Ha Shilth Sa Newspaper May 16, 2024

Page 1


Hesquiaht artist builds cultural centre for youth

recorded elders teachings for 34 years. Now he’s building a facility to share these lessons

PortAlberni, BC – The money isn’t all there, but the framing and the dream of a cultural library are moving forward as Hesquiaht elder and artist Tim Paul and friends press ahead with the construction of a cultural knowledge center. The new center is going up on Josephine Street in PortAlberni, at the site of the former NTC smokehouse which burnt down nearly 20 years ago.

Once completed, the centre, intended for use by Nuu-chah-nulth youth, will house a collection of cultural teachings straight from their ancestors. Paul envisions a cultural library, which he says is important because youth need to learn these teachings directly from their ancestors.

Paul and his late wife Monica shared more than three decades together, taking part in cultural meetings and gatherings. They made recordings of Nuu-chah-nulth elders speaking on several topics related to culture and ceremonies. Paul plans to have the 30-plus years of recordings digitized to be shared in the cultural centre he is helping to build.

Paul says the recordings are the voices of dozens of Nuu-chah-nulth elders talking about culture, ceremonies, language and more. Paul wants to leave these teachings for Nuu-chah-nulth youth, so that they can be carried forward to future generations.

Once the recordings are digitized, Paul says the tapes will go to the families of the elders that were taped.

“This is for all Nuu-chah-nulth people, 34 years of recordings of ceremonies, teachings,” said Paul.

But first, the center needs to be built.

Work has begun, starting with a small building that was to serve as a cultural visitor’s center. The structure, worth an estimated $90,000, was donated by San Group. It was to be a place where Nuu-chah-nulth artists could go to work on projects and showcase their skills to visitors.

Originally located next to naasnaasʔaqsa, Tim Paul’s language pole on the Somass River, the little building was forced out by City of Port Alberni zoning bylaws. The city said the site was zoned for industrial purposes and therefore unsafe for the centre.

In September 2023 the little building was moved to Josephine Street, to the property of Hupacasath artist and elder Ḥaa’yuups, Ron Hamilton. It sits on the concrete foundation of the former NTC Smoke House. Several volunteers came together to prepare the property and to

Inside this issue...

and incorporates an existing building donated by the San Group that was recently moved to the location.

move the building.

“We are regulated to death,” said Paul, noting that rules slow projects so much that it’s difficult to get anything done in a timely fashion.

The donated shed will still serve its original purpose at the new location on Josephine Street, off of River Road.

With a $30,000 contribution from the Catholic Diocese, Paul and his team of volunteers have begun construction of a large addition to the carving shed. The church contribution covered the cost of construction materials but they need more to finish the centre.

Paul said members of his family are

Sentencing held for Don-tay’s death..............................Page 2

Tseshaht purchase parking lot for housing.....................Page 3

Has drug decriminalization gone too far?................Pages 8&9

Spring snowpack levels remain low.............................Page 10

Museum ofAnthropology reopens...............................Page 15

sending in applications for grants to complete the project.

“We’re doing this completely on our own,” said Paul. “I want to instill in our youth to be self-sufficient, independent… we have to do it ourselves or it will never get done.”

Paul shared a Nuu-chah-nulth word that this writer could not spell – he said it means ‘the way we do things’.

“It’s tribal law,” said Paul. “We make everyone aware of what we’re doing so there will be no questions.”

“In tribal law the grandmothers and mothers were the decision makers,” he noted.

Motioning to the front door of the nearby carving tent, Paul said they would enter the gathering place through the main door.

“They would hear all the opinions, talk, listen to all sides, and try to reach consensus” he shared. “They may not have always had 100 per cent consensus, and they may have needed more time to think about things, but they would do this before acting.”

It is teachings like this that are contained in Paul’s collection of recordings. He said he wants to leave these recordings for the young people in order to instill in them the teachings we have left. The recordings are of several Nuu-chah-

nulth elders the Pauls spent time with over the decades.

Paul says these recordings are important because they come from many families. Sometimes, he said, people question the source of teachings that are shared.

“These teachings (in the recordings) are words from your grandmother,” said Paul.

“If we instill in our young to always [have] a positive outlook…whatever gift you have in your life, always use it for good. Make people feel good and happy. Treat people the way you want to be treated. This is the way we do things… the way were,” said Paul

To support the creation of the cultural centre, a non-profit society has been created. Elton Watts is accepting donations for the centre on behalf of Tiic Mup Society.According to Paul, Tiic Mup means “how to survive”.

Plans are already in the works for a summer event at the site of the centre.

Paul says there will be a youth gathering at the Josephine Street site from June 15 – 17.

“We need to get youth together. It’s a small start,” said Paul.

The gathering will start with welcoming from host nation, Hupacasath. Hesquiaht will perform next followed by special guests, a Māori group from New Zealand.

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Denise Titian photo Acultural knowledge centre is going up on Josephine Street in PortAlberni, at the site of the former NTC smokehouse which burnt down nearly 20 years ago. The structure is being built with a $30,000 contribution from the Catholic Diocese, Tim and Monica Paul Tim Paul

Mother and stepfather face sentence for child’s death

Mother Rykel Charleson and Mitchell Frank plead guilty for manslaughter charge in death of Don-Tay Lucas

PortAlberni, BC – On Thursday, May 16 the mother and stepfather of a sixyear-old are scheduled to appear in Port Alberni Law Courts to receive their sentence for the boy’s death.

Don-Tay Patrick Lucas was only six years old when he was found unresponsive in a south PortAlberni townhouse on March 13, 2018. First responders and police were told that the child was injured after a fall down the stairs, but suspicions arose immediately and the death became the focus of a years-long investigation by the RCMP and BC Coroner’s Service.

Four years later, Don-Tay’s mother and stepfather were charged with first degree murder. On May 7, 2022, Rykel Charleson, 28, and her partner Mitchell Frank, 29, were arrested and have been held in custody since.

In June 2023 a preliminary hearing was held in PortAlberni Law Courts over five days to determine if the Crown prosecutors had enough evidence to proceed to trial. The prosecution laid out in graphic detail the final months and hours of DonTay Lucas’life. The case was headed to trial, but on Nov. 27, 2023 the Crown accepted guilty pleas from the couple to reduced charges of manslaughter.

At that time, Ha-Shilth-Sa spoke to Don-Tay’s biological father, Patrick Lucas, who was disappointed about the turn of events. He told Ha-Shilth-Sa that he learned two months earlier that the couple would plead guilty to lesser charges.

“How could they let this play out to manslaughter when they admitted to what they did?” he asked at the time.

Lucas said he was consulted by prosecutors about the new pleas but felt that he was not given a choice in the matter.

“[T]hey said it’s pretty much a go,” he said.

According to the Criminal Code of Canada, first degree murder is “planned and deliberate”, or can also occur when a death is caused by someone being forcibly confined. Under Canadian law, first degree can be reduced to manslaughter if it’s proven that the conditions leading to death fall under the lesser charge. Manslaughter is defined as homicide committed without the intention to cause death, although there might have been an effort to cause harm. This can pertain to an unlawful act that unintentionally results in death, or criminal negligence in which the reckless disregard for a human life is evident.

At the time that the guilty plea was announced, prosecutors stated that their

decision to accept the manslaughter charge is based on their “responsibilities as ministers of justice to independently, dispassionately and objectively promote public safety and rule of law,” wrote Don McLaughlin, communications counsel for the BC Prosecution Service.

The guilty plea means there will be no trial. Instead, Charleson and Frank will appear in PortAlberni Law Courts on May 16 for sentencing.

Lucas said he would be there to make a statement. He asked that friends, family, and supporters join him in a rally that day to demand justice for Don-Tay. The rally starts at the PortAlberni Law Courts at 9:15 a.m. with the sentencing hearing commencing inside the courthouse at 10 a.m.

According to their spokesperson Gra-

ham Hughes, the family wanted a trial.

“They want everyone to hear the evidence, to have the story told of what happened to Don-Tay – it’s important to know what happened so that it doesn’t happen to another child,” said Hughes.

The Lucas family and supporters want public inquiries into both the life and death of Don-Tay Patrick Lucas. They want to know where the system failed and how to prevent the deaths of children in care.

“In B.C. one child in foster care is critically injured or dies. We need to examine how children are being failed,” said Hughes.

“We invite you to bring signs, drums or simply yourself to stand in solidarity with the Lucas family,” they said.

Boaters urged to keep away for young orca’s survival

West Coast Vancouver Island – It has been three weeks since a juvenile killer whale ventured out of the little lagoon where her mother died the month before, and the world is excited at the prospect of her successful reunion with her pod, and a long, happy life.

But local First Nations and Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) are urging the public to keep their distance from the whale as she makes her way up Esperanza Inlet in search of her pod.

