Ha Shilth Sa Newspaper March 21, 2024

Page 1

Vancouver Island coast turns jade green

Indigenous Easter eggs are enjoyed by coastal residents, as

West Coast Vancouver Island – They are here in abundance – kʷaqmis/ siiḥmuu/siixbu/Indigenous Easter eggs – herring eggs are here and coastal First Nations are excited.

Up and down the coast of Vancouver Island the seagulls are flocking while whales, seals and sea lions are feasting as herring approach the shoreline to release their gold.

According to Fisheries and Oceans Canada the Pacific herring are found from Baja California in the south to the Beaufort Sea in the north.

“The Pacific herring fishery started in British Columbia in the 19th century and became the major pelagics fishery after the collapse of the Pacific sardine in the late 1940s,” stated the DFO.

It seemed the Pacific herring were headed for the same fate as the Pacific sardine when stocks began a noticeable decline as far back as the 1980s. In 2014 DFO reported that the west coast Vancouver Island stock persisted in a low biomass, low productivity state.

In 2017, Ha-Shilth-Sa reported that the Nuu-chah-nulth Ha’wiih were so concerned about the low herring stocks that they demanded the closure of the commercial herring fishery in 2018.

“Based on reports and observations from fishers and members on the continued lack of herring and herring spawn in our territories in 2017, Nuu-chahnulth Ha’wiih direct the Department of Fisheries and Oceans that only food and ceremonial fisheries will be permitted for a period of up to four years or until there is agreement between Nuu-chah-nulth Nations and DFO that the WCVI herring populations have recovered,” reads a statement from a meeting between DFO officials and the Nuu-chah-nulth Council of Ha’wiih on Oct. 8, 2017.

With the commercial herring fishery closed since 2006, the species have responded with a magnificent display in late March 2024. It started with short bursts of spot spawns in mid March, bringing with it marine wildlife excited for the feast of herring.

The NTC’s Uu-a-thluk department wrote in its newsletter, “our ƛusmit (herring) are spawning in Nuu-chah-nulth territory, a feast for seagulls, sea lions, whales and humans alike. Nuu-chahnulth Nations are harvesting and distributing kʷaqmis/siiḥmuu/siixbu (herring roe) within their communities, a nourishing food source Nuu-chah-nulth-aht have

relied on for millennia.”

On the weekend of March 16, Nuuchah-nulth residents as far north as Kyuquot and those living in Ucluelet were reporting that the spawn had started.

Dianne Ignace in Hesquiaht said a pod of the rare fin whale was spotted offshore of Hesquiaht, frolicking with sea lions and seagulls that were feasting on the incoming schools of herring.

“Jeff (Ignace’s son) went 10 miles offshore off Estevan light to look at some whales he could see spouting, real big spout,” she shared.

“They turned out to be four huge fin whales and a humpback,” Ignace said, adding that photos taken of the whales were shared with a biologist to confirm the species. “The biggest one was about 60 feet long and its spout spurted about 20 feet high.”

By the end of the weekend, Ignace reported that the herring had come closer to shore in Hesquiaht and the spawn had started. In another part of Hesquiaht Harbour, Steve and Karen Charleson joined by some of their family caught some herring and loaded up their smokehouse.

Darrell Williams in Yuquot reported that

Ahousaht members living in urban areas were excited to receive kʷaqmis on branches – a gift from their Ha’wiih and Maaqutusiis Hahoulthee Stewardship Society. It was the first time in years that they could eat this rare treat from their homelands.

Canada’s Oldest First Nations Newspaper - Serving Nuu-chah-nulth-aht since 1974 Vol. 51 - No. 06—March 21, 2024 haas^i>sa Canadian Publications Mail Product Sales Agreement No. 40047776 INTERESTING NEWS If undeliverable, please return to: Ha-Shilth-Sa P.O. Box 1383, PortAlberni, B.C. V9Y 7M2 Inside this issue... Ahousaht to release residential school findings.............Page 3 Culturally supportive event helps homeless. .................Page 7 Trial seeks to define Nuchatlaht’s title...................Pages 8 & 9 Tla-o-qui-aht member performs in play........................Page 11 Smaller canoe journeys planned...................................Page 15
commercial herring fishery remains closed since ‘06
Darrell Williams photo The bay at Yuquot took on a milky colour on March 16 due to a herring spawn, which was seen throughout northern Nuuchah-nulth territory this month. Judae Smith and Rob John (below) prepare cast nets as herring spawn in Kyuquot Sound. the spawn started in their harbour on Friday, March 16. He was able to get drone shots of the scene, where the water in the entire basin turned a milky jade greed from the spawn. He tied branches off of the float where the boats land to harvest some kʷaqmis.

Low snowpack could impact river temperatures

‘Elevated drought hazards’ for spring and summer due to lack of winter precipitation brings risk to fish habitat

The latest snow survey from the River Forecast Centre for March 1 shows Vancouver Island’s snowpack sitting at 46 per cent of normal, up 16 per cent from February.

The province’s average snowpack on March 1 also remained low, averaging 66 per cent of normal across B.C.

Last year, the provincial average was 91 per cent for March 1 and Vancouver Island’s was 77 per cent of normal.

According to the RFC, dry conditions persisted across the province through February until a stormy pattern brought the most significant snowfall of the season in the final week.

“Due to the low snow conditions, below normal spring freshet flood hazard is expected this season,” states the snow survey. “Low snowpack and seasonal runoff forecasts combined with warm seasonal weather forecasts and lingering impacts from on-going drought are creating significantly elevated drought hazards for this upcoming spring and summer.”

There are still four to eight weeks left in the snow accumulation season, which means conditions may change slightly but the RFC predicts current trends in low snowpack will continue.

Vancouver Island and the South Coast saw temperatures go slightly above normal during February, when most other regions in B.C. experienced near normal monthly temperatures. Below normal February precipitation was observed on Vancouver Island, South Coast, Northwest B.C. and Haida Gwaii.

“Adry start to February hindered snow accumulation across the province, but a strong storm cycle late in the month significantly boosted snowpacks in many areas,” states the snow survey. “Most basins continue to see snowpack that is below 80 per cent of normal, with extremely low snowpack persisting in the Upper Fraser East, Central Coast, South Coast, Skagit and Vancouver Island.”

In the South Thompson, East Kootenay, Boundary, Okanagan and Stikine, snowpacks are 80-90 per cent of normal. The only region with normal to above normal snowpack (95-115 per cent) is the Northwest.

Andy Olson, member of Ocean Wise’s salmon advisory panel and CEO of Nuuchah-nulth Seafood Development Corporation, said the low snowpack levels will impact salmon spawning cycles this season.

“Anytime there’s low snowpacks we tend to run into higher temperatures in the river where fish return to spawn and

that can pose a barrier to fish coming into the river, and then their condition deteriorates and spawning success is limited,”

Olson said. “It would mean less salmon are able to successfully spawn because of the fact that the water is warmer.”

Olson said theAlberni Valley has experienced low snowpacks and higher temperatures within the last five years in the Somass River.

Olson said this season will likely see

similar conditions, but it depends on how quickly the snow melts.

“That’s typically a key driver—the spring weather,” Olson said. “If we have a long, cool, wet spring then that could lessen the impact for sockeye, just because of their run time because they come in May through July. Depending on fall, we may be able to get rain, so it’s not a disaster yet but there’s potential for it.”

Page 2— Ha-Shilth-Sa—March 21, 2024
Karly Blats photo Low snowpack levels on Vancouver Island are causing concern for a drought year and could impact salmon spawning due to drier river systems this summer.

Ahousaht to release residential school findings

On April 10 the First Nation plans to report results from investigations into residential schools in its territory

Ahousaht, BC –After nearly three years of planning and preparation,Ahousaht will soon release the results of their searches of the grounds around two Indian residential schools that were located within its territories.

TheAhousaht Residential School operated in the early 1900s to the late 1940s on Flores Island. The children’s homes in the village were just a short walk away, but it was a requirement that they live at the institution. Run by the United Church of Canada, theAhousaht Residential School was never replaced after it burnt down. The remaining buildings were used as Indian day schools until they were replaced with newer day school buildings, closer to the homes of the children.

The second school site, Christie Indian Residential School, was located on Meares Island and operated by the Catholic Church.

AnneAtleo isAhousaht’s Residential School Research Project’s manager.

“We will be sharing an update about our search for children who attended the Ahousaht Indian Residential School and children who attended the Christie Indian Residential School,” she told Ha-ShilthSa. “Ahousaht would love to see the attendees and their descendants at this gathering.”

