Ha-Shilth-Sa Newspaper July 22, 2021

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INTERESTING NEWS Canada’s Oldest First Nations Newspaper - Serving Nuu-chah-nulth-aht since 1974 Canadian Publications Mail Product Vol. 48 - No. 14—July 22, 2021 haas^i>sa Sales Agreement No. 40047776

Photo by Melissa Renwick

Joe Martin (left), Robin Rorick and Robert Martin (Nookmis) carve a totem pole for Opitsaht at the Tofino Botanical Gardens, on July 9. Story on page 19.

Inquest uncovers need for systemic changes Proceedings lead to 24 jury recommendations, pointing to failings in how youth addictions issues are handled By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Port Alberni, BC - In the aftermath of an eight-day inquest into the death of Jocelyn George, a jury is calling for a systemic overhaul in how Indigenous youth are handled within the justice system, with recommendations for facilities that may have prevented the 18-year-old’s fate five years ago. The coroners inquest wrapped up in late June, after a jury of five heard from dozens of witnesses at Port Alberni’s Capital Theatre – a few blocks away from where Jocelyn Nynah Marsha George was picked up by police on the morning of June 23, 2016. Found behaving erratically and delusional, the Hesquiaht mother of two was brought to the local RCMP detachment’s cells, where she remained for most of the day and the following night, until her condition had declined to the point where she was rushed to the West Coast General Hospital the following morning. George was later airlifted to hospital in

Victoria, where she died on the evening of June 24. Cause of death is listed as “drug induced myocarditis”, an inflammation of the heart muscle due to the “toxic effects of methamphetamine and cocaine”, according to the Coroners Service. What happened from the time that George was found barefoot on the steps of a Salvation Army building until her demise the following day was put under a scrutinizing microscope during the inquest, with a stage full of lawyers representing the various agencies involved in her treatment, as well as counsel advocating for the inquest itself. The Coroners Act requires inquests for any deaths that occur while a person in the custody of a peace officer, and the proceedings are not to find fault but to present findings that prevent similar deaths in the future. What has emerged from the process are 24 recommendations, led by several that indicate procedural failings in how intoxicated prisoners are managed. Accounts suggest that George had not eaten for days by the time she was

Inside this issue... Questions remain in homeless man’s death................Page 3 Province funds residential school investigations........Page 4 Oil cleanup complete in Nootka Sound......................Page 8 ‘Emergency brake’ for commercial fisheries.....Pages 10-11 Carving project leads path to Nitinaht Lake.............Page 12

Jocelyn George rushed to hospital, and the inquest jury recommended that the RCMP implement policies that ensure prisoners have access to water and food while in cells – and that the provision and acceptance of this nourishment be recorded.

“Reasons for withholding food or water should also be detailed in log book,” advised the jury. Recommendations also include annual performance reviews, training and certification for municipal employees working as cell guards at the Port Alberni detachment. George was still a minor while she was taken in the cell, but the inquest indicated there may have been confusion among the various personnel overseeing her, leading to a recommendation for police training in legislative requirements for prisoners under 19. A release plan for the safety of minors is also in the jury’s list, as George was briefly removed from custody – barefoot with clothing still wet – for just over an hour the afternoon of June 23. That afternoon police were called again due to George’s paranoid behaviour, and although she was assessed by paramedics, it was not deemed necessary to take the youth to hospital.

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Page 2— Ha-Shilth-Sa—July 22, 2021

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation reopens their tribal parks Lifting of pandemic measure follows the province’s COVID-19 restart plan, which opened up travel across B.C. By Melissa Renwick Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Tofino, BC - With British Columbia now into Step 3 of its COVID-19 restart plan, the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation has re-opened its tribal parks to visitors from across Canada. The announcement on Monday, July 5 was made with a “sigh of relief,” said Saya Masso, Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation natural resources manager. “It feels like we’re winning [against COVID-19],” he said. “We walked this road with our Tribal Park Allies, local businesses and local residents and we’re really happy to make it through this all together.” The nation’s tribal parks include the Ha’uukmin (Kennedy Lake) Watershed, the Esowista Peninsula upon which the District of Tofino is located, the Tranquil River Watershed, and the Tla-o-qui-aht side of Wanachus/Hilthuuis (Meares Island), which hosts the Big Tree Trail. Although Tla-o-qui-aht has removed its COVID-19 security checkpoints, access to the communities of Esowista, Ty-Histanis and Opitsaht will continue to be restricted. The Schooner Cove Trail, which leads to the stretch of Long Beach in front of Esowista, will also remain closed, said Masso. Revenue generated by the Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Park Allies program last year went towards paying guardians to operate the emergency operations checkpoints in the villages, said Julian Hockin-Grant, Tribal

Photo by Melissa Renwick

A surfer walks out of the ocean on Long Beach, near Tofino, on April 14. The site is expected to be busy this summer. Park liaison. helped our people get through a very “We still have to be cautious,” said Saya “We are deeply grateful to the busiscary time.” Masso. “It was only days ago that there nesses that participate in the Tribal Park The nation was careful to note that they was a checkpoint here, so it’s still on Allies program for enabling the Tla-odo not speak on behalf of their neigheveryone’s mind. But it was a good feelqui-aht Tribal Parks to reopen periodibouring nations of Ahousaht and Hesqui- ing when the checkpoint came down – a cally to visitors over the past year and a aht, and that visitors should check their feeling of normalcy somewhat returning.” half,” read a statement by Tla-o-qui-aht respective websites before making travel First Nation. “ʔuuščakšiƛʔicʔuuš! You arrangements.


July 22, 2021—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 3

Family yearns for answers one year after death With multiple bruises and rib fractures, some question if a fall was the real cause of James Williams’ demise By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Duncan, BC - One year after his body was found in a Duncan shelter, those who were close to James Williams fear that authorities have given up on finding the true cause of his death. A year ago today Williams, a 52-yearold father of five and member of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation, was found lifeless on the floor of the room where he was staying at the Warmland Shelter. The staff member who found him described Williams’ neck being still warm, but his hands were cold. The autopsy cites the cause of death as “subdural and subarachnoid hemorrhage” in the brain and “blunt head trauma” to the back of his skull, “with no associated fracture.” Estimates have a head injury within seven days of his passing, with another resurgence of bleeding within seven hours of death. “A re-bleed of an older subdural hemorrhage can occur with minimal/trivial trauma to the head potentially without signs of impact to the head due to the fragility of the blood vessels within this region,” states the autopsy report. Accounts describe Williams as appearing hungover that day, after spending much of the previous evening in jail. He was not charged with an offence, but was picked up by Duncan RCMP for public intoxication just before 4:30 p.m. on July 15, 2020. While on patrol the officer said Williams was lying back down on the concrete base of a business sign in a parking lot at Alexander Street and Highway 1. “He was intoxicated to the point of obviously not being able to care for himself, but I also felt that he was not in a position to be brought to the sobering centre,” said the officer in his account. “He was too intoxicated for the sobering centre, but not intoxicated to the point he required medical attention.” With no fixed address to be brought to and no one to monitor him at the shelter, the decision was made that a jail cell was the safest place for Williams to be that

Google Street View photo

James Williams (below) was found by a police officer lying on a concrete slab at the Corner of Alexander Street and Highway 1 in Duncan on July 15, 2020. He was 52, a father of five and member of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation.

“We are all still fighting, trying to grieve, and coming to terms with what happened” ~ Jennifer Touchie, James Williams’ cousin afternoon. Over the nine hours he spent in the cell, Williams was described by a guard as a “model prisoner”, only asking when he could leave near the end of his duration in custody. Video footage shows he did not fall while in the cell. Williams was let out at 1:30 a.m. on July 16, 2020. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, no taxis were running in Duncan at that late hour, so he was left to walk to his room at Warmland House. Video shows Williams entering the shelter at 2:08 a.m., then he was seen going to the facility’s laundry room at 5:54 a.m., before being found deceased later that afternoon by an

‘She was an avid dancer’ Continued from page 1. The fact that a jail cell appeared to be the best option for her led the inquest jury to recommend “a holistic wellness centre” in the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District that offers a safe space for youth, with a sobering site and beds for those struggling with mental health issues and addictions. “Right now there isn’t any place for an intoxicated youth in Port Alberni,” said Mariah Charleson, vice-president of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council, who gave her own recommendations during the inquest. “Unfortunately, if you’re an intoxicated youth right now in Port Alberni, you’ll get thrown into the drunk tank.” To further strengthen the city’s support for young people, the jury wants to see a full-time social worker and youth advocate on the Port Alberni Indigenous Safety Team, as well as a crisis response team available nights and weekends. The hope is that these measures might prevent other young people struggling with drugs avoid tragedy. But the jury sees the necessity of better advocacy for First Nations, a need that could be met through a justice centre in Nuu-chah-

nulth territory. In March 2020 the province and First Nations Justice Council unveiled a plan for the legal system to better serve Indigenous people, including the establishment of 15 justice centres in different parts of B.C. Charleson sees the inquest recommendations as another reason for one of these facilities to be set up to attend to the overrepresentation of Nuu-chah-nulth people who are incarcerated. “It’s a massive gap, so it would be a start to the many, many justice-related issues that we have here,” she said. “That wasn’t her first time being incarcerated, what were her options?” George’s family sat through the eightday inquest, holding a large picture of the 18-year-old. On the first day of proceedings her uncle Matthew Lucas told the inquest how he will remember his niece. “She had dreams of where she wanted her path to go, she wanted to have her own house, she wanted to have a good job,” he recalled. “She was an avid dancer, she loved to dance traditionally for her grandfather. All of her regalia she made herself and she treasured it, she took pride in everything she wore when she was dancing.”

employee looking for the laundry room key. An examination by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. ensued, producing a report nine months later that determined any actions or inaction by police were not a factor in Williams death. “It seems likely, given that Mr. Williams was found initially passed out on his back on a concrete slab, that the bruise on the back of his scalp and the underlying hemorrhage may well have been the result of a fall while intoxicated, compounded by a number of pre-existing conditions set out in the Port-Mortem Report,” states the IIO report. “[T]here was evidence in the brain of previous strokes, and some hardening and narrowing of arteries supplying both the heart and the brain.” But questions remain about the cause of other injuries to Williams’ body. The autopsy found bruises on his torso and left leg. On the right side three ribs were bruised, while another two had fractures. Close to the end of his time in the cell, Williams complained of chest pains to the guard, but this was not communicated to officers at the detachment. Jennifer Touchie, Williams’ cousin, said the RCMP appears to be convinced her relative’s injuries were caused by a fall. “They are trying to say that he was intoxicated and fell, and it’s most likely from a fall,” she said. “Something happened to him because of what the coroner is saying. It conflicts with the RCMP.” Touchie said police have not considered requests from family to seek other avenues for answers. “We discussed what they should look into, whether it’s video footage where he was, a person that might have been harassing him,” she said. “They always had answers. They weren’t interested in the investigation.” The last contact police had with Williams’ family was two months ago, when

they said “it’s still an open investigation, but it’s more likely because of a fall,” said Touchie. The RCMP did not respond to HaShilth-Sa’s requests for comment. Mariah Charleson, vice-president of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council, said the duration of the investigation has been problematic. The family didn’t get a full account of the details leading to Williams’ passing until the IIO report was released on April 27. “It took a very long time for the family to have this information with them,” said Charleson. “The family is put in a really difficult position because they had to wait all that time for the IIO to come up with their final report.” The Independent Investigations Office is brought in if there’s a possibility that police could have been a factor in someone’s death. But Ron MacDonald, the IIO’s chief civilian director, stressed that the agency would not interfere with the RCMP’s ability to find answers. “We would never do anything to hinder a police investigation in those types of circumstances,” he said. “The police are pretty smart to tell us when we might be.” Although it’s rare, the IIO can be conducting an investigation at the same time as police, MacDonald noted. “If there was a question mark about how the person died, but also a question mark about whether or not the police were involved, then theoretically we could both be working at the same time,” he said. “It doesn’t happen very often. That’s unusual - usually it’s fairly clear as to how they died, or that decision is made fairly soon.” While communicating with Duncan RCMP this spring, Charleson found little initiative to find answers. “One of the first things that the detachment said to me was it’s going to be really difficult to find any information because of how long this has been. To me, that’s not an excuse,” she said. “Because of the injuries that were listed, and because reason to believe foul play may have happened, we, of course, want to see a complete and full investigation.” Meanwhile, Touchie said her family is still struggling with what happened to James Williams. “We are all still fighting, trying to grieve, and coming to terms with what happened,” she said. “We just want truth. We want racism to stop, we’re all human beings and need to be treated equally. Brother James’ life mattered, and it’s his family, his children, that are hurting and missing him.”


