INTERESTING NEWS Canada’s Oldest First Nations Newspaper - Serving Nuu-chah-nulth-aht since 1974 Canadian Publications Mail Product Vol. 47 - No. 01—January 16, 2020 haas^i>sa Sales Agreement No. 40047776
No infringement found in smudging trial Judge rules in favor of SD70, dismisses mother’s claim that Indigenous content in school broke charter rights By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Port Alberni, BC – “I am excited and relieved,” said NTC President Judith Sayers after the B.C. Supreme Court ruled that smudging and other Indigenous cultural practices would not be banned in the province’s public schools. Justice Douglas Thompson has released his 47-page ruling on Servatius v. Alberni School District No. 70 - and intervenor Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council - just over eight weeks after the trial was held in the Supreme Court of British Columbia in Nanaimo. During the ﬁve-day trial held Nov. 18 - 22, the court heard testimony from several witnesses to a school event that featured an Indigenous smudging demonstration for children attending John Howitt Elementary School in Port Alberni in September 2015. Present at the school were two children of Candice Servatius, a Christian, who later alleged that her daughter, then age 9, was forced to attend a smudging event against her will. Servatius, concerned about her Christian children being exposed to “the explicitly supernatural and religious nature of the cleansing ritual”, approached the school to seek assurances that her children be excluded from such events. But during the same school year, in January 2016, students from JHES took part in a school assembly that featured an invited guest who performed a First Nations hoop dance. Sometime during the assembly, the performer said a prayer in an Indigenous language over a microphone. Dissatisﬁed with the outcome of her communications with the school, Servatius brought the matter to court, facing oﬀ with the Board of Education of School District 70 (Alberni) and the Attorney General of British Columbia. Through her council, Jay Cameron and James Kitchen of the Alberta-based Justice Center for Constitutional Freedoms, Servatius challenged SD70 for allowing the practice of Indigenous cultural ceremonies like smudging and exposing children to Indigenous prayers in school. Counsel for Servatius argued that the school imposed the ceremony on the children, and by doing so, infringed on their right to freedom of religion in the school, according to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In her petition, Servatius sought a court order that would ban smudging along with “religious or spiritual rituals, clean-
Photo by Eric Plummer
The burning of sage smoke at a Port Alberni school is the Indigenous practice that prompted a parent’s court challenge. ings, ceremonies and prayer” during mandatory school time throughout the province of British Columbia. Several school staﬀ members testiﬁed this was not the case and that in fact, some children left the room when the smudging began. After hearing testimony from several witnesses to the smudging event, Justice Thompson concluded that the evidence given by Servatius’ daughter, who was age 9 at the time, was unreliable in that her testimony did not align with that of the teachers and other adult witnesses. Justice Thompson did not agree that the children were coerced to partake in a smudge ceremony. However, the judge declined to rule if smudging is a religious or purely cultural practice. “It is not necessary to the outcome of this case for me to resolve this issue, and I respectfully decline to do so,” wrote Thompson. He concluded that the intention of the school district was not to profess, adopt, or favor Indigenous spirituality, “but to teach about Indigenous culture and to help make Indigenous students feel like they belong at JHES.” “The petitioner (Candice Servatius) has failed to establish that the Nuuchah-nulth smudging in her children’s classrooms or the prayer said by the hoop dancer at the school assembly interfered
Inside this issue... Indian Day school compensation...............................Page 3 Missing women billboards.........................................Page 4 First Nation court.......................................................Page 6 Keitlah memorial potlatch.....................................Pages 8-9 Armada teams place 5th at Totem.....................Pages 14-15
with her or her children’s ability to act in accordance with heir religious beliefs,” said Justice Thompson in his written judgement, dated January 8, 2020. The judge did not agree with Servatius’ argument that the school district’s use of Indigenous practices is comparable to the residential school system. The judge cited Servatius’ submission, which stated “that the School District’s position is in a certain way, an echo of the gross abuses of the residential school days where First Nations children were taken from their homes, deprived of family support, and compelled by the state to participate in religious practices against their will.” “I agree with the respondents and the NTC that this aspect of the petitioner’s argument is insensitive and regrettable hyperbole, especially considering the magnitude of what occurred a few kilometers down the road during the 82 years that the Alberni Indian Residential School was open. The petitioner’s provocative assertion tends to underscore the irony in her complaint that the events at JHES, against the historical backdrop, amount to religious doctrination,” he wrote in his judgement. He went to say that there has been no infringement of Servatius’ or her children’s freedom of religion. The mother’s petition was dismissed. The plaintiﬀ’s lawyer, Jay Cameron said
in a media release that the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is disappointed with the decision. “We are reviewing the decision with an eye to next steps,” stated Cameron, counsel for Candice Servatius and Litigation Manager at the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms. “This is a disappointing decision for citizens from any religion or cultural background, each of whom has a constitutional right to be free from stat-compelled spirituality.” President Sayers sees the ruling as a victory not only for Indigenous children but for all children in the province. “This is a victory for the children and their education because this gives them the ability to learn about our culture and it gives Nuu-chah-nulth an opportunity to share that; I am happy that people can learn about culture,” she said. “That is what our world is about, we have to learn about everything.” Sayers acknowledged Justice Thompson’s sensitive and thorough approach as he presided over the case. Because of his decision, Nuu-chah-nulth Education Workers can continue their work without fear and limitations on what they can do in public schools. “This is one of the big steps in reconciliation – is understanding one another,” said Sayers.
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Page 2— Ha-Shilth-Sa—January 16, 2020
First Nations homelessness gains traction nationally AFN calls for action plan on homelessness, after Ahousaht pushes for more help in urban centres like Victoria By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Port Alberni, BC – All of Canada is experiencing a cold snap now that we are in the middle of January 2020, and Port Alberni’s homeless people are feeling the bite of the bitter cold with a thin layer of snow covering the ground as temperatures going as low as -10C. Ina Dick, receptionist at the NTC Teechuktl Mental Health building located at 3483 Third Avenue in Port Alberni, said that homeless or low-income people drop by the oﬃce regularly to enjoy a cup of coﬀee. As the temperatures dropped to below zero she said she’s been told by clientele that emergency beds have been opened up at the old Shelter Society building located on Eight Avenue and that a local church has opened its doors. Wes Hewitt, administrator of the Port Alberni Shelter Society, conﬁrmed that 12 additional extreme weather spaces were provided at the old Shelter building located at 3978 8th Avenue, but that they went unused on the evening of Jan. 13. “We added an additional 12 beds bring us to 27 total extreme weather beds but the new ones were not used last night,” said Hewitt. Overnight temperatures dipped below -6C with Environment Canada issuing special weather alerts for extreme cold and new snow fall Vancouver Island. But Hewitt says there are an awful lot of service organizations including the Port Alberni Friendship Centre, Bread of Life, Salvation Army, ACAWS, churches, the Safe Injection Site and more that work together to deliver food and services to the marginalized people of the community. “You know, I hear a lot about people saying that marginalized people are being bussed into Port Alberni – that’s just not true. The community is growing,” said Hewitt. He went on to say that when they engage with the people they ask them how they came to be in Port Alberni. The truth is that they all have a connection to Port Alberni, whether it be family here or that they grew up here and came back. “Nobody is bussing people here; they have ties here and they are part of our community,” said Hewitt. The problem, he says, stems from the lack of aﬀordable housing. The newly built shelter on 8th Avenue, across from the RCMP station is at 100 per cent capacity. Hewitt says plans are in the works to demolish the old shelter building across the street from the new one, creating more aﬀordable housing units. In addition, the property next door to the new shelter site is going through the rezoning process so that more independent units for seniors can be built. “Rainbow Gardens has built some new seniors’ units and have more construction on the go and this has helped alleviate the shortage of housing,” said Hewitt. Ahousaht Chief Councillor Greg Louie said his nation has been concerned about homelessness for many years, going back to 2007 when former Ahousaht elected chief Curtis Dick led a grassroots donation drive, culminating in a Feed the People event at Victoria’s Our Place Society facility. Donations were collected not only in Ahousaht but throughout Nuu-chahnulth territories and along the way from Ahousaht to Victoria. Besides food, people donated warm clothing and toiletries. The event was repeated twice more with an estimated 800 – 1,000 meals served at
Photo by Eric Plummer
