INTERESTING NEWS Canada’s Oldest First Nations Newspaper - Serving Nuu-chah-nulth-aht since 1974 Canadian Publications Mail Product Vol. 48 - No. 01—January 14, 2021 haas^i>sa Sales Agreement No. 40047776
Photo supplied by Huu-ay-aht First Nations
Huu-ay-aht Chief Councillor Robert Dennis receives the Moderna vaccination for COVID-19 on Jan. 4, as his Anacla community was prioritised due to past exposure and its remote location.
Remote communities receive Moderna vaccine First Nations look forward to resuming potlatches in 2021, widespread inoculations made available for adults By Melissa Renwick Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Vancouver Island, BC - Residents from six Nuu-chah-nulth nations are among the ﬁrst to receive the Moderna vaccine within British Columbia. The communities of Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/ Che:k:tles7et’h’ First Nations, Huu-ayaht First Nations, Ehattesaht First Nation, Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation, Nuuchatlaht First Nation and Ahousaht First Nation were prioritized due to their remote locations and limited access to health care. Ahousaht Chief Councillor Greg Louie said he was “overwhelmed” when the First Nations Health Authority informed him that Ahousaht was selected to receive the vaccine. “There’s [over] 6 billion people in this world and we were chosen,” he said. “I think that says a lot about who Ahousaht is.” Huu-ay-aht Chief Councillor Robert Dennis was among the ﬁrst within his community to receive the vaccine on Jan. 4. It was a responsibility he said he feels “comfortable” with. “We want to lead by example,” he said. “If there’s something that we can do to stop the spread [of COVID-19], we’re willing to be front and centre to ensure that it gets done.” The vaccine was made available to all 123 Huu-ay-aht members living in Anacla aged 18 years and older, excluding women who are pregnant, nursing or
breastfeeding, said Coral Johnson, Huuay-aht director of community services. According to the nation, 70 community members were vaccinated. The only side eﬀects residents experienced were sore arms. There are ten additional residents who are waiting to receive the vaccine, which the nation is working to issue. While there were a select few who were hesitant to receive the vaccine, Dennis said that the vast majority of Huu-ay-aht members were “willing and waiting.” Throughout November and December, the community of Ehattesaht, near Zeballos, struggled to manage a COVID-19 outbreak. Of its 100 residents, 28 tested positive. The virus was eventually brought under control before the New Year when the last positive case passed the 10-day quarantine period. “We were pretty lucky when you think about how much worse it could have been, thankfully our elders, and those with compromised health, stayed safe and it didn’t spread outside of our village,” said Ehattesaht Chief Councillor Simon John in a release. “Now, we have to head into a new phase and have our people vaccinated to prevent another outbreak because no one wants to go through [that] again. Like Dennis, John stepped up to be among the ﬁrst in his community to get the vaccination on Jan. 4. It was his attempt to calm resident’s nerves and “show everyone that it is safe.” “For me this feels a bit historic,” he said. “As First Nations in remote com-
Inside this issue... Chantel Moore investigation complete.......................Page 3 COVID-19 survivor gets vaccinated..........................Page 5 Tourism businesses hope for better year...................Pages 9 Parking lot altercation turns violent..........................Page 11 2-D canoe crafted by students..................................Page 15
munities, we have been asking to be ﬁrst for a long time and I think this gives us some comfort. We are a long way from a hospital.” Leading by example, Louie was also one of the ﬁrst to receive the vaccine within his community. It was the Ahousaht chief’s way of showing residents his “commitment to providing safety and wellness.” Over four days, roughly 400 members received the vaccine in the remote community of around 1,000 people. Other than children and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, there were some residents who opted not to receive the vaccine. “I have to respect their decision,” said Louie. After years of advocating for improved health services, Louie said he hopes awareness of the nation’s limited resources will become more of a provincial priority going forward. Unlike the ﬁrst Health Canada-approved COVID-19 vaccine by Pﬁzer-BioNTech, the Moderna doses do not require ultracold storage, making it easier to transport to remote communities. To guard against the potential “sabotage” of immunization programs, the province is not releasing transportation details. Community members in Yuquot received their ﬁrst round of vaccines on Jan. 6. “It’s a huge relief because it’s the only defense we have right now,” said Wanda
Wilson, Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation administrator. “I am more excited than I am afraid.” Combined with the nation’s continued eﬀorts to wear masks and sanitize their hands, Wilson said “it’s almost like you can see a little bit of the light at the end of the tunnel.” For Dennis, immunization means that his community will be one step closer to being able to gather again. He hopes that attending potlatches is in Huu-ay-aht’s near future. “That’s one of the big things people are missing,” he said. “Being able to get together with family, share a good, big meal and [enjoy] songs and dances. I’m extremely excited about that happening again.” In eﬀort to develop herd immunity, Jeanette Watts, Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council (NTC) manager of nursing services, said it’s really important to get as many NTC members vaccinated as possible. While the vaccine will eventually be available to all of their membership, no one is being forced to receive it. Once the more remote communities are immunized, Watts said the remaining Nuu-chah-nulth nations will “be right in line.” Although the vaccines oﬀer a defense against the virus, Louie said he expects members to continue to adhere to provincial health orders. “Everybody needs to be vigilant,” he said. “We can’t let our guard down.”
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Page 2— Ha-Shilth-Sa—January 14, 2021
Body of missing elder Harry Lucas found near Hot Springs Cove By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Hot Springs Cove, BC - The search for Hesquiaht elder Harry Lucas came to a tragic end Jan. 2 when his body was found in Clayoquot Sound. A ground search crew from Hot Springs Cove located the 80-year-old’s remains on a beach near the remote village north of Toﬁno. Lucas had gone missing on New Year’s Eve during a trip in his skiﬀ from Toﬁno to Hot Springs Cove. He landed brieﬂy in Ahousaht at the General Store at about 3 p.m., but did not make to his ﬁnal destination. Resident Marilyn Lucas told Ha-ShilthSa Lucas’ remains were found on the morning of Saturday, Jan. 2 at a beach she identiﬁed as Muchasnit, just inside the north entrance to the cove. Pieces of the light blue wooden cabin began appearing on the shoreline inside of Hot Springs Cove on Saturday morning. Just as search boats were being called to the area, a resident of the cove who was looking over local beaches reported the discovery. In a social media statement written on behalf of Moses Lucas, who is Harry’s younger brother, he conﬁrmed that his brother was found deceased. He thanked searchers from neighbouring nations Ahousaht and Tla-o-qui-aht for their assistance. He also thanked members of the Hesquiaht community that participated in both the boat and ground searches. “Our hearts are heavy today. We join the Lucas family and all of our Hesquiaht family in grieving this terrible loss,” said Hesquiaht Chief Councillor Joshua Charleson in a statement. “Our commu-
By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter
Photo by Eric Plummer
Harry Lucas went missing on New Years Eve after a stop in Ahousaht on his way to Hot Springs Cove in a skiﬀ. for their tireless eﬀorts to locate Elder nity of Hot Springs Cove and our entire Lucas and bring him home safe,” added nation are devastated by this tragedy.” Charleson. “Hesquiaht First Nation wants to sinLucas was a ﬂuent speaker of the Nuucerely thank the Ahousaht Search and Rescue team, The Tla-o-qui-aht First Na- chah-nulth language. He leaves behind tion, The Canadian Coast Guard and HSC his wife, Yvonne, their children and EOC and Hesquiaht community members grandchildren.
Police rule out foul play in death of ‘kind and gentle’ Leonard Williams By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa editor Nanaimo, BC - Police have ruled out homicide in the death of Leonard Williams, a Tla-o-qui-aht member whose body was found in downtown Nanaimo on Dec. 26 near the tent where he lived. Early in the morning of Dec. 26 the 59-year-old’s body was found on Fitzwilliam Street, near Wallace in Nanaimo’s Old City Quarter. Indications of a disturbance in the area were reported from the preceding night, but police have not linked these noises to Williams’ death. “A forensic autopsy was completed on Dec. 31, 2020 and foul play has been ruled out as a cause of death,” stated the Nanaimo RCMP in a press release issued Jan. 4. “In the course of the investigation, police also followed up reports that loud noises were heard at approximately 11 p.m. on Dec. 25, in the vicinity of where the deceased was located. Investigators are conﬁdent and have concluded that these reports were not connected to his death.” The 59-year-old’s older brother ﬁnds it unlikely that any ill intent would be directed towards Williams. “Leonard didn’t have any enemies, as far as I know,” said Bruce Martin. “Anybody that had any animosity towards him, he talked them out of it. It’s just the kind of person he was.”
Investigation into death of Chantel Moore is complete
Photo submitted by Kim Goldberg
Leonard Williams was found deceased on Dec. 26 in Nanaimo’s Old City Quarter. An online gathering is to be held in his honour on Jan. 6. After a childhood on Meares Island and years of residing with a foster family in Port Alberni, Williams lived on the streets of Nanaimo for approximately 30 years. He most recently took shelter in a tent across the street from the Occidental bar on Fitzwilliam Street. “If he was invited to live with somebody he would deny,” commented Martin. “We had the pleasure of having him stay with us for a while. I enjoyed the time with him.” Williams’ older brother reﬂects that he would have been a good leader.
“He was really positive, he showed us all something,” said Martin. “Regardless of where he was, he would make time for anybody.” Through online, virtual means, close family and friends plan to share a dinner in Williams’ honour on Wednesday. A prayer and song will be performed by Levi Martin. “I just want to remember him the way he was,” added Bruce Martin. “He was kind and gentle all the time, and he was always grateful for family and friends.”
