INTERESTING NEWS Canada’s Oldest First Nations Newspaper - Serving Nuu-chah-nulth-aht since 1974 Canadian Publications Mail Product Vol. 48 - No. 05—March 11, 2021 haas^i>sa Sales Agreement No. 40047776
Watchdog investigates Opitsaht police shooting Frustration boils in Tla-o-qui-aht community, as ‘police have killed more TFN members than COVID By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Opitsaht, BC - The Tla-o-qui-aht “admonishes” police action while responding to an emergency call in Opitsaht that resulted in one of the First Nation’s members being shot dead on Feb. 27. “It is incomprehensible to see such unnecessary loss of life at the hands of the RCMP,” wrote Chief Councillor Moses Martin in a statement. “It is obvious that the RCMP need more social service resources and community-based responders, to assist them when interacting with those members of the society that have mental health issues, or whom are currently going through other trauma.” Julian Jones, 28, died during an altercation with police, when two oﬃcers from the Toﬁno RCMP detachment came to a residence in the Meares Island village at approximately 9:30 p.m. on Feb. 27. Police came “to locate a woman in distress” at the home, according to a statement from Toﬁno RCMP. An altercation ensued, resulting in the fatal shooting and another man being taken into custody. In the days following the shooting a team from the Independent Investigations Oﬃce of British Columbia attended, including a forensic investigator who studied evidence at the scene and ﬁve others responsible for interviewing witnesses and police, as well as canvassing the village to ﬁnd any observations from the evening of the shooting. The IIO is a civilian-led oversight agency that is called to investigate when serious harm or death occurs during police action. “What we want to do is gather all of the evidence that we can surrounding this incident as would be done in any completed thorough investigation,” said Ronald J. MacDonald, the IIO’s chief civilian director. “We’ll stay there for as long as necessary to gather what we consider a complete picture of the scene.” The agency’s role is to determine if any police should face criminal charges due to a failure to fulﬁll their duty. “Did the oﬃcer directly cause a death? And if so, were those actions justiﬁed and law - or were they excessive and unnecessary use of force?” said MacDonald. “All police oﬃcers have a duty to protect and preserve life. So sometimes while their direct actions might have been justiﬁed, there might be other actions – or inactions – things they didn’t do or ought to have done that could be of suﬃcient signiﬁcance to constitute a criminal offense.” There must be reasonable grounds for
Photo by Eric Plummer
“It is incomprehensible to see such unnecessary loss of life at the hands of the RCMP” ~ Councillor Moses Martin. the IIO to recommend charges to Crown counsel, at which point the matter will be in the hands of the prosecution service if it proceeds through the courts. “They require a test that is substantial likelihood of conviction,” said MacDonald of the Crown’s assessment of the recommendations against an oﬃcer. “Our test is similar to the test that police apply when they refer matters to the Crown for consideration of charges.” Judith Sayers, president of the Nuuchah-nulth Tribal Council, is sceptical that the IIO will bring people the answers they need. “I don’t have 100 per cent conﬁdence in the IIO - or any independent investigation - but in this case they have appointed a civilian monitor from Tla-o-qui-aht,” she said. “I think that will help.” The civilian monitor will not be part of the investigation, but has been selected to represent the standpoint of the First Nation’s community. This person will also ﬁle a report at the end of the process. “My hope is that throughout the investigation, through regular brieﬁngs, that person will be able to bring a perspective that we might miss,” said MacDonald. Currently the perspective of the Tla-oqui-aht is that better communication was required with the First Nation’s Emergency Operations Centre before the police entered Opitsaht. The Tla-o-qui-aht’s
Inside this issue... Vaccinations come to Tseshaht and Hupacasath.........Page 3 ʔapsčiik t̓ašii path on track for 2022..............................Page 5 Fairy Creek blockade granted court delay..................Page 8 Tla-o-qui-aht’s funding for new campground..........Page 11 Uu-a-thluk Captain’s boat camp...............................Page 15
justice committee has requested access to the constables’ body camera footage, as well as any 911 calls tied to the deadly incident. “I think fear had a lot to do with it, coming into a reserve on a dark rainy night,” noted Sayers. “Had they had members escort them in, would they have been able to de-escalate the situation? Those are things we don’t know.” The fatality has hit the Tla-o-qui-aht particularly hard, as the First Nation is still awaiting answers into the death of Chantel Moore. The 26-year-old Tla-oqui-aht member was shot dead on June 4, 2020 in Edmunston, New Brunswick when an oﬃcer from the local police force came to her home to conduct a wellness check. The IIO has also investigated the death of James Williams, another Tla-o-qui-aht member who died last summer in a Duncan shelter on the day he was released from RCMP custody. Information from that case will be available shortly, said MacDonald. The First Nation’s frustration is fueled by unmet demands that were issued after Moore was shot, including a requirement for answers. “To date, none of the recommendations have been followed up on, and the RCMP/police have killed more TFN members than COVID has,” wrote Chief
Martin. As questions continue to circulate around the police use of force on Indigenous people in Canada, Sayers has met with top RCMP oﬃcials in B.C. with hopes of exploring ways to improve relations. “We need to change policies, we need to change the way things happen, we need to build better relations and ways of dealing with police coming onto reserve,” she said. “We really need to look at the excessive force guidelines. We need to ﬁgure out other things, like why did they just shoot somebody? Why wasn’t a taser used?...We can’t have another shooting happen.” Considering the seriousness of the incident, IIO work on the Opitsaht shooting is expected to take several months. If recommendations for charges are not made to the Crown a public report will be released from the agency. “The evidence gathering process takes some time initially, and then there’s often follow up and analyzation of the evidence and follow up,” explained MacDonald, adding that they will also have to wait for third-party expert reports. “There will be forensic ﬁrearm evidence that we will have to await, and that takes some time. There will be reports that ﬂow from the autopsy that will be done, and that takes some months.”
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Page 2— Ha-Shilth-Sa—March 11, 2021
Tla-o-qui-aht man fatally shot by police in Opitsaht Cops say they were brough to the community by a woman in distress call By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Opitsaht, BC - A young man was fatally shot during an altercation with police Saturday night in the Tla-o-qui-aht village of Opitsaht, while another remains in custody. At approximately 9:30 p.m. two oﬃcers from Toﬁno came to a home in the First Nation’s village on Meares Island to “locate a woman in distress,” according to an RCMP press release. An altercation occurred, resulting in one man being shot, while another was taken into police custody. “The woman was located and taken to hospital for medical assessment,” reads the RCMP statement. “No one else was injured during the incident.” Family and friends have identiﬁed the deceased as 28-year-old Julian Jones. “Vancouver Island General Investigative Section (GIS) is investigating the initial call including allegations that the woman was being held against her will,” stated the RCMP. Today the scene of the tragedy on Meares Island was attended by the Independent Investigations Oﬃce of British Columbia. The IIO is described as a “civilian-led” oversight agency that becomes involved when death or serious injury occurs as police are present. Moses Martin, chief councillor of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation, has seen anger has spread through his community following Saturday’s fatal shooting. Martin noted that violent statements toward police are particularly concerning. “My son is a member of the RCMP,” he said. “If they want to do that, well, shoot me ﬁrst.” The First Nation still remains in the dark over what happened to Chantel Moore, a 26-year-old Tla-o-qui-aht member who was fatally shot by a police oﬃcer on June 4, 2020 in Edmunston, New Brunswick. The oﬃcer was called to check on the young woman’s well being, but the
Photo by Eric Plummer
Ariel view of the Opitsaht community shaken by a police shooting on Feb 27, 2021. included that the oﬃcer who shot Moore visit resulted in Moore being shot dead. The Edmunston Police Department stated be charged with murder, better assessment of police oﬃcers’ mental health that the oﬃcer was defending himself conditions and a national inquiry into the when Moore approached him with a knife, a story the Tla-o-qui-aht and many root causes of police brutality. Martin said that responding to the Tlaothers have not accepted. o-qui-aht demands could have prevented In the aftermath of the Moore tragedy, Saturday’s fatal shooting. the Tla-o-qui-aht announced a list of “If they had been made the situation requirements to improve police accountwe are facing now in Opitsaht would be ability in such incidents, including the very diﬀerent,” he said. “We need more use of body cameras. than sorrow verbal placating and pander“We requested that body cameras be ing that we have been receiving from all something that the RCMP members faces of government including our curwould have, because the way that it rent MLA and MP.” is now, none of us know what’s going For the rest of 2020 a Quebec-based on,” said Martin. “There’s no proof of police watchdog agency investigated the anything that they say, or what we say, circumstances of the Moore tragedy, and or anything that’s happened during the has passed its ﬁndings to New Brunsincident.” Other demands made by the First Nation wick’s coroner and Public Prosecution
Services. These details are yet to be made public, but an announcement from the prosecutor is expected this spring. B.C.’s IIO was involved following another death of a Tla-o-qui-aht member, after James Williams passed in a Duncan shelter the day he was released from RCMP custody. Seven months after his death, Williams’ family have yet to hear any details of the IIO investigation, as ﬁndings are currently with the BC Coroners Service. Family have stated that Williams was picked up by police the day he was released from hospital after being treated for pancreatitis. Police stated that he was taken into custody for public intoxication at approximately 4:30 p.m. on July 15, then released at 1:30 a.m. the following morning.
