Ha-Shilth-Sa Newspaper January 30, 2020

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INTERESTING NEWS Canada’s Oldest First Nations Newspaper - Serving Nuu-chah-nulth-aht since 1974 Canadian Publications Mail Product Vol. 47 - No. 02—January 30, 2020 haas^i>sa Sales Agreement No. 40047776

Highway 4 mishap wreaks havoc on traffic flow In the aftermath of the most challenging closure, the highway 4 project is still on schedule, says the province By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Kennedy Lake, BC – A controlled blast caused a rockslide larger than expected, taking out a section of road at the Kennedy Hill Construction Project. The accident occurred late at night on Wednesday, Jan. 22, closing off road access to Clayoquot Sound’s communities for days. According to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, the damage to Highway 4 was caused by an unexpectedly large volume of rock falling on rain-saturated ground during a scheduled blast, as part of the Highway 4 - Kennedy Hill Safety Improvement project. The highway was closed to traffic at the time of the blast. The Kennedy Hill Construction Project is located adjacent to Kennedy Lake approximately 14 kilometres northeast of the Tofino/Ucluelet Highway 4 junction. The project starts at the bottom/south end of Kennedy Hill and continues up the hill towards Port Alberni for a distance of approximately 1.5 kilometres. The $38.1 million project began September 2018 and is scheduled for completion in September of this year. When finished, the notoriously dangerous section of highway will be wider, corners will be less sharp and the hill section will be regraded, making it less steep. In order to achieve this, the rocky hillside requires extensive blasting to remove and relocate rock and fill. The road is closed almost daily at regular intervals to accommodate the blasting. But on Jan. 22, for the fourth time, a scheduled blast damaged the road to the extent that it affected traffic flow. “Overnight during a scheduled blast the rock that came down onto the road compromised an existing retaining wall along the highway. A section of the highway has failed and we have lost a travel lane,” said the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure in a Jan. 23 press release. The road was closed for the day while construction crews and engineers assessed the damage and made plans for an immediate repair. Later that afternoon the Ministry announced that the road would remain closed but a plan was in place. “The workplan is to restore highway access by excavating the damaged road bed and replacing with a drivable surface,” they wrote. Crews worked throughout the night hauling fill to the damaged section of road, but by Saturday morning the

Photo by Curt McLeod

Crews install a temporary bridge by Kennedy Lake, where a Jan. 22 rockfall severely damaged the road bed. Ucluelet junction and at Sproat Lake near later this year. But more needs to be done road still was closed to most traffic. with the bridge. Port Alberni to marshal the traffic and Joenella Frank of Tla-o-qui-aht was “The bridge is a temporary fix for the turn away larger vehicles that could not waiting for an opening early Saturday area, and a more permanent fix will be remake it through the repaired section of morning so that she and her sons could quired during construction to support the highway. attend a funeral in Ahousaht. By then, ongoing blasting operations above that A new plan to bring in a Bailey Bridge a precariously narrow, rough road was immediate area,” they said in an email. (portable, pre-fab bridge) was made. The in place to allow single lane alternating “The ministry and contractor are workroad was to be closed for 24 hours while traffic through. Only small, passenger ing on plans on performing the project the bridge was installed. But the work vehicles and pickup trucks were allowed works around the temporary bridge. This took much less time than expected and through. bridge and slide area will ultimately be an the road was open to all traffic on Satur“It’s bad, really bad; oh my God, anxiabandoned segment of the road once the day, Jan. 25. ety, I almost cried,” she told Ha-Shilthproject is complete.” “Specialized bridge crews worked Sa. Drivers are encouraged to check throughout the day to install a pre-fabriFrank said the construction crews were allowing funeral-goers through a few at a cated 20-metre single-lane bridge,” stated DriveBC for the Kennedy Hill project closure schedule, along with current road time with an escort vehicle. a ministry press release. “Installation of conditions. the bridge was quicker than expected be“They wouldn’t let me record, or post,” The project team is evaluating how cause bedrock was deeper than expected. said Frank, adding that they were told by construction will progress around the new site workers that the ministry didn’t want This allowed for the bridge to be inset bridge. into the road grade, rather than above images of the area on social media. “The Ministry of Transportation and it, which would have required a subMeanwhile, grocery shelves in the Infrastructure thanks motorists and resiTofino and Ucluelet Co-ops were cleared stantial amount of approach ramp work. dents on both sides of the closure for their of fresh produce and dairy as customers Construction time was also reduced by patience. The ministry also recognizes the stocked up, fearing that delivery trucks bringing in additional bridge crews and crews who worked around the clock to would not get through for a few more equipment.” open the highway as quickly as possible,” days. They went on to say that all vehicles On the morning of Friday, Jan. 24, the are now able to safely travel the corridor, they wrote in their press release. When completed later this year, the Ministry of Transportation announced which remains under single lane alternatHighway 4 - Kennedy Hill Safety Imthat Highway 4 at Kennedy Hill would ing traffic conditions through the project provement Project pledges to provide reopen to essential travel only between site. a safer and more reliable connection noon and 8 p.m. that day. Travel was The Ministry of Transportation and between Port Alberni and the west coast restricted to passenger vehicles and light Infrastructure says while this event has of Vancouver Island. pickups only. delayed the project for a couple of days, work is still on track to be completed Flaggers were stationed at the Tofino/

Inside this issue... Indian hospital class action lawsuit............................Page 3 Plans to upgrade Bamfield road continue...................Page 4 Teaching with wolves..............................................Page 8-9 Ahousaht sends two teams to All Native..................Page 12 Blasting begins at Big Bar.................. .....................Page 15

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


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January 30, 2020—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 3

Indian hospital class action could be near se•lement ‘Patients were tied to their beds, placed in full body casts’, according to statement of claim from former patients By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Vancouver Island, BC – A Métis woman abused as a child in a federally-run Indian hospital is heading up a class action lawsuit against the Attorney General of Canada, seeking compensation for mistreatment she both suffered and witnessed in the Indian Hospital system. Cecile Hardy, Métis Nation member from Edmonton, Alberta, was a patient at Charles Camsell Indian Hospital in 1969 when she was ten years old. The young girl had contracted tuberculosis and claims she and others were repeatedly sexually abused by medical technicians during her five-month stay at the hospital. In court documents she claims that she was “physically threatened” by a hospital staff member to keep her from reporting the assaults. Hardy is bringing the lawsuit against Canada on behalf of herself and all Aboriginal people admitted to Indian hospitals, as well as family members of the patients. The lawsuit covers 29 Canadian Indian hospitals that were in operation between 1945 and 1981 and supported by the federal government. Hardy alleges the Indian hospitals were run by the federal government to segregate Aboriginal people from the Canadian population. In addition, it’s claimed that the facilities were substandard, overcrowded, poorly staffed and rife with physical and sexual abuse. According to court documents, started out as a way to address the tuberculosis epidemic that was ravaging First Nations populations, but later served as general hospitals for Indigenous peoples in Canada. Initially, the hospitals were used to isolate Indigenous tuberculosis patients, because of a fear among health officials that “Indian TB” posed a danger to the non-Aboriginal population. Indigenous populations were heavily impacted by diseases brought by European settlers, including tuberculosis, smallpox, measles, mumps, diphtheria, typhoid, and influenza. Some theories estimate that exposure to these new dis-

Libaray and Archives of Canada photo

The Nanaimo Indian Hospital operated from 1946 to 1967. With 210 beds, it was Canada’s second largest Indian hospital. eases reduced the West Coast Indigenous confined in isolation. population by as much as 90 per cent. According to information from the UniThere were three Indian hospitals that versity of Victoria, Indian hospitals were operated in British Columbia: Coqualeet- much like residential schools, with mulza Indian Hospital, Miller Bay Indian tiple accounts from survivors of abuses Hospital and Nanaimo Indian Hospital. that included sterilization and medical Nanaimo Indian Hospital, which operat- exerimentation. ed from 1946 to 1966, took in Indigenous Records on the treatment of patients people from Vancouver Island. Formerly admitted to Indian hospitals are scarce. an army hospital, the converted buildings In fact, “The archives of Nanaimo Indian were located on property next to what is Hospital were destroyed,” reads a UVic now Vancouver Island University. The document. buildings have been demolished and the Renowned Ditidaht artist, late Art property is now overgrown and enclosed Thompson, spearheaded the trial that by a barbed wire-topped chain link fence. brought the world’s attention to abuses Nanaimo Indian Hospital, with its 210 suffered by Indigenous children in beds, was the second largest in Canada. Canada’s residential schools. Like many There are horror stories of children beother Nuu-chah-nulth children, Thomping tied to their beds for days or even son spent his early childhood years at months, only being untied to eat their Alberni Indian Residential School where meals or be bathed. The court papers alhe was victimized by convicted residenlege that Aboriginal persons admitted to tial school supervisor Arthur Plint. Indian hospitals were required to remain Thompson also spent three years in the at the facility until they were discharged Nanaimo Indian Hospital for tubercuor given express permission from the Inlosis. Thompson states that “We were dian superintendent or a medical officer. segregated even by disease.” All children Those that left of their own accord would at residential school were assigned a be arrested, returned to the hospital and number and Thompson further states that

