INTERESTING NEWS Canada’s Oldest First Nations Newspaper - Serving Nuu-chah-nulth-aht since 1974 Canadian Publications Mail Product Vol. 48 - No. 12—June 17, 2021 haas^i>sa Sales Agreement No. 40047776
Nations ‘take back their power over their ḥahahuułi’ Pacheedaht, Huu-ay-aht and Ditidaht notify province of a two-year old-growth deferral in parts of their territory By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Nitinaht Lake, BC - As the largest antilogging movement to hit the West Coast since the 1990s continues in southern Vancouver Island, three Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations are asserting authority over their territories. On June 4 the Pacheedaht, Ditidaht and Huu-ay-aht First Nations signed the Hišuk ma c̕awak Declaration “to take back their power over their ḥahahuułi”, according to a release. The declaration pledges to end the 150-year period of the First Nations watching others decide what’s best for their lands, water and people. On the following day the three nations gave a notice to the Province of B.C. that could cool oﬀ the escalating conﬂict around the blockades. They informed the province to defer all old-growth logging in the Fairy Creek and Central Walbran areas for two years, giving the First Nations time to assemble integrated resource management plans based on engagement with citizens. On June 9, two days after the declaration was announced, the province agreed to the deferment. “Reconciliation with Indigenous peoples and protecting the environment are top priorities for our government. We believe they go hand in hand,” said Premier John Horgan in a statement. “The ﬁrst step in protecting old growth must be respecting Indigenous peoples’ land-management rights in their territories.” This recent assertion of the three nation’s territorial authority has gained interest from Indigenous groups and industry leaders alike, including public expressions of support from the Nuuchah-nulth Tribal Council, the Teal Jones Group and Western Forest Products. Three days after the declaration was announced the Squamish First Nation followed with a notice to the province for a two-year deferral of old growth logging in its territory to allow for the development of sustainability plans. The declaration comes as thousands have ventured to logging roads near the Fairy Creek watershed to support blockades in place since August of last year. The Rainforest Flying Squad fear that Teal Jones’s tenure on the Crown forest land will harm one of the last untouched valleys of old-growth forest on Vancouver Island. On April 1 the B.C. Supreme Court ruled against the blockades, and since police enforcement began in midMay, over 220 people have been arrested. Fairy Creek is in the ḥahahuułi of the
Photo by Eric Plummer
Pacheedaht’s Hereditary Chief Frank Queesto Jones (far left), Huu-ay-aht Tayii Ḥaw̓ił ƛiišin (Derek Peters) and Ditidaht Chabut Satiixub (Hereditary Chief Paul Tate) sign the Hišuk ma c̕awak Declaration in Nitinaht Lake on June 4. Pacheedaht First Nation, prompting Hereditary Chief Frank Queesto Jones and Chief Councillor Jeﬀ Jones to speak against the blockades, stating that forestry has been a vital economic and cultural practice for the nation for countless generations. At the June 4 signing Jeﬀ Jones explained the importance of the declaration with the Ditidaht and Huu-ay-aht. “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,” he said. “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.” Jones and the other Nuu-chah-nulth leaders are troubled by the ﬂock of visitors who have entered their territory to interfere with forestry. This has happened without asking permission from hereditary leaders, a show of disrespect for the chieftanship of each individual nation, he said. “There is a couple of individual Pacheedaht members who are part of the rainforest group that are somewhat leading the group,” said Jones. “The individuals have their individual rights to speak on their own behalf, but they do not have the support of the nation behind them.” The declaration was signed in Ditidaht’s Nitinaht Lake community, where Chief Councillor Brian Tate said that the document should bring an end to this disrespect of the hereditary system. “It signiﬁes that third-party interests cannot just come in and do as they
Inside this issue... Nation’s notice for logging deferral...........................Page 3 No charges for oﬃcer who shot Chantel....................Page 7 Kamloops children honoured....................................Page 11 NCN lead aﬀordable housing projects.....................Page 15 Nootka Sound shipwreck fuel recovery....................Page 22
please,” he said. “Human beings in general are allowed to have an opinion, but it’s how they convey it makes it right or wrong. That’s in relation to the protestors right now.” “We as a nation are loggers,” said Jones. “We have two forestry partnerships in our territory, so forestry is in our blood. We beneﬁt from revenue every year. It’s not a short-term gain, it’s a long-term gain for the whole Pacheedaht First Nation for the simple reason that we have purchased existing businesses, which then provides long-term stable employment opportunities for our people.” While they work on their resource management plans, the Pacheedaht, Ditidaht and Huu-ay-aht ask everyone to allow forestry operations that are approved by the province and the First Nations in their territories to continue without disruption. Days before the declaration was signed the Huu-ay-aht had already released details of its integrated resource management plan, including the need for the nation to set an appropriate annual allowable cut, protect “culturally important forests”, no timber harvesting on treaty settlement lands in 2021 and develop a strategy “that continues to value the existence of old-growth forests and monumental cedar.” In recent years the Huu-ay-aht have gained a growing ownership stake in TFL 44, a large area of Crown land tenure that covers much of their territory. “I know we can do a better job than what is being done now,” said Chief Councillor Robert Dennis Sr. “We’ve had people coming in here for years telling us what to do and how to do it. But before they took over, what did the land look
like? What did the rivers look like? They don’t look like that anymore. I think we can do things to renew that, to restore that.” Those behind the blockades have opposed old-growth logging, but Tate noted that the Ditidaht rely on maintaining a balance between managing the forest ecosystem and proﬁting from harvesting. “We already have working relationships with forestry companies and the province, and these are improving. They weren’t always perfect, but they are improving,” he said. “Any cutblocks that become available have to have a plan, and it has to be presented in order for them to receive the licence to operate in a cutblock area. They have to identify what species are in there, and what volume is in there before they even go in and log.” The elected chief reﬂected on his childhood in Nitinaht Lake, where his family was supported by his father’s career as a logger. “I grew up with the logging in my family, and it sustained our community,” Tate said. “It allowed us to have the ability to ﬁnancially travel to basketball tournaments, to ﬂoor hockey tournaments as youth.” He said the Nitinaht community relies on seasonal work through tourism, Parks Canada, ﬁshing and the salmon hatchery, a reality that forces the First Nation to recognise the importance of forestry. “This province was built on it, and it continues to thrive on it, and so we need to ﬁnd a balance on how we’re going to maintain the forests and the old growth,” said Tate. “This community is isolated. We don’t have an economic base to develop on.”
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Province follows nations’ notice for logging deferral Old-growth harvesting deferred in Fairy Creek and Central Walbran for two years, following a declaration By Melissa Renwick Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Victoria, BC - The B.C. government is deferring old-growth logging in the Fairy Creek and Central Walbran regions, spanning 2,000 hectares on southern Vancouver Island. The move was made following the Hišuk ma c̕awak Declaration, which was signed by leaders from the Pacheedaht, Ditidaht and Huu-ay-aht First Nations, who called for a two-year deferral of old-growth logging in those areas as they prepare resource management plans. “True reconciliation means meaningful partnerships, listening to Indigenous peoples and trusting their stewardship of their territories,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, in a release. The three nations said they “welcome” the government’s decision and are humbled by the support they’ve received across the province since releasing the declaration. “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.” Increasingly, leadership from the three nations have become troubled by the ﬂock of visitors who have entered their ḥahahuułi (traditional territory) to protest old-growth logging.
The Rainforest Flying Squad, an activist group, have been stationed at various blockades throughout the Caycuse and Fairy Creek watersheds since August to prevent Teal-Jones from accessing what they consider the last remaining oldgrowth forests untouched by industrial logging. This has happened without asking permission from hereditary leaders, a show of disrespect for the chieftainship of the individual nations, said Pacheedaht elected chief Jeﬀ Jones during the signing of the declaration at the Ditidaht Community School in Nitinaht Lake, on June 4. On May 17, RCMP moved into the area to enforce a B.C. Supreme Court injunction that ruled their blockades are illegal. Since then, over 200 people have been arrested. “There is a couple of individual Pacheedaht members who are part of the [Rainforest Flying Squad] that are somewhat leading the group,” said Jones. “The individuals have their individual rights to speak on their own behalf, but they do not have the support of the nation behind them.” For over 150 years, the nations said they have been sitting on the outside looking in as others decided what was best for their lands, water, and people. “This declaration brings this practice to an immediate end,” read the statement. Huu-ay-aht Tayii Ḥaw̓ił ƛiišin (Derek Peters), Ditidaht Chabut Satiixub (Hereditary Chief Paul Tate) and Pacheedaht’s Hereditary Chief Frank Queesto Jones said they made a commitment to manage the resources on their traditional territories guided by the sacred principles of ʔiisaak (utmost respect), ʔuuʔałuk (taking
John Horgan care of), and Hišuk ma c̕awak (everything is one). “We are in a place of reconciliation now and relationships have evolved to include First Nations,” they wrote. “It is time for us to learn from the mistakes that have been made and take back our authority over our ḥahahuułi.” The Rainforest Flying Squad said the Hišuk ma c̕awak Declaration is a “small victory,” in a statement on June 8. “Any deferral on Fairy Creek must include the entire 2,080 hectare Fairy Creek Rainforest, not just the old-growth within the watershed,” read the statement. “This would include protecting the hundreds of hectares of at-risk old-growth adjacent to the Fairy Creek watershed in both Granite Creek and in the area known as the ‘2000 Road’.” As logging is still permitted on Edinburgh Mountain, in the Caycuse Valley, Camper Creek, the Upper Walbran and Bugaboo Creek, the Rainforest Flying
Squad said they will continue to defend the “last ancient forests.” Pacheedaht elder Bill Jones, an outspoken ally of the blockades, said that protestors are standing their ground because they don’t trust any of the governments involved. “We feel all governments lack credibility and trustworthiness because the past promises have been false promises,” he said. While Jones said he was skeptical if the government would honour the nations’ declaration, it would set a “precedent” for other “nations clamouring for the same rights” of stewardship. During a press conference on June 9, B.C. Premier John Horgan said the province is going to respond as quickly as they can to requests from Indigenous communities who have asked for logging deferrals within their territories. “When we adopted all of the recommendations in the [old-growth strategic review], we said we were going to consult with title holders and defer more areas of the province,” he said. “This is a positive day for not just the Pacheedaht, the Huuay-aht and the Ditidaht, but it’s a good thing for British Columbia because we’re embarking on the journey to transform forestry.” As protests continue on southern Vancouver Island, the three First Nations said that third parties do not have the right to speak on their behalf, or on the behalf of the lands, waters and resources in their ḥahahuułi. “We respect the right of individuals to protest safely, lawfully, and peacefully,” they said. “Providing it does not interfere with authorized forestry activities.”
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‘This issue is now cleared’: Island Forest apologizes Pacheedaht, Ditidaht and Huu-ay-aht look to positive partnerships after confrontation prompts investigations By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Nitinaht Lake, BC - Three weeks after tensions with logging protestors erupted into a clash with forestry workers in the Walbran Valley, an apology was made to the Nuu-chah-nulth nations with forestry interests in the region. On June 4 owners from Island Forest, a contractor operating in Tree Farm Licence 44, ventured to the Ditidaht dryland log sorting facility to express their regret to the First Nation, as well as the Huu-ay-aht and Pacheedaht. In early May logging in the Walbran Valley was paused after tensions in the area between protestors and forestry workers became violent. A video shared online shows a group of workers shouting racial slurs at protestors in the area, with a physical confrontation ensuing as the camera is dropped. The land they were on is managed by TFL 44 LP, a partnership between Huuay-aht’s Huumiis Ventures LP and Western Forest Products. No charges were made after the clash, but investigations followed by the companies involved. Huumiis and TFL 44 LP issued a joint statement, saying the “use of racist language, intimidation, and acts of violence have no place in our society or our workplaces, and we have zero tolerance for such behaviour. We are fully supportive of the right to peaceful and legal protest and the obligation of all forest companies, including, TFL 44 LP, to provide a safe work environment.” At the Ditidaht facility Island Forest coowner Shawn Nicholson stood up before hereditary and elected leaders from the three Nuu-chah-nulth nations to make amends. “I’d like to say my deepest apologies to Huu-ay-aht, Pacheedaht and Ditidaht First Nations for some of the actions taken from employees of our company. It’s not what we condone,” said Nicholson on June 4. “We want to make things right.” “I’d like to say, thank you for coming here. It takes strength, courage and acknowledgement as a human being in taking responsibility of actions of one,” responded Ditidaht Chief Councillor Brian Tate. “We can’t always control the actions of other individuals, but what we can control is conveying messages of behaviours, mannerisms, self control.” “We can now tell our people that you’ve made an apology,” added Huu-ay-aht Chief Councillor Robert Dennis Sr. “This is one of the most important things in our culture, when you’ve made an apology in this way. It shows that you care.” “We value working with all three nations in Tree Farm 44,” said Nicholson. “I thank you for allowing us to take this opportunity.” Jeﬀ Jones, elected chief of the Pacheedaht First Nation, noted that the meeting marked important progress, as the world needs to recognize that First Nations have become a large part of forestry. “I think that this is a very positive day, it brings us together to discuss the rights and the wrongs,” he said. “It seems like a diﬀerent era in the forest industry now. Things are changing overall, the respective territories are getting recognized a little more, hereditary chiefs are always present.” Tate noted that the apology followed traditional protocol, showing that Island Forest displayed respect for the First Nation’s law.