It was on March 23rd that kʷiisaḥiʔis (translates to brave little hunter) and her pregnant mother entered the lagoon. It is believed the mother was teaching her daughter how to hunt seals. When the tide receded, the mother orca became stranded on a sandbar and drowned, despite efforts to save her.Atransient, or Bigg’s killer whale, she was found with the remains of a seal in her mouth.

Over the following month a group of dedicated people worked hard to monitor the young whale and find ways to safely get her out of the shallow lagoon. Concerned that she was beginning to show signs of starvation, First Nations fisheries staff began feeding the whale seal meat, tossed at a distance from a boat.

When the young whale accepted the seal meat, the people were happy, but there was also concern mixed in.

“[T]here was mixture of relief that that she wouldn’t starve but also worry that

she would be associating boats with food,” said Ehattesaht Chief Councillor Simon John.

It is known how intelligent, adaptable, and impressionable young killer whales are.

When kʷiisaḥiʔis left the lagoon on Friday,April 26 to make her way toward the ocean, everyone was excited and hopeful that she would reconnect with her pod.

“Bigg’s pods are very adaptable and open to adopting young animals and we remain optimistic about her chances of survival,” said Lara Sloan of DFO.

“However, it is vitally important to her survival that she is not disturbed and further habituated to people or boats.”

John says that in the days since kʷiisaḥiʔis left the lagoon, she has been monitored to ensure her safety.

“Sadly, we have had reports of some interactions with vessels in the area,” he stated. “Right from the start the nation has been concerned over the Brave Little Hunter being habituated and this factored heavily into all planning.”

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) says they continue to work with First Nations, whale watchers and researchers to monitor the location of Bigg’s killer whales.

“DFO will be patrolling and monitoring the area to ensure there are no boats trying to locate her, which will impact kʷiisaḥiʔis’s (Brave Little Hunter’s) ability to join up with a passing pod,” DFO said in a statement. “The team is also monitoring the location of the juvenile

The young transient killer whale is two years old, and could have been partially nursing when her mother died March 23.

whale while she seeks out her family, the T109Apod.”

“We are very confident that she can survive out there on her own and we have even heard she is chasing sea otter,” said Chief John. “She can hear and be heard by her family as they pass by. The most important issue now is that she be left alone.”

Ehattesaht and the DFO’s Marine Mammal Response Unit are increasing patrols to prevent boaters from contacting kʷiisaḥiʔis.

“If you are travelling through the area, please remember there is a small orca.

If you do see her, change your course to avoid her. Do not stop to watch her. Under no circumstances are you to engage with her,” warns Chief John.

According to DFO, disturbance to marine mammals is prohibited under the Marine Mammal Regulations and could result in potential fines of up to $100,000. Please keep 400 metres away from killer whales in southern B.C. waters and 200 metres away in all other parts of Pacific Canadian waters.

For more information, please visit: Watching marine wildlife (dfo-mpo. gc.ca)

Page 2— Ha-Shilth-Sa—May 16, 2024
Jared Towers/Bay Cetology photo Denise Titian photo Dontay’s father Patrick Lucas stands with family outside the PortAlberni Law Courts on June 12, 2023 when a preliminary inquiry was underway for murder charges in his son’s death.

Tseshaht purchases parking lot for residential housing

Land purchase made possible from provincial support commi ed for Tseshaht to build housing in its territory

PortAlberni, BC – Tseshaht First Nation plans to transform a barren waterfront mill parking lot into residential housing. thanks to support from the provincial government and a purchase agreement from Western Forest Products.

On May 2 cišaaʔatḥ (Tseshaht) First Nation and Western Forest Products announced the completion of the sale of a parcel of Western’s private land located in PortAlberni to Tseshaht for residential development.

Under terms of the agreement, Wahmeesh, Tseshaht’s elected chief, Ken Watts, said that he could not discuss the purchase price for the 7.9-acre property. But he did say the purchase supports Tseshaht’s vision to build housing within the City of PortAlberni for its members and the broader community.

Watts and his council invited Tseshaht members to tour the property on May 2, which was formerly used as a parking lot by Western’sAlberni Pacific Division (APD) facility. The purchase does not include the adjacent mill but has nice views of theAlberni Inlet

Western Forest Products say they are exploring options for theAPD facility property following the indefinite closure announced inApril 2024. The mill’s operations ceased in early November 2022. The purchase of the property was made possible thanks to an agreement made between Tseshaht and the Province of British Columbia in July 2023 that provided $5 million to Tseshaht for the purpose of purchasing lands.

“Governments, First Nations and the private sector working together to take action on reconciliation, returning land back to First Nations and addressing the housing crisis is the exact collaboration we all need,” Watts said in a written statement. “Ahuge Kleco, Kleco to the Province of BC and Western Forest Products for stepping up to the plate and working alongside our Nation as we move towards developing housing in our territories, now off-reserve, not only for our members but to support housing for all.”

The lot will be transformed into a residential neighborhood. Watts told HaShilth-Sa that he envisions affordable and attainable housing for Tseshaht members and others. He says the plan is to build a 50-plus unit complex that will be a multi family apartment-style structure.

But first there are several steps that need to be taken, like rezoning the property.

Tseshaht members stand in an empty parking lot the First Nation recently purchased from Western Forests Products, with plans to develop housing on the site.

“We have to do some city rezoning and [Official Community Plan] amendments as the land isn’t zoned for multi-family housing,” Watts said.

In addition, the nation needs to complete funding applications to B.C. Housing and other agencies, which will take time.

“We are excited that we have started the important work of creating a non-profit housing society and will be staffing and building the capacity to move on next steps of developing the land including (finding) funding, consulting and other partners,” said Watts. “Today we celebrate as we move on to next steps with the property, the creation of our Tseshaht Housing Society, and acquire other lands, together moving forward as one.”

“We are pleased to have identified an opportunity that fulfills an important objective for the Tseshaht First Nation to address housing supply and supports the community’s growth and development,” said Steven Hofer, president and CEO of Western Forest Products. “We look forward to seeing this property transition into a thriving, vibrant residential development in support of reconciliation, while providing lasting positive impacts in PortAlberni more broadly.”

“Through this agreement with Western Forest Products, Tseshaht First Nation is providing vital housing supply to the

residents of PortAlberni,” said Murray Rankin, the provincial minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation.

“Partnerships like this one, built through mutual respect and a commitment to reconciliation, help communities across B.C. to thrive. I extend my congratulations to Chief Watts and all those involved in this exciting step forward.”

“Governments at all levels are struggling to find solutions to our housing crisis which is why agreements such as this one between Tseshaht First Nation, the Province and Western Forest Products is so transformative,” said City of PortAlberni Mayor Sharie Minions. “It recognizes the evolution in our relationship with First Nations as rights-holders and partners while also providing much

needed land to build housing for Tseshaht members and the broader community, breathing life into a vacant, waterfront parcel of land that has sat idle for more than two years.”

Tseshaht First Nation, c išaaʔatḥ, has over 1,300 registered members whose ḥaḥuułi includes from the Somass watershed including the entireAlberni Valley, the western portions of both Horne Lake and Cameron Lake, theAlberni Inlet, and surrounding lands and watersheds to the Broken Group Islands of central Barkley Sound, and out to the Pacific Ocean. According to Chief Watts, Tseshaht leadership are exploring other lands with other land holders to purchase for the same purpose.

May 16, 2024—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 3 Doreen Ryan Little 250-723-4776 Mobile Hair Stylist 27 years as a licensed hair stylist. Able to go to elders/handicapped homes to cut, perm or color hair. Would also do in own home.
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New justice centre opens in Nanaimo

First Nations Justice Council opens another site for support, part of B.C. expansion

Nanaimo, BC - Since January, Nanaimo’s Indigenous Justice Centre has been taking on First Nation, Métis, and Inuit clients to provide free legal services and support in child protection and criminal justice matters. The centre, now fully operational, also provides wrap-around services, inter-agency coordination, and cultural support with an elder-inresidence.

“[We’re] trying to make this a warm, welcoming space for the community that offers culturally appropriate justice services to support our people,” said Judith Sayers, a director with the B.C. First Nations Justice Council. “We’re trying to make this kind of a wraparound hub.”

Nanaimo’s IJC, located in the Great National Landing Building in the core of the city’s downtown, is one of nine fully operational centres across B.C. With five regional centres operating in Vancouver, Victoria, Nanaimo, Surrey, and Kelowna, and four smaller IJC’s located in Merritt, Chilliwack, Prince George and Prince Rupert, the justice council expects six more smaller locations to open this year.

Sayers shared that a Campbell River IJC will open later this year.

“We haven’t had this kind of service; people go without support, and they end up with a legal aid lawyer,” said Sayers. “We’re trying to specialize in lawyers that are… hopefully, Indigenous, or are really familiar with Indigenous people.”

Since the implementation of IJCs across the province, they have been well sought out. In 2024 alone, the centres made 207 referrals to services, agencies, and collaborators, while staff lawyers are currently supporting 300 legal clients and 50 outreach clients.

