Ha-Shilth-Sa Newspaper January 28, 2021

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INTERESTING NEWS Canada’s Oldest First Nations Newspaper - Serving Nuu-chah-nulth-aht since 1974 Canadian Publications Mail Product Vol. 48 - No. 02—January 28, 2021 haas^i>sa Sales Agreement No. 40047776

Photo by Melissa Renwick

The snow line could been seen along Lone Cone Mountain - which is known as Wanachis in Nuu-chah-nulth - on Meares Island, across the water from Tofino Jan. 26.

Ahousaht man takes charge of Type 2 diabetes By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Port Alberni, BC - A cane and leg brace sit near the entrance to Paul Sam’s apartment in Port Alberni. They’re familiar items for the 64-year-old, but also an indication of the empowerment Sam has gained during the last eight months over his Type 2 diabetes. “I don’t use these anymore,” said Sam in a gentle, unrushed manner characteristic of his Ahousaht roots. Having lost 45 pounds since last spring, Sam adds that he plans to give the cane to a friend who needs it in Tofino. Besides the weight loss, he’s also overcome low energy and constant pain that were characteristic of his medical condition. “I got tired of being sore and tired of just no more energy,” said Sam, who recalls his diabetes developing over time,

resulting in difficult symptoms for the previous nine years. “I used to be really active years ago. I used to be in forestry and logging and fishing, all that kind of stuff.” People aren’t born with Type 2 diabetes, but the condition affects 90 percent of those diagnosed with the disease. Contributing factors to acquiring Type 2 diabetes are having parents with the condition, stress, not enough sleep, a lack of activity and a diet with high quantities of refined carbohydrates, such as juice, soda and white bread. National statistics from Diabetes Canada show that First Nations have at least double the five per cent rate reported for the general population, with even more prevalence for those living on-reserve. “The impact of colonization is the main cause of diabetes,” said NTC dietician Rachel Dickens. “It didn’t really exist

Inside this issue... Funding for Port Alberni hospital..............................Page 3 Critical findings for youth mental health...................Page 5 Nootka Sound spill stabilized....................................Page 7 Port Hardy apartment fire.........................................Page 11 Recently published canoe book................................Page 15

before the 1940s in Indigenous communities.” Those afflicted can’t produce enough insulin, a hormone that helps control the amount of glucose – or sugar - in the blood. Glucose is the main source of energy for cells in muscles and other tissue, but if it isn’t managed with insulin this sugar can build up in the bloodstream. Type 2 diabetes leads to disorders of the circulatory, nervous and immune system, such as heart or kidney disease, skin infections, nerve damage – or even dementia. As many were under lockdown during the anxious early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, Paul Sam became more active in an effort to reverse the progress of his condition. He was connected to Dickens through the tribal council’s nurse navigator, Leslie Cerney. Dickens found funding for a Libre Flush

Glucose Monitor, a quarter-sized devise stuck to the back of Sam’s upper arm that measures blood sugar levels 24 hours a day, without the usual finger pokes that diabetics resort to. The monitor can be scanned with a smartphone. “In the beginning Paul had difficulty putting the sensor on himself because of the weakness in one of his hands, but now he can do it all himself,” said Dickens. “Wearing that, Paul was able to change his diet as well, seeing what spiked his blood sugars and what made his blood sugars go down.” “When they scan with their phone, it also connects with my computer, so I can see their results,” she said. “There’s quite a few people in Ahousaht that are using the meter and having similar success with just learning what foods are good for them.” Continued on page 2.

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


Page 2— Ha-Shilth-Sa—January 28, 2021

Port Alberni hospital gets $6.25-million for ER Expansion will add 2,626 square feet for patients, after facility’s use has grown to 25,000 emergency visits a year By Melissa Renwick Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Port Alberni, BC - The West Coast General Hospital in Port Alberni is set to undergo a $6.25-million emergency department redevelopment in March. The 2,626 square-foot expansion will include the addition of three new patient exam beds, extra space for those awaiting test results, a private room for people in need of emergency mental health care, improvements to the triage and admitting areas, along with two separate entrances for ambulances and the public. Not only will the increase of clinical space reduce wait times, it will also offer more privacy and security for patients. “Currently, patients who are agitated or violent and need emergency mental heath care are located in an assessment room near the waiting area,” said Island Health. “A seclusion room will provide security and privacy for those patients and for people in the waiting area.” When the hospital was built in 2001, the emergency department was designed to meet the needs of the region’s population at that time, which was around 12,000 patients annually, said Chris Francey, business director of the West Coast General Hospital Foundation. Now, it receives over twice as many patient visitations. Mid-Island Pacific Rim MLA Josie Osborne said that over 25,000 patients visited the emergency department in 2019-20. Along with Port Alberni, the emergency department serves the surrounding communities, such as Tofino, Ucluelet and Bamfield. “Expanding and improving the emer-

Photo by Eric Plummer

Since it was built in 2001, visits to the West Coast General Hospital have more than doubled. gency department at West Coast General Hospital is critical not just for Port Alberni, but all of the West Coast communities,” said Francey, in a release. Project costs are being shared between the province, which is providing $2.55-million, the West Coast General Hospital Foundation, which is putting forward $2-million and the Alberni-Clay-

oquot Regional Hospital District, which is contributing $1.7-million. “Upgrades are needed so the hospital can continue this high level of care for people for decades to come,” said Health Minister Adrian Dix. According to Island Health, the redevelopment will not require an increase in staff to meet patient care needs.

“West Coast General Hospital is an important part of the community and region,” said Osborne. “It’s great to see action being taken to upgrade the emergency department, which will improve patient privacy and make it easier for larger family groups to accompany their loved ones.”

Transforming diet, activity level and losing weight in the process Continued from page 1. Sam transformed what he eats, cutting out fatty and high-sugar food, instead relying on vegetables, a variety of local berries and mixed nuts to quell his appetite. “I stay away from pastries and all kinds of junk food,” he said. “I don’t really have it here in my place or I’d eat it.” He consumes some meat, but minimizes carbohydrate intake to better control his blood sugar level. “For my dinner I just peel one potato. Sometimes I don’t even finish that if it’s a big potato,” said Sam. “When I buy bread, a loaf of bread, I put it in the freezer and pull off a couple of pieces for my toast in the morning. It stays in the freezer so I don’t keep on eating it.” In Sam’s freezer small Tupperware containers are neatly stacked, each containing a carefully measured portion of a meal for future consumption. This discipline in controlling intake is maintained while eating out as well, said Dickens. “When he goes to a restaurant he asks for a take-out container instantly, so he can put half of his portion away before he starts eating,” she said. The other component to Sam’s transition is a steady reliance on moderate exercise. He began last year by walking his 230-pound frame around his apartment. Now at 185 pounds, he travels much further, often using an electric bicycle to take local trips. One of his favourite destinations is Paper Mill Dam park on the Somass River. “If I can’t make it back home I use the motor on the bike,” said Sam. “I can ride a lot farther than I used to.”

“I let my body fight that pain. The painkillers are no good for me anyway. They’re no good for my liver” ~ Paul Sam A pair of light kettlebell weights lie at the ready on his floor, and Sam increased his initial output of four leg squats to 30. He’s seen others push themselves too hard to lose weight, then quit out of hunger. Sam points to the importance of keeping a balanced lifestyle, rather than working excessively hard towards his goals. “I think he’s being very modest, he has worked very hard,” commented Dickens. “It’s right in that it’s not that hard to do. He still enjoys certain things and he’s not going to the gym for a crazy amount of hours or anything like that. He has been dedicated.” Over the last eight months Sam’s daily supplemental insulin intake has declined from 65 units to 25. And his dedication to improved health has led to another mark of victory: weening himself off of pain medication. “It’s next to nothing; I quit taking painkillers,” he said. “I let my body fight that pain. The painkillers are no good for me anyway. They’re no good for my liver, it gets me constipated. [Painkillers] just disconnects something in your brain that pain is still there; your brain is just fooling you.”

Photo by Eric Plummer

Paul Sam stands with his electric bicycle outside of his Port Alberni apartment.


