Ha-Shilth-Sa Newspaper February 11, 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. 03—February 11, 2021 haas^i>sa Sales Agreement No. 40047776

Endangerd or a language in hiding? Just 108 fluent speakers were identified in an 2018 survey, but interest is clearly emerging from the shadows By Melissa Renwick Local Journalism Initiative Reporter As Levi Martin reflects on the Nuu-chahnulth language, he rejects the notion that it is endangered. Despite being one of an estimated 10 remaining fluent speakers within his nation, the Tla-o-qui-aht elder describes it as a “language in hiding.” As a young boy, he absorbed his ancestral tongue during story time on his father’s lap. Hours would pass them by as they sat on the edge of the Pacific Ocean in the tiny village of Opitsaht. Distracted only by the faint hum of a fishing boat drifting by, or a sea lion coming up for air, Martin can still remember his father’s teachings with precision. Everything changed when he was taken away to Christy Residential School on Meares Island. Before he left, his father presented him with a bag of medicine that he kept tied around his neck as protection, “because he knew he wasn’t going to be there to look after me,” he said. Martin arrived at the school not knowing a word of English. On the very first day of school he was strapped across his hands by his supervisor, who called himself a “brother,” for speaking his language. It was the only time that Martin received a beating. It was also one of the last times the then seven-year-old spoke his language at the school. When Martin returned home for the summer, he showed off the English he learned to his parents with pride. His mother quickly pulled him aside and said that he was not to speak “a white man’s language,” because he “wasn’t a white man.” Although he continued to speak Nuuchah-nulth with his family during the summer months, the Catholic Church was eventually victorious in their efforts to shame Martin out of speaking his ancestral tongue. Once he began high school at St. Mary’s Indian Residential School in Mission - nearly 350 kilometers away from his family - he stopped speaking the Tla-oqui-aht dialect altogether. It’s a story that repeats itself throughout the homes of Nuu-chah-nulth families up and down the west coast. For many fluent speakers, their language was something they kept hidden within themselves to safeguard their loved ones. “Because the Catholic Church tried to beat it out of us, my own way of protecting my kids was not to teach them our

Photo by Melissa Renwick

Levi Martin wears a shawl that he dons while delivering ceremonies on big occasions. “When I have to speak in public, I have the ability to connect with the ancestors,” he said. “I will be their voice [to] channel their message,” on Jan. 16, 2021. language,” said Moses Martin, Tla-o-quiaht First Nation’s elected chief. “I never taught any of them.” As a result, only 108 fluent speakers remain within the 12 Nuu-chah-nulth nations surveyed in the 2018 Report on the Status of B.C. First Nations Languages. B.C. accounts for around 60 per cent of the First Nations languages in Canada. There are currently 34 Indigenous languages within the province. Of those, three per cent of the reported First Nations population are fluent. Almost two decades passed before Martin was reintroduced to his language at a Round Lake treatment centre for alcohol-

Inside this issue... More COVID numbers shared with Nations..............Page 3 Should there be a universal basic income?.................Page 5 Fourth Ave tailers offer shelter....................................Page 8 Intercity bus service faces closure............................Page 11 B.C. waters ‘a toilet bowl’ for cruise ships..............Page 15

ism when he was 36. While participating in a sweat lodge ceremony for the first time, he was stirred by messages from his ancestors. Sitting on the cool earth as heat from the fiery coals flushed through his body, everything his parents taught him in Nuu-chah-nulth as a child started rushing back. “One of the messages I got said I needed to go back home to work with the people,” Martin recounted. “To reconnect the people to the land, language and spiritual ceremonies.” After spending more than half his life suppressing his ancestral teachings, Martin was moved to reawaken their sleeping

language. He spent a year preparing for his move back home after leaving the treatment centre in 1981. In Opitsaht, Martin began working with elders in his community to create audio recordings of songs as a teaching tool. “Language is a connection that we have to our ancestors,” he said. “It comes from the ancestors and we’ve held on to it. Now, we’ve got to pass it on to our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.”

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


Page 2— Ha-Shilth-Sa—February 11 2021

On-reserve numbers dropping, strict measures remain Pandemic lockdowns continue in remote se•lements, but exceptions are being made for desperate situations By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter West Coast Vancouver Island – It has been more than a year since the first case of COVID-19 was identified in British Columbia. It started with a man living in the Vancouver Coastal Health Region who had just returned from Wuhan, China. The man has since recovered but in the following months more than 69,716 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in British Columbia. As of Feb. 5, 2021, a total of 1,246 British Columbians have died of COVID-19; at least three of those deaths were Nuuchah-nulth people. Leaders in the remote Nuu-chah-nulth communities responded early with strict rules designed to prevent outbreaks. Memories of another pandemic - and what it did to Indigenous populations on the west coast - are a stark reminder of what could happen. In 1862 a miner sailed into Victoria, looking to strike it rich in the gold rush. He was the first person infected with smallpox on Vancouver Island. More came from San Francisco that year. Indigenous people had no immunity to smallpox or flu that was brought in by the foreigners. Smallpox swept through coastal Indigenous communities like a wildfire, leaving death and destruction in its wake. In 1862, 17,000 Indigenous people, about half the population, died of smallpox on the west coast alone, according to University of Victoria research. Today, as people race to save Indigenous language and culture, there is great concern that an outbreak of COVID-19 could have devastating consequences for the few elderly fluent speakers left. They are the most vulnerable population when it comes to surviving COVID-19. Most Nuu-chah-nulth villages are remote. Some are only accessible by water and many are at the end of rough logging roads. Cynthia Blackstone says Kyuquot, the most northern Nuu-chah-nulth community, has no road access. “If there’s an emergency evacuation, it hast to be by helicopter and that is weather dependent,” said Blackstone, who is CAO of the Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/ Che:k’tles7et’h’ First Nations. If there’s time and proper conditions, patients can be sent out by ambulance. But that means a half-hour boat trip in the best conditions – it could take longer if it’s dark or stormy. The patient would be handed over to paramedics who would take the rough logging road from Fair Harbour to Zeballos and finally to Port McNeill – a three-hour road trip. Elmer Frank, Tla-o-qui-aht’s Emergency Operations Centre leader, notes that the Tofino General Hospital is not far from the Tla-o-qui-aht communities of Opitsaht on Meares Island as well as Esowista and Ty-histanis on Long Beach - but it’s not equipped to care for COVID-19 patients. “We are in a state of emergency and our priority is to keep our elders and vulnerable people safe,” said Frank, adding that it would be catastrophic if the virus made its way through their communities. “We had two cases in our community so we closed it down. Residents and essential workers are the only ones entering and leaving the community. Frank says that over the past year, 22 Tla-o-qui-aht members contracted the

Photo by Melissa Renwick

Lucy Paivio poses for a photo outside her home in Kyuquot, where strict measures remain to protect the remote community from coronavirus infection. But, like most communities, Kyuquot virus, both on and off reserve. Sadly, a has a few people that are vocal about Tla-o-qui-aht elder, one who lived in an their displeasure with the pandemic rules. urban centre, died after being infected. “Some get denied (permission to leave In Tla-o-qui-aht’s case emergency the village) but most find a way out,” patients would go to the West Coast said Blackstone, adding that leadership General Hospital in Port Alberni, about remains concerned over the partying. two hours away by road. But there is a “We have a problem with compliance; we major construction site at Kennedy Lake that is sometimes closed and always adds still have people having parties and we’d like to find a way to have better enforceto travel time. ment.” Because of the isolation and lack of Over the past year the nation has almedical resources, many nations have lowed members to move back home closed their communities to outsiders in an effort to minimize contact with potential COVID-19 cases. Most nations have instituted a check-in system that allows them to track the comings and goings of their residents for the purposes of contact tracing and to minimize unnecessary trips outside the villages. “We have a Pandemic Response Team and they review and respond to requests to leave the village,” said Blackstone. In addition, members that don’t ordinarily live in Kyuquot are not allowed to enter. “It’s essential travel only – medical, family emergencies and maybe shopping,” said Blackstone. Elmer Frank points out that groceries are expensive in the tourist destination of Tofino and for that reason, the larger Tlao-qui-aht families opt to go to a city for big grocery shopping trips. Designated household members are permitted to leave to get groceries and they check-in when they return home. In Spring 2020 when the pandemic started, Blackstone said Kyuquot residents were more agreeable to lockdown conditions. But as time goes on people grow weary of the social isolation. And with the vaccine rolling out, people may feel emboldened to expand their social bubbles. Provincial Health Officer Bonnie Henry warns that not enough people are vaccinated and it is not known if the inoculated can carry the virus to unvaccinated people. For those reasons, people are asked to remain vigilant and follow PHO orders.

under special circumstances. “Say someone had a break-up, got kicked out and has nowhere to go,” said Blackstone. If they have family to stay with in Kyuquot, they will be allowed home rather than be forced to live in the streets. “We have had not one positive case in our community so we feel confident that the measures we put in place are working,” said Blackstone. Frank reminds people to abide by the provincial health officer’s orders – no gathering, no visiting. “We’ve seen how this virus moves and spreads. For now, it’s residents only at TFN territories,” he added. “Hopefully, one day soon, if we all keep still and bring the numbers down, we can get back to normal.” On Feb. 2 the provincial government extended B.C.’s state of emergency. “The state of emergency is extended through the end of the day on Feb. 16, 2021, to allow staff to take the necessary actions to keep British Columbians safe and manage immediate concerns and COVID-19 outbreaks,” stated the province. On Feb. 4 Dr. Evan Adams, chief medical officer at the First Nations Health Authority, reported that there were 172 COVID-19 deaths on reserves in B.C. over the past year. The good news is that since the vaccine began rolling out in late December, case numbers are dropping. “Three hundred and ninety five First Nations communities out of 650 have had clusters,” Adams reported in a town hall information session. There were more than 100 on-reserve new cases reported Feb. 3, but Adams said the provincial government has been committed to vaccinate Indigenous adults, and that he hopes this approach stays in place. Nearly 150,000 vaccine doses were administered in B.C. as of Feb. 5, 2021.


