Ha-Shilth-Sa Newspaper March 26, 2020

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INTERESTING NEWS Canada’s Oldest First Nations Newspaper - Serving Nuu-chah-nulth-aht since 1974 Canadian Publications Mail Product Vol. 47 - No. 06—March 26, 2020 haas^i>sa Sales Agreement No. 40047776

Ahousaht turns to the ocean during COVID crisis First Nation draws on its territorial resources to help with grocery store shortages during pandemic virus panic By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Ahousaht, BC - In the darkness of the ever-updating COVID-19 news comes a ray of brightness from community banding together to take care of one another. For more than a week grocery shelves have been stripped of staples like toilet paper, disinfectant cleaner, flour, rice, pasta, canned goods and meat. More and more, people are heeding the warning to limit travel and not congregate in crowded places. People in isolated villages like Ahousaht wonder if it’s worth the expensive trip to Tofino or beyond to search for essentials. And then there’s people like Luke Swan Jr. and Tom Campbell, who put out a call for anyone wishing to volunteer to fish for the community. “We do this all the time, even without COVID-19 we still go fishing,” said Tom Campbell, adding that the weather is nice so it is a good time to fish. “I been doing this for years, basically all my life, sharing with community.” Luke Swan Jr., Ahousaht fisheries manager, concurred. “Just now it needs to be done more than ever, for ones who can’t get out (fishing),” he said. And so, a few boats with about 15 volunteers left the village for a day of fishing. They loaded up with cod and red

snapper. Along the way some sea urchins and crab were harvested. Campbell says they stopped in at Hot Springs Cove to drop off about 30 pieces of fish for the Hesquiaht people before making their way home to Ahousaht. He went on to say that he was raised on these teachings, of taking care of others and has lived by these values all his life. “I remember doing these kinds of trips with my late uncles and other relatives; my friend Rocky and others who [are] not so fortunate anymore,” Campbell said. People in the village are grateful for the fresh fish. “Thank you to all the fishermen that gave their own time and money to feed the elders and some families today, here at home,” wrote Dori Keitlah on social media. “When you are faced with unforeseen circumstances it is acts of kindness and love that keep Ahousaht going.” Volunteers in the community planned to hunt ducks, then harvest clams for the community in mid March. Other members in the community are organizing the collection of donations for a local food bank. They are looking for both fresh produce and canned goods to distribute in the village. “It was a fun day out with guys; I had my uncle Angus out with Arnie, Richard, Frenchie and myself on my boat. Good healing laughs and memories made for sure,” said Campbell.

Photo by June Titian

Jon Manson of TFN delivers fresh crab to Ahousaht to help during the crisis.

Testing clinic now available by referral in Port Alberni By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Port Alberni, BC - As health authorities struggle to curb the continued rise of coronavirus cases across the province, a new testing centre has opened in Port Alberni. But due to limited supplies and capacity, screenings will only be provided by referral for those who have the highest risks while infected with COVID-19. The new screening clinic opened on Thursday, March 19. “It is important that people do not attend a screening clinic. Access is by referral and appointment only,” states a media release from Island Health. “It is also important to understand that the majority of people will not meet the requirement for testing at a screening clinic.” Those testing requirements include the COVID-19 symptoms, which are a fever, muscle soreness, a new dry cough and shortness of breath. But to get a test one

must also have respiratory difficulties that likely require hospitalisation, be a health-care worker showing signs of the coronavirus, a symptomatic long-term care resident or among those affected by a cluster outbreak. Otherwise, a test is not deemed necessary for those with mild COVID-19 symptoms. “The Ministry of Health and Island Health strongly urges anyone who has symptoms – including a fever, cough, sneezing, sore throat or difficulty breathing – to self isolate for 14 days. People experiencing these symptoms do not require testing,” said the Island Health release. The new screening clinic in Port Alberni will compliment a testing lab already operating in Victoria, where results can be determined in 24 hours or longer, depending on the travel required from where the sample was taken. Testing for COVID-19 uses swab samples taken from either the nasal cavity or throat.

Inside this issue... Nurses available by phone..........................................Page 3 What NCN residents of the U.S are seeing................Page 4 Tourism in the COVID-19 pandemic.........................Page 8 Port Alberni hosts a career fair.................................Page 11 Organizers cancel JANT...........................................Page 15

Despite continual urgings from health authorities to frequently wash hands, maintain a distance from others while in public and stay home unless necessary, coronavirus cases continue to climb. On Tuesday, March 24, B.C. officials announced an additional 78 cases over the previous day for a total of 617 across the province. More were reported for Vancouver Island, where 44 cases are confirmed. During her daily press conference, B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonny Henry ordered all restaurants to serve by take-out or delivery only. With B.C. under a provincial state of emergency, she now has the authority to issue such orders in the interest of controlling the spread of an extremely contagious virus. “I know how challenging it is when we are dealing with a virus where we have no cure, we have no vaccine, we have no way of preventing it,” said Henry. “It has been a tremendous challenge for our health-care centre to watch what’s

happening over this last few weeks and months around the world.” While the death toll among those infected by COVID-19 continues to rise each day, a glimmer of insight into the new illness can be found in Italy, where the coronavirus has caused more fatalities than any other country. In late February researchers began an experiment in Vo Vecchio, a northern town where the first European death was reported. All 3,300 residents of Vo were tested for the virus. Led by the University of Padua, the study found that three per cent of the town tested positive, but 50 to 75 per cent of those with the virus exhibited no symptoms. All of those infected and in close contact with them were placed under strict quarantine. When another town-wide test was conducted days later, a 0.3 per cent growth in transmission was found, leading some researchers to consider the value of isolating even those who show mild of no symptoms to stop the spread of COVID-19.

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


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March 26, 2020—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 3

Nurses now available by phone with coronavirus help Total number of cases of the new illness remains a mystery as concern overwhelms HealthLink BC hotline By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Port Alberni, BC - In an effort to help with an overwhelmed HealthLink BC hotline and a worsening shortage of supplies to test for COVID-19, nurses are now available by telephone to guide Nuuchah-nulth members through the crisis. 811 remains the primary hotline for those concerned they might have the coronavirus, but the HealthLink BC line has been ineffective for many who have been met with a “please try your call again later, or visit our website” message. Now concerned Nuu-chah-nulth members can call Francine Gascoyne, NTC community health nurse clinical leader, at 250-735-0416, or Home Care Clinical Nurse Leader Catherine Gislason at 250-720-1763. The NTC nurses will be available 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday as an alternative support when the HealthLink BC hotline is backlogged with calls. The acute respiratory illness has spread rapidly around the world and in North America since it emerged from the Wuhan region of China in late 2019. Since March 9, confirmed cases have reached Vancouver Island, a number that climbed to 44 as of Tuesday. Over March B.C.’s cases grew from less than 10 to over 600, with at least 13 deaths- most of which occurred in North Vancouver’s Lynn Valley Care Home. There is no medical cure for COVID-19. To mitigate the spread of the virus, people are advised to frequently wash their hands, disinfect surfaces that are regularly touched and keep a distance of about six feet from each other. Telephone help is particularly important due to the risk of spreading the virus, said Gascoyne. “We’re also respecting the social distancing and right now for everyone to stay at home, so even we’re not in contact with our clients,” she said. The NTC nurses are following information provided by federal and provincial health authorities, including the self assessment tool available online at covid19. thrive.health. Developed by the B.C. Ministry of Health, this tool alludes to the current lack of supplies needed to test for COVID-19, a shortage that has led