Page 4— Ha-Shilth-Sa—July 22, 2021

B.C. allocates $12M for residential school investigations Ahousaht hereditary chief criticizes church fires for ‘causing more anguish’ as school survivors seek support By Melissa Renwick Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Tofino, BC - The B.C. government has allocated $12 million to support First Nations in examining former residential school sites, following the federal government’s commitment of $27 million. The funding will be used to support First Nations as they begin their own investigations to identify and locate children who died at residential schools. It is also meant to commemorate residential school sites, along with providing mental health support. Using ground-penetrating radar, the Tk’emlúps te SecwépemcKukpi7 First Nations announced it found the remains of 215 children buried at the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School, on May 27. The discovery sent shockwaves throughout the country prompting Indigenous leaders and residential school survivors to call on the federal and provincial governments to provide funding towards the research and excavation of all former residential school sites. Since then, the Cowessess First Nation said it found 751 unmarked graves near the former Marieval Indian Residential School in Saskatchewan, and the Lower Kootenay Band announced that a search revealed 182 unmarked graves adjacent to the former St. Eugene’s Mission Residential School, near Cranbrook. “Finding evidence of a burial site for children who attended the former Kamloops residential school was a stark reminder of the atrocities of the Canadian residential school system and how those continue to be felt to this day,” said Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation Murray Rankin, in a release. “Many other sites throughout the province and country are still the source of unanswered questions and terrible pain. It is imperative that we take our lead from First Nations as we move forward, and we will continue to act quickly and in a co-ordinated way to support their needs.” There were 18 residential schools that operated in B.C., and more than 100 day schools. Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation is in the process of applying for federal funding to examine the former Christie Student Residence, where the Best Western Plus Tin Wis Resort now stands. Meanwhile, Ahousaht and Tseshaht First Nations are awaiting federal funding approval to further investigate the sites of the former Ahousaht Indian Residential School, on Flores Island, Christie Indian Residential School, on Meares Island, and Alberni Indian Residential School, in Port Alberni. As the B.C. Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation plans their next steps in coordination with First Nation leaders and federal partners, the ministry said details around the application process will soon be released. “We have spoken with a number of Nuu-chah-nulth nations who have expressed interest in the provincial funding,” said the ministry. “We will continue to work closely with them as their proposals are developed.” While Ahousaht Tyee Ha’wilth Hasheukumiss (hereditary chief Richard George) said the provincial funding is a start, it “falls short” for what is needed within each community. The recent discoveries have triggered residential school survivors who have

Photos by Melissa Renwick

The Best Western Plus Tin Wis resort in Tofino has set up a memorial to remember the 215 children who were found buried at a site near the Kamloops Indian Residential School. The resort invited community members to visit their totem pole and leave a pair of shoes or a stuffed animal. been paying for counselling on “their own dime” to cope with the trauma from attending the schools for decades, he said. Up until now, Hasheukumiss said the government has overlooked the need to establish direct funding towards health and wellness care centres and that they’re only “stepping up to plate because of the findings,” he said. “They’re funding money, but where are the rehabilitation facilities that should be built for people to go in and actually work on all of the trauma that came out of this?” Hasheukumiss said. “The unfortunate incidences of rape were a big part of the residential school [experience]. What came out of that was a lot of anger, and a lot of frustration has carried on throughout the generations. So, breaking the pattern – we have to break the pattern somewhere.” In what is believed to be a reaction to good. We as First Nations always have In response to the associated pain, there the discovery of the unmarked grave to respect one another – Indigenous and is an “identified need for mental, emosites, people have begun to set churches non-Indigenous. We have to move fortional and cultural supports for survivors, ablaze, including St. Paul’s Anglican ward in this reconciliation as one.” intergenerational survivors and communi- Church in Nanaimo and St. Columba Residential school survivors and those ties as the most urgent priority,” read a Anglican Church in Tofino. who have been impacted by intergenerajoint release from the ministry, the First “There’s no room for any kind of acts of tional trauma can call a 24-hour National Nations Health Council and the First Na- violence,” said Hasheukumiss. “It’s only Crisis Line at: 1-866-925-4419. tions Health Authority. causing more anguish than it is causing Richard Jock, First Nations Health Authority chief executive officer, said in a statement that “acknowledging trauma and the damaging and lasting impacts GATEWAY TO THE PACIFIC RIM residential school have on First Nations people, their families and communities is a first step.” Moving forward, the primary focus must be on community-driven and nationbased healing and wellness supports, he added. Tseshaht First Nation elected chief Ken Watts echoed Hasheukumiss and said that the federal funding is “probably not going to be enough to do it right.” There are 139 recognized residential schools in Canada. If the $27 million federal funding was distributed equally among them all, Tseshaht would receive Hours of operation - 7:00 am - 10:30 pm less than $200 thousand. Phone: 724-3944 “I’m hoping they go beyond that,” said E-mail: claudine@tseshahtmarket.ca Watts. “It’s really important to honour those children that never made it home.” Find us on Facebook

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July 22, 2021—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 5

Broken Group fee introduced to fund beach keepers Barkley Sound destination a•racts approximately 9,000 overnight users annually, according to Parks Canada By Karly Blats Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Port Alberni, BC - The Tseshaht First Nation have implemented a new beach keeper fee for companies who operate within the Broken Group Islands—the birthplace and territory of the Tseshaht First Nation. The new $10 a day, per use fee will be charged by the companies who participate and that revenue will be given to Tseshaht, who will put all the funds directly back into their Beach Keeper Program. The Beach Keeper Program is a partnership between the Tseshaht First Nation and Parks Canada. Beach keepers assist as ambassadors, monitor, report and offer historical information about the area to tourists, kayakers and other visitors to the Broken Group Islands. “[The program] has really evolved over the years, it’s been around for a number of years now. [Beach keepers] really provide a great ambassadorship for Tseshaht as well, but when tourists are out there they’re able to provide historical background and information about Tseshaht and all the islands and their names and history,” said Tseshaht elected chief councillor Ken Watts. “Beach keepers are out on patrol and observing the area. They work closely with Parks Canada and they also work closely with the nation as well.” Watts said years ago a working group was formed to discuss the Beach Keeper Program and the Broken Group Islands with the goal of making the program sustainable and for operators in the area to show recognition for Tseshaht territory. “We can’t just rely on funding from the federal government and so one way to do that is having a (user) fee,” Watts said. “Every dollar that we get from [the user fee] we reinvest back into the program. [The beach keepers] are already talking

Photo from Wikimedia Commons

According to Parks Canada, in 2018, there were 9,115 overnight users in the Broken Group Island and 8,932 overnight users in 2019. about looking at potential equipment that Wild Root Journeys have also committed to the fee. Watts hopes that all companies they’ve never been able to buy through operating in the Broken Group Islands our contract with Parks Canada because that’s limited funding and it’s short-term, will eventually embrace the new fee. Watts said he’s proud and thankful to it doesn’t fund the whole year. So our hope is to really have the program money the companies who have stepped up and implemented the new fee. all year throughout our territory.” “In a time when we’re going through The Beach Keeper Program pulls from so many difficult things as Indigenous traditional Nuu-chah-nulth roles. people or First Nations, there’s these “It was a role of people who watched companies in the private sector that step certain beaches and certain areas from up and say ‘I want to respect you and their hereditary chief. That was one of your territory and I want to give back’,” their roles to watch a certain beach and Watts said. “This funding is going to help keep it protected, make sure it’s safe improve the (Beach Keeper) program, and report any activity to whoever they which is in turn going to help [visitor’s] needed to,” Watts said. “It’s a historical experience out in the Broken Group. We role and I think it’s coming back to that. talk about reconciliation with the Crown [The beach keepers’] role specifically is to the Broken Group Islands. We do have but really Canadians have a role to play too, and businesses in the private sector several reserves down there as well.” have a role to play too. I think they’re Currently five beach keepers, based at stepping up, I’m really proud of the ones Keith Island, are working from about June until September or October but with who have stepped up.” Reconciliation is a major reason Kevin more funding, Watts says he hopes the Bradshaw, owner and guide at Hello program will be year round. Nature Kayaking, wanted to participate in So far companies that participate in the beach keeper fee program. the fee program include Majestic Ocean “We wanted to show a positive step Kayaking and Hello Nature Kayaking.

toward reconciliation and recognizing the territories that we are working in,” Bradshaw said. “I’ve worked in the Broken Group for the last 19 years. I’ve definitely seen a major shift in the Beach Keepers Program…it allows for a connection with the culture, people and territory which is unmatched anywhere else that I’ve paddled.” Bradshaw said he anticipates the kayaking company will host more than 250 guests in the Broken Group Islands in the next month. Tracy Eeftink, who owns Majestic Ocean Kayaking with her husband Ted, said it wasn’t a surprise when the Tseshaht implemented the new user fee. “I also collect fees on behalf of the Tlao-qui-aht, Ahousaht and Toquaht so when Tseshaht said they would like to have a fee then I just went ‘oh of course’,” Eeftink said. “I think when people are travelling they expect that there’s going to be some things like that added on, it’s not unheard of when you travel to other parts of the world, there’s always some type of eco fee or community fee.” Eeftink, who’s been operating in the Broken Group Islands for 28 years, said she hopes the fee will help the Beach Keeper Program expand and become sustainable. “The Broken Group Islands are a world class destination and it’s important that people are educated about several things while they’re on their trip,” Eeftink said. “It’s not just about paddling around and seeing how beautiful the islands are but it’s also important to learn about respecting nature and understanding the culture and the history and the people that came before them.” According to Parks Canada, in 2018, there were 9,115 overnight users in the Broken Group Island and 8,932 overnight users in 2019. The Broken Group Islands were closed to overnight camping in 2020 due to COVID-19.