February 11, 2021—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 3

More COVID-19 information provided to nations First Nations will now get six-day-old numbers on infections in the closest towns to their remote communities By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Victoria, BC - After more than seven months of pushing for the province to share more information with a coalition of First Nations, an agreement on disclosing COVID-19 case numbers has been reached. Today the deal was announced by the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council, Heiltsuk Nation and Tsilhqot’in National Government, which entails Provincial Health Officer Bonnie Henry disclosing the number of COVID-19 cases in communities that are near reserves or treaty settlement lands. For the 14 nations that belong to the NTC, these communities include Bamfield, Port Alberni, Ucluelet, Tofino, Campbell River, Zeballos, Gold River and Tahsis. Since early 2020 the Ministry of Health has given regular updates on the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, with tallies for each health region. But without knowing how many cases are in the towns Nuu-chah-nulth-aht visit, First Nations were being deprived of vital information, said NTC President Judith Sayers. “We have said from the beginning that as governments we need this information to make good decisions on preventing the spread of COVID into our communities and letting our members know when they may need to be extra careful going into towns to do their essential services,” she said. Now regular updates will be provided to the NTC nations on the number of cases in nearby towns. But the agreement also includes conditions on how much information will be shared. The First Nations are not to disclose the numbers to their members through any publication or announcements; rather councils can advise people which places have a higher risk of contracting the highly infectious respiratory virus. “We can get to lockdown if we need to

Photo supplied by Province of B.C.

On Feb. 9 a deal was announced by the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council, Heiltsuk Nation and Tsilhqot’in National Government, which entails Provincial Health Officer Bonnie Henry disclosing the number of COVID-19 cases in communities that are near reserves or treaty settlement lands. and just say, ‘Members, you’re not travelling anywhere, we’ll bring in food’,” said Sayers. The information provided to the nations does also not show “real time” cases, as numbers disclosed will be based on tests conducted at least six days before, specifies the agreement. Case numbers are to be made public if they reach 10 in a town with a population under 20,000 over a 28-day period. For larger cities like Campbell River, the threshold for public disclosure is five cases. “I recognise that Indigenous communities in British Columbia have been

NOTICE OF PROPOSED CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT To all persons who were Crown Wards in Ontario at any time from the period on or after January 1, 1966 until March 30, 2017 and suffered physical or sexual assault before or while a Crown Ward (“Class Members”) A proposed settlement has been reached with Ontario in this class action to provide compensation of up to $3,600 to Class Members who are former Crown Wards who suffered physical or sexual assault before or while a Crown Ward. This lawsuit is not about seeking money from your abusers for the abuse you suffered. The lawsuit is about the government’s alleged duty to consider and, where appropriate, apply for specific benefits on behalf of Crown Wards who were victims of crime, or to seek damages in civil actions on behalf of Crown Wards. The lawsuit, and this settlement, do not impact your ability to sue someone who abused you. If you opted out of the class action, the settlement will not impact you. There will be a court hearing on May 12, 2021 to decide whether the proposed settlement of the lawsuit should be approved. The hearing will take place virtually. There is no money available now. If the court approves the settlement and you are part of the lawsuit, you can then make a claim. To obtain further information, please visit: https://OntarioCrownWardClassAction.ca or contact Epiq Global at 1-877-739-8936, or by email at info@ontariocrownwardclassaction.ca. The lawyers acting for the class are Koskie Minsky LLP. You may also contact Koskie Minsky LLP at 1-866-778-7985, or by email at: OCWclassaction@kmlaw.ca. If you approve of the settlement, and want it to proceed so you can claim money, you do not need to take any steps. If you want to object to the settlement, you must send an objection to Epiq Global by April 1, 2021.

seriously and negatively impacted by historical epidemics,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry in a statement. “My office is sharing information in the spirit of reconciliation, to realise self-governance and selfdetermination, and to ensure an effective public health response to COVID-19.” The agreement will provide the coalition of First Nations with more information to protect their members from infection, but it falls short from what was requested since June. The identity of an infected member of one of the nations will not be disclosed, nor will the locations of where a confirmed case travelled to or where the exposure occurred. Language in the agreement notes that the nations assess COVID-19 risk differently than the provincial health officer, and that the new arrangement is not necessarily satisfactory. “[T]hey view negotiating this agreement to have been a long and frustrating process,” reads the document. “The nation is of the view that systemic change must occur in B.C.’s healthcare system, including the nation’s view that new structures and protocols that support sufficient and timely information sharing with Indig-

enous governments during emergencies should be established”. “It does give us more information, it allows us to do some risk management,” said Sayers. “When people are out there doing their thing - essential services and that sort of thing - they need to know what they’re walking into, to know to be extra careful.” Since the start of the pandemic the province has tightly controlled information on the specific location of confirmed cases. Previous responses to the coalition’s request have cited the importance of protecting privacy requirements. In December an application to the B.C. Information and Privacy Commissioner was declined, as “sufficient information is already available,” according to the commissioner. Minister of Health Adrian Dix previously defended the need to keep COVID-19 data close to his chest, suggesting that more public disclosure could discourage others from reporting their illness for fear of discrimination. In January members of the Cowichan Tribes encountered this from local businesses after the First Nation reported an outbreak on it’s reserve.


Page 4— Ha-Shilth-Sa—February 11 2021 Ha-Shilth-Sa newspaper is published by the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council for distribution to the members of the NTC-member First Nations, as well as other interested groups and individuals. Information and original work contained in this newspaper is protected by copyright and may not be reproduced without written permission from: Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council P.O. Box 1383, Port Alberni, B.C. V9Y 7M2. Telephone: (250) 724-5757 Fax: (250) 723-0463 Web page: www.hashilthsa.com facebook: Hashilthsa Ntc

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

Audio / Video Technician Mike Watts (Ext. 238) (250) 724-5757 Fax: (250) 723-0463 mike.watts@nuuchahnulth.org Editorial Assistant Holly Stocking (Ext. 302) (250) 724-5757 Fax: (250) 723-0463 holly.stocking@nuuchahnulth.org

DEADLINE: Please note that the deadline for submissions for our next issue is February 19, 2021 After that date, material submitted and judged appropriate cannot be guaranteed placement but, if material is still relevant, will be included in the following issue. In an ideal world, submissions would be typed rather than hand-written. Articles can be sent by e-mail to holly.stocking@nuuchahnulth.org (Windows PC). Submitted pictures must include a brief description of subject(s) and a return address. Pictures with no return address will remain on file. Allow two - four weeks for return. Photocopied or faxed photographs cannot be accepted.

LETTERS and KLECOS Ha-Shilth-Sa will include letters received from its readers. Letters MUST be signed by the writer and have the writer’s full name, address and phone number on them. Names can be withheld by request. Anonymous submissions will not be accepted. We reserve the right to edit submitted material for clarity, brevity, grammar and good taste. We will definitely not publish letters dealing with tribal or personal disputes or issues that are critical of Nuu-chah-nulth individuals or groups. All opinions expressed in letters to the editor are purely those of the writer and will not necessarily coincide with the views or policies of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council or its member First Nations. Ha-Shilth-Sa includes paid advertising, but this does not imply Ha-Shilth-Sa or Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council recommends or endorses the content of the ads.

