INTERESTING NEWS Canada’s Oldest First Nations Newspaper - Serving Nuu-chah-nulth-aht since 1974 Canadian Publications Mail Product Vol. 47 - No. 21—November 5, 2020 haas^i>sa Sales Agreement No. 40047776
Couple seeks apologies after facing sudden racism Slurs progress to an assault outside Victoria restaurant, leading Nubo to host a fundraising dinner to reconcile By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Victoria, BC – It was supposed to be a quiet date night at a favorite sushi restaurant but things turned sour when an Ahousaht couple heard racial slurs being hurled in their direction by a party of three seated nearby. “We had a lot of exciting things happen so we went out to celebrate,” said Herb Dick, 38. The couple went to dinner that Wednesday night, Oct. 21. Their two young daughters were going to join their parents but decided to stay home at the last minute. Nubo restaurant was one of their favorites and the couple enjoyed its upbeat vibe. “It’s usually lively, people laughing, but there was a diﬀerent kind of energy there that day,” said Dick. There seemed to be tension in the air which he and his ﬁancé didn’t know why. The restaurant was full with about 30 patrons, including some drinking at the nearby bar. “I am hard of hearing, and my ﬁancé gave me a funny look; she asked, you can’t hear that?” said Dick, whose ﬁancé told him they were being called “savages.” Seated at the bar were two Asian males and a Caucasian female, drinking alcohol. Dick said they were being loud and obnoxious and it became clear why there was tension in the air that night. “My ﬁancé was getting irritated, saying that she can hear them talking about us,” said Dick. Dick wanted to give them the beneﬁt of the doubt, telling himself that maybe they weren’t talking about them; maybe there’s some sort of misunderstanding. Herb noticed that the males appeared to be staﬀ, with restaurant logos on their hats. He called out to them, “I said, ‘What’s up, man?’.” According to Dick, one the men ﬂexed and then got up to approach the couple. But restaurant staﬀ intervened and escorted the intoxicated man to the back. It appeared the unpleasant incident was over but things were about to get worse. When the couple left the restaurant, Dick was met with a ﬁst when he rounded the corner to get to his car. “He was waiting outside with three other males and he threw a punch,” said Dick, who managed to block the punch with his elbow. He recalled that a female server came out of the restaurant right behind them. Dick said the three males attempted to
Herb Dick faced racist slurs and an assault at a Victoria restaurant in October. pull the assailant away toward back of the restaurant. “He was still chirping oﬀ,” said Dick. In the commotion, the couple could not get to their car. Feeling cornered and outnumbered, Dick was afraid for the safety of his ﬁancé. But then something amazing happened. A bystander carrying a bag of groceries saw what was going on. “He threw his groceries down and said, ‘I got you bud’,” Dick recalled. The assailant gave up and everyone walked away. Grateful for the support of the stranger, Dick said he wished that he had gotten his name. “That’s the type of stuﬀ that we should be writing about,” said Dick, adding that the man saw someone in trouble and jumped in to help. “He de-escalated the situation.” Shaken, the couple debated about what to do. “In our old ways, we are taught to be quiet,” said Dick. He noted that he suﬀers from racism on a regular basis and sometimes it doesn’t seem worth it to report incidents like this. “The torment comes when people don’t necessarily believe what you are saying,” said Dick. “I felt oﬀended, hurt, scared for my wife.” They called the police that evening, not having much faith that it would do any good. “There’s not too much trust there; we wonder how they’re going to perceive it,” said Dick.
