Ha Shilth Sa Newspaper May 2. 2024

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Nuchatlaht celebrate court’s recognition of territory

Recent decision grants the First Nation Aboriginal title to a coastal strip in its northern Nootka Island territory

Vancouver, BC - The Nuchatlaht are celebrating a victory amid a recent court decision recognizingAboriginal title over a portion of its traditional territory, although it appears the small First Nation’s legal fight to gain authority over the whole claim area is far from over.

OnApril 17 Justice Elliott Myers released a judgement on the matter, which concerns the Nuchatlaht’s title claim to 201 square kilometres covering the northern part of Nootka Island. Myers determined that the First Nation has provedAboriginal title over a portion of this area, land that mostly entails a coastal strip along the northwestern edge of Nootka Island. This section mainly doesn’t extend more than a kilometre inland, generally aligning with the provincial government’s argument to the court over what portions have been proven to rightly belong to the Nuchatlaht.

“In my view, with some minor exceptions, the province’s map delineates areas with respect to which the Nuchatlaht have met the criteria forAboriginal title,” wrote Myers in his most recent judgement.

The judge also included some other sections, such as small islands in Owossitsa Lake and areas at the mouths of rivers by the historic sites of Opemit and Nuchatl. The recognized title sections lie in areas of less than 100 metres of elevation, as throughout the trial Myers has been unconvinced that evidence was presented of occupation far inland.

“Confining the boundary to the 100-metre contour reflects the distinction between the coastal and interior areas,” wrote Myers.

The judge referenced his previous decision from May 2023, in which he found insufficient proof that the Nuchatlaht regularly used Nootka Island’s inland regions.

“With respect to the interior, there is almost no evidence of use by the Nuchatlaht,” wrote the judge, citing research by Philip Drucker, who extensively studied northern Nuu-chah-nulth tribes in the 1930s. “Further, Dr. Drucker said that the Nuu-chah-nulth treated the interior and coastal areas differently in terms of ownership and had far less knowledge of the interior.”

As the parties went before Myers from March 11 to 15, part of the Nuchatlaht legal team’s argument was that entire watersheds should be recognized due to the First Nation’s traditional use of these whole areas.

“If they had a village site, they must have been using the land upstream to support their culture,” argued lawyer Jack Woodward in March.

The legal team even cited the Labrador boundary case from 1927. In this decision the Privy Council in London rejected Canada’s assertion that Labrador - which was not yet part of Canada at the timeshould be limited to the coastal region. Instead, the Labrador boundary was extended far westward to the height of land, as it remains today.

But Myers remained unconvinced.

“Afundamental conclusion I reached was that the Nuchatlaht had not demonstrated sufficient occupation over the total claim area, and particularly the interior, to ground a claim forAboriginal title,” wrote the judge. “Framing the claim as one over a series of watersheds (which encompass vast areas of the interior) does not change this analysis.”

TheApril 17 decision is the latest development in a case that began in early 2017 when the Nuchatlaht first filed their claim to the B.C. Supreme Court. The case has entailed a 54-day trial in 2022, leading to Myers’decision the following year in which he recognizedAboriginal title over a portion of the claim area, but not all of it. Parties were given the opportunity to return to court for a week last March to determine the extent of title over limited

areas in the claim.

Although it has been a hard sell, the Nuchatlaht are calling the most recent decision a victory, marking the first time the B.C. Supreme Court has awarded Aboriginal title to a First Nation.

“We are celebrating this victory and looking ahead for the future of our nation,” stated Tyee Ha’wilth Jordan Michael in a press release from the First Nation. “There is still much that needs to be done to restore our land and heal our people.”

“This is a victory for Nuchatlaht, but we know that our territory didn’t stop at the bottom of the hill,” said Nuchatlaht Councillor Mellissa Jack in the release.

“Our people used everything from the beaches to the mountain tops.”

Myers’recent decision leaves the majority of the claim area as Crown land under B.C.’s ForestryAct. Currently Western Forest Products holds tenure of this area, although logging has ceased in recent years as the title case has been fought in court.

From the beginning a concern expressed by the First Nation, which has under 160 members, has been the extent of clearcutting old growth forests in their territory. The Nuchatlaht are now considering appealing the recent decision in an effort to gain title over the rest of their traditional territory.

“There has been industrial clearcut logging,” added Chief Michael. “There’s no thought about tomorrow. It’s take everything now. We want to do things differently.”

“We’re not just fighting for Nuchatlaht,” noted CouncillorArchie Little, who stressed the importance of restoring wild salmon habitat. “We want to show the world that we can manage better, we can enhance better, and there will be enough for everybody.”

With some of their territory now recognized by the court, Nuchatlaht Councillor Erick Michael called the recent decision “a huge win for self-determination.”

“This is a real chance at becoming selfsustaining,” he said. “For far too long we’ve been isolated on this tiny little reserve watching all our resources getting stripped away, while not taking any real part in the economic development of our nation.”

“When all other avenues like the B.C. treaty process and reconciliation agreements did not work, the Nuchatlaht were forced to go to court to prove their title,” stated Nuuchah-nulth Tribal Council President Judith Sayers. [W]e are happy they have had some success and wish them continued success as they appeal to have the remainder of their territory declared Nuchatlaht title lands.”

Canada’s Oldest First Nations Newspaper - Serving Nuu-chah-nulth-aht since 1974 Vol. 51 - No. 09—May 2, 2024 haas^i>sa Canadian Publications Mail Product Sales Agreement No. 40047776
If undeliverable, please return to: Ha-Shilth-Sa P.O. Box 1383, PortAlberni, B.C. V9Y 7M2 Inside this issue... Young killer whale is free...............................................Page 3 Nurse positions support Indigenous patients..................Page 6 Rise in language learners points to resurgence........Pages 8&9 Packed house at Hupacasath elder’s luncheon.............Page 15
Eric Plummer photo Nuchatlaht CouncillorArchie Little speaks next to Tyee Ha’wilth Jordan Michael before the B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver in 2022 as their nation’sAboriginal title claim went to trial.

k#iisah=i%is saves herself by swimming out of lagoon

Orphaned killer whale swims towards the open ocean after an evening of being fed seal meat and breaching

Ehatis, BC – The northern communities woke up to the exciting and happy news onAprile 26 to find that kʷiisaḥiʔis (kwee-sa-hay-is), the orphaned baby orca, left the lagoon that has been her home since her mother died in late March.

“Today the community of Zeballos and people everywhere are waking up to some incredible news and what can only be described as pride for strength this little orca has shown,” said Chief Simon John of Ehattesaht.

In a written statement released on the morning ofApril 26, John stated kʷiisaḥiʔis swam out of the lagoon near Zeballos at 2:30 a.m. during high tide.

“On a clear and glass calm, star filled night, Kwee-sa-hay-is swam past the sand bar her mother passed away on, under the bridge, down Little Espinosa Inlet and onto Esperanza all on her own,” he wrote.

kʷiisaḥiʔis and her mother first entered the lagoon on March 23. The Bigg’s (transient) killer whales were likely hunting seal, a staple of their diet. The mother whale became stranded on a sandbar as the tide quickly receded in the shallow lagoon. Sadly, she drowned, despite valiant efforts of local community members to save her.

Anecropsy revealed that the mother was nursing her daughter and was pregnant with another female orca.

Efforts to save the baby whale began immediately as Ehattesaht and Nuchatlaht

First Nations along with DFO’s Marine Mammal Response and Bay Cetology made plans to bring in equipment to lift the two-year-old whale out of the lagoon after attempts to lure her out and under a bridge failed. But efforts to corral the highly intelligent little whale weren’t successful.

By mid-April, the orphaned whale started to show early signs of malnutrition. She had been observed eating ducks and bait fish. Ha-Shilth-Sa reported that kʷiisaḥiʔis began accepting seal meat that was tossed into the lagoon from a distance. The seal meat was donated by Nuchatlaht First Nation.

On the evening ofApril 25, kʷiisaḥiʔis, accepted another meal of seal meat and was observed playfully breaching out of the water. In the wee hours ofApril 26, kʷiisaḥiʔis lived up to her name, given to her by the Ehattesaht, and bravely swam under the bridge and out toward the open ocean.

“After an evening of feeding her the team of Rob John, Judea Smith,Ashley John, and Victoria Wells from Ehattesaht and Nuchatlaht, along with DFO’s Marine Mammal Response and Bay Cetology were treated to a long night of kʷiisaḥiʔis breaching and playing at the end of the lagoon near the causeway

bridge,” said Chief John in a statement.

