INTERESTING NEWS Canada’s Oldest First Nations Newspaper - Serving Nuu-chah-nulth-aht since 1974 Canadian Publications Mail Product Vol. 47 - No. 05—March 12, 2020 haas^i>sa Sales Agreement No. 40047776
Legacy of the Leviathan II accident Coronavirus gives birth to skateboarding dreams yet to hit Five years after tragedy, the resulting support sends a young skater to New Mexico By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Ahousaht, BC – It has been nearly ﬁve years since a tragic boat accident claimed the lives of six tourists aboard the Leviathan II oﬀ of Vancouver Island’s west coast in Clayoquot Sound. But the contributions of a grateful survivor and his friends continue to ripple through Nuu-chah-nulth communities in a very positive way. The story starts a couple of years before the boat accident when Beth Luchies, a child and youth mental health councilor working for the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council, began a collaboration with a man passionate about surﬁng. The plan was to bring people in to introduce children in Ahousaht to board sports, which includes surﬁng and skateboarding, as means to support healthy activities in the community. Grant Shilling works for Get on Board, a registered non-proﬁt organization that promotes board sports to develop social skills, self-conﬁdence and goal-setting in youth. In 2013 Shilling and friends began making visits to Ahousaht from their home base in Courtenay shortly after Ahousaht’s ﬁrst road was paved. The group began teaching children how to use skate boards. The kids eventually learned how to build and paint their own boards, and many skateboards were donated to the children. The sport took oﬀ, and soon Ahousaht residents using the paved road had to watch out for skateboarders. A plan was launched to build a proper skate park near the beach in front of the older part of the village. Ahousaht band council and Landyachtz each donated $10,000 to the project, but they needed another $20,000 to complete the skate park. On Nov. 13, 2015 Shilling started an IndieGogo account with a goal to raise the $20,000 through crowdfunding. The fundraising drive began just over two weeks after the Oct. 25 Leviathan II accident. There were 27 passengers and crew aboard the Leviathan II that day. They were idling by some reefs on the southwest side of Flores Island when they were struck broadside by a wave, capsizing the boat. A pair of Ahousaht ﬁshermen happened to notice the distress signal and went in search of the source. When they saw the accident site and the number of people that needed help they
called over the VHF radio for assistance. More boats arrived from Ahousaht, rushing to pull the 21 survivors out of the frigid water. Two of those survivors are a couple that had clung to a life ring with three others for at least an hour. They were rescued by Ahousaht grandparents Francis (Frenchie) and Michelle Campbell. Dwayne Mazereeuw and his wife Elisa Kasha are the parents of two young children, who were not aboard the boat when the tragedy happened. In the days following the accident the couple contemplated ways in which they could thank their rescuers in a meaningful way. Just a few weeks after his rescue, Mazereeuw caught wind of the fundraising drive to create a skate park for the children of Ahousaht. It turns out that Mazereeuw is a well-known skater in Calgary, Alberta. He works for New Line Skate, a company that designs and builds skate parks. Mazereeuw knows ﬁrsthand how remote Ahousaht is. Located on Flores Island, the community is only accessible via a 40-minute boat Photo by Frenchie Campbell ride or by ﬂoat plane from Suan Campbell of Ahousaht with his Landyachtz Toﬁno. board is preparing for an international competition. With the support of his employer, Mazereeuw got on board with at age 7, developed a passion for skatethe fundraising drive oﬀering to lend his boarding. Over the past three years he has expertise along with personal donations been to the village skatepark every day to the skate park. Within a week of going that it’s not raining, said Suan’s grandpublic with his support, the fundraising mother Michelle. drive hit $18,330. Mazereeuw said his Suan, now age 10, has gone to every social media message box was exploding skateboard clinic that Shilling and his with oﬀers of cash donations as well as team have oﬀered in the village. Get on help in the form of expertise, labor and Board continues to visit Ahousaht about building materials. once every month helping the children Early the following year the fundraisers build their boarding skills or dropping oﬀ exceeded the goal and construction of donated boards. They teach the kids how the skate park began in spring 2016. The to build and paint their boards. park was complete in the spring of 2017 According to Suan’s grandmother, durand instantly drew children like bees to a ing those rainy days that he can’t be at ﬂower. the skatepark, Suan is on YouTube watchOne of those children was a boy named ing pro skateboarders. Suan (pronounced Swan) Campbell who, Continued on page 3.
Inside this issue... Wave of mining claims...............................................Page 2 Language gathering comes to Maht Mahs..................Page 4 Hopes for Toﬁno arena...............................................Page 8 Land title and the Wet’suwet’en agreement..............Page 11 Residential school faces light up museum................Page 15
First Nations By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor As new cases of the coronavirus are announced each day, health authorities are tasked with balancing the need to inform the public on how to mitigate the spread of the disease while discouraging widespread panic. In early March British Columbia’s COVID-19 cases quadrupled to 39 as of March 11, all in the Vancouver Coastal and Fraser Health regions. Many of these patients came from cruise ships or travelling to international hotspots for the virus – but some have no recent travel history. One man in a North Vancouver nursing home has died with the disease. “There has been a notable transmission of COVID-19 at events, such as religious gatherings,” reads a joint statement from B.C.’s Minister of Health Adrian Dix and Provincial Health Oﬃcer Dr. Bonny Henry. “As a result, we recommend social distancing and forgoing usual greetings.” Originating from the Wuhan region of China in late 2019, COVID-19 is a respiratory illness untreatable with medication that can lead to pneumonia or kidney failure. The virus is transmitted by liquid droplets when someone coughs or sneezes, and can enter through the eyes, throat or mouth – but not the skin, according to a notice distributed by the NTC’s nursing program. “The virus is not known to be airborne,” states the notice. “It can be spread by touch if a person has used their hands to cover their mouth when they cough. That’s why we recommend you cough or sneeze into your arm and wash your hands regularly.” With no cases reported in Indigenous communities, the First Nations Health Authority advised people to remain calm, while undertaking the usual precautions such as frequent hand washing, sanitizing door handles and staying home if sick. “We do not recommend that the general public wear masks,” stated the FNHA. “Surgical masks are not designed for this purpose and are unlikely to provide signiﬁcant protection.” John Borrows, a professor at the University of Victoria Faculty of Law, noted that First Nations should be wary of the historic spread of diseases, such as smallpox and the Spanish ﬂu. He said on-reserve communities with high densities of people living under one roof could become particularly vulnerable to transmission.
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Page 2— Ha-Shilth-Sa—March 12, 2020
New survey triggers wave of mining claims Area of interest extends into North Island’s Nuu-chah-nulth territory, sparking exploration interest in minerals By Mike Youds Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor A new and more advanced geophysical survey extending into North Island Nuuchah-nulth territory has sparked 34 new mining claims within weeks of its release. Results of the aerial survey — encompassing 20 percent of the Island — were shared at Geoscience B.C. presentations this month in Port McNeill and Campbell River. “I’d say we’ve been really pleased with the response so far, not only from the industry but also from the community,” said Richard Truman, external aﬀairs director with Geoscience BC, the notfor-proﬁt agency behind the survey. “We hope it generates more economic activity. There has been some interest in north Island copper,” he added. Geophysical surveys probe the earth’s surface for clues of mineral deposits. Radiometric data, measuring natural radioactive decay in rock and soil near the surface, combined with magnetic data of rocks below, can indicate mineral deposits to a depth of several kilometres. “This can be interpreted to show whether they will ﬁnd copper or gold. What they’re looking for is rapid changes in magnetism,” Truman said. Northern Vancouver Island is known for deposits of low-grade copper and gold, a combination that can prove a mine’s commercial viability. A similar analysis was done in 2012 on the North Island while this latest area, bordered by Port McNeill, Zeballos and Gold River, was last mapped by the Geological Survey of Canada in the 1980s. Technical improvements since those previous surveys provide greater detail through higher resolution images. The survey aroused more than curiosity among Nuu-chah-nulth nations when brought to their attention last summer. There was a mixture of disappointment and concern that prior consent was not obtained, a glaring oversight considering the area extends over Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/ Che:k’tles7et’h’, Ehattesaht and Mowachaht/Muchalaht territories. Truman noted that Geoscience BC responded in an eﬀort to improve communications with those nations. Survey ﬁndings were released in January in time for the Association of Mining Exploration’s Roundup, the annual gathering of B.C.’s mining sector. “And we made sure the data went out to all First Nations,” Truman stressed. “What’s interesting is that we deﬁnitely got a sense when we were planning the survey is that there is deﬁnitely renewed interest among the First Nations of Vancouver Island. We never quite know what the response will be.” While the initial ﬂurry of claim-staking is expected to taper, Geoscience BC is upbeat about long-term prospects. “At the moment, there appears to be quite an upbeat mood, so I think what we see is pretty optimistic,” Truman said. “We’re encouraging anyone interested in doing exploration to build relationships with First Nations.” World copper prices dipped in late 2019 due to slower short-term demand from China, but copper demand is forecast to double over the next 20 years, driven in part by transition to a low-carbon economy and the need to rein in greenhouse emissions. Electric vehicles require roughly three times more copper than internal combustion vehicles.
Photo by Precision Geosurveys
The latest aerial survey was ﬂown between August and October 2019.
