INTERESTING NEWS Canada’s Oldest First Nations Newspaper - Serving Nuu-chah-nulth-aht since 1974 Canadian Publications Mail Product Vol. 49 - No. 14—July 21, 2022 haas^i>sa Sales Agreement No. 40047776
Photo supplied by United Church of Cananda Archives
From 1892 to 1973 children where kept at the site of the Alberni Indian Residential School (above), which is located on Tseshaht territory west of the Somass River. On July 11 the Tseshaht First Nation began work scanning the area to locate unmarked burials.
Scanning work begins at Alberni Residential School Tseshaht initiates ground penetrating radar to analyze possible burial locations identiﬁed by former students By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Port Alberni, BC - Today the Tseshaht First Nation began work scanning the former site of the Alberni Indian Residential School, with the aim of locating unmarked burials that resulted from the 81 years that children attended institutions at the location. Approximately 100 hectares of the First Nation’s territory west of the Somass River has been researched over the past several months, with general locations of where former students could have been buried identiﬁed with the help of AIRS survivors. “Scanning will be conducted with compassion and care so as not to disrupt possible burial locations,” stated a press release issued by Tseshaht on July 11. “We recognize this work may be diﬃcult for our people and those who carry memories connected to residential schools. Together we are working to ﬁnd answers from the past and bring truth to the present.” Scanning is expected to last two weeks, a critical part of the initiative led by the ʔuuʔatumin yaqckʷiimitqin (Doing if for our Ancestors) team that includes
former students of the residential school, Tseshaht Ha’wiih, elected council and members of the First Nation. “This team has also been working toward providing wellness-focused support to survivors who generously and courageously share their stories and experiences,” stated the Tseshaht. The First Nation stated that the project “is grounded in values and culture,” and protocols are to be strictly followed, including restrictions that aﬀect pregnant women and children. No photography or video is permitted on the sites as scanning is undertaken, and a no-ﬂy zone has been implemented by Transport Canada to prohibit aircraft and drones from coming close to the locations being examined. The scanning is being undertaken by GeoScan, a company that has used ground-penetrating radar for over a decade. The technology sends highfrequency electromagnetic waves into the ground, and is able to map bedrock tens of feet deep, according to the company. GeoScan’s website states that it has used ground-penetrating radar to help locate evidence buried under crime scenes, and to identify hidden burials to assist
Inside this issue... Tla-o-qui-aht’s raises alarm amid housing crisis............Page 2 No plans to close West Coast General ER......................Page 6 New totem pole raised in Opitsaht.....................Pages 10 & 11 High school grades come to Bamﬁeld..........................Page 15 Unusually low tides.....................................................Pages 18
archaeological instigations. “Powered by Xradar technology, our equipment oﬀers the accuracy of X-Ray with the safety of the conventional radar,” explained GeoScan. “Ground Penetrating RADAR (Radio Detection And Ranging) works by sending high-frequency electromagnetic waves into the ground from a transmitting antenna and measuring the strength and time of any reﬂected signal.” “They have prior experience scanning other residential school sites and are committed to leading this project with cultural protocols in mind,” stated the Tseshaht First Nation. Results will be analysed, with an announcement and summary report to be released by the First Nation as the undertaking progresses. Those who attended AIRS and other residential schools have long known of unmarked graves at the governmentmandated institutions, and these accounts were part of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s ﬁnal report when the Calls to Action were released in 2015. The TRC identiﬁed 3,200 students who died at residential schools, although other counts have surpassed 4,100 over the century that the institutions operated.
Most of these deaths occurred before tuberculosis antibiotics became commonly used in the 1950s. But it wasn’t until May 2021 that undocumented burials gained international attention, when ground-penetrating radar indicated 215 graves at the former site of the Kamloops Indian Residential School. A wave of announcements of unmarked graves at other residential school sites followed, most recently the remains of 190 individuals that were identiﬁed at the Pine Falls Indian Residential School location in Manitoba on June 6. Residential schooling ﬁrst began on the site by the Somass River in 1892, with the Alberni Girls Home run by the Women’s Foreign Mission Society of The Presbyterian Church in Canada. At the turn of the century the Alberni Indian Residential School opened, operating until 1966. The Alberni Indian Student Residence housed children at the site until closing in 1973. In 1925 the United Church of Canada took over management of the institution, until the federal government assumed control in 1969.
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Page 2— Ha-Shilth-Sa— July 21, 2022
Tla-o-qui-aht calls on region to address housing crisis Resort town’s issues are creating regional problems, and the province is threatening to take control of zoning By Melissa Renwick and Eric Plummer Local Journalism Initiative Reporter and Ha-Shitlh-Sa Editor Toﬁno, BC - Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation is calling upon regional leaders on Vancouver Island’s west coast to come together to tackle the issue of aﬀordable housing in the region. One consequence of the housing crisis is that Tla-o-qui-aht members have lost the ability to return to live in their homelands, read a release issued by Tla-oqui-aht’s ha’wiih (hereditary chiefs) and elected council on July 4. Meanwhile, visitors looking for an affordable place to camp are lucky to ﬁnd a $200 site, the release added. Without anywhere to go, many are turning to the backroads around Kennedy Lake. Instead of focusing on “progressive stewardship priorities,” the release said Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks Guardians are using their resources to patrol 40 kilometres of backroads around Kennedy Lake every day in the summer. Through consistent education and awareness, Tla-o-qui-aht Natural Resources Manager Saya Masso said the guardians hope to instill visitors with a sense of social responsibility to not leave garbage behind. Tla-o-qui-aht member Timmy Masso organized a road closure of west main last summer to evict campers and block tourists from accessing the area in response to the amount of pollution being left behind and concerns over illegal campﬁres. By shutting down the road, Timmy hoped it would draw attention to the environmental and health risks, encouraging regional leaders to come together to determine a solution. The District of Ucluelet responded by providing the nation with $20,000 towards their stewardship eﬀorts. Ucluelet Mayor Mayco Noel said “it was the right thing to do.” In the fall, Noel said the district is going to review how the money was spent and look at providing annual funding to support the guardians’ stewardship of the Kennedy Lake backroads. “They’re taking on the subject matter head on,” he said. “It’s a tribute to Tla-oqui-aht wanting to step up and try to ﬁnd some interim solution in order to mitigate some of the negative impacts that are happening in the backcountry.” John Jack is the Alberni‐Clayoquot Regional District (ACRD) board chair and a Huu-ay-aht First Nation council member. The ACRD serves as local government to six electoral areas, including Long Beach. As a result of Long Beach’s small tax base, Jack said the ACRD has limited funding to enforce anything in the area. “To make it about money is limiting,” he said. “A lot of the responsibility when it comes to how Crown land and how First Nations territory is being used really comes down to how it’s being looked at and cared for by the province. Outside of Tla-o-qui-aht’s speciﬁc reserves or treaty lands it’s still the responsibility of the Crown to handle this in a way that makes sense. And that hasn’t occurred yet.” The backroads around Kennedy Lake are subject to multiple jurisdictions, overlapping with Tla-o-qui-aht, the ACRD and Parks Canada, said Jack. “Because of all these overlaps, we are really trying to take on a convener-type [approach] of bringing people together to have conversations about what we can do
Photo by Melissa Renwick
Jessie Masso hangs a road closure sign at the entrance of West Main Forest Service Road, near Toﬁno, on August 10, 2021.
“It’s a tribute to Tla-oqui-aht wanting to step up and try to ﬁnd some interim solution in order to mitigate some of the negative impacts that are happening in the backcountry.” ~ Mayco Noel, Ucluelet Mayor to organize a response to not only the illegal camping and the overﬂows that exist, but the impacts of garbage and human waste that are accumulating.” The impact on the health and safety of the area is “signiﬁcant,” said Jack. “It’s something that we all recognize,” he said. “The solution, however, is not something that is apparent at the moment beyond the province stepping up with money.” While these are necessary conversations between regional leaders, Jack said they all lead back to the housing crisis. Despite only having a population of roughly 2,000 residents, Toﬁno draws around 600,000 visitors every year. “I feel the Airbnb issue has taken a lot of housing stock away from the region and it needs to be looked at,” said Saya Masso. In 2021, 191 short-term rental and 43 bed and breakfast business licenses were active in Toﬁno, according to the municipality’s annual report. Similarly, 94 bed and breakfast licenses in residential properties were active in Ucluelet last year. For the most part, Jack said the ACRD is restricted from providing housing solutions on the west coast given its jurisdiction, so it “must” involve the municipalities of Toﬁno and Ucluelet. “What we need to see is real action from local governments,” he said. “And real action from the province in regards to how we’re going to look at planning
and zoning our communities to allow for greater housing [to be] built and for higher density to exist on established lots.” The District of Ucluelet is currently considering changing bylaws to prioritize long-term residential housing by limiting nightly rentals in residential neighbourhoods. The bylaw changes would remove Bed and Breakfast as the permitted secondary use for all single-family residential zones. “Homes that are in residential neighbourhoods should not be rented out as a nightly rental – that’s a commercial enterprise,” Noel said. The bylaw changes are one way the District of Ucluelet is attempting to resolve the housing crisis, but Noel said he’s aware many residents rely on nightly rental income to pay their mortgages. “We’re playing with these ideas and really going out into the community to see what they would like to see happen,” he said. Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation has called on Toﬁno to put a cap on the current level of short-term rental business licences, but it remains to be seen if the municipality will do this. The District of Toﬁno wrote in an email that it will “continue working with Tla-oqui-aht First Nation and regional partners, as well as the provincial and federal governments as appropriate, to address both regional housing needs and backcountry camping concerns.” David Eby, attorney general and the province’s minister responsible for housing, has been proposing to take over zoning and land-use planning from local governments in a bid to force them to address the housing crisis. “There’s something busted about the way politics work at a local level,” said Jack. “In many ways, there is an inert inertia in regards to what the community wants from a local perspective, rather than what the entire region needs, and individuals need, from a housing perspective.” Because of that, the mix of housing on
oﬀer is “inadequate,” he said. “Real solutions to housing are not really being pursued with the same vigor that they should be,” Jack added. The median cost of a one-bedroom rental unit in Toﬁno and Ucluelet rose by 71 per cent between 2017 and 2020 to $1,200, according to the 2021 Clayoquot Biosphere Trust’s (CBT) Vital Snapshot report. Two-bedroom units saw an increase of 6 per cent to $1,480, and three-bedroom units surged by 38 per cent to $2,200. Meanwhile, the assessed value of a single-family residential home in Toﬁno increased by 25 per cent between 2019 and 2021 to $956,000. The Toﬁno Housing Corporation, a private entity owned by the District of Toﬁno, is aiming to deliver 150 rental units and 30 price-restricted, locally owned homes to Toﬁno by 2030. They recently completed a 14-unit affordable housing project, named Creekside. The one-bedroom units are being rented from $854 up to $1,100 per month, the two-bedroom units are priced between $1,080 and $1,550, and the threebedroom units cost between $1,200 and $1,703. Jack said the Toﬁno Housing Corporation is a solution that gives him “hope”, but it’s not moving quick enough. As Tla-o-qui-aht continues to confront these issues, they have oﬀered a number of solutions. Modelled after tourist destinations such as Whistler and Banﬀ, the nation is proposing that a fully serviced overﬂow parking lot be established near the Toﬁno airport to provide safe and sanitary overnight parking for travellers without anywhere else to go. The nation is also suggesting that a permanent campsite at Čuuis (Rainbow Beach) is established and that a regional housing plan that addresses the needs of those impacted by the housing crisis is developed and implemented. “We need to do better,” said Saya Masso. “The current plan is not working.”