Atleo said their research has shown that children were sent from all over coastal British Columbia to attend the residential schools in their territory.

Ahousaht issued a hina tuh mahs suwa (invitation to you), asking people to come to the village onApril 10, 2024. The event will start at 9:30 a.m. at Thunderbird Hall.

“ʔahʔiiḥča p ʔukʷił ʔiqḥmuut (Honouring ourAncient Ones). With humble hearts and respect,Ahousaht invites you to be with us as we share information about our search for children who

attended theAhousaht Residential School and children who attended the Christie Residential School,” reads the invitation. The invitation goes on to say, “our children are sacred beings, and many came to these two schools; we acknowledge and honour our children and their resilience and strength that they passed on to us. We will share results of Phase 1 of ground surveys conducted at both school sites, a summary about the archival research as well as share an update about the interview process.”

“Ahousaht RSRP team’s mandate is

two-fold,” saidAtleo.

First, they will honour all the children by finding the names of those who attended and where they went after being at Christie Indian Residential School or Ahousaht Residential school. The team vows to search for those who did not go home from the institutions.

Second,Ahousaht hopes to assist survivors and be a catalyst to healing. According toAtleo, the day will start with breakfast at the Thunderbird Hall followed by cultural protocols.Activities during the morning will be closed to media so thatAhousaht can create a safe space for survivors and their family, as they share results of the ground searches and research into the institutions. Following lunch, the information will be shared with the public.

Atleo said that the day’s events are not only about the findings of the ground search, but also about giving an opportunity to survivors and their families to have a safe space to document their truth. Ahousaht has hired archivists to collect and record stories from survivors and

their families.

Cultural and mental wellness support teams will be present throughout the event.

Guests will be invited to a dinner of seafood and game meat.

“The children at residential school had horrible food,” saidAtleo.

This is why it is important forAhousaht to share comfort food with their guests.

Atleo said they will provide travel expense assistance for those that attended eitherAhousaht Residential School or Christie Indian Residential School.

Anyone wishing to volunteer to help with cooking, cleaning, set-up or wishing to donate food can contactAtleo and her team at 250-670-9563 ext. 503.

Survivors or descendants needing travel assistance should callAtleo’s team by March 29th, 2024. They can contact

AnneAtleo by email at residentialschool. researchproject@ahousaht.ca

Check the page on Facebook for additional information https://www.facebook. com/groups/272961375163910/?mibexti d=uJjRxr

March 21, 2024—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 3 TSESHAHT MARKET GATEWAY TO THE PACIFIC RIM Hours of operation - 7:00 am - 10:00 pm Phone: 724-3944 E-mail: manager@tseshahtmarket.ca Find us on Facebook
BC Archives photo TheAhousaht Residential School operated in the early 1900s to the late 1940s on Flores Island. The children’s homes in the village were just a short walk away, but it was a requirement that they live at the institution.

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, PortAlberni, B.C. V9Y 7M2.

Telephone: (250) 724-5757

Fax: (250) 723-0463

Web page: www.hashilthsa.com

facebook: Hashilthsa Ntc

2024 Subscription rates:

$40 per year in Canada and $45 per year in the U.S.A. and $50 per year in foreign countries. Payable to the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council.


Eric Plummer (Ext. 243) (250) 724-5757 Fax: (250) 723-0463 eric.plummer@nuuchahnulth.org

Reporter Denise Titian (Ext. 240) (250) 724-5757 Fax: (250) 723-0463 denise.titian@nuuchahnulth.org


Alexandra Mehl (Ext. 286) (250) 724-5757 Fax: (250) 723-0463 alexandra.mehl@nuuchahnulth.org

Audio / Video Technician

Mike Watts (Ext. 238) (250) 724-5757 Fax: (250) 723-0463 mike.watts@nuuchahnulth.org


Holly Stocking (Ext. 302)

(250) 724-5757 Fax: (250) 723-0463 holly.stocking@nuuchahnulth.org


Please note that the deadline for submissions for our next issue is

March 29, 2024

After that date, material submitted and judged appropriate cannot be guaranteed placement but, if material is still relevant, will be included in the following issue.

In an ideal world, submissions would be typed rather than hand-written.

Articles can be sent by e-mail to holly.stocking@nuuchahnulth.org

(Windows PC).

Submitted pictures must include a brief description of subject(s) and a return address.

Pictures with no return address will remain on file.Allow two - four weeks for return.

Photocopied or faxed photographs cannot be accepted.


Although we would like to be able to cover all stories and events, we will only do so subject to:

- Sufficient advance notice addressed specifically to Ha-Shilth-Sa.

- Reporter availability at the time of the event.

- Editorial space available in the paper.

- Editorial deadlines being adhered to by contributors.


Ha-Shilth-Sa will include letters received from its readers. Letters MUST be signed by the writer and have the writer’s full name, address and phone number on them. Names can be withheld by request.Anonymous submissions will not be accepted. We reserve the right to edit submitted material for clarity, brevity, grammar and good taste. We will definitely not publish letters dealing with tribal or personal disputes or issues that are critical of Nuu-chah-nulth individuals or groups.

All opinions expressed in letters to the editor are purely those of the writer and will not necessarily coincide with the views or policies of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council or its member First Nations. Ha-Shilth-Sa includes paid advertising, but this does not imply Ha-Shilth-Sa or Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council recommends or endorses the content of the ads.

Uchucklesaht mark 10 years in ACRD

Only treaty First Nations get regional district voting rights, but this could change

PortAlberni, BC - The Uchucklesaht Tribe is celebrating 10 years of being a voting member on theACRD, looking back on a decade marking a shift towards First Nations gaining a larger voice in regional governance.

The First Nation was recognized by theAlberni-Clayoquot Regional District on March 6, before a scheduled board meeting. TheACRD was the first regional district to make First Nations full voting members when the Huu-ay-aht and Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ joinedApril 1, 2012, followed by the Uchucklesaht on Feb. 1, 2014 and the Toquaht in 2016.

All of these First Nations are part of the Maa-nulth FinalAgreement, a treaty implementedApril 1, 2011 that also includes the Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k’tles7et’h’ First Nations, which joined the Strathcona Regional District board in 2021. One of the very few modern-day treaties to reach full implementation, Maa-nulth brought $73.1 million in capital transfer payments to the five nations, and the agreement identifies 25,500 hectares of treaty settlement lands. Under Canadian law, Maa-nulth gives the five nations full authority over their respective territories, removing them from the stipulations of the IndianAct.

At the March 6 recognition Uchucklesaht Chief Councillor Wilfred Cootes spoke of the need to consider the interests of the whole region while sitting on the board. TheACRD covers a large area that includes theAlberni Valley, stretching west to the coast encompassing Bamfield and Barkley Sound in the south, as well as Tofino and Clayoquot Sound in the north.

“When you join this table you have two different hats,” said Cootes. “You have your own region that you talk about, but then you think about it from a 35,000foot level; you talk about the good of the region.”

Wilfred Cootes was recently elected chief councillor in November after the retirement of Charlie Cootes, who represented the nation since the late 1960s. But Wilfred has long served as a councillor for Uchucklesaht, and sat on the

ACRD board for nine years after the First Nation was made a voting member.

Chief Councillor Wilfred Cootes spoke on behalf of the nation. (Eric Plummer photo)

“It’s okay to have differences of opinion, it’s okay to have healthy dialogue, it’s okay to have healthy discourse, it’s okay not to see eye to eye,” reflected Wilfred on the past decade. “I had some of the most amazing times arguing with some past board members, we did it diplomatically.”

In a message sent to theACRD, Mid Island-Pacific Rim MLAJosie Osborne noted that regional districts are meant to equally represent all communities in the areas that they encompass.

“They are a place where community representatives gather to share ideas, voice concerns and vote on matters that impact their community and the region,” she said. “It seems only logical that First Nation communities would be invited to the table, to be afforded the same representation as every other community in the region. Unfortunately, we know that historically First Nations have not been afforded the same representation, and many have been, and still are, being shut out of these important local conversations

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

and decision-making processes.”

Regional districts operate under the Local GovernmentAct, and this provincial legislation currently does not allow non-treaty First Nations to join as board members. But this could change.

“Let’s hope that one day we’ll be able to include all otherACRD nations at the table,” said board member Debbie Haggard, who is a PortAlberni city councillor. “That is a goal that we’re working towards right now. Every First Nation deserves a voice at our table.”

