Ha-Shilth-Sa Newspaper June 16, 2022

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INTERESTING NEWS Canada’s Oldest First Nations Newspaper - Serving Nuu-chah-nulth-aht since Photos by1974 Melissa Renwick Canadian Publications Mail Product Vol. 49 - No. 12—June 16, 2022 haas^i>sa Sales Agreement No. 40047776

Photos by Melissa Renwick

Grayson Joseph, left, embraces his mother after receiving his scholarship cheque during the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council Scholarship Ceremony held at the Alberni District Secondary School on June 10. Alexander Ambrose, right, smiles while being acknowledged onstage during the ceremony.

Tiny home village planned next to notorious RV park Multiple units are set to be constructed this fall next to what is commonly known as ‘the Ghe!o’ in Port Alberni By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Port Alberni, BC – The Port Alberni Friendship Center is pleased to announce the development of a tiny home village on a Fourth Avenue property adjacent to the Winter Green Apartments property – a site that has several old recreational vehicles rented to low-income individuals in need of low-barrier housing. The Fourth Avenue lot is owned by Randy Brown, who brought in about a dozen old trailers to house the marginalized. There’s a portable outhouse for the residents to use and a network of unprotected extension cords stretched from campers to the lone apartment building on the property. The trailers have no heat. Last November the City of Port Alberni deemed the trailer park unsafe, ordering the owner to make repairs and upgrades to the apartment building and to remove the old trailers. At a Nov. 23 meeting city council voted unanimously to put a remedial action order on the apartments – which are sometimes referred to as “the Ghetto” and the surrounding property. Owners, Randy Brown from Port Alberni and

Martin Chambers from Victoria, had 30 days to undertake an extensive list of repairs and upgrades to bring the property up to acceptable safety standards. Brown claims he’s offering housing to people who otherwise would have nowhere else to go. In November 2021, Ha-Shilth-Sa reported that he charged $500 rent per trailer and $400 per person living in the seven-suite apartment building, which includes utilities. There were approximately 18 people living in the apartments, said Brown. The owner said that he would make the improvements but has failed to do so. The city issued fines to the tune of $120,000 and plans to take Brown to court. But the city will have another housing option in place before seeking to enforce the order to remove the illegal trailers. They purchased vacant land adjacent to the property and partnered with BC Housing and the Port Alberni Friendship Center to create a tiny home village to be called Wałyaqił. On June 2 the Port Alberni Friendship Center issued a press release that stated that they, in collaboration with BC Housing, the City of Port Alberni and the Housing Task Force that includes Tse-

Inside this issue... Court hears smudging case appeal..................................Page 2 DFO’s strategy for salmon..............................................Page 8 Expedition explores deep sea habitat...................Pages 10&11 Spring conditions lead to low wildfire risk...................Page 17 Sproat Lake name change proposed.............................Page 19

shaht, Hupacasath, Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council, and other community agencies, is pleased to announce the development of a Wałyaqił - Tiny Home Village. “The creation of this temporary housing development has been a combination of efforts in response to providing safe, alternative housing to several individuals unable to access safe, affordable housing who are currently residing in unsafe conditions and or living rough,” stated the press release. The tiny home village will offer small but dignified and safe housing to marginalized people. The development is destined to be beneficial to First Nations people in Port Alberni, which has seen a growing proportion of its homeless population identify as Indigenous. A point-intime count conducted in 2021 indicated that 65 per cent of the city’s homeless population identify as Aboriginal. “On behalf of Tseshaht council and community, we thank BC Housing for the funding that will be used to assist in relocating residents from unsafe conditions in travel trailers to housing where they can live under improved conditions and be provided with the tools and supports to help improve their quality of life” said

Ken Watts, elected chief councilor, The PAFC has secured capitol for 13 tiny homes, but they hope to raise money for at least 30 units. They are reaching out to the city, First Nations, and anyone else they can think of that would commit to funding additional units. According to Cyndi Stevens, Executive Director of the Port Alberni Friendship Center, the tiny home village will provide secure, dry sleeping pods with hydro, restrooms, showers, access to food resources and Wi-Fi. In addition, it will be staffed 24/7 by qualified personnel. Each tiny home, also called sleeping pod, will contain a bed, mini fridge, desk, chair and storage for clothing. Three meals a day will be provided by Bread of Life and Salvation Army. Residents will have access to counseling and other services and activities. It is anticipated that the new site will offer a sense of belonging and community for those without access to basic necessities and supports while working with angencies to transition them into longerterm sustainable low-barrier housing. It is hoped that the village will be ready for its first residents in late summer or early fall 2022.

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

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June 16, 2022—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 3

Court hears appeal over Corrections ‘has done li•le’ to remove barriers smudging case in schools Thirty-five per cent of B.C.’s incarcerated population is Indigenous, despite being six per cent of population

By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter

By Melissa Renwick Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Vancouver, BC – Candice Servatius, the mother of two students who attended Port Alberni’s John Howitt Elementary School back in 2015/16 was in the B.C. Court Appeal on June 5 and 6 seeking to have Justice Douglas Thompson’s Jan. 8, 2020, ruling overturned. The plaintiff sought to have smudging and other Indigenous cultural practices banned from the provincial public school system. The case was heard in the B.C. Supreme Court in Nanaimo in November 2019. During the trial the court heard testimony from several witnesses to a school event that featured an Indigenous smudging demonstration for children attending John Howitt Elementary School in Port Alberni in September 2015. The following January, students at the school were called to an assembly where they saw a performance by an Indigenous hoop dancer, who, during his presentation, said a prayer in his language over the microphone. Servatius, a Christian, alleged that her daughter, then age 9, was forced to attend the smudging event against her will. She sought assurances from the school that her children are not exposed to “the explicitly supernatural and religious nature of the cleansing ritual”. Dissatisfied with the outcome of her communications with the school, Servatius brought the matter to court, facing off with the School District 70 (Alberni) Board of Education and the Attorney General of British Columbia. During the trial, counsel for Sevatius, Jay Cameron and James Kitchen of the Alberta-based Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, argued that the school imposed the ceremony on the children and by doing so, infringed on their right to freedom of religion, according to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The plaintiff sought a court order that would ban smudging along with “religious or spiritual rituals, cleanings, ceremonies and prayer” during mandatory school time throughout the province. In his January 2020 ruling, Justice Thompson wrote he did not agree that the children were coerced to partake in a smudge ceremony. The Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council were intervenors in the case because their education workers work in the public school system, bringing Nuu-chah-nulth culture and language through education agreements with the district. The tribal council opposed the cultural prohibition order Servatius sought because it would, in effect, hinder the work that the school district and the NTC have accomplished in terms of bringing Indigenous culture into the schools. Justice Thompson concluded that the intention of the school district was not to profess, adopt, or favor Indigenous spirituality, “but to teach about Indigenous culture and to help make Indigenous students feel like they belong to JHES.” Stating that there was no infringement of Servatius’ or her children’s freedom of religion, her petition was dismissed. In February 2020 the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms announced it would file an appeal seeking to have Justice Thompson’s order quashed. In addition, they seek a declaration that SD70’s conduct in imposing a manda-

A new report from the Auditor General of Canada, Karen Hogan, says the federal Correctional Service has failed to adjust its programs in response to the diversity of the offender population. This has disadvantaged certain groups of offenders in custody by allowing persisting systemic barriers to remain unchanged, read a release from the auditor general. “The audit found that Black and Indigenous offenders experienced poorer outcomes than any other groups in the federal correctional system and faced greater barriers to a safe and gradual reintegration into society,” according to the release. Despite raising similar issues in their 2015, 2016 and 2017 audits, Hogan said Correctional Service Canada has done “little to change the policies, practices, tolls and approaches that produce these different outcomes.” Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council VicePresident Mariah Charleson said the findings are “unsurprising.” “It’s information we’ve already known about for a long time,” she said. “It’s really difficult to believe that there’s going to be any type of drastic change.” Charleson said correctional services needs to be addressed holistically. “Racism isn’t just in the correctional system, racism isn’t just in the healthcare field – this is a society wide problem,” she said. Immediate steps that can be taken are responding to the 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action, Charleson said. “We need to focus on what we can do right now and that’s responding to the calls to action that have been out for many years,” she said. Lynne Groulx, CEO of the Native Women’s Association of Canada, responded to Hogan’s report saying it’s “more than frustrating to know that similar observations were made six years ago,” but nothing has changed. “Canada cannot claim to be on a path of reconciliation with Indigenous people when its strategy for dealing with us is keeping us behind bars,” she wrote in a release. “The overt and covert racism within the Canadian correctional system can no longer be ignored.” In response to a 2019 B.C. Court of Appeal ruling, the BC NDP government introduced a 15-day limit on solitary