Photo by Eric Plummer

Francine Gascoyne, NTC community health nurse clinial leader, is available by phone at 250-735-0416 to assist members who might have symptoms. NTC nurse Catherine Gislason is also available at 250-720-1763. authorities to even advise that those who show mild symptoms of the virus do not need to be tested. “The B.C. Ministry of Health strongly urges anyone who has symptoms – including a fever, cough, sneezing, sore throat or difficulty breathing – to self isolate for 14 days,” states the self-assessment tool. Those who should be tested include symptomatic people with respiratory issues requiring hospitalisation, health care workers indicating signs of COVID-19, residents of long-term care facilities and individuals affected by a cluster outbreak. “If they’re experiencing even mild symptoms, then we will recommend stay home, self-isolate,” said Gascoyne, who hopes to help clarify signs of COVID-19 with Nuu-chah-nulth-aht. “For example, if a child has a runny nose, maybe a little

bit of a cough, but if the child doesn’t have a high fever, then we can walk through that with them. We don’t want people running to emergency if they’re just experiencing mild symptoms.” The social distancing precaution comes from difficulties in determining who actually has the virus. With over 26,000 tests conducted in B.C., the province’s numbers are based on confirmed cases – yet the likelihood remains that many more have COVID-19 but have not been tested. “At the end of this, once it settles, we’re not going to know all of the actual numbers of people that had the coronavirus,” said Gascoyne. While the elderly and those with a compromised immune system are particularly vulnerable, children often appear to be able to carry the virus while showing mild symptoms. Parents are strongly

urged to stay at home with their kids if youngsters exhibit symptoms. “If you have an elderly person in the home, really try and be as proactive as you can,” said Gascoyne. “If your elderly loved one could potentially go stay with someone else - if there’s children that start coming down with a running nose, a bit of a fever and a bit of a cough - then take in those extra precautions.” The NTC nurses are also advising those concerned to look to reliable sources of information, such as the First Nations Health Authority (fnha.ca), World Health Organisation (www.who.int), B.C. Centre for Communicable Disease Control (bccdc.ca), Health Canada (canada.ca/en/ public-health.html) and the B.C. Ministry of Health (healthlinkbc.ca). “There is a lot of misinformation and myths on Facebook,” said Gascoyne.

Island’s coastal communities bracing for COVID-19 By Melissa Renwick Ha-shilth-Sa Contributor Tofino, BC - Coastal communities like Ahousaht and Tla-o-qui-aht are preparing residents as tension mounts within the communities in response to COVID-19. “I’m just trying to settle the people down,” says Chief Councillor Moses Martin. “Everyone seems to be really concerned about everything.” As response measures to the virus shift on a daily basis, Tla-o-qui-aht council are strategizing on how to keep its members safe during this unprecedented time. By sending out boats for food fish in case the virus “hits us hard,” says Martin, they are working to ensure food security for their community. Ahousaht is also ramping up its efforts to keep community members healthy and safe by stopping any outside business from coming into their community for the time being, says Ahousaht Councillor Melinda Swan. “We’re going to be heavily monitoring

who comes [in],” she says. Encouraging residents to only travel outside of Flores Island for essential services, like buying groceries or going to the hospital, Swan says all community gatherings, from sporting to cultural events, have been postponed until further notice. Tofino Mayor Josie Osbourne says that the district of Tofino has a specific role and that is primarily to continue to deliver essential services to the town, like clean drinking water and garbage pick-up. Taking all direction from the provincial government, the BC Centre for Disease Control and provincial Ministry of Health, she says that “messaging could change on a dime.” Based on the BC Centre for Disease Control testing, Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, and Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, announced on Tuesday, March 24 that there were 78 new cases of COVID-19 over the previous 24 hours, for a total of 617 in British Columbia.

Photo by Sam Beebe/Wikimedia Commons

Amid fears of a supply shortage, the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation has sent out boats to collect fish for community distribution, one of several measures undertaken by coastal First Nations as the COVID-19 crisis unfolds. “Every health region in British Columrepresentatives seven days a week, from bia has patients with COVID-19,” their 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., by calling 1 888 joint statement says. COVID19. British Columbians can reach service


Page 4— Ha-Shilth-Sa—March 26, 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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What NCN residents of the U.S. are seeing amid the COVID-19 outbreak By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter

2020 Subscription rates: $35.00 per year in Canada and $40 per year in the U.S.A. and $45 per year in foreign countries. Payable to the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council. Manager/Editor/Reporter Eric Plummer (Ext. 243) (250) 724-5757 Fax: (250) 723-0463 eric.plummer@nuuchahnulth.org Reporter Denise Titian (Ext. 240) (250) 724-5757 Fax: (250) 723-0463 denise.titian@nuuchahnulth.org Audio / Video Technician Mike Watts (Ext. 238) (250) 724-5757 Fax: (250) 723-0463 mike.watts@nuuchahnulth.org Editorial Assistant Holly Stocking (Ext. 302) (250) 724-5757 - Fax:(250) 723-0463 holly.stocking@nuuchahnulth.org

DEADLINE: Please note that the deadline for submissions for our next issue is April 3, 2020 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.

Seattle, Wa. – The worldwide COVID-19 pandemic has gotten a much larger foothold in Washington State than it has in British Columbia. As of Tuesday, March 24 there were 2,460 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state with 123 deaths. By comparison, on March 24 provincial officials in B.C. reported 617 confirmed cases, with 13 deaths. Seattle, with its population of 725,000, has the highest number of Coronavirus cases in the state. For Seattle resident Robert Belleque, who is a registered Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k’tles7et’h’ First Nations member, the prevention measures being taken to contain the spread of the virus are taking a toll on his health. In December 2019 Belleque, who suffers with diabetes and high blood pressure, began experiencing chest pains. A trip to the doctor revealed that he suffers from coronary artery disease. He was forced to wear a heart monitor for more than a month. The monitor showed that Belleque suffers from Afib, or atrial fibrillation, meaning he has a quivering or irregular heartbeat. Untreated, Afib can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications. Belleque says he is supposed to have a procedure that will fix the problem but has to go through some prep work ahead of time – and he should try to avoid stress. “But I’ve been stressed about housing; I’ve been living in a motel since Jan. 27,” he said. But it is important that he takes care of his heart, so Belleque went ahead with a scheduled pre-op appointment at the University of Washington on March 11. “But I coughed. It was just one cough and they asked me how long I had that cough,” he said, adding that he told them it’s been about two years. “They had one mask left and they gave it to me.” The hospital staff directed Belleque

Submitted photo

Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k’tles7et’h’ patient Robert Belleque, who has a heart condition, is facing delays for a procedure as hospitals struggle with an exponential growth in coronavirus cases. home, telling him they would do the preby health care professionals that his op over the phone. procedure would be postponed for a “I dragged myself all the way there for minimum of 30 days due to the coronathis,” he said, adding that there were a virus outbreak. In the meantime, he is to lot of doors locked up at the facility as avoid stress and was given an emergency a crowd control measure to contain the number to call if he has any concerning spread of the corona virus. “I must have heart issues. walked the equivalent of ten blocks all “I was told not to go to emergency but around the hospital to get to my ride…I to call first – I could be dead while I’m was out of breath when he got there.” calling,” he told Ha-Shilth-Sa. “But it’s Belleque was supposed to have his heart understandable; I’m just stressed but I’m procedure on Monday, March 16, but trying not to stress. I’ve got to let it go, wound up having a COVID-19 and flu let it work itself out.” test instead. The tests came back negaBelleque says the coronavirus has made tive but Belleque said he was made to sit Seattle a different-looking place. alone in room for about an hour. “There’s nobody at Pike Place Mar“No sitting in a lobby, I was in a room ket, nobody hanging out at the park and alone – masked,” he shared. there’s no traffic at all,” he said. “EveryAfter all of that Belleque was informed where I go it’s cleared out.”