January 28, 2021—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 3

4,000 shots delivered to Indigenous communities FNHA reports that 40 percent of the coronavirus infections among Indigenous people occurred on reserve By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter British Columbia – By mid January the First Nations Health Authority reported that 4,000 units of Moderna, the COVID-19 vaccine, were delivered to B.C. Indigenous communities between Dec. 29, 2020 and Jan. 13. They say that more than 19 Indigenous communities have received the vaccine with another 41 communities to receive vaccine very soon. “We are coming up on a year since the first cases of COVID-19 were reported in BC,” said Dr. Shannon McDonald, acting FNHA chief medical officer. As of Jan. 13, 2021, there have been more than 2,500 Status Indians in British Columbia that tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 12 months. Near the beginning of the pandemic, about 25 percent of the Indigenous cases were residing on reserve. That ratio has now increased to about 40 percent according to Dr. McDonald. Sadly, the 32nd Indigenous death due to COVID-19 was just recorded. “Those are people, they are not just numbers,” said Dr. McDonald. The FNHA has adopted a whole-community approach to vaccinating people in Indigenous settlements. They are usually remote, with access to secondary-level health care. Housing shortages experienced at most reserves mean that people are usually living in crowded conditions with several generations living in one home. For these reasons the FNHA is offering the vaccine to everyone on reserve over the age of 18. Since New Year’s Day there have been cluster break outs of coronavirus on reserve in places like Snuneymuxw and Cowichan Tribes. Municipal leaders in the Cowichan Valley publicly condemned racist incidents that arose following news of the outbreaks. Most notably, a dentist canceled a Co-

Photo supplied by Courtenay Louie

Ahousaht residents were among the first in B.C. to receive immunization for COVID-19. Indigenous people living off reserve have not been prioritized for vaccination, although elders are expected to receive shots as early as February. wichan Tribes patient appointment without asking her any screening questions, but simply because she was from the First Nation. Message boards on social media were filled with racist commentary. Stating that they were deeply saddened by what Cowichan Tribes members were going through in their community, the First Nations Health Authority said they are committed to supporting them in their approach to managing the COVID-19 cases. “We would also like to raise our hands in gratitude to the many community and health care leaders in the Cowichan Valley who stood up and called out this unacceptable intolerance. We must continue to stand together in our refusal to allow racism in all its forms,” FNHA wrote in an open letter dated Jan. 13, 2021. The doctors at FNHA agreed that racist backlash suffered by the people of Cowichan Tribes is not new.

“It’s always been there, just under the surface,” said Senior Medical Officer Dr. Nel Wieman. “It’s likely that COVID is a stressor that brings it out.” Cowichan Tribes members are receiving vaccine during the second week of January. Dr. McDonald reminds people that it takes about 10 days after immunization to develop immunity. She stated that it is not known if people that are vaccinated can carry the virus to the unvaccinated. For that reason, it is important to continue to follow guidelines set out by the provincial health officer, she said. McDonald went on to say that the First Nations Health Authority does not have service responsibility for Indigenous people living off reserve or away from home. But they collaborate with local health authorities, like Vancouver Island Health Authority, to plan for the safe and culturally-sensitive distribution of the

vaccine in urban areas. Island Health reports that it has limited supplies of vaccine, but expects to receive more doses in increasing quantities over time. The vaccine will be free for everyone in B.C. but it will be rolled out according to priority groups. Between December 2020 and February 2021, the following groups will be offered vaccine: Residents, staff and essential visitors to long-term care and assisted-living residences. Individuals in hospital or community awaiting a long-term care placement Health care workers providing care for COVID-19 patients Remote and isolated First Nations communities From February to March, the immunization program will be expanded to include: Community-based seniors, age 80 and up; Indigenous elders age 65 and up People experiencing homelessness and/ or using shelters Provincial correctional facilities Adults in group homes or mental health residential care Long-term home support recipients and staff Hospital staff, community GPs and medical specialists It is expected that all British Columbians will be vaccinated against COVID-19 by the end of 2021. The provincial health officer’s orders and guidelines remain in place for everyone, regardless if they have received the vaccine. “We all need to continue to protect each other by avoiding social interactions outside our immediate household, washing our hands often, staying home when we’re sick, staying physically distant from people we don’t know and wearing a mask in public indoor spaces,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry.

Health professionals warn people to remain vigilant By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter British Columbia – Indigenous communities in the province are among the first to receive the vaccine for COVID-19 nearly a year after the first cases were recorded in the province. People are lining up in droves with grateful smiles as they roll up their sleeves to receive the vaccine that, in time, promises a return to ‘normal’ life. But health officials are warning people that they must continue to avoid gatherings. “Having the vaccine is a big tool in our toolkit,” said Dr. Shannon McDonald, acting chief medical officer for the First Nations Health Authority. “We have to continue to do the things that we’ve been encouraged to do to stay safe. To avoid gatherings, to hang out in your family bubble, to wash your hands, to wear a mask when you’re in public. All of those things are absolutely necessary now and for the next while.” As of Jan. 12, just over 4,100 vaccines have been administered in First Nations communities around the province. It is estimated that more than 60 Indigenous communities will have received the vaccine by the end of January. To date, there have been more than 2,000 positive cases of COVID-19 among First Nations people in B.C. with 600

cases being active. Until 75 percent of the general population has been vaccinated, there is still a risk to communities, according to the FNHA. Health authorities do not know whether those that have been vaccinated can carry the virus to those that have not received the vaccine. It takes two doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to reach full immunization. The second shot is administered three or more weeks after the first one. “Even immediately after you get the vaccine it’ll take seven to 10 days before your body has developed enough immunity to protect you against COVID. So especially during that period it’s very important to continue with all the public health measures that we know,” Dr. McDonald stated. New strains of COVID-19 have reached Canada, but Dr. McDonald assures people that the existing vaccines are effective against these different varieties of the virus. To date the following Nuu-chahnulth First Nation communities have received the first dose of Moderna: Ahousaht, Ehattesaht, Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/ Che:k’tles7et’h’, Huu-ay-aht, Hesquiaht, Mowachaht/Muchalaht and Nuchatlaht. Ditidaht and Toquaht will be hosting vaccination clinics this week for their community members.

Photo submitted by Ashley John

Ashley John recieves a her COVID-19 vaccine from NTC Nurse Lucy Chiasson.


Page 4— Ha-Shilth-Sa—January 28, 2021 Ha-Shilth-Sa newspaper is published by the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council for distribution to the members of the NTC-member First Nations, as well as other interested groups and individuals. Information and original work contained in this newspaper is protected by copyright and may not be reproduced without written permission from: Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council P.O. Box 1383, Port Alberni, B.C. V9Y 7M2. Telephone: (250) 724-5757 Fax: (250) 723-0463 Web page: www.hashilthsa.com facebook: Hashilthsa Ntc

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

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Delays in COVID-19 vaccine supply Elderly and health workers prioritized, non-vulnerable groups to be eligible in July By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter British Columbia – The first month of vaccination programs are well underway in British Columbia with the province’s most vulnerable people receiving initial doses of Moderna or Pfizer vaccines, beginning in December 2020. But a shortage in the supply of vaccines to Canada is causing concern. Canada receives its supply of Pfizer vaccine from Belgium. According to the Pfizer website, the company is working on ways to ramp up production to meet world-wide demand. They are making modifications at their facilities to deliver 2 billion doses by the end of 2021. “There will be a temporary impact on some shipments until mid-February in order to quickly enable increased production volumes afterwards,” stated Pfizer, adding that delays will be resolved by the end of March. In British Columbia, 144, 550 doses of vaccine have been received. As of Jan. 26, 122, 350 doses have been administered with 118,254 people receiving first dose and 4,104 receiving second dose. Because of the shortage, the provincial government has delayed administration of the second dose to 42 days, which is the maximum number of time allotted by the World Health Organization. This will allow more people to receive first doses as the second wave of COVID-19 spreads across Canada. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a televised statement the federal government is working to secure six million doses of vaccine from both Pfizer and Moderna by the end of March. The First Nations Health Authority states that the worldwide shortage of Pfizer vaccine may affect the start date of some vaccination clinics in B.C.’s First Nations communities. “Health officials in B.C. are expecting a shortfall of approximately 60,000 doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine over the coming weeks,” stated FNHA. “The FNHA is continuing to work with our provincial and federal partners to prioritize available doses for First Nations communities, however there will likely be a delay.” The number of COVID-19 cases in B.C.

