INTERESTING NEWS Canada’s Oldest First Nations Newspaper - Serving Nuu-chah-nulth-aht since 1974 Canadian Publications Mail Product Vol. 47 - No. 03—February 13, 2020 haas^i>sa Sales Agreement No. 40047776
Forestry strike holds $1 millon Hereditary of Nuchatlaht’s timber hostage chiefs take Red cedar salvaged from the First Nation’s territory has been trapped in Ladysmith By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Ladysmith, BC - A small Vancouver Island First Nation has become collateral damage in a prolonged forestry strike, as salvaged logs from Nuchatlaht territory have been stranded in Western Forest Products’ Ladysmith harbour for over seven months. On Monday Feb. 10 Tyee Ha’wilth Jordan Michael looked across the water at the Burleith Arm log sort in Ladysmith. He recognizes some of the Western red cedar he collected from his tribe’s territory on the north side of Nootka Island last year, but the hereditary chief and his 163-member nation have been unable to collect it since unionized Western Forest Products employees went on strike July 1, 2019. “What bothers me the most is that we’re out on our own in our own territory doing our own thing,” said Michael. “There’s no way to get it to market without getting screwed over.” For the last four years the Nuchatlaht First Nation has collected timber from its territory on Nootka Island, oﬀ the west coast of Vancouver Island. The logs have fallen by wind or through natural causes – or were left on the cutblock from other forestry companies. In early summer 2019 the Nuchatlaht contracted Western Forest Products to transport 3,058 square metres of this wood by barge for sale. The red cedar is normally sold to specialty markets for furniture, to carve canoes, said Michael. “There’s a lot of high-grade cedar there that goes to specialty markets,” he explained. “We have other nations that want to buy canoe logs and totem logs too.” Along with 13,000 cubic metres of other wood that Western was transporting, the barge had made its way around the southern edge of Vancouver Island, and was headed to the Lower Mainland when the United Steelworkers Local 1-1937 went on strike July 1, 2019. WFP operations halted, including the barge, which dumped the timber at the Ladysmith harbour, mixing the Nuchatlaht wood in with everything else. Issues of contention between WFP and the union include contracting out labour to non-union outﬁts, dangerous alternative shifts, safe workplaces and more secure jobs, making a dispute that has become the longest coastal forestry strike in British Columbia’s history, aﬀecting
Canada to court By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter
Photo by Erc Plummer
Nuchatlaht Tyee Ha’wilth Jordan Michael stands by the Ladysmith harbour before timber salvaged by his nation from its territory last year. The prolonged Western Forest Products strike has cut oﬀ access to the wood for seven months. 3,000 Western employees on the Vancouver Island and countless more contractors. On the day that Michael looked across the water at his cedar in Ladysmith, the USW and Western announced a possible end to the seven-month-long stoppage with a tentative agreement that remains subject to a ratiﬁcation vote by union members. USW is recommending that the agreement gets passed. “Our union is extremely proud of our members’ solidarity in this extended struggle to achieve a fair collective agreement with Western Forest Products and their associated contractors,” said Brian Butler, president of USW Local 1-1937. “I am pleased to report that the tentative agreement does not contain any concessions, which was a key mandate from our members.” This news brings little relief to Michael, who valued the timber at $1 million when it was removed from Nootka Island. Over each day that it sits in the salt water by Ladysmith the cedar loses value, as the ocean on the east side of Vancouver Island is aﬀected by Teredo navalis, a naval shipworm that bores through wood. Now Michael is anticipating what was expected to be a good proﬁt will become a ﬁnancial loss for his nation. “There’s a lot of stuﬀ going on in our community that could really use this money,” he said. “We use stuﬀ like this to subsidize our income. When it gets
Inside this issue... Group stands with Wet’suwet’en................................Page 2 Servatius team ﬁles appeal.........................................Page 4 Opioid crisis solutions................................................Page 8 High seas research....................................................Page 11 Carving with Joe Martin ..........................................Page 15
locked up like this it really hurts.” Making the dilemma more frustrating is the lack of action from the disputing parties to release the Nuchatlaht wood over the course of the strike. After multiple inquiries and unanswered phone calls to the union, Michael met with its president. “He pretty much told me that people are going to get hurt, people are going to suﬀer, there’s going to be lots of loss and there was nothing they could do for me,” said Michael. The Nuchatlaht also looked into hiring a contractor to remove the timber, but the high visibility of a procedure done behind the picket lines was discouraged. In September the First Nation took the issue to the Labour Relations Board, only to have the application dismissed. Now with an end to the strike within sight, the barging could ﬁnally be ﬁnished - more than seven months late. “With a tentative agreement in place, we will be working to resume operations expediently once USW members vote on ratiﬁcation,” said Western Forest Products’ communications in an email to Ha-Shilth-Sa. “We did everything right on our end,” said Michael of the salvage operation that should have been a success for his nation. “We had to ﬁght for every inch that we got. Now that we’re in a place to ﬁnally succeed, it’s hard to get out from being under somebody’s thumb.”
Canada – A group of protestors blocking access to a gas line construction site in Wet’suwet’en traditional territory are being forcibly removed from their encampment by RCMP, sparking nation-wide demonstrations in support of Indigenous rights and climate action. The Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs are ﬁghting to stop construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline project in northwest B.C. On Feb. 12 the Wet’suwet’en House announced that they have launched a legal challenge, asking the Federal Court to declare that Canada has a constitutional duty to keep the country’s greenhouse gas emissions well within the Paris Agreement limits. “The climate crisis is already hitting our House territories hard. You only have look at the shrinking Hudson Bay mountain glacier and count the salmon,” they stated. “If Canada is allowed to continue approving infrastructure for fracked gas projects on a 40-year timeline, our territories will become a wasteland before the project licenses expire,” said Dine Ze’Lho’imggin (Alphonse Gagnon). Coastal Gas Link, selected by LNG Canada in 2012, is building a $6.6 billion pipeline that will run 670 kilometres across northern B.C. to carry natural gas from an area near Dawson Creek, B.C. to Kitimat on the west coast. From the Kitimat facility, the LNG will be exported to markets overseas. Both LNG Canada and Coastal GasLink say they have agreements in place with 23 impacted nations in northern B.C., but the Wet’suwet’en say their elected council are not the ﬁnal authority when it comes to these types of developments in their traditional territories. A group supporting Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs set up an encampment along the route of the proposed pipeline project, near Houston, B.C. within Wet’suwet’en territory. In December 2018 Coastal GasLink was granted a court injunction against the protestors.