Despite temperatures dipping to -6C, some in Port Alberni remain on the street. The the local shelter society has opened more overnight spaces during sub-zero temperatures in mid January. Our Place in Victoria, during the winter of 2012. Chief Louie has been lobbying not only ministers in the provincial government but also Indigenous political leaders in an eﬀort to ﬁnd a solution to the growing problem of homelessness. Last September Ahousaht met with the Assembly of First Nations national chief and learned that there is no mandate or strategy to address homelessness. National Chief Perry Bellegarde was invited to the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council AGM, which Ahousaht hosted in Victoria. The theme was homelessness. Bellegarde could not attend the AGM but Louie said there was a lot of good discussion over the course of the two-day meeting. Fran Hunt-Jinnouchi heads up the Aboriginal Coalition to End Homelessness in Victoria and Ahousaht has appointed Guy Louie to the coalition as a representative. “They have collected lots of information on homelessness in Victoria and also across Canada,” said Greg Louie. He went on to say that they are doing good work and he hopes that there will be a ripple eﬀect to end homelessness in places like Oppenheimer Park in Vancouver. For example, Aboriginal people represent about two per cent of the population in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, but they comprise 39 per cent of the more than 2,000 homeless people counted in the area. The homeless numbers are similar in other urban centers of Victoria, Nanaimo and Port Alberni. Hewitt says that plans are in the works to do a homeless count in Port Alberni in the spring. “The current estimations of 300 are probably inaccurate,” said Hewitt. He acknowledged that it is diﬃcult to get an accurate count with people moving around. “Lots of us get together to provide services to marginalized people and we do a
Photo by Denise Titian
The Port Alberni Shelter Society, in partnership with BC Housing is preparing to build an independant living seniors facility on the property adjacent to the new Our Home on Eighth Avenue - a 30-unit supportive housing facility. contributing factor. The AFN plans to depretty go job of it,” said Hewitt. velop a national First Nations homelessDuring the daytime hours homeless and ness strategy that will require advocacy low-income people visit a host of Port Alberni’s service organizations to get out for multiple partners in order to acquire the resources required to improve housof the cold and to enjoy a hot drink and ing and infrastructure. maybe even a meal. Chief Louie and his council continues “During the day people are warm and being looked after, so you don’t see them to press government agencies to bring services to the people. in the doorways and on the streets,” he “It’s the Ahousaht way,” said Louie. added. “We do our best to take care of our The Assembly of First Nations drafted a resolution calling for an action plan to ad- own; we want to know where our people dress homelessness for First Nations peo- are and if they are doing okay,” he said, ple both on and oﬀ reserve. The AFN had adding that the recent loss of someone in Victoria’s street community hit close resolved to secure resources to carry out to home, with the man being the father data gathering and analysis to determine the number of First Nations people across of young Ahousaht children. We will continue to advocate for our people; we Canada experiencing homelessness. Indigenous leaders have faced long-term are making connections with various ministries, seeking political commitments housing shortages on reserve, causing so we can help our people.” members to leave the community as one
January 16, 2020—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 3
Indian Day School compensation process begins Abuse claims range from $10,000 to $200,000 for those who were forced to a•end the on-reserve institutions By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Port Alberni, BC – Application forms for Indian Day School Class Action Settlement are now available for those who attended and suﬀered abuse or harm at a federally funded Indian day school. The forms were made available online at the Indian Day School website on Jan. 13, 2020. (indiandayschools.com) Indian Day Schools, funded by the Government of Canada, operated mostly on Indian reserves from the late 1800s to, in some cases, as late as 1985 in Ahousaht. According to the settlement claim, Canada not only funded these institutions but also designed, maintained and controlled them with the goal of stripping students of their Aboriginal culture and identity to prevent these qualities from passed on to future generations. “Canada set out to cause damages, for which relief is claimed, by intentionally breaking the link of the Plaintiﬀs and Class members to their culture and identity,” reads the claim overview. “Indian Day Schools were designed and operated to create an atmosphere of brutality and intimidation. The Crown knew, or ought to have known, that this would result in the systemic inﬂiction of severe physical, mental and sexual abuses to the students attending Indian Day Schools.” In 2009 Garry McLean started a legal action regarding the forced attendance of Aboriginal students at Indian Day Schools across Canada. This national class action is the ﬁrst of its kind and seeks compensation for the damages and abuses suﬀered by all Indian Day School students who were excluded from the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement. A decade later, on March 12, 2019, plaintiﬀs in the McLean case announced the settlement of a nation-wide class action lawsuit against Canada brought to compensate survivors for harms they suﬀered while attending federally-operated Indian day schools. The settlement includes all survivors who attended federally-run Indian day schools, including First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples. According to information contained in the consolidated settlement agreement papers, Canada will pay the sum of $1.27 billion dollars to the McLean Day Schools Settlement Corporation for the purpose of funding Level 1 settlement claims as described in the claims process. Should the amount be insuﬃcient to meet the number of Level 1 claims additional
Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre photo
Students and staﬀ at the Ahousaht day school in 1910. It operated until 1985. funds of up to $1.4 billion will be provided. Any surplus from amounts paid by Canada along with accrued interest remaining after all Level 1 payments have been made will be reassigned to provide funding for legacy projects. To be eligible for compensation, survivors must have attended one of the identiﬁed Day Schools on the List of Federal Day Schools (Schedule K) and must have experienced harm. Attached to the claim form is a schedule of abuses ranging from Level 1, which would include verbal abuse, to physical abuse described as including, but not limited to, unreasonable or disproportionate acts of discipline or punishment. Claimants at Level 1 would receive $10,000. At the other end of the scale is Level 5 which would include repeated overt sexual abuse and/or physical assault that caused long-term injury, impairment or disﬁgurement. Claimants in this category would receive $200,000. The claims process is designed to be simple and easy for people to use, avoiding retraumatizing survivors. Survivors
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will not be cross-examined or put on the stand and questioned about their stories. There will, however, be longer claims forms for survivors eligible for higher compensation. The processing of compensation claims will begin 120 days from January 13th, 2020 (May 12, 2020), so payments will not be issued until after that date. The Settlement Agreement provides that there should not be an impact on beneﬁts including social assistance, OAS, and CPP. Payments from this claim are not taxable nor will they aﬀect CPP beneﬁts. Provisions have been made for family of day school students who have died, however, the claim is limited to a certain time frame. While family members are not eligible to receive direct compensation, the executor of the estate of a late class member who died on or after July 31, 2007 can make a claim on behalf of the deceased. To start this process, you will need a copy of the death certiﬁcate. Why 2007? Because the law constrains time frames based upon the original ﬁling date of 2009, and the application of the general two-year limitation period. The Indian Day School class action was ﬁled in 2009, so the cut-oﬀ date is July 31, 2007 for this case. In addition to individual claims, the settlement will provide a legacy fund. “The settlement recognizes that harm was experienced not only by individual people, but also by families and whole communities. That is why it also includes a $200M Legacy Fund to support commemoration projects, health and wellness programs, as well as language and culture initiatives for Indigenous communities,” states the Indian Day School website. Survivors who attended both Indian residential school and a recognized
Indian day school may make a claim for day school compensation even if they received a residential school settlement, provided that the abuses made in each claim do not stem from the same incident. The claim must be an incident separate from any claims in an Indian residential school. In order to receive a payment, download application forms at www.IndianDaySchools.com or by calling 1-888-2212898. On the website is a listing of eligible Canadian Day Schools; these schools are the only ones being recognized for those eligible for compensation. The listing is called Schedule K. There are ﬁve recognized Indian day schools that operated in Nuu-chah-nulth territories: Ahousaht Indian Day School – Feb. 1, 1940 to Sept. 1, 1985 Kyuquot Indian Day School – Sept. 1, 1949 to Sept. 1, 1974 Nootka Indian Day School (at Yuquot) – Sept. 1, 1951 to June 30, 1968 Opitsaht Indian Day School – Sept. 11957 to June 30, 1971 Ucluelet Indian Day School – Sept. 1, 1948 to June 30, 1966 Resolution Support Worker Richard Watts notes that there were Day Schools operating in Hot Springs Cove and on the Tseshaht reserve, but they were excluded from the schedule. He said he believes that they were excluded because they were not funded by the federal government. He went on to say that the Schedule K listing of federally-run day schools has been recognized in the courts as a ﬁnal list. There is at least a half dozen other day schools that operated on Vancouver Island on the schedule including schools in Alert Bay, Campbell River, Chemainus, Cowichan and areas in and around Victoria. The plaintiﬀs in this matter have been represented Gowling WLG, a national law ﬁrm which is recognized for its work on behalf of First Nations and Aboriginal organizations across Canada. The deadline to make a claim is July 12, 2022. Survivors can ﬁnd the claim forms online or, if assistance is required, may contact a resolution support worker at Teechuktl Mental Health in Port Alberni at 250-724-3939. Eligible class members will receive compensation after their application has been reviewed and approved by the claims administrator. If the claims administrator requires additional information to review a claim, the time required to complete processing may increase. For Level 2 to 5 claims, a third-party assessor is engaged in the claim review and approval process. Both the third-party assessor and representatives for Canada review copies of the claim form. Assistancet is available for anyone needing emotional support during and after the claims process. Please contact Resolution Support Workers Richard Watts or Daisy Elliot at the Port Alberni NTC Teechuktl Mental health oﬃces located at 3483 Third Avenue, in Port Alberni, B.C.