Inside this issue... COVID case at Alberni school...................................Page 3 Land-based ﬁsh farm looks to expand........................Page 6 Changing the tide of justice for First Nations........Pages 8-9 Shelter protest turns into homeless camp.................Page 11 Tla-o-qui-aht elder tells a story of resilience............Page 15
But the police took it seriously and followed up with the restaurant. Bowen Osoko of the Victoria Police Department conﬁrmed that they have a ﬁle on the incident, stating that initially they were called by for a disturbance at the restaurant as the incident was happening. “An oﬃcer attended a restaurant in the 700 block of Pandora Avenue just before 9 p.m. for a report of disturbance,” Osoko stated in an email. “When the oﬃcer arrived, he learned that the person who called had already departed, but he spoke with staﬀ and witnesses about what had occurred and spoke with the complainant a few minutes later.” Nubo Group operates four restaurants in Victoria. Dissatisﬁed with the restaurant’s lack of response to the attack on their customers, Dick and his family took to social media. The post gave a brief description of what happened and noted that the restaurant was not taking responsibility. “A few people responded to the post,” said Dick. Some wrote Google reviews for the restaurant and some wrote negative posts on the restaurant’s Facebook page but they were getting deleted as fast as they were going up. “They eventually blocked me from the page,” said Dick. Anton Ihl is Nubo’s Manager of Marketing, Sales and Business Development. He admits that it took him longer that he would have liked to reach out to Dick. Besides working in the restaurant until 11
p.m., Ihl has taken on construction work to bring in extra income since the pandemic has taken its toll on the business. Ihl says that he was unaware anything happened until he saw the negative posts going up on the restaurant’s social media pages. “They were saying Nubo is racist, don’t go to Nubo…I wanted to talk to the victim and get to the bottom of it,” said Ihl. “I told him what happened and he listened,” said Dick. “I told him how it feels to be First Nations and how we face racism regularly; and he said he heard me, he understands.” In his ﬁrst contact with the restaurant owner, Dick said he was oﬀered $200. “I told him it’s not about the money, it’s about situation that happened. It was disrespectful; I told him I want change, I don’t want this to happen to anyone else,” he added. Ihl went to work, writing a public apology to Dick and his ﬁancé which was posted on their Nubo Restaurant and Bar Facebook page. “On behalf of the Nubo Group we would like to formally apologize for the events that took place on October 21st. As a restaurant we failed to protect our guests from a patron who has since been banned at all of our locations,” reads the apology. Ihl says that the attacker was not a restaurant employee but was a friend of one of the kitchen staﬀ and was wearing a restaurant hat. He conﬁrms that the man was intoxicated and was eventually cut oﬀ by the restaurant bartender. He regrets that Dick and his ﬁancé suffered this experience in his restaurant. “Racism is something we do not condone and will not tolerate,” said Ihl. In addition to the public apology, Ihl has established an event at the restaurant on Nov. 18. We’re all Human – Celebrate Diversity, will be an educational fundraiser. Dick will be the guest of honour and has been invited to speak about his experiences. He will be allowed to invite guests. Dick works with the homeless and underprivileged. He asked that something be done to help the needy. In response, the restaurant is hosting a community clothing drive in honor of Herbie Dick. “This is one of my favorite spots,” said Dick of Nubo Kitchen & Bar. “The only thing that made it diﬀerent was this person.” Dick is pleased with the company response. “They are accepting responsibility and are making changes,” he noted.
If undeliverable, please return to: Ha-Shilth-Sa P.O. Box 1383, Port Alberni, B.C. V9Y 7M2
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Unmarked graves of veterans to receive headstones The initiative would serve a World War II veteran from Ahousaht who is buried in Victoria without recognition By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Canada – There are more than 20 known Nuu-chah-nulth veterans that fought in world wars. Many of them were laid to rest in unmarked graves. “Since 1909, the Last Post Fund’s mission is to ensure that no veteran is denied a digniﬁed funeral and burial, as well as a military gravestone, due to insuﬃcient funds at time of death,” reads information from Last Post Fund. The Last Post Fund in partnership with Veterans Aﬀairs Canada have launched the Indigenous Veterans Initiative, which will work to provide grave markers to Indigenous veterans deceased more than ﬁve years. If their graves don’t have markers, the Last Post Fund will pay for a marker. In addition, the initiative will support surviving family members wishing to alter an existing grave marker to include traditional names of Indigenous veterans. “(The Indigenous Veteran’s Initiative) of the Last Post Fund National Oﬃce that is consistent with the Canadian government’s eﬀorts towards advancing reconciliation and renewing the relationship with Indigenous peoples based on the recognition of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership,” according to information supplied by Indigenous Veterans Initiative. Indigenous Program Coordinator Maria Trujillo is seeking out family or community members of veterans that may qualify for this program. Both of these components require research and support from members of Indigenous communities throughout Canada. Mercena Jones’ father, Phillip Louie of Ahousaht, served in World War II. He passed away more than two decades ago and was buried in an unmarked grave in a large cemetery in Victoria, BC. It is place more easily accessible to his children and many grandchildren. Jones was pleased to hear of the initiative to honour war veterans like her father. When asked how she would feel to have a marker placed on her father’s grave she said, “Oh gosh…he’d be honoured…I’d feel honoured too; he was special.” In order to have a military marker
Tim Paul Sr. of Hesquiaht First Nation was a World War II veteran. placed on her father’s grave, Jones and her Louie siblings will need to contact the Indigenous veterans program to provide information so that they can be matched to Canadian military records. Families of Indigenous veterans must provide the name of their veteran, date of birth and death along with the location of burial. Trujillo says the process of conﬁrming military service takes a few weeks. “Once we ﬁnd it, I will ask you if you would like us to place a tombstone for him and will send an example. You have a choice for the symbol on the tombstone as well,” she told Ha-Shilth-Sa. The second service that the IVI provides is the inscription of the Indigenous veteran’s traditional name on an existing tombstone previously placed by the Last Post Fund. In the past year IVI has located 68 unmarked graves of Indigenous veterans and plans are in place to deliver 36 headstones. More than 12,000 Indigenous people have served in the Canadian Armed Forces.
