INTERESTING NEWS Canada’s Oldest First Nations Newspaper - Serving Nuu-chah-nulth-aht since 1974 Canadian Publications Mail Product Vol. 47 - No. 14—July 23, 2020 haas^i>sa Sales Agreement No. 40047776
From gangster to gardener Without a vehicle or a licence, Kenneth Joe runs his landscaping business on foot By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Port Alberni, BC – It has been nearly 20 years since Huu-ay-aht man Kenneth Joe was dubbed ‘The Pimp of Port Alberni’ in the media, but a lot has changed since then. The soft spoken, polite Joe invited HaShilth-Sa into his home to talk about how much his life has changed since he was part of the gangster life. Kenneth Joe, 41, came to Port Alberni in 1999, having been born and raised in Nanaimo, B.C. Life was rough for Joe as a young adult. He admits to belonging to a gang and was addicted to alcohol and drugs. He has spent time in jail, about 17 years ago. “I got my Grade 10 in jail,” said Joe. And that is why he believes he cannot get a regular job. He has taken training to be a ﬁreﬁghter, a traﬃc control worker and even a professional cook but if he gets to the job interview stage, the doors close when they hear about jail and Grade 10 education. But Joe doesn’t blame employers for that. It is just another barrier that he must overcome. When asked what made him want to turn his life around he nodded to his wife, Matilda. “She helped turn me around,” he said. The couple has four daughters ranging in ages from three to 23. The eldest daughter is from Kenneth’s previous relationship. They live in a basement suite in the middle of town. Because Joe can’t get a regular job, the family lives on social assistance. But their suite costs $1,500 a month, taking their entire assistance cheque and even leaving them $5 short every month. So, Joe has to hustle to provide food and clothing and everything else a family needs. He began ‘canning’ about 10 years ago, going door-to-door to ask for recyclable beverage containers. “I would knock on doors, politely introduce myself and explain my situation,” Joe shared. Besides asking for donated recyclables, he would tell people he was available for odd jobs like walking dogs, washing cars or even washing the dishes. “I’d even oﬀer to scrub their toilets with my toothbrush,” he said with a chuckle. Last October Joe was going door-todoor looking for work and donated beverage containers when someone took a picture of him and posted it on social media. It appeared on a community watch-type
Man dies after release from police custody By Denise Titian and Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporters
Photo by Denise Titian
Kenneth Joe says his wife Matilda is the reason he turned his life around. Facebook page. drains and general yard maintenance – “The man didn’t accuse me of anything, anything that he has the equipment and there were no racial slurs,” said Joe. All the muscle for is on the table. He said he the man said was “watch this man walkwill do household chores too. ing around and knocking on doors,” Joe With his hard work and dedication to go added. out every day, Joe says he can make $100 But the post got hot with accusations of to $120 a day to support his family. racism. Joe says having his driver’s license Joe said he commented on the post. would make things easier but that was “I told them my situation – no job, no one of those things he messed up in his skills, no education; I’m just asking to younger days. Some of his earnings are bum pops cans,” he said. going towards paying oﬀ $6,000 in acJoe said things were said that probably cumulated traﬃc tickets. He has paid it shouldn’t have been said and, in the end, down to $600. the man and Joe both took their posts His advice to young people heading down and eventually became friends. Joe toward a life of addiction and crime is even received more donations of empties don’t do it. after the exchange. “There’s no life there,” he said. “There’s “I don’t consider it a racial thing; I think someone out there struggling with the maybe people looking at me, maybe they same mindset as me back then; I hope I see an addict scouting their neighborcould help them turn it around.” hood,” he said. It’s been 17 years since jail, 14 years Starting out with a donated lawn mower, since he quit heavy drinking and he Joe began doing yardwork. With hard works hard everyday to reverse the damwork and the help of his wife, he was age…bad credit, bad reputation. able to buy a high-quality lawn mower He says he sometimes needs a hand and weed trimmer. when he’s working and he hopes that His yardwork season begins in March he could help someone by having them and he can only take four or ﬁve jobs a come work with him to earn a living. day because he has no transportation. He “I would tell them to believe in themwalks around Port Alberni in his Hi-Viz selves and call KAJ Grunt Force for vest pushing his lawnmower from job to work,” he said, adding that is what he job. calls his business. He gains clients through word-of-mouth Joe hopes to someday have a big work and takes bookings through Facebook, facility ﬁlled with all the tools and equipphone or text. ment he needs to keep working. “One time this lady posted that she As his little girls prepare to head out needed someone to weed her garden; I for a walk with their big sister they stop did way more than she asked me to and to hug their father, telling him they love she was pleased, she promoted me on him. For Joe, they are worth all his efFacebook,” said Joe. forts. Joe oﬀers to dig ditches, perimeter
Inside this issue... Chantel Moore investigation update..........................Page 3 New ﬁsh farm trial.....................................................Page 7 Tsunami gap project.................................................Page 10 Nuu-chah-nulth scholarship winners........................Page 17 MMIWG gathering at Buttle Lake...........................Page 23
Duncan, BC – A Nuu-chah-nulth man has died in a Duncan homeless shelter after being released from police cells. James Williams, 52, of Tla-o-qui-aht and a father of ﬁve, was found dead in his unit at Warmland House on the afternoon of Thursday, July 16. For family members there are many questions surrounding the sudden death, which occurred 14 hours after he was released from police custody for public intoxication. According to police, Williams was picked up oﬀ a Duncan street about 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 15 for being drunk in public. He was released from cells at about 1:30 a.m. on Thursday morning after spending nine hours in jail. Fourteen hours later he would be found dead in his shelter unit. Kevin Touchie, Williams’ older brother, says he doesn’t know what happened for sure, only what he’s heard from family and read on social media. He was on his way from Nanaimo to Duncan to be with other family members to gather more information and to plan services for his younger brother. “There were ﬁve of us in the family and he was the youngest; there are only two of us left,” he told Ha-Shilth-Sa. Kevin said that his father Dave Williams was from Tla-o-qui-aht and his mother Linda came from the Touchie family in Yucluthaht. Both parents have passed on. Public intoxication isn’t an oﬀence under Canada’s Criminal Code, but often police will take someone into custody if it’s determined that they are a danger to themselves, said Corp. Chris Manseau of RCMP media relations. “For the most part it’s so that someone can care for that person if we feel that they’re unable to care for themselves,” he said. “Maybe they’re going to walk into traﬃc or make a bad decision. They could choke on their vomit or what have you.” There isn’t a set amount of time someone would be kept in a cell, but police make a judgment call based on how the incarcerated person is responding, added Manseau.
If undeliverable, please return to: Ha-Shilth-Sa P.O. Box 1383, Port Alberni, B.C. V9Y 7M2
Continued on page 4.
Page 2— Ha-Shilth-Sa—July 23, 2020
Tla-o-qui-aht and Toﬁno welcome visitors back As Long Beach is ﬂooded with tourists, First Nation puts guardians to block access to Esowista and Ty-Histanis By Melissa Renwick Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Toﬁno, BC - As the province of B.C. transitions into Phase 3 of its restart plan, Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation and Toﬁno welcomed the return of visitors on Vancouver Island’s west coast in a recent press release. The message diﬀered from a Nuu-chahnulth Tribal Council (NTC) statement issued in June, which pledged to support the restriction of travel within its nation’s territories until adequate COVID-19 safety measures are met. NTC asked for COVID-19 information sharing to ensure early reporting of suspected and conﬁrmed cases, screening of non-residents, rapid testing and culturally-safe contact tracing. “The Premier cannot forget our free, prior and informed consent over our territories, and that we have not given our consent to open up the province,” said Judith Sayers, president of the Nuuchah-nulth Tribal Council, in the release. “We will do what we need to in order to protect our people, and if there is an impasse, we need to talk. For us, it is people before economics.” Elmer Frank, Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation emergency operations centre chairperson, said that the joint message from his nation and Toﬁno shouldn’t be taken as a dispute of the NTC statement on visitors coming to Nuu-chah-nulth territory. “It isn’t to say that what they’re doing is wrong either,” said Frank. “It was just two meetings, in two diﬀerent rooms with two diﬀerent results.” Tla-o-qui-aht is in close contact with the municipality, along with Parks Canada, and is involved in deciding what opens and what remains closed within their territory, said Frank. With support from the Paciﬁc Rim National Park, access to Schooner Cove on the north end of Long beach has been restricted. Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation has hired community guardians to patrol the beach to ensure no tourists get through, said Frank.
Photo by Melissa Renwick
Tourists ﬂock to Long Beach as B.C. transitions into Phase 3 of its restart plan, on July 06, 2020. Toﬁno Mayor Josie Osborne said that the municipality is very open to supporting Tla-o-qui-aht in their conversations with local hospital staﬀ, Island Health and with the province in any way they can. “Our conversations with Tla-o-quiaht are separate from the conversations we’ve had with Ahousaht or with Hesquiaht First Nation,” said Osborne. “Coming to an understanding and an agreement about what each nation wants to do with its own communities and its own territories has been an important part of the way we’ve tried to move forward.” To make sure that all lines of communication are open, Ms. Osborne reached out to Scott Fraser, MLA for Alberni-Paciﬁc Rim, about the release from NTC. “I understand where [the NTC is] com-
ing from and I deﬁnitely acknowledge the concerns that they expressed around contact tracing, screening, testing and communications,” said Osborne. “It’s largely a conversation that the nations are asking to have with the province and the federal government.” Laura McDonald, president of The Toﬁno-Long Beach Chamber of Commerce, said that the chamber is not responsible for testing, or other aspects of health care. “We have been focused on ensuring the various sectors of our business community have support - both from us and from their colleagues - in implementing the WorkSafe BC guidelines around physical
distancing and personal protective controls to ensure we are all preventing the spread of COVID-19,” said McDonald. Tla-o-qui-aht holds stakes in the tourism industry in Toﬁno through its ownership of the Best Western Tin Wis Resort. While Frank acknowledged that it “somewhat” factored into their decisionmaking, he was quick to add that “If a [COVID-19] case comes to Toﬁno and it becomes an alarming thing for our community, we certainly would say, ‘we’re going back to lock down and we’re going to have to ask everyone to come back another time’.”
Source conﬁrms COVID-19 Ahousaht declares territory case in Makah territory still closed to tourists By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter
By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Ahousaht, BC – The Ha’wiih and elected council of Ahousaht have issued a declaration that access to all Ahousaht Hahulthi (lands and waters) will remain closed to tourists and non-residents of Ahousaht. The declaration, issued July 2, states that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be a serious health and safety threat. “There is still no vaccine, no anti-serum and no cure for COVID-19; the Coronavirus is deadly and continues to spread quickly in a second wave in other countries,” reads the statement. In his July 2 update to membership, Elected Chief Greg Louie pointed out that numbers of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. are still incredibly high and the risk to local communities is too high. He said Toﬁno General Hospital, which serves Toﬁno, Ucluelet as well as Toquaht, Tlao-qui-aht, Ahousaht, Hesquiaht and other oﬀshore communities has only 10 beds and one respirator. On June 9 the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal
Council issued a statement on access to the Hahulthi, emphasizing that the protection and health of the nation’s members is of the highest priority and must be assured before recreational and non-essential economic activities are expanded. “[I]ncluding but not limited to the opening of provincial parks, federal parks and other activity that attracts non-residents into Nuu-chah-nulth hahulthi,” stated the NTC. The latest Ahousaht declaration signed by Tyee Ha’wilth Maquinna-Hasheukumis and Chief Louie says that tourists and people without permission to be in Ahousaht territories will be asked to leave. In his video statement, Chief Louie said all parks in Ahousaht Hahulthi will remain closed and will be monitored by the nation. Parks within Ahousaht territories include: Gibson Marine Provincial Park, Flores Island Provincial Park, Wildside Trail, Maquinna Marine Provincial Park, Sydney Inlet Provincial Park, Vargas Island Provincial Park and Epper Passage Provincial Park.
Neah Bay, WA – Despite early and extensive eﬀorts to keep the community safe, a case of coronavirus has surfaced on the Makah Reservation in Neah Bay, Washinton. A source from Makah Tribes administration oﬃce has conﬁrmed that there is a case of the coronavirus in Neah Bay. Ha-Shilth-Sa reached out to Makah administration on July 8 to inquire about the story. The answer came in an email from an unnamed source, “Unfortunately, it’s true”. TJ Greene, Makah tribal chairman, said that the person has symptoms but does not require hospitalization. “They are being cared for at home, in the community and are under quarantine,” he told Ha-Shilth-Sa. In a March 13 public statement, Makah Tribe said it would close Makah businesses in an eﬀort to minimize personto-person contact and the spread of the coronavirus. They stated that these measures need to be implemented in order to protect the health, safety and welfare of the Makah people and the Neah Bay community. Greene says contact tracing for the
COVID-19 case is underway and leadership in the community have resolved to tighten things up. “We were starting to allow outdoor gatherings with social distancing measures but we won’t be doing that anymore,” he stated. The Makah developed their own reopening protocols based on available information from government agencies, but have decided to go back to more stringent phases. “Residents are not allowed to leave unless it’s for essential travel like medical visits or grocery shopping; our borders are closed to non-essential businesses,” said Greene. Greene believes that their border security will be in place for the remainder of the year, unless a vaccine becomes available. According to their website, there are about 1,500 people living on the Makah reservation in Neah Bay. The Makah share a whaling culture with the Nuu-chah-nulth nations on the west coast of Vancouver Island and are closely related to the Ditidaht and Pacheedaht. They are located on the northwestern tip of Washington State, across the Juan de Fuca Strait from Pacheedaht territory.
July 23, 2020—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 3
Quebec BEI investigating Chantel Moore shooting The BEI has investigated 26 police shootings since 2016, but so far no charges have been laid from their ﬁndings By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Edmunston, NB – It has been just over seven weeks since 26-year-old Chantel Moore of Tla-o-qui-aht was shot dead at her apartment during a wellness check by an Edmundston police oﬃcer in New Brunswick, and the family still waits for answers as a Quebec-based police watchdog organization, continues its investigation. In Canada there are several independent investigation agencies whose role is to investigate incidents where a person is seriously injured as a result of police intervention. The idea is to allow for an impartial, unbiased examination of the events in question. But with many of the investigators in watchdog agencies being former police oﬃcers, many in the country question whether their investigative ﬁndings can be fair. The Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes states that half of its 34 members are former police oﬃcers. It was the agency brought in to investigate the shooting death of Chantel Moore on June 4. The Edmunston Police Department said that Moore threatened the oﬃcer with a knife before she was fatally shot. A team of BEI investigators arrived in New Brunswick hours after Moore was shot. According to Moore’s family, they spent a few days in Edmundston doing their work and are now back in Quebec, investigating remotely. The BEI got its start on May 9, 2013, following a series of disturbing incidents that occurred in Val-d’Or, Quebec. A few years earlier, complaints were ﬁled by Indigenous women claiming that they were drugged and sexually assaulted by Sûreté du Québec police oﬃcers in the 1980s and ‘90s.