remains consistent with 407 new case on Jan. 26. On Vancouver Island there were 22 new cases reported on that day, with 210 active cases. Health officials are warning people to follow current orders even if they have received one or both doses of vaccine. Provincial health restrictions are in place until Feb. 5, and may be extended. Everyone is reminded to avoid gatherings and that socialization must be limited to immediate household bubbles. People are reminded to practice physical distancing, washing your hands regularly and wearing a mask. “We will not be able to stop these measures until most people have been vaccinated,” states the Province of B.C. website. The province has set up a four-phase vaccination program for its residents. Phase 1 runs from December 2020 to February 2021. The following groups are eligible for vaccine: -Residents and staff of long-term care facilities -Individuals assessed for and awaiting long-term care -Residents and staff of assisted living residences -Essential visitors to long-term care facilities and assisted living residences -Hospital health care workers who may provide care for COVID-19 patients in settings like Intensive Care Units, emergency departments, paramedics, medical units and surgical units -Remote and isolated Indigenous communities For Phase 2, from February to March 2021, the following groups will be eligible for vaccine: -Seniors aged 80 and over who are not immunized in Phase 1 -Indigenous (First Nations, Métis and Inuit) seniors age 65 and over, additional Indigenous communities not immunized in Phase 1 -Hospital staff, community general practitioners (GPs) and medical specialists not immunized in Phase 1 -Vulnerable populations living and working in select congregated settings -Staff in community home support and nursing services for seniors In Phase 3, from April to June 2021, the following groups will be eligible for

vaccine: -People aged 60 to 79 -People aged 16 to 69 with underlying health conditions who are extremely vulnerable, for example: organ transplant recipients, people with specific cancers, people who are taking immunosuppression drugs, people with severe respiratory conditions including cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Phase 4, runs from July to September 2021, and will cover the remainder of the population. Those between the ages of 55-59 will go first followed by the next five-year increment group going backwards to the final age group of 18 – 24-year-olds in September 2021. The Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines require two doses to be fully effective. The second dose is administered between 21 and 42 days after the first. The vaccines are about 70 per cent effective 14 days after the first dose and 95 per cent effective after the second dose. As with any vaccine, the COVID-19 vaccines may not fully protect all those who receive them. Questions remain about how long immunity lasts and whether a vaccinated person can still transmit the disease. Research into these and other questions continues. According to FNHA, Canada has agreements with several companies to receive enough doses in 2021 for the entire population.

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January 28, 2021—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 5

Youth representative issues scathing report Changes to Mental Health Act are needed to be•er serve the province’s vulnerable youth, says Charlesworth By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Victoria, BC - The province is imposing an overbearingly institutional system on B.C.’s young people who struggle with mental health issues, thereby failing those who need the support the most, according to a recent report from the Representative for Children and Youth. On Tuesday Jennifer Charlesworth released a critical study of how the B.C. Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions is serving vulnerable young people in the province, noting that forced detentions into treatment facilities has gone up 162 per cent over a decade. That statistic covers the period from 2008-2018, showing a rising number of involuntary detentions undertaken according to provisions of the Mental Health Act. According to the provincial legislation, a young person can be kept against their will if they present a safety risk to themselves or others - or if this is deemed necessary to prevent “mental or physical deterioration”. The act allows treatment to be imposed on those who are detained, as well as discipline, restraint and isolation, states the representative’s report. But much more can be done to ensure young people’s rights are upheld, argues Charlesworth, who challenges the value of how youth are treated while detained. “I am concerned that a standout memory for many young people is being isolated and restrained,” she said in a press release. “The absence of legislation and regulation to guide the use of this extraordinary power is also troubling. The fact that these measures are coercive and may be experienced as traumatizing underlines the need for rigorous oversight and accountability.” Charlesworth’s report drew from interviews with youth, more than half of whom disagreed with their treatment for mental health issues. “I’d wake up…and either be calm and go back to sleep or freak out and get sedated again,” said Sean, whose comments are included in the document. “It was like that for about three months. It’s just a big blur.” “They said I could call a lawyer. I don’t have one and I hate court. I just waited it out,” noted Charlie, another young man who was interviewed. “I was an eagle trapped in a cage. I can’t fly or enjoy things. They took that away from me.” Charlesworth noted a serious lack of community supports that are available for young people upon discharge, and recom-

Photo submitted by B.C. Representative for Children and Youth

A recent report by Jennifer Charlesworth, B.C.’s Representative for Children and Youth, highlights a dramatic increase in forced detentions done under the province’s Mental Health Act, as well as imposing medication on vulnerable young people. mends better oversight of detentions, with the involvement of independent bodies that advocate for patients. Little data is available on the involuntary placements in facilities, but the Ministry of Health believes that Indigenous youth are disproportionally represented. Charlesworth stressed that a young person should be able to notify their First Nation if detained, and points to the absence of cultural relevant treatment for Aboriginal kids. “The bottom line is that the Mental Health Act was not designed with the needs of children and youth in mind and is not meeting the needs of young people in this province,” she said. “Generally, they were looking for therapeutic support but found that, instead of that, what they received was forced medication.” Back in the summer an amendment to the Mental Health Act was tabled in Victoria, which some feared would put Aboriginal youth at an even greater risk by expanding the use of detention. “It wasn’t addressing the issue that youth find themselves in,” said Judith Sayers, president of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council. “Just throwing them in to be assessed for seven days doesn’t address the problem.”

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The Union of BC Indian Chiefs opposed Bill 22, warning that it would lead to more fatal drug overdoses. “Our families and communities require culturally safe, wraparound services – not additional legal mechanisms to detain our youth and ignore our rights,” stated Kukpi7 Judy Wilson of the UBCIC in July. With the NDP still without a majority of seat in the legislature, Bill 22 did not pass last summer. But the need remains to change the provincial law to better serve vulnerable people, added Sayers. “If they’re going to be amending the Mental Health Act, we can’t just put them in an institution because we know it doesn’t work,” she said. “They really do need to amend the Mental Health Act so this doesn’t happen, but at the same time we need to have something alternatively for them to utilize.” Charlesworth’s report largely drew on information from before COVID-19 transformed the delivery of health services in the province. Since the pandemic began in March, youth have faced a growing list of challenges in maintaining mental health. Initiatives like the Warriors Program, which fosters a sense of brotherhood while building leadership qualities through land-based learning,

have been affected by the inability to gather. Since March the six Nuu-chahnulth nations that run the program have been unable to hold weekly meetings or camping excursions. Teechuktl Mental Health has had to adapt to the elevated risk by closely monitoring social media posts to catch warning signs of self harm. In response to Charlesworth’s report, Sheila Malcolmson, B.C.’s minister of Mental Health and Addictions, committed to listening to young people and their families. “Our main focus continues to be on boosting the voluntary system of care so young people can get help early on, before smaller problems become larger ones,” she said in a statement. Meanwhile, Malcolmson pointed to how mental health services have improved since her ministry was formed nearly four years ago. “We’ve been making progress for young people in B.C. since 2017 by expanding voluntary services that support them,” she said. “New Foundry centres, child and youth teams in school districts, doubling the number of youth substance use treatment beds and expanding specialized services are just some of the examples.”


Page 6— Ha-Shilth-Sa—January 28, 2021

West Coast Marine Response Command photo

Since early December oil containment booms have been deployed off Bligh Island in Nootka Sound to control a stream of oil leaking from a long-sunken wreck.