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Page 2— Ha-Shilth-Sa—February 13, 2020
Protests for Wet’suwet’en reach Vancouver Island Dozens of more arrests in Vancouver, while a march for solidarity with the chiefs took to the streets in Toﬁno By Melissa Renwick and Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor and Editor Toﬁno, BC - A wave of protests have spread across British Columbia since opponents to the Coastal GasLink pipeline in northern B.C. were arrested on Feb. 6 – and on Monday support for Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs was evident on the streets of Toﬁno. With participation from members of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation, on Feb. 10 Friends of Clayoquot Sound held the march for the Wet’suwet’en’s opposition to the natural gas pipeline being built through their land. The show of solidarity began with a crowd gathering at the Best Western Tin Wis hotel, and the march reached the Village Green in Toﬁno by midday. Participants chanted phrases like “This land is not for sale”, “Stop the pipeline” and “To take care of mother earth, new solutions we must birth” as they drew attention to the stand oﬀ in the northcentral region of the province. The conﬂict near Smithers has prompted a B.C. Supreme Court injunction against those blocking the pipeline’s construction. The RCMP moved in to make more than 20 arrests in Wet’suwet’en territory, and over the days that followed dozens of other arrests occurred in the Lower Mainland when the Ports of Delta and Vancouver were blocked. Joe Louie, who works for the Tla-o-quiaht First Nation, helped organize the Toﬁno event to bring country-wide attention to the Wet’suwet’en’s struggle. “Our power lies in the people that we stand with,” he said. Rosalee Brown, a resident in the Tla-oqui-aht community of Ty-Histanis, participated in the march “to show solidarity in hopes that when we need it, they will be there for us - and that goes for every nation across Canada.” “I’m here because we have a responsibility to the planet which gives us life,” added Tla-o-qui-aht member Gisele Martin. “I support the hereditary chiefs who uphold those rights.” “We are in a crux,” stressed Toﬁno resident Clio O’Connell. “I have a 5-year-old son and I want him to see people are taking care of the earth and creating positive action and community through that.” Opposition to the natural gas pipeline was present in multiple Vancouver Island communities on Monday. Since Saturday protesters to the natural gas pipeline were
Photos by Melissa Renwick
A march for solidarity with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs opposed to the Coastal GasLink pipeline in Northern B.C. was held in Toﬁno on Monday, Feb. 10. on the front steps of the Legislature in Victoria, where major intersections in the capital city were blocked over the weekend. Further north, Monday morning drivers were forced to take a detour when Highway 19 was blocked in the Comox Valley as a sign of solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs. The construction of the $6-billion Coastal GasLink pipeline has grown in complexity beyond what investing companies and governments had anticipated, pitting economic interests against environmental concerns, as well as contrasting the roles of First Nations’ elected councils with hereditary leadership. Extending 670-kilometres across northern B.C. for liquiﬁed natural gas export from Kitimat, Coastal GasLink has the formal support of 20 band councils along the route, First Nations that stand to beneﬁt from cash payments and employment agreements. Possibly the most vocal supporter of the project is the Haisla Nation, whose territory the LNG export terminal is being built on. The Haisla have opposed other resource developments in their territory, including the failed Northern Gateway
pipeline. But Coastal GasLink is diﬀerent, said Hailsa Chief Councillor Crystal Smith. “This land has been our home for thousands of years. The relationship between our nation and industry has never been this healthy and open,” she wrote in an open letter supporting the project. “Industry has come and gone from our territory and not until now have we had this much inﬂuence in seeing it happen responsibly, and sustainably.” Smith, who also serves as the chair of the First Nations LNG Alliance, has pointed to the beneﬁts her community has already seen from this partnership, including Indigenous language programs and employment training. “We urge you to think strongly about how your opposition to LNG developments is causing harm to our people and our wellbeing,” she continued. “Opposition does nothing towards empowering our nation, but rather dismisses our rights and title and works towards separating our people from real beneﬁts.” Rights and title continue to be central to Coastal GasLink opposition. Al-
though ﬁve of the six band councils in Wet’suwet’en territory have supported the project, hereditary chiefs of the Unist’ot’en clan of the Wet’suwet’en remain against the pipeline being built through their territory. Many of the pipeline’s opponents have pointed to fact that band councils are a function of Canada’s Indian Act, while hereditary chiefs are part of a governance structure that has been in place since long before Confederation. During a recent Council of Ha’wiih Forum on Fisheries in Campbell River, Ahousaht Tyee Ha’wilth Maquinna, Lewis George, shared his position on the escalating issue. “What they want to do on their owns lands is their business,” he said of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs. “Each and every hereditary chief sitting around the table owns the lands and the waters, and yet when it comes to the court system, they don’t recognise that. The Wet’suwet’en today, the hereditary chiefs, Ahousaht stands in solidarity with them.”
February 13, 2020—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 3
Leaders push DFO to cut back on recreational catch On Vancouver Island’s west coast sports ﬁsheries have been annually allocated more chinook than other groups By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Campbell River, BC - After a disastrous year for salmon on the West Coast, Ahousaht is pressing Fisheries and Oceans Canada to place more stringent restrictions on the recreational sector to help conserve stocks. “Every one of the Ahousaht rivers are in jeopardy of becoming extinct of ﬁsh,” stressed Tyee Ha’wilth Maquinna, Lewis George, during a recent Council of Ha’wiih Forum on Fisheries. “The sports ﬁshery is taking way too much and we’re not doing anything about it.” The Ahousaht hereditary chief delivered these words across the table to Rebecca Reid, regional director general for Fisheries and Oceans Canada, during the highlevel DFO oﬃcial’s visit to the ﬁsheries forum on Feb. 5, which was hosted by the Ehattesaht First Nation in Campbell River. “For the protection of our ﬁsh, if the sporties need to be stopped, we’re going to stop them,” continued Maquinna. “We’re hoping that you can talk with your department to say, ‘Yes we’re going to do that.’ If you’re not going to comply, then we have to more forward, honourably.” Last year Canada’s West Coast ﬁsheries faced stringent restrictions imposed by DFO to protect endangered salmon stocks originating from the Fraser River. Some commercial ﬂeets didn’t see openings until late August, while the oﬀshore recreational ﬁshery west of Vancouver Island wasn’t permitted to retain catches until July 15. Salmon caught for First Nations food, social and ceremonial purposes were also aﬀected by similar restrictions. Amid these challenging conditions, the west coast of Vancouver Island’s recreational sector saw the highest suuhaa
Photo by Eric Plummer
On Feb. 5 Ahousaht Tyee Ha’wilth Maquinna, Lewis George, stressed the need for Fisheries and Oceans Canada to cut back on the sports ﬁshery in order to protect salmon in the First Nation’s waters. (chinook) allocation with 50,000, while the Area G commercial ﬂeet was initially allotted 14,000 and the T’aaq-wiihak rights-based ﬁshery - which includes Ahousaht, Ehattesaht/Chinehkint, Hesquiaht, Tla-o-qui-aht and Mowachaht/ Muchalaht - had an allocation of just over 7,000. Salmon escapement numbers were revised, and in July the sport allocation was downgraded to 40,000 chinook, which allowed DFO to reallocate 6,000 to the Area G commercial ﬂeet. After being left out of this adjustment, T’aaqwiihak sought an injunction to block the reallocation, but this was rejected by the Federal Court. In 2009 the BC Supreme Court ruled that the ﬁve nations have the right to catch and sell ﬁsh from their respective territories, but over a decade later, Nuuchah-nulth ﬁshers have seen few beneﬁts
Alberni Valley Museum Art Show Reﬂect 2020 Theme ‘Your world, our world, the world in 2020’ This is an opportunity for Nuu-chah-nulth artists in any medium to participate in this successful and exciting juried art show at the Alberni Valley Museum from July to early September, 2020 For full application details see the Facebook page: ReﬂectShow2020
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from this decision. In 2018 the B.C. Supreme Court identiﬁed the priority of the ﬁve nations’ ﬁsheries over the recreational sector – despite what is evident in the DFO’s Salmon Allocation Policy. Frustration with the federal department’s jurisdiction over Nuu-chah-nulth hah=uu>i was evident during the recent ﬁsheries forum. Maquinna recalled an encounter last year when he was followed and stopped at the dock by DFO oﬃcers for ﬁshing in Ahousaht territory. One of the oﬃcers told the chief he was ﬁshing during a closure. “I never gave the closure,” said Maquinna. “Nobody sits above this table, and that’s the problem with government. The provincial and federal government don’t recognise the ha’wiih, the hereditary seats that were passed down 17 generations back.” Although there weren’t any commitments to change recreational allocations in 2020, Wilf Luedke, section head for DFO’s station in Nanaimo, announced
that the federal department will be working more closely with ﬁshing guides to ensure catches are accurately recorded. The recreational sector is largely based on voluntary reporting from boats, but Luedke said DFO is looking to implement log books for guides to provide more thorough records. He estimates that sports ﬁshing guides account for approximately 20 per cent of recreational catches on the B.C. coast. “They have an extra responsibility, given that they’re catching a lot of ﬁsh,” said Luedke. The DFO has identiﬁed chinook on Vancouver Island’s west coast as a “stock of concern” since 1996. In his presentation for the Council of Ha’wiih, Luedke noted that research from Ahousaht and Huu-ayaht territory shows ﬁsh are leaving rivers in a more vulnerable state that previously. “Bedwell and Sarita studies show smolts are leaving rivers quickly at very small size…due to loss of complex rearing habitat and food in the rivers,” stated Luedke’s presentation document. “This small size makes them vulnerable to disease and predation in the ﬁrst few months at sea.” According to his presentation, the threat of ﬁshing the struggling stocks is being reduced. In most years before 1995 more than half of the chinook oﬀ the west coast of Vancouver Island were being caught – with the exploitation rate as high as 70 per cent in the early 1980s. In recent years this has declined to around 35 per cent, cited Luedke. But Uu-a-thluk biologist Roger Dunlop disagreed with Luedke, citing Paciﬁc Salmon Commission data which shows that exploitation rates on the west coast of Vancouver Island’s chinook are closer to 40 per cent in recent years. Dunlop also noted that the harvest of older wild Chinook can be as high as 60-70 per cent, overﬁshing that is bringing the island’s west coast suuhaa closer to extinction.