Port Alberni homeless count planned for April 7 By Karly Blats Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Port Alberni, BC - The 2021 Port Alberni point-in-time homeless count will begin on April 7 and will run for ﬁve days this year. The last homeless count to take place in the Alberni Valley was in 2018, which recorded 147 individuals experiencing homelessness, 43 per cent of which were sheltered and 57 per cent unsheltered. The Covid-19 Pandemic caused a planned 2020 count to be post-poned. Marcie DeWitt, Alberni-Clayoquot Health Network coordinator, told Port Alberni city council at a regular meeting on March 8 that the Alberni Valley has been approved for a pilot project that will extend the 24-hour homeless count to ﬁve days. “That means we will be counting for ﬁve days following the (24-hour) count,” DeWitt said. “April 7 is the 24-hour count where we will be conducting the majority of our activities and then from [April] 8-12 there will be a slightly separate survey and that will contain some identifying information and questions for individuals to ensure that they aren’t double screened, but it allows us to capture anybody who hasn’t been seen in that 24-hour period.”
First Nations individuals experiencing homelessness will have the opportunity to record which nation they belong to and this DeWitt says will allow First Nations leadership in the region to have access to that speciﬁc data. Components of a homelessness pointin-time count include a night count for individuals that are sheltered either at the Port Alberni shelter, transition houses, hospitals and even jail cells, DeWitt said. A day count will include volunteers walking or driving around set routes in the Alberni Valley where homeless individuals tend to spend time. There will also be “drop sites” at service facilities like warming centres and other organizations that provide resources. DeWitt said homelessness is deﬁned as people who are sheltered or unsheltered, couch surfers, people living in detox facilities, jail or without a ﬁxed address. “The purpose of doing a count in B.C. is to ensure that the methodology around our homelessness counts is consistent around the province,” DeWitt said. “It’s easier for comparability. This gives us information to provide to BC Housing and BC Housing is the funder of these counts. It also contributes to our ability to leverage funding for the area.” This year instead of having individual volunteers participate in the count, De-
Photo by Eric Plummer
People sleeping on benches or on the streets has been a common sight in many communities prompting Port Alberni to do another homelssness count. Witt said participants will be members of the challenges in the past year, that has Alberni Valley service organizations, like certainly been exempliﬁed. It’s been a outreach workers who already work with, challenging year for anybody that had or provide services to, homeless individu- any type of barrier to begin with.” als in the community. DeWitt added she anticipates a rise in “We will be working with the RCMP, the number of individuals experiencing Shelter Society, CMHA, Bread of Life, homelessness from the 2018 count. Salvation Army, Friendship Centre to Port Alberni mayor Sharie Minions said name a few,” DeWitt said. an updated homeless count will give the DeWitt said she believes homelessness city an opportunity to look at the numand housing challenges are on the rise in ber of housing starts they currently have the Alberni Valley and region. designated for aﬀordable and supportive “We know there is a signiﬁcant lack housing coming to the community and of aﬀordable housing in communities to “really put some context of how much across B.C.,” she said. “I think that with more is needed at this time.”
March 11, 2021—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 3
Vaccination a ‘big relief’ for Tseshaht and Hupacasath B.C. moves into Phase 2 of its immunization plan, as remainder of on-reserve First Nations to be inoculated By Melissa Renwick Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Port Alberni, BC - As B.C. moved into Phase 2 of its immunization plan on Monday, the Nuu-chah-nulth nations of Tseshaht and Hupacasath remained unsure when COVID-19 vaccines would reach their communities. The province’s shift in approach, which prioritizes age groups, prompted confusion from community leaders who said that it deviated from the community-wide vaccination plan that was promised. In a letter addressed to B.C.’s health ministry on Feb. 26, the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council said “the initial plan and framework [included] having every single First Nation on Vancouver Island vaccinated by March.” Mariah Charleson, NTC vice-president, said that the province’s lack of communication is “alarming.” “There was no consultation at all with any First Nation leadership regarding this big change,” she said. “We’re worried for the two communities that didn’t receive the [vaccine].” However, today the worry is over as eligible community members living on-reserve in Tseshaht and Hupacasath began receiving their ﬁrst dose of the Moderna vaccine. Ken Watts, Tseshaht First Nation elected chief, described it as a “big relief.” While standing outside the vaccine clinic at Maht Mahs Gym in Port Alberni, Watts looked to a line-up of around 20 vehicles.
Photo by Denise Titian
Hupacasath Jim Tatoosh receives his ﬁrst dose of the Moderna vaccine on March 4, 2021. “We have a lot of happy elders and First Nation communities will continue lack of consultation with First Nations community members,” he said. “They’re through the roll-out of Phase 2. leadership. really excited.” “The province of B.C.’s vaccination “It’s a lot of change and it’s literally just Advocating for his members by “pushstrategy calls for rural and remote First been ﬂying at us,” she said. “We haven’t ing politically at all levels,” Watts said Nations communities to be vaccinated in been a part of those discussions – we’re that the “pressure helped.” Phase 1 and the balance of First Nations being told.” The First Nations Health Authority communities as part of Phase 2 by the As part of Phase 2 of the province’s (FNHA) said community-based vaccinaend of March,” said a spokesperson from largest vaccination roll-out in history, tion clinics organized in partnership with FNHA. “Vaccine availability has hamover 400,000 people in B.C. will be impered this plan until just recently and the munized from March to early-April. timeline is still realistic.” Seniors and high-risk people residing in On Monday, the province announced it independent living and senior’s supportis extending the interval between ﬁrst and ive housing - including staﬀ - are being second doses of vaccines to four months. immunized, which began on Monday. The delay in administration of second All Indigenous peoples born in 1956 doses means every eligible person in B.C. or earlier will be eligible to receive the can receive the ﬁrst dose by mid-to-late vaccine and can call to book their vaccine July. appointment on March 8. “At every step of the way, we are “We can now see the light at the end of putting the health and safety of British what has been a diﬃcult and challenging Columbians ﬁrst,” said Premier John time for us all,” said Provincial Health Horgan in a media release. “B.C. was Oﬃcer Dr. Bonnie Henry in a release. one of the ﬁrst provinces to lay out our “To get us through, we need to continue vaccine plan, and now we’re moving to to work together and support each other. Phase 2 to reach even more of our seniors We are working hard each and every day and elders. We’re getting vaccine into to make sure that everyone who wants a arms as fast as we can given early supply vaccine gets one.” delays from manufacturers, and we’re As of March 1, 283,182 doses of vacseeing it start to make a diﬀerence for cine have been administered in B.C., people and their communities throughout 86,537 of which are second shots. our province.” With immunizations underway for the While Charleson said she was relieved remaining two Nuu-chah-nulth nations, Tseshaht and Hupacasath would receive Watts said he can breathe a little easier. Photo by Holly Stocking “I don’t think you know how much of a Joe Charleson Sr. the ﬁrst Tseshaht member to recieve the Moderna vaccine from community-wide vaccinations, she stands behind her frustration in the province’s relief today is,” he said. NTC nurse Laurie Sinclair.
