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Father cycles 255 grueling kilometres to heal Hesquiaht man cycles across Vancouver Island in honour of his daughter, who he lost to suicide in December By Melissa Renwick Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Duncan, BC - At 3:30 a.m. on April 23, Thomas Ambrose’s closest family and friends gathered outside his house in Duncan to pray. Ambrose’s father, Vince, led the prayer asking for strength. His soft voice penetrated the morning’s silence, fuelling Ambrose for the day ahead. After stocking up on protein and water, Ambrose set out on a 255-kilometre bikeride to Long Beach, near Toﬁno. It was a trip he had been planning with his 15-year-old daughter, Edie Kanute. But after Kanute tragically lost her life to suicide on Dec. 3, Ambrose decided to do the bike ride in her honour instead. The Hesquiaht man still keeps the new bicycle he had bought for Kanute prominently displayed in his living room. “It really makes my heart feel sad,” he said, thinking about how he never had the chance to see her use it. Despite training four days a week for months, Ambrose said the bike ride was “grueling.” And there were moments he said he didn’t think he’d make it. “I really prayed,” he said. “I would say, ‘I know you’re with me Edie. I need your strength. I need your help.’” Whenever pain crept into his knees or calves, Ambrose recalled being ﬂooded with thoughts of his daughter. “There’s nothing I could do except pray,” he said. “That’s the only thing I could think about – praying to my daughter.” Ambrose’s father, Vince, his two nephews, Tristan and Marcus Malone, along with his friend, Roger Charlie, supported him by riding stretches of the journey alongside him. “This bike journey really helped my son to keep moving forward,” said Vince. “To[wards] healing [and] accepting his loss. He’s a very strong person to take this on.” The family unit was “broken” by the residential school system, said Vince. “It’s really hard to pull families back together,” he said. “Sometimes it takes a great loss to do that.” Between 2011 and 2016, the suicide rate among Indigenous peoples in Canada was three times higher than that of non-Indigenous populations, according to Statistics Canada. Suicide rates were highest among youth aged 15 to 24, the agency reported. “High rates of suicide among First Nations people, Métis and Inuit has been suggested to be the result of historical and intergenerational trauma experienced
Photo submitted by Thomas Ambrose
Thomas Ambrose bike rides from Duncan to Long Beach on April 23 in honour of his late daughter, Edie Kanute.
Edie Kanute as a result of colonization and on-going marginalization,” a 2019 Statistics Canada report said. To honour his late-daughter and raise suicide awareness, Ambrose said he plans on making the “Wish you were here, Edie,” bike ride an annual event. Every year that it’s held, Vince said he will be by his son’s side. “This was a family aﬀair,” said Vince. “But there are other families out there who have suﬀered loss from suicide. We welcome anybody who wants to join in on an annual bike ride to bring suicide awareness.” Vince said he’s struggled to cope with the loss of his granddaughter. “I was just starting to connect with her,” he said, adding that he wished he had more time. When Vince thinks about Kanute, he proudly recalls the bond that she shared with her father. “Every time my son got up to walk
Inside this issue... Policing needs change, says committee..........................Page 2 Nuchatlaht court battle continues...................................Page 5 Nurses remain tied to communities........................Pages 8 & 9 Kidney screening resumes after pandemic halt............Page 10 Five nations transition into crab ﬁshery........................Page 14
somewhere, she got up and walked right behind him or beside him,” Vince said. “I saw how close [they were.]” During the 14-hour long healing journey, Ambrose’s sister Leah Malone supported by driving her vehicle along the route with supplies. “It’s an honour to be able to stand with [my brother] and support him in a healthy way in his grieving process,” she said. “It also helped me realize that I’m working to deal with my own grief and how to navigate through that healthily. It is a gigantic step forward to able to even discuss suicide.” Leah said suicide isn’t openly spoken about because elders and chiefs were taught not to talk about it. “It was learned that you don’t speak [about suicide],” she said. “There were no coping skills to be able to talk and deal with suicide.” There’s a “stigma” around it, so it’s “hush-hushed” and swept “under the rug,” Leah said. “You don’t know what someone is going through unless you have those open lines of communication,” she said. For everyone’s health and wellbeing, Leah said that it’s “extremely important” to be able to openly talk about suicide. When Leah thinks about her niece, she remembers her curious spirit. “She exuded positive energy – innocent, positive energy,” she said. “She had a lot to look forward to.” As Ambrose and his supporters arrived at Esowista at the end of their bike ride around 7 p.m., they were greeted by around 30 members from the Tla-o-quiaht First Nation who welcomed them to their territory.
Elmer Frank was among them. Traditionally, the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation councillor said, Nuu-chah-nulth communities would hold each other up and help those grieving from loss. “I wanted to personally acknowledge [Thomas],” he said. “He really showed his strength of wanting to continue on in his life to uphold his other children, his family, and move towards healing and raising awareness that suicide in communities can be so hurtful.” The traditional greeting from Tla-o-quiaht was a “highlight” for Vince. “To go back home with that in our hearts … that was the happy part of it,” he said. “When we embarked on the bike ride, it was more of a personal healing journey. And then it picked up steam and turned into something bigger than we expected.” While Ambrose said his daughter wasn’t there physically, she was with him spiritually. The outline of her eyes and smile were visible in the clouds, he said. Ambrose often thinks back to his last conversation with Kanute. It was only a couple of hours before she passed. “I didn’t know,” he said. “I wish I could have reached out to her.” The annual “Wish you were here, Edie” bike ride is Ambrose’s way of continuing to reach out to his daughter – to hold her up, and create a space to talk about suicide. “Just because somebody is happy doesn’t mean they’re not going through depression,” he said. “Make sure that you’re checking on people – talk to them. Lend them a hand. Because behind the scenes, they might be crying.”
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Policing needs ‘transformative change’: Commi•ee Report recommends reforming British Columbia’s Police Act due to the public’s ‘lack of trust’ in the service By Melissa Renwick Local Journalism Initiative Reporter The Special Committee on Reforming the Police Act released a report with 11 recommendations to transform law enforcement and community safety on April 28. Over the past 15 months, the committee gathered input from 411 organizations and individuals who presented and wrote to the group during a public consultation period. Meanwhile, more than 1,400 British Columbians provided input about their experiences and perspectives on policing through a survey. The committee was appointed by the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia amidst “increasingly widespread awareness of systemic racism in policing, demand for improved police accountability, and questions about the appropriateness of police responses to mental health, addictions, and other complex social issues,” according to the report. Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council (NTC) President Judith Sayers and NTC VicePresent Mariah Charleson were among those given 15 minutes to present their recommendations to the committee. Sayers said the short time allotment did not accommodate the “scale” of the issues being discussed. “We tried to make as many recommendations [as we could],” said Sayers. “And to let the [committee] know how much our communities have been impacted.” Sayers said 53 Nuu-chah-nulth women have been murdered or died under suspicious circumstances, and two remain missing.
“It would have been nice to have been a greater part of the committee and their recommendations,” she said. “It would feel more like [it was] Indigenous-led.” Over the course of the committee’s consultation, the report said it became clear that the Police Act is “not meeting the needs of British Columbians, and that transformative change is required.” “British Columbians highlighted signiﬁcant challenges in the structure and delivery of police services, which have contributed to a lack of trust in these services,” Committee Chair Doug Routley said in a release. “The committee’s report outlines a new vision of policing and community safety rooted in decolonization, anti-racism, community and accountability.” The committee’s ﬁrst recommendation was to implement a new Community Safety and Policing Act, which includes “ensuring Indigenous peoples and nations, and municipal governments, are engaged in the drafting of the legislation.” Sayers questioned the role Indigenous leaders will actually play amending the act. “As I see it, we’re allowed to look at the legislation – we sign non-disclosure agreements – we make comments on it, but we don’t have ﬁnal approval,” said Sayers. “I’d like to see [Indigenous peoples] have better involvement in that legislative process.” Meanwhile, the BC First Nations Justice Council (BCFNJC), the First Nations Summit, the BC Assembly of First Nations and the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs “applauded” the work of the committee in a news release.
