per cent of Port Alberni’s homeless in 2021. “When I wake up in the morning, if it’s freezing or snowing, the first thing I think of is our people on the streets,” reflected Robinson. “These people don’t have enough money to affords the rents in Port Alberni.” Some of Robinson’s clients have shared that local services can be limited, including a young man she spoke with recently. “He didn’t even go to the shelter because the shelter was booked,” she said. The outreach worker attributes the longstanding effects of the residential school system for the prevalence of homelessness among Nuuchah-nulth-aht in Port Alberni, as many are born into disadvantaged situations. “That’s not just who they are. It’s where they ended up because of circumstances beyond their control,” said Robinson. “People end up on the streets, not because they don’t want to work, not because they’re lazy or alcoholics, they end up on the streets because they don’t have money.”

Photos by Eric Plummer

Members of the Alberni Valley Bulldogs BCHL hockey team (top) helped distribute meals on Dec. 8, while front-line workers brought the Christmas lunches to a Fourth Avenue neighbourhood in Port Alberni. Pictured above are Danielle Serge (far left) and Constable Beth O’Connor of the RCMP’s Indigenous Policing Services, with Teechuktl harm reduction workers Gina Amos and Jaimey Richmond.


December 16, 2021—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 3

Record rainfall part of more severe weather pa•erns Atmospheric rivers that brought autumn storms are likely to continue, says Environment Canada meteorologist By Melissa Renwick Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Looking out from her living room window towards the Hesquiaht harbour, Dianne Ignace marveled at a bright rainbow that emerged in the sky. Within minutes, it was swallowed by thick, gray clouds. Then, came the hail. “Today is one of those days where every 15 minutes the weather has been changing,” she said. “That’s the phenomenon that I’ve been noticing – the speed of change around this weather is way too fast. It doesn’t give me any time to plan.” Ignace has been living in the remote peninsula on Vancouver Island’s west coast since 1975. She is no stranger to battling out strong rainstorms, but as of late, they have become increasingly unpredictable. “The winds are changing faster,” she said. “You can get different [wind] direc-

tion on the water five or six times in one day.” This past fall was the wettest Ignace has seen in the last 10 years. While nothing was damaged, she said the tides that coincide with the rainstorms have been pulling the gravel off the beach in front of her house over the last three years. “You can see the bedrock all along the coast,” she said. “It’s changing the topography in the bay here.” The record-breaking rainfall that hit British Columbia this fall could be the new normal, warns Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC). “It’s very consistent with what climate projections describe [of] the reality coming for us,” said Armel Castellan, ECCC warning preparedness meteorologist. “This was an example of what we can expect more of.” The entire season, from September to the end of November, was the wettest

Dianne Ignace on record for both Nanaimo and Gonzales, Victoria’s oldest weather station that has data stretching back to 1899. Nanaimo experienced rainfalls 181.3 per cent above normal, and Victoria saw rain 221.5 per cent above normal. “That is very absurd to me,” said Castellan. Historically, these types of events would only occur once in every 100 years, but Castellan said that number is projected to be reduced to one in every 50 or 25 years going forward. “The deck is stacked increasingly over the coming years,” he said. Tofino typically gets 7.4 days of rain that reaches above 25 millimetres throughout November. But this November, there were 14 days of rain that reached above 25 millimetres, resulting in rainfall 175.6 per cent above normal, said Castellan. “These [floods] have big consequences, not just on the Lower Mainland and the diking system around Sumas Prairie, but anywhere on the south coast with any infrastructure and population density whatsoever,” said Castellan. The Ministry of Finance recently announced that while B.C.’s economic growth is expected to outpace Canada’s in 2021 and 2022, it is yet-to-be determined how recent flooding and extreme weather may impact future economic forecasts. Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun said the cost of flooding damage could be in the billions during a media briefing on Nov. 26. For some, recovery is going to take years, he said. For others, “they may

never recover.” Global temperatures have risen by 1.2 degrees since pre-industrial levels, and Canada is warming twice as fast as the global average, said Castellan. As temperatures rise, the air has a greater capacity to hold more water vapour. One of the ways the atmosphere balances itself out is for the moist, subtropical air to travel north through a narrow corridor, otherwise known as an atmospheric river. Although the term “atmospheric river” only came to be in the late-90s, Castellan said they’ve been around since time immemorial and have been previously referred to as “moist conveyor belts.” With more water vapour in the air, Castellan said experts are projecting atmospheric rivers to double in strength in coming years, and decades. This has prompted Environment Canada to collaborate with a cohort of experts in developing an atmospheric river rating system, so they can be categorized, much like hurricanes and tornadoes. That way, decision makers, emergency management and the general public will be better prepared for what could be coming their way, said Castellan. “Not only do we need to adapt to these new climate projections that are already happening around the planet, but we also need to mitigate against them,” he said. “The climate emergency that we’re in, and will be in for decades to come, is a whole order of magnitude stronger of an impact on our society [than even the COVID-19 pandemic].” While Castellan said the pandemic is a “very scary,” “big event” that we don’t have much control over and has “affected our society very deeply,” climate events are likely to “become stronger, longer lasting, [and] more frequent” in the coming years. The unpredictable weather patterns mean that Ignace is not able to leave her house as often. “When we want to go to town, we’re getting into wishy-washy water,” she said. “The waves are coming at you from every direction … it’s making travel a lot harder.” Ignace said that within the past two years, she has seen the weather events around the Hesquiaht peninsula grow stronger. “Last year, we didn’t go out for Christmas, and we were really glad we didn’t because we wouldn’t have gotten home until the end of January,” she said. “This year, we want to go out for Christmas, but I’m scared to.”


Page 4— Ha-Shilth-Sa— December 16, 2021 Ha-Shilth-Sa newspaper is published by the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council for distribution to the members of the NTC-member First Nations, as well as other interested groups and individuals. Information and original work contained in this newspaper is protected by copyright and may not be reproduced without written permission from: Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council P.O. Box 1383, Port Alberni, B.C. V9Y 7M2. Telephone: (250) 724-5757 Fax: (250) 723-0463 Web page: www.hashilthsa.com facebook: Hashilthsa Ntc

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Leashed dog a•acks Ahousaht elder Hereditary chief issues warning to the community about loose, uncared for dogs By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Ahousaht, BC – An Ahousaht elder suffered painful injuries after a dog on a long leash attacked her as she was walking to visit her granddaughter at work on Dec. 8. The attack on Lily Webster prompted Ha’wilth Hanuquii (Nathan Charlie) to issue a public statement. After conferring with both hereditary and elected chiefs Hanuquii warned the people via social media. “Dogs that are aggressive or on the loose will be dealt with, either by the Care Network or (will) be put down,” he stated. Hanuquii went on to say that roaming, aggressive dogs are a safety issue for the entire community. He said there were too many dogs on the loose and people need to tie their dogs up before some gets seriously hurt. The dog that attacked Webster was tied up, but the leash was long. “I was doing my daily walk and I thought I’d better go see my granddaughter, see if she needed help. I was just about there when the attack happened,” Webster shared. She said she wasn’t really paying attention to her surroundings when the dog lunged at her, biting her upper arm, almost knocking her over. “I was so scared, I just froze,” she recalled. Webster said she was lucky that two Ahousaht men came to her rescue; one drove her to the clinic in Ahousaht. Lily’s arm was bruised, swollen, and had puncture wounds which required cleaning and stitching. She was taken to Tofino General Hospital for x-rays and received a tetanus shot and prescription medication. The owner of the dog apologized to Lily, offering to help her in any way possible. The owner stated that the dog was put outside on a leash for a short time while they went to clean up a mess the dog made. But the leash was too long. “I love walking...and I have no choice,” said Wester, adding that all she can do is protect herself. She believes that dogs need to be tied up