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March 26, 2020—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 5

Urban elders recommend supporting one another Shopping early in the morning wearing gloves one of many adjustments as seniors avoid risks of transmission By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Port Alberni, BC – Wally and Donna Samuel are well-known Nuu-chah-nulth fixtures in Port Alberni. The retired Ahousaht couple, both in their 70s, have a large family and an even larger cultural community. They met at Alberni Indian Residential School as teenagers and spent all their married life in Port Alberni, raising their family of five. They love to spend time with their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren at family dinners and other gatherings. They also like to get together at cultural gatherings like dance practices and other social events. But the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the couple to change how they do things. Wally, 73, says he has had a pacemaker since 1977 to help keep his heart in a healthy rhythm. He was diagnosed with diabetes about a decade ago and, more recently, is being treated for cancer. “Considering it all, I am doing well; I’ve always been strong and rarely get sick,” he said. The couple likes to stay active and are careful with their diet. Donna says she usually goes out once weekly to grocery shop but has had to go more often since the coronavirus began appearing. “I mostly need fruit every two or three days,” she said. She went out early on the morning of March 20, at 8:00 when the stores open. “It was the first time I wore gloves.” She said she beat the crowd and it made for a more pleasant shopping experience with fewer people around. The couple have children and grandchildren living nearby that would be more than happy to do the shopping for their parents, but they are all at work during the day. Even though they are free in the evenings, they keep a distance from their parents in an effort to keep them safe. “It affects us; we miss seeing friends and family at gatherings,” said Donna. “The grands come and go but we can’t really hug them.” Donna says she loves it when she sees people sharing drumming and other cultural videos on social media. Wally says they would have spent their spring break as they always do, supporting young athletes at the All Native basketball tournaments, but everything

“It affects us; we miss seeing friends and family at gatherings” ~ Donna Samuel

Highway blocked amid fears of tourists By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor

Submitted photo

Shopping early in the morning while wearing gloves is one of many adjustments for Wally and Donna Samuel to avoid risk of transmission. was cancelled. food and so Wally and Donna will head “We will miss it this year but there will over to their apartments with whatever be other opportunities,” he said. food they can share. The couple is forced to stay home more. “Today we will go up to Tsawaayuus Donna says she spends her time knitting (Rainbow Gardens) to see if the elders while Wally putters around downstairs. there need anything,” said Wally. “I’ve been shredding papers from 20 The couple ask people to stay safe, keep years ago,” he chuckled. distances and wash frequently. He says he now has time for home “Chemotherapy has forced me to wash projects he’s been putting off…sorting, hands frequently already, so I’m used to decluttering…anything to keep busy. it,” said Wally. Even though they need to protect them“We are used to being independent, to selves from COVID-19 they continue to do things for ourselves, but this situation reach out to shut-ins that are struggling. is beyond our control,” he added. “We “Our home is sometimes used for fish must adjust how we spend our money and distribution and we freeze any leftovers,” how much we spend.” said Wally. The couple asks younger people to There are a couple of disabled Nuucheck on their elders and those living chah-nulth men that are running low on with handicaps.

Sutton Pass, BC - A blockade erected the morning of March 17 to prevent tourists from reaching communities on the west coast of Vancouver Island was soon disbanded, according to reports from the region. Amid escalating fears that COVID-19 will spread to coastal communities, the blockage occurred at Sutton Pass on Highway 4. Reports from the area noted that tourists were being prevented from passing through, while locals with addresses in Tofino, Ucluelet, Ahousaht or other west coast communities were permitted. The action brought a response from the RCMP, and by approximately 11:20 a.m. the blockade had dissipated. Of particular concern were tourists from the United States, where the coronavirus has spread through certain regions particularly fast. As of Tuesday, March 24 Washington State had more than 2,400 cases – close to the total for all of Canada - with 123 deaths. B.C. has recorded over 600 contractions of the coronavirus, 13 of which ended in fatalities.


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Power outages prompt state of emergency in Kyuquot Order given by BC Utilities Commission to a private power company, while the First Nation fears neglect By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Kyuquot, BC - More than a week of continued power outages has led to a localised state of emergency in Kyuquot, prompting attention from the BC Utilities Commission and the RCMP. The notice was issued on Sunday morning, March 15 by the Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/ Che:k’tles7et’h’ First Nations for its Houpsitas village on northwestern Vancouver Island, a community of under 200 residents only accessible by boat or float plane. With much of Houpsitas still relying on generators for electricity, this state of emergency will remain in place until a reliable source of power is available. “Food is spoiling, and due to current cold weather, there are growing health concerns,” reads a press release from the First Nation. “There is also increased potential for physical harm coming to those that remain without power due to attempts by them to provide heat for themselves.” Electricity for the community is provided by Kyuquot Power Limited, an electrical utility owned by Synex International. Through electricity purchase agreements with BC Hydro, Synex owns and runs several small hydroelectric plants on Vancouver Island, including operations on Mears and Cypress creeks near Gold River. Synex also has an 80 per cent stake in Barr Creek Hydro, with the remainder owned by the Ehattesaht First Nation. Since March 6 power has been out for most of the time in Kyuquot. Although weather sometimes causes temporary outages for the coastal community, that doesn’t appear to the be issue in this case, said Cynthia Blackstone, chief administrative officer for the Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/ Che:k’tles7et’h’ First Nations. “Whenever there was a storm in Kyuquot - and we have many - we would expect potentially an outage,” she said. “But it has been several times since

Photo by Eric Plummer

An order has been given by the BC Utilities Commission on March 15 after a string of power outages affected Kyuquot. March 6 that we’ve had outages and the weather has been great.” While some buildings like the First Nation’s band office can use diesel generators for electricity, fuel is running low. “Our fuel gets barged in from Gold River. They don’t have a scheduled trip into Kyuquot anytime soon,” said Blackstone, adding that the school in Houpsitas does not have a generator. “They were shut down most of last week. I think they were open for half the day on Monday (March 9).” The electricity line to Kyuquot begins at Oclucje, running overland to Fair Harbour, where it becomes a submarine cable to Chamiss Bay before extending over land again to Kyuquot. Blackstone believes that the problem is due to a fuse too small to handle the needs of the remote community. Efforts to get Kyuquot Power to fix the problem have so far been

unsuccessful. “We’ve been trying to work with them to get them to increase the fuse,” said Blackstone. “The fuse size that they have for the line coming into the community is just not sufficient for the load, but they keep re-energizing it and it keeps going out.” As the First Nation fears for the safety of its members, complaints were sent to the RCMP, BC Utilities Commission, WorkSafeBC and Technical Safety BC. Blackstone said that the RCMP are investigating, While the utilities commission has issued an order to Synex. According to the order, which was given on March 15, a complaint was filed by a power customer on Feb. 13 concerning the safety of Kyuquot Power (KPL) and a “history of unreliable service.” “KPL responded, indicating that all but one deficient item had been corrected,”

states the BCUT order, noting that this outstanding issue would be corrected by KPL within 30 days. Synex did not respond to requests from the Ha-Shilth-Sa to as to why this problem has persisted, but now a Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k’tles7et’h’ powerline engineer is working with the company to amend the situation, according to the First Nation. “He was running some of the numbers just now and he doesn’t think that this is going to hold because that fuse is still too small,” said Blackstone of the powerline engineer. “All along we’ve suspected that it’s been the wrong sized fuse and that there’s been some negligence around ensuring that there’s a proper fuse size to supply power to the community, which is why we called the RCMP in.” The CAO noted that improvements have been made to the power line, but this should not be the cause of the outages. “We have been working on improving our lines because we had one company that was managing our lines that did a very poor job and it was quite dangerous,” she said. “Some employees at Kyuquot Power were blaming us for all of the outages, saying that the repairs we did increased the load that caused the outages. The numbers haven’t changed.” “We just made it safer,” continued Blackstone. “We’re concerned people are covering their rear ends by not saying what actually happened.” The involvement of the utilities commission now requires Kyuquot Power and its owning company to provide daily updates on the status of the electrical system, and what work is being done over the second half of March. Record drawings detailing the system, with outage logs over the last two months, are also required by the BCUT order, as are “identified areas of risk to maintaining the KPL system in a stable, operational state for the next three months.”