“And after most everyone had left to get some sleep the small group who remained stood as witnesses to watch her swim under the bridge and down the inlet,” John continued.

Those who witnessed the magical event must have been elated.

John said the team later found her in Espinosa Inlet and followed her from a distance as she moved toward Esperanza Inlet proper.

The First Nations and DFO are asking people to avoid the area and the whale as she makes her way down the inlets toward the open ocean.

“With this part of the challenge solved by kʷiisaḥiʔis herself, every opportunity needs to be afforded to have her back with her family with as little human interaction as possible,” said John.

He went on to say that the little whale will be encouraged to head out toward the open ocean where it is hoped that the Brave Little Hunter’s calls will now be heard by her family. There will be increased patrols and protective measures taken to ensure that she has no contact with boats or people.

“Events like these have a deeper meaning and the timing of her departure will be thought about, talked about and felt for generations to come,” said John.

On behalf of his people, he thanked everyone who has been with them for the first part of this journey.

“We are deeply moved and eternally thankful,” he said.

Strandeded calf ate seal meat to prevent malnutrition

Ehatis, BC -After being stranded in a lagoon near Zeballos for a month, an orca calf finally ate meat provided to her, giving a team more time to find a solution to a situation that appeared to be getting more complicated by the day.

Named kʷiisaḥiʔis (kwee-sa-hay-is), meaning ‘Brave Little Hunter’in Nuuchah-nulth, the two-year-old killer whale ate seal meat provided to her onApril 18. Donated to the cause by the neighbouring Nuchatlaht First Nation, over the following weekend kʷiisaḥiʔis continued to devour the slabs of meat thrown to her from a small vessel in a section of the Little Espinosa Inlet, just down the road from the Ehattesaht village of Ehatis.

After multiple quiet attempts, this was the first time the transient killer whale responded to feeding. She first entered the lagoon on March 23 with her mother, who died that morning while stuck on a sandbar. The mother was found with the remains of a seal, a common meal for transient killer whales, which feed on marine mammals.Anecropsy revealed that the mother was nursing kʷiisaḥiʔis and pregnant with another female.

After being stranded in the lagoon for a month, the young orca swam out on her own towards the open ocean in the early morning hours ofApril 26.According to the Ehattesaht’s last update, patrols were being performed to ensure that kʷiisaḥiʔis doesn’t come into contact with people as she finds her way in more open waters.

“We are pretty sure her mother was beginning to teach her how to hunt,” stated a briefing from Ehattesaht Chief and Council. “At first we were told that within two weeks there would be physical signs of starvation, but thankfully

she looked healthy without any alarming changes in her appearance or what she did everyday. But by Wednesday [April 17] there were some early signs malnourishment was starting.”

The team monitoring the killer whale initially resisted feeding her out of concern that this would dissuade kʷiisaḥiʔis from learning how to hunt independently in the wild, but as the weeks went on concerns grew. Seeing her eat the seal meat brought tremendous relief to those watching the whale each day. Besides the Ehattesaht community the response team has encompassed Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s Marine Mammal Response Unit, experts from the VancouverAquarium and even specialists in transporting marine mammals from the Greater Vancouver Zoo.

Unlike resident killer whales that subsist on salmon, transient - or Bigg’s orcas –usually prey on seals, porpoises, dolphins and sometimes even other whales. kʷiisaḥiʔis was seen eating ducks, and she surprised the response team when she dove into a cluster of bait fish to eat during her last week in the lagoon.

“[T]his shows there is some flexibility in the diet of younger orcas,” stated the chief and council. “While she didn’t eat much and she swam on after the second pass through before taking one of her regular long deep dives, this is another good sign that she is finding ways to sustain herself in the lagoon.”

The ultimate goal was always to return kʷiisaḥiʔis to the open ocean, where she can hopefully join a passing pod of relatives. Previous attempts to coax her through the narrow passage out of the lagoon during high tide were unsuccessful, and kʷiisaḥiʔis evaded an operation to corral her into a sling for transport by truck.

The next plan was to use a purse seine, a large fishing net that forms an underwater pouch. This equipment and a vessel came to Zeballos for the operation, with help from the We Wai Kum, We Wai Kai and Homalco First Nations, but the capture and transport operation was held off when it was discovered that kʷiisaḥiʔis responded to feeding.Afew days later, she swan out on her own.

“This rescue operation is a rare occurrence and providing food to the whale has been evaluated and informed by discussions with marine mammal experts as part of the rescue operation,” stated an update from Fisheries and Oceans Canada. “This decision to pause relocation efforts was informed by the fact that the killer whale consumed provided seal meat, therefore the team is adapting to this information and changing operational plans accordingly to support a successful response.”

While she was in the lagoon, the health of kʷiisaḥiʔis was monitored daily by analysing drone footage, night vision goggles, surface and underwater recording, as well as thermal imaging.As planning continued to return the orca

to the wild, a growing list of personnel was called upon to lend their expertise, including equipment, vessel and landing barge operators, as well as commercial divers, drone pilots, cooks, safety personnel, traffic control and general helpers.

While all this help is greatly appreciated, the Ehattesaht admitted that an increasingly complex rescue operation took a financial toll.

“All this is a weight on our small community, and we know that with the responsibility we have for kʷiisaḥiʔis comes with a responsibility to care for our community and the people supporting us. To do that we must ask for outside assistance.”

The First Nation set up a GoFundMe page to collect donations.As of May 1 the page remained active, and over $43,000 was raised, with donations ranging from $10 to $1,250. The Ehattesaht’s goal is $500,000.

“We have to keep everyone fed and housed and our community is small and isolated with limited options,” states the GoFundMe page, which can be found at https://www.gofundme.com/f/kiisaiisbrave-little-hunter-baby-orca

Page 2— Ha-Shilth-Sa—May 2, 2024
Jared Towers/Bay Cetology photo kʷiisaḥiʔis spent a month in a lagoon near Ehatis, eventually living off seal meat. Jared Towers/Bay Cetology photo By the evening ofApril 25 the young killer whale was breaching at the Fair Harbour causeway, eating seal meat provided by a rescue team.

Anacla water infrastructure developments on the way

Over $5 million in government funding for water treatment system repairs and expansion next to Bamfield

Anacla, BC -Anacla residents will soon be able to access cleaner water as upgrades are planned for infrastructure in the Huu-ay-aht community.

The Huu-ay-aht First Nation is receiving $883,500 in provincial funding and $4,417,500 in federal funding forAnacla water treatment system repairs and expansion. The project will construct a new water treatment plant, a new reservoir, rehabilitate two wells and replace a damaged water line.

“It is essential that our citizens have safe drinking water, our oldest water services in the lower village so we want to ensure this service is updated,” said Edward Johnson, Huu-ay-aht deputy chief councillor. “With the expansion ofAnacla, we want to ensure we have the capacity for future growth.Along with major updates, we are aiming for improvement in operations and in the treatment processes.”

Johnson said the community’s water system has undergone many phases of expansion since the modern form of the village was established in 1969. In 2011, the community relocated their reservoir to the highest elevation for fire protection.

The nation has considered various locations for the new water treatment plant during feasibility studies. Johnson said one main factor in determining relocation of the new treatment building is to ensure it is out of the tsunami inundation zone.

“Our water source is an aquifer and there are some natural characteristics that make it challenging, such as the operators have struggled with providing treated water with safe levels of chlorine residual due to the fluctuating ammonia levels,” Johnson said. “The presence of ammonia has been confirmed by waterline through additional water sampling/testing.As such, the treatment process will need to be updated to suit the characteristics of the groundwater.”

To ensure safety of the community’s drinking water, the nation has a thirdparty conducting water quality testing biweekly and reporting the samples to the First Nations HealthAuthority.

Construction of the new water infrastructure is expected to bring jobs for

Huu-ay-aht members.

“We are always working with contractors and project managers to ensure that there is employment and training opportunities for HFN citizens,” Johnson said.

“We will be working with our third-party contractor to ensure we have long-term employment opportunities for the treatment of our water system.”

The provincial government has set aside more than $31.6 million through the Green Infrastructure Stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) to support 14 drinking water and wastewater projects across British Columbia.

These projects include the expansion of existing drinking water supply, the construction of new water treatment plants, upgrading existing wastewater treatment plants with filtration and ultraviolet disinfection systems, as well as the installation of new water supply lines and reservoirs.

The Green Infrastructure Stream helps build greener communities by contributing to climate change preparedness, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and supporting renewable technologies.

“Having reliable access to clean drinking water is vital for the health and wellbeing of people inAnacla,” said Josie Osborne, MLAfor Mid IslandPacific Rim, in a press release. “This joint support from our government and the federal government will ensure people in the community have safe, dependable water treatment infrastructure for years to come.”