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Page 4— Ha-Shilth-Sa—January 16, 2020 Ha-Shilth-Sa newspaper is published by the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council for distribution to the members of the NTC-member First Nations, as well as other interested groups and individuals. Information and original work contained in this newspaper is protected by copyright and may not be reproduced without written permission from: Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council P.O. Box 1383, Port Alberni, B.C. V9Y 7M2. Telephone: (250) 724-5757 Fax: (250) 723-0463 Web page: www.hashilthsa.com facebook: Hashilthsa Ntc
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Billboards up for two missing women By Karly Blats Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Nanoose Bay, BC - Drivers travelling on the Island Highway through Nanoose Bay will now see the electronic billboard portraying both Angeline Pete and Lisa Marie Young, two missing and possibly murdered Indigenous women from Vancouver Island. The billboards were put up with funds raised from the Lil’ Red Dress Project—a campaign spearheaded by friends Carla Voyageur and Jeannine Lindsay from the Comox Valley who wanted to oﬀer ﬁnancial assistance to families of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) to advertise their missing loved ones around Vancouver Island. Through the Lil’ Red Dress Project, over the last year and a half more than a dozen volunteers have created hundreds of hand-made beaded red dress pins and earrings. All proceeds from the beadwork go towards helping Indigenous families. So far the project has raised close to $10,000. The electronic billboard along the Island Highway, plus a sign in Black Creek with Pete’s information, will be up for four months at a cost of $7,000. “I think more than anything we’re hoping for awareness,” Voyageur said. “We would love to have the outcome where information comes in about these missing women but we also just want to build awareness that it’s not just something in other parts of Canada, it’s here on Vancouver Island, it’s local.” Young, a Nuu-chah-nulth woman, went missing from Nanaimo almost 18 years ago at the age of 21 after leaving a bar with a man she just met. Pete, from the Quatsino First Nation on Northern Vancouver Island, went missing in August 2011 from North Vancouver at the age of 28. Young’s aunt, Carol Frank, said the billboards are important in keeping the memory of her niece alive. “Lisa was chosen as one of the Nuuchah-nulth women for the billboard so it was exciting,” Frank said. “With my late sister, she always wanted to let as many people know Lisa’s name and that she will never be forgotten, she always
Photo by Karly Blatts
An electronic billboard on the Island Highway near Nanoose Bay shows missing Indigenous woman Angeline Pete. worked really hard in doing that.” I heard the story it just blows my socks Frank believes the billboards will bring oﬀ,” Watts said. “Two ladies sat down more awareness to MMIWG and possibly and they talked about how they noticed spark a memory in someone who may that there were billboards for non-native have information about Young’s case. cold case ﬁles. There was several in their “We just want people to not forget community…and they were like ‘well [Lisa], to remember that she is someone’s how come our sisters aren’t up there?’ family. I know there’s so many people They found out that billboards coast apthat are missing we just try our best to proximately up to $3,500 a month and keep her name out there,” Frank said. then they proclaimed to themselves our “We’ve got a Lisa Marie Young Facefamilies can’t aﬀord this.” book page and we’ve got close to about Watts, who was not a beader, became 600 members now…more and more so impressed with the Lil’ Red Dress people are ﬁnding out about Lisa.” Project that she learned how to make the Going forward, Voyageur and Lindsay red dress pins and began selling them to hope to continue adding billboards and support the campaign. signage for MMIWG on Vancouver IsSo far she’s made about 70 pins and has land and possibly on the mainland if they sold the majority of them to Nuu-chahcan raise enough funds. nulth people. “I think it’s important to continue with “There’s huge support within our own the project because there are a lot of other people for this project,” Watts said. “I family members out there who are still love supporting things that are meanmissing,” Lindsay said. “Also to hopeingful. First Nation women’s lives are fully help bring this into classrooms and important.” into universities so we can bring more Beaders with the Lil’ Red Dress Project awareness in that sense as well.” had stopped taking orders in October in Lisa Watts, MMIWG family support order to catch up with requests, but will worker with the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal open their sales again for 24 hours on Council, said she’s visited the billboards Jan. 15. Find them online at www.lilredand is quite excited about them. dressproject.ca/ or www.facebook.com/ “From the start I was very impressed lilreddress. with this project and their cause. When
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January 16, 2020—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 5
Case could have brought ‘signiﬁcant’ changes SD70 looks beyond a concerning trial, with an evolving curriculum designed to reﬂect its student population By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Port Alberni, BC - A few kilometres from the site where the Alberni Indian Residential School forced Aboriginal children to submit to Christian practices for 82 years, an accusation of indoctrination came from an incident at a Port Alberni public school. But according to a local mother, this time her Christian daughter was being forced to participate in an Indigenous practice during a Grade 3 class at John Howitt Elementary in 2015. Considering the historical legacy of the area, the case brought a bitter irony, according to Justice Douglas Thompson, who in his ruling dismissed the petition from Candice Servatius on Jan. 8, calling the mother’s comparison to the residential school system “insensitive and regrettable hyperbole”. Servatius unsuccessfully took the case to the B.C. Supreme Court, alleging that the school had infringed on her children’s right to freedom of religion by forcing participation in a smudging ceremony and witnessing an Indigenous hoop dance at a school assembly, where a prayer was said by the dancer in an Aboriginal language. After years of working to introduce Aboriginal culture into the curriculum, Alberni School District (SD70) Superintendent Greg Smyth admitted that the trial, which was held in Nanaimo over ﬁve days in November, brought concern. “The outcome of the case, potentially, would have a signiﬁcant impact on what we did in schools,” he said. Smyth noted that the school district has given more attention to First Nations content since the B.C. Ministry of Education introduced Shared Learnings in 2006, a guide to help teachers bring Indigenous culture and history into their classrooms. Over this period results have improved for the district’s Indigenous students, with the high school completion rate increasing from 35 per cent in 2006 to 70 per cent of Aboriginal learners last June. Over the same period of time SD70’s overall completion rate has also improved from 65 to 83 per cent in 2019. With one third of the Alberni school district’s students identifying Aboriginal ancestry, the shift to incorporate more Indigenous content has also targeted the
Photo by Deborah Potter
First Nations students are welcomed to the Alberni District Secondary School in October 2019. With one third of the Alberni School District identifying Aboriginal ancestry, SD70 has worked to incorporate a curriculum that reﬂects the cultural background of its many Indigenous students. need to create a learning environment where children and youth feel that they belong. “With such a large potion of our students self-declaring Indigenous ancestry, it’s important for it to be part of our regular instruction in schools,” said Smyth. “We need to ﬁnd ways to make all of our students see themselves in our schools.” But in the case of a smudge practice – which is the cleansing of a space by the burning of sage – and a hoop dance and prayer delivered by visitors to the school, the presentation of this Indigenous content compromised the belief of the Servatius children, according to testimony given by Pastor John Cox. He formerly served in the same Port Alberni church that the plaintiﬀ’s family attends. “For Mrs. Servatius and her daughter to express agreement with the concepts that ‘everything has a spirit,’ and that our own spirits can be ‘cleansed’ apart from the atoning death of Christ, amounts to a serious denial of the Lordship of Jesus Christ,” wrote Cox in his report for the court. “It is entirely contrary to Protestant
Evangelicalism to assert that a human being conducting a ceremony with sage smoke can rid people and objects of impurity or negative energy, or that such a thing should be attempted.” Smyth stressed that students were not forced to participate in the cleansing or adopt the beliefs that were demonstrated. “Teaching about something is not the same as teaching to become,” he said. As noted in Thompson’s decision, public schools in B.C. have the “secular duty of neutrality”, which entails that one cultural belief is not favoured over another. But in Cox’s submission to the court, secularism is what can cause problems for some Christian families. “With the increasing secularization of western society, Christians are increasingly challenged regarding how to raise their children with a solid grasp of their Christian faith,” he said. “Within Christianity, children are encouraged to think, discuss, and question in order to understand the Christian faith and eventually make it their own. Parents will discuss the merits of Christianity as well as con-
sider why other expressions, including First Nation spirituality, are not consistent with the teachings of Jesus and the Bible.” A central part of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council’s argument is that smudging is a cultural practice, not a religious ritual. Servatius’ lawyers argued that the spiritual nature of smudging means it has a religious nature, but in his decision, Thompson declined to make a judgement on this matter. “We never considered the activities to be religious, nor were we in a position to impose a deﬁnition of religion on Indigenous culture and traditions,” added Smyth. “Wouldn’t that be the ultimate colonial act for me to do that?” As the school district moves on from the smudging trial, Smyth reﬂected on lessens from the diﬃcult process. “Going forward, it’s important that we continue to be clear and timely in our communication with parents and to be clear as to the educational intent of something, such as a cleansing, a prayer or any other cultural activity,” he said.
Hesquiaht and Ahousaht take part in search By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Hot Springs Cove, BC – The RCMP and Canadian Coast Guard stations were joined by members of the Hesquiaht and Ahousaht First Nations in a search for a man missing from Hot Springs Cove. According to Cpl. Chris Manseau of the RCMP, Dan Kortes, who is in his 60s, was last seen Saturday, Jan. 4, chopping wood near his cabin in Hot Springs Cove. Manseau said that it’s his understanding that Kortes had lived in the cove aboard his trawler boat while building a cabin on shore. On Jan. 5, 2020 friends arrived at the cove in search of Kortes. They searched his cabin and boat but only found Kortes’ dog. Members of Ahousaht and Hesquiaht conducted shoreline searches along with the RCMP and CCG on Sunday, Jan. 5. “Dan Kortes was last seen near his cabin
in Hot Springs Cove. His boat and his dog were also located near that area,” Cpl. Manseau said. He went on say that there were plans to bring in West Coast Ground Search and Rescue to continue the search on Monday, Jan. 6, but he didn’t know if they could get to the remote area due to weather conditions. Located about 36 kilometres northwest of Toﬁno, Hot Springs Cove is accessible only by boat or ﬂoat plane. Kortes is described as; Caucasian male 60 years old Slim build Grey hair and grey beard Usually wears a black toque Last seen wearing a dark green sweater and blue jeans Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Dan Kortes is urged to contact the Toﬁno or Ahousaht RCMP at (250) 725-3242.