Shingles vaccine now covers elders over 60 Painful skin rash occurs when the chicken pox virus is reactivated many years later By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter British Columbia – The First Nations Health Authority has announced that it is now providing a free shingle vaccine to elders over the age of 60. Previously, the FNHA covered the vaccine for only those between the ages of 65 – 69. “Effective February 1, 2021, FNHA’s Shingrix® shingles vaccine coverage is available at no cost to First Nations elders who are 65 years old and older. This change is intended to make the vaccine accessible to a larger segment of the elder population. Coverage was previously limited to those aged 65 to 69,” says a FNHA statement on Jan. 29. According to information from the federal government, shingles is the name commonly used for herpes zoster, an infection that shows up as a painful skin rash with blisters. The rash usually appears on one side of the body, often in a strip. People get shingles when the virus that causes chicken pox, varicella zoster, is reactivated in their body. The varicella zoster virus does not leave the body, even after a person has recovered from chicken pox. It can flare up again, causing shingles, often many years after a person has had chicken pox. The virus tends to reactivate when a person’s immune system is weakened because of another health problem. Ahousaht elders Wally and Donna Samuel have both had shingles in recent years. They describe the rash as really painful. “I felt it in my side, I thought I had a broken or cracked rib,” said Wally. His initial symptom was pain. It was not until after he went to the doctor that he developed the classic shingles rash on one side of his lower chest. The pain was so great that he couldn’t bear the feel of fabric rubbing on his rash and had to cut pieces of his shirt off. Donna came down with shingles on her shoulder nearly 20 year ago. She said it lasted about four to six months. Some people experience pain around the rash site for a month or more – pain that is severe enough to interfere with daily activities. The occurrence and severity of shingles and its complications increase

Photo submitted by Wally Samuel

Wally Samuel had a case of shingles that was so painful he had to cut a hole in his shirt due to the fabric irritating his skin. with age. So, the news that The Shingrix® vaccine, which costs $200 per shot according the Fraser Health Authority, is welcome for elders who usually live on a fixed income. It takes two shots of the vaccine to become fully effective. The Shingrix vaccine can be prescribed by a physician or nurse practitioner. The Health Benefits program also covers injection fees when the pharmacist administers Shingrix® to clients. Information for pharmacists about Shingrix® claims is available on the Pacific Blue Cross website. While the Samuels were too late to receive free coverage for the vaccine before they had a flare-up, they will be relieved to know that they are both eligible to

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receive the vaccine even many years later. Shingrix vaccine can prevent recurrence of shingles. “I don’t even want to think about getting it again,” said Wally, who says he still has some lingering pain. According to FNHA, requests for vaccine coverage for those under 65 years of age will be considered if submitted with supporting medical documentation from a primary care provider. Clients over the age of 69 who have obtained the Shingrix® vaccine after September 1, 2020 can request reimbursement through the Health Benefits’ Client Reimbursement process. If you have any questions, please call Health Benefits at 1-855-550-5454.

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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February 11, 2021—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 5

Expert panel advises against universal basic income Reforms are urgently needed during the pandemic, Green Party says, as more study into First Nations poverty continues By Mike Youds Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor An independent panel examining inequality and poverty in B.C. will continue to work with First Nations after handing a report to government that recommends against the idea of a universal basic income. The expert panel on basic income was set up three years ago as part of a confidence and supply agreement with the B.C. Green Party during the 2017-2020 NDP minority government. In early February they weighed in, recommending against a universal income pilot project and in favour of broad reforms to the existing social support system. Universal basic income implies guaranteed income for all, although the idea is largely untested. The concept has gained renewed interest in the face of widespread unemployment during the COVID-19 pandemic. Spain, for example, introduced minimum basic income last spring. “The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us how important a strong social safety net is to protect people and the economy,” said Nicholas Simons, minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, after receiving the panel findings. “The panel has made 65 recommendations on how to improve our existing support systems.” Professors David Green, Lindsay Tedds and Jonathan Rhys Kesselman worked with a team of researchers for more than two years, examining not only basic income but also overarching considerations

Photo by Mike Youds

Input from participants at a workshop on poverty reduction strategies held at Port Alberni Friendship Centre in 2018. of inequality and poverty. Along with the inclusive consideration as we recognized research, workshops and consultations with planning our work,” the report says. on poverty reduction strategies were held “The pandemic crisis prevented the colaround the province, including in Port laborative process that had begun from Alberni. being completed and we have recomIn its report, Covering All the Basics: mended that it continue as a separate Reforms for a More Just Society, the process.” panel explains it struggled with how best Through a partnership between the to address questions of basic income and First Nations Leadership Council and systemic reforms in an Indigenous conB.C.’s Ministry of Social Development text. Poverty rates are 60 per cent higher and Poverty Reduction, a research study among people who identify as aboriginal is looking at income and social support and 40 per cent higher for visible miissues unique to Indigenous populations. norities overall. Base line data to inform Prof. Anke Kessler of SFU leads the policy was limited. research project, the main goal of which “This reinforces the need for Indigenous is to gather data on Indigenous incomes. people as a group to be given careful and The research was delayed by the pandemic, however. “Given the limitations we faced due to the pandemic, we recommend postponing any discussions or decisions until this aspect of the research can be fully completed through a process that includes respectful and inclusive consultation with Indigenous peoples,” the report notes. No date was mentioned for completing this part of the panel’s work. “There is ongoing research with the First Nations Leadership Council and we hope to release something later this year,” a ministry spokeswoman told Ha-ShilthSa. Mariah Charleson, vice president of This online film program will bring together Hesquiaht Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council, said the Nation youth to learn film making skills and produce panel’s inequality and poverty research is short films about community Elders, with a focus on on their radar but there is a general sense Hesquiaht language learning. that enough reports have been done. h=ah=uupac~akukqin is Hesquiaht for “our teachings informed by knowledge “As First Nations, we’ve been studholders.” The youth will receive h=ah=uupa “informed teachings” from Elders, ied enough, we have enough reports,” and will become h=ah=uupc~uu “well-taught.” Charleson said, citing reports on the UN Declaration on Rights of Indigenous In this FREE program, you will: People, the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and • Learn how to plan, shoot, and edit a short film • Receive a FREE software license for Adobe Premiere Rush • Receive a $100 honourarium • Get creative, make new friends, and have fun

We are looking for young people who: • Are excited to learn filmmaking! • Are between the ages 15-30 and from the Hesquiaht Nation • Are available for ALL 6 program sessions listed below • Have access to a smartphone or video camera • Have access to a computer,can run Zoom and Adobe Premiere Rush.

The program will run: March 22 March 24 March 26 March 29 March 31 April 2

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Girls, and most recently, on systemic racism in the province’s health care. What’s lacking is political accountability and a failure on the part of governments to follow through with implementing recommendations, she said. “We know their value and we want to see action on these documents,” Charleson said. Despite its rejection of universal basic income, the panel’s initial findings were welcomed last week by Green Party MLAs, who urged swift adoption of the recommendations to help people cope with worsening conditions. Basic income for people with disabilities, youth aging out of care and women fleeing violence, along with a permanent supplement for emergency income assistance — are needed more urgently now due to the pandemic, said Green Leader Sonia Furstenau. “There is no time to waste,” she said. “Many British Columbians were feeling left behind and left out of the benefits of our economy well before the pandemic hit last year. COVID-19 has worsened inequality in our society and left far more people facing serious economic insecurity.” Other panel recommendations include: Reforming temporary assistance Providing extended health-care benefits to all low-income individuals. Providing housing support to all lowincome renters. Improving support for low-income families with children. Enhancing financial and support services for people with disabilities, young adults and people fleeing violence. While basic income would have some of the beneficial effects that proponents claim, there are more direct ways to achieve the same effects, the panel concluded. “We believe that it would be more effective in general to address these issues directly, and that a combination of cash transfers and basic services reformed to better align with our justice-based objective would be a better approach,” the report states. In order to provide tax revenue to pay for reforms, the panel recommends elimination of the provincial homeowners grant, which would yield about $800 million annually. A pledge made in the 2017 confidence and supply agreement between the NDP minority government and the Green Party demanded a multi-faceted poverty reduction strategy addressing causes of homelessness and including a review of basic income.


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Language projects are ‘imperative’ to reconciliation Continued from page 1. Sonya Bird is an associate professor of linguistics at the University of Victoria whose research focuses on pronunciation in the context of Indigenous language revitalization. While B.C. is incredibly rich in terms of linguistic diversity, she said we are at a “critical time” to create audio recordings and written documents. “Many of the languages are spoken as first languages by a very small handful of elders and those elders are passing on,” she said. “If language revitalization efforts don’t happen now, within the next decade or two, we’ll have lost a lot of those elders and knowledge keepers.” In 2003, FirstVoices was developed by the First People’s Cultural Council (FPCC) to support Indigenous people engage in language archiving, teaching and cultural revitalization. The web-based suite of tools allows nations to create their own language sites by uploading words, phrases, songs and stories as audio and video files. Now, 32 out of the 34 First Nation languages in B.C. can be found on the platform. “It’s simply imperative to reconciliation in our country that we provide resources and opportunities for [First Nations communities] to have self-determined language projects,”

Photos by Melissa Renwick

Helen Dick grew up in a fluent speaking home and continues to speak her language. “I used to hear my mom tell us, ‘just be who you are. Don’t let people try to change who you are or what you are. You be you.’ So that’s how I’ve tried to live my life,” said the Tseshaht elder.

led and directed by the communities themselves. Examples of self-determined language programs can be found throughout many Nuu-chah-nulth nations. As part of the Hesquiaht Language Program, a handwritten dictionary by Reverend Auguste Joseph Brabrant in 1911 was transcribed into the nuučaan̓uł phonetic alphabet by the late-Larry Paul, Angela Galligos and Layla Rorick. Rorick, who coordinates Hesquiaht’s language program, said that Brabrant wrote the dictionary so someone could replace him as a missionary in Hesquiaht. “He asked different elders in the community to confirm meanings and didn’t credit anybody –that continues today,” she said. “We understand that we know what we know because we are in relationship and connection with everybody in our community.” Rorick has been meeting with nine of the nation’s 12 fluent elders every week since 2014. In June they began teaching an online language program that has attracted nearly 100 students, ranging from Vancouver Island to California and beyond. “The language is coming back from the effort of the group,” said Rorick. “Everyone remembers dif-

Moses Martin, the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation elected chief, is one of the remaining fluent speakers within his nation. The 79-year-old said he is helping to generate audio recordings “for future generations.” “There’s so much to our language that it changes your whole way of thinking,” he said. “It was dying but it’s not too late. It’s something that we can bring back.”. said Kyra Fortier, language technology programs coordinator for the First Peoples’ Cultural Council. Ehattesaht, Nuchatlaht, Hesquiaht, Tseshaht, Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k’tles7et’h’ and Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations have all created language sites for their own respective dialects on FirstVoices. FPCC supports data sovereignty by ensuring the communities themselves maintain the ownership and management of the resources they place on their sites. Traditionally an oral language, the shift

to document language through audio and video recordings has only recently been more widely adopted. “Historically, linguistics in B.C. was originally started by pioneers and missionaries,” said Fortier. “Their purpose in taking down linguistic information was to translate religious texts, ultimately, as a tool of colonization.” While documentation by settlers has formed the foundation of a lot of language revitalization resources, Bird said it’s important that the work is now being

Benson Nookemis did not know a word of English when he was sent to the Alberni Indian Residential School. His mother hardly knew any English so he was raised speaking the Huu-ay-aht dialect, which he continues to speak today. The 85-year-old said he can count the remaining fluent speakers within his community on one hand. “It makes me feel sad,” he said. “We’re losing our language. Every time there’s an elder that passes away up-and-down the coast, it’s another person that we’ve lost that knew how to speak their own language.”