July 21 2022—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 3
Scanning work deals with rough terrain around AIRS Ground penetrating radar set to be complete this summer, full summary report of the work expected in October By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Port Alberni, BC - One week of groundscanning work has been undertaken to identify possible burial sites on Tseshaht territory, bringing challenges in penetrating the rugged terrain that make up the former grounds of the Alberni Indian Residential School. After months of preparations, including close consultation with survivors from the residential school, possible burial locations have been identiﬁed on the more that 100 hectares that used to surround the institution’s grounds for 81 years. The Tseshaht First Nation secured the expertise of GeoScan to analyse the sites, employing ground-penetrating radar technology that has indicated burial sites at other residential schools across Canada. This scanning work began July 11, and is expected to last two weeks. But Vancouver Island’s terrain has proven to be more challenging that the meadows and ﬁelds upon which other residential schools once operated elsewhere in Canada. “We’ve had to focus our priority areas on areas that we can actually do right now,” said Tseshaht Chief Councillor Ken Watts of the technology. “The grass has to be a certain height. There can’t be huge rocks and sticks and things below it. It makes it pretty limited on what it can and can’t do.” One advantage of having the residential school on its reserve is that the Tseshaht don’t have to negotiate with private landowners for the radar work to be conducted, as has happened elsewhere in Canada. “They’ve had to work with private landowners who aren’t as comfortable looking for unmarked graves in their backyards,” said Watts. “It’s really up to us. This is in our backyard, we have to live with it.” Used in crime scene investigations and archaeological studies, ground-penetrating radar sends high-frequency electro-
Photo supplied by United Church of Canada Archives
The scanning project deals with over 100 hectares surrounding the site of the Alberni Indian Residential School. The ﬁrst phase of the radar scanning took place over two weeks. magnetic waves underground. Although exhuming, the sensitivity of the undertak- well as clinical counselling,” said Watts. this can give a likely impression that a ing makes deep ground disturbance an “I think it’s really impacted our commubody may be buried in the ground, the unlikely approach, said Watts. nity. I’ve heard many stories from people technology cannot determine exactly who “I’ve never heard any of our community who live around the neighbourhood, or what is down there. members say we’re interested in that,” spirits and things they’ve felt since then. “It’s probable that’s what it is based on he said. “In our culture, you’re not really I think it’s created this awakening in our what the research and the scanning is supposed to disrupt those that are now community.” telling you,” explained Watts of locating gone, they should be left alone.” After the ﬁrst two weeks of scanning possible burials. “The only real way to Access to the site of the former instituare completed, the First Nation plans to 100 per cent verify it is through exhumtion has been tightly restricted over the prepare other areas for GeoScan to return ing. We haven’t even had that conversaﬁrst weeks of the scanning process, and in late August or September. tion as a community.” the Tseshaht have even had a no-ﬂy zone A full summery report of the work is The undertaking of identifying any implemented by Transport Canada over expected in October. burials under AIRS is being led by the former AIRS grounds to minimize “This has been diﬃcult, but to move ʔuuʔatumin yaqckʷiimitqin (Doing it for disturbances. onto the next steps and identify those Our Ancestors), a team of former residenFor generations former AIRS students areas, actually marking them and letting tial school students, Ha’wiih and elected have known about children who died at people know the results, it’s going to be council members to ensure cultural the school. Now examination of the site hard,” said Watts. “I honestly think that protocols are followed to the beneﬁt of is triggering traumatic memories. I don’t know that the general public is the Tseshaht community. Although he “We’ve had members coming here into going to be ready for whatever the results has heard of other First Nations consider our oﬃce getting supports culturally as may be.”
Woman still missing, car found south of Nanaimo By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Port Alberni, BC – Police, family and friends are encouraging the public to be on the lookout for a regular customer to the Tseshaht Market, Amber Manthorne, who was last seen July 7. After her disappearance was reported to police on July 8, Manthorne’s vehicle was discovered south of Nanaimo two days later. The 2021 Jeep Compass was found near the airport, thanks to “the vigilance and concern of a citizen,” stated the Port Alberni RCMP. “We are still looking for Amber, we are still following all the evidence, and tips that we receive from the public,” stated Constable Richard Johns, “investigators have been working around the clock to ﬁnd her.” The Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit has since been called in to assist by following tips, doing interviews, as well as gathering surveillance and other video. “We understand that it may be concerning to hear that the VIIMCU has been called to assist, however we want to assure the community that this is not unusu-
al, in cases where a person’s disappearance is out of character and criminality can not be immediately ruled out,” said Inspector Kevin O’Donnell, Oﬃcer in Charge of VIIMCU, in a press release. “If criminality is ruled out the Port Alberni RCMP will again become the primary investigating agency.” After her disappearance was reported, police said Manthorne may have been with Justin Hall, an ex-boyfriend of the 40-year-old. Police believe that this is no longer the case, as Hall has been located. Friends and concerned acquaintances held a gathering for the missing woman July 10 at the Tseshaht Market, a regular stop for Manthorne, who lived in the Great Central Lake area. Manthorne was recently in a relationship with Hall, but they broke up in April, according to friends at the gathering. “Amber hooked up with him just before Christmas last year. They were going to move in together,” said Jen Weightman, a concerned friend of Manthorne’s. “He was supposed to come and move in with her in April. He was in and out of camp. He would only come home once a month and visit.” Manthorne cleans houses for a living,
and worked as recently as 3:30 p.m. on July 6, added Weightman. “She’s got a very giving heart, this girl, very trustworthy, very sincere to people, and wants to help people,” said Weightman. Tseshaht Chief Councillor Ken Watts said the First Nation is doing all it can to support the search and those who care about the missing woman. “We grew up going to school together,” said Watts. “This store, the staﬀ loved seeing Amber up here…She was always so great to come and visit us here, hopefully we’ll get to see her again, laughing here and smiling.” Those concerned have held extensive searches for the missing woman, combing the area around her home at Great Central Lake and south of Nanaimo, near the location where her vehicle was found. Supporters have set up a tip line at 250730-1544. Amber Manthorne is 5 foot 1, 40 years old, with a slim 120-pound build, according to police. Any information can be directed to the Port Alberni RCMP at 250-723-2424.
Page 4— Ha-Shilth-Sa— July 21, 2022
DFO pledges salmon partnership with Nuu-chah-nulth The future will entail ‘much more modest harvest levels’ if salmon are to rebuild, says head of $647M initiative By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Nuu-chah-nulth representatives can expect more meetings with high-level DFO oﬃcials in the future, according to the head of a $647-million federal initiative designed to turn the tide of Paciﬁc salmon declines. This was the reassuring message from Sarah Murdoch, senior director of the Paciﬁc Salmon Strategy Initiative, a large-scale project launched a year ago to “stem historic declines in key Paciﬁc salmon stocks and rebuild these species to a sustainable level,” states Fisheries and Oceans Canada. “It is meant to be a framework that reﬂects how DFO is going to be better integrating and managing salmon activities that are meeting the challenge of historic declines,” said Murdoch in a recent interview with Ha-Shilth-Sa. “It is meant to be a way to make DFO a better partner going forward.” At stake is the future of Paciﬁc salmon, a species that has seen declines reaching near extinction among some West Coast stocks. Wild chinook on the west coast of Vancouver Island are listed with the major stocks that require rebuilding in Canada’s Fisheries Act, and the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada lists several chinook populations west of the island as threatened. “Many of the [west coast Vancouver Island] salmon streams Nuu-chah-nulth nations relied on for some of their food and economic harvests are now too low in most years to support even small food harvests,” stated the Council of Ha’wiih Forum on Fisheries in a letter sent to Murdoch in March. “Kennedy Lake sockeye returns, which used to support commercial ﬁsheries, are so low that Tla-o-qui-aht Nation has closed access to these ﬁsh to their members since 1992 for conservation concerns.” The PSSI pledged to tackle such concerns, when it was announced as “the largest, most transformative investment
“Your mismanagement to date has collapsed our ﬁsheries to near nothing” ~ Hasheukumiss, Ahousaht’s acting Tyee Ha’wilth in salmon by any government in history” by former ﬁsheries minister Bernadette Jordan in June 2021. But one year later frustration had reached a boiling point among Nuuchah-nulth leaders for being left out of the decision-making process. In October 2021 the Council of Ha’wiih passed a resolution condemning the federal government for determining what should be done in Nuu-chah-nulth territorial waters. “The Nuu-chah-nulth Ha’wiih demand that Canada immediately begin consultations with the Nuu-chah-nulth Ha’wiih on the role and needs of Nuu-chah-nulth in the struggle to stem the decline of salmon,” reads the resolution. This language followed an announcement by the council that two thirds of the PSSI would be used within Fisheries and Oceans Canada, with another $100 million for the Salmon Restoration and
Photos by Eric Plummer
Boats ﬁsh for sockeye salmon on the Somass River in early July, as part of the Tseshaht and Hupacasath First Nation’s community ﬁsheries. While the sockeye run for the Somass River was forecasted to be an average size this year, other parts of the B.C. coast have expected more modest numbers. Innovation Fund. “Your mismanagement to date has collapsed our ﬁsheries to near nothing,” said Hasheukumiss, Ahousaht’s acting Tyee Ha’wilth, to DFO representatives during a June ﬁsheries forum in Toﬁno. “For too long we have been pushed to the side and our knowledge has been ignored.” During the forum the First Nations Fisheries Council of BC also announced its opposition to the PSSI in its current state. “All they did was shuﬄe money around in their own department,” said Hugh Braker, president of the ﬁsheries council. “It’s not enough for bureaucrats in Ottawa and Vancouver to decide what’s best for Paciﬁc salmon.” Murdoch defended the $647-million initiative, explaining that it entails the DFO “reinventing” how it approaches salmon, with regulatory and policy changes as well as hiring more staﬀ to focus on rebuilding stocks. “There will be quite a bit of funding going out to ﬁshers, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous,” said Murdoch. “In a few diﬀerent areas there is going to be some shifting and growth. It will be new investments in science, for instance, the commercial ﬂeet nearly cut in half enhanced compliance inspections for the largely focused on what we’re realizing of what it was 25 years ago, voluntary sports ﬁshery from conservation oﬃcers. more and more, and getting to understand licence retirement will continue to be an Several hatcheries on the B.C. coast are what’s going on from a science perspecoption. also due to a “retroﬁt” to better support tive in terms of climate change and some “It was intended to reﬂect the diﬃculty the rebuilding of salmon stocks, said of the broader ecosystem impacts.” Murdoch. This entails upgrades that some that a lot of ﬁshers are having hanging on “We certainly agree that we can only from year to year,” said Murdoch. “We of these facilities haven’t see in many do this in partnership with local First want it as an option for ﬁshers to transiyears. Nations,” she added. “DFO has a leader“One key example is Rosewall hatchery tion out of the sector, particularly given ship role to play certainly, but others do that many ﬁshers are of retirement age.” on eastern Vancouver Island,” explained as well.” One month after the PSSI was anMurdoch. “This facility has supported After the announcement of the initiative, conservation and rebuilding initiatives nounced last year, the DFO closed 60 per the Council of Ha’wiih provided DFO cent of commercial salmon ﬁsheries on across the Island and Sunshine Coast, with its own priorities to better manage the B.C. coast. As some closures continue including the Nahmint River Chinook Paciﬁc salmon. These include the into be in place, Murdoch cautions that the program. Expansion of this secure concreased use of genetic tools for assessing salmon industry will need to be diﬀerent servation site will increase DFO’s ability stocks and managing hatchery-raised and to support conservation priorities such as in the future. wild populations. Better catch accounting Nahmint, as well as other new potential “Looking ahead 10 years, what we’re is needed for ﬁsheries that intercept chipriorities such as sockeye salmon rebuild- projecting is that we’re going to need nook, wrote the council, while improved long-term closures,” she said. “We’re not ing.” monitoring for the recreational sector is going to be able to support ﬁsheries as As much as $94 million of the PSSI is long overdue. they once were, we’re going to have to expected to be used to buy out existing Murdoch said that improved surveys have much more modest harvest levels.” salmon licences, a practice the DFO has of B.C.’s south coast are coming, as are undertaken since the mid-1990s. With
July 21 2022—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 5
Coast Guard responds to diesel spill in Alberni Inlet Gillnet ﬁshing boat reported to have 500 litres of fuel when it sank near Nahmint, vessel owner fails to salvage By Melissa Renwick Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Port Alberni, BC - A 34-foot gillnetter sank in the early morning on July 11 near Nahmint Bay, with around 500 litres of diesel fuel onboard. The Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) received a report around 3:15 a.m. that the vessel, which was actively ﬁshing, got caught on rocks as the tide was receding. The resulting impact caused the vessel to lean and sink. CCG’s Bamﬁeld lifeboat station crew were the ﬁrst on the scene and observed a “small non-recoverable light sheen about four cables south of the vessel, but no pollution was observed around the vessel itself,” said Michelle Imbeau, spokesperson for the CCG. The Western Canada Marine Response Corporation (WCMRC) worked alongside the CCG to respond to the incident near Hocking Point in the Alberni Inlet. No injuries were reported, said Imbeau. According to Michael Lowry, WCMRC senior communications manager, a boom was positioned around the vessel to contain the spill and sorbent pads were placed within the containment area to absorb diesel that has leaked out. “[We’re] trying to create a large circle around the leaky vessel so that any oil that’s leaking out would be contained within that circle,” he said. “We’ll be onscene preventing pollution from escaping from that boom area until the vessel is salvaged.” Fuel was leaking from the vessel into an area where salmon actively migrate
Photo by Eric Plummer
A vessel with the Western Canada Marine Response Corporation crosses the Alberni Inlet on July 11. WCMRC boats are permanently stationed in Port Alberni to respond to oil spills and other marine incidents. On July11 the vessels assisted the Canadian Coast Guard to respond to a diesel spill from a capsized gillnet ﬁshing boat. through, according the marine response response team in Port Alberni and we “The responders on scene are actively organization. have the utmost conﬁdence that they will containing and recovering the small Tseshaht First Nation responded by do the right thing to get it remedied as amount of oil that is coming from the dispatching some of their beach-keepers soon as possible,” he said. vessel, thus minimizing any impact to the to monitor the situation, said council The vessel owner hired a contractor environment,” said Imbeau. “By ensuring member Les Sam. that was expected be on-scene July 12 to that the vessel is removed quickly, the “We’re very concerned about anything salvage the vessel, said Imbeau. impacts to the environment will also be that aﬀects the run of the salmon through But that didn’t happen, and the ownminimized.” this system,” he said. ers of the Robert Brian and its salvage Lowry said the WCMRC receives simiBut, Sam said, accidents do happen – company ceased to communicate with lar calls around 20 times a year. adding that he hoped everyone onboard repsonders later in the week. This forced “All spills are concerning to us,” said was safe. the Coast Guard to ﬁnd a salvage comLowry. “Any response is going to receive “We’ve been working alongside the spill pany. the same kind of attention.”