Photo by Eric Plummer
Dan Kortes was last seen Jan. 4 chopping wood by his cabin in Hot Springs Cove.
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First Nations court considered for Port Alberni 20 years after landmark case, over-representation trends upward as 30 per cent of incarcerations are Indigenous By Mike Youds Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Victoria, BC - While courts have recognized a need to address over-representation of Indigenous people in the Canadian justice system, recent statistics show the glaring imbalance continues to grow. A decade ago, Indigenous adults accounted for 21 percent of admissions to provincial/territory custody and 20 percent of admissions to federal custody. By 2017/2018, those ﬁgures had risen to 30 percent and 29 percent respectively, an alarming trend, especially considering Indigenous people represent less than ﬁve percent of the Canadian population. Although it’s a basic tenet of international rule of law, access to justice remains limited in Nuu-chah-nulth communities, a legacy of colonial rule exacerbated by geography and population. Could the imbalance be better addressed through an Indigenous court located in Port Alberni? B.C. Attorney General David Eby raised the potential for an expanded First Nations Court system when the province opened a seventh Indigenous court in Williams Lake in mid-December. “The province is working with Indigenous communities to establish Indigenous courts throughout British Columbia,” Eby stated. “These courts oﬀer alternative sentencing options that honour traditional cultural practices, support rehabilitation and acknowledge the impact the person’s actions have had on others.” Since B.C.’s ﬁrst Indigenous, or First Nation, court opened in New Westminster in 2006, six others have opened in other communities including Kamloops, North Vancouver, Merritt and Prince George. As specialized courts, they recognize the social circumstances of many First Nation oﬀenders and attempt to balance the
Province of BC photo
B.C. Attorney General David Eby has promised further expansion of the Indigenous court system. legal standards of the conventional court out that this approach does not exempt system with an Indigenous and communi- convicted criminals from the usual ty-based approach to justice and healing. sentencing range yet enables the court to It was 26 years ago when the Criminal consider a broad Indigenous perspective, including community supports. Code was recalibrated with the speciﬁc goal of adopting restorative justice to NTC President Judith Sayers said she address higher rates of incarceration for expects to see more local discussion in Indigenous oﬀenders. A few years later in 2020 about the possibility of having such 1999, the Supreme Court of Canada case a court serve Nuu-chah-nulth people on Regina vs. Gladue resulted in a landmark the central Island and west coast. A First judgment that recalibrated sentencing Nations Court located in Duncan, curdecisions. rently the only Indigenous court on the The so-named Gladue Principle, reinIsland, is more of a sentencing court, she forced by a 2012 Supreme Court rulnoted. ing, holds that aboriginal circumstances “There’s deﬁnitely a real interest at the — residential school, child welfare and local level here in Port Alberni in setting adoption, dislocation and dispossession up an Indigenous court,” Sayers said. to name a few — must be considered in A spokesman for the Attorney General’s sentencing if requested by the individual oﬃce said the government is not planning to implement a pre-determined plan for before the court. Legal advocates point
expanding the Indigenous court system. “As every community has diﬀerent priorities, the province invites communities to apply for one of these specialized courts if they feel it would beneﬁt local residents,” the ministry responded, noting that the province’s chief judge considers such applications. Sayers indicated that process is well underway at a local level. Previously the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council was working toward the goal of a family court on the Central Island, rather than a sentencing court like the ones in Duncan and Abbotsford, she said. The current NTC administration has had several meetings on the matter, including discussions with the Attorney General’s oﬃce, Ministry of Justice and the RCMP, she added. Sayers suggested it can only help to have Judge Alexander Wolf of the Provincial Court on side. Wolf, appointed to the court ﬁve years ago, became the resident judge in Port Alberni in July. He is a member of the Kwikwasut’ inuxw Haxwa’mis nation from Gilford Island and holds a wealth of relevant experience, having worked as director of an Indigenous community legal clinic and as an advocate helping marginalized groups in Canada gain access to justice. “He understands how diﬃcult it is for our people to come into court,” Sayers said. Eby held out hope last month that the development of the Indigenous court system will support better outcomes for people in conﬂict with the law. “It also brings us one step closer to reaching one of our most important goals as government — building a justice system that better respects and addresses the needs of Indigenous peoples,” he said.
Courtenay man dies in ﬁsh farm boating accident By Mike Youds Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Toﬁno, BC - Coroner and WorkSafe BC investigations continue into a ﬁsh farm accident in Clayoquot Sound that took the life of a Comox Valley man. Two other workers were injured in the Dec. 22 boating incident, which occurred in late afternoon at a Cermaq site in the Toﬁno area. The company said it immediately reported the accident to the Canadian Coast Guard. The injured workers were taken to hospital in Toﬁno in stable condition. A 29-year-old man from Courtenay died in the accident. More than 50 people oﬀered their condolences on the company’s Facebook page after a notice was posted on the tragedy. “We are extending our heartfelt condolences and support to the family and friends of our employee,” the company stated. “We are providing resources and support for our employees and families as they work through this tragic and difficult time.” A Cermaq spokeswoman said on Monday, Jan. 13 that the company continues to support the employees and families in the aftermath of the accident while investigations continue. The December incident was the second fatality at an Island ﬁsh farm in 2019. Aidan Webber, a Nanaimo teenager,
was killed last March at a Mowi Canada West’s Robertson Island farm near Port Hardy. Webber was an accomplished international BMX athlete. In October 2018, a Cermaq employee fell from a barge under tow east of Flores Island. The man, who was wearing a PFD, was rescued about 40 minutes later by a passing speedboat from Ahousaht. He was unharmed, fortunate to be spotted in the water before darkness fell. Working on the water, particularly at sea and in adverse weather conditions, has always been a hazardous occupation. In an analysis of Canadian workplace fatalities, the Globe and Mail reported in 2017 that the ﬁshing sector as a whole is the most dangerous industry in the country. According to WorkSafe statistics, the aquaculture sector represents about 10 per cent of ﬁshing industry accident claims in B.C. Aquaculture and marine harvest labourers ranked sixth among 10 occupations across Canada with the highest average fatality rates due to traumatic injury. A WorkSafeBC spokeswoman indicated their investigation of the December accident continues. Industry accident investigations are intended to identify the cause of an incident, including any contributing factors, for the purpose of prevention. B.C. Coroners Service also conﬁrmed it was conducting a fact-ﬁnding investigation into the death.
Cermaq Canada photo
A Cermaq ﬁsh farm in Clayoquot Sound, where the company is the largest aquaculture operator.
January 16, 2020—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 7
Dennis ba•les liver disease, hopes for transplant After being blocked from a donor list, Huu-ay-aht man challenged BC Transplant’s six-month abstinence policy By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Vancouver, BC - On an evening in early December, David Dennis looks out into the warmth of a crowded room in east Vancouver, absorbing the applause into his struggling frame. The 44-year-old is wrapped in a red blanket, a symbol of support for his battles and advocacy since being diagnosed with end-stage liver disease in July. The blanketing from the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council’s Teechuktl staﬀ came when Dennis was celebrating six months of sobriety – but still waiting to hear from doctors if his condition could sustain a transplant necessary for long-term survival. “We’re trying out if there’s a third party that can look at the ﬁle to tell us whether or not that’s true - but to be honest, I’ve been ﬁghting it for so long, I’ve had to focus on just my health for a good six months,” said Dennis of the transplant possibility. “I’m still, in a sense, dying. My liver is deteriorating still, but there’s portions of it that are recovering.” After he was diagnosed with end-stage liver disease in July, the father of ﬁve was informed that he would be excluded from BC Transplant’s organ donor registry due to a policy requiring abstinence from alcohol for six months. Along with the Union of BC Indian Chiefs and the Frank Paul Society, which Dennis leads as president, he ﬁled a complaint to the BC Human Rights Tribunal, stating the policy was discriminatory. The group’s complaint states that Dennis has abstained from drinking since June 4, and was being unfairly assessed for his alcohol use disorder due to a policy with “little or no scientiﬁc support”. “The abstinence policy places Mr. Dennis’ health at risk, potentially fatally, by delaying his access to a transplant,” reads the complaint. “It is also an aﬀront to his sense of dignity, respect and self worth.” This complaint challenges the lawfulness of the six-month abstinence requirement, argues the Union of BC Indian Chiefs. “The abstinence policy discriminates against Indigenous peoples, who have disproportionately higher rates of alcohol use disorder largely due to the centuries of racist and harmful colonial policies implemented at all levels of Canadian government, but especially through the intergenerational traumas of the Indian residential schools on Indigenous families and communities,” stated a press release issued by the UBCIC in August. This pressure, and the media attention generated by the roadblock Dennis faced, appears to have quickly changed BC Transplant’s stance on the abstinence requirement. In September the agency spoke of “new, emerging clinical evidence” that led to the reconsideration of the six-month abstinence requirement. “The new approach oﬀers the potential treatment option of liver transplantation for those who have abstained from alcohol for less than six months and are regarded to have low-risk of post-transplant alcohol use once assessed by the transplant team,” stated BC Transplant, although alcohol consumption is still discouraged once a liver transplant is done. “A period of abstinence from alcohol is still needed because the natural recovery of liver function can occur, reversing the need for a transplant.”