Mariah Charleson confinement to the province’s Correction Act Regulation in 2020. According to a release by the B.C. Green Caucus, there were 8,281 new admissions to provincial correctional facilities in 2020 and 2021. Despite the regulatory amendment, an average of 33 individuals had been in solitary confinement for more than 15 days on any given day, the release read. Meanwhile, an average of 10 of those individuals had been in solitary confinement for more than 60 days, the Greens said. Despite representing only 6 per cent of B.C.’s population, 35 per cent of the incarcerated population identify as Indigenous. Adam Olsen, MLA for Saanich North and the Islands and member of the Tsartlip First Nation, said solitary confinement disproportionately impacts Indigenous people. “Solitary confinement is a dehumanizing and insidious form of psychological harm,” he said. “We know that solitary confinement does not help rehabilitate the adults and youth in the corrections system, and in fact harms them.” CSC has not met its own commitment to “better reflect the diversity of offender population in its workforce,” Hogan said. “Different outcomes for certain groups of revitalized and Indigenous offenders have persisted for too long,” she said. Charleson said she will always “have a little bit of hope” that systemic change is coming. “But there’s just so much more that needs to be done,” she said.

“Smudging is not religious as it is our culture, way of life, and we do not have an organized religion.” ~ Judith Sayers, NTC President tory presence during spiritual practices of a religious nature infringed the rights of Mrs. Servatius and her children to the freedoms and conscience and religion. Further, they are seeking an order prohibiting the school district from “engaging in or facilitating practices that are religious in nature… during any time when student attendance is mandatory”. NTC President Judith Sayers was in the courtroom for the appeal trial. She noted that JCCF lawyers were arguing that Justice Thompson did not properly apply the test for the Charter of Rights on freedom of religion. “A complex legal argument,” she said. Sayers said that the court has to determine if the smudging demonstration and the hoop dancer’s prayer before he performed were religion. “If they were not religion, then there can be no breach,” she added. “We have maintained as NTC that smudging is not religious as it is our culture, way of life, and we do not have an organized religion.” The JCCF is representing Servatius free of charge. According to their website, they are “a Canadian legal organization and federally registered charity that defends citizens’ fundamental freedoms under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, through pro bono legal representation and through educating Canadians about the free society.” They are funded by non-government donations. In a statement on their website, the JCCF said it thinks it was important to appeal the decision of Justice Thompson because “his decision did not properly consider the requirement that public schools be strictly secular – that there be no religious practices in public schools, and the meaning of the duty of state neutrality in matters of religion and conscience, that is the freedom of religion and conscience rights protected by section 2(a) of the Charter.” They say Justice Thompson avoided considering these important issues by defining, or concluding, that the cleansing ceremony was only a demonstration. Although the hoop dance was a way of prayer, and included a prayer, the children were only witnesses to it, not participants. “JCCF strongly supports the rights of parents to educate their children in the faith or religion of their choice, and where children attend a public school, those parents have an expectation that the school will be secular - in other words, that there will be no religious or spiritual events at all, in the school,” said JCCF lawyer Karen Bastow. The Court of Appeal is the highest court in the province. After reviewing the case, the appellate court can choose to uphold the lower court’s judgment, or reverse the ruling entirely and return the case to the lower court for a new trial. According to Sayers, a decision on the appeal will likely not be rendered for several months.

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Cathedral Grove safety measures to begin this month Median pickets to prevent left-hand turns, rumble strips and no-U-turn signs aim to prevent disaster at site By Karly Blats Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Port Alberni, BC - Cathedral Grove in MacMillan Provincial Park and the surrounding stretch of highway will see new pedestrian and vehicle safety improvements as soon as this summer. Adding vehicle and pedestrian safety measures to the popular tourist attraction, on the edge of Nuu-chah-nulth territory and along Highway 4, has been a topic of discussion for the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MoTI) since before the pandemic. In 2019, the ministry held several engagement sessions in neighbouring communities to hear from the public about what they envisioned to improve the area. Safety measures will now begin this summer after being put on hold throughout the pandemic when the area was closed to the public. Roughly 500,000 visitors from around the world come to Cathedral Grove to view the old-growth giant Douglas Firs, and this year with COVID restrictions easing, traffic along the corridor is expected to increase. After working with First Nations, local government, and the Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce, the provincial government will be implementing a number of additional safety improvements in the next month. Improvements will include installing median pickets to physically restrict left turn movements, which are already prohibited through signage. Four new “no U-turn signs” will be installed, two in each direction. New 50 km/hr signs will be installed on both the east and west approaches to the 50 km/hr zone and temporary rumble strips – spring installation, fall removal – will be installed to warn drivers of the reduced speed zone and congested area. ‘Bump’ signage will also be installed at the location to warm drivers of the rumble strip. The ministry says work will begin on June 20 and is expected to be complete

Photo by Karly Blats

Cathedral Grove is located on Highway 4 between Port Alberni and Coombs, in the MacMillan Provincial Park. by June 30. “The ministry continues to explore longterm safety improvement options for the Highway 4 corridor through MacMillan Provincial Park, working with the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy as well as local stakeholders,” states the MoTI in an emailed statement. “BC Parks will continue to support the ministry by providing guidance laid out through its governing legislation – the Park Act – and input gathered from public engagement sessions will be considered as the province moves forward.” Josie Osborn, MLA for Mid Island Pacific Rim, said safety at Cathedral Grove is one of the issues that she hears the most from constituents. “I know just how deeply people really care about pedestrian vehicle safety,” she said. “Over and over the message has been strong about the need for safety,

but also people are concerned about not impacting the park and maintaining those values as well.” Osborne hopes to see long-term improvements to the area that will keep people safe and protect the trees. “There have been conversations with the MoTI, First Nations and local governments and I think there’s still room for us to come together to look for a longerterm improvement,” Osborne said. “The park is a really important place for people to be able to stop. It’s one of the most accessible groves of old growth forests that we have on Vancouver Island. It’s really important to be able to see that and experience that, but at the same time, as we all know, it’s a very narrow piece of

highway and people need to stay safe.” Safety ideas that came from the public through the consultation sessions varied from short-term safety improvements like improved signage, traffic calming and enforcement, to more medium to long-term measures, including pedestrian overpass ideas, various improvements to the parking area, additional parking capacity and bypass options. “The safest thing for all pedestrians to do is just stay on the north or south side of the park and enjoy the trails on those sides and get back in their car and continue on their way,” Osborne said. “I think these short-term solutions are going to add to visibility and increase awareness.”

Pacific Rim School District “takaas%aaq+in huuh=takšiih=”

Happy National Indigenous Peoples Day June 21, 2022


June 16, 2022—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 5

Upgrade coming to Fair Harbour’s marine dock New facility set to be installed this fall, after what Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k’tles7et’h’ expects will be a busy summer By Sam Laskaris Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Fair Harbour, BC - A vital hub on Vancouver Island’s northwest coast will soon be getting a major facelift. That’s because the past-its-prime marine dock at Fair Harbour, a key access point to Kyuquot Sound, will be replaced later this year with a new full-service marine dock. The Fair Harbour Marina and Campground is owned and operated by the Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k’tles7et’h’ First Nations (KCFN). The facility provides access to 10 marine parks, managed provincially or federally, within the region. It also supports tour operators and area residents with supplies and services. The dock revitalization project is expected to cost about $715,000. The Island Coast Economic Trust (ICET) is kicking in $300,000 for the project via its DIVERSIFY Capital and Innovation Program. The KCFN will cover the remainder of the costs. “We really appreciate the support from the ICET that provided this funding,” said Gary Wilson, the CEO and economic development officer for the KCFN Group of Businesses, the First Nation’s economic arm. “It’s not only for the esthetics but also for safety.” Wilson said the marine dock is overdue for an upgrade. “It’s a much-needed infrastructure that has been aging for quite some time now,” he said. “I believe I heard it’s 25 years old or more.” Wilson also said salt water has helped deteriorate the existing dock. “It was certainly past its life stage,” he said. Aaron Stone, the chair of the ICET board, believes a new dock will prove to be rather beneficial. “Marine tourism is a recognized economic driver on Vancouver Island and this project represents significant improvement to the area’s marine infrastructure,” he said. “Replacing the current infrastructure with a modern full-service dock will address the growing recreational moorage demand and create new opportunities for economic diversification.”