Tseshaht First Nation welcomes Moderna vaccine By Holly Stocking and Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editorial Assistant and Editor Port Alberni, BC - Today members of the Tseshaht First Nation got their ﬁrst chance to be vaccinated for COVID-19. This morning hundreds of doses of the Moderna vaccine arrived at the First Nation’s reserve next to Port Alberni. A clinic was set up at Maht Mahs gym, where at 8:30 a.m. Tseshaht Chief Councillor Ken Watts and a group of volunteers led by Holly Mclaughlin welcomed the inoculation process with an outdoor ceremony. After the welcoming Watts
thanked all the volunteers and said that this vaccine will ease the anxieties with in their nation. Stations were set up in the parking lot and inside Maht Mahs. The ﬁrst Tseshaht member to receive a shot was elder Joe Charleson Sr., who got his dose from NTC nurse Laurie Sinclair. Leading up to the March 4 clinic a group of volunteers helped over 300 members ﬁll out their needed forms to receive the Moderna vaccine. Over the next two days the team hopes to inoculate 400 Tseshaht members. The First Nation has over 1,200 members, approximately 440 of whom reside on reserve.
Page 4— Ha-Shilth-Sa—March 11, 2021 Ha-Shilth-Sa newspaper is published by the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council for distribution to the members of the NTC-member First Nations, as well as other interested groups and individuals. Information and original work contained in this newspaper is protected by copyright and may not be reproduced without written permission from: Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council P.O. Box 1383, Port Alberni, B.C. V9Y 7M2. Telephone: (250) 724-5757 Fax: (250) 723-0463 Web page: www.hashilthsa.com facebook: Hashilthsa Ntc
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Phase 2 brings community vaccinations The Port Alberni Friendship Center to host seniors COVID clinic By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Port Alberni, BC – Island Health is about to roll out COVID-19 vaccine to senior citizens in the province’s general population as part of Phase 2 of the immunization plan. Included in this round are Indigenous seniors ages 65 and older living in urban areas. Seniors aged 90-plus and Indigenous people 65 and older who don’t currently receive home support services or live in a seniors’ supportive housing facility will be able to book their vaccination appointment with Island Health. Immunization appointments begin on Monday, March 15 in community centres throughout the island. The Port Alberni Friendship Centre is providing support to elders by reaching out to them to oﬀer registration assistance. When calling to book an appointment, you must provide your name, birthdate and Care Card number. Island Health has reported that a Phase 2 vaccination clinic in Port Alberni will be held at the Alberni Athletic Hall at 3727 Roger Street on March 15. Indigenous people and communities continue to be prioritized, resulting in early access to vaccine, especially for communities exposed or vulnerable to COVID-19. Island Health acknowledges that historical and current health system trauma may result in Indigenous individuals not wanting to visit a health authority site to be vaccinated. To address this, the health authority is pleased to be working with Indigenous partners to ensure vaccination clinic staﬀ and volunteers have cultural safety and humility training. “We have also worked with Indigenous partners to have the Greater Victoria Friendship Centre, the Port Alberni Friendship Centre and the Sacred Wolf Friendship Centre as locations where vaccine can also be delivered,” said Island Health in an email. Stevens said that PAFC is working with Island Health to hold a vaccination clinic in their facility – a place that is familiar to both the Indigenous population and to the broader community. She could not yet conﬁrm if or when a vaccination clinic would be held at the centre.
Photo by Holly Stocking
Tseshaht members waiting for their turn to get the Moderna vaccine. Bamﬁeld, Cortes Island, Denman Island, For now, Darlene Leonew of the PAFC Gabriola Island, Galiano Island, Gold says she is taking calls from senior citiRiver, Hornby Island, Kyuquot, Laszens in the community seeking informaqueti Island, Mayne Island, North Pender tion about vaccination clinics. Island, Penelakut, Port Alice, Port Hardy, “We are just trying to provide support Port McNeil, Port Renfrew/Jordan River, for seniors, so they don’t have to wait Quadra Island, Read Island, Saturna up to three hours trying to register by Island, Sayward, Sointula, South Pender phone,” she said. Island, Tahsis, Thetis Island, Toﬁno, Leonew is collecting contact information from seniors and sharing what inforUcluelet, Zeballos Vaccination clinic dates on the Island mation she has about registration. are available at https://covid19.islandclin“It is important that elders know that they must unblock toll-free numbers and ics.ca/ Campbell River & area – Campbell that they must answer their phone when River Community Centre, March 15, Island Health calls,” she said, noting that 2021, 9AM to 3PM many people block 800 and unknown Nanaimo & area – Beban Park, March numbers in order to avoid nuisance calls. 15, 2021, 9AM to 7PM Those eligible to receive vaccine in the Nanaimo & area – Cedar Community province’s Phase 2 COVID-19 immuCentre, March 30, 2021, 8:30AM to 4:30 nization plan include seniors 80 years PM of age and older, as well as Indigenous Port Alberni/west coast – Alberni Ath(First Nations, Inuit, Métis) people 65 years of age and older. Elders will be able letic Hall, March 15, 2021, 9:30AM to 3PM to call a toll-free phone line to schedule Victoria/Sooke/Saanich Peninsula – Aran appointment to receive a free COchie Browning Sports Centre, March 15, VID-19 vaccine. In smaller, remote settlements, the prov- 2021, 9AM to 4PM Victoria/Sooke/Saanich – Mary Winince has adopted the whole community spear Centre, March 15 approach when it comes to vaccination Victoria/Sooke/Saanich – Uvic McKinwith one or two-day clinics for every non Gym, March 15 adult over 18. This applies to places with Victoria/Sooke/Saanich - SEAPARC under 4,000 residents that are accessible Leisure Complex, March 15 only by water, air or more than three Victoria/Sooke/Saanich – Eagle Ridge hours of ground travel. Arena, March 15. The following Island Health communiIf you are eligible, call 1-833-348-4787, ties will be vaccinated through a whole 7 a.m.–7 p.m. daily to register. community approach.
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March 11, 2021—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 5
ʔapsčiik t̓ašii path on track for 2022 completion Ongoing $51.1 million pathway project incorporates a boardwalk from hitaču to Itatsoo Lake By Melissa Renwick Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Long Beach, BC - Parks Canada is continuing to make progress on building ʔapsčiik t̓ašii (pronounced ups-cheek tashee), the 25-kilometer multi-use pathway that extends along Long Beach, in the Paciﬁc Rim National Park Reserve. Although around 95 per cent of the pathway has been paved, it remains an active construction zone and is not yet oﬃcially open. The next step is for Parks Canada to build the Wayii, an escarpment area overlooking Long Beach located between Green Point Campground and the Long Beach parking lot. Named by the Elders Working Group, it translates to “hill.” Work on this section of the project will begin this summer and is anticipated to be complete in Fall 2021. Additional work along the pathway will continue through the installation of information panels, rest areas, cultural information and a Highway 4 crossing near Radar Hill Road. Completion for the $51.1 million pathway remains on target for 2022. This past summer, Parks Canada contributed wood that was cleared during the construction of ʔapsčiik t̓ašii to Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ and Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation. In collaboration with the youth warrior program, Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ is using the timber to build boardwalks for a new hitaču trail. The Indigenous Youth Mountain Bike Program (IYMBP), a non-proﬁt organization that aims to help young people build employment skills and connect with their traditional territories through trail building, worked with around 12 youth from the warrior program. “It’s always really fun watching kids get
Photo by Melissa Renwick
Paving is complete along the multi-use pathway, ʔapsčiik t̓ašii, on Oct. 26, 2020. into trail building,” said Patrick Lucas, IYMBP founder. “Their ﬁrst reaction is, ‘Why are we here? Why are we doing this? This is just hard and gruelling.’ And then as they see the trail emerge behind them and see what they’re accomplishing, you can see the kids starting to get really proud of what they’re doing and what they’re building. They see their elders coming out and walking the trail and talking about it and [it] becomes a real source of pride for them.” The trail, which leads from hitaču to Itatsoo Lake, is around 750-metres long and half-way ﬁnished. The long-term goal is to build a loop trail system which
will create opportunities for outdoor recreation and allow community members to reconnect with their land. While it was mainly Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ youth who worked on the trail, Tla-o-qui-aht membes were invited to participate in workshops, such as chainsaw training. “The hitaču trail project has been an exciting venture for the youth, and for all of those involved,” said the Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ government. “The youth have gained signiﬁcant on-the-land skills and tools they can use for many years to come and share with their peers.” Most of the timber that Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation received can only be used
as ﬁrewood, but Saya Masso, Tla-oqui-aht First Nation tribal administrator, said larger pieces will be kept aside for cultural use, such as welcome poles. Lucas said he hopes to begin working with youth on the second-half of the hitaču trail in April or May, but it will depend on COVID-19 restrictions. “It was a tough year,” said Lucas. “A lot of the kids were dealing with a lot of stuﬀ. Working outside on the trail gave them a chance to work through some of those issues and spend time in the woods away from everything that was happening.”