Edmundston, NB – Six months after the police shooting death of Chantel Moore, the Quebec-based agency BEI has completed its investigation and, according to their press release issued December 2020, reports have been delivered to the New Brunswick Coroner and New Brunswick Public Prosecution Services. Chantel Moore, age 26, of Tla-o-quiaht had just moved into her Edmundston apartment in New Brunswick that summer. Her young daughter Gracie was staying with Moore’s mother, Martha, at their house not far away. Martha said she and her spouse were woken to loud pounding on their door in the early morning hours of June 4 by a police oﬃcer who was looking for Chantel. Martha gave the oﬃcer Chantel’s address. Moore was alone in her upstairs apartment unit that morning. Her friend, who was out of the province, became concerned about her safety after speaking to her on the phone. He called Edmundston Police to ask that they check on her. According to information released by the BEI (Le Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes), an oﬃcer arrived at the apartment at about 2:32 a.m., less than 30 minutes after the initial call for help. He approached the apartment by an outdoor staircase and landing that leads up to the entrance of Moore’s unit. The police oﬃcer alleged that after repeatedly knocking on Moore’s living room window, she eventually came to her door armed with a knife. The oﬃcer said Moore walked toward him brandishing the knife. According to the Dec. 20 BEI media release, the oﬃcer then stepped back onto the balcony, asking the woman a few times to drop the knife before shooting her multiple times. First aid was given by the oﬃcer and, according to the BEI statement, paramedics pronounced Moore dead at 2:45 a.m. Moore’s mother Martha is devastated by the loss and does not believe the police oﬃcer’s version of events. “It just doesn’t make sense,” she said. Martin pointed out many inconsistencies and saw her daughter’s wounds. But since the BEI report is now in the hands of the prosecutors, she knows she must wait to see whether they will proceed with charges against the police oﬃcer. In a statement the prosecutions service said it is taking the time to examine these ﬁndings to determine what steps will be taken. It is expected the examination of these ﬁndings will take several weeks. In an email to Ha-Shilth-Sa, Coreen Enos, Communications Oﬃcer for the New Brunswick Department of Justice and Public Safety, said there will be a public hearing on the facts of this case. “New Brunswick’s Oﬃce of the Chief Coroner has conﬁrmed there will be an inquest into this case following the conclusion of the criminal investigation and any court processes that may result from the investigation,” Enos wrote. Martin clings to the hope that justice will be served for her daughter, who has been described as kind, gentle and funloving. “There’s wounds, evidence on her body, and she’s not here to defend herself,” said Martin through her tears.
January 14, 2021—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 3
Ahousaht receives 520 doses of COVID-19 vaccine Flores Island community among Vancouver Island’s ﬁrst nine Indigenous communities to receive innoculation By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Ahousaht, BC – In what must feel like the beginning of the end of a pandemic, Ahousaht leadership say they are grateful to be selected as one of the ﬁrst communities to receive the vaccine for its residents. It was in late December 2020 that elected Chief Greg Louie said he received an email from First Nations Health Authority telling him that Ahousaht is among the ﬁrst remote Indigenous communities selected to receive the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. According to Dr. Shannon McDonald, acting chief medical oﬃcer with the First Nations Health Authority, there have been over 2,000 Indigenous people in B.C. infected with the COVID-19 virus since the beginning of the pandemic, and as of Jan. 5, 24 Status Indians have died. Since late December FNHA has been working in partnership with Island Health and Indigenous communities to receive and administer the vaccine to nine Indigenous communities on Vancouver Island over the ﬁrst few days of 2021. These communities were prioritized, according to FNHA, by the degree of remoteness and if they have been impacted by a COVID-19 outbreak. Located on Flores Island, Ahousaht is accessible only by boat or ﬂoat plane. It takes about 40 minutes for a water taxi to make the trip to Toﬁno, where the nearest hospital is located. There was an outbreak of COVID-19 in the village in December 2020 that has since resolved. Ahousaht is the largest Nuu-chah-nulth nation with an on-reserve population of about 1,000. The village received 520 doses of the Moderna vaccine, which was oﬀered to all Ahousaht residents over the age of 18. Approximately 400 residents were vaccinated over the ﬁrst week of January. Louie said non-band members will be included in the vaccination program including teachers, oﬃce staﬀ, contractors and other essential workers that attend the community on a regular
Nurses with the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council enter Ahousaht on Jan. 6, loaded with hundreds of Moderna doses.
“Even though we did our best to keep it out, COVID still came here.” ~ Greg Louie, Ahousaht elected chief basis. Elders living oﬀ reserve are not eligible to receive this round of vaccination. Louie said the 520 doses they received is strictly for residents of the community and he hoped that all units will be used. Taking the vaccine is an optional, personal choice, said Louie, but he said he hopes that people will keep family members that are elderly or immune-
Photo by Melissa Renwick
Pathways ﬂooded in Toﬁno as a wind storm swept through coast, on Jan. 5, 2021.
Storm ba!ers west coast By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Toﬁno, BC - A storm swept across all of Vancouver Island’s coast Jan. 5, with residents along the west coast reporting some of the strongest wind seen in years. “High winds may toss loose objects or cause tree branches to break,” stated an alert from Environment Canada. “Strong winds developed this morning ahead of a frontal system pushing across Vancouver Island. The winds will ease this evening
with the passage of the front.” Rainfall in excess of 100 millimetres was expected by evening, with winds in some locations surpassing 100 kilometres an hour. “Localized ﬂooding in low-lying areas is possible,” advised Environment Canada. “Watch for possible washouts near rivers, creeks and culverts.” BC Hydro reported power outages began in the early afternoon, stretching from Long Beach to Ahousaht.
Greg Louie compromised in mind when they consider whether or not they will take the vaccine. “The bottom line is that it is important to save people’s lives – to take care of our people’s health,” said Louie. FNHA has been working to assure the Indigenous community that the vaccine is safe and its beneﬁts outweigh the risks. Dr. McDonald noted that many Indigenous people are wary of the vaccine. She said that some recall historic trauma endured at Indian hospitals, medical experiments on children at Indian residential schools and the general mistrust of the medical profession. “We are working on building vaccine conﬁdence,” said McDonald. “The more people vaccinated, the less chance for the virus to spread through the community.” Since late December, Ahousaht chief and council, NTC nursing staﬀ and First Nations Health Authority staﬀ have been working together to plan the safe and orderly delivery of the vaccine. With social distancing protocols still in place, Ahousaht members came up with a plan to bring residents to the Maaqtusiis gym a few at a time, similar to their food distribution process. Since Ahousaht went on lockdown following a surge in COVID-19 cases, food is being brought into the village and distributed to the people so that they don’t have to travel away, potentially exposing themselves to the virus. Louie said the village is divided into eight sections. Residents are called to the food location based on the section
they live at. They listen out on their VHF radios or monitor social media to be called to go to food distribution. The same method was used for the vaccination program, which took place over four days Jan. 6 – 9, 2021. There were cultural support workers available to brush people or to help calm those that are worried about taking the vaccine. For those concerned about the safety of the vaccine, a session was set up with Medical Health Oﬃcer Dr. Charmaine Enns of Island Health via a tele-conferencing technology on Dec. 31. According to Louie, ﬁve nurses came to the village to run three vaccination tables at the gym. Ahousaht Hereditary Chief Tlakiishwia (John Keitlah Jr.) led a ceremony that included a prayer chant and words of gratitude for the work that the nurses do and for the relief that the vaccine will bring. “What do I feel about the vaccine coming here?” Louie asked. “Happiness, for lack of a better word.” He was pleased that his nation has been given this opportunity to be among the ﬁrst to receive a vaccine that will keep them safe and healthy. While they are thrilled to have the vaccination, Louie reminds people that they are not immune to the virus until they receive the second shot. He is optimistic that the second shots will be delivered to the community about four weeks following the initial shot. He reminds people that they need to keep up social distancing and other safety protocols in the meantime. “Even though we did our best to keep it out, COVID still came here,” said Louie. An additional nine B.C. First Nations communities received the vaccine over the ﬁrst week of January for a total of 18 communities. Plans for vaccinating Indigenous elders living oﬀ reserve is in the works. Dr. McDonald says FNHA is working with Island Health and other agencies to plan for the distribution of the vaccine. “Getting the vaccine to everyone is a logistically immense operation,” she said. She asked people to please be patient, assuring them that the FNHA team of over 100 people are working hard to plan for the distribution of the vaccine.
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Leaders urge residents to trust vaccine By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Port Alberni, BC - Doctors and First Nations leaders are urging Aboriginal people to put their trust in the health authorities to support the province’s inoculation effort against COVID-19. Just over a week after the Moderna vaccine was approved by Health Canada, doses were sent to remote Nuu-chahnulth communities on Jan. 4. Over the ﬁrst week of 2021 a large proportion of adults in Anacla, Ahousaht, Tsaxana, Kyuquot, Ehatis and Oclucje were given the shot. More settlements on the west coast of Vancouver Island are expected to receive priority attention in the coming weeks due to their distance from medical facilities. As the second wave of the highly infectious virus continues to spread, leaders are urging those who live in remote locations to get the shot while the opportunity is there – although vaccination is not mandatory. “We are encouraging people to take the vaccine,” said Mariah Charleson, vice-president of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council. “My worry is that all the resources that are going into getting these vaccines into rural and remote communities, that’s not going to happen again.” Based on studies of 30,000 participants, the Moderna vaccine is deemed 94.1 per cent eﬀective in preventing COVID-19 two weeks after the second dose is administered. That second dose is expected to arrive in remote Nuu-chah-nulth communities four weeks after the ﬁrst shot is given. It contains molecules that give a person’s cells instructions to build proteins that trigger an immune response to protect from COVID-19. “When a person is given the vaccine, their cells will read the genetic instructions like a recipe and produce the spike protein,” describes Health Canada. “Once triggered, our body then makes antibodies. These antibodies help us ﬁght the infection if the real virus does enter our body in the future.” The Moderna doses can be stored under normal refrigeration for up to 30 days, unlike the -70C requirements for the Pﬁzer-BioNTech vaccine that was ﬁrst approved by Health Canada. This makes Moderna better suited for travel to west
Photo supplied by Ehattesaht First Nation
Ehattesaht Councillor Ernie Smith receives the Moderna vaccine for COVID-19 on Jan. 4. coast villages. “One of the things we were ﬁghting for But many who live in the First Nations was culturally safe contact tracers early communities that the province has prion in the pandemic, bringing out the oritized will be asked to trust a medical importance of having those people in system that in the past has them feelthe community. We saw that with Ehating disregarded. An independent report tesaht.” released in late November by Mary-Ellen Another challenge facing the wideTurpel Lafond listed widespread accounts spread inoculation is mistrust of the of discrimination and racism in B.C. vaccine itself. While it can take a decade health care, leading many to distrust the for a shot to be developed, tested and professionals they now rely on for vacdistributed, the Moderna COVID-19 cination. vaccine was rushed to availability in less “There are people in every one of our than a year. Health Canada lists mild communities that will not go see a nurse, side eﬀects, such as mild body chills, they will not see a doctor, because they pain where the shot is given, fatigue or don’t trust the system,” noted Charlefeeling feverish after receiving a dose – son. “I know people alive that have been but health oﬃcials insist that the vaccine tested on in Indian hospitals, and not very is the safest means of controlling the long ago.” coronavirus. The vaccine has not been Charleson added that the NTC has dealt deemed safe for those under 18. with this lack of trust by relying on the “No major safety concerns have been NTC’s nurses for COVID testing and identiﬁed in the data that we reviewed,” vaccination, providing familiar faces states Health Canada. “As with all vacto those who live hours away from the cines, there’s a chance that there will be closest hospital. The tribal council has a serious side eﬀect, but these are rare. not been in total agreeance with how A serious side eﬀect might be something the province has handled the pandemic, like an allergic reaction.” and continues to push for more people Dr. Kelsey Louie, a medical oﬃcer with in remote communities to be trained as the First Nations Health Authority, does contact tracers. not foresee any long-term side eﬀects. Charleson points to the failure of the “I feel quite conﬁdent that it’s going to BC Centre for Disease Control to pinboost the immune system, it’s going to point the origin of a December outbreak boost the ability to protect your body,” hitting the Ehattesaht First Nation which he said. “It think it’s really valuable and infected over one quarter of its on-reserve really important to protecting our compopulation. munities. I’m certainly waiting eagerly to “It all came tumbling down,” she said. being able to receive my vaccine.”