Photo by KCFN Group of Businesses

The dock upgrade at Fair Harbour is expected to cost $715,000, with most of the expense covered by the First Nation. Wilson, however, said it will be a few more months before the current dock is replaced. “We won’t be doing the installation until the fall,” he said. That’s because there will be plenty of activity during both the spring and summer seasons at the dock. “This season is going to be very busy for us,” Wilson said. “We’ve got people travelling again. We just won’t have the window to do it (before the fall).” The new dock, which will replace the aging wooden one, will be a fully serviced, concrete float dock system. It will add moorage resources and resupply options to the current marine fuel services. The goal is that these upgrades will not only expand capacity but also encourage visitors to stay longer in the region, thus perhaps extending the tourism season as well. “These improvements further position Fair Harbour and the Kyuquot Sound as a multi-day destination for visitors interested in Indigenous cultural events, history and extraordinary natural experiences,” Wilson said. Prior to the pandemic the Kyoquot region had seen a dramatic increase in the number of visitors.

Happy Indigenous People’s Day


Gary Wilson Sportfishing and adventure tourism operators in the region experienced a whopping 700 per cent increase in visitors in the year leading up to 2020. To help support this tremendous growth, new marine infrastructure was deemed necessary. Wilson believes once the fall rolls around, it will be a rather quick process to get rid of the existing dock and have it replaced with the new one. “We don’t anticipate it taking very long,” he said. “I suspect it will be anywhere from 30 days to 60 days.” Wilson believes the new dock will be

welcomed by all. “Our newly developed marina facilities are essential to growing our marine-based economy for the benefit of our businesses, the nation community of Houpsitas and surrounding area residents,” he said. KCFN officials are anticipating a busy 2022 tourism season partly because one of its businesses is the popular Walters Cove Resort. Amenities at the facility will include a new floating lodge this year. The First Nation also acquired West Coast Expeditions earlier this year. The company, which specializes in canoe and kayak tour experiences, will be welcoming visitors from around the world this summer, for the first time in a couple of years because of the pandemic. The dock revitalization at Fair Harbour is the third phase of infrastructure upgrades. Previous phases saw the construction of new campgrounds, cabins, washroom facilities and staff housing. As for the ICET, it was created and capitalized by the province of B.C. in 2006. Its mission is to create a more diverse and globally competitive Island and Coastal economy. Since its inception the ICET has provided more than $55 million in funding for almost 300 projects.

Page 6— Ha-Shilth-Sa— June 16, 2022 Ha-Shilth-Sa newspaper is published by the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council for distribution to the members of the NTC-member First Nations, as well as other interested groups and individuals. Information and original work contained in this newspaper is protected by copyright and may not be reproduced without written permission from: Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council P.O. Box 1383, Port Alberni, B.C. V9Y 7M2. Telephone: (250) 724-5757 Fax: (250) 723-0463 Web page: www.hashilthsa.com facebook: Hashilthsa Ntc

LETTERS and KLECOS Ha-Shilth-Sa will include letters received from its readers. Letters MUST be signed by the writer and have the writer’s full name, address and phone number on them. Names can be withheld by request. Anonymous submissions will not be accepted. We reserve the right to edit submitted material for clarity, brevity, grammar and good taste. We will definitely not publish letters dealing with tribal or personal disputes or issues that are critical of Nuu-chah-nulth individuals or groups. All opinions expressed in letters to the editor are purely those of the writer and will not necessarily coincide with the views or policies of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council or its member First Nations. Ha-Shilth-Sa includes paid advertising, but this does not imply Ha-Shilth-Sa or Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council recommends or endorses the content of the ads.

2022 Subscription rates: $35 per year in Canada and $40 per year in the U.S.A. and $45 per year in foreign countries. Payable to the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council. Manager/Editor/Reporter Eric Plummer (Ext. 243) (250) 724-5757 Fax: (250) 723-0463 eric.plummer@nuuchahnulth.org Reporter Denise Titian (Ext. 240) (250) 724-5757 Fax: (250) 723-0463 denise.titian@nuuchahnulth.org Reporter Melissa Renwick (416) 436-4277 Fax: (250) 723-0463 melissa.renwick@nuuchahnulth.org

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DEADLINE: Please note that the deadline for submissions for our next issue is June 24, 2022 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. In an ideal world, submissions would be typed rather than hand-written. Articles can be sent by e-mail to holly.stocking@nuuchahnulth.org (Windows PC). Submitted pictures must include a brief description of subject(s) and a return address. Pictures with no return address will remain on file. Allow two - four weeks for return. Photocopied or faxed photographs cannot be accepted.

Photo by Curt McLeod

The second phase of Ahousaht’s $8-million road paving project begins this spring to improve conditions in the growing community, although some believe speed control measures will be necessary to ensure traffic safety on the faster roads.

More paving underway in Ahousaht Second phase of road surfacing aims to eliminate potholes and summertime dust By Melissa Renwick Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Ahousaht, BC - The second phase of Ahousaht First Nation’s road-paving project is underway, despite setbacks in May due to rainy weather, said Elected Chief Greg Louie. It has been at least two years since the nation, located on the remote Flores Island, completed the first phase of the project by paving the roads in the community’s Happy Hill neighbourhood. In the spring and summer, the roads get really dry, Louie said. “When it gets windy, there’s a lot of dust that gets blown around and causes a lot of health difficulties – especially for those that have asthma,” he said. The number of potholes on the roads add to the problem by making it difficult for emergency vehicles to transport those in pain, Louie said. Paving the roads will not only help the overall health of the community, but improve drainage issues, he said. Without proper drainage, water is flowing into the foundations of homes, often

leading to mould, Louie said. “[If] water seeps into the home, it causes health problems to the homeowners,” he said. “And if your health is already compromised, then this just adds to it.” The roughly $8 million project was funded by the federal government and has been over eight years in the making, Louie said. Negotiations began well before Louie was elected as chief. “Many other leaders and chiefs wanted this before I did,” he said. As the community continues to expand by creating new subdivisions, Louie said he anticipates new phases of the project being added over time. Nanaimo-based Hazelwood Construction Services Inc. was contracted to handle all the civil construction work in preparation for the paving. Part of that work consisted of creating on-site drainage. “We re-sloped existing ground,” said Sue Bassett, Hazelwood project manager. “We put in culverts and storm drain piping, including catch basins.” Instead of water running off into

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

people’s yards and into their foundations, Bassett said it will be captured by the catch basins, which will move it into the underground piping. From there, Bassett said, it’ll run into the ocean. “It’s greatly needed,” she said. “And it’s about time it happened.” Associate Engineering is the engineering company contracted to do the paving. According to their Indigenous infrastructure manager, Freda Leong, the anticipated start date for paving is early-August. Once the paving is complete, Louie said the community will need to be mindful about driver and pedestrian safety. Some are concerned that the newly paved roads will encourage speeding, he said. Community members still need to be consulted, but Louie said the nation plans to significantly reduce speed limits in school zones and build speed bumps along the new roads. “There’s some adjustments we have to make of our own that fit for our community,” he said. “It’s exciting. It’ll be good to have less dust and drainage problems.”

Ha-Shilth-Sa belongs to every Nuu-chah-nulth person including those who have passed on, and those who are not yet born. A community newspaper cannot exist without community involvement. If you have any great pictures you’ve taken, stories or poems you’ve written, or artwork you have done, please let us know so we can include it in your newspaper. E-mail holly.stocking@nuuchahnulth.org. This year is Ha-Shilth-Sa’s 48th year of serving the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations. We look forward to your continued input and support. Kleco! Kleco!

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June 16, 2022—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 7

Ahousaht’s new wastewater plant nearing completion Population growth led to need for be•er sewage treatment, after outflows caused concern around Flores Island By Melissa Renwick Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Ahousaht, BC - After nearly three years, Ahousaht First Nation Elected Chief Greg Louie said the community’s new wastewater treatment plant is in the commissioning stage. Once any “minor deficiencies” are worked through, Louie said the plant should be fully operational later this fall. The federally funded $28-million project was developed to meet federal requirements and to accommodate the growing number of people moving to the community on Flores Island, Louie said. “The system we had was old and antiquated,” he said. “It didn’t satisfy the community’s needs and also environmental needs.” Canada’s Wastewater Systems Effluent Regulations came into effect in 2012, which required communities with a certain volume of wastewater effluent to provide secondary treatment to their sewage outflows. Doug Neff, director of capital programs with the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council, said the existing population in Ahousaht put the community in excess of the regulatory requirements. But, he said, secondary treatment systems are something communities should be looking at, whether it’s a regulatory requirement or not. “I believe that secondary treatments are just the right thing to do if you’re out-falling to a marine environment or ground environment,” Neff said. Before the secondary treatment system was built, Neff said there were concerns about the presence of fecal coliform around Flores Island.