Province moves to ban illicit drug use in public

Decriminalization takes a step back, as Premier David Eby declares that ‘We do not accept street disorder’

Victoria, BC – It has been just over a year since the province enacted an exemption under section 56(1) of the Controlled Drugs and SubstancesAct to decriminalize people who use drugs.

The federal government approved an exemption to allow for the removal of criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of some illicit substances for personal use by people over 18 years old within British Columbia. The decriminalization ‘experiment’came into effect Jan. 31, 2023, and remains in effect until Jan. 31, 2026.

The rationale behind decriminalization of some drugs for personal use is to treat drug use and dependence as a health and social issue, not a criminal justice or moral matter. British Columbia is the first province in Canada to decriminalize small amounts of drugs.

Those that support decriminalization have argued that law enforcement activities may compel people to use alone, thereby increasing the risk of death from overdose.

Astaunch supporter of decriminalization, in November 2021 Gord Johns, NDP Critic for Mental Health andAddictions said, “Decriminalizing personal possession of drugs in the province and across Canada is an essential first step to removing the shame that often prevents people from reaching out for life-saving help.Addictions is a disease, not a crime.”

But since the start of decriminalization, drug use has become more visible as people are openly using in public spaces and since there is nothing illegal going on, the hands of law enforcement officers are tied.

OnApril 21 the provincial government announced that it is taking action to ban illicit drug use in public spaces.

“In November 2023, the B.C. government passed the Restricting Public Consumption of Illegal Substances Act (RPCISA),” said the Office of the Premier in a written statement. “The intention of the act was to provide law enforcement with more tools to address instances of inappropriate drug use in a

variety of public places such as parks, beaches, sports fields and community recreation areas, as well as near business and residential building entrances and bus stops. This legislation is currently being challenged in court.”

The province says it is working with Health Canada “to urgently change the decriminalization policy to stop drug use in public” and is asking for an amendment to the s.56 policy to exclude all public places except spots like private residences and health care clinics that provide outpatient addictions services.

“Keeping people safe is our highest priority,” said Premier David Eby in a statement issuedApril 26. “While we are caring and compassionate for those struggling with addiction, we do not accept street disorder that makes communities feel unsafe.”

Under the proposed new changes, law enforcement will have the ability respond to a scene where drug use is taking place and will have the ability to compel the person to leave the area, seize drugs when necessary or arrest the person, if required. In addition to making illicit drug use illegal in public spaces, the province vows to expand access to treatment for those in addiction.

According to information from the provincial government, there have been 600 publicly funded substance-use treatment beds opened in the province since 2017. There are 50 overdose prevention sites in B.C. and, since 2019, the province has spent $35 million to support 49 community counselling agencies.

Another move the province is going ahead with is providing additional security at hospitals to deal with unacceptable behavior such as aggression, noncompliance with policy, drug dealing, harmful exposure of illicit drug residue and smoke to hospital staff.

According to the BC Coroner’s Service, there has only been one recorded accidental overdose death in a supervised prevention site and that there is no indication that a prescribed safer supply is contributing to unregulated drug deaths.

The province and public health officer declared a health emergency inApril 2016. Since then more than 14,000 British Columbians have died of overdoses.


May 2, 2024—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 3
Edward Johnson

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‘Should we go missing, we must be found’

2024 budget allocates $1.3 million for a system to save lives of Indigenous females

On March 19, MP Leah Gazan took to Parliament Hill, on behalf of the House of Commons status of women committee, to announce the beginning of their formal study for the proposed Red DressAlert System. The system, likeAmberAlerts, will notify the public when an Indigenous woman, girl, or two-spirit person goes missing.

“This whole initiative came from the hard efforts of family members and advocates, around the country, who join together to say that, should we go missing, we must be found,” said the NDP Member of Parliament.

One month after Gazan’s announcement, the 2024 budget revealed a $1.3 million investment over a three-year period to implement a Red DressAlert System.

But this is not the first time the Red DressAlert System has appeared in the Budget. In 2023, the alert system made its debut, amid a $2.5 million investment over a period of five years, allocated to advance the NationalAction Plan for MMIWG2S.

Since the 2023 budget announcement, the government has worked alongside Indigenous partners to co-develop the alert system, reads the 2024 Budget. Through this work a need for regionally specific approaches to the Red DressAlert System was identified to accommodate the unique needs of Indigenous communities across the country.

“There’s more work to be done, but I feel that at this point, it’s moving in [the] right direction,” said Gazan. “It’s important that we all come together, to work together, to make sure this becomes a reality.”

Since March 19, the status of women committee has met six times pertaining to the Red DressAlert System.

“Right now, women go missing and murdered, and are never found,” said Gazan. “This is a critical initiative; this is an initiative that will save lives.”

Carol Frank is the aunt of Lisa Marie Young, a 21-year-old Tla-o-qui-aht woman who went missing in Nanaimo over two decades ago. Since her disappearance in 2002, Young’s family and

friends continue persistent search efforts to find her.

“When my niece went missing, it took a few days for the RCMP to see my sister and speak to her,” said Frank, who is pleased to hear about the Red DressAlert System. “It’s really good to hear that they’re doing that.”

For Nicki McCarthy, Teechuktl Mental Health regional coordinator, the implementation of the Red DressAlert System acknowledges the longstanding MMIWG2S crisis, while providing more safety for Indigenous people.

“[It’s] a level of safety that we’ve never had before,” said McCarthy. “And in that level of safety, does come some comfort. And in that level of safety, we also have some education as well.”

Indigenous women in Canada are starkly overrepresented as victims of murder, making up a rate six times higher than

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!

non-Indigenous victims, while they are also four times more likely to be victims of violence.

For Nuu-chah-nulth, the impacts of the MMIWG2S crisis have been felt through the communities with over 50 women who have been murdered or remain missing, according to an article written by Ha-Shilth-Sa last year.

“It gets the public involved in bringing awareness and being informed that a person has gone missing, and to help reduce the risks,” said Sanne Van Vlerken, manager of Teechuktl mental health, noting it also helps increase capacity of support for the families of the missing individual.

“It’s a really effective methodology and framework to notify the general public when an Indigenous person goes missing,” added McCarthy. “I think it’s something that needs to happen and can save lives.”

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Page 4— Ha-Shilth-Sa—May 2, 2024
House of Commons video still On March 19, MPLeah Gazan took to Parliament Hill, on behalf of the House of Commons status of women committee, to announce the beginning of their formal study for the proposed Red DressAlert System.

May 6 to 12, 2024

National Nursing Week

Wiisahii%ap (Keeping†Healthy) “Huppiipc>at`” (Helping†Each†Other)

††“@a@a>h=%i” (Be†comfortable,†be†well)

May 2, 2024—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 5
Thank You Nuu-chah-nulth Nursing Staff

Hospital’s nurse positions support Indigenous patients

Two positions at the West Coast General work to overcome generations of poor experiences in health facilities

PortAlberni, BC -Amanda Watts of Tseshaht and Deb Melvin of the Metlakatla First Nation have a varied day-today schedule at the West Coast General Hospital, but it’s always centered on ensuring their Indigenous patients feel safe and get the care they need.

As an Indigenous patient navigator (IPN) Melvin is busy answering phone calls from her patients, nurses and doctors, organizing and advocating for their care, planning for their discharge or transportation, all while supporting not only the patient, but their family, as they navigate the health care system.

Though Melvin is a new employee of Island Health, she’s been working in her position at WCGH, employed by Nuuchah-nulth Tribal Council, for five years.

Watts, who is an Indigenous liaison nurse (ILN), supports patients in the Emergency Room, ensuring those coming to WCGH have what they need. She sits with them, listens to them, and builds connections, sometimes becoming a point of communication between the patient and the doctor. Given notice, she’ll even meet her patients as they enter the facility.

The team of two are there to walk beside their patients on their journey through the healthcare system, advocating for and helping empower them.

“It’s important for people to know that we’re here,” said Watts, who began the new IPN position in February. “I’m very passionate about supporting my people.”

“I’m here, I’m working here, but I’m here for you,” she noted.

But given Canada’s colonial history of residential schools and segregated Indian hospitals, there are many gaps for First Nations in the health care system.

“We have to understand the legacy of the Indian hospital in this province,” reads a quote from an unidentified health care provider in the In-Plain-Sight survey, a provincial review of Indigenous racism in the healthcare system. “Still to this day, I have people in communities who tell me they do not want to go to the hospital for care because that is where their grandparents died under atrocious conditions.”