February 11, 2021—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 7 ferent things and [collectively], they put a more together a more complete picture of the use of our language. Nobody is bringing the language back themselves as an individual – it’s the whole group. All of our fluent speakers are bringing it back for people.” Pat Charleson is one of the nine elders involved with the Hesquiaht Language Program. The 90-year-old was hesitant to begin with, feeling apprehensive that younger generations wouldn’t be interested in learning. “But, by golly, I feel good about it now,” he said. “There’s so many wanting to learn … us elders, we don’t know when we’re going. It could be tomorrow, or next week.” When he is no longer able to, Charleson said he hopes Rorick will carry the language forward. “It would be a great legacy for her if she carries it on,” he said. “You lose a language, you lose a culture.” For Rorick, speaking her ancestral tongue is an act of defiance. “We’re responding to the damage of colonialism by speaking our language in our homes,” she said. “We’re also creating a whole different environment for our young ones.” For years, Levi Martin’s granddaughter Gisele tried learning her language before getting discouraged and giving up. It wasn’t until 2010 that she earnestly started investing her time and energy into studying. Levi Martin’s language class was what propelled her forward, she said.

Pat Charleson is one of the nine elders who participates in the Hesquiaht Language Program. As a boy, the 90-year-old remembers listening to his father and the elders speaking their language in circle. “I understood all the words they were saying,” he said. “I really never lost it – it was all in my head.” The Hesquiaht elder met late-wife, Mamie, at Christy Residential School. They went on to have 15 children together. Now, Charleson has 53 grandchildren, 106 great-grandchildren and 40 great-great-grandchildren. “I’ve got a while tribe,” he laughed. Every week, Charleson meets with other elders from his nation to teach an online language program that has drawn in around 100 students from across North America.

Since Levi moved back to the west coast in ’81, he’s used language as a bridge to help his community connect with their ancestors. “It gives me a better understanding of our teachings,” he said. “It’s a connection to my ancestors and a connection to the future.” Through a mentor-apprentice program, Gisele spent 900 hours in language immersion with Martin over three years which “catapulted” her learning. “Nuu-chah-nulth is an ecologically based language,” she said. “Our language has come from this place – from the plants, the animals, the sound of the land...it feels like a cosmic spiritual language in the ways that concepts, ideas and sentences are put together. It’s entirely different and beautiful.” When Levi started teaching languages classes in 2000, there would only be five people that would last the 12-week program. Now, the 75-year-old is seeing anywhere from 15 to 20 in a class. As younger generations tussle with how to make the guttural sounds that form some of the Nuuchah-nulth words, the language is morphing. “Like all cultures, languages change over time,” said Levi. Rorick recognizes the shift but said it only fuels her desire to carry it forward. “If we continue our efforts, we will definitely get closer to [where] we want to go,” she said. “Even if it takes more than our lifetime, it’s worthwhile.”

Frances Tate was born and raised near Nitinaht Lake. The 77-year-old was raised in a fluent household but lost much of her language while attending residential school. In her late-50’s, she began taking language classes through the Ditidaht Community School. She now identifies as semi-fluent. Along with other elders, she helps children with the pronunciation of words and phrases at the school. “Some of our elders say that [our language] is very close to being extinct – it’s very close to being gone,” said the Ditidaht elder. “But we have young people that are teaching now, and they’re very strong. [I’m] encouraged by them.”

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Barney Williams is one of the remaining fluent speakers within the Tla-o-quiaht First Nation. He attributes the decline of fluent speakers to the residential schools’ “shame-based way of teaching.” “We carried that trauma through life,” he said. “We were always afraid that if we talked, we’d be punished, or that somebody would laugh [at us],” he said.


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Fourth Avenue trailers offer shelter for homeless with few op Front line workers say most of the city’s unsheltered are men, many of whom deal with addictions, mental health challenges and By Karly Blats Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Port Alberni, BC - Driving by Port Alberni’s Wintergreen Apartments on Fourth Avenue on any given day, you’ll most likely catch a glimpse of people coming and going from the two-storey building, stashing their shopping carts by the edge of the fence or dashing back and forth from the Overdose Prevention Site just up the road. The apartment building, sometimes referred to as “the ghetto”, has become a focus of discussion for Port Alberni city council this winter after city bylaw services and emergency personnel have deemed many aspects of the building unsafe and in violation of several municipal bylaws. Neighbours have also complained that the property can be an eyesore. It often has debris scattered along the building, garbage bins overflowing, mattresses and other refuse left laying around the lot next to the property that is now home to about half a dozen trailers, and counting. In November of last year, property owner Randy Brown was given a Remedial Action Order by the City of Port Alberni and required to complete an extensive list of upgrades, including removing all trailers from the property. Brown told city council he had no plans to follow the city’s orders and won’t be removing the trailers, claiming those living there would have no where else to go. The city gave Brown a 14-day extension to complete the required orders on Jan. 11. A staff report presented at a regular council meeting on Feb. 8 states that since the 14-day extension, Brown has completed some of the required orders, including repairing broken windows, but there’s still many uncompleted requirements. The report states that extension cords run from the trailers in the lot to the building causing tripping hazards and three of the trailers have the septic system connected to the property’s sewer system without inspection or permits. In the report, staff have suggested that in absence of work being done on the part of the property owner to address the remedial action requirements, council hold an incamera meeting to discuss the next steps.

Photots by Karly Blats

Rob Lind has been living in a trailer on Randy Brown’s property for three months and says without it he’d be living on the streets. lessness and hopes to continue his activism in the future. He’s currently struggling with his own addiction after recently falling into a state of depression, but he hopes to continue working on himself and eventually move back to Vancouver. “If you had a map of the worst area in Port Alberni this would be the centre,” Lind said outside the Wintergreen Apartments. “But there’s a camaraderie you don’t see anywhere else…everyone works together here.”

“There are people here who haven’t had a home for four or five years that [Brown] gave homes to,” added Lind. “He’s doing something in Port Alberni that nobody else does.” For Robert Thomas from Tseshaht First Nation, having a trailer would help him out greatly. He’s been experiencing homelessness for the past two and a half years, sleeping at his girlfriend’s place when he can. Thomas said he’s waiting for a trailer from Brown.

“I’ve been looking for (housing) for a long time, two and a half years,” Thomas said. “They don’t want to give me nothing. I’ve looked everywhere.” Robert said a lack of finances is a major factor in not finding stable housing. He broke his back eight years ago and hasn’t been able to work since. He’s also currently trying to get on methadone to help with his addiction problem. Most homeless are single men

‘It saved my life’ But what about the residents who live there? For many, the trailers are the only option of getting out of the cold and having a roof over their head. Bear Lind has been living in a trailer on Brown’s lot for the past three months after he was kicked out of the Port Alberni Shelter (Our Home on Eighth). “I lived [at the shelter] for about four or five months. I had an apartment up top. I was one of the regulars up top. They have no appeal process (after being kicked out) so that was the biggest issue,” Lind said, who is from the Kwagu’ł First Nation in Port Hardy. Lind says he’s aware some people focus on the rumours or hearsay they hear about the property owner and the people who live in the trailers, but for him without this option he’d probably be living on the streets. “Basically it saved my life,” he said. “Nobody comes and looks and sees what they’re doing and sees how it’s benefiting people. I’d absolutely be on the street if it wasn’t for the trailer. This is the first time I’ve had my own place where I haven’t had any hassle.” Throughout his life, Lind has been an advocate for people experiencing home-

Robert Thomas from Tseshaht First Nation is currently experiencing homelessness and is hoping to secure a trailer at Randy Brown’s property on Fourth Avenue soon.