Indigenous businesses see $50 million in grant relief By Sam Laskaris Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Tofino, BC – Help is on the way. Though news of a newly created federal Tourism Relief Fund is welcome, a couple of Nuu-chah-nulth leaders are wondering if enough is being done. At a news conference this past week, Melanie Joly, the minister of Economic Development, announced the Canadian government has established a $500 million Tourism Relief Fund. Funds will be distributed during the next two years. Joly, who also holds the portfolio of minister of Official Languages, revealed that a minimum of 10 per cent of this fund, $50 million, would be set aside for Indigenous tourism business operators across the country. “It is an extremely important part of the Indigenous economic development approach that we support our Indigenous tourism operators,” Joly said. “We’ve heard their call for help and that’s exactly why we wanted to make sure that there was an Indigenous lens given to this new funding.” Jim Chisholm, the tribal administrator for the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation, can only wonder if enough is being done. “To be honest, it seems like a lot,” Chisholm said. “But in today’s world $50 million is not a lot of money.” There are more than 630 First Nations

in Canada. Chisholm speculated even if only Indigenous tourism operators from 50 different First Nations applied for the new funding he wondered how much would indeed be available for various businesses across the country. Chisholm said the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation would indeed send in a funding application. It suffered tremendous financial losses during the COVID-19 pandemic from its main tourism business, the Best Western Plus Tin Win Resort located in Tofino. “Obviously with COVID we were hit very hard because of travel bans in the province,” he said. The Tin Win Resort operated at less than 20 per cent of its capacity for a good chunk of the past year, due to provincial restrictions that banned international visitors, allowing only some travel within one’s health region in B.C. Now that health and travel regulations have been eased, Chisholm said the First Nation’s resort is fully booked daily through the end of September. Bryan Cofsky, the executive director of the Ditidaht Economic Development Corporation, is also questioning whether the amount allocated to Indigenous tourism operators via the new fund is sufficient. “It’s never enough,” Cofsky said of the majority of funding initiatives. “It depends on what your parameters on it are. And it depends on who can apply for it.” Those seeking funding will be required

to send in their applications through six regional development agencies across Canada. British Columbia tourism businesses have to apply through the Western Economic Diversification Canada. “It’s almost going to be on a first come first served basis,” Cofsky said. “You have to have your ducks in a row and to have a plan.” Cofsky said Ditidaht will indeed be applying for some funding. “We have quite a few tourism initiatives going on,” he said. Cofsky added all of the First Nation’s tourism businesses have been greatly affected financially by the pandemic. That includes both the Nitinaht shuttle service, which brings people to and from the First Nation’s village and an entry point to the West Coast Trail. During last week’s press conference, Joly said the federal government is cognizant of the role Indigenous business operators have in the country’s tourism industry. “We know that Indigenous tourism operators were doing great just before the pandemic,” she said. “Of all the tourism businesses, it was Indigenous tourism businesses that were really growing the fastest, just before the pandemic. And in that sense, we want to make sure that we’re there for them.” Joly also said it should be noted that the Canadian government could indeed still

provide more funding for the Indigenous tourism industry. “I think ($50 million is) a good start in the sense that it’s a minimum and if the ask is higher, we will adapt,” she said. Pam Damoff, the parliamentary secretary to the minister of Indigenous Services, also welcomed the amount of money pledged last week. “The Indigenous tourism industry supports the overall Indigenous economy and creates jobs, supports families, and allows travelers to experience the vibrant and diverse communities and cultures of Indigenous peoples,” Damoff said. “The Tourism Relief Fund will provide needed support to Indigenous tourism businesses all across the country in order for the industry to turn the page from crisis to recovery and build back better.” Keith Henry, who is the president and CEO of the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC), welcomed the new funding news. “The Government of Canada demonstrated their commitment to the importance of investing in Indigenous tourism in Canada,” Henry said. “This is a very significant direct commitment for Indigenous tourism businesses, Indigenous tourism provincial/territorial partners and the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada. We are working out the two-year implementation details and will be moving quickly to support our Indigenous tourism industry recover and rebuild.”


Page 6— Ha-Shilth-Sa—July 22, 2021 Ha-Shilth-Sa newspaper is published by the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council for distribution to the members of the NTC-member First Nations, as well as other interested groups and individuals. Information and original work contained in this newspaper is protected by copyright and may not be reproduced without written permission from: Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council P.O. Box 1383, Port Alberni, B.C. V9Y 7M2. Telephone: (250) 724-5757 Fax: (250) 723-0463 Web page: www.hashilthsa.com facebook: Hashilthsa Ntc

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

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B.C. implements prescribed safe supply Policy pushes for medical alternatives in a effort to curb the overdose death toll By Melissa Renwick Local Journalism Initiative Reporter British Columbia is the first Canadian province to introduce a new policy that will expand access to a safer drug supply. The Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions said that once the Prescribed Safer Supply initiative is fully implemented, people who use or are at risk of dying from drugs will have access to alternatives covered by Pharmacare. These will include a range of opioids and stimulants that will be determined by programs and prescribers. “With more than 7,000 lives lost to toxic illicit drugs, we need new measures to connect people to the supports they need to stay safe,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, in a release. “Reducing harm for people who use drugs is the right thing to do. Bringing in this new policy to expand prescribed safer supply is a big change for B.C.’s health-care system. It’s about meeting people where they are at, reducing risk of toxic drug death and connecting people to the care they need and deserve.” The new policy was created in consultation with clinicians, people with lived experience, Indigenous partners, health authorities, among others, and will roll out in a phased approach. The first phase will see the policy integrated into existing health-authority funded programs that prescribe drug alternatives. New programs, such as service hubs and outreach teams, will also be created to further provide prescribe safer supply services. As data is collected, the first phase of the initiative is anticipated to remain in place for 18 to 24 months. “Further phases will expand broader access once the clinical guidance is developed based on findings from the monitoring and evaluation process,” said the ministry. For the next three years, the province will be directing $22.6 million in funding to health authorities to implement the program. Dr. Shannon McDonald, First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) acting chief medical officer, said the initiative will provide “important tools to help reduce toxic drug overdose deaths among First

Dr. Shannon McDonald, First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) acting chief medical officer, speaks during a July 15 press conference announcing a policy to increase the use of safer drugs to replace narcotics. Nations people who continue to be overrepresented as compared to the rest of the population.” Based on racism experienced in the health care system, McDonald said there continues to be barriers for Indigenous peoples. With 203 First Nations in B.C., and around 60 per cent of the First Nations population living away from home, Henry said that expanding access to more rural and remote communities is a “really important piece of this.” McDonald said that this program will work in addition to harm reduction and treatment models, such as on-the-land treatment programs, that are already supported by the governments. “We’re really looking at a holistic program of care that includes these medications, but there’s also a broader range of services available to support people in community,” she said. As the prescribed safer supply program develops, McDonald said there are details that still need to be worked out. One of the main challenges will be the safe transportation of drugs to remote settings, she said. Meanwhile, McDonald said that FNHA is working with nurses who operate in remote First Nations communities to help them become certified to prescribe opioid agonist therapies, a treatment for opioid

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COVERAGE: Although we would like to be able to cover all stories and events, we will only do so subject to: - Sufficient advance notice addressed specifically to Ha-Shilth-Sa. - Reporter availability at the time of the event. - Editorial space available in the paper. - Editorial deadlines being adhered to by contributors.

addictions. “The overdose crisis remains a public health emergency,” said Dr. Réka Gustafson, B.C.’s deputy provincial health officer, in a release. “During the pandemic, it was, by far, the most common cause of death in British Columbians aged 19 to 39. Response to a public health emergency requires us to use all available tools and to develop new ones to save lives. Safer supply is one of the suite of interventions that we have both the opportunity and the responsibility to implement as part of a co-ordinated and system-wide effort to end the overdose emergency in British Columbia.” In 2020, there were 1,728 overdose deaths. It was the highest number of overdose deaths ever recorded. There have been 851 overdose deaths in 2021, compared to 569 in the same period of 2020. According to the ministry, case studies have shown that access to a regular and safe supply of fentanyl patches improves connections with primary care services, reduces or eliminates illicit drug use, cuts down on the number of overdoses and hospitalizations, as well as improves social connection. “We are certainly happy to have access to every tool in the available toolkit to respond to this ongoing [overdose] crisis,” said McDonald.

Ha-Shilth-Sa belongs to every Nuu-chah-nulth person including those who have passed on, and those who are not yet born. A community newspaper cannot exist without community involvement. If you have any great pictures you’ve taken, stories or poems you’ve written, or artwork you have done, please let us know so we can include it in your newspaper. E-mail holly.stocking@nuuchahnulth.org. This year is Ha-Shilth-Sa’s 47th year of serving the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations. We look forward to your continued input and support. Kleco! Kleco!

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July 22, 2021—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 7

Wildfires continue, province-wide ban in place Almost nine out of 10 forest fires this year are caused by people, as remote communities face a greater risk By Melissa Renwick Local Journalism Initiative Reporter After many parts of B.C. experienced record-breaking temperatures, a provincewide fire ban was implemented from June 30 through to Oct. 15. Around 88 per cent of the 337 wildfires that occurred between April 1 and June 24 were caused by people, according to the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. Despite the fire ban, Timmy Masso said he has been “truly disgusted” to see the number of illegal campfires along the logging roads off Highway 4 leading to Winchie Creek Hydro. At least once a week, Masso accompanies his father, Trent, to the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation-owned hydropower facility. As the plant operator, Trent regularly monitors its operations. Now, part of the job consists of picking up garbage, burnt firewood and extinguishing abandoned fires left behind by campers, said Masso. Some fires sit only five to 10 feet away from the bush, he added. “So much of B.C. is on fire right now and I really don’t want that to happen to our west coast,” he said. “The abandoned fires could easily get out of hand and spread to the forest.” Any local or tourist lighting fires at this time is “irresponsible,” said Masso. “This is my territory and it’s my dad’s territory and we’re trying to keep it safe and keep it protected for future generations,” he added. At the end of June a wildfire near Zeballos prompted the Ehattesaht/Chinehkint First Nation to declare a state of emergency, which has since been rescinded. The fire was reminiscent of a 2018 blaze that led to extended evacuation orders for the remote community. During the night on June 29 and into the morning on June 30, a lightning storm

Photo by Jen Joseph

Although most of Vancouver Island is under a “high” danger rating, all of the province’s wildfires of note are outside of the region. Pictured is a mountainside blaze that put much of the Village of Zeballos and Ehatis under evacuation orders in 2018. passed through the North Island and mid- Coastal Fire Centre to determine the coast. In combination with fire reports, location of the fire. It also allows staff to along with air and ground patrols by BC decipher what might have triggered the Wildfire Service personnel, eight fires fire, said Macpherson. were quickly confirmed and located, in“The [smoke] colour alone helps us cluding one a few kilometres west of Zeunderstand what it is we’re dealing with,” ballos, said Donna MacPherson, Coastal she said. “And often, the caller has some Fire Centre fire information officer. really good information about where it is “It was only because this fire was and how the roads are – especially in the reported quickly and accurately that more remote areas.” wildfire crews were able to jump on it Access to fires in remote communities, and contain its spread before it could like Ehatis, pose some challenges. grow and threaten Ehatis,” read a stateIn this case, the only way to access the ment by the Ehattesaht/Chinehkint chief fire, which was burning at the base of a and council. cliff, was through a deactivated logging Identifying a fire early on allows the road, described MacPherson.