Support for Wet’suwet’en gains steam across Canada Continued from page 1. In January 2019 armed members of the RCMP moved in to enforce the injunction and arrested Wet’suwet’en supporters. Another blockade was set up further down the road while rallies sprang up across Canada and parts of the US showing solidarity with the hereditary chiefs. In December another BC Supreme Court injunction was granted against the Wet’suwet’en blockade. On Jan. 5, 2020 talks between Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and the provincial government failed. The following day Coastal GasLink announced it would start work on the pipeline. Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs responded by sending out a nationwide call for solidarity protests. Then in early February RCMP began making arrests at the Wet’suwet’en blockade. The Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs argue that the elected chief and council is a construct of Canada’s Indian Act, and while they may have given approval, the hereditary chiefs of the ﬁve clans have not. “The Nuu-chah-nulth have been watching with dismay as the RCMP enter onto Wet’suwet’en lands and arrest and forcibly remove heads of their government, matriarchs and community mem-
bers who are peacefully defending their lands, which is within their laws,” said NTC President Judith Sayers in a written statement. Very quickly blockades across Canada sprang up as people from all walks of life stood in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en chiefs. Within days roadblocks went up around Vancouver Island ferry terminals, at two key bridges in Victoria and on the highway near Courtenay, B.C. Demonstrators set up an encampment at the front entrance to the B.C. legislature, disrupting the Feb. 11 Throne Speech. On Feb. 12 the demonstrators dismantled the encampment. Indigenous leaders from BC and from Wet’suwet’en spoke on the stairs of the legislature, pointing out that what is happening in Wet’suwet’en territory goes against Bill 41, UNDRIP. “Reconciliation cannot be achieved at gunpoint,” said Ron George, referring to the armed arrests made in Houston, BC. “Indigenous people across the country are saying that reconciliation is dead,” said NTC President Sayers. “The government is fueled by corporations, not reconciliation; we stand with the Wet’suwet’en in protecting their lands, waters and recourse from development of gas pipelines.”
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A Port Alberni mother is continuing her ﬁght against smudging and other Indigenous practices in public schools.
Servatius legal team ﬁles appeal Claim against Aboriginal practices in schools was dismissed in B.C. Supreme Court By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Port Alberni, BC – The lawyers for Candice Servatius have ﬁled a notice of appeal, seeking a diﬀerent court decision that favours a Port Alberni mother’s position against smudging and other Indigenous practices in public schools. Candice Servatius is the Port Alberni mother who brought School District 70 and the Attorney General of British Columbia to court after learning her children witnessed an Indigenous smudging at their school in 2015. She is being represented free of charge by the Calgarybased Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms. The trial was held last November in the B.C. Supreme Court in Nanaimo, where Justice Douglas Thompson listened to testimony from several witnesses over ﬁve days. Over the course of the trial the judge heard from several people present during the smudge demonstration at the school in September 2015. In addition to the smudging, the court heard that the Servatius children witnessed an invited hoop dance performer say a prayer in an
Indigenous language over a microphone at a school assembly. That event took place in early 2016. Concerned about her Christian children being exposed to “the explicitly supernatural and religious nature of the cleansing ritual”, Servatius approached the school to seek assurances that her children be excluded from such events. Dissatisﬁed with the outcome of her communications with the school, Servatius brought the matter to court. In her petition, Servatius sought a court order that would ban smudging along with “religious or spiritual rituals, cleanings, ceremonies and prayer” during mandatory school time throughout the province of British Columbia. The Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council, whose education workers bring Nuuchah-nulth culture and language into the public schools through education agreements, were added as intervenors in 2018. The NTC stated that it opposes the cultural prohibition order sought by Servatius that would, in eﬀect, hinder work that the school district and NTC have accomplished so far in bringing Indigenous culture into the schools. The B.C. Supreme Court ruling came
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down January 8, 2020. Justice Thompson released his 47-page ruling, which dismissed Servatius’ claim that Indigenous content in school broke the Charter rights of her children. The ruling also clariﬁed that smudging and other Indigenous cultural practices would not be banned in the province’s public schools. Lawyer for Servatius, Jay Cameron, told Ha-Shilth-Sa that they have identiﬁed a number of grounds for appeal. “I’ll refrain from commenting beyond that at this time,” he said. NTC President Kekinusuqs, Judith Sayers, was not surprised to hear that the case was being appealed. “We fully expected the Servatius’ to appeal. The group that represented them take on these kinds of cases and has the resources to do so,” she said, adding that there are important legal principles contained in this case, “and they want to challenge that.” Despite the notice of appeal, Sayers is not overly concerned. “We feel that Justice Thompson made critical ﬁndings of fact and exhausted the case law to make his decision and we have conﬁdence in the decision,” she stated.
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February 13, 2020—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 5
Tied up: Commercial ﬁshing union issues SOS Fleet’s sorry state blamed on government mismanagement, ‘no returns on some parts of the coast’ are expected By Mike Youds Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor B.C.’s commercial salmon ﬂeet has been reduced to a fraction of its size 30 years ago, starved by catch allocations kept artiﬁcially low according to the union. After the United Fishermen’s and Allied Workers Union-Unifor issued what amounts to an SOS for the West Coast commercial ﬁshing industry, Ottawa has yet to respond, said Joy Thorkelson, union president. “The DFO decisions don’t look like they beneﬁtted the stock, but they did create a situation where there is a lack of resilience in the ﬂeet,” she said. “That’s disastrous when we come to something like the 2020 outlook, a situation of little to no returns on some parts of the coast.” Thorkelson drew on DFO’s own data and U.S. research to show that the main commercial salmon species — pink, chum and sockeye — were stable while the government slashed catch allocations starting in the 1990s without justiﬁcation. The union — which has seen its membership plunge to 5,000 from 25,000 workers — is using the evidence to make a case for emergency compensation to ensure the industry can survive. Salmon used to support the largest ﬁshery on the coast, but the catch is now exceeded by groundﬁsh. Hopes pegged on encouraging returns forecast last year were instead dashed by widespread closures and a season that was nothing short of disastrous, the worst in 50 years. Catches were just eight percent of a 20year average. “The federal government created a commercial ﬁshing economy so precarious that when the salmon collapsed this year, the industry went with it,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor national president. “Commercial salmon ﬁshing may never recover.” As grim as that outlook may be, the union feels Ottawa needs to act. Instead, the silence is deafening. Thorkelson said there can be only one reason why the government hasn’t responded. “We can only assume that DFO is completely writing oﬀ the B.C. salmon
Photo by Irine Polyzogopoulos
United Fishermen’s and Allied Workers Union-Unifor President Joy Thorkelson speaks at the Fisheries for Communities Gathering in Nanaimo Feb. 10. industry, not speaking to anyone and letting it die,” she said. “If 2019 becomes the new reality over the next three years, how does DFO propose to deal with allocation? What do all the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal ﬁshermen do with all their gear and all their boats? How do you keep ﬁshermen in this industry viable?” While acknowledging that climate change is probably to blame for the 2019 West Coast salmon ﬁshery collapse, the union maintains that government mismanagement has left the ﬂeet unable to adapt to emerging challenges. “I’ve never seen it like this in my 74 years,” said Thorkelson. “It could be a whole number of things we don’t know about,” she added, listing viruses, a pinniped predation or freshwater habitat issues. “All this can be wrapped up in climate change. Something happened in the ocean and nothing came back.” Salmon can be considered a bell weather for other marine species, so the solution is not as simple as diverting to other ﬁsheries as they have done in past seasons, Thorkelson said. Ocean acidiﬁcation is
softening the carapaces of Dungeness crabs, she noted, citing the results of a U.S. study released last month. Not everyone agrees with the union’s contention that salmon stocks have been stable for 63 years. Chinook numbers, for example, began dropping in the 1980s when conservation measures were ramped up. Candace Picco, a T’aaqwiihak biologist, said climate change is making it diﬃcult to rebuild stocks, even as diﬀerent management measures are put in place to decrease the harvest. “To be fair, it was mismanagement by DFO that led to the decline and now climate change is making it more diﬃcult to rebound from that,” she said. The report cited by the union doesn’t mention chinook and coho, the two Paciﬁc salmon species that have undergone steepest declines, Picco noted. That’s a glaring omission from where she stands. “Obviously, on the west coast of the Island, where chinook are down to between one and ﬁve per cent of what they used to be, in some rivers, there’s a serious problem,” Picco said. As well, during the same time frame cited by the union, DFO was supposed
to grant salmon catch allocations to First Nations in keeping with explicit directives from the Supreme Court of Canada. “It was established by the courts that First Nations have priority access,” Picco said. “We’re not seeing that.” Thorkelson said she’s aware the data set is not comprehensive as others have pointed out. “I can only use the ﬁgures that DFO supplies,” she said. Whichever way data are interpreted, a grave reality remains: An industry that should be on life support has seen no love from Ottawa. DFO stated after last season that it empathizes with the economic impact of low returns but doesn’t have the mandate to provide ﬁnancial relief. “It’s not a resilient ﬂeet,” Thorkelson said. “It’s been held at a depressed level, probably for conservation, but that hasn’t proven to be eﬀective. Now they’re ignoring their responsibility and ignoring discussions on what’s going to happen.” About 60 percent of the union’s membership is comprised of Indigenous commercial ﬁshermen, she said. Among seiners and shore workers, Indigenous participation is as high as 80 percent. The federal government should provide ﬁshermen with disaster assistance to bridge the ﬁnancial burden and help them remain in the industry, the union contends. That could involve waiving small craft moorage fees, for example. Since the loss of income means many ﬁshermen cannot aﬀord to maintain their vessels, the government could provide low-interest loans as well. Those who were unable to earn suﬃcient hours last season should still be able to collect maximum employment insurance beneﬁts, Thorkelson said. Without assistance, she sees the industry being “ghettoized” and going the way of sharecropping, with fewer owner-operators and licences sold to corporations instead. Why would the Canadian government turn its back on the West Coast ﬁshery? Thorkelson said they no longer hold collective strength. “Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal, they need to be getting together and speaking with one voice,” she concluded.