Judith Sayers “It is promising to see the special committee recognize that police must play a central role in supporting diversion of Indigenous people from the criminal justice system,” the release read. BCFNJC Chair Doug White said that B.C. needs to adopt its own police force, similar to Ontario and Quebec. “When policing began, the RCMP was created to control Indigenous people and that story line has never changed,” he said. “When the province contracts with the RCMP to operate as B.C.’s provincial police force, they are delegating too much authority and control away.” The report’s recommendations, which outline a “less harmful and more appropriate and respectful approach to policing for our people,” are in alignment with the BC First Nations Justice Strategy, White added. Conversely, Sayers said she’s “not convinced that replacing the RCMP with a B.C. police force is the answer.” “It’s not enough,” she said. “We’re ask-
ing for trauma-informed teams to be going in and replacing some of the RCMP roles – policing roles.” In response to the report, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth said the recommendations “echo our government’s belief that everyone deserves equal treatment by the police.” “This has not always been the case for many Indigenous, Black and other people of colour,” he said in a release. “Public trust requires that the delivery of police services is fair, equitable and responsive to all British Columbians.” Farnworth said the ministry will be discussing the recommendations with Indigenous partners, community advocacy organizations, health groups, and police oversight bodies to meet the new vision for the Police Act beginning in late-summer. “Policing is the subject of attention across Canada, and there are numerous national conversations occurring about policing reform,” he said. “We are dedicated to creating a safer, more inclusive B.C., and the report and its recommendations will help us achieve our goal of eliminating inequity and advancing enduring reconciliation.” Sayers said the report includes “some great ideas” around decolonization, antiracism and accountability. But, she said, “actual implementation” of those ideas is often “glossed over.” While the report might have the “greatest of intentions,” Sayers said “I’m not convinced that the B.C. government has got it down pat yet on how to work with Indigenous people.”
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Old growth summit stresses management over proﬁts Huu-ay-aht expect old trees in its territory to increase through forestry practicing ‘more of a healthy balance’ By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Anacla, BC - As the province undergoes a transition in the management of old growth forests, the importance of territorial stewardship over logging proﬁts was stressed during the Anacla Old Growth Summit on April 28. This was the message from the hosting Huu-ay-aht, who held the summit for over 100 who ventured to the First Nation’s village in Barkley sound, next to Bamﬁeld. Among the opening statements was a message from Tayii Ḥaw̓ił ƛiišin, Derek Peters, who emphasized the need to preserve his nation’s resources amid economic demands. “We’re going to need our territory to sustain us, as it’s done for thousands of years,” said ƛiišin before an audience that included forestry professionals as well as oﬃcials from various levels of government and First Nations. In recent years the First Nation has claimed a growing stake in forestry, which now accounts for 60-75 per cent of annual revenue generated by the Huuay-aht Group of Businesses. Last year the Huu-ay-aht-owned Huumis Ventures acquired a 35 per cent share of tenure over Tree Farm Licence 44, a large section of Crown land on southwestern Vancouver Island that partly covers the First Nation’s territory. The number of Huu-ay-aht citizens working in forestry has grown to 44 from two in 1995. But despite the treaty nation’s focus on forestry, plans are for the Huu-ay-aht to be less reliant on harvesting proﬁts in the future as more opportunity unfolds from an improved road currently being surfaced from Port Alberni to Bamﬁeld. “We know that we have to manage it in a very sustainable way,” said Huu-ayaht Chief Councillor Robert Dennis Sr. of forestry resources, noting that a small mill is currently being built at Sarita to explore the viability of processing hemlock. “We’re not afraid to say, for example, if the allowable cut has to be reduced, that’s what it takes to make it a good stewardship plan. We’re willing to look at that.” Dennis noted that on the Huu-ay-aht’s treaty settlement land the annual allowable cut would be about 60,000 cubic metres if this area were under a provincial Crown tenure. “But our [hereditary] chief said, ‘No, we want it at 50’,” said Dennis of the annual
Photo by Eric Plummer
Attendees at the Anacla Old Growth Summit paddle together in a dugout canoe in the House of Huu-ay-aht on April 28. Over 100 people ventured in Anacla for the forestry event. harvest limit. complete ban on the practice isn’t reason- defer logging in Fairy Creek, the traAcross B.C. harvest declines are exable. ditional importance of harvesting old pected over the next three years, amount“It would completely devastate the forgrowth was readily apparent during the ing to a 12 per cent drop from 45 million estry industry and forest communities,” summit in Anacla. The event was held in cubic metres to about 39.5 million, acshe said. the House of Huu-ay-aht, a traditionally cording to projections set by the current Last year saw the largest movement designed coastal First Nation structure provincial budget. of civil disobedience in B.C. history, that features four 30-tonne spruce logs This is due in part to nearly 1.7 million when blockades around the Fairy Creek running the full length of the building’s hectares of old growth forest that has watershed brought nearly 1,200 arrests ceiling. Measuring ﬁve feet in diameter been deferred from harvest, protections since police enforcement began in May. and 130 long, these logs where harvested announced by the provincial government The prospect of logging one of Vancoufrom the Carmanah Valley in Ditidaht that are making their way through consul- ver Island’s last valleys untouched by territory before construction began on the tation with First Nations. industrial logging brought an inﬂux of House of Huu-ay-aht in 1999. As she addressed the old growth summit visitors to Pacheedaht territory to oppose “Forestry encompasses everything,” said via a video link, B.C. Forestry Minister forestry activity. ƛiišin. “Our citizens, they’ve seen the Katrine Conroy called the industry “founBut the Pacheedaht as well as neighdevastation. They’re here and they know dational for our province,” although she bouring Ditidaht and Huu-ay-aht did not what it’s done to our ﬁsheries resources, conceded that things are changing. approve of the logging protests without what it’s done to cedar and harvesting “Logging deferment is a temporary consent from hereditary leadership, leadareas.” measure to prevent irreversible loss while ing the Nuu-chah-nulth nations to issue “What we’re trying to do now, moving we work in partnership with First Nations the Hišuk ma c̕awak declaration in June forward, is create balance,” he added, to develop a long-term approach to old 2021. Meaning “everything is one” in “more of a healthy balance that reﬂects growth management that prioritizes ecoNuu-chah-nulth, this served as a formal our sacred values.” system health and community resiliency,” assertion of territorial authority over the Although the Huu-ay-aht oppose a comshe said. “We also know that healthy for- area. It came with a call for the provincial plete ban on old growth logging, the First ests are critical in the global ﬁght against government to defer all old growth logNation’s plans are predicting the proporclimate change.” ging in the Fairy Creek watershed for two tion of old growth in its territory will With approximately 50,000 people still years, giving the nations time to conduct actually increase over the next generaemployed in forestry, the deferrals were integrated resource management plans for tion as more trees age into the 250-year met with resistance when announced in their respective forest land. Days later the category. November. The province predicted 4,500 province abided. “In 20 to 30 years from now, we’ll actujobs would be lost from the old growth “By working together, I’m willing to ally increase the amount of old growth, protection, leading many to protest the in- make sure that Indigenous peoples are because we’ll be able to control those dustry’s decline at the hands of the NDP full partners in forestry management in stands that are going to get into that government. your traditional territories,” assured Con- old-age category,” said Dennis. “We can While Conroy said that old growth harroy during the old growth summit. go from 33 per cent, to 39 per cent old vesting in unprotected areas has dropped While the three southern Nuu-chahgrowth two or three generations from by 40 per cent in the last ﬁve years, a nulth nations tasked the government to now.”
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Gaming grant beneﬁts First Nations Province announces $74 million for community initiatives after the revenue drops By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Vancouver, BC- Three years ago First Nations across British Columbia celebrated the ﬁrst payment of their newly designated share of the province’s gaming revenue. But as COVID-19 closed casinos the following year gambling proceeds dried up, forcing many Indigenous governments to put their community projects on hold. To make up for lost revenue, on April 21 a one-time $74 million grant was announced by the province, to be distributed to the nearly 200 First Nations currently participating in the agreement. This amount is being dispersed to make up for the revenue shortfall over the ﬁrst year of the COVID-19 pandemic. “The intent of sharing gaming revenues was to ensure that communities have a long-term, stable source of funds to further discretionary community priorities,” said Kathryn Teneese, co-chair of the B.C. First Nations Gaming Commission. “Not more than one year into the revenue-sharing agreement, the COVID-19 pandemic hit and casinos were closed, resulting in a 75 per cent reduction in gaming revenue.” “Like all governments, we recognise that First Nations governments need the same kind of stable, predictable funding to fund their priorities,” said Murray Rankin, minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation. “The purpose of this grant is to ensure that First Nations are not further impacted by the falling gaming revenue caused by COVID-19. It’s about making sure that those who are among the most hardest hit in our province by the pandemic are not left behind during the recovery from the pandemic.” Enacted in 2019 to run for 25 years, the B.C. First Nations Gaming Revenue Limited Partnership provides seven per cent of proceeds to local Indigenous governments, which comes from legal gambling activities such as casinos, lottery tickets and government-authorized sports betting. When it was announced, the partnership was expected to bring from $250,000 to $2 million in annual revenue for each First Nation, depending on its population and remoteness.
