Ha Shilth Sa Newspaper June 13, 2024

Page 1


Fish farm licences end June 30

Industry’s future uncertain, questions surround a pending transition plan

With a few weeks left before British Columbia’s fish farm licences expire, the federal government remain tight lipped about the future of the industry.

All of the 85 finfish licences off the B.C. coast are due to expire on June 30, and renewals are being sought for 66 of the sites - most of which raiseAtlantic salmon in the Pacific waters. With 52 of the active farms off the west coast of Vancouver Island, most of the sites are in Nuu-chah-nulth territory, evoking intensely divisive opinions from those who call the region their ancestral home.

Kevin Conley, a biologist and resource manager with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, addressed the uncertainty around the licences during a Nuu-chah-nulth Council of Ha’wiih Forum on Fisheries in PortAlberni June 5. He said DFO has collected input from coastal First Nations to help inform the possible re-issuance of the licences.

“That decision hasn’t been made yet on those renewals,” said Conley. “It’s going through the internal decision-making process.”

“DFO is now preparing recommendations related to renewal of these licences which will include a decision on licence duration,” wrote Fisheries and Oceans Canada in an email to Ha-Shilth-Sa.

“Prior to any licencing cycle, DFO reviews current conditions of licence, performance of industry, updated science, and other factors.”

During the recent fisheries meeting Council of Ha’wiih Chair Wickaninnish, CliffAtleo, expressed frustration at the federal department’s continued support for the proliferation of fish farms over the last generation, despite environmental problems with the practice.Atleo is also anAhousaht member, and he explained that his First Nation allows Cermaq to operate salmon farms in its territory under agreed environmental standards and a benefits agreement that supports the community.

“We get stuck between a rock and a hard place,” he said.

Continued on page 3.

Canada’s Oldest First Nations Newspaper - Serving Nuu-chah-nulth-aht since 1974 Vol. 51 - No. 12—June 13, 2024 haas^i>sa Canadian Publications Mail Product Sales Agreement No. 40047776
If undeliverable, please return to: Ha-Shilth-Sa P.O. Box 1383, PortAlberni, B.C. V9Y 7M2 Inside this issue... Port pub tentants face homelessness...............................Page 4 Nuchatlaht celebrates court win.....................................Page 7 Ditidaht’s annual paddle days..............................Pages 12&13 H=aa’yuups shares knowledge of petroglyphs.............Page 17 Expedition explores earthquake effects........................Page 23
Eric Plummer photo Arthur Robinson and the students from Haahuupayak School performed during a Nuu-chah-nulth Council of Ha’wiih Forum on Fisheries meeting in PortAlberni June 5, displaying elaborate traditional masks and regalia for the delegates. Story on Page 15.
Page 2— Ha-Shilth-Sa—June 13, 2024

Debate surrounds industry, nations split on issue

Continued from page 1.

‘Environmental devastation’

Hovering over the industry is a mandate from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to “create a responsible transition plan from open net-pen salmon farming in coastal British Columbia waters by 2025.”A draft of this plan is expected some time this year.

In an interview with Ha-Shilth-Sa in December, Canada’s current Fisheries Minister Dianne Lebouthillier said the transition plan will not mean the immediate closure of fish farms off the B.C. coast. Since then, Lebouthillier and her office “continue to have meaningful conversations with all stakeholders involved.”

“We know that Pacific salmon stocks are fragile, and that protecting them will have long-term benefits for the entire West Coast,” stated the minister’s office. “We continue to work on a responsible transition plan that protects Pacific Salmon, while supporting workers and their communities.”

Some fear that to protect the status quo of the industry Ottawa is sitting on the fence, merely coming out with a transition plan by 2025 rather than taking permanent measures to remove ocean-based fish farms.

The First Nation Wild SalmonAlliance wants the open-net pens out of the water next year, listing over 120 First Nations in support. This encompasses most of the First Nations in British Columbia, including the Tseshaht, Uchucklesaht and Ditidaht in Nuu-chah-nulth territory.

The Wild SalmonAlliance cites a resolution from the First Nations Summit back in 2016, which states that finfish farms pose “serious and proven impacts” that threaten “the sustainability and survival of wild salmon stocks.”

For years the Union of BC Indian Chiefs has also opposed fish farms. In February the most recent of many resolutions against the practice was passed, stating that “open net-pen fish farming has long generated public concern for both its environmental devastation and its health consequences for wild aquatic species, becoming focal points for salmon-related diseases and viruses, for hazardous levels of parasitic sea lice impacting wild migratory juvenile salmon, and for unnatural levels of predation targeting vulnerable herring stocks.”

$6 million in benefits forAhousaht

Both the First Nations Summit and UBCIC resolutions cited the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, stressing the right forAboriginal communities to determine what happens in their territories. But this right to self determination is also being used in defense of keeping fish farms in the water, with strong words coming from the Ahousaht First Nation off the west coast of Vancouver Island.

Most of the finfish farms west of Vancouver Island raiseAtlantic salmon.An exception are pens in Clayoquot Sound that raise chinook, which follows an agreement between Creative Salmon and Tla-o-qui-aht in the First Nation’s territorial waters.

Elsewhere in Clayoquot Sound Cermaq runs 15 sites, although not all are stocked at the same time. For over a decade the aquaculture operator has had a protocol agreement withAhousaht to farm in the First Nation’s territory, worth an estimated $6 million in annual benefits for the Indigenous community.

Over 20Ahousaht members work at Cermaq’s salt-water farms, processing

plant and in support roles in Clayoquot Sound.

AhousahtActing Tyee Ha’wilth Hasheukumiss, Richard George, stated that closing the farms in his territory would lead to “devastating job losses, food security concerns and increased daily costs for Ahousaht musčim,” according to a column published by iPolitics in late 2023.

In a notice to members in November, Ahousaht’s hereditary chiefs stated that the First Nation’s agreement with Cermaq has brought numerous benefits, including funding sports, cultural events, covering the cost of funerals, as well as subsidizingAhousaht’s fuel station andAhous Hakuum water taxi.

“We are actively using funding secured through our protocol agreement to provide musčim with food fish and enhance their food security,” stated the notice from Ha’wiih. “This is currently valued at more than $250,000 annually and is expected to continue growing exponentially as our community grows.”

The protocol agreement also entails specific standards for the farms.Ahousaht has required that the sea lice threshold be lower than what DFO normally requires, down to an average of less than 1.5 lice per fish during the sensitive period of February to July when wild salmon migrate out to the ocean. Elsewhere DFO requires special management measures if lice levels are an average of over three per fish.

Ahousaht is even considering more aquaculture.

“We are currently exploring sable fish, expanding our successful kelp farm, farming shellfish such as oysters and geoduck, and establishing clam gardens,” stated the hereditary chiefs.

The ‘amplification’of disease

According to the Pacific Salmon Foundation, about half of the species’populations are in some state of decline.A variety of factors are listed as the cause, including a changing climate, habitat degradation, pollution and the “introduction of disease-causing pathogens through aquaculture.”

Areport from the foundation in 2022 stated that the density in net-pen fish farms “present ideal conditions for amplification of viruses, bacteria and parasites.”

“Given the perilous state of Pacific salmon migrating past these farms filled withAtlantic salmon – that amplify harmful pathogens and sea lice – we believe strongly that moving the farms out of the water is urgent and essential in order to rebuild Pacific salmon stocks in British Columbia,” stated Pacific Salmon Foundation President and CEO Michael Meneer when the report was published. The risks that fish farms pose to wild stocks has been contested by the industry. With farm licences due to expire, in May a 617-page “textbook” was published by the B.C. Salmon FarmersAssociation, the B.C. Centre forAquatic Health Sciences and the Coalition of First Nations for Finfish Stewardship.

“Pathogens shed by farms are diluted and degraded in the environment; this decreases the chance of wild fish getting infected from a farm-source disease,” stated the large study, titled Modern Salmon Farming in British Columbia:A Review.

The review also states that just three per cent of farmed salmon die in the ocean each year from infectious disease, adding that “we expect that even fewer wild salmon – dispersed in the environment –might die from farm-source diseases.”

Piscine orthoreovirus, or PRV, is one of these diseases that originated in the Atlantic Ocean. It’s now a risk to chinook due to the farms on the B.C. coast, according to the Pacific Salmon Foundation report.

“In Pacific salmon, PRV infection can result in rupture of the blood cells, which can lead to organ damage,” stated the foundation’s 2022 report. “PRV infects nearly all farmedAtlantic salmon in B.C. by the time they are ready to harvest, and recent findings from our research group indicate that resident wild chinook salmon are more likely to be infected with PRV the closer they are to a farmed salmon.”

But the industry’s 617-page review indicates that PRV isn’t such a risk to wild stocks. It notes that scientific evidence shows “infection does not cause disease, mortality or physiologically relevant swimming impairment” in wild sockeye, while none of the 272Atlantic salmon fish health events reported to DFO from 2016 to 2022 were due to PRV.

“As evidence that accounts for all salmon farm threats – known and unknown – adult returns of iconic salmon populations were similar before and during the salmon farming years,” states the industry review. “Total Fraser River sockeye salmon adult returns averaged 6.8 million per year before salmon farming began in the Discovery Islands region (1962-1989) and 8 million per year during the salmon farming years (1990-2022).”

First Nations opposition closed farms

While this may sound convincing, many don’t trust the safety of fish farms. This has caused the number of sites on the B.C. coast to decline in recent years, with 15 being removed from the Discovery Islands and another 17 farms closed in the BroughtonArchipelago amid opposition from First Nations in that region.

“There used to be way more farms than there is now, but because of lack of First Nations support many have been closed,” said Dallas Smith, a spokesperson for the Coalition of First Nations for Finfish Stewardship.

In that vein, Ottawa appears to be listening more to Indigenous communities with a stake in salmon farming, said Smith, who is also a member of the Tlowitsis First Nation. B.C. salmon farms employ 276 Indigenous people, and 17 formal agreements bring a total economic benefit of $50 million to First Nations, according to the coalition.

“It’s one thing to just talk about how you could phase something out, but to do it without a transition plan in place would put a lot of our communities at peril because we depend on the revenue, the jobs, the opportunity,” he said. “To just turn the taps off on that overnight would be catastrophic.”

Meanwhile it remains to be seen what a viable alternative to net pens would be. Land-based facilities won’t work, according toAhousaht Ha’wiih.

“We have explored land-based aquaculture that are simply not economically viable in our Haḥuułii and come with significant climate concerns,” stated the November message toAhousaht members.

“For a lot of the recirculation in closed containment technologies that are out there, we simply don’t have the power infrastructure to be in place,” said Smith.

June 13, 2024—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 3
Eric Plummer photo Kevin Conley from Fisheries and Oceans Canada speaks at the Nuu-chah-nulth Council of Ha’wiih Forum on Fisheries meeting June 5 in PortAlberni.

By order of PAFD: Port Pub tenants face homelessness

Concerns about asbestos and no fire alarm or working sprinkler system force tenants out with few hours notice

PortAlberni, BC – Tenants of Port Pub, a 24-room, run-down nuisance property that is home to some of PortAlberni’s most underprivileged, woke to troubling news on Wednesday, May 29 – they had just a few short hours to pack what belongings they could and move out.