Half of the 34 members of the Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes are former police oﬃcers. All newly recruited BEI investigators receive university-level training developed by École nationale de police du Québec (Quebec National Police School) and the Québec university network. Two retired police oﬃcers were charged witnesses and parties to the event are the backbone of the investigators’ work. following an investigation by Montreal Their task is to produce a complete, police. One former oﬃcer pled guilty, detailed report free of outside inﬂuence,” one died by suicide after being charged states the BEI website with sexual assault and assault with a They state that it is their mission to inweapon. The two oﬃcers died before the vestigate independently, without governcases went through the court system. ment or police interference. About 2,500 fellow oﬃcers of the two In addition to their investigative work, that were charged wore red bands on their uniforms while in the line of duty to the BEI assigns an investigator to liaise with a designated family member show their solidarity with their charged throughout the investigation. colleagues. “During an independent investigation, it Ghislain Picard, regional chief for the is the responsibility of the BEI to ensure Assembly of First nations in Quebec and communications with the family memLabrador, has said Indigenous people bers of the deceased and to communicate don’t have hope for justice when police any relevant information relating to the investigate themselves. Picard has said investigation process to the extent that that the creation of a largely white investhis does not interfere with the investigatigative unit made up of former oﬃcers tion,” said Sylvie Boutin of BEI commuhas done nothing to repair the relationnications. ship. She went on to say that the information According to its website, the BEI colshared remains conﬁdential to the BEI, lects evidence and information in an but the representative designated by the eﬀort to reconstruct the event in minute family is free to share this information or detail. not. “Careful examination, analysis, reMartha Martin, mother of Chantel search, and structured interviews with
Moore, says the BEI has in fact been in touch with her, but she declined to share information they had for her. Boutin stated that the BEI has investigated 26 police shooting deaths since June 2016, including the two New Brunswick cases: Chantel Moore and 48-yearold Rodney Levi eight days later. “Of those 26 cases - six cases are still under investigation - one case is awaiting the DPCP’s decision and for 19 of them, the DPCP (Directeur des poursuites criminelles et pénales - the Public Prosecution Services in Quebec) did not lay charges against police oﬃcers involved,” Boutin said in an email. The average time required by BEI to produce a report following the establishment of an independent investigation is about eight months, according to Boutin. “At the end of its investigation, the BEI will submit its report to the coroner responsible for the investigation in New Brunswick as well as to the New Brunswick Public Prosecution Services who will determine whether to lay criminal charges against the police oﬃcers involved,” Boutin wrote, adding that it will be up to these authorities to make the BEI report public or not according to the applicable legislation. The BEI has absolutely no power to lay charges against a police oﬃcer. In a June 4 Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council press release, called for immediate action in their request for an independent investigation into the incident. “The family and community of Chantel needs answers as to why she was shot on a health check by the police. Justice must not wait and every power must be exerted to ensure that justice is served in an appropriate, immediate, and respectful way,” said NTC President Kekinusuqs, Judith Sayers, in a June 4 press release.
Oﬃcer involved in Moore shooting death back on duty By Denise Titan Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Edmundston, NB – Four weeks after the shooting death of her daughter by an Edmundston Police oﬃcer, Martha Martin was sickened by the news that the police oﬃcer is back on duty. “It makes my tummy turn – especially knowing that he knows where we live,” Martin said in a phone interview with HaShilth-Sa. Several Canadian media outlets reported on July 2 that the Edmundston Police Force have conﬁrmed that the oﬃcer who shot Chantel Moore on June 4 is now back to work on administrative duties. Ha-Shilth-Sa reached out to the Edmundston Police but all administrative staﬀ had gone home for the day. Mychele Poitras, communications coordinator for the City of Edmundston, is quoted as saying that the police oﬃcer was reassigned to administrative work until the results of the investigation by the Quebec Independent Investigations Bureau (BEIQ) are known. The police oﬃcer has been on paid leave since the June 4, following the shooting of 26-year-old Chantel Moore of Tla-o-qui-aht during a wellness check. Chantel had been communicating with her boyfriend, who was in Montreal, via text messages. She had expressed to him that she was frightened by someone. Concerned, the boyfriend contacted the local police to request a wellness check for the
petite young woman. Early on the Edmundston Police said that Chantel confronted the oﬃcer in a threatening manner with a knife. The family has said she was shot ﬁve times. They have also said that they do not believe that Moore would have threatened anyone. Martin arrived back at her Edmundston home with her husband and granddaughter on June 30. She said she is in self-isolation after returning home from British Columbia where she spent time grieving with family and attending rallies and memorial services. “In self-isolation, I feel like my hands are tied,” said Martin. She fears for her safety and keeps her doors locked at all times. “Why is his name not being put out there? Why is he being protected?” Martin asked. “Putting him back on active duty means that there will be no charges – that’s what it feels like to me.” Concerned at the lack of information coming from investigators and the fear that there will be no justice for her daughter, Martin has retained a lawyer. “There are so many things not making sense,” she added. She wonders why her daughter was shot with such lethal force and why the oﬃcer involved is allowed a few weeks oﬀ with pay. “I had to bring my daughter’s ashes home and he gets to walk around like nothing happened,” she said, before
Tla-o-qui-aht member Chantel Moore was fatally shot during a police wellness check on June 4. Martin vows to ﬁght for justice for breaking down in sobbing tears. Chantel Moore and asks people to stand Martin is doing her best to protect Chantel’s six-year-old daughter Gracie, who beside her. She fears that if people don’t she is now raising. stand up, things like this fade away with “Gracie will say that she doesn’t want time and nothing will change. to die like her mom,” said Martin. Gracie Martin said she got to spend some time also tells family that her mommy is an with her late daughter’s body after the angel now. shooting. The BEIQ is continuing its investiga“The last thing I whispered in her ear tion, remotely, from Quebec. Martin is is that I will get her justice and I plan not conﬁdent that their ﬁndings will bring on keeping that promise,” said Martin justice for Chantel. through her tears.
Page 4— Ha-Shilth-Sa—July 23, 2020
Pandemic restrictions take lethal toll on overdose crisis Port Alberni frontline workers receive ‘call after call’ due to mental health issues as opioid risk intensiﬁes By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Port Alberni, BC - While COVID-19 has mostly spared B.C.’s First Nations, unintended consequences from pandemic restrictions are taking an increasingly lethal toll on Indigenous people using illicit drugs. On July 6 the First Nations Health Authority released data showing that the number of fatal overdoses in the province has nearly doubled over the ﬁrst four months of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. This translates into 89 deaths due to drug overdoses for First Nations people (not including Metis or Inuit) from January to May 2020 – a sharp increase from the 46 fatalities recorded over the same period last year, resulting in a deadly overdose rate 5.6 times that of the rest of B.C.’s population. After the opioid crisis was declared a provincial public health emergency in April 2016 the number of fatal overdoses continued to rise. Then last year 113 First Nations people died from overdose – showing a 44 per cent drop from the peak in 2018. But this progress appears to be reversing, and public health oﬃcials are blaming the COVID-19 pandemic. “We know that the toxicity of the street supply has gone up exponentially in this pandemic,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health oﬃcer, during an FNHA press conference. While the majority of those who died this year had Fentanyl in their system, cocaine was found in half of the victims, methamphetamines were detected in 34 per cent and 30 per cent had consumed alcohol, noted Chief Coroner Lisa Lapointe. “This is a mixed drug issue,” she said. “It’s driven by Fentanyl, but certainly involves many drugs that people use.” The recent overdose numbers aﬀecting First Nations people follows an announcement last month showing that B.C.’s fatal overdose count has reached record levels during the pandemic, with 170 deaths in May. Oﬃcials have pointed
Photo by Denise Titian
Gina Amos, Harm Reduction Outreach Worker at Teechuktl, and Kim Erickson, Acting Supervisor at Quu’asa, work one-on-one with homeless people, oﬀering judgment-free support and services. to how closed borders have shut oﬀ conFor some, access to this critical service ventional routes for illegal drugs, leading has been constricted by the pandemic’s B.C. dealers to cut in more poisonous social distancing measures, with some content. overdose prevention sites being closed or “Most of the drugs are cut with diﬀerent turned mobile to prevent the gathering of things, right from rat poisoning to many crowds. diﬀerent under-the-kitchen-sink stuﬀ. It’s This forces more drug use to go undervery little drug actually in it,” said Gina ground, said Dr. Shannon McDonald, the Amos, a harm reduction outreach worker FNHA’s acting chief medical oﬃcer. “There are fewer sources available with Teechuktl Mental Health in Port Alfor supervised consumption, and withberni. “It’s all cut with a bunch of diﬀerout having somebody with you with ent things, so they’re actually not getting Naloxone or the ability to phone for the drug they think they’re getting.” help, people are dying before they are Amos ﬁnds that many are seeking hard drugs to treat pain after doctor’s prescrip- reached,” she said. Chief Coroner Lapointe noted that the tions have been cut oﬀ, with little opporcontinued shame associated with drug tunity to get further medical treatment. use isn’t helping. In April 2019 Dr. Henry “There’s a shortage of doctors on the recommended the decriminalization of Island and all over B.C., and that’s part narcotic possession to encourage those of the problem, but the other part of the using to seek adequate support, but this problem is a lot of the doctors are not was rejected by B.C. Solicitor General willing to write the prescriptions any Mike Farnworth due it being under fedlonger,” she said. eral jurisdiction. Over the last ﬁve and a half years 6,094 “There’s far too much judgement people in B.C. have died from an ilaround this issue,” said Lapointe. “At the licit drug overdose – yet no fatalities Coroners Service we encourage all levels have been reported at the province’s of government to adopt a comprehenbusiest supervised safe injection sites.
sive, evidence-based, non-stigmatizing approach to this epidemic. Judgement doesn’t help and certainly the illicit, illegal factor is very, very challenging when we’re asking people to seek support and to feel free to go to health-care facilities when there’s a fear of being arrested or losing a child or losing a job.” As the province’s active cases hover around 160 early this summer, British Columbia is being held up as an example for the rest of North America in how a region can eﬀectively control the spread of COVID-19. But provincial directives to stay home and physically distance from others are clearly taking a toll on the mental health of many Nuu-chahnulth-aht. “We just seem to be getting call after call after call of suicide ideation, suicide attempts,” said Teechuktl Manager Vina Robinson. “If people are homeless and they were lonely and scared before, it’s totally enhanced now through the pandemic.” Amos has also seen the COVID-19 restrictions resurface painful memories among clients who endured a restrictive childhood while attending residential school. “I’m hearing from residential school survivors where they can’t go out or are being told what to do, so a lot of triggers happening,” she said. “They can’t see their children.” Amos stressed that Teechuktl’s support comes without judgement as their team encourages clients to use safely. “Never use alone, always be with somebody, and always take those safety precautions while they’re choosing to do what they’re doing,” she said of messaging to clients. “One day that’s when we really do hope that they reach out to us to stop or to ﬁnd something diﬀerent to help to manage what they are trying to manage.” Often this help comes from reconnecting with cultural roots, added Amos. “Pray or go to the water, go to some cedar branches,” she said. “We all let them know that Creator is there, Nass is there.”
Have you seen Amanda? Independent agency investigating police role By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor
Victoria, BC - A Nuu-chah-nulth woman has gone missing from Victoria, leading police to ask for any information that might help locate Amanda Williams. The 34-year-old was last seen June 24, but wasn’t reported missing until a notice was released by Victoria Police Department on July 9. Williams is described as a slim ﬁve-foot-three with dark hair. She has two tattoos that read “God loves you” on her right forearm and right wrist. Police report that Williams was often seen on Douglas Street in the 1,900-block area, as well as near Blanshard Street and Hillside Avenue. “While there is no information to indicate that Amanda is in immediate danger, the circumstances under which she has gone missing are considered high-risk,” stated Victoria police. Concern over Amanda’s whereabouts reached Yuquot, oﬀ the northwestern coast of Vancouver Island, when her grandfather Ray Williams got a call from police on July 13. “They wanted more information about her,” said Ray.
Amanda Williams Ray added that Amanda is also called “Toughie”. She often wears a short ponytail and always has a backpack. If you see Amanda Williams, police ask that you call 911. Any information on where she may be can be provided to police at (250) 995-7654. Press #1 to speak with the report desk. To report what you know anonymously, call Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
Continued from page 1. “We are not health care professionals, so it would be diﬃcult for us to make a health care determination, but through conversations with the person if [police] feel that they are able to care for themselves - if the person agrees to that - then absolutely we will let them go,” he explained. “If the person says that they are in any type of medical distress, if they are lacking any medication, have an underlying issue that we weren’t aware of or couldn’t have known prior to their incarceration, then we’ll make sure that medical professionals are contacted.” Cousin Jennifer Touchie noted that James had a tough life, but always tried to make the best of it. He had underlying health issues, including pancreatitis. “We are waiting for toxicology report, and I don’t know if I’m allowed to say this but there was a head injury and that is all we know,” said Jennifer. Jennifer conﬁrmed that James lived in the shelter unit he was found deceased in. Even so, he was human and deserved so much more. “He has children and grandchildren and he was so in love them; he had a sparkle
in his eye when he talked about them,” said Jennifer. Extended family in Yucluthaht are demanding answers. “We need to question the coroner,” said Jennifer. “We want to be a voice for James. We want to advocate for him. He deserved better. He didn’t deserve to die this horrible death.” The BC Coroners service is investigating the cause of Williams’ death, and the matter has been referred to B.C. Independent Investigations Oﬃce, a civilian oversight agency of police-related incidents that result in serious harm or death. The IIO can ﬁle a report to Crown counsel to consider charges. If a report is not referred to the Crown, the IIO produces a public document explaining their ﬁndings. Jennifer asked why these types of incidents keep happening with police. She vowed that the Touchie family would ﬁght for justice for James Williams. “Our lives are important, why are we always targeted, swept under the rug? What did we ever do to be treated this way? We are human and we are going to be his voice,” said Jennifer.