On Nov. 11, 2020 we remember Nuu-chah-nulth war veterans: Jack (John) Watts, Tseshaht Frank Williams, Checklesaht/Ahousaht Tim Paul Sr., Hesquiaht Earl Maquinna George, Ahousaht Edward Clutesi, Tseshaht Ramona Gus, Tseshaht Phillip Louie Sr, Ahousaht John Jacobson, Ahousaht George Clutesi Jr, Tseshaht Tom Gus, Tseshaht Fred Gus, Tseshaht Danny Gus, Tseshaht Angus Campbell, World War II veteran Phillip Louie of Ahousaht. Ahousaht Thomas Jones, Ahousaht Nuu-chah-nulth Frank Charlie, Tla-o-qui-aht M. Amos, Hesquiaht Luke Mahone, Ditidaht J. George, Hesquiaht George Hamilton, Hupacasath Andrew Webster Sr., Theodore George, Ahousaht.
November 5, 2020—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 3
COVID-19 case reported at Alberni elementary school Port and Campbell River are the island’s only two communities to announce cases in schools since September By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Port Alberni, BC – A second Port Alberni public school reported a conﬁrmed COVID-19 case, raising concerns about the safety of schools during the pandemic. School District 70 Paciﬁc Rim, issued a news release Oct. 22, notifying the public that the district learned of a conﬁrmed COVID-19 case in an individual at Wood Elementary School. The person last attended the school on Monday, Oct. 19. “Public health staﬀ then initiated contact tracing to identify any individuals needing to self-isolate or self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms,” according to the release. It goes on to say that all contact tracing was completed on the evening of Oct. 21 and a general notiﬁcation to the school community was issued at that time. “If you have not received a phone call from public health oﬃcials, please continue to attend school and monitor for COVID-19 symptoms as per [B.C. Centre for Disease Control] guidelines noted in the daily health check form,” the news release says. The afternoon of Thursday, Oct. 22 was a bright, cool crisp one and students were out playing on the lawn and playground. Most adults and children had masks dangling around their necks but two adults and one child were wearing them. By this time, anyone notiﬁed about possibly being exposed to COVID-19 was self-
Photo by Denise Titian
The conﬁrmed COVID-19 case at Wood Elementary is the second reported at a Port Alberni school since classes began in September. that if you or your child have been identicontact tracing is initiated to determine isolating at home. ﬁed as a COVID-19 positive case or close how the individual was infected and who The Wood Elementary School is the contact, Island Health will contact you they were in close contact with. Next, second school in Port Alberni to have directly and provide further instruction. they identify and notify close contacts someone test positive for the novel coroIsland Health advises parents to alwho may be at an increased risk, and adnavirus. In mid-September an individual ways monitor yourself and your child vise them to self-isolate for 14 days and at Alberni District Secondary School for symptoms of COVID-19. Further, if monitor for symptoms. tested positive for the virus. In addiyour child’s school has been notiﬁed of “Only public health nurses and medical tion, another individual tested positive an exposure, no action is required unless health oﬃcers determine who is a close at Carihi Secondary School in Campbell contact,” Island Health states, adding that you are contacted by Public Health or are River on Sept.28. These are the only otherwise directed by school oﬃcials. three public schools on Vancouver Island learning groups, friends or other connecFor more information about which having positive cases since the start of the tions may not be determined to be a close schools on Vancouver Island has had contact. school year in September. conﬁrmed COVID-19 cases visit https:// For parents concerned that their child Island Health follows a strict protocol www.islandhealth.ca/learn-about-health/ may have come in contact with an inwhen they receive a positive COVID-19 fected person, Island Health assures them covid-19/exposures-schools test result. According to their website,
Mowachaht/Muchalaht restrict access on highway By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Gold River, BC - The Mowachaht/ Muchalaht plan to restrict access on the highway south of Gold River, after negotiations with Western Forest Products for use of the road crossing through the First Nation’s reserve land have stalled. The announcement came Tuesday, Oct. 28 in a statement from the Mowachaht/ Muchalaht, who watched Highway 28 extend through its Ahaminaquus Indian Reserve No. 12 more than 50 years ago without the First Nation’s consent. The council of chiefs are “tired of watching their natural resources trucked illegally across their reserve,” reads a press release issued by the First Nation, who are based in Tsaxana near Gold River. The access restriction, which is expected to begin in the coming days, only applies to Western Forest Products. “At this time, the public and small business owners and their clients will have access to the road,” said Mowachaht/ Muchalaht Lands Manager Dorothy Hunt in an email. “The restricted access is for WFP and their logging trucks.” Highway 28 runs south of Gold River, and is the route for forestry operators to transport to a log sorting facility on Muchalaht Inlet, where barges loaded with the region’s timber are headed overseas. “Like other businesses in the area, Western has relied upon the classiﬁcation of the road as a provincial highway to invest in the region,” said the forestry company in a statement sent to Ha-Shilth-Sa. “Highway 28 is a critical artery in the Gold River community, not just for Western, its employees and contractors, but also for community members, many of