Wilfred Cootes noted that this could be helpful for the Tseshaht First Nation, which are subject to theAlberni Valley landfill being on the southern edge of their reserve.

“Aperfect example is the landfill right now,” he said. “It sits in their backyard, and they don’t have a seat at the table, don’t have a voice.”

“I’m a big advocate for treaty, but treaty can’t be the only way to get your voice heard,” he added. “TheACRD is doing some good work trying to get those non-treaty nations having a voice at the table.”

Currently the Uchucklesaht’s representative on theACRD board is Moriah Cootes, Wilfred’s daughter.

Legal Information

The advertiser agrees that the publisher shall not be liable for damages arising out of errors in advertisements beyond the amount paid for space actually occupied by the portion of the advertisement in which the error is due to the negligence of the servants or otherwise, and there shall be no liability for non-insertion of any advertisement beyond the amount paid for such advertisements

Page 4— Ha-Shilth-Sa—March 21, 2024
Eric Plummer photo Before a March 6 board meeting the Uchucklesaht Tribe was recognized for serving as a voting member with theAlberni-Clayoquot Regional District for 10 years. Pictured is Chief Councillor Wilfred Cootes and board rep Deb Haggard.

Cultural support enriches homeless people’s lives

Programs in Port Alberni and Victoria reach homeless and youth in care by connecting with ancestral culture

PortAlberni, BC - Through traditional songs, food and medicine, homeless individuals who identify as Indigenous are receiving much-needed cultural healing in theAlberni Valley.

Culture Enriches Lives, a newer event put on by KUU-US Crisis Line Society in collaboration with other service providers, provides cultural healing, teachings, food and gathering for the unhoused Indigenous community.

KUU-US cultural support workerAlice Sam, from theAhousaht First Nation, said the idea for Culture Enriches Lives came about because she was hearing feedback from the homeless community that Indigenous people were feeling left out of potlaches and other events they consider part of their culture.

“In Vancouver there’s one called Culture Saves Lives…I was like, wow these guys get to drum and participate in dream catcher making. I thought it would be so amazing if we could do it here,” Sam said. “My idea is also to bring healing through song, food, medicine and also allow [the homeless] to address some of the trauma that they’ve suffered.”

The first event began last summer and would run once a week at various locations where homeless individuals tend to be, like the Overdose Prevention Site on ThirdAvenue, the shelter on Eighth Avenue or the Bread of Life.

Sam organizes singers and drummers who perform traditional Nuu-chah-nulth songs to be at the events and provides food and drinks for attendees.

Resources and a chance to discuss important issues like dealing with grief are also provided.

“One of the things that hit home really hard was the grieving process with our people and how we do it and how we go sit with our grieving families and we feed them,” Sam said. “I thought, what do the homeless get? So that was one of the processes I really looked at, was the grieving process, because at that second or third

after attending a culturally supportive, land-based healing camp with the coalition. He has now been housed for three years.

“Our focus is on supporting our unhoused First Nations, Métis and Inuit people that are here, sort of in an urban centre,” O’Quinn said. “We continue to be the only Indigenous-led, non-profit organization based on this territory that’s supporting our people.”

The coalition currently operates two culturally supportive housing programs, one of which is for Indigenous women, with priority given to those fleeing violence. O’Quinn said there are three or fourAhousaht members accessing this program, but the coalition also serves many Nuu-chah-nulth individuals.

“When we did our original intake for the program we had 21 units and we had over 90 referrals for the program. The need is outpacing what were able to offer,” O’Quinn said. “We’ve been able to do teachings around regalia for the women that are there…for some it was the first opportunity in their life, so that was a really powerful healing opportunity.”

O’Quinn added there’s also a large gap in culturally supportive programs and housing for Indigenous youth in care, something theACEH continues to work towards.

session we had a lot of loss.”

Data from the 2023 homeless count for PortAlberni showed 163 individuals who identified as homeless. This means that 66 per cent of the homeless counted identified as Indigenous, compared to 15 per cent of PortAlberni’s census population.

Instead of providing an official invitation for each event, Sam finds it more successful to gather folks outside of the locations the event will be held that day.

The gatherings took a short pause for KUU-US to secure funding and should resume in the coming weeks.

“In partnership between KUU-US and Tseshaht First Nation we applied for an FNHA(First Nation HealthAuthority) harm reduction grant and were successful in getting it for $50,000,” said Colin

Minions, executive director for KUU-US. “That will provide stability to the program.”

Culture Enriches Lives has also received donations from community organizations and individuals since its inception that has helped keep it running.

Minions added that it’s important to continue working towards cultural revitalization through traditional song, food and language, while making sure it’s accessible for all.

Since beginning the sessions, Sam said they’ve received positive feedback from attendees.

“We’ve had some people saying things like, ‘You’ve given us hope’or ‘You woke my spirit’,” Sam said. “We’ve actually had a couple people say it made them realize they want to go to treatment, they want to get better.”

The Victoria-basedAboriginal Coalition to End Homelessness (ACEH) has also seen success amongst their Indigenous clients (who they refer to as family members) who have access to culturalsupportive resources.

Julia O’Quinn, director of community programs and impact withACEH, said one of their first family members who was unhoused for more than 35 years was finally able to accept help with treatment

“Alot of our young ones might be being raised by non-Indigenous families so we try as best as possible to connect with the young ones as well,” O’Quinn said. “How to prepare them for adulthood because we see so many age out into homelessness. It’s as important to address the immediate need to those that are unhoused as it is to do that prevention work to break those cycles of intergenerational homelessness.”

In two weeks, theACEH will open a new culturally supportive house for Indigenous youth in Victoria.

“That’s the first one that exists here, so when you think about that over 50 per cent of the youth in care are Indigenous but there’s not Indigenous-led programs, well no wonder it’s not working for our people. So that’s a really huge barrier,” O’Quinn said.

Racism also continues to be a barrier that the Indigenous unhoused population are facing, in addition to the stigmatization that comes with being homeless.

“I think that also speaks to the importance of having an Indigenous-led organization,” O’Quinn said. “When you walk into a space you feel seen, you feel understood and you don’t have to explain yourself or your history.”

March 21, 2024—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 5
Karly Blats photo Alice Sam, cultural support worker with KUU-US Crisis Line Society, and Colin Minions, executive director with KUU-US, are providing much-needed culturally supportive programming to the Indigenous unhoused population in theAlberni Valley.

Order halts mineral claims without Eha esaht consent

As B.C. reforms its system of mining permits, two First Nations are insisting that history doesn’t repeat itself

Victoria, BC - There are 81 active mineral claims in Ehattesaht territory, but none of them will be mined without the First Nation’s permission after a provincial order came down this month.

Issued under B.C.’s Environment and Land UseAct, the order pauses mining activities and the issuance of new permits in the territories of the Gitxaala and Ehattesaht First Nations unless they agree to the activity. This also applies to the registration of new mineral claims in the territories.

According to the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation, there hasn’t been any activity lately under the existing claims, so this order isn’t expected to cause any job losses.

“There is expected to be impact on another permit holder that is intending to start work and will now have to get Ehattesaht consent for a permit,” wrote the ministry in an email to Ha-Shilth-Sa. “Ehattesaht is willing to work with the proponent to that end.”

Issued by the province on March 7, this order is the latest development as British Columbia works to reform its Mineral TenureAct to align the legislation with the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous PeoplesAct, which was passed in Victoria in 2019.

On Sept. 26, 2023 the B.C. Supreme Court made a ruling affecting mineral claims in the territories of the Gitxaala and Ehattesaht First Nations. Justice Allen Ross found that B.C.’s current mineral tenure regime goes against obligations in Canada’s ConstitutionAct to consult with First Nations over development in their territories. Mining without consent could adversely impact “areas of significant cultural and spiritual importance,” determined Ross.

The province’s system of granting mineral claims is still loaded with relics from 19th century British Columbia, a time when European expansion into Indigenous territories was encouraged by the colonialist government. Under the current system a mineral claim can be granted to any Canadian over 18 for a $25 fee. These certified “free miners” can then select cells from an online map for $1.75 a hectare, entitling them to the minerals therein.

Ehattesaht and Gitxaala asserted that this claim system goes against their inherent rights over their respective territories, which brought the case to court.

Ehattesaht’s concerns began in 2018,

first half of the 20th

when the First Nation alleged that Forest Crystals was overstepping its permits near Zeballos. New claims followed, and court records show that 10 per cent of the 94,336 hectares of Ehattesaht territory is under existing mineral claims.