It required the Zeballos fire chief to access an excavator and fill in the ditches to make the road passable, she said. While it’s not unusual for fire crews to reconstruct de-activated logging roads, Macpherson said that “people living in remote areas are carrying a bigger burden than people who are in a fire department jurisdiction that have paved roads.” On July 2, the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General announced that Disaster Financial Assistance (DFA) is available for local governments and First Nations in regions that might have been impacted by the wildfires which began June 16, 2021. “DFA is available to help community authorities cover disaster-related losses that are not covered by insurance, such as wildfire damage to public infrastructure – including roads, bridges and other publicly owned infrastructure,” read a release. With almost 300 wildfires burning in British Columbia, Macpherson said she is “urging” the public to report anyone breaking the open fire prohibition. “Unfortunately, it seems to be some kind of entitlement that people have that they feel they can get away with stuff,” she said. Currently fines of up to $1,150 can come to anyone found having an open fire, using fireworks, firecrackers, sky lanterns, burning barrels or using binary exploding targets. If a fire escapes and causes a wildfire, perpetrators may be fined anywhere from $100,000 to $1 million, and face a one-year prison sentence, according to the B.C. Wildfire Service. As Masso continues to help his father monitor the Winchie Creek Hydro, he said he would keep watch of the surrounding backroads. “These areas that we live in are so beautiful,” he said. “We do not need our west coast on fire.” To report a wildfire, you can call: 1-800663-5555

Series of brush fires in Port Alberni raises concerns By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-sa Reporter Port Alberni, BC – The Port Alberni Fire Department has been busier than usual battling small brush fires in the Alberni Valley as the city sizzles under hotter and drier than normal weather conditions. According to PAFD Chief Mike Owens there were 13 fires from July 4-13. Most were brush fires caused by either abandoned campfires or unknown but suspicious causes. “It seems to be far too many as of late,” said Owens. “There are several suspicious fires in Dry Creek Park or the quadrant area (near 4th Avenue and Napier Streets),” said Owens, adding that they and the RCMP are appealing for information about these incidents. “Your observations, dashcam or other video may assist to identify those responsible before there is a significant loss to fire or serious injury,” said the Port Alberni RCMP in a public statement, asking people to report suspicious activity to the police. “With the current weather and winds it is crucial that we control all potential sources of ignition and be mindful of activities in our area that may result in fires.” On July 4 six fires were called in. One was in Dry Creek Park behind the Port Alberni Friendship Center; there were

two more in Dry Creek Park near Anderson Avenue. Owens said that one fire was in the Dry Creek bed in a pile of logs and the other was just up the hillside. That same day there was a larger fire in Roger Creek Park that was extinguished by PAFD. On July 5th there were three fires. One was a vehicle fire on an industrial logging road that started to spread to the trees. PAFD responded under authority of the BC Wildfire Services. A small brushfire on Melrose Street was put out by residents and a third fire was put out in Roger Creek Park. Between July 6 and 10, four more fires in Dry Creek Park were put out. Two were abandoned campfires, one was in a stump near 8th Avenue, and the third was behind the horseshoe pit and the creek. There was a brushfire in the forest behind the No Frills grocery store and another brushfire between the Barclay Best Western Hotel and the BC Ambulance Services building. On the 10th of July a shed on Glenside Road caught fire, burning the shed, a fence and a boat. There was a fire outside of city limits in the Roger Creek Park area that was extinguished under the authority of the BC Wildfire Services. On Sunday, July 11, there was another fire in Roger Creek Park behind the caretakers’ quarters. A

Mike Owens fire in the bark mulch of a flower bed at Victoria Quay was quickly extinguished. On Monday, July 12, a larger fire broke out in Dry Creek Park near Anderson Avenue. Firefighters accessed the area at North Park Drive and Anderson. Owens said this fire was large, making it halfway up the hill. The blaze burned an area of about 80 square feet and was declared out at 11 p.m. The following morning crews from PAFD were back at Dry Creek, checking for hot spots. They responded to another fire in Dry Creek Park near 9th Avenue that morning. The second fire burned an

area 15 feet by 40 feet. Owens says the City of Port Alberni has stringent fire regulations. They, along with Tseshaht and Hupacasath First Nations, have implemented the provincewide fire bans in their respective areas. “People may use UL or CSA approved appliances like barbecues or fire rings – no wood fires are allowed,” said Owens. Port Alberni RCMP Detachment has received reports of several suspicious fires since June 27th. The locations of these fires, in wooded areas, have the potential for rapid spread with the current dry conditions and typical winds in the area. “The fire department has attended and successfully suppressed all of these fires and have been advised there may have been suspect(s) observed in the area at the time the fires started or were detected,” stated the RCMP. Chief Owens says that the fire situation in Kamloops and Lytton has everyone on edge and that the campfire ban won’t likely be lifted until October. If you see a column of smoke in city limits, Owens says to call 911. If you’re out camping or outside city limits and spot a fire, call *5555 on your cell phone for the BC Wildfire Services. If you have any information regarding these incidents, contact the Port Alberni RCMP Detachment at the general inquiries line at 250-723-2424.


Page 8— Ha-Shilth-Sa—July 22, 2021

Oil removal complete from Nootka Sound shipwreck A•ention now turns to testing aquatic life for toxic remains due to the vessel, which has leaked since December By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Nootka Sound, BC - With oil now removed from the MV Schiedyk, the remediation effort around the 52-yearold shipwreck now turns to examining aquatic life in the area. On Monday, July 12 Fisheries and Oceans Canada reported that the underwater pumping of bulk oil and diesel from the vessel was completed by the end of June. Over the span of two weeks, 60 tonnes of heavy oil and diesel was removed from the Schiedyk, which lies 120 metres underwater by Bligh Island in Nootka Sound. Another 48,511 kilograms of oil and oily waste was recovered from the surrounding environment since the leak was first detected by a Fisheries and Oceans Canada surveillance flight early December. It took over half a century for a consistent stream of oil sheen to be noticeable above the shipwreck, which sank on Jan. 3, 1968 when the vessel hit a reef after leaving Gold River. Loaded with approximately 1,000 imperial tons of grain and pulp, the ship originally sank 33 metres down on the south side of Bligh Island, which is east of Nootka Island. Then approximately a decade ago the vessel slid further down the reef, rolling upside down to rest east of Bligh Island, according to a technical assessment conducted during the recent recovery effort. Chief Jerry Jack of the local Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation said the oil leak was unexpected. “It was a surprise for us for it to start leaking,” he said. “I lived here in ’68 and I don’t even recall my dad talking about a shipwreck that happened at Bligh Island.” Under the coordination of the Canadian Coast Guard, the seven-month containment and recovery effort involved multiple government departments and private companies, with federal, provincial and First Nation incident commands. “We set out directives for what the operation was going to do every day,” said

Photo supplied by Bligh Island Shipwreck Unified Command Information Site

Since a leak was spotted in early December, 48,511 kilograms of oil and oily waste were collected from the area around the 52-year old shipwreck. Jack, who serves as incident commander for the Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation. “My assessment is that everything went well. The Coast Guard couldn’t do any more.” It’s unknown how much oil has leaked from the shipwreck since it sank in 1968, said Greg Walker, the effort’s federal incident commander, although a noticeably consistent stream was wasn’t detected until recently. “With the anecdotal information we have, every once in a while there were some small releases that were reported,” he said. “It wasn’t until December that we started to see a larger amount of release of upwelling on the surface… we went back and discovered the actual wreck itself.” Booms were quickly spread to contain the oily sheen as the departments involved determined how to stop the slow leak. In the spring holes in four fuel tanks were patched with rubber mats and magnets. With drainage valves and hoses

secured to the tanks, in June hot water was injected to liquefy the heavy oil and allow it to be pumped to the coast guard’s Atlantic Condor ship on the surface. Oil was then removed from the water and taken to a regulated disposal facility. Jack said that this process was closely watched for environmental impacts. “Environment Canada would put recommendations to the Coast Guard on what to do,” he said. “They had these models of if there was a catastrophic release.” At a depth too deep for divers, the underwater draining was performed by remotely operated vehicles under a $5.7-milion contract with the Resolve Marine Group. The Florida-based company was selected due to the specialized expertise needed to perform the underwater tapping, said Walker. “We went out to look for a company that has a proven track record,” he said. “Resolve Marine Group was one of them.” Now a team will be taking samples of fish, barnacles and other food sources in

the area to detect any levels of heavy oil. So far the Coast Guard has identified just 23 animals affected by the leak, including a sea otter and various birds. Fortunately, herring didn’t spread their eggs near the shipwreck this spring, said Walker. “This year there was no spawning reported in Nootka Sound,” he said. “The spawning that was located was along the outside of the Hesquiaht Peninsula.” Jack saw a minimal amount of oil spread beyond the vicinity of the shipwreck. “There was very little oil on any rock or beach,” he said. “Between the contractors and the Coast Guard, they did a really good job.” The types of fuel that leaked from the Schiedyk will react to the surrounding ocean in different ways, explained Walker. “Diesel is highly processed, so it dissipates quite quickly and a lot of it evaporates,” he said, adding that the heavier fuel oil can evaporate as well. “It does also clump. Depending on how much is released, it will stick to the surrounding rocks and things like that. But over time waves break it down. It is kind of an organic matter, so other organisms do break it down.” Sea life collected for sampling will be tested for toxins, with results going to government agencies. “That information will go out to Health Canada,” said Walker. “They’ll make the recommendations and look at what that means for the populations that live in the area.” Meanwhile it appears that the Schiedyk will remain on the ocean floor, as the 52-year-old shipwreck has become integrated into the natural environment. “You probably couldn’t move it now because it’s deteriorated to such a state,” said Walker. “If you try and manipulate the hull too much it’s just going to break up and cause even more damage. A lot of the area now is likely a habitat for other animals that are down there.”

New partnership aims to improve emergency care By Melissa Renwick Local Journalism Initiative Reporter To improve emergency care for remote First Nations communities, the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council (NTC) partnered with the University of British Columbia’s department of emergency medicine to create Kwiis-hen-niip, meaning “change” in Nuu-chah-nulth. In collaboration with BC Emergency Health Services, the First Nations Health Authority, Island Health, among others, four Nuu-chah-nulth nations are involved in the project. Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k’tles7et’h’, Hesquiaht, Ahousaht and Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations recently wrapped up the first year of the four-year partnership funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, a federal agency for health research. Based on community-identified needs, Kwiis-hen-niip aims to improve emergency care through enhanced support for first responders, community readiness, patient transport and communications. Most recently, all four nations were tasked to appoint a first responder coordinator that is responsible for supporting programming and training to bolster emergency response within their com-

munities. Bernard Charleson is Hesquiaht’s first responder coordinator and emergency operations coordinator (ECO). As the ECO, Charleson collaborates with other first responder coordinators from the neighbouring nations involved with the project. She’s expected to participate in regular first responder meetings, help to create a system for collecting information on first responders call-outs, as well as identify equipment, supply and training needs. “We’re the kind of people that ask a lot of questions and bother a lot of people until we get an answer,” he said. Hesquiaht’s on-reserve community is located at Hot Springs Cove. It takes around two and a half hours for members to travel to Tofino, he said. “We don’t have regular doctor visits,” said Charleson. “It is a little bit of work coordinating flights and emergencies and supplies.” While Charleson said the nation’s remote location helped to keep the community safe from COVID-19, it did pose other challenges, such as food supply shortages. Through the program, four working groups have been created to discuss target

Hot Spring Cove is one of the remote communties set to benefit from a program designed to improve emergency services. op a Nuu Chah Nulth-based educational areas that need improving. video on cardiopulmonary resuscitation Cultural safety and anti-racism, first (CPR). Those who wish to participate can responders, primary care and community contact Nicole Malcomson. readiness, are some of the topics being Elmer Frank has been hired as the ECO examined, said Malcomson. for Tla-o-qui-aht and Elizabeth Jack The ECOs will advocate for their comwas hired as the ECO for Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/ munity’s specific needs to the working Che:k’tles7et’h’. Ahousaht has yet to apgroups, which are comprised of medical point an ECO, said Malcomson. students, professors, health directors, “We bring together western science and NTC management, along with doctors Nuu-chah-nulth knowledge and ways and nurses. of knowing to ensure the best of both Two more working groups for transportation and community will be created this worlds,” read a release from Kwiis-henniip. fall, and the program also plans to devel-


July 22, 2021—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 9

Tla-o-qui-aht holds march to speak out against drugs Member’s pledge to take back community ‘from all the abusers and drug dealers’ in the first of many marches By Melissa Renwick Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Tofino, BC - Singing and drumming rang throughout the streets of Esowista and Ty-Histanis on Friday, July 16, as Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation (TFN) council representatives, community members and RCMP joined together for a march near Tofino. “We’re taking back our community from all the abusers and drug dealers,” said Barb Audet. The topic of drugs and alcohol was a recurring theme during a leadership retreat for chief and council, said Anna Masso, TFN language coordinator. To confront it, Masso said the nation’s hereditary chiefs and elected chief and council planned the march on July 5, while formulating a 5-year strategic plan. It’s the first of many, she said. “This is just the beginning,” she added. Before taking to the streets in Esowista, Hjalmer Wenstob opened the march with a prayer song he wrote with his brother, Timmy Masso. Afterwards, orange signs that youth from Tla-o-qui-aht’s summer camp made were passed out. The signs represented the youth’s vision for a healthy community and were decorated with phrases like, “keep the community clean,” and “break the cycle.” Onlookers watched from kitchen windows and balconies, as marchers waved at them to join. Truck horns blared in support, and as more people trickled in, the singing and drumming grew louder.