“a lot of us didn’t know what our names were.” Hardy is being represented in the class action lawsuit by Koskie Minsky LLP along with Cooper Regel of Masuch Albert LLP. The lawsuit was launched Jan. 25, 2018 and alleges that Canada’s operation of Indian hospitals was negligent and breached fiduciary duties owed to Indigenous people. The statement of claim alleges, among other things, that between 1945 and 1981 Canada transported Indigenous people to dilapidated facilities converted into hospitals where they were isolated from their family, friends and communities. “Patients were tied to their beds, placed in full body casts and not afforded the ability to be educated or retain their Indigenous culture and heritage; patients left these hospitals physically and psychologically traumatized,” the document states. The class action includes Indigenous people who were admitted to an Indian hospital operated by Canada from Nov. 1, 1945 until 1981, as well as certain family members including spouses and children. On Jan. 17 a federal court certified the proposed class action proceeding, allowing it to move forward through the justice system. The certification order is made public so people may look at it to determine whether or not they are included in the class action lawsuit. Ha-Shilth-Sa interviewed a spokesperson at Koskie Minsky LLP, who asked not to be quoted because they don’t want to jeopardize any progress made. They did say that there is no timeline for completion of the process because that is dependent on how the parties choose to proceed – whether by reaching mutual agreement for settlement or going through a trial, which could take years. Koskie Minsky LLP encourages anyone that was admitted to any of the 29 Indian Hospitals listed in the Statement of Claim to contact them. If you believe you may be a class member, call 1-866-777-6308 or email indianhospitalsclassaction@kmlaw.ca for more information.

Daughter of former Indian hospital patient speaks out By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Nanaimo, BC – “My mom spent one week shy of 10 years in Nanaimo Indian Hospital,” said Gail Peterson Gus, a Tseshaht woman that helped care for her ailing mother while still a child. June Watts was born in 1933 and Gail says her mother spent her first seven years starving in Alberni Indian Residential School before she got TB and was transferred to Nanaimo Indian Hospital. June eventually married a longshoreman name Sidney Peterson and gave birth to her only child, Gail. She was always sickly but never complained, Gail told Ha-Shilth-Sa. June had a lung removed at NIH and had the scar to prove it. “I always described it as a bad pumpkin carving,” said Peterson-Gus. She recalled seeing a woman with a similar scar getting changed at the swimming pool dressing room. A curious child, Peterson-Gus asked the woman if she had a lung removed. The woman replied, yes, she did, many years before. “It was a beautiful scar, clean and sharp,” Gus recalled. By comparison,

June’s scar, according to Peterson-Gus was big, ugly – a butchered piece of work. When Peterson-Gus was age five, her mother was home in bed, sick, trembling with a fever. “My dad gave me a bowl of ice water and a cloth and I nursed her,” she remembered. Peterson-Gus said she spent most of her childhood in the lobby of the old West Coast General Hospital. Kids under age 16 were not allowed in the hospital rooms, so Gus would wait in the lobby while her father visited her mother. She recalls that they received many calls over the years, telling them that their mother wouldn’t make it through the night and they would rush to the hospital to be by her side. “I am thankful to Dr. Harry Webster for keeping her alive long enough to become a mother,” said Peterson-Gus. On March 6, 1992, June passed away at the age of 58. “She starved at residential school and had her lung cut out and she died,” said Peterson-Gus, adding that there is no justice and no validation because she passed away before the compensation cut-off

dates for Indian hospital and residential school class action lawsuits. Gus described intergenerational issues that followed; problems that stemmed from the long absences of her parents and the reversal of roles as Peterson-Gus became a young care giver. She talked about being becoming a teen mother, followed by addictions in the family and the unbearable loss of a child through suicide. “There’s really no help, no intergenerational help – just Band-Aids,” said Peterson-Gus. Gus is caring for her grandchildren after her son’s death and works to support them. “I would like to see a family trauma program that we could go to without having to leave our jobs,” said Peterson-Gus. I need help, my grandchildren need help, but I still have a mortgage and bills to pay,” she added. “I am living the legacy of our ancestor’s pain and it breaks my heart.” As the child of someone who was admitted to an Indian hospital, PetersonGus may be included as a member in the Indian Hospital Class Action lawsuit.


Page 4— Ha-Shilth-Sa—January 30, 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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Plan to upgrade Bamfield road continues By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Port Alberni, BC – Discussions are continuing to upgrade the rugged logging road that serves as the only land access to Bamfield and Anacla, with an approximate price tag of $30 million set by the provincial government. Since Premier John Horgan visited the two communities and the site of a fatal bus crash in November government officials, forestry companies and the Huu-ayaht First Nations have met several times to determine how to improve the 80-kilometre road that winds from Port Alberni to Bamfield. The plan is to chip seal the gravel and dirt road, a process of solidifying the surface through a combination of asphalt and fine aggregate. Building up portions of the road to mitigate winding turns is also being discussed for the upgrade, a project currently estimated at approximately $30 million. “We’re hoping that the premier lives up to his commitment to upgrade the road,” said Robert Dennis Sr., chief councillor of the Huu-ay-aht First Nations. “Both sides have agreed that this can be done,” he added. “I’m feeling cautiously optimistic that potentially we may see reconciliation in action.” For decades the Huu-ay-aht and Bamfield representatives have lobbied the provincial government to improve the road, which sees an average of 340 vehicles a day, according to the First Nation and the B.C. Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations. Back in 2008 a report from Roger Harris, the province’s forest safety ombudsman, warned about the public regularly using a road that was originally intended for industrial use. Since Bamfield Main opened in the 1970s, the Huu-ay-aht have lost eight members on the road, including Tayii Haw̓ił Art Peters. But the issue finally got the premier’s attention last fall, when a bus with 45 firstyear University of Victoria students and two teachers assistants crashed halfway down the road, killing Emma MacIntosh Machado and John Geerdes, who were both 18. The group was on an annual weekend trip to the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre, and for another trip to the centre the following month UVic avoided the road, instead sending students down

Photo by Heather Thompson

Bob Beckett, Sharie Minions, Robert Dennis, John Horgan, Derek Peters, and Scott Fraser take a moment to remember the lives lost on the Bamfield Road Nov. 14. Edward R. Johnson and Jeff Cook perform a prayer. the Alberni Inlet on the MV Frances Barkley. “I think we’ve gone long enough without any proper infrastructure in our area,” said Dennis. “All I can do is cross my fingers and hope that the premier is feeling the same way. To me, by him designing this process he was doing his best to try to get to a place where we can achieve real reconciliation.” “The meetings to date have been productive,” stated the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure in an email. “However, no final decisions on road improvements have been made.” Over the last few months the chief councillor has seen a notable improvement in the government’s response to concerns to upgrade the road. “In the past we were always brushed off even before we got into the meeting,” he said. “I remember when Gerard Janssen was our MLA, he was the one who told me, ‘Robert, never in your lifetime will you see this road paved’. At least we get into a meeting right now.” In the past the province has cited the road’s multiple owners as an obstacle to major upgrades, but now Mosaic and Western Forest Products have submitted letters to the Office of the Premier formally supporting the project, said Dennis. “At this time the companies wanted both off-road and highway vehicles to be able

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to use that road,” he said. Information released by the RCMP in December indicates that the Sept. 13 crash occurred at a section where the road narrowed to 9.2 metres. Based on data from an electronic control module in the bus and physical evidence from the crash site, the accident occurred at 7:55 p.m., 44.3 kilometres from the Marine Sciences Centre. At an average speed of 37 kilometres an hour, the bus had just rounded a right-hand bend when lights from a jeep coming down a hill were visible ahead. The two vehicles passed where the road narrowed, and the bus’s right wheel crossed over the edge, causing it to fall down an embankment and flip. Over the last month, heavy rain has significantly worsened the condition of the road, but those who regularly use Bamfield Main usually take precautions in the winter, said Dennis. “Keep a closer eye on places where the road can erode more than other places, try as hard as you can to stay away from the edges when you’re driving,” he said. “When you get a lot of rain the shoulder can get soft and cause the road to give if there’s too much weight on it.” “When one of us is on the road, we let someone know, and then when get to our destination we inform the people that we’re arrived safely,” added Dennis. “I think most of us have that practice.”