In his ruling from last year Ross gave the province, First Nations and the mining industry 18 months to develop a new mineral claim process “that recognises the rights of British Columbia’s Indigenous people.”

But this didn’t cancel the existing claims, which brought an appeal from the Gitxaala and Ehattesaht.

The recent order has brought some interim resolution to the dispute, said Josie Osborne, B.C.’s mining minster.

“These interim measures mean that instead of ongoing litigation that could have far more significant and longer-term impacts on the sector, we are instead able to focus on our work together to reform the act, providing greater certainty to First Nations, industry and British Columbians,” stated Osborne in a press release.

“Ehattesaht has always preferred sitting down and working through issues over going to court,” said Ehattesaht Chief Councillor Simon John in the release. “In

our view, these interim measures offer the province and industry the opportunity to sit down with us as we take on the hard work of finding both certainty and reconciliation for our territory.”

What the First Nation doesn’t want is a repeat of what it has been subject to in the past.

“Ehattesaht territory has a number of long abandoned workings which include tailing ponds, tailing mounds and exposed mine shafts that produce run off water,” stated a press release from the First Nation last fall.

“We have continually told the province and proponents that we are not against mining, but if you want to mine here, we have to find ways that keep our lands and waters healthy and that respect our rights and culture,” said John. “We know what bad mining looks like and we can’t go back there again.”

Ehattesaht Ḥahahuułi has more than a century of mining activity in its history. Interest in gold reserves led to the establishment of the Village of Zeballos in the 1930s, and after the Second World War the local industry expanded to include iron ore.

Much of this large-scale industrial activity ceased in the 1960s amid tougher environmental regulations, but the Ehattesaht’s mineral interests in the area date well before the 20th century. Court records reference journal entries from Captain Cooke in 1778, who mentioned carved quartz crystal being collected from the Ehattesaht.

“Ehattesaht had, and continue to have, strong concepts of property rights, territorial boundaries and governance,” wrote Ross in his ruling. “The oversight of the territory includes spiritual practices, which include reverence for crystals that are found within the territory.”

Page 6— Ha-Shilth-Sa—March 21, 2024
Eric Plummer photo Reserves of gold and iron ore brought mining activity to the area around Zeballos in the century. Mining interest in recent years led the Ehattesaht to bring a case to the B.C. Supreme Court.
4473 Gertrude St Port Alberni, 778-419-1144 Indigenous & West Coast Food, Gifts and Art Tuesday – Saturday 8:30am to 4pm Order in, Take Out, Grab and Go
Simon John

Ahousaht and Tla-o-qui-aht to establish conservancies

If approved, nearly 60 per cent of TFL 54 would be conserved, while 55,000 hectares remain in forestry tenures

Clayoquot Sound, BC – The leadership ofAhousaht and Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations have reached tentative land use agreements with the provincial government, which set out both conservation areas and industrial forestry sections in Clayoquot Sound. The province is now entering a public consultation process that began March 12 and is expected to wrap upApril 10.

The province, the B.C. Ministry of Forests,Ahousaht and the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations are proposing to establish 77,000 hectares of new conservancies under the ParkAct.

“This is part of long-term planning for the area, which is currently authorized for commercial forestry as part of Tree Farm Licence (TFL) 54, the only TFL in Clayoquot Sound,” says a B.C. government news bulletin.

The province says that, if approved, this would mean that nearly 60 per cent of the current area of TFL 54 would be conserved, with 55,000 hectares remaining within forestry tenures.

TFL 54 is located on the west side of Vancouver Island nearAhousaht, Opitsaht, Tofino and Ucluelet. It includes two distinct regions, the Estevan Coastal Plain and the Vancouver Island Mountains, which comprise the area known as Clayoquot Sound.

Ahousaht say they have released their first Iisaakstał Land Use Vision since 2017.

“The Iisaakstał Land Use Vision defines land and marine use designations in Ahousaht hahoulthee (traditional territories) that align withAhousaht community cultural, environmental, and economic interests,” stated the First Nation in a media release.

The Maaqutusiis Hahoulthee Stewardship Society (MHSS) say the Iisaakstał Land Use Vision proposes new con-

servancies inAhousaht hahoulthee and subsequent new forest licenses for the First Nation.

“This will result in significant economic outcomes forAhousaht including exclusive management of new forest tenures and recreation areas, developing carbon offset projects, and securing long-term stewardship funding,” MHSS stated in a media release.

Aconservancy designation means that the nation may engage in a range of low impact, compatible economic opportunities. Commercial logging, mining and hydroelectric power generation, other than local run-of-the-river projects, are prohibited within conservancies.

“With a few years working on ‘spacing trees’in the second growth, and a few years deactivating roads, we hope for a viable second-growth forestry operation in the future”
~ Saya Masso, Tla-o-qui-aht Lands and Resources Manager

According to the Ministry of Forests, further cultural and governance benefits toAhousaht include securing access to and management of new conservancies.

“Establishing new conservancies in sensitive old growth areas also results in strong biodiversity and climate outcomes by protecting critical habitat and reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” stated the ministry.

Łaašłaaša uuḥw ał hitaqƛasAreas, or Ahousaht Forest ManagementAreas (AFMA) are forested areasAhousaht has identified that are suitable for commercial forest restoration, enhancement and development byAhousaht.

“The management intent for Łaašłaaša uuḥw ał hitaqƛasAreas is to manage the full range of forest resources (timber and non-timber) to generate long-term social and economic benefits and jobs forAhousaht muschim,” according to MHSS’s land use plan.

Activities inAFMAcould include forestry work like restoration, silviculture timber and non-timber harvesting with an emphasis onAhousaht employment and sustainability. MHSS says they will manage forests according to ecosystem-based principles that meet or exceed Clayoquot Sound Scientific Panel recommendations and Clayoquot Sound Watershed Plans. Ahousaht has set aside three proposed areas that would be designatedAFMA – forested land near Cypre River,Atleo

River and Stewardson Inlet. This designates 20,588 hectares ofAhousaht Forest ManagementAreas, which represents about 12 per cent of their land base.

The Tla-o-qui-aht have posted their land use plan on their Tribal Parks website. It includes a map that is to be merged with Ahousaht’s land use plan, showing the entire proposal for Tree Farm License 54 in Clayoquot Sound.

Tla-o-qui-aht has identified an area west of Kennedy Lake as their forest management area.

“That is our intended wood lot,” said Tla-o-qui-aht Lands and Resources Manager Saya Masso. They intend to focus their future forestry operations on the second growth forests already growing in that area.

“With a few years working on ‘spacing trees’in the second growth, and a few years deactivating roads, we hope for a viable second-growth forestry operation in the future,” Masso added.

The environmental group theAncient ForestAlliance congratulatedAhousaht and Tla-o-qui-aht leadership on a social media post for reaching this milestone.

“Great news! Today, theAhousaht and the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation in Clayoquot Sound off western Vancouver Island announced their proposal for a network of protected conservancies, which would include major tracts of some of the finest old-growth forests in B.C., combined with a vision to enhance economic opportunities for their communities,” they wrote.

According to the province, land-use discussions are ongoing with theAhousaht and Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations, as well as forestry operators, communities and the public. The proposed conservancies would support reconciliation, the conservation of old-growth forests and healthy ecosystems, as well as provide clarity on areas that will continue to be managed for forestry to support timber supply.

To view the proposed land use plans visit www.mhssahousaht.ca and Tla-oqui-aht Tribal Parks

The public are invited to comment on the proposed land use plans at Engage. gov.bc.ca untilApril 10, 2024.

March 21, 2024—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 7
TJ Watt/Ancient Forest Alliance photo Ancient ForestAlliance photographer TJ Watt andAhousaht Hereditary Representative TysonAtleo stand at an ancient Western red cedar tree on Flores Island inAhousaht territory.

Trial continuation seeks to define Nuchatlaht’s title over territory

Seen as a critical test in how a First Nation’s title will be recognized, the Nuchatlaht fight for recognition of their land in the

Vancouver, BC - How is a nation’s territory defined? How are borders determined, with consideration to who rightfully owns the land, and has used it historically?

These are central questions that were explored March 11-15, as the Nuchatlaht case continued in a Vancouver courtroom.

Serving as a five-day extension to the First Nation’s trial overAboriginal title for the northern part of Nootka Island, Justice Elliot Myers heard arguments from the legal teams of the Nuchatlaht and the provincial government to determine what exactly should be recognized under Canadian law as the First Nation’s land.