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January 14, 2021—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 5
COVID-19 survivor gets vaccinated in Ahousaht World Health Organization advises that past infection does not guarantee permanent immunity against virus By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Ahousaht, BC – It has been a long month of recovery for Ahousaht elder Darlene Dick and she has still not regained full strength. “I’m slowly getting stronger but I still can’t do stairs,” Dick said in a phone interview with Ha-Shilth-Sa. It was late November when Dick visited the local clinic complaining of a sore throat. At the time, she said she wasn’t oﬀered a COVID-19 test by the doctor. She was told she had a virus and was sent home to recover. Darlene spent a week at home with her husband, her condition getting progressively worse. To top it oﬀ, the couple is following the orders of the provincial health oﬃcer and have been keeping to themselves. With no family coming to visit, nobody knew how ill Darlene was getting. “I was home all week, not eating, getting weaker,” she said. Darlene’s husband Alec had to help her get up to go to the bathroom, to feed her, to dress her. It was their son, Curtis Dick, who heads up Ahousaht’s Emergency Operations Centre, that arranged to have Darlene sent to the hospital. While at Toﬁno General Hospital, Darlene was administered a COVID-19 test but was sent back to Ahousaht before the results were available. Two days later she was rushed back to the Toﬁno hospital to ﬁnd that her test was positive. She was taken to a hotel by ambulance to rest. “I was so weak the paramedics had to bring me to the bed,” she recalled. The following morning, Dick’s oldest daughter Ina arrived at the hotel to check on her mother. She called the ambulance when she saw that her mother could not get up oﬀ of the bed. Darlene was then sent to Nanaimo Regional District Hospital by ambulance. At the time, it didn’t bother Dick that she was being sent to Nanaimo. “I was so sick and the paramedics were really good to me,” she recalled. But when she heard it was COVID-19, she said she was scared. “I have high blood pressure and am on pills for my heart, so I felt worried, emotional,” she said. In Nanaimo, Dick says she was immediately placed in ICU. “I noticed it was ﬁve to eleven when I got there,” she said, adding that it wasn’t until after 4 a.m. that hospital staﬀ were done taking care of her for the night. “I was on strong IV antibiotics, other medications, and high ﬂow oxygen.”
Darlene and Alec Dick sit at their Ahousaht home after receiving vaccination for COVID-19 from NTC nurses Katy Lauzon (far left) and Kelsey Rix. antibodies are protected from a second and get stronger. It was easier to breathe once she began infection.” In early January Darlene received visireceiving the oxygen. Dick said she was Health professionals at Immunize BC tors, NTC nurses whot came to her to so feeble during her ﬁrst week in ICU advise people that have had or may have that she had to rely on the nurses for help vaccinate her against the virus. While she’s heard that she may now be immune had COVID-19 illness to get the vaccine. with everything. “This is because you may not be imto the coronavirus, now that she has “The ﬁrst week to 10 days they had to recovered, she said her children consulted mune to the virus that causes COVID-19 bathe me and even had to help me turn and you could get infected again and with health authorities and were advised over in bed,” she recalled. become sick,” states an Immunize BC her to get the vaccine. Even worse, Dick couldn’t speak to her According to the World Health Organurse. husband for the ﬁrst few days because of Darlene Dick highly recommends the nization, when individuals are infected the breathing tube. vaccine. Of having the virus, she says, “I “I didn’t know how I was going to make with the virus that causes COVID-19, they develop antibodies a few weeks after don’t wish it on anybody, I hope people out or what was going to happen,” she will take this seriously, take all the preinfection. told Ha-Shilth-Sa. cautions and be careful. It is hard on the “We know that individuals who have Finally, after two weeks in ICU, Dick body and hard on the family.” even severe disease, mild disease, and was sent home on Dec. 15, in time for Dick continues to recover at home even asymptomatic infection, do develop Christmas, or so she thought. these antibodies,” states the WHO on with the support of her husband and Feeling ill again, Dick went back to the daughter Molina, who, with approval their website – but this does not guaranNanaimo hospital on Dec. 21. from Ahousaht’s Emergency Operations tee permanent immunity. “There is cur“I cried because I wanted to be home,” rently no evidence that people who have Centre, comes by to cook and clean for she said. recovered from COVID-19 and have her parents. It turned out that Dick had developed pneumonia, while three separate tests came back negative for the coronavirus. On Dec. 31 Darlene returned home and More stories and job postings at says she is getting stronger all the time. www.hashilthsa.com The coronavirus robbed her of her senses of taste and smell, but now that they are returning, she is beginning to eat more
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BC Friendship centres prepare for ‘the long haul’ Port Alberni staﬀ keep doors open with COVID-19 measures, serving lunches and delivering hampers to needy By Mike Youds Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Port Alberni, BC - Friendship centres, tested as never before, are expecting 2021 will be no less challenging than 2020. “We’re planning to be in this for the long haul,” said Lesley Varley, executive director of B.C. Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres (BCAABC). “We expect to be in this pandemic for some time yet.” One-time COVID-19 funds totalling $7.8 million, announced Dec. 11 by the provincial government, bring an added measure of relief. “We are addressing three priorities as a result of COVID-19 — food security, personal protective equipment and sanitation, and equipment and supplies,” Varley said. “The allotted funding will help ensure that those who are most vulnerable to the virus have access to food, and that our staﬀ have the equipment and supplies they need to provide these services safely.” In recent weeks a new role has emerged for the centres, providing clients and elders in particular with information and support for friendship centres as the COVID vaccine rollout expands, Varley said. The latest funding should help put centres — part of a supportive network of community-based social service organizations — on a ﬁrmer footing for a journey that may be far from over. “Some centres are burning through funding far more quickly than others,” Varley added. Port Alberni Friendship Centre (PAFC), like so many other social organizations, was confronted with a surge in client needs and additional service demands last spring when the pandemic struck. The centre is a busy hub, normally serving about 80 clients a day on average, and had to respond in a vacuum when other local services were forced to shut down. “When COVID ﬁrst happened, every-
Photo supplied by PAFC
Port Alberni Friendship Centre staﬀ prepare to distribute a Soap for Hope donation in the community. thing shut down,” said Cyndi Stevens, executive director of the PAFC. That included the Bread of Life community kitchen, a life line for people already subsisting on little, she added: “Even if they’re not living on couches and they’re at the shelter, it is tough for them. They were possibly the hardest hit when COVID hit. They may have no family.” People struggling with homelessness and minimal means — between 100 and 140 at any given time in the Alberni Valley — had nowhere to turn. Elders and people with disabilities, who often deal with loneliness on a regular basis, faced
greater isolation in the absence of many community supports. Programs requiring personal interaction had to be put on hold temporarily. Uncertainty surrounding the pandemic made it all the more stressful. PAFC reduced opening hours but didn’t close. Instead, staﬀ looked for ways to adapt, adding online services while maintaining only essential in-person visits. Cultural gatherings and special events as well as parenting, family and youth groups had to be suspended, but staﬀ looked for other means of connecting by phone or social media. Meanwhile, an even greater and more urgent need as well. “At the end of March, we started doing hampers and helping the homeless because everything had shut down,” Stevens said. The centre partners with the Salvation Army to provide 80 food and personal care hampers, enough for 350 people. To comply with pandemic health protocol and reduce risks, particularly for elders, they organized delivery of the hampers as well, ramping up to ﬁve days a week. An immediate hurdle for the centre was funding, especially in the early stages of the pandemic when federal funds were late in arriving. The $30,000 that eventually came through turned out to be a drop in the bucket relative to needs, Stevens said. Since those diﬃcult early stages of the pandemic, friendship centres have received additional support from a variety of sources, Varley said. Vancouver Foundation donated $1 million and the online commerce platform Shopify gave $450,000 and contacted every friendship centre to identify and fund priority needs. Using earlier COVID response funds, friendship centres invested in computer tablets. Port Alberni’s purchased 25 and set up its Elder Zoom Camp, Stevens said. “We’re hoping to get more because it has been really successful,” she said. Though it can take a while for some to get accustomed to technology, the invest-
“Even if they’re not living on couches and they’re at the shelter, it is tough for them. They were possibly the hardest hit when COVID hit. They may have no family.” ~ Cyndi Stevens, PAFC executive director ment has allowed elders to maintain social contact in the safety of their homes. “Some of them had tears coming from their eyes when they were ﬁrst getting onto the system and being able to see other elders,” Stevens said. Another source of relief, a heat pump to replace the centre’s aging HVAC system — is nearing completion, Stevens said. The new system should make the centre’s gym more comfortable once elders are able to gather again. PAFC doesn’t have details on the latest COVID funding, but Stevens expects fewer restrictions this time because they are “COVID dollars” expressly for dealing with the pandemic. The grant is directed at supports such as meals and hampers, care packages for seniors and education kits for children. They can also be used to keep staﬀ and clients safe with handwashing stations, sanitization and personal protective equipment. PAFC’s daycare program managed to stay open all along, operating with safe practices in place and on a reduced scale to support essential-service workers. “Staﬀ have done an amazing job at a point in time when it’s been pretty challenging,” Stevens said. “They’ve supported the children in every way they can.” A new course at the centre, training early childhood educators, is set to begin in January 2021. The eight-month program will work hand-in-hand with the centre’s day care, allowing participants to obtain their infant/toddler certiﬁcate in house.