Nootka Sound spill ‘stabilized’ despite challenges The MV Schiedyk wreck lies 360-400 metres down after striking a reef in 1968, leaking up to four litres per hour By Mike Youds Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Nootka Sound, BC - Offshore booms and shoreline cleanup crews have so far managed to contain and collect heavy fuel oil seeping from a shipwreck in Nootka Sound, a unified command group says. Jeff Brady, federal incident commander, said they have made steady progress since the operation began in early December 2020 but must still determine how to plug, patch or remove oil slowly seeping from the sunken wreck of MV Schiedyk. “I guess the key word is stabilized,” said Brady, a Coast Guard pollution response specialist, summing up the situation six weeks into the response. They have reached a point where the immediate threat from oil, welling to the surface at a rate of one to four litres per hour, is under control. A team of 30 on-site workers continues to focus on oil recovery in order to prevent long-term environmental damage while another 30 personnel support the effort remotely. Difficulties encountered due to COVID, weather and communications with the site off Bligh Island have been overcome, but critical questions remain, Brady said. A remotely operated vehicle has been used to gather initial information, but authorities have not determined what will be required to resolve the situation. “There are still a lot of challenges ahead

for us,” he said. “We still don’t know how much oil is on board.” MV Schiedyk struck a reef in January 1968 and lies hull up, 360-400 metres down, leaking one to four litres per hour. The bulk carrier had an estimated fuel capacity of 300 tons, but it was certainly not topped up after sailing from Seattle to Gold River, Brady said. The type of oil has yet to be confirmed although they assume it is Bunker C, more persistent in the environment than diesel. Some of those answers are expected to come through technical assessment and source control contracts. Requests for proposals will be posted soon so that the contracts can be awarded in February, Brady said. Winter weather can be rough at the best of times on the exposed coastline in Zuciarte Channel. “We’ve had a few shutdown days and equipment breakdowns,” Brady said. “It’s a pretty nasty place and we’ve had well over 40 knots at times. The weather has had an impact on the situation.” On one occasion, oil appeared to be drifting toward the historic village of Yuquot, raising additional concerns before the threat subsided. Mowachaht-Muchalaht Hereditary Chief Jerry Jack, First Nations incident commander, has visited the Bligh Island wreck site a couple of times since December. “There’s only been a few days, from what I’ve seen, where the weather has

been a factor,” Jack said. In cases where the boom lines were broken, they were quickly repaired, he added. “It was stormy for a while, but as far as I can see, they’re doing the best that they can.” Ehattesaht First Nations fisheries department, Hesquiaht First Nation and Nuuchah-nulth Tribal Council are also part of the co-ordinated response. In-depth traditional knowledge together with technical and scientific expertise have been instrumental to the effectiveness of the response, Brady said. Jack said the spill response has been “overwhelmingly good” from his point of view. “It’s being contained, and I don’t think it’s gone past South Bligh Island,” he said. “Everyone is working really well together.” Bligh Island lies in Mowachaht-Muchalaht territory east of Nootka Island at the head of Muchalat, Tlupana and Tahsis inlets. The island and surrounding archipelago are part of a provincial marine park and the area is usually frequented by boaters. A Coast Guard marine notice cautions mariners to steer clear of the emergency zone, much of which lies within the park boundary. Buoys and beacons are being installed for safety and monitoring. To date, there seems to be little effect on wildlife in the area, said Darcy Sego, provincial incident commander with the B.C. environment ministry. Early in the response, one oiled sea otter

was observed but not captured. Another otter was found dead, but a necropsy concluded that was not related to oiling. “There is minimal impact on wildlife in the area,” Sego said. “That’s probably due to the winter season and wildlife in the area avoiding the active operations.” Two shoreline cleanup assessment teams are planning to survey about 100 kilometres of shoreline. Bird and mammal surveys have been done regularly. Wildlife observations by contractor Focus Wildlife have totalled thousands of birds across 30 species, though mew gulls account for more than half of the sightings. Humpback whales and orcas have been observed and identified in the vicinity. Brady said it is tough to estimate how long the operation will have to continue. It will probably be late May by the time the technical assessment is complete. “We’re planning for months ahead and for the operation to continue until late spring or early summer,” he said. “If the oil keeps upwelling, we have no plans to go anywhere.” Generally, vessel owners are held responsible for cleanup costs. “The Coast Guard is still building a file with the intention of doing cost recovery,” Brady said. “No one is stepping forward and saying, ‘I’ll pay the bills.’” Periodic updates can be found at the unified command website, spillresponsebc.ca.


January 28, 2021—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 7

‘Part of the family’: Remembering Harry Lucas Born at a fish cannery near Tahsis in 1942, the fluent speaker had deep ties to several Nuu-chah-nulth nations By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Port Alberni, BC – “He joked he could have been the mayor of Port Alberni, he knew so many people,” said Yvonne Lucas of her husband Harry. Lucas, a well-known Nuu-chah-nulth elder, died in a boat accident on his way to Hot Springs Cove on Dec. 31, 2020. He was a man that lived in the moment and made friends everywhere he went. At his funeral service, Reverend Rick Lindholm joked that Harry and his elder brother, the late Dr. Simon Lucas, weren’t the shy ones in the family. Yvonne says the Lucas family is a large one and most of the siblings are quiet and reserved, but not Harry and Simon. Born at Ceepeecee (a former fish cannery near Tahsis) in April 1942, Harry was the second child of Matthew and Mamie Lucas. Harry attended Christie Indian Residential School on Meares Island before going to St. Mary’s Indian Residential School in Mission, B.C. “He came back to Port Alberni and went to Alberni District High School to finish his education because his buddies, Wes Thomas and them, were there,” said Yvonne. In his early years Harry’s parents transferred the family from Hesquiaht to Ehattesaht but, according to Yvonne, the Hesquiaht people wanted Matthew back and so they went to Ehattesaht to bring them back home. “They even took their house apart and brought it to Hesquiaht and put it back together,” said Yvonne. Harry, through his marriage to Yvonne Gus, had ties with the Tseshaht community. He transferred to Hupacasath, but, according to Yvonne, he always said he was from all Nuu-chah-nulth nations. Yvonne said she and Harry met in Port Alberni in 1969 through relatives and got together as a couple in 1970. One of his good friends was late Eugene Touchie. One night they partied together and Touchie, with the help of friends, pranked Harry by spray painting his old car white, decorating it with embarrassing slogans. Harry thought it was funny and drove the car around town as it was. “He was so outspoken, he didn’t care what anyone thought of him,” said Yvonne. In the beginning Harry supported his family working on the log booms in Port Alberni. “But he was a fisherman first,” said Yvonne, adding that he went out fishing whenever he could. When he tired of the logging industry, he went back to school to become a carpenter. “He faced racism there but he also made lots of friends,” Yvonne recalled. One of Harry’s best talents was fitting in and making friends. As a trained carpenter, Harry built a family home on the Tseshaht reserve with help from his wife. “He showed me a lot,” said Yvonne. Over time, Lucas lost interest in carpentry. He would visit his friend Tat Tatoosh at the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council. Tat was, at that time, the Nuu-chah-nulth language interpreter. Being fluent in the Nuu-chah-nulth language, the two men enjoyed speaking together in their mother tongue. Tatoosh taught Lucas how to write the Nuu-chah-nulth language. “When Tat left (the NTC) Harry took over language interpretation,” said

Photo by Eric Plummer

The long life of Harry Lucas ended at sea on New Years Eve while he was travelling to Hot Springs Cove. Above Lucas is pictured dancing during a potlatch held by the Samuel family in Port Alberni in 2017. Yvonne. Lucas eventually moved on from his employment with the NTC, but he was a jack of all trades, having no problem finding work and new friends. “Dad was a social butterfly,” said Layla Lucas of her father. “He was so generous.” He would help struggling people, buying them groceries or paying for a restaurant meal. “Random strangers – he overheard them saying they were celebrating their anniversary, so he paid for their dinner,” said Layla. “And he’d bring strays home, one time he brought three people home,” laughed Yvonne. Many people remembered him for his Chief Dan George look. “He loved that he resembled Chief Dan George, who was my mom’s relative,” said Yvonne. One of his legacies is the existence floor hockey in Nuu-chah-nulth sports. Back in the ‘70s, Simon Lucas worked as the recreation coordinator for the West Coast District Council, the predecessor to the NTC. Yvonne said Harry worked for his older brother and pushed to include floor hockey in the roster of organized sports when the elder brother was more focused on basketball. “Floor hockey is still popular today,” said Yvonne. Harry Lucas not only found work on Nuu-chah-nulth language projects, but also lent his logging expertise in the moving of the Language Revitalization Pole Project from Bamfield to Port Alberni. Even in his late 70s, Harry worked hard. “He still went up the mountains to cut firewood,” said Yvonne. But she could tell things were changing with Harry. His health was declining, and he wasn’t the same after the loss of his brother and other close friends in his age group. It seemed an air of sadness had set in. But Harry poured his attention into something he was passionate about – fishing.