Photo by Eric Plummer
After being blocked from a donor list, David Dennis challenged BC Transplant’s policy of six-months of abstinence. That policy has since been changed. The provincial agency also noted the need to “destigmatize alcohol use disorder” while assessing patients. Dennis believes that this change in clinical practice will help other Nuu-chah-nulth patients at risk of liver failure. “They’ve changed their stance, which will beneﬁt ultimately a lot of our kuu’us people because they won’t be faced with the same barriers,” he said. As for his health, a complication of Dennis’ liver disease has been hepatic encephalopathy, which entails deterioration in brain function. According to the Canadian Liver Foundation, this condition occurs when the liver fails to break down ammonia, which can be toxic for the brain.
“Ammonia is a molecule produced by bacteria within our intestine following digestion of food,” states the liver foundation. “It is normally removed by the liver. However, when the liver is damaged, ammonia builds up in the blood which can easily enter the brain.” But pre-existing brain trauma could “accelerate the need” for Dennis to get a liver transplant, he said. “That goes well back to my football days, but more recently in 2016 I was assaulted in the back of the head,” he recalled. “A young man who was beating up his wife at the time, I got involved and told him to stop. A scuﬄe ensued and I was punched in the back of the head.” “Once you’ve got liver cirrhosis, it’s just
a matter of time, whether you’ve got six months or six years, it depends on their monitoring,” continued Dennis. “We’re in a kind of monitoring stage right now.” As he awaits the direction his medical treatment will take, Dennis was reassured by the unexpected ﬂood of community support on Dec. 5 at the Nuu-chah-nulth gathering. “I was just sidelined by it. The emotional response was a huge one,” he said. “I’m at that stage where I’m accepting the way things are, and obviously this generates a lot of feelings that people care. It’s a good demonstration that Nuuchah-nulth people fundamentally are a good, caring people. When it comes to issues of health they stand together.”
YOU ARE INVITED Nuu-chah-nulth Council of Ha’wiih Forum on Fisheries Campbell River | February 4 - 5 2020 Thunderbird Hall, 1400 Weiweikum Rd The Regional Director General for Fisheries and Oceans Canada Paciﬁc Region, Rebecca Reid, will be in attendance on February 5. We encourage young Nuu-chah-nulth-aht to attend the meeting to learn more about pressing ﬁsheries issues and to represent future generations. Limited ﬁnancial support is available for those aged 30 and under interested in attending. For more information contact: Susanne Marsh at firstname.lastname@example.org or 250-724-5757
Page 8— Ha-Shilth-Sa—January 16, 2020
Photos by Eric Plummer
Over the ﬁrst weekend of January hundreds came to Ahousaht’s community hall for a showcase of songs composed by the late Nelson Keitlah, including some that haven’t been performed for decades.
Keitlah family begins year with a ‘drying of the tears’ Hundreds gather in Ahousaht’s T-Bird Hall for a memorial event that unveils a collection of songs and art By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Ahousaht, BC - Early in the morning of Friday, Jan. 3, a heavy rain alert was issued for the west coast of Vancouver Island. The battering that followed would keep smaller boats docked on Ahousaht’s shore, leaving travellers to the Flores Island community to rely on larger vessels capable of cutting through the deep waves. “Southeast winds will increase throughout the morning and eventually peak at 80 kilometres an hour for exposed sections,” cautioned a message from Environment Canada. “High winds may toss loose objects or cause tree branches to break.” Within Ahousaht’s T-Bird Hall half a dozen people sweat over duck, venison, halibut, clams and salmon that cover metal counters in the community building’s kitchen – the harvest from the First Nation’s surrounding territory. Outside the kitchen rows of tables span the room, a few men sit awaiting the crowd that
“In our culture, us west coast people, we put the song and dance away for a while when they pass on. Even the names, nobody uses them” ~ Betty Keitlah
will soon gather. The building intermittently falls into darkness as the power cuts out, leaving the kitchen crew with a lone work light hanging from the door. Some chuckle at the familiar trait of life in the remote community. By nightfall the T-Bird Hall was packed with hundreds – a signiﬁcant proportion of Ahousaht’s on-reserve population of about 1,000. The events that would follow over the weekend were held in honour of three late members of the Keitlah family, including one who “lived a full circle of life,” according to his sister, and two others whose time on this earth were cut short by tragedy. The dinner was held in honour of Nelson Keitlah, an Ahousaht leader who died in 2016. As a young man in the 1950s Keitlah was selected by his nation’s Hawiih to be the ﬁrst chief councillor.
He was among the group of men who organized 14 Nuu-chah-nulth nations into the West Coast Allied Tribes in 1958, a collective that later incorporated into the West Coast District Society of Indian Chiefs in 1973, and is now the Nuuchah-nulth Tribal Council. Keitlah lived to be 82, an expansive life that brought no need for a memorial potlatch, said his sister, Betty. “My brother told me, he said in Indian, ‘Don’t have a party for me, because I’ve lived a full life’,” she recalled. “In our teachings if it’s an elder there’s no potlatch because they had a certain circle of life.” Besides his political leadership, Keitlah was a cultural repository of Ahousaht traditions. He was among the declining number of the First Nation’s members able to speak his ancestral tongue ﬂu-
ently. “He knew hard words. We would very seldom use the words nowadays,” said Betty. “Nelson would know right away. I’ve got them written down, some of the words that we hardly use.” Keitlah was also a composer of traditional songs, some of which have not been heard for several years. On Jan. 4 some of those songs were brought out and performed during a memorial event for two other members of the family: Levi Keitlah, who drowned Jan. 4, 2014 in Clayoquot Sound at the age of 32, and Nadine Marshall, whose body was found behind a dumpster in Victoria’s Esquimault area on Aug. 3, 2012. “It was very questionable about how she died,” said Betty of Nadine Marshall, who was Nelson Keitlah’s daughter. “My brother, he kept wondering and the cops
January 16, 2020—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 9
As explained by Betty Keitlah (bottom right), a łaakt̓uuła, or drying of the tears, was held for Levi Keitlah and Nadine Marshall, whose lives ended prematurely in 2014 and 2012. were very uncertain about her death.” “They died very sudden in an accidental way,” she added. “Levi, he drowned. He used to work in a ﬁsh plant here.” The memorial event that ensued followed strict protocol, including a request that no photographs were taken during a “drying of the tears” song that began proceedings. This piece was composed by Nelson Keitlah, and banners kept by the family for years were unveiled to hang behind the dancers. “In our culture, us west coast people, we put the song and dance away for a while when they pass on. Even the names, nobody uses them,” explained Betty. “If a person is named Nelson he’s got to put it away for a couple of years at the earliest.”
Although many of those who travelled to Flores Island for the memorial event referred to it as a potlach, Betty clariﬁed it to be łaakt̓uuła (hach-tuu-kla), which means the “drying of the tears”. “You’re not ready if you’re still crying. You’ve got to be strong to send them on their journey,” she said. “We’re crying inside because they died so young. But then we’ve got to be strong in order to have łaakt̓uuła, drying of the tears, letting them go on their journey, letting them go free.” Numuch, Neil Keitlah, took a leading role in performing Nelson Keitlah’s songs for his nation at the event. After living in Vancouver for 14 years, Numuch moved to Ahousaht two years ago – with the expectation that he could bring
his voice to the gap left when his uncle passed in 2016. “The family asked me to be a part of taking out their dad’s dances,” said Numuch, admitting his nervousness as he awaited the chance to take up an eagle feather to lead the singers. “Last time I remember doing these dances was at my wedding over 20 years ago.” He recalls Keitlah composing and practicing the songs in the privacy of his garage. “Nelson, he raised me from the age of nine in our culture,” said Numuch. “A lot of Nuu-chah-nulth people, they’ve been waiting for my uncle’s dances to come out. They’re excited and I’m excited, it’s been a long time coming.” Beyond the activity within the walls
of the T-Bird Hall, for some it can be hard to believe that people have lived so close to the ocean’s fury for thousands of years, seeking sustenance from the surrounding waters while maintaining a complex society. “Our ancestors, they were proud people. They knew how to survive, and that’s why we’re here,” noted Betty Keitlah. “They were in very close bond with the Creator. If they were in rough weather, there was really no shelter in that chuputs, the canoe, and they’d chant.” “I think if you ask anyone that is from Ahousaht, they’ll say that’s where their heart is,” added Numuch. “It’s always hard to leave if you’re from here.”