Vessel with 500 litres of diesel completely submerged By Melissa Renwick Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Port Alberni, BC - The Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) responded to a report on the morning of July 11 that a 34-foot gillnetter got caught on rocks as the tide was receding, causing it to sink. The vessel, which was actively ﬁshing, had 500 litres of diesel fuel onboard, which slowly leaked into the marine environment. The Western Canada Marine Response Corporation (WCMRC) was mobilized to work alongside the CCG to respond to the incident near Hocking Point in the Alberni Inlet. In an email on July 11, WCMRC Indigenous Relations Advisor Jonathan Wray wrote that fuel was leaking from the vessel where there’s an active salmon run. At the time, the CCG said the vessel owner had hired a contractor to salvage the vessel on July 12. “The responders on scene are actively containing and recovering the small amount of oil that is coming from the vessel, thus minimizing any impact to the environment,” the CCG said on July 11. “By ensuring that the vessel is removed quickly, the impacts to the environment will also be minimized.” Now, Wray said the owner of “Robert Brian” and the salvage company that was hired “have gone completely dark and are not returning any calls.” On July 13, the CCG assured it was working towards a salvage contract, but they do not yet have a salvage date. “As the vessel owner has failed to take action, the CCG is making plans to have
Photo supplied by Western Canada Marine Response Corporation
Booms are placed around a sinking vessel in the Alberni Inlet on July 13. Crews from the Canadian Coast Guard, the Western Canada Marine Response Corporation and the Tseshaht First Nation have been involved in attending to the wreck. the situation until the coast guard tells us the vessel removed from the marine enviThis containment was temporarily to stand down.” ronment,” the CCG said. compromised on July 11 when the wind Between 1,500 to 2,000 pounds of Following the vessel’s removal, the kicked up and caused the vessel to swing sorbent pads have been recovered so far, CCG will make a claim to the Shipand catch the boom, Wray said. said Lowry. source Oil Pollution Fund, which covers The boom was further compromised In an update given on July 19, repdamage from spills in Canadian waters. overnight on July 12, which Wray said sonders reported that the coast guard orWhen WCMRC crews arrived on scene likely occurred as the boat sank. dered the boom to be removed, as a ﬂight July 13, “the vessel was gone and appears Despite the vessel being completely to have fully sunk in about 130 to 150 submerged, Lowry said it doesn’t change overhead conﬁrmed “no hydrocarbons were detected on the surface in the area,” feet of water,” according to Wray. their response eﬀorts. according to the WCMRC. A boom was positioned around the While WCMRC continued to observe A navigational warning has been issued vessel on July 11 to contain the spill, “very minor” oil upwelling into the conand sorbent pads were placed within the tainment boom on July 13, none had been to notify mariners of the hazard. Anyone observing marine pollution in containment area to absorb diesel that observed on July 14. the area is asking to report the sighting to had leaked out, said Michael Lowry, WC“The [upwellings] have died down,” the CCG by calling 1-800-889-8852. MRC senior communications manager. said Lowry. “We’ll continue to monitor
Page 6— Ha-Shilth-Sa— July 21, 2022 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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Photo by Karly Blats
The Emergency Room at West Coast General Hospital is currently undergoing renovations to expand service to patients.
No plans to close West Coast General ER Port Alberni hospital emergency department averaged 52.8 visits per day last year By Karly Blats Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Port Alberni, BC - Despite a recent claim by a news outlet stating the Emergency Room at West Coast General Hospital (WCGH) may see closures this summer, Island Health says no shutdown is planned for the emergency department. According to a CBC article from July 5, an anonymous source who claimed to work in the Port Alberni emergency department at WCGH told the media outlet that due to ongoing staﬀ shortages, the Emergency Room could be closed through much of August and September for eight-hour periods each day. “There are no planned closures or diversions for the emergency department at West Coast General Hospital,” Island Health said in a statement. “In general, diversion or temporary closure is a last resort and would only occur after every possible mitigation strategy is explored and exhausted. In all cases, it is a step taken to ensure the delivery of safe patient care.” Like all regions across Canada, Island
Health is extremely challenged by the health workforce shortage. “Despite this, clinical leadership continues to work diligently to create and use mitigation strategies to balance staﬀing across units and sites to ensure the continued provision of safe patient care,” said Island Health. “Island Health is actively working to ensure the availability of emergency services in the Alberni Valley region and beyond. We want to reassure the public that our hospitals and emergency departments are ready to take care of anyone who shows up in need of care.” In 2021/2022 ﬁscal year, the West Coast General Hospital emergency department averaged 52.8 visits per day. Mariah Charleson, Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council vice-president, is a member of the First Nations Health Council and said she hasn’t heard any news of the Emergency Room at WCGH closing. “Of course, the emergency department is very important to many Nuu-chahnulth, particularly some of our more vulnerable population, as they are often without a family physician, therefore the
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emergency department is the only option for treatment,” Charleson said. Construction is currently underway to expand the emergency department at WCGH to support improvements to patient care and privacy for people in the region. “West Coast General Hospital is an important part of the community for residents in the area, including Port Alberni, Toﬁno, Ucluelet, Bamﬁeld, Hupacasath and Tseshaht First Nations, Uchucklesaht Tribe, Huu-ay-aht and Ditidaht First Nations, Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ Government, Toquaht, Tla-o-qui-aht, Ahousaht and Hesquiaht First Nations,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health in a press release last year. “The work underway will help relieve the congestion of this very busy hospital that sees more than 25,000 patient visits to the emergency department each year.” The redevelopment will include a 244-square-metre expansion. Improvements will feature three new patient exam beds, extra space for patients awaiting tests and results, improvements to the triage and admitting area, and a dedicated entrance for ambulances.
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July 21 2022—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 7
Se•lement announced for ‘deceptive’ opioid push NTC and Vancouver Island First Nations advocate for detox centre and accessible clinic to treat drug addiction By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Victoria, BC - The province is pointing a ﬁnger at pharmaceutical companies as a factor in the opioid crisis, a six-year public health emergency that continues to claim ﬁve lives a day – with heavier tolls among First Nations communities. On June 29 an out-of-court court settlement was announced, a $150-million payout from Purdue Canada that is the ﬁrst to result from a class-action-lawsuit launched by the province. More than 40 drug companies and distributors are named in the class-action - including Shoppers Drug Mart and Loblaws – for what the B.C. government claims are damages to the health care system due to “deceptive marketing practices with a view to increase sales, resulting in increased rates of addiction and overdose.” The agreement is subject to ﬁnal approval by the courts over the coming months. Filed to the B.C. Supreme Court in 2018, the civil claim cites opioids produced to treat pain, such as Fentanyl, hydromorphone, morphine, methadone and tramadol. In some cases these drugs were promoted to be less addictive than they really are, for conditions they were not eﬀective against, according to the province’s claim. British Columbia is acting on behalf of all Canadian governments, and the recently announced payout from Purdue “paves the way for additional settlements to be reached in the ongoing litigation against other manufacturers and distributers of opioid products,” stated B.C. Attorney General David Eby in a press release. The lawsuit alleges that hospitals and pharmacies became ﬂooded with an unnecessary volume of painkillers, a wave that began when Purdue introduced OxyContin to the market in 1996. “Until the mid 1990s, prescription opi-
Photo by Denise Titian
Matthew C. sits with a friend outside the Port Alberni Safe Injection Site on 3rd Avenue, which has not reported one fatality after years of operation. oids were not widely used because they undertreated and should be made a higher population. were thought to be too addictive to treat priority by healthcare practitioners.” As the deadly toll continues, the Nuuchronic pain conditions which would Over the last decade, overdose deaths chah-nulth Tribal Council is pushing for require long-term use of such drugs. have increased each year in B.C., exadequate treatment to help those strugOpioids were prescribed primarily for use cept for a drop in 2019 before a spike gling with drug addiction. Last year the in treatment of palliative conditions or in fatalities coincided with widespread Alberni-Clayoquot health region, which for short-term acute pain, which required COVID-19 restrictions brought in the fol- covers the Alberni-Valley and west coast brief use,” states the province’s notice lowing year. Now overdose deaths occur communities near Toﬁno and Ucluelet, of claim. “Purdue and other manufacat a rate of ﬁve per day, and since 2015 had the highest rate of deaths due to illicit turer defendants subsequently developed death due to illicit drug use has surpassed drug use on Vancouver Island. Yet this and promoted a narrative that pain was all other causes of unnatural fatalities in vast area remains without a treatment B.C., including suicide, car accidents and centre, a shortcoming that led the NTC to murder. call for a detox facility and rapid-access Over this period Fentanyl has come to addiction clinic this spring. dominate toxicology results, and in 2021 “There’s not enough resources for peothe synthetic opioid was detected in 86 ple who need help right now,” said NTC per cent of tragic cases of illicit drug use, Vice-President Mariah Charleson, who according to the BC Coroners Service. sits on the First Nations Health Council. Up to 100 times stronger than morphine, She said other First Nations leaders on Fentanyl was originally introduced in the Vancouver Island have joined this push, 1960s as a surgical anesthetic. with an additional call for a stabilization “It’s important to remember this litigacentre for those struggling with drug adtion is not about the production of the diction. drugs. We know that opioids are an im“We don’t have a clear pathway for peoportant medication when used properly,” ple who need help on Vancouver Island,” stated the Ministry of Health and Addicsaid Charleson. “We have the support of tions in an email to Ha-Shilth-Sa. “This every First Nation on Vancouver Island.” is about deceptive marketing by opioid Some progress materialized from recent manufacturers, distributers and their advocacy when the FNHA and Island consultants who marketed their products Health found approximately half a milto increase demand without regard to the lion dollars in funding for four to six beds consequences for people taking those for people in the early stages of recovery drugs.” from addiction. But leaders found this The opioid crisis has disproportioninsuﬃcient to treat the escalating opioid ally impacted Indigenous people, who crisis, said Charleson. comprised 15.2 per cent of fatalities last “These are low-barrier-based beds, it’s year in B.C., according to the First Nanot a detox centre,” she said. “We can’t tions Health Authority. Aboriginal people accept this as a resolution, we need to account for under six per cent of B.C.’s keep pushing for what we’re asking for.”