“And we made sure the data went out to all First Nations” ~ Richard Truman, external aﬀairs director with Geoscience BC B.C. leads the country in copper production with exports exceeding $10 billion annually, second only to coal. There are currently six copper mines operating in the province and a couple dozen projects listed in various stages of exploration. In the last few years, the industry has shown renewed interest on the North Island: Nyrstar has been working to reopen Myra Falls Mine, a historic polymetallic site near Campbell River. Surge Exploration recently acquired additional claims for its Caledonia project, part of a 50-kilometre-long copper belt south of Port Hardy. NorthIsle Copper and Gold is developing a copper deposit northwest of the historic Utah Mine west of Port Hardy. Troubador Resources signalled intent last spring to acquire the Zeballos highgrade gold camp, site of a gold rush in the 1930s. Mowachaht/Muchalaht (MMFN) was among nations planning to be on hand for a Feb. 26 open house in Campbell River. The new data will support Global Information System (GIS) mapping work about to get underway. “This dovetails with my work with GIS,” said Jack Johnson, a GIS technician with MMFN. “We’re upgrading our system.” As an advanced tool for a comprehensive approach to natural resource and land management, GIS has proven to be a valuable asset to First Nations. Johnson plans to layer the geophysical informa-
tion into MMFN’s resource database. While he has seen little interest in mining in terms of claim referrals crossing his desk in the last two years, that could change. “I certainly expect to see more now,” he said. Nanwakolas Council Society, a land and resource management planning body that serves ﬁve east coast First Nations, is working with Geoscience BC to take advantage of the survey. “I think the information is really important to First Nations whether we’re for or against something,” said Dallas Smith, council chair and a Tlowitsis First Nation member. “They deﬁnitely want as much information as possible if they’re going to make decisions about it.” That’s particularly true of this survey because it oﬀers greater detail in a format that’s easier to understand, he said. What is also clear is that the ground on which the B.C. mining industry has operated for years is shifting. There is heightened awareness in the industry of the need to work more closely with First Nations. Along with the new UNDRIP legislation, tougher provincial and federal environmental assessments are coming on stream. Miners may not act on their claims for years and mines can take 15-25 years to bring into production. Still, Smith
believes First Nations best be prepared before industry comes knocking. “Staking a claim doesn’t scare us as much as it used to because of the ability work with government,” he said. “It’s important for us to be pro-active as First Nations.” In the past, mining companies exploited opportunities on Indigenous territory without consultation, consideration or obligation to remediate damage done to land and water. The industry’s track record coupled with an archaic regulatory framework and weak enforcement left a bitter legacy of distrust. “We kind of learned the hard way,” Smith said. “We really had to immerse ourselves in the knowledge.” A former Secwepemc chief literally drove the point home in 2017, staking a mining claim under the Cranbrook home of MLA Bill Bennett, Liberal minister of energy and mines at the time. The NDP government has since promised to modernize B.C.’s mining legislation. Formed last spring, the B.C. Mining Law Reform Network has been lobbying for Mineral Tenure Act reforms that would respect no-go zones and decisions by local residents in keeping with best practices and international law. The group is calling on government to fund independent monitoring, including Indigenousled programs to ensure compliance.
March 12, 2020—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 3
Progress on child poverty measured but ‘glacial’ A recent Statistics Canada report shows a decline, but child advocates say governments could do much more By Mike Youds Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Port Alberni, BC - As governments claim credit for measured progress against child poverty, critics and advocates maintain there is much more they could do, particularly for Indigenous children, the country’s most marginalized and disadvantaged. “They can do better,” said Adrienne Montani, provincial coordinator of First Call B.C., a coalition of child and youth advocacy groups. “We were pretty disappointed with the February budget. We were looking for additional dollars invested in child care.” While applauding elimination of MSP premiums and the new B.C. Child Opportunity Beneﬁt that begins in October, the coalition says funding is lacking for “upstream preventative family supports.” “Investments in early childhood and infant development, poverty reduction, access to public services including quality child care and supports for youth aging out of care are key to better longterm outcomes for children and youth,” Montani said. The coalition recently released its 23rd annual Child Poverty Report Card, showing once again that one in ﬁve B.C. children lives in poverty, a ratio exceeded in the Alberni-Clayoquot region, where it remains closer to one in three. ACRD has one of the worst child poverty rates in the province at 31 percent, far higher than the provincial average of 19 percent. Data on Indigenous on-reserve child poverty in the ACRD are not available — a shortcoming that advocates want to see addressed — while the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous children has been well documented.
Photo by Mike Youds
Dr. Paul Hasselback speaks during a poverty reduction workshop at the Port Alberni Friendship Center. The Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District faces a higher rate of child poverty than the rest of the province. “Our children face the worst social and that oﬀset low income levels. economic conditions in the country,” Nearly half of First Nations children are AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde in poverty told provincial premiers in July. “They In the absence of statistical evidence, deserve an opportunity to succeed.” AFN worked with the Canadian Centre Part of the challenge is measuring for Policy Alternatives to paint a clearer poverty on reserves. Aside from the picture with a series of reports called Tocensus every 10 years, Statistics Canada wards Justice: Tackling Indigenous Child income tracking excludes reserves in its Poverty in Canada. low-income measures. Stats Canada cites “Measuring poverty for Indigenous “substantial in-kind transfers,” such as peoples based on a technical deﬁnition of band housing, barter economies, shared income or expenditure does not allow for resources and natural food production a multidimensional approach to understanding poverty and its elimination,” the report notes. Towards Justice cites a modest improvement in Indigenous child poverty rates while calling the pace of change “glacial.” Status First Nation child poverty fell to 47 percent from 52 percent The events take place April 23 to 25 but between 2006 and 2016, a drop attributed the family must leave ﬁve days earlier to a higher proportion of children living because they are traveling by road. On oﬀ reserve. April 20 two van loads will leave Toﬁno First Call indicates the percentage of for the start of the 5,200-kilometre return children age 0-17 in low-income famiroad trip. Ariel Campbell, Suan’s mother, lies in the ACRD has increased to 30.7 said she and her husband Trevor are gopercent from 29.5 percent in 2015. The ing along with the rest of their children. region has the third highest overall child Both of Suan’s grandparents and great poverty rate in B.C. In Port Alberni, the grandfathers plan to go along as well. rate is marginally lower, 29.3 percent. Suan says he is happy and excited about First Call also highlights an enormous the trip to Skate Jam. gap between single-parent families and A young Cree man named Aubrey Brass couple-parent families in poverty, 62 perwill also attend the event honing his vidcent versus 15 percent in the ACRD, and eography skills for the local skateboard reports an overall increase in the number community. of poor children in single-parent families The family has purchased commemorain the province. tive shirts to sell and to raﬄe oﬀ. In addiLast week, Shane Simpson, B.C.’s mintion to the GoFundMe page initiated by ister of social development and poverty Shilling, Landyachtz has pledged to supreduction, used Statistics Canada data to port the cause by donating $1 for every show progress, claiming a drop of about share of a Facebook post they created. ﬁve percent between 2016 and 2018. The GoFundMe page has its goal set at Stats Can’s Canadian Income Survey also $10,000. At press time just over $3,000 suggests fewer people in the province livhas been raised. ing in poverty in 2018. The oﬃcial numShilling will accompany the family on ber dropped to 421,000 from 481,000. the trip to Albuquerque. Simpson said the trend shows minimum “This is a perfect capstone to a tragedy wage, child care and housing measures, that has turned to redemption,” he said. combined with a strong economy, are To purchase shirts or to make an eworking. Montani feels progress has been transfer donation contact Ariel Campbell overstated. at firstname.lastname@example.org. The “They need to keep their foot on the gas Crowdfunding page to make donations and fund some of these programs they for Suan’s journey to Albuquerque is started,” she said. “We really need to get www.gofundme.com/f/suans-journey-togovernment to think beyond the election complete-the-circle. cycle for helping children. Eliminating
Family prepares for crosscountry trek to south USA Continued from page 1. “He loves his YouTube and he loves to try what he sees,” said Michelle. Suan’s grandparents, Frenchie and Michelle Campbell – yes, the same ones that came to the rescue of the Leviathan II passengers – support his passion for boarding in any way they can. They bring him to Courtenay to attend skateboard workshops and to practice at the indoor skatepark. Last weekend they were visiting skateparks all over Vancouver Island. “He wanted to check out the one in Port Renfrew because that was designed by Dwayne Mazereeuw too,” said Frenchie. Michelle says it is the ﬁfth weekend they’ve spent like this with Suan. “And he brings what he learns back home to share with the other kids,” said Michelle. In the summer of 2019 Shilling became aware of something called the All Native Skate Jam and thought it would be wonderful to send a child from Ahousaht. He thought of Suan because he has been the most consistent skater in the community. Suan Campbell will not only be the ﬁrst Nuu-chah-nulth competitor in the All Nations Skate Jam but also the ﬁrst Canadian. More than 60 Iindigenous nations are represented at the event in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Skate Jam coincides with the 2020 Gathering of Nations Pow Wow, billed as North America’s biggest pow wow.
poverty can be one of the strongest ways of improving the economy.” The Canada Child Beneﬁt is credited with lowering poverty since 2016, yet people who don’t ﬁle income taxes are ineligible. The same is true of B.C.’s Child Opportunity Beneﬁt. “Again, it won’t beneﬁt some of the poorest families,” Montani said. The coalition is working with the federal government in hopes of seeing some means of overcoming that limitation, she said. Marcie DeWitt, a consultant with the Alberni Clayoquot Health Network (ACHN), agrees there has been progress against poverty. “Much of what we have seen is an increased interest and willingness to address social issues from the municipal governments,” DeWitt said. She notes signiﬁcant increases in housing support, including emergency shelter and second-stage housing. Provincial funding for housing, child care and poverty reduction have also beneﬁted the region. However, smaller communities haven’t necessarily beneﬁted. “I ﬁnd it is frustrating when we have such high indices we’re working with and yet we don’t see too many responses working in rural and remote communities,” DeWitt said. “We have seen investments in the Alberni Valley in the last few years.” ACHN has applied for a $25,000 planning grant through the B.C. Poverty Reduction Strategy. “We’re really looking for information to direct us in areas where we can motivate changes,” DeWitt said. Structural racism is largely to blame for the disproportionate number of First Nations children living in poverty, Montani said. “We make a point always of saying this is the result of the ongoing legacy of colonization, residential schools, fracturing of families,” she said. Risk highest for single parents Indigenous or non-Indigenous, one of the consistently highest child poverty ratios in the province is that of single parent, female-led families, she noted. This helps explain why children are disproportionately aﬀected by poverty. That was made clear when she spoke to the B.C. Aboriginal Child Care Society with a room full of First Nation care providers in front of her. Some of them were earning minimum wage while living in poverty. One worker with ﬁve of her own children had to move in with her parents. “It was such a wakeup call. Some of this, also, is listening to women who work in child care and who are poor,” she said, adding that “some nations have done a wonderful job of child care.” “The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) noted in its own survey that 47 per cent of First Nations children live in poverty,” Karen Isaac, B.C. Aboriginal Child Care Society executive director, told Ha-Shilth-Sa. “Poverty has a profound impact on a young child’s right to survival and physical well-being as well as their psychological, emotional and spiritual development. Access to culturally based, spiritually enriching, high-quality Indigenous early learning and child care programs can help mitigate some of the impacts and help children thrive.” “It’s frustrating because you don’t see changes overnight,” DeWitt concluded. “Results are a long time coming and don’t beneﬁt people right away. Results are not seen within an election cycle.”