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Report finds li•le faith in Human Rights Tribunal Many weren’t aware that the tribunal exists to protect their rights, while others were frustrated by the process By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Vancouver, BC - A report released today by the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal is citing widespread discrimination experienced by the Indigenous respondents surveyed – and little faith in the quasijudicial body’s ability to protect against such abuse. Input from 102 Indigenous B.C. residents informed Expanding our Vision, a 52-page report with widespread accounts of discrimination. The BC Human Rights Tribunal exists to review complaints under the province’s Human Rights Code, but the vast majority of respondents in the report did not submit complaints. Many didn’t know the tribunal is there to help, while others expressed no faith that the BCHRT would defend their rights. Of the 25 who tried to file a complaint to the tribunal, the majority of these submissions didn’t proceed to consideration. “Treaty rights are not upheld, Aboriginal rights are being infringed upon, the land question has not been resolved, yet the wheel keeps on turning and none of these laws are being followed by the provincial or federal government,” noted one respondent. “At the end of the day, would filing a complaint with BCHRT make a difference?” Ardith Walpetko We’dalx Walkem, a lawyer who authored the report, observed that many respondents felt that discrimination is a way of life. Examples are not being served while shopping, being followed by security guards, difficulty finding landlords who would provide rentals and not being taken seriously by police or health care providers. “For me it was heartbreaking the lack of hope that people have,” said Walkem. “We’re seeing this kind of micro-aggression, which reflects more of a systemic discrimination against Indigenous Peoples that happens unquestioned. Society in general isn’t seeing this as a problem,

Photo by Denise Tiian

Ardith Walpetko We’dalx Walkem authored the report, with input from 102 respondents. but this is a prevalent and pervasive area of discrimination that Indigenous people face.” On the topic of being denied services, the case of Maxwell Johnson has sparked media attention recently, after the Heiltsuk Nation member and his granddaughter ran into trouble at a downtown Vancouver Bank of Montreal branch. On Dec. 20 Johnson came to open a checking account for the 12-year-old for a transfer of funds, but his identity was questioned by staff, which led to the two being arrested. Johnson has said that the employee might have feared fraud when

$30,000 was in his account, the result of a federal Aboriginal rights settlement due to the past infringement of spawn-on-kelp harvesting in Heiltsuk territory. Vancouver’s Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner has ordered an investigation into the arrest and detention of the two. “The incidence of discrimination is pervasive in terms of service delivery or denial, what makes it a bit unusual is that it got to the level of arrest,” commented Walkem on the Bank of Montreal incident. “They handcuffed a child.” Douglas White, chairperson of the BC First Nations Justice Council, believes that institutional changes are needed for society to better protect the rights of Aboriginal people. “We are at a defining moment in our

country’s history where we must collectively recreate the basic institutions of society to include Indigenous Peoples in an appropriate and just way,” he said in a BCHRT press release. Walkem’s report lists a number of recommendations to improve how the tribunal can better serve B.C.’s First Nations, Métis and Inuit. These include recruiting more Indigenous staff, removing procedural barriers, addressing the shortage of complaints from Aboriginal people, forming a committee to implement the report’s recommendations and reporting on progress after six months. Another recommendation in the report is to incorporate traditional Indigenous laws into the judicial process. Walkem notes that this could come from an individual’s home nation and territory. “Are there Indigenous ways of peacemaking that might be used which could be specific to the territory or the people involved?” she asked. “That might help people to feel more heard and feel more satisfied with the outcome.” The report cited that the BCHRT is seen as an “urban entity” disconnected from the small, remote communities where many of the province’s Indigenous population continues to live. Those tied to Aboriginal communities will likely hope the report’s recommendations can lead to better access to justice, as the number of Indigenous people incarcerated continues to trend upward. From 2006 to 2016, the number of Indigenous people in federal custody increased by 49 per cent to 3,760 individuals, according to Statistics Canada. This means that one quarter of those in federal custody are Aboriginal, a rate eight times that of Canada’s nonIndigenous population. Walkem believes that the unconscious perception many people have of Indigenous people is a factor. “Society has a bias in the way it sees Indigenous people. It’s more likely to see Indigenous people as threatening, as dangerous,” she said. “If we don’t know that we’re thinking these people are dangerous, then we’re going to make decisions that reflect that.”

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Food ventures in store at Port Alberni processing hub Old plant undergoes $1.5-million retrofit to boost regional sector, kelp from Barkley Sound in processing plans By Mike Youds Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Port Alberni, BC - Major renovations are underway on the Port Alberni waterfront to convert the Port Fish plant into a regional hub for food processing and innovation. One of two regional food initiatives chosen last fall by the provincial government, the $1.5-million facility is expected to be ready for occupancy within six months, said Zoran Knezevic, president and CEO of Port Alberni Port Authority (PAPA). While First Nations aren’t among the anchor tenants so far committed to the project, they are among the suppliers and see a long-term potential for other foodprocessing opportunities. In addition to $500,000 invested by the province, PAPA has put $500,000 into the hub project, combined with $300,000 from the Island Coastal Economic Trust. The port authority, which owns the building, is also project lead after the city spearheaded a two-stage competition for Ministry of Agriculture funding last summer. “We are very much involved,” Knezevic said. “We see this as an important project for the community.” A food hub is a centralized food and beverage processing facility that provides entrepreneurs with affordable access to production, specialized equipment and refrigeration along with the capacity for research and development. In Port Alberni, the hub will be dedicated primarily to seafood processing. PAPA already has commitments from five firms lined up to occupy the 12,000 square-foot facility, companies that process a variety of aquaculture products as well as land-based natural foods. “The focus of the renovations is to create a processing plant within that has five units,” said Dave McCormick, business development and public relations director

Photo by Mike Youds

John Steele of Bowerman Excavating works on concrete floor demolition at the former Port Fish plant. Cascadia at the Port Alberni facility later with PAPA. Those include units for shellfish, fin fish, this year. The kelp crop is already showseaweed and terrestrial food. As well, the ing growth and should be ready to harvest by June, said Larry Johnson, president of facility will offer a commercial kitchen Nuu-chah-nulth Seafood. facility outfitted with food processing “Our agreement with Cascadia is a equipment and food testing, designed for three-year deal to build capacity and smaller-scale business ventures. infrastructure for the two communities,” Nuu-chah-nulth Seafood Ltd. (NSLP), Johnson said. “I think we’ll learn a lot in a limited partnership of six nations Year One,” he added. (Ditidaht, Huu-ay-aht, Uchucklesaht, Yuu>u%i%>atḥ, Mowachaht/Muchalaht Asia-Pacific is the centre of the global and Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k’tles7et’h’), is seaweed or micro-algae industry, yet indirectly involved. Founded in 2003 as North America’s industry is expected a shellfish development partnership, the to grow faster than Asia’s over the next company expanded into processing five five years. The Island’s west coast offers years ago, purchasing St. Jean’s Smokesuperb marine growing conditions. Sugar house and Cannery in Nanaimo. In Sepkelp, a highly nutritional and versatile tember, NSLP inked a deal with Victoria- brown algae with multiple product uses, based Cascadia Seaweed Corporation, has been described as “the new kale.” launching a new sugar kelp venture on Michael Williamson, Cascadia’s presithe west coast. dent, said recently that their plan is to Two unused shellfish tenures held by “prove through” the system in 2020 and Huu-ay-aht and Uchucklesaht were expand to 20 hectares the following year. seeded with kelp in December to produce He described the Port Fish plant as ideal, the first crop, which will be processed by even before the project got a green light from the province.