“If hospital administrators don’t understand that, how can we provide care? If they just say, ‘Oh, they’re non-compliant. They don’t show up for appointments.’ Well, yeah. Do you know why?” the health care provider continued.

For those patients who have been affected by residential school and its intergenerational trauma, it may be lonely, scary, or raise feelings of anxiety going into a hospital setting, shared Melvin.

“Alot of people don’t come to the hospital willingly, or… a lot of them have had previous bad experiences here and don’t want to return,” she said. “So it’s great to be able to support people through their visits, and make it a more comfortable and safe experience.”

“The doctors and nurses can be seen as in control, and [that] does make the patient feel a loss of control or no power in the interactions,” continued Melvin.

“And unfortunately, some of them have not been respected or treated well in the past, and don’t want to come back.”

According to the In-Plain-Sight survey, just 27 per cent of Indigenous respondents felt their needs were taken care of when accessing health care, compared to 59 per cent of non-Indigenous patients.

Fifty-eight per cent of non-Indigenous respondents received the medication they asked for, compared to that of 35 per cent of Indigenous respondents.

“[The] Indigenous population has, unfortunately, had poor healthcare outcomes for so long,” said Melvin. “We want to change that, it’s not right.”

“We want to be there for people to support them, to want to reach out, to want to try and come to the hospital, to not, maybe, delay as long as some people do,” Melvin noted.

Watts reflects on phone calls she received where a local service provider was bringing an apprehensive patient to the hospital. When they arrived at WCGH, Watts greeted them and sat with them at triage, offering whatever the patient may need.

She shared another instance where a young patient was upset and crying. Watts brought toys to cheer the child up. From then on, each time the patient saw Watts, the patient proudly showed off the toys, playing with them through the entire stay.

“If we can do anything to make someone’s experience one per cent better, then that is excellent,” said Jess McConnell, Indigenous Health Manager at WCGH.

“[We want to relieve] their anxiety, to support them, make them feel safe, make them feel welcome, and cared for and respected,” said Melvin.

IPN and ILN can be accessed at nearly every hospital on Vancouver Island, McConnell noted.

May 6 - 12 2024

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Alexandra Mehl photo Nurses Deb Melvin, who is an Indigenous patient navigator, Indigenous Health Manager Jess McConnell and Indigenous Liaison NurseAmanda Watts work at the West Coast General Hospital.

New road provides developments along Highway 4

Tseshaht gets $1 million in funds for road, utilities for light industrial, commercial and potentially apartments

PortAlberni, BC - The Tseshaht First Nation are working towards establishing new economic development opportunities by building a serviced access road on a parcel of land along the Pacific Rim Highway.

The BC NDP Government is investing up to $33 million across rural areas of the province for the second intake of the Rural Economic Diversification and Infrastructure Program (REDIP). Communities on Vancouver Island and other coastal communities will be receiving up to $12.9 million in funding for 41 approved projects from REDIP to help strengthen local economies.

Tseshaht First Nation received $1 million in funding for the new access road.

“This million dollars is getting us the access road, so it’s punching a short road to

start future development,” said Tseshaht Chief Councillor Ken Watts. “Our hope is to really have an entire area paved out, serviced with water, sewer and power and just prepared for future development.”

The large area of land is located along the Pacific Rim Highway near the Tseshaht Market and across from theAhtsik NativeArt gallery.

Watts said future development could include light industrial, commercial and potentially market rentals. The nation plans to clear the land and build the new road in the next year or so.

“We’ve always looked at developing the highway and infrastructure dollars have always been tough for economic development…it’s not cheap to hook up water and sewer to certain areas,” Watts said. “We just went through our land use plan and it was identified as an area for economic development, so it’s always been a desire.”

Watts said there have been concerns in the past about drainage and geotechnical issues on the land, but that recent studies organized by Tseshaht have shown the land is suitable for development.

“We’ve done our homework, it’s been checked in our land use plan as an area and now we’re actually moving forward with this,” Watts said. “We will move toward subdividing into separate lots. We have had a lot of commercial interest to do stuff at the highway front and this road will help provide that opportunity to show people the possibilities of the land.”

The length and design of the new access road is still being finalized, but Watts said the funding from the province has helped to kick-start the project.

“This funding really just provides us with the tools to get it started because the biggest thing is just getting the water and sewer there,” Watts said. “With any

development people need to see what the opportunity is, so once they see the road, once they see the land cleared, now they see this area has good potential for development. Right now it just looks like a forested area.”

In Mid Island-Pacific Rim, six projects are receiving more than $2.7 million in funding, including the $1 million for the Tseshaht and $100,000 for the Hornby Island Community Economic Enhancement Organization (HICEEC) to undertake workforce housing feasibility, business planning, and related activities.

“Rural, remote and Island communities have unique needs, and our economies operate differently than in urban centres,” said Josie Osborne, MLAfor Mid IslandPacific Rim in a press release. “These investments in our region will help people and communities to thrive with new infrastructure, resources, training and economic opportunities.”

Quick residents save Anacla home from growing fires

Anacla, BC – Elected Huu-ay-aht Chief John Jack is praising two citizens for keeping a fast-moving trailer fire from spreading to a neighboring residential home.

On the weekend ofApril 19 to 22nd, Jack said several fires were set in areas around lowerAnacla village by someone believed to have been suffering from mental health distress.

“There was a total of six fires but there was one big one in an RV (recreational vehicle) in the lower village,” Jack told Ha-Shilth-Sa.

“Two citizens spotted the fire and used garden hoses to soak a nearby tree, keeping the fire from spreading,” said Jack.

He thanked George Nookemus Jr. and Bobby Nookemus for acting quickly to save the residential home next to the RV.

“Their quick response to contain the fire

saved the house on the same property,” he said.

The Bamfield Volunteer Fire Department arrived on scene to put the fire out.

Nobody was injured in the incident.

“We are thankful for those two citizens who acted so quickly,” said Jack.

He said the incident is under investigation by the RCMP and he urged citizens that may have witnessed anything to contact the RCMP.

“It’s really important that citizens alert authorities when they see something. We need to work together to prevent harm and keep the community safe,” Jack added.

And when someone is in distress, it is important to say something.

“This is not about punishment, it’s about getting help,” he said.

Those with any information about these incidents can contact the PortAlberni RCMP at 250-723-2424.

May 2, 2024—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 7
Submitted map Space for a business park being developed by the Tseshaht First Nation, extending across fromAhtsik Gallery on Highway 4 and just down the road (and across) from Tseshaht Market. Stella Peters photo Over the weekend ofApril 19-22 a fast-moving trailer fire almost spread to a neighboring residential home inAnacla.

Despite decline of fluent speakers, jump in language learners

Those fluent in Nuu-chah-nulth language are becoming an increasingly rare and valuable resource, as younger generations strive

Tofino, BC - Sisters čiisma and Tuu paat have spoken their Indigenous dialectswithout interruption - for every day of their long lives. For elders aged 76 and 81 respectively, this would have been normal 150 years ago. But as Nuu-chah-nulth-aht head deeper into the 21st century, and all of the assimilation that comes with being part of what is now Canada, the presence of speakers fluent in theirAhousaht dialect is becoming an increasingly critical resource with each passing year.

It’sApril 26, and čiisma and Tuu paat, whose English names are Patti Frank and Julia Lucas, are surrounded by over a 100 people at the Best Western Tin Wis hotel’s conference room in Tofino. This is day two of a three-day language gathering hosted by the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation, drawing participants from across western Vancouver Island, from Ditidaht territory in the south to Kyuquot on the northwest.

All are gathered to explore the revitalization of the ancestral Nuu-chah-nulth language. Possibly more than any other issue these days, it’s a concern that unites the tribes of Vancouver Island’s west coast.

The gathering follows the declaration of a state of emergency for the loss of language and culture that was passed at the Nuuchah-nulth Tribal Council’sAnnual General Meeting on Nov. 30.

ciiʔiłumqa,Anna Masso, Tla-o-qui-aht’s language coordinator, supports the state of emergency declaration, but believes it came several years too late.

“We need to move faster in language learning as we are losing our resources, our elders, our fluent speakers,” says Masso. “They’re getting harder and harder to find. Very few, especially the ones that can write.”

The trend in concerning, and has been for many years. Back in 2010 the First Peoples Heritage Language and Culture Council classified Nuu-chah-nulth as “nearly extinct” in a report on the state of Indigenous languages in British Columbia. That report assessed B.C.’s 32 Indigenous languages, encompassing 59 dialects, to determine that just 5.1 per cent of the province’sAboriginal people were fluent in their native language. Nuu-chah-nulth fell well below this mark with less than two per cent of the population at the time, with a 115 fluent speakers and another 12 in the Ditidaht dialect.