At 9:35 that morning the City of Port Alberni issued a statement detailing the events that led up to the latest evacuation of Port Pub.

“The City of PortAlberni is addressing a concerning situation involving hazardous materials at 5170Argyle Street,” stated the city. “Following a remedial action order and subsequent inspections, it has been confirmed that immediate action is necessary to minimize exposure to these materials.As a result, employees and contractors have been removed from the site. This has resulted in the enactment of a Fire Order prompting the evacuation of the building due to the absence of active fire systems in the building.”

The news was so unexpected and sudden that tenants didn’t know what they could pack in a few hours or where they would go.

PortAlberni Fire Department Chief Mike Owens had the unenviable job of informing Port Pub residents of the sudden eviction order. Shortly after noon he approached some Port Pub residents in the alley next to the building, asking to have them come out to hear what he had to say to them.

With most of the residents standing around him in the alley, Owen talked about what has happened at the building since the City of PortAlberni issued a remediation order to the owner of the building in January.

He said the roof is compromised and ceilings are falling down. In February there was an issue with the fire alarms, which the city paid to have fixed for the safety of the residents. Shortly afterward, someone triggered the sprinkler system and it has since been disabled.

With no audible fire alarm and no sprinklers, the city hired security to respond in case of fire. In addition, the city has begun remedial work to make the building safe. The work at the building will be billed to the owner, along with the cost of security staff.

Debris from crumbling ceilings was sent for testing and asbestos was discovered. Chief Owen said Worksafe BC, in the absence of exact numbers, has deemed the asbestos exposure risk as moderate to high.

“We can’t have fire watch people there,” Owen told the residents.

He told them they had until 3 p.m. to evacuate the building. When asked why they don’t get a 90-day notice, Owen told them that is not the case with a Fire Order.

Outreach workers were on standby,

Alberni Fire Department Chief Mike Owen

The eviction occurred May 29.

some offering food, water and packing boxes. SPCAstaff were also there with pet carriers, offering to house the animals until their owners found a place to live.

Residents milled around the alley, shocked, confused, visibly angry and upset.Awoman emerged from the doorway wrapped in a blanket. She later came out of the building, crouched down on the pavement, and cried, as an outreach worker comforted her with a hug.

Most of the people living at Port Pub are on social assistance. They may not have much, but what they do have is important to them, including the crumbling roof over their heads.

“Where do we go?” asked one of the men.

“We are hoping to figure that out,” said Owen.

He advised the tenants to speak to the Canadian Mental HealthAssociation’s housing intake workers that were on site, clipboards in hand. With little more than an hour left to pack, residents that didn’t get registered with intake workers on site were told to go to New Horizons Clubhouse to register there.

The outreach workers know the people by name. They were about as upset as the residents were.

“This is not fair,” one of them said.

There were no moving trucks, but Chief Owens said they had a vehicle available to help out. The only wheels some residents have are bicycles.

Later in the day the building would be boarded up and secured, Owen told the residents.

“What about the food in our fridges?”

asked a woman.

“How are we supposed to get the rest of our shit?” asked a man.

The tenants were told that they would be able to access their belongings left behind at a later date, but Owen could not say when that would be.

Clearly angry, one of the residents said they have nowhere to go. She said they might as well build a tent city on the vacant lot next to the Port Pub.

Cory Touchie was in the alley observing the activity. With no spoon, he ate his yogurt off of his fingertips. He said he used to live at Port Pub and was only there that day to see if any of his friends needed help moving. He knew about the mass eviction before the residents did.

“When I got kicked out, I only had five hours to get out,” he shared.

He said he could only take one bag, and, with no where to go, temporarily stayed with a cousin. He says he’s been on the streets on and off for about 20 years.

“My uncle lives here,” said Touchie.

“He used to take me everywhere, bike riding, showing me who family is.”

When asked if he thinks the building will be torn down, Touchie said, “well, they’d better build a fire wall around it first, with all the rats and cockroaches in there.”

Touchie said there was a bedbug infestation during his time at the hotel.

“We got infested real fast – my girlfriend woke up with three big bed bugs on her cheek,” he recalled.

Touchie is still homeless. His belongings, including bags with yogurt cups and avocados, were set on a half-wall as he waited for friends to come out of the building. He said he mostly stays by the Safe Injection Site or by the Shelter on Eighth.

“We like to go somewhere where it’s safe,” he said.

An Island Health outreach worker said that she hopes community resource services come together to collaborate to better support the displaced residents.

Page 4— Ha-Shilth-Sa—June 13, 2024 www.clayoquotbiosphere.org Happy Indigenous Peoples Day
Denise Titian photo Port explains to residents of the Port Pub why they can’t live there anymore.
Doreen Ryan Little 250-723-4776 Mobile Hair Stylist 27 years as a licensed hair stylist. Able to go to elders/handicapped homes to cut, perm or color hair. Would also do in own home.

Woman moves from Port Alberni after mass eviction

Cica John spent the winter on Port Alberni’s streets before ge ing a room in the Port Pub Hotel two years ago

PortAlberni, BC – Hurt, angry, scared. That is how Cic John, 49, of Ehattesaht/ Ahousaht said she felt when she learned she was being evacuated from Port Pub, the run-down hotel she called home for more than two years.

It has been less than two weeks since residents of the dilapidated 24-unit Port Pub received emergency evacuation orders from the PortAlberni Fire Department chief, and some former residents are struggling to find permanent homes.

It was on Wednesday, May 29 that residents of Port Pub were given hours to pack up and move out. The City of PortAlberni has been struggling with the owner of the building, Peter Wang, to have repairs done. In January the city issued him an order to bring the building up to acceptable standards.

Wang has not responded to the City of PortAlberni’s orders. Without adequate fire suppression nor the ability to bring city workers and contractors into the building due to exposure to hazardous materials, there was no choice but to evict the tenants for their own safety, according to the municipal government.

John, who was diagnosed with bone cancer, struggles with pain. She said she had been living on the streets in the winter just over two years ago before friends suggested she try get a room at Port Pub.

After living on the sidewalk next to the Safe Injection Site, the larger, single room on the corner of the Port Pub building was a step up from the street. The rent was $500 split with a couple. Cic says she paid $275 of the monthly rent.

The couple, she said, slept on a single bed while Cic slept on the love seat. The room had its own full bathroom. Some rooms at Port Pub don’t have restrooms. There is a communal bathroom and shower on each floor for those tenants.

It is rumoured that some paying tenants didn’t even have rooms.

“Yeah, it’s true that some slept in halls and stairs, or in empty rooms,” Cic said.

But they didn’t pay rent, and were there for a place to sleep.

“The maintenance guy started boarding up empty rooms that they were trying to fix, to keep the homeless out of there,”

After the mass eviction of the Port Pub Hotel, Cica John relocated toAhousaht for the time being, but the building where she currently lives is also in a state of disrepair.

said John.

But she admits there are some serious problems in the building.

“Port Pub is listing too, down toward Harbour Quay,” said John of the building’s lean. “I was in number 10 on the corner. If the building fell over, mine would be the first to go.”

Even with its problems, the place was home, and John’s rent had been paid until the end of June.

She first got word of the evacuation as they listened to the news on the radio that morning.

“I was in tears, and then we went to Bread of Life for breakfast. When we came back there was signs all over in the hallways,” she recalled. “It was hurtful. I was angry. I didn’t know what I was going to do.”

At first, John decided she wasn’t going to leave her room. Then she heard other people saying that the workers are coming now, “and they put boxes by our door, and I told them to get lost,” said John. She was scared.

“I just didn’t know what I was going to

with her partner on reserve is also listing. She has heard that the residents of the building’s three units will move to new homes in the village but she doesn’t know when that will happen.

As for Port Pub, there’s a chance that it will be demolished. PortAlberni City Council met June 10 to debate the best course of action after the latest remediation orders for the property went ignored by the owner. During the meeting it was reported the city has spent more than $200,000 on the building and workers so far.

Acity worker said it would cost approximately $1 million to remediate the building or an estimated $200,000 to demolish.Abatement, hazardous materials and other unknown costs need to be factored in.

It was stated at the meeting that the property has been listed for sale.

do or where I was going to go. I could hear everyone yelling and swearing. Crying. Lots of things being broken, thrown out the door,” said John. “We all cared for each other, we were one big happy family then we all got split.”

When it became inevitable that they had to leave, John and her roommates began packing.

“We didn’t grab much of our stuff because we didn’t want it getting mixed up with other people’s stuff. There was only two moving trucks,” said John. Some tenants rented more than one room so that they would have storage.

“They had lots of stuff and we started helping others trying to move their stuff. One old lady was there just about 19 years,” said John.

John and her roommates were placed in a motel room on Redford Street. Shortly after the evacuation of Port Pub, John traveled toAhousaht to attend court and a funeral. She has reconciled with her partner inAhousaht, who also lives in a condemned apartment.

But she is making the best of a tough situation. John has a family doctor in Ahousaht that will take care of medical needs.

“I’m trying to get things done, I’m looking for a bed and a fridge,” said John. The condemned apartment she shares

Mayor Sharie Minions noted that while it may be popular consensus in the community to have the building demolished, this would take 24 low-income housing units out of the inventory.As deplorable as the conditions are at Port Pub, if there is a chance to rehabilitate the building, saving the units and keeping them in the inventory would be quicker than waiting for new construction to come online.

City Council is hoping that BC Housing will consider buying the building to renovate and rent out. The city will revisit the demolition order in two weeks.

For now, as long as the building sits empty and the owner is not taking responsibility for his property, the city continues to incur costs of securing the structure.

Another cost to the city is the handling of tenants’property still in the building.

John says she wonders how she will get her stuff back from Port Pub.

“I have a little fridge, microwave, and other stuff,” she said.

At the council meeting it was reported that the city wants to get the belongings to their owners as soon as possible. But they need to find a way to allow workers to safely enter the building to properly sort and store personal belongings so that they don’t get mixed together. No timeline has been set for this work.

John hopes to come to PortAlberni soon, to pick up her belongings and to check in with her roommates and fellow Port Pub tenants.

“Nobody knows where everybody went,” said John, adding she only knows about those who were sent to the same motel she stayed in. “People are still calling me, looking for others.”

June 13, 2024—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 5 TSESHAHT MARKET GATEWAY TO THE PACIFIC RIM Hours of operation - 7:00 am - 10:00 pm Phone: 724-3944 E-mail: manager@tseshahtmarket.ca Find us on Facebook
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After that date, material submitted and judged appropriate cannot be guaranteed placement but, if material is still relevant, will be included in the following issue.

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Hydro prioritizes big power generation

New requirements for 25 per cent First Nation equity is leaving out smaller projects

In earlyApril, BC Hydro issued a competitive call for power for projects that include, for the first time, 25 per cent First Nation equity. But projects must meet a requirement of 3,000 Gigawatt hours per year, creating a gap for many smallerscale Indigenous energy initiatives.

“This call for power is 3,000 [GWh/ year] you have to have a minimum of 40 megawatt producing power in your project,” said Judith Sayers, Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council president. “It’s unlikely that any of the Nuu-chah-nulth nations have that large of a project.”