The sugar kelp deal marks a first venture into seaweed aquaculture for Nuu-chahnulth Seafood, but aquaculture has been on the company’s radar for a while. They opted not to become directly involved in the food processing hub because that wouldn’t fit into their five-year strategic plan, Johnson said. Still, he sees the longterm benefits of the project. “I think it will be a good thing for Port Alberni,” Johnson said. “It’s definitely needed.” Neither Hupacasath nor Tseshaht, which purchased the Port Fish plant from Hub City before selling it to Ahousaht a few years back, is currently involved in the food hub project. They do, however, see possibilities for on-site production and employment. The City of Port Alberni played a pivotal role in securing provincial funding for the project through the province’s Feed B.C. Initiative, designed to increase use of local foods. Pat Deakin, the city’s economic development manager, said the door remains open to Nuu-chah-nulth Seafood to become directly involved in the hub. “Their recommendation to us was to get out to the individual First Nations and the individual Indigenous fishermen to make them aware of the ability to add value to their products,” Deakin said. More nations are getting into aquaculture production, which will offer more opportunities to participate in the hub project, he added. Port Fish had been shuttered since 2008, so the renovations are extensive, Knezevic said. They’re doing structural work and insulation while upgrading walls, electrical and plumbing. New refrigeration equipment is needed, too. Beyond that? “That’s the one-and-a-half-million-dollar question,” Knezevic said. Canadian Seafood Processing and Forest For Dinner, a Qualicum Beach company that specializes in wild food harvest, are also among committed tenants.

Statement from Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council Directors: January 28, 2020 Port Alberni, BC - Directors of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council would like to announce that Andy Callicum has resigned from his position as Vice-President. The Directors would like to thank Andy Callicum for his contributions as Vice President over the time he has served. They appreciate and respect the work that Andy has done in his role as Vice President and wish him the best in his future endeavours. In accordance with the NTC Constitution and Bylaws, a byelection will be held in the near future to elect the next Vice-President.

On behalf of my familty, we like to invite you to the Thlaak tuultha to end the public greif for my late father Ha’walth wehs wisa ‘nup / Hughie Watts, late mother Collen Watts and cousin Evelyn Corfield. February 15, 2020 - 10:00am Alberni Athletic Hall - Port Alberni BC Inquiries - 250-735-0227 Ts’atse-in Alton Watts


January 30, 2020—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 7

Huu-ay-aht students to graduate from pilot program After a seven-month WFP strike affecting thousands, forestry workers believe the industry will pick up again By Karly Blats Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Port Alberni, BC - Eight Huu-ay-aht students are the first to graduate from North Island College’s (NIC) forestry pilot project—the Coastal Forest Worker Certificate. The certificate was created in partnership with Huu-ay-aht First Nations to give their citizens hands-on skills for a range of entry-level careers in the forest industry. The funding for this pilot project came from a Community Workforce grant that Huu-ay-aht received. The graduates consisted of Alec Frank, Cole Giroux, Jason Jack, Ethan Little, Tristan MacDonald, Belinda Nookemus, Daryl Patterson, and Jenn Thomas. During the four months, students learned silviculture, harvesting, occupational safety, surveying, timber cruising, grading, scaling and overall resource management. As graduates, they will be prepared to work in a range of entry-level forestry and harvesting positions, or move on to the technology diploma program offered in Campbell River if they choose. Brent Ronning, education, employment, and training manager with the Huu-ay-aht First Nations (HFN), said the program was developed in partnership with NIC, Western Forest Products (WFP) and the HFN. “Originally the plan was to run [the program] out of the Campbell River campus…and we realized it was a great fit to do it here in the Alberni Valley with Huu-ay-aht citizens and immediate family members and run a cohort,” Ronning

Submitted photo

Huu-ay-aht students took part in a four-month forestry program through North Island College learning skills like silviculture, harvesting, occupational safety, surveying, timber cruising, grading, scaling and overall resource management. said. “I worked closely with Western Forest Products and with the staff at NIC. They developed the curriculum and we gave our input and then began everything from recruiting to figuring out what it would look like if we ran it here.” Among the Huu-ay-aht Group of Businesses is the Huu-ay-aht First Nations Forestry LP, which Ronning explained was a big help in allowing employers to engage with students and provide indus-

try insights. “With a number of contractors that we already work with, we’re very much engaged in supporting those students to work and meet with these employers,” Ronning said. “One of the instructors that worked in a lot of the course works at Meridian (Forest Services), so he was not only an instructor but he also got to know all the students really well, and already works for us and knows Huuay-aht really well. He helped inform the Indigenous lands and culture part of the program because he was able to talk to our students about what Huu-ay-aht forestry practices are that are above and beyond what the province has.” The program also looked at what forestry was like for the Huu-ay-aht precolonization, in recent years and where it will likely be in the future. “Our students were able to learn what our practices are and what our contractors do when they’re working on Huu-ay-aht treaty settlement lands,” Ronning said. “We can get very fixated that the forest industry is in a down turn right now but it is a cyclical industry and on the coast it’s part of who we are, what we do and it’s going to continue and it’s going to be on the upswing again. So we can’t turn our back on the opportunities that forestry is going to have in the future.” Ronning said members with the Huuay-aht First Nations Forestry LP will be working with the graduates to help place them with forestry companies. He added that some graduates are interested in continuing their education and getting their diploma. “Some of the barriers of going to a post-secondary institution have been addressed, [students] aren’t afraid of a college any more, it’s their college now,” Ronning said. “The diploma program will start next year…out of the Campbell River campus so any of our students could apply to jump into that diploma program in January of next year.” Huu-ay-aht Chief Councillor Robert J. Dennis said he believes what these students are doing will make a big difference in the future by shaping how the nation invests in forestry education and employment, according to an NIC press release, . He explained that in 1995, when Huuay-aht first got involved in forestry, only two citizens were working in the industry

on the nation’s territory. He remembers the boom days in Port Alberni and believes Huu-ay-aht needs to be ready when the market shifts and forestry is in full swing again. He acknowledged that it will never be as big as it once was, but it will always offer many different employment opportunities to people who have the training. “I believe more young people can work in forestry,” he said. “We just have to get beyond the belief that the industry is dying – it’s not.” Graduate Tristan MacDonald is interested in furthering his schooling and said he has always been interested in forestry. He enjoyed the certificate program as it allowed him to discover what is available in the field. “It was a really good look at the different careers in forestry in our area,” he said in the press release. “Now I want to continue on, but first I’m going to get a few other courses, like a higher level of First Aid.” Registered professional forester and NIC instructor Colleen MacLean-Marlow said the requirement to graduate from the class was 70 per cent, and all students far exceeded this minimum. Forestry news from Vancouver Island recently has been grim, with a sevenmonth-old Western Forest Products strike affecting thousands of employees, contractors and industry workers. Although the future looks bad for forestry now, MacLean-Marlow stresses that it’s a cyclical industry and it will bounce back. Lance Wingrave and Justine Kumagai represented Western Forest Products at the graduation. They agreed it is important to find skilled young people who are interested in forestry, to replace an aging workforce. Justine Kumagai of Western Forest Products said most of the people working in forestry in this area are more than 50 years old. Although this trend is seen industry wide, Port Alberni has some of the highest rates. “We need to change the narrative and make sure young people understand that the future is bright in British Columbia,” Kumagi said in the press release. “It’s harder to get people to work out in the woods, but there are great occupations because every day is different, and you get to spend time outdoors.”