Photo submitted by Huu-ay-aht First Nation
Island Forest co-owner Shawn Nicholson oﬀers an apology to Ditidaht Chabut Satiixub (Hereditary Chief Paul Tate on the far right) and Chief Councillor Brian Tate at the First Nation’s log sorting facility on Friday, June 4. he said. “I’m not a fan of the protestors the visitors to his nation’s territory, who “This is our legal system here, amongst came without asking permission from right now, because of their behaviour our people. This is a very important hereditary leaders. HeA recent helicopter and actions and how they are portraying portion of our lives in how we’re structured,” said Tate. “From this day forward, ride over Ditidaht land revealed encamp- themselves with half truths. I have asked ments and portable toilets. He’s also con- the RCMP and anybody else that speaks from those of us here, this issue is now cerned about visitors speaking on behalf to them to keep Ditidaht First Nations’ cleared. We’ve accepted your apology… name out of their mouth when they have of his First Nation. We look forward to working with you in a talk with the reporters, because they “We are not tolerating any more thirdthe future.” don’t represent us…And any other First party interest coming in without permisThe surge in activism on logging roads Nation individual that joins the protest, sion and doing as they please in our in southern Vancouver Island has forced they do not represent us.” traditional territory and disrespecting First Nations with forestry interests to the land, us and our hereditary system,” take measures to control conduct in their territories. On May 10 the Huu-ay-aht set up a check point at the entrance to their NTC Na•ons Support the Hišuk ma c̕awak Declaration ḥahuułi to control disruptions, informing visitors that they must follow the First Since •me immemorial, Nuu-chah-nulth have been stewards of the forests, Nation’s three sacred principles: ʔiisaak ﬁshery and all other resources within their territories (hahoulthee). They have (Utmost Respect), ʔuuʔałuk (Taking Care managed them in ways that would sustain their people for genera•ons to of), and Hišuk ma c̕awak (Everything is come. Their Ha’wiih had responsibili•es to the land and the people and upheld those responsibili•es that con•nue to this date. Connected). As Island Forest continues to operate The NTC issued a statement on old growth in November of 2018. Their posi•on in the area, Nicholson admitted that the was and is that First Na•ons, as governments, have the responsibility to decide ongoing protest activity has put his emwhat is best for their lands, their waters, their resources, and the wellbeing of ployees in a tough position. present and future genera•ons of their people. “It’s not special training we have, we don’t encounter this on a regular basis,” As Nuu-chah-nulth we will always need old growth and the ecosystems he said of the protestors. “They’re going contained in them. We need them for cultural and ceremonial purposes too far, they’re putting spikes in trees and as well as monumental cedars for canoes, welcoming ﬁgures, long houses, cutting up helipads, they’re making it totems, etc. It is up to Nuu-chah-nulth to determine how much is needed and dangerous for the worker to go out there, any protected areas. and they don’t care about the worker, and Huu-ay-aht, Di•daht and Pacheedaht First Na•ons have been working with the that’s what’s sad.” B.C. government and companies opera•ng in their territories to re-assert their On Wednesday, June 9 the province right to manage the lands and resources in their territories, especially in their agreed to a notice from the Pacheedaht, forests. In con•nuing their eﬀorts for management of their forests, the Huu-ayDitidaht and Huu-ay-aht for a two-year aht, Di•daht and Pacheedaht issued the Hišuk ma c̕awak Declara•on. deferral on old-growth logging the Fairy Creek watershed and Central Walbran, The Directors of the NTC recently endorsed and support the Hišuk ma c̕awak allowing the First Nations to undertake Declara•on that was signed by hereditary and elected leaders, declaring that stewardship management plans with their their governance and stewardship responsibili•es in their Hahoulthee must be citizens. acknowledged and respected. Fearing that other old-growth areas are at still at risk, the Rainforest Flying At a mee•ng of the First Na•ons Summit, the chiefs in assembly also passed a Squad has pledged to uphold a presence mo•on that support the three Na•ons and their declara•on. There will also be in the south island. a mo•on presented to chiefs at the Union of BC Indian Chiefs at the end of the “Large-scale logging could still occur month seeking their support. in old-growth forest directly adjacent to The NTC and other suppor•ng First Na•ons encourage strongly that the B.C. Fairy Creek, and in parts of the Central government work with Huu-ay-aht, Di•daht and Pacheedaht to recognize their Walbran not included in the deferral,” right to manage lands and forests within their principles and values. The B.C. reads a statement from the activist group. government must ensure implementa•on of this declara•on. “Because of this, the Rainforest Flying Squad protesters will remain in place and will consult with Pacheedaht Elder Bill Jones on next steps.” “The announcement today is a promising start to protecting old-growth forests in British Columbia,” said Saul Arbess, a member of Rainforest Flying Squad. “It’s a welcome change to see the province responding to this request from First Nations, and giving them the time to develop a plan that works for them.” But Tate has recently been troubled by
The declara•on states clearly that “Third par•es - whether they be companies, organiza•ons, other governments, or individuals - have no right to speak on our behalf, or on behalf of the lands, waters and resources in our Hahoulthee. Moreover, for third par•es to be welcome in our Hahoulthee, they must respect our governance and stewardship, our sacred principles, and our right to economically beneﬁt from our resources.” These Na•ons speak for themselves, their lands, resources and territories and have done so eﬀec•vely through the Hišuk ma c̕awak Declara•on, which must be respected by all. Respec!ully submi"ed, Judith Sayers, President of NTC
June 17, 2021—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 5
Province promises to modernize forest policy Government promises to double the tenures held by First Nations, while protecting more old growth forest By Mike Youds Ha-Shilth-sa Contributor Victoria, BC - The provincial government is pledging to modernize forest policy, while doubling tenure held by First Nations and protect old growth forests. Premier John Horgan and Forests Minister Katrine Conroy announced the policy initiative on June 1, coupling it with reconciliation while stressing an expanded role for First Nations in the forest sector and land-use decisions in their territories. Horgan said the goal is to transition the forest industry from “a high-volume past to a high-value future.” “Our vision is about committing to the future,” he said. “It means there will be new deferrals on old growth subject to consultation with the title holders, the Indigenous people who have been on the territories of British Columbia for millennia. It’s vital, absolutely vital, that we do not repeat the colonial actions of the past by dictating to First Nations what they do on their territory today.” Horgan described existing forest policy in B.C. as a patchwork of outdated and incomprehensible regulations that does not meet current challenges including climate change. The “new vision,” outlined in an intentions paper, calls for a more diverse and competitive forestry sector focused on sustainability and meeting community needs. The plan, which will not be implemented until 2023, is based on three principles: increased sector participation, enhanced stewardship and sustainability and a strengthened social contract to give government more control over management of the sector. “When Indigenous communities call for greater access to economic opportunities, it means something on the ground to First Peoples. It means, when we just talk about reconciliation, that’s one thing, but when we deliver access to your traditional territories, we’re turning back the clock on a colonial history that was brought graphically into coverage this week by the discoveries in Kamloops. I know British Columbians want to turn the page on our colonial past,” he added. Days after the province’s plan was announced, leaders from the Pacheedaht, Ditidaht and Huu-ay-aht First Nations signed the Hišuk ma c̕awak Declaration, asserting authority to take back control over their territories. The three Nuuchah-nulth nations also gave the province notice of a two-year deferment of all old-growth logging in the Fairy Creek Valley and Central Walbran to allow for
Photo by Mike Youds
Bundled raw logs are loaded onto a barge for export in Port Alberni harbour. the development of resource stewardship plans. The provincial government has since agreed to this deferral. Huu-ay-aht Chief Councillor Robert Dennis Sr. was pleased with the premier’s June 1 forestry announcement. “I am very encouraged, because some of the things they want to do parallel exactly what we want to do,” he said. “It’s important that people respect the hahoulthee and the territories of the diﬀerent tribes.” “We will have a larger say in what’s harvested and what’s not harvested,” added Ditidaht Chief Councillor Brian Tate. In 2018, Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council called on the province to work with them on slowing or halting the rapid disappearance of old growth forests in their territories. “Protection of old growth must happen now,” the NTC said. The Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs has called for immediate deferral of old growth logging and funding for Indigenous communities to take stock of what remains of old growth in their territories. “A paradigm shift would involve providing critical ﬁnancing for Indigenousled conservation initiatives to ensure that they have the resources and economic capacity to determine the future for their own territories,” said Green MLA Adam Olsen on June 1. “Instead, today’s announcement is a missed opportunity to defer logging in the most contested stands of old growth, to repair division
in communities and to create space for meaningful dialogue with Indigenous communities.” The premier repeated his promise to adopt recommendations from the strategic review of B.C. old growth forest that was released prior to last year’s provincial election. “We owe it to our children and grandchildren to preserve this ancient forest,” he said. “We’re committed to implementing all the recommendations of the old growth strategic review.” He said the 200,000 hectares of old growth already preserved is equivalent to twice the area to the Lower Mainland or “500 Stanley Parks,” a claim that environmentalists have disputed. “And there is much more to do,” Horgan added. “In addition to the deferrals we’ve already done, we will continue to collaborate with First Nations and others to make sure that we protect species and we protect that diversity that is so important to our old growth forest.” The forest policy announcement was closely followed on digital media by protesters on blockades at Fairy Creek and the Walbran Valley even as more are
arrested daily by RCMP. One Indigenous youth suﬀered head injuries and was taken to hospital Tuesday, June 1 after police dismantled a tripod of poles on which he was sitting, said Erika Heyrman, a fellow protester. “The way they got him down was reckless and dangerous,” Heyrman said. Bill Jones, a Pacheedaht elder supporting blockades against old-growth logging, said he is not convinced by the government’s intentions paper. “I think it’s just another lip-service promise,” Jones said, adding that Horgan cannot be trusted to follow through. “Until he earns credibility, I have very much distrust for him and his government as he has made false promises and never came through.” A handful of Indigenous, business and municipal representatives took part in the announcement and gave it cautious approval. “We are happy to see this government is ready to continue talking about solutions to forest health and management,” said Dallas Smith, president of Nanwakolas Council, which represents ﬁve First Nations on the Island and mainland. “There are a lot of challenging issues that need to be discussed with many parties, but respectful collaboration and dialogue will have greater impact and a more eﬃcient path forward than the recent increase in activism.” Horgan maintained the government could not intervene in the Fairy Creek dispute without going back on its commitment to implement all recommendations from the old growth review. “The critical recommendation that’s at play at Fairy Creek is consulting with the title holders, the people on whose land these forests are growing on,” Horgan said. That includes the Pacheedaht First Nation as well as Dididaht and Huu-ay-aht First Nations in other parts of TFLs 44 and 46, he noted. “If we were to arbitrarily put in place deferrals there, that would be a return to the colonialism that has so graphically been brought back to us as a result of events in Kamloops this week,” Horgan said, alluding to the discovery of a mass grave of 215 children at a former residential school. “I’m not prepared to do that.”