Huu-ay-aht grows forestry interests with TFL 44 deal By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Port Alberni, BC - As part of a $36.2-million transaction with Western Forest Products, the Huu-ay-aht are set to gain majority interests in a massive section of Crown land south of Port Alberni, with a partial ownership of Western’s only remaining sawmill in the city. Announced on March 16, the pending deal gives Huumiis Ventures, a limited partnership that is wholly owned by the First Nation, a 51 per cent stake in Tree Farm Licence 44. The acquisition would follow the Huu-ay-aht’s purchase of a seven-per-cent interest in TFL 44 a year ago for $7.2 million. The new arrangement with Western is worth $35.2 million, giving the Vancouver Island First Nation’s Huumiis Ventures a majority ownership interest in the tree farm licence. All of these transactions are subject to approval from Huu-ay-aht members and the provincial government. The deal is expected in close this summer. TFL 44 is a 232,000-hectare section of land east of the Alberni Inlet, with some portions west of Port Alberni. Tenure over the licence entails harvest rights and management of the forest land. Much of TFL 44 covers the Huu-ayaht’s traditional territory. This recent ar-

rangement empowers the First Nation to have greater control over the land it has called home for countless generations. “This is an important step to gain more control over the ḥahuułi of the Huu-ayaht Ḥaw̓iiḥ,” said Tayii Ḥaw̓ił ƛiišin (Derek Peters), in a joint statement released March 16. “Our sacred principles of ʔiisaak (utmost respect), ʔuuʔałuk (taking care of), and hišuk ma c̕awak (everything is one), will guide us as we create more opportunities and wealth for our nation in a way that protects our resources for present and future generations.” Like many West Coast First Nations, the Huu-ay-aht have felt the effects of historical logging in its territory – industrial activity that eliminated most of the Sarita watershed by 1997. Now $5 goes towards Sarita watershed renewal for every cubic metre harvested by forestry operations on Huu-ay-aht treaty settlement land. Chief Councillor Robert Dennis Sr. foresees the pending acquisition by Huumiis will better manage the Huu-ay-aht’s forest for future generations. “This agreement will enable Huu-ayaht to have more jurisdiction over our ḥahuułi, strengthen the long-term sustainability of the forest sector in the Alberni Region, provide strong environmental stewardship that aligns with Huu-ay-aht’s forestry guiding principles, and create more opportunities for First Nations,

including our citizens,” he said. With more control over the management of the large area of forest land, the Huu-ay-aht plan to use discarded wood that was previously left on cutblocks in burn piles. “We’re taking that waste wood, putting it through a chipper, and bringing it to Catalyst,” said Dennis. The Huumiis-WFP deal would bring a long-term fibre agreement that will continue to supply for Western’s manufacturing operations, including the Alberni Pacific Division sawmill. This is Western’s only remaining sawmill in Port Alberni after closing its Somass operations in 2017. Now the Huu-ay-aht are taking a growing interest in the mill. Huumiis is set to purchase a seven per cent stake in APD for $1 million, with hopes for majority ownership if future negotiations allow. In the aftermath of a seven-month-long strike from Western’s employees that cast the coastal forestry industry deeper into economic uncertainty, this recent acquisition pledges to bring more job opportunities for Huu-ay-aht citizens. “Western is committed to the long-term success of this partnership, and we look forward to continuing to work towards our shared goal of revitalization of a forest sector that benefits everyone in the Alberni Region,” said Don Demens,

Derek Peters Western’s president and chief executive Officer. Building on a Reconciliation Protocol Agreement signed by Huu-ay-aht and Western in 2018, the TFL 44 arrangement is also designed to bring “economic opportunities” for 13 other First Nations that have territories in the areas of Crown forest land. These include the Ditidaht, Tseshaht, Uchucklesaht and Hupacasath First Nations. “We will be setting up meetings with other First Nations to have that type of discussion,” said Dennis


March 26, 2020—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 7

Plan announced to combat Alberni’s opioid crisis The Surviving the Flood draft strategic plan was constructed after two days of meetings and conversations By Karly Blats Ha-Shitlh-Sa Contributor Port Alberni, BC - A Nuu-chah-nulth led draft plan to address the opioid crisis in the Alberni Valley emphasizes the need for inclusivity, as well as the voices and input from the community’s most marginalized people. The draft plan of Surviving the Flood comes from a two-day meeting in February, organized by the Tseshaht First Nation’s Crisis Wellness Coordinator Gail P. Gus, that brought together a variety of resource people and concerned Alberni Valley citizens who discussed how to address the community’s opioid crisis. On March 13, the draft plan was presented to community members, many of them who attended the February meetings and provided their input. The strategic plan was developed to weave together strands of services, supports, cultural practices and perspective to collectively offer meaningful, sustainable and interconnected approaches to community health and well being. Facilitator John Rampanen said the plan comes from a Nuu-chah-nulth worldview and borrows insights and wisdom from ancestors. A key underlying theme to the strategic plan reintroduces the notion that a deepseeded intelligence and knowledge base exists among Nuu-chah-nulth people. It recognizes that there is a need for deeper levels of conversation between neighbouring cultures in order to effectively strategize a response to the community-

so it gets left isolated in the Indigenous community to harbour those feelings. This huge overflow of trauma that is continuously triggering even today causes an underlying issue here in the community that makes us more susceptible to some of these things like the opioid crisis.” Last month, the BC Coroners Service reported there were 981 suspected illicit drug toxicity deaths in B.C. in 2019. This represents an average of 2.7 deaths per day. Though the illicit drug toxicity deaths in 2019 show a 36 per cent decrease from similar deaths in 2018, the number is virtually identical to the number of those who died in 2016, the year the provincial health emergency was declared. The report states that a Photo by Karly Blats continuing trend is that Facilitator John Rampanen discusses a draft strategic plan, Surviving the Flood, that offers middle-aged men are oversuggestions for combating the Alberni Valley’s opioid crisis. represented with more than wide opioid crisis. said. “We know more and more that it’s three quarters of the suspected overdose “This plan is really trying to find a way absolutely imperative to have the voice of deaths involving males and 71 per cent to integrate our services, to create a web the marginalized, the voice of those at the involving people aged 30 to 59. It also of support that includes Nuu-chah-nulth core who are living that experience on a says Aboriginal British Columbians conpeople, that includes marginalized people day-to-day basis. When we exclude those tinue to be over-represented. and the culture that is involved in those voices and that presence we’re doing a Rampanen said the issue isn’t the indicircles, so that we’re all approaching disservice to ourselves by only looking vidual who is suffering from addiction or this in many different ways,” Rampanen at a fraction of the issue and so this draft experiencing crisis situations, but rather plan is really about inclusivity.” the larger spectrum of who is bringing in To begin eroding the stigma around the opioids to the community and why they opioid crisis, the plan suggests “providcontinue to circle. ing a space for voice” of marginalized “[Nuu-chah-nulth people] have gone people in decision-making and commuthrough a number of waves of crisis and nity response circles and providing a safe part of that has really diminished some and supportive environment. of the cultural and spiritual aspects of Two priorities are highlighted in the who we are as people compared to who draft plan to effectively address the we were ancestrally,” Rampanen said. opioid crisis. One is enhancing integrated “But it’s also developed a new cultural services and communications between resilience and perseverance. It’s develservice providers and families; the other oped a community-wide culture of lived is inclusion of Nuu-chah-nulth knowlexperience through crisis and our comedge, practices and spaces for healing. munity gathers together in a very unique The plan states that traditionally Nuuand distinct way when there’s crisis that’s chah-nulth families were better equipped happening in a First Nations community.” to address issues immediately or indepenRampanen said the draft plan aims to dently. It says in traditional Nuu-chahbring those levels of community connulth society families were represented nectedness to the entire Alberni Valley equally with a figurehead from each actin a way that can be more inclusive to ing as a representative at decision-making other people. It also suggests enhancing events. In this way, every family had a the current health service and delivery role in the delivery of services as well model to accommodate the re-emergence as monitoring and acting upon situations of traditional healing and medical care, that occurred. while supporting the redevelopment of Today, this level of self-sufficiency no Indigenous service delivery. longer exists to the same capacity, states “Colonialism has increasingly removed the draft plan. Families that are impacted ancestral knowledge and practice from directly or indirectly by the opioid crisis the Indigenous community,” states the “deserve a role in the decision-making draft plan. “The resurgence of tradiand delivery of services and support. tionally-oriented medical teachings and Ultimately, enhancing the role of famipractices are gradually returning.” lies can offer a more comprehensive and “I think part of the underlying pitch or sustainable web of support.” recommendation that also exists in this “When we’re talking about community- draft plan is that we need to demonstrate wide strategies, it’s important for us to a willingness for change. If we can demnot only take into consideration that onstrate a willingness for change and be there’s many different demographics more accommodating of being inclusive and cultures that are represented in our of the voice of marginalized peoples community, but there’s also history and we’re going to see a huge change in the that history needs to be explored a little approaches that are taken here in the Aldeeper sometimes,” Rampanen said. berni Valley,” Rampanen said. “We can’t “From an Indigenous perspective there’s accomplish huge things in just one year, a lot of inter-generational trauma comtwo years…it’s going to take us in some ponents that are attached to that history cases 10, 20, 50 years. It’s important for that haven’t been validated by others, us to look at the long-term solutions also that haven’t been recognized by others, in addition to these short-term solutions.”