As of March 1, eligibility requirements for IJCs were updated to include those who qualify for legal aid. Prior to this change, those who qualified for legal aid were directed to LegalAid BC. But now, according to Natalie Martin, director of communications for BCFNJC, Indigenous people who qualify for legal aid can choose between a legal aid or IJC lawyer.

In 2021 the BCFNJC took over Gladue services from legal aid, which entails a report that can be requested for consider-

team affront the Nanaimo

Deborah Tutty, resource and support worker, and Natalie Martin, director of communications.

ation in pre-sentencing or a bail hearing for Indigenous clients. Since then the justice council has increased the yearly production from 120 Gladue reports (based on an 11-year average), to an average of 383 reports annually.

“B.C. has fully funded this as part of our Justice Strategy,” said Sayers. “[We’re] very happy that B.C. came across the money to open these 15 centres.”

Funding to expand the IJCs from four fully operational centres to 15 was announced in the 2023 Budget, with an investment of $44 million. While in 2022, a tripartite memorandum of understanding was signed to support the implementation of IJCs with a commitment of $8.9 million over a period of five years.

“I really feel it’s important…to make sure that we have Indigenous faces in the centres as well, to help facilitate the feelings of safety and cultural support,” said Juanita Tate of Nisga’a Nation, office manager for the Nanaimo IJC.

As soon as the doors were pulled open to Nanaimo’s IJC, Indigenous artwork

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!

adorned the windows and walls throughout the entire three-story space, with soundproof pods for intake and a cozy blue living room area with a fireplace and toys for children to play.

“We have a whole team that can provide that support, whether it’s a first offense, or a second, or a very serious criminal offense,” said Tate, noting that currently the focus at the centre is on criminal and child protection matters, though, they hope to soon include family law too.

The implementation of IJC’s fill in the gaps in the justice system with holistic and wrap-around supports, Tate shared with Ha-Shilth-Sa.

“They can get everything they need in one place, and that’s rare,” she added.

If a family member is worried about their loved one who is navigating the legal system, they can also reach out for support at the Nanaimo IJC, shared Tait.

“I feel that it’s very important to reduce the number of Indigenous who are involved in the prison system,” said Tate.

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Page 4— Ha-Shilth-Sa—May 16, 2024
Alexandra Mehl photo BCFNJC Indigenous Justice Centre. From left to right, JulianAnton, communications manager, Krystle-Dawn Sallis, elders liaison, Juanita Tait, office manager, Tiffany Riche, legal assistant, Olivia Thomas, Gladue report writer,

Nuu-chah-nulth teens talk truth on Red Dress Day

Youth admit looking Indigenous makes them feel more vulnerable, as Canada recognizes those who were lost

Hitacu, BC - Maxine Clutesi is 13 going on 14. The young Nuu-chah-nulth teen likes vintage fashion and jokes that the usual bout of coastal rain is flattening her classic 50s big hair.

She speaks the truth like only a teenager can.

“Personally, I’m not scared when I go out because I don’t look native. When I was younger, I can’t remember who told me, but they told me I was lucky to be pale because nothing bad will happen to me,” Clutesi says from inside the Mini Bighouse in Hitacu on May 5 during Red Dress Day, a day to honour Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and Two-Spirited People (MMIWG2S).

Asmall group of supporters have come together to remember loved ones.

“I think about that sometimes,” Clutesi continues. “I’m kind of glad it might keep me safer, but I also want to look how I am.”

Her friend Bella Martin, who is sporting two beautiful Indian braids, briefly looks up from her phone when asked the same question — Do you feel safe going out?

“Not really,” Martin admits. “I just pray to theAncestors and hope.”

“There has to be change,” Clutesi says.

“Change…Any kind of change.”

The Indigenous girls know what they are up against. They know that the murder rate for Indigenous women is nearly six times higher than that for non-Indigenous women. They know that Indigenous women are far more likely to experience violence and they know that whenever they leave their community they could go missing.

Elder Geraldine Touchie expressed her frustration.

“It’s like we’re invisible, which is really disappointing and aggravating,” said Touchie. “I’m sorry to say it, but if we get a missing non-native, it’s all over the news, but we have a missing native, it’s swept aside. Our lives are just as valuable as non-natives and we have just as much to offer. We have the potential just like anybody else,”

In attempt to bridge the inequality, a national Red DressAlert System is in the works. LikeAmberAlerts, the Red DressAlert System would notify the

get ready to walk the streets


public when an Indigenous woman, girl or two-spirited person goes missing. The 2024 Federal Budget revealed a $1.3 million investment over a three-year period for the implementation of the Red Dress Alert.

Denise Halfyard is the coordinator of the Tears to Hope Society, an Indigenousled organization focused on supporting the families of MMIWG2S. Her cousin Tamara Chapman disappeared around Prince Rupert along The Highway of Tears in 2005.

“Myself and my mom (Lorna Brown) were asked to go to Ottawa and speak on the Red DressAlert,” said Halfyard after the Red Dress Day Memorial Walk in Hitacu. “We mentioned how it should be Indigenous-led and that it should be regional. It should be regional because us living here in Ucluelet, I can’t do anything about a woman who goes missing in Surrey.”

Halfyard, who is of Wet’suwet’en, Tsimshian and Gitxsan descent, also discussed

the lack of cellphone reception in rural areas during her trip to Ottawa. “There are so many spots on The Highway of Tears with no reception. Even here, between PortAlberni and the Junction, there is no service. If a Red Dress Alert did go out, we’re not going to get it until we hit the Junction or PortAlberni. There are still issues there,” she said, adding that despite its shortcomings, the Red DressAlert initiative is still a big step in the right direction.

“It’s horrible. It’s something that needs to be more in the media,” said Peter about his Stolen Sisters. “Nobody really talks about it. It’s sad that nobody talks about it. It needs more attention. I’m not really sure what else to say.”

May 16, 2024—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 5
Nora O’Malley photo Supporters of Hitacu to remember loved ones on May 5 for Red Dress Day, which honours Missing Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and Two-Spirited People. Ucluelet First Nation’s Dylan Peter walked with the women and girls in Hitacu to honour his aunt Rose Paul who was brutally murdered by her boyfriend in 2015.

TMX completion means seven-fold rise in tankers


tanker spills during pipeline’s 68 years, but First Nations bear most of the risk, says National Energy Board

After more than a decade of development and construction, the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline was completed early this month. For coastal residents, this means that the number of tankers passing by southern Vancouver Island increases from five to 34 a month.

With over $30 billion in construction costs, the project twinned the existing Trans Mountain pipeline, which has operated since 1956. The 1,150-kilometre route extends from northeast of Edmonton to the Westridge Terminals in Burnaby, and the recently completed expansion brings its daily capacity from 300,000 to 890,000 barrels of petroleum product a day. The federal government purchased the project for $4.5 billion in 2018 to ensure it moves forward.

Using 245-metreAframax tankers, this increased funnelling through the pipeline is expected to multiply shipping, increasing from an average of five to 34 vessels a month. This represents a 14 per cent overall increase in marine traffic at the Port of Vancouver, according to Trans Mountain.

Since the mid-1950s 84 spills have been reported from the pipeline, including nine in which over 1.5 cubic metres of oil leaked. But no petroleum product was reported to have spilled from tankers over the 68 years of Trans Mountain’s operation, according to the company.

But while the project is intended to open Alberta’s oil to overseasAsian markets, First Nations whose territory lies along the pipeline and shipping routes bear most of the risk, according to the National Energy Board’s Crown Consultation andAccommodation Report.

“[O]ver the life of the project the probability of small spills is high,” stated the NEB. “The Crown acknowledges that Aboriginal peoples who rely on subsistence foods and natural resources are at greatest risk for adverse effects from an

oil spill regardless of its size.”

Tankers from the end of Trans Mountain pass through the Juan de Fuca Strait, past Port Renfrew and south of Nitinaht Narrows before heading across the Pacific or down the US coast. Despite this increased traffic, a past report from the NEB determined that the tankers would have a “minor” impact on fishing in Ditidaht territory, while the effect on Maa-nulth nations on Vancouver Island’s west coast would be “negligible”.

Even so, Trans Mountain spent a great deal of time negotiating with First Nations during the project’s development, as 129 were listed as being potentially impacted by the pipeline and its tankers.

Mutual benefit agreements were signed with 69 Indigenous communities, including the Pacheedaht and Ditidaht, who submitted letters of support for the project. These confidential agreements can include education in pipeline construction, jobs training, business opportunities as well as improvements in community services and infrastructure.

For the Ditidaht, Trans Mountain funded a 28-foot landing craft that the First Nation launched in Nitinaht Lake in the summer of 2022. Valued at $415,000, the vessel was acquired to move personnel and equipment around to assess and map natural resources.