February 11, 2021—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 9

with few options

al health challenges and past trauma A 2018 BC Housing homeless count shows 147 people were experiencing homelessness in Port Alberni, 68 per cent of which were male. Homelessness doesn’t discriminate against a certain gender, but some men believe it’s easier for women to find shelter because there’s more female-specific resources available. Rhonda Ursel, housing coordinator with KUU-US, said it can be easier for women to access housing because in many cases woman have children with them and understandably are offered more support. “I also think that woman are more likely than men to reach out for help,” Ursel said. Ursel, who compiles a weekly housing registry, said on average around two new individuals are added to the registry per week at the moment. “Right now I have 27 on my registry, 20 women and seven men,” she said. “But when I’ve done outreach, I would say the majority of the homeless that I have seen are single males.” Ursel said there is a definite need for more low-income and supportive housing in Port Alberni. “We desperately, desperately need lowbarrier housing with supports in place. There are so few rentals on the market right now and so many people looking. Rents are very high and landlords are requesting references, credit checks, etc. It’s making it impossible to house our homeless,” Ursel said. “And we need more low-income housing as well. I speak with a lot of families in need of that. They have told me that the wait list is one to two years or longer for low-income housing.” Katrina Kiefer, executive director with the Canadian Mental Heath Association in Port Alberni, said in her experience, men are usually easier to house than women as they often do not have children with them. “Single mothers are generally more difficult to house as landlords, managers and property owners may not want children in their rentals,” Kiefer said in an emailed response. Kiefer added that there continues to be ingrained racism in the community towards all First Nations peoples, “as too many times, First Nations men and women are turned away solely for being First Nations.” John Douglas is the community engagement and special project coordinator with the Port Alberni Shelter Society. He’s heard from homeless women who are in relationships that they’re often more comfortable living with their partner on the street than seeking a bed at the shelter, but that single women will be more inclined to seek housing at PASS. “Housing is difficult and complex...for everyone...composed of many elements such as addictions, mental health and past traumas. Gender is another item on that long list,” Douglas said. “All of the facilities PASS currently operates are available to all of those in need of housing, disrespective of gender.” Douglas said PASS hopes to eventually open a Therapeutic Recovery Community exclusively for women (there are none in Canada), which will eventually embrace all genders and families. “We have some pending funding applications in and are awaiting decisions, have obtained letters of support from local and regional representatives and are getting private donations towards our economic plans for purchasing and moving ahead,” he said.

Photo by Karly Blats

The Bread of Life and KUU-US have partnered to provide extended hours at the warming centre on Third Avenue. Hours of operation are now Sunday to Wednesday 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Thursday to Saturday 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Pop-up warming centre aims to fill gaps for Port Alberni’s homeless community By Karly Blats Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Port Alberni, BC - Members of the Alberni Valley’s Grassroots Homelessness Coalition (GHC), now a registered society, are getting closer to providing a more permanent mobile warming centre for those experiencing homelessness. Lisa George, co-founder of the GHC, said the group is currently working on getting a permit through the City of Port Alberni for a License to Occupy City Lands. In late December the group was granted permission from the city to operate a pop-up warming centre for a three-day trial run. Both George and the city said the trial run was successful and plans to continue the service. “[The city] gave us the go ahead that they would give us a seven-day-a-week permit and we could actually be mobile or pop up on multiple different sites that the city owns,” George said. “The city has suggested a bunch of community grants and supplied us a long list of sites to go and look at. We’re in the permitting process right now. Things are moving forward.” During the trial run, the GHC set up tents on a Fourth Avenue lot next to the Port Alberni Friendship Centre. They had a propane fire pit for heat and offered people warm clothing items and food, all while following COVID restrictions. George said one location being looked at for the pop-up warming centre is an area behind Walmart known to have people camping. George said the hours of operation for the pop-up warming centre are still being planned, but they would most likely work around what the Bread of Life and KUUUS are already offering, with the warming centre on Third Avenue in the old Cornerstones thrift store. She said the GHC is looking into providing shelter on days that the Bread of Life isn’t open late. Currently the soup kitchen is open until 10 p.m. Thursday to Saturday. “We’re planning on how to make it something that is consistent and fills gaps that other services aren’t doing,” said George. “If those services are there…that frees us up to see what the next need is. We could put more hours into outreach or harm reductions supplies.”

George said the GHC would like to see their pop-up warming centre operate until at least spring, but that the society hopes to continue offering services to those in need throughout the summer months as well. “Homelessness doesn’t go away,” George said. Tim Pley, City of Port Alberni CAO, confirmed the city is working with the Grassroots Homelessness Coalition to enable their vision of providing pop-up warming centre services on city-owned lands. “The city has provided GHC with a list and details regarding a number of potential sites,” Pley said. “GHC is reviewing those locations.” Pley said serving a community’s homeless and under-housed citizens is a complex issue that requires multiple agencies and service delivery models to ensure that the needs of all are met and that “the pop-up model appears to include an aspect of outreach work, serving people where they are and where they are comfortable, which appears to be an important aspect.” The GHC is always looking for more volunteers to help with outreach and the popup warming centre. George suggests those interested in volunteering should reach out through their Facebook page. George added that the city recently provided the society with $1,500 in compensation for property ruined or damaged after campers were evicted from a makeshift camp at Roger Creek Park. In November of last year, homeless individuals set up a camp in a gazebo at the city-owned park after being evicted from camping on a lot next to the Port Alberni Shelter (Our Home on Eighth). After bylaw issued verbal warnings for the campers to pack their stuff and leave the park, city officials went to the gazebo to evict anyone still at the site. The city ended up removing all belongings remaining at the gazebo when individuals fled. “They offered us $1,500 for lost damages and we gave them a counter bill that came up over $3,000 once we went back and looked over all the photos and stuff that was not salvageable. They said they would only provide $1,500,” George said. “I’m going to take the $1,500 and we can at least give some funds back to our campers who lost every stitch of personal items.”

Pley confirmed the city compensated the GHC $1,500. For the Bread of Life and KUU-US, working together to offer those in need a safe place to warm up and have something to eat has been an important aspect in serving the community’s homeless population. The two groups formed a working relationship back in June 2020 to collaborate on distributing COVID-safe hygiene and sanitization kits as well as hot meals from the Salvation Army food truck. “It made sense to continue that partnership and combine services once again for the Warming Centre,” said KUU-US executive director Angel Graitson. “In the opening of the Warming Centre, they only had the capacity to remain open a few days a week and short hours of service. KUU-US has provided four outreach workers, which enabled the Warming Centre to extend their hours and days of service.” The Warming Centre hours are currently Sunday to Wednesday 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Thursday to Saturday 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. “The average amount of people served daily is between 15 to 25 people and it continues to grow as it becomes more well-known,” Graitson said. “These patrons have no alternative but to live on the streets and live in unsafe conditions due to the lack of housing in Port Alberni. KUU-US will always be willing to do what we can to set a precedence that shows collaboration with other organizations is part of the solution.” Graitson said KUU-US has donated a TV, a small fridge and distributes snacks in addition to the supplies and services already provided by the Bread of Life and Salvation Army. “This service is needed to provide a safe and comfortable place for people to be warm, fed and have compassionate interaction with people who are genuine and want to provide comfort to those in need,” Graitson said. Originally, the Warming Centre was to be operational for the colder months of January and February, but Graitson said there will be discussion about the longevity of the centre and whether or not to remain open after the cold months are over.


Page 10— Ha-Shilth-Sa—February 11 2021

Photo by Mariam Barry

Chuutsqa sits in front of a video camera during the filming of the Son of Raven Learning Series in Port Alberni in June.

Filmmaking program introduces Hesquiaht speakers Funded by Telus STORYHIVE, the program is designed to connect youth to the ‘heartbeat of their culture’ By Melissa Renwick Local Journalism Initiative Reporter In a growing effort to revitalize Indigenous languages, Hesquiaht First Nation is encouraging their youth to apply to a free filmmaking program fused with language learning. Colaborating with Reel Youth, a nonprofit organization that delivers community development programming to youth across Canada, each participant will be paired with a fluent speaking elder to collaborate on a video with. Together, they will create a storyline that reveals the elder’s personality while incorporating Hesquiaht language throughout at least 50 per cent of the video. Over the course of six online classes

scheduled in March and April, students will be guided through how to take their project from concept to realization. Geared towards first-time filmmakers, participants aged 15 to 30 will be mentored remotely using whatever gear they have at their disposal. Layla Rorick, who coordinates the nation’s language program, said the filmmaking training is an opportunity for youth to honour their fluent relatives by preserving their “legacy.” All of Hesquiaht’s remaining fluent speakers are over the age of 76. Now is a critical time for the nation’s youth to learn from their elders, she said. Mariam Barry, Reel Youth program coordinator, said there is incredible power in how a film can transcend through digital mediums and the internet.

“Young people are the leaders of tomorrow,” she said. “Engaging them with filmmaking and getting them excited about sharing their stories on-screen is something we want to support.” Funded by Telus STORYHIVE, the program is designed to connect youth to the “heartbeat of their culture” and “amplify their voices,” said Barry. The program was born from a previous collaboration between Rorick, who prefers to be called by her Hesquiaht name chuutsqa, Reel Youth and the Kitikmeot Heritage Society, which is a leader for culture and heritage in Nunavut. Over one week in June, they recorded a series of videos written by chuutsqa titled, Son of Raven Learning Series. Through the story of the Nuu-chahnulth archetype, Son of Raven, the series

was aimed at exploring the principles of mentor-apprentice language immersion and providing language learning techniques. “He’s a humorous character,” said chuutsqa. “He always puts his full effort into whatever he’s trying to do, but he’s never successful at getting exactly what he wants.” Following the “bumbling” trickster in his effort to learn another language, chuutsqa said the videos generate “lots of laughter.” The upcoming program, ḥaḥuupač̓akukqin – meaning “our teachings informed by knowledge holders” – will enable youth to build on this language archive, documenting a piece of their own history, said chuutsqa.