Page 8— Ha-Shilth-Sa—January 30, 2020

Promoting the value of wolves in the wild – Tundra

Two Vancouver Island educators are drawing parallels between wolf packs and Indigenous communities, including the intergen By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Nanaimo, BC – Gary Allan loves wolves. He has a small pack of hybrid wolf dogs at his rural Nanaimo property that he lovingly raised from just a few weeks old. The eldest one, Tundra, travels with Allen helping to raise awareness of the importance of wolves in a healthy ecosystem. Allen founded the Tundra Speaks Society to teach the community about wolves. He elicited the help of Tseshaht’s Randy Fred to bring in an Indigenous component to his presentation because, he says, he knows that Canada’s Aboriginal people revere the wolf and understand its importance in the cycle of life. “We focus on education and, in the spirit of reconciliation, want to see Indigenous laws integrated into the government’s wildlife management regime,” said Allan. “We want Indigenous laws in wildlife management to be dominant.” Allan, a retired probation officer, began his pack with the purchase of the male wolf dog Meshach, named after a biblical character who was thrown into a fiery furnace for not bowing to the king. Meshach, 75 per cent wolf, was purchased from a breeder. Tundra, 90 per cent wolf, was bred in Alberta and came to Allen in the spring of 2007 when she was just three weeks old. She is domesticated and is gentle, loving attention from visitors. Nahanni and Mahikan came from a breeder in the U.S. and eventually mated. Mahikan emerged from her den in the spring of 2019 with her pups Stqe:ye, a female, and Denali, a male. Sadly, Nahanni died just days before the pups emerged from the den. Allan and his wife Sally own a rural property on the outskirts of Nanaimo. Behind their home is cleared land that is enclosed by 600 feet of chain link fence. The fence is tall and well built with additional mesh buried in the soil under the fence the prevent the wolves from digging their way out. There are a few trees that provide shade

for the wolves and it is clear that they have dug themselves some hollows to lay in. The property gently slopes downhill and on one embankment, Mahikan, made her den. The wolf enclosure abuts the back of the Allan home and with large windows, the wolves can be viewed playing together from the comfort of the Allen living room. Tundra, an elder wolf, stays indoors and has a large mattress lying next to a crackling woodstove; but she prefers to lay next to the Allen’s bed after checking out the visitors.

For a fee, Tundra will make an appearance on behalf of Tundra Speaks Society, directed by Gary Allan and his friend, Randy Fred. The two men make presentations at schools and small community groups with a focus on promoting the value of Indigenous laws with respect to sustaining and protecting ecosystems. They also advocate for the appreciation of wolves in our environment. Randolph (Randy) Fred, who is legally blind, was the nephew of renowned artist and actor Dr. George Clutesi, who worked hard to preserve Tseshaht culture. Fred uses some of Clutesi’s teachings in his presenta-

Four wolves live on a property at the southern edge of Nanaimo, including Mahikan (above) and in from the outside. Tseshaht member Randy Fred (below left) visits schools and other institutions with T B.C. Legislature (right), where she was met by Scott Fraser, minister of Indigenous Relations and Recon Fred notes that most Nuu-chah-nulth tions, including shared Tseshaht songs and dugout canoes feature a carved wolf head Nuu-chah-nulth lore. on the bow of the canoe. In his presentations Fred explains that “The biggest canoes were used for huntthere are three distinct cultural groups on ing whales and wolves are known for their Vancouver Island: the Kwakwaka’wakw in ability to hunt,” he explained. the north, Nuu-chah-nulth on central west Another parallel between Indigenous coast and Coast Salish in the south. “I do this to dispel the myth that we are all people’s culture and wolf culture is the intergenerational reliance on one another. the same,” said Fred. “Elders would look after the kids while The three nations are distinct groups with their own languages and culture that have the adults were out getting food,” said many similarities. Fred. While the hunters were out the caregivers “It’s much like the similarities and difwere teaching the young. In wolf culture it ferences of say, the French and Germans,” said Fred. is the same. While the hunters are getting food, the juvenile wolves are rough playBut there are some principles and phiing with the smaller ones, teaching them losophies that they share – one being the early hunting skills. Allen says it takes a respect they have for the wolf.


January 30, 2020—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 9

d – Tundra, a domesticated wolf, visits local schools

s, including the intergenerational reliance on one another and the effects of removing an individual from the traditional territory Allen explains that if, for example, the breeding pair from a pack of six wolves is killed, changes in the group will occur. The younger wolves may not gain the ability to take down large game and will likely move onto easier kills, like a farmer’s livestock. Allen says hunters are shooting wolves from helicopters as mandated by a government-ordered cull to deal with dwindling numbers of caribou. “When you break the wolf’s social stability they hunt more and they kill more; when the wolf leaders are gone the youngsters will go to smaller livestock because they don’t have the skill set to hunt big game,” said Allan. Allen says that the wolf is a keystone species that keeps balance in nature. “First Nations people revered the wolf and saw it as their brother,” reads a pamphlet from the SWELL Wolf Education Centre, also owned by Allan. “Without wolves exercising their keystone role, ecosystems rapidly deteriorate,” he said. A wonderful ambassador for wolf education, Tundra has visited more than 200 schools and institutions showing off her gentle spirit for more than 11 years. She has been to schools in Tofino and Ucluelet. More recently, on Dec. 9, 2019, she was a guest at the B.C. Legislature where she was introduced to Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation Scott Fraser. She also met with the Honourable Rob Fleming, minister of education. Tundra was a popular visitor as dozens of government staff emerged from their

Photos by Eric Plummer, Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation

cluding Mahikan (above) and Tundra (bottom left), who is pictured howling inside as the others joined s schools and other institutions with Tundra and Gary Allan (below right). Recently Tundra visited the of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation. by machine guns mounted on fishery patrol wolf about three years to become a fullfledged hunter, able to take down large vessels in a conservation effort to save the seafood wealth of the nation. Before then game. in 1918 fisheries “engineer” J. McHugh And when something happen to breaks the cycle of learning for a young wolf, it reported that he put dynamite on seal haul wreaks havoc and creates an imbalance outs at the mouth of the Fraser River, waitin nature. A wolf cull is one way this can ed for 200 to 300 seals to re-aggregate and then detonated the explosives. He reported, happen. “My father used to hunt seals; he would “their bodies were blown to atoms, not a turn in the noses to collect a $5 bounty,” piece larger than two inches being found.” Despite the cull of pinnipeds, salmon said Fred. Back in the early to mid-1900s, the stocks continue to dwindle. government blamed seals for the dwinAllen says that wolves, like Indigenous dling salmon stocks and ordered a cull on nations, have territories from which they pinnipeds. Hundreds of thousand of seals hunt. A pack of wolves may bring down were culled. According to Scott Wallace, large game like elk, feeding for a week. a research scientist with the David Suzuki Whatever is not eaten by wolves is cleaned up by other scavenger species. Foundation, in 1941sea lions were culled

offices to visit the first wolf allowed into Victoria’s Legislature buildings. Allen and Fred arranged to meet with the ministers to gain their support for the educational work the Tundra Speaks Society does. “…Let’s hope she (Tundra) has had a positive effect on the staff there to gain some better treatment of Tundra’s wild cousins,” wrote Fred in his online blog. He went on to say that they had a productive meeting with the ministers, informing them of their work with Tundra in schools and communities and that they look forward to working with the two ministries to advance their programs. The Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation told Ha-Shilth-Sa that they have made no commitments to Tundra Speaks Society, “but opportunities for Tundra Speaks Society to share teaching resources they have developed were discussed at that time; Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation Scott Fraser was invited to visit the center and looks forward to a future visit.” Tundra is getting up there in age and long trips are no longer possible. But Allan says that groups can arrange for a local visit and presentation where they will be taken on a walk through the forest with the wolf. Allen has published a book called Tundra, a Gift from the Creator, which will be available Jan. 31, 2020. For more information visit www.tundraspeaks.com or email tundra@tundraspeaks. com. On Instagram and Facebook follow tundraspeakssociety.