Sayers noted that BC Hydro worked with First Nations in the province to shape this call for power. However, despite attempts to include smaller Indigenous projects, power requirements were already established by the provincial utility, she shared.

But it’s “an amazing opportunity,” said Sayers, noting that this is the first time power projects have required to be at least a quarter owned by First Nations.

“Most of the projects that are going to be bidding in are going to be wind projects in the north.”

Yuho Okada is president of the Barkley Project Group, which helps many Nuu-chah-nulth nations with their power projects. He said this call from BC Hydro “took quite some time in making.”

“This is the first call in 15 years,” said Okada.

For years BC Hydro argued that the province had a surplus of energy, said Okada. However, they “adjusted their forecast” due to the need for more supply.

The call for power equates to five largescale wind projects, Okada said.

“The benefits of this equity requirement [are] only going to be limited to those five, maybe six, seven projects that are going to qualify,” he said. “Alot of the First Nations projects are not going to be eligible because they’re sort of smallscale projects.”

“BC Hydro is suggesting there could be a call in 2026 and 2028,” said Sayers. “We just have to keep lobbying and advocating for some of those projects to be smaller projects.”

In June of 2023 the province announced an allotment of $140 million to New Re-

lationship Trust’s (NRT) British Columbia Indigenous Clean Energy Initiative (BCICEI), which supports capacity for First Nations’clean energy projects. The funding is specifically for small-scale power projects, starting in 2028.

“The general consensus out there is that the $140 million is actually not enough to accommodate all those business interests the First Nations have been developing over these last two decades,” said Okada. Okada said money from the funding will “run out very, very quickly and then with that, the opportunity will be gone.”

“Like any other developers, First Nations require a certain market indication so that they can continue to invest in their own projects,” he said.

“There needs to be a consistent replacement program for the standing offer program,” said Kwatuuma, Cole Sayers, executive director of Clean Energy BC. “That’ll be for the smaller projects, that is, smaller than the 40 MW as a minimum for the call for power.”

“First Nations want that,” he added. Hupacasath’s China Creek project and Tla-o-qui-aht’s canoe creek initiative are some examples of projects that Kwatuuma would like to see included to promote “energy sovereignty.”

“Right now, in Huu-ay-aht and Ditidaht, they can be cut off [from] power in the winter,” said Judith Sayers of the two remote communities, “anywhere from seven days to three weeks.”

“If they had their own project right there, their own micro grid, they could put the grid back up and get it running within days, I’m sure,” she said.

According to a past Ha-Shilth-Sa article, in March of 2020 the Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/ Che:k’tles7et’h’First Nation’s village of Houpsitas, located at the mouth of Kyuquot Sound, experienced power outages for over a week.

With cold weather, spoiling food, school closures and “increased potential for physical harm” with residents’attempts to provide heat for themselves, the nation declared a state of emergency for the village of under 200 residents.

Houpsitas is powered by Kyquot Power Ltd., owned by Synex International, which obtains electricity from BC Hydro for the small community of Kyuquot.

The power outages were believed to be caused by a fuse too small for the needs

Ha-Shilth-Sa belongs to every Nuu-chah-nulth person including those who have passed on, and those who are not yet born.Acommunity newspaper cannot exist without community involvement. If you have any great pictures you’ve taken, stories or poems you’ve written, or artwork you have done, please let us know so we can include it in your newspaper. E-mail holly.stocking@nuuchahnulth.org. This year is Ha-Shilth-Sa’s 50th year of serving the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations. We look forward to your continued input and support. Kleco! Kleco!

of the community.

Another example of an effective Nuuchah-nulth project is Canoe Creek Hydro, developed by the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation and Barkley Project Group, which is supplying energy for the needs of 2,000 homes annually, according to Sayers. But most of Vancouver Island remains powered by hydroelectric sources from Northern B.C. on the mainland.

Vancouver Island receives electricity from Peace River hydroelectric system, Kelly Lake Substation, and from the Columbia River system in Nicola Substation, according to Vancouver Island EconomicAlliance - all are located on the mainland.

On Vancouver Island BC Hydro operates four hydroelectric systems and six generating stations, equating to four per cent of the utility’s 46,000 GWh total.

Sayers stressed the significance of ensuring there is enough local power.

“What happens if there’s an earthquake?” she questioned. “Or something that stops power between Northern B.C. and Vancouver Island.”

“Then we’re without power, and it could be for a long time,” said Sayers, noting that in the event of natural disasters it’s important to ensure “that our members have the power that they need, especially our elders.”

Kwatuuma would like to see more “First Nation jurisdiction being asserted” and more control in how to invest in the energy transition.

“Clean energy fits within First Nations worldview as a form of economic development,” he continued. “It’s something that has gone global amongst First Nations people.”

Legal Information

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Page 6— Ha-Shilth-Sa—June 13, 2024
Cole Sayers

Nuchatlaht celebrate celebrate court win to gain title

Court’s recognition of a portion of territory seen as the ‘first step’ in First Nation’s quest for self determination

Campbell River, BC – Nuchatlaht Tyee Ha’wilth Jordan Michael and the legal team of E.J. Woodward Law Corporation hosted a victory celebration in Campbell River June 1 after their partialAboriginal title court win lastApril. While it was a time for celebration, they acknowledged that the judge’s decision fell far short of their original land claim, vowing to appeal the decision to a higher court.

OnApril 17 Justice Elliott Myers released a judgement on the matter, which concerns the Nuchatlaht’s title claim to 201 square kilometres covering the northern part of Nootka Island. Myers determined that the First Nation proved Aboriginal title over a portion of this area, land that mostly entails a coastal strip along the northwestern edge of Nootka Island.

The strips of coastline the judge recognized as Nuchatlaht land amounts to 11.33 square kilometers, nearly 190 square kilometers short of Nuchatlaht’s original claim.

The judge said he found insufficient proof that the Nuchatlaht used inland areas of their northern Nootka Island claim.

The Nuchatlaht lived on their reserve on Nootka Island until 1988, when drinking water issues forced a move to their present location at Oclucje.

Myers’recent decision leaves the majority of the claim area as Crown land under B.C.’s ForestryAct. Currently Western Forest Products holds tenure of this area, although logging has ceased in recent years as the title case was fought in court.

There were information booklets called Tlecko Tlecko – a book of gratitude from Tyee Ha’wilth Jordan Michael and Jack Woodward given away at the celebration. In it, they wrote, it was in 1914 when Nuchatlaht Tyee Ha’wilth Felix Michael told the reserve commissioner he was sick of people from Vancouver coming up and taking Nuchatlaht land.

“110 years and Nuchatlaht are still here and they are still fighting,” stated the booklet.

Information from their gratitude booklet states it was late Tyee Ha’wilth Walter Michael Sr. that led the push to advance the court case.

“After years of frustration with the lack of respect Nuchatlaht received at the treaty negotiating table, he decided to bring the Nuchatlaht fight to the courts,” stated the document.

Nuchatlaht CouncilorArchie Little grew up with late Tyee Ha’wilth Wal-

Nuchatlaht Tyee Ha’wilth Jordan Michael stands before his people as Councillor Archie Little speaks at a celebration in Campbell River on June 1, marking the recent recognition of a portion of the First Nation’s territory by the B.C. Supreme Court.

ter Michael. They attended residential school together and fished together. He continues to fight for what his friend and Ha’wilth wanted for the people.

Now they won the first-ever trial recognition ofAboriginal title from the Supreme Court of British Columbia. The 11.33 square kilometers of land that the BC Supreme Court declared onApril 17 represents acres of lands, creeks and timber and reaffirms that the Nuchatlaht have the power to use and protect those lands and resources. The Nuchatlaht have proven that they are the historical and rightful owners of at least a portion of their claim area.

“We are the little nation of 170 people doing what we did,” said Little.

He recalled Tyee Ha’wiih (head chiefs) from the past, late Felix Michael, Walter Michael, and other Nuchatlaht elders that raised this generation and helped guide them.

“We’re a community. We look after each other and we’re going to get back to that,” said Little.

He said it was important to think of the future and what is leave grandchildren.

Archie Little, elected Nuchatlaht councilor. “The fight will continue until we get the full claim of northwest Nootka Island,” he vowed.

He thanked everyone that supported the First Nation in its long legal battle and for believing in the Nuchatlaht people.

The Nuchatlaht, Little said, gave up a lot, because court battles are expensive. He thanked his people for being supportive.

Little told the crowd that Nuchatlaht was wealthy with herring and have beau-

tiful territory.

“I’m looking forward to change – we’re going to get back to that and we’ve taken the first step,” he told the crowd.

The lawyers have been told to tell Nuchatlaht’s story and how proud they are as they govern themselves, he added.

The legal victory recognizes Nuchatlaht’sAboriginal title to shoreline portions of their claim. What it means for the Nuchatlaht is their Ha’wiih (hereditary chiefs) will have full economic benefits from the 11.33 square kilometers on northwest Nootka Island.

Jordan Michael recalls walking to the courthouse with his father in 2017.

“It’s all just starting to sink in… it’s starting to feel like a victory even though it’s not all yellow,” he told the people, referencing the colored portions of Nuchatlaht title on a map. “It’s been stressful but I’m very happy with the way things are going and we’re not stopping.”

Lawyer Jack Woodward said he was pleased to say that news stories from HaShilth-Sa archives made it into evidence presented to the judge.

“These are compelling stories of Nuuchah-nulth life and culture,” he told Ha-Shilth-Sa.

Cherie Smith praised Woodward for his court successes, noting that the case will be taken to a higher court.

“We’re at the B.C. level, Jack always goes to the next level, and the next level,” she said.

Little said this court victory means they can rebuild a community at their Nootka Island home.

“We’re going to make it beautiful

again,” said Little. “We’re going to fix it up and some of us are moving home.”

“It’s an historic day,” Woodward said, noting that this court win is the first declaration ofAboriginal title on Vancouver Island and in Nuu-chah-nulth territory.

It is the second in the province of British Columbia, after the 2014 Supreme Court of Canada’s Tsilqhot’in decision.

The Tsilhqot’in gainedAboriginal title of 1,700 square kilometers of their land in central B.C. They were also represented by Woodward’s firm.

John Dewhirst, a cultural anthropologist, was thanked for his contributions as an expert witness. He also testified in the Meares Island and Tsilhqot’in cases.

Historical evidence of agriculture

During preparation for trial, important discoveries were made that support Nuchatlaht’sAboriginal title claim. For example, Jacob Earnshaw, archaeologist and anthropologist, discovered an error in the way culturally modified trees were counted. Corrections in the counting method increased the number of CMTs mapped in Nuchatlaht territory by nearly 50 per cent.

Archaeologist and anthropologist ChelseaArmstrong proved that the Nuchatlaht cultivated numerous plant foods and medicines in their territory, dispelling the myth that First Nations people were simply hunters and gatherers in the precontact era.

“Chelsea discovered evidence of agriculture in Nuchatlaht territory,” said Woodward.

At last count researchers found 17 different species of food plants grown by the Nuchatlaht near their village sites. They planted things like crab apple trees and rice root near the villages to feed their people.