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Page 8— Ha-Shilth-Sa— July 21, 2022
RCMP remove encampment from Ditidaht territory Five arrests by police, days after the First Nation delivered a notice to remove a blockade near Carmanah Main By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Nitinaht, BC – Less than one week after Ditidaht Ha’wiih and elected oﬃcials served an eviction notice on an activist group illegally blocking a logging road, RCMP moved in to remove the encampment and arrest activists. On June 23, Ditidaht, with support from neighbors Pacheedaht and Huu-ay-aht, arrived at the site on Carmanah Main to confront the old-growth forest activists, ordering them to leave. The three elected chiefs, Brian Tate of Ditidaht, Jeﬀ Jones of Pacheedaht and Robert Dennis of Huu-ay-aht each spoke about their inherent rights to manage their resources and their responsibilities to their people. They pointed out that none of the activists reached out to the leaders for permission to be there and they were asked to leave immediately. It was apparent that the activists had no intention of leaving. Chief Tate told HaShilth-Sa that plans for next steps were in the works. Six days later, members of the RCMP arrived at the encampment to arrest activists and to being clearing the road. Tate told Ha-Shilth-Sa that they were informed by the RCMP on the evening of June 28 that they would begin clearing the area within two weeks. At 8:30 a.m. on June 29, members of the RCMP moved in and began removing the illegal encampment. “Last week there were 15 activists out there – yesterday there were only eight,” said Tate. He stated that when the RCMP showed up two of the activists hopped in their cars and left on their own accord. Five activists that refused to leave were arrested and one ran into forest to hide. “I don’t think there’s any more of them in the forest,” said Tate. An excavator was brought in to clean up the debris and on June 30, the Ministry of Forests had everything hauled out later that day, according to Tate. Tate said that this group is not the same group that was there last year, although
Photo by Denise Titian
An eviction notice was read to protestors at a blockade by Carmanah Main on June 23 by Ditidaht Chief Councillor Brian Tate, with Tyee Ha’wilth Satiixub standing in support, along with Pacheedaht and Huu-ay-aht elected chiefs. some of the activists took part in the Fairy Creek blockade. “The ones here this year were messy and disorganized,” said Tate. He said that the RCMP reported to him that they found several containers of ﬂammable ﬂuids including gasoline. In a statement from C’awak %quin Forestry dated June 30th, the illegal encampment was built without free and prior consent of both hereditary and elected leaders of Ditidaht First Nation. “Yesterday’s enforcement comes following several unsuccessful, but peaceful, attempts by Ditidaht to have the illegal camp removed, including a meeting with elected and hereditary Indigenous leaders from the Ditidaht, Huu-ay-aht and Pacheedaht First Nations on June 23,” they wrote. By not obtaining consent from the First
Nation for the camp, the activists violated both traditional Indigenous and provincial laws. “It also infringes on the legal decision-making authority and sovereignty of the three Nations within their Ḥaḥahuułi (Traditional Territories) and TFL 44, and the rights granted to C̕awak ʔqin Forestry under provincial tenures and permits,” stated C’awak %quin Forestry. They went to say that interfering with the lawful use of property is a criminal oﬀense and impeding access to the forestry roads is a violation of the courtordered injunction granted by the courts regarding forest tenure in the area. C̕awak ʔqin Forestry (Tsawak-qin Forestry Limited Partnership), formally known as TFL 44 Limited Partnership, operates TFL 44 and is a limited partnership between Huumiis Ventures Limited Partnership (wholly owned by Huu-ay-
aht First Nations) and Western Forest Products Inc. TFL 44 covers roughly 137,000 hectares of land on west central Vancouver Island in the vicinity of Alberni Inlet and Great Central Lake. Chief Tate says that everyone he’s spoken to in his community is happy that the encampment has been removed. Had it stayed, it would have the second year that his people were denied access to their yellow cedar bark, medicinal plants and hunting grounds. Tate recognizes that people have a right to peacefully protest but if they are thinking of demonstrating in Ditidaht territory in the future, they need to speak to the territory’s leaders ﬁrst, to ask for permission. “We may say yes, or maybe we’ll say no, but they have to come see us, we won’t be disrespected,” said Tate.
Hupačasath First Nation draws liquid maple gold By Melissa Renwick Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Port Alberni, BC - Hupačasath First Nation on Vancouver Island’s west coast is creating a unique ﬂavour of maple syrup using sap from bigleaf maple trees. As part of the Indigenous Bioeconomy Program, the nation is beneﬁtting from nearly $112,000 in funding from the province towards the business venture, named Kleekhoot Gold. The funding is designed to support Indigenous partners lead the development of a forest bioeconomy, according to the Ministry of Forests. “Bigleaf maple has always been used by Hupačasath for its wood, for smoking ﬁsh and game,” said Hupačasath First Nation Elected Chief Brandy Lauder. “Some of our members now also use the bigleaf maple syrup to glaze the ﬁsh and meat before smoking it with the maple wood.” Collecting syrup from bigleaf maple trees is a more complex production process, which makes the syrup up to four time more expensive than the price of standard maple syrup sold in supermarket, said Kleekhoot Gold.
“To put the colossal size of the eastern sugar maple industry in perspective,” Kleekhoot Gold said around 17.4 million gallons of maple syrup was produced from sugar maples in eastern North America in 2019. Meanwhile, the combined bigleaf syrup production amounted to less than 500 gallons. The syrup is one of the rarest tree syrups available in today’s organic syrup market, according to Kleekhoot Gold. “Sap from west coast bigleaf maple trees is only one per cent sugar,” said Kleekhoot Gold. This means that 100 litres of sap might deliver one litre of syrup, Kleekhoot Gold added. The syrup has a distinct taste that can vary from notes of butterscotch and vanilla, to a more robust molasses ﬂavor near the end of season. Named after one of the nation’s ancestral village sites, Kleekhoot is home to an abundance of bigleaf maple trees that are unique to B.C.’s west coast. Located on the “conﬂuences of the Sproat and Stamp rivers”, Lauder said the village site was inhabited by one of the original tribes of Hupačasath Kleekhootaht, and continues
to be occupied today. Lauder said Kleekhoot Gold has provided employment opportunities for youth and brought the nation’s members back into the forests with a “renewed sense that there is more to the forest than just logging opportunities.” Hupačasath values developing businesses that “contribute to a forest bioeconomy by making use of untapped natural resources in a sustainable way that protects forests and creates jobs,” said Kleekhoot Gold. “Riparian areas, such a rivers and streams, are usually oﬀ limits to logging operations,” the company added. “Conveniently, these areas are where maple trees grow best. The winter harvest of maple sap allows for unique job opportunities in the months that traditionally have less seasonal work available.” Since it was launched in 2015, Hupačasath has invested over $300,000 into the business to bring the product to market. The syrop is sold at the Hupačasath’s band oﬃce, as well as select local events. Josie Osborne, MLA for Mid IslandPaciﬁc Rim, recently visited the produc-
tion facility and said Kleekhoot Gold “is a great example of how innovative forest management can help strengthen communities.” “People in the Alberni Valley take so much pride in locally grown food, and bigleaf maple syrup makes a sweet addition to our local food landscape,” she said in a release. Since 2019, the Indigenous Forest Bioeconomy Program has delivered 41 projects in partnership with 24 Indigenous communities and organizations across the province. These include essential oils being extracted from conifer needles and textiles made from bark. Around $1,126,000 was used to fund the program in 2021 and 2022, and an additional $3.9 million is being contributed this year to move projects to commercialization faster, according to the ministry. “By locally producing maple syrup from the abundance of bigleaf maple trees unique to the west coast of British Columbia, the Hupačasath First Nation is showing us how we can all beneﬁt from our forests in new and sustainable ways,” said Doug Routley, parliamentary secretary for forests.
July 21 2022—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 9
Nuchatlaht trial awaits ﬁnal arguments in the fall Two-month presentation of evidence shows a ‘discrepancy of resources’ between First Nation and the province By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor The trial over the Nuchatlaht’s claim of Aboriginal title to the northern part of Nootka Island is currently on a summer break, as the First Nation’s legal team and the province’s lawyers prepare their ﬁnal arguments. Over 40 days in court that began March 21, the evidence portion of the trial ended May 26. Both sides are now reviewing facts presented to Justice Elliot Myers over the two months, assembling their ﬁnal arguments for the B.C. Supreme Court. Owen Stewart from the Nuchatlaht’s legal team is conﬁdent in how things have progressed so far. “I think the trial went very well for us,” he said. Originally ﬁled to the court at the beginning of 2017, the Aboriginal title case entails the Nuchatlaht seeking legal recognition - under B.C. and Canadian law – of 20,000 hectares of territory across the northern part of Nootka Island, which is located west of Vancouver Island’s north. The case is considered an important milestone in how British Columbia considers an Indigenous community’s ownership over traditional territory, and a decision on the small First Nation’s claim could pave the way for others seeking legal recognition. The Nuchatlaht case relies heavily on a decision upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada in 2014, in which the Tsilhqot’in were granted Aboriginal title over 1,700 square kilometres in central B.C. – despite being considered a “semi-nomadic” group of tribes. The Tsilhqot’in case was in court for almost 400 days, making it one of the most expensive trials in B.C. history. But with the precedent set, the Nuchatlaht case has so far lasted a fraction of the time. “Everybody knows that Aboriginal title litigation is incredibly expensive,” said Stewart. “We made a number of tactical decisions to try and make the trial as thorough as possible in as least amount of time as possible.” The Tsilhqot’in decision determined that Aboriginal title requires a nation’s proof of exclusively and continually occupying an area before the British Crown asserted sovereignty. In the Nuchatlaht’s case, the legal test is proving occupation of Nootka Island back to 1846, a time when the First Nation’s legal team presented the existence of a confederacy of at least half a dozen tribes with a governance structure in place. Thanks to extensive records from Brit-
Photo by Eric Plummer
Nuchatlaht supporters drum in front of the B.C. Supreme Court on March 21, the ﬁrst day of the First Nation’s trial over its Aboriginal title to northern Nootka Island. ish Columbia’s fur trading era, the First Nation’s legal team was able to trace a genealogical line from the current Tyee Ha’wilth Jordan Michael to Chief Tarrason, who led the Nuchatlaht in the late 1700s. But the province has disputed the assertion that the Nuchatlaht are the only First Nation to own and occupy the territory for the last century and a half. “The modern-day Nuchatlaht does not presumptively gain Aboriginal title from other local groups,” said Jeﬀ Echols from the provincial government’s legal team during opening arguments in March. “You can’t say that the groups in 1846, or the date of sovereignty, were necessarily Nuchatlaht.” “It’s something that the province is continuing to push,” commented Stewart. In proving continued occupation of the claim area, both sides relied heavily on archaeological studies. For the Nuchatlaht this included hundreds of pages from expert witness Jacob Earnshaw that detailed the presence of culturally modiﬁed trees throughout northern Nootka Island. But the province also provided expert witnesses, including three who were contracted just to dispute an archaeologist who was going to testify for the Nuchat-
laht. “We dropped one of our expert witnesses, Chelsea Armstrong, because the province had called three witnesses to respond to her one report, which could have added another at least two weeks, maybe four weeks to the trial,” said Stewart, noting that the provincial government’s approach was to dispute everything that the First Nation’s team presented. “I think the province’s plan was to challenge the line that we draw on a map, and say ‘This line isn’t accurate’.” This approach indicated a “discrepancy of resources” between the two sides, said Stewart. With less than 170 registered members, the case has already cost the Nuchatlaht considerably, making additional weeks a concerning drain on the First Nation’s ﬁnances. Two thirds of the trial have so far been taken up by the provincial government’s presentations. “The province has these resources to ask everyone and everything to write an expert report,” added Stewart. Northern Nootka Island is currently
Crown land, managed through a forestry tenure held by Western Forest Products. The forestry company was originally a defendant in the case, but after the ﬁrst week of the trial WFP stepped out when it was determined its participation was no longer relevant. During its opening argument in March Western questioned how forestry obligations, such as replanting and de-commissioning logging roads, will be met if the Nuchatlaht gain legal ownership of the land. “The spectre that they raised isn’t an issue for this trial,” said Stewart, adding that it was found that the province can designate other areas in the region for WFP to log. “They would be able to access other areas of Crown timber, so it wouldn’t impact their annual allowable cut.” The trial is scheduled to be back in court Sept. 26 for ﬁnal arguments to be presented. This is expected to last three weeks in Vancouver.