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Kyuquot begins $10 million water and sewer upgrade Three-year project aims to replace infrastructure installed for the First Nation’s Houpsitas village in the 1970s By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Houpsitas, BC – Work will soon begin on major infrastructure upgrades as Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k’tles7et’h’ First Nations (KCFN) prepare to replace their aging water and sewer systems. The village of Houpsitas began ﬁlling with homes in the early 1970s when the First Nation moved from its island home of Aktis. According to KCFN CAO Cynthia Blackstone, some of the water and sewer pipes in the older parts of the village date back to that time. Fifty years later, the village has grown to a population of about 200 with approximately 50 family homes, according to Blackstone. The water system was last upgraded in 1998 when two reservoirs were placed high on the hill behind the community near the school. But the old tanks are showing their age, nearing the end of their lives, said Blackstone. “One was at the point of buckling so it had to be decommissioned,” she said, adding that the one remaining tank continues to serve the entire village along with Walter’s Island and neighboring homes and businesses. The tanks, if not replaced, could cause a lot of damage to the village below. If they rupture, vast amounts of water will come cascading down the hill, through the village. Adding to that, the water gets into the tank via large pipes connected to an artesian well dug about 100 feet deep. If the tanks fail, the water would continue pumping water freely.
Photo by Eric Plummer
A three-year project aims to replace water and sewer infrastructure installed for the First Nation’s Houpsitas village in the 1970s. But ﬁrst, the plan is to replace existuntil recently, if gravel was needed for ing water and sewer pipes in the entire construction projects in Houpsitas, they community, meaning there will be a lot would, at great cost, have the materials of digging throughout the village over the barged in. coming months. Now, KCFN manages a gravel producBlackstone said the ﬁrst pipes that were tion operation in the village. Blackstone installed in the village during the 1970s says that they are in a partnership called are not being used, but they are still in the KCFN Aggregate Ltd. which allows their ground. nation to blast rock on their treaty settleFifty years ago, KCFN had no access ment lands, crush and sort it so they can to a local supply of gravel, which would now produce their own gravel. be used for backﬁll around the pipes. Up Once the pipes are replaced, the water
pump system will be upgraded and a new, large capacity tank will replace the two old tanks. Blackstone says she hopes the new tank will be located further up the hill so that it can supply water to a larger area. “We have treaty settlement lands and are looking to develop a subdivision in the future,” she said. The project is expected to cost $10 million. KCFN has secured $8.6 million from an infrastructure grant that comes from both the provincial and federal governments. In 2019 the Canadian and British Columbian governments committed up to $150 million towards the second intake of the Green Infrastructure – Environmental Quality Program to support cost-sharing of infrastructure projects in communities across the province. Blackstone says Indigenous Service Canada is not a funder for the project. “This is exciting because these are the types of grants given to municipalities,” said Blackstone. KCFN is under the Maa-nulth treaty. “We feel like we have a lot more control over the project and can do it how we want it done,” she added. Construction, which begins this year, is expected to take three years to complete. Blackstone says KCFN will eventually need to upgrade water and sewer pipes at Walter’s Island. She added that if enough funding can be secured, they would like to place their power lines underground while doing the upgrades. “The power lines are prone to corrosion and the power poles are at the end of their lifespan,” said Blackstone.
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Carving on the Edge Festival moves online with Zoom 10th annual festival’s featured artists include Nuu-chah-nulth artits Joe David and Gordon Dick By Melissa Renwick Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Joe David has been studying Nuu-chahnulth art professionally for over 50 years. It’s a craft he has dedicated his life to and yet, the master artist still struggles to describe the region’s visual signatures. “It’s not something that I have found easy to explain in words,” he said. Using visual references from a selection of drums, masks and paintings, David explained the free-form nature of his craft while ﬁlming a video in conversation with Gordon Dick at the Toﬁno Botanical Gardens. The segment is among the programming slated to premier at the Carving on the Edge Festival later this month. Likening Nuu-chah-nulth art to calligraphy, David said the shapes and forms are built with thin lines that swell and shrink in thickness. It is an illustration of the “power, beauty, grace, harmony, balance and co-existence,” his ancestors possessed and lived by. “The same winds that curled the grass in a certain way, curled us in a certain way – our feelings and our thought patterns,” he said. “We are nature. We’re not something from outer space.” To accommodate COVID-19 restrictions, the annual festival is hosting its programming virtually this year. Running from March 26 to 28, participants will have access to a variety of online events ranging from language classes to carving workshops. Dick, Nuu-chah-nulth artist and owner of Ahtsik Native Art Gallery in Port Alberni, will also be hosting carver-to-
Photos by Melissa Renwick
Joe David (right), a founding member of Carving on the Edge Festival, and Gordon Dick ﬁlm a video segment for this year’s virtual festival at the Toﬁno Botanical Gardens, on March 6, 2021. carver conversations with Kelly RobinDespite having worked as an artist for knowledge and experiences, followed by son and Tim Paul. 26 years, Dick approaches his work and a one-hour language lesson. Through the series of discussions, Dick conversations with the masters from the Other events include, a one-hour aims to explore what makes Nuu-chahlens of a learner. instructional video for beginners and nulth art stand-out among the variance in While he is able to identify a Joe David intermediate carvers hosted by Robinnorthwest coast art. piece from 20-feet across the room, he son Cook, a ﬁlm-screening and artist “It’s so subtle to the eye that you have to said “it’s somewhat challenging to put talk with Hjalmer Wenstob, along with earn it,” he said. “You have to study and [the style] into words.” a live session where ﬁve carving artists pay attention – really slow down and look “It’s a feeling,” he said. of varying skill levels and backgrounds at it with student eyes.” Northern styles, like Haida, developed will join audiences from their studios to what is called “the formline system,” discuss current projects. consisting of words like “ovoid” and “UFor David, the festival opens the doorshape,” said David. way between students and masters. “We’ve never named those shapes,” he Like any art form, he encourages learnsaid. ers to study the old collections, to pracBe it the soft webbing of a red snaptice every day and to let-go of their egos. per, or the hard edge of a sea urchin, the “It’s a big brick wall that will only do shapes are born from nature. It is a ﬁne damage,” he said. “Ego will cripple them balance between hard geometric lines and and hold them back.” soft ovals that compliment each other, While David also creates modern art explained Dick. paintings and drawings, he has focused Entering its tenth year, the festival has on traditional Nuu-chah-nulth art out of been built on sharing and teaching Nuurespect for his ancestors. chah-nulth culture. “For hundreds of years, they developed This year, Layla Rorick is facilitating this art form and its traditional form,” he a two-hour live zoom session about the said. “They deserve their contribution Hesquiaht language. The ﬁrst hour will and their intelligence to continue and to consist of three Hesquiaht elders and be available.” four language apprentices sharing their
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Pacheedaht members speak out in old growth dispute Fairy Creek blockade granted three-week court delay, as company seeks injunction to harvest from watershed By Mike Youds Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Port Renfrew, BC - Opponents of old growth logging in the Ada’itsx/Fairy Creek watershed near Port Renfrew are demanding provincial government intervention, worried that dwindling stands will be lost before Pacheedaht First Nation concludes treaty negotiations. Protest camps have blockaded logging activity in the area — part of TFL 46 in Pacheedaht First Nation traditional territory — since August 2020, preventing Teal Cedar Products from building a road into the upper Ada’itsx watershed. The company ﬁled for a court injunction and enforcement order in February with the aim of having blockades removed before spring break-up prevents roadbuilding. A B.C. Supreme Court judge last week rejected that appeal for urgency, granting defendants Bob Arbess and fellow protesters, named in court documents as the Rainforest Flying Squad, a three-week delay to prepare their defence. Bill Jones, a Pacheedaht elder, has been an outspoken ally of the blockades from the start. At Jones’ request, supporters rallied March 4 in Victoria, joining another demonstration in Vancouver as the injunction case was heard. “Join us here in our struggle to save what is left of old growth,” he said from the courthouse steps, encouraging other Pacheedaht to speak out. “When the trees are gone, our spirits will be gone too, because those spirits in the forest have nowhere to go.” Pacheedaht First Nation has not ofﬁcially commented on the dispute, but Roxy Jones said she decided she could no longer stay silent. The Pacheedaht councillor and health care director chose to exercise her right to speak independently as a Pacheedaht citizen. “That’s why I stood up,” Roxy Jones said. “This is ridiculous with only one community member up there, an elder, and no one else supporting it.” The rush to extract remaining old growth forests comes as Pacheedaht reaches the last stages of treaty negotiation, more than a coincidence, she believes. “I truly believe it’s intentional,” said Roxy, who spoke at one of several rallies held last week, demanding the government act. “It’s time for the provincial government to start listening to people and give us full management of resources in our own territories.” “It’s mainly in regard to the provincial government not respecting proper consultation,” she added. “We have our own resources, we have our own economy. We should have a say in what happens to our forests.” She also expressed concern for vanishing old growth forests on the Island. The Fairy Creek watershed contains stands of old-growth yellow cedar. A lower portion of the valley is safeguarded as a wildlife habitat area for protection of marbled murrelet, a seabird that nests in the mossy upper reaches of old growth trees. Roughly 10 per cent of the Island’s valley-bottom old growth forest survives intact, much of it protected within Strathcona Provincial Park. Across B.C., only three per cent of the largest trees remain, about 35,000 hectares. Surrey-based Teal Jones Group, the only shake and shingle producer in the province that has its own timber supply, operates several mills. The company
Photo submitted by Bill Jones
Bill Jones, Pacheedaht elder, speaks at a rally against old growth logging at Fairy Creek. maintains it has a legal right to log in the upper Fairy Creek watershed and estimates timber market value of $10 million is at stake. Without that, Teal Cedar says it will lose ﬁbre supply and business, particularly in its Tonewood division, which supplies wood for building custom-made guitars. “This wood is diﬃcult to come by,” according to a civil claim ﬁled with the injunction application. The injunction application also states that Pacheedaht First Nation gave consent to logging the cutblocks and advised the plaintiﬀ that they would not oppose Teal Cedar’s activities.