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Building housing homeless given Do Not Occupy order The structure’s occupants quickly rise to 16, amid what the city’s mayor calls a ‘profound’ homelessness issue By Karly Blats Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Port Alberni, BC - Close to a dozen people were displaced after the former CJAV building (2976 Third Ave.) was given a Do Not Occupy order by the City of Port Alberni. The building was deemed unsafe to occupy by Port Alberni ﬁre chief Mike Owens, and everyone sleeping in the building was evacuated on Dec. 29. Inside the building, load bearing walls and posts had been removed, causing the possibility of collapse. In addition, proper ﬁre protection systems were not in place. The city’s bylaw department, Port Alberni RCMP members and the Canadian Mental Health Association were on-site with the ﬁre department and assisted with coordinating emergency shelter for those individuals being displaced as a result of the Do Not Occupy order. Building owner Randy Brown, who also owns the Winter Green apartments on Fourth Avenue, said his intention was to house more than 12 people for cheap despite the fact that the building was under a Do Not Occupy order from the city’s building oﬃcial. “I picked up 11 futons… and built these little partition walls to separate everybody because of Covid and privacy and we had everything in there, all nice new bedding on [December] 24th and we had people coming oﬀ the streets,” Brown said. “Between [December] 24th and 29th we went from just a couple people to 16 people.” Brown said his plan is to renovate the building to accommodate three suites each with a bathroom, shower, fridge, microwave and hot plate.
Photo by Karly Blats
A former tattoo shop on Third Avenue is boarded up after the City of Port Alberni has given a Do Not Occupy order to building owner Randy Brown. “I already started putting up walls and getting ready to put three suites upstairs. I’ve been turned down for a demolition permit to start the demolition on the back stairs and the chimney and put in a new deck, new stairs and then I would work on the inside of the building after,” Brown said. “While we’re doing it we had found that some trusses in one area had been compromised and this probably happened about 50 years ago.” Brown said he hired an engineer to view the space in order to begin improvements to the upstairs area, but work was shut down by Port Alberni’s bylaw department because Brown did not have the proper permits. During the oﬃcial building evacuation
on Dec. 29, Brown recorded city personnel and RCMP members enforcing the Do Not Occupy order to close the building and posted the video to social media. The video shows a city bylaw services oﬃcer conversing with Brown using profane language. The city and the bylaw oﬃcer have since released an apology. “The behavior displayed on the video is not condoned by the city, does not meet the expectations we have for ourselves and is not reﬂective of the great work that the bylaw services department and other city personnel regularly do in sometimes diﬃcult circumstances,” said Chief Administrative Oﬃcer Tim Pley in a City of Port Alberni news release. “The
conversation captured on video between the bylaw services oﬃcer and Mr. Brown demonstrated a familiarity between the two, which in my opinion contributed to the oﬃcer straying away from professional demeanor. The bylaw services oﬃcer was quick to apologize for his conduct, and I have accepted that apology.” In the press release, the bylaw services oﬃcer oﬀered his apology to the city and his co-workers for his use of inappropriate language while on duty. “While communicating with Mr. Brown I used profanity which was inappropriate and does not reﬂect the professionalism that I strive to bring to my work every day,” he said. “The manner in which I communicated during those moments did not reﬂect my compassion for our citizens for whom accessing safe housing is a daily challenge.” The Do Not Occupy order will remain in eﬀect, until the city’s building oﬃcial advises the Port Alberni Fire Department that the structure meets acceptable speciﬁcations within the BC Building Code, and there is no longer a danger to life or property. “Port Alberni, like many communities is experiencing profound challenges addressing the issues of housing, mental health and addiction,” said Mayor Sharie Minions in a press release. “City council and I continue to work with partnering agencies such as BC Housing and Island Health to address these issues. Our goal is that safe, aﬀordable and accessible housing is available to all of our citizens. I would like to take this opportunity to express our most sincere thanks to those in our community who work each day serving our most vulnerable citizens.”
Owner says he won’t move trailers housing homeless By Karly Blats Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Port Alberni, BC - Property owner Randy Brown says he has no plans to remove trailers from his Fourth Avenue property, despite being ordered to by the city. Port Alberni city council have upheld a Remedial Action Order for the Wintergreen Apartments on Fourth Avenue and have given Brown an extra 14 days to complete an extensive list of improvements. A Remedial Action Order was passed by council on Nov. 23, 2020 requiring Brown to undergo a number of safety and building upgrades to the apartment building, known to house vulnerable and homeless individuals, within 30 days, and to remove all trailers on the adjoining lot that are currently being occupied without proper permitting. The extensive list of repairs Brown was ordered to complete by the city includes repairing railings on staircases, ﬁxing exterior walls, replacing broken windows, replacing or repairing ceilings where mold has occurred, removing all garbage and refuse from interior and exterior common spaces of the property, permanently removing objects stored on balconies and to remove all trailers and recreational vehicles from the property. Brown must also cease all renovations until he obtains proper permits and building inspection. According to the City of Port Alberni, Brown has not made any improvements to the properties since the Remedial Ac-
tion order was implemented. Brown, who joined the virtual council meeting on Jan. 11, said he has no plans to remove the trailers from the property. “I don’t plan on removing the trailers. I have basically taken 18 people oﬀ the streets of Port Alberni and I’m housing them in these trailers,” Brown said. “I don’t really need any more time, I’m not removing them. I think anybody who has half a brain will agree with what I’m doing down there…this is an emergency situation.” City CAO Tim Pley said if people are displaced from their living situation because of city action, all individuals will be oﬀered alternative housing. “We can introduce them to housing, we can’t make them take that housing up,” Pley said during the council meeting. Another property formerly handed a Remedial Action Order was the Harbourview Apartments on Third Avenue but unlike Brown, the property owner has completed the work required by the city. In a report to council, it was stated the property owner and manager have made substantial improvements in bringing the property to compliance, including creating a current ﬁre safety plan. Brown said he has completed some of the Remedial Action requirements at the Wintergreen Apartments since Nov. 23. Should Brown not complete the remaining requirements ordered by the city, council can choose to hold an in-camera meeting to determine the next steps for the properties. Another property of Brown’s on Third
Avenue, a former tattoo shop and before that the CJAV building, was recently given a Do Not Occupy order by the city for its unsafe living conditions. Brown was planning to allow a dozen homeless individuals to use the building as a shelter, he even purchased several futon beds and began renovations. Without proper permitting, the renovations were ordered to stop. Brown continues to voice a need for more low-barrier housing for the homeless community in Port Alberni. The Port Alberni Shelter Society (PASS), that operates Our Home on Eighth, has rooms available for those in need, but some people choose not to stay there saying rules can be too strict and unattainable. A protest began late last year by individuals citing a number of allegations against the society’s management and operations, including not allowing people to return to the shelter if their name was on a banned list. BC Housing has conducted a third-party review into the allegations against PASS and are awaiting the consultant’s ﬁnal report. “We anticipate the submission of the consultant’s ﬁnal report to BC Housing for review in the coming weeks,” BC Housing said in an emailed statement. “We appreciate the consultant’s care and attention to developing a ﬁnal report that will be the culmination of multiple interviews with sources and partners.” Port Alberni service provider Lisa George has been advocating for the
homeless community since the beginning of the protest. George and members of the new Grassroots Homelessness Coalition organized a pop-up warming centre in December for a three-night trial run. Tents were set up on a lot beside the Friendship Centre on Fourth Avenue that oﬀered a propane ﬁre pit for heat, food and some warm clothing. The warming station was approved by the city for a trial run. George said the three-day trial run went well but plans to continue operating a pop-up warming site are on hold for now. “The Bread of Life (warming centre) is open so many more hours now because they have a partnership with Kuu-Us,” George said. “So why are we exhausting ourselves to do what they are oﬀering now?” The Bread of Life warming centre’s 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. George said the Grassroots Homelessness Coalition may look to get involved in partnership with the Bread of Life as well. Pley said the feedback received by the city about the pop-up warming centre so far is that the trial run went well. “The City had agreed that three events would provide a good trial of the model,” Pley said. “The city intends to work with the organizers toward their continuation of service provision in a way that is safe and does not create risk for the city or nuisance for neighbours.”
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Kidney conditions go unchecked during pandemic Specialists await the word from First Nations and the provincial health oﬃcer to resume preventative measures By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Those behind a kidney monitoring program for remote communities are hoping First Nations and the province will be ready to ease travel restrictions in the coming months, before more people go undetected in developing a chronic illness. Early last year the First Nations Health Authority, Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council and Can-Solve CKD Network began a wide-reaching initiative to assess the kidney health of people living in Indigenous communities through blood pressure tests, urine samples, height and weight measurements as well as blood sampling. “Our goal is to screen communities so that we actually understand both disease and health, because having healthy kidneys and keeping them healthy is just as important as identifying disease early,” said Dr. Adeera Levin, a specialist who heads the Division of Nephrology (kidney studies) at the University of British Columbia. The intention was to catch those at risk of chronic kidney disease before their condition worsened, but the program was put on hold in March when the COVID-19 pandemic took hold. Located near the back just below the ribs, kidneys serve a critical function in the body by ﬁltering waste and excess ﬂuid from the blood, converting this to urine for excretion. Chronic kidney disease causes the loss of this function, allowing dangerous levels of ﬂuid, electrolytes and waste to build up in the body. In its ﬁnal stage the condition can only be treated by transplant or dialysis – but the challenging dynamic of the disease is that it can progress without showing symptoms until the late stages. “The kidneys are pretty resilient,” explained Dr. Levin. “These organs are really good at adapting. You can get a fair amount of scarring and a fair amount of loss of kidney function before you have symptoms.” Ten months into the pandemic and its associated restrictions on personal contact and travel, a concern is growing that people could be developing chronic kidney disease without getting the medical attention they need. One in 10 Canadians are at risk, but this rises to 25-30 percent for Indigenous people – with higher rates in remote communities.
Photo supplied by FNHA
Dr. Kelsey Louie is a medical oﬃcer with the First Nations Health Authority. Up to half of diabetics will have signs of kidney damage in their lifetime, but age, smoking, elevated blood pressure, a high salt diet and consumption of processed foods can be factors as well. Levin stressed the importance of working closely with First Nations communities to better monitor those at risk of developing chronic kidney disease. But travelling to remote communities will be not be an option for the time being, as these appointments aren’t deemed essential reason for travel, she said. Meanwhile, those with compromised kidney function are more vulnerable to become very sick if infected with COVID-19. “It you’re on dialysis you’re also at higher risk of getting sick if you get COVID, and probably at higher risk of getting really sick,” said Levin. Dr. Kelsey Louie, a medical oﬃcer with the First Nations Health Authority, hopes that the kidney screenings can resume this year if vaccinations continue in remote communities and the rate of coronavirus infection drops. The suspension of the monitoring program is part of a larger “disruption in people’s care” due to the medical system’s emphasis on controlling the spread of COVID-19.