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Leaders say MMIWG plan ‘falls short’ Province is introducing a community safety fund to help with the ongoing crisis By Melissa Renwick Local Journalism Initiative Reporter The federal government released a National Action Plan (NAP) in response to the ongoing crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people on June 3. It comes two years after the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls’ (MMIWG) ﬁnal report was released. The NAP includes highlights of key short-term priorities related to the violence against Indigenous women, including: public awareness campaigns about the issues Indigenous people face, providing trauma-informed training on Indigenous history and culture, along with creating a national task force to review and re-investigate unresolved ﬁles of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people. A “complementary implementation plan” with expected outcomes and timelines has yet to be developed. No timeframe or budget was provided for any of the short-term priorities. Mariah Charleson, Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council vice-president, said she vividly remembers June 3, 2019, because the ﬁnal report described the disproportionate level of violence against Indigenous women and girls as a “genocide.” “You would think there would be some immediate action required, and in emergency, when you hear the word ‘genocide,’” she said. It took two years for the federal government to come up with 23 short-term priorities and seven goals, said Charleson. “It fell far short of what we were expecting” from the initial report, she said. “We waited two years for an incomplete action plan with no deliverables, no landmarks, no immediate goals, no long-term goals, no timelines, no budget,” Charleson added. Debbie Scarborough, provincial manager of women and child protection with the BC First Nations Justice Council, echoed Charleson and said the action plan “is not really an action plan.” “At what point are we actually going to say ‘enough is enough?” she questioned. “We’ve done enough talking. Indigenous people are the most researched people
in this country and yet, the most underserved. I’ve [heard] enough talking. This was supposed to be the plan.” The NAP was released a day before the one-year anniversary of Chantel Moore’s death – the 26-year-old Tla-o-qui-aht woman who was fatally shot outside her New Brunswick apartment during a wellness check by an Edmundston police oﬃcer. No charges were laid against the involved oﬃcer. Scarborough suggested that there are many concrete plans the government can implement, such as providing specialized training to every police oﬃcer for defusing those living with mental health or addictions issues. And if that’s not possible, creating a squad in every RCMP detachment that is trained to handle those dealing with mental health or addiction problems, she added. Another “concrete plan” is to purchase vans and provide drivers licences through the All Nations Driving Academy. Instead of hitchhiking, women could pick-up other women and children along Highway 16, known as the Highway of Tears, she said. “Every time I drive home along the highway [of tears], I’m reminded that there’s some girls and some women that are buried out there that have yet to be found and brought home – just like the 215 children in Kamloops,” said Scarborough. “We know that there’s likely hundreds, if not thousands, of other graves at the other sites of residential schools. What will it take for this government to actually invest in an action plan?” Following a recommendation from the national inquiry, Ottawa announced in April that Highway 16 will have cellular coverage along the entire route. The NAP described interviewing over 100 Indigenous women, 2SLGBTQQIA+ people, among others to ensure Indigenous voices and lived experiences are at the centre of the plan. “A lot of heart went into the work,” Scarborough said of the testimonies. Women from across the country came together and listened to each other’s stories with respect, she described. Charleson, however, said she hoped it would be more extensive. “If [the government] wants to be true to their mandate and keep Indigenous
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.
Mariah Charleson women and girls at the centre of their work, we need to hear the thousands of women’s stories from all across the country,” she said. In a release, Grace Lore, parliamentary secretary for gender equity, said violence against Indigenous women, girls and twospirit people is an “urgent’ issue in B.C. and across the country. British Columbia responded with their own plan, A Path Forward: Priorities and Early Strategies for B.C. The province is making an initial investment of up to $5.5 million in 2021 through to 2022, with additional investments under consideration. These resources will allow B.C. to invest in a community fund accessible to First Nations people, Métis citizens and 2SLGBTQQIA+ communities in support of developing safety plans. “This has been a call to action from Indigenous women for decades,” said Melanie Mark, MLA for VancouverMount Pleasant, in a release. “Now is the time for real action.” As Indigenous leaders and advocates await “yet another document,” Scarborough said “Indigenous women and girls are still being killed.” “I get government, I get process but the ﬁnal report was two years ago and it wasn’t ﬁnal,” she said. “Now we have an action plan that isn’t really an action plan. At what point do we just stop and do something?”
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June 17, 2021—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 7
No charges against oﬃcer who shot Chantel Moore News comes three days and a year after the 26-year-old died during a police wellness check in New Brunswick By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Edmunston, NB – “No, no, no, no, no, nooooo. How could he get away with this?” asked the grief-stricken grandmother of Chantel Moore, Grace Frank, on her social media page. On June 7 the family received word from New Brunswick Crown prosecutors that no charges will be laid against Edmundston Police Force Oﬃcer Jeremy Son. The news comes three days after the ﬁrst anniversary of the shooting death of 26-year-old Chantal Moore of Tla-o-quiaht. On June 4, 2020, Const. Son was dispatched to the home of Chantel Moore to perform a wellness check. According to Edmundston Police Force, Const. Son shot Moore multiple times in selfdefence, after she approached him in a threatening manner with a knife. Const. Son was not wearing a body camera. “The Crown has concluded its review of the report from the Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes du Québec (BEI) of its investigation following the death of Chantel Courtney Moore,” said a statement issued today by Public Prosecutions Services, Oﬃce of the Attorney General. “Ms. Moore died on June 4, 2020, outside her residence during a police intervention by a member of the Edmundston Police Force.” “Based on the review of the evidence, it is of our opinion that in the early morning hours of June 4, the oﬃcer in question did believe, on reasonable grounds, that force or a threat of force was being used
Chantel Moore against him by Ms. Moore, that he shot at Ms. Moore for the purpose of defending or protecting himself and that his actions were reasonable under the circumstances,” continued the prosecutor’s oﬃce in the written statement. The statement goes on to say that the ofﬁcer’s actions were reasonable given that he had few options available to him with
“a potential lethal threat approaching him quickly,” having no other escape option available on the third-ﬂoor balcony he was conﬁned to, and following repeated orders that Ms. Moore drop the weapon she was holding. Through her anguished tears, Martha Martin, Chantel’s mother said, “I feel like I can’t breathe…but this is not surprising. It sucks. When you’re the police, it feels like you can always ﬁnd reasons to get away with things like this.” “When there’s no body cams, there’s no transparency and it’s always going to be a one-sided story. My daughter isn’t alive to tell her side,” said Martin. The purpose of the Crown’s review was to determine if criminal charges are warranted against the police oﬃcer involved in the shooting. They say that the evidence presented to Public Prosecutions Services does not establish a reasonable prospect of conviction. Therefore, they will not proceed with criminal charges against the police oﬃcer. “As the Crown’s review of this ﬁle has concluded, we have decided to make publicly available the legal opinion prepared on this matter,” stated the Public Prosecutions Services. The prosecutor’s oﬃce went on to say that the Oﬃce of the Chief Coroner has committed to holding an inquest into the death of Ms. Moore. “This is a public process that will review the evidence related to this matter, including witness testimony, and make recommendations aimed at preventing similar deaths,” they stated. Martha Martin is consulting with her lawyer about next steps. They are consid-
ering ﬁling a civil lawsuit. “I had a small glimmer of hope for some fairness, some justice, but we know us Indigenous people never get justice for our people,” she said. A statement issued by the Nuu-chahnulth Tribal Council says the outcome “is reﬂective of Canada’s persisting colonization and genocidal practices.” “The biggest problem with this case is that it is only the police oﬃcer’s statement that the Crown depends on for a large part of the evidence,” said President Judith Sayers. “There was no body cam, there was no witnesses so this police oﬃcer will say what he has to in order to save himself. I have never understood how an armed, large police oﬃcer was scared of a 5-foot, 100- pound woman with a small knife in her hand if she had one. Shooting four times is excessive force by anyone’s standards except the Crown counsel.” “The circumstances surrounding the death of Ms. Moore are tragic,” said the prosecutor’s oﬃce. “Chantel was a beloved daughter, mother, sister and friend. She was a member of Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation in British Columbia who had recently moved to New Brunswick to be closer to her family. We oﬀer our deepest sympathies to her loved ones and to the communities touched by this loss.” Martin planned to head to the New Brunswick Legislature on June 8 to put up yellow ribbons in Chantel’s memory. “I’m angry but I’m not surprised,” said Martin, vowing to keep pushing the yellow dress campaign, seeking justice for all Indigenous people killed by police.
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Page 8— Ha-Shilth-Sa—June 17, 2021
Why no charges against the oﬃcer who shot Moore? A legal report concludes that the policeman reacted to a life-threatening situation that erupted in seconds the BEI were able to piece together a timeline for Chantel Moores’ ﬁnal hours.
By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Edmundston, NB – After reviewing the BEI (Bureau des enquetes independates du Quebec) report on the investigation following the death of Chantel Moore, the New Brunswick Oﬃce of the Attorney General said they do not recommend any kind of homicide charges against Jeremy Son, the Edmundston Police Force oﬃcer that shot and killed Chantel on June 4, 2020, during a wellness check. “My conclusion is that the situation was an emergency, that the oﬃcer had to react quickly in order to protect himself and he did not have any other option but to discharge his ﬁrearm in order to do so,” wrote the public prosecutor’s service in a legal opinion report, dated June 7, 2021. The author of the report concluded that, although “deeply regrettable”, Chantel Moore’s death was the result of her being severely intoxicated by alcohol, “and combined with her actions, speciﬁcally exiting her residence brandishing a knife, steadily advancing upon Oﬃcer 1.” But questions raised about whether or not Moore was brandishing a knife that night were not suﬃciently answered in the available reports. There are inconsistencies 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. According to NTC President Judith Sayers, who is advocating on behalf of the Moore/Martin family, Chantel did not speak French and the police oﬃcer who shot her knew that from a previous inter-
A series of text messages
Chantel Moore of the Tla-o-qhi-aht First Nation was fatally shot during a police wellness check on June 4, 2020. action with Moore, in which she forgot were included in the BEI report which her house key and climbed in a window. was submitted to the Public Prosecution Instead, investigators pointed to Services on Dec. 18, 2020. Moore’s intoxication and her possibly Sayers says that the BEI report has not being depressed. They pointed to her pre- been released to the family and probably vious suicide attempts, even though many never will be. of the friends and witnesses described her “It’s their (BEI) report and we’re not as happy that night. entitled to it,” she said, adding that she The report includes a summary of events ﬁnds that very disturbing. that lead up to the shooting death of the However, she believes that more in26-year-old Tla-o-qui-aht woman. It con- formation from their report may trickle tains never-before-released details that out over coming days as various other processes begin, namely the coroner’s inquest, which is set to start Dec. 6, 2021 and a wrongful death civil court action expected to be launched by the family. Members of the Edmundston Police Force do not wear body cameras, however, they have videorecorders on their dashboards. In the early morning hours of June 4, 2020, their dash cameras were recording events near Moore’s apartment. While the cameras were not pointed towards Moore’s apartment door, they picked up sound and, coupled with witness testimony, business surveillance cameras in the area and phone analysis,
On the evening of June 3, 2020, Moore was picked up from work at 7 p.m. by her friend and an acquaintance. The three young women planned to hang out and have some drinks. According to witnesses living near Moore’s apartment, the women were having a great time on the third-ﬂoor deck, drinking, talking to other friends on their phones and laughing loudly. The acquaintance went home at 8 p.m. while Moore and her friend continued to socialize. They moved indoors when a neighbor complained about the noise. The neighbor described Moore as friendly and apologetic when asked to tone it down. Shortly after midnight on June 4, a series of text messages were exchanged between Moore and her ex-boyfriend, who had returned to Quebec when the pandemic started. The two remained on friendly terms. The messages from Moore’s phone to the ex-boyfriend started to sound like they were coming from another person, and they become threatening in nature. Investigators suggest that Moore may have been trying to manipulate her ex into reconciling. The text message exchange continued from about midnight to 12:55 a.m. before the concerned ex contacted police to check on her. He had been working that night, during the time the texts were made. During the text message exchange, Moore was caught on business surveillance camera walking her friend to her car at 12:39 a.m. and then going out to meet her again, when the friend returned at 12:59 a.m. to retrieve her wallet. At 1:09 a.m. Moore attempted to video chat with her ex-boyfriend in Quebec, but the connection wasn’t made. Four shots ﬁred An hour later, Oﬃcer Jeremy Son received information about a 911 call where the ex-boyfriend, concerned for Moore’s safety, asked for a wellness check. Continued on page 9.