Photo submitted by Ahousaht First Nation

An improved sewage treatment system is expected to be operational in Ahousaht by the fall. The community faced continual beach closures because of the water quality, Neff said in 2018 before construction of the project began. Although there are biological processes that are still being worked through, Neff said the effluent coming out of the new system is “meeting all of the required parameters for the treatment system.” Ahousaht is currently in negotiations with Indigenous Services Canada to expand the community further by creating two new subdivisions, Louie said. The expansion is aimed to address Ahousaht’s overcrowded homes and growing population in the 1,000-resident village. Projects like the new wastewater treatment plant are not only helping the health

of the community, but are creating jobs that allow members to stay on the remote island. “There’s no place like home,” Louie said. “And if you’re working and have a steady job, why leave?” Marcelina Jack has been involved with the project since February 2021 and said she feels like she’s “won the lottery.” “There’s not too many jobs out here in Ahousaht,” she said. “Especially jobs that are all year round.” Before the position opened, Jack said she had been out of work for a few years and was preparing to move to Campbell River to find a job. The position has allowed her to stay home, close to her friends and family. It’s sentimental for Jack, who used to

accompany her father, Charles, to work when she was growing up. Charles worked at the nation’s old treatment plant for 30 years before he fell 22 feet off his porch in 2014, Jack said. The accident hindered his ability to keep working, but Jack’s new position has given her the opportunity to continue his legacy. “It makes me proud,” she said. “I wouldn’t be who I am today if I didn’t have my dad in my life.” Right now, Jack runs the plant with her cousin, Tommy Paul Jr., but said two more positions will be opening. Jack said her father is the reason she’s the type of person “who goes above and beyond if something needs to be done.” “I follow in his footsteps,” she said.

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Page 8— Ha-Shilth-Sa— June 16, 2022

DFO funds itself for ‘transformative’ salmon strategy Department pledges more collaboration amid criticism of pushing First Nations out of $647-million initiative By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Tofino, BC - What was announced as “the largest, most transformative investment in salmon by any government in history” is largely Fisheries and Oceans Canada funding itself, leaving those who rely on the species out of decision making, according to concerns from West Coast First Nations. This is how Canada’s former Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan introduced the Pacific Salmon Strategy Initiative in June 2021, a $647-million commitment to “stem historic declines in key Pacific salmon stocks and rebuild these species to a sustainable level,” stated the DFO. One month after Jordan’s announcement her federal department shut down 60 per cent of British Columbia’s commercial salmon fisheries, continuing a push for the voluntary buy out of licences that has been in place for the last 25 years. Over this period the commercial fleet has declined by almost 50 per cent. After the strategy was announced the Nuu-chah-nulth Council of Ha’wiih Forum on Fisheries listed its own priorities for the initiative, with attention to more closely monitoring stocks off the west coast of Vancouver Island and better accounting of catches, as well as reforms to the sports fishery. “The recreational fishery is a significant source of mortality for all [west coast Vancouver Island] salmon,” stated a letter from the council to DFO, dated March 1, 2022. The letter tasks the federal department to remove the catch-and-release method currently permitted for salmon at risk, and to “increase catch monitoring standards for charter and lodge operators.” Although the initiative cites “collaboration amongst First Nations at the provincial scale”, two thirds of the $647 million will be used within the DFO, according to information presented at the Council of Ha’wiih Forum on June 9. Another $100 million is set aside for the Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund, with $94 million expected to pay for commercial license retirements, according to the council. Indigenous groups have been left out from using any of the funds, said Hugh Braker, president of the First Nations Fisheries Council. “All they did was shuffle money around in their own department,” he said. “It’s not enough for bureaucrats in Ottawa and Vancouver to decide what’s best for Pacific salmon.”

Photo by Paul Vecsei/Fisheries and Oceans Canada

The DFO’s Pacific Salmon Strategy Initiative aims to “stem historic declines in key Pacific salmon stocks and rebuild these species to a sustainable level,” states Fisheries and Oceans Canada. During the forum Sonora Marin, coordi- out and spread the resources out to the nator of the Island Marine Aquatic Work- point that we’re not having any meaninging Group, reported that discussions with ful impact.” DFO personal revealed that the initiative During the forum Ditidaht Chief is “hatchery dominant” with respect to Councillor Brian Tate noted there is no rebuilding stocks. The $647-million inmention of how the PSSI will be incorpovestment is more about a mindset change rating the Indigenous expertise of those within the federal department, designed who have relied upon West Coast salmon to remove “silos” of disconnected spefor countless generations. cializations, she said. “Is there a plan to work with First NaOn May 31 Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord tions and gather traditional knowledge?” Johns pressed current Fisheries Minishe asked Murdoch. ter Joyce Murray on the issue during a The PSSI head responded by noting the Parliament debate. Johns said the salmon formation of a stewardship directorate initiative has shown “no genuine engage- that will help inform the initiative, and ment with First Nations”. that future conversations with First Na“[A]ll the evidence to date points to the tions will take place. PSSI as yet another example of the de“Far too long we have been pushed to partment directing long-awaited funding the side and our knowledge has been toward internal priorities instead of work- ignored,” said Hasheukumiss, Ahousaht’s ing with First Nations to decide how best acting Tyee Ha’wilth, who blamed DFO’s to allocate limited resources,” said Johns. mismanagement for the collapse of “One of the key pillars of the PSSI is collaboration,” countered Murray. “On the one hand, we are being told we are not moving quickly enough, but on the other hand we are very committed to collaborating with Indigenous communities and others, and that work is ongoing.” On June 10 Sarah Murdoch, senior director of the PSSI, addressed the Council of Ha’wiih. She stressed the need for the federal department to work with First Nations, although Murdoch cautioned the DFO cannot distribute funds in an ineffective way. “There is no one authority that will be able to address this alone,” she said. “What we can’t do is spread the money

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salmon stocks. “You need to come to the table and put us in there immediately.” “We can’t forget the past and how we got here,” said Murdoch, pledging a “different future” going forward. As the salmon initiative aims to “stabilize and restore Pacific salmon,” Uu-athluk, the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council’s fisheries department, is blaming the species’ decline on the mismanagement of forest and ocean resources. “Over-aggressive commercial and recreational fisheries, large-scale habitat loss from industrial logging and other developments, and changing environmental conditions have all lead to the significant declines in [west coast Vancouver Island] salmon populations,” wrote Jim Lane, Uu-a-thuk deputy program manager, in a letter sent to Fisheries and Oceans Canada one month after the Pacific Salmon Strategy Initiative was announced in 2021. Yet information listed by the DFO with the initiative makes no mention of historic overfishing, and little reference is made to the effects of logging on salmon habitat. The main factor identified is the complex series of environmental imbalances brought about by a rapidly changing climate, as detailed in the DFO’s 2019 State of Canadian Pacific Salmon. “In Canada, the rate of warming over the past century has been double the global average, and is even greater at northern latitudes,” stated the report. Global warming has brought more droughts and periods of heavy rain that drastically impact the streams salmon use to migrate. This is combined with a steady warming of the Pacific Ocean over the last half century, a dynamic that brings less nutritious zooplankton, species that form the base of the salmon food web, states the report.

June 16, 2022—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 9

Ditidaht stewardship program launches new vessel Designed to monitor the environment around Nitinaht Lake, boat was funded by the Trans Mountain pipeline By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Nitinaht Lake, BC – Ditidaht First Nation members are the proud owners of a new, 28-foot, custom-built landing craft that will be used to monitor and study the hahulthi around Nitinaht Lake. Funded through the Trans Mountain Expansion (TMX)’s Indigenous Advisory and Monitoring Committee (IAMC) fund, the boat, worth $415,000, was delivered to the shores of Nitinaht lake on June 1, as proud community members applauded. Built by Walker Custom Aluminum Boats in Coombs, BC, the shiny new vessel was trailered across the island on June 1 to a small bay on Nitinaht Lake, where the community welcomed it with a brushing ceremony before it was launched. Paul Seiber, Ditidaht’s natural resource manager, said the custom-made landing craft was funded by a grant through Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. Currently under construction, the project is designed to nearly triple the capacity of petroleum piped from north of Edmonton, across the Rocky Mountains to the Vancouver area. Trans Mountain has signed 43 Mutual Benefit Agreements with Aboriginal groups in B.C. and Alberta, 33 of which are in British Columbia. According to IAMC-TMX, the Mutual Benefit Agreements that have been signed will see Trans Mountain share more than $400 million with those communities. As one of the 43 First Nations to sign an agreement with the Trans Mountain expansion, this gives the Ditidaht access to funding that could support infrastructure and projects in the community. Now owned by the federal government, the TMX project has been working to gain support from First Nations communities whose reserve lands could be impacted by the pipeline and tanker project. Concerns about the impact potential oil spills could have on the environment were raised by First Nations. Mike Wright is a fisheries consultant and has been working on Vancouver Island for more than 40 years. He helped Ditidaht staff apply for funds through the Trans Mountain Accommodation Measures, Salish Sea Initiative. Nitinaht Lake, he said, is really a fiord and very little is known about it in a biological sense. As signatories to the government’s Trans Mountain initiative, habitat mapping and emergency response is critical for First Nations. “Members (of IAMC-TMX) have a