Page 10— Ha-Shilth-Sa—January 30, 2020

Pot facility threatens future of family treatment centre A proposed operation across from Kackaamin has passed through government approvals despite local concerns By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Port Alberni, BC - Those who run a centre for families struggling with addiction and trauma fear that a medicinal pot factory being planned across the road could sabotage their recovery process. The Kackaamin family Development Centre has been operating on the outskirts of Port Alberni for a decade, but concerns are growing that a 57,000-square-foot medicinal marijuana grow-op planned to be built across the road could ruin the centre’s atmosphere for addiction treatment. One of just three family-oriented recovery centres in Canada, Kackaamin takes in parents for six-week periods to help them manage their addictions, while operating a daycare and providing schooling for their children on site. Executive Director Lisa Charleson-Robinson said the growing facility would be 140 metre’s from Kackaamin’s daycare. “Would they consider putting it right across from a school?” she asked, concerned that the pot smell from the facility will trigger parents seeking addictions treatment. “It’s going to impact the way that we deliver service in the way that we have in a safe manner for our clients.” Premium Cannabis Meds BC plans to develop a two-level research and production facility serving the growing international appetite for cannabis to treat pain and other medical issues. The company’s website states the facility will generate 250 jobs - which would make it one of the Alberni Valley’s largest employers – turning Port Alberni into “a hub for one of the largest exporters of Medical Cannabis production”. Mejbien Sadeghi, the project’s developer, said the local government welcomed her proposal and its promise of an economic boost. “The most cost-effective was Port Alberni,” she said of the location. “A lot of youth are forced to leave from Port Alberni because there are no jobs available that pay a decent salary, and this would be an opportunity to stay on.” Faced with weighing this economic promise against heavy opposition from Kackaamin and its neighbours in the Beaver Creek community, the Alberni Clayoquot Regional District initially approved a building permit for Premium Cannabis

Photo by Eric Plummer

Lisa Charleson-Robinson, executive director of the Kackaamin Family Development Centre, other staff and neighbours stand by the family treatment centre in Beaver Creek. in 2018. But as Canada prepared for all in all our applications and had all permit In her application Sadeghi detailed air the logistical technicalities of marijuana drawings etc. completed, which [were] filters at four-foot intervals to control legalisation, the facility’s application major financial commitments,” she marijuana odour. She believes people’s hit a snag in July of that year when the wrote, noting the project faced a disrupconcerns come from associations with province banned concrete industrial fation when the ALR rules changed in July residential marijuana grow-ops that don’t cilities for the farming of cannabis in the 2018. “Had we been told that we would have proper venting. Agricultural Land Reserve. not be able to grow indoors we would not “That is not so in a commercial facility,” Caught up in the red tape, Sadeghi aphave made these major commitments.” she said. plied for a non-farm-use exemption to Meanwhile, Charleson-Robinson and Sadeghi added that the facility will have the ALR regulations to move Premium others across the street at Kackaamin are to follow WorkSafeBC rules concerning Cannabis forward. In February 2019 the wondering why they weren’t consulted in air in the facility. ACRD passed this technicality over to this process. “We have regulations, because you the province’s Agricultural Land Com“Nobody ever talked to us, nobody ever can’t have staff intoxicated and walking mission, which is tasked with preserving considered us,” she said. “Our stance is around, so the air quality is extremely B.C. farmland. Despite plans that show that we don’t matter. That’s the feeling important,” she said, noting that ventithe facility exceeds the size limits more we get. It will just get chalked up as a lation will be tested as the building is than threefold, the commission approved mistake as they’re learning how to reguconstructed. the concrete building on Jan. 20. late these facilities, but we’re going to But Charleson-Robinson isn’t convinced When the process started years ago, have to live with the consequences.” there won’t be odour. Sadeghi said the property seemed like a Charleson-Robinson said the first person “It has to go somewhere, you can’t completely appropriate location. in government to act on their concerns eliminate it completely,” she said, not“It was permitted on agricultural land,” is Gord Johns, member of Parliament ing that the serenity of the environment she said. “Before I made any commitfor Courtenay-Alberni. In late January around Kackaamin is critical. “We have ments, I made sure that I was [meeting] Johns sent a letter to Canada’s Minister of a horrendous history. We’re dealing with every regulation that the Agricultural Health Patty Hajdu, as Premium Canthe aftermath of residential school, we’re Land Commission had, as well as ACRD. nabis had been granted a licence from dealing with families that come here and And I worked closely with both of them, Health Canada. are trying to keep their families together and at that time it was a permitted use.” “I am asking you to review this file imand out of MCFD’s care. The majority of In her application to the Agricultural mediately,” wrote Johns. “In such close our families are dealing with that. We’re Land Commission, Sadeghi said the proj- proximity to a drug treatment centre, also pressured by our funders to deal with ect progressed according to regulations. the smell would be a trigger for patients the opioid crisis.” “[W]hen it was confirmed in writing we and their children, who may associate it Sadeghi expects construction of the proceeded and made financial commitwith the negative behaviour and trauma Premium Cannabis Meds BC facility to ments and purchased the property and put they’re working to overcome.” begin in September.

Phrase of the week - %uukmis%is^ qwis Pronounced ‘ohhkmiss ish kiwis’, this means fun to play in the snow. Supplied by čiisma.

Ivy Cargill-Martin Illustration


January 30, 2020—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 11

Project seeks knowledge to improve food security A project led by university researchers is looking beyond the grocer to improve health and our link to heritage By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Port Alberni, BC - As much as 95 per cent of the food Vancouver Island residents eat is shipped in from elsewhere, a supply that could run out in a matter of days if access is cut off. But this figure, which has been reported by the Capital Region Food and Agricultural Initiatives Roundtable, isn’t sustainable for our health, preserving local heritage or mitigating environmental damage, according to those behind a project being developed to inform the public of local food sources. A food asset mapping initiative is underway for the Alberni Valley to identify important sources of sustenance that can be used by the public and policy makers. With funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, a team of researchers from Simon Fraser University and the University of British Columbia are looking to expand the concept of food assets beyond grocery stores, food banks and community gardens. The project is formally titled Our Home, Our Food, Our Resilience: A Citizen Science Approach to Food Asset Mapping and New Frontiers in Ecological Heritage Planning in Canada. Dr. Tammara Soma of SFU’s School of Resource and Environmental Management is the project’s lead investigator. She says the Alberni Valley food asset map is designed to provide more information than where stores and food banks are located. “When I think of food assets, I think of culture, I think of spirituality, I think of identity,” she said. “For different communities, a place where you can smoke the fish is very important, or process the fish. That’s currently not identified.” For the Alberni Valley project, a group of “citizen scientists” are provided with cameras to document food source locations and narrate a story about what is, or used to be, on the site. This information will be accessible through an interactive online map of the Alberni Valley, which is set to be launched in conjunction with a photography exhibit from the project in the fall. “We feel that it’s important to identify these important assets [so] that people can appreciate it, they can protect it, and they can also invest in it,” explained Soma. “For example, say one particular site was a very important place where community members used to fish or used

Photo by Eric Plummer

Hupacasath fisherman Tom Tatoosh pulls up a net on the Somass River. A project led by university researchers is currently collecting information on where food can be harvested in the Alberni Valley. to hunt, but that land right now is under development.” Soma is from a Sundanese ethnic tribe on the west side of Java, which is the most populated island in Indonesia. “In my culture, I was told by my parents from at time that I was a baby, ‘Eat every single grain of rice, if you don’t finish it, the rice will cry’,” she said. “Our identity is very much connected to rice because that’s what our people eat and why it’s so important to our culture for survival.” But when she moved to Canada, Soma was shocked by the amount of food that regularly gets wasted. “When food becomes a commodity and you lose that kind of cultural element, that spiritual element to the land and to the food, it’s very easy to waste, to discard, and to just pave over places and spaces that should actually be protected,” she said. For this reason the project seeks Nuuchah-nulth perspectives on local sources of food, including the cultural history of where items like berries, fish and plants were harvested. Besides its importance to First Nations heritage, a growing collection of research

is pointing to the nutritional benefits of eating traditional food from the immediate region. In October dietician Rachel Dickens gave a presentation to the Council of Ha’wiih Forum on Fisheries, stressing the value of eating locally acquired fish, berries and plants, which provide a healthy supply of protein, iron, fibre and omega-3 fatty acids. Dickens emphasized that such staples can decrease the risk of obesity, heart disease and diabetes. “It’s so much healthier, not processed, no additives, no preservatives,” said Matilda Atleo, community health promotion worker for the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council, who accompanied Dickens in her presentation. “And you know where it’s been grown.” Before coastal First Nations became dependant on the processed food found in grocery stores, the traditional diet consisted of a relatively low amount of sugar, said Dickens. The refined flour commonly used in pastries and white bread was also not consumed, but health statistics indicate that the transition to a more industrialised diet has taken its toll on First Nation communities. The life expectancy of B.C.’s Aboriginal

people is 73 – a decade shorter than others in province, with higher rates of diabetes and heart disease, reports the First Nations Health Authority. Across Canada obesity among off-reserve Indigenous people was 26.6 per cent, compared to the 22.7 per cent national average, according to a survey released by Statistics Canada in 2006. The on-reserve rate was 36 per cent of adults, and even higher among children under 9. “I think our people right now are having such challenges because they don’t have the resources,” said Atleo, noting that the community distribution of salmon was less for some nations last year due to restrictions to protect endangered West Coast stocks. “Some nations do have distribution events where they bring the truck full of salmon, whereas some nations don’t have that. Some people struggle.” The results of the Alberni Valley food asset mapping project will appear as a chapter in an SFU doctoral dissertation, as well as appearing in a photography exhibit and an online interactive map of the region. Similar projects are also underway in Vancouver and Terrace, B.C.