July 23, 2020—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 5
Racism present in every health region Turpel-Lafond relies on health workers coming forward for investigation sparked by emergency room game By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Victoria, BC - A recent update on an investigation into a discriminatory game played in at least one emergency room began with an open admission that racism exists in B.C.’s health care system. “There are a few themes that are emerging,” said Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond on July 9, who was appointed by the Ministry of Health to lead the investigation into racism in the health care system. “One is a constant theme where Indigenous people that attend for urgent care are questioned about whether or not they are intoxicated - or whether or not they have addictions - and often minimising the complaints they bring forward based on the allegation that there’s an addiction.” As a former judge and provincial child advocate, Turpel-Lafond was tasked on June 19 to delve into the presence of racism and discriminatory behavior in hospitals after allegations surfaced of a game being played in at least one emergency room at the expense of patients. During a training session for Indigenous cultural safety this spring it was alleged that emergency room staﬀ had played a game called “The Price is Right”, which entailed guessing the blood-alcohol content of Aboriginal patients who came under their care. It has been reported that this game occurred at the Saanich Peninsula Hospital, a claim that Island Health has neither conﬁrmed or denied. “There are individual acts that happen when one chooses to play a game about intoxication or to make jokes about individual patients, that’s an individual
Province of B.C. photo
Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, independent investigator, provides an update on her investigation into allegations of racist practices in B.C.’s health-care system on July 9 in Victoria. act,” explained Turpel-Lafond, who is a lumbia,” she said. member of the Muskeg Lake Cree NaNuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council Vicetion. “But when you have an environment President Mariah Charleson wasn’t surwhere it’s tolerated and more than one prised to hear about the alleged emergenperson participates in it - people are bycy room game; she’s witnessed multiple standers to it and don’t act - that becomes incidents of discrimination in hospitals. institutional and systemic, and it appears “The surprise was the amount the we may have two kinds of situations amount of attention that it got immediatehere.” ly,” she said. “Typically, we hear of these During a press conference Turpel-Lathings happening and oftentimes it just fond said that the ﬁrst few weeks of the gets simply swept under the rug.” investigation revealed that racist behavIn recent years the West Coast General iour among health care professionals is Hospital has explored ways to better meet not limited to one location. the needs of Nuu-chah-nulth patients in “There are incidents that I have before Port Alberni, including opening the All me in every health region in British CoNations Room last October for Indig-
enous families to gather. But Charleson stressed that systemic changes are needed in the healthcare system to ensure games like this aren’t played again. “Our people would rather not go and they would rather live without that Western medical health system because of really horrible experiences that have happened in the past,” she said. She added that for the investigation to make a diﬀerence the truth needs to come out, a challenge Turpel-Lafond addressed several times during her update. Real accounts are needed from both Indigenous patients and health care professionals. “The obstacle that I have is when systems shut down, because they don’t want to talk about it,” she said of gathering input from healthcare workers. “The purpose of this investigation is not to name and shame, but to ensure that this is their opportunity to speak up.” “We still need to ensure that the investigation is done accordingly and that justice is served,” noted Charleson, “otherwise we are continuously contributing to a culture that you can get away with doing these types of racist acts, and that’s the last thing that we want.” B.C.’s Indigenous people are encouraged to participate in a survey to help inform Turpel-Lafond’s investigation, which can be accessed at https://engage. gov.bc.ca/addressingracism/. Anyone with speciﬁc experiences regarding racism in the health care system can also share information by calling 1-888-600-3078 or emailing Addressing_Racism@gov.bc.ca. A preliminary report is expected in the coming months.
Huu-ay-aht to build cultural centre and sports ﬁelds By Sam Laskaris Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Ancala, BC – Thanks in part to federal and provincial funding, Huu-ay-aht First Nations will be able to build a new cultural centre and multi-purpose ﬁeld. It was announced on July 3 that the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nation was one of the 22 Vancouver Island project recipients to receive funding through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Plan. The federal government is collectively contributing slightly more $33.2 million for the projects while the B.C. government is chipping in with about $8.7 million. Funding recipients are also required to put up some of their own money. Huu-ay-aht is one of eight funding recipients for projects in Indigenous communities. Huu-ay-aht’s contribution for its cultural centre and ﬁelds is about $200,000. The entire project is costing about $2 million. Huu-ay-aht Councillor Charlie Clappis, who is in charge of the First Nation’s housing and infrastructure portfolios, is hoping to commence work as soon as possible. “We want to come out ablazing,” he said. “It was a long time waiting for this.” Clappis said a grant application had been submitted back in January of 2019. Applicants, however, had been told that ﬁnal decisions might not be determined until the spring of 2020. “We knew we had been shortlisted last fall,” Clappis said. With its funding, Huu-ay-aht will be able to construct a new culture centre, which will include a language training
“We want to come out ablazing” ~ Charlie Clappis, Huu-ay-aht Councillor
room, kitchen, dedicated areas for the production and sale of arts and crafts, multi-purpose rooms and washrooms. The two-ﬂoor, 4,000-square foot facility, will be built next to the First Nation’s administration building and the House of Huu-ay-aht. Clappis said the new facility and its rooms will be suitable to stage various smaller meetings. “The hall we have now is quite huge and doesn’t host small groups very well,” Clappis said of the House of Huu-ay-aht, which opened in 2000. With grant funding, Huu-ay-aht will also be able to build a new ﬁeld, with a soccer pitch and ball diamond. Some bleachers will also be added to the ﬁeld. Clappis is glad community members will be able to beneﬁt from the use of a new centre and sporting ﬁelds. “As we grow and invest in our upper village, we need to grow our recreational facilities,” he said. The new ﬁeld will also include an outdoor presentation stage, which can be the
Charlie Clappis centre of various cultural events. Clappis is also thrilled the construction of a new cultural centre will mean that the First Nation will be able to retrieve more of its cultural treasures. An agreement had been reached in 2016 which saw some cultural treasures that were at the Royal BC Museum returned to the Huu-ay-aht First Nations. Some of these items had been oﬀ of the First Nation’s territory for more than a century. Cultural treasures that were returned in 2016 are currently in a small display room at the First Nation’s administration building. Clappis said having dedicated space in the new cultural centre to showcase the items will allow the First Nation to retrieve additional pieces. “That’s huge,” he said. “Unfortunately, some of the items are just stored at the museum now until we can present them.” Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, is pleased
the federal government is able to help out with funding. “Investing in community centres, recreation and cultural facilities means children and youth will have a safe place to play and learn, seniors have a place to meet, our clubs and groups can have a home,” she said. “These facilities build strong, dynamic communities where people want to put down roots and do business.” McKenna also liked the fact the B.C. government was part of the funding process. “We are supporting projects that will create jobs and bring residents new facilities and programs that will make a real diﬀerence in people’s lives for years to come,” she said. Maryam Monsef, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development, also praised the funding eﬀorts of her government. “It is more important than ever to support rural and Indigenous communities,” she said. “The projects we’re announcing (now) will help smaller communities on the Island rally now while supporting growth, helping preserve local heritage, and enhancing residents’ quality of life.” Clappis said he ﬁnds it interesting his First Nation is achieving major accomplishments every 10 years. For starters, the House of Huu-ay-aht was built in 2000. Then Huu-ay-aht’s administration oﬃces opened in 2010. And now 10 years later construction will commence on the culture centre/ﬁelds. “That’s a neat thing these happened in 10-year increments,” Clappis said.
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Kelp growing projected to yield boom A provincial grant will enable NCN seafood company to boost seaweed cultivation By Sam Laskaris Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Port Alberni, BC - Better late than never. That’s the thinking of Jennifer Woodland, the CEO of the Nuu-chah-nulth Seafood Limited Partnership (NSLP). Back in 2019, Woodland’s company had applied for a provincial grant through the Rural Dividend Fund. The NSLP was seeking funds for a project it dubbed Analysis of Capacity of West Coast Vancouver Island Coastal Communities to Deliver Large-Scale Ocean Farming of Seaweed. Woodland said the grant proposal was written as NSLP entered into a partnership agreement last year with Cascadia Seaweed, which aspires to be the largest supplier of ocean farmed seaweed in the country. Thus, Woodland said it was necessary to determine Vancouver Island’s capacity in this regard, especially ﬁguring out how much First Nations communities could contribute to the venture. But NSLP and other grant applicants received some bad news last fall. “(Provincial oﬃcials) suspended that fund because they decided to support mill and forestry workers,” Woodland said. Woodland, however, received a recent surprise call. She was told her company’s application from a year ago would provide economic opportunity following the pandemic and that it was approved under a new one-time rural community grant. B.C. oﬃcials announced they would be providing almost $14 million in funding to support economic development and recreational opportunities in rural communities throughout the province. The NSLP, which was granted $170,784, is one of the 153 projects that received some funding. “We were thrilled to receive the funding as it will identify the capacity, needs and business opportunities to meet the growth goals,” Woodland said. The NSLP/Cascadia partnership is already cultivating seaweed for the growing demand of the product. “We have two kelp farms in the water now and we’re developing three more,” Woodland said. “And they’re talking to
several others about more farms.” Grant recipients were selected from three categories. They were First Nations, municipalities and not-for-proﬁt organizations. Besides NLSP, others with Nuuchah-nulth connections that were selected were the Bamﬁeld Huu-ay-aht Community Forest Society (BHCFS), Hupacasath First Nation and Tseshaht First Nation. The BHCFS received $32,450 to support the planning, initial layout of trails and the construction of trails within the Bamﬁeld Huu-ay-aht Community Forest. Hupacasath First Nation was given almost $100,000 to expand its Kleekhoot Gold Bigleaf Maple Syrup Farm. And Tseshaht First Nation received $100,000 to continue its examinations of how to best utilize private land it has acquired. Woodland said NSLP entered into a partnership with Cascadia Seaweed as it had identiﬁed kelp aquaculture as a booming business opportunity that could help a number of First Nations. “Kelp is one of those amazing products that you don’t realize you use it every day,” she said. “It’s in pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and even pet food.” Work on the NSLP analytical project has already begun. An individual, Mairi Edgar, was hired about a month ago to help facilitate the process. “It’s a lot of intense eﬀorts and a lot of community meetings,” Woodland said, adding project oﬃcials are developing lists of the contributions various communities can make. Woodland said both NSLP and Cascadia Seaweed oﬃcials are keen to hear from those on Vancouver Island’s west coast on their community’s abilities to provide any capacity for the venture. Woodland can be contacted via email Jennifer.Woodland@ncnseafood.com while Edgar is available at medgar@ cascadiaseaweed.com Woodland said the various community meetings will be extremely beneﬁcial. “This will really dig into the speciﬁc capabilities of each First Nation,” she said. “This information is not listed anywhere yet. We’re going to have this huge library of information.” Through its various community meet-
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Jennifer Woodland ings, NSLP oﬃcials are hoping to better understand the available workforce, skill sets and infrastructure, including boats and small boat decks that First Nations can provide. Other information the NSLP is seeking is the warehousing and cold storage capacity of various communities and in some cases the processing facilities they have available. NSLP oﬃcials are also hoping to get a better understanding of transportation availability, including road access, port and harbour infrastructures and airport capabilities. Woodland added information that is obtained will also be useful to the NSPL for another reason. Data collected will help company oﬃcials make decisions on other business ventures including commercial ﬁshing and other forms of aquaculture.
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July 23, 2020—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 7
New ﬁsh farm trial probes new technology Ha’wiih supportive yet skeptical of Clayoquot Sound project that uses a closed facility in Ahousaht’s ocean territory By Mike Youds Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Port Alberni, BC - Cermaq begins testing a semi-closed containment system (SCCS) at its Millar Channel ﬁsh farm this fall, though hereditary chiefs are not convinced the new technology will protect wild salmon. Manufactured in Norway, the system is being assembled at Canadian Maritime Engineering’s yard at Canal Beach in Port Alberni. From there, the SCCS will be towed by barge to Millar Channel and stocked with Atlantic salmon in November. “After years of planning and coordination, and in co-operation with the Ahousaht Nation leadership and Cermaq Global, we are excited to have commenced assembly,” said David Kiemele, managing director of the company’s Canadian operations. Cermaq said testing of the system in Norway has so far yielded better ﬁsh growth and health together with reduced mortality. A second-generation SCCS trial has been free of sea lice. “We like to think of the company ﬁnding a way to hone our craft and to do things better,” Kiemele said. SCCS allows for greater precision in farming by providing increased oversight of the internal environment, allowing control of water temperature and dissolved oxygen. The cage or pen is enclosed in a giant bag. Seawater is pumped from deeper in the water column to limit introduction of sea lice and algae. However, the company isn’t yet touting the technology as an alternative to conventional open net pen ﬁsh farming, which is expected to transition to fully closed containment within ﬁve years to address concerns about harmful impacts on wild salmon. “The one thing we do need is time,” Kiemele said, referring to the trial. The SCCS may prove to be a companion to existing systems and farming techniques, the company said. One of the challenges is the expense of rearing Atlantic salmon in semi-closed containment, ﬁve times the cost of conventional ﬁsh farming. “This evaluation is a key component as we assess the technology for future use in British Columbia,” said Linda Sams, sustainable development director for Cermaq Canada. Sams said the federal government has yet to have a conversation with the ﬁsh farming industry about the transition
Cermaq’s semi-closed containment system is being assembled at Canadian Maritime Engineering’s Canal Beach shipyard in Port Alberni. ﬁsh farm impacts but multiple stressors, salmon. While ﬁsh farms have been economical- including environmental and habitat ly beneﬁcial to the community, the people changes. That doesn’t mean ﬁsh farms can be overlooked, though. of Ahousaht have said they want them “This is a problem we can do something removed, said John Caton, executive diabout if we’re trying to give stocks a rector of the Heriditary Chiefs Economic ﬁghting chance,” Bartlett said. Development Corporation. Dan Lewis of Clayoquot Action, an “At this point in time, we’re encouragenvironmental group long opposed to maing Cermaq to be able to go to closed rine-based ﬁsh farming, sees the removal containment by 2025,” Caton said. “This of farms from the sound in much the is 2020 and they’ve got a few years to same light. The group published a report prove this new technology.” He noted that the system has been tested last winter claiming that the Norwegian ﬁsh farm virus PRV-1a was found in 10 in Norway since 2017 with encouraging of 11 Cermaq sites tested in Clayoquot results but does have its limitations. Sound. He doesn’t see SCCS as a viable “We’re skeptical that they are going to ﬁnd a complete solution by 2025,” Caton option. “I don’t see it as a stop-gap; I see it as a said. away from marine-based ﬁsh farming. stalling measure,” Lewis said. “Overall, Mack Bartlett, research co-ordinator SCCS was in the works well before the we’re alarmed — we’re very alarmed — Trudeau government promised the transi- with Cedar Coast Research Station on and we know this is no solution to the Vargas Island, said he is curious to see tion, Kiemele said. problem. It’s like trying to stop pregnanhow the new technology works but Millar Channel lies in Ahousaht wacy by handing out leaky condoms.” questions its eﬀectiveness in managing ters in Clayoquot Sound, where sea Lewis said SCCS requires signiﬁcantly problems associated with open net pens. lice outbreaks at several sites last summore energy to power the necessary Only closed containment can do that. mer heightened longstanding concerns pumping, power that would have to come “This kind of seems like a stop-gap,” about the eﬀects of ﬁsh farming on wild from diesel generators. He has additional Bartlett said. “This will not get them to concerns about handling of ﬁsh waste, esthat.” pecially if densities are increased to oﬀset The research station has stepped up its the system’s greater cost. He wondered monitoring of juvenile salmon migrating through Clayoquot Sound after last sumif a federal subsidy is behind the Cermaq THE PACIFIC RIM trial. mer’s sea lice outbreaks. Sea lice reduce Sams conﬁrmed that the company has marine survival of juvenile salmon, obtained a federal Clean Energy Fund which lack the immunity and size to tolincentive that will cover 15 to 20 per cent erate the parasite at “fatal loads.” SSCS may be capable of controlling sea of its investment in the project. Cermaq management is cognizant of lice and algae but it won’t screen viruses, concerns over ﬁsh farm impacts on wild Bartlett said. salmon, but feels the company has a “I think, yes, it is incredibly important responsibility to explore alternatives to for them to clean up their act and closed removing aquaculture from the ocean. containment may be the only way they “I think what working on this system can do it,” he said. might demonstrate to people is that we all Bartlett said “compounding variables” have contributed to the decline of wild share the same interest,” Sams said. salmon stocks on the west coast, not only
“This evaluation is a key component as we assess the technology for future use in British Columbia”
~ Linda Sams, Sustainable development director - Cermaq
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Page 8— Ha-Shilth-Sa—July 23, 2020
Pacheedaht signs agreement with Coast Guard Memorandum of Understanding marks a shift in relations with feds, First Nation currently relies on US service By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Port Renfrew, BC – Pacheedaht First Nation are celebrating the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Canadian Coast Guard that will see the construction of a multi-purpose Marine Safety Centre on the southwest coast of Vancouver Island. According to PFN Referrals Coordinator Kristine Gatzke, Port Renfrew, which is located at the mouth of the Juan de Fuca Straight, is not covered by the Canadian Coast Guard for marine emergencies. “There is nothing for marine emergencies; that’s why it’s important to get this going,” said Gatzke. She went on to say that residents of Port Renfrew have to call their American relatives across the strait in the event of an emergency. “We have to call the U.S., the Makah has said the Canadian Government needs to do their part. We don’t have medical services out here,” Gatzke continued. According to the Canadian Coast Guard, the MOU outlines a path forward for the Coast Guard and the Pacheedaht First Nation to build a facility that focuses on marine search and rescue and environmental response services. The agreement also aims to strengthen marine safety and response capacity in the Juan de Fuca Strait. The Co-Developing Community Response (CDCR) initiative addresses concerns in Indigenous communities located along the marine route serving the Trans-Mountain Expansion Project about the risks of increased tanker traﬃc related to marine activities, the environment and culturally important and sacred sites in their traditional territories. Along with the Ditidaht and seven other Vancouver Island First Nations, the Pacheedaht have signed a mutual beneﬁt agreement with Trans Mountain. But the Pacheedaht have concerns about increased tanker traﬃc that will come with the pipeline expansion. They are also concerned about the possibility of oil
Pacheedaht First Nation photo
Pacheedaht councillors Tracy Charlie, Roxy Jones, NTC President Judith Sayers and Pacheedaht Chief Councillor Jeﬀ Jones mark the beginning of a new agreement with the Canadian Coast Guard in Port Renfrew on June 29. The MOU marks a shift in relations with federal departments, as the First Nation currently relies on US for marine response. spills, but the addition of a Marine Safety Centre is important to the community. Gatzke said it was about 2013 when the nation began looking at gaps and impacts of increased tanker traﬃc on PFN traditional territories. She said they spent time learning from the Makah through their marine aﬀairs oﬃce in Neah Bay, Wash. The Washington-based Nuu-chah-nulth tribe are particularly knowledgeable and experienced on this issue, said Gatzke, as they have built marine resources and infrastructure in their community. “We have struggled long and hard to repair relationships with coast guard, DFO…there is not a clear recognition of title in the territory,” Gatzke stated.