Photo submitted by Lily Webster

Lily Webster was attacked while walking to see her granddaughter in Ahousaht. at their own homes or wear muzzles. Ahousaht has a comprehensive animal control bylaw, and they work with a local animal welfare organization based in Tofino. But Hanuquii believes the animal control bylaw is not working because there is no officer to enforce it. One of the laws is one dog per household, but Hanuquii said he wouldn’t be surprised if the dogs outnumber the people. “There’s a couple of packs that roam around that are dangerous, it’s hard to walk around the reserve,” he noted. In addition to scaring people, family pets are being mauled by loose dog packs. “One pack follows the kids to school and it’s natural for them to be protective…they get aggressive. It’s not the dog’s fault, it’s the owner’s fault,” said Hanuquii. Hanuquii has consulted with other Ahousaht Ha’wiih and they concur that the problem needs to be dealt with. CARE Network has been working with Ahousaht and has offered to come and take free-roaming dogs to be rehomed.

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They’ve also offered spaying and neutering clinics in the future. Charlie feels for his Gramma Lil and doesn’t want anyone else to get hurt. He issued a public statement on social media reminding people to tie their dogs up or they will be taken away. He is grateful for the work that CARE Network does and says they will take surrendered dogs. But he warned that any dog that bites a human will be immediately put down. “We need to get this under control,” he added. “We can have dogs…they just need to be loved and treated like a family member, not just be put outside,” said Hanuquii. He said leadership is doing the best that they can without angering people and he is grateful that he’s received mostly supportive feedback on his posts. He asked everyone to be part of the solution. “Remember this is a safety issue. If you can’t watch a dog don’t take a dog. We shouldn’t have to walk in fear,” said Hanuquii.

Ha-Shilth-Sa belongs to every Nuu-chah-nulth person including those who have passed on, and those who are not yet born. A community newspaper cannot exist without community involvement. If you have any great pictures you’ve taken, stories or poems you’ve written, or artwork you have done, please let us know so we can include it in your newspaper. E-mail holly.stocking@nuuchahnulth.org. This year is Ha-Shilth-Sa’s 47th year of serving the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations. We look forward to your continued input and support. Kleco! Kleco!

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December 16, 2021—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 5

Need remains to address health care discrimination Racism remains “the elephant in the room”, says Turpel-Lafond, a year after report released recommendations By Melissa Renwick Local Journalism Initiative Reporter It’s been more than a year since a report made 24 recommendations addressing Indigenous-specific racism in B.C.’s health-care system, but its author says “ineffective collaboration” has slowed improvements. Led by independent reviewer Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, the In Plain Sight report identified “widespread systemic racism against Indigenous peoples” which resulted in a range of negative impacts, including death. While Turpel-Lafond said there have been “some” signs of progress, they don’t go far enough. “It is important to use this progress as motivation for the work ahead,” she said. “At the same time, we must not congratulate ourselves on a job well done. The fundamental issues remain in plain sight.” The recommendations were informed by first-hand accounts from around 9,000 mostly Indigenous people, including patients, health workers, caregivers and concerned observers. Turpel-Lafond said “little, if any,” movement has been made on six of the recommendations that emphasize the need to realign relationships between the province and Indigenous governments, under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Indigenous governments need to be cocreating law and policy with provincial and federal governments, she said. Eliminating racism and the future of reconciliation depends on “our ability to make rightful space for Indigenous deci-

Photo by Don Craig, Province of BC

Led by independent reviewer Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond (centre), one year ago the In Plain Sight report identified “widespread systemic racism against Indigenous peoples” which resulted in a range of negative impacts. sion making and sovereignty,” Turpel“It’s a time for the province and all BritLafond added. ish Columbians to reflect on the impact of racism on Indigenous peoples and The First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) was founded in 2013. It their health, and to recommit ourselves to eradicating racism in health care,” he said is the only provincial health authority in a release. within Canada for Indigenous people, but Turpel-Lafond said it exists only as a Dix said the province has taken “im“gentleman’s agreement between Canada portant first steps,” including public apologies from health system leaders and and B.C. because it doesn’t have a legislative foundation.” regulatory bodies, as well as the creation “We need to think about giving it some of a task team to support and hold the proper grounding legislatively so that its province accountable to implementing all 24 recommendations. mandate, its scope, its function can be In October, 33 members were appointed more hardwired [into] the system so that they can have greater influence, because by the Ministry of Health, in consultation their service footprint is still very small,” with Indigenous health care partners. They are a “diverse group of First Nashe said. Health Minister Adrian Dix said the tions and Métis leaders, health system experts, health care professionals, nurses report’s anniversary “marks an important and doctors,” the ministry said. moment.” Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council VicePresident Mariah Charleson said she hasn’t seen much come of the task team and expressed concern about the lack of Nuu-chah-nulth representation. Charleson hoped that shedding light on these health care issues would have encouraged the government to jump to “quick action,” but she has seen no progress on the ground. “We’re still hearing countless stories of our own Nuu-chah-nulth people experiencing outright, overt, and explicit racism when trying to receive basic health care,” she said. “The report didn’t teach us anything new as Indigenous people. This is all information that, as Indigenous people, we are all very aware of as we’ve experienced it throughout our entire lives.” The government has been “slow” to move on this, she said. As of Dec. 3, the province has a total of 3,020 active COVID-19 cases. While Turpel-Lafond acknowledged that B.C. continues to grapple with the

pandemic, as well as with the current flooding disaster, “these crises this year have impacted Indigenous people more than anyone else.” “Emergencies do happen,” she said. “They do impact the pace of work, but they’ve also elevated and escalated, to me, the importance of this work because these emergencies are disproportionately impacting Indigenous communities, and Indigenous people in B.C.” This speaks to the need to redouble efforts, she said. “I want Minister Adrian Dix to say he understands that and he’s more committed than he was even a year ago,” she said. Dix said the province remains “absolutely committed” to implementing all 24 recommendations from the In Plain Sight report. “We acknowledge, as Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond reminds us, that there is more important work to do to respond to the truths shared with government with the kind of fundamental transformation to B.C.’s health system needed to ensure all First Nations, Métis people and Inuit accessing health care in British Columbia experience a culturally safe and respectful health-care system - free from racism, stereotyping or discrimination,” he said. On Nov. 30, Turpel-Lafond organized a virtual forum that examined Indigenous women’s perspectives on healthcare and wellness. Around 600 participants attended, with panelists including FNHA Acting Chief Medical Officer Shannon McDonald, Island Health Medical Health Officer Shannon Waters, and Tania Dick, a representative from the First Nations Health Council Vancouver Island Region. Charleson said she was not invited. “These issues are difficult, but I really see how activated Indigenous women are and how the report created more safety for them to take on leadership roles in healthcare,” said Turpel-Lafond. “I feel like this piece of work that’s a year old has really been unpackaged and is on the ground shaping and reshaping [our] thinking. If there’s more tools there for Indigenous people to be able to use inside the systems that have been oppressing in the past, that is the kind of victory that I’m all in for.” Like she has done over the past year, Turpel-Lafond said she will continue to closely monitor the government’s progress. “The elephant in the room of racism against Indigenous people in healthcare in B.C. is out in the open,” she said. “It doesn’t mean it fixes it, but at least we have now brought it out … people aren’t willing to let it go. They’re not prepared to let this slide.”