“We need to have a revolution,” said former NTC president Wickaninnish, Cliff Atleo, after the report was released.

More than a decade later, the number of fluent Nuu-chah-nulth speakers has continued to dwindle. The cultural council’s last report in 2022 listed 73 fluent Nuu-chahnulth speakers, with another five speaking Ditidaht.

“In Tla-o-qui-aht we have one that can read and write, and we have maybe a handful, a half dozen or so,” says Masso, counting the fluent elders in her First Nation.

“In our Tla-o-qui-aht language class we have three elders that we rely on. Whereas, five, 10 years back we could have a whole classroom.”

Masso looks to two tables in the Tin Wis conference room where čiisma and Tuu paat sit with a handful of other elders who are fluent in their ancestral dialects.

“They need to understand these two very small tables here is all we have to draw from to save our language,” she remarks.

“Those two small tables there are all we have left.”

The need for immersion

čiisma lives in PortAlberni now, across the water and far inland from her homeland ofAhousaht. These days, most of her day-to-day dealings are in English, and she admits that normally her thoughts are as well. But there are times at night when she dreams in theAhousaht dialect that surrounded her during childhood.

“It’s more meaningful when we speak our language,” says čiisma.

She explains that if offering condolences after someone has lost a loved one, she would say ʔaʔaaʔał ḥ suwa (pronounced awe awe alth suu wah).

“I’m saying, my heart is slashed, bleeding with pain,” explains čiisma.

čiisma and Tuu paat grew up with their siblings in 21-person household in the Ahousaht village of Maaqtusiis. There were three families, an older couple and her sister-in-law’s father living in the large

quarters. It was a time when she recalls never being alone, surrounded by Nuuchah-nulth language and stories.

čiisma remembers the elder Robert Joseph, who lived in the house with the families and couple.

“He would always be telling us stories, smoking away,” she remembers. “He was a storyteller, himwitsa. He would gather us around at night and we’d all listen to stories.”

čiisma and Tuu paat didn’t learn English until they attended theAhousaht Day School at the age of 6. Unlike some others from her generation who were sent to residential school, čiisma’s ancestral dialect still surrounded her at home, but at the day school it was strictly English.

“The only word I knew in English was ‘Yes’,” she says of when she started day school. “We’d get in trouble if we spoke our language. We’d get quiet, didn’t want to get into trouble. You watched what oth-

Page 8— Ha-Shilth-Sa—May 2, 2024
Young people sing (above) for a packed conference room at the Best Western Tin Wis in Tofino onApril 26 during a three-day language gathering hosted aht First Nation.At the gathering a design was unveiled (top right), composed of paper feathers on which participants wrote the names of people, past took up the cause of language revitalization. Participants played Nuu-chah-nulth bingo at the language event, when Xakubee and tatuusʔaqsa (above right) called out words in the Ditidaht and central Nuu-chah-nulthdialects to be matched with pictures.

language learners indicates potential resurgence

younger generations strive to connect with cultural roots by learning the dialects of their ancestors

Eric Plummer photos

during a three-day language gathering hosted by the Tla-o-quiote the names of people, past and present, who ers did.”

when she recalls surrounded by Nuuelder Robert house with the telling us stories, remembers. “He was He would gather we’d all listen to

didn’t learn EngAhousaht Day

Unlike some others were sent to s ancestral dialect home, but at the day

in English was she started day trouble if we spoke quiet, didn’t want watched what oth-

čiisma went through Grade1 without learning English, but her thirst for knowledge eventually changed this.

“I started pushing myself to learn. I learned how to read and I loved that,” says čiisma, who soon read anything she could get her hands on as a youngster. “I went to Grade 8, but I educated myself. I read the whole encyclopedia set, just to learn.”

Two generations later, the opposite is often the case, as English is the common language in Nuu-chah-nulth communities. For the last 13 years

Daisy Hanson has been teaching the Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k’tles7et’h’dialect at the Kyuquot Elementary Secondary School, where Nuu-chah-nulth is integrated into everyday communication beyond the regular language classes. Hanson believes that expanding this to an immersion program would help to further language revitalization, something that could be possible in the future as the Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/ Che:k’tles7et’h’First Nations have hopes of eventually running the school.

“It stops at school. Once they get out that door the language stops,” says Hanson. “If we could keep this consistency everywhere, consistency is the key. Immersion and consistency.”

She finds that the younger grades are particularly effective in picking up the Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k’tles7et’h’dialect.

“They’re like magic little sponges, they pick up the sounds really easily,” says Hanson. “The teaching is going from me to the students to the parents, which is a good thing.”

Language is culture

Hanna Frank is a very busy teenager.

The Tla-o-qui-aht member is a Grade11 student at Shawnigan Lake, a private

boarding school in southeastern Vancouver Island. It’s a life far removed from home, except for the three-hour online sessions she participates in to learn Nuu-chah-nulth each week.Although she’s the only one in the school taking these classes, her peers are supportive, often bringing her dinner as Frank participates in the three evening sessions per week.

“It’s a lot of work to stay focused,” she admits, noting that the sessions usually entail working for one to two hours with a fluent speaker, followed by exercises in conversation. “We’ll ask, ‘How are you?’ and stuff like that.”

Frank has been learning Nuu-chah-nulth since she was a younger child, an endeavor that carries a deep meaning to her.

“My late dad, Bruce Frank, he wanted me to know language is a part of who we are and is a part of our identity,” she reflects, recalling when her parents tested her on their chiefs’names. “It gets tough being away from culture, so on my phone I have a lot of recordings of songs. I listen to that when I go to bed. Now that I’m doing that there’s one song that I’ve memorized, and that makes me very happy.”

Frank’s goal is to become fluent, although she doesn’t expect to reach this until she’s in her 50s or 60s.

“It’s important to me because I want the language to stay alive. I’m seeing it right now with other nations where we’re losing the language,” she says. “That’s my biggest fear. My goal is to become fluent, or to know a lot of language. My other goal is to make sure the other people my age, my generation, are taking it seriously.”

There are young people taking it seriously, including five who graduated last summer with Bachelor of Education degrees in Indigenous language, with a specialization in Nuu-chah-nulth, through the University of Victoria. Four of these graduates are currently teaching in their communities.

ḥakaƛ, Chrissy John of Ehattesaht, was one of these grads who spoke at the recent language gathering.

“The most language I learned in that program was with elders, because our elders are the professors,” explains John.

“We can’t turn to books, we can’t turn to old articles – although there are some with our language and culture – but we can’t become fluent that way.”

John integrates Nuu-chah-nulth language into the day-to-day upbringing of her two young children, who are aged three and one and a half. During her presentation at Tin Wis she used the words of Tuu paat, one of her teachers.

ation,” said Johns in the House onApril 9. “Will this government remember its most important relationship with First Nations and act with urgency to ensure sustained and long-term funding to language programs in British Columbia?”

In her response Minster of Indigenous Services Patty Hajdu acknowledged the need for Indigenous language programs, but avoided specifically addressing the shortfall in British Columbia, home to 60 per cent of Canada’s languages.

“In my own riding Matawa Tribal Council provides First Nations language training and support for First Nations communities all through northern Ontario supported by this federal government,” responded Hajdu. “I’m very proud of the work they’re doing, and we will continue to work on this preservation with First Nations across the country.”

An uphill climb

“She said ‘Language and culture are interdependent’,” recalls John. “If you’re doing something cultural it has language in it, always. If you’re learning language, you also have to learn culture.”

An ‘essential step to reconciliation’

This year efforts to revitalize Indigenous languages face increased difficulty with a drop in federal funding. Support forAboriginal language programs in B.C. comes from the First Peoples Cultural Council, which lost 58 per cent of its government funding with Ottawa’s 2024 budget.

This returns the current stream of federal funding to 2019 levels, explains the cultural council’s CEO Tracey Herbert.

“So many First Nations have used the funding to develop long-term plans for revitalizing their languages,” she says. “Now those plans are being interrupted by this lack of commitment.”

Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns recently brought up the issue in the House of Commons.

“Preserving and revitalizing Indigenous languages is an essential step to reconcili-

The First Peoples Cultural Council defines a fluent speaker as someone who can converse and understand a language without the use of English.Although this number continues to decline, there are some encouraging indications that could prevent the extinction of Nuu-chah-nulth and other Indigenous languages in B.C.Across the province, the number of language learners increased by 22 per cent from 2018 to 2022.