For now, the nation looks forward to having full economic benefits that come with recognizedAboriginal title along the northwest shoreline of Nootka Island.

Ethan Krindale, a lawyer with E.J. Woodward Law Corporation, clarified that “an appeal hasn’t been filed because the order hasn’t been made, yet.”

“Once that happens, the paperwork will be filed,” she said of appealing to a higher court for the full 201-squarekilometre claim.

“This is Nuchatlaht’s victory, but the path being laid is for others to follow,” wrote the Woodward legal team with Ha’wilth Michael. “Nuchatlaht has won something, surrendered nothing for it and are still fighting for the rest. They have achieved this faster than any other First Nation.”

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June 13, 2024—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 7
Denise Titian photo
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Four years later, family honours Chantel Moore

Tla-o-qui-aht has still not received her cellphone, while inconsistencies remain about Moore’s knife at the scene

Tofino, BC - Chantel Moore’s mother Martha Martin flew across the country from New Brunswick to be home in Tla-o-qui-aht territory for the harrowing four-year anniversary of her daughter’s death. On June 4, 2020 Moore was shot and killed by Edmundston Police Force officer Jeremy Son during a wellness check.

Moore was 26 when the fatal shooting took place. Her daughter, Gracie, just turned 10.

“We come from Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation and we are strong,” Martin said at the Tofino-Ucluelet Junction before walking 33-kilometres north to Tofino on June 4. “We walk in honour of all of those who have lost their lives at the hands of law enforcement.”

Tla-o-qui-aht Elected CouncillorAnna Masso played a chant for strength before setting out along the Pacific Rim Highway alongside Martin. Masso said they are aiming to walk each kilometre in about 11-minutes. The day was planned to end with a ceremony at Tofino’s First Street Dock.

“This has been a whirlwind ever since. One of our very good friends started a GoFundMe and we were able to fly 12 (family members) back home right in the middle of COVID. We were dealing with so many obstacles, even getting there and staying there - and the funeral and getting the body home,” said Masso.

She told the Ha-Shilth-Sa she went to the Yates Funeral Service in Parksville to see Moore’s body before she was cremated.

“When I was leaving, he lifted her leg and her leg just flopped from the knee down. It was broken. There was so much wrong with what happened,” Masso said. “There are so many case scenarios that have played through my head in all these years.”

On June 20, 2020, Moore’s family released her ashes into the Somass River, one of her favourite places to be with Gracie before they moved to New Brunswick. Five months after her daughter’s passing, Martin’s son Mike died in police custody.

“I’ve gone through three coroners and still haven’t heard back from them. Today we walk in honour of (Chantel and Mike) and we let this government know to never forget her name or my son’s name or anybody else’s name. We’ve lost so many… Rodney Levi, Julian Jones, Eishia Hudson, there are numerous names of Indigenous people who have been shot across this country at the hands of law enforce-

ment,” said Martin. “They are supposed to be there to protect our people and they are the ones that are doing it upon arriving (on scene). How is that possible?”

Martin says she’s been told that Son still works for the Edmundston Police.

“He goes on living and that’s the toughest part,” said Martin. “You know, we’re here picking up those broken pieces and I’m raising a granddaughter who no longer has a mother. That little girl still asks for her mom. She says, ‘When are the angels going to be done with my mom?’. That’s one of the toughest things I think you will ever hear from a child.”

Officer Son claims Moore caused her own death by advancing towards toward him with a knife in a threatening manner and by not listening to his instructions to drop the knife.

He claimed he moved to the left of the front door and was backed up against the railings of the balcony, three stories up rather than moving back towards the stairs, where he could have escaped.

“He fired four shots before Ms. Moore fell to the floor of the balcony and she released the knife,” reads the BEI (Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes du Quebec) report on the investigation.

But questions raised about whether or not Moore was brandishing a knife that night were not sufficiently answered in the available reports. There are inconsis-

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about partial fingerprints found on the knife, which hand Moore allegedly used to threaten the officer with the knife, as well as when and where the knife was ultimately found.

The report contains testimony from three other police officers that were on scene, at least two EMT’s that responded. While most of them saw the four shell casings, none reported seeing the knife. Witnesses living nearby report seeing several officers appearing to search the ground and staircase with their flashlights

immediately after the shooting.

Eventually, a steak knife along with some pieces of Moore’s jewelry were recovered under a flattened cardboard box to the right of Moore’s body.

To this day, Masso says Tla-o-qui-aht has not received Moore’s cellphone.

“Where’s the cellphone? She was messaging many people. She messaged both my boys who she’s very close to. Why are they hiding all the messages?” Masso asked. “I’m no lawyer, but I’m not stupid either.”

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Nora O’Malley photo Family and supporters of Chantel Moore, including her mother Martha Martin, front right, walked from the Ucluelet junction to Tofino on June 4 to recognise the loss of the young woman. tencies

Advocates fight to save evidence from Pickton case

Lawyers say RCMP began filing to dispose of remaining 200,000 exhibits of Pickton evidence in 2020 and 2021.

On May 31, the notorious serial killer who preyed on the vulnerable women of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES), Robert Pickton, took his last breath.

Convicted of six counts of seconddegree murder, he received the maximum sentence under Canadian law.

Pickton murdered SereenaAbotsway, Mona Wilson,Andrea Joesbury, Marnie Frey, Georgina Papin, and Brenda Wolfe. But the names of his victims were many more than these six. Pickton was charged with 26 counts of murder, while 20 were stayed.

But he boasted to an undercover cop that he murdered many more women than that, confessing to taking the lives of 49 females.

The DNAof 33 women were found on his farm.

According to a Canadian Encyclopedia article, at least 65 women disappeared from the DTES from 1978 to 2001. Sue Brown, director of advocacy and staff lawyer at Justice for Girls, said that there are potentially 70 women who went missing from the DTES.

In December of 2023, it became public knowledge that the RCMP applied to the court to dispose of 14,000 exhibits of evidence pertaining to the Pickton murders.

According to Brown, the exhibits are from his farm in Port Coquitlam where most of the murders are believed to have taken place.

Aletter titled, “Acall to preserve evidence in the Pickton case” was signed by 35 organizations and 10 individuals.

“The exhibits were obtained during the investigations into 50+ women who were murdered and disappeared from the Downtown Eastside,” reads the Justice for Girls letter. “The majority of these missing women are Indigenous and their cases remain unsolved to this date.”

“Disposal of the exhibits will quash any remaining hope they have and solidify their perception that their daughters, mothers, sisters and aunties are less important than the space required to keep that evidence,” reads the letter.

In 2023, Justice for Girls learned that the RCMP had begun filing applications to dispose of evidence in 2020 and 2021, said Brown.

“There were upwards of an estimated 200,000 exhibits that they had in relation to the missing women’s investigations and the Robert Pickton investigation,” she told Ha-Shilth-Sa.

and Girls was published, alongside 231 Calls for Justice.

“They refer to them as being imperative,” said Charleson of the 231 Calls for Justice. “Imperative in the fact that if Canada does not respond to these 231 Call to Justice, that they are continuing to commit genocide against Indigenous women and girls, and Two Spirit, plus.”

On June 3, the fifth anniversary of the National Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls, National Chief Cindy Woodhouse Nepinak said in a statement released by the Assembly of First Nations that “implementation of the Calls for Justice is far from complete.”

Only two Calls for Justice have been fully implemented, the statement continued, “with the majority showing minimal or no progress.”

Unclaimed items must be disposed: RCMP

“Five of those applications, to our knowledge, have already been dealt with by the court,” said Brown. “And they were done so without many of the family members being aware.”

To Brown’s knowledge, they are fighting for the remaining 14 to 15,000 exhibits.

“The majority of these cases, apart from the six that Robert Pickton was convicted of, remain unsolved cases,” said Brown. “It’s our belief that those exhibits do retain evidentiary value and they ought to be preserved and the police ought to continue thoroughly investigating those unsolved cases.”

In January, the court was notified of Justice for Girls interest in “applying for standing to intervene on the RCMP’s application,” said Brown.

Acourt date regarding the RCMP application is scheduled on June 26.

Evidence ties into National Inquiry

Lorelei Williams of Skatin and Sts’ailes First Nations does advocacy work for missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. Williams, who started a dance group called Butterflies in Spirit, has a missing aunt, Belinda Williams. Her cousin, Tanya Holyk, was among the 20 murders that were stayed in the Pickton case.

“We are a dance group of mostly family members of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls,” said Williams. “We also support families any way that we can.”

After Williams lost her mother she started to experience anxiety attacks.

“The only time that I didn’t have [anxiety attacks] was when we were dancing,” said Williams. “That was my first exposure to how healing dance really is.”

Not only that, when the group started working with choreographer Maddie McCallum, they were assigned to learn their traditional dances.

“That itself is healing as well getting reconnected to our cultures,” she said.

According to a 2023 Ha-Shilth-Sa article, Kellie Little of Nuchahtlaht was last seen inApril 1997. With a friend that knew Pickton, the article noted that it is believed that Little came into contact with him around the time of her disappearance. Little, who was transgender, grew up in foster care and struggled with addiction.

In 1992, Elsie Sebastian of Pacheedaht went missing, the article noted. Though not officially linked to Pickton, she was a residential school survivor who also struggled with addiction. It took years for the police to file a missing person report.

“It’s scary for not only for Indigenous women, but it should be scary to everybody,” said Hesquiaht Chief Councillor Mariah Charleson of the RCMP’s application to dispose of the 14,000 exhibits.

“These aren’t closed cases and so there is a thought in many people’s minds that that evidence needs to be preserved,” said Charleson. “Getting rid of the evidence is ultimately giving away an opportunity to bring light and bring closure to many of the families and survivors who have been impacted by Pickton.”

In 2019, the National Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women

The RCMP released a statement responding to a press conference held by Justice for Girls on December 11, 2023.

“While the RCMP is making applications to the court for the ‘disposal’of property held by the police, it is important to understand that all evidence is being preserved,” the statement reads. “To put it simply, the RCMP is not authorized to retain property indefinitely and is making application to the court for disposition of that property.”

“Ultimately, this process is required by law and is for the intended purpose of returning property to the rightful owners, where applicable, or for the disposal of items not claimed,” the statement continued.

But Brown believes that with advancements in forensic and DNAtechnology it’s “imperative” to retain those exhibits.

“With Robert Pickton now dead, that is one potential avenue of information about what really happened to so many of those unsolved disappearances and homicides, that the DNAevidence and the physical evidence may be all we have left,” said Brown.

“He is the most notorious, alleged serial killer, but it’s also well documented and well known that there’s believed to be other perpetrators who were involved in the deaths and disappearances of the women who ended up on the farm or elsewhere,” said Brown.

“The evidence needs to be preserved [until] all of the questions have been answered,” said Charleson. “So many people have been impacted and continue to be impacted.”

June 13, 2024—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 9
Alexandra Mehl photo The Downtown Eastside was flooded with remembrance of murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls on Feb. 14, 2023. Robert Pickton has been linked to the murder of dozens from the area, although many cases remain unsolved. Pickton died on May 31 due to injuries from a recent attack in prison.