In the late 2020, Lucas began working on his boat. He had planned to move to Hot Spring Cove for the season to help his younger brother prepare his own boat for fishing. Lucas built a blue wooden cabin on his herring skiff so that he could travel to and from Hot Springs Cove in comfort. He loved to take it out fishing. His joy shines through in a video, showing Harry doing a happy dance at the stern of his boat, celebrating a cooler full of fresh salmon that he and his brother just caught. But Yvonne was concerned when she heard about his plan to go to the cove in the winter. “There’s bad weather, but there was nothing I could say to discourage him from doing it,” said Yvonne through tears. To make matters worse, Yvonne didn’t know until that final day that he was making the two-hour trip from Tofino to Hot Springs Cove solo. “Something should be done about people traveling alone in the winter, especially seniors,” said Yvonne. Her husband was 78 when he drowned on New Year’s Eve, likely as he was entering the mouth of Hot Springs Cove. When she hadn’t heard from him by about 5 p.m. Yvonne contacted her niece in Hot Springs Cove, asking if anyone

there knew anything. They knew he was seen leaving Ahousaht at about 3 p.m. and should have arrived in Hot Springs Cove an hour later. Search parties went out from both Hot Spring Cove and Ahousaht. The following day both the Canadian Coast Guard and volunteers from Tla-o-qui-aht joined the search. Sadly, his remains were found by his granddaughter on the second day of the search. The young woman was searching the shoreline of Hot Springs Cove and found Lucas near Muchasnit, a beach near the north entrance of the cove. Lucas was remembered at a small pandemic-restricted service in Port Alberni on Jan. 9. Yvonne says she will hang on to his ashes until weather improves, then bring them somewhere dear to him. Harry and Yvonne had two children together and Harry had another two children from a previous relationship. Sadly, the boy he had from the previous relationship died shortly after he was born. Harry leaves behind Yvonne, two daughters and a son. “He had five grandchildren and they were the most important things to him,” said Yvonne. Yvonne and her Layla wish to thank the people who knew Harry and have treated them so well since his passing. Yvonne said she needed to replace a tire on her car after Harry died. When the people at Kal Tire learned she was Harry’s wife, they gave her a huge discount, saying they knew him. The Lucas family thanks Ahousaht, Hesquiaht and Tla-o-qui-aht search and rescue teams and volunteers, the Canadian Coast Guard, Quu’asa staff, Tim Paul and their Tseshaht relatives that provided comfort and support in Port Alberni. “He was part of the family,” said Yvonne.


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Long lists, lack of housing keeps Alberni’s vulnerable unshel Port Alberni’s homelessness count indicates 86 per cent of the city’s unsheltered are challenged with at least one existing medical By Karly Blats Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Port Alberni, BC - Results of an investigation looking into allegations against the Port Alberni Shelter Society (PASS) have been submitted by the contractor to BC Housing and the findings should be available soon. 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 and strict rules. “The next step in this process is for BC Housing to review the report’s recommendations and to develop actions and responses,” said BC Housing in an emailed response. “We will share more information upon completion of our review in early February.” For now, those living on the streets of Port Alberni - or precariously with friends and family - can continue to hope for a more permanent housing solution. Experiencing homelessness in the Alberni Valley has been difficult for 33-year-old Lydia Williams from Ahousaht First Nation. Williams has been on and off the streets for the past 12 years and will often sleep rough outside the overdose prevention site on Third Avenue or in an alley behind Shoppers Drug Mart. She says it can be difficult emotionally during the long cold nights on the street. Williams said she’s no longer comfortable at the Port Alberni Shelter (Our Home on Eighth) because of an incident that occurred there in the past. “I don’t have many supports,” Williams said outside the overdose prevention site. “I’ve reached out a lot to my band but they keep telling me the same thing, I’m not living on reserve.” Williams wants people to know she’s harmless and “just like everybody else.” A common thread amongst those facing homelessness in Port Alberni is the difficulty of finding supportive, or low-income housing. For Williams’s aunt, who preferred not to be named, it’s been impossible to find a home. “I apply, apply, apply but when you apply there’s 25 other people applying for it too,” The Tseshaht woman said. “For me there’s no help whatsoever, we’re the black sheep. Every one of us are the black sheep of our family.” If she can’t stay with her kids or other family members, Williams’s aunt will sleep outside the overdose prevention site or under a picnic table. On the streets, there’s also the shared feeling of community and a sense of protection amongst those experiencing homelessness. “This is my family…they will protect me when they have to,” Williams’s aunt said as she motioned to others around her outside the overdose prevention site. Prevalence of medical conditions Mental health issues and addiction are prevalent among homeless individuals and often add to the difficulty of finding housing. According to the BC Housing homeless count from 2018, 56 per cent of the 7,655 respondents in the province who are experiencing homelessness disclosed they had an addiction, 44 per cent reported a medical condition and 40 per cent reported a mental illness. For the Alberni Valley specifically, of the 147 respondents, 86 per cent reported they had between one and four medical conditions. Forty-eight per cent of the homeless re-

Photos by Karly Blats

Lydia Williams from Ahousaht First Nation has lived on and off the street of Port Alberni for the past 12 years. She says lowincome housing has been extremely hard to find.

Trailers continue to occupy Randy Brown’s property on Fo the Wintergreen Apartments where homeless individuals ar

Port Alberni resident Mark Braunagel wants to help those suffering from addiction by building a therapeutic recovery centre with secondary housing. spondents in Port Alberni identified as First the pull of addiction is too strong. Now she’s working as a maintenance helper for Nation. Randy Brown, cleaning up his property on Tia Wouters from Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ First NaFourth Avenue where several trailers line tion attributes her struggle with homelessa lot next to the apartment building for ness to her heroin addiction. The 30-yearhomeless people to live. old is currently sleeping where she can The City of Port Alberni recently ordered until she secures a trailer at Randy Brown’s Brown to remove all trailers from the propproperty on Fourth Avenue beside the Winerty, as they were deemed unsafe to live in tergreen Apartments. and don’t have proper permitting. Brown Wouters didn’t touch drugs until she was told city council he had no plans to follow 26 despite both her parents having their own struggles with addictions. She said she the city’s orders and won’t be removing the trailers. became addicted after trying heroin for the Wouters is looking forward to having a first time with a boyfriend. roof over her head. “There’s no just trying heroin…I liked it “I’ve had to sleep outside a couple of too much,” Wouters said as she kept warm times now, it’s not fun,” she said. “Somein an apartment under the Sobering Centre times you don’t want to bug anybody after on Fifth Avenue. “I should have known a while. There’s so many of us now… better, I always hated heroin…how could sometimes it’s not even people with addicsomebody ruin their whole life with sometions, sometimes it’s people that had a bad thing like that and keep doing it. It must be landlord or something like that.” good if they’re willing to throw everything At one point Wouters was living at the away for it. I really wish I never did.” Port Alberni shelter but decided to leave as Wouters said she’s got herself sober four she wasn’t getting along with roommates. times and was clean for nine months, but

She’d love another opportunity to secure a room there. “I tried to get my own room, they couldn’t do that. Now they just give you the EWP (emergency winter program),” Wouters said. “It takes a lot to get upstairs in the shelter, to have your own apartment there. I’d love to live there because my mom has her own apartment. It’s awesome to be able to get up there and stay up there.” Wouters added that finding low-income or supportive housing in Port Alberni is near impossible because of an extensive waitlist. “It’s a long list,” she said. Need for local treatment centre A Port Alberni resident is looking to help those experiencing addiction by proposing a therapeutic treatment centre for the Alberni Valley. Mark Braunagel has been busy pitching his idea to city representatives, MP Gord Johns and Mid-Island Pacific Rim MLA Josie Osborne. His goal is to build a 30-40 person treatment centre, with a detox facility that would transition into a 90-day program. “After the 90-day program, there’s going to be apartments or condos on the


January 28, 2021—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 9

rable unsheltered

ast one existing medical condition same property and you move into secondary housing and live with one or two roommates, and at least one person in there will be someone who’s ahead of you in the program,” Braunagel said. “The theory on it is you can stay there for up to two years and you have to go to school or you have to be working.” Braunagel has been through treatment programs several times over the years and said the only thing that worked for him was having secondary housing. “That first year you need a lot of support, you need a lot of help,” he said. “It’s very low, the success rate a year down the road…so that first year is crucial.” Braunagel said he’s seen the cycle many times where someone will go to a 30day treatment program, get out and have nowhere to live, causing them to fall back into their old lifestyle. “When you’re done [at treatment] they give you a welfare cheque and a bus ticket back to Port Alberni,” he said. “There’s no hope. We have to give them an option, we have to give them hope.” Braunagel added that sharing the stories of those in active addiction and living on the streets is important to help shine light on a need for more treatment options. Through his newly formed society, Alberni Valley Recovery Centre, Braunagel has been filming individual’s testimonies about Photos submitted by Roy Jack

Last August Roy Jack cycled 1,500 kilometres on Vancouver Island to raise funds for childhood cancer research.