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Page 10— Ha-Shilth-Sa— July 21, 2022 By Melissa Renwick Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Opitsaht, BC - As Eddie Frank travelled to Opitsaht from Toﬁno in a water taxi, he openly spoke over the phone sharing his excitement about witnessing the raising of a totem pole for the ﬁrst time. The 71-year-old had seen it done in videos before, but never in person – and never in Nuu-chah-nulth territory. “It means a lot to me,” he said. “I don’t see too many totem poles on the west coast.” Around two years ago, Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation master carver Joe Martin was asked to carve a totem pole by his brother, Nookmis. As the head of their family’s house of Ewos, Nookmis wanted it to be carved in remembrance of “the pandemic we all faced together,” Martin said. With the help of various local artists, including his daughter, Gisele, Gordon Dick, Patrick Amos, Robin Rorick, Ken Easton, Robinson Cook and Nookmis, Martin began carving the totem pole on June 18, 2021. Over a year later, it was transported from the Naa’Waya’Sum Coastal Indigenous Gardens (formerly the Toﬁno Botanical Gardens) in Toﬁno, to Tla-o-qui-aht’s ancient village site on Meares Island in preparation for its raising on July 1. It was not a small task and required a truck, barge, crane and the strength of around 40 people to move the 32-foot-tall totem pole to its rightful place. Dick described it as another step in bringing it to life. “It’s exciting to see all the support that’s pulling the community together,” he said. Before European settlers arrived on the west coast in the late-1700s, most families
“It’s exciting to see all the support that’s pulling the community together” ~ Gordon Dick from Tla-o-qui-aht had four totem poles displayed in front of their homes. When a woman married into a tribe, a totem pole was raised to depict her family’s history. It would stand next to three others: one for her husband’s history, another for his parent’s history and the fourth for his grandparent’s history, according to teachings given to Martin by his late-father. In 1792, American trader Captain Robert Gray set ﬁre to around 200 homes in Opitsaht, along with all the totem poles that stood beside them. Around a century later, many of the totem poles that had been replaced were removed from Opitsaht when the Indian Act was passed by the federal government in 1876.
On Canada Day, a new totem po
Around 100 people poured onto Meares Island on July 1 to witness the raising of Hinaaq
Photos by Melissa Renwick
The middle rope was pulled by a long line of women, in Opitsaht on Meares Island, on July 1. The act aimed to eliminate Indigenous culture, with the goal of assimilating First Nations, Inuit, and Métis into a Eurocentric society, and provided a framework for government oﬃcials and ethnologists to remove totem poles. Some of the only remaining relics carved in the traditional Tla-o-qui-aht style can be found at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. Up until now, only two totem poles from 1989 and 1993 remained in Opitsaht – both of which have succumbed to the harsh west coast elements and have begun to rot. Martin had his hand in carving both of them, which were raised by his father and stand in front of the land of his childhood home. When the new pole was transferred from Toﬁno to Opitsaht on June 29, it was placed in between the two existing structures. Named after one of Martin’s ancient relatives who was a “truth-speaking orator,” the new totem pole is called Hinaaqsuuqʷa. Around 100 people poured onto Meares Island on July 1 to witness the raising of Hinaaqsuuqʷa. Using three ropes tied around the front and one secured to the back, Martin directed those gathered to help push and pull the totem pole upright. Once raised, men raced
to shovel and pack soil into the hole where the totem stood to secure it into place. Overwhelmed with emotion, Nookmis said he didn’t have the words to describe how he felt. In many ways, he said, the totem pole was carrying on his father’s legacy. Since the artists began carving Hinaaqsuuqʷa, it has garnered a lot of public attention and was even featured in the latest issue of National Geographic
Magazine. By carving the totem pole in a public space at the Naa’Waya’Sum Coastal Indigenous Gardens, Martin said people were able to drop by and ask questions.
July 21 2022—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 11
totem pole is raised in Opitsaht
ness the raising of Hinaaqsuuq#a, named after a past Tla-o-qui-aht ‘truth-speaking orator’
os by Melissa Renwick
The totem pole is supported by a group of men from behind, as it is pulled up with three ropes.
“It’s something that hasn’t been public before” ~ Francis Martin “It’s something that hasn’t been public before,” he said. “People would carve and [a totem pole] would just appear.” Martin said he wanted to involve as many people as he could to make it accessible in hopes of inspiring others to carve totem poles of their own. Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Natural Resources Manager Saya Masso lives in the house adjacent to where the totem pole was raised. “It’s an honour to see the revival of our culture and the beautiﬁcation of our village,” he said. “Seeing our artisans do this and be proud and lift up our village – it’s just an honour.” Masso’s mother, Barb Audet, echoed his sentiment and said she hopes to see more families place totem poles in front
of their homes. By practicing their culture, Audet said it teaches children who they are and instils them with pride. “I hope that our children will be able to look at this and be proud of it,” she said. Four skulls were carved into the lower mid-section of the totem pole by Gisele. One represents the most recent COVID-19 pandemic, another symbolizes past pandemics Nuu-chah-nulth peoples have endured, including smallpox and tuberculosis, the third skull honours all the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, and the ﬁnal skull recognizes all the children who never returned home from residential school, explained Martin. “Those children never made it back home – and that’s a fact,” said Martin. “Those are stories that our ancestors have told us for a long, long time and no one believed it for many years until they started ﬁnding these graves at residential schools.” As a residential school survivor, Frank said the raising of the pole was “emotional.” “I feel the need to support those that survived and those that didn’t survive,” he said. “I wouldn’t miss this day for anything
in the world.” The raising of the totem pole coincided with Canada Day. It served as a reminder to Frank that the government has not recognized National Indigenous Peoples Day as a statutory holiday. An apology isn’t good enough, he said.
Francis Martin unties the rope for the totem pole’s unveiling. “They’ve got to start acknowledging who we are and whose land they took away,” Frank said. Indigenous people were so “overwhelmingly assimilated and colonized,” he said. It’s a legacy that continues to haunt Frank, who has spent his life living with painful memories from his time attending the Alberni Indian Residential School in Port Alberni. “I’m glad Joe [Martin] is doing this to make us realize our culture is still very much alive,” he said. “That’s why I’m here.”
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UVic launches MBA in Indigenous Reconciliation Degree aims to integrate Indigenous values into the social services sector in order to train tomorrow’s leaders By Melissa Renwick Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Victoria, BC - The University of Victoria (UVic) is set to deliver the world’s ﬁrst custom master’s degree in business administration in Indigenous Reconciliation. It’s aimed to build capacity, implement cultural safety, and support succession planning in the community social services sector. Developed in partnership with the BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres (BCAAFC), the MBA was unveiled on July 8. It was revealed as part of an $8.4-million funding announcement by the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, that will “create an action framework to integrate reconciliation into community social services,” according to a release from UVic. “We are honoured by the invitation to collaborate on this unique program,” said Saul Klein, dean of the Gustavson School of Business. “This MBA will equip leaders in social services, government and non-proﬁts to meaningfully advance reconciliation in their organizations and across our broader society.” Leslie Varley, executive director of the BCAAFC, said the social services sector made a commitment to reconciliation as their “top priority” and oﬀered her the opportunity to identify some actions that would “start us down that path towards reconciliation.” After the province invited Varley to submit a proposal to help build and maintain capacity within the social services sector, she motioned to create an “Indigenousfocused not-for-proﬁt-focused master’s in business administration for Indigenous leaders.” It was presented to six diﬀerent universities and UVic ultimately came out in front because of the work they’ve been doing towards reconciliation “on their own accord,” said Varley. In 2021, the university appointed Qwul’sih’yah’maht Robina Thomas as UVic’s ﬁrst Indigenous vice-president. In her position, Thomas is providing “strategic leadership and direction in all aspects of our work towards decolonization and self-determination of Indigenous
Photo supplied by UVic Photo Services
The University of Victoria’s First Peoples House, located at the heart of the campus, is a social, cultural and academic centre for Indigenous students, serving as a welcoming place that encourages community building. peoples,” read a release from UVic. “That is action that speaks our language,” said Varley. Thomas said the university reﬂects on the “injustices created by colonial policies and practices, and is committed to oﬀering programs that meet the needs of the local Indigenous communities.” The new MBA program follows others, such as UVic’s Indigenous language revitalization education and the university’s joint degree in Indigenous legal orders and Canadian common law. By customizing the MBA so that it’s speciﬁc to the non-proﬁt and Indigenous sectors, Varley said it “addresses our successor succession planning needs and develops our future Indigenous leaders.” Many executive directors who work at the 25 diﬀerent friendship centres across the province are preparing to retire, including Varley. Through succession planning, Varley said they hope to leave the sector in a “better position” than when they arrived. There are more than 29,000 non-proﬁt organizations in B.C. that employ more than 86,000 people, contributing $6.7 billion to the province’s economy. It’s bigger than the construction industry, said Varley. And yet, Varley said Indigenous organi-
zations get 10 per cent less funding than the mainstream social service organizations. “Anybody who’s Indigenous knows that we seem to need to be doubly qualiﬁed to be considered legitimate,” she said. “Our work is highly scrutinized by funders, and by the public – and we seem to need to jump through a lot more hoops than any regular funder.” It’s with this in mind that Varley said she designed the MBA program. The program follows a “closed-enrolment model,” meaning students in the program will be selected by a committee formed of executive directors working in the not-for-proﬁt sector, said Varley. Anyone who’s working in an Indigenous not-for-proﬁt organization is encouraged to apply. Priority will be given to Indigenous applicants, as well as people of colour. There is currently funding available for two cohorts, for a total of 50 seats. The ﬁrst cohort is slated to start in February 2023, said Varley. The MBA is open to applicants who may not have the prerequisites universities often require, she said. “They don’t have to have done their colonial academic push-ups in order to get into this MBA program,” Varley said.