Photos by Denise Titian

On June 1 members of the Ditidaht First Nation launched a new 28-foot landing craft into Nitinaht Lake. The vessel is designed to help monitor the surrounding environment in preparation for increased tanker traffic off of Nitinaht Narrows. shared goal of safety and protection of environmental and Indigenous interests in the lands and water,” says the IAMCTMX website. “Participation by an Indigenous community does not mean that it supports or opposes the project, nor does it change the government’s duty to consult.” The IAMC-TMX initiative brings funding and resources to the communities to carry out work that will help them effectively respond to any potential oil spills and to conduct surveys of their resources. Seiber said oil tankers will be traveling to and from Vancouver, and must pass through the Strait of Juan de Fuca, then toward Swiftsure Bank, passing close to Nitinaht Narrows, the waterway between the Pacific Ocean and Nitinaht Lake. DFN, as a signatory to the TMX will receive funding to conduct natural resources studies and to purchase equipment to respond to oil spills. Wright noted that without a baseline of information they cannot know what would be lost in the event of an oil spill encroaching through Nitinaht Narrows. “It’s hard to know what you’ve lost if you don’t know what’s there,” he said. For that reason, the new boat will be used to map the resources in both the lake and in marine and freshwater rivers. Some of the work will be done in collaboration with Parks Canada. “We can use this boat to move crews

around,” said Wright. The landing gear on the boat will allow the crew to load an ATV, which can be brought to work on the other side of the lake where there is no road access. In addition, the unique design of the boat will allow divers to work more efficiently, with its drop gate. Plans are in the works to purchase drones and a submarine remote operated vehicle to assist researchers in their work. A new portable office building has been bought for the DFN Natural Resources staff. It was purchased through the same fund. Members from Ditidaht stood silently as Cyril Edgar chanted, asking the Creator

that all that use the boat will be safe and that the boat has good fortune. A small fire crackled nearby as three men and one woman brushed the boat. Elected Chief Brian Tate thanked the people for coming to the event, noting that it’s been a while that the nation has had something new to celebrate. He also thanked Mike Wright and Paul Seiber for starting the application process that brought the new boat to the community. “They will use the boat to do research that will benefit all of Ditidaht,” said Tate. “Good stewardship and monitoring, it’s good to get it going and we hope to keep it going into perpetuity,” said Wright.

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Expedition off west coast of Vancouver Island explores de

The latest of several trips to distant offshore region explores the ‘rocky mountains’ of the sea, with a large area the feds are eyeing By Melissa Renwick Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Deep under the ocean’s surface off the west coast of Vancouver Island lies a mountain range of around 50 underwater volcanoes – measuring from 1,000 to 3,000 metres high. These seamounts, as they’re more accurately named, are the reason earthquakes and tsunamis threaten British Columbia’s coast, said Cherisse Du Preez, head of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s (DFO) deep-sea ecology program. “We have tectonic activity that is very active and very close to shore,” she said. “It’s like the Rocky Mountains down there.” On June 7, Du Preez and a team of researchers embarked on an ambitious three-week deep-sea expedition to study and monitor these ecosystems. The collaborative expedition between DFO, the Council of the Haida Nation, the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council and Oceans Network Canada will provide baseline data for scientific monitoring and research for a number of existing and planned Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). “We are going to habitats that nobody’s mapped before, that nobody’s seen before – and we’re seeing animals that science didn’t know existed,” said Du Preez, who is the lead scientist on board for deepsea ecology. Around 75 per cent of Canada’s seamounts are contained within the expedition’s study sites, which extend around 200 kilometres west off the Northern tip of Haida Gwaii to the southern edge of Vancouver Island – an area roughly four and a half times the size of Vancouver Island. When approaching the seamounts by boat, Du Preez said whale sightings become more frequent and seabirds more abundant. The research vessel’s echosounder – which calculates the water’s depth – will start pinging shallower and shallower, she said. Suddenly, it’ll jump from reading three-and-a-half kilometres deep to just a couple hundred metres deep. “And you realize that this mountain has just risen up underneath you and you’re sitting at the top of it,” she said. “And the reason why there’s animals everywhere is because there’s so much life on this mountain that would otherwise be just like a desert of water.” Seamounts give habitat to animals that usually have to compete with humans for resources, Du Preez said. “Out there, there’s just this island oasis

Photo submitted by Ocean Exploration Trust, DFO

In 2018 a remotely operated vehicle (above) observed a forest of corals and sponges on the Explorer Seamount west of Vancouver Island, revealing the underwater volcano’s unique ecosystem. A submersible drop camera (below) was used to observe seamount life, lowered from the Coast Guard vessel John P. Tully. where they get to exist away from us,” she said. “We find corals and sponges and fish and sharks and octopus all living on the seamounts.” Outside of this region, seamounts are most commonly found in high seas, which Du Preez described as “the wild, wild west.” But because these seamounts are within Canadian waters, Du Preez said the federal government has the power to protect them. “If you’re going to protect a place in the ocean, why not protect where everything comes to feed or to nurture their young?” she questioned.

A ‘fire hose’ blasting from the earth What makes the study sites even more unique is that they contain 100 per cent of Canada’s hydrothermal vents. Typically, water at the bottom of the ocean is around 3 degrees Celsius, but Du Preez said hydrothermal vents gush out water that can be up to 400 C. “This geothermal heated water blasts out of the earth like a fire hose all of the time,” she said. “It’s not your average seawater. It’s like super enriched seawater.” A whole host of animals depend on these hot springs that are highly rich in materials and exist nowhere else on the planet except for within hydrothermal vents, Du Preez said. These chemosynthetic animals live in

June 16, 2022—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 11

explores deep sea habitat never seen before

e area the feds are eyeing for protection

Feds take sole jurisdiction

the absence of sunlight and depend on the chemicals produced by hydrothermal vents for food. “It’s like a slightly alien world that we didn’t know existed because we thought everything on the planet required sunlight,” she said. “It’s this incredible, weird place where life can’t exist unless you’re these specialized life forms.” Hydrothermal vents were only discovered 30 years ago, and the first seamount was only identified around 50 years ago, said Du Preez. “We know more about the surface of the moon than we do the deep sea,” she said. “We joke in deep-sea science that it’s not rocket-science - it’s harder.”

130 countries tune in A team of around 15 experts with diverse backgrounds – including two representatives from Haida Nation – have been tasked with exploring, documenting and providing science-based solutions on how to best manage and monitor these environments. Irine Polyzogopoulos, Uu-a-thluk communications and development coordinator, said a Nuu-chah-nulth representative will not be onboard this year’s expedition, but they do hope to have someone onboard next year. “The timing just wasn’t right,” she said. But Polyzogopoulos said they will be conducting student and public “ship to shore” virtual outreach events, as well as sharing information through social media channels to keep people connected to the work taking place out at sea. The public can tune into these events online and virtually ask questions to crew

“We rely on that connectivity with the world because we need people to be watching in real-time to help us,” she said. “This is an investment in global biodiversity.”

members in real-time, Polyzogopoulos said. Joshua Watts was a Nuu-chah-nulth representative aboard the 2019 deep-sea expedition. At the time, he was studying ocean and atmospheric science at the University of Victoria, so the experience “fit perfectly,” he said. Including a Nuu-chah-nulth worldview as part of the conversation is “invaluable,” said Watts. “Responsible decision-making is at the forefront of our minds,” he said. “We’re thinking 10 generations down the line. How are our decisions going to affect our descendants?” When Watts thinks about the different species found within the deep sea, he said

the Nuu-chah-nuth way of teaching comes to mind. “It’s always been through experiential learning,” he said. “Through first-hand knowledge.” Because of that, Watts said a major part of his role involved sharing what he had learned on the expedition with his community and the younger generation. “My experiences can only go so far, but if I share them they reach other people,” he said. “And I think it has a lot more impact.” Du Preez said a major objective of the expedition is to resolve how important these “very localized spots of increased diversity and biomass are for the overall health of the ocean.” To do this, they’re relying on a submers-

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Joshua Watts ible – which is a robot the size of a small car with cameras, sensors and arms – that will be sent around three kilometres deep into the ocean to explore and collect samples. Onboard the ship, the team of experts will be maneuvering the robot from a control room while live-streaming the footage globally. During past expeditions, Du Preez said that up to 130 countries were tuned into the live-stream at the same time. Through live-chats, Du Preez said researchers and scientists from across the world can help identify which animals have never been seen before.