Photo by Eric Plummer
Tseshaht Chief Councillor Ken Watts says that the gaming revenue grant will help his First Nation to proceed with a number of community developments that were put on hold over the last two years. The Ministry of Indigenous Relations particular in providing certainty for our and Reconciliation noted that, in many language department.” cases, First Nations were hit particularly “Building a new community centre has hard by the pandemic and the resulting been a dream of many of our members, impacts of its associated restrictions and which this gaming revenue sharing will societal eﬀects. Damage from sumassist in,” he added. mertime forest ﬁres and ﬂoods during With many COVID-19 restrictions torrential rains in late 2021 added to the lifted and casinos open again, revenue for challenges. the First Nations to share is expected to “In many cases, funding intended for rebound to approximately $100 million initiatives such as home construction, annually, said Jay Johnson, lead coorlanguage revitalization and community dinator and chief negotiator of the B.C. improvements has been used to meet imFirst Nations Gaming Commission. mediate daily needs instead,” stated the “What we’ve seen so far is that gaming ministry in a press release. revenue has rebounded signiﬁcantly and The Tseshaht First Nations is cited as we’re looking at similar revenues that an example, which had to scale back or were occurring prior to the pandemic,” cease several community priorities during he said. the pandemic. These include governance All but ﬁve of the 204 First Nations in and policy development, the exploraB.C. have joined the revenue-sharing tion of a tiny home initiative to help with agreement. a housing shortage, a Tseshaht history “There are a couple that have yet to book, development of a multiplex buildmake a decision whether they want to ing for community wellness, providing sign up,” noted Johnson. “The revenue retail space for members as well as lanthat would be designated for those comguage preservation programming. munities is put into trust from being won. “The funding provided through this So that When and if they make a decision grant will see those projects go ahead,” to participate they would receive the full stated the ministry. amount of those revenues for the initial “Today, we’ve been providing services three-year period. After the three-year to our community in health and wellness period, if they’re still not signed on, those activities at a time when they needed it revenues would be distributed back.” the most,” said Tseshaht Chief Councillor Half of the funds are equally divided Ken Watts. “Presently, although we’ve among the participating First Nations, felt the deep impacts of the pandemic on with 40 per cent dispersed on a per-capita the revenue sharing, this announcement basis. The remaining 10 per cent is set will assist our nation in many ways, in aside for remote communities.
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Province continues court ba•le with Nuchatlaht Guidelines for government lawyers speak of avoiding court ba•les like the one that is costing the small nation By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor New directives for the province’s lawyers to avoid court battles with First Nations have hit the Nuchatlaht with bitter irony. One month into the small First Nation’s trial in the B.C. Supreme Court, where the Nuchatlaht seek Aboriginal title over its territory on the northern half of Nootka Island, the provincial government announced a new approach to litigating that better aligns with B.C.’s Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People’s Act. The directives stress the need to avoid lengthy, expensive court battles with First Nations whenever possible. “Meaningful reconciliation is rarely achieved in courtrooms,” stated the directives, which were released April 21. Yet the province will not drop its case against the Nuchatlaht, a court battle ﬁrst launched in early 2017 that has cost the 167-member First Nation millions in ﬁnancial resources, money that could have been used for health and community programs, said Nuchatlaht House Speaker Archie Little. “The most costly part of this is what the Nuchatlaht people have given up,” he said. “It’s been a burden on our people because we’ve given up things that we need.” The province’s litigation directives speak of the need to minimize the costs and complexity of court cases with First Nations, requiring the government to engage early and explore alternative forms of resolution. When asked about the province’s ap-
Photo by Eric Plummer
Nuchatlaht House Speaker Archie Little speaks next to Tyee Ha’wilth Jordan Michael outside the B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on March 21, the opening day of the First Nation’s trial seeking Aboriginal title. proach in the Nuchatlaht case Premier province. “We told them that we’ve got the stipulations of this legislation. DRIPA to be smart enough to sit down and talk, John Horgan said that negotiations did eﬀectively adopts the United Nations but that never happened. We were forced not resolve the issue. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous “[C]ourts are obviously the last recourse into court.” Peoples into provincial law, making Britwhen there’s disagreements,” he said So far Horgan is the only government ish Columbia the ﬁrst province to do so. representative who has commented on the UNDRIP’s article 26 states that, “Indigduring a press conference in late March. case, which went to trial March 21 and “The case in Nuu-chah-nulth territory enous peoples have the right to own, use, that you’re referring to is one that, unfor- is expected to last months. The premier develop and control the lands, territories tunately, couldn’t get resolved without it encouraged journalists to direct questions and resources that they possess by reason ending up in a court room.” to the Ministry of Attorney General, but of traditional ownership or other tradiLittle said that the province did not they are saying nothing. tional occupation or use, as well as those make eﬀorts to negotiate the Aboriginal “This matter is before the courts, and I which they have otherwise acquired.” title claim. will not be commenting on it,” said AtThe province’s new legal directives “We were pushed into a corner where torney General David Eby in a statement require counsel to apply this declaration we had to carry on ﬁghting,” he said sent to Ha-Shilth-Sa. “More generally, to cases involving First Nations, but Nuof the Nuchatlaht’s dealings with the the litigation directives are a formalizachatlaht leaders believe the government is tion of my expectations of the conduct doing this only when it’s convenient. of lawyers in the Ministry of Attorney “Premier Horgan is giving B.C. credit General. They are aimed at supporting for the transformative change that negotiated resolutions, and where that is UNDRIP will bring, yet they have led not possible, they are targeted to minius further away from reconciliation, and mize the complexity and cost of court lack any signs of good faith. Apparently cases.” they need ﬁve more years to talk about The litigation directives state that the implementation,” said Nuchatlaht Tyee attorney general can intervene in a case Ha’wilth Jordan Michael. “There has “that may aﬀect reconciliation,” but it been no show of good faith. The hypocappears that isn’t going to happen in the risy of the provincial government is very Nuchatlaht’s case, according to recent apparent, and needs to be addressed.” court records. Meanwhile, in the B.C. Supreme Court “[T]he Province has considered its the Nuchatlaht’s lawyers have ﬁnished pleading in the context of directives and presenting their evidence; now it’s the at this time we’re not intending amendprovince’s turn as well as Western Forest ments,” said Jeﬀ Echols, who is repreProducts, which holds Crown tenure over senting the provincial government, in an the claim area. At stake is 20,000 hectares April 21 court transcript. of forest on northern Nootka Island, terriSince the Declaration Act, or DRIPA, tory that has been logged for generations was passed through the B.C. legislature at the discretion of companies operating in November 2019, the Nuchatlaht have under B.C.’s Forestry Act. been urging the attorney general to follow
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Page 6— Ha-Shilth-Sa— May 5, 2022
NTC lauches widespread study into COVID vaccine Project aims to tell Nuu-chah-nulth pandemic stories, examining the infection rates and vaccine eﬀectiveness By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Vancouver Island, BC – The Nuuchah-nulth Tribal Council has hired Dr. Roger Boyer, an Anishinabek man from Mississauga, Ontario, to head up a study looking at the eﬀectiveness and safety of COVID-19 vaccines as well as gather stories from Nuu-chah-nulth people about their experiences during the pandemic. “We want to learn what makes us more vulnerable or more resilient, in addition to the COVID-19 vaccine,” said Keiten Brown, NTC Vaccine Study communications coordinator, in a Feb. 3 press release. When the pandemic began in 2020, Indigenous villages took the unprecedented step of closing oﬀ communities. They followed the provincial health oﬃcer’s orders, taking extra precautions – frequent hand washing, mask wearing and even avoiding visits among relatives to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Still, many Nuu-chah-nulth people contracted the virus, suﬀering serious illness and even death in some cases. “The global COVID-19 pandemic has been especially hard on our communities,” wrote NTC Vaccine Study team in a Feb. 3 media statement. “The disruptions of daily life, isolation, added care responsibilities, and many other eﬀects, bring challenges that we are meeting with both old and new practises to stay well,. “While the vaccine helps our bodies to ﬁght infection, the ways we support each other within our families and communities, old and new practices to stay physical, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually well, play an equally important part in protecting us,” they continued. NTC Director of Health Lynette Lucas will supervise the study acting as principal investigator supported by a team of researchers from Simon Fraser University. She said it was about a year ago at an NTC director’s meeting that there was a discussion about the Nuu-chah-nulth experience around the pandemic. “The NTC directors wanted to document the Nuu-chah-nulth experience around the vaccine and the pandemic,” she said. Lucas went on to say that the directors wanted to know how eﬀective the vaccine has been for Nuu-chah-nulth people, how many of them were comfortable taking the vaccine and what guided decisions on whether or not to be vaccinated against COVID-19. According to Lucas, there will be two components to the study. One will be collecting information about COVID-19 infections and immunization experiences for Nuu-chah-nulth people. The other will be the collection of cultural and community information that supported Nuuchah-nulth people and families through the pandemic.