Photo by Melissa Renwick

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation council representatives, community members and RCMP joined together for a march through the streets of Esowista and Ty-Histanis. The march was created to raise awareness around drug and alcohol issues within the communities, near Tofino, on July 16. Christina Howard, one of the camp’s nity comes together on an issue, it makes to properly formulate a good relationsummer students, carried a sign that read her “heart so happy” ship,” said Const. Mason Harrison. “It’s “TFN knows who you are.” “I see the youth smiling,” she said. “I a community issue and we’re part of that The 13-year-old said she was participat- see our leadership here, I see the RCMP community.” ing because “there’s a lot of kids sufferhere, I see our culture is here. There is For council member Joe Martin, the ing out there.” strength here.” march honoured future generations. “It’s the drugs that are doing it,” she Although the RCMP were invited by the “They deserve more respect from us,” said. “They’re putting kids in foster nation, some members expressed concern he said. homes.” that their presence might deter people After walking through both communiFrancis Howard, 17, echoed her sentifrom participating. ties, participants continued on to march in ments by saying that too many commuOthers said they felt triggered and were Tofino and Opitsaht. nity members are choosing to drink. reminded of the recent loss of Chantel In between drumming, Howard said that “When they get a paycheck, they choose Moore, who was fatally shot by a police joining the march was his way of helpto buy liquor instead of saving it for their officer during a wellness check in Eding to support his community become kids,” he said. “Their priority is marimunston, New Brunswick in June 2020. healthy. juana and alcohol. Their priority isn’t “It’s important for people to express “I want to see it change,” he said. “And their kids.” their concerns because understanding know that I helped to change it.” Masso, who has served on council for other people’s perspective about us is 12 years, said that anytime the commuthe only way we’re going to be able


Page 10— Ha-Shilth-Sa—July 22, 2021

DFO puts ‘emergency brake’ on commercial fisheries Harvest reduction strategy cuts out almost 60 per cent of commercial catch, includes talks with First Nations By Mike Youds Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor DFO says it is moving swiftly to close 60 per cent of commercial salmon fisheries on the B.C. coast while consulting with First Nations on changes to communalcommercial licences as part of an all-out initiative to reverse steep declines of Pacific salmon. Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan announced the harvest-based conservation measures Tuesday, June 29 as an initial step towards longer-term reductions in fishing pressure on threatened salmon stocks. New data from the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission shows the global catch of Pacific salmon in 2020 was the lowest since 1982, the department said. The majority of B.C. stocks have been in decline — some by as much as 90 percent — with the exception of some pink and chum stocks. “We are pulling the emergency brake to give these salmon populations the best chance of survival,” Jordan stated in a news release. “The decisions to implement new long-term closures and permanently removed effort from the commercial salmon fishery were not easy, as they impact people, communities and livelihoods. But with fewer and fewer returning every year — disappearing before our eyes — we have to act now.” During a technical briefing that accompanied the announcement, DFO Pacific Region officials left no room for doubting the gravity of the situation or its primary cause: Climate change. Globally, the last six years have been the hottest recorded, they noted coincidentally on a day when Lytton in the Fraser Canyon reached the warmest temperature ever in Canada, 49.5 C, and major wildfires erupted in the B.C. Interior and North. Conclusions in the latest State of the Salmon report, produced annually by DFO Pacific Region scientists, was used as justification for the sweeping harvest transformation measures. “Warmer air temperatures combined with other factors are contributing to river temperatures that are increasingly too warm for salmon in summer months,” the report states. “There are rivers where we see temperature exceeding 18-20 C in summer months, and for migrating adult salmon this can cause them to die before reaching their spawning grounds. Even if they do … migrating in these stressful conditions can also decrease the quality of the offspring they produce.” Marine conditions don’t help, since the oceans have absorbed 90 per cent of the earth’s excess heat. An extreme heat wave in the Pacific that has come to be known as “the Blob” since it was first documented in 2013 remains a factor in 2021. Salmon stocks may take several generations to stabilize and rebuild, resulting in profound impacts on harvesters, Jordan noted in launching DFO’s latest commercial buy-out strategy, the Pacific Salmon Commercial Transition Program. The voluntary salmon licence retirement program offers harvesters the option to retire their licences for fair market value. Their goal is to radically downsize the West Coast commercial salmon fishing fleet. Seventy-nine of a 138 commercial fisheries overall will be closed indefinitely. In response to PSSI, the commercial fishing industry has reminded DFO that it

Photos by Melissa Renwick

Elmer Frank (above) uses a crane to lift his catch up to his truck near the Fourth Street dock in Tofino on July 23, 2020, as Terry Crosina (below) pours fresh ice on their catch before it’s brought to Ucluelet for sale.

“We call on the DFO to come to the table immediately and begin dialogue with these Five Nations to determine sufficient allocations,” ~ Judith Sayers, NTC president is responsible to harvesters as well as to salmon. “There is no evidence of overfishing by the commercial fleet,” states the UFAWU-Unifor, the union representing commercial harvesters. “Rather, it is current policies combined with a lack of salmon that have created a crisis.” Beyond the closures, fisheries that remain open may be able to proceed, but only on the basis of in-season test fisheries if numbers warrant and if risk to stocks of concern is considered low. Incidental catches of endangered stocks in mixed-stock fisheries is a guiding concern. Consultations with First Nations and commercial harvesters on long-term conservation measures will be held prior to the 2022 fishing season, the department stated. For First Nations communal-commercial harvesters, DFO repeated its promise to meaningfully consult on options to shift to more selective fishing gear or, where available, to licences for other non-salmon species. There will be no impact of fishing the department classifies as food, social and ceremonial. “These mitigation measures allow for continued economic opportunity agreements under the communal-commercial

licence, while helping reduce interactions with at-risk stocks. Indigenous partners, harvesting groups and stakeholders have been calling for change,” DFO stated. The department said it would be engaging immediately with First Nations, harvesters, industry members and partners across the Pacific region on the impacts of the commercial closures and the collaborative development of the mitigation program. DFO said it intends to adopt a modernized commercial salmon management system as part of the Harvest Transformation pillar under the Pacific Salmon Strategic Initiative (PSSI). Jordan unveiled the $647-million initiative in early June, calling it the largest, most transformative investment ever made to save wild salmon. PSSI’s Senior Director Sarah Murdoch gave an initial presentation to the Council of Ha’wiih Forum on Fisheries in early June. First Nations should be part of the planning for the fund from day one, not consulted with once plans have already been made, the Ha’wiih stressed. The initiatives come, coincidentally, after DFO’s decision to not appeal the Ahousaht et al case on commercial fish-

ery infringement. After more than two years of deliberation in the court saga, B.C. Court of Appeal ruled in favour of the Five Nations (Ahousaht, Ehattesaht, Hesquiaht, Mowachaht/Muchalaht and Tla-o-qui-aht), concluding that DFO had infringed on their right to a commercial fishery as proven in B.C. Supreme Court in 2009 – while overturning a previous ruling that narrowed the nations’ rights. “We call on the DFO to come to the table immediately and begin dialogue with these Five Nations to determine sufficient allocations,” said Judith Sayers, Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council president. “It is past time to do so. Our fishermen have waited long enough to pursue their livelihood and the court has definitively ruled on this right. It is a sad reflection on Canada that they fought the Nuuchah-nulth in court for 18 years instead of negotiating.” NTC said it also expects DFO to negotiate fully and fairly with the Maa-nulth Nations — which have a “me too” clause in their final agreement regarding the results of this case — and with four Nuuchah-nulth nations forced to withdraw from the court case due to overlapping territories.


July 22, 2021—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 11

Drastic salmon closures are devastating, says union DFO harvest reduction measures are expected to hit coastal First Nations hard by choking one of their few local industries By Mike Youds Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Vic Amos, a west coast Vancouver Island commercial troller since the 1970s, hasn’t been fishing yet this season. “No, we’re not fishing yet, but we’re hoping,” Amos said when Ha-Shilth-Sa called him for comment on a plan to close 60 per cent of commercial salmon fisheries and scale down B.C.’s commercial fishing fleet, already a shadow of its former self. As one of only three remaining Nuuchah-nulth commercial fishermen on the west coast of the Island, Amos is not so optimistic about long-term prospects for small-boat, family-run commercial fishing. “We may be the last,” he said. The Hesquiaht First Nation fisherman has seen buy-back programs come and go through the years with one consistent outcome: Steadily declining participation in the west coast commercial fishing sector and opportunity shifting to recreational fishing and fish farming. “It always seems like there’s a bigger picture,” he said. “The decisions to implement new longterm closures and permanently remove effort from the commercial salmon fishery were not easy as they impact people, communities and livelihoods,” Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan said on June 29. “But with fewer and fewer returning every year — disappearing before our eyes — we have to act now.” As part of the Pacific Salmon Strategic Initiative (PSSI), a “commercial transition program” will be launched this fall

Photo by Holly Stocking

Commercial fishing boats tied up at Fisherman’s Warf in Port Alberni on July 15, after federal closures were announced. allowing licence holders a chance to exit the industry with the promise of fair market value for licences. The measures imply commercial fishing takes the lion’s share of salmon, but that’s simply not the case, Amos said. “There are some runs in trouble, but I would say the government’s doing a very poor job of managing the fishery,” Amos said. “It isn’t overfishing. The small amount of people participating is not a problem.” Harvesters, many of whom had geared and crewed in preparation for the 2021 season, were not consulted or notified

NOTICE OF PESTICIDE USE Pesticide Use Permit (PUP) #866-0004-21-23 Cermaq Canada Ltd., 203-919 Island Highway, Campbell River, BC, V9W 2C2, (250)-286-0022. Notice is given that the pest control product Interox TM Paramove TM 50 (active ingredient Hydrogen Peroxide) will be used in the marine environment for the topical removal of sea lice from aquaculture fish. Registration Number: 31393 Pest Control Products Act PMRA. Paramove 50 will only be used in accordance with the directions as per the product label and the PRMA. Paramove 50 will be administered by using well boats. Treatment locations are leased from the Province of BC, LF numbers 1403293, 1408719, 1405933, 1403647 & 1406648 located in the Clayoquot Region. ParamoveTM 50 Guarantee: Hydrogen Peroxide 50% For the Control of Sea Lice on salmon in fish farms Registration Number: 31393 Pest Control Products Act. PRMA The proposed treatments are under review, subsequent to the potential need and could commence after August 1, 2021. The treatments will be veterinarian prescribed with intermittent use. The proposed duration of use is approximately three years ending March 26, 2024. Detailed maps of the specific treatment areas and copies of the permit application can be viewed at Cermaq Canada Ltd. at the address above or visit https://www.cermaq. ca/public-trust/public-reporting A person wishing to receive permitted pesticide use and related integrated pest management information on the planned treatment may contact Tom Foulds, Cermaq Canada at the address or phone number noted above between the hours of 8:30 – 5:00.