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The expedition is endorsed by the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, and is funded by DFO, with resource support from Ocean Networks Canada. Despite only recently being discovered, Du Preez said climate change is already impacting these environments. In the last 60 years, the ocean has lost 15 per cent of its oxygen, she said. “And because these animals are so fixed in space [with] where they can exist, they don’t have the option of migrating as easily as other animals,” Du Preez said. Sometimes, Du Preez said it feels like she’s just watching the decline of these ecosystems. “But then I remember that if we have a Marine Protected Area, we can mitigate,” she said. “We can stop everything in our control.” The Government of Canada is “committed” to conserving 25 per cent of Canada’s land and oceans by 2025 and “continues to advocate internationally to protect 30 per cent of the world’s ocean by 2030,” according to DFO. One of the expedition’s study sites includes a large offshore block west of Vancouver Island that was identified as an Area of Interest in 2017, opening up the process of designating the region a Marine Protected Area, entitled Tang.ɢwan-ḥačxʷiqakTsig̱is. Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council President Judith Sayers said this was decided without any input from the First Nations whose territories fall within the proposed MPA area, including NTC, the Haida Nation, as well as Quatsino and Pacheedaht First Nations. “We have told [DFO] from the very beginning that if they want to have this Marine Protected Area, we have to have co-management of [it],” Sayers said. “This [MPA] is within our territories and we really need to be able to protect them.” Conversations between the nations and DFO have been ongoing since 2018, Sayers said. “We’re trying to define collaborative governance and management,” she said. According to Sayers, DFO argues that because the proposed MPA is within an international economic zone, “it has to be the sole jurisdiction of the federal government.” A release from DFO said that it is “committed to working with partners to provide the best science available, achieving domestic and international biodiversity conservation targets through co-management and science-based decision-making.” Limiting marine traffic to reduce noise pollution and potential oil spills, along with limiting fishing, is one way to “give these environments the best opportunity to survive that we can,” said Du Preez. While it will help, Du Preez was careful to note that MPAs don’t “solve everything.” “Despite our best efforts, despite everything we’re trying to control, climate change is still going to take away this biodiversity in the ocean,” she said. “If we’re not going to do something on a larger scale about climate change, this is what we have to be willing to lose.”

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Aunt fights institutional barriers to get care for niece Persistent advocacy was needed while Rosa Ross was a patient at the West Coast General Hospital, says aunt By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Port Alberni, BC - Island Health says it works to involve patients in decisions regarding their care, but a Tseshaht member recently had to fight through institutional barriers while her niece stayed at the West Coast General Hospital. Rosa Ross, who has suffered from asthma since infancy, went to the Port Alberni hospital on June 3 with breathing problems. She was brought by Gloria Ross, Rosa’s aunt who also serves as her home care provider. When they arrived at West Coast General at 6 a.m. that morning, Gloria said the doors to the emergency department were locked due to construction. After finding their way into the facility, they waited four hours to be seen, coming away with a new inhaler for Rosa. But the 44-year-old’s breathing problems persisted, and Gloria brought Rosa back to the hospital at approximately 5 p.m. that day, where Rosa remained over the weekend. Gloria was informed that a change in Rosa’s medication was needed, but the aunt remained concerned for her niece, who has a speech impediment that can make it difficult for other people to understand her. What made matters worse was the limited visiting hours of just 3-5 p.m. each day. “I wanted extra visiting hours for Rosa because of her special needs and requirements,” said Gloria. “That never happened.” Rosa was concerned she would suffer another breathing attack after being let out too early. Fortunately, Gloria pushed to ensure her niece would not be misunderstood. She brought concerns to Island Health’s Patient Care Quality Office, which handles complaints regarding treatment in a hospital. “We are always concerned when the care received does not meet a patient’s expectation and we take all complaints seriously,” said Island Health in an email to Ha-Shilth-Sa. “Our Patient Care Quality Office is following up with this patient and their family.” “It looks like they’re going to create a care plan now for my niece,” said Gloria.

Photo by Eric Plummer

Rosa Ross, right, was recently admitted to the West Coast General Hospital with breathing problems, a stay that required constant advocacy from her aunt, Gloria Ross. “It didn’t have to escalate that far, if they Coast General wasn’t easy, as security It reminded Gloria of her time as a had talked to the family before to talk was used to dissuade her from returning student at the Alberni Indian Residential about her special needs.” to the hospital room. School. Gloria spent half a year at the inThe hospital stay was extended to “She thought that she still needed to stitution in 1960 after her family’s house Thursday June 16, after Gloria managed be in the hospital. She was going to go burned down when she was seven. to connect with Dr. Sam Williams, the back to her room and there was a security “I’ve seen institutional care,” she West Coast General’s chief of staff. guard,” said Gloria. “Rosa’s got a fear of recalled. “We were homeless, so my par“She kept her a couple more days in people in uniform. She’s had incidents ents made a decision. They didn’t have the hospital,” said Gloria, adding that a with the police. They didn’t seem to have very many options. Housing was even care plan is being made for her niece. any mental health awareness.” more limited then than it is now.” “They’re going to do her profile, and if For Gloria this experience has been a Rosa now awaits to be seen by a respirashe does go into emergency or into the struggle to navigate through a health care tory specialist in Nanaimo she has been hospital, then they have this information system with little opportunity for perreferred to. down that they’ll communicate with the sonal communication, a challenge consid“I’m hopeful it’s going to make some family and her care workers.” ering her need to get others to understand changes for Rosa, by taking part in this But Rosa’s departure from the West the nature of Rosa’s condition. system,” said Gloria.

Phrase of the week: %unaakši>niš N’aas, Hišuk qu%as kin June 21, 2022 Pronounced ‘ooh knock shill nish nahs , Hishook Coo us kin June 21,2022’, it means, ‘We have a day to call our own! June 21, 2022’ Supplied by ciisma.

Illustration by Ivy Cargill-Martin

June 16, 2022—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 13

B.C. pledges new funds towards language and culture The ‘revitalization and normalization’ of Indigenous languages is urgently needed, says the provincial minister By Melissa Renwick Local Journalism Initiative Reporter In lead up to National Indigenous Peoples Day, the province is supporting First Nations language and culture revitalization through nearly $35 million in new funding towards the First Peoples’ Cultural Council (FPCC) and the First Peoples Cultural Foundation (FPCF). The funding will support FPCC and FPCF with their programming to document, safeguard, and rebuild Indigenous cultural systems to share with future generations, said Lorna Wánosts’a7 Williams, First Peoples’ Cultural Foundation board chair. “Languages, arts, cultures and heritage are the lifeblood of our communities and integral to our well-being – individually and collectively,” she said in a release. Colonial practices and policy have had “devastating outcomes” for Indigenous communities, said Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation Murray Rankin. The residential school system effectively tried to “extinguish Indigenous language, culture and heritage,” he said. “The need to address the revitalization and normalization of Indigenous languages and knowledge systems is urgent, especially given the pandemic and climate change-related events that disproportionately affected Indigenous communities,” Rankin added. The United Nations General Assembly has declared 2022 to 2032 the International Decade of Indigenous Languages in a bid to emphasize the critical state of Aboriginal dialects across the world. British Columbia accounts for about 60 per cent of the First Nations languages in Canada. There are currently 34 Indigenous languages within the province. Of those, three per cent of the reported First Nations population are fluent speakers, according to the 2018 report on the status of B.C. First Nations languages. Deb Masso leads weekly language classes and works as a language digital archivist for Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation. As a young girl, Masso said her parents never spoke Nuu-chah-nulth to her.

Photo submitted by Province of B.C.