“We will be conducting interviews with individuals and also with multi-generational family groups to get a full picture of what’s happened for all generations,” said Lucas. The NTC Vaccine Study team will invite elders, family groups and community leaders to share their stories about past and present pandemic experiences. The information gathered during the study will help inform the NTC’s health services department on what needs to be done in the future and to support funding applications for health delivery services. Boyer said that the study will allow them to integrate our Indigenous ways of knowledge and bring it into primary health care. For the health component of the study, Nuu-chah-nulth people will be asked to take blood spot tests to identify the number of Nuu-chah-nulth-aht that had previously had COVID-19. In some cases, people can contract COVID-19 and not develop symptoms. Boyer hopes that information gleaned from the study will help them better understand the impacts COVID-19 had on the community and within family groups and how the people coped. “We want to learn from this pandemic and make our people stronger,” he added Lucas and Boyer say that the study will comply with NTC research ethics and OCAP (ownership, control, access and possession) principals of data sovereignty. Boyer and others will begin visiting Nuu-chah-nulth communities in the second week of May, ﬁrst introducing themselves and providing information about the project. “We want people to be very comfortable with the team so they will begin introducing themselves in the next month or so,” said Lucas. The project is expected to take up to 18 months with teams visiting Nuu-chahnulth-aht in the communities and urban areas. People will be hired to collect traditional knowledge throughout the process. They hope that by the end of the project, 5,000 Nuu-chah-nulth-aht of all ages will have participated in the study. Lucas said that people wanting to share information about how people used culture to get through the pandemic are welcome to speak to the team. “It’s important to start trust-building so we will let the community tell us how to earn their trust,” said Boyer. He went on to say that even though he is Indigenous, he doesn’t know the Nuuchah-nulth way and that is important to learn. They will start in Hot Springs Cove in the second week of May. Boyer invites people to contact the team for more information. He can be reached by email at Roger.Boyer@nuuchahnulth. org.
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Photo submitted by Roger Boyer
The Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council has hired Dr. Roger Boyer, an Anishinabek man from Mississauga, Ontario, to head up a study on the eﬀectiveness and safety of COVID-19 vaccines, while gathering stories from Nuu-chah-nulth people about their experiences during the pandemic.
May 5, 2022—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 7
Home care aids ﬁll the gap in remote communities Care aids travel to small communities, helping with mobility challenges, chronic illnesses and acute health care By Karly Blats Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Serving Huu-ay-aht, Ditidaht and Hupacasath, Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council (NTC) home care aids are ﬁlling a gap for isolated communities. The newer home-care program started with just one care aide in September 2020 and grew to three full-time workers and one casual in January of this year. The professionals support elders and their families with managing mobility impairments, chronic illnesses and acute health care needs in their home. “It is really nice to go into isolated communities and give that care, fulﬁll basic care needs, but also have that certain connection - I’m First Nations myself and being able to connect with clients that are familiar with who I am and where I’m from,” said NTC home care aid Kaytlen Lucas. Lucas, who is from Hesquiaht First Nation, began working as a home care worker when she was 19 years old but had been providing aid for her father since she was 17. “My dad had initially fell sick when I was 17 and I spent a lot of time with him in Victoria helping take care of his basic needs, and it just kind of sparked that care-taking part of me that I enjoy,” Lucas said. “I was able to do that same care and aﬀection that I did with my dad to clients that I see and started seeing from the time I was 19.” Lucas said typically communities will contract home care positions to people or organizations in their own community, but with smaller, more isolated places within Huu-ay-aht and Ditidaht territory there is no one available to provide that type of care. The NTC home care aides travel to ﬁll the gap. So far, Lucas said the workload is manageable with four care aids, but like with most health care settings, things can change quickly. “I think right now the workload that we have is okay and we’re handling it, but I think ideally all of us would like to fulﬁll more needs for whoever needs it,” Lucas
Photo by Holly Stocking
Kaytlen Lucas, Gerrelyn Barney, Jeanette Jacobson are home care aids with the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council. said. The best part of the job for Lucas is the companionship she experiences with her clients. “Sitting with somebody and getting to know each diﬀerent personality and each diﬀerent person, ﬁnding their humorous side or their caring side and understanding why somebody is the way they are and saying, ‘Wow, I can really appreciate that about them,’’ Lucas said. Catherine Gislason, NTC clinical nurse leader and acting nursing manager, said the home care program is ﬁlling a need for remote communities.
“The nations control the funding [for their community] and they hire their own people, and often time there’s no one to be had, no one trained, no resources to draw from. It’s not that they can’t aﬀord to run their own [program], it’s just that there is no one [to work],” Gislason said. “The NTC is providing that for these three nations. For Huu-ay-aht and Ditidaht it’s mostly because there’s no one to be had, there’s no one out there.” Gislason said the three full-time care aides rotate travelling to each community so clients get to know each person providing their care. She said for the
moment the care aides have the workload covered, but as the communities are aging and as the nations are showing more need they may add more workers, which they are prepared for. The care aids are trained through a standard provincial curriculum, but Gislason said NTC’s health care professionals differ with their care by providing traumainformed practices. “We’re not in as much of a hurry, it’s not just tasks, it’s people and we’re quite proud of that,” Gislason said.
Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council Kindergarten to Grade 12 Scholarships
APPLICATIONS DUE May 10, 2022 at 12:00PM You can ﬁnd the scholarship application forms at https://nuuchahnulth.org/services/useful-resourcesapplications-forms-policies-agreements
If you have any questions or comments, contact Richard Samuel by email firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 250-724-5757
Page 8— Ha-Shilth-Sa— May 5, 2022
Nurses remain tied to communities despite shortage NTC program runs at 55 per cent staﬃng two years into COVID-19, nurses take on extra duties serving villages By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Port Alberni, BC – Nurses have been called “the backbone of health care,” but more support and recruitment is needed for the profession to overcome increasing workloads and staﬃng shortages. Meanwhile on the west coast of Vancouver Island, the nurses who have shouldered the last two years of a pandemic remain committed to their close relationships with Nuu-chah-nulth communities, despite building stress and fatigue. The worldwide COVID-19 pandemic is being blamed in part for the nation-wide nursing shortage. According to the Canadian Federation of Nurses Union, nurses are burning out in record numbers. “Those left behind work endless shifts and are hanging on by a thread after 22 grueling months on the front lines of an unprecedented pandemic,” said the union in a Feb. 2 statement. “Stress and exhaustion among nurses were reaching record levels even before COVID-19 hit, but now a shocking 94 per cent report symptoms of burnout. The situation has gone from bad to worse – at warp speed.” While the heavy burden that COVID-19 placed on the healthcare system is partly to blame, nurses say that they foresaw the staﬃng shortage long before the pandemic began. “Years of underinvestment. Years of inadequate planning. Years of creeping privatization. Years of weakened or fragmented regulation” is what the Canadian Federation of Nurses Union points to as causes of the current situation. At the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council, the nursing department had 21 full-time and two casual nurses on staﬀ prior to the pandemic. Now, there are only 12 supported by two casual nurses. Acting NTC Nursing Program Manager Catherine Gislason says nurses leave for several reasons. Some took time oﬀ and haven’t come back. Some have moved. Some can’t ﬁnd aﬀordable housing in the communities they serve. “We still do as much as we possibly can,” said Gislason, despite the nursing shortage and elevated level of stress. With fewer NTC nurses on staﬀ, assignments have been modiﬁed to meet the needs in the communities. Some have taken on more communities, and some spend longer periods of time in remote locations to save on travel time. “We got money through First Nations Health Authority for nurses through COVID funding, but we have a hard time keeping nurses,” said Gislason, adding that there’s job vacancies that they just can’t ﬁll. Some nursing job postings have been up for months without response. Gislason says there are outlying communities that don’t have an NTC nurse, like Tsaxana, near Gold River. In order to meet the community’s needs, one nurse has split her duties between Tsaxana, Ehattesaht and Nuchatlaht. The lack of aﬀordable housing also has an impact. This aﬀects those living in and around Toﬁno, Ucluelet and Kyuquot, where there is no aﬀordable housing for nurses. The NTC nursing program pays
Photo submitted by NTC Nursing Department
A team of NTC nurses arrive in Ahousaht in early January 2021 to deliver the ﬁrst doses of COVID-19 vaccine to the remote community. tered nurses working in British Columtheir casual nurses to go back and forth bia. According to information from the to the coastal communities. The casual BC Ministry of Health, the provincial nurses ﬁll in for the full-time positions government committed to invest $96 and they’re being called upon more million over three years to support frequently. expanded education and training for the Gislason says casual nurses are usually health profession’s work force. Since retired professionals who are willing to 2017, the number of registered nurses has ﬁll in where needed. increased by 2, 259. The NTC nurses deliver two types of “Nurses are, indeed, the backbone of care in the communities. Gislason said that the community health health care, but more often than not, their nurses focus on communicable disease prevention like immunizations, education in schools, maternal care, and care for infants. Homecare nurses go to the communities to work with those aﬀected by chronic disease. They provide elder care and help people to be well at home. “They provide assessments for service plans for people that may have diabetes, lung diseases, or for palliative care,” said Gislason. Without the preventative work that homecare nurses do, patients may wait too long to be treated for conditions that would be relatively simple to treat if caught earlier. People with diabetes, for example, may end up facing amputation if they wait too long to get health care. “If they’re not getting that continuity of care they might not get the follow-up care they need. And when that happens, it aﬀects prevention,” said Gislayson. “Communities don’t feel supported, and we need to have that relationship. We like to have that relationship.” On Feb. 20 the provincial government announced that it would fund 602 more nursing seats at post-secondary institutions as part of their StrongerBC Economic Plan. The new seats will be added to about 2,000 existing spots in nursing programs and is being called an investment in the province’s healthcare system. According to their media release, the new funding will support 362 additional registered nursing seats, 40 registered psychiatric nursing spots, 20 nurse practitioners and 180 licensed practical nurses at 17 public post-secondary institutions. There are approximately 40,000 regis-
backs are breaking due to the staﬃng crisis,” said Aman Grewal, president of the BC Nurses’ Union. “We recognize this investment as a step in the right direction…” According to Ian Caplette, director of the NTC’s Education, Training and Social Development, there is one Nuuchah-nulth student enrolled in college and working on her LPN diploma. There are two other Nuu-chah-nulth applicants for nursing programs in the 2022/2023 term – one for LPN diploma and the other for the Bachelor of Science nursing program. “We are open to taking students on practicum and we’ve done it in the past,” said Gislason. If there’s Indigenous people wanting a nursing career, there are post-secondary seats reserved for them, she added. “Our nurses are very dedicated to their communities and will do what they can to serve the people,” she said. “These skilled nurses have the highest standards of care and are some of the best nurses I have ever had the pleasure to work with.” Gislason says despite the stress, the NTC nurses’ hearts are in it, and they will keep doing what they need to in order to take care of the people. “We are hoping that as COVID resolves somehow, more people will be out there applying for work. If it doesn’t, I don’t see it sustainable working at this heightened level of stress,” said Gislason. “We will end up with burnout. We see that already.”
May 5, 2022—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 9
‘A noble profession’: Nurses persist despite pressures BC needs 26,000 additional nurses in nine years, highlighting the urgency for more spots in training schools By Mike Youds Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Nurses highly trained to assist others in crisis suddenly found themselves helping fellow nurses on the dock in Toﬁno one afternoon last fall. Skipper Chris Frank was returning to Toﬁno with passengers from Ahousaht when a ﬂoatplane attempting to land suddenly collided with the Rocky Pass. “We got word that nurses were supposed to be on that boat,” recalled Catherine Gislason, acting nursing manager at NTC. “The boat had two of our nurses aboard,” she added. “They were both hurt. Both had soft-tissue damage and head injuries.” The second ﬂoatplane crash in the busy harbour in a matter of months, it could have been tragic if not for swift action by witnesses nearby. Community nurses who assisted in the crash response knew the victims, Gislason said. “These are their comrades and these people are being brought in on stretchers,” Gislason said. After two diﬃcult years of combatting COVID, a series of accidents in 2021 piled on more stressors for the small nursing team that serves Nuu-chah-nulth communities. The two nurses involved in the harbour collision remain on leave, partly explaining why NTC’s community nursing team is shorthanded, a dozen instead of the usual team of 20. While they have diﬀerent levels of responsibility and their practice encompasses one of the most sparsely populated regions of B.C., far from crowded ERs and acute care centres, community nurses face symptoms common to the profession — fatigue, burnout and anxiety. A nursing shortage complicates matters. Finding housing can be a challenge, but often there simply aren’t nurses available to recruit. “We have a posting up, as we speak, and positions not ﬁlled,” Gislason said. “There is one nurse in the northern region currently serving three First Nations — Mowachaht/Muchalaht, Nuchatlaht and Ehattesaht. Nurses from other areas have been ﬁlling in.”