Page 4— Ha-Shilth-Sa—March 12, 2020 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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Photo by Denise Titian
NTC Language Program Coordinator Elsie Atuna is taking registrations for those wishing to attend the March gathering
NTC invites you to Language Gathering Language champions will be held up at Maht Mahs in the ‘race against time’ By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Port Alberni, BC – The Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council is inviting everyone to its second Nuu-chah-nulth Language Gathering to be held March 24 – 27 at Maht Mahs gym in Port Alberni. Elsie Atuna of Ditidaht First Nation has been hired as the NTC Language Program Coordinator. She has been busy for the past six months lining up presenters, organizing catering and registering interested people. With only two weeks to go she says she already has more than 100 people registered and estimates there is space enough for about 300 people. “We are celebrating languages successes in the communities,” she said, adding that it is important to hold each other up – support the work of others. The event will kick of with a free breakfast at 8 a.m. on March 24. There will be information tables set up showcasing
some work and resources useful for saving the ancestral languages. Atuna plans to have an area set up for elders willing to share their stories. There will be presentations by the various groups that are working hard with language champions to preserve and grow the list of ﬂuent speakers. Staﬀ at Haahuupayak School will share information about the work that they do teaching children the Tseshaht dialect of Nuu-chah-nulth language. In addition, there will be presentations from Hesquiaht, Ditidaht, Tseshaht, Ehattesaht, Yuu>u%i>%aht and the Quuquatsa Language Society. The Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council has an extensive collection of recording of people speaking the old language going back at least to the 1980s. Atuna says NTC’s audio/video specialist Mike Watts will deliver a presentation about the materials that he has saved over the years and the process he must go through to digitize the footage. Once digitized, the
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content or subject matter will have to be vetted before it is released to the public. The purpose of the gathering is to share information about the work that is being done to save the Nuu-chah-nulth language. It will also provide an opportunity for participants to have a say in strategic planning for future language work. “We’re racing against time, and there’s no time to waste,” said Atuna. She said that her nation has only two ﬂuent speakers left and it’s the same story for most Nuu-chah-nulth communities. NTC Education Manager Ian Caplette says the gathering will go ahead despite concerns over the spread of the COVID-19 virus. “Steps will be taken to mitigate the risks and people that are sick are being asked to stay home,” said Caplette. For more information about the NTC Language Conference contact Elsie Atuna at the NTC at 250-724-5757 or email her at Elsie.Atuna@nuuchahnulth.org
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March 12, 2020—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 5
Justice strategy aims to break discrimination The new plan aims to slow down an Indigenous incarceration rate that has grown three-fold since early 1990s By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Nanaimo, BC - The province and the First Nations Justice Council have launched a strategy aimed at curbing the growing number of Indigenous people being incarcerated in B.C. On March 6 the First Nations Justice Strategy was released in Nanaimo, which sets a plan to reduce the number of Aboriginal people who are caught in the criminal justice system. Part of the strategy is to ﬁnd ways to improve upon the low number of Indigenous people who currently work in criminal justice. By fostering a more supportive justice system, the strategy intends to improve something that has increasingly worked against many of B.C.’s Aboriginal people. “This strategy is going to help us all work together,” said B.C. Attorney General David Eby at a press conference in Nanaimo. “It is an Indigenous-written strategy for Indigenous people, and that’s the ﬁrst time that has happened in this province.” The release of the strategy comes at a time when the overrepresentation of Indigenous people in the justice system appears to be dire. Aboriginal people account for 5.9 per cent of B.C.’s population, but in 2017/18 they represented 32 per cent of custody admissions, according to Statistics Canada. This shows a
Photos by Eric Plummer
Snuneymuxw elder Xulsimalt sings during the announcement of the First Nations Justice Strategy in Nanaimo on March 6.
“We’re at a place where there is an imperative for us all to stand together, to work together, to create something fundamentally diﬀerent. This isn’t work that Indigenous peoples can do alone, this isn’t work that the criminal justice system can do alone.” ~ Doug White, First Nations Justice Council marked growth from a decade earlier, when 22 per cent of those brought into custody were Indigenous. Among young people the ﬁgures are even more concerning: Aboriginal youth account for 43 per cent of those in custody or under community supervision. During the press conference Mike Farnworth, minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, remarked that this overrepresentation has been growing for decades. Farnworth was ﬁrst elected as an MLA in 1991. “Ten per cent of the people who were incarcerated at that time were Indigenous people…fast forward 30 years later and that number is 30 per cent,” he said. “There is a fundamental problem in the way that our system works in this province. It is absolutely tragic that as the overall population in our correctional centres declines, that the Indigenous population in those centres rises.” Doug White, chairperson of the First Nations Justice Council, said that the province and Canada have reached a “breaking point” in how it handles Indigenous people. “Instead of things getting better, they’ve gotten far worse,” he said. “We’re at a
Doug White place where there is an imperative for us all to stand together, to work together, to create something fundamentally diﬀerent. This isn’t work that Indigenous peoples can do alone, this isn’t work that the criminal justice system can do alone.” The strategy also highlights the need for support to allow First Nations to restore their traditional justice structures that were in place before colonization. When possible, the sentencing of Indigenous oﬀenders is to be diverted from the court system to enable more eﬀective means of rehabilitation. “[P]rior to taking other, more conventional steps, actors and structures within the existing justice system should approach situations involving a First Nations individual by asking themselves ‘how may alternatives operate in this context?’, and ‘has every reasonable alternative been considered?’,” states the strategy. Diversion from the conventional means of incarceration is guided by the discretion of numerous players in the justice system, including police, prosecutors and judges, said White. “There are categories of actors in the criminal justice system that have enor-
mous discretion, and they use it every day, they do it on the ﬂy on a regular basis,” said White, mentioning the December arrest of a Haisla mand and his granddaughter while they were trying to open an account at a Bank of Montreal branch. “It was police discretion that led Maxwell Johnson and his 12-year-old [grand] daughter to be arrested, to be detained, to be handcuﬀed on the sidewalk in Vancouver for Banking while Indigenous.” The new strategy entails a network of 15 First Nations Justice Centres across the province, each reﬂecting the unique needs of Indigenous communities in its respective region. Centres in Prince Rupert, Prince George and Merrit are currently being created, and three other locations will open annually over the next ﬁve years. It is yet to be determined if a justice centre will be set up in Nuu-chahnulth territory on western Vancouver Island. The First Nations Justice Strategy was announced on Snuneymuxw territory, and began with words and song by Xulsimalt, an elder with the First Nation. “I’m thinking about my grandfather and what happened to him,” said Xulsimalt, whose English name is Gary Manson.
“We were all products of residential school, so I witnessed the pain that came with that history.” “I’m thinking about all my nephews and nieces that are in care, I’m thinking about my relatives that are sitting in some institution right now,” he continued. “I’m raising three of my grandchildren because of the history.” The justice strategy was announced not far from the Nanaimo harbour, where two young First Nations men were put on trial in 1953 for the murder of a Hudson’s Bay Company shepherd the year before. On the deck of the S.S. Beaver a jury of naval oﬃcers found the men guilty, and they were soon hanged before fellow tribespeople across the water on protection Island. White brought up this incident as an early introduction to English law for First Nations in the region. “That was a pretty grim beginning of the relationship between Indigenous peoples and the application of English criminal justice in a fairly perverse form,” he said. “What we’re expressing here today is that we’re making a sharp break from that history, and we’re building something fundamentally diﬀerent together.”
Page 6— Ha-Shilth-Sa—March 12, 2020
Geoducks are harvested from tidal ﬂats during low tide, including areas near Ahousaht.
Ahousaht chiefs shut down geoduck ﬁshery By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter
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Ahousaht, BC – Ahousaht Ha’wiih (hereditary chiefs) have directed their Fisheries Manager, Michael Swan, to inform DFO that they have declared their traditional territories closed to commercial geoduck ﬁshing during the annual herring spawn. This is the second time in three years that Ahousaht Ha’wiih have declared a geoduck ﬁshing closure during the sensitive, but short herring spawn window. In 2018 they issued a statement to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. “The Ha’wiih, Hereditary Chiefs of Ahousaht, declare that all commercial Paciﬁc geoduck harvesting in Ahousaht territories are to be closed during the herring spawn,” reads their statement dated Feb. 26, 2018. According to Ahousaht’s Keith Atleo, who addressed a Nuu-chah-nulth Council of Ha’wiih Forum on Fisheries meeting in 2018, geoduck ﬁsherman can be seen working in the waters in front of the reserve harvesting the large species of clam from deep under the sand. “We previously told DFO that we want geoduck harvesting closed down in Ahousaht territory so that the herring have a place to spawn,” he said. He went on to say that harvesting activities disrupt the eel grass and prevents the herring from spawning there. Divers use high pressure water hoses to excavate geoducks from the ocean ﬂoor. Herring require calm water to begin spawning. The geoduck closure is a measure to protect herring habitat, ensuring that they have appropriate spawning
grounds. Swan said the elders are concerned about both the herring and the spawn. “We had small herring come in,” he said, adding that they don’t seem mature enough to reproduce. “Less spawn means fewer herring in the future.” The idea is to keep the channel in front of the village free of disturbance. “So leave the front of our community open so that they can come into our inlets,” said Swan. The Ahousaht ﬁsheries manager stated that the geoduck ﬁshermen honoured the wishes of the Ha’wiih in 2018. “They packed up and left; not too sure about the political side of things. I didn’t get calls from DFO,” said Swan. Ha-Shilth-Sa reached out to DFO. A spokesperson indicated they would work on a response. Ahousaht territory will be closed to commercial geoduck harvesting beginning Monday, March 2 and will continue until after the spawn, which should take place sometime in early March. “We are doing this for our Chiefs,” said Swan. “We will deliver a letter to the boats and to DFO on Monday.” The geoduck ﬁshery is already hamstrung by the outbreak of coronavirus from China this winter. Major markets for the clam species are in China and Hong Kong, but disruptions in overseas shipments to these Asian markets due to concerns over the spread of the virus have signiﬁcantly limited destinations for the normally high-priced seafood. Nuu-chah-nulth operations have decided to carry over unused quota to the next harvest year.