The IndigenousAdvisory and Monitoring Committee was formed to ensure that the project upholds its commitments to Aboriginal communities that could be impacted.

“We stand at a pivotal moment where collaboration and diligence are paramount,” said Trina Sxwithul’txw, chair of the Marine Shipping Subcommittee of the IAMC, when the Trans Mountain expansion was completed early in May. “Our marine environment, a vital resource for our communities and what makes us whole as a people, demands our focused protection as tanker traffic increases. We call on all parties involved—governmental bodies, industry stakeholders, and the

communities affected—to continue to find common ground in safeguarding our shared environment.”

The IAMC is composed of six representatives from federal departments and agencies, with 13 others speaking for their Indigenous communities. The committee’s current representative for the west coast of Vancouver Island is Benjamin Gillette, chief councillor of the Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k’tles7et’h’First Nations.

As the expansion project was being developed, the capacity of the West Coast Marine Response Corporation increased dramatically to handle shipping accidents in the Pacific. The industry-funded organization now has bases in Vancouver, Richmond on the Fraser River, Coquitlam, Prince Rupert, Nanaimo, Sydney, Beecher Bay and PortAlberni.

Serving the west coast of Vancouver Island, the PortAlberni base has seven vessels, plus another two that are stationed in Ucluelet.

With six new bases and more staff, the

WCMRC’s response time to a spill has been reduced to six hours on the tanker shipping lanes and two hours in the Port of Vancouver, said the company’s communications manager Michael Lowry.

“As part of our expansion to prepare for the increased tanker traffic, we have doubled the size of our staff (from 100 to 200) and the size of our fleet (from 44 to 88 vessels),” he wrote in an email to Ha-Shilth-Sa.

The marine response corporation attends to an average of 20 spills a year. In the summer of 2022 this included a diesel spill from a gillnet fishing boat in the Alberni Inlet. The 34-foot vessel capsized on rocks near Nahmint Bay with approximately 500 litres of diesel fuel on board.

The WCMRC positioned booms around the vessel to contain the leaking diesel, while absorbing the fuel with sorbent pads that were placed in the containment area.After the leaking ceased, the fishing boat ended up being left in the inlet when it became completely submerged.

Page 6— Ha-Shilth-Sa—May 16, 2024 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
Trans Mountain photo An oil tanker sits in the waters at the Westridge Marine Terminal in Burnaby. With the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion completed, monthly tanker traffic is set increase from five to 34, representing a 14 per cent overall increase in marine traffic at the Port of Vancouver.

New Indigenous health care centre opens in Victoria

Victoria Native Friendship Centre celebrates expanded health services with Camas Lelum Primary Care Clinic

Victoria, BC – The Victoria Native Friendship Centre (VNFC) has expanded its existing primary care clinic that operates out of its main building, with a new facility at a nearby location. This more than double the friendship centre’s health care capacity, from serving a list of approximately 1,800 Indigenous patients up to 4,500 with the opening of its new Camas Lelum Primary Care Clinic.

On May 9 the VNFC hosted a grand opening celebration at its new location at 209-2951 Tillicum Road. Executive

Director Wush’q, Ron Rice, said the new location was selected for its location on a bus route and near a pharmacy, making it accessible and convenient to those that need it.And, he says, the clinic operating at the VNFC facility remains open, so there are now two places to access this type of health care service.

“We are excited to offer this new safe space for urban Indigenous health care, which is desperately needed by our community as we begin to understand the prevalence of discrimination and racism in the health-care system,” said Rice.

“This important step - Indigenous ownership of health services - is the culmination of many years of effort, partnership, and perseverance in Indigenous health care.”

Billed as “culturally safe services woven into the needs and wants of the community”, Camas Lelum Primary Care Clinic offers health care for urban Indigenous patients living on or off reserve.

“We serve Indigenous community members of all ages and their families, includ-

ing both on-and-off reserve First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities,” states the clinic’s brochure.

The B.C. Ministry of Health has approved approximately $2 million in ongoing annual funding through the Victoria Primary Care Network for VNFC Health Centre. In addition, the Ministry of Health has provided $2.9 million in onetime amounts for tenant improvements and lease deposit.

According to the Ministry of Health, the health centre is a partnership between the VNFC, the Victoria Primary Care Network (PCN), and the province. The centre provides culturally safe, longitudinal primary health-care services to people who identify as Indigenous and live in the Greater Victoria area and who do not have a primary care provider.

They went to say that the team-based approach of the VNFC Health Centre will improve access to inclusive, culturally safe primary care, offer mental-health and addictions services, support seniors with complex health needs, and provide better continuity of care for all patients. “This will ensure that those who identify as Indigenous can experience equitable access to preventive and primary health-care services,” the Ministry said in a written statement.

“This new centre is already benefiting people in Victoria who self-identify as Indigenous as they have a safe space to get the health-care services they need,” saidAdrian Dix, Minister of Health. “I am proud of our work with the Victoria Native Friendship Centre and the Victoria Primary Care Network as we move along towards reconciliation. This new clinic is also part of our work to strengthen access to comprehensive and equitable healthcare services in the province.”

According to Monique Gray-Smith, a speaker at the grand opening ceremony, the VNFC has offered primary culturally safe health care services for more than 20 years. What sets this model of health care apart from mainstream services is that providers at the friendship centre are open and allow patients access to cultural practices and medicines.

“This primary care centre is a step towards addressing gaps and dismantling the structural and systemic inequities that have created unjust disparities in health care perpetuated by colonialism,” said Leah Hollins, board chair of Island Health.

“In addition to culturally safe primary care services, Camas Lelum Primary Care

Clinic also promotes access to Indigenous cultural practice and medicine as a part of health care services,” reads the brochure from Camas Lelum Primary Care Clinic. They go on to say that this clinic is an important step towards Indigenous ownership of health services.

Melvin Jones is a patient of Camas Lelum Primary Clinic. He said that he is a survivor, and he thanked the staff of the clinic for helping him recover after major surgery.

“I got new lungs,” he said with a big smile as he thanked nurse practitioner Danielle, who helps him in his treatment.

Jones was impressed with the size of the new Camas Lelum Primary Clinic.

“It’s huge compared to the other one,” he said. “But it’s not at the friendship centre, but that’s okay, I got two places now.”

Camas Lelum Primary Clinic has an interdisciplinary team made of family physicians, nurse practitioners, registered nurses and medical office assistants.

“We provide culturally safe health care in seamless integration with our broader team of Primary Care Network Indigenous wellness providers, mental health and substance use supports, wellness and cultural services including access to elders and traditional knowledge keepers,” stated information from the Camas Lelum clinic.

Camas Lelum Primary Care Clinic operates from 9:30 am to 3 p.m. Monday to Friday at 209-2951 Tillicum Road.

The VNFC is a non-profit Indigenousled organization located on southern Vancouver Island since 1969, on the territory of the Lekwungen-speaking people, the Songhees Nation and Esquimalt Nation.

May 16, 2024—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 7
Melvin Jones

Has drug decriminalization gone too far in Britush

The harm reduction movement is facing a reckoning in B.C., as the province scales back its approach to the decriminalization of illicit

Has the decriminalization of drugs gone too far in British Columbia? Or are we just in an early stage of a paradigm shift in how addiction is treated that will eventually result in fewer overdose deaths?

B.C. became Canada’s first province to decriminalize illicit drugs last year, with an exemption from Health Canada under the Controlled Drugs and SubstancesAct. Coming into effect Jan. 31, 2023 for three years, the exemption makes it legal to have or consume up to 2.5 grams of street drugs like cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin. This was attempt to curb the continued tally of fatalities from B.C.’s opioid crisis, which had reached an average of nearly seven deaths a day, making drug-related fatality the leading cause of unnatural deaths in B.C. – surpassing homicide, suicide and car crashes combined. Fentanyl has been detected in 85 per cent of drug-related fatalities, according to toxicology data from the B.C. Coroners Service.

“The decriminalization of people who are in possession of drugs for personal use is one additional step to save lives as we continue to tackle the toxic drug crisis in B.C.,” stated Provincial Health Officer Bonnie Henry when the exemption was granted last year. “This exemption will help reduce the stigma around substance use that leads people to use alone and will help connect people to the health and social supports they need.”

Since decriminalization was introduced early last year, drug use was always prohibited near schools, playgrounds and skate parks. But the prevalence of illicit drugs in public, including in hospitals, has since led the province to scale back its approach to the issue. On May 7 the provincial government got approval from Health Canada to amend the decriminalization policy and make it illegal to consume illicit drugs in public, which includes in parks, on transit and in hospitals. People can still legally use in a tent, a home or at a supervised consumption site.

“While we are caring and compassionate for those struggling with addiction, we do not accept street disorder that makes communities feel unsafe,” stated Premier David Eby in a recent press release.

The province announced that police now have the ability to “compel” narcotic users to leave a public area, “seize the drugs when necessary or arrest the person, if required.”