Page 6— Ha-Shilth-Sa— December 16, 2021

Toxic drugs claim an average of six lives daily in B.C. Government presses for safe drug supply, as coroner reports on the deadliest month yet from fatal overdoses By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Victoria, BC – The daily provincial illicit drug overdose death toll continues to rise at an alarming rate six years after a state of emergency was declared by the provincial health officer. In a video statement issued Dec. 9, B.C.’s Chief Coroner Lisa Lapointe pointed to the volatile toxicity of the unregulated drug supply as a leading factor in overdose deaths. Sheila Malcolmson, minister of Mental Health and Addictions, said October 2021 was the worst month in B.C. history with more than 200 lives lost due to drug toxicity. “It is heartbreaking,” she said. Almost everyone in B.C. knows someone lost to drugs, she added. First responders will administer Naloxone to reverse an apparent drug overdose, but Naloxone only works on opioid drugs. The coroner is now seeing more benzodiazepine in the illicit drug supply, which doesn’t respond to Naloxone. Benzodiazepines are a class of psychoactive drugs prescribed to treat conditions such as anxiety, insomnia, and seizures. “The illicit drug supply is unregulated, toxic, volatile and unpredictable,” said Lapointe, adding that it may be the driving factor in the increase in drug-related deaths. Street drugs are toxic cocktails that can have fentanyl, benzodiazepines and methamphetamines. Drug testing helps but isn’t always available. It is hard to know how many people are using drugs at any given time, but it’s es-

timated to be about 90,000 people across the province, according to Lapointe. Lapointe noted that the province is dealing with two health crises at the same time: the COVID-19 pandemic and drug overdose deaths. “The drug overdose crisis is not being treated with the same urgency as COVID, where all hands are on deck,” she noted. “Today we will lose six people, tomorrow we will lose six more – by Christmas we will have lost 40 to 50 more people.” For people ages 19 to 39, drug overdose is now the leading cause of death in B.C. “This is a significant health crisis,” said Lapointe. Over the past six years more than 8,500 British Columbians have died due to drug overdose. She went on to say that the current crisis is the reflection of a failure of many decades of policy that punished drug users, who have been “criminalized, marginalized and shamed”. Lapointe said the drug problem is everywhere, not just in B.C., and it’s a collective failure. Malcolmson says that the provincial government is putting tremendous effort into turning the drug crisis around. A growing emphasis has been put on encouraging health care professionals to prescribe safer alternatives to illicit drugs, thereby reducing the risk of overdose. “We are the first in Canada to offer a safe drug supply and we’ve added hundreds of treatment and recovery beds,” said Malcolmson. She said the province is trying to save lives by connecting people to services, care and treatment.

Lisa Lapointe “This is an historic investment in treatment and recovery, and we will add more,” she said, adding that the province is treating this as a health care matter and not a criminal justice matter. “Fear and shame silences people.” And when that happens, people use drugs alone, which is unsafe. The BC Coroner’s Service is mandated to make recommendations that minimize the risk of death. They say that there needs to be access to a safe supply of alternative drugs, and are pressing for a massive roll-out of this on an urgent basis. “We need an urgent response to save more lives,” said Lapointe. “This is not going away on its own.” Malcolmson said that B.C. introduced the concept of safe drug supply in March 2020. “We are pushing safe supply through

every health authority,” she said, adding that B.C. is the first in Canada to do this so there are no models. “This is new, and we are building on it.” Lapointe says a safe drug supply needs to be followed up with educational and recovery supports. She said drug users should be diagnosed and given a treatment plan. “It’s no different from people that suffer from things like heart disease,” she added. The various health authorities are involved in the roll-out of a safe drug supply, but they’re meeting resistance, and even hostility, in outlying areas of the province. Some argue the ethics of creating a publicly funded supply of drugs. “You can’t force a physician to write a prescription,” Lapointe noted, but waiting years for data to introduce a safe drug supply is not acceptable. “The crisis is now and that makes it ethically acceptable.” The province is working with the federal government on decriminalization and await a response from Carolyn Bennett, minister of Mental Health and Addictions and associate minister of Health. “We hope it will be attended to urgently by the federal government” said Malcolmson. According to Malcolmson, the province has spent $2.7 billion in one year on mental health and addictions. $100 million has been invested in supports to the First Nations Health Authority and the First Nations Health Council to combat drug addiction. The province says they support FNHA and FNHC in Indigenous-led solutions.

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December 16, 2021—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 7

Affordable rentals in Tofino accepting applications Fourteen-unit development is an opportunity for those who are desperate for a home in the overpriced market By Melissa Renwick Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Tofino, BC - The housing shortage on the west coast is making it difficult for Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation (TFN) members to return to their homelands, leaving some on a housing waitlist for up to 20 years, said TFN Tribal Administrator Jim Chisholm. Houses within the Tla-o-qui-aht communities of Ty-Histanis, Esowista and Opitsaht are becoming increasingly overcrowded, as many can’t afford the cost of real estate or rent in the area. “We’re bursting at the seams,” said Chisholm. Even if the nation wanted to hire a contractor to build new houses, he said there’s no facility for them to stay in. “We have to put [contractors] up in hotels that are $500 a night in peak season,” he said. “Which just drives our building costs up. We’re in a real dilemma out here.” It’s a collective problem between Tofino and Ucluelet, he said. “It’s really catching up on the entire area,” he added. The median cost of a one-bedroom rental in Tofino and Ucluelet rose by 71 per cent between 2017 and 2020, according to the 2021 Clayoquot Biosphere Trust’s Vital Snapshot report. Two-bedrooms increased 6 per cent, and three-bedroom units surged by 38 per cent. Meanwhile, the assessed value of a single-family residential home in Tofino increased by 25 per cent 2019-2020. In a move to address the issue, the Tofino Housing Corporation (THC) is nearing completion of a 14-unit afford-