Over seven years since it was first filed to the B.C. Supreme Court, the Nuchatlaht seekAboriginal title over approximately 20,000 hectares on northern Nootka Island.

Located west of Vancouver Island, it’s an area that the First Nation’s ancestors occupied for countless generations, recognized as Nuchatlaht Ḥahahuułi, or traditional territory. But in 1846 the British Crown claimed sovereignty over the land, and for most of the last century the territory has been subject to logging and forestry tenures, which are currently held by Western Forest Products.

Subsisting off the entire watershed

After a trial in 2022, Meyers released a judgement on May 10, 2023, determining that a Nuchatlaht confederacy existed in the area at the time of British Sovereignty, and that the small First Nation is the rightful owner of the claim area. But the judge concluded that this does not apply for all of the 20,000 hectares, citing that the only “direct evidence” of historical occupation is in the vicinity of village sites near the coast.

Using evidence already submitted to the court, the Nuchatlaht have been given the opportunity to prove title to sections of the claim area, which brought the legal teams back before Myers in a hearing scheduled March 11-15.

Leading the Nuchatlaht’s legal team, Jack Woodward began the proceedings by taking the court through a series of maps. Describing the Nuchatlaht’s ancestors as a “marine oriented culture” with a “sophisticated use of the forest”, Woodward identified multiple locations with evidence of a village

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on March 21, 2022 the first day

site at the mouth of a river, where the tribe would rely on the entire watershed for subsistence. For this reason, Woodward argued that title should be recognized for the areas comprising entire watersheds.

“If they had a village site, they must have been using the land upstream to support their culture,” said Woodward, who stressed the territorial nature of Nuu-chahnulth tribes at the time that British Sovereignty was declared. “They used these territories for the material basis of their economies.”

The legal team often drew upon the accounts of Philip Drucker, who extensively studied northern Nuu-chah-nulth tribes in the 1930s. Drucker wrote that these societies relied on the products of cedar trees throughout a person’s life.

“Products of red cedar bark and yellow cedar bark were used in almost all aspects of Nootkan life. One could almost describe the culture in terms of them,” he wrote.

“From the time the newborn infant’s body was dried with wisps of shredded cedar bark, and he was laid in a cradle padded with the same material and his head was flattened by a roll of it, he used articles of these materials every day of his life, until he was finally rolled up in an old cedarbark mat for burial.”

“Every detail of their culture was based on a product of the forest,” said Woodward. “They had access to a forest that they made regular use of.”

“How far did they go to get the wood?

That’s the issue here,” commented Meyers during Woodward’s presentation to the


In the first hours of the province’s argument, lawyer Jeff Echols cited sections of Meyers’judgement from last year, which determined that there wasn’t enough evidence presented to prove historical use of the whole area.

“There is no evidence of the territory of any local chief’s hahoulthle beyond the village sites,” wrote Meyers in his judgement.

The province also cited the writings of Drucker, drawing attention to a reluctance among northern Nuu-chah-nulth people to spend time far inland.

“To most of them, mountains were objects to be lined up in ranges to locate offshore points rather than localities to be traversed and known intimately,” wrote

Page 8— Ha-Shilth-Sa—March 21, 2024
B.C. Supreme
Nuchatlaht Tyee Ha’wilth Jordan Michael stands with supporters before the nal title claim went to trial. Nuchatlaht House SpeakerArchie Little takes the microphone next to Tyee Ha’wilth Jordan Michael in front of the B.C. Supreme Court on March 21, 2022. Jack Woodward leads the Nuchatlaht’s legal team in its case forAborigonal title over the northern part of Nootka Island.

title over territory

of their land in the B.C. Supreme Court

Eric Plummer photos on March 21, 2022 the first day that his nation’sAborigiDrucker. “It is consistent that the woods and the mountains were thought to be populated by vast numbers of dangerous and horrendous supernatural beings, where the sea contained fewer and less malignant spirits.”

Agovernmental structure to protect resources

Amajor part of the Nuchatlaht’s evidence are the trees that were partially harvested by the nation’s ancestors to support their lifestyle.Archaeologist Jacob Earnshaw identified 8,386 of these culturally modified trees in the claim area, with an average distance of 845 metres from the shore.

Most of these CMTs had evidence of bark being stripped off for textiles and


where 2,358 samples were identified by the archaeologist. Labelled DkSr-53, this is the third largest concentration of CMTs of any site in Nuu-chah-nulth territory, while the second greatest concentration is elsewhere in the Nuchatlaht’s claim area.

But in his judgement from last year Meyers wasn’t convinced that this was enough to meet the legal test ofAboriginal title for the whole claim area.

“With the exception of DkSr-53, the CMT sites were in or near coastal areas, the average being 845 metres from the coast,” wrote Meyers, who also included observations from the province’s cross examination of Earnshaw. “With respect to DkSr-53 (the only site that can be considered to be inland), Mr. Earnshaw failed to consider a filed report done by BaselineArchaeological Services Ltd. which indicated only five of the 65 dates samples pre-dated 1846.”

During his recent presentation to the court Woodward noted that only a small portion of the trees in this site provided accurate dates, as many were too rotten to give an accurate age.

“It’s very expensive to count the rings on every stump,” said Woodward, adding that if it was necessary, the Nuchatlaht could hire an archaeologist to count the rings on every tree. “And that would answer your question justice.”

Ironically, traditional Nuu-chah-nulth harvesting practices intended to minimize disruption in the forest, leaving little visible evidence of usage hundreds of years later. During recent court proceedings it was estimated that a tribe on Nootka Island might have torn off hundreds of thousands of bark strips in a year from the area’s forest, totaling millions over a cedar tree’s 500-year

lifespan. To sustain resources, practices had to be in place to disturb as little as possible.

“You’d have to have a governmental structure that protects those old trees, generation after generation,” said Woodward.

The Labrador boundary case

As a precedent, the Nuchatlaht have stressed the importance of the Tsilhqot’in case, in which that First Nation was granted Aboriginal title over a large section in central British Columbia. Despite sustaining a semi-nomadic lifestyle across a vast 2,000 square-kilometre range, in 2014 the Supreme Court of Canada recognized the Tsilhqot’in as the rightful title holders, setting an exclusive and continued occupation since British sovereignty as the legal test. The Nuchatlaht currently seek title over land one 10th the size of what the Tsilhqot’in have.

Woodward worked on the Tsilhqot’in case. While both First Nations are relatively small, he noted that the Nuchatlaht have more evidence of occupation, with signs of habitation near coastal village sites, compared to the nomadic Tsilhqot’in’s use of a comparatively “barren” part of B.C.

In court Echols commented that the evidence forAboriginal title in the Nuchatlaht case “pales in comparison” to Tsilhqot’in, which used hundreds of hours of oral accounts. He stressed that for title to be granted there must be proof of using the entire land.

“In Tsilhqot’in that was met, in this case it was not,” said Echols.

But during the recent court proceedings examples were cited from other parts of the world where territories and countries have been legally recognized despite human usage being limited to the coast. In Greenland, the world’s largest island that’s not a

continent, just about all of the 56,800 inhabitants reside by the coastal edges, as the interior is covered by a glacial ice sheet. And Iceland’s coastal region is spotted with settlements where the country’s 403,000 people reside, while much of the interior is an uninhabitable volcanic plateau.

“No Icelander ever goes to the centre of Iceland, yet they own all of Iceland,” said Woodward.

Another example was cited from the other side of what is now Canada, in a case that was decided nearly a century ago. In the early 1900s Quebec and Newfoundland, which was not yet part of Canada, disputed the boundaries of Labrador. The case went to the Judiciary Committee of the Privy Council in London, which was Canada’s highest appeal court at the time.

Back then Labrador was inhabited by fishing communities that relied on the coast, leading Canada to argue on Quebec’s behalf that only the section one mile in from the shore should declared as Labrador, the rest going to Quebec. Newfoundland argued for a northern line halfway inland at the height of land, which would include the watersheds that fishermen relied on for their subsistence. In 1927 this is what the Privy Council ruled, creating the vast territory of Labrador as it remains today.

“They came down on the watershed. That’s why Labrador is so big,” said Woodward.

Meanwhile Nootka Island sits silent, the mountain range’s green marked by a patchwork of clearcuts that have ceased since theAboriginal title case began.As reconciliation with First Nations hangs in the balance, the territory awaits Myers’ decision on how far the Nuchatlaht’s title claim should extend.