West coast communities brace for another road closure By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Port Alberni, BC – The BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure is warning travelers of Highway 4, which links Port Alberni to Toﬁno, Ucuelet and other west coast communities, to prepare for a planned 24-hour closure. The road was closed following a blasting mishap over the Jan. 24 weekend. It was during the late-night scheduled blast that more rock than expected came down, taking out a large portion of the road. With no alternative for a detour, the road was closed until a bridge could be brought in; but it was a temporary ﬁx. The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure says that more rock above the damaged road will be blasted away in order to complete the work. For this reason, the ministry is advising drivers that the section of Highway 4 at the Kennedy Hill construction project will close from 11 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 22 to 11 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 23 to allow for a permanent slope repair. “This 24-hour closure is required for crews to remove the specialized 20-me-
tre, single-lane temporary bridge structure installed earlier this month after a large volume of rock damaged the road,” the ministry stated. “The bridge removal and permanent slope repair at this location are necessary for blasting to continue, allowing the project to stay on schedule for completion by the end of summer 2020.” The road will re-open at 11 a.m. on Feb. 23 to single-lane alternating traﬃc, allowing commercial vehicles, recreational vehicles and other larger vehicles to safely travel the corridor. The statement says further that the closure has been planned for a weekend to avoid disruption of commercial deliveries and daily commuters. For more information about the Kennedy Hill project closure schedule, along with the most up-to-date information on road conditions, drivers are encouraged to check: www.drivebc.ca The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure thanks motorists and residents on both sides of the closure for their patience. The project is scheduled for completion later this summer. When ﬁnished,
Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure video still
After a mishap forced the Highway 4 to be closed in late January, the road eventually opened up a narrow passage on the cliﬀ above Kennedy Lake. A temporary bridge is currently in place. the Highway 4-Kennedy Hill Safety Improvement Project pledges to create a safer and more reliable connection between Port Alberni and the west coast of Vancouver Island. Learn More: General project information and traﬃc schedules are available: www.gov.bc.ca/
highway4kennedyhill Visit the project page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/eac.bc.ca. kennedy.hill/ Follow @DriveBC and #BCHwy4 on Twitter, or visit: www.drivebc.ca
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Weather washes out Vancouver Island travel routes Meteorologist observes more intense storms, after the second we•est January on record for Vancouver Island By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Vancouver Island, BC – The numbers are not yet in, but people are saying that more than 300 millimetres of rain fell in some areas of Vancouver Island over the ﬁrst weekend of February, making travel treacherous - and in some cases deadly. Heavy rain on the west coast of Vancouver Island caused ﬂooding, mudslides and even washed out a bridge cutting oﬀ access to Bamﬁeld, Nitinaht Lake and Port Renfrew. Low-lying areas of Duncan B.C. in the Cowichan Valley ﬂooded, causing the municipality to issue a State of Emergency. According to Environment Canada Meteorologist Armel Castellan, readings for Kennedy Lake area showed that 36 millimetres fell in a one-hour period with a total of nearly 1,000 mm over the last week of January. “The month as a whole was more active than usual, with storm after storm it was almost like a month-long event,” said Castellan. “We had ﬁve atmospheric rivers with subtropical origins – what we call pineapple express and the last one was the juiciest.” Not only did the last storm bring in quantities of rain that made January 2020 the second wettest on record, it was also longer than usual. “These types of storms generally last 12 to 18 hours; this one lasted about 40 hours,” said Castellan. And the heavy downpour made travel on logging roads into the west coast communities dangerous. Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council employee Sabrina Crowley arrived with her family to their Poett’s Nook cabin on the evening of Thursday, Jan. 29. It wasn’t long before heavy rains began washing roads out between Port Alberni, Bamﬁeld and Nitinaht Lake. Crowley told Ha-Shilth-Sa that she, her sons, aged four and two, and her husband had been stranded in Poett’s Nook all weekend. She said Spencer’s Bridge,
Photo by Ken King
This bridge on the road to Bamﬁeld was one of the many casualties from relentless rain on Vancouver Island in January. about 15 kilometres out of Bamﬁeld, is on their WFP Road Information page that Castellan says this is not the last of the completely destroyed and there were a the road is now open for traﬃc with a precipitation. More came Tuesday, Feb. few areas where the road was washed out. marked detour from Camp “B” to Flora/ 4 in the form of snow. Beginning about 4 Despite being stranded, the family was Central to Bamﬁeld. The detour will be in a.m. wet snow started falling. comfortable and had enough food. place all week. “There could be lots at times, with 5 “I’ve been watching the Facebook group Meanwhile, in the Cowichan Valley, – 20 cm expected in some places,” said Bamﬁeld Corkboard for updates,” Crowroads along the estuary were under sevCastellan, adding that Environment Canaley said on Monday morning, Feb. 3, eral feet of water on Saturday. On Feb. 1, da has issued a special weather statement. adding that the word was the road would as the heavy rain started falling, 28-year“But later in the afternoon temperatures be open by noon. In fact, Crowley sent old Ethan Sampson of Duncan was seen will rise and the snow will turn to rain in a message at 11:20 a.m. Monday statin the Cowichan River near Quamichan lower elevations.” ing that the road is passable but travelers Road. He hasn’t been seen since. VolunHe added that the west coast of the must use the “back roads” called Flora teers continue to search the river; as of island will see less snow. Main and Central Main. Feb. 3, nothing has been found. While he said that it is hard to attriBy Monday morning, Feb. 3 people In Sooke, B.C., three men, all aged 20, bute events like this directly to climate were also ﬁnally able to get through the left a house late Thursday night, Jan. change, one thing he can say is that logging roads to Nitinaht Lake. Some 30 and hadn’t been heard from since. meteorologists are seeing climate trends used the Caycuse logging road while Volunteers searched a wide area around in weather patterns. others went through Port Alberni. One Sooke all weekend. On Sunday, Feb. 2, “We may be having the same number traveler reported that the road was horthe truck they were in was found in the of storms but the intensity of each one is rible but they made it through. Sooke River. Shortly afterward, the bodhigher,” he said adding that summers are People using the Bamﬁeld Corkboard ies of two of the young men were found getting hotter, winters warmer and winds page reported deep snow on Flora Main in the river. The search continues for the stronger. Feb. 3. Western Forest Products posted missing third man.
Bamﬁeld washout prompts push for improvements By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Anacla, BC – Torrential rain once again forced the closure of the logging roads leading from Port Alberni to Nitinaht and Bamﬁeld over the weekend of Jan. 31 to Feb. 2. “We were stranded in Port Alberni since Friday,” said Huu-ay-aht Chief Councillor Robert Dennis in a phone interview. By Monday, Feb. 3 a detour around several slides and washed out bridges opened the route, but it made for a longer journey. “It took us three hours to get home,” Dennis said. The recent storm caused at least seven Huu-ay-aht families to be stranded in Port Alberni for the weekend along with several people who were unable to leave the Bamﬁeld area. More families from Nitinaht Lake were also stranded. In addition to road damage, the storm caused power failures, but BC Hydro crews could not repair the lines until the roads were made passable after the weekend. Chief Dennis noted that with the number of damaging rain events is increasing something needs to be done to improve
the road. For example, he suggested that if the bridge near Bamﬁeld was set higher, it would not have washed out. Better roadside drainage would help, added. According to Chief Dennis, a portion of the road belongs to the Provincial Government and other portions are permitted to Western Forest Products and other groups. “About 35km of the road is Crown corridor owned by the province as a result of the Maa-nulth Treaty,” said Dennis. As such, the road, he said, should be improved to meet provincial standards. “We can’t avoid [rain storms] but we can be better prepared,” he said. Ideally, Dennis and the residents of Anacla and neighboring Bamﬁeld would prefer to see the installation of a chip seal road, which is a less costly alternative to paving. Typically used for rural roads with low traﬃc volume, chip seal roads provide a smoother and safer road surface for drivers. Chief Dennis has met with B.C. Premier John Horgan, who visited the area following a fatal bus crash last November. Two University students were killed on the Bamﬁeld road when their bus slid down a steep embankment on a narrow section of road.