Image supplied by the Tofino Housing Corporation

The completed Creekside development at Sharp Road offers one, two and threebedroom apartments. able housing project at 700 Sharp Road, The one-bedroom units will be renting entitled Creekside. from $854 up to $1,100 per month, the Partnering with Catalyst Community two-bedroom units will be priced beDevelopments Society, four one-bedroom tween $1,080 and $1,550, and the threeunits, four two-bedroom units and six bedroom units will cost between $1,200 three-bedroom units will soon be availand $1,703. able for rent. Tenants with dependents will be placed Applications are being accepted until in the multi-bedroom units, while singles Jan. 1 for the April 2022 move-in date. and couples will be assigned to the one“We’ve been desperate for housing in bedroom units. Tofino for so long,” said Ian Scott, THC Applicants will be selected at random, interim executive director. “There’s a real so everyone has a fair shot, Scott added. lack of options for people and it’s been “Hopefully we mostly serve households like that for years, and years, and years.” who are really in need,” Scott said. Priority will be given to tenants who do The region’s living wage was the highnot own real estate, meet income require- est in all of B.C. in 2019. The CBT determents, have been living in the Albernimined that each parent must earn at least Clayoquot Regional District for 24 of $19.63 to cover the basic expenses for an the last 36 months, have been working average family of four. Few people earn full-time for more than one year within this wage. In fact, more than half of the the District of Tofino, Island Health, BC region’s population earns below $31,000, Parks, or Parks Canada, receive disability and over 16 per cent of women and 18 assistance, or are a senior. per cent of men earn less than $10,000

each year. The THC is also working on another affordable housing project titled Headwaters, which is being built on District Lot 114 in two phases. Construction of the first apartment building, Headwaters North, has begun and Scott said the application process is anticipated to begin in February 2022. The 35-unit complex will contain a mix of studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom, and three-bedroom units, and will follow a similar application process to the Creekside development. The BC Housing Community Housing Fund is providing a grant of around $7.7 million towards the Headwaters project, as well as an ongoing operating subsidy. “Twenty per cent of the units will be affordable to those on fixed incomes or social assistance, 50 per cent of the units will have rents fixed to 30 per cent of household income and generally eligible to those making between approximately $25,000 and $65,000, and 30 per cent of the units will be affordable market units with rents ranging between approximately $900 and $2,000, depending on unit size,” the Tofino Housing Corporation website reads. By 2030, the THC plans to have 150 rentals and 30 units of price-restricted resident-restricted ownership housing. Despite these moves, Chisholm said that B.C. construction costs are “prohibitive” and that there’s “no solution that’s on the immediate horizon.” “We’re working with the government on some new housing projects,” he said. “But at this point, we have nothing to report.”


Page 8— Ha-Shilth-Sa— December 16, 2021

First Nations want a swift resolution to MPA talks Marine protected areas need more protection than what the federal government is proposing, analysis finds By Mike Youds Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor First Nations are stepping up pressure, urging the federal government to get back to the table as soon as possible and conclude talks involving a marine protected area four times the size of Vancouver Island. Government-to-government negotiations on the proposed Tang.ɢwanḥačxʷiqak-Tsig̱is Marine Protected Area (MPA), also known as the Pacific Offshore Area of Interest (AOI), were sidelined during the 2021 federal election campaign. Leaders of the Council of the Haida Nation, Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council, Pacheedaht First Nation and Quatsino First Nation recently wrote to Fisheries Minister Joyce Murray, asking her to reengage DFO in order to reach a memorandum of understanding within weeks. “We call upon you as the new minister to step forward and deliver on promises to work together in the spirit of reconciliation by directing the responsible decision-makers in your department to meet with our leadership with the objective of resolving the outstanding areas of disagreement by the end of January 2022,” they wrote. MPAs are large coastal and offshore zones where certain activities such as bottom trawling, oil and gas exploration and seabed mining are restricted to reduce human impacts on ecosystems and biodiversity. In July, former Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan said the government would allocate $977 million in its current budget to continue marine conservation efforts with a goal to protect 25 per cent of Canada’s oceans by 2025 and 30 per cent by 2030. “Our Earth is in danger,” Governor General Mary Simon read from November’s Throne Speech in Parliament. “From a warming Arctic to the increasing devastation of natural disasters, our land and our people need help. We must move talk into action and adapt where we must. We cannot afford to wait.” The Liberal government also promised to address biodiversity loss with greater protections: “In this work, the government will continue to strengthen its partnership with First Nations, Inuit and Métis, to protect nature and respect their traditional knowledge.” First Nations consider marine protected areas not only as a route to co-governance but as a vehicle for re-establishing decision-making autonomy and rebuilding marine resources. In the run-up to the federal election, the Liberal government was prepared to proceed with official designation of the new MPA. “They told us the Offshore Pacific Area of Interest was close to being complete,” said NTC President Judith Sayers. “We told them, no, that’s not going to happen. We have outstanding issues that need to be resolved.” Along with co-governance, First Nations want the MPA management board’s scope of responsibilities to include decision-making authority in fishery matters and a dispute resolution mechanism. After a flurry of discussions, the federal government agreed to resume talks after the September election. Sayers said. Murray, MP for Vancouver Quadra, likes to recall her years planting trees and running a reforestation company in the B.C. woods. She wrote a master’s thesis on global warming before entering provincial politics in the 1990s.

Photo supplied by Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Underwater life on a seamount is photographed in a proposed Marine Protected Area west of Vancouver Island, part of what was discovered during a 2019 expedition to the offshore environment. “I’ve known her for a lot of years and she is from the West Coast, so we really hope she will pay attention to this,” Sayers said. Pressure has been mounting on the federal government to follow through on marine protected areas, to not only increase MPAs but to improve existing ones. According to recent analysis from the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS), the protections provided by Canada’s MPAs don’t live up to their promise. Using a guide developed by the Seattle-based Marine Institute to assess MPAs, they analyzed 17 in Canada and found 60 per cent do not have strong enough protections in place to protect biodiversity. “That’s the piece that’s eye-opening,” said Kate MacMillan, CPAWS ocean conservation manager on the West Coast. “Hopefully, not only government but also the general public will sit up and take notice.” Marine ecosystems face multiple threats, yet MPAs remain one of the most effective tools to restore ocean habitats, rebuild biodiversity and help species adapt to climate change, the report states. Along with climate change, McMillan lists biodiversity loss, ocean warming, acidification, deoxygenation, rising sea levels, increased sedimentation and heat domes, such as those last summer that claimed an estimated one billion intertidal sea creatures. MPAs can help with these environmental stressors by creating areas where human impacts are reduced, she said. “With all of the pressures on marine life, hopefully these MPAs will remove some of those stressors,” she said. “Anything we can do is important to highlight.” If the federal government were to enact minimum standards for existing MPAs as recommended, two of the Pacific areas would move up the scale and provide greater assurance MPAs are doing as intended, MacMillan said. “We would see a big benefit,” she said. As proposed, Tang.ɢwan-ḥačxʷiqakTsig̱is Marine Protected Area spans B.C.’s south coast, an area of 133,000 square kilometres, extending roughly parallel to the Strait of Juan de Fuca in the south and Bella Coola in the north. It would incorporate seamounts as high as Mt. Baker and the Endeavour hydrothermal vents, Canada’s first marine protected area established 20 years ago. “These things are worth protecting,”

Sayers said, addressing the environmental side of the equation. “This is our territory. These are our territorial waters. We need to do what we can to protect and preserve them. This is one tool, but it’s not the only tool.” Along the same lines, there was a motion on the floor at the AFN’s Special Chiefs Assembly held this week to consider putting Indigenous MPAs in place, she noted. Murray has yet to respond to the Dec. 1 letter from First Nations, but she expressed firm support for MPAs in an online “fireside chat” hosted by CPAWS Dec. 8. Five weeks into the job, Murray

said she is still focused on opportunities, not challenges. “I think the opportunity with marine protected areas is enormous,” Murray said. “It’s an opportunity to advance our reconciliation, intentions and commitments. It’s an opportunity to work collaboratively, even more deeply, with communities and environmental organizations …” “The challenges are those that are always inherent in having big ambition,” she added. “I’m optimistic. People excited about the outcome learn to work together to work out the kinks along the way.”