March 21, 2024—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 9
Eric Plummer, Sierra Club of BC photos Tyee Ha’wilth Jordan Michael (top) speaks with family and supporters outside the B.C. Supreme Court in 2022. The northern part of Nootka Island (above) has been under the jurisdiction of B.C.’s ForestryAct, which grants tenure for the Crown land. Acedar tree on northern Nootka Island continues to grow despite bark being removed by Indigenous people. rope, including one location in the Brodick watershed

Haahuupayak perform in thanks for grad donations

Tseshaht donates to school’s largest graduating class in recent memory, students perform First Nation’s dances

PortAlberni, BC - Students of Haahuupayak elementary school shared songs and dances around the fire of Tseshaht’s longhouse, expressing gratitude for at least $1,500 in donations received for their Grade 7 graduation.

Haahuupayak elementary’s class of 2024 is the largest Lena Ross, the school’s intermediate Nuu-chah-nulth studies teacher, has seen.Atotal of 26 Grade 7 students will move on to theAlberni District Secondary School (ADSS).

Singing thunderously, students of Haahuupayak entered the longhouse, with a song they sing each morning at school, tamayak, by late-Doug Robinson, wrote Ross in an email to Ha-Shilth-Sa. Next, with the slow beat of a drum was ʔiʔišsuwił (pitch woman) to serve as a reminder for the children to be still and listen.

The Grade 4 class sang the hiikuułʔatḥ song, belonging to Tseshaht ḥawił William Severinson, while dancing the tiickin (thunderbird), said Ross. Soon after the Grade 5 students took to the floor with the same song, but dancing cixʷatin ʔiš kayuumin (eagle and cougar).

The Grade 6 and 7 students danced three songs: the hiikuułʔatḥ song, Spirit of the River by George Watts, and ƛiḥuuwa by Sam Haiyipus and Kathy Robinson, shared Ross, noting that they were given permission to sing each song.

“Our Grade 6, 7 classes, they choose, [and] they connect to the masks that they’re wearing,” said Ross.

She added that many former students return to the school to visit their masks due to the connection that they’ve made.

“One young lady, she was holding the ocean mask and she just looked at it and she goes, ‘I haven’t seen you for such a long time’,” recalled Lena.

At the event Tseshaht Councillor Ed Ross announced a donation of $500 from the Tseshaht First Nation to the Grade 7 graduating class, while Dwayne Hearn, Tseshaht’s forestry operations manager, is donating an additional $1,000.

“You guys are reinvigorating our hall, bringing our hall to life, putting life into the ground, singing the songs that our walls will remember,” said Ed. “On behalf of our nation, we just want to say what a good day it is today.”

“I’m so proud of them,” said Lena, of the students. “I’m always proud of them because they work so hard.”

“I think we’re in good hands in the future with these children,” she added.

Phrase†of†the†week:†%ayaqum>†qwiyii%ii†hiinin†+usmit†%ayasa†+uusaš†t,† ciih=c^uu†qwaakmis†c^ah=ak%ak%a+niš††ha%uk

Pronounced ‘Ah yah kumlth qwi yu ee he nin clu s mit ah ya sa clu shast cis cuu qw ak miss cha tak uk alt nish Haa uk’, it means ‘March is a good Month for us! plenty of herrings, herring eggs, smoked fish and happy people’. Supplied by ciisma.

Page 10— Ha-Shilth-Sa—March 21, 2024
by Tianna Michael
Alexandra Mehl photos Haahuupayak’s Grade 6 and 7 students wore elaborate pieces for performances they gave at the Tseshaht longhouse on March 14. Students from younger grades at the elementary school performed as well, expressing gratitude for recent donations towards Haahuupayak’s upcoming Grade 7 graduation ceremony.

Tla-o-qui-aht actress reconciles with family history

Tla-o-qui-aht’s Hannah Frank takes on the role of Mary Robins in Scenes from the Nanaimo Indian Hospital, a play which marks a “confluence” of Nuu-chah-nulth, Hul’q’umin’um’and Kwak’wala languages as the audience follows a friendship between three girls in attendance at the hospital.

“To represent Nuu-chah-nulth is to show that we’re still here,” said Frank, who is a Grade 11 student at Shawnigan Lake School. “The schools or the hospitals didn’t take us away.”

According to the University of British Columbia’s Indian Residential School History and Dialogue centre, the Nanaimo Indian Hospital, open from 1946 to 1966, was among three larger-scale institutions that racially segregated First Nations people throughout the province. To stop the spread of tuberculosis, the “Indian hospitals” functioned to isolate patients, including students who contracted the illness while in attendance at residential schools, from the broader public.

Mary Robins, the Nuu-chah-nulth character in the play, speaks the Barkley dialect. While Frank, whose traditional territory is in the Tofino area, speaks a central dialect of Nuu-chah-nulth.

“It was really different learning a different dialect,” said Frank, adding that some words used in the central dialect differed to Barkley dialect.

Roughly 40 per cent of Frank’s lines are

spoken in Nuu-chah-nulth, she said.

Though Frank shared that she does not speak fluently, she strives to one day hold conversations with other fluent speakers.

Frank took on the play as an opportunity for her to learn more of her Nuu-chahnulth language.

“The culture still lives inside us, the language still lives inside us,” said Frank. “It isn’t gone.”

“The language, it’s just sleeping,” she added. “You just have to wake it up.”

Frank first got involved with the play by suggestion from her aunt, Ida Thompson. But at first, Frank was hesitant because she had not acted before.

“The reason why I chose and agreed to do the play was because my late-grandpa, Art Thompson, he was in the Nanaimo Indian hospital,” she said. “It was a chance for me to help raise awareness about this, and reconcile as well.”

Dr. Laura Cranmer of ‘Nagmis and Haida First Nations wrote the play. She is a residential school survivor and was at the Nanaimo Indian Hospital for three years.

“Hearing other stories about people going in for the dentist and coming back with no teeth… I thought that was horrible,” said Frank. “I couldn’t imagine what they’ve been through.”

“I do this to help reconcile and do my part of telling a story,” she added.

Though the play has traveled across Vancouver Island, two performances remain on Thursday, March 28 at the Malaspina Theatre in Nanaimo. The location of this performance is across the street of

Submitted photo Hannah Frank of Tla-o-quit-aht takes on the role of Mary Robins, a girl who attends the Nanaimo Indian Hospital, in the play Scenes from the Nanaimo Indian Hospital. Frank speaks nearly half of her lines in the Barkley dialect. e2c7a548e6a9.

the former Nanaimo Indian Hospital. Tickets remain for the final performance at 6:30 p.m., and admittance for this performance is free. Tickets can be reserved online at https://www.zeffy.com/en-CA/ ticketing/5a906e1e-7578-4d99-85bf-

“My hope is that I can show that I’m Tla-o-qui-aht, and that I’m very proud to be Tla-o-qui-aht,” said Frank. “I hope that I make my people back at home really proud of what I’m doing.”

Gus family celebrates Tseshaht elder’s 93rd birthday

PortAlberni, BC – Cody Gus sits in the comfort of his rocking chair, enjoying an unobstructed view of the snow-peaked MountArrowsmith. His two remaining daughters sit nearby in the home that’s been in his family for as long as Gus can remember.

“This property belonged to my dad’s brother, uncle Jimmy Santo,” Gus shares. When he started his own family, Cody and his wife built their family home on the lot.

Gus’s family is throwing him a birthday party and invited Ha-Shilth-Sa over to hear about their father’s eventful life.

“I’ll be 93 tomorrow,” he smiles, adding that, until then, he’s still 92.

Cody was born to Wickaninnish George Gus and Gladys on Nettle Island in the Broken Group on March 16, 1931. He said his mother was from Nitinaht and he was part of a family that included 10 brothers and two sisters. Cody is the last remaining sibling.

The Gus family spent most summers out at the Broken Group Islands in the 1930s. They paddled from place to place.

“There was no electricity, no phones and we used wood for heat,” he recalled.

When it came time to go to school, Cody said he had to do what his siblings and his parents before him did, attend Indian residential school. When it came time for young Cody to go the Alberni Indian Residential School had burnt down, so he was sent toAhousaht Residential School for his first year. That was 1936.

Gus is the last remaining survivor of the Ahousaht Residential School.

After a period inAhousaht he went to

“I spent eight years there,” said Gus. There was no high school for young Gus. Three of his older brothers had been drafted for military duty in the U.S. so Cody thought he would do the same.

“My buddy and I went down to Victoria to enlist but we got kicked out – I was only 14!” he laughed.