The Premier agreed that improvements need to be made. An Action Committee made up of representatives from Huu-ay-aht, Bamﬁeld, Port Alberni, the ACRD, provincial ministries, Western Forest Products and Mosaic was formed. They put together a plan to improve the road that would cost about $30 million. Chief Dennis said the next step is to have the plan presented to the premier for review and, hopefully, approval. According to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, Premier Horgan requested that a working group be formed to do a technical review of the Huu-ay-aht’s road upgrade proposal and take a look at potential options for safety improvements. “The working group, which last met in December, includes representatives from the Ministries of Transportation and Infrastructure and Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation and Huu-ay-aht First Nation,” said the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure in an email. They went on to say that the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure is providing technical advice to support this work, and will continue to make the ministry’s engineering expertise available to
Robert Dennis the Huu-ay-aht First Nations as needed. For Dennis, the planning work is done and now it’s a matter of waiting for a decision from Premier Horgan. “We hope to hear soon,” said Dennis, “B.C. has a duty to look after the roads it owns.” The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure says they have no timeline for a decision.
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Strategic planning session held for opioid crisis in Participants in the two-day gathering speak of the need for a local detox centre and more compassion for those struggling with By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-SaReporter Port Alberni, BC – A Tseshaht-led initiative to address the opioid crisis was held at Port Alberni’s Italian Hall Feb. 5-6, highlighting approaches to improve how the community handles potentially lethal additions. Surviving the Flood, organized by the Tseshaht First Nation’s Crisis Wellness Coordinator Gail P. Gus, brought together a variety of resource people and concerned citizens from all over the Alberni Valley for two days of brainstorming how to address the opioid crisis the entire community is struggling with. “The gathering aims to draw together the strengths and resources that already exist within our community to collectively develop a strategic plan to address the opioid crisis in the Alberni Valley,” said facilitator, John Rampanen. Funded in part by the First Nations Health Authority, Surviving the Flood is a gathering and workshop seeking community-driven solutions to address the opioid crisis in Port Alberni. Besides members of the RCMP, there were front-line workers, political leaders from the local First Nations and concerned citizens in attendance.
“This is open to everyone” ~ Gail P. Gus, Crisis Wellness Coordinator “This is open to everyone,” said Gus. In 2019 the BC Coroners Service reported 823 deaths due to illicit drugs. That is down from 1,290 in 2018 and 1,279 in 2017. It represents a 42 per cent decrease from 2018 but still amounts to 2.2 deaths per day in the province. In October 2019 there were 69 overdose deaths in British Columbia. During that same month there were no deaths reported at supervised drug overdose prevention sites. Many of the front-line workers who attended the Surviving the Flood gathering seemed to concur that a caring approach, the human touch, is what is needed to turn the crisis around. Gus is passionate about helping to ﬁnd
Photos by Denise Titian
Gail P. Gus speaks during the ﬁrst day of Surviving the Flood, a two-day workshop held to explore solutions to the opioid crisis. solutions for families struggling with addictions and unresolved trauma. She shared with the crowd that she lost her only child to suicide. “When we found him, he had a phone number in his pocket – it was the number of a known drug dealer,” she said. She went to say that she was grateful for the 30 years she had with him. “He taught my purpose,” said Gus. She doesn’t believe that the war on drugs is working. “It is everywhere and everyone is affected,” said Gus, adding that addictions often have their beginnings in unresolved trauma. “Let’s talk about the elephant in
the room – sexual abuse.” She noted that people are forgiving churches and other entities, “we need to talk about it and forgive one another.” NTC Harm Reduction Worker Gina Amos is a frontline worker, dealing directly with homeless and addicted people. “I’m here because I really care,” she said. In a past Ha-Shilth-Sa interview Amos shared that she works one-on-one with homeless and/or addicted people, helping them overcome barriers and treating them in a way that preserves their dignity. People battling addictions come from all walks of life. You see the ones in the streets but there are also sporadic addicts.
“There are the people on ﬁxed incomes or the weekend warriors – the ones that work, use on cheque days until they’re broke and stay clean until the next pay day or cheque day,” said Gus. She hopes to ﬁnd a way to get supports in place to keep these people from advancing further into addiction. Many of the front-line workers who spoke shared personal stories of why they want to help. Most stories included losses of important family members. A man named Mark pointed out that there is a lot of negativity associated with how people talk about addicts. “Blame, disrespect and treating people
February 13, 2020—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 9
crisis in Alberni
those struggling with drug addictions like garbage is not the solution,” he said. He asked the crowd to look to the light to ﬁnd answers. “It may take a generation (to turn it around),” he added. John Rampanen and Nitanis Desjarlias were invited to lead the discussions over the two days. With teachings ﬁrmly rooted in Indigenous culture, John, Nitanis and their family brought the cultural component to help move forward in the search for solutions. Over the two days participants worked in breakout groups, discussing the issues and proposing solutions. They said there was a need for more funding for treatment centres. In addition, there is no detox facility in Port Alberni; people talked about unconventional ways to address this need. One idea is to provide detox services at a First Nations facility on reserve. The people also talked about prevention and raising awareness of the dangers of drugs for the youth. “We need hope; families need hope that things will get better,” said Lisa Watts. “Kids matter,” added Martin Watts. He said people need to stop fearing the big dealers in the town. “Enough is enough, we need to call out the B.S.,” he said. He also talked about hearing what the children have to say and teaching them healthy coping skills. The tiic^swii muu>s^i+: Surviving the Flood event ended with a commitment from the attendees to reconvene for a review of the information they built over the two days and continue to develop strategies. Gus says this event is open to everyone in the Alberni Valley and especially to Nuu-chah-nulth leaders and front-line workers. “We don’t know what’s going to happen or what is going to work but we know we need to try something diﬀerent,” said Kelly Foxcroft-Poirier. “All of Port Alberni is in my heart; my job is Tseshaht but I care about all – I don’t see us separated by that bridge,” said Gus. The opioid crisis strategic planning session for Port Alberni wrapped up Feb. 6 with attendees committing to reconvene at Maht Mahs March 13, 2020 to build on the work they started at the Italian Hall. Gus says that the upcoming session will start with lunch followed by a review and discussion around the information compiled from the Feb. 5/6 event. “Everyone is welcome; we will have a dinner and I will stay for as long as it takes to hear everyone,” Gus vowed.
Photo by Tamiko Rampanen/SFU
A research project is gathering input from multiple generations to combine Western methods with Indigenous beliefs.
‘Two-eyed seeing’ aims to recover traditional ways Project gathers input from multiple generations to combine with Western methods By Andrea D. Smith Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Researchers from the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council are collaborating with Simon Fraser University (SFU) to use “two eyed seeing” to help bolster Indigenous children’s health and wellness. Two eyed seeing refers to the combining of Western methodologies with traditional Indigenous practices and beliefs. In this case this combination is being applied to the medical ﬁeld. NTC and SFU will also work with the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA), the University of British Columbia (UBC) and the University of Victoria (UVic), under the formal title for the project: Hishukish tsawalk (everything is one, everything is connected): Using two-eyed seeing to optimize healthy early life trajectories for Indigenous Peoples. More than $1 million worth of grant funding was awarded to the team by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to carry out the work. Researchers from the NTC will lead the project, ensuring Nuu-chah-Nulth participants are treated fairly, and consulted along the way. Lynette Lucas, NTC Director of Health and SFU adjunct professor in Health Sciences, is the project lead, along with NTC Nursing Manager Jeannette Watts. “We’re just engaging in the hiring process right now, for getting a coordinator,” Lucas said. “We’ll be hiring the coordinator and then three part-time staﬀ. One in each region, who will be working to do data collection, and working with our staﬀ.” On the SFU side of things will be re-
searchers Pablo Nepomnaschy, Jeﬀ Reading, Charlotte Waddell and Scott Venners. And from FNHA, Chief Medical Oﬃcer Dr. Evan Adams will have a role to play. “Part of what we’re going to be looking at is the support services we currently have in place, and how those can be utilized to positively impact the health and wellness of pregnant women and babies… and if there’s anything we can do to adjust how we deliver those services to better our communities,” said Lucas, adding that while pregnant women and babies will be a major portion of the population looked at, people of all ages and genders will also be included. The NTC has a number of programs currently running which will be on the list of those being evaluated through the project. These include the nursing program (which has both prenatal and postnatal services for pregnant women and young children), the healthy sexuality and sex education programs, as well as child and youth services like the Healthy Babies program - which helps pregnant women access nutritious food. Various other infant, early childhood development, and youth mental health services will also be evaluated, said Lucas. Once the assessment is done, the programs will be enhanced according to the researchers’ ﬁndings, and then evaluated again. While the project right now is scheduled to take place over the next two years, extensions can be granted for up to eight years, said Lucas. The ﬁrst phase of the project—which was carried out prior to even submitting the proposal—was a series of community
consultations, so ethics was a key feature right from the start. “That ﬁrst phase was really about saying, ‘What do you think you need?’,” said Lucas. “Part of what’s been really diﬃcult for them being studied over and over again is that they’ve never necessarily been kept up to date with where research went, or included in developing the process for what they thought would be useful for them.” And one of the main points shared in almost every meeting - which really speaks to the “two eyed seeing” part of the project, according to Lucas - was that people felt they didn’t necessarily need “new” knowledge to help them, but that they needed to revive some of the old ways, including old knowledge in child rearing that was negatively impacted by colonialism and residential schools. The project will be a major way of bridging that gap, Lucas said. Pablo Nepomnaschy, one of the SFU researchers who is originally from Argentina, is excited to be working with the Nuu-chah-Nulth communities. He said he is already learning so much from the people there. He is also keen on ethics being a part of the project, as well as having NTC lead the way. “The whole spirit of the project is to focus on the strength of each nation, and the strength of each community, and each family, and each child, and each mother and father,” said Nepomnaschy. “We are going to be building on the basis of strength.” “The ﬁrst thing we need to do is recover and consolidate traditional Indigenous ways of knowing regarding child rearing,” he added.