“We’re creating more opportunities to use the language in multiple domains - in the home, in the community, at school,” says Herbert, pointing to a program in central Canada that has moved learners closer to fluency. “It’s really those immersion-style programs, both here in B.C. and there’s a really successful one in the Mohawk territory where people are paid to learn their language for two years. Those types of programs have had quite a bit success.”

The collective interest from generations of Nuu-chah-nulth-aht has restored čiisma’s sense of purpose.

“It made me realise that when I’m alone and sad that we have a lot of support and we’re going on the right track,” says čiisma, who currently teaches the PortAlberni Friendship Center daycare four days a week. “We’re climbing up this hill, and we’re not going anywhere, we’re just going to keep climbing. The younger ones are behind us, pushing us. We can do this.”

May 2, 2024—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 9
Chrissy John of Ehattesaht gives a presentation at the gathering on raising young children with Nuu-chah-nulth language.

Project delves into historic criminalization of fishing

Funded by National Geographic Society, Fish Outlaws combines scientific research, oral history and journalism

West Coast Vancouver Island, BC –

“The rules are not enforced uniformly, our people are over-policed, and the federal government is pouring plenty of resources into enforcement of their policies,” said Dr.Andrea Reid. Reid is a co-founder of the Fish Outlaws project. Funded by the National Geographic Society, the project explores the history of criminalization of Indigenous fishers in the Salish Sea Bioregion and how destructive colonial fisheries management and environmental practices have compromised First Nation’s fishing rights and community well-being Amember of Nisga’a Nation, Reid is a principal investigator at University of British Columbia’s Centre for Indigenous Fisheries (CIF). She is an Indigenous fisheries scientist and conservation biologist. She co-founded the Fish Outlaws project with Rena Priest, a member of the Lhaq’temish (Lummi) Nation, a writer and Washington State poet laureate, as well as Dr. Lauren Eckert, conservation scientist andAmy Romer, visual journalist.

“For the past 200 years, colonizers of the Pacific Northwest have usurped access to the fisheries on which Indigenous Peoples have lived independently since time immemorial,” reads the newly launched Fish Outlaws website. “Oppressive practices have included the confiscation of canoes, boats, nets, and other fishing gear; enforced exclusion from certain waters; incarceration of tribal and First Nations fishers; and threats of violence that have been acted upon by authorities when fishers have stood up for their inherent rights.”

The founding members have launched the Fish Outlaws website which details fisheries management history in Canada and the U.S., and it explores a more just and sustainable future for Indigenous fishers. It shares the stories of Indigenous elders, including the late Ray Williams, a Mowachaht member who lived in Yuquot for almost his entire life.

One of the stories centers around Williams’grandson Sammy’s experience as a rights-based fisherman. One of the tabs on FishOutlaws.net, which launched April 22, is called Red Flag, and it tells the story of Williams’cross-generational

experiences of intimidation, harassment and criminalization as Mowachaht/ Muchalaht rights-based fishers.

According to the story, rights-based fishers are required to fly a red flag.

“It’s a red flag — a target,” said Sammy in the article. “When me and my brother were fishing, there was probably one hundred sports boats out. DFO motored past every sports boat and came straight for us.”

There are other stories on the website featuring both Sammy and his late grandfather, Ray Williams.

“There are real and vital challenges when it comes to Indigenous rights-based fisheries,” said Reid.

It’s important to understand community rights and to design a system that works, she added.

“Indigenous rights to fisheries were taken away and are being returned piece meal. It affects our people,” said Reid. Their work started in the Salish Sea region but has grown to include interior B.C., up and down the Pacific Coast, Sami territory and well beyond.

“Our focus is fisheries justice and what that looks like, to fish in the right ways,” said Reid, noting that rights are coupled with responsibilities.

From the colonial perspective, Reid

imagines everything here looked wild and unmanaged.

“But there were systems in place to harvest marine life and maintain a healthy, balanced ecosystem,” she said.

She points to the Lake Babine area in 1904 when federal fisheries officers were ordered to remove the weirs that the people relied on for food fish. The weirs were viewed as barricades and believed to be harmful to the fish stocks. Reid said the federal fisheries’decision to remove the weirs came after the local canneries expressed interest having increased access to fish.

Fisheries officers compensated the Babine people with rotten fish nets, according to Reid.

“They nearly starved that winter,” she said.

In 1905 the Babine people rebuilt the weirs.

“They’re a selective fishing device, but DFO didn’t understand them,” said Reid. Fisheries officers returned in 1906 to destroy the new weirs but the Babine people were prepared.

“The matriarchs physically pulled the officers off of the weirs and sat on them in the river,” said Reid.

“This Earth Day, we’re hoping to show how we take care of earth and how we

relate to this planet,” said Reid. “This is an awesome opportunity to show how we respect and understand fish and to call out racist and discriminatory processes (in federal fisheries management).”

“We need to understand the history and what it means moving forward. We need to have those conversations and reach a lot of different hearts and minds,” she continued, adding that people need to work together to make it better.

When asked if she thinks it will get better, Reid answered, “If elders can be hopeful, then so should I.”

She is grateful that there are people working to preserve knowledge so that it can be transferred to next generations and brought forward. The ultimate goal, she added, is to improve our collective understanding of Indigenous rights to fisheries and methods of fishing.

“We can change this system…it requires dedicated leaders to help us move forward to change a very broken system,” said Reid.

The Fish Outlaws Project has no finish line. Reid said it will be an ongoing project, serving as a repository for people to bring their stories.

“I’m excited about the community element and I’m looking forward to where it will take this conversation next.”


Pronounced ‘Ohh nar h is ish ahh na hir hars shar up niwa. Tlak ka up haa um ugk kin’, it means ‘Bees, small as they are, are very important to us.As they help lot of our plants and food grow for us. ’. Supplied by ciisma.

Page 10— Ha-Shilth-Sa—May 2, 2024
Illustration by Maddexx George Eric Plummer photo Darrell Williams stands by the remains of a fish trap at Valdez Bay in Nootka Sound, a fishing technique used by his Mowachaht ancestors that incorporated the changing tides.

40 years of Meares Island Tribal Park celebrated

Historic standoff against MacMillan Bloedel’s plans to log old growth captured an international audience in ‘84

Tofino, BC - Lovely red and soft pink Rhododendrons surround an intimate gathering of Indigenous leaders, nonIndigenous allies, hippies, misfits and a handful of media at Tofino’s Village Green onApril 21. It’s been 40 years since Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation, with support from the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council (NTC), famously declared Meares Island the “Wanachis Hilth-huu-is Tribal Park” under Nuu-chah-nulth law.

The Meares Declaration protected the old-growth forest from being logged, and is recognized as one of the largest demonstrations of civil disobedience in North America. Prior to the conservation stance, there was no “tribal park” in existence under provincial or federal legislation.

Moses Martin was Tla-o-qui-aht’s elected chief councillor back in 1984.

“I want for us to remember the many chiefs and elders and all of those people that have passed on that were big supporters of Meares to begin with. It’s a time that we all got on the same page and supported what we were trying to achieve, some protection,” said Martin, who was about 40 when he led the stand against industrial logging giant MacMillan Bloedel (MB).

“It seems like a long time ago, but also like it was yesterday,” Moses shared.

As chief councillor, Martin went to court to represent Tla-o-qui-aht or “660 Indian Band” when MB requested a court injunction against the Meares Island protectors. The injunction was granted, which led to an appeal by the NTC. In March 1985, the injunction was overruled and the appeal was successful.

“Oh boy! I’m still living it,” Martin says about the victory. “I still see what we all protected.Any chance I get, I take people on tours of the big trees on Meares and tell them about the history.”

Tla-o-qui-aht musčim Eli Enns told the Ha-Shilth-Sa that more events are

planned to honour the 40th anniversary of the Meares Island Declaration.

“There were so many dates in 1984,” said Enns. “Moses educated me and said the culmination of it all was Nov. 21, 1984; that was the day a peaceful standoff took place at Tsis-a-Kis Bay. There was another big one on Oct. 20, 1984, where the Cedar Man was brought to the lawns of the LegislationAssembly in Victoria.”

Enns, who is the president of the IISAAK OLAM Foundation and founder of the Naa’Waya’Sum Gardens in Tofino,

plans to reenact the historical day by bringing two new cedar welcome figures carved by Joe and Carl Martin to the B.C. parliament buildings on October 20, 2024.

“Meares Island Tribal Park really captured the imagination of an international audience and brought to the fore, provincially, the mismanagement of the government of the day of our forest resources,” said Enns. “It’s convoluted and complicated, but what is very simple is we all need clean air and clean water. That’s

what we want to bring to the forefront of the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Meares Island Tribal Park.”