On June 14 Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation Murray Rankin announced $35 million in funding for the First Peoples’ Cultural Council and the First Peoples Cultural Foundation. Sometimes, she said, they would quietly aht dialect of Nuu-chah-nulth to 98 per that last a lifetime,” said Anne Kang, speak it to each other in another room. cent English. Minister of Advanced Education and It was a behaviour learned in residential “And it’s going to take five to six Skills Training, in a release. school, she said. generations to bring it back,” she said. The number of young learners is Although she didn’t recognize its value “Language is not a program. It shouldn’t increasing. In 2018, there were 13,997 at the time, Masso was exposed to Nuube something that we need to apply for new learners – 78 per of cent of which chah-nulth by her grandfather, who regu- funding for every year.” were under 25 years old, according to the larly spoke it to her until he passed when Frank said she can count on one hand status of B.C. First Nations languages she was 17 years old. the number of fluent speakers that remain report. It took more than 20 years before it within Tla-o-qui-aht. Throughout 2020 and 2021, FPCC re-entered her life. She gets emotional This stark reality does not dissuade the provided over $20.4 in grants, supported just thinking about it. For Masso, the nation’s revitalization efforts. more than 4,150 language-immersion Nuu-chah-nulth language has given her a “We have great mountains that we have opportunities, documented 182 cultural “whole sense of fulfilment” in who she is. to climb,” said Masso. “We’re still climb- practices and involved 940 people in arts “Our language is rooted in the land,” she ing them. But we are having more sucprojects. said. “It’s rooted in the animals, in the cess. Every single day, we open up an ear, Recognizing Indigenous language adsky and in the universe – that’s why it is we open up a mind, we open up a heart. dresses calls to action from the Truth and so respectful. Our people come from that. We’re keeping at it – it’s so important to Reconciliation Commission of Canada, Our ancestors lived [like] that.” the future of who we are as a nation.” the National Inquiry into Mission and Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Education As part of this funding, the Ministry of Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Manager Iris Frank said that it only took Advanced Education and Skills TrainCall for Justice, United Nations Declarafour generations to “dilute” the Tla-o-qui- ing is providing $2.6 million to FPCC’s tion on the Right of Indigenous Peoples, Youth Empowered Speakers (YES) and B.C.’s Declaration on the Rights of program. Indigenous Peoples’ Act. The program offers First Nations stuAt 63 years old, Masso said fluency is dents who are studying education and her goal. early childhood education one-on-one “And I know I’m reaching there,” she mentoring in their Indigenous language, said. with funding to support their post-secLanguage revitalization is more than ondary studies. documenting old recordings, Masso said. “Investing in future generations of lanIt’s providing resources to “ensure there guage learners not only benefits today’s are fluent speakers in the future,” she First Nations youth by providing them said. with a comprehensive skill set for life in “We’re trying to get back this language Usma Nuu-chah-nulth Family and Child Services are the workforce, but it also nurtures the de- that is foreign to many of our people,” looking for individual/s or families who are interested velopment of language-immersion skills Masso said. “We’re not giving up. Little through relationships across generations by little, I see our people getting there.” in caregiving for teens with high-risk behaviors.

Looking for......

The Caregiver(s) would provide 24-hour care in a culturally safe and suppor!ve environment, responding effec!vely to challenging behaviours. Compensa!on would be built around the specific needs of the youth and the Caregiver, and could include both direct services and financial support to allow Caregivers to meet the needs of the youth. For more informa•on, please call Joni or Julia at 250-724-3232.

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Gatherings try to break cycle by connecting families Usma reaches out to First Nations to help children in care find ‘untapped potential’ through cultural connection By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Port Alberni, BC - By the time Kyle Harry aged out of foster care at 19, he was full of resentment towards the system that oversaw his upbringing since infancy. “I’m still angry. I didn’t like Usma,” said Harry. “But I’m glad where I come from, from Ehattesaht.” He recalls living in 12-15 different homes in Ahousaht, Kyuquot, Campbell River and Port Alberni over his childhood. “Going from home to home to home, I didn’t know where I was going and what was happening to me,” said Harry. “I know how it is for these young ones, how they feel being away from their parents. I didn’t know who my real mother was until I was a teenager.” Despite his frustrations with the management of his younger years, Harry, who is now 37, participated in a recent gathering held by Usma Child and Family Services in Port Alberni. One of several taking place for different Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations this spring, the June 6 event brought Nuchatlaht and Ehattesaht members to a venue to spend time with their nation’s children in care. Usma supplies the meal and location, while the nations hold cultural activities. While a circle of men sang and drummed, girls were provided regalia to wear as the older women demonstrated their ancestral dances. Watching the young ones jump and spin with excitement when the decorative shawls were brought out, Nuchatlaht Health Manager Audrey Smith reflected on the importance of families needing culture for connection and sharing. As the Ehattesaht’s elder-in-residence, Vince Smith has seen the need for a consistent cultural presence in the Zeballos Elementary Secondary School, which is located right next to the First Nation’s community of Ehatis. Smith contributes his expertise to the school, a valuable influence given the high turnover of teachers that the remote location sees, observed Smith at the Port Alberni gathering. He’s currently carving two totem poles, a process that brings constant questions from students as they visit. This cultural connection brings a sense of belonging that children in care dearly need, said Kevin Titian, Usma’s Prevention Services Team leader. “When you look at the whole picture, identity is the core aspect of who we are

Kyle Harry sings and drums at the event as others dance.

Photos by Eric Plummer

On June 6 Usma and the Nuchatlaht and Ehattesaht First Nations held a gathering, enabling the nations’ children in care to spend time with family members. as kuu’us people,” he said. “What I’ve it’s the parents’ fault,” said Harry. “Usma seen with some of the children is without can’t change somebody’s life, that’s what that identity, it is like they are lost within I say, because if they’re going to change today’s society, and not really connected for Usma, they’re not changing for themto the history of the people they come selves.” from.” A critical part of the gatherings Usma is “Being away from home was like my holding this spring is to connect families parents being at residential school,” rewith the children in care who desperately flected Harry, who saw his older brother need them, said Titian - particularly those run away to drink and do drugs as they youth who live in a group home without were continually being moved around. a family atmosphere. He found a valuable “We wanted to be at home.” lesson in the definition of usma, which Since Harry aged out of the foster means ‘precious one’ in Nuu-chah-nulth, system, the prevalence of First Nations but also carries a deeper meaning, acchildren in care has gone relatively unchanged. In British Columbia the phenomenon has appeared unmovable, as the number of non-Indigenous children in care dropped dramatically from 20002020. As of 2020, the number of B.C.’s Aboriginal children in care sat at 3,800 – nearly double the number of non-Indigenous children under 14 in the system. It’s a cycle that Harry vowed not to repeat with his own children, who are aged 10, 11 and 13. “I told myself that I would never ever let this happen to my kids,” he said. “That’s how it changed me.” He believes the main responsibility rests with parents to ensure they are well enough to care for their children. “It’s not their fault what’s happening,

cording to the agency’s elder’s navigator David Jacobson. “Usma is the untapped potential of who you are going to become as an individual…we all carry that within ourselves,” said Titian. “The depth of the definition of Usma over the years has been lost. Over the last few years we’ve been rebuilding that.” Some encouragement came from Ahousaht in early June, when the Maaqtusiis school hosted a potlach. Some children in care where brought to the gathering. “It definitely was a big success in helping rebuild their children’s identity and helping them connect with family,” said Titian. “It really ignites that little fire inside of them of wanting to absorb more and understand who they are.”

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‘Juneuary’ conditions lead to low wildfire risk Heavier snow packs and cool temperatures could make for weaker fire season in B.C., according to monitoring By James Paracy Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Vancouver Island, BC – After a few summers filled with wildfires and extreme temperatures, British Columbians would be happy to see a little less smoke in the air. Summer 2022 is already off to a cooler start, with this month being referred to as ‘Juneuary’ throughout the province. As a result of cooler temperatures and increased rainfall drifting into the summer months, the island’s snow pack is looking significantly stronger than normal. According to the River Forecast Centre’s June 1 Snow Survey and Water Supply Bulletin, the snow pack across the province is at 165 per cent of the average for this time of year. Numbers have continued to rise as of late, with the June 1, 2022 report showing an increase of 25 per cent from two weeks prior. River Forecast Centre manager Andrew Giles says this year didn’t always look like it would pan out this way, explaining that Vancouver Island’s snow pack continued to accumulate after looking weaker than normal just a few months ago. “On Vancouver Island, the snow pack heading into late March was actually slightly below normal,” he said. “With the cooler temperatures and continued snow accumulation through April and into mid-May, the snow pack relative to what we normally see at that same time (of year) actually increased.” Although a-larger-than-normal snow pack may seem like an issue in terms of flooding as we head into the summer months, Giles says warmer temperatures and more snow don’t always add up to increased flood risk on Vancouver Island. “The relative volume of snow might not be of significant consequence to flood hazard,” explained Giles. “In areas like the Okanagan and Vancouver Island and