Photo by Debra Steele
Nurses and health care workers with the Nuu-chah-chah-nulth Tribal Council pose for a photograph after being blanketed in 2017. Nursing across the province is under cumulative eﬀect. … That’s the kind of nurse we have here. strain as the pandemic and overdose “They are tired,” Grewal said. They are dedicated.” crisis, now in its sixth year, drag on. The “Their workload is heavy, and they’re The NTC nursing framework is based problem has grown so severe the B.C. just burned out,” she added. “They had on the relationship they build with Nurses Union has launched a campaign been dealing with staﬀ shortages, but it people, a process that takes time, requirto rally public support for greater meahas just come to a head.” ing more patient-focused care, building sures to address nurses’ mental health. Too often, a work/life balance is misstrust and listening closely. The strain was already showing in ing due to overwork, she said. “That is our basic nursing framework: 2015 when a survey of union members “Our numbers are low, and we need to We nurse the Nuu-chah-nulth way.” found 45 percent reporting high levels be doing more recruitment, but also more Discovery of 215 unmarked graves a of emotional exhaustion. Forty per cent retention,” Grewal said. “We need to year ago at the former Kamloops resiintended to leave their jobs within a year. ﬁnd out why more nurses are leaving the dential school sent shock waves through Seven years later, the ﬁgures are creeping profession.” Indigenous communities. There was a lot higher. The provincial government’s own of emotional trauma triggered for survi“The current situation in our healthlabour market outlook predicts a need vors. Often community nurses are called care system is truly heartbreaking,” said for 26,000 new nurses in the province upon to lend emotional support. BCNU President Aman Grewal. “More by 2031, Grewal noted. Health Minister “Our nurses are the ones that have than three-quarters of nurses have told us Adrian Dix said the province has led the that relationship with people,” Gislason their mental health has worsened during country in registering new nurses and said. Those are hard truths to share, “so the pandemic; and over half have stated invested millions to hire more surgical traumatic, very heavy.” They are seeing their physical health has deteriorated as nurses and long-term care aides. Last “compassion fatigue” among nurses and well.” month, the province announced plans to that can lead to burnout, she said. Grewal said the chronic shortage of streamline certiﬁcation for internationally “We’re trying to take care of ourselves,” nurses in the province, decades in the trained nurses. As well, 602 new nursing Gislason added. “We do access services making, has worsened in the last two seats are being added for training. from mental health staﬀ.” years. In some cases, rural ERs and acute “We are hoping that is in process,” Remarkably, despite the complex care centres have nowhere near enough Grewal said. “We’re looking forward to challenges confronting the profession, staﬀ to properly function. As with the more announcements. That is one ask, nursing still has an allure. There are 800 NTC community nurses, there has been a create more seats and more seats for candidates on a wait list for 139 nursing nurse educators as well. Also, what we seats at UBC. want is mentors.” “It’s the kind of work you can take anyAs it stands, nurse mentors have to do where. You can steer your career in any their mentoring on top of their regular direction you choose,” Gislason said. nursing duties instead of having dediNTC often takes in nursing students cated positions. from UBC doing their practicums. Community nurses diﬀer from those “There are a special few who come out in hospitals and clinics — they have a and say, ‘I just want to do what you’re National Nursing Week unique practice and diﬀerent levels of doing.’ May 5 - 9 2022 responsibility in relation to the commu“The nurses we work with at NTC, once nities they serve — but they have met we get them embedded, they like the similar challenges during the pandemic. work … We all love our jobs; that’s why Travelling to remote communities, some- we’re doing it,” Gislason said. times in adverse weather, is part of the Despite extraordinary demands, they are job description. There are other distincnot seeing a decline in interest. tions, too. There is no fallback support “You would think that’s a deterrent, but even when circumstances may require it. it’s also a calling,” Grewal said. “We’re Certain individuals rise to the challenge. hearing these stories, but there is an Member of Parliment // Courtenay-Alberni “Our nurses are quite passionate about uptick of people wanting to go into the what they do,” said Gislason, who leads profession. You know, it is such a noble Gord.Johns@parl.gc.ca 1-844-620-9924 GordJohns the team. “They are embedded in the profession.” gordjohns.ndp.ca GordJohnsNDP gordjohnsndp communities and will go that extra mile
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Page 10— Ha-Shilth-Sa— May 5, 2022
Kidney screening resumes after pandemic delay Training builds community capacity for assessments, as many have gone without their risk being monitored By Mike Youds Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Port Alberni, BC - Community-based kidney health assessments resume in early May, an early-detection strategy against a disease twice as likely to aﬀect Indigenous people. The screening is part of a preventive health initiative that began two years ago before it was interrupted by the COVID pandemic and travel restrictions. Matilda Atleo, community health promotion worker for Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council (NTC), said three screening sessions are planned so far: May 2 at Port Alberni Friendship Centre, May 3 in Anacla-Bamﬁeld and May 5 at Hupacasath First Nation. “We’re still trying to have more screening as time goes by and things open up,” Atleo said. Research in recent years has reinforced what was long recognized by patients, families and health practitioners: Indigenous Canadians in general have high rates of risk factors for chronic kidney disease (CKD), particularly diabetes. As well, they have higher rates of complications related to CKD, including kidney failure and vascular disease. “Chronic kidney disease is often referred to as a silent disease,” said Catherine Turner, a senior research coordinator with First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) and Indigenous liaison for Can-Solve CKD Network, a patientoriented health research network dedicated to kidney research with a national scope. “An individual can be carrying on throughout life not realizing their kidney health has declined dramatically.” The kidneys are essential to good health, keeping the body in balance. They remove waste, toxins and excess water from the bloodstream through urine. They also make hormones to produce red blood cells and convert Vitamin D so that
it can be absorbed. Kidneys may be resilient. People can lose up to 90 per cent of their kidney function before they notice symptoms. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent people from getting sicker and early detection is key. Turner cited the example of a young woman involved as an Indigenous patient to support the project. She was preparing to compete nationally in her sport, badminton, when required health tests revealed advanced kidney disease. Her kidneys were failing. She has since received a life-saving kidney Photo by Eric Plummer transplant. “That is a prime ex- A kidney screening with nurse Beth Neilson at the Port ample of what can hap- Alberni Friendship Centre in 2020 pen to people without their knowledge,” temporarily halted, but the Kidney Check Turner said. team added a virtual screening option FNHA and the CKD Network are partfor communities willing to try an online nering with the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal program. Council on a Kidney Check program, part Meanwhile, work has continued to of a provincewide initiative to assess the improve program delivery and make health of individuals living in Indigenous screening more accessible, Turner said. communities through blood pressure For a start, Canadian Institutes of Health tests, urine samples, height and weight Research, a federal corporation that funds measurements as well as blood sampling. health and medical research, has granted Factors that contribute to CKD are an additional year of funding to comcomplex, but the goal of the initiative is pensate for the delay. Additional funding straightforward: To establish long-term, would enable community-based screenculturally safe kidney screening and treat- ing to continue well beyond that. ment to reduce kidney failure in Indig“We have applied for another four years enous communities. of funding,” Turner said. “Kidney Check Local screening sessions began in Febis identiﬁed as a priority project.” ruary 2020 in Port Alberni before they One of the purposes of the initiative were abruptly stalled a month later by is to build capacity in rural and remote COVID (although a Tseshaht session was communities, Turner said. Over the past held last fall). In-person visits had to be year, they were able to deliver three dif-
ferent virtual training sessions for nurses already working in communities who are now able to do screening without calling on outside resources. “Through Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council, we’ve trained three registered nurses working with NTC who are now wholly qualiﬁed to deliver point-of-care screening,” she said. The initiative is better equipped now with the addition of another virtual training module for community nurses. A new app is available for calculating an individual’s kidney failure risk equation using blood and urine samples. The equation was developed by Canadian researcher Dr. Navdeep Tangri for predicting the need for dialysis in patients with CKD using routine tests. Turner stresses the importance of patient conﬁdentiality throughout the process. People are assured full control over their results and may withdraw any time they choose. “This is very much a self-determined, community-based, nation-led program,” she said. “Communities determine how they want to deliver it.” Communities are oﬀered three options for screening, including the option of having it provided solely by local health workers, by outside staﬀ or a combination of the two if preferred, she said. Screening takes about 45 minutes. Once the assessment is completed, individuals are presented with their risk, ranging from zero to high, of developing kidney disease over the next ﬁve years. If necessary, they can be referred to a nephrologist for further assessment within a month. The First Nations hosting next week’s screening sessions are booking appointments, Atleo said. As well, people may contact her at 250-720-6141 to ensure the sessions have suﬃcient numbers to proceed.
Phrase of the week: Hišukniš c’aawak Mi>h=ii%aknis h=ismis Pronounced ‘Hee shook nis sow walk milth hit uk nish hir s mis’, it means, ‘We are all one, we all have the same color blood’. Supplied by ciisma.