Salmon fishing closures for southern resident orcas

Chinook fishing bans are in place for parts of the southwest coast to enable the endangered killer whales to feed

Management measures by the federal government have been announced to protect southern resident killer whales who face imminent threats to their survival and recovery.

According to the Government of Canada, protecting the whales, that have important cultural significance for Indigenous peoples and coastal communities in British Columbia, requires comprehensive and immediate action.

The three primary threats to the remaining 74 southern resident killer whales are reduced prey availability and accessibility, acoustic and physical disturbance and contaminants.

Area-based fishing closures will be in effect for Swiftsure Bank, about 15 miles offshore on the west coast of Vancouver Island, from July 1 until Oct. 31, 2024 to protect prey availability for the whales. The closure includes no recreational or commercial fishing for salmon in this area.

The fishing closures are also in effect for Juan de Fuca Strait fromAug. 1 – Oct. 31, 2024, off the Gulf Islands from May 8 until Nov. 30, and at the mouth of the Fraser River fromAug. 1 to Sept. 30.

Chinook salmon are a vital food source for southern resident killer whales, but the species has declined dramatically in recent years, according to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO). Fishery management measures aim to help increase the availability of salmon in key southern resident killer whale feeding areas.

Paul Tate, fisheries manager for Ditidaht First Nation, said the fishing closures won’t affect the nation, but that chinook fishing is a very important part of life for Indigenous people.

“It can be part of a small opportunity for sales as well as food for our nation,” Tate said. “Our smokehouses are full of fish on reserve when the fish return. For our urban dwellers, we get some chinook sent to the processors as well as catching and processing ourselves.”

Tate said that Ditidaht fishers typically wait for the fish to return to the lake in August to gillnet them but some “fishermen do fish them in the ocean by hook and line using downriggers, rod and reel.”

Sabrina Crowley, a southern region biologist with Uu-a-thluk, said chinook salmon are one of the species that Nuuchah-nulth nations rely on for food and ceremonial use, along with economic opportunities in the more abundant hatchery-influenced terminal areas.

“The naturally spawning west coast Vancouver Island chinook populations are a stock of concern,” Crowley said. “The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) listed west Vancouver Island, Ocean, Fall (South) population and West Vancouver

Island, Ocean, Fall (Nootka and Kyuquot) population as threatened in 2020. There is currently a rebuilding plan for chinook salmon for west coast Vancouver Island underway.”

The DFO has also asked fishers to voluntarily stop fishing (don’t haul gear) within 1,000 metres of killer whales in all Canadian Pacific waters as a best practice in the presence of orcas to reduce competition for their food and to minimize disturbing the animals.

Other protection measures include having Interim Sanctuary Zones from June 1 to Nov. 30, 2024 in important areas for southern resident killer whales to further reduce acoustic and physical disturbance from vessels.

Vessel traffic (including fishing) will be prohibited in Interim Sanctuary Zones off North Pender and Saturna Islands as per the Interim Order enacted under the Canada ShippingAct. Some exceptions will apply, including emergency situations, vessels engaged in Indigenous food, social and ceremonial fisheries or Indigenous peoples exercising their existing rights.

From June 1 until Nov. 30, all vessels are required to slow down to a maximum of 10 knots around Swiftsure Bank.

To avoid whales, vessels must stay 400 metres away and not position a vessel in

the path of a killer whale in southern B.C. coastal waters between Campbell River and north of Ucluelet until May 31, 2025.

Boats with a purple ‘Authorized Vessel’(AV) flag are allowed to be closer to killer whales that are not in the southern resident species.

The Marine Mammal Regulations re-

main in effect year-round. This requires staying 200 metres away from all killer whales in Canadian Pacific waters, 200 metres away from all whales, porpoises and dolphins when in resting position or with a calf and 100 metres away from other whales, porpoises and dolphins.

Page 10— Ha-Shilth-Sa—June 13, 2024
Government of Canada photo The three primary threats to the remaining 74 southern resident killer whales are reduced prey availability and accessibility, acoustic and physical disturbance and contaminants.

Whale experts say chances are good for young orca

K#iisah=i%is, or Brave Li le Hunter, hasn’t been seen in over a month – this could mean she’s looking for a family

Northwest Vancouver Island – It has been more than a month since the last confirmed sighting of the orphaned orca kʷisaḥiʔiis (Brave Little Hunter), but hope remains strong that the two-year-old Bigg’s killer whale is heading toward her family pod.

It was on March 23 when catastrophe struck for the young killer whale. That was the day kʷiisaḥiʔis and her mother, known as Spong, entered a shallow lagoon near Zeballos, likely hunting seals. Spong stranded in the shallow waters and drowned when the tide rose.

Kʷiisaḥiʔis remained in the lagoon for about a month after her mother died. She appeared to be losing weight but was observed eating birds during her time in the lagoon. She was fed seal meat from a distance shortly before she found her way out of the lagoon onApril 26.

The orphaned orca was seen heading through the inlet toward the open ocean and hopes are high that she will reunite with a family pod.

The last confirmed sighting of kʷiisaḥiʔis was about a week after she left the lagoon, on May 2, with another possible sighting about May 10.

According to orca experts, kʷiisaḥiʔiis belongs to the T109Afamily pod of transient orcas and her family is big. She is a descendant of a 47-year-old matriarch that still swims the oceans of Vancouver Island with her relatives. Kʷiisaḥiʔis is the great granddaughter of T109, also known as Noyes or Big Mama, who was born in 1977.

Big Mama’s daughter, born in 1990, is T109A(the letterAindicates she is the

Shortly before kʷiisaḥiʔis finally swam out of the lagoon she was seen breaching, actively eating seal meat.

first live calf born to Big Mama). She is also known as Frio or Runaway.

In 2009 Frio gave birth to Spong, or T109A3. The numeral 3 indicates Spong is the third live calf born to this female. Spong had at least six other half siblings from her mother, Frio.

Spong’s first calf did not survive and doesn’t appear to have been given an identification code, but in 2022 she had a successful birth when kʷiisaḥiʔis (T109A3A) was born.

Sadly, it was Spong that died on March 23, 2024 when she became stranded in a shallow lagoon near the Zeballos causeway.Anecropsy showed that Spong was still nursing her daughter and was pregnant with another female when she drowned.

But kʷiisaḥiʔis, at age two, had already been taught some survival skills by her mother. Despite nearly a month of apparent mourning in the shallow lagoon

where her mother died, the young orca was seen eating a bird and took feedings of seal meat. She left the lagoon on her own after a month.

As the young orca made her way toward the ocean, a T109 pod was spotted near Alert Bay, north of kʷiisaḥiʔis location.

“It’s big for its age, has a loud, strong voice and is proving adaptive and incredibly resilient,” wrote Jared Towers, a marine scientist and executive director of Bay Cetology, on social media.

He was the one who shared the news that T109 was spotted nearAlert Bay on

May 20. This pod is led by Big Mama (T109A), the orphaned orca’s great grandmother.

On June 4, an organization called Strong Coast posted on social media that the T109Apod was spotted inAlaskan waters.

Kʷiisaḥiʔis hasn’t been seen for more than a month, but, according to Towers, there is no reason for alarm.

In a May 20th post fromAlert Bay, Towers wrote, “I had a nice surprise this morning as the T109s swam out of Pearse Pass and 100 metres past my doorstep.

This is Kʷiisaḥiʔis’s great grandmother’s pod and although she wasn’t with them, the good news is she hasn’t been seen since May 10th (as far as I’m aware), which means she is probably on the move.”

Towers went on to say that it is known from previous cases that lost or orphaned killer whale calves can re-integrate into the population and go on to live healthy normal lives, but finding a group willing and able to make an adoption can take time and is not guaranteed.

“What is for sure is that we gave this Brave Little Hunter the best chances possible and now all we can do is take identification photos to see where, when, with whom, and if she shows up,” Towers wrote.

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Ditidaht Community School splashes into their annual P

On June 4 and 5 students of all ages once again took to Nitinat Lake in canoes to celebrate their love for the sport while building friendships

Nitinaht Lake, BC - By 8 a.m. Gus Bay, located on Nitinaht Lake, was filled with students, Ditidaht community members, and guests as another year of Paddle Days commenced. Students of all ages took to the water in canoes, as laughter and cheers could be heard throughout the bay, where a series of 100 metre and 400 metre races unfolded.

The day began in a circle with a prayer chant. The students of host Ditidaht Community School (DCS), then welcomed their guests to Ditidaht territory with a paddle dance.

Students from DCS, Stz’uminus Community School in Ladysmith and École des Grands-cèdres in PortAlberni eagerly swarmed a pile of lifejackets and lined up in two rows: one for beginners and the other for experienced paddlers.

With two to three people per canoe, often with mixed experience levels, the vessels lined up at the start line race after race.

When the horn sounded, the paddlers were swift and fierce, as students and community members paddled hard, many with smiles drawn on their faces.

For Damon Lindley, a Grade 2 student at DCS, this was his second time participating in Paddle Days. He raced seven times on the first of the two-day event. When asked what his favorite part about the races were, he responded, “where you win.”

Arliss Samuel, a Grade 7 student at DCS, participated in two or three races that morning but shared that she would like to try all of the races on the second day of the event.

When asked about her experience with Paddle Days, Samuel, who has participated in many of the events since she was young, shared that she tipped in a recent year.

“We were almost first, but then we tipped,” she said. “It was fun.”

But when Samuel was asked what she looks forward to most with Paddle Days, she said friendship and learning.

“When I’m not shy, sometimes, I like to make friends,” said Samuel. “And learn more things.”

She recalls times in the past where she exchanged contact information with students from visiting schools to keep in touch.

She noted that DCS had recently played a basketball game against one of the schools in attendance, École des Grands-cèdres.

Though she had not yet developed new friendships at this Paddle Days, she hoped that on the second day she could not only participate in all the races, but “try to make more friends.”

Samuel also loves it when graduates of DCS return.

“I love it when they actually come back to help us learn,” said Samuel.

“Remembering that they’re not even actually here with us now,” said Samuel of the graduated students, “but then they still come back and visit every now and then to help.”

“I love it,” she said.

Among one of DCS graduates attending Paddle Days was Dylan Marchand, who completed his schooling in 2020 and has been back to every Paddle Days since.

“I come back every year just because [it brings] such nostalgic memories to help these kids,” said Marchand. “When I look at these kids, I see myself learning and pursuing the love of [canoeing] more and more, even throughout these years.”

“Even after I graduated… I love it,” he added. “It’s stuck in my heart forever.”

Marchand’s journey as a competitive athlete in canoe racing began when he joined the canoe club in his youth. He’s participated in every Paddle Days since 2012.

“Any athlete would understand once you start a sport you love, it’s stuck to you, you can’t stop doing it,” he said.

Marchand took his skills as a canoe racer to the NorthAmerican Indigenous Games

in Toronto during his time at DCS.

But even as a graduate of the community school, he carries his love for paddling with him as a calming activity, taking a kayak to PortAlberni’s Harbour Quay or bring a paddle board to Tofino.

“I love to see the students are really taking part in this big event that we host every year,” said Marchand. “It warms my heart.”