Phrase of the week: Nuc^@harks%a> n’aa%atah=%a>q’us %u%u%kwth=a%ii%a> Pronounced kuch harks alth nah ah thrh alth coos ooh ooh qwa tarh ee alth, it means ‘I am proud to hear our language being spoken’. Supplied by ciisma.

Illustration by Ivy Cargill-Martin


February 11, 2021—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 11

First Nations rely on ER due to lack of primary care Turpel-Lafond’s report stresses the need for be•er access to general practitioners for preventative treatment By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Victoria, BC - A follow up report on discrimination in B.C.’s health care system is stressing the need to improve access to primary treatment, as too many Indigenous people are forced to seek help in the emergency department due to little access to a family doctor. Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond delivered the report today, after being commissioned by the province to investigate allegations of racism against Indigenous peoples in health care. Her 240-page follow up report is filled with data collected from nearly 9,000 people who helped to inform In Plain Sight: Addressing Indigenous -Specific Racism and Discrimination in B.C. Health Care, which was released on Nov. 30. The Feb. 4 follow up includes numbers on the high volume of Indigenous patients who rely on emergency services for conditions that often should be treated earlier during routine check ups, said Turpel-Lafond. “First Nations, on average, are 75 per cent more likely to visit the emergency than anyone else - and the reason for that is that they are not attached to primary care,” said the former judge and provincial child advocate during a Feb. 4 press conference. “Their needs get more acute because they don’t get primary care. And when they go into emergency, it may not

Province of B.C. video still

On Feb. 4 Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond pointed to the failure of B.C.’s primary care system to adequately serve Indigenous patients, thereby causing a reliance on hospital emergency departments to treat a variety of conditions. be the place to do the referral, to do the communication, to provide the culturallysafe care, because at times emergency departments themselves are in a state of crisis.” Preventative treatment is being missed, noted Turpel-Lafond, citing pap testing for cervical cancer as an example. Although Indigenous women have a cervical cancer rate that is 1.6 times higher than the rest of the B.C. population, testing for this disease is significantly lower among aboriginal females. “The health care system in B.C. is a much different experience if you’re an

Indigenous person than if you’re a nonIndigenous person,” said Turpel-Lafond. “Instead of having routine health care, we don’t have the continuum; we have the emergency department.” The lack of access to a general or nurse practitioner is particularly concerning for Indigenous people over 65, according to the follow up report. “These elders are not attached to primary care at a rate 89 per cent higher than non-First Nations people in British Columbia – and that, in fact, is quite a staggering finding of this data report,” commented Turpel-Lafond. “Poor access

to primary care may be driving the lower screening rates for treatable cancers.” The investigation that informs In Plain Sight began in June, after allegations surfaced that a discriminatory game was being played in at least one B.C. emergency department at the expense of Indigenous patients. Reports claimed that a “Price is Right” competition was being played by emergency room staff, guessing the blood-alcohol content of aboriginal patients as they entered the hospital. Although Turpel-Lafond did not find evidence of this particular game, in her initial report she found that racism is an “undeniable” problem in B.C. health care, stressing the need for “fundamental changes to beliefs, behaviours and systems” that guide the current services. In Plain Sight has 24 recommendations, including the establishment of an office of the Indigenous health representative and advocate, as well as improvements in the complaint processes facilities use. During the Feb. 4 press conference Health Minister Adrian Dix spoke of the current overreliance on the ER, a dynamic that has no doubt challenged the province as health authorities struggle to contain COVID-19. “The fact that so many people around our province - Indigenous people - encounter the health care system through the emergency room and not through primary care is a challenge to our health care system,” he said.

VI’s intercity bus service at risk of permanent closure By Sam Laskaris Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Vancouver Island, BC – Countless members of First Nation communities on Vancouver Island’s west coast will have to start thinking of new ways to get around. Perhaps permanently. That’s because the Tofino Bus, which provides services to 29 communities as well as 21 First Nations or organizations on Vancouver Island, will not be resuming service as previously scheduled this Friday, Feb. 12. The Tofino Bus is currently Vancouver Island’s only intercity bus service. Earlier this month officials with The Wilson’s Group of Companies, which operates the Tofino Bus, announced it would not start up its service again on Feb. 12. The announcement also stated that without a significant subsidy from the provincial government, there is the risk the Wilson’s Transportation service could be suspended forever. Samantha Wilson, the brand manager for The Wilson’s Group of Companies, said a proposal was sent to Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Rob Fleming seeking a $3 million subsidy for the next year in order for the Tofino Bus to continue operating. “Looking at our numbers, we can’t start this up (without the subsidy),” Wilson said. Back in 2019, the Tofino bus provided a total of 82,500 trips. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic and various travel restrictions, however, since March of this past year revenues for the Vancouver Island routes have been down 95 per cent. “We had to cancel more runs than we were running,” Wilson said. Bus service was shut down entirely from mid-March until July last year. B.C.

health regulations shut down the service again in December. A resumption of service in January was pushed back until this Friday. Company officials believe that they would not be able to even cover their costs of running any sort of service with the current rate of passengers. On Monday, Feb. 8 Wilson said discussions with provincial officials have been ongoing in recent days. “They have said we are working on something but we are not sure what that will be,” she said. Wilson said if the provincial government does indeed provide The Wilson’s Group of Companies with the $3 million subsidy it is requesting, it would not take long to start providing bus service once again. “We could be up and running pretty quickly,” she said. Wilson added if the provincial government does provide less than the $3 million subsidy request, then bus service could potentially still resume. But if that is the case, Wilson said some number crunching would have to be done and that might result in fewer buses on the road or possibly no buses on certain days of the week. “It would be dependent on the details of the funding,” Wilson said. “We know what we asked for and what we need.” Officials from Wilson’s Transportation have been in contact with various First Nations leaders, as well as local and provincial government representatives, to keep them informed of the seriousness and potential loss of bus service to their communities. “It could have a very negative effect on our community members,” said Ahousaht First Nation’s Chief Councillor Greg Louie. But Louie believes those from his First Nation would find ways to cope if there

Submitted photo

Samantha Wilson, the brand manager of The Wilson’s Group of Companies, said a $3 million government subsidy is required to resume bus service to Vancouver Island’s west coast communities. was no bus service from his community. what kind of infrastructure they have.” Michael Lee, the B.C. Liberal TransporHe believes Ahousaht members would rely on family members or friends to help tation and Infrastructure Critic, is among get them the necessities required, either those who have urged Fleming to take quick action. by offering a ride or picking up goods themselves. “If the minister does not act soon, thou“We are a forward-thinking communisands of people who live in these communities will be left without vital transty,” Louie said. “We’d survive somehow and I’m sure we’d find ways to be able to portation routes, becoming increasingly get to the city or cities somehow.” isolated,” Lee wrote in a letter calling on But not all First Nations, including some Fleming to respond to the potential crisis. Lee added that the issue is not only a remote Nuu-chah-nulth communities, would be able to find easy alternatives. concern for the present. “Communities need access to these Louie is unwilling to speculate what effects a cancelled bus service would have transportation networks now, and they need assurances that these companies will elsewhere. “I can’t speak for other First Nations be able to operate these services in the and I wouldn’t want to speak for other years ahead,” he said. First Nations,” he said. “I don’t know


Page 12— Ha-Shilth-Sa—February 11 2021 Non-Insured Health Benefits - NIHB Coverage – Travelling Out Side Of Country General Principles 1.

Prior approval is required.