Illustration by Ivy Cargill-Martin
May 5, 2022—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 11
May 9 to 15, 2022
Nursing Week Wiisahii%ap (Keeping Healthy) “Huppiipc>at`” (Helping Each Other) “@a@a>h=%i” (Be comfortable, be well)
Thank You Nuu-chah-nulth Nursing Staff
Page 12— Ha-Shilth-Sa— May 5, 2022
Health Corner Ha Salts Sa! Keeping salt in balance for heart health Salt is essential to our health. This month is hypertension month and a reminder for us to honour the balance of salt and water for our health, by honouring salt. Did you know that our bodies are mostly salt water, close to the same concentration as the ocean? This salt water surrounds our cells, and is in our blood. When we say that the sea runs in our veins, it is true! It is important for our bodies to have a good balance of salt and water. This balance helps us to have good blood pressure, helps our nerves to communicate in the body, and is important for our muscles to contract and relax. Too much of a good thing can be bad for you. And this is true for salt. Most of us consume at least 3,400 mg of salt, which is about 1.5 teaspoons of salt, per day. That is 7 times more than what you need to replace the salt that you lose each day through your sweat. Why is too much salt a problem? Heart attack and stroke. When there is too much salt in our diet, the kidneys have trouble keeping up with taking the salt out of our body to keep the salt/water balance we need for health. This means that the salt builds up. When this happens, the body holds onto water to dilute the salt. This means we have more blood, which means more work for the heart and more pressure on blood vessels. Over time, the extra work for the heart and pressure can stiﬀen blood vessels, leading to high blood pressure, heart attack, or stroke. Heart disease is the No. 1 killer. High blood pressure often leads to heart disease. And you may not know if you have high blood pressure because the symptoms are not always obvious. Almost all of us (90 per cent) are expected to develop high blood pressure over our lifetimes. And you can be more at risk if you are: -older -overweight -Indigenous or black -Have some medical conditions (like diabetes or chronic kidney disease) -Smoke -Are Not active Knowing your blood pressure numbers can help you keep healthy. Blood pressure is measured with two numbers: systolic(the higher number) and diastolic(the lower number) (e.g. 120/80 mmHg): Systolic pressure occurs when your heart contracts Diastolic pressure occurs when your heart relaxes and ﬁlls with blood Ideally, blood pressure should be below 120/80 mmHg. If your blood pressure is more than this, talk to your doctor or nurse. The good news is that eating less salt can reduce your blood pressure and the risk of heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, osteoporosis, stomach cancer and headaches. To eat less salt, it is helpful to know where salt comes from.
About 80% of the salt we eat comes from processed foods, including: -fast foods -restaurant or deli meals -processed meats (like hot dogs and lunch meats) -canned soups -bottled dressings -packaged sauces, soya sauce condiments (like ketchup, pickles) -salty snacks (like potato chips and crackers). For example, pizza is the ultimate salty food. The bread, cold cuts, cheese and canned tomato sauce add up to make it a very salty snack or meal. One slice can have up to 1500mg of salt, a whole days worth of salt! Honouring salt, honours ourselves and each other. Honouring salt means eating only as much as our bodies need or can handle. Aiming for 1500 mg of salt per day is a good way to start that. How do I eat less salt in my diet? 1. Eat less packaged, prepared or restaurant foods. This is where most of the salt in our diet comes from. 2. Choose fresh foods and foods with no salt added. 3. Enjoy foods that you make at home, cooking from fresh or frozen ingredients. 4. When you buy packaged or prepared foods, check the Nutrition Facts label on food products. Compare diﬀerent products and choose ones with less salt. Look for food products that list sodium as <5% or less (less than 75 mg/serving). When looking at the nutrition label look at the serving size. This example is a one-cup serving (250 ml). If it was in a 355 ml bottle. Most people will drink the whole bottle, not just the one cup! 5. Season your cooking with herbs, salt replacement, spices, lemon juice or vinegar. 6. How we eat teaches our children. If we role model healthy eating, it sets up habits for them and for ourselves! One way to do this could be take salt and salty sauces oﬀ the table so younger family members won’t develop the habit of adding salt. We are used to how salty the foods we eat are now. When we choose to eat less salt, food tastes diﬀerent and sometimes we might crave salt when it is not there. Changing our salt preference can be unlearned. It takes about 6-8 weeks to get used to eating food with much lower quantities of salt, but once it’s done, it’s actually hard to go back and eat some foods because they taste too salty. I love that I am connected to the ocean by the salt in my cells and in my blood. This month I hope you will join me in honouring the salt that ties us to the ocean by using only the salt we need for our bodies to be healthy and eat less salt. This month I am going to be curious when I shop and look at the nutrition labels for salt (sodium). I am shopping with others and teaching them about labels too. I hope you will be curious about salt and ﬁnd one thing to shift in what you eat to honour the ocean around us and in us. -Jen Cody, Registered Dietician
Eric Plummer photo
This spring the Alberni Valley Minor Lacrosse Association is marking its 20th year with a design from a Nuu-chah-nulth artist. Co-founder Larry Ransom (far left) stands with President and co-founder Kelley Fines, artist Geena Haiyupis, Second Vice-President Tyler Boyer and Novice Coast Dennis Bill in the Alberni Valley Multiplex.
Lacrosse club adopts Nuu-chah-nulth logo Marking its 20th year in Port Alberni, organization aims to a•ract youngsters after two years of pandemic By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Port Alberni, BC - Organizers are hoping that what is traditionally known as “the creator’s game” will see more interest among Port Alberni youth now that COVID-19 restrictions are easing. After being held oﬀ for two years due to the pandemic, the Alberni Valley Minor Lacrosse Association is bringing back its spring Novice tournament, with help from a design by a Nuu-chah-nulth artist. The tournament is being held over the weekend on May 6-8 at the Alberni Valley Multiplex for eight and nine-yearolds. Association President Kelly Fines hopes that the event will lure more youth to the sport, after two years of COVID-19 has kept many children indoors. “Today there’s still some parents on the fence about bringing their kids back,” said Fines. “There are kids that have moved on, they’ve found other things, whether it be soccer, video games. It’s going to take a year or two to build our numbers back up.” With participation open to kids aged 4 to 15, approximately 50 are currently enrolled in the sport in Port Alberni. But the association expects involvement to grow if promotion at Haahuupayak or other schools becomes possible in the future. “We weren’t able to go into any of the other schools,” said Fines. “To get it to grow, it’s tough when you can’t get to where they are.” The May tournament will also include a Junior B game on Saturday May 7, showcasing the speed of the Oceanside and Saanich teams.
“There’s no gliding in lacrosse,” said Tyler Boyer, the association’s second vice-president, of the running game. “It’s team building, it’s getting out and meeting new friends. You’re running, which is good exercise,” added Fines. This will be the 20th anniversary of organized lacrosse returning to the Alberni Valley, which was started by co-founders Fines and Larry Ransom when the Multiplex opened in 2002. “When I was a child playing lacrosse here, I think I was about 15 and lacrosse folded from lack of volunteers,” recalled Fines. “Then when the Multiplex opened up 20 years ago, Larry and myself got together to see if lacrosse would ﬂy again... We had 100 kids that ﬁrst year.” To help mark the occasion, Geena Haiyupis made a design incorporating salmon and lacrosse sticks. The logo will be printed on T-shirts provided to each of the tournament’s participants. “The cycle of the salmon is really huge for all the First Nations, but not just the First Nations,” said Haiyupis, who is a member of the Hesquiaht First Nation. “The cycle of salmon is the whole life cycle for everybody.” “I sent her pictures of the history of lacrosse,” said Novice Coach Dennis Bill. “She took the most memorable sticks to utilize.” Lacrosse originated from First Nations in central Canada, ﬁrst documented when a Jesuit missionary watched Huron playing the game in 1637. Mohawk, Algonquin and other tribes in the region were also known to play the game before colonization, often involving several hundreds of players on a ﬁeld.