in advance of the fishery closures, said UFAWU-Unifor. The union represents about 5,000 commercial fishers in B.C. About 60 per cent are Indigenous. “These closures will devastate salmon, harvesters and coastal communities alike,” the union said in a news release. “The only gain will be the political favour of those who’ve been fooled into thinking this is the answer to the salmon crisis.” It’s not the first time the commercial fishing industry has been at the forefront of sacrifices, said Dave Rolston, Tseshaht First Nation fisheries manager. “We didn’t know how dramatic the reduction was going to be, but I think we all knew it was coming,” he said. Those who fish the Fraser stocks will feel the brunt of the closures, but the impact will be widespread, he expects. Of 200 First Nations in coastal B.C., about half have a strong fisheries component in various forms. As well, the commercial fishing sector is a key economic driver at major landing areas. “These are all going to impact any First Nation that has any stake in a commercial fishery,” Rolston said. “Overall it’s going to have a big impact and yet we really don’t know how big it’s going to be.” The season was already shaping up to be another dismal one with a forecast Somass sockeye return of 350,000, one of few exceptions on the south coast. Based on test fishing, the forecast was adjusted upward to 500,000. Now, due to a relentless heat wave, that figure may have to be readjusted. Sockeye are holding off, waiting for cooler water before entering the river. Eric Angel, Uu-a-thluk fisheries program manager, attributes the buy-back and closures to the same top-down, paternalistic management style that has long hindered Nuu-chah-nulth hopes of rebuilding west coast fisheries. “It’s going to create tension,” he said, reciting Einstein’s Parable of Quantum Insanity: Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. There have been five West Coast commercial buy-back plans since the 1970s. The most recent, the Mifflin Plan, halved B.C.’s commercial fleet 20 years ago. “If a buy-back program were the solution they could have solved this years ago,” Angel said. What is missing among DFO initiatives announced so far is any further measures

to restrict the recreational catch after chinook closures imposed two years ago. “They’re not pulling the hatchery lever to help fish. It’s to help the sports fishery, so at the end of the day, commercial fishing is being used as a scapegoat in this and that includes First Nations,” Angel said. “There’s no accountability to those who suffer the most.” Harvest limits can help but so can habitat recovery, he contends. “DFO ceded the terrestrial side of the resource to the province years ago and the province has a free hand to do what it wants,” Angel said. “Old-growth forest is not separate from salmon but part of a very rich and complex ecosystem. We know that mowing down the forest is bad for salmon.” Habitat recovery here and there only makes a dent in the problem, he added. “Not to say you can’t do restoration work that’s beneficial, but the single best thing you can do for salmon habitat is not destroy any more of it,” he said. Funding that could be channeled for habitat restoration will go to the buyback program as an aging workforce of commercial fishers leave the industry, the union says. Amos recalls what a Supreme Court judge heard in 2009 before affirming the rights of five Nuu-chah-nulth Five Nations to fish and sell species in their territorial waters. The judge was told there were 8,000 people who counted themselves as Nuu-chah-nulth. And how many earn a living from fishing? Three he was told. “That gives you an idea of how disastrous all these buy backs have been,” Amos said. Wickanninish, Cliff Atleo, lead negotiator for Ahousaht First Nation, called it a “wishy-washy announcement” with unclear implications. He awaits more details on the federal government’s position, possibly coming at a meeting with DFO negotiators in mid July. What was clear was April’s B.C. Court of Appeal ruling, in effect telling DFO to remedy the problems created by consistently infringing on the right to harvest and sell fish. “What we said after the court case was don’t take anything off the table,” Atleo said. What they need to do instead is enhance initiatives on the table through measures that support reconciliation, he said.


Page 12— Ha-Shilth-Sa—July 22, 2021

Carving project honours Ditidaht artist Art Thompson Intergenerational mentorship comes full circle as local children help carve a project that leads to Nitinaht Lake By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Malachan, BC – World renowned artist Art Thompson was honored in his home territory June 28, 18 years after he lost his battle to cancer. A carving project, three years in the making, came to a finish with a solemn ceremony under sweltering summer skies. In 2018, staff of the Ditidaht Community School along with former elected chief Jack Thompson came up with an idea that would not only commemorate Art Thompson, but would also serve as a learning opportunity for the children. The school had built a trail leading from the edge of the village to the shores of Nitinaht Lake. A stunning, new carved gateway was made to grace the entrance to the trail. Designed by Morris (Moy) Sutherland Jr., the pole features two carved figures supporting a canoe that extends across the tops of the poles. For Moy, this project was especially important for him to complete, even after delays caused by the pandemic. More than 20 years ago Moy began his artistic apprenticeship under Art Thompson. “He was my teacher and mentor for the last three years of his life,” Moy told the crowd, adding that it was a great honor to make this contribution to the community and to the children. Thompson was born in Whyac, near Nitinaht Narrows in 1943. From an early age he was exposed to institutions that stifled his Indigenous ways, first at the tuberculosis hospital in Nanaimo and then at Alberni Indian Residential School, where he suffered horrific abuse at the hands of supervisor Arthur Plint. In 1995 Thompson testified in court against Plint, who subsequently pled guilty to sexually assaulting 18 victims between the ages of 6 and 13. By that time, Thompson had found healing in artistry and his work was in demand around the world. He designed two of the medals used in the 1994 Commonwealth Games and also the Queen’s baton. He remained a staunch supporter and advocate for residential school survivors until his passing in 2003.

Photo by Denise Titian

Moy Sutherland Jr. (left) stands with Tim Sutherland and Guy Louie Jr. under a recently completed carving project that serves as the gateway to a new trail leading to Nitinaht Lake. “This is the best way and the best place to honour my teacher,” said Sutherland. The new installation sits at the head of the new trail leading to Nitinaht lake. There are two figures, one holding a rattle. “This is a whaler above a humpback whale,” said Sutherland. He went on to say the design was inspired by an Art Thompson installation at Camosun College. The second figure is a Ditidaht fisherman standing in a river filled with salmon. “This represents the wealth of the Ditidaht,” said Sutherland. A Nuu-chah-nulth-style canoe is balanced on top of the two poles, forming a gateway.

“We are honoring a man and respecting the wealth you have in your waters…that is what is represented in these poles,” said Tim Sutherland. Sutherland said he named the pole Tsaqwa-supp. That was Thompson’s name and the family has given permission to use it for the pole. “Before he died, he had a potlatch and gave away all his names,” said Sutherland. Tsa-qwa-supp is the only name he kept. Moy Sutherland Jr. (Hiishmiik), was accompanied by his uncle Tim Sutherland, who led the singing, along with Guy Louie Jr., who helped with both carving and singing. John Marston (Qap’u’luq) of Stz’uminus First Nation was there and

also took part in the project. Following a blessing ceremony, Marston thanked the people of Ditidaht and the Thompson family for their support. DCS principal Emily MacLennan thanked Sutherland and Marston for working with the kids as they helped carve one of the poles. The original plan was to have most of the work done in the village with community members helping along the way, but the pandemic changed things and the work was completed off site. Sutherland said initial funding for the project came from Ditidaht First Nation, then an anonymous donor contributed the rest to complete the work. DFN supplied the footings and built the bases for the poles.

Phrase of the week: %ukw’ic^nis%a> p’ip’iskuk +uuc^i%a>quun h=aa yaq’itii%a> wik wa>ši+ Pronounced ‘Oo Qi itch nis Pi Pi ic h kool Clue chil alth qoon Haa Yaq it tii alth Wick Walth silt ’, it means ‘We wear orange to remember those who never came home.’ Supplied by ciisma.

Illustration by Ivy Cargill-Martin


July 22, 2021—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 13

Makah master carver teaches Pacheedaht cousins Partnership with the University of Victoria brings the Nuu-chah-nulth nation its first dugout canoe in decades By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Port Renfrew, BC – It has been several decades since a sea-worthy canoe has been carved in Pacheedaht territory, but that’s about to change as two youth will spend their summer apprenticing under the guidance of Makah master carver, Hawt’wilth’iayatuk, Micah McCarty. This rare opportunity came as a result of a partnership between Pacheedaht First Nation and the University of Victoria. Sarah Wright Cardinal, PhD, is an assistant professor at UVic’s School of Child and Youth Care. She told Ha-Shilth-Sa that she and former PFN health director Roxy Jones applied for a substantial UVic grant to fund the ‘Reclaiming Nuuchah-nulth teachings to empower and strengthen the roles and responsibilities of Pacheedaht young men’ program. Funded by the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada, the project builds on a previous grant project that supported the Pacheedaht community prepare for their role in Tribal Journeys 2019. PFN was awarded a $200,000 grant last year when the pandemic began. Unable to move forward with the project due to provincial health orders, the funding was extended for a year. The team, made up of PFN and UVic staff, is developing a model of community wellness that engages youth in remote and rural Indigenous communities. Cardinal noted that the Pacheedaht, Makah and Ditidaht are all closely related. She recalled the story of the broken rattle told by Ditidaht elder Jimmy Chester. In 2019 the late elder told Ha-ShilthSa that the three nations speak the same dialect of the Nuu-chah-nulth language because they are one family. Chester explained that the Ditidaht and Pacheedaht originally came from Makah. But fear of retribution for accidentally breaking a chief’s sacred rattle sent some of the people paddling across the Strait of Juan de Fuca, fearing for their lives. Chester explained that the Pacheedaht and Ditidaht originally came from Tatoosh Island, off the coast of Cape Flattery in Washington State. They first landed in what is now known as Jordan River, but there wasn’t enough food for everyone. The group split and some went inland to Nitinaht Lake and the others stayed on the outer coast, becoming the Ditidaht and Pacheedaht respectively. Reviving culture with Ditidaht For the past several years the Pacheedaht have been working closely with Ditidaht to revive their culture. The two nations have used previous UVic grants to hold language and cultural classes. In 2019 the university donated a pair of Nuu-chah-nulth style fibreglass canoes, allowing the Pacheedaht to take part in Canoe Journeys for the first time. With the most recent grant, Pacheedaht will take it a step further and learn how to make their own canoes by having a pair of youth apprentice under McCarty. The skills they pick up will be transferable to future generations of Nuu-chah-nulth-aht. Trent Jones and Trystan Dunn-Jones will learn how to carve a canoe under the direction of their Makah relative McCarty, who underwent two weeks of quarantine before arriving in Port Renfrew. The canoe is expected to be completed in September 2021. There was a ceremony to officially launch the project on July 1. At that

Photos by Denise Titian

With traditional hand tools in hand, Makah master carver Micah McCarty and his Pacheedaht apprentices Trystan DunnJones and Trent Jones post atop and ancient red cedar recently harvested in Pacheedaht territory. Over the next two months the log will be transformed into a Nuu-chah-nulth style dugout canoe.