“We’re taking action to make sure police have the tools they need to ensure safe and

comfortable communities for everyone as we expand treatment options so people can stay alive and get better,” said Eby.

‘Reckless decriminalization experiment’

This fall a provincial election is on the horizon, and calls from the opposition BC United party are getting louder for the government to reign in a policy that some feel has quickly gotten out of control.

OnApril 4 in the B.C. legislature MLA Shirley Bond, who represents Prince George-Valemont for BC United, called the province’s approach to drug use a “reckless decriminalization experiment”.

“The NDP have created a free for all with open drug use – shockingly, even within our public hospitals,” said Bond.

She pointed to a leaked memo from a Northern Health supervisor last summer, which instructs staff that they are to permit the open use and exchange of illicit drugs

in hospitals, besides smoking.

“Patients can use substances while in hospital in their rooms – they can either be provided with a Narcan kit or have one available,” stated the memo, referencing a method of treating overdose. “If a patient has overdosed on substances we use Narcan and provide teaching.”

The memo also said visitors bringing in illicit drugs are not to be restricted.

“Only restrict if they are violent, intoxicated or posing a problem,” it stated. “We don’t restrict if they’re dropping off substances or suspect of the same.”

“The entire memo is outrageous,” said Bond while in the legislature. “Under this NDP government, illicit drug use, and yes, even drug trafficking in hospitals are not just tolerated, but they are endorsed.”

The issue is also being debated in Ottawa, where the Conservatives are calling for the federal government to reject requests

from the cities of Toronto and Montreal to decriminalize the personal possession of illicit drugs, and deny any future such applications from municipalities and provinces.

Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns believes that the federal government hasn’t given the issue the attention it needs, due to negative attitudes still directed towards those who use substances.

“Criminalizing people causes more harm,” said the NDP member of parliament. “We need to scale up safer supply of substances.”

Johns is frustrated that Ottawa has yet to declare the opioid crisis a national public health emergency.

“We need a coordinated, integrated and a compassionate response to the toxic drug crisis. We do not have that yet,” said Johns. “We need the federal government to come in with really significant investments to meet the province where they’re at.”

Page 8— Ha-Shilth-Sa—May 16, 2024
People use substances at PortAlberni’s Overdose Prevention Site on ThirdAvenue.All of those photographed have agreed to getting their picture taken. Province of B.C. photo B.C. Premier David Eby announces plans to scale back the extent that people can legally use drugs in public at a press conference in lateApril. Eric Plummer photo Legalizing open use of illicit drugs has brought about public safety concerns, as well as growing pressure for the policy to be scaled back with an election coming this fall.

Britush Columbia?

the decriminalization of illicit substances

Alexandra Mehl photo have agreed to getting their picture taken.

Toronto and Montreal to personal possession of ilfuture such applimunicipalities and provinces.

Gord Johns begovernment hasn’t attention it needs, due directed towards more harm,” parliament. “We supply of substancOttawa has yet to a national public

coordinated, integrated and a to the toxic drug that yet,” said Johns. government to come investments to they’re at.”

Progress since decriminalization

Since the opioid crisis was declared a public health emergency in British Columbia over seven years ago, policy has been directed to treat illicit drug use as a legitimate health condition, not an ethical shortcoming.

As a registered nurse, this is the approach Sarah Lovegrove takes to illicit drug users. She works in Nanaimo and is a nursing professor at Vancouver Island University’s Health Sciences and Human Services department.

“It’s a terrible mistake for the government to turn around efforts for decriminalization,” said Lovegrove. “It will only result in increased deaths, increased injury, and increased impacts on communities and families of people that use drugs.”

The most recent statistics could be seen as progress for those on the front lines of the opioid crisis. Recently the B.C. Coroners Service reported 192 drug-related deaths in March, an 11-per-cent decrease from the same month last year. Part of the solution, some would argue, is bringing drug users out of the shadows, as 84 per cent of deaths so far tallied by the Coroners Service this year occurred inside.

Lovegrove has seen decriminalization allow more illicit drug users to access health care.

“I would often hear from people who use drugs in Nanaimo that they would rather die on the street than go to the emergency department,” said Lovegrove. “At least decriminalization allows the legal space for people to enter into these services without fear of being put in jail.”

Indigenous people have faced a fatality rate five times that of the rest of B.C.’s population, according to data reported from the First Nations Health

Authority. On Vancouver Island the opioid crisis has been prioritized by the Nuu-chahnulth Tribal Council’s Teechuktl department, which introduced a harm reduction van in March. The vehicle supports drug users in PortAlberni, Nanaimo, Campbell River and Tofino, providing essentials like food, clothing, water, as well as clean syringes and pipes to prevent the spread of infection while substances are being consumed. Staff in the van even treat wounds, as illicit drug users have been reluctant to access health care in the past.

“Criminalizing drug use isolates drug users more from what they need most: connection to others, and support to access harm reduction services and treatment programs,” said Teechuktl Manager Sanne van Vlerken.

Van Vlerken believes that a shift in public perspective is necessary to better treat those using illicit drugs, as there remains more shame attached to the activity than consuming alcohol or smoking. She fears that the province’s latest changes to decriminalization could create further harm.

“This would have the potential to reverse the progress made in shifting towards a more compassionate and health-focussed approach,” said van Vlerken. “We need to provide more information and awareness about drug use so it becomes more socially acceptable and less stigmatizing and judgmental.”

There are 50 supervised consumption sites in B.C., with only one fatal overdose reported at these facilities since the first of them were established over a decade ago.

Lovegrove believes that hospitals need to have these sites as well to give drug users more safe spaces.

“In my opinion, there should be as many overdose prevention sites in our communities as there are bars and liquor stores,” she said. “I see drug use and substance use as morally neutral, neither good nor bad - it just is a valid response to ongoing colonization, experiences of trauma, adverse childhood experiences. That’s how I understand and explain the instances of substance use within our communities.”

An individual’s strength from within Few people have a more intimate knowledge of drug use than Rita Watts. She used crack-cocaine for 22 years, and, over a decade into sobriety, supports family members who are currently struggling with substance addiction. In recent years Watts has worked with PortAlberni’s Community Action Team to produce the video Human First – Hear Their Voices, where she interviewed 50 illicit drug users in the commu-

right in the hospital, right in the parking lot. You walk right through it. I go the security guard, he said, ‘I’m very sorry, there’s nothing I can do about it’.”

The prevalence of drug use in PortAlberni has also made it harder for Watts’daughter to recover from her addiction to substances, she said.

“Having people being able to do their drugs whenever they’re free to is so, so wrong,” said Watts, whose daughter is trying to gain a handle on her addiction.

“My daughter has that, but where can they go? They can’t go anywhere. They’re stuck here in PortAlberni.”

Last year theAlberni-Clayoquot health region recorded drug-related fatalities at a rate of more than double the provincial average. It’s a crisis that prompted the Tseshaht First Nation along with PortAlberni’s CommunityAction Team and the Kuu-us Crisis Line Society to release a four-pillar strategy early this year, which prioritized the need for a fully funded “inclusive, innovative, timely and barrier free” detox and recovery facility in the city.

nity.Asurvey from the project found that 80 per cent of participants felt judged or stereotyped in the community, while only 31 per cent said their voices were heard and acknowledged, and 56 per cent felt they could speak freely about needs while seeking healthcare.

“There’s a lot of people out there that could sure use a helping hand and to realise that they are loved,” said Watts of illicit drug users. “Their spirits aren’t destroyed, but they’re destroying it.”

While she supports drug users to have their story heard, Watts does not believe that public use should be socially acceptable. The extent of the issue hit her last year while she was at the Nanaimo Regional General Hospital after her son’s drug overdose.

“The hardest thing about being in that hospital was that there were people in addictions that were in and out of there all the time,” said Watts, who recalled feeling the effects of drug inhalation just from walking through the parking lot. “They would be smoking, they would be doing their drugs

Meanwhile the province has added 607 publicly funded substance-use beds since 2017, including 179 new spots added to Vancouver Island and 16 brought to Port Alberni. This brings to total substance use beds in B.C. to 3,633, with 686 in the Island Health region.

“It’s important to note that bed-based treatment only represents a small part of a much broader continuum of care when it comes to treatment options for people living with addictions,” wrote the Ministry of Mental Health andAddictions in an email to Ha-Shilth-Sa. “Beds are typically most appropriate for people who require a higher intensity of services and supports to address complex or acute mental health or addiction problems.”

As politicians debate public policy and health practitioners struggle to help those who use an increasingly toxic supply of street drugs, Watts reflects on what led her to overcome substance use.

“You can’t change somebody that does not want to change. They have to want to change,” she said. “It took me 22 years to realise that, know what, you’re either going to die doing this or you’re going to live to watch your grandchildren grow up.”