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Designer sees growing interest in Indigenous fashion Alicia Stephens sells items throughout North America, seeing a growing demand from non-Indigenous clients By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Vancouver, BC - It’s been an exciting year for Alicia Stephens, culminating in exhibits of her fashion work at shows in Vancouver and New York. The Ahousaht designer, who grew up in Victoria and has lived in the Vancouver area for the last 20 years, reﬂected on the past months during the Nuu-chahnulth Urban Gathering in Vancouver on Dec. 5. Her designs were most recently showcased at the Vancouver Indigenous Fashion Week from Nov. 18-21, preceded by an excursion to Manhattan in September for New York Fashion Week. Stephens was one of two Canadian designers invited to showcase their work by Oxford Fashion Studio. “I got lots of media,” said Stephens, whose exposure from the event included Glamour magazine. “It’s opened a lot more doors. I’ve been invited to a few more fashion shows.”
“It was so unreal. I was in a movie studio everywhere I turned” ~ Alicia Stephens In New York Stephens presented Resilience, a collection of clothing dedicated to all survivors and non-survivors of Canada’s Indian residential school system. Stephens’ mother and grandmother are former residential school students. “Her life goal is to stop this cycle and create a new path for our children to grow, learn and understand,” states Oxford’s proﬁle on the designer. “Today, Alicia sees strong, independent, and courageous women who struggled and overcame this cycle. This collection will depict a strong and powerful look with the form line of First Nations art.” Participation in the event was a massive undertaking for the Burnaby-based designer, including an entry fee of over $10,000 Canadian – plus travel expenses to New York. After nine months of raising the expense costs, she recalls frequently encountering ﬁlm shoots while in
Photo by Eric Plummer
Alicia Stephens has focused full-time on her art for the last seven years, and in 2019 exhibited during New York Fashion Week. She was recognized at the Nuu-chah-nulth Urban Gathering in Vancouver on Dec. 5. the city. “It was so unreal. I was in a movie studio everywhere I turned,” said Stephens. “I know I want to do more fashion shows, just continue with my work. My work is non-stop because it’s my full time job. That’s all I do every day, is paint and create new things.” Oxford encountered Stephens’s designs by combing the Internet for original work to showcase. Online promotion has allowed Stephens to progress from the odd jobs she relied upon while in her 20s and 30s. Her breakthrough came in 2012 when Stephens published a photo
of shoes with a design inked on by a Sharpie marker, a Facebook post that began a stream on interest. Since then the designer has focused on shoes, purses, jewellery and clothing. “I buy the product, and I add the design to it,” said Stephens, who works out of her basement studio. “When I’m looking at a blank piece, I can see it in my mind and it just comes out.” She sells her pieces throughout North America, and more than half of her customers are non-Indigenous. Stephens is seeing a growing interest in Aboriginalthemed fashion.
“There’s always a story behind it and history,” she said. A lifetime artist, Stephens learned First Nations carving, beading and drum making while in high school. But she emphasizes that her pieces are contemporary, and not to be confused with regalia or traditional Aboriginal art. “First Nations art has been around for many, many years. It has been practiced, and there’s also a cultural part,” she said. “With my art, I don’t try to push it to be a traditional art piece, but more modern and contemporary.”
Phrase of the week - T’uuqwana Pronounced ‘Tluu Kwan na’, this means a wolf ritual a chief hosts for his people. These used to last for days and involved the whole community. Supplied by čiisma.
Ivy Cargill-Martin Illustration
January 16, 2020—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 11
Nuu-chah-nulth Urban Gatherings close out 2019
Photos by Deborah Potter
The Teechuktl mental health team ﬁnished their Urban Gathering tour Dec. 17 in Campbell River at the Thunderbird Hall. Over one hundred Nuu-chah-nulth aht came out to enjoy a turkey dinner, singing and dancing, many door prizes, and good company.
Photos by Eric Plummer
The Victoria Urban Gathering once again ﬁlled the Edelweiss Club on Dec. 13, with a combination of song, socializing, food and remembering loved ones who are no longer with us. In light of multiple losses in Nuu-chah-nulth families in December, once the hall was ﬁlled Joe Tom led a ceremony for all present to partake in recognizing their loved ones who have passed. A Christmas turkey dinner followed, as did singing by young and old before a crowd of over 100.
Photos by Denise Titian
The Beban Social Centre was overﬂowing with festive Nuu-chah-nulth-aht at the Dec. 12 annual Quu’asa Urban Gathering. By the time dinner was about to be served there were lines of people waiting in the foyer to get in while more tables were hastily set up. Eventually, an adjacent room was opened to accommodate more guests.
Roast Deer Recipe The hind quarter of a young deer is often oven roast. The method is as follows: 1: Season the meat with salt, pepper and rosemary. 2: Rub the top of the roast with shortening or oil and place in a tightly covered roaster. Cook the meat 20 to 25 minutes per pound in a 350 degree oven. 3: Potatoes, onion and carrots may be added in before the end of the cooking time, mushrooms 30 minutes before end of the cooking time. 4: Pour the juices over the meat (no thinkening added) and serve with cooked vegetables.
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Persistent rains cause ﬂooding and highway closure Dec. 18 proved to be particularly wet for Vancouver Island communities; road access to the west coast was closed for several hours By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Vancouver Island, BC - Continued downpour prompted Environment Canada to issue a rainfall warning for the west coast of Vancouver Island in December, causing road ﬂooding and a highway closure. The warning was issued by Environment Canada early in the morning on Wednesday, Dec. 18, with total rainfall of 100-150 millimetres expected in some parts of the region. “A strong Paciﬁc frontal system over Vancouver Island is slowly moving southward today. This storm is bringing widespread heavy rainfall to the west coast of Vancouver Island,” stated the Dec. 18 warning. “For Toﬁno and communities further north such as Zeballos and Tahsis, heavy rain has been occurring for the past 24 hours. As the front begins to move southward early today, heavy rain will start to impact communities south of Toﬁno as well.” After a few stormy days in Zeballos, the Ehattesaht First Nation reported calmer, overcast conditions with little rain. But further south on the coast the rains forced road closures, including on the welltravelled Highway 4, cutting oﬀ access to Toﬁno and Ucluelet until mid-afternoon. East of the boundary to the Paciﬁc Rim National Park Reserve, a contractor working on widening the highway over Kennedy Lake closed the road to prevent landslides. “With recent heavy rains, the contractor is proactively doing erosion control and rock scaling,” said the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure in an e-mail to Ha-Shilth-Sa. “There is no washout at that location. The ministry expects the highway to be re-opened midafternoon today.”
Photo by Duane Nookemis Sr.
Flooding occurred on Bamﬁeld Main on Dec. 18 between the 72 and 73 kilometre marks, close to Anacla. Before the road closed, Toﬁno Mayor Josie Osborne issued an early morning warning to traveller via Twitter. “Driving through [Highway 4’s] Hill project this morning was like driving up a creek bed under a fully running ﬁre hose,” she posted. “Full of admiration for the crews and ﬂaggers. Please be patient and take it easy, everyone.” Multiple washouts were reported on the rugged logging road from Port Alberni to Anacla, according to nurses with the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council who
travelled there to attend to members of the Huu-ay-aht First Nations. On the way down the nurses reported seven washouts, the most they’ve encountered on the route to the remote community. The Huuay-aht First Nations’ government oﬃce in Anacla said that Western Forest Products was attending to ﬂooded sections of the road. “It was like a washboard,” said NTC nurse Sonia Somerville of the potholes covering Bamﬁeld Main. When the nurses arrived at the Huu-ay-
aht government oﬃce they were advised to not stay long, as one of the culverts on the road could fail. Somerville recalls their truck being pulled while passing through some of the ﬂooded sections. “I don’t know if a car would have made it through,” she said. Part of this road is shared by residents of Nitinaht Lake. By early afternoon on Dec. 18 rains had persisted in this area for 18 hours, leading the Ditidaht First Nation to monitor road conditions as members expected more severe ﬂooding. If rains persisted, the First Nation’s administration was prepared to advise members to not travel to Port Alberni, but take another road to Lake Cowichan for any essential services that are outside the community. For an area that sometimes sees salmon pass over the road to Nitinaht Lake, ﬂooding is an ongoing concern each year from October to March. Concerns heighten when rains persist for over 24 hours.