December 16, 2021—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 9

Invasive green crab found in Nuu-chah-nulth waters Washington-based Lummi Nation declares a disaster after capturing 70,000 of the creatures in their sea pond By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter The Lummi Nation has declared a disaster after removing 70,000 invasive European green crabs from their sea pond in November. According to Seattle-based King News, the Lummi Nation cultivates shellfish and juvenile salmon in their 750-acre sea pond. The European green crab preys on young oysters, clams, and are known to dig down into the sand, uprooting eel grass, which is habitat for juvenile salmon. Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) states that the European green crab may pose a serious threat to estuarine and marine ecosystems, as they are voracious predators feeding on a variety of intertidal animals, including oysters, mussels, clams, and juvenile Dungeness crab. “This species changes the balance between species in the ecosystems and impacts their diversity,” said DFO in a Jan 29, 2021 statement. Ahousaht Fisheries Manager Luke Swan Jr. confirms that the invasive species has been found on Ahousaht beaches. “A lot of the clam diggers kill what they find. When we go on beaches to patrol, we take what we find in a bucket to kill them as they are invasive,” he told HaShilth-Sa. Swan went to say that he believes his nation is working with a biologist to come up with a plan. Uu-a-thluk Deputy Manager Jim Lane confirms that the European green crab is established on the west coast of Vancou-

Photo supplied by DFO

With its distinguishing five spines on both edges of the shell that run from the eyes to the large claws, the European green crab is considered an invasive species in North America, whose presence can alter ecosystems. ver Island. But control programs require long-term commitment and resources. He says some nations have supported a couple of proposals to external funders to support monitoring and control programs, but have yet to receive funding. “The WCVI area is too vast to implement control programs for all areas, so nations and others will need to identify priority areas for control as a first step,” Lane told Ha-Shilth-Sa. According to a DFO information map, there have been confirmed European

green crab sightings in Barkley Sound, Clayoquot Sound and Nootka Sound as of August 2021. The European green crab (Carcinus maenas) is native to several European coastal areas. It’s believed that the creature first arrived in North America around 1817, likely as adults carried in the holds of wooden ships. The first green crabs in Canadian waters were seen in 1951 in southwestern New Brunswick, and have since spread to other parts of Atlantic Canada, according to DFO. The European green crab has already invaded numerous coastal communities outside its native range, including South Africa, Brazil, Australia, and both coasts of North America. An able colonizer and efficient predator, this small shore crab has the potential to significantly alter any ecosystem it invades, according to the Washington Sea Grant website. According to DFO, the European Green Crab gained a foothold on the western shores of North America in 1989 at San Francisco, California. It has steadily advanced north, reaching British Columbia in 1998 or 1999. It continues to spread north, threatening shellfish, native crab, and eelgrass beds. The Nature Conservancy states they were found along southern Vancouver Island in 1999, and its range continues to expand along the coast. DFO has been conducting surveys and monitoring the invasion of the European

green crab since 2006. They say that larval supply is continually coming in from the south as freely floating pelagic larvae. Control efforts, they say, must consider this. The Washington Sea Grant says that the ballast water of ships is believed to be the mode of transportation for the spreading of many invasive species. “To prevent the invasion of the European green crab into Kachemak Bay, the ballast water of all incoming ships might be deoxygenized to kill the green crab larvae in it,” wrote the organization referencing a coastal part of Alaska. The Lummi Indian Business Council say they hope to raise awareness and draw on resources to combat the European green crab, before it overtakes their territory. The European green crab is not always green. It can be reddish orange to a dark, mottled green. Its distinguishing feature is the five spines on both edges of the shell that run from the eyes to the large claws. DFO advises that if you think you found a European green crab, send a photo, date of observation and location to AISPACIFIC@DFO-MPO.GC.CA Boaters are advised to clean plants, animals and mud from their boats and equipment, drain all water from vessels onto land and completely dry all parts of the boat and gear.


Page 10— Ha-Shilth-Sa— December 16, 2021

Totem tournament returns for its 66th year The longest-running high school basketball competition in B.C. is anticipated to draw a crowd of 500 people By Melissa Renwick Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Port Alberni, BC - For Jenelle JohnsonSabbas, basketball is like an escape. From the moment she steps onto the court, everything around her disappears. “It’s just me and the ball,” she said. The 17-year old has been around the game her whole life. Her mother played when she was in high school, as did her father. At home, “it’s just non-stop basketball,” she said. Perhaps then, it comes as no surprise that Johnson-Sabbas is helping to lead the Alberni District Secondary School (ADSS) Senior Girls basketball team into this year’s Totem tournament as the assistant captain. It’s the first year Johnson-Sabbas will be competing in the longest-running high school basketball tournament in the province, which is anticipated to draw a crowd of 500 people. While the Huu-ay-aht First Nations teenager said she feels “a little” nervous, she’s mostly just excited. “Being in the crowd while cheering for the other teams, and playing against the other teams while the crowd is cheering for you is a crazy thing,” she said. “It’s a really good thing to experience.” After a one-year hiatus due to COVID-19, the 66th annual Totem tournament is being held at ADSS and the Alberni Athletic Hall from January 6 to 8. Launched in 1955 as a boy’s tournament, Totem expanded to include female teams in 2011. Now, eight boys and eight girls’ teams from around the province annually compete for the title. Greg Freethy has been helping to organize the event as tournament director for the past 12 years. Throughout that time, Freethy said he’s travelled across the province to attend basketball tournaments, but has never found anything quite like Totem. “It’s hard to put into words,” he said. “There’s a lot of energy and enthusiasm not only from the student body, but the community.” Because the tournament has been around for over half a century, Freethy said older generations are able to relive their high