A separate advisory committee consisting of executive directors within the sector is being formed to address what is needed within each of the courses, said Varley. “Drawing from the non-proﬁt, socialservice and government sectors, cohorts will be intentionally designed to include Indigenous and non-Indigenous participants,” according to a release from UVic. Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council President Judith Sayers said the MBA sounds like a “good initiative” for the BCAAFC, “but the title is misleading.” “If I was going to design an MBA on reconciliation, I would want to open it to everyone,” Sayers said. “And not just [make] an exclusive degree for one organization ... the optics are really bad.” Sayers said she isn’t opposed to First Nations organizations approaching UVic to help them “design a program speciﬁcally for their organization.” “But if they’re really wanting to do an MBA on reconciliation, I thought it would be better to open it to everybody,” she said. Varley said B.C.’s wider community social services sector made it clear that funding going into the sector needed to prioritize reconciliation, which is where the “term” came from. “These are foundational grounding steps that will take us along that path towards reconciliation,” she said. “This is certainly not reconciling, but I don’t know how we get to reconciliation without putting out those steps to get us there.” Brent Mainprize, teaching professor at UVic’s Gustavson School of Business, said that “reconciliation is a lens for everyone to look through.” “This program brings together Indigenous and non-Indigenous professionals to learn from each other about their cultures and build a shared understanding of and commitment to reconciliation that can be designed in the classroom and immediately put into action in students’ organizations and communities,” he said in a release. The MBA program will also draw on funding from BCAAFC and Indspire, a national charity that invests in Indigenous education. “This is a big step,” said Varley. “[It’s] something to celebrate.”
Phrase of the week: %iih=miš%ukniš C’ixwaatin %aawatin c^imxštu>%up%iš +iimaqsti naac^iic^i>a>qun Pronounced ‘Eehr miss nook nish, cii ixh waa tin, aww waa tin, jim ahh stood up ish, alth tlee maq stew, naa qee chilh alt goon’, it means, ‘We really treasure our eagles, when we see them, they calm our spirits and feelings.’ Supplied by ciisma.
Illustration by Ivy Cargill-Martin
July 21 2022—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 13
Fish farmer completes land-based hatchery expansion New facility enables Grieg Seafood to grow salmon on land for a longer period, relying less on its ocean pens By Melissa Renwick Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Gold River, BC - The ﬁrst transfer of juvenile Atlantic salmon has been made to Grieg Seafood BC Ltd.’s Gold River Hatchery Expansion Project, which was completed this spring. Grieg Seafood BC is part of the Norwegian multinational Grieg Group and operates 22 ﬁsh farms within the province. As one of the largest salmon farming companies in B.C., Grieg is aiming to harvest 22,000 metric tonnes of ﬁsh in 2022. The new facility will nearly double the smolt capacity at Grieg’s hatchery and the advanced technology will allow the company to explore retaining ﬁsh in the hatchery for longer. Ultimately, this would reduce the amount of time the ﬁsh spend in the ocean, said Rocky Boschman, Grieg Seafood BC Ltd. managing director. Smolts, which are young salmon that have reached a development stage in which they would typically be ready to migrate to the sea for the ﬁrst time, are normally transferred from the hatchery into the ocean when they weigh 100 grams, according to Grieg. By holding them back in the hatchery for an additional period of time, the ﬁsh are able to grow up to a kilogram before being transferred into the ocean. This can reduce their time spent in the sea by up to one year, which also minimizes their interactions with wild populations, said Scott Peterson, Grieg Seafood BC Ltd. freshwater director. “By holding ﬁsh at the hatchery for an extended period of time and allowing them to develop beyond the previous transfer size of 100 grams, we see immediate beneﬁts for the farmed populations,” said Peterson. “The larger smolts are better able to adapt to the transfer to ocean conditions, have less mortality overall and show higher resistance
Photo supplied by Grieg Seafood
A new land-based facility in Gold River will enable Grieg Seafood to grow its annual production by 400 tonnes, without increasing the number of ﬁsh being farmed in the ocean. to naturally occurring pathogens and parasites in the ocean.” Amy Jonsson, Grieg Seafood BC’s communications director, said the company has not yet started growing salmon past the smolt size in the new facility. “We are looking at potential post-smolt production, as well as increased use of our semi-closed containment systems,” she said. “Both of which will help to reduce interactions with wild populations.” The recirculating aquaculture system reuses over 98 per cent of the water in the facility, said Jonsson. This new facility has six large tanks that can each hold 326,000 litres of water. These tanks provide the capacity required for larger smolt sizes as their oxygen, feed and space requirements grow. “We can only enter as many ﬁsh into the ocean as we have capacity of though our licenses,” said Jonsson. “But the expansion will allow us to reduce our dependency to purchase smolts from external
suppliers, giving us more in-house smolt capacity to meet our overall production goals.” By increasing their capacity, Jonsson said Grieg is able to grow larger smolts “supporting us in post-smolt production trials.” The BC Salmon Farmers Association said the expansion is an “excellent example of the technological advancements the sector is investing in.” “These types of innovations will be key in transition discussions with all levels of government, including First Nations whose territories we operate in to develop a responsible transition plan for the B.C. salmon farming sector,” the association wrote in an email. On June 22, Fisheries Minister Joyce Murray announced the next steps to transition away from open-net pen salmon faming in British Columbia. The government said it would share a draft framework for the transition in the coming
weeks, and that a ﬁnal plan is expected by spring 2023. Murray has been mandated to pull open net pen salmon farms out of coastal B.C. waters by 2025. “Wild Paciﬁc salmon are an iconic keystone species in British Columbia that are facing historic threats,” Murray said in a release. “Our government is taking action to protect and return wild salmon to abundance and ensure Canada is a global leader in sustainable aquaculture … we recognize the urgent need for ecologically sustainable aquaculture technology, and we are prepared to work with all partners in a way that is transparent and provides stability in this transition.” The Union of BC Indian Chiefs President Grand Chief Stewart Phillip responded to the news by stating, “the vast majority of First Nations in B.C. oppose open net pen ﬁsh farming due to the detrimental eﬀects it has on wild salmon.” “Water is contaminated, poisoning salmon, shellﬁsh, and other marine life,” he wrote in the statement. “Such risks are completely unacceptable when wild salmon form a critical food source for approximately 90 per cent of First Nations across B.C.” At the peak of the Grieg’s hatchery expansion, 57 full-time jobs were created, and the majority of project contractors, workers, and materials used were sourced on Vancouver Island. The three-year long project builds on the original facility’s capacity to produce 500 metric tonnes of ﬁsh by adding an additional 400 metric tonnes. “As we become more comfortable with the technology, we will look to incorporate additional size trials into our production schedule,” said Peterson. “This is part of our overall company goal of transitioning more of our production onto land.”
Looking for...... Usma Nuu-chah-nulth Family and Child Services are looking for individual/s or families who are interested in caregiving for teens with high-risk behaviors. The Caregiver(s) would provide 24-hour care in a culturally safe and suppor!ve environment, responding eﬀec!vely to challenging behaviours. Compensa!on would be built around the speciﬁc needs of the youth and the Caregiver, and could include both direct services and ﬁnancial support to allow Caregivers to meet the needs of the youth. For more informa•on, please call Joni or Julia at 250-724-3232.
More stories and job postings at www.hashilthsa.com
Page 14— Ha-Shilth-Sa— July 21, 2022
High-speed internet coming to remote communities Designs are being made for sections west of Vancouver Island for a coast-wide ﬁbre-optic cable under the ocean By Karly Blats Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor The Province of B.C., along with other orders of government, has pledged to connect remote First Nations communities to high-speed internet in the next ﬁve years. According to the Ministry of Citizens’ Services, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of high-speed internet and cellular connectivity to conduct day-to-day business, learn at home, and connect with loved ones. B.C. has committed to connecting all households in the province with high-speed internet by 2027. “Bridging the digital divide is a critical part of British Columbia’s Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (DRIPA/Declaration Act) and our commitment to reconciliation and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP),” the ministry said in a statement. “Section 4.36 of the action plan under the province’s Declaration Act calls to ‘Ensure every First Nations community in B.C. has high-speed internet services’.” A subsea cable-laying ship began installing high-speed ﬁbre optics infrastructure along B.C.’s coast last year, and has recently completed cable-laying activities between Haida Gwaii and the B.C. coastal mainland. The ﬁbre consists of glass strands that are roughly the thickness of a human hair, which is protected by stainless steel rods. The Connected Coast project will bring high-speed internet to approximately 139 rural and remote communities, including 48 First Nations communities, along the B.C. coast from north of Prince Rupert to Haida Gwaii, south to Vancouver and Vancouver Island. The project is approximately 45 per cent complete, with more than 500 kilometres of ﬁbre-optic cable laid and 21 landing sites complete. “The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring all Canadians are connected, including those living in rural
Photo by Eric Plummer
Zeballos and other remote communities along the west coast of Vancouver Island are due to receive high-speed internet services in the coming years, thanks to an underwater cable-laying project currently being undertaken across the B.C. coast. and remote communities,” said Gudie connect all remaining underserved comthe StrongerBC initiative under B.C.’s Hutchings, federal Minister of Rural munities by 2027. Economic Recovery Plan to build back a Economic Development in a release. “We “The province continues to work with strong economy that focuses on inclusive are pleased to partner with the Province service providers to identify communities growth for communities. of British Columbia to bring high-speed that are without coverage and encourage “The digital divide has long been an internet to the Haida Gwaii region and service providers to submit funding apobstacle that hindered our communities ensure that every nook and cranny of plications to our programs to support the from taking full advantage of new opBritish Columbia is connected. We will expansion of connectivity infrastructure portunities to improve our well-being — continue to make investments like these to rural and Indigenous communities,” culturally, socially or environmentally,” to help achieve our national target of con- the ministry said. “The new Connecting said Christine Smith-Martin, CEO of necting 9 per cent of Canadians by 2026 Communities BC program will open for Coastal First Nations, in a release. “We and 100 per cent by 2030.” intake this summer from service providare thrilled to work with other governSeveral remote Nuu-chah-nulth commu- ers (including smaller rural providers) ments and industry to ﬁnally bridge that nities, like Kyuquot, Ehatis, Hot Springs and will close when the $830 million divide by bringing high-speed internet Cove, Ahousaht, Hesquiaht and Tla-ofunding amount is fully allocated.” to our communities. The Connected qui-aht reserves are still waiting for the In March 2022, the province partnered Coast will spur innovation and create ﬁbre-optic infrastructure to be completed with the federal government to provide as new opportunities for local businesses to so they too can beneﬁt from high-speed much as $830 million to expand highthrive in the digital economy and give our internet. speed internet services to the remaining young people a chance to succeed while The ministry said the sections of the rural and First Nations communities that staying close to home.” project for west of Vancouver Island are are underserved. currently in design phase and they plan to The province’s investment is part of
Funds secured for completion of Ucluelet-Toﬁno trail By Melissa Renwick Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Long Beach, BC - The ﬁnal leg of the 40-kilometre multi-use pathway connecting Toﬁno and Ucluelet is one step closer to being complete, following new funding support from Island Coastal Economic Trust’s Capital and Innovation Program. The funding will be used towards construction of the remaining 1.2-kilometre stretch of the pathway between Ucluelet and the Paciﬁc Rim National Park. Once completed, visitors will have access to one continuous trail that connects Ucluelet, Millstream, Yuułuʔiłʔatḥa and Tla-oqui-aht lands, as well as the Long Beach Airport and Toﬁno. Island Coastal Economic Trust was founded by the province of British Columbia in 2006 and has approved more than $55 million towards economic development initiatives. The trust is contributing $200,000 towards the project’s total estimated cost of $1.54 million. Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District (ACRD) Lands and Resources Coordinator Michael McGregor said the new
funding means two-thirds of the required ﬁnances has been acquired. As the ACRD continues to work towards locking-in the additional ﬁnancing, McGregor said there’s no conﬁrmed start-date for construction, but their aim is to have the pathway complete by next summer. “The project is shovel-ready,” he said. “We’re pretty optimistic that we’re going to be able to make this a reality in the coming future.” McGregor said they intend to partner with Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ on the project, “keeping in the same line” with the work Parks Canada did to engage Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ and Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation in the construction of ʔapsčiik t̓ašii. Having signage in partnership with First Nations is something the ACRD is “eager to do within all parks,” he said. Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ President Charles McCarthy said the nation “appreciated collaborating and participating with the Paciﬁc Rim National Park Reserve and Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation for the opening celebration of the trail completion to date.” McCarthy added that Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ looks forward to oﬃcially connecting the
Photo by Melissa Renwick