“Being told to isolate, being told to not travel unnecessarily, all of these things that came into the world became quite confusing for both health-care provid-
ers and for community members,” he said. “Every now and then I’m going to ﬁnd someone who has a new diagnosis of something. Just because they came through my door I was able to check them and we discovered something new.” During the pandemic Dr. Louie has incorporated virtual appointments into his practice to monitor patients’ health, organizing the necessary blood work and referrals through online technology. But even after pandemic restrictions are lifted, the need will remain to foster more trust in the health- care system for the many Indigenous patients who still carry negative associations. “We often ﬁnd people only engage when they become very, very sick,” said Louie. “If you don’t have real physical symptoms of, say kidney disease, you’re not going to go get checked out – particularly if you don’t feel comfortable going to a physician’s oﬃce or going to a hospital because you had a bad experience.” Building more trust can come down to what is being communicated to the patient, added Dr. Levin. “A lot of our Indigenous patients and physician partners tell us, ‘Please don’t keep telling us how sick we are, tell us also how well we are’,” she said.
The kidneys act as very eﬃcient ﬁlters for ridding the body of waste and toxic substances, and returning vitamins, amino acids, glucose, hormones and other vital substances into the bloodstream. The kidneys receive a high blood ﬂow and this is ﬁltered by very specialised blood vessels.
MCU investigating sudden death of child in Toﬁno By Melissa Renwick Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Toﬁno, BC - An investigation into the sudden death of a child in Toﬁno is ongoing. After it was reported that a child had suﬀered injuries within the community of Ty-Histanis on Dec. 13, 2020, Toﬁno RCMP assisted BC Emergency Health Services paramedics to deliver medical assistance. “Tragically, on Dec. 16 the child succumbed to their injuries,” said RCMP spokesman Cpl. Chris Manseau, in a statement. Originally launched by Vancouver Island General Investigation and the Toﬁno RCMP, the investigation is now in the hands of the Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit. “This is a tragic situation aﬀecting
many people in the community, including family, friends, ﬁrst responders and medical personnel,” Supt. Sanjaya Wijayakoon, operations oﬃcer for B.C. RCMP’s major crimes section, said in a statement on Dec. 22, 2020. “This investigation is in its preliminary stages, and is expected to be a long, thorough and involved process involving many agencies including BC Coroners service.” RCMP said the other children from the residence have been re-located while the investigation takes place. No new information can be released at this time, said Manseau. “This loss is very hard to have to go through and it is part of the ongoing grieving that we’re going through as a nation right now,” said Tla-o-qui-aht tribal administrator Saya Masso. “We’ve had such a diﬃcult winter. It is another one of the very sad stories.”
Photo by Melissa Renwick
Toﬁno’s RCMP detachment sits in the town’s centre on Campbell Street.
January 14, 2021—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 9
Photo submitted by Ditidaht First Nation
This year Ditidaht oﬃcials are hoping to safely re-open their popular windsurﬁng park at Nitinat Lake, which was closed because of the pandemic in 2020.
Tourism business operators hoping for be•er year Keen on a•racting Canadian visitors, Indigenous businesses await when provincial restrictions will be lifted By Sam Laskaris Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Nitinat Lake, BC – Bryan Cofsky is doing his best to stay positive. Cofsky is the executive director of the Ditidaht Economic Development Corporation, the economic arm of the Ditidaht First Nation. He’s hoping for some encouraging news soon for those who operate Indigenous tourism businesses and wondering what their 2021 seasons will look like. It’s no secret the COVID-19 pandemic devastated many of these businesses in 2020, including numerous Nuu-chahnulth companies that were forced to close their doors for large portions of the year. Some Nuu-chah-nulth tourism businesses, like Ditidaht’s campground and windsurﬁng park on Nitinat Lake, did not even open their doors at all in 2000. These businesses are seasonal ones, traditionally opening in May and operating until October. “That was right in the middle of the pandemic last year,” Cofsky said. Pandemic closures meant members of the public were unable to see numerous upgrades that were completed at the campground and windsurﬁng park last spring. “We’re ready to go,” Cofsky said. “We’re done our upgrades. We’re just in a holding pattern now.” Provincial regulations must be lifted ﬁrst, however, before Ditidaht oﬃcials would be able to welcome visitors to its campground and windsurﬁng park starting this spring. Cofsky is encouraged by the fact COVID-19 vaccines have been developed and are now available in limited quantities in Canada. In fact, some of these vaccines have already been distributed to some Nuuchah-nulth residents living in remote communities along Vancouver Island’s west coast. Cofsky is hoping the Ditidaht First Nation receives some vaccine doses in the near future as well. “Hopefully that will take place before long,” he said. And if British Columbia’s vaccine rollout is successful in the coming months, Cofsky is hoping it will be safe to open up Ditidaht’s tourism businesses in the
Photo by Eric Plummer
The popular Pachena Bay saw few visitors in 2020, as the Huu-ay-aht kept their beachside campground closed due to the pandemic. spring. Since the resort is deemed an essential “I’m pretty optimistic,” he said. “That service, Beaton said it did stay open for gives us another few months between the majority of 2020, except for a 10the vaccines and the community inoculaweek period starting last March when the tions.” Paciﬁc Rim region was for the most part Because the course of the pandemic closed. is unpredictable, however, Cofsky also Even now the resort is remaining open knows that the situation could become to regional guests only. dire, especially if another wave - perhaps Beaton said this in large part explains even more serious than the previous two why the resort, which has 85 guest - hits. rooms, is only anticipating an occupancy Cofsky said it would be disastrous rate around 20-25 percent for the ﬁrst for his First Nation if it had to endure three months of 2021. another year without being able to oﬀer That’s dramatically down from 2020 up services from some of its tourism when the resort had about 60 percent of businesses. its rooms ﬁlled during its oﬀ-season, the “We don’t have a Plan B at this point,” ﬁrst three months of the year. he said. “We would have to rely on our Like Ditidaht’s campground and windother resources to keep us aﬂoat.” surﬁng park, the Best Western Plus Tin Cofsky added Ditidaht would have Wis Resort also completed major renovato count on its forestry and ﬁsheries tions, about $6 million worth, last spring. industries for some stable revenues if its Beaton is hoping the resort will once tourism operators are unable to welcome again be a bustling place by later in the visitors for a second straight year. spring and deﬁnitely summer. Jared Beaton is also hoping many better “I do see us being okay once the (prodays are ahead in 2021. Beaton is the vincial) restrictions are lifted,” he said. general manager of the Best Western Plus Beaton said resort oﬃcials concentrated Tin Wis Resort in Toﬁno, which is owned on attracting domestic visitors from Britby the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation. ish Columbia and Alberta this past year.
And though the facility was popular with international visitors in the past, Beaton said that will not be the case once again this year. “I don’t foresee any international travelers this year (at the resort),” he said. Until the pandemic is brought under control throughout the world, Beaton is not keen to see visitors from other countries coming to Toﬁno. “I’m perfectly ﬁne with that,” he said. Beaton added he believes there will be suﬃcient interest from Canadians to stay at the resort this year. “I anticipate an even busier summer,” he said. “There is going to be much more pent-up demand than last year.” Meanwhile, Trevor Cootes, a councillor for the Huu-ay-aht who is also in charge of the economic development portfolio for the First Nation, is glad to see some community members have already been vaccinated. Cootes said about 120 residents, and only those who live in the community of Ancala, have received the vaccine already. “A very large percentage of our Huuay-aht First Nations citizens don’t have the vaccine yet,” Cootes said, adding the First Nation has about 900 members. But Cootes is pleased a vaccine rollout has started. “The vaccine is obviously very positive,” he said. “It’s the tool that will put the COVID virus in a place where we can safely open.” Tourism businesses operated by Huuay-aht First Nations include a campground, which was closed throughout 2020, as well as the Hacas Inn, a motel which includes a pub in Banﬁeld, and a pair of ﬁshing lodges. “It was a bare bones operation with a skeletal crew,” Cootes said of the First Nation’s motel and ﬁshing lodges which did have some guests, primarily contractors working nearby. “We weren’t promoting that we were open.” Cootes said it is vital for his First Nations’ tourism businesses to open safely in 2021 so they can once again start bringing in some revenue. “We need to be able to generate income,” he said. “If we have to go another season without our businesses, it will impact us being successful next year as well.”
Page 10— Ha-Shilth-Sa—January 14, 2021
Photo supplied by Natasha Charleson
Natasha Charleson jumps with her cohort on Meares Island during the Indigenous Ecotourism Training Program, which will be oﬀered from January to July.
Ecotourism program eyes careers for First Nations Program developed by the Heiltsuk Tribal Council, Vancouver Island University and North Island College By Melissa Renwick Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Members from Ahousaht First Nation are being encouraged to apply to the Indigenous Ecotourism Training Program, which will be running its ﬁfth cohort of participants from January to July. Developed in partnership between Vancouver Island University (VIU), Heiltsuk Tribal Council and North Island College (NIC), the program aims to give students skills for employment within B.C.’s Indigenous tourism sector. Fourteen successful participants from six First Nation communities, including Ahousaht, will be brought together for up to 10 days each month to complete the academic and ﬁeld-study work focused on sustainable tourism. “You get to learn about your own neighbourhood, your own people and aﬃrm
who you are,” said Kathy Brown, the program’s community coordinator. “It’s quite intense, but it’s also a lot of fun and you get to make friendships for life.” The program will run online until participants are allowed to meet in person. VIU and NIC have strict COVID-19 protocols that have allowed the institutions to continue delivering outdoor tourism programs safely, said Brown. While it may mean less travel than years past, Brown said the program would adapt to the changing circumstances surrounding the pandemic. Tanis Campbell completed the program in 2017. Despite being from Ahousaht, the 26-year-old had only ever made it to the third beach along the Wild Side Trail, which draws hikers from across the world. During the heritage interpretation
component of the program, Campbell sat with community members who worked on the trail and told participants’ stories behind the medicine man and the Sitka tree bridge. “I learned a lot about where I live,” she said. Natasha Charleson was in the same cohort as Campbell. At the time, the now 30-year-old said she felt really disconnected from her culture. After being encouraged to apply by her cousin, who was a recent graduate, Charleson was accepted to the “life changing” program. “It connected me back to my culture,” she said. “I felt more grounded to who I was.” In developing friendships with the other participants in her cohort, the Tsehshat woman said her family grew. “You really step outside of your bub-
ble,” said Charleson. ““I truly found myself again.” The fully funded program provides gradates with 37.5 transferrable university credits, along with wilderness ﬁrst aid training, paddling and guiding skills as well as an introduction to tourism marketing and planning for community economic development. Open to participants 19 years and older, Brown said the program bolsters selfesteem. While some graduates have carried on to study tourism at VIU and NIC, for others, “it opened their eyes and gave them that conﬁdence to move into other areas of learning,” said Brown. Campbell said she has been encouraging her family in Ahousaht to apply in hopes that they will learn about their territory. “If I could do it again, I would,” she said.