But, he reasoned, any place was better than the boarding school.

There was no shortage of work for a strong young man. For as long as he can remember, Gus said his family would go to Washington State during the summer to pick berries, hops, or whatever else needed harvesting. When he was older, he began working in logging camps or on fishing boats.

“I spent 40 years at Sproat Lake Division,” said Gus, both in forestry and running tugboat for a decade.

It was in 1958 that Gus met Bertha Saxey from Kyuquot. His face lit up as he remembered, “My niece introduced me to her…I fell in love.”

The couple married and had their first

daughter, Gloria, in 1963. Their second daughter, Sam, arrived seven years later. The couple completed their family in 1973 when they adopted a third daughter,Angie. Sadly, both Bertha andAngie have passed on, but the ones they’ve left behind lovingly support and care for one another.

Cody Gus has been physically active all his life – he was a long-distance runner, played softball and boxed for 10 years. His friends fromAIRS, Richard Morgan and Wilson Bob, would run from the 2900 block of ThirdAvenue (at the old Zeller’s department store) to Beaver Creek Road, where the oldAlberni Athletic Hall was – a distance of 3.7 kilometers.

“Richard was in front of me and Wilson was behind me – we did it in 10 minutes,” said Gus.

“I was very fast when I was young,” Gus said with a smile.

Until recently, Cody was often seen walking on River Road during his almost daily treks from his home on the Tseshaht reserve to oldAlberni, or, on his longer walk past the mill to uptown PortAlber-

ni. But he can no longer do those walks. After two recent heart attacks, the exertion is too much. But his daughters and granddaughters take him for rides around town in their vehicles.

“We take turns looking after him,” said Gloria.

It was in 1991 when MacMillan Bloedel’s Sproat Lake Division closed for good and Cody was forced into retirement. That was the first time Gus learned when his birthday actually was.

“There was no birthdays in boarding school,” said Gus.

Needing the information in order to apply for his pension, Gus, at age 61, said he phoned down to Victoria to learn that his birthday March 16.

Since that time, his family has celebrated the occasion. They did a driveby celebration during the pandemic. To their delight, nearly 100 cars went by, some dropping off Scratch’n’Win tickets, Cody’s favorite gift wish.

This is something that Cody misses from his younger days. Simpler times when people visited one another, and doors were always open. You don’t see that as much anymore.

But he has the love of his two remaining daughters, six grandchildren, seven great grandchildren and three great, great grandchildren.

The family will be throwing a soup and bannock birthday party for Cody at Maht Mahs on Saturday, March 16 at 3 p.m. They invite people to come for soup and chumus.And if they want to bring a gift, Cody loves Scratch’n’Win tickets.

And Cody loves to see people.

“We want people to come and see him, say what they want to say to him while he’s still here,” said Gloria Fred.

March 21, 2024—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 11
Hannah Frank speaks lines in Nuu-chah-nulth while performing in Scenes from the Nanaimo Indian Hospital PortAlberni to attend the newly rebuilt Alberni Indian Residential School. Denise Titian photo Cody Gus poses in his home with daughters Sam (left) and Gloria

NETPCareer Fair

April 11, 2024

PortAlberni –Athletic Hall

9:00am-3:00pm Forward your information to Nuu-chah-nulth Employment & Training Program, 4090 8thAvenue PortAlberni Bc. Phone: 250723-1331 Fax: 250-723-1336 Email: shan.ross@nuuchahnulth.org or kirunn. sharma@ nuuchahnulth.org

Nuu-chah-nulth Baby Group

Every Monday

CYS - 4841 Redford Street, Port Alberni

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

Girls Group

Every Tuesday

PortAlberni – Usma culture space

5:00pm-7:00pm Girls ages 13-18. Need a safe space? Want to express yourself? Looking to learn to bake and cook? Do you enjoy doing crafts? Come join us for

&Community Beyond

fun activities with food and refreshments every Tuesday!

Eating in Balance

Every Wednesday

PortAlberni Friendship Center

1:00pm – 3:00pm. Participants work together to make a meal, discuss health and food related topics. Participants who work (cook and clean) with the group will receive a $10.00 grocery coupon that can be used at either Quality Foods or Buy-Low Foods. Childminder on premises.Adrop-in group, no registration required. For more information about our program, please call and ask forAmber –250-735-6276 ext. 233.Apart of theASI Early Years program.

Cultural Brushings with Quu asa

Every Friday

RedfordAdministration Building, Port Alberni

9:00am-12:00pm Cultural Brushings in support of the Tseshaht Community. If you have any questions, please call Leanne Harding,AdministrativeAssistant 250-724-1225

henna artist

Book your henna session for community events, weddings, birthday parties, school events or any special event.

Phone: 250-730-1262 or 250-720-3096

E-mail: aleesha_sharma1@hotmail.com

Page 12— Ha-Shilth-Sa—March 21, 2024
Les Sam Construction Residential . Commercial & Architectural Structures Construction Management & Consulting Forming & Framing Ph/Txt: 250.720.7334 les sam@shaw.ca

Port Alberni Friendship Centre Volunteers Needed

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

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

Determining the path of ‘inclusive economic growth’

This month the Transition Town Society held a discussion to determine the trajectory of Port Alberni’s

PortAlberni, BC - With PortAlberni’s history as a resource town, theAlberni Valley Town Transition Society (AVTTS) is looking to create an economic future that is rooted in community values.

“It’s important to get a certain message out about sustainably living in place,” said CliffAtleo, Jr., associate professor in Resource and Environmental Management at Simon Fraser University. “For Nuu-chah-nulth people, that’s a given because this is our home, our home territory, and in this case, the territory of the Tseshaht and the Hupačasath.”

AsAtleo reflects on his research, he notes that Indigenous people of an area engage in particular development issues, projects, and partnerships, because they reside within their home territory.

“It has a lot to do with the fact that they’re home, and they will never have another home,” saidAtleo.

WhileAtleo poses the question of how Nuu-chah-nulth-aht can live here sustainably, he notes that it requires a different look at the economy and affordability of life.

PortAlberni has been known for its thriving forestry and fishing industries in its past decades. After the amalgamation ofAlberni and PortAlberni in 1967, the population grew to over 20,000 people by 1971, making the city Vancouver Island’s second largest at the time, next to Victoria.

According to an article published by The Canadian Encyclopedia, after the Second World War the area became a “major forestry center,” leading to the region having one of the highest per capita incomes in

Canada through the 1970s.

Wikimedia Commons photo The City of PortAlberni has a population of 18,259, while theAlberni Valley has a total of 27,771 residents, according the Statistics Canada. discussions about the region’s local economy so that it can remain affordable and inclusive to everyone.

“The region’s economic backbone continues to be the management of its sustainable resources,” reads the City of PortAlberni website, noting that in more recent years with a turn toward tourism the city’s economy has diversified.

“It brought a lot of wealth, if you will, a lot of income generation, but couldn’t carry on forever,” saidAtleo of the forestry industry.

Based on a statistical snapshot of the area, in July of 2022, the population in theAlberni Valley reached 27,771. Meanwhile, 18,259 residents live in the City of PortAlberni, according to the 2021 census.

PortAlberni is projected to grow in population over the next 20 years, shared Leonora King, vice president ofAVTTS. She notes the importance of beginning

“As a community, I think people are looking forward to economic growth in general,” said King. “We want to see economic growth that is inclusive, that brings everybody up with it, that doesn’t leave anybody behind, and that produces better environmental and social incomes.”

King compares PortAlberni to Squamish, where both cities have histories as resource towns with population booms.

But in Squamish, as their economy shifted, community members were pushed out due to lack of affordability.

“One thing that economic growth can do is it can actually decrease affordability,” said King. “[Squamish] wasn’t an inclusive economic growth.”


CliffAtleo, Jr.

AVTTS strives to engage community members in conversations now where the community makes decisions on the future ofAlberni Valley’s economy, rooted in local values, she said.

“It’s going to be a lot easier to produce more equitable outcomes, if we build our economic future around our values, rather than try to change course down the road,” said King.

On Wednesday March 20,AVTTS is hosting an event at Char’s Landing featuring guest speakers Elvezio Del Bianco and CliffAtleo, followed by an interactive discussion of the economic future of the valley. The discussion begins at 7 p.m.

“Having more decision-making authority in the hands of locals, I think, really makes a difference,” saidAtleo.