There have been blockades going back six years in TFL 46, but this confrontation is diﬀerent. Fairy Creek has become a focal point in a much larger public debate about preserving old growth forest from logging. Last September, a few weeks after a blockade went up at Edinburgh Mountain above Fairy Creek, a pair of scientists commissioned by provincial government to conduct its strategic old growth review submitted their ﬁndings. They pointed to a time-honoured tradition in B.C., a systemic failure to protect old growth forest. Indigenous involvement — an entire system grounded within a provincial/
Indigenous government-to-government framework — tops the independent review panel’s list of required conditions for changes. This is not only a social imperative but a legal one based on the government’s passage of the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, the review notes. “Why are we on the front line? Because the government has failed to deliver an election promise to protect old growth,” Arbess said. “We’re not only ﬁghting for Fairy Creek, we’re ﬁghting for old growth everywhere.” Arbess, long active in the movement to save old growth and the only individual named in the civil suit, said they have no intention of backing down even if Teal Jones wins an injunction. “The company only maintains it has an economic interest and makes no mention of the ecological damage from roadbuilding into an intact watershed,” Arbess said. “Bill Jones has shown it contains sacred sites and places of prayer.” The group has so far raised more than $75,000 from an online GoFundMe appeal. The Ancient Forest Alliance, a group focused on saving remaining old growth on the Island, is also campaigning to hold the NDP government to account. Six months have elapsed without implementation of the old growth recommendations, said Andrea Inness, campaigner for the Victoria-based group. With a three-week reprieve in the Fairy Creek case, the group is urging government to intervene and follow through. “When John Horgan said they would implement all 14 recommendations, we took him at his word. We certainly expected to see much greater action from government at this point.” The province needs to commit funding to allow deferrals on cutting in old growth areas, Inness said. Arbess said he’s “too old to be optimistic” about the outcome at Fairy Creek. “I think it’s going to be a long, drawnout dirty battle,” he said. “If the Pacheedaht nation can take sides for the protection of its territory, then we might be successful. If not, I don’t know. We’ll just get ground down while we make the point. I hope the status quo will get a good run for its money.”
March 11, 2021—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 9
West coast braces for another ‘camping crisis’ ACRD forms working group with MLA backing, as backcountry areas have clusters of long-term settlements By Mike Youds Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Communities, park staﬀ and ﬁrst responders are braced for another wave of rampant illegal camping on the west coast this season along with cantankerous campers, environmental damage, garbage and what some feel are dangerous callouts. ACRD directors, concerned about a repeat of last year’s pandemic-related onslaught, voted unanimously March 3 to set up a strategic working group to deal with the widespread issue. In a regional district board meeting focused on the “camping crisis,” various government employees recalled a chaotic year as campers took up temporary and, in some cases, permanent residence. Backcountry camping is a long-established practice in the region, legal for up to 14 days on Crown land. After pandemic restrictions were eased last spring, Toﬁno, Ucluelet and First Nations experienced a marked increase and a distinctly diﬀerent type of camper. Michael Grandbois, B.C. Parks area supervisor, said illegal campers were far more confrontational and noncompliant in areas such as Kennedy Lake, where they responded to multiple callouts and a ﬁrearm incident. He recalled backcountry encampments of 80 to 100 vehicles “with dogs running around and pallets burning all over. It felt like a Third World country.” He expects just as many this year: “It’s mob rule out there,” Grandbois said. “That’s unfortunately what we’re seeing among park rangers … It depleted my staﬀ. It depleted my resources. I can’t imagine going through this again.” Ryan Anaka, Uchucklesaht First Nation natural resources director, said they usually see campers and ATV riders but had an increase last year, dealing with old-growth cedar poaching as well as more garbage. “Overall, if the same level of traﬃc from people occurs this year, I don’t know how we’re going to keep up with it,” Anaka said. In some spots, such as Weyerhauser’s property on Boot Lagoon at Great Central Lake, campers remained through winter. Samantha Turner, a Weyerhaeuser representative who took part in the ACRD Zoom meeting, said the company hopes to resolve the matter and restore the site acquired through a merger/acquisition. “We don’t have operations up on the Island anymore,” Turner said. “The challenge is, we don’t have staﬀ out there.” Municipal enforcement staﬀ said the inﬂux limits their capacity to deliver local services. “This has kept us exceptionally busy dealing primarily with vehicle traﬃc,” said Brent Baker, Toﬁno’s manager of protective services. Parking oﬀenders were typically angry, aggressive and uncooperative, he said. They issued close to 600 tickets, 10 times more than normal. “People are coming out and using their vehicles as their preferred accommodation,” said Baker. “It’s deﬁnitely been challenging and it’s a daily thing.” Rachelle Cole, Ucluelet village councillor and a community paramedic, said the illegal camping compounds health and safety risks during the pandemic along with adding to ﬁrst-responder stress levels. She described coming upon “very distressing scenes, very environmentally
Photo by Mike Youds
Encampment on Weyerhaeuser property known as Boot Lagoon at Great Central Lake.
Photo submitted by ACRD
ACRD directors and others meet online over illegal camping concerns. damaging” “Illegal camping really elevates everyone’s risk on the west coast,” taking up already limited ambulance service, Cole said. Toﬁno staﬀ were exasperated, said Councillor Tom Stere. A closer collaboration with their Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Park allies was the only beneﬁt, he added. Karen Haugen, Paciﬁc Rim National Park superintendent, said illegal campers didn’t stay in the park but made their presence known. “We were the place where everybody went after living in the backcountry and they dumped all of their garbage,” she said. On the up side, the park enhanced its guardian program, involving Tla-o-quiaht, Huu-ay-aht and Pacheedaht teams, to help deal with the impact. Provincial campgrounds were temporarily closed last spring, which may have contributed to the problem. “I think there are things we can do as a regional district,” said ACRD board chair John Jack, suggesting cellphone apps that pinpoint oﬀ-road illegal camping can be addressed. “It’s like Vancouver Island has hit the threshold of notoriety,” Jack said. One of the ﬁrst priorities will be gather-
ing more data to measure impacts over time, he added. Jim Norlock, natural resource oﬃcer, said more could be done to enforce the Land Act, which limits camping on Crown land to 14 days: “It’s not a quick ﬁx by any means, but there are tools we can work with to make a diﬀerence.” Some directors distinguished between urban homeless encampments around Port Alberni and illegal camping in the backcountry, which they believe involves a separate set of issues. “At the end of the day, the biggest problem is people camping here because they have nowhere else to be. That’s the sad reality,” said Mayor Sharie Minions. Ron Paulson, Port Alberni councillor, said they need a legal opinion on the rights of campers. He said local authorities are “grossly understaﬀed” to deal with open deﬁance and unsafe situations. “I almost get a feeling of the Wild West here with the lawlessness,” Paulson said. Beaufort director Tanya Shannon said a new agreement announced March 3 could help to alleviate some of the problems associated with locked gates on forest access roads. Mosaic Forest Management, the ACRD and the provincial government have formed a working group to “to prioritize and explore public
access opportunities to areas within or adjacent to Mosaic-managed private forest lands in the Alberni-Clayoquot region,” the company announced. A pilot project allowing increased public access on a trial basis through Mosaic-managed private forest lands to Scout Beach and Lowry Lake – two provincially managed recreation sites accessed via Mosaic’s privately-owned roads. The pilot is expected to launch later this year. “From our perspective, the challenge is around safety and managing the environment around garbage,” said Colin Koszman, who spoke for Mosaic during the meeting. Mid-Island Paciﬁc MLA Josie Osborne discussed the issue with ACRD directors last week. “We’re seeing this around the province in fact,” said the Municipal Aﬀairs minister, who promised to stay engaged with the working group. There are multiple reasons why people camp illegally, some of which may relate to broader issues around homelessness, Osborne noted. “For some folks, they’re just looking for the outdoors, and for others, they don’t have stable homes to live in,” she said.