Photo by Melissa Renwick

Jenelle Johnson-Sabbas high-fives a player on the Alberni District Secondary School’s senior boys team after practice, in Port Alberni, on Dec. 9. school basketball memories. “I just love the sport,” she said. “[Toto encourage the players to become better “It’s intergenerational,” he said. “It feels tem] is an opportunity to have fun and do athletes, but to become better community like everyone has a connection to it.” what I love the most.” members. Growing up in Pachena Bay, Natalie Dennis Bill has been the assistant coach “We teach them about good sportsmanClappis said she always had an interest in for the Senior Girls team for the past five ship,” he said. “We talk about making basketball but that there wasn’t any opyears. Although he hasn’t played basketgood decisions in life and how the deciportunity to play competitively. ball since he was in junior high, the Tsesions they make now can affect them in That changed when she moved to Port shaht First Nation man said he has vivid the bigger picture. It’s really neat to see Alberni to attend junior high four years memories from that time in his life. them grow.” ago and was encouraged to play by her “I remember my experiences as an For many kids, Johnson-Sabbas said that sister, Johnson-Sabbas. athlete and remember how much fun it basketball is like an “escape route” from “She always told me she thought I’d was,” he said. “I just want to make sure their “troubled homes.” be really good at it,” described Clappis. that other students get the opportunity to Instead of turning to substances, like “And watching her play, it just seemed experience that.” alcohol, Johnson-Sabbas said “they have really fun – the environment seemed Basketball is widely loved among Nuua sport to go to.” amazing.” chah-nulth communities, many of which Basketball offers a space for her comNow, the 16-year-old will be competing are located in remote regions on Vancoumunity to “thrive,” she said. in Totem as part of the Senior Girls team ver Island. In part, Bill said, its popularity Johnson-Sabbas has dreams of continualongside her sister. is driven by its accessibility. ing on to play university basketball while “I’m pretty nervous,” she said. “But I’m “All you need is a ball and some space studying child and youth care next year. really excited.” and you can play anywhere,” he said. “Even if it’s as a first-year bench Hearing cheers from the crowd and “We have good facilities within our terplayer,” she said. “I just want to be there being able to support her teammates by ritories, so there’s lots of gyms that are to learn from it and grow from my expecheering them on is a “rush,” said Clapavailable where athletes can go play.” riences.” pis. As a coach, Bill said he’s not only trying

Phrase of the week: wiima+%aa%um%ah= qwiiyuyia> c’u%uuch= Pronounced ‘Wee mag alt a um alth, qwe yea you alth chew each hah’, it means One cannot do any activity’s when it is Winter Solstice. Supplied by ciisma.

Illustration by Ivy Cargill-Martin


December 16, 2021—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 11

New post office thrills Ahousaht residents

Pick up location moved from general store, which was only accessible by boat, to more convenient spot By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Ahousaht, BC – Residents of Ahousaht can now pick up their mail within the village thanks to the efforts of Postmaster Rebecca Martin, who successfully moved the Canada Post office from the Ahousaht General Store to a central location in the community. Prior to Dec. 13, people had to take a boat ride over to the nearby Ahousaht General store to pick up their mail twice a week. For a community of about 1,000, that’s a lot of boat rides. “People would sometimes get stuck at the camp waiting for a boat in the rain,” said Martin. Now, with the post office located in the basement of the Cha Chum Hiyup (Holistic Health) building near the school, residents can easily walk to there to pick up their mail. According to the Library Archives of Canada, Ahousaht’s post office opened May 1, 1902, with Thomas Stockham serving as postmaster. The postmaster job changed hands several times over the years, with Bert Clayton taking over in 1948. He performed postmaster duties at the Ahousaht General Store location until 1963 when Hugh Clarke and his father Ivan purchased the property and took over. For years Clarke would wait for the Tofino Air float plane to deliver mail, which he would sort into alphabetical boxes. People would come from Ahousaht by boat then wait at the counter for Clarke to pass them their mail. In later years, as Ahousaht’s population grew, numbered postal boxes were introduced. Martin says the only reason the post office was located at the Ahousaht General Store is because the Clarke family provided a space for it. When she took over the job from other Clarke family members, Martin heard from people that it could be difficult to find a boat ride to

Photo by Denise Titian

Rob and Nellie Lindsay are the proud new owners of Mr. Potato food truck at Clutesi Haven Marina.

Ahousaht couple launches food truck business in PA Rebecca Martin get their mail. About a year ago Martin began the process of having the post office moved to the main village. It was a matter of meeting with Ahousaht chief and council and finding a suitable location. “There were lots of proposed locations, but I think below Cha Chum Hiyup is best,” said Martin. She noted that it’s a central location with an alarm system and surveillance cameras. The mail is delivered by float plane every Tuesday and Thursday morning, then Martin sorts the mail into post office boxes. She opens the post office from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. “Everybody is really excited that this happened,” said Martin, noting people’s frustration with not being able to get to the general store post office. There are 149 post office boxes that have been transferred to the new post office from the general store. That is not enough to serve the community, said Martin, adding that there are up to six families using one box. She is working on getting more boxes for the community.

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

www.papa-appa.ca

While other operations have left for the season, Mr. Potato plans to stay open all winter at Clutesi Haven By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Port Alberni, BC – Most of the food trucks have packed up and gone home for the season, but there is one run by excited new owners that will continue to sell hot, fresh food at Clutesi Haven Marina over the winter. Rob and Nellie Lindsay are the proud new owners of Mr. Potato food truck. The previous owners operated the food truck on Highway 4 and featured the potato tornado on a stick. The Lindsay’s have moved the food truck to Clutesi Haven Marina to take advantage of traffic coming from the west coast and the more social atmosphere at the marina. They dropped some menu items like the potato tornado, but have expanded their offerings to better reflect their abilities in the kitchen. Their menu now includes cod fish and chips, popcorn shrimp, chicken wings, poutine, chicken strips, wraps, burgers, and fries. In addition, there is a kid-friendly menu featuring hot dogs and grilled cheese sandwiches. Rob has been in the food industry for more than 30 years, starting in Nanaimo. “We are proud to offer our own fish and chips which comes with cole slaw, lemon, tartar and our own hand-cut fries,” said the couple. “I’ve been cooking since I was 16,” he told Ha-Shilth-Sa.

Rob has worked at Mrs. Riches in Nanaimo as well as the casino and Alberni Brewing Co. in Port Alberni. He and his wife Nellie spent a few years in Ahousaht where they cooked for Neddie’s Grill food truck. Nellie is from the Marshall and Jacobson family of Ahousaht. Mr. Potato has been open for about a week at its new location. Despite the heavy rain on the weekend, they are keeping busy, thanks to the reputation they built in Ahousaht and to the locals who visit the marina. “We do S’wing’ing Saturdays where we offer 75-cent wings with a minimum order of 12 wings,” said Nellie. Wings come plain, salt and pepper, hot, honey garlic, teriyaki or barbeque flavors. “We will run all winter long, if that is possible,” said Nellie. That will depend on how cold the weather gets, but they plan to take time off for a Christmas break. For now, they are the only food truck still running at the marina, but they say the others will be back in March 2022, when the weather warms up. Mr. Potato can be found on Facebook where they offer specials and contests. You may call 250-918-8196 to make your order for quick and easy pick up. Mr. Potato is located at Clutesi Haven Marina at 5104 River Road in Port Alberni. They are open Wednesday to Sunday from noon to 7 p.m.