Mowachaht/Muchalaht members restricted Western Forest Products’ access to Highway 28 south of Gold River in the summer of 2019, an action the First Nation announced it would repeat in late October due to the highway’s trespass over reserve land. whom use the road daily to travel to and negotiate a road-use agreement with conversations,” stated the ministry. from work in various industries operating Western that would bring compensation This latest road restriction follows a in the area.” from 2005 onwards. The forestry comsimilar measure taken by the First NaThe First Nation calls the continued use pany came back with an oﬀer to pay for tion in July 2019, during the ﬁrst few of Highway 28 a trespass, citing a secthe last two years, and the next 10. weeks of a strike aﬀecting Western Forest tion of Canada’s Indian Act which says, “We are committed to continuing to Products’ employees and contractors that “reserves are held by Her Majesty for the work in good faith to achieve a fair stretched into early 2020. use and beneﬁt of the respective band for resolution for everyone,” stated Western, The conﬂict dates back to the 1970s, which they were set apart.” noting that it seeks clarity on the provinwhen a protest by the First Nation at the “Imagine that you had a multi-national cial government’s position. same site resulted in nine arrests. company trespass with impunity across B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation and “As one of the Hereditary Chiefs of our your lands, without ever having a license Infrastructure is encouraging discussions nation I have always wanted our people to do so, in furtherance of its own enrich- between the two parties to ﬁnd a resoluto be successful, have good lives and proment, and with no beneﬁt to you,” said tion. vide for their families,” said Maquinna. Tyee Ha’wilth Mike Maquinna in a state“The Ministry of Transportation and In- “The Chief’s responsibility includes manment from the First Nation. “This is the frastructure has been engaging in discusaging the resources within our Traditional reality MMFN lives every day.” sions with the MMFN around IR12 and Territory and to ensure our jurisdiction Hunt said that the nation worked to will continue to move forward with these over our reserve lands is respected.”
Page 4— Ha-Shilth-Sa—November 5, 2020 Ha-Shilth-Sa newspaper is published by the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council for distribution to the members of the NTC-member First Nations, as well as other interested groups and individuals. Information and original work contained in this newspaper is protected by copyright and may not be reproduced without written permission from: Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council P.O. Box 1383, Port Alberni, B.C. V9Y 7M2. Telephone: (250) 724-5757 Fax: (250) 723-0463 Web page: www.hashilthsa.com facebook: Hashilthsa Ntc
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Paving is complete along the ʔapsčiik t̓ašii multi-use pathway by Long Beach in the Paciﬁc Rim National Park Reserve.
Paving %apsc^iik t~ašii nearing completion By Melissa Renwick Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Long Beach, BC - Parks Canada is making progress building ʔapsčiik t̓ašii (pronounced ups-cheek ta-shee), the multi-use pathway that extends between Toﬁno and Ucluelet. With most of the pathway is now paved, Parks Canada is moving forward by installing rest areas, safety signage, line painting and designing cultural elements in collaboration with the Elders Working Group. Consisting of elders from both Tla-oqui-aht First Nation and Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ, the Elders Working Group is assisting Parks Canada to develop “the visitor experience plan” for Nuu-chah-nulth cultural interpretation along the pathway. While the process is evolving, Parks Canada said that the Elders Working Group has emphasized a desire to see to their territory and Nuu-chah-nulth principles acknowledged. Trilingual signage and text panels will
feature these histories, along with place names, where English and French will follow Nuu-chah-nulth. Levi Martin, one of the Tla-o-qui-aht representatives involved with working group, helped name the trail, which means “going the right direction on the path.” It was an obvious choice for Martin, who feels encouraged by Parks Canada’s willingness to collaborate with First Nations. “[Parks Canada] wanted to make sure that things were done in a good way to make sure that we didn’t do any harm to the land or to nature,” said Martin. “We’re starting to work together and once we start to work together, then we’re going the right way.” Completion for the $51.1 million project remains on target for March 2022. “While work is progressing well and on schedule, a completion date of 2022 allows Parks Canada to accommodate for the unique conditions and requirements of undertaking the ʔapsčiik t̓ašii build-
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ing in this location in the national park reserve,” said a Parks Canada spokesperson. “This includes environmental protection, such as respecting the nesting period for migratory birds, minimizing disruption to visitors, where possible, and working with the challenges presented by wet conditions common in this coastal region. Additionally, this will allow time for Parks Canada to work with local First Nations groups within the national park reserve to identify and act on potential short- and long-term economic beneﬁts.” More trees will be felled to support the project on Nov. 3, on the west side of Highway 4, north of Green Point Campground. To pay their respects, Martin will be performing a chant and providing an oﬀering, “calling on the ancestors to be with us and to make sure that things get done right and with honour.” By honouring the fallen trees, Martin said that it will ensure the “spirit of the tree goes into the ground and will always come back.”