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Signiﬁcant grant will help Huu-ay-aht First Nation Province of B.C. grant enables the expansion of the Pachena Bay Campground By Sam Laskaris Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Huu-ay-aht First Nations will be receiving more than half a million dollars to expand its Pachena Bay Campground. But what is not known yet is whether the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nation will indeed be opening its campground in 2021 or if the COVID-19 pandemic will result in a second consecutive year of its closure. It was announced earlier this month that Huu-ay-aht First Nations would receive a grant worth $510,340 through the province’s Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure Program. These funds will be utilized to upgrade the existing campground. The Pachena Bay Campground is owned by the Huu-ay-aht Group of Businesses, which in turn is owned by the Huu-ay-aht First Nations. This month’s funding announcement is actually the second major grant the campground has received. It was previously awarded a $270,000 federal grant. Money from that grant is currently being utilized to construct a new access road, about one kilometre long, to the campground. Work on this new access road is currently underway and should be completed within the next few weeks. Huu-ay-aht Chief Councillor Robert Dennis said it expected to cost between $100,000 to $110,000 to build the new road. “The access road is going to enable people to take a diﬀerent route,” Dennis said. “That will bring a lot of comfort to our community.” Many residents from the village of Ancala within Huu-ay-aht First Nations have expressed their concerns of the outof-town traﬃc through its roads. These concerns have been exacerbated by the pandemic. Patrick Schmidt, the CEO of the Huuay-aht Group of Businesses, said a decision on whether to open the campground for the 2021 season has yet to be made since the pandemic is still ongoing. “We’re in discussions right now with the Nation how we would operate it if we were to open,” Schmidt said. Many of the adults living in Ancala have already been vaccinated.
Photo by Heather Thomson
Ocean view from one of Pachena Bay’s campsites set to expand anywhere from 20-40 new sites . But oﬃcials from the First Nation must decide on whether it would be wise to open the campground, which undoubtedly would attract visitors from across the province and potentially even out of province. There is currently no system to assess whether potential campground visitors have been vaccinated. Schmidt, however, is optimistic the campground just might be reopening at some point this year. “We’re looking at it,” he said. “It certainly looks more optimistic than last year.” The campground season traditionally runs from the long weekend in May until mid-October. Schmidt said oﬃcials are trying to determine whether a later opening date would be best this year. “There’s no assurances,” Schmidt said. “It may be that we open later on, once we get to July.” Also being looked at is whether it would be best for the 2021 season to stagger which campsites are available within the
campground. And a decision must also be made on whether to open or leave the shower facilities closed. Thus, Schmidt said there are plenty of factors which need to be taken into consideration because of the pandemic. “The trick is to make sure everybody is comfortable with what we are doing,” he said. Schmidt also said that news of the provincial grant arrived at an opportune time since representatives from the First Nation have been keen to upgrade the campground. “We’ve been planning to expand for a while,” he said. “It’s gotten to the point where the campground is full.” Besides updating the campground’s water and sewage systems, Schmidt said an initial expansion will include anywhere from 20-40 new sites being made available. “We’re seeing what we can do before the season and what we can do during it,” he said. The campground could potentially have various phases of expansion. Upgrades
currently being planned won’t take long to complete, Schmidt said. “It will be done next year for sure,” he said. The provincial grant was also welcome news for Huu-ay-aht First Nations’ oﬃcials. That’s because the First Nation suffered a massive ﬁnancial blow in 2020 by not opening its campground to visitors. Like many other Indigenous communities which rely heavily on their tourism businesses, Huu-ay-aht reps are keen to return to some sort of normalcy this year. Huu-ay-aht First Nations was one of 38 rural communities to receive some funding through the Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure Program. Grants in the provincial government’s latest funding announcement totalled $20 million. The B.C. government has pledged up to $90 million through the program, geared at supporting community economic resilience, tourism and heritage as well as rural and urban economic development projects.
Phrase of the week: N’i+q’waa%c^>%is^%a> his^aq @iiyaaqw+quu +uusmit Pronounced nit qwa chil ish althh maa us irh yukka alt koo kloos mit, it means ‘everyone gets excited around here when the herring are spawning’. Supplied by ciisma.
Illustration by Ivy Cargill-Martin
March 11, 2021—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 11
Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation on track for new campground New 35 site RV resort, 13 mini cabins and a 14 site campground coming soon By Melissa Renwick Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Since 2005, Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation (TFN) has thought about opening a new RV park and campground in Toﬁno. After over a decade of planning, development for the Tsawaak RV Resort and Campground is set to begin at the end of March 2021. Located on Tin Wis Reserve 11, management for the campground will be in partnership with Best Western Plus Tin Wis Resort. There will be a total of 35 RV sites, 13 mini-cabins and 14 sites for tent camping. Tla-o-qui-aht’s new company, Hilthhuu-is Spirit Construction (HSC), will be leading the development. “Ten TFN members will have full-time employment throughout the construction process,” said Nick Balaban, HSC project manager. “The goal is to provide as much TFN employment as possible through the course of the project. Whether it be employment through HSC, or hiring existing TFN-owned companies.” For Alex Masso, HSC business and project manager, the creation of employment opportunities for Tla-o-qui-aht members is what most excites him about the project. “Training people and building capacity within the nation,” he said. “It’s something that I’ve always thought about and wanted to work towards – helping Tla-o-qui-aht in some form or fashion and seeing other Tla-o-qui-aht members succeed.” The site has already been logged and
Photo by Melissa Renwick
Trees have been cleared to accommodate for a new campground being built by Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation near the Best Western Plus Tin Wis Resort in Toﬁno, on March 8, 2021. gion can learn about Tla-o-qui-aht culture experience.” the timber that was cleared will be used English will follow Nuu-chah-nulth on and way of life,” said Balaban. for the construction of buildings, fences, signage throughout the resort, and the The campground’s name was born out boardwalks and benches, along with a visitor centre will host a lounge where of the nation’s desire to highlight that welcome sign. Tla-o-qui-aht members can display their everything is connected, said Masso. There is currently a call for design proartwork for sale. The mini-cabins, which will act as posals for the welcome sign. The project’s completion is targeted for bedrooms without a shower or bathroom, Additional logs that came oﬀ the site the end of September. will have a longhouse façade. The conwere set aside for Tla-o-qui-aht artists. “This is the next step in expanding cept was inspired by Hjalmer Wenstob, “We’ll be transporting those to be our tourism plan for Tla-o-qui-aht First distributed to TFN artists on a ﬁrst-come- who put forward the idea. Nation,” said Saya Masso, TFN tribal ad“I think it’s so important that we highﬁrst-serve basis,” said Masso. ministrator. “It’s a much-needed resource light the local territory, artists and our Named after the Nuu-chah-nulth phrase in the region [and provides] a place to local people,” he said. “Indigenous tourhis-shuk-nish tsawaak, meaning “everyhouse and welcome RV campers. We see ism is really on the rise. Let’s get ahead thing is one,” the campground will be a it as an easy way to grow employment.” of that curve and really make it a TFN place where “people outside our local re-
Provincial funding announcement regarding bus service By Sam Laskaris Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Toﬁno, BC – Help is on the way. But it remains to be seen just how quickly that assistance will arrive and when the Toﬁno Bus, Vancouver Island’s only intercity bus service, will resume operations. At a news conference on Tuesday, Premier John Horgan announced motor coach operators in the province, who have suﬀered tremendous revenue losses due to a massive drop in ridership in the past year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, would collectively be receiving $10.7 million from the B.C. government. Representatives from the Wilson’s Group of Companies, which runs the Toﬁno Bus service, announced in early February that they would not be able to continue on without a $3 million provincial subsidy. The Toﬁno Bus services 21 First Nations or organizations as well as 29 communities on Vancouver Island’s west coast. In order to better ﬁght the COVID-19 pandemic, the service has been shut down a couple of times in the past year, most recently in December. Those regulations were lifted on Feb. 12, but Wilson’s reps had stated their buses would not be on the road again unless provincial ﬁnancial assistance was forthcoming, to assist the company with its loss in ridership it has faced in the past year. John Wilson, the president and CEO of the Wilson’s Group of Companies, took part in Tuesday’s news conference. He was thrilled to see the provincial government step up and provide funding
to those in his industry. “Today is ﬁlled with a sense of overwhelming gratitude and relief by the intercity ground transportation sector across the province and, most importantly, by the members of our rural, remote and Indigenous communities that rely on these services,” Wilson said. Wilson’s company has ensured provincial oﬃcials have been kept abreast of their struggles. The company launched a petition, which garnered more than 12,000 signatures, asking the province to provide some ﬁnancial relief. A few dozen letters from mayors, Chiefs from various First Nations as well as other elected oﬃcials were also sent to provincial reps on Wilson’s behalf. “My team and I have worked tremendously hard in our advocacy eﬀorts to shed light on the devastating losses that has left many in the ground transportation sector drowning ﬁnancially,” Wilson said. “Today’s grant announcement is the life raft many in the intercity bus sector have been hoping for.” Horgan was well aware of motor coach struggles throughout the province as people had been staying close to home during the pandemic, thus greatly aﬀecting intercity bus services. “These operators have seen a drastic decline in their revenues as a result of people staying in place but they’ve stayed in place themselves,” Horgan said. “They’ve hung in for the interest of the people in the region and the interest of the people of British Columbia.” The goal is to have Tuesday’s funding announcement assist motor coach operators for the next year.