May 16, 2024—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 9
Eric Plummer photo ANaloxone kit hangs by an encampment on PandoraAvenue in Victoria in late January. With the prevalence of illicit drug use among the unhoused, harm reduction personnel were seen checking up on people at the PandoraAvenue location. Eric Plummer photo Rita Watts is a Hupacasath member who regularly used crack-cocaine for 22 years. Over a decade into sobriety, she supports those struggling with substance addiction, but does not believe that it should be publicly acceptable. Eric Plummer photo concerns, as well coming this fall.

Guiding traditional canoe brings lessons for students

School District 70 moves tow

PortAlberni, BC - The classroom is going into traditional-styled Nuu-chah-nulth canoes at the end of this school year, now that some high school students and two staff have gained training in the leadership qualities necessary to effectively navigate a č’apac.

Through a partnership between School District 70 and Usma Nuu-chah-nulth Family and Child Services, the agency has made available two traditionally designed canoes it owns to the Eighth Avenue Learning Centre in PortAlberni.

InApril three high school students as well as Dave Maher, SD70’s district principal for Learning and Innovation, and Indigenous Support Worker Leslie Taylor spent four days on Sproat Lake learning the dynamics of navigating the č’apac from a Paddle Canada instructor.

Over the four active days the participants learned how to safely handle the

ards ‘a classroom of the earth’

č’apac, while communicating with each other to ensure effective navigation.

Instruction entailed paddling technique, communication between crew and skipper while handling different conditions and how to recover after the canoe flipped.

“We tipped the canoe, and then flipped the canoe back up, learned how to bail it, learned how to move the canoe back to safety and learned how to get the entire crew back on a flipped canoe, back to shore,” said Maher.

“When we were learning how to rescue the flipped canoe I got nervous,” admitted 18-year-old Cacey Jack, who felt empowered after the apparent disaster was solved. “It felt really good actually.”

Three high school students were chosen for the training due to their participation in a multiple-week exploratory č’apac program the EighthAvenue Learning Centre held in the fall, which entailed half of this time on the water, half in the classroom delving into the cultural dy-

by incorporating Nuu-chah-nulth č’apac this spring

namics of the vessel that Nuu-chah-nulthaht used for thousands of years.

They were also selected for their connection to the care system through Usma.

Taylor was impressed with the commitment of sisters Cacey and Delylah Jack, who live independently. She said they were ready to go each day at 8 a.m. “It was really impressive because they have nobody at home to get them ready, they have to rely on themselves,” said Taylor.

Now the five participants in the č’apac training have Big Canoe Intermediate Leader Certification, something that will come into practice in June when the Jack sisters and Devin Johnston go out on the water with Grade 6 and 7 elementary students. Their lessons are planned for Sproat Lake, Ucluelet Inlet and Pachena Bay.

“I’m excited for it,” said 16-year-old Delylah Jack of working with younger students.

“I like working with kids,” added her


Maher noted that the č’apac lessons are part of the school district working more closely with its Nuu-chah-nulth communities, incorporating knowledge specific to these First Nations into classroom learning.

“It’s a classroom of the earth, a classroom of life, and they are learning some critical lessons about collaboration, communication, positive personal identity, positive cultural identity,” he said. “The č’apac signifies the importance of us working together and the better we work together, the better the č’apac works.”

For 18-year-old Devin Johnston, his favourite part was paddling and learning how to improve his communication skills. Cacey Jack appreciated being out in nature.

“It helped clear my mind,” she said. “I found it very therapeutic.”


Pronounced ‘Wik tum ughs wik win chil alth tlu saa minhr it ii wik tomb walth shilt qwaa yii s tluth itch’, it means ‘We will never forget those beautiful women who have gone missing. So I wear a red dress today to remember them’Supplied by ciisma.

Page 10— Ha-Shilth-Sa—May 16, 2024
Illustration by Koyah Morgan-Banke Submitted photo This spring three high school students and two SD70 staff spent four days on Sproat Lake learning the dynamics of navigating a č’apac from a Paddle Canada instructor.

Tseshaht hosts new hoops tourney May long weekend

With 46 registered teams from across the B.C. coast, event draws a ention to high cost of renting gyms in Port

PortAlberni, BC - PortAlberni is about

to get hit with a new basketball championship some are calling “May Madness”.

Currently, 46 teams are registered for the first-ever Tseshaht Lightning Basketball Tournament on May 17 to May 19, which features six divisions: senior men, senior women, intermediate boys, intermediate girls, U13 boys and U13 girls.

“There is a hunger for the sport of basketball in PortAlberni,” said tournament organizer and Tseshaht Lightning U13 girls coach Nasimius Ross. “Basketball has been really hot. It’s been an awakening here in our town.”

The tournament is open to both Indigenous and non-Indigenous players.

“We wanted to be really inclusive and multi-cultural. Just have everyone together, enjoying a sport, meshing together,” said Ross, who has three of four daughters playing in the event (Mia, Inissa and Parris).

Ross told the Ha-Shilth-Sa it took nothing but a day and a half for all the tournament spots to fill. Teams are coming from Similkameen, Heiltsuk up in Bella Bella and all around Vancouver Island, including a whooping 10 teams fromAhousaht. Maaqtusiis Ravens player Courtenay

Louie says a few of their groups had funds leftover fromAll Natives to pay the $500 per team entry fee, while other squads are fundraising to go.

“Basketball has always been big in our community, but I think people are actually showing commitment to going and being in shape,” said Louie, noting that as the executive assistant for theAhousaht EducationAuthority she’s tasked to book the Maaqtusiis gymnasium.

“Every night there is usually enough

men there for four or five teams, drop-in style. On the weekends, there is usually enough for more. The gym is always full.

Our U13 girls and boys go to the track and gym every day,” said Louie.

Gaining access to facilities in Port Alberni is no slam dunk

What began as an idea for a year-end hoopfest and a means to raise funds for Tseshaht’s trip to the JuniorAll Natives quickly turned into an “eye-opening” journey into the world of facility politics for Ross.

While Tseshaht donated the Maht Mahs gymnasium and the School District (SD) 70 waived their hourly rental fee, the custodial costs associated with keeping a unionized employee at each SD 70 facility on a weekend was a shocker. Custodial services are $70 per hour on weekends and stat holidays for a minimum of four

hours, according to the school district.

“I understand you have to keep the lights on, but investment in youth outweighs any amount of money for me. We have to give them opportunities to grow and even taste an experience to see if they like it or not,” said Ross.

Steve Sperger, founder of Rain BasketballAcademy, cancelled a June tournament because of loftyAlberni custodial fees.

“We’re going to a tournament in Duncan instead. Other communities charge a lot less,” said Sperger. “We’re all volunteers. It’s not like we have money sitting in a bank account somewhere that can support this kind of (fee). We have money in the bank account for kids to play basketball.”

Tim Davie, SD 70 Superintendent of Schools, spoke about the custodial fee. “That’s a collective agreement. We don’t set that (hourly) rate,” said Davie.

“Again, custodians are there all day to make sure the building is clean, and if there are needs on behalf of renters that their needs are met, and they also provide security within our buildings.”

Davie went on to emphasize that there is a different fee structure for non-profit and for-profit groups, and in recognition of rightsholders in Nuu-chah-nulth territory, the hourly fee structure for Indigenous youth groups is waived.

In addition to the custodial fees, the Tseshaht Lightning hired 15 professional referees to the tune of $12,000; that covers a $125 per game fee, gas mileage, food and accommodation.

“Money is nothing compared to youth development. If we can create core memories or spark somebody that’s off to the NBAor WNBA… we have to create these (opportunities) so they can find that path,” said Ross.

Sperger highlights that communityminded folks like Ross are not doing it for themselves — they’re doing it for the kids.

“We have a strong tradition here in Port Alberni of basketball,” said Sperger.

“Totem is one of the best tournaments in the province. It’s 68 years old. The AlberniAthletic Hall has a strong basketball background. PortAlberni has won a national men’s championship many years ago. There is a real foundation of older guys here in town that are passionate about basketball.”

Games start on Friday, May 17 and Opening Ceremonies are Saturday, May 18 from 10:30 a.m. to noon at theAlberni Athletic Hall.Admission is $10 per game or $25 for an all-facility weekend access pass. For full tournament schedule, visit the Facebook page: Tseshaht Lighting Basketball Tournament.

Hesquiaht woman takes on a leading role with SD71

Courtenay, BC - Lelaina Jules (ƛ̓akʷapiqa) of Hesquiaht, grew up in Hot Springs Cove, 26 nautical miles north of Tofino. She spent 18 years in her home community learning her language, dances and songs. She learned where to fish, gather berries and medicines, and she learned how to swim safely at her local lake.

Growing up rooted in her culture, on the land alongside encouragement from her parents, fueled a lifelong love for learning and education.