Roy Jack plans cycling ride to Edmonton Ahousaht member prepares for his fifth bike trek, eyeing the 1,200-kilometre journey By Sam Laskaris Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor

cupy Randy Brown’s property on Fourth Avenue next to ments where homeless individuals are living. their struggles with addiction and housing and sharing them on social media. He hopes to eventually produce a documentary to highlight the issues further. In one of his shared videos, it shows Uchucklesaht member Charlie Cootes describing his struggle with addiction and homelessness. “I was displaced by my job in 2010 and I took a buyout,” Cootes said in the video. “I worked for 21 years for my First Nations so I was quite happy to take a break at that time and then that break turned into this lifestyle I’m in where I started recreationally using drugs. I moved from one to the other…and ended up where I’m at doing heroin and living on the street.” Cootes says if there was an option for him to go to a treatment centre that offered secondary housing after completion he’d “absolutely” take the opportunity. “That’s the biggest thing for sure, what do you do afterwards, where are you going to go,” Cootes said. “If you go down to where we are, you’re just going to start using again, it’s pretty difficult not to when everyone else around you is and there’s a willingness to share.”

Nanaimo, BC – Roy Jack is hoping to substantially step up his efforts for his annual cycling fundraising efforts. This marks the fifth consecutive year that Jack, a member of Ahousaht First Nation, will participate in the Great Cycle Challenge. This event sees cyclists set a goal of how far they can cycle in a month. During the month-long challenge participants raise funds with the proceeds going to childhood cancer research. In 2020, Jack raised about $5,600 while officially cycling 1,500 kilometres last August. Cyclists from throughout Canada, the United States and Australia traditionally take part in the challenge. This year’s event will once again be held during August. Jack, who lives in Nanaimo, has already publicly announced his goals this year. Though he has established an initial target of $5,000, he is actually hoping to raise twice that amount. In previous years, Jack has done all of his cycling during the challenge on Vancouver Island. But he’s planning to deviate from that in 2021. He’s planning to do the majority of his cycling in August during a ride from Vancouver to Edmonton, a trek that is about 1,200 kilometres long. “I’m hoping that it would be a six or seven-day trip,” Jack said. But Jack, 46, is hoping for plenty of assistance in order to help him fulfill his goals. He has already commenced talks with some business owners who could potentially help cover some of his expenses

during his proposed Vancouver to Edmonton journey. Jack is hoping to rent an RV to accompany him during his ride. Plus, he could sleep in the rented vehicle at nights. He would need at least one other individual to join him and to drive the RV. “I have no clue yet who that would be,” Jack said. He’d prefer if his wife can join him, but it remains to be seen whether details can be worked out to make that become a reality. “Usually my barriers are financial for what I can do,” Jack added. He’s also looking into the possibility of purchasing a new bike which he could use on his lengthy trip. “The one I’m currently looking at is $4,000,” Jack said. The bike Jack has now is only a couple of years old but would not be ideal for him for a multi-day ride. “It would take quite a bit longer and it would be a lot more excruciating for me,” Jack said of using his current bike for the ride to Edmonton. That’s why he is keen to make a new purchase if possible. “It’s a little more aerodynamic and a lot lighter,” he said of the bike he’s eyeing. “Hopefully it would boost my performance.” Jack is also hoping that all details for his proposed ride can be worked out. “I’m hoping everything will fall together,” he said. Last year’s ride was held during August and Jack said he began to do his serious training by venturing out on lengthy rides around June. As for this year, the challenge will once again be in August and he anticipates that by March he’ll probably start heading out for some rides ranging from 100-200

kilometres each, perhaps a couple of times each month. For now, Jack is mostly doing short rides, usually under 20 kilometres. Fortunately for Jack, Nanaimo has not had a lot of snow this winter. And though there has been some rain, he’s still been able to cycle to and from his work at a regional recycling plant in Nanaimo, usually at least four days per week. Jack lives about seven kilometres from his work. “Fairly often I will take a detour, just to get the extra kilometres in,” Jack said of his travels to work and also back home. He also relishes in the fact that many others are in his corner. “I have a lot of support and not just local,” he said. “It grows a lot more and more each year.” Complete strangers were among those that pushed him past the $5,000 mark in pledges for the first time in 2020. That was the most money he has raised yet during the challenge. “There’s a lot of people that I don’t even know from across the country that are helping me out,” he said. Jack said information about his fundraising efforts and stories about his annual rides are often shared quite extensively on social media. As a result, he’s noticed that people from all across Canada donate to his cause. “There’s a lot of people that I don’t even know from across the country that are helping me out,” he said. Jack added donations from people that live in some states south of the border have also come in. Though the challenge does not begin until August, people can already start to donate to Jack through this link https://greatcyclechallenge.ca/Riders/RoyJack


Page 10— Ha-Shilth-Sa—January 28, 2021

First Nations youth warrior program forges ahead Recently granted funding from the First Nations Health Authority allows for paid youth coordinator positions By Melissa Renwick Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Tofino, BC - Over three years ago, Hayden Seitcher spent a lot of time at home in Ty-Histanis sulking. At 16 years old, he felt cynical of the world outside his shell. “I was expecting the world to turn on me,” he said. “I was just in my own bubble.” That bubble was popped when Seitcher was invited to join the Tla-o-qui-aht Warrior program. Designed to foster brotherhood and build leadership in First Nations youth through land-based learning, the Warrior program re-ignited the “fire that burned inside,” he said. Through weekly meet-ups and monthly camping trips, the program is challenging the complicated legacies of colonialism by teaching young men to respect their bodies, respect their sexuality and respect each other. While out on the land, they are learning to listen to their ancestors and re-connecting to their culture and language. With new found purpose, Seitcher’s mindset and habits began to shift. “It was a safe place to gather where it didn’t feel like you had to be someone you’re not,” he said. “It was a good way to gain other perspectives on life – to connect yourself to culture, other people [and] to connect to the land around you.” Ricardo Manmohan launched the program with the Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ First Nation as the Hitacu Warriors over six years ago. The initiative has since expanded to five other Nuu-chah-nulth nations, including Tla-o-qui-aht, Ahousaht, Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/ Che:k:tles7et’h’ , Tseshaht and Huu-ayaht First Nations. What started with only a few youth who consistently showed up for weekly gatherings has blossomed into a group of over 50 young men across the five nations. “It’s a brotherhood,” said Manmohan. “It’s a family that’s forming.” With growing interest from the youth, nations across the province, like Haida Gwaii, have been inquiring about how to adopt the program into their own communities.

Photo by Melissa Renwick

Hayden Seitcher poses for a portrait on Long Beach in front of Esowista, on Jan. 12, 2021. But as momentum was building, COVID-19 brought it to a halt. Unable able to gather in large numbers, the weekly meetings and monthly campouts have been put on pause since March. “I’ve become a lot more anti-social,” said Seitcher. “I do miss going out camping – I think about that weekly.” Undefeated, Manmohan has been forging ahead by trying to provide opportunities for the youth leaders to develop new skills while in isolation. Through training in coordination, planning and grant writing, Manmohan’s mentorship is designed to support the youth leaders in each community to eventually take over in leading their “warriors” out on the land. His ultimate aim is for the youth leaders to introduce the program to other nations and teach new cohorts of youth how to run it in their own territories. After years of breaking ground without any outside funding, the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) has stepped forward with pilot funding for the project.