Flash forward to 2024, we see British Columbia and the Government of Canada heavily investing in the Indigenous-led conservation of nature — on Nov. 3, 2023 the First Nations Leadership Council (FNLC) signed a $1 billion funding agreement with the provincial and federal governments to protect and conserve biodiversity, habitats, and species at risk in the province. This “Tripartite FrameworkAgreement on Nature Conservation” (or the FrameworkAgreement) is one of the most significant investment plans in the history of Canada, and is rooted in recognition of First Nations title and rights, according to a news release by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada.

“With this historic agreement, we’re working together and in close partnership with the federal government and First Nations to protect our environment now and ensure we pass this natural inheritance on to our children and grandchildren,” said B.C. Premier David Eby in the media release.

“It’s a breath of fresh air to see Eby committed to (protecting 30 per cent of the planet’s oceans, lands, and freshwaters by 2030) and working with Indigenous people,” said Enns.

As the crowd at Tofino’s Village Green casually dispersed, Friends of Clayoquot Sound packed up their brochures while Maureen Fraser returned to her bakery and Michael Mullin to his bookshop.

“I still hope the work continues,” says Martin, who has since dedicated his life to study and teach Nuu-chah-nulth language.

He went on to offer words of wisdom passed down from his parents:

“Live the language. ʔiisaak is that word that we use for the Law of Respect. It doesn’t matter what you do, you’ve got to do it with respect. Sustainability wasn’t anything new to Indigenous people.”

Plaque unveiled at totem pole on former AIRS site

PortAlberni, BC - Unfinished business was attended to today at the former site of theAlberni Indian Residential School.

For the last 14 years a totem pole has stood at the site, by the entrance to the institution that formerly ran on Tseshaht territory for most of a century. Today a plaque was unveiled to remind people that the pole was erected in honour of Tsaqwasup,Art Thompson, a Ditidaht artist who was among the first former students of the residential school to publicly open up about abuses suffered atAIRS.

“Our brother, our father, had a hard time in this school. He didn’t have very good memories. He used to get beaten a lot here,” saidArt’s brother Jack Thompson at the event, thanking the Tseshaht First Nation for the totem pole and plaque. “I really respect what you’ve done for our people.”

Carved in 55 days by Tseshaht artist Gord Dick with Erich Glendale and Alex Spence, the 23-foot totem pole was raised early in the morning ofApril 29, 2010. Commissioned by the Tseshaht in memory ofArt Thompson, who died in 2003, the pole features a thunderbird at the top, the first female ancestor hold-

ing a drum bearing one of Thompson’s designs and on the bottom a killer whale transforming into a wolf. The pole stands on the site of a holly tree that manyAIRS survivors remember from their time at the institution.

Tseshaht Councillor Les Sam explained that he wanted the plaque to accompany the pole for years. Now the bronze feature has been added with help from Parks Canada funding.

“The pole now is going to have a story put to it,” said Sam of the piece, which recognizesAIRS survivors andArt Thompson in particular. “We honour him for that work he did, leading that charge and bringing justice to the people that attended that school.”

In 1995 Thompson and 17 other male AIRS survivors successfully sued a former dormitory supervisor, the Government of Canada and the United Church of Canada, which ran the residential school. This was the first Indian residential school case to go to trial in Canada.

“The Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the settlement, all those things might not have happened if the people that went to school here didn’t stand up and speak up about what happened,” said Tseshaht Chief Councillor Ken Watts.

May 2, 2024—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 11
Ha-Shilth-Sa archive photo On Oct. 20, 1984 the Cedar Man was brought before the LegislativeAssembly in Victoria to protest the potential logging of Meares Island. Eric Plummer photo Art Thompson was an artist and advocate for residential school survivors. His memory is now recognised on a plaque at a totem pole on the former site of the Alberni Indian Residential School. On the site the main office of the Nuu-chahnulth Tribal Council now stands.

President’s Message

Hello Everyone. April has gone by in a flash and so much is going on everywhere. Hoping all of you are healthy and doing well. Spring has arrived and so did the herring and their eggs. Now it will be sockeye and other salmon.

It was good news for the Nuchatlaht that the court decision came down recently to agree with various areas in their claim area to have aboriginal title. It is a good start for Nucatlaht to have their own title lands. There is still work ahead with B.C. and Nuchatlaht to determine the exact areas where there will be title lands and Nuchatlaht intends to appeal those areas that were not considered title lands. For those Nuu-chah-nulth nations that have inland territories, the court made it clear that those lands should be treated differently than coastal areas. That would need to be clarified. I do know when dealing with forestry in inland areas, it was a big argument with the forestry companies on inland areas and how they should be treated. Congrats to the Nuchatlaht for the win in this case and good luck in determining title lands.

I attended the First Nations Summit gathering via zoom.An election for the treaty commissioners was held and Lydia Hwitsum and Ed John were elected for a two-year term. Unfortunately, Francis Frank was not re-elected though only 30 votes were cast. I know his treaty tables speak highly of him and were disappointed. He has served as a treaty commissioner for 10 years. Our thanks to Francis for all his hard work.

Other topics included the Métis and how they continue to be recognized by government and taking away money from First Nations. They have no land rights, nor rights to hunt, fish or trap, but provinces treat them like they have the same rights as First Nations. Aboriginal title is always advanced as post 1763 after contact and Métis do not meet that criteria. Resolutions passed by the First Nations Summit supported more funding for post secondary education and adult basic education, support for MMIWG2S+ families and survivors and capital funding for for children and families and Jordan’s principle.

There was a lot of excitement in late April when B.C. and Haida announced an agreement where their aboriginal title was recognized and affirmed. Then on Monday,April 22nd the province introduced legislation for first reading to enable the agreement so Haida title would be recognized in B.C. Privately owned lands, federal lands, municipal and regional district lands will continue to B.C. lands. Haida will take over jurisdiction on their lands with their own laws. It will take several years to figure out leases, licenses and tenures on other lands. The BC United got up and announced they would not support the legislation and John Rustad on behalf of the BC Conservatives got up in the legislature and spoke support, but when he got out of the house he started fear mongering and telling mistruths about the proposed law.

NTC Fisheries hosted NationalAAROM meetings at the Hupacasath House of Gathering. People from all over the country attended. AAROM stands for AboriginalAquatic Resources and Ocean Management. It was a meeting for all First Nations across the country who receive funding for working towards co-management of aquatic resources and ocean management. It is for increasing technical and advisory services for First Nations. It was a good turnout and a lot

of good discussions, networking and information sharing.

I attended the B.C. First Nation Justice Conference. The B.C. First Nations Justice Council had their annual forum that was attended by over 500 people. Day 1 was about fixing the current justice system as it is and the Day 2 was about our own inherent laws and systems. The Indigenous Women’s strategy was rolled out and presented. Also a community fund where First Nations can apply for $42,000 per First Nation to do a community justice plan focussed on diversion or a justice programming fund to hire a justice worker. More information was set to come out May 1, 2024 and it would be good if you all applied. It was a really good conference where there were presentations and break-out discussion groups so everyone had a chance to contribute.

The US has now passed a law that museums must connect with First Nations and work to repatriate anything that might belong to us. So far two museums have reached out to us and Ha-ShilthSa ran a story from the Univeristy of California at San Fransico. We now have a beautifully woven purse with grass and designs. I know it is Nuu-chah-nulth but which First Nation or artist I don’t know. I will ask Ha-Shilth-Sa to do another story with its picture. Getting these important artifacts back is important. We’re trying to figure out how we can deal with these requests from museums as we don’t have any staff to do it. If you can identify the artwork due to the style of the work and the designs, please let know. We can then work with museums to get these back to Nuu-chah-ulth.

As you are aware, NTC nations called a state pf emergency for our language. Unfortunately, the federal budget did not come through with the needed money and in fact has cut it in half for the next fiscal year. Making it worse is the division of funds formula that was adopted byAFN. It should not be based on per capita but more on the number of languages. All eyes have been on Ehattesaht as they work with the baby orca, making attempts to lead the baby to sea to join a pod that can help it find food and protect it. We send our strength and prayers to have that orca survive the loss of its mother. Our animal connections are so important to all Nuu-chah-nulth.



ResponsibleAdult Certification

May 6 - 9, 2024

Ehattesaht Health Wing – Zeballos

The NETP is inviting you to become certified in the ResponsibleAdult training. Course content will include introduction to child care, planning for safety and emergencies, promoting good health and nutrition, exploring child development, guiding children’s behavior, planning for play and learning.