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June 17, 2021—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 9 Continued from page 8. Son told BEI investigators on June 6, 2020, that he was, in fact, the Use of Force instructor for the Edmundston City Police and had been for two years. Besides his sidearm, he carried pepper spray and a telescopic baton. He did not have a taser. The entrances to the apartments where Moore lived were poorly lit and Son used his ﬂashlight to climb the three-story set of wooden stairs. He stated that he could see a television set was on, illuminating someone sleeping on the couch directly below a window. He knocked on the window repeatedly in an attempt to rouse her. Instead, he woke a neighbor, who came out to see what was going on. By that time, another oﬃcer arrived and, from his patrol car, could hear Son say in French that he woke her. According to Son, Moore sat up; he said she looked confused. He said he used his ﬂashlight to light himself up and pointed to the door to get her to open it. “As he moved towards the entrance door, he saw through that door window that Ms. Moore retrieved something from the kitchen,” said the legal opinion report. He said he could not tell what the object was but saw that it was something metallic. “He said that she approached the door in an aggressive manner,” adding that he was already backing up as she opened the front door, said the report. According to Oﬃcer Son, “she appeared angry with a furrowed brow.” He goes to say that he backed up from the door and removed his sidearm from its holster. “Ms. Moore opened the door and came out of the apartment moving in his direction, with a knife in her left hand,” stated the report. Rather than moving back towards the stairs, where he could have escaped, Son said he moved to the left of the front door and was backed up against the railings of the balcony, three stories up. He said Moore was holding the knife high, in front of her with the blade facing up and in his direction. He said she didn’t say a word but walked toward him at a steady pace with a blank stare. Son said he ordered her, in French, to drop the knife repeatedly. Within seconds, he was backed up against the railings and “scared that she would hurt or kill him”. “He ﬁred four shots before Ms. Moore fell to the ﬂoor of the balcony and she released the knife,” the report stated. Right-handed ﬁngerprints on the knife 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. One witness who went outside after he heard the shots observed police oﬃcers searching the balcony, “side to side” with their ﬂashlights. He told BEI investigators that he saw police move Moore’s body “end for end”. “According to him, he believed the police added/placed the knife at the scene,” said the legal opinion report. A forensic examination of the steak knife seized from the balcony revealed that the blade was 115 millimetres long
(4.5 inches). Chemical treatment of the knife revealed the prints of three digits on the handle. While the ridge detail was not suﬃcient to identify a speciﬁc individual that held it, the forensic oﬃcer was able to determine that the prints indicate that the knife was held in someone’s right hand. The crown prosecutor’s oﬃce dismissed the claim that the knife was planted, stating that one police oﬃcer and one civilian witness heard Oﬃcer Son yell, “drop the knife” in French. As for the forensic analysis of the righthanded prints on the knife handle, the Crown prosecutor said, “there is no way to date the deposit of the prints upon this knife. This evidence, while considered, does not cause this author to conclude that the knife was not handled by Ms. Moore on the morning of June 4, 2021 (sic) nor that it could have been handled by Ms. Moore in a manner other than described by Oﬃcer 1 (Son).” The author goes on to say that the knife was found by two forensic oﬃcers after the scene was secured. There is no information in the report about how much time elapsed between the shooting and when the scene was secured. “I do not conclude that the knife was intentionally moved or placed by anyone, rather it may have been moved unintentionally, post-shots ﬁred, possibly as Ms. Moore was turned over and attempts were made to apply pressure to her wounds,” wrote the author. The autopsy report revealed that Chantel Moore suﬀered three gunshot wounds to the chest and one to her lower leg. The toxicology reported indicated that Moore was intoxicated by alcohol. The Crown Prosecutor’s Oﬃce concluded that this was an emergency situation and use of force was not disproportionate with the threat. “Since I have arrived at this determination, I am of the opinion that a trier of facts, properly instructed in the law, would be more likely to acquit Oﬃcer 1 (Son) of homicide than to convict him as such,” they wrote. Angry but not surprised But friends and family of Chantel Moore are bitterly disappointed at the decision. “I’m angry but I’m not even surprised,” said Martha Martin after the decision was announced. “Us Indigenous people never get justice…would things be diﬀerent if she were white?” Son stated that it was only a matter of seconds from the time that Moore opened her door to the time he shot her. When asked by investigators why he went to his left as Ms. Moore exited the apartment, he expressed regret for making that decision. As a Use of Force Instructor, he stated he knew that an oﬃcer should always take into consideration his environment, to ensure that they leave themselves an exit path. Had he followed his training and moved toward the exit route, he admits there may have been a diﬀerent outcome. Sayers doubted any chance of charges against Son when she heard the BEI would be investigating. “The BEI has never recommended charges against police oﬃcers in their whole history of being,” she said. Sayers says lawyers are looking into the possibility of getting a review of the case. She says there are more complaints lodged against Oﬃcer Son that can be heard under the Police Act now that this complaint has concluded. The Martin family plans to ﬁle a civil action against the Edmundston Police Force and Jeremy Son for wrongful death of Moore.
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Page 10— Ha-Shilth-Sa—June 17, 2021
Education, acknowledgement, resilience: How Downie & Wenjack Fund is encouraging Canadians to act during National Indigenous History Month By Theresa Tayler
SPONSORED BY TD June marks National Indigenous History Month, which means a time of celebrations from coast to coast to coast, and to commemorate the history, diverse cultures and outstanding achievements of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples. Just ask Sarah Midanik. Growing up around St. Albert, AB, as a proud member of the Métis Nation of Alberta, and part of one of the founding Métis families in the province, she is no stranger to community gatherings, including jigging, music, and other cultural celebrations. This year, there is a sombre shadow in the midst of what is usually a positive and inspiring time. When the news broke at the end of May about the remains of 215 children at one of the largest residential schools in Canada near Kamloops B.C., Midanik, along with the rest of Canada, paused to sit with the truth of what many Indigenous People long understood. “This has been a horrible time. The last thing we feel like doing is celebrating,” says Midanik, who is the President & CEO of the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund (DWF). “But resilience and strength are at our roots and ﬁnding healing through culture and connection is at our core.” DWF was founded in 2016, with the goal of moving reconciliation forward by building awareness, education and connections between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Canada. In honour of National Indigenous History Month, for the past several years they have presented a series of events to celebrate the diversity of Indigenous Peoples across the country. “We have such incredible partnerships with artists, Knowledge Keepers, Elders and youth that help to make our Indigenous History Month events come to life,” shares Midanik. “This year, it is important that we bond together and connect through culture, community, and shared experience.”
Sarah Midanik, President & CEO of the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund (DWF). Images courtesy of DWF.
The Fund is part of the legacy of late Canadian songwriter, Tragically Hip frontman, artist, and poet Gord Downie, to improve the lives of First Peoples. His family, in collaboration with the family of Chanie Wenjack, an Anishinaabe boy born in Ogoki Post on the Marten Falls Reserve in 1954, helped develop the not-for-proﬁt. At the age of nine, Chanie was sent to the Cecilia Jeﬀrey Indian Residential School in Kenora, Ontario. At age 12, he tried to escape the school to reunite with his family. Nine others ran away on the same day, and all but Chanie were caught; his body was later found beside the railway tracks a week after he ﬂed. Chanie died of starvation and exposure to the elements. “[Gord] was so maddened and upset when he heard Chanie’s story. He couldn’t believe he hadn’t been taught about the atrocities of the residential school system growing up,” Midanik says. In the wake of the discovery at the Kamloops Indian Residential School, DWF launched the 215 Pledge to honour all children, families and communities aﬀected by residential schools. The Pledge is a call to action to unite in truth and to commit to change. “We are all grieving for the families of the 215 children who never returned home. This news reminds us that our work building cultural understanding and creating a path toward reconciliation only becomes more relevant and crucial,” says Midanik. When the news broke, Midanik describes how she spent the weekend in conversation with Chanie’s family and how they spoke about what this moment meant to the survivors and those who have been impacted by the harrowing legacy of residential schools. One of Chanie’s sisters, Pearl, kept saying, ‘Now they know, now the rest of world knows we weren’t lying…’. “This is really what DWF is all about - education and action. To create positive change that will improve the lives of Indigenous Peoples in Canada,” says Midanik. Adding that one of her favourite quotes is from The Honourable Justice Murray Sinclair, Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, who said: “Education got us into this mess and education will get us out of it.” Through the TD Ready Commitment, TD’s corporate citizenship platform, DWF has received support to help preserve and celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ arts and culture, such as through TD’s sponsorship of the Indigenous History Month series. “TD has supported us throughout this journey, which is especially impactful as a not-for-proﬁt during a pandemic, ensuring that we are still able to move forward in sharing the hope, unity and celebration of diﬀerent Indigenous communities and voices throughout the country,” Midanik says. “Our activities this month will provide an opportunity to commemorate and celebrate the history, cultures and achievements of the First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples. It is also a time to reﬂect on the resilience of Indigenous Peoples and acknowledge the struggle, both against acts of racism they face today and the past actions that sought to erase their identity.” TD has a long-standing commitment to Indigenous Peoples and communities. Together with organizations like DWF, they are committed to supporting programs and initiatives that help all Canadians learn about Indigenous Peoples and the work required to help advance Truth and Reconciliation calls to action. This month, and all year-round, take time to reﬂect on the ongoing impact of the residential school system and the resulting trauma. Consider donating, developing your understanding by reading a summary of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action, or explore some of the virtual events happening this month at communityevents.TD.com. ***All photos were taken pre-COVID-19
June 17, 2021—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 11
Kamloops children honored at former Alberni site Ditidaht hereditary chiefs recognize the lost children, while many wonder what evidence lies within the ground By Eric Plummer Ha-Shitlh-Sa Editor Port Alberni, BC - News of the remains of 215 undocumented children unearthed at the Kamloops Indian Residential School continues to reverberate through Nuu-chah-nulth communities, prompting the Ditidaht Ha’wiih to venture to another former site to make a statement. Since the discovery was announced by the Tk’emlúps te SecwépemcKukpi7 First Nations on May 27, many residential school survivors have yearned to uncover evidence of other children who went missing while at the institutions. Now some Nuu-chah-nulth-aht are looking to the ground where the Alberni Indian Residential School stood in various forms from 1893 to 1973, including the hereditary chiefs from the Ditidaht First Nation, who came to the site on Monday, June 7. A crowd of several dozen gathered outside of Maht Mahs gymnasium on the rainy afternoon, mostly clad in orange shirts to recognize the First Nations children who attended the assimilationist institutions. Beginning with comments from Ditidaht member Bookwilla (Charlie) Thompson, he explained that the gathering was intended to honour the 215 undocumented children who were discovered in Kamloops, as well as recognize at least two children with families ties to the First Nation who went missing while attending the Alberni Indian Residential School. The gathering took place with permission from Tseshaht Ha’wiih, and speaking on their behalf, Robert Watts
having to come to terms with the death of a child. Equal to the burden, is coming to terms with the deaths of many children. Their stories are our individual stories. Their deaths are our living memories,” he read. “We are children buried in time, we are children living in time, we are children angered in time. We are children and we are survivors of Canada’s Indian residential schools.” “Let us breathe life into their memory, and let us all breathe life into each other,” continued Jack Thompson. “The story of the Indian in Canada is the story of Canada. Canada’s history is but a single grain of sand on an unending beach within our history, our Nuu-chah-nulth history. Let us unearth this rich history and honour every child in our homes and in our communities. Let us honour all the legacies of hurt and grief and renew our spirits with a promise of hope and prosperity. Let us make every child matter, and let us make every one of us matter.” Buildings that once housed the residential school are still standPhoto by Eric Plummer ing on Tseshaht land, a painful Several dozen gathered in front of Maht Mahs on June 7 to hear a statement from Ditireminder that led the First Nation daht Ha’wiih. to formerly request resources to explained that the children who went this building,” said Watts on behalf of the remove these structures so that they can be replaced with a healing centre missing from the Alberni institution Tseshaht hereditary chiefs. would not be forgotten. Ditidaht member Jack Thompson read a for survivors. This request was put to the House on Commons on June 1 on “They want you to know that they’re statement from the Ditidaht Ha’wiih, as Tseshaht’s behalf by Courtenay-Alberni going to do their hardest to get to the the chiefs stood before the crowd. MP Gord Johns. bottom of everything that happened in “There is no more profound truth than
Celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day with us! Visit our new website at tinwis.ca and see our newest blog post sharing the Tin Wis History, to learn more about our past, present and future! Coming on June 21st, 2021.