The Hesquiaht woman, who has a bachelor’s degree inAnthropology and First Nation studies, a bachelor of education and a master’s in Educational Leadership, all at Vancouver Island University, will be taking on the new role as vice principal for Indigenous Education at School District 71 (SD71), starting thisAugust.

Jules, who has been a professor in VIU’s education faculty, has worked for SD 71 as their district curriculum support teacher for over six years. This entailed supporting teachers as Indigenous content was woven into the curriculum, she shared with Ha-Shilth-Sa.

“I think that the most important aspect of public education today is providing equitable education for all students,” said Jules. “One that includes the history of the land, [and] the history of the people of the land accurately.”

She added that it’s important for First

Nations people to guide the teaching of Indigenous content.

Jules shared that she believes students are currently being “fully educated” by knowing who they are, where they are, as well as the value and importance of Indigenous peoples.

But for Jules, it is most important that in her role Indigenous students see themselves represented.

“I just really feel excited when there’s [an] opportunity for Indigenous students to see themselves reflected not only in the learning, but also in the teaching,” said Jules. “And seeing themselves reflected like they belong here.”

“But now we’re in a time where not only do we know we need to do better with Indigenous ways of knowing, being, and doing, we also need to do better with our learning from the land and on the land, and with the land,” said Jules, who noted that the education she grew up with has not typically been accepted in mainstream learning systems.

But Jules believes that how education is perceived is shifting.

“The value of education and learning doesn’t just happen in the classroom, it doesn’t just happen at school, it happens all the time, all around us,” she said.

“I’m looking forward to not having to just embed Indigenous knowledge [into] the system, I’m hoping that the system is also going to shift towards aligning with Indigenous ways of knowing and doing.”

Though her role is still being developed, Jules will be joining a team of two others,

Submitted photo

ƛ̓akʷapiqa, Lelaina Jules is starting a new role as vice principal for Indigenous Education at School District 71 in the Comox Valley.

Joe Heslip, also new to his role as associate superintendent, and Bruce Carlos, principal of Indigenous Education, who will determine the future of whatAboriginal education looks like for SD 71.

“I think, for a long time, it’s always been about adding Indigenous content,” said Jules, stressing the importance of using First Nations knowledge to make the

education system “more holistic or more inclusive”.

“We are going to start taking back those stories and those places - things that have been tried to be erased from history - we want people to know that Indigeneity and Indigenous ways of knowing and being is number one, dynamic; it’s complex, and it is empowering,” said Jules.

May 16, 2024—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 11
Submitted photo The Tseshaht Lightening are a U13 girls team, coached by Nasimius Ross. The Tseshaht Lightening basketball tournament is scheduled for May 17-19 in Port Alberni.Atotal of 46 teams are registered.

Spring snowpack levels across B.C. remain low

Vancouver Island’s snowpack levels are currently sitting at 49 per cent of normal, lower than in May 2023

At just 66 per cent of normal, the provincial snowpack for May 1 remains extremely low, but it is still too soon to determine what this year’s fire season will look like.

According to the most recent snow survey and water supply bulletin from the River Forecast Centre (RFC), Vancouver Island’s snowpack levels are currently sitting at 49 per cent of normal, which is unchanged from last month. For this time last year, the provincial snowpack was at 91 per cent and Vancouver Island was at 98 per cent.

Annual snow accumulation in B.C. typically reaches maximum levels in midApril, according to the RFC. The low snowpack and seasonal runoff forecasts combined with warm seasonal weather forecasts and lingering impacts from ongoing drought are creating “significantly elevated drought hazards for this upcoming spring and summer.”

Rebecca Grogan, information assistant with the BC Wildfire Service, said determining the wildfire season depends a lot on the amount of spring rain the Island gets, especially in June.

She said the low snowpack could mean earlier lightning-caused fires, because alpine areas are snow-free earlier in the year with time to dry out and be susceptible to fires sparked by lightning strikes.

“What we can say is that the coast was the only region in the province that really benefited from rain before the freeze up last winter and unlike other parts of the province we do not have any holdover fires from the 2023 fire season in the Coastal Fire Centre,” Grogan said. “The precipitation we received in the last two months has helped reduce our spring fire risk.”

Grogan said there have been three fires

since the beginning of the season (April 1) on Vancouver Island, all of which are now out.

In general, precipitation was below normal for most of the province inApril, according to the RFC. The onset of the snowmelt season has been mixed across the province. In low-to-mid elevations, particularly in plateau terrain in the B.C. Interior, early melt of a shallow snowpack has occurred and many of these areas are now snow-free.

The 2F18 Brenda Mine automated snow weather station in B.C.’s interior melted to snow-free conditions sooner than ever recorded in 28 years.

During the first week of May, unsettled weather with light to moderate precipitation occurred across the province, according to the RFC.

Temperatures were close to seasonal across most of B.C., with some coastal areas experiencing periods of above normal temperatures. Asignificant change in weather pattern was forecast for May 9-12 with the development of a highpressure ridge across B.C. This is said to bring a period of well above normal temperatures and lead to the first episode of rapid snowmelt at higher elevations this season.

Overall, the provincial snowpack remains extremely low for May 1 and nearly all snow basins are at or below 80 per cent of normal, with Vancouver Island experiencing “extremely low snowpack.”

The causes of drought in B.C. are multifaceted, says the RFC.

“While snowpack can play an important role in areas, other factors such as the rate of snowmelt, spring and summer temperatures and short- and long-term precipitation trends may have equal or greater importance in governing the emergence of drought this summer.”

Youth Basketball Tournament

May 18, 2024

PortAlberniAthletic Hall

Basketball Tournamnet May Long Weekend Madness 17th-19th. 46 Teams, 5 Divisions. Tseshaht Lightning Invitation. Opening Ceremonies,Athletes March 10:30 am – 12:30 pm. Tseshaht Lightning wants to invite the community to come out to support and cheer on youth basketball. Tseshaht Lightning also wants to invite all Nuu-chah-nulth to come out with drums and songs to sing out the athletes. Contact info Ed Ross @ 250.735.2854

Mowachaht Muchahlaht Culture Night

May 18, 2024

Alberni Valley Church – 3747 Church Street PortAlberni

Potluck – chumus 6:00pm – 10:00pm

naaʔuu – Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation’s Cultural Experience

May 24 – June 29

Tin Wis Resort, Tofino

ATla-o-qui-aht First Nation’s Cultural Experience features an all you can eat seafood buffet. Tickets can be purchased at www.naauu.com. Discounted Indigenous ticket rate available.

Call for Clam Diggers

June 5 & 6

Nelson Point, Cowichan Valley

Join the Environmental Stewardship Team Wednesday and Thursday June 5th-6th (option to work both or either day). Helping to monitor clam abundance and health in Nelson Point. Lunch provided. If you are interested in joining us, Contact Lynn Pinell by June 3rd. Salish Sea Initiative Coordinatorat T:250-245-7155 EXT. 222 or lynn. pinell@stzuminus.com Work will be compensated and involve digging selected 1m x 1m sections of beach for clams to be weighed and measured prior to returning all clams to the same location.

2024 Youth Gathering

July 12-14, 2024

Beach Campout -Anacla

Hosted by Huu-ay-aht First nation. Registration details to come.

&Community Beyond

Graduation and Scholarship Ceremonies

June 14th & 15th

ADSS – 4000 Roger Street, Port Alberni, B.C.

Scholarship Ceremony – June 14th. Doors open at 3:30 pm; Dinner at 4:30 pm; Ceremony at 6:00 pm Graduation Ceremony – June 15th. Doors open at 1:30 pm; Ceremony at 2:30 pm; Dinner at 4:30 pm. Scholarship applications can be submitted via email to scholrahips@ nuuchahnulth.org via fax, or dropped off at or mailed to the NTC Main Office. Please note the deadline for submission is May 16, 2024, by 4:30 pm. Graduation forms can be submitted via email to graduation@nuuchahnulth.org via fax, or dropped off at or mailed to the NTC Main Office. Please note the deadline for submission is June 1, 2024, by the end of the day.

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

Usma culture space, PortAlberni

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 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.

Page 12— Ha-Shilth-Sa—May 16, 2024
Karly Blats photo
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 Have You Moved? Les Sam Construction Residential . Commercial & Architectural Structures Construction Management & Consulting Forming & Framing Ph/Txt: 250.720.7334 les sam@shaw.ca
Alow accumulation on MountArrowsmith May 13 illustrates the extremely low snow pack on Vancouver Island.

Employment and Training

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

May 16, 2024—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 13

Transportation Safety Board photo

In the early afternoon of June 20, 2023 a privately registered float plane was involved in a fatal crash on its way to a cabin near Tahsis. The plane involved was a Quest Kodiak 100 amphibious float-equipped aircraft, pictured.

Safety Board determines cause of fatal plane crash

Report finds failed landing due to an object or boat wake and potential wind from mountains near Tahsis

Tahsis, BC -Almost one year ago, in the early afternoon of June 20, a privately registered float-equipped aircraft was involved in a devastating and fatal crash on its way to a cabin 60 nautical miles northwest of Tofino/Long BeachAirport.