“I just see a lot of myself in these kids,” said Marchand. “It just brings joy to me.”

Marchand notes that Paddle Days is a great opportunity for students to be around people and make new friends.

After the races finished off with an electric 400 metres and two tipped canoes, Paddle Days made its way back to DCS to enjoy a delicious lunch provided by the school.

As lunch finished, DCS students shared songs and dances with their guests.

“I think [Paddle Days is] an opportunity for the students and staff and community to come together to host something that is an opportunity for those new friendships, an opportunity to get on the water and compete in a sport that they practice,” said DCS Principal Emily MacLennan, noting that it’s also an opportunity to share “who they are and where they’re from with guests.”

After paddlers were awarded their first, second, and third-place medals for each

race, guests were invited to participate in cedar weaving, Paddle Days t-shirt designs, art activities, a hiking group, or a tough mudder obstacle course, shared MacLennan with Ha-Shilth-Sa.

When the day began, MacLennan encouraged students to paddle with someone new throughout the day.

She told Ha-ShilthSa that sometimes the students need extra encouragement to befriend guests.

“By having them race with different people, we can hopefully help start those connections,” said MacLennan of canoe racing.

Page 12— Ha-Shilth-Sa—June 13, 2024
With two to three people per canoe, often with mixed experience levels, the vessels lined up at the start line race after race. The two-day event unfolded naht Lake.

annual Paddle Days

the sport while building friendships

June 13, 2024—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 13
Alexandra Mehl photos after race. The two-day event unfolded at Gus Bay in Niti- Laughter and cheers could be heard throughout the bay, where a series of 100 metre and 400 metre races unfolded. The day began in a circle with a prayer chant. The students of the host Ditidaht Community School then welcomed their guests to Ditidaht territory with a paddle dance (below).

Longboard Classic contest hits Wickaninnish beach

The surfing event draws on a historical interterritorial agreement between Tla-o-qui-aht and Yuu>u%i>%ath=

Ucluelet, BC - Playing barefoot on Wickaninnish Beach in her light green Vancouver Island Longboard Classic tshirt with the word Witwaak (warrior) on the back, Chenoa McCarthy-Tom is over the moon about watching surfers take on the friendly June 1 swell.

The 10-year-old is part of the kakawinminḥ (many killer whales) Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ girls group that volunteered as beachkeepers during the three-day contest, hosted in partnership with West Coast Shapes, Parks Canada and Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ.

From their basecamp for the day under the Tourism Ucluelet tent, McCarthyTom says she’s tried surfing, wants to surf more and might even enter the event next year.

“I saw so many people surf and it looks so fun,” she says. “Alot of people can just be themselves in the ocean. I love

how (Wickaninnish) is a big beach and you can just run around.”

On Thursday, May 30 at the West Coast Shapes / Ukee Poke hub, the kakawinminḥ performed the Tuučmeʔi Witwaak (Woman Warrior) song to kick off the contest, and then sang once more in front of spectators during the second day of competition.

Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ teen Maxine Clutesi told the Ha-Shilth-Sa the group had only just learned the song a week ago on a special camping weekend at Wickaninnish Beach.

“The people who taught it to us were Anita Charleson-Touchie and Skylene,” said Clutesi. “We were really shy when we started, but for the rest of the night we all just started singing it over and over again. We were non-stop just belting it out.”

Her mom Natica, a big wave surfer who competed in the Wickaninnish Open back in 1992 and also won a contest in Surf City USA, addressed the crowd at the

Longboard Classic.

“Our plan is to come and compete next year and we are so excited to,” Natica announced, which was followed by cheers from the audience.

Clutesi took the mic from her mom to add:

“I think it’s so great that the surf event is being held here because this is actually where my mom taught me how to surf.”

Vancouver Island Longboard Classic head organizers David Schiaffino and Jay Rosene expressed their commitment to involving Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ youth from the inception of the event.

“This is exactly what we needed,” said Natica. “We needed room for young people, we needed room for women, and even better, all together as a group. People are really trying to make sure our beaches are safe for Indigenous women and Indigenous girls.”

Schiaffino said the contest really brought everybody together.

“I was very emotional, actually had a

couple of tears here and there,” he said.

“It brought such joy to see these girls doing their traditional dances and prayers and their land while commemorating this event. This is exactly what we were looking for.”

kakawinminḥ leader Savannah McCarthy noted that the Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ and Tla-o-qui-aht boundary line is drawn at Combers Beach.

“Last week we were out here camping with the women and girls group and we had Gisele Martin come out here and talk about the history about how we agreed to live in peace,” McCarthy said. “It was the first time any of us have camped out here.”

McCarthy-Tom shared a version of the story.

“One time, there was a whale they were hunting. But the whale crossed territory lines. They didn’t want to fight anymore, so they got all the people from both sides and they shared the whale,” regaled the Nuu-chah-nulth youth.


Pronounced ‘Clue alth alt clum nas har ugk stod up tle e mak stee nutch har k nuu kook hulth hulth chew Kleco’, it means ‘June 21, 2024 National Indigenous Day! We celebrate our lives, culture, song and dance. Be strong and proud everyday. Thank you. ’Supplied by ciisma.

Page 14— Ha-Shilth-Sa—June 13, 2024
Illustration by Maddexx
Nora O’Malley photo The Vancouver Island Longboard Classic was held for three days at Wickaninnish Beach, attracting surfers and spectators May 31-June 2.

Haahuupayak performs for fisheries forum delegates

Over two dozen students from the Nuu-chah-nulth school bring Italian Hall to life with dance, regalia & masks

PortAlberni, BC - Participants at a Nuuchah-nulth Council of Ha’wiih Forum on Fisheries meeting were treated to a large performance from Haahuupayak students on June 5, bringing a particularly emotional reaction to those who formerly attended residential school.

Discussion of topics like salmon farm licences and Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s plans to rebuild chinook stocks were broken up by a period designated for song and dance from over two dozen students of the school, which is located on the Tseshaht reserve.

At the PortAlberni venue Haahuupayak teacher Trevor Little explained the importance of each dance before they were performed by students wearing elaborately crafted regalia and masks.

“Human beings are responsible for how the earth looks today,” said Little, stressing the importance of not extracting too much from nature in order to preserve the balance of things.

After the students exited the Italian Hall, Nuchatlaht CouncillorArchie Little referenced his time at Christie Indian Residential School. He said those in his generation were allowed to be First Nations for only two months while they were at home during the summer, followed by another 10 months of being made to feel like “savages”.

“It gives us hope, it gives us pride,” said Little of the performance given by Haahuupayak students. “It makes us proud of who we are.”

Program leads to drivers licences in remote villages

Funding from the provincial government will help people in remote Nuuchah-nulth communities obtain drivers’ licences and navigate the ICBC system.

The Nuu-chah-nulth Youth Warrior Family Society is receiving $20,000 that will be used to run phase three of their Sacred Circles Driver Licensing Pilot program to support Indigenous people in rural and remote communities in getting their drivers licences.

New Democrat MLAJosie Osborne says people in the Nuu-chah-nulth communities will benefit from support for a local driver training initiative, thanks to another year of Vision Zero grants that fund projects that help prevent serious injuries and deaths on the road.

“This pilot program will help support and empower young people in the Nuuchah-nulth Youth Warrior Family Society,” said Josie Osborne, MLAfor Mid Island-Pacific Rim, in a press release.

“I’m pleased this funding is able to help this program run and serve the community.”

The Sacred Circles Driver Licensing Pilot program began in 2021. Ricardo Manmohan, board member with the Nuuchah-nulth Youth Warrior Family Society, said the program was created after seeing a need in remote communities for individuals to get to and from work safely.

“Nine years ago we started the warrior program. It was a bunch of 12 and 13-year-old boys back then and then a few years later these young people had a whole bunch of skills and now they’re getting offered jobs…but they can’t get to work,” Manmohan said. “That’s what

drew us into addressing this need for drivers’licencing in general.”

Now in phase three, the program began with a first phase of helping individuals get behind the wheel with a driving instructor to learn the basics of operating a vehicle. Through that phase, Manmohan said it became clear people needed more help than just driving lessons.

“We actually saw that the bigger gap was driving prohibitions, being able to know where you stand with insurance… if you’ve got penalties against you and even just identification. We actually ended up having to do a phase two,” Manmohan said.

Phase two included assisting individuals with obtaining identification, learner’s permit training and preparing for and taking a driver’s test.

“Now we’ve moved into phase three which is really looking at removing the barriers of having representation,” Manmohan said. “We’ve been working with the youth justice workers as well as RoadSafetyBC and ICBC to try to create ways for advocates to support the people in need of advocacy, the community members that don’t know how to navigate the ICBC system.”

Funding from the province will allow Manmohan along with partners from RoadSafetyBC and ICBC to travel to remote Nuu-cah-nulth communities for community engagement purposes.

Although the program was created out of a need from the youth warrior members, Manmohan and his team will help individuals of any age with navigating ICBC and licencing processes.

“We’re trying to pilot this navigator type role so we can help people in the villages

Daylin George, who lives in Kyuquot, displays his N plate after recently gaining a drivers’licence with help from the Sacred Circles Driver Licensing Pilot program. to remove those barriers,” Manmohan said. “We’re still doing a [learner’s permit] prep course when the needs arise, but now we’re focused on trying to help ICBC to create a way for us to advocate for people, for community members who need a champion in their corner.”

Aphase two report on the Sacred Circles Driver’s Licencing Initiative states seven Nuu-chah-nulth nations participated in the pilot program, 19 youth and four adults were supported to get identification and three weeks of driving lessons were offered in remote First Nations communities.

In addition, 18 out of 20 individuals who participated in the program passed a remote learner’s permit test in Kyuquot in January 2023 and 17 out of 19 passed in November of 2023. Seven out of eight individuals passed in PortAlberni in June 2023. There was a total of 47 successful L-tests and 15 successful road tests during a six-month phase.

For the third year in a row, Vision Zero grants have been awarded to communities around British Columbia to improve road safety.Atotal of $866,657 has gone to 53 projects in 56 communities, including 22 projects in First Nations communities.

June 13, 2024—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 15
Ricardo Manmohan photo Eric Plummer photo On June 5 students from Haahuupayak school performed for the Nuu-chah-nulth Council of Ha’wiih Forum on Fisheries.

H=aa’yuups shares knowledge of cultural petroglyphs

Hupačasath’s Ḥaa’yuups will be speaking on ‘Tlikuulth’s petroglyphs and the progression of ceremonial curtains June 20

PortAlberni, BC - On June 20, one day before National Indigenous Peoples Day, Ḥaa’yuups of Hupačasath will be sharing his knowledge of ‘Tlikuulth, also known as Sproat Lake, with a focus on petroglyphs and the progression of ceremonial curtains.

“I’ve been interested in painted screens, curtains, petroglyphs, [and] ceremony in a general sense since I was a boy,” shared Ḥaa’yuups. “I wanted to share some of what I’ve learned in over 50 years of studying.”

Ḥaa’yuups will be speaking of the petroglyphs at the mouth of Sproat Lake, a place where sockeye swimming upriver school and rest when they get to the lake, he said.