&Community Beyond

Please call toll free: 1.833.276.5849 to complete NETP intake or contact: Patrician McDougall patriciamcdougall@ nuuchahnulth.org 250-201-1300

2024 Youth Gathering

July 12-14, 2024

Beach Campout -Anacla

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

Timothy Roy Bird (July 24, 1959April 22, 2024)

Timothy Roy Bird, of Port Hardy, BC, passed from this life on Monday,April 22, 2024, at the age of 64. Tim is survived by his wife, Christy George Bird; his children, Rebekah Daugherty (Sean), Andrew Bird (Kathleen), Emily Shioyama (Kazuhisa), David George, Stephen George, Tyler George, Kelly George, Louie Isaac, Rhyan Isaac, and Shaylene Jacobson; his grandchildren, Benjamin Daugherty, Sarah Daugherty, Olivia Bird, Lucy Bird, Jack Shioyama, Starlitta George-Moon, andAlexander Coon; and many more family and friends. Tim was preceded in death by his parents John “Jack” Bird and Joanne Hadley (nee McDonald) and his son Caiden Bird. Tim was an avid fisherman and hunter who enjoyed sharing these hobbies with his children and friends. He appreciated time with his close friends, Chris “Scooter” Andrews andAndrew “Malong” Dawson, in the backyard and savored freshly caught salmon cooked over the fire. He will be remembered for his generosity and kindness by all those whose lives he impacted during his lifelong presence on the North Island. If you or someone you love is struggling with depression, mental illness, self harm, or thoughts of suicide, please call or text 9-8-8. Support is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Page 12— Ha-Shilth-Sa—May 2, 2024

Employment and Training

May 2, 2024—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 13
Ehattesaht First Nation Job Opportunity

Fresh ingredients and homestyle cooking

When fishing slowed down and money grew scarce, Tatoosh decided it was time to start a new adventure

PortAlberni, BC – Homestyle food that elicits memories of grandma’s kitchen –that’s what Hupacasath’s Tom Tatoosh aims for in his newly launched food truck business, and he is quickly gaining word-of-mouth promotion thanks to his delicious menu offerings.

Besides the standard food truck staples like burgers and fries, Tatoosh offers First Nations favorites like fried bread, fish soup and his cheeky ‘hangover soup’ which he says is a hamburger/vegetable combination. He also offers house chili, hot dogs and homestyle burgers served with a grilled slice of pineapple.

Born and raised in his Hupacasath home in PortAlberni, Tatoosh is a lifelong fisherman and has worked more than 30 years at the Robertson Creek Fish Hatchery. But Tatoosh says that fishing alone hasn’t been cutting it and he was struggling to make ends meet.

“I’m a self-made home cook,” said Tatoosh, adding that he hasn’t had professional training.

He said he began having stomach issues several years ago and had to adjust his diet.

“I had to eat the food my kids grew up on, flavors my belly could handle.”

He loved cooking for his now grown three children and now cooks for his grandchildren.

When fishing slowed down and money grew scarce, Tatoosh decided it was time

to start a new adventure.

“I stopped talking about it and finally did it,” he said.

Tatoosh sources as much of his ingredients locally as possible.

“I buy my potatoes direct from the farmer,” said Tatoosh, adding that its important to make sure he gets large size potatoes to make his fresh-cut fries.

Serving breakfast until 2 p.m., Tom offers full offerings complete with eggs, sausage, hashbrowns and fried bread. Or you can try his blueberry pancakes. The blueberries, Tom says, come from the blueberry fields behind his food truck.

He buys fish from local fishermen that’s frozen until needed.

His weekend special is a spicy stir fry over rice inspired by hisAunty Sadie’s recipe. He calls it chicken DoBo.

“It has flavors like a hot and sour soup without the sour,” said Tatoosh.

Tom loves to hear the rave reviews he’s getting about his food.

“Not bad for a fisherman,” he grins.

Tom’s Kitchen prices are reasonable, but he worries about the rising cost of food.

At this time, he is a cash- only business, but he said everyone likes that the food is tax-free since the business is located on reserve.

Tom’s Kitchen is at 5323 River Road and open from Tuesday to Saturday.

“I open at 10:00 Indian Time and I close precisely at 6,” he laughed.

To see what’s on the menu for dinner, check Tom’s Kitchen on Facebook or Instagram.

Students embellish trash bin with artwork

Two high school students cover trash bin in artwork soon to make its debut in the Port Alberni community

PortAlberni, BC - Every day, over the last few weeks Coda Johnson of Huuay-aht and Rose Tatoosh of Hupacasath have been painting a trash bin with their signature artwork that will soon make its way into the PortAlberni community.

Embellished with bright purples and baby blues, Tatoosh hopes that seeing the trash bin covered with art will make people feel good.

“It makes me feel good, because I’m making other people feel good,” said Tatoosh of the artwork. “Or at least look at [it] and be like, ‘Oh, that’s a cool looking trash can’.”

On either side of the trash bin are Tatoosh’s bright purple space scenes with an astronaut and an alien.

“I chose space,” said Tatoosh. “The focus being an astronaut.”

“I feel like you can’t go wrong with

space,” added the young artist. “It will look good in any setting.”

On the front of the trash bin is Johnson’s artwork, who carefully crafted a forest scene amid a blue sunset.

“I’ve always liked nature and how calming it was for me,” said Johnson, who shared that it was difficult choosing the right colors for the piece.

“She really didn’t give us any design to do, she kind of just let us do our own design on the trash can,” said Johnson, who appreciated the creative freedom in the instructions from their teacher,Anne Ostwald. “We all just kind of went for it.”

Tatoosh, who’s been in this art class since January, said that seeing improvement has been the most fulfilling part of the class, while for Johnson, art has been a calming way to help with struggles.

Though Ostwald is unsure of the location of where the students’bins will go, the young artists were given a deadline for May 10.

Page 14— Ha-Shilth-Sa—May 2, 2024
Denise Titian photo Besides the standard food truck staples like burgers and fries, Tom Tatoosh offers First Nations favorites like fried bread, fish soup and his cheeky ‘hangover soup.’
10:00 pm Phone: 724-3944 E-mail: manager@tseshahtmarket.ca Find us on Facebook
- 7:00 am -
Alexandra Mehl photo Every day, over the last few weeks Coda Johnson of Huu-ay-aht and Rose Tatoosh of Hupacasath have been painting a trash bin with their signature artwork that will soon make its way into the PortAlberni community.

Packed house as Hupacasath hosts elder’s luncheon

No food was left over, as elders came from far and wide to enjoy lunch, games, door prizes and reconnecting

PortAlberni, BC – Hundreds of Vancouver Island elders descended on Port Alberni’s Italian Hall onApril 24 as Hupacasath graciously hosted the first island elders lunch since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Yes, it was crazy insane busy,” said Hupacasaht Youth & Elder Coordinator Carolina Tatoosh. She went to say that she had planned for 350 elders and since their Hupacasath House of Gathering cannot accommodate that many people, they rented the Italian Hall on 6th Avenue.

But even then, it was standing room only. “The coordinators are supposed to tell how many elders are coming but that didn’t happen,” said Tatoosh. Following lunch, she reminded the guests that it is important to let the host community know how many are coming so that they can make sure there’s enough food and seats for everyone.

Tattoosh said there is a monthly Elders’ Society meeting and they had an idea of how many would be coming to the Hupacasath based on information that came out of that meeting. But the luncheons are popular and when you add those that showed up after hearing through the grapevine about the event – well, there were a lot of elders in the Italian Hall that day.

Fortunately, Tatoosh had the help of Tom’s Food Truck, who helped out with soup and 100 pieces of fried bread. There was also other soups, sandwiches, shepherd’s pie and dessert.

“There were four people that came out when they could, to help,” said Tatoosh.

She was grateful to the helpers from other communities that pitched in to help out and she thanks them all.

All in all, the elders had a great time socializing with old friends and family.

Following lunch they took part in games like like Name that Tune and were happy to go home with door prizes

May 2, 2024—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 15
Denise Titian photos Elders packed the Italian Hall in PortAlberni onApril 24 as the Hupacasath First Nation hosted a gathering, featuring a complimentary lunch. GeraldineAllwork enjoys a meal at the Italian Hall in PortAlberni for an elders gathering hosted by the Hupacasath First Nation onApril 24. Sharean van Volsen, Buddy Hamilton and Rodney Sayers sing during the elders lunch. Mike Lambert (in black) and Collen Peters (centre) collect a meal with others at PortAlberni’s Italian Hall.
Page 16— Ha-Shilth-Sa—May 2, 2024

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