The operational backing means that Manmohan can finally purchase the camping equipment, food and transportation he requires to take the growing number of youth out on the land when it’s safe to do so. It also means that each nation is able to hire a youth coordinator who will help to plan and organize overnight camping trips. James Walton first joined the Tla-o-quiaht Warrior program when he was 13. At the time, it was under his mother’s direction, but now he works as a youth leader of his own volition. Since then, Walton acquired basic wilderness survival skills, including first aid and power saw training, but above all else, he said it’s the talking circles that have left the biggest mark. In circle, the youth voluntarily take turns answering questions such as, “how was your day,” and “is there anything on your mind?” Walton said that it took a long time to open up, but after he saw other boys and men sharing their worries and fears he

felt like a trust was formed. “No one is here to judge,” he said. In time, the talking circles became a space where Walton felt comfortable to confront his emotions and shed his layers, undistracted by the digital world. Looking forward, he dreams about the next time the Tla-o-qui-aht warriors are able to return to the land and gather as a group at Effingham. Both Walton and Seitcher plan to apply for the youth coordinator position. “It’s hard to transition into [becoming] an adult,” said Walton. “These experiences really helped me.” For Seitcher, it’s his way of giving back to the program which has changed his life “in big ways and small ways.” “It’s given me more confidence and it’s allowed me to understand that there’s a lot of other perspectives in the world,” he said. “It’s also understanding that everyone has their reasons for who they are and learning to love yourself.”

Phrase of the week: qwiisp’iiqak%ukuk iš nuuc^I Pronounced quees pii ugh k ish new chee, it means ‘the mountain are white on top’. Supplied by ciisma.

Illustration by Ivy Cargill-Martin


January 28, 2021—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 11

Tla-o-qui-aht man heading to Culinary Olympics Nineteen-year-old Crabbe sets sights on Germany, after growing up working in family pizzeria in Ucluelet By Melissa Renwick Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Ucluelet, BC - When Ottis Crabbe’s parents opened Abbondanza in 2014, the pizzeria became like the family’s homeaway-from-home. To this day, Crabbe’s father, Cory, jokes that he only returns to his house in Ucluelet to sleep at night. “We’re always here,” he said. Crabbe got his start working at the Italian eatery by running the cash register, before transitioning to manning the wood-fire in a bid to help his father on a busy night. “It’s no easy feat,” said Cory. “It’s an art in itself.” Yet Crabbe took to it like a natural and as he stood there, illuminated by the warm glow of the fire, his dreams of becoming a chef started to take flight. “It’s just so real,” he said. “It’s one of those things that no matter how much time and effort you put into it, you can never achieve perfection – yet, you can strive for it and that’s almost poetic.” Following in his father’s footsteps, Crabbe is now studying culinary management at Vancouver Island University (VIU), where he earned a spot on the Junior Culinary Team Canada earlier this month. Along with eight others, Crabbe is set to compete at the Culinary Olympics in Germany in 2024. One of the oldest, largest and most diverse international culinary arts competitions in the world, the Culinary Olympics hosted around 1,800 participants from 67 nations last February. Over the next three and a half years, training for the competition will be “extremely intense,” said John Carlo Felicella, manager of the Canadian youth team. COVID-19 restrictions have set the team back by at least six months, but Felicella feels confident that if the team works together, they can go after what they want, “and that’s first place,” he said. The intensive training in discipline and technique will extend into Crabbe’s professional life by fostering a maturity that

will springboard his career, said Felicella. Upon hearing the news, Crabbe’s stomach was flooded with butterflies as he realized what was at stake. “It’s time to tighten up the boots and get to work,” said the Tla-o-qui-aht man. Taking after his father’s ethos on cooking, Crabbe emphasized the importance in “unity” – of putting on your apron and “knowing that you’re part of something bigger than yourself.” “You’re not just cooking for yourself,” he said. “You’re cooking for everybody that’s supporting you.” Rita Gower, acting chair of the culinary institute of VIU, said that Crabbe not only has “buckets of talent,” but the stamina to go the distance. “It’s a lot of work and Ottis has been nothing except enthusiastic and hardworking,” she said. “He’s always willing to take on something extra and in every way has demonstrated that he has the personal attributes to be successful in this competition.” For Crabbe, Canadian cuisine means keeping it local with fresh proteins. Drawing inspiration from his First Nations roots, the 19-year-old has a deep “respect for ingredients.” “Canadian food is a melting pot of every culture,” he said. “It’s just the ability to express what your mom made on Sundays.” Like his father, Crabbe uses cooking as a “doorway into society.” “He fell in love with it like I did,” said Cory. “It’s almost impossible for me to describe how proud I am.” Beyond the culinary olympics, Crabbe dreams of continuing to participate in competitions and train under a Michelin star chef. While he asserts the importance of gaining exposure to different cultures and food scenes through travel, he hopes to one day return to where it all began. “After I’m done flexing my culinary muscles, or seeing what my potential is, I’d like to go back home,” he said. “And cook with my family at the restaurant.”

Photo supplied by Ottis Crabbe

Ottis Crabbe is currently studying culinary management at Vancouver Island University.

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Page 12— Ha-Shilth-Sa—January 28, 2021 Non-Insured Health Benefits - NIHB Coverage – Travelling Out Side Of Country General Principles 1.

Prior approval is required.

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

Photo supplied by Sandra Campbell

A fire to a Port Hardy apartment building on the evening of Jan. 17 displaced dozens of people.

Woman leaps from second floor window during fire By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Port Hardy, BC – An Ahousaht woman escaped an early morning apartment fire in Port Hardy, without serious injury. Melissa Dick, 38, of Ahousaht, was with her spouse in their second-floor unit at Town Park Apartments when a fire broke out in the hallway on the night of Jan. 17. Andrew Dawson, 35, said the fire alarm had gone off but, seeing no sign of fire, he called the building manager to have the alarm turned off. He said he and his girlfriend Melissa were preparing to go to bed when he decided to go out for a smoke. “I told her I’d be right back, but when I went out in the hallway I saw thick, black smoke from the ceiling to about halfway down to the floor,” said Dawson. The fire was down the hall to his left. He could not see flames but saw that the walls in the hallway were glowing orange. “I started banging on doors and walls, telling everyone to get out, that this was a real fire,” said Dawson. The fire was down at the end of the hall, blocking one of the exits. “I ran up to the third floor and banged on doors; I guided the people out the one open exit,” he said. By the time he got back down to the second floor, the hall was impassable, with smoke so thick he couldn’t see his hand in front of him. Dawson managed to help evacuate the people on the first floor before running out of the building. Once outside, he looked up at the windows of his apartment. To his surprise, Melissa was still in the building, sitting on the window ledge of the second floor. An uncle, his girlfriend and Melissa were tying sheets together to escape the building. “They were getting ready to shimmy down the sheets but the fire was too close so I told them to jump. I promised to catch them or at least break their fall,” Dawson shared. Melissa began to ease herself down the sheet but lost her grip and fell into the arms of Dawson. She was sore, but otherwise uninjured. According to Dawson, seven people from three apartment units on the second floor jumped from the windows. One woman dropped her dog out the window, breaking its leg. Dawson’s sister broke her leg from the fall and his uncle’s girlfriend fractured her tailbone. Fortunately, thanks to Dawson’s heroic effort, nobody from the third floor was

forced to jump. Port Hardy Fire Chief Brent Borg told Ha-Shilth-Sa that the call came in 11:18 p.m. on Jan. 17 in the C Block of the Town Park apartment complex. The fire burned through the second-floor hallway. Thirty members of the Port Hardy Fire Rescue along with six members from the neighboring Port McNeill Fire Rescue responded to the blaze. “The fire is suspicious – there was a mattress in the hallway and that’s not normal,” said Borg, adding that the RCMP are investigating. There were no sprinkler systems in the building but there was a functioning fire alarm. According to Borg, there are four buildings in the complex. Some have undergone renovations but not C Block. He confirmed that some residents were injured after jumping from windows to escape the fire. There were 18 units in the block, a few were vacant. Borg said that emergency support services came in and put up 24 residents in a hotel. Dawson says that he and Melissa missed out on the motel room and are, for now, couch surfing with relatives. He said a few older people were put in vacant apartments in other buildings. Borg noted that while there was extensive damage in the hallway, apartments in the building were not burnt because doors were closed. “We like to tell people close before you doze,” said Borg, noting that closed doors act as incredible fire barriers. “The insides of the apartments were pristine yet the hallway was completely torched.” He went on to say that the residents’ belongings should be fine. In 2019 a woman lost her life in a fire at the Town Park Apartments. Borg said that the fire was confined to an apartment and is believed to have started by a lit candle or cigarette. He said the victim made it out of the building but perished when she ran back in to save her cat. Borg said it is important for people to remember that if they get out of a burning building, they need to stay out. Dawson says he’s been told that they won’t have access to their apartment for four to six months. He said that the first floor of the building has already been looted. Andrew and Melissa say their most immediate need is clothes. He wears size 36-38 jeans, men’s XL sweats and shirts. Melissa wears women’s size XL clothing. Dawson can accept financial donations by e-transfer at kidd_dawson85@ outlook.com