some of the coast watersheds, even with a higher snow pack, that doesn’t translate to an elevated flood hazard. We don’t typically see a real snow melt driven flood hazard here on Vancouver Island, usually that’s more of an issue in the fall and winter rainstorm events.” Giles adds that areas in B.C. outside of Vancouver Island and deeper into the interior could see increased flood risk due to snow melt in these conditions, especially if they see heavy rainfall or increased temperatures for a lengthy period of time. Flood warnings have already been issued for rivers in the area around the Cariboo Mountains and Terrace, with some areas even having evacuations discussed. While flooding isn’t the biggest issue on Vancouver Island, a major area of concern is wildfires. According to a report from the Government of B.C., the province saw 1,585 wildfires and 868,619 total hectares burned between April 1, 2021 and September 1, 2021. Cooler temperatures across the province, increased moisture in our watersheds and a heavier amount of snow on the mountains all come together to decrease wildfire risk. The decreased wildfire risk has been evident so far this season. Coastal Fire Centre’s Fire Information Officer Dorthe Jakobsen says Vancouver Island has already seen fewer fires than last year, with just two smaller fires breaking out on the Island and four elsewhere in the coastal region. These six fires saw only thirty hectares of area burned. Jakobsen says this number is well below the 10year average for hectares burnt by this time of year, and a big factor has been the rainfall and cooler temperatures through ‘Juneuary.’ “’Juneuary’ is very important to the fire season in B.C. because it brings a lot of moisture under cool conditions to the forest so the forests stay hydrated,” said

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A cool and wet spring has lowered the risk of wildfire and drought this summer in Vancouver Island’s forests. Pictured is a river running through Courtenay. Jakobsen. “This year is a little bit unusual temperatures and showers are a trend because it has been cool and wet for a that should continue into July across the very long time.” southern portion of the province, includAccording to the Government of B.C.’s ing Vancouver Island and the rest of the long-term weather forecast, these cooler coastal region.

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President’s message to Nuu-chah-nulth-aht I would like to start my report by expressing my deepest heartfelt sympathies to all the families, friends and communities who have lost loved ones. There have been many and I know how hard this is for all our people. June 21 is National Indigenous Day. A day to celebrate being Indigenous and to recognize the achievements, history and rich culture of Indigenous Peoples. It is a good day to educate others on Indigenous peoples from history to issues to culture, traditions and protocols. This is not a statutory holiday, but it is a nationally declared day. Most First Nations take this day off and take part in many different kinds of events. Check out various First Nations and organizations to find out what kind of events are happening around where you are. It is a good day to post on your various social media platforms important facts about Indigenous people or suggest a book for people to read. I spent two days in the B.C. Court of Appeal listening to the appeal in the Servatius vs. School District 70, better known as the smudging case. A Nuuchah-nulth elder and one of our education workers demonstrated how to smudge in three classrooms. No children or their belongings were smudged. Also the principal had brought in a hoop dancer who said a prayer before he danced. This was not a Nuu-chah-nulth dance or person who did the hoop dance, nor did our worker have anything to do with it. We did not address the hoop dancer’s prayer. Servatius found out about the demonstration of smudging after it happened and said it was a breach of their religious freedom. We made it clear that children were told they could leave the room and none participated in the demonstration. They only observed it. The big issue before the court was whether the demonstration and dancer’s prayer was religious. NTC argued at the lower court it was not religious. That is was our culture, way of life and we do not have a religion as First Nation people. The justice at the lower court agreed with us. Servatius appealed this, wanted to argue the justice made errors in fact and in determining the freedom of religion tests set out by the Supreme Court cases. It was difficult hearing Servatius’ lawyer tell the court a demonstration was a ceremony and religious. We had told the court that only Nuu-chah-nulth can determine what our culture is. We argued the court doesn’t have to use the freedom of religion test as it isn’t religion. Both the school district lawyers and the B.C. Attorney General were all arguing with the Nuu-chah-nulth and made good arguments before the court. The court will take time to decide this case. so in several months, I hope to be able to share their decision with you. The coroner’s inquest on Chantel Moore was held in New Brunswick. The jurors can only make recommendations to the government. Some of the more important recommendations included: i) That police undertake relationship-building actions with First Nations communities, including cultural sensitivity training and having a First Nations community liaison; ii) That officers be provided with crisis intervention/de-escalation training; iii) That officers be provided scenario training that emphasizes situational awareness and repositioning and disengagement options; iv) That police be provided training about the proper procedures following a serious incident involving serious injury or

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death and that front line supervisors be provided training on the critical aspects of immediate scene command and control to ensure the integrity of evidence and witnesses As the chiefs in New Brunswick stated after the inquiry, these recommendations don’t address racism and the lack of respect for Indigenous peoples. The recommendations don’t go far enough on wellness checks and the need for trauma informed teams being used and not police. I attended two day of Council of Ha’wiih meetings on fisheries. One day is an internal prep meeting and the second day is with DFO officials. Many updates on various DFO initiatives, different species of fish were given. DFO is one of the worst groups to work with. They don’t provide the data we ask for, they sometimes don’t answer letters and have never valued the traditional knowledge of First Nations people. The minister also does not accept invitations to meet with our heads of government, our Ha’wiih, which we find disrespectful. DFO had announced in budget 2021 that there would be $647 million put into the Pacific Salmon Strategy Initiative (PSSI). We have been told by DFO that this money is mostly being used internally by DFO and our Ha’wiih have learned that two thirds of the $647 million will be used by the Government of Canada’s department of fisheries to pay for programmes and initiatives within the department. A further $100 million will be used by the Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund (SRIF) and another $94 million will most probably be used to buy out existing commercial salmon licences, leaving nothing for First Nations to protect and enhance their resource. Upon questioning, DFO did not deny this but said they are getting some money from various pots and will work with money for capacity building, restoration and rehabilitation. We had further meetings with Pacheedaht, Quatsino, Haida and DFO, regarding the offshore Marine Protected area. We are still negotiating three initiatives, that is co-management, governance structure and management board, and dispute resolution. There has been some progress but it has not met the First Nations’ needs. Negotiations are ongoing and there may still be a Marine Protected Area. First Nations have been clear that unless they get what they want to protect this area, they will not agree to an MPA. Happy graduation to all our grads from high school, post secondary and other programs. Congrats to all the scholarship winners as well. The 10th and 11th were in person events and we were able to acknowledge people in person this year. -Cloy-e-iis, Judith Sayers

June 16, 2022—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 17

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ACRD hears name change proposal for Sproat Lake Kleecoot was suggested as an alternative due to obsolete views of local First Nations expressed in Sproat’s book By Karly Blats Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Port Alberni, BC - A name change for Sproat Lake has been proposed to the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District (ACRD), after a Haida Gwaii resident has brought up several claims of racism by Gilbert Sproat towards Indigenous peoples. Joshua Dahling, director of operations for Lumara, an organization helping youth and families with grief and bereavement care, proposed the name change to ACRD directors at a recent board meeting. Dahling cited several passages from Sproat’s book, Scenes and Studies of a Savage Life, quoting him as referring to Indigenous peoples as savages and outcasts and comparing them to the beasts he hunted. “[Sproat] believed [First Nations] didn’t have ownership of the land and he recognized that the role of colonizers was to wipe out Indigenous people…whether that be removing them from their land, taking away their language and that sort of thing,” Dahling said. “He referenced the people that lived [in the Alberni Valley] only lived here for no longer than eight years. Science and most of us today would agree that people have been here for thousands of years. Sproat Lake sits in the territory of the Hupacasath and Tseshaht First Nation and Dahling has proposed the name be changed back to its original Indigenous name Kleecoot. “In moving forward, to take a step toward reconciliation and for my team and I to embark on our healing journey here,

Photo by Karly Blats

In the spirit of reconciliation, it’s been proposed that Sproat Lake’s name be changed back to its Indigenous name Kleecoot. recommend chairman Jack contact both I request that you all join us and start by Nations. nations and see if he can organize a meetrestoring the name,” Dahling said. “In “I read [Sproat’s] book more or less partnership with the Hupacasath, they front to back, it’s a bit of a difficult read,” ing with them to discuss their wishes… as a collaborative effort with both nations may choose to have a new name or they said ACRD Beaver Creek director John see if we can come to logical, meaningful may chose to have the name continue.” McNabb. “One of the issues that exists The ACRD board made a motion to in trying to change this name is that these long-term decision.” discuss the idea of renaming Sproat Lake territories are disputed lands between with the Hupacasath and Tseshaht First Tseshaht and Hupacasath Nations, so I

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