HAPPY NATIONAL INDIGENOUS PEOPLES DAY JUNE 21
85 ocean view rooms with breakfast included – outdoor hot tub – ﬁtness centre – meetings – conferences – weddings and much more!
Owned by Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Located on traditional territory
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Salmon initiative welcomed amid concerns Challenges “enormous but not insurmountable,” says ﬁsheries minister amid the $647-million announcement By Mike Youds Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Federal Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan used World Oceans Day, June 8, to introduce via Zoom “the largest, most transformative investment in salmon by any government in history.” “Many Paciﬁc wild salmon are on the verge of collapse, and we need to take bold ambitious action now if we are to reverse the trend and give them a ﬁghting chance at survival,” Jordan said, announcing the Paciﬁc Salmon Strategic Initiative (PSSI). The $647-million program intends to guide investments and action in four key areas: conservation and stewardship, enhanced hatchery production, harvest transformation, and integrated management and collaboration. Jordan said the strategy is not a new report or a new study, but “ready-to-go funding that will lead to comprehensive eﬀort to reach a single goal: to stop the decline of Paciﬁc salmon now and to help rebuild populations in the longer term.” PSSI includes additional federal contribution of $100 million to the B.C. Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund (BCSRIF), an existing partnership with the provincial government. “We will be working closely with Indigenous communities, harvesters, recreational ﬁshers, industry, environmental organizations, and provincial and territorial partners to advance actions under each pillar, to stabilize the species and to support a more modern, sustainable and
Photo by Uu-a-thluk
A fresh catch of west coast coho salmon are displayed on the dock. resilient sector,” Jordan stressed. management and top-down bureaucratic Out west, the announcement was weldecision-making. come news amidst a continuing salmon No one doubts the minister’s word on crisis on the Fraser River and declining the seriousness of the situation, though. stocks along the coast. Similar bold proPaciﬁc salmon have never been as imnouncements have been heard in the past, periled as they are now for a whole host so they tend to be greeted with a degree of reasons, climate change and habitat of skepticism among stakeholders. degradation prominent among them. Nuu-chah-nulth nations have for years Would this initiative be any diﬀerent? had hopes raised of rebuilding their Could it be transformative? ﬁsheries through a greater say in man“I’m wanting to be hopeful and not agement and allocation of wild salmon, worried that things still aren’t going to only to see those ambitions stymied by change,” said Eric Angel, Uu-a-thluk what many consider federal ﬁsheries mis- ﬁsheries program manager, sounding a
cautiously optimistic note. The Council of Ha’wiih Forum on Fisheries met with PSSI Senior Director Sarah Murdoch last week after Jordan’s announcement. Murdoch has worked directly with Uu-a-thluk in the past on the federal wild salmon policy and the two have a good working relationship, Angel said. Murdoch echoed the minister’s emphasis on collaboration, direct communication and working together to determine the most eﬀective use of funding as the new program takes shape. “She was telling us it’s a short path to the minister, which is important,” Angel said. The council stressed that Nuu-chahnulth nations want to be part of the conversation before DFO decides how the initiative is going to work. “The real concern we’ve got is that they’ve already decided what they want to do and how they want to do it,” Angel said. Jordan likened the challenges in rebuilding Paciﬁc salmon to the barrier at Big Bar Slide on the Fraser River — “enormous but not insurmountable.” When she visited the site of the natural disaster last year, Jordan saw the challenge, yet she also drew inspiration from the tripartite response of federal, provincial and First Nations governments. “There is no quick ﬁx and no one single solution to save this species,” she added. “The salmon must be a priority right across the region for years come … this will require patience and all hands on deck.”
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Canada’s Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan made the announcement over Zoom on June 8, which was World Oceans Day. She held out the promise of multi-government cooperation along with conservation stewardship, a federal Paciﬁc Salmon Secretariat, and a restoration centre of expertise for Paciﬁc salmon. The minister also mentioned investment in new hatcheries, a concern for anyone focused on rebuilding wild stocks. Jordan acknowledged those concerns, however. “They need to support populations, but not take over,” she said. Additional hatchery production on Vancouver Island’s west coast — where there is scarcely a stock that isn’t in trouble — isn’t always welcome. While some Nuu-chah-nulth nations want to
increase hatchery production in a smallscale, targeted fashion, the overall danger is relying too heavily on them and not addressing the problems hatcheries cause for wild salmon, explained Angel. “From a Nuu-chah-nulth point of view, each stock is distinct,” Angel said. “We need to be preserving that diversity.” “NTC and its ﬁsheries department have been trying to get across to government the need to take advantage of regional decision-making processes and knowledge,” Angel said. That already exists through the west coast salmon roundtables where First Nations sit across from resource stakehold-
ers, he added. “We all work together to ﬁgure how to stem the decline of wild salmon and rebuild habitat,” Angel said. “We’ve had enough studies; we know what is wrong and what needs to be done. A lot of it is having the political will to tackle some diﬃcult decisions,” he added, hoping for action, not two more years of engagement. More details on PSSI are expected at technical discussions between Uu-a-thluk and DFO in the fall. “Unquestionably it’s a very important announcement, and it could be transformative, and we’ll do our best to ensure
that it is,” Angel said. After joining his cabinet colleague for last week’s announcement, former ﬁsheries minister Jonathan Wilkinson, now federal minister of Environment and Climate Change, painted a broader picture of the salmon crisis. Salmon are fundamental to identity and Indigenous peoples, a keystone species supporting many other species as well as humans, he said. “Salmon may also be the 21st century’s canary in the coal mines when it comes to climate change,” he said.
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Photo by Melissa Renwick
Saya Masso (centre), Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks director of lands, walks along Main Street in Toﬁno with Tribal Parks guardians to pause in front of business storefronts to thank them for being a Tribal Parks ally, on June 9.
Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks thanks Toﬁno businesses Participating local businesses contributed $106,499 towards the First Nation’s guardian programs in 2020 By Melissa Renwick Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Toﬁno, BC - As Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks Guardians sang and drummed outside Gaia Grocery in Toﬁno, owner Amorita Adair was swept by emotions. Through tears and a wide smile, she watched as the guardians thanked her for becoming a Tribal Parks ally in January. “You helped us through our COVID-19 response, keeping our community safe through a really diﬃcult time,” said Saya Masso, Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks director of lands. “We want to lift you up as you lifted us up.” Gaia was one of four businesses that guardians sang in front of. It was a display of gratitude for those who strengthened the Tribal Parks Guardian program and helped the nation “make it through a tough year,” said Masso. “It’s a symbolic gesture of support –
reciprocating the support that our allies have given us,“ said Julian Hockin-Grant, Tribal Park liaison. “A lot of the revenue generated last year from our Tribal Park Allies went towards paying guardians to operate the emergency operations checkpoints in the villages.” For Adair, becoming an ally was a natural choice. Given that she works, lives and plays on Tla-o-qui-aht territory, “it was important to give back to the community,” she said. By supporting Indigenous stewardship of the land, Adair said it was a part she could play in reconciliation. When businesses sign up to become allies, they agree to contribute a one per cent ecosystem stewardship contribution to the Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks that is added to their service fees and paid by their clients. By directing proﬁts from the tourism industry, Masso said the service fee helps
to reinvest in the stewardship and protection of the land and water within Tla-oqui-aht territory. The gathering was also held in anticipation of the province’s re-opening in hopes of revitalizing the conversation around the allies program, said Hockin-Grant. “To remind some of these businesses, owners and operators, that now is a perfect time to download the protocol agreement and sign-up before things become busy again,” he said. The collected funds are used ﬁrst and foremost to hire and pay the salaries of Tribal Parks Guardians. “They play an important role in monitoring and stewarding the Tribal Parks that beneﬁt the whole region,” said Masso. Guardians contribute to trail building and partner with organizations such as the Central Westcoast Forest Society and the Coastal Restoration Society to assist
with salmon restoration projects and the removal of derelict boats, as well as abandoned aquaculture equipment along the coast. Besides supporting the guardian program, the service fee is allocated towards the nation’s community services and other initiatives, such as the language program, explained Masso. According to the Tribal Parks 2020 annual report, 29 new businesses became certiﬁed Tribal Parks Allies, more than doubling the number of allies from the previous year. A total of 56 businesses from across varying sectors of the tourism industry are allies. Collectively, Tribal Parks Allies contributed $106,499 towards the nation’s guardian programs in 2020. “From our Ha’wiih, our family, our elders and our community, we want to say thank you,“ said Masso. “Tleko, Tleko.”
Phrase of the week: %uuq’mis@is%a> %uunak c’a%uk +up’aq’aq’%a+quu Pronounced oo k miss ish aslth oo knock Ca ugk Clue ba caw alth loo . It means ‘Sure is nice to have a river, when it’s very hot outside.’. Supplied by ciisma.