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Indigenous Screen Oﬃce calls for broader presence Group stresses need of equity for First nations under the county’s ‘discriminatory’ Canadian Broadcasting Act By Karly Blats Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor After reviewing a recently released report from the federal Broadcasting & Telecommunications Legislative Review Panel (BTLRP), the Indigenous Screen Oﬃce (ISO) is calling for a greater Indigenous presence in Canada’s communications future. The report, Canada’s Communications Future: Time to Act, is the product of a review of Canada’s communications laws including the Broadcasting Act, the Telecommunications Act, and the Radiocommunication Act. The review panel held in-person meetings across the country including with ISO and other Indigenous political, media and cultural organizations. The ISO is encouraged to see recommendations on Indigenous content and broadband access reﬂected in the report. However, they state in a press release their disappointment that the report falls short by “failing to recommend equity for First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples under the Broadcasting Act in the form of equal inclusion with French and English within the legislation.” “We support [the BTLRP’s] identiﬁcation of broadband access in Indigenous communities as a central issue, as well as the need for increased funding and support for Indigenous content creation in Canada” said Jesse Wente, executive director of the ISO, in a press release. “We appreciate the recommendation to have greater inclusion of Indigenous peoples at both the CRTC (Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission) and CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation). The fact remains, however, that equity within the Act itself is the only way to ensure equity for the long term and to move beyond the discriminatory foundation that Canada’s Broadcasting Act was built on.” The report states that Indigenous leaders and communities want to make media content themselves and they want this content to help them preserve and nurture their languages. “Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry
Photo by Eric Plummer
Director Brandon Thompson speaks during a screening of waa>s^i%a+in (Coming Home) in Anacla on June 20, 2020. The ﬁlm was produced by Thompson/Munro and the Huu-ay-aht First Nations, and had a televised broadcast in January. into Missing and Murdered Indigenous the documentary. “It originally started keep families together, create jobs, build Women and Girls highlighted the need as a communications ﬁlm or video about infrastructure, including housing and for Indigenous Peoples to tell their own Huu-ay-aht’s experience in regards to helping our people understand their constories and be part of the creation of the LNG project, but because we were nection to their First Nation, their houses stories and the storytelling process,” getting a lot of good pick up and interest and their community.” states the report. “We agree and note from our citizens wanting to have their Jack said it’s important to make ﬁlms that all Canadians can beneﬁt from say about not just the LNG project but about First Nations people to take stock strengthened Indigenous reﬂection.” everything in general, it kind of grew into of where they are at today, where they’ve Locally, the Huu-ay-aht First Nations a continuation of two other ﬁlms that we come from and where they’re going. are continuing to tell their story through had—The Return of the River (2003) and He said he believes there needs to be a a new award-winning documentary, the Heart of the People (1997) —and so broader representation of Indigenous conwaałšiʔaƛin (Coming Home), produced the idea there is that this is kind of a third tent on Canadian broadcasting platforms. by Munro/Thompson, that made its in a series of snapshots of Huu-ay-aht’s “I think there needs to be (more reprebroadcast premiere in Port Alberni on history.” sentation) in a way that’s more broadly Jan. 29. Jack said the ﬁlm’s title—Coming embraced across all media and networks Coming Home, told from the perspecHome—comes from the fact that about and that it needs to be served up in a tive of several generations of Huu-ay-aht 85 per cent of Huu-ay-aht people live way that’s approachable to not only First people, is about overcoming the devasaway from their traditional territory, Nations people but people who don’t tating eﬀects of colonization, healing, therefore part of the nation’s strategic have an idea about anything about First rebuilding homelands and restoring the plan is to build a community where at Nations other than what they might hear connection to traditional culture. least a signiﬁcant portion of Huu-ay-aht at a coﬀee shop,” Jack said. “I think that “Coming Home is the story of the Huupeople choose to live back at home. focus on communication comes from our ay-aht First Nations after treaty, trying to “We realized with so many people far understanding that relationship building make decisions, in this case a very major removed from the territory, it needs to be is becoming one of the most important one, in a way that will positively eﬀect a viable alternative with everything you things that a treaty First Nation can do the lives of its people and the lands and might think of, so we’ve been working and communications is a core part of water,” said Huu-ay-aht First Nations on that in kind of a comprehensive way,” relationship building.” Councillor John Jack, who appears in Jack said. “We’re doing what we can to
Phrase of the week - hiiqwa>%a>%is^ c^uuc^i> Pronounced ‘hee-qwa-lth chu-chilth’, this means the herring will be coming in soon to scout a place to spawn. Supplied by čiisma.
Ivy Cargill-Martin Illustration
February 13, 2020—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 11
Wild salmon crisis spurs high-seas research Alaskan research shows a warmer North Paciﬁc is having an eﬀect over multiple years and across broad areas By Mike Youds Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor An international team of scientists returns to the North Paciﬁc this winter, determined to learn more about ways in which climate change and shifting ocean conditions are contributing to collapsing salmon stocks. The second Canadian-led Gulf of Alaska expedition will chart the same course as a trawl survey of Paciﬁc salmon launched in 2019 with the goal of building broader international co-operation. Brian Riddell, a scientiﬁc adviser to the non-proﬁt Paciﬁc Salmon Foundation (PSF), said the results of last winter’s research — along with some of the worst salmon returns ever to B.C. rivers in 2019 — make the follow-up survey essential. “It’s going to be very similar because we’re going to repeat what we did last year,” Riddell explained. “How we ﬁsh depends on the weather.” Last year’s expedition, organized in conjunction with the International Year of the Salmon, provided scientists from B.C., Russia and Japan with a long overdue opportunity to conduct joint research on high-seas salmon migration. By sampling ocean catches for disease, diet, size and genetics, they hope to advance understanding of how mechanisms regulate ocean survival. As managing partner of the project, PSF is raising funds to augment $1 million provided through the B.C. Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund, announced last year by the Canadian government. Additional support has come from ﬁshing companies and private donors. Ocean survival is sometimes referred to as the “black box” of salmon migration. Science has yet to explain the complex interactions that enable salmon to navigate vast distances and return to their streams of origin. What happens to the various species as they winter in the gulf? Declines, particularly among chinook,
International Year of Salmon photo
An international team of 22 scientists joined the 2019 expedition. Five vessels are expected to take part in a 2021 pan-Paciﬁc survey. sockeye and coho runs, have made the growing anomaly of heat waves all over found in greatest abundance among the question much more than academic. the planet.” ﬁve species, followed by coho. Changes in climate, marine productiv“Coho were quite interesting,” Riddell Due to the weather-related phenomenon, ity and ocean conditions — notably the dynamics that usually drive ocean condisaid. “We caught quite a few out in the resurgence last year of the North Paciﬁc tions instead stall out in high-pressure Gulf of Alaska and two-thirds of them warm-water anomaly known as “the areas for extended periods, Saunders were from north central B.C. Coho have blob” — have added a greater sense of not been thought to be open-ocean ﬁsh.” explained. urgency, a pressing need to close the “You wind up with some pretty dramatic There they were, though, 1,000 kilomeknowledge gap. changes with the way the oceans are tres oﬀshore. Real-time genetic sam“A lot of what we’re trying to do is to functioning,” he said. pling, conducted at sea for the ﬁrst time, explain how climate and weather drive In the House of Commons Jan. 25, revealed the coho originated in northern everything to do with the oceans,” said Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns B.C. down to Puget Sound in Washington stressed the severity of the West Coast Mark Saunders, director of the InterState. national Year of the Salmon (IYS), a salmon crisis. Based on a surprisingly low sockeye “Last fall, we had the lowest return of program of the North Paciﬁc Anadrocatch, they predicted a low return of the Fraser River sockeye in recorded mous Fish Commission. “You’ve got 600,000 adults, Riddell said. The number history,” Johns told fellow MPs. “This is a situation like the warm blob, really a that actually returned was close, about the largest salmon-bearing stream in the 500,000, a fraction of the run forecast by world. We had low returns in Clayoquot, DFO. Whatever causes high mortality in in the Skeena, in the Kennedy. Last year sockeye