Construction for the new ʔapsčiik t̓ašii continues in front of Long Beach, within the Paciﬁc Rim National Park Reserve, near Toﬁno, on August 25, 2020 responsible for language programming at path through the completion of the ﬁnal the Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ Government.” 1.2-kilometre stretch with the ACRD. ̓ Trail improvements will mitigate safety “The ʔapsčiik tašii welcomes everyone concerns by creating a wider shoulder to share the region through these trails, experiencing the traditional territory area for pedestrians, runners and cyclists between our two nations,” McCarthy to safely travel alongside the roadway. “It’s going to allow local communities said. “With this, it is important to and tourists to experience the west coast maintain the Nuu-chah-nulth language in a whole new way,” said McGregor. in the displayed signage, which we appreciate will be completed with “And create a better connection between all the communities.” the inclusion of the elders, and those
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Bamﬁeld brings high school grades to community In the next school year Bamﬁeld and Anacla students can pursue secondary studies at the village’s local facility By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Bamﬁeld, BC - As a sign of Bamﬁeld and Anacla’s continued growth, the area’s community school is preparing to take in high school grades in the fall, oﬀering local teenagers the opportunity to pursue their secondary education at home. After sitting at under 100 residents for years, the Huu-ay-aht village of Anacla has grown to over 150 residents since 2020, with more homes being built as the First Nation encourages its members to return to their ancestral territory. With a population of approximately 200, Bamﬁeld is also preparing for growth, the anticipated outcome of extensive improvements to the rugged 80-kilometre road from Port Alberni. Work on Bamﬁeld Main is underway, with a surface chip-sealing and partial paving of the route expected to be complete by the fall of 2023. Huu-ay-aht Councillor Edward Johnson said the First Nation approached School District 70 over the last year with the needs of a growing village. “We have some parents in community and their children want to move back home,” he said. Previously high-school-age students from Anacla and Bamﬁeld had to leave the remote communities to attend classes in Port Alberni or elsewhere, boarding with another family for the school year. Johnson did this as a teenager after his parents moved back to Anacla, making the tough decision to attend high school
Photo by Eric Plummer
Teenagers in Bamﬁeld and the nearby Huu-ay-aht village of Anacla will soon have the option of staying home for high school, with the expected expansion of the remote community’s school. in Nanaimo. family still and have their education.” “There was a part of me that wanted to But during the COVID-19 pandemic stay in community, but then the organized many students came back to Anacla to sports is what I wanted to participate in,” pursue online learning, said Dave Maher, he said. “If you’re able to board out in principal of the Bamﬁeld Community a good house with good teachings, then School. The small school also saw its you’re set. But it you’re not, I think that’s numbers grow over the last year to 29. where families end up picking up and “The student enrolment of the school moving right out of community so that was steadily increasing all year long, and they can have their children connected to there was a number of secondary-aged
students, due to COVID and other family reasons, [who] were returning to Anacla,” he said. “That ultimately made a very strong case to be able to fund a secondary teacher at Bamﬁeld Community School.” Now the school is expecting around 45 students in September, an enrollment that will enable a third teacher to be hired. “We have an incredible secondary teacher coming to us, a Bamﬁeld local,” added Maher. “We’ve very excited to have her back in the building to compliment a very experienced head teacher, who has 20 years of teaching experience and who will spend the rest of her teaching career leading Bamﬁeld Community School, as well as a very passionate and capable primary teacher.” Some classes, such as Grade 11 chemistry, physics, pre-calculus math and Grade 12 anatomy-physiology, will be oﬀered online through the Eight Avenue Learning Centre in Port Alberni, where Maher is also the principal. Other opportunities are expected through a partnership with the Bamﬁeld Marine Sciences Centre. Despite the signiﬁcant growth in enrolment, space is not a concern at the community school, which has room for three classrooms, a computer lab, an art room and gymnasium. “There’s some great space,” said Maher, noting that the community school went up to Grade 10 in the past. “In it’s heyday, when economic times were very diﬀerent, there was up to 85, 90 students in the school at most.”
Indigenous grad requirements get positive feedback By James Paracy Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor The results for a survey done by R.A. Malatest & Associates in collaboration with the First Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC) on Indigenous-focused graduation requirements have been released to the public. A total of 5,657 people throughout B.C. completed the survey, with 58 per cent being parents or caregivers of students and 25 per cent being teachers. Input on the survey was collected from March 7 to April 22. It received generally positive feedback based on a few key areas: implementation timeline, teacher qualiﬁcations and training, funding and resources, as well as broadening the considerations for eligible course oﬀerings. In terms of negative feedback, respondents were asked to identify one or more classes they didn’t feel should be eligible for credit towards post-secondary graduation. According to the survey, ‘English First Peoples – Spoken Language 10’ received the most negative feedback, with the most common concern being that the class might not be practical or useful in comparison to other available courses. The implementation plan for Indigenous-focused grad requirements is expected to be announced later this summer. According to B.C. Teacher’s Federation’s Suzanne Hall, these requirements will be implemented gradually, and some of the pieces are already in place. “This year is sort of a feedback and planning year,” Hall said. There’s going to be consultation and planning that happens and the requirements is starting the year after that. There currently are a few courses that are widely taught in the
system already that we know would meet the criteria, like First Peoples 11 and First Peoples 12, as well as First Nations Studies.” As Hall outlines, the upcoming school year will present districts across the province with an opportunity to run Indigenous-focused courses on a trial basis before they become mandatory in the 2023-24 school year. Hall adds that, in addition to courses available across the province, classes with local cultural ties will come into play eventually while things develop. “Over the course of this next year, the idea will be to see what other courses can be developed and put into place,” explained Hall. “So, some of it will be local as well, some places across the province there would be the ability to put together a local course. There’s a halfway step there for locally developed courses where the school boards can approve a course and it has to meet certain criteria so that it then counts for the kids for credit. So, some of these new courses could be done through the board approval process. The Ministry of Education could work with BC teachers and create new courses as well.” Other than the courses already in place in B.C. schools, English First Peoples courses in writing, spoken language, new media, literacy studies and more will be among courses meeting the new graduation requirement. From the student perspective, the process to register for Indigenous-focused courses will be a familiar one. As they register for courses to earn enough credits towards graduation, an Indigenous-focused course will be a necessary requirement similar to how all students must complete a form of
Photo by Deborah Potter
First Nations students are welcomed to the Alberni District Secondary School in 2019. With one third of the school district identifying as Aboriginal, SD70 has worked to incorporate a curriculum that reﬂects its student population. sion of embedding Indigenous cultural English 12. On the teachers’ side of things, impleaspects and understanding history into menting Indigenous-focused courses is our coursework.” something they’ve wanted for a long B.C. teachers played a major part in the time. Hall says the B.C. Teacher’s survey’s feedback, with approximately 1,414 teachers providing their input. Federation is strongly in support of this kind of expansion in B.C. schools and In addition to Indigenous-focused courses being available and required in has lobbied alongside the First Nations Education Steering Committee for the post-secondary schools, the Ministry inclusion of Indigenous-focused courses of Education and Childcare is oﬀering at all levels. another option. Students will be able to “Social justice is a long-embedded vein earn external credits through courses such in the work of the BCTF,” she said. “So, as First Nations language proﬁciency, the BCTF as an organization has long First Nations drumming and/or dancing supported trying to educate our members and First Nations carving and traditional and the public about Indigenous issues, art. Although this external credit option working really hard to try to meet the for cultural learning is coming into place required calls to action from the Truth alongside B.C.’s Indigenous-focused and Reconciliation Commission. We have graduation requirements, it does operate long been advocating for the inclusion separately from the provincial graduation of, in all our coursework and in all the requirement. curriculum that we work on, the inclu-
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President’s message to Nuu-chah-nulth-aht Hello everyone. Hope everyone is enjoying summer and getting lots of ﬁsh to eat now and into the winter months. It’s a lot of work but well worth it throughout the year. Again, my deepest sympathies to families and communities who have had a loss of a loved one. Highlight of the past month of course was four days at the Assembly of First Nations Annual General Assembly in Vancouver. There were well over 2,000 delegates but only about 400 chiefs or proxies. The big issue was the national chief and whether she should be let go. RoseAnne Archibald, the national chief, has been advocating to have AFN looked into to ensure there were no bad ﬁnancial practices. It was one thing she promised as she ran for national chief. At the top of her agenda was to ensure there were no unfair employee pay outs of their contracts, and no issuing of contracts to individuals and companies that were not needed. There have been rumours of such unfair practices for years and it is time to clear up these rumours and ensure they are not happening and that we have transparent, accountable policies in place to make sure there are no corrupt practices. While a lot of time was spent on this issue over the four days, it was important to set in place a process to clean up or ﬁx the AFN. It is an important advocacy arm to follow up on important issues with our First Nations. In the end, the national chief is to continue in her role. The committee on constitutional reform is to look at the policies and make recommendations on ﬁnancial policies and if there should be a forensic audit. This work must be done by the December AFN special meeting. There are also provisions for a healing processes to be done within the executive. There is a need for that as the executive had suspended the national chief. They need to continue to work together in a good way to keep the organization fulﬁlling its mandate and resolutions of the chiefs. The executive and national chief are to cooperate with an ongoing independent investigation into allegations of staﬀ harassment by the national chief. It was a diﬃcult meeting and much was said, but in the end the motion to ﬁx the AFN was approved with the national chief carrying on her duties. A presentation was made regarding the ﬁnal agreement on children and families included the $20 billion for children who were in care and did not get supported properly, or under Jordan’s Principle. Details of how the money will be rolled out to individuals are still being reached and this is subject to approval by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal and the federal court. I have been doing work on climate change and take part in high-level discussions both provincially and federally on achieving net zero of greenhouse gas emissions. There is a lot of work yet to be done to ensure there is net zero emissions for 2050. More actions as opposed to talk. Action plans to get us away from oil and gas. The government of Ecuador entered into an agreement with Indigenous peoples that there would be no more expansion of oil and gas in the Amazon, which is a big step forward and I hope Canada will do its transition oﬀ of oil and gas. The federal government just rolled out over $870 million for disaster ﬁnancial assistance and climate resil-
iency. First Nations are unduly impacted by climate change and we must work on preparing ourselves for future disaster. The First Nations Summit had meetings as well. Congratulations to Hugh Braker who is now on the First Nations Task Group. A lot of work on UNDRIP is being done by the summit and Hugh will be very busy with this work. I continue my work on the Heritage Conservation Act. There are dialogues starting with First Nation communities all over B.C. on how we can improve protections for sacred sites, burial sites, and cultural artifacts. You will be asked how you want to participate in this dialogue, with your ﬁrst Nation. In person? Over Zoom? With your elders and cultural people? And you will be asked what your priorities are for heritage. We received money from the federal government to do work on what actions we want the federal government to take in areas of federal jurisdictions, such as ﬁsheries, climate change, marine protected areas, violence and racism, health, education and children and families. Your First Nations will be contacted by our facilitators that will be doing the work with you. This is important work as we need to tell the federal government what they need to do in each of our priority areas and also what laws we need changed. These discussions will be held in community or possibly on Zoom as COVID numbers continue to climb and the 7th wave of COVID has hit us. The work has begun on the old Alberni Indian Residential School site using ground penetrating radar to determine where there are unmarked graves of the children who did not make it home. These are diﬃcult times and I encourage you to seek any kind of counselling or cultural support from the NTC and Tseshaht Nation who have established people to help with any kind of triggers that may happen. While this is necessary work that needs to be done, it is hard work, hard on all of us. All Nuu-chah-nulth Nations had people who went to AIRS and there were over 100 First Nations who had their children at the school. We all need to support one another during these times especially when we know the results of the scans. Keep safe, keep up the good work in the communities where we are looking after our territories, managing our resources as much as we can, and providing services that are much needed in our communities. Cloy-e-iis, Judith Sayers
July 21 2022—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 17
Employment Opportunities Port Alberni Friendship Centre Volunteers Needed Need work experience? The Port Alberni Friendship Centre is looking for interested applicants for various positions. Call 250-723-8281
More job posting at www.hashilthsa.com
Page 18— Ha-Shilth-Sa— July 21, 2022
Photo by Melissa Renwick
The tide is low on Mackenzie Beach, in Toﬁno, on July 18. Drastic tidal changes in July have put more stress on sea life that live in the Paciﬁc’s intertidal areas.