Phrase of the week: Wik%ic^ tuuhqh= hiinin%a+unis^ @uu%i Pronounced: Wik each too hook hee nin alt tluk nish ooh ii. Means: Don’t be afraid, the medicine has arrived now. . Supplied by ciisma.
Illustration by Ivy Cargill-Martin
January 14, 2021—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 11
Commissioner rejects push to share more COVID data Anger and disappointment from First Nations, as small governments struggle to trace the path of the virus By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Victoria, BC - On Dec. 17 the B.C. Information and Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia rejected an argument for the province to share more COVID-19 data with Indigenous governments. Issued by Michael McEvoy, who heads the independent body which protects the public’s information and privacy rights, the decision highlights the failure of the province to honour government-to-government cooperation with First Nations, says a coalition that launched the request in mid-September. “We are angry and disappointed by today’s ruling, which will continue to allow the Ministry of Health to withhold the life-saving information we have been requesting since the COVID-19 pandemic began,” reads a statement from the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council, Tsilhqot’in National Government and Heiltsuk Nation. “The situation is more urgent than ever given the exponential jump in infections, hospitalisations and deaths that are occurring to Indigenous peoples.” McEvoy’s Dec. 17 decision serves as a setback in an ongoing battle for First Nations to take a larger role in controlling coronavirus infection in their communities. The coalition has asked for information on the location of cases near their villages, whether the infected people have travelled to First Nation communities within the previous 14 days and the name of a person with COVID-19 if they
are a member of one of the nations. Disclosure of a member’s identify is necessary for eﬀective contact tracing within First Nations, argues the coalition. For several months the NTC has pushed to have two local contact tracers for each of its 14 member nations, but the B.C. Ministry of Health has yet to give over this much control, said Judith Sayers, the tribal council’s president. “We wanted to take over jurisdiction when [conﬁrmed cases] came into the community,” she said, “because we know everybody, but we’re not getting that kind of cooperation necessarily.” Sayers admitted she was surprised that the commissioner didn’t support the request to share more speciﬁc COVID data with the First Nations. In its argument the coalition cited Section 25 of B.C.’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, which requires a public body to, “without delay, disclose to the public, to an aﬀected group of people or to an applicant…information about a risk of signiﬁcant harm to the environment or to the health or safety of the public or a group of people.” In his decision McEvoy determined that the Ministry of Health’s responsibility under the Public Health Act does not override FIPPA, but that “suﬃcient information is already available on COVID-19 cases to enable the public, and the complainant governments, to take steps to avoid or mitigate the risks connected with COVID-19.” The Ministry of Health regularly announces case counts for each health
Michael McEvoy region, with information separated into Island Health’s mid, central and north areas, but this isn’t enough for First Nations to better protect their citizens, stressed Sayers. “As a government, we have to make these decisions,” she said. “We can’t make the decisions we need to without having all of the information that the B.C. government has and won’t share with us.” The pandemic’s second wave has affected remote Nuu-chah-nulth communities from Anacla to Ehatis, with a cluster announced in the Huu-ay-aht community on Dec. 16. “The family aﬀected is in quarantine and doing well,” stated the Huu-ay-aht First Nations regarding the small group infected in Anacla.
The coalition has used a recent report on discrimination in the health care system to back its argument, which shows that First Nations were infected with COVID-19 at a rate 80 percent higher than the rest of B.C.’s population. “Indigenous governments are not recognized as full partners in the response, and proper data sharing, information systems and system governance does not promote routine collaborative work with Indigenous peoples’ governments and representatives,” states the report from investigator Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond. In the ministry’s defence, Provincial Health Oﬃcer Bonnie Henry argued that identifying individuals and communities risks them being “stigmatized because of perceptions that they are disease carriers,” thereby dissuading others from reporting their infection, summarized the commissioner’s decision. Henry cited when this occurred to Hutterite colonies in Manitoba, which prompted the prairie province’s chief health oﬃcer to stop releasing community-level COVID reports. But by keeping this information within the ministry, the provincial government is steering away from the obligation to recognise First Nations’ right to self determination, whish is set forth in the Declaration of the Right of Indigenous People’s Act, said Sayers. “My greatest fear is the increase in our communities and our ability to handle it,” she said. “Why do we even try to use these colonial systems that don’t work? They never have and they never will.”
Parking lot altercation turns into violent incident By Melissa Renwick Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Campbell River, BC - Following an alleged racist attack over a parking altercation in Campbell River, a Kyuquot woman was sent to hospital with nonthreatening injuries on Dec. 10. All parties have been identiﬁed and the incident is still under investigation. “At this point the details we can share are extremely limited,” said Campbell River RCMP Const. Maury Tyre. “In situations like this, we try and maintain contact with [all parties] and see if we can ﬁnd a resolve.” A member of the Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/ Che:k’tles7et’h’ First Nations and her daughter had travelled to Port Hardy from their home in Kyuquot to attend a medical appointment. They continued on to Campbell River for groceries before returning to their remote community. At around 6:30 p.m., she parked outside of Boston Pizza to pick up dinner. When she returned to her vehicle, a woman was yelling racial slurs at her teenage daughter, and a man had pulled up behind their truck, blocking them in, said the woman. “Everything started over parking,” said Tyre. “And it kind of went from there.” “We spent three days in our hotel room freaked out (afterwards] – we didn’t know what was going on. I had to help my daughter out of bed – it was so heartbreaking to see her going through that,” she said. “I had a long stressful day waiting on results for cancer for God’s sake. We didn’t do anything to this couple. We did not initiate contact with them. They wouldn’t let us leave.” Diﬀerent options are being looked at in trying to deal with the situation, explained Tyre.
One of those options is restorative justice, which can be an alternative to incarceration. This approach holds the offender responsible for a crime, but seeks a resolution between those aﬀected by addressing the harm caused to the victim. Restorative justice is gaining more attention as the province seeks to integrate the First Nations justice strategy into how it handles crimes, but as she deals with her injuries and the harm caused to her daughter, the woman said it is not an outcome she is comfortable with. “I absolutely do not agree with restorative justice [as an option],” she said. “It’s not for something that’s violent like this.” Before joining the RCMP, Tyre worked as a restorative justice facilitator and said that the variety of cases the model deals with is “huge.” “For the most part, when people think about [restorative justice] they immediately think that it is only used for property crimes,” he said. “But it can be used for so much more.” From sexual assault to aggravated assault, Kristine Atkinson, program coordinator for the Campbell River RCMP restorative justice program, said that it can be a good alternative to the punitive court process. “You can address the matter in a more timely fashion – while the party is still feeling the harm,” she said. “It’s focusing on the harm caused in the situation and resolving that harm.” Not only does the restorative justice model lower recidivism rates, but the satisfaction level is higher for the victims, said Atkinson. Based on a circle process, a facilitator tries to elicit conversation between both parties involved in a crime. By coming
to a mutual understanding of what happened, what harm was felt and how the participants best see that harm repaired, the end result is a resolution agreement of how the oﬀender is going to make amends. Fundamentally, restorative justice tackles crime through healing. However, its other vital beneﬁt is addressing what correctional investigator Ivan Zinger describes as “one of Canada’s most persistent and pressing human rights issues” – the overrepresentation of Indigenous people being incarcerated. As the proportion of Indigenous peoples behind bars surpassed 30 percent this year, “the pace is now set for Indigenous people to comprise 33 percent of the total federal inmate population in the next three years,” Zinger said in a release. “It is not acceptable that Indigenous people in this country experience incarceration rates that are six to seven times higher than the national average,” he said. In eﬀort to address these historic heights, The BC First Nations Justice Strategy was developed over the span of two years by First Nations communities, the BC First Nations Justice Council and the province. One of its aims was create a pathway for the re-emergence of First Nations self-determination and jurisdiction in the justice sector. Indigenous women make up nearly half of new admissions to adult corrections in B.C., despite accounting for less than six per cent of the general population, according to the strategy. “Indigenous women and girls are over policed and under protected,” said Don Tom, vice-president of the BC Union of Indian Chiefs, in the strategy. “Indigenous women who are survivors of crime
often don’t trust the police enough to report it and face criminalization when they do. When involved in the criminal justice system, Indigenous women and girls are more likely to plead guilty, receive longer sentences and less likely to have adequate legal representation. This strategy brings justice system attention and resources to creating better justice system outcomes for women and girls.” As the Kyuquot resident’s case is still under investigation, restorative justice is not oﬀ the table. However, it can only function if both parties are willing participants. “It’s dependent on if it’s acceptable by the parties and if it’s suitable for the matter,” said Atkinson. “Each matter has to be looked at individually.” For the time being, the incident will remain a disturbing confrontation for the Kyuquot resident that didn’t need to escalate as it did. “It didn’t need to go that far,” she said. “We’re both quite sore – I keep going over ‘what did I miss? What did I miss?’”