With a focus on ﬁxing that relationship, the MOU marks the beginning of PFN and Canada working together. “We have gone from being simply informed to active partners; the coast guard MOU seemed like a good starting place,” said Gatzke. Elected Chief Jeﬀ Jones agrees, saying that Pacheedaht elders and community members have always wanted Coast Guard protection. PFN Administrator April Roper is pleased with the progress but says more work needs to be done. A building site needs to be selected from three possible locations in Port Renfrew. The Marine Safety Centre will be multi-
purpose, having space for partners with similar interests like the RCMP, West Coast Trail Guardians, along with Coast Guard oﬃce space. “We are hoping to have it built in 2022,” said Roper. Meanwhile, PFN has a vessel that performs monitoring activities in the territory. “Yes, there will always be a concern about an oil spill in the territory, but having proper equipment and vessels to deal with emergencies situated in territory does provide some comfort,” said Roper. “Better to have little rather than none at all.”
July 23, 2020—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 9
Hot Springs Cove hydropower project slated to begin Pandemic measures mean contractors will stay in a separate camp to prevent contact with Hesquiaht village By Melissa Renwick Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Hot Springs Cove, BC - Every month, the village of Hot Springs Cove barges trucks full of diesel through Clayoquot Sound. Residents within the remote community depend upon the fuel to power and heat their homes. It racks up a price tag of over half a million dollars each year and poses an ongoing chance of a spill within the region. “That’s something we don’t want to risk,” said Hesquiaht’s elected chief Joshua Charleson. “Risk destroying the beautiful environment we have in Clayoquot Sound.” The Hesquiaht First Nation community has been trying to transition to hydropower through the Ah’ta’apq Creek Hydropower Project for over a decade. It is a $14-million project designed to reduce Hot Springs Cove’s reliance on diesel by 80 per cent, leaning on power generated by the nearby creek instead.
“There hasn’t been any ground broken yet on the actual building of the hydropower dam and the powerhouse” ~ Joshua Charleson, Elected Chief The project had been continuously de-railed because of lack of funding and was a growing source of frustration for the late elected chief Richard Lucas, who spent years trying to pool funding sources to get the project done. “There hasn’t been any ground broken yet on the actual building of the hydropower dam and the powerhouse,” said Charleson. “There’s been a lot of work
Photo by Eric Plummer
Hesquiaht member Les Mickey, who has worked to prepare his nation for a future hydropower project, stands with the existing diesel facility in Hot Springs Cove. put into it and I just jumped into it.” But he is hopeful that there is end in sight. A recent statement issued by the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum announced that $4.1 million in funding would be contributed towards the project by the Renewable Energy for Remote Communities program. “Remote Indigenous communities are moving forward with greener alternatives, such as replacing dirty diesel power with clean, renewable sources for electricity,” said Scott Fraser, minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, in the report. “Hesquiaht First Nation’s participation in this program is a strong
example, bringing sustainable energy practices to Clayoquot Sound and contributing to a cleaner, healthier province for everyone.” Construction of the next phase of the project is anticipated to begin in mid-July and continue for 18 months – pending “there are no hiccups or delays because of weather,” said Charleson. Due to COVID-19 and the community’s ongoing eﬀorts to keep residents safe, the contractor who secures the project is required to set up their own camp outside of the village. “We’ve had to forgo having [contractors] stay in the community, unfortunately,” said Charleson. “Because there’s
not a whole lot of economic opportunity for our community up in Hesquiaht, it is a big deal.” After consulting with the community, it was widely agreed that the project should move forward despite the loss in accommodation revenue. Looking to the future, Charleson hopes that Hot Springs Cove can transition from diesel entirely by installing a solar system. “We don’t generate as much [hydro] power in the summer, so we’re hoping we can compensate that with solar power,” he said. “That’s the vision and we’re hoping to get there.”
Funding received for Meares Island dock replacement By Melissa Renwick Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Ahousaht, BC - Ahousaht First Nation has received over half a million dollars in funding through the Canada Infrastructure Program to replace their derelict dock on Meares Island. It is one of 22 infrastructure projects that received joint funding from the federal, provincial and municipal governments. The investment in infrastructure within the Vancouver Island region is designed to strengthen communities and to create job opportunities. Maaqutusiis Hahoulthee Stewardship Society (MHSS) owns 160 acres on Meares Island, which used to be the site of the Christie Indian Residential School. Over the next couple of years, they will be developing the property. No details about the multi-million dollar development have been released, but it will involve cultural tourism and hospitality, said John Caton, MHSS general manager. The old Ahousaht village site called Matsquiaht, where the Lone Cone Hostel and Campground now stands, sustained the nation for thousands of years. Alongside Tla-o-qui-aht, Ahousaht First Nation declared the island as Canada’s ﬁrst Tribal Park in 1984. The designation was aimed to stop logging plans of
Photo by Melissa Renwick
The sun sets over the Toﬁno mudﬂats as Meares Island looms in the background. its old-growth red cedar forests, which sparked the designation of First Nations’ protected areas throughout the province. To gain access to the new development,
the funding will support the installation of a new wharf, dock and breakwater, just around the corner from Shindler Point on the west side of Meares Island. The proj-
ect is currently on hold due to COVID-19 and will not begin until the pandemic has passed, said Caton.
Page 10— Ha-Shilth-Sa—July 23, 2020
Project designed to ﬁll Island’s ‘tsunami gap’ A comprehensive survey and mapping program will incorporate Indigenous knowledge to prepare for disaster By Mike Youds Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor A pair of Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations are partnering with Strathcona Regional District (SDR) in a tsunami modelling project designed to improve safety in the event of a megathrust quake. The $450,000 coastal risk assessment for northwest Vancouver Island — Gold River to Cape Scott — is one of 24 provincial emergency preparedness projects for which funding was conﬁrmed in early July. Nuchatlaht and Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/ Che:k’tles7et’h’ each receive $150,000 for the survey, expected to get underway as early as August under regional district management. “I don’t think there’s a more important project the SRD can undertake for the communities on the west coast other than ﬁlling in this tsunami gap,” said Shaun Koopman, protective services coordinator with the regional district. Every community involved wrote a letter in support of the tsunami mapping project, which will encompass fully half of Vancouver Island, including Mount Waddington Regional District. “In my opinion, this is going to be huge for communities on the west coast that don’t often get that level of support,” Koopman said. No such survey of this scope and magnitude has been done despite the region’s close proximity — no point of land comes closer — to the Cascadia Subduction Zone. The zone is a collision point of tectonic plates that last wrought disaster for Nuu-chah-nulth peoples along the coast in the year 1700. In its grant application, the SRD pointed to a dangerous vulnerability. “From an emergency planning and impact assessment perspective, the lack of relevant data diminishes the ability of public entities to adequately plan and prepare for such events,” states an SRD staﬀ report on the matter. A similar wave-modelling project for
Photo by Eric Plummer
Two Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations are partnering with Strathcona Regional District (SDR) in a tsunami modelling project designed to improve safety for coastal communities like Zeballos in the event of a megathrust quake. No lives were lost on Vancouver Island ay-aht to Checklesaht. “Tsunamis are a real threat during that overnight disaster 56 years Earthquake Early Warning Sensors, land to people’s safety and way ago, a remarkable outcome considering based and on the sea ﬂoor, have been installed in recent years, but there remains of life on the North Island so the extent of property damage in Port Alberni and Hot Springs Cove. Residents a considerable gulf in understanding the I’m pleased to see this fundﬂed for their lives in the darkness, some physics of coastal ﬂooding, the so-called ing will support the develop- clinging to their children. Emergency “tsunami gap.” Drawn from aerial LiDAR and bathoment of a coordinated tsunami planning since that time has been based on the worst-case scenario of a 20-metre metric (sea ﬂoor) surveys in combination response” wave sweeping the coastline. For the with inshore data from buoys and shorepurposes of analysis, the mapping will be line, the mapping will inform emergency on peak “king tides” under presplanning and safety recommendations in ~ Claire Trevena, based ent conditions and those possible under the long term. MLA for North Island a one-metre sea level rise predicted by “Stronger recommendations stem from the Capital Regional District is nearing 2100. King tides are exceptionally high good data,” Koopman said. completion. tides. The mapping project is slated for comThe inclusion of Indigenous knowledge Nuu-chah-nulth storytelling, fossil repletion next summer. A memorandum of — through direct experiences of the 1964 cords and historical Japanese recordkeep- understanding between the three nations Alaskan quake tsunami and inherited cul- ing provide clues to what has occurred in involved and the SRD opened the door to tural memory — will add to a technical/ the past. Large, prehistoric tsunami sites the initiative. scientiﬁc data base, Koopman noted. along the west coast have been identiﬁed “Tsunamis are a real threat to people’s “What did they remember from that through geology. These include sites in safety and way of life on the North Island wave?” the territories of every nation from Huuso I’m pleased to see this funding will support the development of a coordinated tsunami response,” said Claire Trevena, MLA for North Island. “Our government is equipping communities with the tools they need to prepare for and respond to ﬂooding events.” Emergency preparedness funding also goes to Tahsis for a ﬂood mitigation preliminary design project and to Zeballos when,” said Jennifer Rice, Parliamentary for a slope-hazard mitigation study. Secretary for Emergency Preparedness, Zeballos has been faced with a potential in the release. “This funding is another slide after wildﬁre swept across the face step we’re taking as a government to help of a mountain by the village in 2018, communities be ready for when disaster forcing temporary evacuations. An engistrikes.” neering report determined that some habThe funding, which is administered by itable structures east of Maquinna Avenue the Union of BC Municipalities, arrived are “exposed to hazard and risk levels at a time when local governments are regreater than what is generally considered ﬂecting on their emergency preparedness acceptable by society.” in the wake of COVID-19. The study will assess the appropriateAt the beginning of the pandemic, no ness of potential mitigative options, said staﬀ or community members within DiMayor Jule Colborne. tidaht First Nation knew the Emergency “Safety of the public is our top conManagement BC protocols, said Hunt. cern,” she said. “We need to gain that perspective and The unstable mountainside is on Crown that education and training.” land, not within the village, which was Ditidaht First Nation will use the govthe factor that ultimately determined the ernment funding towards modernization funding. One home remains vacant until training and a trailer, which will hold mitigation measures can be worked out. all of the nation’s emergency supplies at Once mitigation options have been contheir tsunami evacuation site. ﬁrmed, the village will seek funding to do “In B.C., local and First Nations governMike Farnworth the actual work, either through Emerments lead the initial response to emergency Management B.C. or the federal them the tools necessary to make sure gencies and disasters in their communigovernment. everyone in B.C. impacted by an emerties,” said Mike Farnworth, minister of “This is just one more piece in the gency is looked after and kept as safe as Public Safety and Solicitor General, in puzzle,” Colborne said. possible.” the release. “This funding will help give
Four Nuu-chah-nulth nations receive emergency preparedness funding By Melissa Renwick Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter When a tsunami alarm sounded in the Nitinaht Region a couple years ago, Ditidaht First Nation members didn’t know the evacuation routes, recalled Janeen Hunt, Ditidaht First Nation administrator. It was a wake up call for the nation, who began working on an emergency plan in response. In a move to help First Nations communities and local governments with their emergency preparedness, $4.2 million in funding has been allocated to over 100 communities across the province, according to a release by the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General. Tla-o-qui-ath First Nation, Mowachaht/ Muchalaht First Nations, Ditidaht First Nation and Nuchatlaht First Nation each received around $25,000. The communities are using the funding for various initiatives designed to help them prepare for – and respond to – disasters. “When it comes to emergencies in B.C., it’s not a matter of if one will happen, but
July 23, 2020—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 11
Photo by Melissa Renwick
Since 2011 Hesquiaht resident Korianne Ignace has video documented the decline of sea urchins, the loss of barnacles and the disappearance of seaweed that used to collect on the rocks of her home.