March 12, 2020—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 7
Feds water down transition plan for ﬁsh farms Prime minister’s mandate for close containment requires DFO to have a plan by 2025 - not to relocate ﬁsh farms By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Campbell River, BC - From a pre-election pledge to a post-vote mandate letter from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the Liberal government has softened its stance on moving ﬁsh farms out of the water. The party’s campaign platform included a commitment to “work with the province to develop a responsible plan to transition from open net pen salmon farming in coastal waters to closed containment systems by 2025.” But after the October election that earned the Liberals a minority government, this transition plan appears to have lessened in urgency. Now the government will “create a responsible plan to transition from open net-pen salmon farming in coastal British Columbia waters by 2025,” according the prime minister’s mandate letter to Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan. On Feb. 28 Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns rose in the House of Commons to highlight this delay in action. “The Liberals promised they would move to on-land, closed containment salmon farms on the B.C. coast by 2025,” said Johns, who is the NDP’s critic for ﬁsheries and oceans. “Now they’re saying they won’t even have plan until 2025. B.C. wild salmon and workers can’t wait ﬁve years. The transition needs to get started now to save Paciﬁc wild salmon.” While many wild salmon stocks have declined on the B.C. coast, aquaculture production has grown steadily – representing a threefold increase since 2000 to 90,000 tonnes. Since 2014 the harvest of farmed salmon has surpassed commercial ﬁshing, but the aquaculture industry’s growth has also brought multiple concerns among many West Coast residents. Most notable are how farmed Atlantic salmon - which are the species of choice in aquaculture – are aﬀecting wild Paciﬁc stocks with sea lice and viruses that spread more easily amid high densities of ﬁsh. During a Council of Ha’wiih Forum on Fisheries in early February, Hesquiaht ﬁsherman Constance Charleson expressed concern with the industry. “I have a hard time with ﬁsh farms,” said Charleson, who has previously worked in aquaculture. “We had to sanitise our boats three times. But I’ll tell young something, those larvae didn’t die, they stayed alive in our pumps.” “Hupacasath has no Atlantics in our territory, and we’d like to keep it that way,” noted Hupacasath ﬁsherman Tom Tatoosh during the ﬁsheries forum. As the federal government, the province and First Nations work on a transition plan from the current industry standard of ocean-based net pens, on-land systems appear to be the alternative getting the most consideration. State of the Salmon Aquaculture Technologies, a report released by Fisheries and Oceans Canada in 2019, notes how land-based farms that use recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) address many concerns from coastal communities about the ﬁsh farm industry. “Strong local support will be built on the system’s ability to improve environmental performance across nearly all measures,” states the DFO report. “Protection of wild salmon, addressing concerns in recreational and commercial ﬁsheries, and avoiding other marine spa-
Photo by Living Oceans Society
Atlantic salmon are farmed in the ‘Namgis Nation’s land-based Kuterra facility north of Campbell River. A commitment from the federal government has pledged for other closed containment operations on the B.C. coast. tial conﬂicts will substantially address the opposition to salmon aquaculture.” During the Council of Ha’wiih on Feb. 4 Karen Wristen, executive director for the Living Oceans Society, highlighted the potential for Vancouver Island to adopt land-based, closed-containment ﬁsh farms. Currently the ‘Namgis-owned Kuterra facility north of Campbell River grows 370 tonnes of Atlantic salmon annually - a relatively small volume compared to the 90,000-tonne salmon farming industry on the B.C. coast. But outside of Canada land-based aquaculture is growing, including this year’s launch of Atlantic Sapphire in Florida, which has the capacity to produce 30,000 tonnes in its ﬁrst year of operation. Around the world over half a million tonnes of salmon are being raised completely on land, with operations in China and Denmark that each have a 2,000-tonne capacity in annual production. “This is massive investment that’s happening in closed containment salmon farming,” said Wristen, noting that aquaculture companies with a stake in the B.C. coast aren’t among those exploring land-based systems. “Mowi, Grieg, Cermaq, they’re not investing in this, and there’s a reason for that: they are heavily invested in their ocean tenures in Norway. They charge millions for an ocean tenure there - unlike what Canada does so it makes no sense for them to invest in a technology that’s going to render their tenure valueless.” Floating closed containment systems also exist, which use the surrounding ocean water while ﬁsh are walled inside a facility. Cermaq plans to bring such a system to B.C., according to the DFO’s recent aquaculture report. The study also notes that land-based closed containment is not without environmental and social considerations. “Depending on how land-based RAS is developed, local direct and indirect economic opportunities may be lost so coastal communities will raise concerns,” states the report. “There has been some local opposition to the recent large proposed facilities in the U.S. on the basis
“The Liberals promised they would move to on-land, closed containment salmon farms on the B.C. coast by 2025” ~ Gord Johns, Courtenay-Alberni MP of water resource concerns or potential noise issues.” Currently Cermaq and other aquaculture companies rely on land-based systems to raise their Atlantic salmon for the ﬁrst year and a half, before the ﬁsh are transferred to the ocean. In its response to DFO’s aquaculture report, the BC Salmon Farmers Association said that closed containment on land will be part of the industry’s future “alongside oceanbased farming.” “[The report] highlights that land-based recirculating aquaculture system technology requires the use of large amounts of land, water and power, and thus has a signiﬁcant environmental footprint,” said Executive Director John Paul Fraser in a statement issued by the BC Salmon Farmers Association in February. “It also notes the technology has not been proven on a commercial scale, and needs to overcome challenges with ﬁsh quality, ﬁsh health, broodstock development and environmental impacts before being viable.” Moving farms out of the water could result in lost employment for remote coastal communities, but Wristen emphasized that Vancouver Island poses attractive locations for land-based facilities. “Don’t be told that the salmon farms are going to go away. There are people looking right now for land to start one here on the island,” she told the Council of Ha’wiih. “What has been proved by
Gord Johns the ‘Namgis Kuterra experiment is that when you’re growing salmon in closed containment you want brackish water, not fresh water. So in fact what you need is a location somewhere close to the ocean, so that you can get clean ocean water to grow your ﬁsh.” As part of a partnership with Cermaq, the Ahousaht First Nation has dozens of its members employed in ﬁsh farming. During the recent ﬁsheries forum Ahousaht representative Kiista acknowledged the ongoing concerns about the industry, but said the agreement is maintained for the beneﬁt of the First Nation’s people. “We do have people that do work in that industry, what are we going to do if we shut them down? How are we going to compensate those people that are working?” he asked. “T’aaq-wiihak, I’ve got to be honest, they’re not giving us a fair living, they’re not. So what else are we going to fall back on? We have to have some way of compensating our people to have a fair living.” “We respect things that you have to say against aquaculture, we ask that you respect us for our agreement,” continued Kiista. “It’s not a perfect agreement, we have our tussles - but yet it’s not for us personally, it’s for our people.”
Page 8— Ha-Shilth-Sa—March 12, 2020
West Coast Multiplex Society
Artist rendering of the proposed West Coast Multiplex. The ﬁrst phase brings an estimated cost of $18 million. A swimming pool would follow when viable.
West coast awaits word on new multiplex funding Five Nuu-chah-nulth nations are among the eight communities partnering for the arena and swimming pool By Mike Youds Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Toﬁno, BC - Five Nuu-chah-nulth nations are among communities hoping the puck ﬁnally drops this spring for the West Coast Multiplex, a community project 25 years in the making. Working with the West Coast Multiplex Society, Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation stepped up last year as the main applicant to the Community, Culture and Recreation Program, a joint federal-provincial initiative that supports cost-sharing of infrastructure projects across B.C. They’ve been anxiously awaiting a decision since last fall. Moses Martin, Tl-a-o-qui-aht chief councillor, feels the multiplex would beneﬁt the health and wellbeing of families, especially those with children and youth on the west coast. “The application has been sitting there for a whole year now, but I haven’t heard anything from the province,” Martin said. “It’s something that’s needed quite badly up in that area partly because there isn’t any recreational facility there.” If funding is approved, the facility would be built in Tla-o-qui-aht territory on a ﬁve-hectare site near Toﬁno Airport within the next three years. An $18-million ﬁrst phase would consist of a fullsized ice arena with a swimming pool to come later as funding allows. Ahousaht, Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ, Hesquiaht and Toquaht are all on board, together with the municipalities of Toﬁno, Ucluelet and Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District’s Area C (Long Beach). While the multiplex society was formed in 1995, the idea of a west coast recreation centre and community gathering place has been around longer than that. “I think it goes back close to 30 years,” Martin said. “It goes back a long way. We’ve been building relationships with lots of communities — Toﬁno, Ucluelet and the regional district. That’s where it’s gone far. I’ve been on that board for a number of years and was co-chair at one point.” Martin recalls when his own children were young and the challenge of keeping them involved in sports and recreation.