Ha-Shilth-Sa belongs to every Nuu-chah-nulth person including those who have passed on, and those who are not yet born. A community 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 email@example.com. This year is Ha-Shilth-Sa’s 46th year of serving the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations. We look forward to your continued input and support. Kleco! Kleco!
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November 5, 2020—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 5
Nation fears logging trucks put water system at risk Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k’tles7et’h’ wants more oversight of forestry in their territory to protect local utility systems By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Kyuquot, BC - A forestry company’s need to haul timber out of areas harvested earlier this year has raised concern with the Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k’tles7et’h’ First Nations, who fear that logging trucks on a utility road could put a remote community’s water system at risk. Correspondence between the First Nation and Interfor show an urgency for the forestry company to move wood down the Clanninick Forest Service Road to meet monthly barging commitments for the timber to be sent overseas. The old-growth cedar was harvested in March and messages from Interfor show a need to move the wood before it gets eaten by pests. Located on Crown land within Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k’tles7et’h’ territory, Interfor holds a permit to use the road, but the First Nation has a utility right of way on the Clanninick. Over the road run power lines supplying electricity to pump water from wells, and underneath lies a six-inch pipe supplying water to the remote community of Houpsitas. At four metres wide - or less in some spots - with power poles close to the soft shoulders, the First Nation believes that in its current state the Clanninck cannot support the trucks Interfor would be using to transport the timber. “The use of oﬀ-highway trucks loaded with timber and large forestry equipment puts KCFN’s water system at risk,” said Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k’tles7et’h’ Chief Administrative Oﬃcer Cynthia Blackstone in an email to Ha-Shilth-Sa. “The powerlines that potentially can be impacted by the equipment supply power to KCFN’s water system.” Through a partnership between Indigenous and North Aﬀairs Canada and the Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k’tles7et’h’ First Nations, the Clanninick was built in the late 1990s for access to the northwestern Vancouver Island First Nation’s water system. Sam Roger, the First Nation’s manager of capital assets, said that the road was never built to handle oﬀ-highway logging trucks, as provincial regulations require power poles to be three metres oﬀ an FSR’s shoulder. “It’s tight getting an oﬀ-highway truck past them,” he said of the First Nation’s power poles. “If they go out, they lose water.” In its early years plans to upgrade the road for logging trucks weren’t fulﬁlled. “At that time, Interfor and the ministry had based their approval of the utility on the road being haulable,” said Roger.
A log processor and other forestry equipment were seen being transported up the Clanninick Forest Service Road near Kyuquot on Oct. 20, causing alarm from the First Nation that the activity could harm utilities under and over the road. “That never happened.” communication.” utilities, forestry remains an important In 2019 a deal was being developed “Interfor took responsibility and imindustry for the First Nation. FCFN Forbetween the First Nation and Interfor to mediate action to correct the operational estry LP generates revenue from logging ﬁnally improve a winding two-kilometre breakdown, including signiﬁcant changes and works with Interfor. section of the road, but this has yet to to personnel,” said the company. “Interfor “One the key ways of strengthening happen. The First Nation estimates this to has ceased use of this road for the time our voice and participating in the forest cost $675,000. being to allow for further discussions and activities in our area is to form part“The agreement, still under negotiation, to ensure full alignment going forward on nerships with forest companies,” said contemplates an arrangement with Interthe upgrade of the road and future moveBlackstone. “On a more immediate level, for covering the cost of this upgrade,” ment of equipment.” we will work to ensure the safety of our said the forestry company in an email. Blackstone sees a lack of oversight into community is protected and this means “Conversations with Interfor have forestry operations in Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/ Interfor will need to be prepared to work shown mutual agreement and concern for Che:k’tles7et’h’ territory, and said the na- with KCFN.” the