A changing Hesquiat Harbour for ocean subsistence A family watches the decline of shellﬁsh since the reintroduction of sea o•ers from Alaska in the early 1970s By Melissa Renwick Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Hesquiaht Harbour, BC - When Dianne Ignace moved to the Heshquiaht Peninsula in 1975, she remembered looking towards the skyline during herring season. A thick cloud of seagulls had moved in, blocking the view of the mountain range across the harbour. They ﬂocked by the thousands, dodging eagles, ducks and sea lions that gathered to feed on the herring. There used to be gill-netters and big seine boats all the way up to Prince Rupert, Ignace recalled. “Herring season was crazy in the 70s. It was nuts.” Things have dramatically changed since then. “This place is sort of sterile now,” she said. In those days, Ignace and her late-husband, Dave, raised their four children by only spending $300 a month on groceries. Aside from dry goods, such as rice and ﬂour, everything else came from the land, the sky or the ocean. “The whole sandbar used to be covered in clams,” she said. As a family, they would take a 100-pound sack down to the beach and ﬁll it in 20 minutes. The hard part was getting it back to the house, where they would feast on clam jacks, Ignace recounted. “That clam bar has been supporting the Hesquiahts living here for 6,000 years,” she said. But in more recent years, they have disappeared.
“There are no more clams,” she said. “The clams are all gone.” In 1991, biologist and whale researcher Jim Darling spent six weeks camping out at the Ignace’s. In partnership with Sam Mickey, from Hesquiaht First Nation, they looked at 76 diﬀerent food resources in 32 locations within the peninsula. The study compiled material provided by Hesquiaht elders who described speciﬁc locations in their territory where food resources were traditionally found. The researchers sought everything from sea urchins to wild berries. “In most cases, we found the resource that was talked about,” said Darling. Most, except for sea otters. Before their extinction in the early 20th century, the last veriﬁed sea otter on the B.C. coast was shot near Kyuquot in 1929, according to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO). The species existed all along Vancouver Island for eons. But when the sea otter fur trade began in the 1700s and the ﬁrst pelts were traded to Captain James Cook from the village at Nootka Sound, their eradication began. “By about 1850, sea otters were driven to very low levels,” said Linda Nichol, DFO’s lead sea otter researcher. “They were almost what we would call ecologically extinct. So at that point you have a system where the otters are in relatively low numbers, so they’re not having the same ecosystem role that they have evolved to occupy.” In response, DFO translocated 89 sea otters from Amchitka and Prince William
Sound, Alaska, to Checleset Bay on the west coast of Vancouver Island between 1969 and 1972. “It was an era of desire to re-establish things within the ecosystem,” said Nichol. According to the DFO, they have repopulated in 25 to 33 per cent of their historic range and are steadily growing in numbers. When sea otters ﬁrst arrive to an area, they eat a few of the most abundant organisms, described Nichol. “But over time, as that particular species declines in abundance, they begin to diversify their diet,” she said. Ignace attributes the sea otters for wiping out the sea urchins and the clam bar. “They cleaned out the harbour of a lot of resources,” she said. “I’ve been here for 45 years. I’ve seen a whole decline in the resources like you’ve never seen before.” When the species was re-introduced, there was a ﬂip in the ecosystem. “The system now is not the system that was there before the otters arrived,” said Nichol. “Clam densities are probably lower and clam sizes are probably smaller. From a human harvesting perspective, there’s deﬁnitely an impact.” Despite the shift in the ecosystem, Nichol said that species don’t overpopulate areas. “Their population growth is regulated by food availability,” she said. “When the population approaches the carrying capacity of an area, and for these animals it’s food availability, the survival of the pups goes down.”
Ignace calls it DFO “propaganda”. “They do travel and they do devastate everything and then when place is right naked, they move on,” she said of the species that eats 30 per cent of its body weight each day. First Nations along the coast used to hunt sea otters for their fur. It was used to decorate the collars of capes for their chiefs. It is now illegal to hunt the animal after it was listed as “threatened” under the Species at Risk Act. To monitor the changing landscape, Ignace’s daughter, Korianne, began video recording the beaches at low tide in 2011. She has been building an archive of footage to document the decline of sea urchins, the loss of barnacles attached to their sea wall and the disappearance of seaweed that used to collect on the rocks at their shoreline. “Why live here if you don’t know what’s happening or why it’s here?” said Ignace. “You have to become a part of where you live.” While the sea otters are not solely responsible for altering the nearshore ecosystem in the Hesquiaht Harbour, they have played contributing factor. The change in available resources has forced Ignace to become more dependent on the grocery stores in Toﬁno. She travels into town with her son, Jeﬀery, at least once a month to stock up, unable to rely on the ocean like she once did. “We’re still documenting this stuﬀ,” she said. “This is a lifelong project, man.”
Page 12— Ha-Shilth-Sa—July 23, 2020 By Melissa Renwick Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Hesquiat Harbour, BC - When Dianne Ignace awoke on a calm summer morning, she was gripping her late-husband’s pillow as the sun peaked through the cracks in her blinds. Three days had passed since Father’s Day. It was the ﬁrst in 45 years that she hadn’t celebrated with Dave, whom she had loved all those years. The reminder re-opened the wound of his sudden passing in early-December. Yet, Dianne continued to tell stories of her husband as if he was sitting next to her – quietly facing their living room window that looked out towards the Hesquiat Harbour. The couple has become legendary on the coast for being the last remaining family to live in Usk tua, the traditional winter village of the Hesquiaht. As a tenth generation Hesquiaht, Dave was the caretaker of the land – a title that has been passed down to his son, Jeﬀery, who has never lived anywhere else. They have kept their family’s history alive by continuing to live oﬀ the land, using traditional knowledge passed down through the centuries. But as Jeﬀery prepares to celebrate his 38th birthday next month, he struggles to ﬁnd a partner who is willing to unplug from society and move to the remote peninsula. “It’s not exactly for everybody,” he said. “Most people are so set in their town life that they ﬁnd it diﬃcult to live out here. I’ll ﬁnd a girl some day that wants to move out here with me.”
‘One big playground’ Growing up at the mouth of the Hesquiat Harbour was like “one big playground,” said Jeﬀery. He has fond memories of spending hours with his father on the water, where Jeﬀery would listen to Dave recount “a million different stories about ﬁshing.” Jeﬀery said that his father wasn’t always a patient teacher but when it came to driving a boat and ﬁshing, he was careful with his teachings – it was his passion and livelihood. “He was quite in depth,” said Jeﬀery. “He taught me where the reefs were, which channels you could take that were deep enough to pass through and how to ride certain waves in certain weather conditions.” Through all of the years that they spent on the boat together, Dave became one of Jeffery’s best friends in the “whole world.” When his father passed, Jeﬀery had difﬁculty processing the loss. But with time, he has come to peace with it. “He kind of went out the way he wanted
Living off the sky, the lan The last family to remain in a traditional Hesquiaht winter village northwest of Toﬁ
Clouds roll over the mountains across the Hesquiaht Harbour at sunset, on Tuesday, June 23, 2020. to – with family,” said Jeﬀery. “We were here right until the very end with him.” The 37-year-old often reﬂects on his parent’s marriage, citing how so few of his friend’s parents stayed together. Theirs was an unlikely love story, but it was built to last. After completing a diploma in food services technology at the Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology, Dianne hopped in a stock car with a herd of her friends and headed west. The then 21-year-old eventually wound up in Vancouver, where she saw a job posting for the Maquinna Hotel in Toﬁno. While the position as a chef wasn’t everything it was promised to be, it led her to the remote, coastal town for the ﬁrst time. It was the summer of 1974 and Dave had just ﬁnished a day’s work as a deckhand. The 28-year-old was socializing on the steps of the old Maquinna Hotel when Dianne ran up, waving her ﬁrst employment insurance check in the air. Despite not being much of a drinker, she wanted to celebrate. It was her ticket to the warmer pastures of the Okanagan Valley, where she
was soon-to-be headed. Dave jumped at the invitation. They passed a few hours by inside the hotel pub before heading to Chesterman Beach, where Dave cooked a salmon over an open ﬁre under a starry night sky. For the following week, he convinced the boat crew to drive back to Toﬁno every night so that he could go ﬁnd Dianne. “We ate a lot of salmon that summer,” she said. Dianne only made it as far as Campbell River and from there, the pair took turns hitchhiking back-and-forth to spend time together. Occasionally, they would meet in the middle and sleep on grassy hills after attending open-air rock concerts by Buﬀy Sainte-Marie or Scrubbaloe Caine in Port Alberni. “Port Alberni was hot for concerts in the ‘70s,” she said. Dave lived in a denim jacket, with a fourstrand leather braid tied around his head. His long, black hair brushed his collarbones and dimples pierced both his cheeks. “He was kind of a hippy guy,” she said. “I was pretty straight-laced compared to him,
Dianne Ignace has been living in Hesquiaht for love at ﬁrst sight with this place,” she said. but we sure got along good.”
Lessons from the prairies
Jeﬀery Ignace creates slabs of wood for a boardwalk using the techniques his father, Dave, taught him
Dianne was a prairie girl who grew up in the small Saskatchewan town of Meota. Her parents were raised by Mennonites and both came from large, tight-knit families. In the ‘60s, her grandfather, Henry P. Peters, received a Century Family Farm Award from the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture. It is given to those who have continuously maintained the same farm in Saskatchewan for 100 years or more. Dianne spent a lot of her childhood on his farm and grew up learning how to grow a garden from her mom and bake pies from her aunt. She didn’t know it at the time, but it was her training grounds for the life she would come to live in Hesquiat. After a summer of dating, Dave brought Dianne to visit his homelands for the ﬁrst time. “I was hooked, big time,” she said. “It was the place of my dreams.” Up until the early 1900s, the Hesquiaht First Nation criss-crossed the peninsula
July 23, 2020—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 13 “They died oﬀ.”
y, the land and the ocean
A deserted place
lage northwest of Toﬁno reﬂects on the passing of generations in the remote se•lement
Photos by melissa Renwick
Without any children to care for or pass their teachings down to, “some of them died from broken hearts,” she said. Dave would return home from residential school during the summer and help his parents take care of the Hesquiaht elders. “When Dave was growing up he was [often] in a house full of grandmas and grandpas listening to all of their Indian stories,” said Dianne. “He could understand the language, so he knew what they were talking about.” Those formative experiences allowed Dave to develop a deep connection to his culture and to the land, which he shared with Dianne. Before long, Dave’s father, Hypolite George, was the only one still living on the peninsula year-round. In his older age, Hypolite traveled for months at a time, roving from daughterto-daughter, before getting homesick and returning to Hesquiat. He was away visiting one of his daughters when Dianne stepped foot onto Hesquiat for the ﬁrst time in February 1975. “The place looked deserted,” she said. The generator wasn’t working, the water was oﬀ, the telephone couldn’t dial out and there was no ﬁrewood to heat the house. Dave got everything back up-and-running in no time, leaving Dianne “right impressed.” For dinner, he took her out to the end of the reserve where he shot a duck and then led her to the sandbar, where they dug up clams. “I went everywhere with him,” she said. “Didn’t matter what he was doing.” After ten days deserted on the peninsula together, Dave proposed. Interracial marriages were still widely unpopular in the 70s and the couple struggled to ﬁnd a preacher that would condone their matrimony. Unfazed, they marched on and held a small ceremony on Chesterman Beach in the summer of 1975, where Dianne donned a white dress with rose tinted glasses. After a brief honeymoon in Meota, they began their life together in Hesquiat. “I’ve never lived anywhere else since,” said Dianne, who has spent two-thirds of her life on the peninsula. “I’m as much in love with the place as I am with Dave,” she said. “I still love that bugger.”
The rattle of the elderberries
n living in Hesquiaht for 45 years. “ It was his place,” she said.
Dave Ignace’s father’s original artwork hangs on the walls inside the family home.
with the ﬂow of changing seasons for thousands of years. Some would travel to Homis during halibut season, where they’d teach their young to go fur seal hunting. Others would deliver fresh ﬁsh from their canoes to the women who had set up camp at Chik nuu, or Smokehouse Bay, where they would spend weeks processing and smoking ﬁsh. It was also a change of atmosphere for the Hesquiaht and gave Usk-tua time to heal. “When you [create] a human footprint, you need to let things come back to life,” said Dianne. The village of Hesquiat went through a massive transformation in the 1940s when most of the young men left. They relocated to Hot Springs Cove where they could safely anchor their troller ﬁshing boats. Wicked winter storms often left men stranded in the Hesquiat Harbour for nights on end. Back on dry land, they would occasionally awake to ﬁnd their boats shredded to tiny pieces because they were smashed to shore by angry
waves. At that time, most of the children were taken away to the Christie Indian Residential School on Meares Island – Dave was among them. He spent a lifetime working through the trauma inﬂicted by the school,
where his brother, Joseph, was beaten to death at the age of 10. Through all of this, the elders were left behind, along with Dave’s parents, who cared for them. “The elders never left,” said Dianne.
Korianne Ignace grinds up dried mint leaves for tea that were grown in the garden.
They raised four children together. The two youngest, Jeﬀery and Korianne, never left. “It’s always been home,” said Jeﬀery. “I’m proud to be Hesquiaht. I love it here. Just look at my view – not a lot of people have a view like that.” Dianne often contemplates what will become of Hesquiat Harbour when she’s gone. “Jeﬀ is the last of the tribe,” she said. While the future of the original Hesquiat winter village remains unknown, Dianne, Jeﬀery and Korianne continue to care for it, just like their family always has. They clean the peninsula’s shorelines of debris that gets washed to the 13-foot-hightide line. In the fall, they open up their coho salmon bearing river, so the fry can travel through the murky water out to sea. Dianne has kept a daily journal since the ‘70s. She logs everything from phone calls with family members to when the lawn was mowed last. The 67-year-old has come to know the place so intimately that she can tell when a westerly wind is blowing by the rattle of the elderberries behind her house. When Dave passed, many people expected Dianne to leave the peninsula, but even in his death he binds her to the land. “I want to be buried right next to Dave,” she said. “I’m not going anywhere.”
Page 14— Ha-Shilth-Sa—July 23, 2020
Nuu-chah-nulth’s graduating class of 2020
Andrew Ignace Grade 12 Dogwood
Angelo Sarlandi Grade 12 Dogwood
Indigenous Language Revitalization Grade 12 Dogwood
Indigenous Language Revitalization
Brandon Smith Trades Sampler
First Nations Child and Youth Care Grade 12 Dogwood
Chelsea Paul Grade 12 Adult Dogwood
Chrissie John Indigenous Language Proﬁciency
Christian Charlie Grade 12 Dogwood
Creed Samuel Evergreen
David Edgar Grade 12 Dogwood
Dylan Marchand Grade 12 Dogwood
Christine Webster Masters in Arts in Leadership
Arianna Johnson - Sabbas
Phrase of the week: +uuqwi> wit%as^is mii@a>^ %uh=%is^ suuh=aa %ah=%uuyii Pronounced ‘Klue qwi-ilth we Tas sis me at lth ohr ish suu hard Tlah oo yer’, this means ‘I am going to smoke sockeye salmon today’ Supplied by ciisma.