“The petroglyphs are in a location where…sockeye swimming upriver, get to the lake, they school and rest where the petroglyphs are,” said Ḥaa’yuups.

“People greeted those fish, my ancestors greeted those fish and interacted with them in a ritual way.”

“That’s significant, that’s important, that was a key resource to my people, my own community,” he shared.

The Hupcasath elder finds that these petroglyphs relate to screens and curtains that are traditionally used during feasts and potlatches.

“The wall of petroglyphs at ‘Tlikuulth are about the size of ceremonial screens and curtains, so I thought, really that’s where our tradition of painted ceremonial crest, screens and curtains comes from,” he said.

During his presentation Ḥaa’yuups plans to share the progression of the wall of petroglyphs to cloth curtains.

“There were rituals done with the petroglyphs as a backdrop and today we go to feasts and potlatches and the painted screens and curtains are the backdrop, if you will, to our ceremonies and rituals,”

shared Ḥaa’yuups.

He says that with the rich and longstanding history of creativity among First Nations, they were depicting images of local geography long before Emily Carr and the Group of Seven, who were known for their Canadian landscape paintings.

“I hope that people enjoy looking at the beauty of the things that I’m going to be talking on,” said Ḥaa’yuups.

He plans to share “treasures” that belong to the heads of houses, clans, and tribes.

“They’re important to us and we’re the first people of this country, so maybe they can be important to other people too,”

said Ḥaa’yuups. “These paintings should be important to anybody and everybody who lives here because they’re early, in a sense, timeless representations of this

place where we live.”

The event will be held in the Dogwood

on Thursday, June 20 at 7:30 p.m.

Page 16— Ha-Shilth-Sa—June 13, 2024
Alberni Valley Museum archives photo Petroglyths are an interesting attraction to many who come to Sproat Lake, or ‘Tlikuulth. room at Echo Centre in PortAlberni

Concerns about assertion of West Coast Métis rights

BC Métis Federation responds to protest from First Nations, saying they claim no coastal territory in province

PortAlberni, BC - Concerns are reemerging among Nuu-chah-nulth leaders about the presence of Métis amid the assertion of Indigenous rights in British Columbia.

The issue came up during a recent Council of Ha’wiih Forum on Fisheries, which was hosted by the Tseshaht First Nation in PortAlberni June 4 and 5. During the meetings Tseshaht member Hugh Braker, who serves on the First Nations Summit Political Executive, encouraged Nuu-chah-nulth nations to sign a letter to the federal government that clarifies their rights to territorial resources.

“Given the nature of Nuu-chah-nulth society and culture, it would benefit if those letters were also signed by the hereditary chiefs,” stressed Braker during the meeting. “This land belongs to the Nuu-chahnulth, it belongs to our hereditary chiefs, and they are the one who can decide who accesses the resources.”

“What in fact is happening concerning the Métis and their activities in British Columbia is potentially infringing on our rights,” said Council of Ha’wiih Chair Wickaninnish, CliffAtleo. “Make no mistake about it, we are not going to be still and quiet about this issue.”

“The Métis are also putting a big strain on available dollars,” noted Braker. “When they take funds out of the pot, that leaves less funds for others.”

These comments follow controversy that arose earlier this year, when the BC Métis Federation’s Coastal Water Protectors hosted a conference in North Vancouver on protecting aquatic ecosystems. Before the Coastal Conference began on Jan. 20 the First Nations Leadership

Council called for the event to be cancelled.

“BCMF has no right or authority to make decisions with respect to any First Nation’s territory in B.C., including how to manage and steward those lands and waters,” stated Chief Don Tom, vicepresident of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, which is part of the First Nations Leadership Council. “It is doubly insulting that this behaviour is directly funded and supported by the federal government.”

“The fact that the BC Métis Federation is receiving funding from the federal government for coastal conservation in B.C. is ridiculous and rejected by First Nations in B.C.,” added Terry Teegee, regional chief of the B.C.Assembly of First Nations, in the same press release.

Tom and Teegee are referring to funding that the Coastal Water Protectors received from the Canadian Coast Guard and Fisheries and Oceans Canada. With a large increase in tanker traffic coming from the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline, this support allowed the BCMF to start two projects: Co-Developing Community Response and theAquatic Habitat Restoration Fund.

Along with over 100 First Nations and Indigenous communities, the BC Métis Federation signed a Mutual Benefits Agreement in support of the pipeline’s twinning, which nearly triples its petroleum pumping capacity to 890,000 barrels a day destined for the West Coast. These confidential agreements bring training, funding and capacity building to the Indigenous groups that gave formal support to the pipeline expansion.

The BCMF has not disclosed how much it got from supporting the project, but said that what the Métis received is less than one per cent of what First Nations acrossAlberta and British Columbia were granted by TMX.Amid protest from local First Nations in January, the BCMF also noted that the “objective of the conference was simply to raise awareness of environmental issues affecting B.C. coastal waters and to engage participants to take action to protect the coastline for future generations.”

Métis have a mixed European and First Nations ancestry, dating back to a time when fur traders married Indigenous peoples of the prairies and Great Lakes

region. The Métis have a common culture and ancestral language, Michif, which is mostly a combination of Cree and French. Michif is still spoken in parts of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, North Dakota and Montana, and in 2016 Statistics Canada identified 1,170 fluent speakers. By the early 1800s historical documents show that a distinct society of “half breeds” was evident in the plains, claiming rights to land and the buffalo they adeptly hunted on horseback.Acommunity developed in what is now Manitoba, and by the late 1860s the encroachment of colonial powers sparked the Red River Rebellion in the years after the forming of the Dominion of Canada.

Métis rights are enshrined in Section 35 of the Canadian Constitution, which identifies them as one of the three “aboriginal peoples of Canada” alongside First Nations and Inuit, although the act does not define what exactly these rights are.

Addressing concerns around the assertion of Indigenous rights in the province, ahead of the January Coastal Conference Keith Henry, president of the BC Métis Federation, said his community has been unfairly attacked by First Nations groups.

“There continues to be an incorrect public narrative that the BC Métis Federation’s work is an expression of efforts to claim land and territory from First Nations. This is not true, and the Coastal Conference has been created to support environmental and water protection behaviours of our Métis community,” wrote Henry. “BC Métis Federation is not claiming water jurisdiction, but our members and community has mandated our leadership to support environmental activities.”

According to Canada’s 2021 Census, 97,865 people in British Columbia identified as Métis.

June 13, 2024—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 17
Eric Plummer photo Concerns were raised during the Nuu-chah-nulth Council of Ha’wiih Forum on Fisheries about the presence of Métis organizations amid efforts to protect the West Coast. Council of Ha’wiih Chair Wickaninnish, CliffAtleo, speaks at the meeting in PortAlberni June 5.

Forestry data shows a decline in old growth logging

After years of protests and a wave of arrests near Fairy Creek, a

Vancouver Island, BC - The annual allowable cut has been lowered for an area of forest that includes the fiercely contested Fairy Creek watershed, as the volume of old growth being logged in B.C. continues to decline.

The province’s chief forester Shane Berg recently set an annual limit of 360,000 cubic metres of timber for Tree Farm Licence 46, representing a 5.5 per cent reduction in what the annual allowable cut was set at in 2012. This limit means that no more than 180,000 cubic metres of stands older than 250 years can be logged in one year, while that same number also applies to younger trees.

With this announcement the B.C. Ministry of Forests referenced the continued suspension of old growth harvesting in the Fairy Creek watershed and Central Walbran valley, orders that came about in recent years amid a wave of over 1,000 arrests to those claiming to be protecting the areas.

“This newAAC supports old-growth forests, accounts for wildlife habitat retention, visual quality and First Nations cultural heritage resources and practices, while allowing for sustainable harvest levels,” stated a May 28 press release from the ministry. “The determination considers socio-economic factors and interests identified by First Nations, including the protection of cultural heritage resources for cultural survival and the impact of climate change on water, berry gathering and sustenance hunting.”

TFL 46 is a vast section of Crown forest on southwestern Vancouver Island. The 59,432-hectare area includes the territory of nine First Nations: Pacheedaht, Ditidaht, Cowichan Tribes, Halalt, Lyackson, Stz’uminas, Ts’uubaa-asatx, Snuneymuxw and the Penelakut Tribe.

Shortly before this new annual allowable cut was announced the province stated that it’s taking better care of old growth forests than the government has in the past. Its May 21 press release listed the Tripartite FrameworkAgreement on Nature Conservation, which establishes a federal and provincial fund of up to $1 billion to conserve ecosystem health and biodiversity.Also mentioned are better forestry mapping and “knowledge sharing”, while wood manufacturing is boosted by “making sure forestry communities get more local jobs for every tree harvested.”

The number of trees harvested appears to be declining, following a projected 12-per-cent decrease that was part of the province’s 2022 budget. That plan expected B.C.’s volume of timber to drop from 45 million cubic metres in 2022 to 39.5 million by next year, resulting in an estimated 4,500 lost jobs.

So far this projection appears to be unfolding even more dramatically than expected. The Ministry of Forests cites 37.5 million cubic metres harvested in 2022, followed by just 32.4 million in 2023. Meanwhile, the volume of old growth being logged has declined as well, according to the ministry’s figures. Old growth harvesting has declined from 66,526 hectares of forest in 2015 to 33,000 hectares in 2022, the last year that has numbers available – showing a 52-per-cent drop.

This trend follows a “widespread lack of public confidence in the system of managing forests,” according to the Old Growth Strategic Review Report, which

shift is becoming evident in coastal forestry

the province commissioned in 2020.

In May From Review toAction was released, a follow up report to the old growth review. This document pledges to “fundamentally change the way that we view and manage our land and resources”.

“The voice of our forests is growing louder and more urgent, calling out past practices in managing the land and issuing warnings about the impacts of the climate crisis,” stated the follow up report. “There are stark signals, like catastrophic wildfire, and more subtle ones, like the decline of western red cedar across coastal B.C.”

Conflict around the Fairy Creek watershed in recent years is destined to remain in the consciousness of policy makers. Blockades began inAugust 2020 near Port Renfrew, halting the construction of logging roads into what is believed to be one of Vancouver Island’s few valleys untouched by industrial forestry. Thousands from across Western Canada came to the blockades, resulting in a court injunction against those who interfered with the activities of Teal Cedar Products, which holds tenure over the area of Crown land.

RCMP enforcement of the injunction amassed nearly 1,200 arrests in 2021.

Back in 2020 the Old Growth Strategic Review listed 14 recommendations, starting with “the full involvement of Indigenous leaders and organizations” in forestry management. With the Fairy Creek conflict at its peak in June of 2021, the Pacheedaht, Ditidaht and Huu-ayaht First Nations came forward with the Hišuk ma cawak Declaration, an assertion of their territorial authority “to take back their power over their ḥahahuułi”. This declaration came with a call to halt old growth harvesting in the Fairy Creek and Central Walbran valleys until the nations had conducted their own forest stewardship plans.

“From now on our nations will decide what is best for our lands, our waters and our resources for the sustainment and well-being of present and future generations of the three nations,” said Pacheedaht Chief Councillor Jeff Jones when the declaration was announced. “For too

many years First Nations have not had jurisdiction over their traditional territory. We must have adequate resources to meet the needs of our citizens, members, for employment, housing, education, health, social and other needs.”