John Wilson “I’m hoping this contribution today will help them get through the next number of months as we build recovery with everybody in mind as we go into the fall and into 2022,” Horgan said. Tuesday’s announcement included an additional $16 million in funding for regional airports throughout British Columbia. “The intention is to have all the money out the door, that has been announced today, the $27 million, by March 31,” said Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Rob Fleming. Companies must submit an application in order to secure a share of the funding. “We will ﬂow the money immediately,” Fleming said. “We’re beginning the application period today. We’ll work with companies. It’s a simple, very eﬃcient grant application process so companies will be able to take advantage of this
almost immediately and make operational plans.” Wilson’s was expected to ﬁle its application yesterday. Like Horgan, Fleming said lending a hand to motor coach operators and those running regional airports is vital. “Making sure that British Columbians have access to essential services is important to our government, especially since we continue to go through the challenges of COVID-19,” Fleming said. Fleming added he was pleased with the details of the funding announcement. “We’ve identiﬁed a signiﬁcant gap here today for some businesses that were particularly exposed to travel restrictions during this pandemic,” he said. “They needed our help. We’ve worked with them collaboratively to provide that.” Wilson’s oﬃcials are now waiting to see if they will receive the $3 million grant they requested or a portion of that. Samantha Wilson, the company’s brand manager, had previously said the service might not return at full capacity if the business received less than what it was asking for from the government. That means Wilson’s could have fewer buses on the road or possibly not even operate its service seven days a week as it did previously. Though no oﬃcial restart date for service was given yesterday, John Wilson said he was hopeful the Toﬁno Bus service would be back up and running by the ﬁrst week of April. “We look forward to continuing to serve the communities of British Columbia for many years to come,” he added.
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President’s message to Nuu-chah-nulth-aht Hello Everyone. Finally, some good news. All our members living at home who are over 18, and wanted it, have received the moderna vaccine to ﬁght against Covid-19. It has been a long year going into lockdown and then taking many precautions to prevent contracting Covid. We are still not completely protected from the virus and some of our members have received the second vaccine and now Dr. Bonnie Henry is telling us that it can be up to 6 months before we get the second shot. We still need to wear masks, social distance and constantly wash our hands for now as many of the people around us have not had the vaccine. I was very happy to get the vaccine and encourage all those who did not get it to consider it seriously to protect yourself and those around you. I have been working to get our members who live away from home vaccinated as soon as possible. None of us like the fact that our communities are being divided between on and oﬀ reserve as we are all one and this is a very Indian Aﬀairs kind of mentality. Right now, if you are over 65, you can call the Friendship Center and sign up for the vaccine. Then the vaccine will roll out over the next few months according to age. The priority for the province was to vaccinate rural and remote First Nation communities so they have not prioritized those living away from home except those who are 65 and older. We had extremely sad news last weekend as another Tla-o-qui-aht member was shot by an RCMP oﬃcer at a home on the ancient village of Opitsaht. This is the second member in the past 9 months who was shot by police. This is so unbelievable and shocking and totally unacceptable. We are working at getting meetings with RCMP top oﬃcials to look at their excessive force policies, training on de-escalation and culture and especially in valuing our people. Our hearts go out to the grieving families and communities. This news went across the country and our horror has been heard by leaders. Minister Murray Rankin, MIRR, and Minister Marc Miller ISC send their deepest sympathies. Political leaders in the First Nations Summit, UBCIC and BC AFN and Pacheedaht joined the NTC and we issued a strong statement to governments that we need systemic change and we cannot just talk about this or we will face another shooting. The 3 provincial organizations have all had their quarterly meetings. They brought in Minister Lametti to talk about Bill C15-the Universal Declaration of Indigenous Rights Act. (UNDRIPA). After the bill went through ﬁrst reading, Minister Lametti only then started talking to First Nations and instead of saying what should go in the law, we are as always, reacting to what is in the and this is very backward. The bill does not mention systemic racism and it should. They want to take 3 years to do an action plan which is far too long as things need to change immediately. Also, the proposed law lacks teeth, the only accountability for parliament is to receive a yearly report. We need to establish an independent body that has powers to compel Canada and First Nations to implement what is in the proposed law. At the BCAFN meeting, Fisheries Ministers Bernadette Jordan made presentations and took questions from Chief Councillors Josh Charleson and
Ken Watts and myself. Questions were around their development of a salmon allocation policy and rights to a commercial ﬁshery and the impacts of dumping from cruise ship into our waters impacting their health, habitats and ecosystem. I requested the Minister meet directly with our Hawiih and not having them speak to technical people. Can’t say that her responses were very satisfactory and she promised to look into it. She had talked a lot about the blue economy and when I asked how that can happen in Nuuchah-nulth if our right to a commercial ﬁshery was being denied or were given small allocations. She promised a strong role for Nuu-chah-nulth ﬁshermen in the economy. I participated in a climate change strategy with BCAFN where they are working on an action plan for BC First Nations. Many technical people on the call and few leaders but it was a great discussion. I was able to talk about the changes within our lands and waters and initiatives we are working on. I also attended a workshop on the new federal children and family’s law and there were First Nations talking about where they are in the processes. Cowesses First Nation in Saskatchewan has their law in place and takes over children and families on April 1, 2021. What I liked the most about their law is instead of using a preamble, they start with a prayer to protect children and families and the future of their Nations. I have been attending meetings on heritage conservation and asking why we cannot bring into our values the Heritage Conservation and the ability of First Nations to manage our own sites. Currently, there is no mandate from Ministers though bureaucrats are seeking the ability to work with First Nations on these issues. I also attended the Council of Hawiih meetings on ﬁsheries, their internal meetings and one day with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. We need to gear up for this year’s ﬁshing season including getting access to herring and herring eggs (siihmuu or gwakmus), access to all species of salmon for food and commercial and always pushing our right to manage our ﬁsheries and the habitat that sustains them. There are so many issues to deal with and a lot going on and I am only sharing the highlights of the work I have done in the past month. I really appreciate being able to represent the Nuu-chah-nulth and work hard on all the issues that are facing us. - Kekinusuqs, Judith Sayers
March 11, 2021—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 13
------- Employment Opportunities ------Thunderbird Spirit Water Job Posting Position: Production Worker/Labourer Thunderbird Spirit Water is seeking a friendly and energetic individual to become part production team as Production Worker/Labourer who will report to the Plant Manager. These duties include completing daily activities on the production line ensuring product adheres to the set standards of safety, quality, and production. Qualiﬁcations and Experience: • High School Diploma or equivalent • Valid Driver’s License • Valid Forklift License • WHMIS certiﬁcation • Ability to understand bottling process • Basic mathematical skills • Problem-solving skills • Eﬀective communication and interpersonal skills. • Basic computer skills and comfort with using fast paced equipment. • Team player who shows initiative, reliability and ﬂexibility. • Demonstrated ability and experience in upholding the Uchucklesaht Tribes’ organizational values • Must complete a Criminal Record Check Please submit a resume and cover letter no later than 4:30 pm on March 26th, attention: Lysa Ray, Executive Assistant In person/by mail: 5251 Argyle Street, Port Alberni, B.C. V9Y 1V1 Emailed to: Lysa.Ray@Uchucklesaht.ca (MS Word or PDF documents) We thank you for your interest, however, only candidates selected for an interview will be contacted.