Illustration by Ivy Cargill-Martin
July 23, 2020—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 15
Erin Rosengren Grade 12 Dogwood
Grace Sarlandie Grade 12 Dogwood
Gregory Thompson Grade 12 Dogwood
Haily John-Hanson Grade 12 Dogwood
Joseph Janzen Julia Su Grade 12 Adult Dogwood Grade 12 Dogwood
Hayden Seitcher Grade 12 Dogwood
Jacquie Adams Interdisciplinary Studies
Jordan MacFarlane Grade 12 Dogwood
Linsey Haggard Indigenous Language Revitalization
Meagan Martin Miriah Mottishaw Early Childhood Education Grade 12 Dogwood
Nadia Male Grade 12 Dogwood
Stacey Miller Talis Quick Early Childhood Education Grade 12 Dogwood
Tawni Charlie Education Assistant
Vanessa Gallic Professional Esthetics
William Cox Jr. Trades Sampler
Indigenous Language Revitalization Bachelor of Business Administration Licensed Practical Nursing Diploma
Advanced Studio & Electronic Indigenous Language Revitalization Adult Dogwood Music Projection
Vicki Charles Adult Dogwood
Bachelor of Science - Nursing Adult Dogwood
Kayla Zec-Adams Lindsey Frank Grade 12 Adult Dogwood Grade 12 Dogwood
Pat Patterson Indigenous Language Revitalization
Phoenix Gates Grade 12 Dogwood
Indigenous Language Revitalization Indigenous Language Revitalization
Page 16— Ha-Shilth-Sa—July 23, 2020
Ahousaht high school graduates celebrate outside
Photos by Curt McLeod
With a ban on large gatherings in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ahousaht people took to the open beach and village streets to celebrate their graduating class of 2020. Top: Maaqtusiis Secondary School Class of 2020 pose for a photo. Center: graduate Shania Thomas pauses to wave to the crowd. Center left: Graduate Matthew Frank gets a hug from great grandfather Louie Frank. Center Right: Hannah George with proud grandmother Maureen Frank. Bottom: Maaqtusiis Secondary School graduating class of 2020 paddles ashore to Ahousaht’s front beach for the start of their community celebration on June 21, 2020.
July 23, 2020—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 17
Nuu-chah-nulth’s 2020 Scholarship recipients BMO Scholarships Gr. 12 Gerald Frank-Perry - Ahousaht Gr. 12 Cedar Lindsay - Ahousaht K to 3 Draw Gr. 1 Ivana John - Ahousaht Gr. 1 Tobias Stewart - Ahousaht Gr. 1 Tavita Swan - Ahousaht Gr. 1 Luvella Thomas-Charleson - Ahousaht Gr. 2 Neveah Atleo - Ahousaht Gr. 2 Jemima Frank - Ahousaht Gr. 2 Cailynn John - Ahousaht Gr. 2 Royston John - Ahousaht Gr. 2 Princeton Smith - Ahousaht Gr. 2 Heidi Swan - Ahousaht Gr. 3 Riley Stewart - Ahousaht Gr. 1 Kyle Martin-Thompson - Ditidaht Gr. 3 Warren Peter Amos - Ditidaht Gr. 1 Patience Hawker - Ehattesaht Gr. 2 Amalee Hanson - Ehattesaht Gr. K Malyla Charleson - Hesquiaht Gr. 1 Gray Lucas - Hesquiaht Gr. 2 Geﬀen Hanson - Hesquiaht Gr. K Michael Willier - Huu-ay-aht Gr. 1 Levi Cootes - Huu-ay-aht Gr. 2 Dineekah Willier - Huu-ay-aht Gr. 3 Isaiah Willier - Huu-ay-aht Gr. 2 Ayana Leo - Kyuquot Gr. 1 Ava August - Mowachaht/ Muchalaht Gr. 3 Brayden August - Mowachaht/Muchalaht Gr. K Kayshaa Michael - Nuchatlaht Gr. 2 Skyla Jeﬀery - Nuchatlaht Gr. 2 Mason Frank - Tla-o-qui-aht Gr. K Sarah Burnip - Tseshaht Gr. K Wyatt Pratt - Tseshaht Gr. K Kessa Watts - Tseshaht Gr. 1 Dawson Bill - Tseshaht Gr. 1 Georgia Gomez - Tseshaht Gr. 1 Royston Good - Tseshaht
Notice of Delay for Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council Graduation and Scholarship Virtual Event 2020
Gr. 2 Natilee Dick - Tseshaht Gr. 2 Desiderio Gomez-Charles - Tseshaht Gr. 2 River Poirier - Tseshaht Gr. 3 Logan Knighton - Tseshaht Gr. 3 Niamiva Watts - Tseshaht Gr. 3 Solomon Watts - Tseshaht Academic
Athletic Gr. 7 Jessie Swan - Ahousaht Gr. 7 Michael Samuel - Ahousaht Gr. 8 Maikeli Jack-Kaloucokovale - Ahousaht Gr. 9 Synaizjah Swan - Ahousaht Gr. 11 Dalainee John - Ahousaht
Gr. 4 Kaidence Frank - Ahousaht Gr. 4 Chael John - Ahousaht Gr. 4 Jason Neufeld - Ahousaht Gr. 5 Monica Little - Ahousaht Gr. 5 Angelina Williams-Lambert - Ahousaht Gr. 6 Naveah Frank - Ahousaht Gr. 6 Francine Keitlah – Ahousaht Gr. 6 Rosalynn Williams - Ahousaht Gr. 7 Emily Sabbas - Ahousaht Gr. 7 Jessie Swan – Ahousaht Gr. 8 Maikeli Kaloucokovale - Ahousaht Gr. 8 Olivia Samuel - Ahousaht Gr. 9 Eric Lindsay - Ahousaht Gr. 11 Dalainee John - Ahousaht Gr. 11 Sereana Kaloucokvale - Ahousaht Gr. 12 Gerald Frank-Perry - Ahousaht Gr. 12 Juniper John - Ahousaht Gr. 12 Cedar Lindsay - Ahousaht Gr. 12 Teyah Little – Ahousaht
Gr. 7 Destiny Peltier - Ditidaht Gr. 12 David Edgar - Ditidaht Gr. 5 Rachel Swan - Ehattesaht
Gr. 6 Dakota Knighton - Ditidaht Gr. 6 Hailey Thompson - Ditidaht Gr. 6 Cole Thompson - Ditidaht Gr. 7 Kate Edgar - Ditidaht Gr. 7 Destiny Peltier - Ditidaht Gr. 7 Barry Samuel - Ditidaht Gr. 9 Mazzari Tate- Ditidaht Gr. 11 Josie Marchand - Ditidaht Gr. 11 Jocelyn Tate – Ditidaht Gr. 12 David Edgar - Ditidaht Gr. 12 Dylan Marchand – Ditidaht Gr. 12 Katana Woodward - Ditidaht
Gr. 7 Michael Samuel - Ahousaht Gr. 8 Olivia Samuel Ahousaht Gr. 12 Shania Thomas - Ahousaht Gr. 12 Cedar Lindsay - Ahousaht
Gr. 8 Robyn Ambrose - Ehattesaht Gr. 9 Danica Mack - Ehattesaht Gr. 9 Kyle Smith - Ehattesaht Gr. 11 Miranda Mack - Ehattesaht
Gr. 9 Da’von Ekering - Tla-o-qui-aht
Gr. 5 Mariah Frank - Hesquiaht Gr. 6 Mercedes Glaim – Hesquiaht Gr. 10 Katrina Rowe – Hesquiaht Gr. 4 Kymani Lauder - Hesquiaht
Gr. 6 Linden Lucas - Hesquiaht Gr. 4 Kymani Lauder - Hupacasath Gr. 11 Janae Sam - Hupacasath Gr. 12 Lindsey Frank - Hupacasath Gr. 10 Jenelle Johnson-Sabbas - Huu-ay-aht Gr. 12 Wayne Vincent - Kyuquot Gr. 6 Hayleigh Watts - Tseshaht Gr. 8 Kieris Braker-Patterson - Tseshaht
Gr. 7 Kate Edgar - Ditidaht Gr. 7 Krista Samuel - Ditidaht Gr. 12 Katana Woodward - Ditidaht Gr. 9 Braelene Leo - Kyuquot Gr. 11 Amber Vincent - Nuchatlaht
Gr. 4 Nisma Marshall - Tseshaht Gr. 5 Carmen Bill - Tseshaht Gr. 7 Raelynn Johnson - Tseshaht Gr. 7 Jaiden Knighton - Tseshaht Gr. 9 Sophia Bill - Tseshaht Gr. 12 Jasmine Charles-Cootes - Tseshaht
Gr. 5 Danika Foster - Hupacasath Gr. 5 Jamie-Leigh Lucas - Hupacasath Gr. 7 Mia Foster - Hupacasath Gr. 11 Lindsey Frank - Hupacasath Gr. 12 Miriah Mottishaw - Hupacasath
Gr. 12 Gerald Frank-Perry - Ahousaht
Gr. 4 Kensie Johnson-Sabbas – Huu-ay-aht Gr. 4 Sydney Nookemus – Huu-ay-aht Gr. 5 Madison Lucas - Huu-ay-aht
Gr. 11 Ivan Eaton - Ehattesaht
Gr. 9 Mazzari Tate - Ditidaht Gr. 11 Jocelyn Tate - Ditidaht
Gr. 10 Rave Sutherland - Hesquiaht
This year, the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council will hold a Virtual event for both Graduates and Scholarship Awards recipients for Nuu-chahnulth students. There will be 2 videos presented as a result of the increased material to be included; one for Graduation and one for Scholarships. The Graduation video will be released on Friday, July 24, 2020 at 4:30 pm and the Scholarship Award video will be released on Friday, July 31, 2020 at 4:30 pm. We would like to acknowledge the eﬀorts of all who have submitted photos, videos and other materials to support this new method of recognizing Nuu-chah-nulth Graduates and Scholarship Award recipients. The Graduation video will be available on the Hashilthsa website on July 24, 2020 and the Scholarship video will be available on the Hashilthsa website on July 31, 2020. https://hashilthsa.com/
Gr. 4 Jackson Jules - Kyuquot Gr. 4 Naomi Vincent - Kyuquot Gr. 5 Karianna Rush - Kyuquot Gr. 9 Braelene Leo - Kyuquot
Gr. 12 Miriah Mottishaw - Hupacasath Gr. 4 Sydney Nookemus - Huu-ay-aht
Gr. 9 Zander Corﬁeld-Jack - Mowachaht/Muchalaht
Gr. 9 Zander Corﬁeld-Jack - Mowachaht/Muchalaht
Gr. 11 Amber Vincent - Nuchatlaht
Gr. 4 Nevaeh Amos - Nuchatlaht
Gr. 7 Hannah Frank - Tla-o-qui-aht Gr. 9 Da’von Ekering - Tla-o-qui-aht Gr. 10 Jaden Frank - Tla-o-qui-aht Gr. 11 Timothy Masso - Tla-o-qui-aht
Gr. 4 Lorelai Seitcher-Watts - Tla-o-qui-aht Gr. 7 Alden Seitcher-Watts - Tla-o-qui-aht Gr. 11 Timothy Masso - Tla-o-qui-aht
Gr. 5 Carmen Bill - Tseshaht Gr. 6 Cameron Amos - Tseshaht Gr. 7 Noahlani Alphonse - Tseshaht Gr. 7 Jaidin Knighton - Tseshaht Gr. 7 Giulianna Little - Tseshaht Gr. 8 Kieris Braker-Patterson - Tseshaht Gr. 9 Sophia Bill - Tseshaht Gr. 9 Hailey Gomez - Tseshaht Gr. 9 Hannah Sam - Tseshaht Gr. 12 Jasmine Gomez - Tseshaht Gr. 12 Mercedes Marshall - Tseshaht Gr. 12 Angelo Sarlandie - Tseshaht Gr. 12 Grace Sarlandie - Tseshaht
Gr. 7 Jolene Sam - Tseshaht Gr. 12 Mercedes Marshall - Tseshaht Heechis Gr. 12 Teyah Little - Ahousaht Gr. 12 Katanna Woodward - Ditidaht Gr. 12 Jane John-Smith - Kyuquot Gr. 12 Raven Watts – Tseshaht
Page 18— Ha-Shilth-Sa—July 23, 2020
T’aaq-wiihak ﬂeet prepares for ﬁshery opening Boats from ﬁve First Nations take to the waters west of Vancouver Island for rights-based, multi-species ﬁshing By Melissa Renwick Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Ucluelet, BC - Errol Sam grew up on a commercial ﬁshing boat learning how to sling ﬁsh from his father. Since the age of 8, he’s been steady at it and decades later showing no sign of stopping. “Who doesn’t fall in love with ﬁghting ﬁsh as a living?” asked Sam, who is from Ahousaht First Nation. “That’s what I did.” With the opening of the multi-species ﬁnﬁsh ﬁshery on July 15, the T’aaqwiihak ﬂeet repaired and polished their commercial ﬁshing vessels in preparation of heading out to sea. “You want to be proud of the boat that you work on,” said James Martin, as he gave the Constellation a fresh coat of paint in the Ucluelet harbour. Sam has seen “big” changes in the industry since he ﬁrst started. He remembers when ﬁsheries used to be open for six-months of the year – from April 15 to October 15. It was a time when west coast allocation numbers used to be 360,000 chinook salmon and 2.1 million coho salmon, he recalled. Those numbers have been dramatically reduced. “It speaks to the decline of salmon,” said Candace Picco, T’aaq-wiihak Biologist. This year, the chinook salmon allocation for the T’aaq-wiihak ﬁshery is 7,724
Photo by Melissa Renwick
James Martin repositions his brother’s boat so that he can paint its sides more easily in Ucluelet on July 15. pieces of chinook, she said. established in 1999. It set out a series of principles for allocating salmon in British In 2009, the BC Supreme Court recogColumbia among the three harvest groups nized the Indigenous rights of ﬁve Nuu– First Nations food, social and ceremochah-nulth Nations – Ahousaht, Ehattesaht/Chinehkint, Hesquiaht, Tla-o-qui-aht nial; commercial; and recreational. The policy is currently under review to and Mowachaht/Muchalaht – to catch and sell species traditionally harvested within provide priority to the right-based ﬁshery of the ﬁve Nuu-chah-nulth nations. their territories. “I don’t imagine it’s going to come out Negotiations between T’aaq-wiihak and any time soon,” said Picco. “We still see the federal government are ongoing as a either equal treatment or less priority percentage of ﬁsh was never allocated to shown to the ﬁve nations than the recrethe ﬁshery and has yet to be determined. ational ﬁshery.” The salmon allocation policy was
In 2019, the recreational ﬁshery oﬀ the west coast of Vancouver Island (WCVI) was allotted 50,000 chinook salmon, whereas the T’aaq-wiihak ﬁshery was assigned 7,039, according to the DFO. This year, the T’aaq-wiihak ﬁshery opened on July 15, the same day as the recreation ﬁshery oﬀ the west coast of Vancouver Island. “They used to lump us in with [the] commercial [ﬁshery] and now they upped the priority one notch and lumped us in with the recreational [ﬁshery],” said Picco. Although Sam’s cousin, Charles Webster, retired from ﬁshing around 20 years ago to raise his two grandsons, he continues to help family members repair their boats. As Sam ﬁberglassed the roof of the boat he’s been ﬁshing on for the past 27 years, Webster replaced the rotting stern. “Lots of thinking goes into how to put this stuﬀ back together,” said Webster. “You got to stay one step ahead. It’s not easy, I tell you.” As the T’aaq-wiihak ﬁsheries continues to urge the federal government to fulﬁll the Supreme Court’s decision on their ﬁshing rights, Sam marched on. Taking advantage of the stretch of good weather, he checked oﬀ the remaining projects to get his boat, April Wine, ready to drive up the coast. “I’ve been doing this my whole life,” he said. “It’s what I’ve always known.”