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

President’s message to Nuu-chah-nulth-aht Greetings Everyone. I hope everyone is keeping healthy. I have to acknowledge lives lost in the past month and send my heartfelt sympathies. I have been enjoying the reconciliation sessions that we are having on Zoom. It is good to see people on the computer and listen to them on what they think the Government of Canada should be doing to make things right for Nuu-chah-nulth as a whole. There have been sessions on language and culture, wildlife, housing, MMIW, RCMP, women and on fisheries. On Feb. 16th, 1-4 p.m., we are doing fisheries again as we did not have too many people online and would like to have input from our fisherman and leadership. In all our sessions we have agreed that the term reconciliation is not ours and we are asking people for another term in our language. This week on Feb. 9th 6-7:30 p.m. we asked youth to join us. Check the Ha-Shilth-Sa Facebook page for the Zoom links of all our sessions. Hope to see you online. The federal government tabled Bill C-15, which is a law that makes the federal government to bring all their laws in line with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). I have had a couple phone calls with the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada and his staff to discuss how they can make the law better. We need to make sure the law is one that will help First Nations across Canada and not be a source of frustration with the government not living up to the law. The proposed law calls for an action plan to deal with systemic discrimination. While racism can be included in discrimination, we think that racism should be named as it is the root of the negative things that impact our lives. We had a call with the chiefs in B.C. on this proposed bill and someone brought up the TRC and how that talks about cultural genocide. One of my concerns is that we need an independent body that has teeth and can make the federal government and First Nations work together to achieve what is in UNDRIP, like free, prior and informed consent, or providing compensation, reparation and restitution and self-determination. The B.C. law, Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (DRIPA), does not establish an independent body and 15 months later, we have not seen a change in government to implement UNDRIP. The chiefs across Canada are meeting next week to talk about Bill C-15 and it will be a challenge as a fair number of First Nations are opposed to this proposed law. We had our monthly directors meeting and reviewed the current business of the NTC. We discussed how our First Nations can take advantage of a new B.C. funding initiative called Clean Coast, Clean Waters. You can apply to clean up ocean waters in your territory and through the funding create jobs and provide services. The directors also discussed the potential shut down of the bus service on Vancouver Island that services many of our communities. Due to COVID, and not many people riding buses, the Tofino Bus has not been making money. They need the B.C. government to help them financially to keep them going. Leaders expressed their concerns for the safety of our women having to hitchhike. It is an essential service for our members to get to appointments. We provided a letter of

support to the bus service in their ask for financial help from B.C. so that the buses can continue. We finally came to an agreement with the Provincial Health Officer and they will now share how many COVID cases there are in communities close to ours like Tofino, Ucluelet, Port Alberni, Gold River, Zeballos, Campbell River, Nanaimo, Port McNeil and Bamfield. There are some conditions on getting that information. We are not able to share with our members and public how many cases there are until there are a certain threshold number of cases out there. We also cannot solely attribute these numbers to the PHO and B.C. What is important is that we have the numbers of COVID cases around us and your nation can advise you on the level of risk about going into different towns for essential travel. I have been talking to our communities about signing this agreement. We have now had vaccinations in 11 of the 14 nations. Hupacasath, Tseshaht and Ucluelet have not had their vaccinations. With the shortage of vaccinations that is happening across Canada, we are not sure how soon this will happen. Remote First Nations were the priority and they have now received their vaccinations. We are anxiously awaiting news of the second vaccinations so vaccination can be the most effective. At the NTC, we are really encouraging all Nuu-chah-nulth who are comfortable with it to get the vaccine. We all have to remember that because some have had the vaccinations, that many have not. We need to continue to take the usual precautions. Keep yourself and family well protected, you are very important to the Nuu-chah-nulth. I got involved in a press conference asking the federal government to change their laws and regulations to stop cruise ships from dumping harmful sewage, ammonia, heavy metals and fecal coliforms into our ocean waters. Alaska, California and Washington have laws that prevent cruise ship dumping in their waters and so these ships wait until they get to B.C. waters to dump their wastes. We need to ensure that our ocean ecosystems are protected so our salmon and other sea resources remain plentiful for our own uses. Vina Robinson has resigned from her job as Teechuktl manager effective February 19, 2021. She has been with us many years and has accomplished much over the years. Vina has been an amazing leader who achieved much for Nuu-chahnulth-aht. We thank her, hold her up, wish her the best in her future and let her know she will be dearly missed. - Kekinusuqs, Judith Sayers


February 11, 2021—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 13

------- Employment Opportunities ------Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations Job Opportuntiy Tribal Administrator Position Summary: Reporting to Chief and Council, the Tribal Administrator oversees and directs the operations of the organization to meet the Nation’s vision, mission, and values. This position is responsible for the ongoing success of the Nation’s operations, providing sound leadership and direction to its employees and establishing and maintaining long-term relationships with external business partners.

Deadline for receipt of application is: February 15, 2021 by 4:30pm Submit your resume and cover letter to: jobs@tla-o-qui-aht.org or Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation P.O. Box 18 Tofino BC, V0R 2Z0

Tseshaht First Nation Employment Opportunity Executive Director The Tseshaht First Nation Administration Office is now accepting applications for the position of Executive Director. This is a full-time position at 75 hours bi-weekly (37.5 hours per week).

JOB PURPOSE This position oversees the general management of Administrations programs, services, and financial operations by conducting ongoing reviews of results and by effective delegation to reporting staff, including but not limited to: Office Services, Public Works, Housing, Social Development and Health, Community Services, Membership, Daycare, Lands and Resources, Culture and Language, Fisheries and Beach keepers. This position provides leadership to Community and Project Committees and works in concert with Council to ensure due processes are in place for aligning objectives with operating budgets. This position is accountable to support Council with the handling of public, media and government offices communications and as the designated senior management authority for the operation and compliance of all associated regulatory requirements and within the guidelines of Human resource and Departmental policies and procedures. As delegated by Council, this position acts within assigned discretionary and non-discretionary authorities, thereby ensuring that Council retains required jurisdiction of the operational and financial governance of the Nation. This position is instrumental to ensuring the achievement of Council’s goals for the fair, transparent and responsible governance of a sustainable Community and Nation.

JOB SKILLS, EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE • A post secondary degree is required with preference given to educational accreditation and other training in the fields of Business Administration, First Nation Administration, Human Resources, Community Services, Social Development, Land Use Planning and Public Works • Additional certificates/ accreditations relevant to the management of First Nation of Municipal Office organizations, such as Strategic Planning, Project Management, Policy Development and Public Relations • Proven 5 to 7 years of senior management work experiences, preferably acquired in community government or public work sectors • Sound knowledge of First Nations community and membership environments and the statutory framework that governs how First Nations organizations operate • A comprehensive awareness and understanding of HR programs and policies; ability to manage, direct and motivate staff and to lead by example • Well-developed written and verbal communication skills; good analytical skills and adept with comprehending complex political situations, legal compliance matters, budgets and financial results • A demonstrated ability to respectfully build relationships and develop rapport

HOW TO APPLY Submit a cover letter, resume and three (3) current references to: Tseshaht First Nation, Attention: Executive Assistant, Virginia Shrimpton by mail: 5091 Tsuma-as Drive, Port Alberni BC, V9Y 8X9; or by email: vshrimpton@tseshaht.com

CLOSING DATE: February 23, 2021 Tseshaht First Nation is an equal opportunity employer and encourages/ expects that its membership and other First Nation members will apply with job qualification. Where possible, employment opportunities and contracted services shall be offered to Tseshaht members where qualified and eligible.

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations Job Opportuntiy Home & Community Care Worker Position Summary:

Provide home care support to the Nation’s members who require additional help to maintain a healthy standard of living given their medical state, on an on-call basis. This posting is on-going Submit your resume and cover letter to: jobs@tla-o-qui-aht.org or Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation P.O. Box 18 Tofino BC, V0R 2Z0


Page 14— Ha-Shilth-Sa—February 11 2021

Report warns of climate change ‘blind spot’ Province fails to account for long-term logging impacts on communties, environmental group says in report By Mike Youds Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor A call for urgent reforms in logging practices to protect B.C. communities from climate change impacts reflects what First Nations have known all along, says NTC President Judith Sayers. “There is so much at stake,” Sayers said after speaking out on the issue, publicly backing a Sierra Club report released Feb. 1. “I’m hoping people wake up. The forest fires two summers ago in British Columbia were just devastating.” Intact Forests, Safe Communities, commissioned by Sierra Club B.C. and written by forest consultant Peter Wood, points to a glaring omission from B.C.’s Climate Risk Assessment: a failure to account for logging impacts. Wood contends industrial logging can have a major effect on frequency and severity of climate-related risks such as floods, landslides and wildfire. “If the B.C. government is serious about reducing the risk to human health and safety posed by climate change, current forest practices will have to be fundamentally changed,” he concludes. Wood endorses recommendations of the province’s Old Growth Strategic Review, completed six months ago: “It is now a matter of implementing them.” According to the review, much of B.C.’s old growth strategy was either disregarded or never implemented after it was developed 30 years ago. “Had that strategy been fully implemented, we would likely not be facing the challenges around old growth to the extent we are today,” wrote foresters Al Gorley and Garry Merkel. The review points to “a recognition that society is undergoing a paradigm shift in its relationship with the environment, and the way we manage our old forests needs to adapt accordingly.” B.C. Forestry Alliance, a group of forest industry workers and supporters on the Island, sees it differently. The alliance formed two years ago in Campbell River out of frustration during a lengthy labour dispute. “There has to be a balance and what they’re asking for is not a balance,” said Carl Sweet, alliance spokesman. He maintains that old growth is already well protected and thinks the province has already gone too far in shrinking the harvestable land base: “When does it stop?” During the 2020 election, Premier John Horgan committed to full implementation of the old growth review recommendations. As an initial step, the province deferred old growth logging for two years in nine areas totalling 350,000 hectares, including Clayoquot Sound. Scientists, foresters and environmental groups maintain the actual amount of old forest protected amounts to a small fraction of that. Meanwhile, second-growth logging continues in those areas. Echoing the strategic review, the Sierra Club report calls on the province to engage Indigenous decisionmakers in a government-to-government process and to revise all forest legislation in accordance with the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (DRIPA). The declaration obligates governments to respect and support Indigenous management of forests within their territories. “First Nations have long been lobbying the B.C. government to recognize their right to manage the forest in their territories and to protect their sacred