Page 12— Ha-Shilth-Sa—January 30, 2020

Community&Beyond 7th Annual Career Fair

March 12 Port Alberni Alberni Athletic Hall, 9 AM TO 3 PM Free table registration Contact Kirunn Sharma or Shan Ross for further details, Phone:250-723-1331 Fax: 250-723-1336 kirunn.sharma@nuuchahnulth.org shan. ross@nuuchahnulth.org Uchucklesaht Tribe People’s Assembly

March 14 Port Alberni Location: The Thunderbird 5251 Argyle Street Port Alberni. Time: Meeting 9:00am-12:00pm. What: Peoples Assembly re: Budget. Facilitator: Scott Coulson. Who: Uchucklesaht Tribe Citizens & Enrollees Photo by Holly Stocking

NTC nurse Laurie Sinclair takes Sherri Cook’s blood pressure at the Alberni Valley Services Fair on Jan. 27 at the Glenwood Centre.

Memorial Potlach

April 25 Campbell River

We would be honoured if you would join us at our Memorial Potlatch for our late mother Margaret Jack, at Thunderbird Hall, 1420 Weiwaikum Road, Campbell River BC, starting at NOON with lunch. Memorial Potlach

May 16 Lake Cowichan We the Livingstone family are now planning a Memorial Potlach for our Father and Hereditary Chief Sha e’ Lum, Cyril Edward Livingstone. Bring your drums and regalia. All family and friends are invited. Location: Lake Cowichan Arena, 311 S Shore Rd, Lake Cowichan, contact Lake Cowichan First Nation at (250) 749-3301 for information. Suicide Peer Support Group

First Thursday, Monthly Port Alberni

Ahousaht represented by two squads at All Native By Sam Laskaris Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Ahousaht, BC – The largest Nuu-chahnulth nation will once again be represented by both a women’s team and a men’s club at the province’s most prestigious Indigenous basketball tournament. The Ahousaht First Nation has entered squads in the senior women’s and senior men’s categories for this year’s All Native Basketball Tournament (ANBT). The women’s entry is simply dubbed Ahousaht while the men’s squad is the Maaqtusiis Suns. The 61st annual tourney, which is always held in Prince Rupert, will run from Feb. 10-16. Esther Robinson, who is serving as the head coach and manager of the Ahousaht female entry, said it has probably been a half dozen years since Ahousaht has entered a team in the women’s division. The squad will feature 12 players. Robinson said many of these athletes have competed for other First Nations at the ANBT in recent years. “They have played for neighbouring tribes,” Robinson said. “But as long as they have some sort of lineage to Ahousaht they can play for us now.” Robinson said only five of the 12 players on the team’s current roster actually live in the community of Ahousaht. The others do have a connection to the First Nation but are residing in urban centres now. Robinson added the fact Ahousaht does not have all of its players living at home is one of the reasons the club did not send a team to the ANBT in recent years. “But they’re all excited about going back to this big tournament for Ahousaht now,” she said. Robinson anticipates one of the top Ahousaht players at the tourney will be 15-year-old Janae Sam, a forward who also stars for the Maaqtusiis Secondary School team. “She’s got good ball-handling skills and she’s a good three-point shooter,” Robinson said. Terri Robinson, (Esther’s daughter), is Ahousaht’s oldest player at 39 . Terri Robinson is also currently an elementary school teacher at Maaqtusiis School.

Photo by Curt McLeod

The Ahousaht Maaqtusiis Suns came out on top of a eight-team tournament in Port Alberni on Jan. 26. They head to the All Native Basketball Tournament in Prince Rupert Feb. 10-16. Esther Robinson is hoping her side will be able to gel quickly and fare well in the Prince Rupert, which features a doubleknockout formula, meaning clubs will be eliminated after losing two matches. “They haven’t played together for a few years,” she said. “But I’m hoping they can connect right away and click as a team.” As for the Maaqtusiis Suns, they had fared well in recent versions of the ANBT. But the club decided not to attend the 2019 tournament because one of its top players, Travis Thomas, has been missing since August of 2018. Thomas, a popular athlete and coach in Ahousaht, has not been seen since he went to remote Bartlett Island to reconnect with himself and help recover from troubling issues he was dealing with, including the sudden loss of his wife. Harvey Robinson, who is the Suns’ head coach, said the clubs’ players opted not to attend the Prince Rupert tourney in 2019. “The players didn’t feel it was right to

go without (Thomas),” he said. “So they weren’t going to go without him.” As for this year, Harvey said the Maaqtusiis squad will be dedicating the event to Thomas. But not with any sort of huge announcement. “We’ve discussed it as a team,” he said. “We’re going to go there and do it on his behalf.” Harvey said the Suns have lofty expectations for the event. “We’re going to go there and try to win it,” he said. The Suns have already had some success this year. The club won an eightteam event which concluded in Port Alberni on Sunday, Jan. 26. And it also placed third in the men’s category at the All My Relations tournament in Vancouver earlier this month. Though the Vancouver event primarily featured Indigenous players, teams were allowed to have one non-Indigenous athlete on their roster. Like their female counterparts from

Ahousaht, the Suns’ roster also features 12 players. The club is expected to be led by centre Luke Robinson and point guard Greg Charlie. The men’s division will feature 14 entrants while the women’s grouping has 16 teams entered. The tournament also features a men’s masters grouping for those 35 and over and an intermediate men’s division for those who are 21 and under. The event will feature a total of 54 teams, up from 51 entrants in 2019. Tournament president Peter Haugan is pleased to see Ahousaht will be sending two squads this year. “It will up the quality of the tournament,” he said. “The men have perennially been a Top 4 team.” Haugan added the calibre of play in the men’s division will also be enhanced by the fact two clubs are coming from the state of Alaska. One of the American teams is named Hydaburg while the other is Sons of Tradition from Metlakatla.


January 30, 2020—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 13

-----------JOB OPPORTUNITIES -----------

Hupac^asath= First Nation Job Opportunities Chief Executive Officer - full time Job will remain open until a successful applicant is chosen Accounting Assistant - full time Job will remain open until a successful applicant is chosen Communication Coordinator - full time Job will remain open until a successful applicant is chosen Natural Resource Manager - full time Job will remain open until a successful applicant is chosen Housing, Capital & Public Works Coordinator - full time Job will remain open until a successful applicant is chosen Human Resource Consultant - part time Job will remain open until a successful applicant is chosen

To apply for any of the above job postings please send a copy of your resume and cover letter explaining your suitability for the position and salary requirements to hr@hupacasath.ca Hupcasath First Nation, 5500 Ahahswinis Dr, Portr Alberni BC V9Y 7M7

To view more job postings visit www.hashilthsa.com


Page 14— Ha-Shilth-Sa—January 30, 2020

Nuu-chah-nulth Education Department News

SAVE THE DATE March

1 March

12 March

24 - 27 June

20

Post-Secondary Funding Application Deadline Reminder to Post-Secondary students who are New or Continuing that the deadline for applications for Fall 2019 is March 1st. Please submit your application to the new email address: psapp@nuuchahnulth.org

NETP Career Fair Nuu-chah-nulth Employment & Training Program is having their annual Career Fair in Port Alberni at the Alberni Athletic Hall starting at 9am through to 3pm. For more information please contact NETP by phone 250.723.1331 or by email Kirunn.sharma@nuuchahnulth.org or shan.ross@nuuchahnulth.org

Language Gathering NTC’s Language Program is hosting an upcoming Nuu-chah-nulth Language Gathering at the Maht Mahs. More details will follow.

NTC Graduation Ceremony & Scholarship Awards At the Alberni Athletic Hall. More details to follow prior to this event!