Illustration by Ivy Cargill-Martin
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Nuu-chah-nulth lead aﬀordable housing projects Anacla, Port Alberni and Toﬁno will all see new badly needed home units for Indigenous people and families By Karly Blats Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Eighty new, aﬀordable rental homes are coming to Port Alberni, Anacla, and Toﬁno for people with low to moderate incomes. Provided by the Building BC: Community Housing Fund, these new aﬀordable rental homes are among 47 new projects, which will deliver more than 2,400 new homes across the province. The Huu-ay-aht First Nations will build 11 new units for seniors, families and those at risk of homelessness by March 2022 on their treaty lands in Anacla Village. The new aﬀordable units will be modular homes and built oﬀ site by Paciﬁc Homes from Vancouver Island. Huu-ay-aht Councillor Charlie Clappis said the new aﬀordable housing for Anacla is a huge step forward in providing attainable housing for families and individuals wanting to live in the village. “In the last three years, including the 11 (new aﬀordable units) we’ll be doing 22 units…so huge little boom for our people,” Clappis said. “Our housing initiatives right now are huge. Since the last decade we’ve been able to invest in infrastructure prepping for this community. We’ve upgraded our water system, our administration building was relocated, we have high speed internet and cell service now and currently our waste water treatment facility in Bamﬁeld is under construction, so this housing boom has been kind of one of the ﬁnal pieces for allowing us to grow here.” Clappis said housing in Anacla will only get more important with the announcement of safety upgrades to Bamﬁeld Road. “It will be good to have growth but the more the property values go up the harder it will be for young families to relocate and own homes out here,” Clappis said. “Not only are properties selling quickly…there’s bidding wars in Bamﬁeld where some properties used to be for sale for years. Now they’re ﬂying oﬀ the tables and getting over asking price. So again, it’s great on some levels but for a young family coming out here...it’s not going to be reachable.” In Port Alberni, the non-proﬁt Citaapi Mahtii Housing Society, made up of Ahousaht First Nations members, has been approved for funding through BC Housing to build a 35-unit aﬀordable apartment building on the site of the former Cedarwood School near the Fall
Citaapi Mahtii Housing Society, made up of Ahousaht First Nations members, has been approved for funding through BC Housing to build a 35-unit aﬀordable apartment building on the site of the former Cedarwood School near the Fall Fair grounds. called below market housing and a portion of that is going to be aﬀordable for “In the last three years, lower middle income people.” including the 11 (new afLaw said there’s also three duplex lots that have been zoned for the Toﬁno Housfordable units) we’ll be doing Corporation and one or two of those ing 22 units…so huge little should be price restricted and resident restricted. boom for our people” “I can’t say it enough how important attainable and aﬀordable housing is going to be to Toﬁno, immediately and in the ~ Charlie Clappis, coming years,” Law said. “The comHuu-ay-aht Councillor munity housing needs are everything and anything. We’re actually in a housing Fair grounds. crisis and that is really part and parcel of Citaapi Mahtii Housing Society will the community crisis…we must deal with oversee the construction of the building housing people of all income levels to project and the management of the housmaintain our community.” ing units. The units will be for Indigenous Charlie Clappis The Community Housing Fund is part nership with the Catalyst Community people living away from their communiof the BC NDP government’s 10-year Developments Society will build 37 ties. $7-billion housing plan. It is an investIn a social media post, Mid Island/Pacif- new units in Toﬁno for families, seniors, ment of $1.9 billion to build more than ic Rim MLA Josie Osborne said there’s a persons with disabilities and singles. 14,000 aﬀordable rental homes for Toﬁno Mayor Dan Law said the new high number of Indigenous people living moderate- and low-income families units are going to be extremely important and individuals. Three and a half years in the Alberni Valley—just less than 17 per cent of the total population according for Toﬁno. He said there’s currently two in, more than 8,600 of these homes are locations picked for the new aﬀordable to 2019 data. already open, under construction or in rental units. “People who are living away from development. “We have Sharp Road, which is a townhome, just as if they were living at home, “Everyone deserves a safe, aﬀordable need safe, aﬀordable, adequate housing,” home type complex, and there is 13 or 14 and comfortable place to call home,” units and that is actually in the process she said. “The creation of community is Osborne said in a press release. “These of being built right now. Then we have something that is felt acutely by Indigthree projects will make that a reality two large apartment complexes that are enous people and First Nations clearly for 80 families and free up much-needed located up by the community hall,” Law recognize this and are coming forward to rental space in communities all along the apply to BC Housing for funding to build said. “They’re planned and designed and West Coast. Thank you to our community we just received notice of government the kind of housing that their members and Indigenous partners for making this funding for the second unit, so we have need.” a reality.” two apartment complexes for what’s Toﬁno Housing Corporation in part-
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San Group expands its Port Alberni manufacturing Company pledges ‘no waste’ with new investments, including using the 40 tonnes of wood shavings produced By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Port Alberni, BC – San Group is investing $100 million in Port Alberni facilities that will in the coming months see ﬁnished wood products leaving local shipyards rather than raw logs. The announcement was made at the Coulson mill site on Seizai Road in Port Alberni on June 2. The facility has signiﬁcantly expanded over the past few years accommodate the construction of a new mill and a lumber yard. The yard was buzzing with activity as several lumber trucks lined up on the hill that drops down into the waterside mill site to be loaded with ﬁnished lumber. On the far end of the property, small second-growth logs were being pulled from log booms in the water and neatly stacked near the entrance to the nearby mill. San Group owner Kamal Sanghera stated that his company is making a total $100 million investment in Port Alberni over the next year. “We’d like to see our products leaving right from here instead of shipping it over the hump,” he said, adding this will mean cleaner air. Former Port Alberni mayor and now San Group employee Mike Ruttan told the crowd that the company has three projects on the go. There is a new facility adjacent to the older Coulson mill that represents a $15 million investment and is expected to be ﬁnished in 2022. This mill will be able to handle poor-grade wood that would usually go to waste. He went on to say that the new mill was designed and produced in Port Alberni. In addition, the remanufacturing plant on Stamp Avenue is in the ﬁnishing stages with paving and landscaping being completed. It represents a $15-20 million investment. The company has also come up with a plan to deal with wood waste. Sanghera noted that there is always waste. “Our mills produce about 30 to 40 tonnes a day in wood shavings, which are usually burnt,” he said. But a new biomass facility, the San Specialty Sawmill on Hector Road that is expected to open before the end of 2021, will take the wood shavings. Some will be used by the company and what can’t be used will be turned into wood pellets to be sold. “There will be no waste, we will be 100 per cent green,” he said. San Group prides itself on its reputation, which they say is built on being strong stewards of the land, as well as building respectful relationships with First Na-
Photo by Denise Titian
San Group Owner and CEO Kamal Sanghera, accompanied by President Suki Sanghera and Vice-president of Manufacturing Paul Deol, speaks at an announcement the company held at its mill south of Port Alberni on June 2. The company is pledging ‘no waste’ with new investments, including using the 40 tonnes of wood shavings produced a day. tions. “It starts with being environmentally sensitive to the area in which we access our wood supply, adhering to sustainable harvesting, and using innovative methods to recover underutilized ﬁbre that might otherwise be left behind through traditional forest practices. We create as much value from our ﬁbre as possible, allowing us to reduce our carbon footprint,” states San Group on its website. Ruttan said the announcement reﬂects San Group’s values. “There is a plan for every tree and there will be no waste,” he said, adding that San Group is already ahead of the game in terms of the B.C. premier’s future of forestry plan announced the day before. He called Premier Horgan’s June 2 announcement a road map for the future of B.C. forestry, with a focus on sustainability. “San is already doing it,” said Ruttan. They’re creating value-added products, thereby reducing raw log exports, he added, translating into the increased shipping of ﬁnished products from Port Alberni. San Group is making investments into Port Alberni’s waterfront that will allow their lumber to be shipped out to deep sea ports. Ken McRae of PAPA said that for the ﬁrst time in a long time, Port Alberni will see ﬁnished lumber going out on the docks as opposed to raw logs. “It’s good to see people like San Group investing in our community,” he told the
crowd. MP Gord Johns commended San Group for the work they’ve done in Port Alberni, calling it an incredible investment. “It is an example of ﬁnding a way to plug an economic leakage,” he said, adding that San Group is creating jobs for working families. “Thank you, San Group, for choosing Port Alberni.” Tom Watts was introduced as a Tseshaht hereditary chief. His daughter, renowned artist Annie Watts, runs a cedar carving school in Port Alberni. San Group provides support for the school, according to Tom Watts, who gave Kamal Sanghera a woven cedar headband as a gift. Port Alberni Mayor Shari Minions called the San Group announcement a step forward into the future of the forestry industry and she is proud that San Group chose Port Alberni to be the host community.
“We are here to stay, to make sure we will grow together,” said Sanghera. But not everyone has been pleased with the San Group’s expanded role in Port Alberni’s waterfront economy. After hearing that the Port Alberni Port Authority had signed over control of the industrial waterfront area’s Berth 3 to the San Group, those with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union feared jobs would be lost. After recent meetings with the port authority and the San Group, the union’s Local 508 President Mark Braithwaite had his concerns eased – for now. “We are in discussions on keeping the dock labour and the loading of log ships still within our work,” said Braithwaite. “It’s always been our work. We pointed that out to the San Group and I believe we can come to an agreement with them.”
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Water taxi business among recipients of recovery fund Funding assists the Kyuquot operation, part of what’s considered the fastest growing segment of B.C. tourism By Sam Laskaris Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Kyoquot, BC – Shaunee Casavant welcomed some provincial funding that will help her young business stay aﬂoat. Literally. Casavant and her husband Tony Hansen launched Siiqaa Water Taxi, a business based in the village of Kyoquot in the Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k’tles7et’h’ First Nations, in 2019. But since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the couple’s business has been scaled back dramatically. They have only been allowed to transport members of the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nation in and out of Kyoquot. During the business’ infancy, Casavant said it was common for many people from other communities to visit the remote village of Kyoquot and have them travel there via water taxi. Because of lost revenue caused by the pandemic, Casavant said it was a big help when it was announced last week that Siiqaa Water Taxi is one of the 140 Indigenous tourism businesses that are receiving ﬁnancial assistance through the BC Indigenous Tourism Recovery Fund. Provincial oﬃcials pledged a total of $5 million through this fund to assist various Indigenous tourism operators. Businesses were eligible up to a maximum of $45,000 each to assist them with the ongoing economic impacts that are related to safety and health restrictions imposed by B.C. oﬃcials in their eﬀorts to combat the pandemic. Siiqaa Water Taxi, one of 45 Indige-
Photo submitted by Shaunee Casavant
Shaunee Casavant and her husband Tony Hansen are pleased with provincial funding to help their Kyoquot-based water taxi business. nous-owned businesses on Vancouver IsThe water taxi service transports comland that received funding, was awarded munity members from Kyoquot to the the maximum $45,000. Fair Harbour Marina, which is then ac“It can help with your expenses,” cessible by road to travel to other locaCasavant, a member of Hupacasath First tions. Nation, said of the money her business “We’re not being frivolous,” said Casareceived. “Gas is huge. And so is mainte- vant of the funding received. “Both my nance of the boats.” husband and I are retired. The income Siiqaa Water Taxi currently has four from the water taxi business is limited. It boats that it operates. Casavant said the also goes towards the loan payments we majority of the business drummed up have when we started the business.” recently is from community members Casavant said pamphlets had been that need to go to medical appointments distributed at various locations in diﬀeror pick up essentials in centres, including ent cities promoting Siiqaa Water Taxi in Campbell River, Nanaimo and Victoria. the past. But community restrictions and closures caused by the pandemic have made those promotions temporarily unnecessary. “We couldn’t advertise to the public because the communities were closed,” she said. And the couple can only wait to see when provincial regulations are eased and when travel is available to all without any restrictions. “It’s going to be really helpful when we are able to open up to everybody,” Casavant said. The 45 Vancouver Island recipients of the BC Indigenous Tourism Recovery Fund collectively received $1.58 million. Vancouver Island had the most fund
recipients and the most money awarded out of six regions in the province. Other regional recipients were from Cariboo Chilcotin Coast, Kootenay Rockies, Northern B.C., Thompson Okanagan and Vancouver Coast and Mountains. Carla Wormald, the manager of government communications and public engagement for the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport, said provincial oﬃcials only provided a breakdown of regional fund recipients. That’s out of respect to those businesses who do not want their names to be publicly shared. The need for funding was documented in a ﬁnal report issued by the Tourism Task Force this past December. Members of this task force, featuring 11 business and industry leaders, were appointed by the provincial government last September to identify actions to help the province’s tourism industry recover from the impacts of the pandemic, and also put the industry on a right foot towards future growth. The task force’s ﬁnal report was presented to Melanie Mark, the minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport. Allocating $5 million to Indigenous Tourism BC to distribute to its members was one of the seven recommendations of the task force. Mark is pleased to see her government step up with funding for Indigenous tourism business operators. “Indigenous tourism was the fastest growing segment of B.C.’s tourism industry before the pandemic and we’re determined to maintain this momentum,” Mark said. “These grants are demonstrating reconciliation in action by ensuring people working in Indigenous tourism can continue inviting visitors for years to come.” Brenda Baptiste, the chair of Indigenous Tourism BC, was also the chair of the Tourism Task Force. She too is thrilled to see the province step up with some muchneeded funding. “Indigenous tourism businesses have shown so much strength and resilience throughout this pandemic,” Baptiste said. “These grants give them the conﬁdence to keep going and empower operators to adapt their businesses to meet the challenges. I’m thankful to the province for this important partnership.”