Port Alberni gets a Foundry centre for youth services

PortAlberni, BC - The youth of the Alberni-Clayoquot region will soon reap the benefit of a Foundry Centre, a hub service space that aims to increase access to health care, mental health, sexual health, and substance use services for youth ages 12 to 24.

With an award of $1.5 million, PortAlberni will join 25 communities throughout the province who have or are developing a centre in support of their youth, reads a press release.

“The addition of a foundry centre will offer a hub service model that will increase the access and decrease the barriers to services for youth,” said Debra Hamilton, executive director atAlberni Drug andAlcohol Prevention Services (ADAPS) in an interview with Ha-ShilthSa.

After years of advocating,ADAPS, with Foundry Central, alongside community partners will lay the foundation for the hub in the coming months, reads the press release.

“Operating a Foundry [centre] has been a distant dream for the team atADAPS because both organizations have shared goals and values,” said Hamilton in a press release. “Foundry is another strategy thatADAPS will deploy to meet its mission and mandate, while continuing to provide all of its current programming and services.”

PortAlberni is among the 10 communities in B.C. that will soon gain a Foundry Centre.

“The youth are really the stakeholders in this process, they’re going to have an opportunity to play a large role in what that space is going to look like, what the kinds of service delivery is going to look like, what kind of experiences they are going to expect when they show up to a place like this,” said Kelly Edgar, Usma director for the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council (NTC). “We have put the voices of youth and families with lived and living experience at the front of the visioning process,” said Hamilton.

The new Foundry centre will offer services that are relevant to PortAlberni

youth, said Hamilton, noting that the Alberni Valley’s legacy of theAlberni Indian Residential School, impacts of colonization, alongside a feast and famine economy, blue collar culture, and a history of a resource-based industries are a few factors that contribute to the unique needs of the region.

“[The] foundry centre in PortAlberni will be developed in a way that meets the unique needs of youth in our community,” said Hamilton.

Hamilton adds that there has been clear direction, from their engagement, to establish a safe drop-in space inclusive of counseling, life skills groups, and social


“But really important to this particular application for Foundry was that we heard from our Nuu-chah-nulth partners,” said Hamilton, noting NTC’s Usma as a key partner who advocated for a satellite division for west coast communities.

“Our central region families don’t have as much access as our families do, say in the PortAlberni urban setting,” said Edgar, adding that advocacy for a west coast satellite division was necessary.

Hamilton shared that they have a vision to establish a cultural centre and an elder in residence for youth to have access to at the facility. While Edgar notes that as the process begins to implement the centre, there is opportunity for Nuu-chah-nulth youth and First Nations to come to the table.

“What makes Foundry centres so unique is their commitment to creating safe spaces that provide tailored wellness services to fit each person’s needs and lived experiences,” said Lillian Brown, a peer support worker in the Foundry Cariboo Chilcotin, in another press release. “At my centre, we prioritize a holistic and decolonized approach to wellness so Indigenous youth who visit don’t feel limited to Western forms of health care.”

Support from the community has been overwhelming, said Brent Ronning, chair of theADAPS board, in a press release.

“ADAPS is excited for this opportunity and the recognition that we have the capacity to provide the best services for youth in theAlberni-Clayoquot Regional District,” he said.

Page 14— Ha-Shilth-Sa—March 21, 2024
Wikimedia Commons photo The provincial government has granted $1.5 million for access to health care, mental health, sexual health, and substance use services in one facility for young people in PortAlberni.

Smaller canoe journeys planned for the Pacific coast

A large event won’t be in Ahousaht as anticipated, but journeys along B.C. and Washington coast start in May

With the recent announcement that the Ahousaht First Nation will not be hosting a canoe journey in 2024, other groups are quickly organizing smaller gatherings up and down the Pacific coast.

TheAll Nations Paddles Up website has posted the announcement that there is no host nation for Tribal Journeys 2024, but they have listings of gatherings taking place on Vancouver Island and the B.C. and U.S. mainland.

Jodi Simkim saysAll Nations Paddles Up is an organization that started in 2016 to help organize and support canoe gatherings. Throughout the yearAll Nations Paddles Up raises funds to support paddles up and down the coast. In addition, their website,All Nations Paddles Up, maintains a listing of canoe journeys taking place during the season.

Starting May 17 – 20, an event called Awaken the Canoes is being held at the Tsawwassen, Blaine, Nooksack and Lummi nations.

The Parkland Pull is being held May 24 to the 26th for youth, starting at the Tsawout First Nation on southern Vancouver Island, to Cowichan and on to Shell Beach.

From June 7 – 10th the Loving Waters event starts at Qualicum to Nanoose to Snuneymuxw.

The Young Warriors event for youth starts at Snuneymuxw to Shell Beach and back to Snuneymuxw on June 14 -16.

On September 7 – 10 the Strong Women of the Water embarks at the Lummi Nation in Washinton, then to Waldron, Orcas

All Nations Paddle Up photo

This year a large-scale canoe journey won’t be held on the Pacific northwest coast, but smaller paddles begin in mid May. Indigenous canoe journeys are planned until mid September.

and finally back Lummi Nation.

Plans are in the works for a Puyallup Youth Canoe Pull for summer 2024 in Washinton. Connie McLeod is the contact person for this event.

All Nations Paddles Up is hosting a few themed pulls, including theirAwaken the Canoes event, which signals the start of the canoe season.

“This one is about strong women and the men who support them,” said Simkim.

Last year’sAwaken the Canoes event was held in Canada. It will start in

Canada this year and go to three stops in Washington State.

Their Loving Waters gathering is for young women coming out of the foster care system.

“The Young Warriors journey focuses on youth, but it’s open to all,” said Simkim.

Because they fundraise year-round and accept donations,All Nations Paddles

Up events are able to remove some of the financial barriers to canoe journeys.

“We pay for the food and can give some assistance for the support boat,” added Simkim.

To register for anAll Nations Paddles

Up event people can email Jodi Simkim at allnationspaddlesup@gmail.com.

For other canoe pulls, those wishing to attend need to contact the various organizers, like the Puyallup Youth Canoe Pull. The Puyallup Tribe’s Culture Department has information posted on their Facebook page.

The Sparrow Canoe Support website is another valuable resource for canoe journey information and routes.

Tseshaht re-opens Cultural Centre after renovations

PortAlberni, BC - On Friday afternoon of March 8th Tseshaht First Nation had a grand re-opening of their newly renovated cultural centre on Watty’s Road. Members came for tours of the building on the First Nation’s reserve by PortAlberni and were served a lunch of sandwiches and wraps with tea, coffee and juice.

Originally built in 1974 the cultural centre underwent a lengthy overhaul to repair almost all facets of the building.

“In the basement there was a lot of water damage on the drywall and also the wood framing behind it, so it all had to be completely replaced and reconstructed,” Roger Brossoit, Tseshaht’s capital projects manager, told Ha-Shilth-Sa.

The renovation was done in two stages and started on June 15, 2023 with replacing the perimeter drains.

“All new perimeter drains had to be done, that was a big chunk of change,” said Brossoit.

There was also asbestos in the building that had to be safely removed as well as an old oil tank and outdated electrical connections.

Seventy five per cent of the project funds came from a grant from Barclay Systems for energy efficiency through BC Hydro. The new heat pump, heating system, electrical work, asbestos drywall removal, the new drywall and the ventilation was all completed through the Clean BC Indigenous Community Energy Coach Program and Heat Pump Incentive.

The remaining 25 per cent of the project

funds came directly from Tseshaht First Nation.

Tseshaht chose to renovate the building instead of tearing it down and starting fresh.

Tseshaht members celebrate the re-opening of their Cultural Centre on March 8. ing requiring energy efficiency upgrades. Our community needed to continue having a safe, reliable and comfortable space to gather, have dance practice and run various programs and services.”

“The cultural centre is an iconic structure in our territory and structurally is still sound,” said Ken Watts, Tseshaht chief councillor. “It simply needed an update, facelift and it also fit within our draft Community Energy Plan as a build-

The Cultural Centre was the first office location of Ha-Shilth-Sa Newspaper and the second location of the Tseshaht Band office, and the building has hosted an uncountable number of events for the community of the years.

The House of Regalia will be moving into the Cultural Centre from the Seeds building located behind the NTC’s main office.

“I imagine this new space is much more inviting, comfortable and helps us move forward” Watts noted.

Watts and the team working on the project want to share a big thank you to everyone who made it possible.

March 21, 2024—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 15
Holly Stocking photo
Page 16— Ha-Shilth-Sa—March 21, 2024
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.