Unusually low water levels impact intertidal species A close and full moon increased its gravitational pull on the ocean, resulting in an exaggerated tidal change By Melissa Renwick Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Toﬁno, BC - The west coast experienced some of its lowest tides of the year last week, leaving some intertidal animals vulnerable to the heat. A recent series of events lined up to trigger a “tidal phenomenon” that resulted in an exaggerated tidal range, according to Denny Sinnott, a DFO supervisor for Tides Current and Water Levels. First, the full moon on July 15 caused a gravitational pull on the ocean. Known as a spring tide, it occurs twice a month in conjunction with a new or full moon and contributes to the larger tidal range. The moon was also in perigee, meaning it was the closest to earth in its elliptical rotation around the earth, explained Sinnott. This, he said, added to the moon’s gravitational pull on the ocean. Tides were further impacted by the lunar nodal cycle, Sinnott added. In this 18.6-year cycle, the moon orbits around the earth on a 5-degree wobble. The wobble causes the lunar plane to align more closely to that of the earth’s, resulting in an even greater exaggeration of the tidal range, Sinnott said. Animals that live in intertidal environments are adapted to being dry and are able to withstand some temperature extremes caused by changing tides, explained DFO Biologist Sarah Dudas. But as global and sea water temperatures rise, Dudas said thermal stress is going to increase for these organisms. “If you have a really hot day, some of those animals are going to be on the edge of what they can tolerate,” she said. “It wouldn’t take much of a change to push them over into a temperature they can’t handle.” This was evident during last year’s unprecedented atmospheric heatwave,
which broke over a dozen temperature records across the province. The village of Lytton shattered Canada’s all-time heat record, reaching 49.6 C on June 30 – a day before a wildﬁre devastated much of the community. The heatwave, which was paired with a low tide, triggered a mass die-oﬀ of many diﬀerent species, according to University of British Columbia Professor Christopher Harley. Billions of animals perished from the heat, he said. “We always talk about climate change in a future tense,” said Harley. “But I think we can start talking about it in the present tense, and even the past tense.” The United Kingdom is currently facing similar temperature extremes, leading to ﬁres breaking out across London. “We’re in a period of major awakening of climate change eﬀects,” Harley said. “The weather is playing by diﬀerent rules and we don’t understand those rules very well.” To document how extensive the die-oﬀ was, Harley visited many diﬀerent sites along B.C.’s coast last summer and said it was like “walking in on some murder scene and just trying to tally the dead.” “I would get out of the car and could smell the shore,” he said. “I could smell the death before I got down there.” Animals live in diﬀerent layers within intertidal environments, Harley said. Without tides, he said many species wouldn’t exist because they’d get eaten or become overgrown. “The tides actually generate diversity,” he said. It’s largely the timing of the tides that impact animals living in intertidal zones. In places like Toﬁno, Harley said low tide in the summer is generally in the morning. Whereas places like Victoria and Vancouver experience low tide around noon – during the hottest time of
the day, he said. “We already have less diversity in places like Victoria than we do in places like Toﬁno,” said Harley. “And it’s going to become more stark as we start to lose additional species that can no longer survive in Victoria or Vancouver.” Ucluelet Aquarium Curator Laura Griﬃth-Cochrane said the low tides allowed her to access areas that are usually wave-impact zones, which are commonly too dangerous to explore. “It’s really important to know how everything is doing,” she said. “There’s a lot of intertidal species that can be good indicators of the overall ecosystem health.” As ocean water temperatures increase, Griﬃth-Cochrane said dissolved oxygen levels decrease – which has placed additional stress on many species. “It’s going to be harder for the species that we’re hoping to build back to [recover] with all of these extra stresses,” she said. Using a catch-and-release model, the Ucluelet Aquarium returns to the same sites every year to collect animals. This allows the aquarium to compare how easy it is to ﬁnd certain species compared to previous years, while observing which species are proliﬁc, versus those that are disappearing altogether. Griﬃth-Cochrane said the aquarium decided not to collect any squat lobster, side-stripe shrimp or spot prawns this summer. “We’ve seen temperatures trend towards hotter and hotter every summer and they really like to have more stable, cool temperatures,” she said. “There are some species we might not be able to display for a while.” During last week’s low tide event, Dudas was working on an intertidal biodiversity survey on Gabriola Island, where she noticed a lot of mussels had recently
died. Passersby told Dudas the beach didn’t normally smell so bad. “It smells bad because things have recently died,” she said. “They’re decomposing. That bad smell is coming from the mussel bed.” Darker coloured animals, such as mussels, are going to “bear the brunt of a really sunny, super-low tide more so than barnacles that are white,” she said. These changing conditions are generally happening at a faster rate than animals can evolve or adapt to, Dudas said. “We’re going to see more mortality as stress on these organisms increase,” she said. On June 20, the province announced a strategy supported by $513 million to ensure B.C. is prepared for climate impacts in the near future. It includes an expanded role for the BC Wildﬁre Service to provide enhanced wildﬁre prevention and an extreme heat preparedness plan to help keep communities safe during heat waves. Despite that, Harley said the public needs to continue applying pressure on the government to make the “big changes we need” to move from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. “We haven’t been super successful with that and it’s going to take a while,” he said. In the meantime, Harley said there are shorter-term solutions, such as local conservation, that can help keep species alive. “Taking these changes seriously and beginning to plan around temperature changes and extreme events is really important,” said Griﬃth-Cochrane. “We need to look at our industries and our practices and make changes so that we aren’t continuing to damage the environments that support us.”
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Gathering recognizes lifelong Yuquot resident More than 100 relatives and supporters ﬁlled Mowachaht/Muchalaht’s House of Unity to hold up Ray Williams By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Tsaxana, BC - While Canada struggles to come to terms with its colonial past, the life of Ray Williams serves as a critical reminder of the old world that rapid development took for granted – and what teachings should be preserved for future generations. As the patriarch of the last family to remain in Yuquot, the ancestral home of the Mowachaht tribe on the southern tip of Nootka Island, the Williams family still hunt and eat seal. Ray recalls the trick of using the ocean’s horizon line as a guide while leveling a window frame on his house. When aligned correctly from the certain spots on the ocean, mountain peaks serve as markers for the best ﬁshing spots in the area, an old trick Ray learned from his forefathers. “The landmark is marked by the top of a mountain,” he said while sitting in his home one rainy morning in May. “My boys know it now…we still use it today.” In the interest of moving the community to an area less isolated from the rest of the province, in the late 1960s the government began relocating members of the Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation from Yuquot to a reserve on the shore of Muchalaht Inlet, south of Gold River. The Nootka Island community gradually thinned out as families took oﬀers to move to a more modern environment. But Ray’s family never left, eventually becoming the last to reside in the village where archaeological excavations have uncovered evidence showing 4,300 years of human habitation.
Ray Williams As a small child Ray was taken from Yuquot to attend Christie Indian Residential School. As an adult he wasn’t willing to trust what the Canadian government was proposing, even if the repeated oﬀers eventually entailed a new house for his family. “Oh, my goodness, they were tempting,” said Ray of the oﬀers to relocate. “I said no again. ‘No, I want to stay here.’” Now at the age of 80 with failing eyesight, Ray sees more support from people knowing that he will never leave Yuquot, recognizing the importance of his family remaining in the village amid the transformational changes of the last 50 years. “My uncle is the last sibling of all his brothers and sisters,” said Ray’s niece, Marge Amos. “The teachings and the values aren’t gone. It’s up to us to carry them forward.” After more than two years of living under the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic, family members believed it was time to celebrate the life Ray has lived. On Saturday, July 16 a gathering was
Photos by Eric Plummer
Dancers (above) ﬁlled the ﬂoor before a crowd in the Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation’s House of Unity in Tsaxana on July 16. More than 100 were fed at the event, which honoured the life of Ray Williams, who is the youngest of 15 siblings. held in Tsaxana, ﬁlling the Mowachaht/ Muchalaht First Nation’s House of Unity. “It was a total surprise. Nobody was to leak it out to him,” said Amos, mentioning a story Ray’s son told him related to the upcoming occasion of Pope Francis visiting Canada. “Darrell told him that it has to do with the Pope.” After being brought down Muchalaht Inlet to the First Nation’s community by Gold River, Ray had no idea what was waiting for him. “We had him walk into the hall, and we were all standing there waiting for him. They sang a song as he walked in, and he started crying. He hadn’t seen some of the family for three, four years.” “It’s like a celebration of life, to recognize him as a humble man, because of the things he’s done in his life, now we want to share that through wisdom and through knowledge,” said Ray’s nephew, Paul Lucas, who came from Hot Springs Cove for the event. “We are here today to appreciate who he is, not what he is. A humble man.” The big house vibrated with singing and drumming, as the ﬂoor ﬁlled with dancers. Speeches ﬁlled the afternoon and evening with acknowledgments of family connections. “I want to thank our uncle for taking care of Yuquot,” said Brian Lucas Sr. before the crowd. “He’s important.”
With a strong tradition of relying on large gatherings to practice ancestral culture and fortify family ties, the COVID-19 pandemic and it’s related social restrictions were particularly hard on Nuu-chah-nulth communities. Although Ray was never alone, Yuquot was often quiet. During this period Terri Williams passed away in the fall of 2020, Ray’s partner of almost 60 years. “You’re still here because you have a reason to be here,” said Amos, thinking of her uncle. “Everyone you see in this hall tonight were going through lots
Relatives and supporters came to the Mowachaht/Muchalaht community by Gold River, for an event ﬁlled with cultural performances.
through the COVID. A lot of them needed that uplifting. One of the things the old people say is, ‘You never fear sickness, you never be scared of it, because if you get scared of it, you’re going to attract it.’ You always know you’re going to be okay.” “Respect yourself so you can respect others,” added Lucas. “So I come here today to show my respect to my uncle.” With his relatives surrounding him, Ray was overcome with emotion. “Oh, what a surprise, I felt like a king,” he said. “It’s a lot better than winning a million dollars.”
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