January 28, 2021—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 13

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

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

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

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


Page 14— Ha-Shilth-Sa—January 28, 2021

B.C. allocates $5-million towards projects in 24 parks Cathedral Grove remains closed, province says high visitation to the a•raction makes social distancing difficult By Melissa Renwick Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Vancouver Island, BC - The provincial government has pledged $5-million towards development projects spanning across 24 B.C. parks. As part of the province’s StrongerBC economic recovery initiative to promote wellness and employment, the funds will be allocated towards improvements, such as the instillation of a raised boardwalk and viewing platform in MacMillan Provincial Park and the replacement of boardwalk and stair structures in Maquinna Marine Provincial Park. “We have heard the call for greater access to the outdoors to promote health and well-being during COVID-19,” said George Heyman, minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy in a news release. “These meaningful projects create jobs to address those needs as part of our support for B.C. communities.” The Maaqutusiis Hahoulthee Stewardship Society (MHSS) and 43K Wilderness Solutions were awarded a contract for the replacement of a two-kilometer boardwalk at Hot Springs Cove, which is located at Maquinna park. “This work is the result of a Park Operator Agreement between BC Parks and the Ahousaht First Nation formed in 2017 for the maintenance of Maquinna Marine Park,” said the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “The Agreement establishes a shared commitment for BC Parks and the Ahousaht First Nation to explore and pursue economic development opportunities.” Two crews of three carpenters from Ahousaht, along with a shift supervisor from 43K Wilderness Solutions, will rotate in to replace the boardwalk. The $1.1-million project kicked-off last week and is anticipated to be complete by the end of the May, said MHSS general manager John Caton. A “rustic” camp at Hot Springs Cove has been erected, where each worker is equipped with their own 10-feet by 12-

Photo by Melissa Renwick

The sun rises over Hot Springs Cove, on Sept. 23, 2017, the location of a provincial park undergoing upgrades for visitors. feet sidewall tent that is outfitted with a propane heater and bed. The camp has an enclosed kitchen and on-demand hot running water. While Caton said he has his fingers crossed that COVID-19 is going to allow the hot springs to open this year, only time will tell. Cathedral Grove, located in MacMillan Provincial Park, remains closed as it normally experiences over 500,000 visits per year, according to the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “Due to the unique nature of the park, the trail system and boardwalks are very narrow making appropriate physical distancing extremely challenging,” said the ministry. “The parking areas at MacMillan Provincial Park are small and

compact and do not allow for physical distancing in this area.” The announcement is part of the province’s $10-billion COVID-19 response, which is designed to protect people’s health and livelihoods, while supporting businesses and communities. As one of the largest park systems in North America, B.C. has over 1,000 provincial parks, recreation areas and ecological reserves that cover around 14.4 per cent of the provincial land base. “An investment in our parks is an investment in the people of British Columbia,” said Kelly Greene, Parliamentary Secretary for Environment in a release. “Getting outside is more important than ever, and our government is committed to expanding parks so that all British Co-

lumbians can enjoy the beautiful natural landscape of our province.” Around two per cent of the province’s parks and protected area systems have been largely developed with a visitor-use focus, including facilities such as campgrounds, boat launches and parking lots. “We are celebrating this investment in BC Parks, which will have far-reaching benefits for people and nature,” said Annita Mcphee, executive director of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, B.C. chapter. “Keeping parks accessible and sustainably supported will create a more welcoming parks system, building healthy communities and future nature stewards.”

Google maps screen capture

A Googles Maps account of Vancouver Island’s Provincial Parks.


January 28, 2021—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 15

Book on northwest coast canoes features NCN stories Recently released work has images and descriptions of various styles of canoes found up and down the coast By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Vancouver Island, BC – A new book showcasing the historical views and development of canoes as well as contemporary stories featuring canoes has been published. Alan L. Hoover, a retired curator and manager at the Royal British Columbia Museum co-authored Northwest Coast Canoes of Indigenous North America, which was released in December 2020. Hoover collaborated on the book with retired researcher and author Eugene Arima, who wrote A Report on A West Coast Whaling Canoe Reconstructed at Port Renfrew, B.C. (1975) and The Whaling People of Vancouver Island and Cape Flattery (2011) Hoover says he began working at RBC Museum in 1968 and has always been interested in northwest coast history, culture and artifacts. He gained interest in canoes through is work with Eugene Arima. “He worked with Chief Charlie Jones, Queesto, in Port Renfrew,” said Hoover. Back in the early 1970s, Arima lived among the Pacheedaht for a few months while building a traditional whaling canoe under the tutelage of Queesto, who was Pacheedaht’s Tyee Ha’wilth (head chief) and, at that time, was over the age of 100. Following the canoe project, Arima published a report. The canoe they made is now on display at Kwisitis Visitor Center (formerly Wickaninnish Visitor Centre) near Ucluelet. In 1983 Arima wrote The West Coast People: The Nootka of Vancouver Island and Cape Flattery. More than two decades later Arima approached Hoover with the idea to write a revision of his 1983 book. “We worked together putting out a second edition. He wanted to update it, so that’s how I got involved,” said Hoover. The revised book was re-named The Whaling People of the West Coast of Vancouver Island and Cape Flattery, released in 2011 and published by the RBC Museum. Arima has extensive knowledge about west coast style canoes. Besides his work on the Pacheedaht vessel, Arima was involved in a project in Northern British Columbia. “Eugene worked with Calvin Hunt up in Fort Rupert,” Hoover shared. The men were recreating an old-style canoe that had sort of disappeared, according to Hoover. The style of canoe they were building was in use around time of European contact but went out of fashion.

Ha-Shilth-Sa archive photos

Northwest Coast Canoes of Indigenous North America draws upon images and stories of Nuu-chah-nulth canoes. Pictured are Ha-Shilth-Sa archive photographs of Mowachaht/Muchalaht members following the orca Luna in 1999 (above) and participation in previous Tribal Journeys events (below). canoe was to First Nations what cars are North America – A Historical View of It was this canoe story that sparked the to people today. The waterways were the Styles and Development was published interest in writing a book about canoes. highways. by Northwest Coast Canoe Publications “We decided to add history of other “Some people thought canoe making (www.northwestcoastcanoepublications. canoes,” said Hoover. disappeared, but it hasn’t, it has evolved,” com ) The authors connected with master said Hoover, adding that the tradition was Hoover is currently working with Joe carver Joe Martin of Tla-o-qui-aht, who kept alive by people like Chief Charlie Martin on a new book on canoe making. is included in the book with information Work on this book has been stalled due to and photos about steaming canoes to help Jones, and now Joe Martin as well as others. the COVID-19 pandemic. shape them. Northwest Coast Canoes of Indigenous The book is filled with photographs and illustrations of the various styles of canoes found up and down the west coast. Along with historical photos, there are many from more contemporary times. There are images of canoe makers as well as events like Tribal Journeys, which has caused a resurgence in canoe culture. Hoover says he wants to share these stories with people not only because he is a “history nerd”, but also because it is an important part of northwest coast Indigenous culture. “Back when they were building the railway (from Victoria to northern Vancouver Island) guys were hired to paddle canoes around beneath the trestles to pick up any guys that may have fallen off the trestle,” said Hoover. Today, traditional style canoes are used in the tourism industry. “The tradition goes way back,” said Hoover. He noted that for coastal people, the


Page 16— Ha-Shilth-Sa—January 28, 2021


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