Page 12— Ha-Shilth-Sa— December 16, 2021

President’s message to Border patrol phone scam Nuu-chah-nulth-aht By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor

As we move into the winter solstice and as the holidays are upon us, I want to wish you all the best of the season, however you celebrate. Enjoy family and friends and take time to rest and relax. Remember all the good memories of loved ones who have left us as they are never far from our hearts. This fall weather has been more extreme, as was the summer, so take actions to protect yourself and your families from damages storms may bring. Also, keep protecting yourselves from COVID and all its variants. Make the effort to get all three vaccinations and help keep yourself and your family safe. I have had all three and am happy I did. As COVID has been with us for almost two years, there has been research that has proven it does not affect a person’s DNA or their ability to have children. More research is happening all the time and right now, trying to find out what the new variant Omicron does to a person’s health and how well the vaccines will protect us is being studied. First Nations Health Authority has a weekly newsletter you can find on their website with good information. Or call up the NTC nurses with your questions or call on the Doctor of the Day. I early December I virtually attended three days of the Assembly of First Nations. (AFN). There was record low attendance. Flooding and damages both on the west and east coast and COVID kept many leaders too busy to attend these meetings. Many topics were discussed and voted on. As the July AFN did not have time for motions, we had to vote on motions from July as well as December. It was a long three days. One of the more important motions dealt with the First Nation health law. Some treaty nations did not want a health law as they felt their treaties set out that right. No one wants health laws to affect their inherent or treaty rights and that was stated. Some delegates in B.C. were worried that such laws could affect the agreements that we have in the province to create the FNHA and the First Nations Health Committee. This agreement is more administrative and deals with the delivery of programs. After much discussion the motion was passed. The charter of the AFN was amended to create a 2SLGBTQQIA council as a principal organ. Support was also given to have an international decade through the United Nations for a Decade of Indigenous Languages. Nuu-chah-nulth through Ahousaht Chief Councillor Greg Louie led an omnibus package of environmental resolutions which included one we have been trying to get through since July on the establishment of Indigenous marine protected areas, as we do not have faith in the federal marine protected areas process. The Minister of Indigenous Services Canada Patty Hajdu addressed the assembly and we also had her in an early morning caucus of the B.C. chiefs. She seems to be open to finding new ways of working with First Nations. We did listen to her, the Prime Minister, Minister Mark Miller of CIRNA and David Lametti as well as the leaders of the three other political parties. I cannot recall that any of them said anything of significance or made any promises that should be repeated. All had questions asked of them specifically but on Zoom, it is not as impactful as being in person. Trudeau repeated how important Canada’s rela-

tionship with Indigenous peoples are and, when challenged, talked about some of the improvements he thinks they have made. Our directors met at the end of November on our regular monthly meeting. We had delegations in from the NTC health representative Les Doiron, our Emergency Coordinator Casey Larochelle and ACRD representatives on food sovereignty. I gave my report on all I have been doing and asking for direction on some issues, as did our Vice-President Mariah Charleson and our Executive Director Florence Wylie. We cover many topics in our directors meetings regarding what NTC is doing and the communities also report on their progress and challenges. As you recall, the cargo carrier Zim Kingston caught fire and dumped 109 containers into the ocean near Victoria. These containers carrying many different kinds of products drifted into Nuu-chahnulth territories and beyond. Many sank and no one knows the locations of these containers. Some washed up on beaches in Hesquiaht and Ehattis. I, with our fisheries team and emergency coordinator, met with the head of the Canadian Coast Guard. We talked about making our future relationships better with regard to communications and decision making. Our staff is working on a protocol with the NTC nations on NTC’s role as several of our nations have a protocol with the Coast Guard already. Our NTC nursing team does many interesting projects in health. As part of their work on diabetes, they are having a video developed. I was interviewed by the filming crew and look forward to the finished product. We have an established table with the B.C. government and NTC. This time we met to talk about our concerns in health and clean energy and the process B.C. is using to change forestry law and policy. The provincial senior negotiators we work with bring in staff from the relevant ministries and we have good discussions. We meet quarterly and First Nations representatives are open to attend. I attended a two-day First Nations Clean Energy conference. As many of our Nuu-chah-nulth nations are involved or wanting to be involved in clean energy, it is important to keep up with opportunities, funding, and policy/law changes that need to be made. It is great that Hesquiaht is now 90 per cent off diesel and getting clean energy from run of the river and solar. Once again, I send my best wishes to all of you for the upcoming holiday season and hoping you can enjoy good times with family and friends. -Cloy-e-iis Judith Sayers

Anacla, BC - Ben Clappis received an alarming phone call on the morning of Dec. 6 when he was contacted by someone who said they were from border control services. “They said they’ve got packages that are registered in my name, and it’s illicit drugs, as in cocaine, and then also marijuana,” recalled the Bamfield-area resident. “They’re saying that they found other bank accounts, I think in Toronto, an address in Surrey.” The person identifying as a border agent asked for the proper spelling of Clappis’s name several times, as well as his date of birth. Although he initially believed the caller’s authenticity, Clappis became suspicious when the questioning persisted. “They questioned me on credit cards. ‘Which bank do you deal with?’ ‘Which credit card do you have?’,” said Clappis. At one point he asked the caller is it was a scam, but this became clear when the call ended abruptly after Clappis told the

person he didn’t have any money to give up. Clappis then called the RCMP right away, who confirmed his suspicions of the telephone scam. The Canada Border Services Agency warns that people do pose as their agents using email, text messages and phone calls, all with the intention of accessing personal information and payments. “The CBSA never initiates a request for your SIN and credit card number by telephone, text or email,” said the federal agency on its website. “If you receive a telephone call or an email asking for this information, or requesting money, it is a scam.” In some cases, scammers are able to alter the telephone’s call display to identify as the CBSA or its employees. “[I]f you receive a call telling you that you must pay duty and taxes on a package that the CBSA is holding and threatens penalties, including jail time, beware that this is a scam,” said the agency. Those who believed they have received a scam are asked to contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501.

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Co-op grocery store coming to Gold River Owned and run by a local collective, the new business will be the first grocer in over five years for the town By Denise Titian Ha-Shith-Sa Reporter Gold River, BC – It’s been five years since Super Valu, Gold River’s only grocery store, closed for good, leaving the village of about 1,200 people nowhere local to purchase fresh meats and produce. But that is about to change as villagers have banded together to bring a Co-op grocery store to town in 2022. When the Super Valu closed Nov. 12, 2016, other small businesses began bringing in limited amounts of dry goods, eggs and dairy to fill the gaps, but locals still have to take the 90-kilometre, one hour drive to Campbell River for groceries. The distance is twice as far for those living in Tahsis. For Mowachaht/Muchalaht elder Ray Williams, 80, who lives in Yuquot, the commute, which includes a long boat ride, can take a full day. Locals are excited about the prospect of having their own grocery store again. Sheri Sue Johnston and her husband John moved to Gold River three years ago, when they wondered why the little town had everything but a grocery store. “The last grocery store was owned by a private company and when the logging industry crashed in the ‘90s the population here decreased, so they left,” said Sheri. But now there is an influx of families moving in thanks to new and/or expanded businesses in Gold River. The Johnston’s say that there is a company that produces steel products, like temporary bridge spans, along with the recent expansion of a seafood company. “It’s been stagnant here for so long and we want to regenerate this town to what it used to be,” said Sheri, adding that she doesn’t like to travel the windy, mountainous highway to Campbell River in the winter if she doesn’t have to. The Johnstons said they got together with like-minded people and began planning for food security. They decided to go with a Co-op grocery store because it is owned and directed by its members. But