May 5, 2022—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 13
Employment Opportunities 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
More job postings at www.hashilthsa.com Including: Interviewer - Ahousaht First Nation Social Worker - NTC Child and Youth Mental Health Counsellor - NTC Indigeous Wellness Coordinator - Ucluelet First Nation
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Nations transition into a growing share of crab ﬁshery NCN work with experienced harvesters, after DFO set reallocations without consulting commercial ﬁshers By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Toﬁno, BC- One year after a favourable court ruling, changes are underway to give Nuu-chah-nulth ﬁshers a role in the crab ﬁshery near Toﬁno - but help from existing commercial operators has been necessary for the transition into an expensive and potentially dangerous industry. In late November the ﬁve nations of Ahousaht, Hesquiaht, Ehattesaht/Chinehkint, Mowachaht/Muchalaht and Tlao-qui-aht received a surprising piece of news from Fisheries and Oceans Canada. The nations’ stake in the Area E crab ﬁshery oﬀ of Toﬁno was to be increased to half of trap allocations near the shore, with 25 per cent of traps oﬀshore. This represents a transformational change in the nations’ commercial access to the shellﬁsh in the area; before this re-allocation licences had been limited to one held by the Nuu-chah-nulth Seafood Development Corporation and two owned by Ahousaht, with just one of them being used in the First Nation’s territory. The re-allocation was guided by a decision released by the B.C. Court of Appeal in April 2021, which found that Canada’s management of commercial ﬁsheries had unjustiﬁably infringed on the Nuu-chahnulth nations’ right to harvest commercially in Area E. This ruling was the end of a multi-trial legal battle that was launched in 2003. “It’s an opportunity,” said Wickaninnish, Cliﬀ Atleo, Ahousaht’s lead negotiator, of the re-allocation of crab licences. “One of the things I’m always grateful for is how the decision included all aquatic species.” Atleo expects that crab ﬁshing will provide a supplementary income for Nuuchah-nulth-aht who enter the industry. “I think it’s going to be a side thing originally, because we’re coming into it when gas prices have never been higher,” he said. “Just to make a living I think you’ve got to have way more traps than we’re being allocated.” Not everyone is happy with these changes, as the re-allocation is aﬀecting the 30-some boats that currently ﬁsh for crab in the area. Jason Voong is president of the B.C. Crab Fishers’ Association. On Dec. 23 he was informed by DFO that his group would be losing allocations in the commercial industry, a decision that was made without any input from crab ﬁshers. “I don’t understand why DFO didn’t come to the association, or at least form a better plan on how to best implement the
Photo by Lacey Adams
A total of 1,317 traps have been allocated to ﬁshers from ﬁve Nuu-chah-nulth nations, with more expected to be permitted next year for the Toﬁno crab ﬁshery. Pictured are dungeness crab caught in Sydney Inlet. ﬁve nations’ right to ﬁsh alongside us,” said Voong, who has been busy working the traps he still has since ﬁshing began on April 1. “It’s been a lot more diﬃcult to ﬁsh eﬃciently because I can only cover so much ground with the traps that I’m allowed to ﬁsh,” he added. “Starting in April I’ve just been breaking even.” The current limitations are part of a decline in the industry Voong has seen since his father moved from Vietnam to ﬁsh a generation ago. “When my father ﬁrst came to ﬁsh in Toﬁno we were allowed to ﬁsh 175, almost 200 inshore,” he said of the crab traps. “Now we’re all the way down to 37. It’s been tough.” As opportunities shrink for the commercial boats, DFO has oﬀered to buy licences, with an approaching deadline of May 13 for this voluntary retirement. Although Voong is seeing many of his peers leave the business, he doesn’t believe a fair market value is being oﬀered for the licences. “The issue is DFO doesn’t use up-todate market research,” he said. “They’re using data from 2020 and so much has changed in the last two years. Fuel has gone up, bait has gone up. All of these things need to be considered when the government buys back a licence.” Voong said the current rate oﬀered by DFO for a crab licence is approximately $32,000 a foot, meaning the typical
20-foot crabbing boat used for inshore waters would bring around $640,000. But he has seen licences change hands for much more recently. “A couple of months ago there were two boats here that sold for at least $50,000 a foot,” said Voong. Although the crab licence reallocation has brought opportunity for the ﬁve nations to explore in their territorial waters, they too are frustrated with the federal department’s reluctance to engage with those reliant on the resource. “More consultation in advance of the announcement would have allowed all harvesters to better prepare for the transition to a ﬁshery in which the nations have their rightful place, and the industry could have made informed choices well in advance of their ﬁshing seasons,” reads a statement from the ﬁve nations on April 13. The Nuu-chah-nulth nations stressed their commitment to working with commercial crab ﬁshers to “jointly advise DFO on issues and areas of concern” near Toﬁno. This year the licence changes have been gradually phased in, with approximately 30 per cent of traps going to the Nuu-chah-nulth boats, with half of Area E’s allocations expected to go to the ﬁve nations in 2023. “This year it hasn’t been cut in half just yet,” said Voong. “The ﬁve nations agreed to phase in trap reallocation instead of taking 50 per cent away from us
right oﬀ the bat. They were nice enough to help us out and only took away 30 per cent for this year because they don’t have the infrastructure set up yet for their ﬁshery.” Fishing oﬀshore is particularly demanding, as the Paciﬁc’s waters require larger boats that the Nuu-chah-nulth nations don’t yet have access to. “The weather out there is pretty rough,” said Voong, noting that currently only 1015 boats are equipped for these waters. “For us ﬁshermen here, we only get about 30-40 days to work oﬀshore because the weather is just not nice.” Atleo said that the Nuu-chah-nulth nations plan to be able to ﬁsh for oﬀshore crab in the future. As the area transitions to give Nuu-chah-nulth a place in the crab industry, the nations’ ﬁshers are being mentored by the experienced commercial harvesters. This shows a “commitment to reconciliation” after DFO policies pushed the Nuu-chah-nulth out of the industry years ago, stated the ﬁve nations. “We wanted to sit down and talk with them about the management of crab,” said Atleo. “Like everything else it’s been poorly managed, by that I mean we now have crab traps outside [oﬀshore], they never used to be outside. The reason they’re outside is crab ﬁshers from the Fraser River got shifted into our area, because their ﬁshery has been poorly managed.”
May 5, 2022—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 15
‘Am I allowed to wear that?’ Appropriation discussed Talk delves into what is considered sacred, repatriation and reviving Indigenous designs, crafts and materials By Karly Blats Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Port Alberni, BC - Those looking to better understand cultural appropriation and what is sacred to Indigenous peoples will have the opportunity to hear a presentation on the subject by Hupacasath First Nation woman Jolleen Dick on May 18. Dick, whose traditional name is suuwayaqawilth which means “somebody that holds something precious for safe keeping,” is a council member for the Hupacasath First Nation and works in the tourism industry on Vancouver Island. She is a bead artist creating Indigenous jewellery inspired by her great grandma. Dick brings her ancestors teachings and values into all of her work, which is about connecting with people and building relationships. Her design practice draws inspiration from her maternal grandmother, who was a renowned seamstress, and her maternal great-grandmother who was a basket weaver. Dick pulls designs created by them both to produce contemporary beadwork. Topics that will be discussed during Dick’s presentation include understanding what is sacred to Indigenous peoples and why you can’t wear certain items, understanding that purchasing authentic works is appreciation, authentic design work and theft of design work, repatriation and reviving Indigenous designs, crafts and materials. “There is always room to continue understanding Nuu-chah-nulth peoples, our art, culture and experiences,” Dick said. “There is room for appreciation without appropriating designs by Indigenous peoples.” Dick said it’s important to host a pre-
Photo submitted by Jolleen Dick
Jolleen Dick, Hupacasath First Nation woman, will be presenting to the pubic on understanding cultural appropriation and appreciation at Echo Centre on May 18. derstanding of the teachings that go into sentation on cultural appropriation and main misconceptions around cultural creating and why authenticity matters. appreciation because typically, people appropriation. One being that people are “Theft of our materials and culture has don’t have the opportunity to explore purchasing products that they think are these topics publicly and “often they rise Indigenous but haven’t done the research been on-going since contact and we can disrupt that cycle by appreciating authenduring conﬂict and there are polarizing to check the authenticity. tic Indigenous-made products and experidebates that happen in the wrong time “Another is people play it safe and may ences,” she said. and place.” choose not to purchase an IndigenousThe presentation: “Am I allowed to “Bringing people along for the learnmade item thinking that only Indigenous wear that? Understanding cultural appreing journey in public sets the stage to people can wear designs,” Dick said. “At ciation and cultural appropriation” will reduce and mitigate the uncomfortable times this can be confused with weartake place in the Dogwood Room at Echo discussions that happen in the heat of the ing sacred regalia, which is generally Centre on May 18 at 7 p.m. There is no moment,” Dick said. “It’s about learning oﬀ limits for use and wear outside of cost to attend. but also unlearning harmful ideas of what ceremony.” cultural appreciation is.” Dick hopes people in attendance walk Dick said she believes there are two away from the presentation with an un-
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Ahousaht Monday to Thursday
Ditidaht Tuesday and Thursday
Kyuquot/Cheklesaht Every other week
Nuchahtlaht/Eha is TBA
Tla-o-qui-aht Monday to Thursday
Toquaht 2 Wednesdays a month
Tsaxana Tuesday to Wednesday
Tseshaht Monday and Thursday
Ahousaht Monday to Thursday
Hupacasath Monday to Friday
Kyuquot/Cheklesaht Every other week
Nuchahtlaht/Eha is TBA
Tla-o-qui-aht Monday to Thursday
Toquaht 2 Wednesdays a month
Tseshaht Monday to Friday
WCGH 7 days a week