“I’ve been around cedar all my life. I learned how to read cedar and know what shapes you can get out of a piece of wood” ~ Micah McCarty ceremony the canoe log was blessed and people involved in the project were acknowledged. Early the following morning McCarty went to the Pacheedaht Forestry Mill site to begin work on the log. According to elected chief Jeff Jones, the log, an old growth red cedar, was harvested from Pacheedaht territory. Since traditional dug-out canoes are shaped out of a single log, the occasional harvest of old growth cedar is necessary to keep the art of canoe-making alive. Chief Jones noted that there are not many mills capable of handling a log this size. In fact, a mill employee needed to use a chainsaw to cut off sections of the log so that it would fit through the Woodmizer. McCarty and a couple mill workers took some measurements of the log, planning for the most efficient way to mill the log. “Cedar trees have a natural curve – you need to know how to read the wood and work with that natural bend to accommodate the bow, which curves upward,” said McCarty. McCarty is a prominent leader in the Pacific Northwest. He has served as chairman on Makah Tribal Council. He has been to Washington, D.C. to fight for Makah’s whaling rights enshrined in a treaty and for environmental protections. When asked why he chose to lead this

project, McCarty said, “It manifests everything I was raised to value.” McCarty made his first model canoe before he was eight years old. From Grades 1-3 he attended Wa he lut Indian School at Olympia, WA., where he first started carving. “A Haida carver taught me how to make a Makah model canoe,” he said. By passing on teachings like these, McCarty says it strengthens family ties and allows for the continuity of culture. “It’s about wellness for youth and it allows them to see and witness living culture,” he added. McCarty himself apprenticed under notable master carvers like Tla-o-qui-aht’s Joe Martin and others. “I’ve been around cedar all my life. I learned how to read cedar and know what shapes you can get out of a piece of wood,” he said. He says he still has a lot to learn, even after decades of projects. For that reason, he takes a careful and methodical approach to carving canoes. Eagle parts for regalia Sheila Jones is finishing up her fourth year of university in the Child and Youth Care Program. Returning home to work with Pacheedaht youth over the summer is her final course requirement before completing her degree. She had been up late, the night before, plucking eagle carcasses. Sheila is learning to make regalia from eagle parts with the assistance of an elder in the village that was trained on the proper processing techniques and the respectful treatment of the remains once the feathers and other usable parts are removed. It is illegal to hunt eagles but, with support from PFN natural resources staff, the nation was able to acquire eagle carcasses from conservation officers for cultural purposes. The regalia, down and feathers will be used in future celebrations, like the blessing of the canoe when it is finished. These are other skills that will be passed

on to PFN members both directly and through social media. Sheila talked about the importance of bringing back lost skills and the cultural lessons McCarty will bring to the community, and, more importantly, the youth. “He’s a great teacher – he explains things every step of the way,” she said. She is grateful that her nation has its own sawmill, getting days of work done in a few short hours. Ancient techniques would require that wood be chipped away with hand tools to begin shaping the canoe. With a sawmill, several slabs of wood were sawn from the log, allowing the mill to market the high-end red cedar slabs rather than turning it into wood chips. Sheila spent the morning at the mill site, live streaming the milling process for Pacheedaht members and maximizing the audience of potential learners. On July 2 the log was transported to the reserve and placed in front of the band office. This allows for other members of the community to take part in the project. When asked when the last canoe was carved in Port Renfrew, Sheila recalled canoe projects from about 25 years ago. “There have been attempts and fails,” she said. One canoe cracked and the other was too unstable to use. They are hoping McCarty can repair the cracked canoe. Chief Jeff Jones said he hopes the project will not only enrich PFN culture but bring unity in his community and with the Makah and Ditidaht relatives. Both Trent and Tristan will work with McCarty throughout the summer, not only learning how to carve a canoe, but also taking in cultural teachings. “This is something to look forward to, coming out of COVID. To learn from a master carver like Makah, this opportunity is huge and rare,” said Jeff Jones. McCarty says he is happy to share what he has learned with future generations. “I will become an ancestor someday,” said McCarty. “I revere ancestors, and the more we add life to culture, the better.”


Page 14— Ha-Shilth-Sa—July 22, 2021

President’s message to Nuu-chah-nulth-aht Hello to everyone throughout all Nuuchah-nulth territories. I hope you all were able to get through the terrible heat waves we had to live through in the past month. No one can doubt that we are in global warming when we hit record temperatures for days on end. We are in extreme dryness in the forests and encourage everyone to continue to be very careful when in the forests. It is hard to see so many forest fires in B.C., and seeing places like Lytton and the reserve mostly burned up. Hard times for many First Nations people fighting fires to keep them away from their homes and communities. The Senate Committee on Energy and Climate asked me to present to them on the new proposed federal law on getting to net zero emissions. Climate change is hitting us hard with these record-breaking temperatures, floods, droughts and forest fires. If they wait until 2050 to get to net zero emissions I am not sure what kind of world we will be living in. Constant air conditioning? Not able to get out and enjoy the world? People, governments, industry and businesses must make greater efforts to get down our greenhouse gas emissions or we won’t have much of a world to live in and what will we be passing on to our children and grandchildren. This month I attended the Zoom Annual General Assembly of the Assembly of First Nations. For the first time in the history of the AFN, a woman was elected as national chief, Roseanne Archibald from the First Nation of Taykwa Tagamou and is Nishnawbe from Ontario. There were seven people running for national chief, three women and four men and during the fifth ballot. Roseanne was declared national chief as her contender withdrew. Nuu-chah-nulth had a candidates forum before the election and we were able to question all seven candidates. Earlier in the week, an Inuk woman Mary Simon was made the Governor General Delegate, the first time an Indigenous person has been Governor General. Mary is very accomplished and has had many roles throughout her lifetime. It was quite a week for Indigenous women. Of course in the last few weeks of June, we celebrated our grads and scholarship winners. Congratulations to all who graduated and got scholarships and hope you all had good celebrations of their accomplishments. It was a big thing they did. As B.C. has now opened the province, I had a meeting with Heiltsuk and the provincial and federal health teams to communicate some of the concerns being expressed by Nuu-chah-nulth nations. That is how soon the borders will open and dealing with the many US recreation boaters who come into First Nations harbours and villages. If people are coming in from the US, they have three days of isolation in a government-approved hotel and then self-isolate for another 11 days and must have a negative COVID test. I am also working with a group of chiefs to look at how we can take back more jurisdiction over health so that we may be able to control our own health, have the data we need to make good decisions and ensure our people are looked after in a good way. As B.C. is no longer in a state of emergency, Indigenous Services Canada is not providing any money to First Nations for COVID prevention activities including manning security gates at the entrance to the reserves.

We continue to have our policing committee and are drafting a Memorandum of Understanding on how we will work together with the RCMP and what we want to accomplish in various areas of policing. There are so many issues in relation to policing and we must work hard to ensure there is justice for Indigenous peoples. As you know, B.C. passed the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act over 18 months ago and have not done a lot to implement the law. One of the things they were to do under the law was to table a joint action plan that would set out what work would be done but did not include what laws were to be changed. At the end of June, they finally tabled the plan, almost 20 months later. I reviewed it and did an analysis of what needs to be changed. The plan is for the next five years. The very sad news of finding the unmarked graves at Kamloops Indian Band and Cowessess and in Saskatchewan, Penelakut and others has hit everyone very hard. While the survivors knew these unmarked graves existed, and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was also told, the Canadian government refused to provide money to look for them and told the commission it was not within their mandate. Both federal and provincial governments have provided funding for First Nations to do the ground-penetrating radar and it is expected that many more unmarked graves will be found. At the Union of BC Indian Chiefs and AFN, comprehensive motions were made on political action that needs to be taken. The chief from KIB said that they have comprehensive strategies for political, technical, legal, communications and international actions they will take for next steps. First Nations all over the country have been doing their own ceremonies, or going to Kamloops to do ceremonies there. The best news coming out of fisheries is that the commercial fishery case involving Ahousaht and others will not be appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada. After being in court for 16 years and winning one case only to have to start another to get DFO to act on commercial fisheries, the court battle is over. Now it is working to get DFO to implement the decision that provides our commercial fishermen with enough fish to make a reasonable livelihood. This will be the challenge. Congrats once again to Ditidaht, Huuay-aht and Pacheedaht on their Hišuk ma cawak Declaration and taking back management of their forestry. As always, I am always committed to working hard for all the issues Nuu-chahnulth. Enjoy your summer. - Kekinusuqs Judith Sayers

WCMRC is recruiting for a Full Time Spill Response Technician – 60 GT Master to join our Port Alberni, BC spill response team. The specific responsibilities for this position include: • Captain vessels safely and effectively, provide direction to crew members and maintain records of allocated personnel and resources • Ensure all activities are carried out with due regard to personal safety • Provide safe, prompt and efficient support to spill incidents, exercises and preparedness projects. • Maintain spill response equipment to ensure all equipment is operational • Ensure crew is fully trained and successfully executes assigned tasks during exercises, drills and oil spill response operations. • Participate in exercises, trains contractors and WCMRC personnel. • Provide training to our new hires/ casuals/ contractors. The successful candidate will possess a Master 60 GT Domestic certificate issued by Transport Canada, a minimum of three years of previous experience with marine and small power equipment maintenance, working knowledge of local coastlines, and emergency response training and/or experience. A Class 5 Drivers License is required. Must be physically fit for work at sea in calm and rough waters and be willing and able to work outdoors under inclement weather. Also, must be capable of lifting and carrying up to 50lbs on a regular basis. To view full job posting or to send a cover letter and detailed resume visit our website at http://wcmrc.com/careers/


July 22, 2021—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 15

---Employment Opportunities--Port Alberni Friendship Centre Volunteers Needed Need work experience? The Port Alberni Friendship Centre is looking for interested applicants for various positions. Hours per week vary. Call 250-723-8281

View more job postings at hashilthsa.com


Page 16— Ha-Shilth-Sa—July 22, 2021

Technical conservation training opens doors Program finds employment opportunities by working with First Nations to identify environmental restoration By Melissa Renwick Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Tofino, BC - After many years working as a health care aid, Kayla Lucas needed a change. Unsure of which direction to go next, the Hesquiaht First Nation council member took a job preparing willow for replanting with the Central Westcoast Forest Society (CWFS). “I had no idea what I was doing or what to expect,” she described. At the time, Lucas said she knew little about working in fisheries, forestry, or environmental conservation. But after carrying out various work contracts with the non-profit organization, her interest peaked. Before long, Lucas was asked to participate in a technical training certification program that the CWFS was facilitating and without hesitation, she agreed. “[The training] opened many doors for me,” said Lucas. “It also opened up something I didn’t realize I was interested in.” Funded through B.C.’s Healthy Watersheds Initiative, eight participants from Tla-o-qui-aht, Hesquiaht and Ahousaht First Nations attended the 5-week training between April 19 to May 21. Held at the Best Western Plus Tin Wis Resort in Tofino, they learned about fish and fish habitat, land monitoring skills, water monitoring skills, and essential environmental skills. “[Participants] identified roles and responsibilities for environmental monitoring crews, they were able to conduct standard measuring and sampling techniques and learn about turbidity monitoring,” explained Mandala Smulders, CWFS director of operations. Offered on a first-come first-serve basis, the training was not only free, but Smulders said participants were compensated to attend. Although CWFS did not pay for their

Photo supplied by CWFS

Participants engage in a five-week technical training certification facilitated by the Central Westcoast Forest Society (CWFS) between April 19 to May 21 near Tofino. tuition, participants from the neighI’m out there, I can’t help but think of bouring nations of Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/ [Richard]. I know he’s looking down and Che:k’tles7et’h’ and Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ First just so proud of this project. This was his Nations also joined. baby, this was also his stress, but he made The goal was to provide those involved it happen. We’re just carrying out what he with a variety of environmental specialwas able to do for our nation.” izations that they could carry with them The Maaqutusiis Hahoulthee Stewardinto the field within their own territories, ship Society has also employed two of Smulders said. the certificate recipients as full-time After completing her certification, stewardship guardians to conduct regular Lucas landed a job working in her home patrols of Ahousaht’s territory. CWFS territory on the nation’s hydro project funds the positions through the Healthy at Ahtaapq Creek as an environmental Watersheds Initiative. technician. The society began in 1995, after the She remembers being a young adult Meares Island logging protests in Clayowhen the hydro project was “just a quot Sound. As logging was shutting dream.” down in the region, CWFS was estabThe late-chief Richard Lucas was just lished to provide job opportunities to putting it into motion, she recalled. those who had lost their livelihoods “Being a really big part of this project through restoring systems that had been now is amazing,” she said. “Every time degraded from logging, Smulders said.