Page 8— Ha-Shilth-Sa—March 26, 2020

Tofino businesses grapple with closures amid COVID-19 Last guest at Tin Wis checks out on Monday, while Tofino’s chamber of commerce urges visitors to stay away By Melissa Renwick Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Tofino, BC - When Lewis George arrived to work at the House of Himwitsa Native Art Gallery on Tuesday, March 17, he felt unsettled. The storeowner said that an employee who wasn’t feeling well had showed up to work. He closed the business down that day amid fear of spreading the coronavirus, COVID-19. “We’re just hoping and praying that this is going to pass and that people take this seriously,” says George. “That’s what we’re trying to do.” While the closure of his business is “devastating” because it means he no longer has any income, he recognizes that it’s a necessary step to flatten the curve. In order to do that “people have to stay put,” he says. As of Monday, the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 had risen to 472 in B.C., according to the BC Centre for Disease Control. In response, Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, and Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, are urging the public to “stay home as much as possible.” On March 18, the District of Tofino, Tourism Tofino, and the Tofino-Long Beach Chamber of Commerce released a joint statement asking tourists to postpone any trips to Tofino and for those already in town to make their way home. With extremely limited health care resources in Tofino, the statement says that they need everyone’s help to flatten the curve, “including the thousands of visitors who love and cherish this area.” Jared Beaton is the general manager of

Photo by Melissa Renwick

Grace and Eddie Frank pose for a portrait in front of Ty-Histanis. They are monitoring the incoming traffic to make sure that only local residents are allowed in, on Saturday, March 21, 2020. the Best Western Tin Wis and says that the hotel formalized their decision to close on March 19, with their last guest checking out on Monday. “The decision was based on the community support and making sure that we are doing the responsible thing,” he says. His staff took the news of layoffs well, he says, as workers had become increasingly worried that they would bring the virus home to their families and elders.

While the closure will be financially devastating for the hotel that just came out of a major renovation project, participating to stop the spread of the virus is of higher priority, Beaton says. On March 18, Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns released a statement saying he doesn’t think enough is being done to help businesses get through this pandemic. “These small businesses are showing

real leadership and doing what’s best for public health – they deserve real support now,” says Johns. George says that the Nuh-chah-nulth have a saying – “His-shuk-nish-tsawaak,” he says. “We all walk as one.” “We should all be in the same canoe,” he adds. “Paddling in the same direction to make this thing go away.”

West coast communities closed during COVID-19 crisis By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter West Coast Vancouver Island – The VI Connector and Tofino Bus have suspended all runs until further notice. “We are taking every measure to ensure the safety of our customers and employees and to be part of the solution to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19,” said Travis Wilson, General Manager, in a written statement. In fact, many of the coastal villages have gone on record that they are limiting access to the communities in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19. Leaders from Ahousaht, Tofino and Hot Springs Cove have all stated that they are closed to visitors with the exception of essential services providers. Water taxis that are serving coastal communities are urged to sanitize their boats following every trip. Ahousaht Emergency Response Team is asking water taxi operators to check in with their Emergency Operations Centre so that they can track people coming and going from Ahousaht. Joshua Charleson, Hesquiaht’s elected chief, says he has directed that only the three water taxis named in a letter will be permitted to ferry passengers and supplies into Hot Springs Cove. On March 16 his council agreed to limit access to the community and contractors were sent home as a result. In addition, Hesquiaht has closed its school, clinic and administration office. Only two band staff members continue to work as usual while the rest are working

from home. These measures will be in place until April 6, 2020, but could continue depending on the COVID-19 situation. “We are taking the recommendations of the B.C. health officer and [The First Nations Health Authority] very seriously,” Charleson said. He noted that information is coming in from health authorities on a continual basis. His council is monitoring the updates and staff will be proactive in following recommendations to keep membership safe, said Charleson. Ahousaht Tyee Ha’wilth Maquinna (Lewis George) said in a recorded message that beaches in his hahulthi will be monitored and any visitors found there will be asked to leave. Only those that provide essential services, like the NTC nurses, will be permitted to enter and leave the village. “I urge people to stay home, we need to pull together on this in order to flatten the curve (of the spread of COVID-19),” said the hereditary chief. According to Curtis Dick, the First Nation’s Emergency Operations coordinator, Ahousaht’s recreation workers have been notified to limit groups to 15 as recommended by their local health nurse; they are advised to be outdoors as much as they can. In additions, the Ahousaht Emergency Operations Centre is directing residents to supply the office with household head counts as well as information about residents that are ill or have compromised immune systems. “The more we know the more we can

Photo by Denise Titian

Bus service to Tofino and Ucluelet is suspended amid concern over spread of COVID-19, while water taxi’s are tasked with restrictions to control access to remote communties. better work together and or support those who need it,” Dick said in a message to membership. He urged the people to remain calm. As for the lack of bus service, Dick pointed out that transportation for Ahousaht is always a challenge. “We are doing our best to identify and accommodate those needs for rides,” he said. Hesquiaht has implemented a COVID-19 relief fund. “Hesquiaht First Nation chief and council have decided to alleviate some of our nation’s financial stress and we have set up a COVID-19 relief fund,” he wrote in

a letter dated March 18, 2020. The relief fund allows for every eligible Hesquiaht member, children included, a one-time deposit of $100 each. To receive funds, members must contact their band office to provide membership information. Phone the band office at 250-670-1100 or email heather@hesquiaht.ca. Access to the fund is open to members for the duration of March 2020. Ahousaht leadership has pledged to put out twice-daily briefings, broadcasting by social media at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Information will also be posted on their Ahousaht Emergency Response Facebook page regularly.


March 26, 2020—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 9

Riparian restoration aimed at sustaining chinook With funding from a federal grant, the three-year program is focused on half a dozen streams in Nootka Sound By Mike Youds Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Gold River, BC - Habitat restoration work to rebuild chinook productivity in North Island watersheds is “a drop in the bucket” but could become a stepping stone for long-term salmon sustainability, says a T’aaq-wihak biologist. Local contractors are completing the first phase of a three-year project to remediate riparian habitat and monitor results along half a dozen salmon streams in the Nootka Sound region. The project got underway last year in the Sucwoa (Tsax’hoa) River floodplain between Tahsis and Gold River, one of many coastal watersheds heavily damaged by past logging practices, said Roger Dunlop, northern region biologist. Nootka Sound Watershed Society (NSWS) obtained a $904,000 grant in 2019 from DFO’s Coastal Restoration Program. Local First Nations — Mowachaht/ Muchalaht, Ehattesaht and Nuchatlaht — along with NSWS maintain that the best way of restoring salmon productivity is to remediate habitat degradation caused by logging and related activities, such as roadbuilding. The Sucwoa watershed, lying within Mowachaht/Muchalaht territory, is part of Western Forest Products’ (WFP’s) Tree Farm Licence 19. Enter NSWS, a grass-roots group formed in the late 1990s to protect, restore and enhance salmon in the Nootka Sound and Esperanza Inlet region. Society volunteers have worked together on numerous local projects since then, collaborating with DFO and forestry partners, including WFP. “We are working with First Nations and stakeholders across Nootka Sound to achieve our common goal of enhancing fish habitat,” said Paul Kutz, WFP senior operations planner and a society board member. For the riparian restoration project, NSWS hired Strategic Natural Resource Consultants to manage the project and Nootka Reforestation to provide labour, employing MMFN workers. “We’re just completing the first year,” said Kent O’Neill, president of the society, which includes three Nuu-chah-nulth nations among its membership. A decade ago, WFP oversaw a study of the area to identify and prescribe restoration treatments for the Sucwoa floodplain, O’Neill explained. “We’re taking that prescription and putting it into reality,” he said.