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January 16, 2020—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 13
The president’s message to Nuu-chah-nulth-aht Happy New Year to all. Hope 2020 is a good year for all of you. We started oﬀ January with good news from the BC Supreme Court. The court ruled that the demonstration of smudging in a classroom was not an infringement of Ms. Servatius and her children’s religious freedoms. Nor was the prayer a hoop dancer said before his dance an infringement. They did not prove their rights were infringed. You will recall that Servatius brought this court challenge a few years back challenging the demonstration of smudging. The Servatius family stated that they had been made to feel uncomfortable for a day and did not alter their thinking about their own religion. But they brought this case anyway hoping to stop these kinds of demonstrations in schools. This was a victory for all children, in that our culture can be continued to be taught in the schools. It is important that our children feel safe in their schools and know it is a place they can learn and practice our culture. Teaching non Nuuchah-nulth helps eradicate racism and helps with reconciliation. It was a good decision for us. December was a short but busy month, I went to Ottawa for the National AFN Special Chiefs Meeting. There were many issues on the agenda. Nuu-chahnulth brought two motions to the assembly. The ﬁrst was a motion I drafted for the national oﬃce to start working on homelessness. There has never been a motion mandating the national chief to work on homelessness, so this was the opportunity to start doing some work on it. The motion directs AFN to put together a national strategy to deal with homelessness. It also asks for research on how many homeless First Nations people there are across Canada and what are the services and gaps in services. It also mandates AFN to ﬁnd a multi-partner solution to First Nations homelessness and its related causes. Ahousaht moved the motion and Toquaht seconded the motion. T’aaquiihak also had a motion regarding obtaining support for implementing their commercial ﬁshery court cases and other related support. Both motions were supported by the chiefs in assembly. The national meeting was a chance to hear from the minister of justice and attorney general for Canada. He spoke in plenary and also came into our caucus. I asked him if it was his responsibility to ensure that court cases that have been won are implemented. I was speaking speciﬁcally about T’aaq-wiihak’s right to a commercial ﬁshery and why after 10 years has it not been implemented. He told me he would look into it and get back to me. I have followed up with phone calls to get those answers. I also told him about the smudging case and why was it okay for there to be racism and hatred in a court room when it is not acceptable outside the court room. He says they are trying to educate their justices so they don’t repeat that mistake. We also had Carolyn Bennett speak, minister of CIRNA (Crown Indigenous Relations) in both plenary and in our B.C. caucus. Good to hear her speak in caucus as they speak to issues that may deal only with B.C. and not the rest of the country. She committed on behalf of the Prime Minister to put UNDRIP implementation legislation in place and to co-draft the legislation. Marc Miller, the new minister of ISC, also came into our B.C. caucus. I asked him the same question I asked the former
Community&Beyond Memorial Potlach
Suicide Peer Support Group
May 16, 2020
First Thursday, Monthly
We the Livingstone family are now planning a Memorial Potlach for our Father and Hereditary Chief Sha e’ Lum, Cyril Edward Livingstone. Bring your drums and regalia. All family and friends are invited. Location: Lake Cowichan Arena, 311 S Shore Rd, Lake Cowichan, Contact Lake Cowichan First Nation at (250) 749-3301 for information.
The KUU-US Crisis Line Society holds a Suicide Peer Support Group Meeting on the ﬁrst Thursday of each month at the KUU-US Oﬃce location. 4589 Adelaide St, Port Alberni.
Obituaries Minister Seamus O’Reagan: When will they restore funding to tribal councils? They cut our funding by 60 per cent some years ago. And when will they lift the two per cent cap oﬀ First Nation’s funding? He didn’t have any answers as he had only been on the job 11 days. I went to urban gatherings in Vancouver, Seattle, Nanaimo and Victoria. It was really a good opportunity to chat with Nuuchah-nulth-aht from the various urban centres. Hear what their issues are, share a meal and songs and dances with them and generally to socialize. Our NTC staﬀ make presentations about the work that they do and people have opportunities to ask them questions. I also drafted the Homeless Strategy for NTC based on our gathering in November. It has gone out to chiefs and councils and administrators for their review and input. If you are interested in seeing it, please ask for a copy at your oﬃces or email me and I can send it. Any input is appreciated. The plan has short term and long-term actions. Actions are set out for NTC, First Nations and individuals. The strategy has the following guiding principles: respecting one other, caring for one another, helping one another, teaching one another and loving one another. Some recommended short term actions: • Find funding for a drop-in centre where those without homes can stop by, put their feet up, have a coﬀee, get warm, use a phone - this could be minimally staﬀed with one person (based on models out there). Should provide showers, washing machines. • NTC shall hold a meeting for people interested in a Nuu-chah-nulth Housing Society to provide homes in the main urban areas where Nuu-chah-nulth are. • Work with local First Nations to provide a place for free where NCN people can gather to enjoy culture or bring members home for cultural events Medium Term Actions: • Improve upon and create culturally appropriate services according to the needs of those experiencing homelessness. • Provide a cultural centre where people can gather and do cultural events. Or fun activities like lahal. Long Term Actions: • Develop homes to meet the needs of those who want homes - and with those homes, provide services so we are not just providing a house with four walls… cultural sensitivity • Continual lobbying governments to ensure that aﬀordable housing is available for all. This is just a small sample of what was discussed at the AGM and the one day strategy session and includes recommendations from our Quu’asa staﬀ. -Kekinusuqs, Judith Sayers
The late Dave Ignace “Mushguy” of Hesquiaht passed on suddenly on Dec 15, 2019 from a fatal aneurysm. He collapsed with his work boots on in his front yard at the home he loved so much. The 911 chopper ride took 1 hour to Victoria General where he passed away surrounded by loving family. He is missed by his loving wife Dianne of 44 years 5 months and 5 days, 4 children: Jody, Kaesok, Jeﬀ and Korrine, a son in law Nathan George, 8 grandchildren and 3 sisters: Maggie, Jeannie and Anne, along with a large extended family. His interment is in Hesquaiht next to his father and 2 sisters.
In memory of In loving Memory of the best Mom ever - Nessie Watts No matter how we spend our days, no matter what we do Before we lay to rest each night we always think of you Death broke the chain that joined us and broke ours hearts in two Mama, we never had a greater gift than the years we shared with you Our broken hearts will never mend , our memories will never end Our tear drops never dry, our love for you will never die we love and miss you always and forever - all your family
Klecko’s - +ekoo I’d like to make a special thank you to Sara Fred and her daughter Leanna Masso for gathering up some medicine for us in our time of need. We were all sick for a whole week here and we had no way of going anywhere with our boat broken down. I also want to thank them for ﬁnding someone to bring it out to us. The two people that I want to mention who brought our medicine out are Bill Leighton and his dear wife, two people from Gold River who brought the medicine for us. -Kleko from Ray Williams and family in Yuquot
TSESHAHT MARKET GATEWAY TO THE PACIFIC RIM
Hours of operation - 7:00 am - 10:30 pm Phone: 724-3944 E-mail: email@example.com Find us on Facebook Correction On the back page in the Dec 12 edition of the Ha-Shilth-Sa, Uu-a-thluk wants to make 2 corrections in their article about NCN nations and DFO working towards modernizing clam ﬁshery. 1. The clam species commonly harvested in Nuu-chah-nulth commercial clam harvesting were incorrectly labelled (on the back page article image). The clam on the left is a native littleneck clam, and the clam on the right is a manila clam. 2. Licence limitations for commercial clam licences (Z2s) and the introduction of First Nations Aboriginal Commercial Clam Licences (Z2ACLs) were introduced in 1998.
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Alberni’s senior girls take ﬁfth place in Totem Tseshaht’s Memphis Dick stands out as impressive tournament player for the Armada in the 65th tournament By Karly Blats Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Port Alberni, BC - The Armada senior girls’ basketball team placed ﬁfth out of eight teams in the 65th annual Totem Tournament Jan. 9-11. The tournament, hosted at Alberni District Secondary School and the Alberni Athletic Hall, saw high school basketball teams come from around Vancouver Island and the mainland to compete. Hundreds of locals and visitors packed the gyms to cheer on their teams—crowds were especially loud during ADSS feature games. The ﬁnal standings for the girls tournament from ﬁrst place to eighth place was: Paciﬁc Christian School (Victoria), Highland (Comox), NDSS (Nanaimo), Belmont (Victoria), ADSS, St. Patrick (Vancouver), Ballenas (Parksville) and Kwalikum (Qualicum). “We didn’t get the results that we were looking for but deﬁnitely the eﬀort level and the entertainment level was there,” said Armada girls coach Ryan Broekhuizen. “We seemed to get down by a bunch early and then ﬁght our way back and fell short a couple times, but deﬁnitely the eﬀort level was there and I’m super proud of these girls.” Armada won their home opener game on Thursday night against Kwalikum with a ﬁnal score of 64-29. Broekhuizen said every player got a chance to play and even got on the score sheet during the ﬁrst game. “Our strength deﬁnitely was our defence. I thought we played really well
Photo by Karly Blats
Armada’s Memphis Dick takes a shot at the basket during a Jan. 10 Totem Tournament game against Highland. and put pressure on the ball. We did a 64-53. The Armada player of the game on great job of full court pressure without Friday was Memphis Dick and Raegan fouling,” Broekhuizen said. Dudoward on Saturday. Armada’s Jennika Mercer was named Dick, who is from Tseshaht, was also player of the game against Kwalikum for named to the girls All-Star Team. what Broekhuizen said is her impressive “Memphis is an excellent player, she athletic ability. has been one of the top players in her age “You could tell it’s her Grade 12 year, group for a long time, a lot of coaches it’s Totem, she just gave out 110 per cent know about her,” Broekhuizen said. “In eﬀort,” Broekhuizen said. “It was an imour Saturday night game the team was pressive performance, every rebound in what’s called ‘box-and-oneing’ her, so her area she was getting her hands on.” they had someone basically in her pocket Armada lost a heartbreak game to High- the whole game, which was obviously land from Comox on Friday night with a diﬃcult and frustrating for her. She’s just ﬁnal score of 54-50 and lost to Nanaimo learning how to deal with the pressure District Secondary School on Saturday of being a great player. She’s a quality
player and a great human being.” Broekhuizen said heightened nerves from his team was the most challenging part of the tournament. “It’s not often you’re playing in front of hundreds and hundreds of people and so I think that’s what led us to getting down early in the games,” Broekhuizen said. “We were down double digits I think in all of the games that we played and we were only able to come back on Thursday night. We fell short both Friday and Saturday by a couple buckets.” Going forward with their season, Broekhuizen plans to work on quicker starts with his team and getting baskets early in games. The girls are headed to Victoria this weekend for the Esquimalt Fire Tournament where eight boys and eight girls teams will compete. “It’s not quite the Totem Tournament but there’s some excitement there,” Broekhuizen said. The Armada senior boys team also placed ﬁfth in the Totem Tournament. Totem Tournament director Greg Freethy said coaches and organizers felt the tournament was a success on many levels. “I have spoken with most of the participating teams, many students and local fans and everyone had very positive things to say about the tournament,” Freethy said. “The attendance and support from the student body and community was amazing. This was the most well attended Totem Tournament in the past 20 years and we hope to have everyone back for Totem 66 on Jan. 7-9, 2021.”