must be occurring before they in the Kennedy, we did not have a single reach the Gulf of Alaska, the scientists returning spawning ﬁsh. This is a salmon- concluded. bearing area that produced 200,000 ﬁsh They also expected to ﬁnd more pink — just decades ago. It is clear that there is a supposedly the most abundant salmon in salmon emergency taking place in British the North Paciﬁc — though low numbers Columbia. A crisis is taking place in Brit- were consistent with poor returns in Alaska and southern B.C. ish Columbia.” The oﬀshore research was spearheaded Riddell spent most of his career with DFO and co-authored Canada’s policy for by Dick Beamish, a retired Paciﬁc Biological Station director who continues to conservation of wild Paciﬁc salmon 15 years ago. He believes multiple factors steer the initiative as it expands. are causing stock declines. There is no “As we started to build it, it grew into a bigger piece as part of International Year question, though, that a warmer North Paciﬁc is having an eﬀect over multiple of the Salmon,” Saunders said. “Dick years and across broad areas. Various always wanted to get ships back onto the stock enhancement measures could be high seas.” Canada’s high-seas salmon research applied to address declines. lapsed for 10 to 15 years, he noted. Il“We have the tools to help,” he added. “I don’t know if we can incorporate them legal driftnet ﬁshing, which clobbered stocks for years, had ceased to be a quickly enough.” threat back then. As well, there wasn’t a The 2020 expedition will have fewer research vessel available to do the work, scientists aboard due to space constraints. Saunders said. Instead of the Russian research ves“Before the increased uncertainty due sel used last year, they have hired the to climate change, they could get a fairly Canadian commercial trawler Paciﬁc good idea close to home” in terms of Legacy. Meanwhile, an expanded survey stock recruitment and run size, he noted. is planned for next year. With returns often falling far short of “For 2021, the vision — and it actually projections, that’s no longer the case. comes from Russia — was we have to Catch rates during last winter’s survey do a full pan-Paciﬁc survey of salmon were lower than expected, yet ﬁsh were migration,” Saunders said. Next year’s generally in good health. For the ﬁrst expedition will involve ﬁve vessels and time, researchers were able to estimate span overlapping migratory paths of total salmon abundance in the survey salmon from Asia and North America. area: roughly 55 million. Chum were
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The president’s message to Nuu-chah-nulth-aht Hello Everyone. January was quite the month, the start of a new year. Much snow and rain created havoc on the roads and in our communities. The closing of the road to Toﬁno/Ucluelet for almost 2 days would be the highlight, though the road to Ditidaht and Huu-ay-aht were also of concern. At the Directors meeting, Minister Claire Travena, Minister of Transportation, came in to talk about our vision for coastal ferry services. The directors took the opportunity to tell her about all their travel challenges. The closure of Highway 4 was mentioned by all First Nations living on the other side of the highway and causes many challenges. Each of the Directors reported on issues on ferries like Ahousaht and Hesquiaht, the costs, and the inability to get people to hospitals in bad weather. Forestry roads that aren’t being maintained due to the forestry strike. The Minister was given a good picture of the challenges our people face getting to towns for medical appointments, or just to get groceries. The Minister didn’t have too much to say on Highway 4 other than to thank us for our patience and promised how wonderful it will be when the highway is ﬁxed. The province of B.C. appointed 2 people to do a review of old growth in the province. Nuu-chah-nulth met with them and told them our concerns. The Nuu-chahnulth position is that our nations should be managers of our forests. That it is up to the nations to determine if old growth is logged, or how much is logged. Many of our nations do have commercial interests in the forests but they have the ability to determine how much old growth they take. We talked about the importance of old growth to our people for medicinal plants, wilife habitat, ecosystems to support our rights, and for our carvers to ﬁnd trees that are big enough for canoes, welcoming ﬁgures and totems. We talked about the various initiatives in our communities from land use plans and cedar access strategies. We also informed them of the initiatives of Nuchatlaht, Mowachaht/Muchalaht, and Ehattesaht in establishing Salmon Managed Conservation areas. That is the forest has to be managed to ensure salmon can survivehishukishtswalk. The panel will make recommendations to the government by the end of March and the government has up to 6 months to respond. Meanwhile a lot of old growth can be removed from Nuu-chah-nulth territories. For our How Do Governments Make Things Right with Nuu-chah-nulth Project (some call it Reconciliation), our facilitator Shana Thomas will be coming back into communities and urban areas for more dialogue. Watch for notices of when she will come in to your communities so you can have your say. We are forming a Nuu-chah-nulth justice committee. We have been working with various organizations to work on a Nuu-chah-nulth court or restorative justice program. We would like to hear from the voice of the people on what we would like to see. Do we want to focus on criminal or family issues? Do we
Community&Beyond 7th Annual Career Fair
Campbell River We would be honoured if you would join us at our Memorial Potlatch for our late mother Margaret Jack, at Thunderbird Hall, 1420 Weiwaikum Road, Campbell River BC, starting at NOON with lunch.
Alberni Athletic Hall, 9 AM TO 3 PM Free table registration Contact Kirunn Sharma or Shan Ross for further details, Phone:250-723-1331 Fax: 250-723-1336 email@example.com shan. firstname.lastname@example.org
Memorial Potlach Uchucklesaht Tribe People’s Assembly
May 16 Lake Cowichan
Port Alberni want to do it as part of the court system, or in our own communities-like the long house? What protocols would we use? Let me know if you want to be on this committee. I attended Gathering Wisdom, which is the annual meeting of the First Nations health Authority. They give us updates on what they have accomplished and what still needs to be worked on, like patient travel. There has been some political upheaval as the CEO of the First Nations Health Authority was let go without cause after 6 years of good work, and the First Nations Health Council, the political body, let go of Doug Kelly as their Chair. Doug Kelly is now suing the FNHA. At the opening, a joint statement of the FNHC and FNHA was read saying that since the matter of Doug Kelly was before the courts, they could not talk about it. They also said in the statement that they were working hard at healing the relations between the 3 bodies and working together for the good of the health of our members. We are meeting with the chairs of FNHA and FNHC to make sure health is a priority and focus of their work. There is going to be an evaluation of the health council. It would be important for people to participate and give your views on the health council. I attended Our Gathering, which is the annual gathering with Indigenous Service Canada. Around 461 people attended. Ministers Miller and Bennett chose to attend a cabinet gathering on strategies to implement the Speech from the Throne. They did not make B.C. First Nations a priority. Our Gathering is a good chance to talk to ISC and CIRNA bureaucrats. There was a commitment that UNDRIP legislation would be passed within the year, the law to come from the federal government and not a private members bill. They also said there would be money available to First Nations to develop laws under the new federal legislation on children and families. We are planning a forum on children and families on March 25th and 26th and looking at the various options that NTC could take. A busy month and next month will also bring many more things to work on. As the Vice President Andy Callicum has resigned, an extraordinary meeting will be held on Feb. 24th to elect a VP for the remainder of the term until September 2021. -Kekinusuqs, Judith Sayers
Location: The Thunderbird 5251 Argyle Street Port Alberni. Time: Meeting 9:00am-12:00pm. What: Peoples Assembly re: Budget. Facilitator: Scott Coulson. Who: Uchucklesaht Tribe Citizens & Enrollees Language Gathering
March 24 – 27 Port Alberni
We the Livingstone family are now planning a Memorial Potlach for our Father and Hereditary Chief Sha e’ Lum, Cyril Edward Livingstone. Bring your drums and regalia. All family and friends are invited. Location: Lake Cowichan Arena, 311 S Shore Rd, Lake Cowichan, contact Lake Cowichan First Nation at (250) 749-3301 for information. Suicide Peer Support Group
Where: Maht Mahs Gym Time: 9:00am—2:30pm Breakfast and Lunch Provided Daily Open to All Interested in the Nuu-chahnulth Language. RSVP to Elsie.Antuna@nuuchahnulth.org. Any Questions please phone : 250-724-5757
First Thursday, Monthly Port Alberni The KUU-US Crisis Line Society holds a Suicide Peer Support Group Meeting on the ﬁrst Thursday of each month at the KUU-US Oﬃce location. 4589 Adelaide St, Port Alberni.
Obituaries The late Dave Ignace “Mushguy”, of Hesquiat passed on suddenly on Dec. 5th, 2019 from a fatal aneurysm. He collapsed with his work boots on in his front yard at the home he loved so much. The 911 chopper ride took 1 hour to Victoria General where he passed away surrounded by loving family. He is missed by his loving wife of 44years 5 months and 5days, Dianne, 4 children: Jody, Kaesok, Jeﬀ and Korianne, a son in law Nathan George, 8 grandchildren and 3 sisters: Maggie, Jeannie & Anne, along with a large extended family. His internment is in Hesquiat next to his father and 2 sisters.