Submitted photo

A team of volunteers with Nootka Sound Watershed Society gathers chinook brood stock on the Gold River. The Sucwoa, which drains into Head Bay on Tlupana Inlet, contains about 25 kilometres of fish-bearing habitat. Logging of the lower watershed began in 1958 and much of the floodplain and riparian or riverbank forest was harvested by the 1970s. A lot of the more productive habitat was logged to the stream bank in those days, before regulations required “leave strips,” protective borders of riparian forest. By the 1990s, however, more than 40 per cent of forest in the Sucwoa watershed had been harvested. Removing the mature forest altered the hydrological processes within the watershed. Road development and sediment deposits have also undermined the river’s salmon productivity. Beyond the Sucwoa, the NSWS project will evaluate and implement riparian treatments for Chum Creek, Little Zeballos River, Tahsis River, Leiner/Perry River and Tsowwin River by 2021. Dunlop said the primary objective is to improve the stream channel and stabilize stream banks, partly by promoting conifer root growth hindered by understory species such as alder and salmonberry that flourished after logging. “It not only benefits the chinook

salmon, but it benefits all the fish and wildlife, which means it benefits people, too,” he said. The Sucwoa also supports populations of coho, chum and pink as well as cutthroat trout. A founding member of NSWS, Dunlop has extensive experience with stream restoration and wrote the grant application on the society’s behalf. By legislating greater protections in recent decades — essentially creating “no-take” zones for logging around streams — the provincial government has in effect “orphaned” damaged riparian areas, he said. “It’s an incentive for us to go back in and do this,” he said. “The reason for doing riparian work is explicitly to improve bank cohesion and root strength … The one thing we could do is just get this wood growing along the banks, but other issues will remain. We have not yet addressed the necessary allowable cut reductions to address the related hydrology or chronic sedimentation problems.” Conifers take hundreds of years to mature, die and fall, perpetuating the life cycle that produces large woody debris vital to chinook salmon habitat. Consequently, it could be many generations before habitat productivity is fully

recovered. Restoration efforts, however, are a step in the right direction. “We’re using the money as strategically as we can,” Dunlop said. He views the current project as complimentary, an incremental step towards a more “global” approach that could improve long-term sustainability of salmonids. That’s where so-called salmon parks come in, the idea of protecting whole watersheds from logging, a concept rooted in the Nuu-chah-nulth principle of hishukish tsa’walk — everything is interconnected. Last year, the Ha’wiih of Nuu-chah-nulth nations proposed that the provincial government use its authority to designate a system of salmon parks. NSWS is equally committed to the idea. “We’ve been pushing hard for salmon parks,” O’Neill said. Meanwhile, logging continues at higher elevations in the Sucwoa watershed, ensuring that counter-productive hydrological processes continue. The nations have been calling for a reduced rate of harvest in support of stream rehabilitation. “Nootka Sound has 40 salmon streams and I can’t think of one that hasn’t been logged,” Dunlop said.


Page 10— Ha-Shilth-Sa—March 26, 2020

Inquest date set 4 years after teen’s death Family awaits answers, NTC called for RCMP review, now a jury will hear evidence with a public presentation By Mike Youds Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Port Alberni, BC - A long-awaited public inquest into the death four years ago of Jocelyn George, a young Hequiaht/ Ahousaht mother, is scheduled for July 6 at Port Alberni Courthouse. A coroner’s inquest is a formal court proceeding that allows for public presentation of evidence related to a death. George, 18, died in a Victoria hospital in June 2016 after she was held overnight in RCMP custody in Port Alberni. The day before, she was arrested for being intoxicated in public, released and then re-arrested after a relative, concerned for her safety, contacted police. In the weeks and months that followed, George’s family questioned the circumstances of her treatment in custody at the Port Alberni detachment. An investigation two years later by the civilian-led Independent Investigations Office of B.C. left those questions unanswered. The ILO found there were no grounds on which to bring charges against any of the police officers involved in George’s incarceration. Although George’s official cause of death was found to be myocarditis (cardiac arrest or inflammation of the heart muscle) due to drug toxicity, the teen’s family and community wondered how her deteriorating condition was not noticed sooner. Family members felt racial discrimination played a role in her treatment while in custody. The Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council said at the time that it was deeply disappointed by the ILO findings and called for a broad review of police misconduct in the treatment of Indigenous people. The ILO report brought no closure for the family, said NTC President Judith Sayers when it was released in January 2018. “Police services in Canada are in need of a thorough review of their policies and procedures,” Sayers said at the time. “This is not the first Nuu-chah-nulth or Indigenous person to die in the custody of the RCMP.” The NTC specifically called on the RCMP to review their internal practices around monitoring people in custody who are intoxicated in order to prevent similar

Photo by Eric Plummer

At Port Alberni Law Courts on July 6, Coroner Michael Egilson and a five-to-seven-member jury will hear evidence from witnesses under oath to determine facts surrounding Jocelyn George’s death. tragedies. George’s family expressed hope that a Coroner’s inquest might lead to similar recommendations. Inquests are mandatory for any death that occurs in detention or in the custody of a peace officer. Coroner Michael Egilson and a five-toseven-member jury will hear evidence from witnesses under oath to determine facts surrounding George’s death. Egilson chairs the Death Review Panel within the Office of the Chief Coroner. The panel released a report two years ago examining 2013-2017 deaths among 127 persons with recent police encounters in B.C. Recommendations included the use of findings from police encounters to inform ongoing police development. “The actions in the recommendations below are intended to align with the provincial government’s commitment to a renewed relationship with Indigenous peoples,” the report states. Inquest juries can make recommenda-

tions in order to prevent deaths under similar circumstances, however, they rule on legal culpability or “express any conclusion of law,” according to the coroners service. “The B.C. Coroners Service looks to gather the facts surrounding why a death took place,” the agency stated in a news release on the inquest. “It is not a faultfinding agency. It provides an independent service to the family, community, government agencies and other organizations.” When the inquest is complete, a written report or “verdict” is prepared. The verdict includes a classification of the death and any jury recommendations for preventing similar fatalities. Upon conclusion of the inquest, a written report known as a “verdict” is prepared. Verdicts — posted online at https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/lifeevents/death/coroners-service/inquestschedule-jury-findings-verdicts — in-

Jocelyn George clude classification of the death and any jury recommendations on how to prevent deaths in similar circumstances.

Phrase of the week - Wiksiis^ c^aamih=ta t’aa%i>aqsiis^ Pronounced ‘wick sis cha mirh ta’, this means ‘I am not feeling well, I feel very sick” Supplied by čiisma.

Ivy Cargill-Martin Illustration


March 26, 2020—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 11

Port Alberni career fair hosts a variety of employers Annual event brings job seekers to assess prospects By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Port Alberni, BC - Nearly 40 employers filled the Alberni Athletic hall on March 12 for the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council’s annual career fair. Hosted by the Nuu-chahnulth Employment and Education Program, the fair provided a format for a variety of businesses and organizations to inform members of the public about employment opportunities in the region. This year marks the 7th annual career fair, Shan Ross, NETP’s Special Projects Coordinator reports over 300 job and information seekers attended this year’s event, stating it was a success.

Photos by Eric Plummer

Above: Eric Badesso, who is a forester with Western Forest Products, answers questions from Ildiko Wheeler at the NETP career fair on March 12. Below: Ambar Varela managed the table for INEO Employment Services at the career fair.

Denise Gallant and Karen Sorensen of the B.C. First Nations Forestry Council attend to inquiries at the career fair. The council provides programs for Indigenous students interested in forestry and supports First Nations involvement in the industry. To attend to the current underrepresentation of Indigenous people in forestry, the council has set the goal of 2,200 jobs by 2027.