“When my two boys were involved in hockey, we drove to Port Alberni sometimes seven days a week,” he added. “There are a number of people doing the same thing. It’s one of those things that teaches kids a healthy lifestyle.” Samantha Hackett, who chairs the multiplex board, is optimistic funding will come through. “It’s been a long time coming,” she said, reﬂecting on the process. “Really, it’s only in the last 10 years we’ve seriously been talking about the project.” With collaboration between so many communities, she believes the project is unique in all of Canada. “We are working on something of a larger scale than this area has ever seen,” Hackett said. “When you’re going down an uncharted road, it takes a little longer.” There is far more to the project than hockey, skating or tourism infrastructure, notes Hackett, who works in the west coast tourism sector as business manager at Long Beach Lodge Resort. The building would also serve as a multi-purpose community gathering place for special events such as concerts, trade shows, celebrations and festivals. As well, the airport location would make it suitable as an emergency shelter. “The reason that it has been such an important project for so many commu-
nity members here is that there is a lack of facilities,” Hackett said. A 2007 consultant’s study, funded by the society, the two municipal districts and ACRD, concluded the proposal could only succeed with all eight communities working together. A memorandum of understanding (MOU) between them eventually resulted in a business plan, preliminary design and construction cost estimate while accelerating capital fundraising. A pool of more than $1.1 million has been raised over the years. Consultation with stakeholder groups and community fundraising have helped to galvanize local interest over the years, although support has ﬂuctuated. In a 2012 referendum, voters granted the ACRD authority with 63 per cent approval to fund up to $550,000 in operating costs through regional property taxes. The society has always maintained, though, that capital costs would be covered by donations, grants and sponsorships. In 2018, a referendum found strongest support for the project from Tl-o-qui-aht (89 per cent) as well as from Ahousaht (62 per cent) and Toquaht (63 per cent). In other communities, notably Toﬁno (31 per cent), support declined. Hackett noted that Toﬁno Mayor Josie Osborne signed the MOU in 201415. Since then, the capital demands of
the growing resort municipality have changed and the community feels a swimming pool should come before an ice arena. “It’s just that they have other priorities now,” Hackett said. “They’re in support of the project in principle. It’s never been feasible for them to have a pool alone.” The funding application is comprised of two components, a rural and recreational stream. Should they receive only one of those, Hackett is conﬁdent they will be back to apply for next round of funding. “We are optimistic, especially because of the support of MP Gord Johns and MLA Scott Fraser,” Hackett said. “They’ve always been supportive.” Johns served as project manager in 2012-2013 before he moved into federal politics. Many others have pitched in to get this far with the project. Ucluelet resident Dave Taron recalls collecting bottles way back when the idea ﬁrst took hold. “We would meet in my basement for a few hours every week,” he said. “We did a lot of that just to keep things in motion.” He still serves on the 14-member multiplex board, one of hundreds of west coast residents who feel the multiplex could be just around the corner. “Closer than we’ve ever been,” Taron said.
West Coast Multiplex Society
An area near theToﬁno Airport in Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation territory is the proposed site of the West Coast Multiplex.
March 12, 2020—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 9
University project brings communities together Ditidaht members help stoke Pacheedaht’s traditional ﬁre as language, songs and dances risk being forgo•en By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Victoria, BC – A Ditidaht singer performs a Ci’qaa (prayer chant) in a gathering place on the grounds of the University of Victoria. His powerful prayer is followed by a paddle dance led by young members of the Pacheedaht Nation, who had just learned the dances within the past 12 months. Their performance was part of an annual week-long event called Ideafest which is taking place at the University of Victoria in early March. The festival showcases more than 30 projects focused on research, art and innovation. One of the events this year was called The Land is our Classroom, which featured the work of Indigenous professors Sarah Wright Cardinal and Nick Claxton. “Nick and I are new Indigenous professors in the School of Child and Youth Care,” said Sarah Wright Cardinal. “Our mandate is to teach courses and lead research projects that support the wellness of children, youth, families and communities.” Both she and Claxton received one-year research grants in 2019, allowing them to engage with Indigenous communities in their respective projects. Claxton works with local tribal schools in Coast Salish territory on the Living Lab project. Focused on eco-cultural restoration, his project brings together the Songhees, Esquimalt and WSANEC First Nations along with staﬀ from the UVic faculty, local schools, NGOs and government.
Photos by Denise Titian
On March 3 at the University of Victoria members of the Ditidaht and Pacheedaht First Nations celebrated a cultural initiative that led to Pacheedaht’s ﬁrst tribal canoe journey in 20 years.
That’s where we heal; it is a drug and alcoholfree event where families get together and learn their history and their culture” ~ Phillip Edgar
Through his slide presentation Dr. Claxton showed that Indigenous children are learning about their ancestral homes and traditional food plants. They work together to remove invasive plants and they learn how to cultivate and grow native species. Dr. Wright Cardinal also presented a slide show demonstrating how a small Nuu-chah-nulth nation worked together to breathe life back into a culture that has faded with time. Bringing knowledgeable people from neighboring communities to work with the Pacheedaht allowed for the transmission of cultural knowledge and language. UVic alumnus and now a PFN councilor, Roxy Jones has been working for her nation to support cultural resurgence programs. Beginning in April 2019 PFN partnered with UVic on a six-month project that would culminate in the Pacheedaht youth taking part in Canoe Journey 2019 – Paddle to Lummi. Having few resources, Pacheedaht haven’t participated in a canoe journey for more than 20 years. With funding from the Government of Canada’s Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Wright Cardinal
worked with Pacheedaht Health Director Roxy Jones to bring together the Pacheedaht community, their relatives and cultural teachers. Ditidaht members as well as people from UVic contributed to weekly classes that helped Pacheedaht youth reclaim their culture. Under the tutelage of Ditidaht elders and knowledge keepers, Pacheedaht youth learned how to make the implements necessary to take part in a canoe journey. Together they made drums and paddles. The youth were taught proper cedar bark harvest methods, then learned how to weave the prepared bark into headbands.
A T’Sou-ke relative taught the young people canoe safety while traditional canoe teachings came from Ditidaht elders. From the same fund, the University of Victoria gifted a pair of canoes to Pacheedaht which were featured in the June 12, 2019 edition of Ha-Shilth-Sa, when the canoes were blessed “A group from Ditidaht travels to Port Renfrew every Tuesday to hold language classes that are well attended by eager Pacheedaht learners,” said Wright Cardinal. She went on to say that Ditidaht singers, language and culture holders Bobby Durocher, Cyril Edgar, Christine Edgar,
Sarah Tom and the late Jimmy Chester all helped to pass the teachings on. “I would like to acknowledge late Jimmy Chester,” said Phillip Edgar, who was there to help support the drummers. Edgar noted that the Pacheedaht, Makah and Ditidaht are one family. “Jimmy told us to carry on the work he started, to help Pacheedaht revive the culture,” Edgar said. He went on to talk about the importance of canoe journeys for Indigenous people. “That’s where we heal; it is a drug and alcohol-free event where families get together and learn their history and their culture,” he added, saying he was grateful for the project. “It aﬀorded them the tools and resources to make this paddle possible: two nations – relatives, working together for cultural resurgence.” Guests to the event, which was held March 3 in the First Peoples House, were treated to performances by Pacheedaht First Nations members with support from their Ditidaht relatives. The joy was evident in the faces of the young people as they danced across the ﬂoor in their new regalia. They were excited, happy and proud. Wright Cardinal shared that the photo presentation she delivered came from the Pacheedaht youth who shared their images and their thoughts on what they’ve learned. The words were all enthusiastic ones. “We had a good time working together,” Wright Cardinal said, adding that there is interest to continue work on the community-driven cultural resurgence eﬀorts. “Roxy and I put in a research proposal for a larger fund for three years to support the work at the Pacheedaht Health Centre, the language and cultural revitalization in Pacheedaht with Ditidaht support.”
Page 10— Ha-Shilth-Sa—March 12, 2020
Nations show up in strength at annual celebration Marking the Nisga’a new year, hundreds converged at Vancouver’s PNE to showcase cultural performances By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Vancouver, BC — More than 100 Nuuchah-nulth-aht made the trip to Vancouver to take part in Hoobiyee, or Nisga’a new year celebration, on Feb. 28 and 29. The Nisga’a new year is guided by the lunar cycle. It begins during the waxing of the crescent moon in late winter. According to Nisga’a Ts’amiks Vancouver Society, Hoobiyee, pronounced Ho-BEyeh, is celebrated wherever Nisga’a live, including back home in the Nass Valley, in the northwestern British Columbia. The Nisga’a people watch for the positioning of the moon and the stars. They take the placement of these celestial bodies in the sky as a prediction of how plentiful the coming harvest will be. In Vancouver, the Nisga’a of Ts’amiks represents 1,400 members. They host this celebration each year, inviting dance groups from other nations. Together, they celebrate the strength, beauty and diversity of Indigenous cultures. Hoobiyee 2020 was held at the PNE Forum. Hundreds of people showed up for the free event. Outside were food trucks selling ban-
nock, Indian tacos and other goodies. Inside, a large room was set aside for vendors selling anything from t-shirts and beadwork to moccasins and drums. Other tables were set aside for the children to color or learn how to make drums. Information tables were also set up where visitors could ﬁnd health or educational information. More than a dozen dance and drum groups took part in the celebration. Representing Nuu-chah-nulth nations were the Tla-o-qui-aht, who performed on the ﬁrst day. The next day Tseshaht performed, followed by Ahousaht’s Maaqtusiis School and Ahousaht Nation. Each group wished the host nation a happy Hoobiyee. The event is free and open to anyone to attend. Dozens of volunteers showed up to guide the crowds, do the cleaning, serve refreshments and to help the elders. While the crowd was mostly Indigenous, there were a few families from other cultures enjoying the performances. Children could be seen dancing in the bleachers along with the performers on the ﬂoor.