that meant selling enough memberships to launch a store. After several meetings the group that pushed for the Co-op received incorporation papers in August 2021. Their next step was to sell 100 lifetime memberships at a one-time cost of $300 each. Johnston admits that there are some locals that cannot afford the fee but, she says, the door is always open to purchase a membership. There is no time-limit. What does a membership get you? “Discounts for food in the store and votes on how the store is run,” said Johnston. “This is not just about money but food security.” People get a say and it’s very democratic, she noted. Johnston launched a Facebook page for the Co-op, inviting people to buy memberships. On Nov. 30 residents were invited to the community hall, where they received updated information on the Coop and learned that they met their goal of selling 100 memberships. “The $30,000 raised from membership sales goes to collateral for the bank that will loan us the money to launch the Coop,” said Johnston. In addition, local businesses are offering to invest funds to make the store a success. The newly formed Co-op Board of Directors will sign the lease for a building on January, 1, 2022. The new store will not be in the former Super Valu building, but they’re starting out small in a plaza located on Nimpkish Avenue. “Our goal is to work with the people and other businesses, not to compete,” said Sheri. The new Co-op will not only serve the residents of Gold River, but also those in Tsaxana, Tahsis, Yuquot and other outlying communities. Hiring will soon begin for a general manager, cashiers, and other store staff. Sheri Johnston predicts that the new Gold River Co-op grocery store will officially open toward the end of January 2022.

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December 16, 2021—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 15

Photo by Eric Plummer

“Huu-ay-aht will decide how best to manage our lands and resources,” stated Tayii Ḥaw̓ił ƛiišin (Hereditary Chief Derek Peters) amid provincially set areas of old growth slated to be deferred from logging over the next years. Pictured is ƛiišin at the entrance to Huu-ay-aht territory with his daughter, Olivia.

Huu-ay-aht sets own forestry plan amid B.C. deferrals First Nation stresses forestry’s economic needs as it considers the B.C. government’s proposed old growth areas By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Anacla, BC - The Huu-ay-aht have tentatively agreed to protect the old growth recently identified by a provincial panel – with the exception of 645 hectares needed to continue forestry operations in the First Nation’s territory over the next two years. Announced Dec. 1, the statement represents a balance between the First Nation preserving forest for future generations, and the immediate need to keep employment and business interests going. “As a modern treaty nation, Huu-ay-aht will decide how best to manage our lands and resources guided by our three sacred principles of ʔiisaak (utmost respect), ʔuuʔałuk (taking care of), and hišuk ma c̕awak (everything is one),” stated Tayii Ḥaw̓ił ƛiišin (Hereditary Chief Derek Peters). “We expect broad recognition and respect for our old growth two-year deferral decisions and our long-term forest and resource stewardship decisions.” The announcement came one month after the province identified 2.6 million hectares of old growth deferrals across British Columbia, which would be in effect for two years. Contingent on discussions with the First Nations whose territories cover these old-growth areas slated for protection, Indigenous communities were given 30 days to respond to the province’s deferral notice. Maps provided by the provincial government identified 14,754 hectares of old growth in Huu-ay-aht territory to be conserved. While most of this area was already protected or not planned for harvest, four per cent of the forest identified for deferral was already in the Huu-ay-aht’s harvesting plans. Halting this cutting over the next two years would put the First Nation’s forestry operations in “serious jeopardy”, resulting in “significant economic harm” for Huu-ay-aht citizens, Bamfield and the Port Alberni region, said the First Nation.

“These deferrals would have an impact on small portions of many different harvest areas in a variety of ways, including making entire harvest areas uneconomic or inaccessible or making the deferred portion subject to forest health concerns such as windthrow,” read a statement from the Huu-ay-aht. “That four per cent landed on currently approved cutting permits or where submissions were going to be made for those cutting permits,” explained Chief Councillor Robert Dennis. “We will continue to uphold our rights to old-growth harvesting in the four per cent.” The Huu-ay-aht have claimed a growing stake in forestry operations within their Ḥahuułi in recent years, including the partial tenure ownership of Tree Farm Licence 44, which covers a large section of Crown land south of Port Alberni. Over 40 of its citizens work in forestry, and the First Nation aims to have another 50 employed in the industry in the coming years. Annually forestry accounts for 60-75 per cent of revenue generated by the Huu-ay-aht Group of Businesses. According to the provincially commissioned Old Growth Strategic Review released in 2020, B.C. is undergoing a “paradigm shift” in how trees over 250 years in age are managed. With guidance provided by the Old Growth Technical Advisory Panel that the province assembled in June, the areas recently slated for deferral represent a “shift to prioritize ecosystem health,” stated the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. But the Barkley Sound-based First Nation can’t afford to save everything the province has identified, cautioned Dennis. “If the province doesn’t agree to what we want, it will be totally devastating for the Huu-ay-aht First Nations,” he said. “People will lose their jobs, we will lose revenue and a lot of forestry activity will cease because we just can’t afford to log based on provincial policies that are coming up.”

The Ministry of Forests said it’s working with B.C.’s 204 First Nations over old growth deferrals in their territory. “The days of making unilateral decisions without First Nations rights and title holders are over. That means meaningfully consulting with rights and titleholders before making decisions – including deferrals,” stated the ministry in an email to Ha-Shilth-Sa. “True reconciliation means meaningful partnerships, listening to First Nations, and trusting their stewardship of their territories.” Concern over the future of B.C.’s coastal old growth has gained international attention in the last year, with continuing protests near Port Renfrew over the protection of the Fairy Creek watershed. Enforcement of a court injunction has so far resulted in over 1,100 arrests. But old growth in Huu-ay-aht territory is far from depleted, according to analysis done by the First Nation. Of the 153,773 hectares of productive forest identified within its Ḥahuułi, one third, or 51,240 hectares, is older than 250 years. “I know we have a substantial amount of old growth in our territory. It’s not disappearing,” said Dennis. “The vast

majority of the current old growth stands in our territory will be left standing.” In the past logging has taken a damaging toll on Huu-ay-aht Ḥahuułi, as 62 per cent of the Sarita River watershed was depleted by the 1990s, including nearly all of its floodplain. But as the First Nation works to take a leading role in forestry, the future will be different, said Dennis. “Sustainable forest management is our primary goal…our land, our forest, our decision,” he said. “Where proposed harvesting will affect our watershed, we will adjust it so that doesn’t happen. For example, we may increase the riparian zone. If it only calls for 50 metres, sometimes our chiefs have called for 200 metres.” A final decision on the province’s oldgrowth deferrals in Huu-ay-aht territory is expected in early 2022. “I repeat that this is our preliminary determination and Huu-ay-aht reserves the right to reduce, increase or otherwise modify the deferral area,” added Dennis. “As noted in our news release, Huu-ayaht is expecting to make a final determination by-mid January 2022.”


Page 16— Ha-Shilth-Sa— December 16, 2021


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