TSESHAHT MARKET GATEWAY TO THE PACIFIC RIM

Hours of operation - 7:00 am - 10:30 pm Phone: 724-3944 E-mail: claudine@tseshahtmarket.ca Find us on Facebook


Page 12— Ha-Shilth-Sa—March 26, 2020

Community&Beyond BC Indigeous Writer’s Collective Inaugural Meeting

Memorial Potlach

April 24

Lake Cowichan

May 16

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.

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.

Memorial Potlach

April 25 Campbell River Photo by Karly Blats

Owls Path Marketplace team members (from left) Aaron Prest, Penelope Lucas, Mary Mason and Joel Marriott, welcome guests to the grand opening of the Owls Path Marketplace on Third Avenue.

New uptown marketplace offers artists space to create In addition to a shared working space, the Owls Path Marketplace also offers a boardroom and media room By Karly Blats Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Port Alberni, BC - Representing Indigenous artists from across Canada, the Owls Path Marketplace has officially opened in Port Alberni’s Uptown area. Located at 2975 Third Avenue, the fair trade marketplace showcases a diverse range of Aboriginal artwork and allows patrons to view the artists at work in the building’s shared working space. Co-owned and operated by Joel Marriott and Mary Mason, the marketplace was created to provide artists a space to create their work and showcase it in a store front. “There’s tons of markets in the Alberni Valley but we wanted to be able to give a place for local artists to do their hand crafts, to be able to sell their stuff all the time…and we wanted to help with marketing and advertising of their stuff and sharing their crafts with the world,” Mason said. Mason said artists who sell their work in the marketplace receive 80 per cent of the funds from each sale. “In our marketplace we really wanted to empower fair trade for Indigenous artists, so right now we’re [displaying] local

artists but also some from Saskatchewan. We also have clothing and our clothing is all ecofriendly,” Mason said. “I wanted to show diversity in Indigenous cultures, so we will be starting with Canadian Indigenous [artwork] and showing the diversity there.” The current in-house artist is Cecil Dawson, who is working in one of the shared spaces. A camera will eventually be set up for people to tune in live and watch Dawson work. “It’s kind of a co-op idea so we were just kind of deciding over the last little while how it’s going to work. As it is right now we just want to expand and be able to give people a platform,” Marriott said. “Basically we’re just opening our doors and letting people come in and explore whatever they’re doing.” In addition to the marketplace and the artist’s work space, the building also includes a rentable boardroom with a TV for conference calling, a soon-to-becompleted media room and another office space. “We would just really like to encourage more artists to come through, we would really like to help them grow their brand,” Mason said.

Have You Moved? If you should be getting a copy of the Ha-Shilth-Sa paper delivered to your home, please contact : Holly Stocking at 250-724-5757 or holly.stocking@nuuchahnulth.org

Suicide Peer Support Group

First Thursday, Monthly Port Alberni

Due to the COVID-19, we have postponed our memorial potlatch until further notice. For more information, please contact Anita Baker or Star Frank on Facebook.

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.


March 26, 2020—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 13

-----------JOB OPPORTUNITIES -----------

Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k’tles7et’h’ First Na•ons Master Carver & Cultural Researcher Request for Proposal (RFP)

Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k’tles7et’h’ First Na•ons Contract for Data Collec•on for the Big House Project

Closing Date: 4:30 pm on April 14, 2020

Closing: April 14, 2020, 4:30pm

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.

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.

Minimum services to include in proposal:

The term of contract will be approximately 3 months, with a poten!al extension.

·

Through Nation owned archives, museums, BC Archives, cultural sites, etc.

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Meet with leaders, elders, and community; gathering stories and learning of the history of our peoples.

Key tasks and skills: ·

Meet with elders, Ha’wiih and other members of KCFN.

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Co-develop an engagement strategy.

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Organize and attend individual and group meetings for the purpose of engaging with KCFN members.

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Able to deliver the information to the Big House and Community Centre Committee.

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Computer skills required for compiling the information.

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Work with KCFN members wanting to be part of the research, as an opportunity to learn.

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Work with the Big House Committee in making artistic design decisions

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Utilize research to come up with conceptual designs for significant components of the big house; four house posts and two cross beams.

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Written description of the designs, identifying the historical significance, stories, etc.

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Design sketches of major components

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Prefer experience working in the Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k’tles7et’h’ language

Create budget for the research and concept design phase

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Must have drivers license

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Must be dependable and reliable

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Must have good communication skills (written and oral)

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Qualifica•ons and Skills

Qualifica•ons

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Master Carver – able to carve totems and other large-scale projects

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Good Research skills

Submit a resume and expression of interest to:

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Works well with the Big House Committee, elders and leaders of the Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’ and Che:k’tles7et’h’

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Able to work with professions; architect, contractors, engineers, etc.

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,

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Demonstrate ability to teach youth and lead a team of carvers at various experience levels

Late applica•ons will not be accepted. Only those shortlisted for an interview will be contacted.

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Must reside in Houpsitas or have accommodation available in Houpsitas and a dependable and reliable

To view more job postings visit: www.hashilthsa.com

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.


Page 14— Ha-Shilth-Sa—March 26, 2020

Organizers cancel Junior All Native Tournament With 78 teams preparing for Kelowna, organizers change position hours after announcing event would proceed By Sam Laskaris Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Kelowna, BC - Well that escalated quickly. A few hours after announcing that the 2020 Junior All Native Tournament (JANT) would indeed proceed on Thursday afternoon, organizers had a change of heart and cancelled the popular Indigenous youth basketball tournament later that evening. A total of 78 teams from across the province had registered for the event, which was scheduled to begin on Sunday and continue until March 20 in Kelowna. Several Nuu-chah-nulth squads were among those that had entered the tournament. Representatives from the tournament host committee sent out the following letter to coaches and managers on Thursday night announcing the cancellation: “Hello Coaches and Managers, “The spirit of this event is to bring people together and this issue is challenging for everyone and by proceeding with this event it could be divisive to individual communities and our JANT Community. Therefore we have decided to cancel this event. “It is a difficult decision for everyone and we thank you for your patience and input today. It is going to take us a few more days to sort out further details. “Thank you for your continued support and understanding. We wish you a peaceful spring break with your families. “2020 JANT Host Committee” On Thursday afternoon tournament director Tara Montgomery had told Ha-

Photo by Marcie Callewaert

Samara Swan of Ahousaht’s Maaqtusiis team plays during the provincials earlier this month. Ahousaht had boys and girls teams in the JANT lineup this year. First Nations Health Authority represenShilth-Sa that this year’s JANT would tatives to ensure they were taking the still be held as planned and that only the necessary steps to help reduce the risk opening ceremonies and ensuing dance of transmission of COVID-19 during the had been cancelled. tournament. During the past couple of days numerBoth the BC Centre for Disease Control ous professional and amateur sports and the Public Health Agency of Canada leagues had indefinitely suspended play had assessed the public health risks due to COVID-19 concerns. involving COVID-19 in the province as The World Health Organization has low. deemed COVID-19 a pandemic because Montgomery said JANT officials had of the number of cases and deaths worldoriginally decide to proceed with the wide. tournament in part since games were to But Montgomery said Thursday afterbe spread out in seven gyms, potentially noon’s decision to continue on with the minimizing the assembly of large crowds JANT was made after listening to advice in one facility. from provincial and federal health agenMontgomery had said earlier on Thurscies who deemed the risk in British Coday the tournament would proceed after lumbia and across the country to be low. a meeting was held with participating JANT officials had been in contact with

coaches announcing what organizers were doing in their efforts to keep all participants and fans safe. “We gave all the teams the information we have and let them take that back to their communities and decide what they are going to do,” Montgomery said. Montgomery did admit some representatives from different clubs had expressed concerns during the Thursday afternoon phone meeting that the tournament was still proceeding when so many other events around the country, continent and world were being cancelled. But Montgomery said she was uncertain whether any clubs would be withdrawing from the event after organizers announced it was still on. Some had questioned why JANT was still planning to be staged when another popular happening also scheduled for the same city next week, the Kelowna Fan Experience comic convention, had already been cancelled. “That’s a large trade centre where people are congested in one large conference centre,” Montgomery said Thursday afternoon. Montgomery had added it made sense to originally just cancel Sunday’s planned opening ceremonies and dance. “That’s just because the numbers are higher and people would have all been together in the same place,” she said. The JANT is traditionally held during spring break. The tournament features both girls’ and boys’ squads in under-13 and under-17 categories. This year’s event was to be hosted by Sylix Basketball and the Sylix Okanagan Nation in Kelowna.