Representatives from the surrounding Tla-o-qui-aht, Hesquiaht, Ahousaht, Toquaht and Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ First Nations sit on the board of directors. Working with the nations to identify priority areas for restoration has always been one of the society’s mandates, said Smulders. By focusing on training, capacity building, and providing employment opportunities, CWFS aims to build-up a restoration-based economy, she added. Terry Dorward, Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks project coordinator, said that combining traditional knowledge with CWFS’s science-based approach creates an ideal partnership. “Our mandate, our Tla-o-qui-aht vision, is to have healthy rivers producing salmon,” he said. “It goes back to our responsibilities. We’ve been trying to build a conservation economy for some time now and working with the folks at CWFS is the perfect fit.” CWFS hopes to offer more training courses in the fall, once the peak of their restoration work has slowed down, said Smulders. For the most part, Lucas said the handson training hardly even felt like work. “It was just fun,” she said. “We were able to identify birds, get right in there and identify bugs, identify trees, identify the dozens and dozens of mosses and what their purposes are in the environment. That was my biggest takeaway – everything has a purpose, and everything has to be protected.” Lucas said the technical training made her more aware of her surrounding environment and what she can do to help keep them protected. “I learned just how important it is to make sure the streams are effective for our fish to return,” she said. “It’s really important to take care of those streams, like our ancestors did.”


July 22, 2021—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 17


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Strenuous West Coast Trail gets a li•le easier Reopened after a pandemic closure in 2020, the 75-kilometre route features a new 113-metre suspension bridge By Mike Youds Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Building a new bridge on the West Coast Trail was no walk in the park, Parks Canada says. The popular coastal trek reopened June 4 after a year-long pandemic closure, enabling hikers to cross what Parks Canada describes as a feat of construction and engineering, a 113-metre suspension bridge hanging 120 metres above Logan Creek, referred to in Nuu-chah-nulth as wi?e:? (pronounced wi-eh). “It was such an exciting project,” said Jackie Hicks, Parks Canada project manager, who was the first registered hiker to cross the new span. She last hiked the 75-km trail — which traverses Huu-ayaht, Ditidaht and Pacheedaht territories between Pachena Bay and Gordon River — in 2002. This time, as a park employee, she had some final inspecting to do as the season got underway. “It was an incredible experience,” Hicks said of her most recent trek. “I don’t think hikers now will realize, but we made it a little bit easier for them.” Aside from its spectacular setting, West Coast Trail is known for exposure to the elements, and countless ups and downs, as it snakes between rugged coastline and dense rainforest. Built in 1907 as the Dominion Lifesaving Trail, the route was originally intended for rescuing shipwreck survivors in an era when there were many along what was known as the Graveyard of the Pacific. Nowadays, about 6,000 hikers attempt the trail each season between May and September. Multiple improvements in recent years have made hiking the route safer and easier. Still, each year Parks Canada has to evacuate about 100 hikers from the trail due to illness or injury. There are more than 100 ladder systems that must be scaled en route. Logan Creek was known to be especially taxing for backpackers carrying five to seven days of provisions. To reach the old suspension bridge at kilometre 56, hikers scaled down a series of wooden ladders then climbed another series of ladders on the opposite side. The new bridge allows a safer and less physically demanding crossing than before, its lengthier span bridging the ravine at a higher elevation. Instead of a single plank too narrow to allow hikers to pass each other, there is the added reassurance of aluminum planking, beams and joists as well as steel support piers. Completed in 2019, the new crossing is part of $7.9 million invested in the West Coast Trail, along with other upgrades

Photo submitted by Parks Canada

Construction workers walk the completed bridge, which spans 113-metres abover Logan Creek. Each year about 6,000 hikers attempt to complete the West Coast Trail. of the same natural forces that make the including composting toilets. in May between Revelstoke and Banff, But the bridge at wi?e:? wasn’t replaced hike so arduous — heavy rain, fog banks includes two spans, one of which is and high winds. to make hiking easier, Hicks noted. An 130 metres high, making it the highest During the intense wildfire season of assessment done as part of a Parks Canin Canada. The other span at Golden is 2019, there were no helicopters available, equal in length to Capilano Suspension ada bridge inspection program several another hurdle for construction, though years ago found the anchoring system Bridge, 140 metres. the bridge was completed that year. holding all those ladders in place was The only drawback with Logan Creek According to Parks Canada, the new deemed inadequate due to slope instabilSuspension Bridge, in relation to those span ranks among the Top 10 in B.C. in ity. The old ladder system was at issue, high-profile tourist attractions, is getting not the bridge. Wooden rungs, susceptible its category of simple suspension bridges. there. Hikers alone can access the bridge There are about 50 listed in a provincial to wear and tear, had to be continually and they have to register in advance to inventory. replaced. use the trail. “It is quite an improvement and, in A crew of about 10 workers camped Parks Canada has produced a effect, it’s also a beautiful, new piece of along the creek during construction, video about the construction of the equipped with nothing larger than a small infrastructure,” Hicks said. bridge: https://www.youtube.com/ The Golden Skybridge, which opened excavator and a limited assortment of watch?v=dF9I0P_ek6s&t=3s. tools light enough to be flown in. Pacheedaht First Nation monitors worked with Parks Canada staff on site to ensure contractors followed cultural and environmental standards. To minimize wildlife interactions, the contractor brought in a bear-safe storage container for all food and waste and a temporary electric fence was installed around the work site. All bridge components had to be airlifted by helicopter. Old components had to be flown out for recycling. Each flight had to be strategically planned on account


July 22, 2021—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 19

Carving a traditional totem pole for Opitsaht Project adds to the small collection of traditionally carved Tla-o-qui-aht totem poles that remain in existence By Melissa Renwick Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Tofino, BC - Most families from Tla-oqui-aht First Nation had four totem poles displayed in front of their homes before European settlers arrived on the west coast in the late-1700s. When a woman married into a tribe, a totem pole was raised to depict her family’s history. It would stand next to three poles. 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 Joe Martin, master carver and Tla-o-qui-aht elder. For Tla-o-qui-aht families, the totem poles served as daily reminders of the teachings relatives were expected to uphold. “It’s our constitution,” said Martin. “Teachings of natural law.” 200 homes burned Today, only two totem poles from 1989 and 1993 remain in Opitsaht on Meares Island – one of which is rotting and leaning to the side, said Martin. This is why his eldest brother, Nookmis, asked Martin to carve a new totem pole for the ancient village. As Europeans first arrived in the Clayoquot Sound and encountered the Tla-oqui-aht, they couldn’t make sense of the totem poles, said Martin. Just like First Nations couldn’t read English, Martin said settlers couldn’t read the totem poles. “They were also illiterate,” he said. Totem poles are not read linearly. Often carved as animals or mythical creatures, the crests hold ancient teachings that change with the seasons, said Martin. Passed down through the generations, each one tells a familial story or serves to honour a specific event, or person. Shaped as guiding principles, the teachings were often taught through song and dance, said Martin. As an example, Martin pointed to a sea serpent and said it represents the lightning in the sky. “It’s a teaching about being quick,” he said, recalling his ancestors who used to hunt whales. “They had to be.” 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. John Boite, one of the crew members who was ordered to burn the houses, described the village as “a work of ages,” in his diary, according to Tofino and Clayoquot Sound: A History by Margaret Horsfield and Ian Kennedy. Around a century later, many totem poles were removed from Opitsaht. The Indian Act was passed by the federal government in 1876. It aimed to eliminate Indigenous culture, with the goal of assimilating First Nations, Inuit, and Métis into a Eurocentric society. Between 1884 to 1951, potlatches were banned in an amendment to the act. The law provided a framework for government officials and ethnologists to remove totem poles, as well as other cultural items, such as longhouse murals. 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. According to the museum, the seven poles on display were carved by Shi-yus, chief of Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation, in 1890. Ethnologist Charles Newcombe acquired the poles for the Field Museum

Photos by Melissa Renwick

Joe Martin describes local histories to visitors from Toronto at the Tofino Botanical Gardens, on July 9, in 1904 on a collecting expedition in the Pacific Northwest. Based on the museum’s records, they were sold to him by Shi-yus’ brother, Wickaninnish III, who had become Christian and acquired the name Joseph. Martin said he has never seen the totem poles in person but keeps two images of them hung in his workshop in Tofino. Even though they’re no longer on Tla-oqui-aht’s traditional territory, Martin said that, in a way, he feels grateful because they’re still around today. Carving to remember pandemics A year and a half ago, Nookmis asked Martin to carve a new totem pole for Opitsaht. 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,” said Martin. Among other crests, four skulls are carved into the lower mid-section of the totem pole. One represents the most recent COVID-19 pandemic, another symbolizes past pandemics Nuu-chahnulth peoples have endured, including smallpox and tuberculosis, the third skull honours all the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG), and the final skull recognizes all the children who never returned home from residential school, said Martin. With the help of various local artists, including Gordon Dick, Patrick Amos, Robin Rorick, Ken Easton and Nookmis, Martin began carving the totem pole on June 18. For Rorick, the process has been a journey of healing. The Haida artist learned to carve while working on a totem pole with his latecousin and mentor, Benjamin Davidson, around 2008. On Aug. 15, 2020, Davidson, a renowned Haida carver, suddenly passed from a heart attack. The loss continues to weigh heavy on Rorick’s mind. “I think about my late-cousin every day when I work,” he said. “When I carve on the pole with Joe, it brings back good memories of time spent with my cousin.” After a long year of being unable to socialize, Rorick said he has also found healing in being surrounded by other artists. The totem pole is being crafted from an 800-year-old red cedar tree that was felled during the construction of the

Canoe Creek Hydro project, on Tla-oqui-aht territory. Long ago, some totem poles used to stand at the entrance of a longhouse with an opening carved out for passage into the house, said Martin. “You can imagine how big the trees used to be,” he said. Despite standing 32 feet tall, Martin said this new pole would have once been considered small. Part of the reason there aren’t more totem poles is that “it’s harder and harder to come by cedar,” said Rorick. “[These logs] are more and more rare.” While some artists chose to carve totem poles independently, Amos said that the collaborative process allows artists to learn new techniques from each other. “I love it,” he said. “You get to meet new friends – artists from other places and different territories.” It’s a sentiment that Dick echoed by saying that it has been rewarding to learn from Martin. “[Martin’s] path of teaching and sharing has been great to be around and a part of,” said Dick. “I’m always excited to have my student ears and student eyes on in regard to what Joe shares. [It] may not even be part of this totem pole. It’s just part of our history, part of our roots.” A thunderbird is carved with its wings closed at the top of the totem pole to represent the nation’s female ancestry. For Martin, it was another way to honour the history of violence against Indigenous women. The crest of a moon sits on the bird’s chest, illustrating the nation’s first

rule of law – “respect,” he said. Martin scoffs at the phrase “low man on the totem pole,” which is commonly used to describe someone who is lowest in rank, or of least importance. Rather, Martin said the bottom of a totem pole is one of the most important positions. “It’s upholding all of the laws,” he added. Rekindling culture and opening secrets Martin said it’s undecided when the totem pole will be raised in Opitsaht. There are many preparations that need to be done in advance, including holding a potlatch ceremony. After enduring many recent losses, including the death of Chantel Moore, who was fatally shot by an Edmundston police officer during a wellness check in June 2020, Martin said his family needs to release their pain before the totem pole can be raised. As visitors, friends and family stop by the carving tent set up at the Tofino Botanical Gardens, Martin said a conversation has been sparked. The totem pole has opened a space for people to learn about local histories, heal from the pandemic, honour ancestral teachings, remember the MMIWG, and commemorate the children who never returned home from residential school. While cultural ceremonies and teachings were once forbidden, Martin said they no longer need to be kept secret. “In a way, the totem pole helps to rekindle our culture,” said Martin. “To understand who we really are.”


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