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President’s message to Nuu-chah-nulth-aht Hello Everyone and a Happy New year. Hope you are all well and safe and taking all actions to protect you and your family from the virus. I want to acknowledge all the Nuu-chahnulth that we have lost in the past month. My deepest sympathies to all for these losses that have left huge holes in our families and communities. I mourn with you. During December, we ﬁnally got the decision of the privacy commissioner. We had asked him to have Bonnie Henry/B.C. health give us information on conﬁrmed COVID cases in nearby towns that our Nations frequent for services so that we would know when we should avoid those places. Having this information would help your leadership and emergency oﬃcers to make governance decisions about total or partial shutdowns of our communities. Unfortunately, the privacy commissioner did not make this ruling stating that he felt there was enough information in the public that we could rely on. He failed to recognize the First Nations are governments and not the general public. He did say that the laws need to be changed so that First Nations’ role can be deﬁned better. We continue to work with the B.C. government to enter into an agreement that will allow us this information. We do not want to violate anyone’s privacy and we have never asked for names, only the location of COVID cases. Not having the full information of COVID cases in nearby towns is frustrating for our leadership and emergency operations centers. In December we also learned that the ﬁrst case in B.C. of the new variant (type) of the virus was here on Vancouver Island. We have no idea where on this island the case is. We have heard nothing more about that particular case and we have to assume they kept it from spreading as there have been no other reports of this variant virus. Health oﬃcials have been saying that the vaccine will be able to prevent this new strain of the virus. We had a directors meeting in December where the directors instructed me and the VP to send a letter to Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix to require that anyone travelling to Vancouver Island had to self-isolate for 14 days. Cases on the island have increased and it is a major concern. Chief Gordon Planes of T’souke First Nation had sent a letter and many island First Nations supported his letter requesting that a health order be put in place to make people self isolate after arriving on the island. Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations also sent a letter supporting T’souke and Tla-o-quiaht in getting a health order. To date, we have had no response from either Bonnie Henry or Minister Dix. In the meantime, vaccinations against COVID-19 have started arriving in six Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations. Ehattesaht, Nuchahtlaht, Kyuquot, Huu-ay-aht, Ahousaht, and Mowachaht have all been given a certain amount of vaccines for their members. We are happy this has begun and know that all Nuu-chah-nulth Nations and people will receive the vaccines as it becomes available. We really encourage Nuu-chah-nulth to take the vaccine so we can prevent the virus from spreading and having our members be sick with COVID. It was good to see many pictures on social media of our elders and other members getting the vaccine with reports of no negative eﬀects
except maybe a sore arm. The Assembly of First Nations held their Annual General Assembly in early December. It was hard to have such an important meeting of the chiefs across Canada on Zoom when there are many First Nations and many subjects to discuss. We managed to get through the agenda with all the business of the assembly and reports from all the committees. The federally proposed legislation on the Universal Declaration was one of the topics that was discussed. We were not given enough time to discuss this item fully and there were First Nations that were for and against the legislation or had suggestions on how to improve it. We also had discussions on COVID, justice, and infrastructure, including water, and climate change. The Prime Minister also addressed the chiefs but other than the usual promises, there was nothing too new. In early December the NTC held a Haida-Nuu-chah-nulth Oceans dialogue. This included our Hawiih, and Haida leadership and technical people. We have been developing a strong relationship with Haida to exchange information and ﬁnd areas for collaboration on salmon ﬁsheries, including the west coast of Vancouver Island chinook. The forum was interesting and many things were shared, including ongoing litigation on Haida title and T’aaq-wiihak ﬁsheries. We also have been working collectively on the proposed Marine Protected Area that includes both our territories. The Hawiih also met in mid-December to continue discussion on ﬁsheries issues. In particular it was to set a course of action and response to DFO’s draft salmon allocation policy. Nuu-chah-nulth have been asking for years for this to occur and First Nations input is crucial. I have reported to you that the smudging case had been appealed by the Servatius family. NTC applied to be an intervenor in the BC Court of Appeal. Servatius opposed our involvement. NTC was an integral part of the case at the BC Supreme Court and the court ordered that we play a role at the court of appeal. No court date has been scheduled as yet. The new Minister of Indigenous Relations Murray Rankin asked for an informal chat before Christmas with myself and the new MLA for the Port Alberni riding Josie Osborne. It was a start to building a new relationship between the NTC and the B.C. government. We hope there will be good things we can achieve in this new year. Hoping you all keep safe, get the COVID vaccine if you have the opportunity, and keep practicing safety measures to keep you and your families protected from COVID.
Le!er to Editor Dear Editor: Kleco kleco ha%uk ha-wiiq-tls Pandemic Food Security at Tsaxana 2020 has been quite a year, on that, all NCN and the global community can agree. As “the ﬁrst resident at Tsaxana to test positive for COVID-19”, according to the press releases, my ﬁrst thoughts after receiving the results were “Yikes”, “Uh-oh” and of course, “Oh sh*t.” After a good head shaking, I proceeded to take action and went immediately into selfquarantine. Kleco kleco to family and friends who connected about my wellbeing and so far, no symptoms. Surprisingly, since my proﬁle puts me in the compromised group: age 65 and diabetic. I choose life and an on-going path to good health. Kleco, Naas. Here at Tsaxana we love to share and eat. As contemporary NCN, we’re FOODIES. COVID-19 has brought Food Security forward as a community concern particularly with grocery shopping. Gifts arrive at our doorstep in many ways – the food boxes, orchestrated by Rose, Tommy and her team of helpers are so appreciated. Kleco kleco. Throughout this pandemic year, we’ve received support from the following: MMFN Health Services, MakeWay Foundation, and John Price, UVIC History Professor (Emeritus) who with a special group of Vancouver Asian Community donors contributed foodstuﬀs and health safety supplies in April. Kleco to all. MMFN now has a Community Garden that has produced a variety of items for Tsaxana families. We’re enjoying potatoes, carrots, lettuce, broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts, peas, zuchini, tomatoes, leeks, onions and a variety of squashes. There were many hands that helped with the initial start-up, planting, watering & harvesting: Wayne Hinchcliﬀ, Willard Johnson, Brian Lucas(Louie), Randy, Michelle &
Cuu, Margaretta James
In loving memory In Loving memory of Nessie (Mama) Wa•s A very special person, a very special face Someone we all loved, and can’t replace Never was she selﬁsh, she was always kind These are the memories, you le• behind Your family always remembers. Lovingly remembered by, All her children
- Judith Sayers
Panda, Marie & Ben Jack, Rose Jack, Mel Mark & son, Margaret Maquinna, Kristi & Dwane, Talia, Carlene & the daycare staﬀ, Harold & Georgina, and Eva Johnson. There are many other Community supporters that include our Elders and those of us who literally reaped the beneﬁts of the harvest. We know who we are. Sadly, one of our Garden Angels passed recently who helped stake the peas in the summer. Sara’s passion to encourage healthful awareness for decades turned into a reality when our Garden began to produce its’ ﬁrst crop. Her legacy will be honored when the spring planting occurs. The Garden will continue to grow. Kleco kleco. A special kleco kleco for Kristi Walker, our Garden Lady, who coordinated EVERY detail of the garden and MORE: from beds, to seedlings, to soil, to hoses and the construction of the Greenhouse. She truly made it all happen. Thanks also to her Team of family and friends. Not only did our Garden produce herbs and a wonderful assortment of fruits and vegetables but Kristi preserved jams, jellies, applesauce, tomatoes, pasta sauce and even pickles for our Pantry. Located at the Elders Centre, we also have frozen zucchini and pumpkin for holiday baking. Her sharing spirit, healthful suggestions and tireless eﬀorts to keep us lovingly nourished and on a path to wellness bring light to Tsaxana in what can be very dark times. Life here at our dear little hamlet of Tsaxana is happy and hopeful. As quo’as we have endured other pandemics, trauma and colonization in many forms – we are respectfully grateful for those who have helped us along this journey back to NCN ways. In these times, we are asked to Be Kind. We know how – with the land and all it provides and with each other, in mind, body and spirit. We can and will survive and thrive for our qua-otze, our future generations. Be safe. Celebrate. Enjoy family.
January 14, 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: email@example.com or Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation P.O. Box 18 Toﬁno BC, V0R 2Z0
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: firstname.lastname@example.org or Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation P.O. Box 18 Toﬁno BC, V0R 2Z0
Page 14— Ha-Shilth-Sa—January 14, 2021
Salmon count signals hope for Cheewaht recovery Intensiﬁed logging above Paciﬁc Rim National Park in the mid-’80s triggered a cascading chain of events south of Nitinaht By Mike Youds Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Cheewaht Lake, BC - Logging was already underway in the Cheewaht watershed when ﬁsheries biologist Mike Wright ﬁrst set eyes on the area south of Nitinat Lake 38 years ago. By the mid-1980s, timber harvest started to increase, setting in motion a cascading chain of events that would threaten to wipe out Cheewaht salmon. “Basically, they removed much of the canopy above the national park boundary,” Wright recalls. The Nanaimo-based contractor is encouraged three years into a ﬁve-year restoration eﬀort, having worked closely with Ditidaht First Nation and documented Cheewaht’s decline due to logging. A small drainage compared to nearby Nitinat, Cheewaht used to punch above its weight as a reliably abundant source of salmon preferred by Ditidaht people. A ﬁve-kilometre river drains southwest to the Paciﬁc, once producing sockeye, coho, chinook and chum as well as steelhead and cutthroat trout. Sockeye, one of the earliest runs in B.C., also rear in the lake, above which lie three small tributary streams that provided highly productive spawning beds. “It was a very important food source for the villages of Clo-oose, Wyah and Cheewaht, and was managed in such a way that supported us pre-contact through ﬁshing weirs,” said Paul Sieber, natural resource manager, Ditidaht First Nation. Cheewaht watershed is more than a food source. A number of sacred Ditidaht sites and some of the world’s largest remaining cedars are found there. “Families owned rights to certain spots on the Cheewaht River and built ﬁsh weirs to harvest their sockeye needs,” said Chief Councillor Brian Tate. “Young men would camp out on the Cheewaht River during the sockeye run and harvest for families at Wyah, Clo-oose and Cheewaht villages. These salmon harvest practices built family bonding and unity through helping and sharing with each other.” Hydrological eﬀects of logging on Vancouver Island’s west coast were already studied and well understood, even as the trees fell on slopes above Paciﬁc Rim National Park Reserve. A multidisciplinary, multi-agency experiment began at Carnation Creek in Barkley Sound 50 years ago. Park boundaries were extended in the 1970s due to environmental concerns, but Parks Canada lacked authority to control upslope logging. Typically, damage from logging doesn’t develop for a number of years, Wright said. In the Cheewaht, increased sedimentation occurred within ﬁve years. An irreversible process was rippling across the landscape. At one state, a debris jam blew apart, sending accumulated gravel downstream. Debris was eventually distributed across the anadromous zone inhabited by salmon. A debris zone created at the conﬂuence of the small tributaries kept moving around. “This is like a ping pong ball over a long period of time,” Wright said. A shifting climate and marine conditions coincided with habitat decline due to logging and its eﬀect on egg-to-fry survival. A 1992 El Nino event had a major impact on sockeye coastwide, Wright noted. The most signiﬁcant geomorphological event occurred in 1997, when a new channel was cut down to the lake. When Wright returned in 2001 to do
Photo submitted by Parks Canada
Josh Tate from Ditidaht First Nation assembles a “ﬂow splitter” structure that will support the point where one salmon stream naturally splits into two in the Cheewaht watershed in Paciﬁc Rim National Park Reserve. stock assessment training and mapping with Ditidaht members, they knew degrading was occurring, he said. A watershed stakeholder group was formed in 2008. B.C. Timber funded additional studies in 2009, by which time conditions had degraded further. “2009, that was when we really started to see the impact of logging done in the late ’80s and early ’90s,” Wright said. Sockeye escapement dropped to 10 percent of historic highs. Paul Sieber, Ditidaht resource manager, said restoration planning began in earnest when the working group was restarted in 2017. Parks Canada pursued Species at Risk funding, which allowed major restoration eﬀorts to proceed. do want to expand restoration projects in greater potential for rebuilding salmon Last summer, workers from the Ditidaht that lake and watershed. There are ongohabitat elsewhere. community joined Parks Canada and con- ing talks with DFO. It’s a huge task. We “It is probably one of the highlights of tractors to remove more than 3,000 cubic do monitor the Nitinat River, but that’s my career,” he said. metres of debris and sediment from the all. We want to do work in all salmon The question of how to prevent destructributary streams. Banks were reinforced streams.” tive logging practices often comes up at and logs strategically placed for enhanced Forests can take 40 to 100 years to the roundtable. spawning and rearing habitats along a recover from logging. It could take 20 “We have to do a better job of managone-kilometre stretch. The project was years or more to determine the eﬀectiveing the landscape,” Wright said. “How do funded by a $1.1 million federal investness of restoration, Wright said. With you get government to rethink how logment through Parks Canada’s Conservaclimate change and intense storms, slopes ging practices occur? What are adequate tion and Restoration Program. are more saturated, he noted. buﬀers to sustain stream beds?” “It took a lot of collaboration between “We’re always waiting for something to While Parks Canada continues to moniParks Canada and First Nations and it let go,” he cautioned. tor the watershed, Ditidaht First Nation worked out well,” Sieber said. They have ﬁve remote cameras set up, intends to assume that role in the long The work was challenging. A temporary shooting every half hour in daylight, to term with development of its guardian corduroy road had to be built to bring in keep close watch. program. heavy equipment and only available maWright feels the project demonstrates terials could be used to recreate spawning habitat. They are encouraged last fall by the sight of adult sockeye, counting 3,400 ﬁsh and as many as 1,300 in a single day. “That high return is a good start,” said biologist Ryan Abbott of M.C. Wright and Associates. “It’s really good,” he stressed, noting each female can lay 3,000 eggs. Sieber said they will continue monitoring the streams for the next four of ﬁve If you should be getting a copy of the years to determine the eﬀectiveness of the restoration work. The 2024 return should Ha-Shilth-Sa paper delivered to your home, be telling. please contact : Holly Stocking at “The Cheewaht sockeye run is only one of two and we concentrated on it ﬁrst 250-724-5757 or because it was highly endangered, and email@example.com we needed to save it,” Sieber said. “We
Have You Moved?