On May 8, 2024, Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TBS) released its investigative report to determine what occurred in the fatal incident.

In the early summer of last year, the pilot alongside three passengers boarded a privately registered Quest Kodiak 100 amphibious float-equipped aircraft at MassetAirport, located on Haida Gwaii, and headed to a cabin in Tahsis Narrows.

When the aircraft arrived in Tahsis Narrows, it followed a “straight-in” water landing near the cabin, the report reads. Upon first contact, both floats touched the water at the same time, however the aircraft then bounced and reapproached the surface a second time.

During the second attempt, at a level attitude, the left float came into contact with an object or boat wake, reads the report, causing the aircraft to bounce 30 feet and bank to the right.

The pilot initiated a go-around - meaning to abort the landing due to an unstable approach or obstruction in the landing way - but as the aircraft gained altitude over land, it came into contact with trees and crashed.

According to the report, the crash resulted in the death of the pilot and one passenger, while another occupant was seriously injured and the other only

On May 7 the Ministry of Forests announced the launch of a new Forest Operations Map (FOM) portal where British Columbians can now access and comment on proposed operations.

New forestry app aims to be transparent for public


creates portal for proposed forestry operations, creating greater public input and transparency

On May 7, the Ministry of Forests announced the launch of a new Forest Operations Map (FOM) portal where British Columbians can now access and comment on proposed forestry operations, including cutblocks and roads, after amendments to Forest and Range PracticesAct (FRPA).

“It is in the best interest of FSP holders to build good relationships with their local stakeholders, and to improve their social license,” the Ministry of Forests wrote.

minorly hurt.

The aircraft was destroyed after the crash in a fire.

The report determined that the pilot held appropriate licencing for the flight, with a total of roughly 1,200 accumulated flight hours. Of the 250 flight hours accumulated by the pilot on the occurrence aircraft, half of the landings occurred on water, though most of those on lakes.

This was not the first time the pilot had landed at this location either, the report reads. Five days earlier, the pilot successfully conducted a landing in Tahsis Narrows.

Based on imagery available the report concluded that at the time of the attempted landing and crash the wind was 4 to 6 knots with small waves in the water.

The report continued to say that at the time and location of the collision, weather conditions remain unknown. But due to the mountainous terrain in the area there is the possibility that wind shears or down drafts could have been present to create dangerous landing conditions.

The report refers to a quote from Weather Ways which reads, “in general, the strength of the downdrafts is such that an aircraft flying parallel to the range could be forced to the ground or, if flying upwind, might fail to clear the range.”

The TSB concluded the report with safety recommendations for pilots when landing on water, including to circle the area three times prior to landing to examine wind strength and direction, check the landing run for obstacles like submerged logs and boaters, among other safety recommendations.

“The portal will allow greater public input on forestry activities, as well as greater transparency about forestry proposals within the province and what those proposed activities would entail, including roads, mapped areas of harvest and estimated time of harvest,” a recent press release stated.

The portal will include details of the geographic area of the proposed cutblocks and roads, the approximate timing of forestry operations, identification of each Forest Stewardship Plan (FSP), which is a landscape-level map plan for forestry operations that must be approved by the government, as well as identification of FSP holders.

According to the portal, Ditidaht Forestry Ltd., Huu-ay-aht First Nation, and Ehattesaht’sAat’uu Forestry Limited Partnerships have proposed projects indicated on the map and are available for comment.

In an email to Ha-Shilth-Sa, the Ministry of Forests wrote that valid and constructive comments can have an impact on ground operations.

The portal was developed in response to the 2019 “what we heard survey” for FRPA, where “the public, First Nations, and stakeholders requested more transparency of forest operations, and more opportunity to provide input,” wrote the Ministry.

Though the majority of forestry companies in British Columbia have committed to presenting their proposed operations in the FOM portal, the project is currently voluntary, the press release stated.

“There are already more than 1,000 users,” it continued.

While the portal only displays proposed cutblocks and roads, the Ministry noted that the spatial data from the portal is also available to view in IMapBC, where individuals can also access data of existing cutblocks, roads, other land tenures, national parks, among others.

“For everyone in B.C. wanting to see the forest industry thrive, while taking care of the forests that provide so much for us, continued transparency and accountability will help to keep this industry moving forward,” the Ministry of Forests wrote to Ha-Shilth-Sa. “That’s why we have created the Forest Operations Map (FOM) Online Portal, to give the public a one stop-shop for seeing many of the forestry projects are happening in the province.”

Page 14— Ha-Shilth-Sa—May 16, 2024
Ministry of Forests map

Vancouver’s Museum of Anthropology reopens

Museum is currently in possession of 830 Nuu-chah-nulth objects, 265 of which will soon be on display at UBC

Vancouver, BC -After an 18-month closure for seismic upgrades, the Museum of Anthropology (MOA) at the University of British Columbia will reopen to the public next month.

Seismic upgrades were made to the museum’s Great Hall as well as the revitalization and reinterpretation of displays of Northwest Coast Indigenous carvings, poles, weavings and other works from the past and present.

The MOAis currently in possession of 830 Nuu-chah-nulth objects, 265 of which will be on display. Some notable Nuu-chah-nulth displays include a yašmaqac (Canoe) made in 1930. The vessel was typical of the sealing canoes made by the Nuu-chah-nulth people and represents the long history of trade relations between the Nuu-chah-nulth and Kwakwaka’wakw people.

There’s also two totem poles on display in the MOA’s Great Hall carved by Nuuchah-nulth artists. The Cedar Man carved by Joe David of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation, made in 1984, stands at sevenmetres tall and was created as a form of protest.

According to Joe David through information published by the MOA, this figure restates the message of a previous figure carved on Meares Island by his great-great-great grandfather. No longer standing, this earlier figure is said to have recorded the statement of an ancestor who lived at the time of the first European contact. This ancestor cautioned other chiefs and community members against the possible dangers of Europeans for Indigenous peoples.

The Whaler’s Pole is also on display and was carved in 1982 byArt Thompson from the Ditidaht First Nation. The pole stands at 12.65-metres tall and was commissioned by the museum.

According to the MOA, the log used for the carving was from the village of Ooees, on Nitinat Lake. It was donated by the Nitinat people for the project. In 1984 the pole was installed outdoors, on the side of UBC’s Kenny Building (in recognition of Dr. Douglas T. Kenny). In 2018 it was moved to the MOAfor drying and onApril 19, 2024 it was raised inside the museum’s great hall. The wooden harpoon tip had rotted, so it was replaced in 2024 with a new red wooden tip, carved and painted by Thompson’s grandson, Ernie George, Jr.

The museum also has 62 small drawings in their collection by Hupacasath artist Ḥaa’yuups, Ron Hamilton, 21 of which will soon be on display.According to the MOA, the small works comprise a collection of drawings in pencil, ink, pencil crayon and felt pen made by the artist between the years 1968 and 2015. Many of the images represent killer whales, often in conjunction with accoutrements and symbols of Nuu-chah-nulth whaling.

The MOAwill reopen to the public on June 13 at 5 p.m.

Along with the Museum’s reopening, MOAwill present two exhibitions sharing Indigenous perspectives on colonial history: To be seen, to be heard: First Nations in Public Spaces, 1900–1965 (world premiere), and in Pursuit of Venus [infected] (Western Canada premiere) by famed Māori artist, Lisa Reihana. MOA’s reopening this summer coincides with the 75th anniversary of the museum’s opening to the public.

“We’ve waited so long to welcome back

Canada retrofitted with base isolation technology, MOA’s seismic upgrades are designed to protect the collections in the event of a major earthquake. Additionally, upgrades to the lighting, skylights, roofing, window coverings, carpeting and fire protection will further protect the collection.

Recognized as the first museum in

MOA’s Great Hall was first identified by UBC as a high priority for seismic upgrades in 2017, as part of the university’s ongoing seismic planning. It was deter-

mined that a complete rebuild was the best approach to upgrading the resiliency of the space without compromising its architectural heritage.

Budgeted at $40 million, the project was funded by the provincial government, Canadian Heritage and UBC. Construction began in 2021 and in January 2023 the museum was temporarily closed to accelerate the completion of the project.

The Cedar Man carved by Joe David of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation. Made in 1984, it stands at seven-metres tall and was created as a form of protest. visitors from around the world to MOA this summer,” said Susan Rowley, MOA director, in a press release. “Over the past 18 months, MOA’s Great Hall has experienced monumental changes—some visible, some not, but all for a stronger future. It has been completely rebuilt from the ground up, incorporating innovative seismic technology into its foundations while restoring architectArthur Erickson’s original 1976 design.”

May 16, 2024—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 15
Alina Ilyasova/MOA photo
Page 16— Ha-Shilth-Sa—May

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