Savey plays season closer to home in Campbell River The Mowachaht/Muchalaht player has joined the junior B squad after a stint on Sea•le’s major junior team By Sam Laskaris Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Campbell River, BC – Cody Savey is certainly more upbeat these days. A year ago Savey, a member of the Mowachact/Muchalaht First Nation, was toiling with the Seattle Thunderbirds, who compete in the Western Hockey League (WHL). The WHL is a Major Junior circuit, one of three loops that make up the Canadian Hockey League, the highest level of junior hockey available in Canada. But Savey had a frustrating 2018-19 campaign as he was often a healthy scratch and only appeared in 18 of the Thunderbirds’ 68 regular season outings. He had just one assist in those games. Afterwards Savey requested a trade out of Seattle and was told the WHL’s Saskatoon Blades were interested in his services. “I just decided I didn’t want to go (to Saskatoon),” Savey said. “I wanted to be close to home.” After he was released by the Thunderbirds, Savey was then hoping to play the 2019-20 campaign with the Nanaimo Clippers, a Junior A squad that competes in the British Columbia Hockey League. He appeared in a handful of exhibition matches with the Clippers, and then Savey said the Clippers’ brass told him he was being assigned to the Campbell River Storm for ﬁve games. The Storm, a Junior B team, play in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League (VIJHL). Savey, who was originally anticipating to be recalled by the Clippers after his early-season assignment with Campbell
River, said he hasn’t had any contact with Nanaimo oﬃcials since the pre-season. But he’s not complaining as he is relishing his time in Campbell River. Though the league he’s currently in is a few steps below the WHL, Savey, 18, appears rather happy. “It is deﬁnitely a big diﬀerence compared to last year,” he said. “But I like the playing time I’m getting now and I’m having a lot of fun with it.” Savey was signed with the Thunderbirds as a 15-year-old and played two WHL games late during the 2016-17 season. He also played one game with Seattle the following year, a season he primarily played with Campbell River. Savey, a 6-foot, 204-pound centre, is currently the middle of Campbell River’s top line. He earned 20 points (10 goals and 10 assists) in his ﬁrst 27 contests with the Storm. Campbell River head coach Lee Stone said Savey has been rather positive since joining the Storm. “Quite honestly from the minute he showed up he’s really enjoyed being here,” Stone said. “Coming here he knew he would be getting an opportunity to play.” Stone said Savey has his own cheering section for certain home games. “On any given Friday night he’ll have 10-15 family members and friends sitting in the one corner,” said Stone, who is in his seventh season as the Storm head coach and general manager. Stone said he feels Savey is more beneﬁcial to the club now that he’s playing centre, instead of right wing, a position he played the last several seasons. Stone
Cody Savey converted him to centre when he arrived in Campbell River this year. “It allows him to stay more ﬂuid and keep moving,” Stone said. Though he went through an adjustment period, Savey said he does like the fact he’s now a centre. “It was weird at ﬁrst,” he said. “But I like it more now because I can use my oﬀensive abilities more.” Savey also has to be pleased about the fact Campbell River is one of the VIJHL’s top squads this season. The Storm posted a 23-10-2 mark in its ﬁrst 35
games and with 48 points was atop the standings in the league’s four-club North Division. Campbell River, however, was behind two teams in the league’s ﬁve-team South Division in the over-all VIJHL standings. The 29-5-1 Victoria Cougars and 28-9-0 Peninsula Panthers, based in North Saanich, had 59 and 56 points, respectively. “We’re a really young team but we have a lot of skill,” Savey said of the Campbell River side. Savey also believes the Storm is one of the squads capable of winning the VIJHL championship this season. “It’s just going to depend on who’s playing the best in the playoﬀs,” he said. Savey has two years of junior eligibility remaining after this season. He’s hoping to return to a higher level of play next season and is conﬁdent he can crack the roster of a BCHL franchise. And he hasn’t given up hope of making a return to the WHL. He said he would even accept an oﬀer to join an organization that is not in his home province. “If I get the opportunity then I would go,” he said. Savey is also hoping to eventually play in the Canadian university ranks after he has used up his junior hockey eligibility. He completed his high school studies this past June when he returned to his hometown of Gold River, after the Thunderbirds completed their season. Meanwhile, Savey and his Campbell River teammates return to action this Friday with a home contest against the Mill Bay-based Kerry Park Islanders. The Storm will then host the Saanich Braves on Saturday night, Jan. 18.
January 16, 2020—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 15
Armada senior boys place ﬁfth in tournament High school teams from around Vancouver Island and the mainland played in the three-day basketball contest By Karly Blats Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Port Alberni, BC - The Alberni District Secondary School Armada senior boys’ basketball team placed ﬁfth out of eight teams in the 65th annual Totem Tournament hosted at the high school Jan. 9-11. High school basketball teams showed up to the Alberni Valley from around Vancouver Island and the mainland for the three-day tournament. The ﬁnal standings for the boys teams from ﬁrst place to eighth place are: Carihi (Campbell River), Mark Isfeld (Comox), Reynolds (Victoria), Edward Milne (Sooke), ADSS, Stellys (Victoria), Ballenas (Parksville) and Kwalikum (Qualicum). Armada coach Craig Brooks said his team’s performance throughout the tournament was like a “tale of two cities.” “We had moments where we looked like world beaters and then I think the moment got a little big for us and we couldn’t recover,” Brooks said. The boys got over their initial nerves quickly and executed their ﬁrst game on Thursday night against Kwalikum with a ﬁnal score of 83-60. “We had a rough game plan that we put together as far as what we thought we should expect and then things kind of went according to plan,” Brooks said. “We were able to get everyone oﬀ the bench and playing so that’s always good when you can do that in a win.” Brooks said his team showed outstanding ball movement and communication during their ﬁrst game. “We’ve won ﬁve in the last six games (in the regular season) and we’ve been talking to each other on the court and good things happen,” Brooks said. “We tend to fall apart when we sort of become a little too individualistic or we start playing hero ball what we call it.” Armada’s Chris Tatoosh was named player of the game against Kwalikum, who Brooks says is one of the hardest working players on the court. “He logs the most minutes of anybody on the court. We try to feed him the ball as much as possible…once his shot heats up as we saw last night he can just start draining them from anywhere on the court,” Brooks said. Brooks also gave a shout out to Ahousaht player ja’Ered Atleo, who he says guarded Kwalikum’s highest scorer and held him to only about four points the whole game. After an exciting win on night one, the Armada went on to lose their following two games on Friday and Saturday night. They lost to Carihi (67-57) on Friday and to Reynolds (67-46) on Saturday. “I’m happy with the game we played against Carihi and I’m happy with our ﬁrst half against Reynolds,” Brooks said. “We’ve kind of fallen into some of the same bad habits we had earlier in the year. It’s a little hard to take but the arrow is trending up so I’m happy with that I think. Reynolds was a better team so I can accept that.” Armada’s Cam Cyr was player of the game against Carihi and Jermaine Bulware was against Reynolds. Brooks said the most challenging part of the tournament for his team was controlling their emotions. “[The tournament is so big the entire community comes out to support and it’s loud,” Brooks said. “The energy is palpable, you can feel it when you walk into the building, and getting young men to sort of channel that into positive emotion
Photos by Karly Blats
Armada’s j’Ared Atleo moves toward the basket during a Jan. 9 Totem Tournament game against Kwalikum (above). Atleo’s teammate Cam Cyr pushes through a group of Kwalikum players for a basket (below) during the game. - as opposed to having it overwhelm you - I think is always the biggest challenge.” Armada’s Cam Cyr was chosen for the boys All-Star Team for his noticeably strong performance throughout the tournament. “He’s a third year senior so I’ve had the honour of being able to coach him from Grade 10,” Brooks said. “He’s very vocal, he’ll take charge on the court and for the most part he takes the right times to put the team on his shoulders and carry us through some rough patches sometimes.” Overall, Brooks believes the tournament was a huge conﬁdence booster for the team and showed them their potential going forward with the season. ADSS is hosting the North Island playoﬀs Feb. 20-22. The Armada senior girls team also took ﬁfth place in the tournament.
Page 16— Ha-Shilth-Sa—January 16, 2020