February 13, 2020—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 13
-----------JOB OPPORTUNITIES -----------
PORT ALBERNI PORT AUTHORITY Seasonal Summer Staﬀ The Port Alberni Port Authority invites applications for seasonal summer employment beginning March 1, 2020 to September 30, 2020 at all four Port Authority marinas as well as China Creek Campground. The hourly wage will start at $15.00. Applications must include a cover letter, resume and three (3) references. Email applications to bﬁlipchuk@alberniport.ca or addressed to: Port Alberni Port Authority attention: Bianca Filipchuk 2750 Harbour Road, Port Alberni, B.C. V9Y 7X2 Successful candidates will be eligible to register for the Port Alberni Port Authority’s Annual Bursary.
Hupac^asath= First Nation Job Opportunities Chief Executive Oﬃcer full time Accounting Assistant full time Communication Coordinator full time Natural Resource Manager full time Housing, Capital & Public Works Coordinator full time Human Resource Consultant part time
To view more job postings visit www.hashilthsa.com
To apply for any of the above job postings please send a copy of your resume and cover letter explaining your suitability for the position and salary requirements to email@example.com Hupcasath First Nation, 5500 Ahahswinis Dr, Portr Alberni BC V9Y 7M7
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Tseshaht and Huu-ay-aht sign historic agreement By Sam Laskaris Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Port Alberni, BC - Instead of growing increasingly frustrated, Tseshaht First Nation Councillor Wahmeesh, Ken Watts, decided the time was right to express long-standing concerns. While talking to oﬃcials from the Huuay-aht First Nations this past December, Watts stated his disappointment his First Nation was not receiving proper recognition for businesses operating in its territory. That initial discussion led to more talks. And then this past Friday, Feb. 7 the Tseshaht and Huu-ay-aht signed a historic protocol agreement, detailing the proper ways to conduct business. “I think it just shows sometimes it takes a simple conversation to lead to dialogue which can lead to action,” Watts said of the deal, the ﬁrst of its kind in the Alberni Valley. The two First Nations are close and have conducted plenty of business in the past. But a bit of friction had been brewing since those from the Tseshaht First Nation felt they were not receiving proper recognition. This included the fact Huu-ay-aht First Nations opened up a government oﬃce in Tseshaht territory, without giving proper recognition, about four years ago. “I think there was hope it would happen – that maybe they’d show up and ask permission,” Watts said, explaining why Tseshaht oﬃcials did not ask for recognition in the past from those operating businesses in its territory. Regardless of how long it took, Watts is pleased with the end result of a signed protocol agreement now. While there has been plenty of reconciliation talk in recent years, Watts believes the protocol agreement between Tseshaht and Huu-ay-aht is a variation of that. “I think this is an example of nations reconciling among themselves,” he said. The protocol agreement is rooted in the sacred principles of ʔiisaak (Utmost Respect), ʔuuʔałuk (Taking Care of….), and Hišuk ma c̕awak (Everything is One). It was signed in front of elected and hereditary leadership from both First Nations. Respected elders were also among those who witnessed the event. “Our two nations have always been close,” said Huu-ay-aht First Nations Chief Robert Dennis said. “Our elders held that relationship close to their hearts, but we were letting that drift away.” Dennis acknowledged in the past it was suitable for First Nations to conduct business by hosting and attending potlaches. But he understands the need to do things diﬀerently.
“Now we have to look at things diﬀerently in a modern world” ~ Huu-ay-aht Chief Councillor Robert Dennis “Now we have to look at things diﬀerently in a modern world,” Dennis said. “Instead of potlatches we use paper. But we cannot forget our connections and our traditional ways of working together for the best of both nations.” Huu-ay-aht Hereditary Chief Jeﬀ Cook is hoping the protocol agreement serves as an example to others. “I am proud of what we are doing,” he said. “It is a little step, but it shows we appreciate each other and our relationship. I see a vision where all nations move forward together like this, and we’d all be successful. It’s about making a better life for our people and trying to improve all of our lives.” Tseshaht Chief Councillor Cynthia Dick also supports the new protocol agreement. “This is important business that we are doing,” she said. “It is a reminder that we are walking in both worlds, and it is amazing to see our nations put things aside to look for better ways to work together in the future.” The protocol agreement ensures that the Huu-ay-aht First Nations will use appropriate acknowledgement signs for all of its businesses operating in Tseshaht territory. The agreement also details how both the Huu-ay-aht and Tseshaht nations will explore ways to work together economically. Potential partnerships as well as business opportunities, investments and planned developments are to be well communicated by both parties. Additionally, the two nations agreed to meet quarterly to discuss possible partnership opportunities. There will also be annual reviews of the protocol agreement. Watts is hoping Friday’s protocol signing leads to other ones as well. He said there are four other First Nations operating businesses in Tseshaht territory without giving proper acknowledgements, and he has already been in touch with one of them. “We’re hoping this sets the precedent in our territory,” Watts said. “At the end of the day we will reach out to who we have to.”
Tseshaht First Nation/Facebook photo
On Friday, Feb. 7 leaders from the Tseshaht and Huu-ay-aht First Nations signed a protocol agreement for regular communication and territorial acknowledgment. Pictured are Huu-ay-aht Chief Councillor Robert Dennis Sr. and Tseshaht Chief Councillor Cynthia Dick.
Photo by Holly Stocking
RCMP Oﬃcer Peter Batt and SD 70 Indigenous Education Team Member Peggy Tatoosh pose in front of the Tseshaht Long house on Feb. 5. The RCMP and SD 70 coordinated a Cultural Parallel Sharing Event for Grade 7 students from Maquinna Elementary and E.J. Dunn, which focused on developing a positive personal and cultural identity through the exploration of cultural backgrounds.
Photo by Greg Louie
Workers lay concrete for the construction of a wastewater treatment plant in Ahousaht. The $21-million project entails excavation, building a pump station and installing approximately 900 metres of twinned pipe to improve services for the Flores Island community. “This facility will replace our old antiquated current system,” said Ahousaht Chief Councillor Greg Louie. “The new updated system will use innovative, clean ﬁltration to release waste water eﬄuent in a safe manner.” Besides workers with Hazelwood Construction, several Ahousaht members are employed in the project.
February 13, 2020—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 15
Master woodcarver Joe Martin receives arts grant Carving gives the Tla-o-qui-aht member a sense of purpose as he passes the tradition on to younger generations By Melissa Renwick Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Ty-Histanis, BC - When Joe Martin was a young boy growing up in the village of Opitsaht, his father didn’t give him a choice of whether he wanted to go hunting, ﬁshing, trapping or canoe building. “Get ready, we’re going,” Martin describes the late Chief Robert Martin Sr. saying to him on Meares Island. And whether he liked it or not, Martin would go. “There was no such thing as a couch potato in the former days,” Martin said. “People used to speak really proudly about being strong and being ready.” It was during those formative years that Martin developed a deep relationship with the art of Nuu-chah-nulth woodcarving. Like a bed of moss, he absorbed all of his father’s teachings and carries on a tradition that few still know how to do – carving a traditional dugout canoe. Martin was recently awarded a grant of over $10,000 from the First Peoples’ Cultural Council Sharing Traditional Arts Across Generations program. With the funding, he’s giving the next generation the gift his father gave to him by hosting a series of workshops that will provide an introduction to traditional Nuu-chahnulth woodcarving. Participants will have the option of working on a canoe paddle or a bentwood box, where they will learn how to identify, harvest and prepare the wood for their projects, along with how to plan and design their carvings. The master carver says he’s starving for young people to get a hold of these teachings in hopes that one day they will be able to go out and do it on their own.
Photos by Melissa Renwick
Joe Martin, right, leads David Curley through the building of a canoe at the Tla-o-qui-aht maintenance yard in Ty-Histanis. “Maybe not all of them,” he said. “But at least one or two of them so it can be passed on.” The grant is intended to help support other developing Indigenous artists and to engage citizens who also wish to learn about cultural practices, says Rebecca Henn, a freelance consultant who helped Martin submit the grant application. “It’s passing on that knowledge to future
generations to carry on those traditions and keep them alive,” Henn said. Recently, 23-year-old David Curley started helping Martin carve a dugout canoe within the maintenance yard in Ty-Histanis. The self-taught wood carver specializes in masks and rattles that he sells on Campbell Street in Toﬁno, but has become enamoured with the intricacies of carving a canoe. “It’s all of my history,” Curley said of the dugout canoe. “My family made canoes for generations.” Geared towards Indigenous Peoples, the workshops allow Martin to share the
ancient cultural practices while teaching participants about their symbolism within Nuu-chah-nulth culture – like the bentwood box, which can be used as a burial box for ancestors, as well storage for ceremonial regalia. Using humour as a teaching method, Martin’s goal is to make it fun. “When I do that, I think that [the youth] open up a lot more,” he said. The now 66-year-old says that he never could have imagined he would be doing this as a career. “I love it,” he said. “It gives me purpose.”
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