UNDRIP report highlights education, child welfare By Karly Blats Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor British Columbia’s ﬁrst annual report on the advancement of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act has been released, and will be presented in the legislature next week. The Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act was developed in consultation with Indigenous peoples, including the First Nations Leadership Council, and was approved unanimously in the B.C. legislature on Nov. 28, 2019. British Columbia became the ﬁrst province in Canada, and one of the ﬁrst jurisdictions in the world, to pass the law. The Act mandates B.C. to bring provincial laws into alignment with the UN Declaration and to develop an action plan to meet the objectives of the UN Declaration, with annual public reporting to monitor progress and ensure accountability. The Act enables new decision-making agreements between B.C. and Indigenous governing bodies on matters that directly aﬀect Indigenous peoples. The annual report, that covers the ﬁrst four months from when the act came into force, highlights many positive strategic initiatives like developing the BC First Nations Justice Strategy. Announced in March, the strategy includes improving cultural competency within the justice system, diverting First Nations people from the court system wherever possible, establishing roles for elders and knowledge-keepers and a systemic approach to implementing the Gladue decision. The report also emphasizes changes to child welfare laws to keep Indigenous children with their families and communities, updates to the province’s K-12 curriculum to include Indigenous culture and history in all grades, as well as Indigenous language revitalization. Terry Teegee, regional chief of the
British Columbia Assembly of First Nations, said with this being the ﬁrst annual report, it’s still a work in progress and there’s commitments that haven’t been looked at yet. “Something that has been emerging over this time, during this pandemic, is the health act because of what we’re seeing and I’m sure that’s going to be a priority to many chiefs,” Teegee said. “The police act will probably be another initiative where we need to implement the declaration. Some of these things were already a work in progress but a really important part for the next report would be seeking direction on the action plan.” An action plan is required under the act and will include prioritized, tangible activities to implement the objectives of the UN Declaration, according to the province of B.C. It is expected to be complete before the end of the year. The action plan will be informed by continued engagement with Indigenous peoples, as well as existing and previous consultations and agreements. Not included in the annual report was mention of one of the biggest news stories during the beginning of the year— protests sparked by the Wet’suwet’en Nation hereditary chiefs’ opposition to the construction of the Coastal GasLink natural gas pipeline through their territory in northwestern British Columbia. A Memorandum of understanding between Wet’suwet’en chiefs, Ottawa and the province was signed on May 14 by nine hereditary chiefs, Canada’s Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Carolyn Bennett and Scott Fraser, B.C.’s minister Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation. The MOU declares that the Wet’suwet’en have “a legal interest in land” on their territory, with a list of areas in which authority will be transferred over to the hereditary chiefs. The annual report covers a period of
Province of B.C. photo
Terry Teegee, regional chief of the British Columbia Assembly of First Nations, speaks in the B.C. legislature on October 24 before the passing of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. A recent report from the province is highlighting progress since the act was passed into law in November. time before the MOU was signed, which explains why it wasn’t mentioned in the report. Teegee said he believes the Wet’suwet’en protests weren’t mentioned in the annual report because the conﬂict is being managed at a federal level. “I think from the province’s side, Wet’suwet’en really took this up on more of a government-to- government relationship in terms of the Wet’suwet’en and the federal government,” Teegee said. “I think even though Minister (Scott) Fraser was brought in to some of those discussions, and many other groups, it was more of a government to government between the Wet’suwet’en and federal government.” Minister Scott Fraser said the Wet’suwet’en conﬂict is still a very important issue in the province but that it’s “just not reﬂected in the act in any way.”
“It’s kind of a weird annual report because it’s really only reﬂective of the ﬁrst few months since the legislation was brought in, and of course the majority of that time we’ve been in a state of pandemic,” Fraser said. “That being said, we’re still continuing the work. We’re developing the action plan.” Fraser said the action plan, through collaboration and partnership with First Nations, will chart the province’s path forward and help determine what legislation needs to be prioritized or amended. “We knew we were heading in this direction when we got elected, we had made the commitment that we were going to bring forward legislation and develop that in partnership with First Nations,” Fraser said. “Knowing that that was going to be what guides us, we started bringing in a whole bunch of diﬀerent initiatives across government.”
July 23, 2020—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 19
Are First Nations being cut out of the energy market? Legislation strikes ‘self suﬃciency’ out of Clean Energy Act, but province says this will save on electricity rates By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Victoria, BC - Legislation being tabled in Victoria has Nuu-chah-nulth leaders and clean energy advocates concerned that the province is writing First Nations out of the electricity market for the sake of buying from producers outside the province. An amendment to B.C.’s Clean Energy Act passed ﬁrst reading in the provincial legislature June 23, with debate to follow this summer. Changes to the law seek to broaden the deﬁnition of clean energy beyond power from renewable sources. If the amendment is passed, B.C.’s objective of energy “self suﬃciency” will be struck out of the act, as would the current requirement that the province remain a net exporter of electricity. The Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council argues that this could open the province up to “brown imports from Alberta or the U.S.” where power is still generated from non-renewable sources like coal. The legislation could also push First Nations out of the power market, says the NTC, including numerous Nuu-chahnulth communities on the west coast of Vancouver Island that are developing capacity to harness more stream power from the region’s heavy rainfall. “[E]very step the B.C. government takes in clean energy is away from B.C. First Nations ability to develop power now and in the future,” said NTC President Judith Sayers in a statement. “They are not listening to Nuu-chah-nulth’s desires to create clean energy for economic purposes.” Clean Energy BC, an industry advocate for renewable sources, fears that the proposed changes to Bill 17 could put independent power producers out of business – part of a provincial movement to increasingly rely on large scale dams like Site C as well as government-subsidized producers south of the border. “By trying to ﬁx problems created by previous governments, Victoria is instead making a bad situation much, much worse,” states Clean Energy BC. Eliminating self suﬃciency B.C.’s Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources said that the province has a surplus of electricity, and does not expect to buy “any substantial new energy” from external sources until the 2030s. Meanwhile, over 120 independent producers will supply approximately one quarter of B.C.’s energy supply through $50 billion in ﬁnancial commitments. “Eliminating the self suﬃciency requirement will help keep rates aﬀordable by giving BC Hydro more ﬂexibility over the long-term to source clean generation from wherever it is most aﬀordable,” said the ministry in an email to Ha-ShilthSa. “Some of the least expensive energy
Barkley Project Group photo
A proposed hydro project on the Ditidaht’s Little Nitinaht River is one example of First Nations exploring the economic potential of harnessing power from their territorial waters, but some fear pending legislation could push such opportunities out of the market. The province’s power utility contends price is around $30 to $40 per megawatt available is clean and renewable producthat the best approach is to rely on the hour, and the average contract price for tion that exceeds local needs in other network of high-voltage transmission power from independent power producjurisdictions and can be acquired in the lines that connect B.C. with other utilities ers is around $100 per megawatt hour,” export market.” in Alberta, Washington State, Oregon and wrote a BC Hydro spokesperson in an The reliance on power generated elseCalifornia. BC Hydro does this though email to Ha-Shilth-Sa. where is particularly evident on Vanits trading subsidiary, Powerex. Currently Sayers disputes these rates, noting that couver Island, where just 35 per cent of the province sells more power than it the average IPP price is actually $87.52 electricity consumed is produced in the purchases, said BC Hydro. per megawatt hour, while energy from region. For some coastal First Nations “Powerex will export electricity, when dams is more expensive. entering the power market became more our system has more power than we “BC [Hydro] makes selective use of challenging when the province’s Standing need to meet demand in B.C., and when numbers to make it look good and IPPs Oﬀer Program was suspended in 2017, market prices are high,” said a BC Hydro look bad. Apples to donuts,” she said, cutting out an opportunity to develop spokesperson. “This provides additional adding that provincial utility’s numbers small-scale projects with the capacity to revenue and helps keep our rates low.” don’t consider the expense of buildsell electricity back into the grid. BC Hydro points to the aﬀordability of ing large-scale dams like Site C, which This aﬀected the Ditidaht’s plans to renewable sources like solar power genwould cost approximately $130 per harness power from the Little Nitinaht erated in California, which have dropped megawatt hour. River, a proposed 4.5-megawatt project in price in recent years. According to the Site C and power from California that saw nearly $2 million of investment California Public Utilities Commission, Currently being constructed on the from various levels of government and the cost of independently-produced wind Peace River in northeastern B.C., downthe First Nation. By selling power to BC and solar power dropped from 18 to 3 Hydro, the Little Nitinaht River initiative stream from the W.A.C. Bennett and US cents per kilowatt hour from 2007 to Peace Canyon dams, Site C would create was expected to bring in nearly half a 2019. a 9,330-hectare reservoir. When commillion dollars in annual revenue for the “Just like with any other product, the pleted, it would become the B.C.’s fourth First Nation. price of electricity will ﬂuctuate delargest energy producer, but an expected But in recent years the province has pending on the amount of supply and cost of $10.7 billion makes Site C by far highlighted the high cost of buying from the province’s most expensive infrastruc- demand,” noted BC Hydro. “Solar independent producers – bringing higher generation is highest during mid-day and ture investment. rates to the hydro bills British Columbioften there is so much that it can lead to BC Hydro has stated that once it’s ans are burdened with. operational in 2025, Site C will provide a low prices. Powerex will often purchase “We can generate power from our dams renewable source of energy for a century, power during these times at a much lower for around $33 per megawatt hour, the cost, and sometimes they’re even paid to with a relatively low amount of greenaverage wholesale electricity market take the excess of electricity.” house gas emissions. But these American independent power “New resources are required to meet UCHUCKLESAHT PEOPLES ASSEMBLY long-term electricity needs in B.C.” states producers beneﬁt from tax incentives to make them competitive in the energy the Site C Clean Energy Project website. market – unlike small-scale producers in “BC Hydro’s long-term energy planning B.C. process has found that Site C provides Date: Saturday August 22, 2020 Sayers stresses that the pending changes the best combination of ﬁnancial, technito the Clean Energy Act go against B.C.’s cal, environmental and economic deLocation: Via ZOOM – send your interest to join the commitment to foster self determination velopment attributes, compared to other meeting via ZOOM by providing your email to among First Nations. This was part of the electricity-generation options.” firstname.lastname@example.org and she will send purpose behind the Declaration on the But Sayers sees that as part of a moveRights of Indigenous Peoples Act, which ment to push independent power producyou an invite. was signed in Victoria with fanfare in ers out of the electricity market. November. “They cannot defend getting rid of Meeting Time: 9AM START “There has been no consultation and self suﬃciency,” said the NTC presicooperation on an Act that aﬀects First dent. “Why does BC want to depend on What: Peoples Assembly AUDIT Nations people, in fact it was a surprise Alberta and [the] US for power when we this amendment was done,” said Sayers. can make it here?” Who: Uchucklesaht Tribe Citizens & Enrollees
Page 20— Ha-Shilth-Sa—July 23, 2020
Le•ers to Editor ‘British Columbia’ needs to be replaced with an indigenous name I am hoping that indigenous communities will collaborate with each other and propose an indigenous name to replace “British Columbia” and then insist that the government use it in a phased approach. When achieved it will be historic, a milestone in inclusiveness, and an end to the shadow of colonialism. A collaborative eﬀort involving ALL indigenous communities, however, is essential. The indigenous name must be their unanimous and unwavering choice otherwise any slight indication of disagreement will be an excuse to keep the name “British Columbia.” Selecting a single indigenous name could be a daunting challenge with 34 distinct indigenous languages and seven language families in the province. But I am conﬁdent it can be met because of indigenous communities’ wisdom and perseverance. Besides, they are no pushovers. An indigenous name will ensure full and respectful inclusion of all indigenous peoples by removing an historical and colonial impediment, the name “British Columbia.” A name change, which will require changes to world maps, postal addresses, names of crown corporations, will fully acknowledge to people around the world that these are traditional lands of aboriginal peoples that go back thousands of years. The international attention gained will greatly increase interest in aboriginal culture and tourism. Hopefully the indigenous name will be easily pronounceable, spelled, short, and will reﬂect the province’s awesome grandeur and diverse bio-geoclimatic zones. If action can be taken urgently, a proclamation of the new name on the 150th anniversary of the province’s entry into the Canadian confederation on July 20, 2021, when full attention is on the province’s history, will redirect attention to the longer history of indigenous communities a provide a ﬁnite end to inclusion under a colonial name. Some will argue that a name change will dishonour British roots and heritage, and, oh yes, “tradition,” but they conveniently forget the “traditions” -- roots and heritage -- of our ﬁrst peoples who have lived here for thousands of years. The name British Columbia was chosen by Queen Victoria on July 24, 1858, a monarch who never set foot in these parts. She made the decision unilaterally and without consulting the people who lived here. Vancouver Island was a British colony for 22 years while the mainland was a colony for a mere 13 years before British rule ended 149 years ago. Yet the province clings to the colonial “British” moniker while ignoring the estimated 14,000 years of ﬁrst nations on these lands. We are not British. And Columbus never came here. We have laboured under this colonial pretension for too long. A name change is a complex matter, yet many former colonial countries had the fortitude to go through a liberating process of choosing a new name [i.e. Ghana, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Zambia, Mali, Zimbabwe, to name just a few.] Indigenous communities have succeeded in having names changed in the past, such as to Haida Gwai, Salish Sea, etc. Changing “British Columbia” will be BIG. The next step will be changing the design of the provincial ﬂag. It has at the top a colonial rendition of the Royal Union Flag, with a crown in the centre and with a setting sun below, representing the province’s location at Canada’s western end. An indigenous-designed ﬂag will be a powerful symbol to ﬂy over these traditional lands of indigenous communities. Ben Pires
Ahousaht thanks Aunty Lil Ahousaht Education Authority would like to extend a huge thank you to the family of Lily Webster for sharing this wonderful lady with Maaqtusiis Schools for 25+ years. Lily has decided to retire and we wish her all the very best. Nan/Aunty Lil worked with hundreds of children over the years beginning at the old Day School then transitioning up to the ‘new’ school and ﬁnally at the new Maaqtusiis Secondary School. She worked in the capacity of Home Ec teacher, Language and Culture Teacher and an Awesome fund raiser for sports teams as well as the Grade 12 Grad coordinator for many years. Lil often volunteered for hours on end working with children and youth preparing food, helping with regalia, and always encouraging our students to push themselves. We held a luncheon for her today and many words of appreciation and love were shared by colleagues, friends and family. She will certainly be missed at the schools and I am sure we will continue to tap into her wealth of knowledge. Congratulations Lily on your retirement! Rebecca Atleo
Left to right: Carl Poole (VP), Geena Powa Haiyupis NEW, Cathy Cross community wellness coordinator, Moira Barney Indigenous Leadership Team cochair person, Deborah Potter New, Jackie Chambers Co-Chair, Deborah Woods Finance Secretary, Jeanette Badovinac VP.