NOTE: The Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council’s Post-Secondary Funding Application form has changed. Please consult the website for current application forms and submit all 2020/21 Post-Secondary funding applications on the current application form. Applications received on old/discontinued forms may delay processing times. *** A reminder for any questions about the Post-Secondary Program such as, Direct Deposit Payment Advice, Application Process, and any information submitted about your application. All Questions need to be inquired through psinfo@nuuchahnulth.org and all NTC Post-Secondary Funding Applications are to be submitted to: psapp@nuuchahnulth.org or by Fax: 250.724.9682***


January 30, 2020—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 15

Blasting begins at Big Bar barrier on the Fraser River Coastal First Nations are focused on rebuilding local salmon runs after the landslide disaster from last summer By Mike Youds Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor As part of a team that responded to the Big Bar Slide emergency last summer, Gord Sterritt saw its profound impact on fish and people. There were the thousands of Pacific salmon, trapped below a five-metre “velocity barrier,” and there were the responders, who watched them struggle, knowing the gravity of the situation. “It was definitely stressful for the fish,” said Sterritt, executive director of the Upper Fraser Fisheries Conservation Alliance. “It was like a grinder. They were using all their energy reserves. It was also an emotional time for the people working on it.” Last spring, a 125-metre bluff above the river north of Lillooet gave way and sent 750,000 cubic metres of rock into the gorge below, blocking the most critical salmon passage in B.C. Six months later, the long-term impact on Pacific salmon remains clouded, much like the muddy Fraser itself. Sterritt, however, is optimistic about remediation efforts, which started in early January to clear a passage for the 2020 migration. Federal Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan visited the site in mid-January as Peter Kiewit Sons ULC went to work on a $17.6-million contract for rock removal. She tried to reassure worried stakeholders that DFO has the matter in hand. “We’re moving swiftly with the next phase of our response, in collaboration with First Nations, the province of B.C. and industry partners, and are hopeful this will lead to a lasting solution for safe fish passage,” Jordan said. “With the establishment of two new working groups, it’s all hands on deck.” The groups will develop contingency and remediation plans while considering alternative fish passage methods and conservation-based stock enhancement. They need to look at options in case the height or water velocity prove to be too great for certain salmon populations early in the 2020 season. Taking advantage of the seasonally low flow and working in hazardous terrain, the contractor will attempt to blast channel boulders, one the size of a bus, within a three-month time frame. “We are happy that work is now moving forward … always keeping in mind worker safety, said Chief Roy Fletcher of

Province of BC photo

The Stuart River north of Prince George. The Early Stuart sockeye run was one of the most heavily impacted by the slide. without any fish to prepare. His help was High Bar Nation. Dunlop said. bittersweet for one woman. Tensions have eased since Decem“I think they managed to get only 17 “She had tears in her eyes. She said, ber, when B.C. First Nations called for pairs of early Stuart sockeye into the ‘These are probably the only salmon governments to declare a wild salmon hatchery system,” he said. “The rest we’ll get this year. I don’t want my kids emergency. There is a sense of closer perished.” to think they can only get fish from a co-operation now, even if the crisis is The immediate impact on 2019 Fraser unresolved. basin spawners and 140 First Nations that truck.’” First Nations along the Island’s west “There have been lots of frustrating rely upon them for food was catastrophic. times but also a lot of accomplishments Returns were already well below expecta- coast are in the same boat. Their access since the solid response began,” said tions. Of the five million sockeye forecast to Fraser River bypass stocks was closed years ago by conservation restrictions. Sterritt, a member of the Gitxsan Nato return, barely 600,000 made it into the The last opening was in 2018 when there tion. “I’m pretty glad that that DFO and river. Of these fish, 245,000 fish were was a good return of Fraser sockeye. the minister continue to identify this as eventually able to swim past the slide a priority. That’s an opportunity for First and 30,000 were transported by truck and Ditidaht contracted a seiner, caught 1,800 kilograms and distributed them to its 750 Nation stakeholders to hold their feet to helicopter. members. Typically, some members troll the fire and make sure we get as close to Ken Malloway, a member of the off the north end of the Island as well. remediation for fish passage as we can.” Tzeachten Nation of the Sto:lo people “That was the first time in quite a few Roger Dunlop, northern region Uu-aand chairman of the Lower Fraser Fisheryears,” said Darryl Tate, Ditidaht fisherthluk biologist, recently returned from a ies Alliance, was part of most incident ies manager. “It had to be at least 15 to 20 Portland gathering of the Pacific Salmon response discussions. years since we had access to the Fraser Commission, the joint Canada-U.S “One of our concerns right off the bat regulatory body mandated to protect wild was the Early Stuart sockeye,” Malloway bypass stocks and were able to distribute to the whole membership.” salmon. said. “They’re just small little sockeye With those fish taking a hit from the “It’s really serious,” Dunlop said. and not very strong.” slide, he expects they will not see another “They’re going to do whatever they can, As an emergency measure, they wanted depending on the water. It depends on to beach-seine sockeye to preserve brood 2018 for quite a few years. the stability and how much they have to “There’s a huge impact on the whole stock. move.” coast, a huge impact on the commercial “DFO brushed us off. I said we need to fishery as well,” Tate said. Early Stuart run sockeye and large be doing this. You’ve got to get busy and chinook are likely to be most affected, They faced additional salmon closures do this. Otherwise we’re in danger of loslast year as fin fish conservation measures ing them forever.” were introduced to protect declining They managed to get 80 pairs to Chillisouthern resident orca and the Swiftsure wack River Hatchery. Of those, eggs Bank. Pacheedaht is more heavily affrom 17 females matured and hatched, a genetic sliver of survival from an escape- fected by the latter because the offshore bank represents their entire open-ocean ment that numbered 27,000. territory. Different species and runs responded “We’ve already been diverting to other differently to the barrier. Upper Fraser “My whole house shook,” reports Darcoho suffered. Large-bodied chinook and species,” Tate said. “We’ve got to adapt rell Jones of Port Renfrew. and change. Everybody needs to start steelhead fared better than some. Chilko Dr. John Cassidy, a seismologist for the sockeye, for example, were well adapted. looking to local stocks.” government of Canada, told Ha-ShilthDitidaht fish local stocks of chinook and “They have to swim up the Chilko Sa that the quake occurred south of chum. To help rebuild those runs, they River, so their heart is twice as big as it Bamfield and was felt across Vancouver collect live brood stock for Nitinat River should be, and we thought they would Island. He believes that it occurred in a Hatchery, about six million eggs per year, place in the ocean where one plate is div- probably make it,” Malloway said. Strict conservation measures had an im- and share them with Sooke Nation to ing beneath the North American Plate. boost production. The local chum return, mediate impact on Indigenous fisheries. “It was not on the subduction fault that however, was dismal last year with only Sto:Lo didn’t even fish for sockeye. runs from the west coast of Vancouver 45,000 returning after 340,000 were “It impacted our people and it also Island down to California,” said Dr. Casforecast. That points to the broader threat impacted people really heavily up in the sidy. He said they will need to wait for more accurate information to come in but Interior,” Malloway said. “The people up of poor marine survival with a warmer there went without. They basically had no ocean among prime suspects. he indicated that this is not the type of “That’s pretty scary,” Tate said of the fish.” quake that means ‘the big one’ is here. chum showing. “Four years ago, we had Malloway hauled 900 kilograms of “We can expect some aftershocks in the one million. It’s like a total drop-off in coming hours and coming days – but they salmon to Prince George for the Carrier most likely won’t be felt,” he said, adding Sekani nation, which occupies part of the four years.” vast upper Fraser watershed. They were this is the usual pattern for this type of planning their annual salmon ceremony quake.

Magnitude 4.8 earthquake ra!les Vancouver Island By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Ucluelet, BC – A magnitude 4.8 rattled windows and furniture all along the west coast of Vancouver Island Friday afternoon, Jan. 24. Information from the USGS indicates that the earthquake struck at 1:35 p.m. local time. Its epicenter was 46.7 kilometres southeast of Ucluelet, B.C. at a depth of 20 kilometres. No tsunami alert was issued due the size and location of the earthquake, according to Emergency Info BC. Buildings and furniture rattled for a few seconds in Port Alberni. Ehattesaht member Kyle Harry reported that residents near Zeballos felt the shaking. The same was the case at the southern end of Nuu-chah-nulth territory.


Page 16— Ha-Shilth-Sa—January 30, 2020


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