Photo by Mike Youds

A felled western red cedar, about 700 years old, at Nahmint Lake. Logging in the area is being used as an example of unsustainable forestry practices. sites, old-growth ecosystems that support having it enter the atmosphere as carbon concentrate harvesting on smaller and medicinal plants, and habitat for wildlife dioxide, he said. smaller areas. They can harvest larger and birds,” Sayers said. “Through manThe BCFA has led a letter and texting areas less frequently.” agement of their forests, they would keep campaign directed at Horgan, opposing Sayers believes there is a need to keep healthy forests with high environmental any reduction of the harvestable land pushing government on the most pressstandards.” base while also calling for “substantive ing issues, such as forest management The NDP government has continued the dialogue with First Nations working reform, even as COVID-19 continues to same approach to forest practices as its towards forestry-based stability for their dominate public attention. ImplementaLiberal predecessors, Sayers said, citing communities.” tion of DRIPA, adopted by the province as an example the logging of old growth Sweet concedes changes in forest pracover a year ago, is another example, a in the Nahmint Valley. She sees need tices are needed, but believes the industry source of continued frustration. for a more ecologically and culturally is keeping pace with climate change. “What changes have we seen? The considered approach, with greater protec“They want to ensure they don’t premier says they’re waiting for an action tion of watersheds for salmon habitat and overcut,” he said. “They only harvest plan. I’m waiting for serious discussions drinking water. one-third of one percent a year. As we in each of the sectors on how we change “As Nuu-chah-nulth people we have reduce the harvestable land base, we will this,” she said. watched forestry activities in our communities and we’ve been very dissatisfied,” UCHUCKLESAHT TRIBE she said. Forest-managed “salmon parks” — proPEOPLES ASSEMBLY posed by Mowachaht/Muchalaht, Ehattesaht/Chinehkint and Nuchatlaht First Nations — offer an alternative approach, she said. Date: Saturday March 6, 2021 “Climate change is very real and we are Location: ZOOM (send your email to get invite to living with the impacts of it now and one of the ways to deal with it, to try to miticarla.halvorsen@uchucklesaht.ca) gate it, is through forest management,” Time: Meeting 9:00am-12:00pm Sayers said. “With drier summers, there is less water or no water in some streams. What: Peoples Assembly Re: Budget We’ve got to protect what we have now.” Facilitator: Sco! Coulson The proportion of B.C. forests that Who: Uchucklesaht Tribe Citizens & Enrollees remain intact and the diversity of forest types are key factors in mitigating impacts of a warming climate, yet time is running out, according to the Sierra Club report. “There are, however, limits to mitigating climate risks, and unless greenhouse GATEWAY TO THE PACIFIC RIM gas emissions (GHGs) are not reduced to net zero globally in the near future, it will be nearly impossible to prevent catastrophic impacts to forests,” Wood writes. “Around the world, scientists are already witnessing widespread climate-induced forest die-off, creating a dangerous carbon cycle feedback, both by releasing large amounts of stored carbon and by reducing the extent of the future forest carbon sink.” Sweet defends the industry and the jobs it brings to rural communities, First Nations among them. He doesn’t agree with Hours of operation - 7:00 am - 10:30 pm the science behind the report, either. Phone: 724-3944 “I think forestry workers are playing a role in carbon sequestration,” Sweet said. E-mail: claudine@tseshahtmarket.ca Converting forests into wood products is Find us on Facebook a means of locking up carbon rather than

TSESHAHT MARKET


February 11, 2021—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 15

B.C. waters ‘a toilet bowl’ for cruise ships, groups say Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council lends voice to demand for stricter regulation, as industry on hold until 2022 By Mike Youds Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Lax regulations compared to neighbouring U.S. states have made Canada’s West Coast a convenient dumping ground for cruise ship pollution, environmentalists believe. While the cruise ship industry disputes the claim and defends its standards, Stand.earth and West Coast Environmental Law (WCEL) are pressing the federal government to step up with marine discharge regulations comparable to those in California, Washington and Alaska. The two groups — with vocal support from Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council — say their investigation determined that cruise ship companies take advantage of Canada’s relatively weak regulation of cruise ship pollution. Canada adopted new regulations a decade ago, but the report says they still fall short of standards in other West Coast jurisdictions north and south, a difference that gives cruise ships an incentive to discharge waste in Canadian waters. The report points to a boom in cruise ship traffic in recent years and estimates they discharge annually more than 31 billion litres of sewage, waste or grey water and, with newer ships, wash water from scrubbed exhaust emissions as they travel through B.C. waters. “The shocking findings of this report are that Canada has the weakest regulations along the West Coast, and as a result, ships are using our coast as a toilet bowl,” said Anna Barford of Stand.earth. “Cruise ships are literally holding onto pollution as they traverse California, Washington or Alaska, and then dumping it off into our coast, even in the Great Bear Rainforest.” Changes should be made now, with cruise ships tied up during a pandemic shutdown, so that Canada can be ready when the industry resumes operations, Barford added. “Nuu-chah-nulth nations are calling on the federal government to change the laws that regulate the cruise ship industry dumping their harmful waste into our ocean waters,” said NTC President Judith Sayers, who took part in a joint news

Have You Moved? If you should be getting a copy of the Ha-Shilth-Sa paper delivered to your home and you are not, please contact Holly Stocking at 250-724-5757 or email holly.stocking@ nuuchahnulth.org

Photos by Mike Youds

Tseshaht family paddlers greet Holland America cruise ship Maasdam after it dropped anchor in Alberni harbour in 2019 (above). Maasdam passengers who ventured ashore in Port Alberni two season ago received a warm welcome. conference via Zoom on Wednesday, Feb. 3. “Our oceans are our bread basket where we get all the sea resources we rely on for food, and the waters must be protected from harmful substances.” A day after Stand.earth’s news conference, the federal government extended its COVID-19 cruise ship ban for more than a year, until Feb. 28, 2022. Cruise lines usually drive a $2.7 billion industry in B.C., employing an estimated 17,000 workers. The sector is considered a major contributor to the Canadian economy as well. Industry representatives listened closely to the news conference. “It’s difficult to put it in context but we do feel their findings make a lot of assumptions that are not rooted in the data,” said Donna Spalding of Cruise Lines International Association, which represents the major lines. Cruise ships are subject to robust 0.10 percent. To meet this, they can use “If Canada is truly committed to protectthird-party oversight and inspections by scrubbers, including closed, hybrid or governments to ensure they meet interna- ing the health of its coastlines, it must open-loop systems. update its current regulations immeditional standards, Spalding said. CompaIMO rules require continuous monitorately before the cruise industry attempts nies have invested $23.5 billion into new ing of a vessel’s wash water discharges technology and the use of cleaner fuels to to pick up where it left off in 2019.” for pH as a measure of acidity, polycyclic Chamber of Shipping President Robreduce carbon emissions, she noted. aromatic hydrocarbons as a measure of ert Lewis-Manning was also listening “We’re not insensitive to how people oil components, and turbidity as a meaWednesday. The chamber serves as a feel about the environment or how they sure of suspended solids. public voice for the marine industry. want to protect it,” Spalding said. “In “Usually, vessels that are going to Lewis-Manning said it was not the first fact, cruise lines rely on being sensitive Alaska are equipped with advanced time Stand.earth has made this case. He to it.” wastewater treatment plants, which have feels their data is weak or misleading, The Stand.earth/WCEL report is also though he agrees there is a need for better the ability to treat sewage and result in efcritical of an innovation in the industry fluent discharges that are of a high quality to reduce air pollution. More cruise ships monitoring and data. and purity that exceed regulatory requireDo cruise ships take advantage of lax are being built with exhaust gas cleanments,” Liu noted in an email response. regulations here? ing systems that enable continued use She added the IMO is working with “I don’t think so, and it’s not as black of high-sulfur heavy fuel oil rather than Transport Canada on measures to address and white as they may see it,” Lewismore costly but cleaner marine gas oil. greenhouse gas emissions and to meet Manning said of the Stand.earth asserScrubbers use sea water to remove sulfur the goals of its initial strategy, including tion. “The reality is the regulations are oxides and the wash water is discharged very different. Sewage discharge rules are phasing out emissions from the cruise into the ocean. The report recommends ship sector. prohibiting them. It also calls for designa- more stringent in Canada.” The industry has 26 LNG-powered ships Transport Canada, which bears respontion of no-discharge zones in sensitive in production but Barford feels LNG sibility for regulating marine discharges, areas similar to the protection of Puget offers no environmental gains as another said it is reviewing the report’s recomSound in Washington state. greenhouse gas. mendations before commenting in detail. “The pandemic has given us a unique In 2019, Holland America’s Maasdam Sau Sau Liu, a Transport Canada opportunity to pause and reflect on the spokeswoman, said Canada follows Inter- visited Port Alberni three times. The significant risks that the cruise ship company was testing the waters for a national Maritime Organization guideindustry poses to marine ecosystems on fresh approach to cruise itineraries, ofthe Pacific coast,” added Michael Bisson- lines updated in 2012. Vessels operating fering more active onshore activities in in Canadian waters can only burn fuel nette, staff lawyer with WCEL, a longwith a maximum sulphur content of up to hopes of attracting younger passengers. time advocate on environmental matters.


Page 16— Ha-Shilth-Sa—February 11 2021

For more information or questions please call the nurses hotline at 811 or a NTC Nurse at 250-724-5757 or 250-725-3367


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