Photos by Denise Titian
Over the last two days of February Tla-o-qui-aht, Tseshaht and Ahousaht groups ventured to Vancouver for the Hoobiyee celebration hosted by the Nisga’a Nation.
Phrase of the week - +’aak’aac^i+kuu, +a@iic^h= m’am’ay’iih=niš%a> Pronounced ‘Klac qa chai alth koo Ma ma eeerh nis alth čuu’, this means ‘In the spring, the salmon berry shoots are ready for picking’. Supplied by čiisma.
Ivy Cargill-Martin Illustration
March 12, 2020—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 11
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Demonstrations in support of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have continued for weeks before the B.C. Legislature in Victoria. On March 4 an extended demonstration led to a meeting with Indigenous Services Minister Scott Fraser. Five youth were arrested for mischief in the government building.
Wet’suwet’en agreement delves into land title By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Smithers, BC - Although country-wide blockades have declined from their peak in late February, opposition to the Coastal GasLink pipeline is far from being resolved. Now First Nations and Canadians await the result of the Wet’suwet’en Nation’s review of an agreement with federal and provincial governments. With rail and road blockades still active in multiple provinces, federal and provincial oﬃcials ventured to northwestern B.C. to meet with hereditary chiefs representing houses of the Wet’suwet’en Nation at the end of February. After three days of discussions a trio emerged on March 1 to meet the media: Wet’suwet’en Hereditry Chief Woos, Scott Fraser, B.C.’s minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, and Canada’s Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Carolyn Bennett. “With respect to rights and title, the parties focused intensely on commitments to an expedited process to implement Wet’suwet’en rights and title,” reads their joint statement. “The result of these discussions was a draft arrangement that will be reviewed by the Wet’suwet’en clan members through Wet’suwet’en governance protocols for ratiﬁcation.” Little has been revealed of this draft agreement, but the joint statement admitted that “diﬀerences relating to the CGL project remain.” For years a group of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have opposed the natural gas pipeline’s planned route through their territory. In 2014 the chiefs proposed an alternative pipeline route through land that was disturbed by previous development, but Coastal GasLink rejected this due to costs, safety and environmental concerns. The company was not present during the discussion in Smithers between chiefs and government oﬃcials. If ratiﬁed by Wet’suwet’en members, the agreement would “breathe life into the Delgamuukw-Gisday’wa decision,” a 1997 Supreme Court of Canada ruling that determined Wet’suwet’en and Gitxsan rights and ownership of their traditional territory was not extinguished by British Columbia joined Confederation. Recognition of who really owns the
territory is at the core of the pipeline dispute, said John Borrows, an expert in Indigenous Law at the University of Victoria. “That’s the root issue, and then once you start to recognise that, then other areas can be more easily disentangled,” he said. “Coastal GasLink would have more certainty if they were dealing with the proper rights and title holder. There would be more economies of scale down the road for corporations if they just had to deal with one body as opposed to all the bands, which are creations of the Indian Act.” But the Supreme Court of Canada decision does not grant absolute Aboriginal ownership and title over Wet’suwet’en territory. The Delgamuukw ruling states that title may be infringed by the federal or the provincial government if a project “furthers a compelling and substan•al legisla•ve objec•ve and is consistent with the special ﬁduciary rela•onship between the Crown and the aboriginal peoples.” “It might be possible that [the Crown] don’t actually have title to the land…to be able to put the pipeline across it, but they might be able to justify that pipeline being there if they’ve met those higher standards,” explained Borrows. How the new agreement will determine Coastal GasLink’s future remains to be seen, but for the time being Borrows is pleased by the recent eﬀorts to come to a consensus. “I’m encouraged to think that there is some agreement that is being introduced to the rest of the Wet’suwet’en Nation through the hereditary chiefs,” he said, noting it’s important that the hereditary chiefs are being consulted for their longstanding title over the territory. “The courts recognise that, but I think this is the ﬁrst time that provincial and federal leaders look like they’re going to be recognising that. So that is ground breaking.” The result of the Wet’suwet’en’s review of the draft agreement with the province and Ottawa is expected in the coming weeks. Construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline, which is planned to carry natural gas to Kitimat for liquiﬁcation and export oversees, has resumed in Wet’suwet’en territory.
Page 12— Ha-Shilth-Sa—March 12, 2020
The president’s message to Nuu-chah-nulth-aht It has been quite the month across B.C. and Canada with many people standing up to support the ﬁve hereditary Wet’suwet’en chiefs from northeastern B.C. Those chiefs have been and continue to be in opposition to the Coastal GasLink pipeline through their territories. There were many camps established along the pipeline route so that the pipeline could not be built. When RCMP moved into those camps in the middle of the night, used various kinds of intimidation like pointing guns at people in the camps, tearing down the red dresses in memory of missing Indigenous women and girls, arresting matriarchs while doing a ceremony and very much disrespecting the chiefs, Indigenous peoples across country reacted. There were rail blockades, rallies, marches, and other forms of discontent. Of note was the Indigenous youth at the B.C. legislature. They spent almost 15 nights at the legislature camping on the steps to the ceremonial door of the building. They brought in tents and camping gear. They were supporting the chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en, getting land back, water back and traditional governance. There were quite a few Nuu-chah-nulth youth in this group. They managed to delay the B.C. budget speech for many hours by blocking oﬀ all the doors into the legislature, getting a meeting with Minister Scott Fraser and bringing attention to the issues. There were some scary moments during those days and I monitored them closely because I know so many of the youth there. There was police intimidation and other nonIndigenous groups and gangs trying to scare them away. Many thanks to the non-Indigenous people who stepped in to form circles around the Indigenous youth, blocking them from the police, and to come between the Odin gang and the youth. People brought food and water and support in so many ways. I took the opportunity one evening to go and talk with them and encourage them. The next morning I went for their morning rally. The night that ﬁve youth went into the legislature to meet with Minister Fraser, they refused to leave. They were very unhappy with what the minister told them. They were arrested and kept in the legislature for approximately ﬁve hours without access to lawyers or their police liaison. They were worried what the crowd outside would do but they did not interfere when they were carried out by police. Saul Brown, Heiltsuk and Nuuchah-nulth, was one of them arrested. I can only hope the best for them for standing up for what they believe. We can all send positive energy his way and to the other youth. I attended the First Nation Summit where many issues were discussed. One of the priorities of the leadership is to put in place the new legislation to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Really encouraging government to work closely with First Nations, put in place a dispute resolution process, and an independent body to help with interpretations of important terms like self-determination, free, prior and informed consent and restitution. NCN nations need to direct B.C. how you want to priorize B.C. laws
Community&Beyond 7th Annual Career Fair
March 12 Port Alberni Alberni Athletic Hall, 9 AM TO 3 PM Free table registration Contact Kirunn Sharma or Shan Ross for further details, Phone:250-723-1331 Fax: 250-723-1336 email@example.com shan. firstname.lastname@example.org Uchucklesaht Tribe People’s Assembly
March 14 Port Alberni
and policies you want changed. Whether it is to do with forests or sacred sites or mines. A justice strategy was adopted by the chiefs of the First Nations at the assembly. It is aimed at reducing the number of First Nations people who become involved with the criminal justice system; improve the experience of those who do; increase the number of First Nations people working within the justice system; and support First Nations to restore their Indigenous justice systems and structures. The B.C. First Nations Justice Committee will lead the work on these issues. Ktuxana recently achieved a protection agreement for their sacred site where grizzlies dance - Qat’muk. They lost their bid for protection at the Supreme Court of Canada but kept on negotiating and pushing the federal governments. It was a real achievement for Ktuxana. They are willing to talk to any First Nation on how they did it. Carrier Sekani Tribal Council also achieved an agreement and they have oﬀered to meet with anyone to explain their process and how they achieved it. The Pathways Forward 2.0 Agreement provides revenue sharing and processes for collaborative decision-making to the seven Carrier Sekani First Nations in four main areas: economic development, socio-cultural programming, governance and environmental stewardship. We have had a few people put their names forward for the justice committee but could use more names. Please put names and contact info in to Kathy Coomber as she is compiling the list. We are hoping to start a climate action strategy on things we can do in Nuuchah-nulth territories and will be working with UVic to do so. Also been working on issues of emergency management. We are looking for an emergency management coordinator. We will be looking to work closely with ISC and B.C. to deliver more services and be better prepared for emergencies. The directors have agreed to intervene to appeal in the Servatius case, or better known as the smudging case. It is an important case that we need to help the court in understanding our culture. As the coronavirus is spreading, I hope everyone takes precautions in our lives and in our communities to stop the virus. I am really looking forward to working with Mariah Charleson, the new vicepresident for NTC. We have lots of work to do and she has lots of positive energy. March is another busy month. -Kekinusuqs, Judith Sayers
Location: The Thunderbird 5251 Argyle Street Port Alberni. Time: Meeting 9:00am-12:00pm. What: Peoples Assembly re: Budget. Facilitator: Scott Coulson. Who: Uchucklesaht Tribe Citizens & Enrollees Language Gathering
March 24 – 27 Port Alberni Where: Maht Mahs Gym Time: 9:00am—2:30pm Breakfast and Lunch Provided Daily Open to All Interested in the Nuu-chahnulth Language. RSVP to Elsie.Antuna@nuuchahnulth.org. Any Questions please phone : 250-724-5757 BC Indigeous Writer’s Collective Inaugural Meeting
Gibsons From 2:00-4:00 PM. Location TBA. Indigenous writers interested in joining can inquire at membership@bcwriters. ca or call Randy Fred at 250-668-2500. Memorial Potlach
April 25 Campbell River We would be honoured if you would join us at our Memorial Potlatch for our late mother Margaret Jack, at Thunderbird Hall, 1420 Weiwaikum Road, Campbell River BC, starting at NOON with lunch. Memorial Potlach
May 16 Lake Cowichan The Memorial Potlach for our Father and Hereditary Chief Sha e’ Lum, Cyril Edward Livingstone has currently been postponed. Contact Lake Cowichan First Nation at (250) 749-3301 for information. Suicide Peer Support Group
First Thursday, Monthly Port Alberni The KUU-US Crisis Line Society holds a Suicide Peer Support Group Meeting on the ﬁrst Thursday of each month at the KUU-US Oﬃce location. 4589 Adelaide St, Port Alberni.