COVID-19 postpones Port Alberni’s homeless count By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Port Alberni, BC - The planned homeless count event scheduled for Port Alberni in early April 2020 has been postponed due to safety concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic. “We are following the advice of Public Health Officials closely to keep British Columbians as safe as possible and mitigate the impacts of COVID-19,” wrote Homeless Count Organizer Marcie DeWitt. On March 21 the provincial government announced it is taking swift action to protect vulnerable people, including those experiencing homelessness, in communities around British Columbia. “Frontline workers are working tirelessly to ensure that vulnerable residents are protected across the province, recognizing the significant added risks that vulnerable people face in the context of the COVID-19 crisis,” said Selina Robinson, minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “We are committed to making sure these frontline workers have the support they need to do their job - whether that’s in the form of safe spaces for people who need isolation or personal protective equipment for staff working in the field. We are all in this together.” The new measures the government has set in place include: a ban on evictions for non-payment of rent in BC Housingfunded buildings; the development of distinct protocols and identification of sites to support isolation for vulnerable people experiencing homelessness - shel-

tered or unsheltered - and those in private single room occupancy (SROs) and social housing buildings; sustaining service providers through continued payments to ensure they can pay their staff and operating costs; and centralized procurement for critical supplies needed by frontline providers, including gloves and cleaning products. BC Housing says they recognize that many residents may face challenges in making rent payments as a result of COVID-19. BC Housing has implemented a moratorium on eviction for non-payment of rent in their directly managed properties and is also working with non-profit housing providers around the province to do the same. In addition, the process of applying for a rent reduction is being streamlined for tenants who have lost income as a result of COVID-19, including changing the rules to remove the requirement for proof that the decrease in income is permanent. The announcement follows as the Mar. 17, 2020 numbers of new COVID-19 cases were released by the Provincial Government. B.C. health officials announced that there are 45 new cases of COVID-19 in the province, bringing the provincial total to 231. This includes 16 cases in the Island Health region, a total that increased by four since Tuesday. Seven people have died in B.C. with the coronavirus, a number that did not increase with Wednesday’s new numbers. One week ago there were 655 COVID-19 cases across Canada, while Washington State reported that it surpassed the 1,000 mark with 1,012 cases and 52

Photo by Eric Plummer

The ongoing coronavirus crisis has forced more of Port Alberni’s homeless onto the street, as facilities close to stop the spread of transmission. deaths. reported deaths. Governor Jay Inslee has The Canada/US border is temporarily issued a state-wide stay-at-home order restricted; non-essential travelers will not which goes into effect immediately. Only be permitted to cross the border during essential services, such as grocery stores, pharmacies and liquor stores are excluded this time. One week later, on March 24, there were from the order. All public, private, spiritual and recreation gatherings are banned 1,739 confirmed COVID-19 cases across Canada with 437 probable cases. There in the state. have been 25 deaths across the country. Dr. Bonnie Henry and B.C. Health As of Tuesday, March 24, in British Minister Adrian Dix urge people to stay Columbia there were 617 confirmed cases at home as the province remains in a state including 44 in the Island Health region. of emergency. Dr. Henry tells people not Thirteen people have died in British to gather and find other ways to do social Columbia. events like weddings and funerals. People Across the border in Washington State should avoid activities where recomthe Coronavirus cases doubled in one mended social distancing requirements week to 2,221 with a staggering 110 cannot be met.


March 26, 2020—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 15

Louie looks back on cancer ordeal with gratitude Before the coronavirus lockdowns took hold, a celebration recognized support over the last year of treatment By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Victoria, BC - Those who attend Nuuchah-nulth cultural events around the Victoria area might recall a soft-spoken man with a robust figure who often makes his way to a drumming circle. When unleashed, his voice carries to the rafters while pounding an enormous drum. The instrument bears the image of a humpback whale; a nod to livelihood of the ancestors the Ahousaht man appears to be calling on in his song. Guy Louie Jr. admits that he always expected to live beyond 100, but this confidence was shaken last February after an incident that began with stomach pains keeping him up at night. A visit to the walk-in clinic for some tests brought an antibacterial prescription for a stomach virus – an approach that made sense to him at the time - but the situation became more complex when another doctor called Louie a few days later to come for another assessment. The physician was uncertain what the problem was while feeling Louie’s stomach on the clinical bed. “He called his colleague in, the older fellah, he did the same thing. They had their little talk and figured I had to go and get an emergency CT scan in my stomach and chest area,” recalled Louie, who is now 40. “A few days later he called me back and said I had to go to the Jubilee Hospital to the emergency. That’s when I asked him ‘What are you afraid it is?’ He said cancer.” That was Feb. 2, 2019, a date that began the transformative ordeal of Louie’s treatment. “I was very confused, I didn’t know what to think,” he said. Louie called his partner, Lindsay Delaronde, with the news, whom he had an infant with just the year before. “She cried in my arms and I immediately went into supportive mode,” he said. “It kind of grounded me there when she came home like that.” What followed was 13 days in Victoria’s Royal Jubilee Hospital to remove the growth. But cancer cells remained, which

demanded an aggressive regimen of chemotherapy that started March 5, 2019. Louie was hooked up intravenously for four to five hours at a time for five days in a row. Sometimes there was a week in between the rounds, sometimes just a weekend. “It was extremely tough on my body,” he admitted. “Prior to this I was a really healthy person. About five years into working out in a gym and eating relatively healthy.” “I realised I was really preparing myself mentally and physically to take this on, so I went into the first cycle really strong, it had very little effect,” continued Louie. “It was the second cycle where it continued to take it’s toll on me. I continued to do daily stuff around the house, when I realised I couldn’t do anymore.” “It was a real battle,” reflects Guy’s father, Guy Louie Sr. “Every day he used traditional and Western medicine.” Guy Sr. shared these words on March 14, at the beginning of a celebration for his son’s survival, which also served as a gesture of gratitude for the many who supported the young man in his recent struggles. Guy Jr. credits his partner, Lindsay, his family, and the many others who provided support. “Not only did I do my own work, but I had family and friends come to me to perform some ceremonies with me,” said Guy Jr. “There were people sending me videos of ceremonies that they were holding elsewhere. It was really a large amount of support that I was unaware of that would come to me.” A month after the fifth chemotherapy session ended in June, Louie was back working in construction to rebuild the funds that were used up during treatment. For the next few years his health will be closely monitored to ensure the cancer doesn’t return. Louie’s greatest fear after the diagnosis was dying, leaving behind the many who rely on him. “I have eight kids that I still have to teach the things that I’ve learned,” he said. As his weeks of punishing chemotherapy progressed the reason behind the

Photos by Eric Plummer

Guy Louie Jr. drums during a March 14 celebration for his supporters at the Our Lady of the Rosary hall in Victoria, wearing Elvis-style sunglasses and sideburns in reference to his favourite singer. Below he is pictured with brother Herbie. disease targeting him became clear. “The creator was making me do all of this to prepare myself. I’m talking going to the gym every day for three or four hours and eating healthy,” explained Louie. “Everything was meant to be the way it was for this reason, me getting this cancer. It just all occurred to me as the weeks went on.” While he admits it’s still a struggle to return to exercise with the same enthusiasm

he had before, the last year has opened Louie’s perspective to accept his place in the world. “Things happen for a reason and everything that has a beginning has an end,” he said. “My gratitude is a lot more than it was prior. I don’t even hate the fact that I had cancer and all the pain that came with it; I’m grateful for it because it brought me to where I am today spiritually, mentally.”


Page 16— Ha-Shilth-Sa—March 26, 2020


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