preservation of the utility overhead tion is working to build more capacity for Ralph Friedrich, Interfor’s general and under the FSR,” said Blackstone. monitoring and stewardship of the land. manager, gave an assurance that this will “Activities on the ground provided a difDuring a local state of emergency due to happen. ferent message.” the regular loss of electricity in Houpsi“We have a strong working history in Alarm was raised on Oct. 20, when a log tas, the transport of timber by helicopter the traditional territory and look forward processor and other equipment were seen interfered with the community’s power to continuing our eﬀorts to further our being taken up the road. Roger noted that lines earlier this year. meaningful relationship with KCFNs,” he this goes against a WorksafeBC require“On March 20, 2020 a branch fell from stated. “This means conducting ourselves ment for the owner of a power system to a log being hauled over the line and with integrity and ‘walking the talk’ in provide approval in writing if “limits of caused a power outage during a time everything we do, every day – which approach are not to be maintained” by when we were facing powerline chalincludes the shared use of the Clanninick large vehicles. lenges,” said Blackstone. main line and all our operations in the Interfor responded by ceasing to haul on Although this logging activity could territory.” the road to reassess how the timber can pose a risk to the remote community’s be accessed on the Clanninick, calling the movement of equipment “a breakdown in
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Page 6— Ha-Shilth-Sa—November 5, 2020
Land-based salmon farm acquires more strategic role Kuterra investor looks at major expansion to Vancouver Island’s growing alternative to ocean-based net pens By Mike Youds Ha-Shilth-Sa Contibutor Port McNeill, BC - Nine years after Namgis First Nation established one of the ﬁrst land-based salmon farms of its kind, Kuterra Salmon is on track to prove the technology works, says the company’s CEO. With a 15-year lease signed in February, the north Island First Nation handed over management of its Port McNeil facility to U.S.-based Emergent Holdings LLC, a company with a major stake in the future of North American aquaculture. At full capacity, Kuterra can produce 260 tonnes of Atlantic salmon per year but has to grow six to eight times that amount to reach proﬁtability. Namgis went looking for new investors a few years ago, realizing they lacked the capital to take their enterprise to the next level. “Basically, we ran out of money,” said Garry Ullstrom, who assumed the helm at Kuterra Salmon in 2011 and continues in that role. It was time to bring in a partner with deeper pockets. Building from a capital investment of $10.5 million, the Namgis spent three to ﬁve years developing the closed containment technology known as a recirculation aquaculture system (RAS), encountering various technical challenges in the process. A partial suspension of operations two years ago allowed them to address water treatment issues and upgrades while ﬁsh production continued. Nuu-chah-nulth nations were among early investors, providing a loan through Nuu-chah-nulth Economic Development Corporation that has since been repaid, Ullstrom said. “West coast First Nations supported the Namgis in this very important milestone and they’re grateful,” he said. “The ripples have spread out well.” Last year, Emergent oﬀered to purchase a stake in Kuterra, but a ﬁrst oﬀer was rejected by Namgis council in favour of leasing. Once a deal was reached, Emergent started investing in facility equipment, Ullstrom said. “That’s what the Namgis hoped for,” he added. “The goal has always been to prove this technology works.” Emergent is more than an investment ﬁrm. The company owns Whole Oceans, which is building a state-of-the-art RAS facility in Bucksport, Maine. Kuterra represents a strategic asset, providing technological expertise and a West Coast foothold. The company plans to build facilities that can produce up to 10 per cent of the demand for fresh salmon in the U.S., or at least 50,000 tonnes per year, Ullstrom said. At the same time, other companies around the world are investing heavily in the ﬂedgling industry. Land-based salmon production has doubled this year, totaling 86 projects around the world with a capacity for 1.5 million tonnes annually. Norway’s Atlantic Sapphire is building a massive facility near Miami with the aim of supplying half of U.S. consumption by 2031. Emergent has expansion plans for the West Coast as well. “Emergent is also looking at funding and developing a major site, up to 50,000 metric tonnes per year in B.C., preferably on Vancouver Island,” Ullstrom said. “They hope to close a purchase of a piece of land within the next six months,” though site accessing and permitting would take an additional year.