In memory of In loving memeory of Alice Olebar - Nov 26 1947 to Mar 16 1993 and her husband Robert Olebar - Mar 20 1946 to Mar 26 1997. Remembered by their son Robert Olebar.
Alberni Valley Museum Art Show Reﬂect 2020 Theme ‘Your world, our world, the world in 2020’ This is an opportunity for Nuu-chah-nulth artists in any medium to participate in this successful and exciting juried art show at the Alberni Valley Museum from July to early September, 2020 For full application details see the Facebook page: ReﬂectShow2020
Or email us at: reﬂectshow2020@gmail.com The entry form: https://www.jotform.com/91755177960266 We look forward to your questions and participation as we work towards producing this unique exhibit for the Alberni Valley Region.
Have You Moved? If you should be getting a copy of the Ha-Shilth-Sa paper delivered to your home and you are not, please contact : Holly Stocking at 250-724-5757 or email@example.com
March 12, 2020—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 13
-----------JOB OPPORTUNITIES ----------Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k’tles7et’h’ First Na•ons Contract for Data Collec•on for the Big House Project Closing: April 14, 2020, 4:30pm Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k’tles7et’h’ First Na!ons (KCFN) is seeking 1 or 2 people to work on a short-term contract basis to engage with KCFN members and collect informa!on in prepara!on for the Big House project. Engagement will focus primarily on the Big House design, ar!s!c designs and site selec!on. The term of contract will be approximately 3 months, with a poten!al extension. Key tasks and skills: ·
Meet with elders, Ha’wiih and other members of KCFN.
Co-develop an engagement strategy.
Organize and attend individual and group meetings for the purpose of engaging with KCFN members.
Able to deliver the information to the Big House and Community Centre Committee.
Computer skills required for compiling the information.
Prefer experience working in the Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k’tles7et’h’ language
Must have drivers license
Must be dependable and reliable
Must have good communication skills (written and oral)
Submit a resume and expression of interest to:
Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k’tles7et’h’ First Na•ons Master Carver & Cultural Researcher Request for Proposal (RFP) Closing Date: 4:30 pm on April 14, 2020 The Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k’tles7et’h’ First Na!ons (KCFN) is seeking a Master Carver who can research local history and ar!s!c designs and produce a concept design to be incorporated into our Big House. Minimum services to include in proposal: ·
Through Nation owned archives, museums, BC Archives, cultural sites, etc.
Meet with leaders, elders, and community; gathering stories and learning of the history of our peoples.
Work with KCFN members wanting to be part of the research, as an opportunity to learn.
Work with the Big House Committee in making artistic design decisions
Utilize research to come up with conceptual designs for signiﬁcant components of the big house; four house posts and two cross beams.
Written description of the designs, identifying the historical signiﬁcance, stories, etc.
Design sketches of major components
Create budget for the research and concept design phase
Qualiﬁca•ons and Skills ·
Master Carver – able to carve totems and other large-scale projects
Good Research skills
Works well with the Big House Committee, elders and leaders of the Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’ and Che:k’tles7et’h’
Able to work with professions; architect, contractors, engineers, etc.
Demonstrate ability to teach youth and lead a team of carvers at various experience levels
Must reside in Houpsitas or have accommodation available in Houpsitas and a dependable and reliable
Big House and Community Centre Commi"ee, C/O Cynthia Blackstone, CAO, Email: cynthiab@kcﬁrstna!ons.com, Fax: (250) 332-5210, Mail: General Delivery, Kyuquot, BC V0P 1J0, Late applica•ons will not be accepted. Only those shortlisted for an interview will be contacted.
Big House and Community Centre Commi"ee, C/O Cynthia Blackstone, CAO, Email: cynthiab@kcﬁrstna!ons.com, Fax: (250) 332-5210, Mail: General Delivery, Kyuquot, BC V0P 1J0, Late applica•ons will not be accepted. Only those shortlisted for an interview will be contacted.
CALL FOR NUU-CHAH-NULTH ARTISTS The Usma Canoe Family is in need of a logo to symbolize the beginning of something great, “+u>-ik-yuk” meaning “be the good story” in Nuu-chah-nulth language. The winning artist will receive an honorarium of $500. The Usma Canoe family will reserve the right to be the sole user of the winning design. Please submit designs via email to leisa.hassall@ nuuchahnlth.org or drop off at Usma reception 4000 Stamp Ave, Port Alberni Deadline March 31, 2020.
To view more job postings visit: www.hashilthsa.com
Page 14— Ha-Shilth-Sa—March 12, 2020
Maaqtusiis girls’ team registers a win at provincials In Kelowna the Ahousaht teenagers competed in the top high school contest for the ﬁrst time in over 20 years By Sam Laskaris Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Kelowna, BC – Amy Jack ﬁnally got the opportunity to experience a provincial high school basketball championship. Jack, who graduated in 2003, played ﬁve seasons with the Maaqtusiis Secondary School senior girls’ squad. But none of her teams advanced to the B.C. championships during her playing days. Jack, however, now ﬁnds herself as the head coach of the Maaqtusiis senior girls’ club. The team ended a decades-long drought by participating at the provincial senior girls’ 1A tournament this past week in Kelowna. Jack’s charges ended up winning one of their four matches at the 16-team tournament, which concluded on Saturday, March 7. “It was very, very exciting and a very good learning experience,” said Jack, who was in her second season of coaching the high school club. The Maaqtusiis Suns had qualiﬁed for the provincial tourney by placing second at its Vancouver Island championships last month. The team entered the B.C. event as the Number 14 seed. “We kind of didn’t really know what to expect,” Jack said. Jacked added that the team from Victoria-based St. Andrew’s Regional High School, which won the Island championship, was the only entry at the provincials that the Suns had faced this season. Despite their ranking, Jack said team members were conﬁdent they could have some success at the provincials. “I think they had high goals coming into the tournament,” she said. “But I think after the ﬁrst game they realized this is a
Photo by Marcie Callewaert
Synaizjah Swan reaches for the ball in a game against Charles Bloom Secondary from Lumby. really high level of basketball they have ister a 65-61 victory over Bella Coola’s to play.” Sir Alexander Mackenzie School, seeded Maaqtusiis lost its tournament opener 15th, in its next match. 43-74 to Kelowna’s Heritage Christian “They were the only other First Nations School, the Number 3 seed. team in the tournament,” Jack said. “I think we were really nervous going And she was pleased to hear a comment into that game,” Jack said of the uncerfrom one of oﬃcials who worked that tainty facing an unknown opponent. contest. That uncertainty continued for the re“One of the refs said I’ve never seen mainder of the tournament. two teams play with so much respect for “We had to feel our way through every each other,” she said. single game we played,” Jack said, addThe Suns ended up playing one more ing her side was required to make several match after that, dropping a 60-54 adjustments to its style of play depending decision to 16th-seeded Charles Bloom on the challenges they faced. “I think it Secondary from Lumby. was a good learning experience for us As a result of this setback, Maaqtusiis though.” oﬃcially ended up in 14th place at the After its ﬁrst loss, the Maaqtusiis club provincials. was relegated to consolation action. Cedar Wechlin, the athletic director at In their second outing the Suns were Maaqtusiis Secondary School, travelled downed 72-89 by Bulkley Valley Chriswith the team to Kelowna and served as tian School from Smithers. Bulkey Chris- an assistant coach at the tournament. tian was the tourney’s Number 11 seed. Though only a couple of parents from Maaqtusiis rebounded, though, to regteam members attended the provincials,
Wechlin said the Suns had plenty of support, and not just from the Ahousaht First Nation. “The Nuu-chah-nulth communities are all ecstatic,” he said, adding many members followed the team’s eﬀorts at the provincials via an online stream. Though an exact year was not known, it is believed that Maaqtusiis last had its senior girls’ club qualify for the provincials at some point in the 1990s. Despite this fact and its ranking, Wechlin thought the team could perhaps fare slightly better than in did. “We were hoping to come out with a .500 record,” he said. The Suns had just nine players on their roster this season. And the team had to play the provincials without its starting shooting guard Serena Kaloucokovale, a Grade 11 player who sustained a back injury at the Vancouver Island tournament. “If she was in there (at the provincials) we probably could have squeezed out another game,” Wechlin said. The Suns’ lineup featured just two players in Grade 12 – Sierra Frank and Juniper John - who are expected to graduate and not return to the team next season. Other team members this season included Diamond Atleo, Dalainee John, Janae Sam, Synaizah Swan, Samara Swan and Weslia Tom. Both Jack and Wechlin are hoping the Suns will have another successful season and also qualify for next year’s provincials. “Now we know what we have to do with our training and our nutrition,” Wechlin said. “Our kids have the skills to be there. We just need to work on and improve our ﬁtness and conditioning.”
Ahousaht senior boys happy to make it to ‘The Show’ By Sam Laskaris Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Langley, BC – The Maaqtusiis Suns were unable to register a victory at their provincial championships. Yet members of the Ahousaht basketball squad were still pleased they were able to participate in the B.C. senior boys’ 1A tournament, which concluded this past Saturday, March 7 in Langley. The Suns entered the 16-team event as the Number 16 seed. The Maaqtusiis club lost all four of its matches at the tournament. “Our guys weren’t ready for that level of basketball,” said Suns’ head coach John Kennedy Frank. The Maaqtusiis Secondary School’s senior boys’ squad last participated at its provincial tournament in 2009. Despite some lopsided setbacks at the Langley tournament, Frank was pleased with the eﬀorts of his players. “I was really proud of the guys,” he said. “They held their composure out there.” In their tournament opener the Suns were trounced 114-57 by the top-ranked Highroad Academy Knights from Chilliwack. The Knights had a clear height advantage in this contest. Centre Stanley Campbell is the Suns’ tallest player at 6-foot-2. And power forward Matthew Frank, who’s an even 6-foot, is the only other Maaqtusiis player to crack the 6-foot barrier. “Probably half of (Highroad Creek’s) team is over 6 feet,” said the Suns’ coach.