An emotional year end wrap from the ADSS Indigenous Leadership Team As the year ends, the Indigenous Leadership Team (ILT) would like to express gratitude and appreciation to the parents and guardians of our students. Even during uncertain times of COVID-19, our students have shown they value their education and were determined to participate to ﬁnish the year on a good way. Our staﬀ at ADSS grieved the formal education and having our students in the building. COVID-19 disrupted the connection of the student- teacher relationships, where they had to adapt the informal technology of online learning. This posed to be an enormous barrier on our students and teachers alike, because not all students had technology or if they did, it was so much to get used to working with for the students. Technology created a huge emotional and mental fatigue on our students and staﬀ. The student success team consisted of Jackie Chambers Student Success Teacher, Deborah Potter and Geena Powa Haiyupis, with direction from VP’s Carl and Jeanette. The student Success Team and ILT worked hard with our students and would like to thank parents and guardians for trusting us through this process. We would like to acknowledge the hard work and mental strain this experience might have caused, and wish the best for all in the following school year. Even though, our school year wrap-up has been so informal because of COVID-19 restrictions, and the uncertainty that the new year may bring with Social Distancing,we want the students and their families to know we want them to have a safe and healthy Summer Holiday.
July 23, 2020â&#x20AC;&#x201D;Ha-Shilth-Saâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;Page 21
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Pu•ing wood back in the water for salmon habitat Nootka Sound riparian project advances to Phase 2 in an eﬀort to regain an ecological balance lost from logging By Mike Youds Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Tahsis, BC - Silviculture treatment to rebuild salmon and trout productivity is progressing in a half dozen Nootka Sound streams despite some delay this season due to the pandemic. Nootka Sound Watershed Society (NSWS) has reached a milestone in a three-year Coastal Restoration Fund (CRF) project designed to bring back an ecological balance lost through logging and roadbuilding. “This year, Year Two, is a big year for us,” said Kent O’Neill, president of the volunteer-based not-for-proﬁt group. Last year, they received $904,000 in CRF funding for the work. After the ﬁrst phase along the Sucwoa River was completed this spring, contractor crews including Mowachaht/ Muchalaht First Nation (MMFN) forestry workers conducted riparian prescription along the Tahsis River in June. Crews hired by Nootka Restoration are returning this summer to the Tahsis as well as to the Leiner/Perry and Tsowwin rivers to complete the work. Strategic Natural Resource Consultants, based in Campbell River, is managing the project. “Because of COVID, it’s taken a while to get going again,” O’Neill said. The prescription for creating a ﬁshfriendly stream is well understood, but it takes time, lots of time, for nature to do the job. A diversity of trees of all age classes promotes a healthier cycle, replenishing woody debris in the streams that makes them favourable for ﬁsh habitat. Cedar, spruce and ﬁr are planted in riparian zones along the water course. In some cases, these species are missing or growth is stunted by dominance of alder and salmonberry that ﬂourish in the aftermath of logging. Typically, selected mature alder and hemlock are treated by
Karenn Bailey, stewardship co-ordinator with Nootka Sound Watershed Society, points out girdling of mature trees to speed their decay and rehabilitate stream habitat for salmon and trout. contributing to the riparian project. girdling the trunk, removing a ring of Tahsis River provides a textbook exbark and tissue around the tree, thereby ample of what’s termed “the large woody stopping the ﬂow of water and nutrients deﬁcit.” The river banks are unstable and to accelerate their decay and open up the forest understory to more sunlight. Cedar sediment loads are elevated. How does riparian treatment on shore seedlings are planted and covered with foster healthier ﬁsh habitat in the water? grow tubes to protect them from browsBy stabilizing stream banks, preventing ing ungulates. erosion and allowing dead trees to fall “This is a 100-year project,” O’Neill into the channel. This adds large woody explained. “It’s not something you take debris to the stream while tree root lightly when you take that kind of approach. That’s why we have an extensive growth prevents transport of sediments that “pave” the stream bed and smother monitoring program. We’re looking at ﬁsh eggs. Through these processes — and this as probably a 100-year time frame.” over many decades — the whole food In the ﬁrst phase along the Sucwoa River — located between Gold River and chain is enriched: Organic compounds Tahsis in Mowachaht/Muchalaht territory encourage insect and aquatic life; invertebrates that nourish young salmon return. — 30 hectares of riparian habitat were A third phase of the project shifts to treated while 1,200 trees planted, half of them shielded with grow tubes. The trees rivers in the Zeballos area this fall, including Chum Creek and Little Zeballos were donated by Western Forest ProdRiver. The project should be complete by ucts, one of a number of stakeholders
March 2021, O’Neill said. NSWS is pursuing other grants tackling watershed issues as well as other restoration and enhancement initiatives. One of these involves Gold River, where the winter steelhead run has collapsed. “It’s an iconic ﬁsh on Vancouver Island,” said Roger Dunlop, NTC northern region biologist. “It’s gone. This was Vancouver Island’s premier steelhead stream.” While the run was declining for a number of years, it has reached rock bottom. Snorkel survey counts revealed one winter steelhead in 2017, three in 2018 and four in 2019. The recreational ﬁshery was ﬁnally closed as of 2018. Some, including MMFN, felt it should have been closed sooner. Then, last winter, no ﬁsh were counted. “We’re in early discussions with the provincial and federal governments and developing some kind of strategic plan,” O’Neill said. The project would go well beyond steelhead, he added. A number of factors are believed to have contributed to low productivity, including recreational overﬁshing, logging activity, climate change, marine environment and predators. Low summer ﬂows may be limiting steelhead smolt production. More than 70 potential restoration sites were identiﬁed along Gold River in the 1990s, Dunlop noted, so there should be plenty of opportunity for rebuilding ﬁsh populations. Karenn Bailey, stewardship co-ordinator with NSWS, said 19 jobs have been created so far through the riparian project and four First Nation workers underwent training. More workers will be hired and trained as the project advances into the Zeballos area. The volunteer-based society welcomes donations of time, expertise and cash: https://www.nootkasound.info/.
Huu-ay-aht receives funding for watershed program By Melissa Renwick Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter For over half a century, clear-cut logging swept through Huu-ay-aht’s traditional territories, described Bob Bocking, LGL Limited senior ﬁsheries biologist. “There was no regard for protecting riparian areas, which are the forested areas adjacent to the streams and the waterways that support salmon and other species,” he said. In a move to repair some of the ﬁsh and wildlife habitat that were damaged by the logging industry, Huu-ay-aht launched the Watershed Renewal Program in 2017. It focuses on restoring the Sarita, Pachena, and Sugsaw watersheds. “Especially the Sarita River,” said Bocking, which is known as The Heart of the People. In support of the program, it was recently announced that Western Forest Products will provide $375,000 in equal instalments of $125,000 over three years to the nation. “It’s really great to see another organization stepping up to contribute to this work,” said Christine Gruman, lands and resources specialist for the Huu-ay-aht First Nations. “Huu-ay-aht has taken it on as a program and has taken on the responsibility for cleaning up what is essentially someone else’s mess. Hopefully one of the things that can come out of this is to inspire private companies and industry to
contribute to projects in our area or in the areas that they operate in.” There are over 20 separate projects and 14 technical reports that comprise Huuay-aht’s Watershed Renewal Program, according to the release. It is still undetermined how the contribution from Western will be incorporated into these projects due to how recent the funding announcement was made. Western Forest Products is the latest in a succession of companies who held forest management licences over the land that includes the Huu-ay-aht’s territory. Western took over the licence in 2006, but for much of the area’s history it was held by MacMillan Bloedel, who held forest management jurisdiction in the area south of Port Alberni from 1955-1999. “There are decades and decades of damage that’s been done to the watershed and most of that happened while Huu-ay-aht was not in direct control of those lands,” said Gruman. “Now that these lands are back in their direct control through the treaty, the nation has the ability to start healing the landscape and bringing back proper functioning to that area.” Along with providing salmon enhancement, habitat restoration as well as ﬁsheries and wildlife research, the watershed program aims to set the stage for future forestry practices, said Bocking. In March, the nation announced the majority ownership interest of Tree Farm Licence 44, which is part of a $36.2-mil-
Photo by Eric Plummer
Huu-ay-aht Councillor Edward Johnson stands among old-growth trees near the ancient village site of Kiixin. Through a partnership with Western Forest Products, the First Nation hopes to restore salmon habitat destroyed by old-growing logging in its territory over the 20th century. lion transaction with Western. It also posal, this partnership is a move towards includes a partial stake in the Alberni “everybody canoeing together in the Paciﬁc Division – Western’s only remain- same direction,” said Bocking. ing sawmill in Port Alberni. “An integrated watershed management While there’s only so much the nation system in the future is part of the ultimate can do with the resources at their disgoal,” he said.
July 23, 2020—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 23
Photos by Eric Plummer
Members of the Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation and others gathered on the south end of Buttle Lake in Strathcona Park on July 12, remembering missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
Bu•le Lake event remembers missing and murdered Red dress gathering collected photographs for an online gallery, bringing recognition to the families of victims By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Buttle Lake, BC - It’s been over a year since the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls delivered its 1,200-page report to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. But despite the three year, $53.8-million federal initiative that gathered testimony from 2,380 people across Canada, August Johnson has yet to hear any news about the disappearance of his niece years ago. Norma Johnson went missing from what has become known as The Highway of Tears, a 725-kilometre stretch between Prince George and Prince Rupert where dozens of women have been murdered or gone missing since 1970. Like some cases of missing women, details around Norma’s disappearance are in short supply. August reﬂected that the lack of answers continues to burn with sadness for the family. “It’s the word ‘missing’,” he said about his niece’s disappearance. “We’re looking in the universe in all directions, looking for an answer.” Margaret Amos is also looking for answers after she lost her sister 37 years ago in Vancouver. When Pauline Johnson was murdered in her early 20s, she left behind three children and an extended family to struggle with the tragedy. “She was catching the bus at the Lions Gate Bridge and they found her at the railroad tracks,” said Amos. “My dad had to go identify her. She was stabbed 65 times, and to this day they have never found out who killed her.” The case is still considered open, and police update the family each year on any new details, but charges have yet to be laid, said Amos. “My dad and his brother wanted our family to stay together as one,” said Amos, “so we would try to work together all the time.” Before the National Inquiry began, August ventured to a Prince George gathering in 2016 for families of missing or murdered Indigenous women and girls. Many at the event lost loved ones on the Highway of Tears, leading August to sing the Grease Trail Song in their memory. The song is named after a trading route
First Nations used for thousands of years that linked the Paciﬁc coast to B.C.’s interior. “It was for them to carry on their journey so that they may be found some day and be brought home,” said August of the song. “Their spirits are still on the highway, still doing their walk, waiting to be found.” On July 12 another event was held for families of Indigenous women and girls who have been tragically lost – this time on the shore of Buttle Lake at the western edge of the Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation’s territory. As the sun set behind the mountains that cradle the lake in the warm summer twilight, families of those who have been murdered or gone missing posed for photographs. Many women wore red dresses, attire that has come to symbolize the multigenerational tragedy that has aﬀected so many Aboriginal families across Canada. According to the National Inquiry, Indigenous women face a homicide rate four times that of the rest of the population. Kara Puetz is one of event’s organizers, and plans to have portraits of the participants available for viewing online. “I hope that they leave feeling empowered and supported,” she said. The event also holds a personal importance to Puetz, as her great grandmother, Adeline Caisse, was murdered. “She was murdered at 40 years old, leaving behind my grandmother and her siblings,” said Puetz, who is Cree-Metis. “When they came to take the children to residential schools, my grandmother was the oldest. She was left behind to take care of the infants, however her school-aged siblings were forcibly taken from the home.” “I think that there’s multiple systems that keep voices very quiet, it’s very systemic,” commented Kaitlyn Nohr, who also had a role in holding the event. She hopes that the gathering and portraits will ensure the families and their lost loved ones aren’t forgotten. As a social worker, Nohr is compelled to enrich her understanding of Indigenous families who have lost women and girls. “I have a role that comes from a position of power and oppression,” she said. “For me it’s important to be as close as I
can as an ally with folks who have direct experience and lived experience. I see the impact of issues like this every single day.” For many aﬀected by the continued disappearances and murders of Indigenous females, Canada’s justice system is broken. August Johnson noted that families attended the July 12 gathering who had lost women to Robert Pickton, the notorious serial killer who admitted to killing 49 women, was charged with 26, and ended up receiving six second-degree murder convictions in 2007. “I question about the law system,” said August. “If someone gets murdered, people get one year, two years, but if they kill a white person, it’s 10, 20 years. It’s a huge diﬀerence, the balance is not there.” Puetz hopes to give attention to how the National Inquiry’s Calls to Action are being implemented in Canada. So far just
eight of the 231 recommendations have been met, she said. “Our government is still failing to act, so it’s important that we bring awareness,” she said. Several children also came to the event on Buttle Lake - sometimes listening to the stories, singing and drumming - other times playing on the shoreline, chasing countless tiny frogs that scrambled across the rocks. “To look at what we have today, all these little usma, little children that are here, we must teach them about life, how to live, how to honour the special ladies here,” said August. Anyone interested in contributing to the portrait project can contact Kara Puetz at email@example.com. Portraits will be posted on her Instagram account at www. instagram.com/lovewildwolf.
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Central Region COVID-19 Testing
While testing has expanded, not everyone needs a test. COVID-19 testing is not recommended for people without symptoms.
The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to other respiratory illnesses including the ﬂu and common cold. They include: • • • •
fever chills cough shortness of breath
• • • •
sore throat painful swallowing stuﬀy or runny nose loss of sense of smell
• • • •
Island Health COVID-19 Testing Call Centre For Northern and Southern Central Regions Please call Island Health’s Call Centre at 1-844-901-8442 to be assessed to determine if you need testing. Hours are 8:30 to 4:30pm, 7 days a week.
Overdoses and overdose deaths are a pressing concern for all of us. If you or someone you love needs a safety plan such as a naloxone kit, please connect with your NTC community health nurse. You are not alone. For Naloxone or training call your local NTC Nurse 250-724-5757 or call Francine Gascoyne at 250-735-0416.
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