All three nations have forestry operations, including the Huu-ay-aht, which relies on the industry for more than half of annual revenue collected by its group of businesses. The nations asked others to not interfere with their existing forestry operations while the stewardship plans were being formulated.

“While this essential work is being carried out, we expect everyone to allow forestry operations approved by our nations and the government of British Columbia in other parts of our territories to continue without interruption,” the nations said in a statement. “Please respect that our citizens have a constitutionally protected right to benefit economically from our lands, waters, and resources.”

Since November 2021, 2.42 mil-

lion hectares of B.C.’s forest has either been deferred from harvest of declared permanently protected, adding to the 3.8 million hectares that was already conserved, according to the Ministry of Forests. In June 2023 the government extended a ban on cutting old growth in the Fairy Creek watershed until Feb. 1, 2025, which applies to the 1,183.9 hectares of forest in Pacheedaht territory near Port Renfrew.After this expires, 80 per cent of the area would remain protected, according to the Pacheedaht’s Integrated Forestry Management Plan. Further north in Nuu-chah-nulth territory, more forest could be slated for permanent protection. In March the province,Ahousaht and Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations announced a proposed 77,000 hectares that could be conserved in TFL 54, the only tree farm licence in Clayoquot Sound. If approved, this would encompass almost 60 per cent of TFL 54, leaving another 55,000 hectares under the existing forestry tenure.

Page 18— Ha-Shilth-Sa—June 13, 2024
Eric Plummer photo An ancient Douglas Fir lies in the Nahmint Valley, south of Sproat Lake.

Last stint of 40km West Coast Multi-Use Path finished

Ucluelet, BC - It was an all-hands-ondeck effort to finish the 1.2-kilometre missing link between the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve ʔapsčiik tašii Trail (pronounced ups-cheek ta-shee) and the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District (ACRD) Multi-Use Path (MUP) that begins at the Junction and connects to Ucluelet’s MUP.

On a sun-soaked June 7 afternoon, representatives from Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ Government, Toquaht Nation,ACRD, Government of British Columbia, Government of Canada, Island Coastal Economic Trust (ICET) and the District of Ucluelet gathered on the minted path to officially celebrate its completion.

Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ Government (YG) President Charles McCarthy welcomed guests to the haḥahuułi of Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ Chiefs, and had the honour of cutting the cedar ribbon to commemorate the milestone day.

“This has been a long time coming. It’s been nice to have the continuation and the safety that comes with completion of the multi-use trail into the park. It’s a great opportunity for a lot of our citizens and the locals to enjoy the trail,” said YG President McCarthy.

Toquaht ChiefAnne Mack expressed happiness for the team effort it took to complete the missing link.

“We are doing what we should be doing, collaborating and getting what we need for each other,” she said.

TheACRD received several grants that made completion of the section of path possible: $500,000 came from the BCActive Transportation Infrastructure Grant Program (formerly Bike BC), $200,000 from ICET and more than $731,900 from Canada Community

Building Funds (formerly Community Works Funding) allocated by theACRD Board.

Josie Osborne, MLAfor Mid IslandPacific Rim, re-iterated the theme of the day.

“I think today is an incredible symbol for connection between our communities,” said Osborne. “This dream to have a safe, multi-use path between Tofino and Ucluelet that connects all points in between, making it better for people to get to work or to school or just to have fun, is fantastic. We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for partnership.”

The West Coast MUP has been almost a decade in the making — Parks Canada first announced the project in the 2016 federal budget.

Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns said June 7 is a “historic moment”.

“We’re finally connected in a really good way. I’m just honoured to be here and privileged to be part of this moment. It takes all hands; we are all part of a continuum and everybody here has played an important part. We don’t say enough about the staff who do all the hard work on the ground,” said Johns.

Kel Roberts, retired ElectoralArea “C” (Long Beach) director, called the new paved trail the “gem of the Pacific”.

“The word is being spread and it’s going to increase tourism,” said Roberts.

CEO of ICET Brodie Guy agreed. “Think of the memories that are going to be created here…All the good things that are going to flow from it. Think economic development. This is huge for this area,” he said.

Amphibian Crossings

Three amphibian crossings were installed under the MUP to align with the existing highway crossings and to help prevent roadkill incidents. The Swan Lake Wetland is located about 500-me-

tres from the highway and is the essential breeding habitat of many species, including the Northern Red-legged Frog.

“I really would like to thank everybody involved in this piece of the trail particularly, for the extra funding to allow bypasses for the frogs,” said Vaida Siga, director for ElectoralArea “C” (Long Beach). “The extra value that this trail has is it connects the pieces of the area that need [to be] connected for other species. We’ve done a wonderful job of connecting our species so let’s work towards connecting other species.”

Conservation Biologist Dr. Barb Beasley told the Ha-Shilth-Sa that hundreds of frogs and salamanders use the underpasses.

“Frogs are a key in the food webs. Tadpoles help maintain water quality by grazing on algae and they are also prey for other organisms,” Dr. Beasley shared. “Frogs are control agents for recycling the soil nutrients. They bring the nutri-

ents back and forth from terrestrial to the aquatic environment.”

The amphibian crossings are similar to culverts, notes theACRD, and about 100-metres of amphibian fencing was also installed to help safely direct the frogs towards the crossings.

Marathon between Tofino and Ucluelet

The West Coast MUP is about 40-kilometres and links Tofino, Ucluelet and the First Nations territories of Tla-o-qui-aht and Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ. Ucluelet Mayor Marilyn McEwen offered a warm congrats to everyone for all the hard work, and went to announce that the Edge to Edge plans on bringing the full marathon back to the schedule for 2025.

ACRD ChiefAdministrative Officer Daniel Sailland was thrilled about the news.

“I’m gonna run it,” he grinned as the group walked the path together towards Ukee Poke for refreshments.

June 13, 2024—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 19
Path completes paved trail from Ucluelet to Tofino, bringing hopes of increased tourism and a marathon event
Nora O’Malley photo ACRD ChiefAdministrative Officer Daniel Sailland, retiredArea “C” director Kel Roberts, Toquaht ChiefAnne Mack and Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ Government President Charles McCarthy walk the completed West Coast MUPtogether on June 7.

NTC Health Department – Drop In Cultural support

June 19th, & 26th, 2024

4841 Redford Street – 5th avenue entrance

Drop-in cultural support 9:00 am – 11:00 am. Questions? Call 250.724.3939

2024 Northern Region Games

July 5th – 8th, 2024


The Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k:tles7et’h’First Nation would like to extend an invite to the Norther Nations: Ehattesaht/ Chinehkint, Mowachaht/Muchalaht, Nuchatlaht in joining us for the 2024 Northern Region Games held in Houpsitas. No fireworks. Drug and alcohol-free event, bring your own chairs. Curfew 11:00 pm. Zero waste event –

&Community Beyond

please bring your own plates and cutlery.

Family Event

June 17th

Glenwood Centre – PortAlberni

2:30pm – 6:00pm Come on out with your family! Kids activities, door prizes, snacks and more. 250-724-3939

Nuu-chah-nulth Baby Group

Every Monday

CYS - 4841 Redford Street, Port Alberni

10am-12pm. We offer Prenatal and infant development information, special guests, snacks provide and $20.00 food voucher per family. Referrals when needed. NTC Nursing and Doula’s 250-724-3939. Enter from 4th avenue side, building with orange stripe.

Page 20— Ha-Shilth-Sa—June 13, 2024

Employment and Training

Port Alberni

Friendship Centre

Volunteers Needed

Need work experience? The Port Alberni Friendship Centre is looking for interested applicants for various positions. Call 250-723-8281

June 13, 2024—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 21 Check out our new Facebook page Nuu-chah-nulth Jobs and Events Updated daily!
Page 22— Ha-Shilth-Sa—June 13, 2024

Expedition explores earthquake effects on ocean floor

Hundreds of deep-sea earthquakes in March at a hydrothermal vent field could have formed a new ocean floor

On Wednesday, June 6, Ocean Networks Canada (ONC) and Ocean Exploration Trust departed from Sydney, BC on their annual 21-day expedition, where the team might be the first to lay eyes on what could be newly formed ocean floor.

In early March a series of more than 200 earthquakes per hour, referred to as an earthquake swarm, were detected at a depth of 5 kilometers and roughly 240 kilometers offshore of Vancouver Island at the Juan de Fuca Ridge site. The earthquakes reached a magnitude of 4.1.

“The spike of earthquake activity at the Endeavour segment of the Juan de Fuca Ridge could be a sign of an ‘impending magmatic rupture’,” reads a statement from ONC quoting marine seismology PhD candidate Zoe Krauss. “Anatural phenomena that can form new ocean floor.”

“As tectonic plates pull apart, cracks form on the seafloor and are filled periodically by 800 degree celcius magma rising from deep beneath the Earth’s crust,” the statement continued. “The intense heat from the magma cools rapidly once in contact with the cold seawater and solidifies into new oceanic crust.”

According to the statement, scientists expected this “burst” in seismic activity to occur at the Endeavour site every 20 years.

“They were predicting that an increase of earthquake activity would happen fairly soon,” said Meghan Paulson, ONC expedition lead. “They were on high alert.”

Paulson shared that through ONC, 800

kilometer Neptune ocean observatory, scientists could watch the seismic sensors in real time as the earthquakes occurred.

“The reason that they were anticipating it, and where it’s not unusual to see earthquake activity in that area, is because it is basically right at a spreading center,” she said.

Once they reach the Endeavour site, the team will conduct visual surveys in areas where the earthquakes were concentrated to look for newly formed seafloor, shared Paulson. While also keeping an eye out to see if any of the hydrothermal vents in that area have fallen from seismic activity, she noted.

We have some ideas but we don’t really know for sure until we get there,” said Paulson.

“Underwater earthquakes can not only topple existing sulfide towers, but also alter the way fluids travel beneath vent systems, changing the chemistry and temperature,” reads the statement from March. “Although not expected at Endeavour, if magma breaches the seafloor, pillow lava may pave over existing vent structures, much like the Hawaiin seafloor.”

In partnership with ONC, an initiative of the University of Victoria, and the Ocean Exploration Trust (OET), this annual expedition will visit sites along their 800 kilometers ocean observatory to map the seafloor while also performing maintenance on their deep-sea scientific instruments, shared Paulson.

The expedition plans to visit Clayo-

quot Slope, Middle Valley, Endeavour, Cascadia Basin, and Barkley Canyon, and will be live streaming on both the Ocean Networks Canada website and Nautilus live website.

Paulson shared that with the expedition OCN and OET want people to “come with us on this journey to the bottom of the ocean”.

“This expedition in particular, we facilitate Ship to Shore interactions where schools, camps, [and] different groups are able to interact with the crew at sea, in real time,” said Paulson. “If people have questions or have an interest, while they’re watching, they’re really able to just hop on the chat and get involved.”

June 13, 2024—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 23
Ocean Networks Canada map Ocean Networks Canada operates an 800-kilometre underwater observatory system west of Vancouver Island.
Page 24— Ha-Shilth-Sa—June 13, 2024

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