Following its loss to the Knights, Maaqtusiis was relegated to consolation action. The team ended up playing three more matches to determine ﬁnal placings in the tournament. In their second contest the Suns were defeated 90-56 by Gudangaay Tlaats’gaa Naay Secondary School from Masset. The Suns were beaten 82-74 by the Grand Forks Wolves and 72-45 by the McBride Mustangs in their two other games. Frank, who last coached a team more than 20 years ago before deciding to take on the Suns’ head coaching duties this past December, was glad to see the club advance to its provincials. “The guys got a good taste of what it’s like to be winning games,” he said. Floyd Campbell, who served as Maaqtusiis’ assistant coach, was also obviously pleased the Suns qualiﬁed for the B.C. tournament. “It was a great learning opportunity for these guys,” he said. “Now they know that they have to work a little harder.” The Suns’ roster included two of Campbell’s sons, Stanley, who is in Grade 11 and Alden, a Grade 10 student. The elder Campbell said his sons, as well as some other team members, have indicated they are willing to become more dedicated with their basketball in the hopes of also qualifying for next year’s provincial tournament. “Some of them want to start training as early as May and June,” he said. The B.C. high school boys’ basketball season begins in December. Nobody can prevent the players from
Photo by Curt Mcloed
The high school squad played at the provincials for the ﬁrst time in a decade. hugs. And they were all happy they had staging informal training sessions made it to the provincials.” together. But a rule stipulates schools The Suns’ nine-player roster this season are forbidden from having formal team also included Cha-asta Campbell, Lennox practices during the oﬀ-season. Williams, Xavier Smith, Ivander Charlie Floyd Campbell said the Suns were not and Jordan Charleson. upset with their eﬀorts in Langley. The Maaqtusiis team was one of two “At the end of it they just felt good Vancouver Island entrants at the B.C. they made it to the provincials,” he said. “They didn’t feel down about it. We made championships. it to The Show.” The Suns had placed third at their Island tournament last month in Nanaimo. A highlight for the Suns was when But an Island tournament rule saw the one of its team members, Moses CharMaaqtusiis club able to challenge the lie, managed to score a basket in the second-place ﬁnishers, Duncan Christian, ﬁnal stages of its ﬁnal game against the in a game afterwards since they had not Mustangs. Charlie, a Grade 10 student, squared oﬀ in that event. only started playing basketball this past fall. His basket against the McBride team The Suns beat Duncan Christian in that challenge game, earning a berth into the were the only two points Charlie, who is B.C. championships. nicknamed Moose, scored at the provinMeanwhile, the Maaqtusiis senior girls’ cials. team also qualiﬁed for its provincial 1A “When he scored the whole bunch got tournament, which concluded in Kelowna up,” Campbell said. “To see him ﬁnally this past Saturday. score was great for everybody. After the The female Suns ended up winning one game we all went into the locker room of their four contests at that event. and everybody was giving him love and
March 12, 2020—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 15
Residential school voices showcased in new exhibit Students will learn from the accounts of residential school students as well as Indigenous classroom teachings By Karly Blats Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Port Alberni, BC - Memories and photographs from survivors of St. Michael’s Residential School in Alert Bay line the walls of the Alberni Valley Museum as part of a new and powerful exhibit— Project of Heart and Speaking to Memory. The exhibit is a combination between Speaking to Memory: Images and Voices from St. Michael’s Indian Residential School and the arts-based Project of Heart: Illuminating the Hidden History of Indian Residential Schools in BC. The exhibit is put on through a collaboration between the museum, School District 70 (SD70) and the Nuu-ChahNulth Tribal Council education department. Every class in SD70 will have the opportunity to visit the museum and view the exhibit with Nuu-chah-nulth education workers. The museum visit is coupled with age-appropriate classroom learning that aims to build intercultural understanding, empathy and respect. It acknowledges a time in Canada’s history when many young Indigenous children went away to residential schools, causing them to be separated from their families, their traditions, their language and their culture. “[Speaking to Memory] is an absolutely amazing collection of photographs that were taken by a young student at St. Michael’s Residential School in Alert Bay from 1934 to 1944,” said Alberni Valley Museum coordinator Shelley Harding during the exhibit’s grand opening on March 5. “Her father sent her a camera and as far as they know it, it is one of the only collections of photographs taken by a student while a student at a residential school. It is pictures of her classmates and then coupled with that are interviews and statements from residential school survivors across the province.” The Project of Heart exhibit is an interactive art project where SD70 students have the opportunity to give a message to residential school survivors during their visit to the museum. Students can write their message on a small paper tile that is stuck to a large poster board which will eventually be hung in each school. “[Students] are seeing the faces of students who were in the residential school. We can read about it in a story, we can know that there was residential schools
Photo by Karly Blats
SD70 Indigenous education workers and students perform the Celebration Song, gifted to SD70 by Aaron Watts but these are the faces of the people and these are their actual words and their memories,” Harding said. “Such a high number of our population, of our citizens, have struggled through being forced into residential schools …and that is not what students in our public system know today. It’s important to hear also from survivors who are coming to them and telling their stories and memories.” For the past several years, the exhibit has been travelling around the province to each school district to engage students in the issues that came from residential schools, reconciliation and to develop a sense of empathy in sending messages to survivors. Dave Maher, SD70 principle of Indigenous education, said one of the goals of the Indigenous Education Program within SD70 is to have district-wide opportunities for all students and teachers to engage in learning surrounding reconciliation, as well as Nuu-chah-nulth and Indigenous worldviews. “This [exhibit] was an easy one to say yes to because it’s a great opportunity to have everyone in our district engage in
that type of learning,” Maher said. “It is only in acknowledging the past that we can move forward in a positive way so this is the experience that we’re bringing to our students here in SD70.” Maher said in conjunction with learning from the exhibit, classroom teachings will occur for each grade. He said younger students will learn about the importance of home, family, the relationship to the land and the exploration of loss. “In the older grades we get a little bit more historically based, still looking at what is the importance of family, what is the importance of language, cultures, traditions within our family and then what happens when that’s taken away,” Maher said. “Then the high school level is fact-based, history-based and they do work speciﬁcally surrounding the survivor accounts.” Tseshaht elder Willard Gallic said the exhibit is an important way to tell the story of a dark time in the province’s and Port Alberni’s history. “[The Alberni Indian Residential School] was built right here on our reserve without our consent. They just built
it and went and grabbed all the kids, literally grabbed them,” Gallic said. “It’s not a very happy history, we’d like to leave it behind and start a new beginning and that’s what truth and reconciliation is all about—a new beginning. Some hurts are hard to let go. But we are moving on and things are getting better.” Newly-elected Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council Vice-President Mariah Charleson said she was thrilled to see residential school students’ voices highlighted at the museum. “I’m 32 years old and I was amongst the very ﬁrst generation of people to not attend the Indian residential school in the community of Hot Spring Cove,” Charleson said. “I saw ﬁrsthand what the backlash and the inter-generational impacts that these federally-funded institutions had on their people and continue to have. The ﬁnal school didn’t close until 1996 and it wasn’t until 2008 that we heard a public apology made from one of our old prime ministers—Stephen Harper.” The exhibit is available for viewing until May 8.
Bringing a•ention to MMIWG at running event By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Port Alberni, BC – A half dozen Nuuchah-nulth women and NTC employees took part in the 15-kilometre Port Alberni Paper Chase on March 8. The event coincided with International Women’s Day; a global day for celebrating the social, cultural, political and economic achievements of women. Four women signed up for the 15-kilometre run that started at the Cherry Creek Community Hall, winding its way through the back roads past McLean Mill to Smith Road in Beaver Creek. More than 200 runners from all over Canada took part in the Sunday run. Katelyn Thompson is an NTC nurse stationed in Toﬁno; she ran in the lead, raising awareness of the Missing and Mur-
dered Indigenous Women and Girls cause with the red hand print across her mouth, which is meant to symbolize silence in the face of violence against women. Joining her on the grueling run were Autumn David, Amelie Duquette and Danielle Serge, who said it was important for them to take part in the run to bring attention to the MMIWG cause on International Women’s Day. Sisters Martina and Meagan Martin took part in the event as spotters. They too wore the red hand print. The sisters remember their relative Lisa Marie Young of Tla-o-qui-aht, who went missing in Nanaimo on June 30, 2002. Despite extensive searches, Young remains missing. “I think they should all be recognized,” said Meagan, referring to women that are missing or have been murdered.
Photo by Denise Titian
Sisters Martina and Meagan Martin took part in the event as spotters. They wore the red hand print, symbolizing silence in the face of violence against women.
Page 16— Ha-Shilth-Sa—March 12, 2020
Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council Education with N.E.T.P. 2019-2020 Graduation and Scholarship Ceremony
Where: Alberni Athletic Hall 3727 Roger St. Port Alberni, B.C. When: Saturday, June 20, 2020 ***STAY TUNED FOR TIMES*** Graduation Ceremony for Nuu-chah-nulth nations participating in the K-12 + Post-Secondary Ceremony are: AHOUSAHT
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K-12 scholarship applications will be ready April 1, 2020 and deadline to apply is May 14, 2020. For information and applications for NTC scholarship contact Richard Samuel via email firstname.lastname@example.org or the NTC main oﬃce at (250) 724-5757. If you are a student in School District 70 or School District 84, please contact your Nuu-chah-nulth Education Worker.