Happy Indigenous People’s Day
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President’s message to Nuu-chah-nulth-aht I would like to send my deepest heartfelt sympathies to all of you who have lost loved ones, we have lost more family and community members and we all share in your loss. So much has happened in the last month and I will share with you the highlights of what I have been doing. The ﬁnding of children’s unmarked graves at the Kamloops Indian Residential School was devastating to many of us. That our children were treated in such inhumane ways was almost unbelievable. Many have known about this practice of burying children without telling their families in unmarked graves. When the Truth and Reconciliation process was going on, Commissioner Murray Sinclair asked for money to look for these graves but was told it was not within the mandate of the TRC and therefore there was no money. With this huge discovery, Indigenous Services Canada has now set aside money for First Nations where there were residential schools to use the ground penetrating radar to look for more graves if the First Nations wish. This has been such a diﬃcult time and there have been many gatherings and ceremonies for these 215 children. Policing issues seem to be at the top of my agenda. Sadly, the police oﬃcer that shot Chantel Moore was not charged with murder or manslaughter. We are not happy with the decision and the facts that they based this decision on are not very strong. There are things that Martha Martin is continuing with as she pursues justice for her daughter. Her lawyer will pursue a civil suit on wrongful death. The police complaints will now be pursued and it will be determined whether the oﬃcer can proceed with being a police oﬃcer or other consequences. There is also a coroners inquest where the facts of the case will be considered. We hope there will be favourable results on any of these actions. It was a harsh decision that had no justice for Chantel. We will continue to seek political solutions as well. We continue meeting with the RCMP and are looking closely at de-escalation training, cultural training, wellness checks and trauma-informed training. We also want to talk about healing between the RCMP and our Nations. Is it possible? If so, how would we do it? We are working on a Memorandum of Understanding between NTC and RCMP that will set out the work we will tackle. Each First Nation will also have a protocol with the RCMP for their community. Each Nuu-chah-nulth Nation has a representative on the committee and we have some RCMP committee members that represent all levels of the RCMP. The deputy commissioner for B.C. keeps in regular contact with me to ensure that things are progressing. Now is the time to stop the shooting of our Nuu-chahnulth people. I have been raising the shootings by police in our communities during the meetings of the First Nations Summit and asked questions of Minister Carolyn Bennett on the slowness of implementing the missing and murdered Indigenous women’s report. I also asked Attorney General of Canada David Lametti on his National Justice Strategy and policing reform and why we cannot work on immediate solutions. We also issue press statements on major issues that you can ﬁnd on our website.
I was able to attend a small event put on by Qu’aasa to bring awareness to the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls action plan that was released on June 4th. It was so good to gather with around 40 people, listen to drumming and singing and listen to some words. We committed to do everything we can to ensure our women that went missing are continued to be looked for and seek justice for those that were murdered. We were treated to a special lunch of fresh salmon, the ﬁrst of the year for many of us. The vice president and I had a call with the Minister of Indigenous Services Marc Miller. He asked to meet with us so we knew what was in the budget for policing and were able to raise concerns in funding for the tribal council and other areas. I presented to the Senate Committee on Bill C-12 a Net-zero Emissions Act for Canada. I told the committee about the eﬀects of climate change on our oceans, rivers and lands and how we are disproportionately impacted due to our locations. It is time that Canada legislated getting carbon emissions to zero. This should have been done years ago to stop global warming. I take the opportunity to do media interviews on TV, radio, newspapers or on line publications on all issues whether it is COVID, other health issues or policing issues. It is important to ensure that Nuu-chh-nulth perspective is out there and put pressure on governments to make changes. I have been working closely with our Fisheries Manager, Eric Angel, to ensure we have joint management over the Marine Protected Area that Canada wants to establish. I have been using political pressure to get what we want for this oﬀshore area. We were able to get some movement with DFO and hope to ﬁnish our agreement on this oﬀshore area. We have been working with Haida, Quatsino and Pacheedaht as the MPA extends through all their territories. Kudos to the Ditidaht, Huu-ay-aht and Pacheedaht on their Hišuk ma c̕awak Declaration asserting their jurisdiction over their territories. Congrats to all our grads! I hope all of you that have grads from whatever level of education or training have enjoyable celebrations of their accomplishments. It is a big thing they have done and I am proud of all our graduates and scholarship winners. Happy Grads Class of 2021. You did it!! Happy Indigenous Peoples Day to all. -Kekinusuqs Judith Sayers
Le!ers to Editor Nuu-chah-nulth partner with Central Island Division of Family Practice, UBC Indigenous Patient Led and Rural Coordination Centre of BC The Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council has partnered with Central Island Division of Family practice, an organization that represents local doctors, UBC Indigenous Patient Led Development Project and RCCBC in a collaboration initiative. The project involves indigenous communities interested in working with local physician and nurse practitioner community to develop Nuu-chah-nulth Indigenous led Cultural Safety training to design and develop education that meets the needs of the community and facilitates meaningful engagement. The guiding principles of the project are: Co-developed, Co-facilitated: sharing best practices with rural physicians and health care providers to foster cultural humility, address systemic bias and improve the health of indigenous peoples. Community-Based and Patient-Led: community and patient voices are central. Strengthening Cultural Safety: Addressing systems of oppression, racism and bias. Building and strengthening relationships between First Nations and physician communities by creating opportunities for self-reﬂection and dialogue. The project started with the ﬁrst session at the end of March. This involved three Nuu-chah-nulth Elders to come together via zoom and share their story and experiences with local physicians and nurse practitioners. Various topics will be covered throughout the project that will go to the end of June. Topics such as: Who are Nuu-chah-nulth, where we come from, eﬀects of trauma from residential school, and experiences receiving health care. Other topics include myths and misconceptions about First Nations and Healthcare issues. To date the project has received a great response from local physicians and Nurse Practitioners. Some initial feedback from physicians has been great: “Thanks again for yesterday – that was (again) awesome. Let me know if there’s steps moving forward I could be part of.”. The plan is also to do a presentation to the staﬀ of West Coast General Hospital. The goal is having local physicians be more respectful, have more compassion, be non-judgemental, and refrain from making assumptions about First Nations. Elder Joe Tom, Elder Archie Little and Geraldine Edgar Tom Nursing Services Strong Family House moves to new location The Strong Family House oﬃce has moved. The Clinic oﬃce is now just next door to the Child & Youth oﬃce. The name Strong Family House was given by local elders. We also had considered putting up a sign with the traditional name. The goal of the Nuu-Chah-Nulth Maternal and Child Health program is to support parents and strengthen families through pregnancy, birth and child rearing to promote optimal health and development of infants and young children. The NTC nurse at the Strong Family House can provide: • Prenatal information – growing healthy babies, what to expect during labour and delivery • Postnatal support – newborn visits, monitoring weight gain, breastfeeding support • Resources on pregnancy, parenting, dental health, nutrition, hearing, and vision • Education and support on a variety of maternal and childhood issues • Childhood immunizations • Birth control and sexual health information and referrals • Answer health questions and provide referrals to community services • A friendly person to conﬁdentially talk to about your health and/or the health of your family Services are intended for away from home Indigenous children and families residing in the city of Port Alberni. Strong Family House is located at Unit B - 4835 Argyle Street, Port Alberni. We are committed to the health and safety of our clients and families. At this time, COVID restrictions limit services to appointments only please. Nuu-chah-nulth Nursing Services. Contact Lucy - NTC RN at Strong Family House 250- 723-5272
Have You Moved? If you should be getting a copy of the Ha-Shilth-Sa paper delivered to your home, please contact : Holly Stocking at 250-724-5757 or email@example.com
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Rainbow Gardens builds another 48 apartments By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Port Alberni, BC - On Tuesday, June 15 Rainbow Gardens marked the next stage of its expanding housing facilities, with 48 more units expected to be completed in summer 2022. Construction of the homes at 6151 Russell Place has already begun, with designs to bring 48 units for independently living elders and seniors to the growing site in Port Alberni. Operated by the Westcoast Native Healthcare Society, Tsawaayuus Rainbow Gardens currently includes a building housing 44 long-term care beds, 10 assisted living units and a facility with 20 apartments for independent adults that opened in November 2019. A bout of heavy afternoon rain forced the ground-breaking ceremony inside the 20-unit apartment facility, where Haa’yuups (Ron Hamilton) of the Hupacasath First Nation performed a chant, following the Nuu-chah-nulth tradition that accompanied the raising of beams when a building was constructed in the past. Haa’yuups turned soil from the future site of the new building in the hand of Darleen Watts, president of the Westcoast Native Healthcare Society. Watts hopes that the new development will help enable people to remain at the Rainbow Gardens site for a good portion of their lives by providing higher levels of care when this becomes necessary. “They will always belong, and that they will be cared for,” she said. “When you get older, that’s one of the things that happens, is you worry about your safety.” As with other units on the site, the new building will be open to everyone, with an emphasis on Aboriginal elders. “Anyone who needs a home, the door is
open,” said Watts. Those over 55 will be eligible, and following the province’s Community Housing Fund, half of the 48 units will be open to those with an annual income of up to $64,000. Another 30 per cent of the suites will be set aside for those earning under $74,000, while the remainder are for low incomes, including those on income and disability assistance. Three of the units will have two bedrooms, with the remainder being one-bedroom suites. Project Manager John Jessup said the new suites will be similar to the existing 20 independent living homes. “The unit layouts are going to be pretty much identical, standard one-bedroom units,” he said. With a total cost of $14.3 million, the province’s BC Housing has committed $5 million, plus an annual operating subsidy of $302,335. “The non-proﬁt will never be at risk, because each year BC Housing will assess the previous year’s experience, and ensure that they get a monthly grant,” said Jessup. “We really couldn’t do it without the provincial government.” Ground dynamics at the site led the society to design a ﬁve-storey building next to the existing 20-unit, one-ﬂoor apartment complex. Besides the suites the new building will have laundry rooms, accessible washrooms and a communal garden. Additional funding from the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation is being explored, which requires the new building to have 10 units that are accessible by wheelchair. Tsawaayuus Rainbow Gardens ﬁrst opened in 1992 with 30 long-term care beds. Fifteen years later its 10 assisted living suites opened, followed by the existing 20 independent units in 2019.
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Port Alberni Friendship Centre Volunteers Needed Need work experience? The Port Alberni Friendship Centre is looking for interested applicants for various positions. Hours per week vary. Call 250-723-8281
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The 18-year-old Nuu-chah-nulth woman died in 2016 of heart failure after spending a night in police custody.
Inquest into the death of Jocelyn George scheduled this month in Port Albeni Formal process publicly presents evidence relating to her death over at least ﬁve days at the Capital Theatre By Melissa Renwick Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Port Alberni, BC - An inquest into the death of Jocelyn Nynah Marsha George is set to begin June 21, scheduled for at least ﬁve days, with the possibility of extending into the following week. The 18-year-old Hesquiaht/Ahousaht woman died of heart failure after spending a night in custody at the Port Alberni RCMP detachment in the summer of 2016. Under the Coroners Act, inquests are mandatory for any deaths that occur while someone is detained by or in the custody of a police oﬃcer. “An inquest is a formal process that allows for public presentation of evidence relating to a death,” the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General said in a release. “Presiding coroner Margaret Janzen and a jury will hear evidence from witnesses under oath to determine the facts surrounding this death.” The jury will conﬁrm the identity of George, along with how, where, when and by what means she died. According to the Independent Investigations Oﬃce of British Columbia’s ﬁndings released Jan. 12, 2018, there were no grounds to consider charges against any of the involved oﬃcers.
In a statement from 2018, the Nuu-chahnulth Tribal Council (NTC) said they are deeply disappointed by the ﬁndings and called for a review of police misconduct towards Indigenous people. “Any time our Indigenous people are harmed or killed by RCMP or police we always have to remember that systemic racism is at play” said Mariah Charleson, NTC vice-president. “The inquest is to make recommendations so that no one ever has to suﬀer that same fate. My hope is that the inquest is successful in doing that.” Charleson said she also hopes the recommendations made in the inquest are taken seriously and followed up with an immediate action plan. The inquest was originally scheduled to start on July 6, 2020, but was postponed due to COVID-19. It will be held at Capitol Theatre and is open to the public. Seating will be limited, however livestreaming will also be available. “The family, I’m sure, has many unanswered questions,” said Charleson. “[This will] provide some type of closure in the sense of the family being able to move forward in a good way, knowing exactly what happened to their daughter or their relative.”