View more job postings at: www.hashilthsa.com
Page 14— Ha-Shilth-Sa—March 11, 2021
TSESHAHT MARKET GATEWAY TO THE PACIFIC RIM
Photo submitted by Ditidaht First Nation
Students of the Ditidaht Community School help with the community wide clean up.
Ditidaht launches community-wide clean-up By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Malachan, BC – BC – Ditidaht First Nation has started a community clean-up that will bring together DFN staﬀ, volunteers and school children. DFN Administrator Eva Wilson told HaShilth-Sa that the project began Mar. 1, 2021 with DFN departments contributing resources for the clean-up. Elected Chief Brian Tate said his nation, in 2019, adopted a First Nations Land Management Code. The code allows DFN to exercise powers over their land governance without interference from the Government of Canada. DFN holds and manages revenue from its lands instead of ISC. Canada continues to hold title to reserve land. Tate says that this means that Ditidaht is no longer constrained by ISC (Indigenous Services Canada) policies when it comes to land management. Funding for the clean-up comes in part from DFN Lands dept in order to oﬀer short-term employ-
ment, build work skills and bring volunteers together. Derelict boats and vehicles have already been removed. Tate noted that there is a ‘big’ need for a community clean-up. With its remote location, the Malachan residents have limited options when it comes to disposing of large items like derelict vehicles. There are also overgrown bushes encroaching on public spaces and in people’s yards. Tate says the school and daycare each contributed two trash bins for the cleanup. Children from the school will spend two hours each day picking up garbage around the village. Wilson said besides collecting garbage, sprawling bushes will be cut down around houses, roadways and common areas. DFN Public Works and Housing will also assist in the clean-up, picking up larger items placed on the roadside by residents. The work is expected to take a few weeks.
Employment Opportunity Solid Waste Manager The Alberni Clayoquot Regional District(ACRD) is looking for a highly motivated individual with strong leadership abilities who can support and lead staﬀ and contractors in the world of solid waste management. This full time, permanent, management role is responsible for landﬁlls, recycling/transfer depots, curbside collection contracts, organics diversion and regional waste management planning. The ideal candidate will have local government and solid waste planning and management experience, combined with problem solving and communication skills. This individual will be a natural leader and team-player, committed to fostering engagement with internal and external stakeholders. The successful candidate will ensure the region’s infrastructure is managed in a safe, eﬀective, eﬃcient, and sustainable manner and help to implement the new regional strategic plan. This exempt position oﬀers an attractive salary and comprehensive beneﬁts package. Visit the Regional District website at www.acrd.bc.ca to view a copy of the full job description for this position. The oﬃce is located in Port Alberni, a family focused community which oﬀers quality aﬀordable housing in the heart of world-class recreational and outdoor opportunities. Applicants are invited to forward their resume by 4:00 pm on Monday, March 29th, 2021 to: Wendy Thomson, General Manager of Administrative Services Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District 3008 Fifth Avenue, Port Alberni, BC V9Y 2E3 Phone: (250) 720-2706Fax: 250 723-1327 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org We thank all applicants in advance for their interest, however; only those under consideration will be contacted.
Hours of operation - 7:00 am - 10:30 pm Phone: 724-3944 E-mail: email@example.com Find us on Facebook
March 11, 2021—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 15
Uu-a-thluk oﬀers Captain’s Boat Camp to members Participants earn certiﬁcation for operating small marine vessels By Melissa Renwick Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Toﬁno, BC - Robert Stanley was in Toﬁno when he heard about the house ﬁre that claimed the life of an Ahousaht First Nation member last week. He had traveled from his home on Flores Island to attend a nine-day Captain’s Boat Camp. The loss weighed on him heavily and his ﬁrst impulse was to drop-out of the course and return home. It didn’t feel right for Stanley to be so far away from his grieving community. Before he could follow through, members from his nation encouraged him to stay, saying, “there was nothing he could do.” Emotionally tapped out and disinterested, he struggled through the beginning of the in-class marine training. It wasn’t until he was out on a boat during a practical session that Stanley started to feel more at peace. “The water soothed my heart,” he said. Along with four other Nuu-chah-nulth students, Stanley was taking the boat camp to get his certiﬁcations to be a captain on a small commercial vessel. The $3,000 course was oﬀered to 16 Nuu-chah-nulth participants from Ahousaht and the regions of Toﬁno and Ucluelet at no cost. It was limited to those geographical areas due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. Funded by the Canadian Coast Guard and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the course was facilitated by Uu-a-thluk, Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council’s ﬁsheries program. Selected on a ﬁrst-come-ﬁrst-serve basis, 11 participants signed-up and will walk away with certiﬁcations for Small Vessel Operator Proﬁciency (SVOP), Small Domestic Vessel Basic Safety (SDV-BS), Restricted Operator Marine Radio Licence (ROC-M) and Marine Basic First Aid. Stanley works as a commercial ﬁsherman and has been driving trollers since he was 11 years old. No stranger to the water, he never uses a map for navigation. Instead, he relies on the traditional markers his grandfather taught him, like the top of Lone Cone Mountain. He enrolled in the course to renew his certiﬁcates so that he could run his brother’s boat. While he has no trouble maneuvering through local waters, Stanley said he “loved the practical training” that allowed him to practice his skills. Joe Titian also traveled from his community of Ahousaht to attend the course. Although he has been on boats since he was nine years old and started commercially ﬁshing at the age of 12, he needed to renew his certiﬁcates to run a water taxi for his brother-in-law. As he pulled out of the Toﬁno marina, the 63-year-old quoted Dolly Parton and said, “Everybody wants happiness, nobody wants pain; but there can’t be a rainbow without a little rain.” Relying on his fellow classmate, Brianna Lambert, for navigational directions, Titian continued driving out into rough seas up the Toﬁno Inlet. Datum Marine Services instructor, Marla Barker, guided them through a “person overboard drill” where Titian had to demonstrate a high-speed turn to rescue a fallen buoy, they covered anchoring and docking a boat, along with slow-speed maneuvering. After catching up with the other participants who were on diﬀerent boats, the
Photo by Melissa Renwick
Datum Marine instructor, Marla Barker (left), helps Brianna Lambert navigate while Joe Titian drives the boat during the Captain’s Boat Camp, near Toﬁno, on Feb. 22 2021. rain stopped as the skies parted. A vibrant rainbow emerged that arched across the inlet. It was like the ancestors were comforting the students in an embrace. As the day ended, the group gathered on a dock in Cannery bay. “You guys showed a lot of courage for hanging in there,” said Ed Houlihan, a Datum Marine instructor. While Stanley said he couldn’t wait to get back to his family and community, he was proud to have made it through the course. “It’s what my community wanted,” he said.
Page 16— Ha-Shilth-Sa—March 11, 2021
Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council
2020-2021 Scholarship Announcement for K – 12 , 2021 2 2 h rc le Ma b a l i a v ll be a
Applications found at: https://nuuchahnulth.org/services/useful-resources-applications-forms-policies-agreements
The K-12 Scholarships are for students from the following Nuu-chah-nulth nations:
- AHOUSAHT - HUPAC*ASATH - NUCHATLAHT - DITIDAHT - HUU-AY-AHT - TLA-O-QUI-AHT - %IIH=ATIS / C*IINAX=INT - KA:’YU:’K’T’H’/CHE:K:TLE7ET’H’ - TSESHAHT - HESQUIAHT - MOWACHAHT/MUCHALAHT
For more information, please contact Richard Samuel at (250) 724-5757 Or by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org