Kuterra Salmon photo
Kaleb Gowden holds an adult Atlantic salmon raised at the Kuterra facility near Port McNeil. Vancouver Island oﬀers key advantages. Chief among them is social licence and government support, providing investors with greater assurances amid the uncertainties inherent with an industry breaking new ground. Relatively inexpensive power is another one. Energy is one-third of Kuterra’s costs and B.C.’s low-carbon hydroelectric power gets higher points for sustainability, a big plus. The Island’s climate is also advantageous, more so than in Florida, where saltwater is much warmer than an optimal 13 C for ﬁsh culture. Moreover, B.C. has established expertise in aquaculture as well as feed mills and processors already in place. Along with its Port McNeill investment, Emergent has bought Nanaimo-based PR Aqua Engineering, the same ﬁrm that designed Kuterra. While B.C. Salmon Farmers Association has described land-based farming as an option rather than an alternative to oceanbased farming, there is mounting public pressure on the industry to transition from marine environments. On the B.C. coast, much of that pressure comes from First Nations deeply concerned about the impact of open net pen farming on wild salmon. There are limited places in the ocean for aquaculture and there are also increasing concerns about the capacity of marine environments to accommodate aquaculture, Ullstrom noted. “Because of all these things, we ﬁgure there is a real opportunity to build and reach the U.S. market,” he said. Kuterra has faced hurdles while making measured progress with the new technology. “It’s taken three to ﬁve years for us to get the technology to work properly,” Ullstrom said. “We’re growing two crops, ﬁsh and bacteria in a biological ﬁlter.” The operation still lacks a hatchery to complete its production cycle. As well, its well-based supply of saltwater lacks the higher salinity of seawater. To improve water quality, Kuterra is considering building a pipeline from the ocean, but that would require a million-dollar investment. One of the primary beneﬁts of RAS is that it can grow salmon without hormones, antibiotics or pesticides. The
system enables rapid growth. At Kuterra, ﬁsh are raised from smolts to a marketable size within a year. Last week, Emergent reached a long-term agreement with Cermaq Canada for the supply of smolts for Kuterra. “In investigating possible options, it made sense to formalize the purchase of smolts from Cermaq Canada as we have been happy with the quality of the smolts provided, and the overall health, growth and performance of the smolts provided to-date,” said Jacob Bartlett, CEO of Emergent. The agreement extends for three years, providing Kuterra with more than a guaranteed supply.
“It’s extremely signiﬁcant because without smolts Kuterra does not have a business,” Ullstrom said. “This allows us to plan ahead with certainty when stocking the facility.” Having a long-term stable supply also makes Kuterra more attractive as Emergent seeks to bring in more investors. “Globally, there is no question this industry is gaining momentum,” Ullstrom added. “It’s got traction. Billions of dollars around the world are being invested in these facilities. We’re at the start of the development curve and innovations are coming continually just like they did with ocean-based farming 50 years ago.”
November 5, 2020—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 7
Support spreads for Mi’kmaq’s livelihood ﬁshery Tla-o-qui-aht supports the Nova Scotia First Nation, whose struggles with ﬁshing rights ‘intertwine’ with theirs By Melissa Renwick Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Toﬁno, BC - Tensions on Canada’s east coast have been brewing ever since the Sipekne’katik First Nation opened a moderate livelihood lobster ﬁshery outside of the federally regulated season last month in St. Marys Bay. This led to violent backlash from Nova Scotia’s non-Indigenous commercial ﬁshermen, who argue the Aboriginal ﬁshers are threatening their way of life and will negatively impact lobster stocks. “This isn’t about the rights of Indigenous people to ﬁsh,” said Bernie Berry, President of the Coldwater Lobster Association, in a release. “This is about conserving the ﬁshery for everyone – both Indigenous and non-Indigenous ﬁshermen. Unless there is one set of rules driven by conservation of the ﬁshery, Canada’s ﬁshery will be destroyed.» At its current scale, the amount of ﬁshing in the moderate livelihood ﬁshery is “so tiny that it’s really not an issue,” said Tony Charles, acting director of the School of the Environment at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax. “But if it were to grow over time, I think at some point there would be some issue there,” he said. St. Marys Bay is a nursery ground for lobster, making it a particularly sensitive ecosystem, said Charles. “There really has to be some attention to the concentration of ﬁshing activity in what’s actually a fairly small area,” he said. The long-standing battle dates back to 1752, when a treaty was signed between the Mi’kmaq and the governor of Nova Scotia, acknowledging the First Nations’ inherent right to hunt, ﬁsh and trade within their traditional territory. A 1999 Supreme Court decision cemented the ruling, establishing that the Mi’kmaq have a treaty right to hunt, ﬁsh and gather in pursuit of a “moderate
Sipekne’katik First Nation photo