January 14, 2021—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 15
Photos supplied by Geena Haiyupis
The 2-D canoe sits within the Alberni District Secondary School, after being made by students Aidan Nelson (bottom left), Jolene Sam and Daynia Urry, among others. Geena Haiyupis (right) guides Victoria, while the student works on the canoe.
2-D canoe crafted by students for display at ADSS Project aims to foster more pride and belonging among Indigenous students, thereby boosting graduation rate By Melissa Renwick Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Port Alberni, BC - In a growing eﬀort to foster a stronger sense belonging, the Alberni District Secondary School (ADSS) in Port Alberni has tasked Grade 8 students with crafting a 2-D canoe for display. Under the guidance Geena Haiyupis, ADSS Nuu-chah-nulth education worker, and Moira Barney, ADSS Nuu-chah-nulth teacher, it is being built with plywood and styled as a traditional dugout canoe. By celebrating Nuu-chah-nulth culture through more visual representation in the school’s hallways, Haiyupis said the display aims to serve as a daily reminder for students to be “proud of who they are.” “It ﬁts with a lot of our planning for success for our students,” said ADSS principal, Rob Souther. “If you don’t see yourself in the place or in the world that you live in, it’s more diﬃcult to be a part of that world. We want to embed [Nuuchah-nulth culture] throughout our build-
ing so that there’s a sense of ownership and belonging that’s attached to it for all of our students, and speciﬁcally for our Nuu-chah-nulth students.” Painted with an eagle, to symbolize focus and intelligence, a wolf, to embody a sense of belonging and protection, along with a thunderbird woman, who serves to protect the land and its children, the designs created by Haiyupis are intended to represent three diﬀerent forms of leadership. The idea was born last year, however COVID-19 brought it to a halt. The project was resurrected in December and students have been rotating in pairs to work on it since. “I feel honoured to work on something like this,” said Grade 8 student, Chance Fred. “It makes me feel connected to my ancestors.” Once the canoe is in its ﬁnal stages, students will be asked for their input to create “the 10 commandments of paddling through education together,” said Haiyupis. Modeled after the Tribal Jour-
neys’ “10 commandments of paddling together,” their words will be displayed alongside the canoe. It is anticipated to be complete by the end of the month. “[The students] really enjoy the handson [work], and the fact that they get to participate and contribute in a bona ﬁde art instillation,” said Barney. “They have such pride in what they’re doing.” Grade 8 student, Aidan Nelson, said that the art project has instilled him with calmness. “I will remember [that] this canoe will be here for generations,” he said. “For other kids to come see.” Over past couple of years, Haiyupis said that the Indigenous graduation rate at ADSS has reached “unprecedented levels.” “At one point, we were way below the provincial average in terms of graduation rates for Indigenous students,” added Souther. “In the last two years, we’ve caught the provincial average and we’ve actually exceeded the provincial aver-
age.” During the 2018 and 2019 school year, the ﬁve-year completion rate for Indigenous students within School District 70 was 51 percent, compared to 82 percent for non-Indigenous students. While last year’s provincial numbers still aren’t available, only one Indigenous student did not graduate from ADSS, said Souther. “This year, we’re aiming to hit [a] 100 percent graduation rate,” said Haiyupis. With support from two Nuu-chah-nulth education workers, the school has placed an emphasis on its Nuu-chah-nulth language program. For years, ADSS only taught language classes to Grades 8, 9 and 10. However, this year the class has been extended to Grade 11 for the ﬁrst time due to growing interest. “We can only assume that we’re retaining kids because there’s more of a sense of belonging,” said Haiyupis. “It’s something that should be celebrated.”
Page 16— Ha-Shilth-Sa—January 14, 2021 Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council P.O. Box 1383, Port Alberni, BC V9Y 7M2 Phone: (250)0724-5757 Fax: (250) 724-1907
Hishuk-ish tsawalk (everything is one, everything is connected): Using Two-Eyed Seeing to optimize healthy early life trajectories for Indigenous Peoples An Indigenous Healthy Life Trajectories Initiative (I-HeLTI) The Hishuk-ish tsawalk project logo was designed by Nuu-chah-nulth Artist, Patrick Amos, Mowachaht/Muchalaht and supported by Elder Geraldine Tom of Ditidaht First Nation. Logo Description: The circle of cedar rope represents strength, power, and preparation. At points of the compass (North, South, East, West) are parents, guardians, fathers, mothers, aunties, and uncles. At the crossways (NE, NW, SE, SW) are children and youth, representing our relationships with each other. Each person holds onto an eagle feather. Canoes are found between each of the surrounding figures on the exterior of the circle. In the center of the circle, there are Elders and grandparents.
Elder Geraldine Tom described hishuk-ish tsawalk as a concept and a way of being. The words describe a connection of the self to our surroundings – emotional, physical, and spiritual – and to the wisdom and strength of our ancestors. This research is founded on the values of the nuuc^aan`u>ath=in: lisaaksta+ (respect each other), hopiitsta+ (help each other), hahopsta+ (teach one another), ya%aksta+ (love each other), and ap’hay’sta+ (be kind to one another).
What is the purpose of this research? Nuu-chah-nulth knowledge, hishuk-ish tsawalk, considers everything to be one and interconnected. This concept applies to the relationship between children’s early developmental environments and adult health and wellness, meaning there is a connection between a child’s early experiences and their health and wellness throughout life. The Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council (NTC), BC’s First Nations Health Authority (FNHA), Simon Fraser University (SFU), and other academic partners are working together on a long-term study to learn how to improve health and wellness for Indigenous children, with potential life-long beneﬁts. This project is led by Lynnette Lucas, Director of Health at the NTC and Adjunct Professor at SFU. The NTC is committed to Nation Rebuilding, to recover Nuu-chah-nulth traditional knowledge, culture, and way of life. This project is supporting these Nation Rebuilding eﬀorts by developing the capacity for research within the NTC and ‘reclaiming’ optimal health and well being through connection to ancient Nuu-chah-nulth knowledge. The NTC has long taken signiﬁcant international leadership in ensuring ethical, safe, and culturally-empowering research practices — that are grounded in Indigenous community goals. This project continues this leadership legacy.
We seek to connect with Nuu-chah-nulth Elders and Knowledge Holders. We desire to gather information about traditional Indigenous parenting and knowledge on raising healthy children and traditional approaches to supporting parents and communities. We welcome your guidance and feedback. We understand traditional Indigenous parenting knowledge is pivotal as we learn about ways to follow the wellness of children long-term. We will use the knowledge gained from our conversations with Nuu-chah-nulth Elders, Knowledge Holders, and community members to inform the design of the long-term study and over time, support the improvement of our NTC health and wellness programs. Elders interested in participating will be asked for approximately 1 to 2 hours of their time to speak of their experiences and insights into traditional parenting. Conversations will take place by phone and video-conferencing software for now, to follow COVID-19 protocols. Elders will be provided compensation for their time and involvement in this work.
Please meet our NTC team: Elder Geraldine Elder Advisor Lee Lucas Community Researcher Jackelyn Seitcher (Williams) Community Researcher
Vicky White Community Researcher
Monique Auger Program Evaluation Consultant
Marlo Thomas Child and Youth Services Manager
Jeanne!e Wa!s Nursing Services Manager
Laurel White Project Coordinator
Lynne!e Lucas Director of Health
If you are interested in participating in this research, or would like to ﬁnd out more information, please contact: Laurel White, I-HeLTI Project Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org, 250-724-5757 extension 264