APPLICATION FOR PESTICIDE USE Pesticide Use Permit (PUP) application #886-0006-21-24 Applicant: Cermaq Canada Ltd., 203-919 Island Highway, Campbell River BC V9W 2C2, 250-286-0022 Application has been made to the Ministry of Environment for approval of a Pesticide Use Permit for the topical removal of sea lice on aquaculture ﬁnﬁsh. The pest control product Interox® Paramove® 50, active ingredient Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2), will be used in the marine environment only in accordance with the directions as per the product label and PMRA. Application of Paramove® will take place in a well boat designed speciﬁcally for this purpose. Treatment locations are leased from the Province of BC, licence of occupation LF number 1401590, 1401589, 1403262, 1408492, 1407342, 1403979, 1403980, 1403914 & 1401355 located within Cypress Bay, Bedwell Sound and Fortune Channel in the Clayoquot Region, the proposed treatment area totals 13.9ha. Proposed treatment start date is September 1, 2021 with intermittent use over three years ending September 1, 2024. Maps of the treatment area and copies of the permit application can be viewed at Cermaq Canada Ltd. at the address above or visit https://www.cermaq.ca/public-trust/public-reporting. A person wishing to contribute information about the treatment site for the evaluation of this permit application must send copies of the information to both the applicant at the address above and the administrator under the Integrated Pest Management Act at Ministry of Environment; 10470 152 St, Surrey, BC V3R 0Y3 within 30 days of the publication of this notice.
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Land-based learning integrated into schools COVID-19 has forced more classrooms outdoors, opening opportunities for connecting students to a curriculum By Melissa Renwick Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Port Alberni, BC - When reﬂecting on this past school year, Nancy Logan said COVID-19 gave her students at Haahuupayak Elementary School an added bonus of “survival education.” Located within the community of Tseshaht First Nation in Port Alberni, many of the school’s students are dealing with intergenerational traumas. COVID-19 added to those challenges as students worried they’d be putting their grandparents and elders at risk by attending school. Some developed a fear of the outdoors, described Logan. If students are shut-down and don’t feel safe at school, they’re not able to learn, she added. While Haahuupayak has always emphasized project-based learning through things like cooking and woodworking, the pandemic opened the door-way to establish an outdoor learning space, along with a school-wide social emotional program. “The one part that has been so exciting in this pandemic is the will and the desire to want to do things diﬀerently,” said Logan. “It really opened our eyes to that need to move away from textbooks and into the real world.” For Logan, school should be a place of connection. “A start to helping [children] ground and deal with their big emotions,” she said. Helen Lucas teaches the school’s Grade 5/6 class. In her eight years of teaching, she said this year was by far the most challenging. “In part, because we were all feeling the same,” she said. As part of her social studies class, students were assigned to identify a community problem and come up with solutions. COVID-19 was the obvious choice. After brainstorming, the class concluded that an outdoor learning space would “bring happiness to the whole school” after a dark and disappointing year, explained Lucas. Not only would it strengthen the students’ connections to their culture and environment, Lucas said it would also provide them with a safe space to alleviate some of their anxieties and sadness. To get the project rolling, Lucas secured a circle of well-being grant and her students followed up by writing “persuasive” letters to Logan asking for additional funding. With the help of Brenda Sayers, the school’s ﬁnancial administrator, Logan
Photo by Melissa Renwick
Grade 5/6 students at Haahuupayak Elementary School dance to a war song during the blessing of the school’s new outdoor learning space. applied for funding through the First learning to students in the remote comNations Schools Language and Culture munities of Kyuquot and Zeballos. Program, transforming the project into In Kyuquot, the student population is “something bigger than we ever could 100 per cent Indigenous, said Comeau. have dreamed of,” said Lucas. Because the community is so isolated, “This project gave us something to look the program usually aims to expose forward to,” she said. “It’s helped us students to new regions through overthrough a really hard year.” night trips to Strathcona Park or Mount Describing one of Nuu-chah-nulth’s Washington. As a result, local areas often guiding principles, His-shuk-nish-tsaget passed up. walk (everything is one), a classroom COVID-19 became an opportunity to doesn’t have the same resonance as does teach children about their local territory. the outdoors, said Lucas. Activities are planned around the local “To see the trees and use all of our seasonal calendar, including events like senses to hear, smell, feel and touch the the chum salmon run in September and environment while we’re learning just the herring spawn in March, explained brings everything together,” she said. Comeau. Rather than using textbooks to teach By presenting learning opportunities about life cycles, teachers will have the that are relevant to the student’s lives, ability to bring students into the forest Comeau said they are able to tap into to map out things like what organisms their background knowledge which inlive where, how they are interconnected stills them with more conﬁdence in their and what habitat they rely on, explained learning. Logan. “Instead of presenting a foreign topic “You see a change in the energy with to [students], it’s something they have a kids,” she said. “You get them outside family connection to, or a connection to and you see them come alive.” through their culture,” she said. “If you When Kensie Johnson, one of Lucas’ can access that knowledge and present a Grade 5 students, thinks about learning learning opportunity they can draw from, outdoors she said she feels “happy.” they don’t feel like they’re just left high “I feel awake,” she said. “I also feel and dry without any of the tools or inforexcited to hear all the noises of what’s mation to help them in the learning task.” around us in the world.” The Wickaninnish Community School The 10-year-old said she notices a shift in Toﬁno was able to continue with some in her classmates, too. of their regular outdoor programming “Sometimes they become sillier,” she during COVID-19 because of their geosaid. “They also work much faster and graphical location, said principal Drew calmer.” Ryan. The push to incorporate more landWorking closely with the Rainforest based learning comes from a nationwide Education Society (RES), the Central quest to “decolonize the education system Westcoast Forest Society and Tribal and honour some of the local knowlParks, students were able to go on guided edge,” said Comeau, vice-principal of the forest walks, explore local tide pools, Nootka Sound Outdoor Program. help with revitalization projects and The outdoor program oﬀers land-based practice their recognition of local plants,
explained Ryan. Whether discussing the shapes of a feather or the patterns on a leaf, Ryan said that more meaningful connections are made through nature that children can apply to their own lives. “I’ve never met someone who isn’t more regulated and connected when they’re out in nature,” he said. “The learning is more direct, it’s more handson, it’s more visceral.” Around 42 per cent of the school’s population is Indigenous. With guidance from Gisele Martin of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation, along with other local First Nations members, the Rainforest Education Society’s ﬁeld school program aims to incorporate Nuuchah-nulth language and history into its teaching practices. “This is carefully done with permission and communication with First Nations community members, such as Gisele, and through research using Indigenous-led resources,” said Kira de Leeuw, Ucluelet ﬁeld school coordinator for the Rainforest Education Society. By bridging the traditional classroom setting with outdoor learning, de Leeuw said it can help develop children’s social emotional awareness. “A child who may face struggles in that traditional classroom can really blossom into a conﬁdent, focused, active participant when learning in the outdoors,” she said. Leading up to the end of the school year, Lucas’ students at Haahuupayak held a ceremony to bless the school’s new outdoor learning space on June 10. After a year of feeling disconnected, with students forced to separate from their siblings and cousins, the outdoor classroom was a way of telling them “we’re here and we care about you,” said Lucas. Adorned in regalia, the students chose to dance to a war song and a victory song. It signiﬁed the battle of making it through COVID-19, and coming out on the other end of it with a new outdoor space. Not only did the project help the students get through the year by realizing their dream, it will help all of future generations that follow, said Trevor Little, the school’s Nuu-chah-nulth studies assistant. The leadership from the Grade 5/6 class contributes to “the great work of our ancestors,” said Little. “This place, those children and the fact that they have somewhere safe to go every day – that’s our victory,” he said.
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Fuel recovery set to begin from Nootka Sound shipwreck All hands are on deck as spill response reaches critical point for the MV Schiedyk, after leak discovered last fall By Mike Youds Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Nootka Sound, BC - After six months of all-out eﬀorts to recover bulk oil and diesel seeping from a sunken freighter in Nootka Sound, oﬃcials were surprised by how little fuel remains on the bottom. “I think the biggest surprise was the lack of oil down there,” said Coast Guard Uniﬁed Commander Paul Barrett, remarking on a technical assessment that found 147 cubic metres (147,000 litres) of fuel remains in two tanks aboard the MV Schiedyk. That is roughly the equivalent of three mid-sized swimming pools ﬁlled with petroleum, all of which has to be safely removed to remediate the hazardous wreck. The Holland America freighter struck a reef in 1968 after leaving Gold River. Fifty-two years later, the sunken wreck began “burping” fuel, ﬁrst reported as surface sheening last fall. Initially, spill response oﬃcials were concerned it might still hold most of its fuel supply, estimated at 600 tonnes. “You would expect to see reports about more black oil on the surface and we didn’t see it,” Barrett said. Earlier this week, DFO/Canadian Coast Guard awarded a $5.7-million emergency contract to U.S. salvage ﬁrm Resolve Marine Group, the same company contracted to do the assessment, to remove remaining fuel from the wreck using a process called “hot tapping.” Oﬀshore supply ship Atlantic Condor returns to the Bligh Island wreck site over the weekend to begin the operation, the critical next phase of a challenging deepwater spill response. What has made the operation particularly challenging is not only the depth (106 to 122 metres, too deep for divers), but its remote location in combination with the elements and pandemic safety provisions. Bulk fuel removal is no less complicated. The operation is expected to take a couple of weeks or more, depending on weather conditions. Hot tapping is considered a lower-risk method of fuel removal. The process involves drilling holes in the fuel tanks, attaching a drainage valve and pumping fuel through a hose connected to a support vessel on the surface. Salvage operations have used the method on shipwrecks for years, including the Manolis L in Atlantic Canada three years ago. Sonar imagery and other data captured during the technical assessment have indicated the operation has several advantages working in its favour. Originally, the wreck rested in relatively shallow water about 33 metres down. About a decade ago, it slid further down the reef and appears to have rolled upside down at the bottom, Barrett explained. “That is really beneﬁcial to us, to be honest,” he said. “The tanks are all ﬂat-bottom tanks,” making fuel removal simpler. Really, in as far as an attitude to have, this is the perfect one.” Schiedyk’s hull was found to be 1618 millimetres thick, considered strong enough to withstand the fuel removal operation. “She’s still got 80 percent of her hull plating thickness now,” Barrett said. “We don’t have to worry about the thing collapsing.” Using a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) from Eastern Canada, Resolve Marine succeeded in temporarily patching fuel leaks earlier this spring using
Photos submitted by Bligh Island Uniﬁed Command Site
Canadian Coast Guard vessels work to contain bunker fuel leaking from a sunken shipwreck oﬀ Bligh Island. rubber “submar” mats and rare earth magnets. Despite this, some fuel continues to seep from the wreck. The ROV will be heading back down to the wreck in coming days to drill the tanks and secure pumping equipment. Hot water is then pumped from Atlantic Condor into the tanks so that fuel ﬂows more readily. Once the mixture is aboard the Condor, fuel and water will be separated. Fuel is then stored for safe disposal and water is reused in the operation. Diesel is lighter than oil and will not require the same process. There is a slight risk of a larger release of fuel during this phase of the response, the Coast Guard warns. To manage the risks, they have designed redundancies within the system, maintaining backup resources such as containment booming, skimmers, vessels and barges for possible deployment. They have on hand 125 percent of the fuel storage capacity required for the project in case there is more in the vessel than what the surveys indicate. They are also undergoing a surge in personnel for this phase of operations with 120 on site during this stage of operations. Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation will be actively monitoring the operation and area while Focus Wildlife observers and a DFO marine mammal team will be on the water. Sonic deterrents will keep birdlife away during the operation. “It’s time to get this done,” Barrett said. June is one of two windows of opportunity identiﬁed by the assessment, so timing couldn’t be better, he noted. After fuel is removed, Coast Guard hands oﬀ responsibility for the response to its partners, including Mowachaht/ Muchalaht First Nation, DFO and the provincial government. Monitoring and tracking of the site will continue for months afterward. “It can be tricky, no doubt about it,” Barrett added. “We want everybody to be comfortable with the end point.” Despite the expense of spill response, maritime law appears to oﬀer faint hope of recovering costs. According to a Coast Guard summary of the Manolis L. spill response — a similar operation that cost the Canadian government $15 million to remediate in 2018 — cost recovery has a ﬁve-year time limit under the Marine Liability Act. That’s ﬁve years from the date of sinking. Barrett cited a 2005 survey by the International Oil Spill Conference that estimated there are about 8,000 shipwrecks worldwide containing anywhere from 2.4 million to 20.5 million tonnes of fuel.
A crew surveys the spill site from a Canadian Coast Guard helicopter.
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