A Mi’kmaq ﬁshing boat heads out into the ocean oﬀ southeastern Nova Scotia, amid ongoing tensions tied to harvesting lobster in the region. The Tla-o-qui-aht and Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council support the East Coast nations in the issue. livelihood.” But what constitutes “moderate” is still up for debate. This fall hundreds of lobster traps have either been destroyed or seized by nonIndigenous ﬁshermen, two Mi’kmaq ﬁshing boats have been set on ﬁre and a ﬁshing pound used by Mi’kmaq in Central West Pubnico was burned to the ground. “These people are in danger,” said Terry Dorward, Tla-o-qui-aht elected councillor and Tribal Parks guardian. “Their communities are threatened with domestic terrorism. There’s boats, there’s vans, there’s infrastructure being torched. There’s people who have been injured and our collective leadership, our Tlao-qui-aht Ha’wiih, have always been supportive of other Indigenous struggles – especially struggles that intertwine with ours.” Ruth Inniss of the Maritime Fishermen’s Union said that she is “mortiﬁed” by
what is going on. “We don’t condone the violence and we don’t condone the burning of buildings,” she said. The tipping point was reached when non-Indigenous ﬁshermen watched “tens of thousands of pounds” of lobster come out of St. Marys Bay in the oﬀ season under the guise of a food, social and ceremonial ﬁshery, she said. “It is, in essence, the buyers that are empowering this,” said Inniss. “The buyers and other people that are willing to buy the ﬁsh and sell the ﬁsh – which is illegal. I think the focus needs to be on the federal government and the buyers that are empowering this illegal activity.” For Dorward, the ongoing conﬂict in Atlantic Canada hits home. “We’re both coastal peoples,” he said. “We continue to have the same frustrations with the federal government when it comes to ﬁshery issues.” It has been 11 years since the BC
Supreme Court recognized the Indigenous rights of Ahousaht, Ehattesaht/ Chinehkint, Hesquiaht, Tla-o-qui-aht and Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nations to catch and sell species harvested within their territories. The ﬁve Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations comprise the T’aaq-wiihak Fisheries, which continues to negotiate with the federal government over disparity in ﬁsh allocations. “We’re seeing the exposure of systemic racism,” said Dan Lewis, executive director of Clayoquot Action. “We have the RCMP standing idly by while violent hate crimes are committed. We see the Mi’kmaq in a situation much like several Nuu-chah-nulth nations here, where the court has recognized their legal right to a commercial ﬁshery and yet, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada refuses to follow through with the allocations that are necessary.” For the ﬁrst time, the moderate livelihood ﬁshery is based on First Nations management plans, which Charles said “could be the most exiting thing that comes out of this whole development. “Of course, the big challenge is, how do those ﬁt in the commercial sector management plans? How do they operate side-by-side? Everybody has got to ﬁgure that out,” he said. A Mi’kmaq solidarity demonstration in Toﬁno was cancelled on Friday, Oct. 23 due to a recently conﬁrmed COVID-19 case in the region. While the community could not physically come together, Tlao-qui-aht First Nation’s support remains strong. “Like the Mi’kmaq, the Tla-o-qui-aht have been displaced,” said Dorward. “We’ve been marginalized, we’ve been dislocated from the ﬁsheries and sometimes it takes being assertive when it comes to title and right. That’s what the Mi’kmaq are doing and we’re going to support them.”
Mowachaht/Muchalaht catch encouraging numbers By Sam Laskaris Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Gold River, BC - Oﬃcials with the Ha’oom Fisheries Society are encouraged by the ﬁshing exploits of Mowachaht/ Muchahaht First Nation members this year. The Toﬁno-based group works with ﬁve Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations to support and facilitate their involvement with various ﬁsheries. In recent years, MMFN members had limited participation with the Conuma River ﬁshery, which opened on July 12 and closed on Sept. 13 this year. During this two-month period, MMFN members reached their allocation of catching 2,777 pieces of chinook in the Conuma River. Reaching the capacity limit this year enabled them to surpass their previous ﬁve-year average by almost a whopping 2,500 percent. Kadin Snook, the ﬁsheries coordinator for the Ha’oom Fisheries Society, said one of the reasons for the MMFN ﬁshing successes this year was because of the locations where members were ﬁshing – they were allowed to ﬁsh close to home. “Muchalat Inlet is geographically closer to the nation,” Snook said. “It’s a much more desirable spot.” Having the proper knowledge of where
to ﬁsh can take some time. “They’re ﬁshing in the right place at the right time,” Snook said. But that’s not the only factor that contributed to the MMFN ﬁshing successes in 2020. “Fish behavior probably plays a role in it as well,” Snook said, adding ﬁsh are residing in shallow areas, making it easier for ﬁshermen to catch them. No doubt MMFN ﬁshermen also beneﬁtted from the fact they are now using newer and more eﬃcient technologies, making it easier to locate and catch ﬁsh. While pleased MMFN ﬁshermen were able to achieve their full allocation this year, Snook said they are still dealing with very limited restrictions. “It could improve signiﬁcantly,” he said. “It’s deﬁnitely a far cry from the allocation I’d like to see.” Besides the MMFN, the Ha’oom Fisheries Society also works with the Ahousaht, Ehattesaht, Hesquiaht and Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations. Even though MMFN members were rather fortunate with their ﬁshing exploits this season, Snook said the Ha’oom Fisheries Society will continue to seek increases in allocation and ﬁght for greater capacity funding so that all ﬁve of its participating Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations can improve their ﬁshing capabilities.
Ha’oom Fisheries Society photo
This summer Mowachaht/Muchalaht ﬁshers caught 2,777 chinook on the Conuma River, an encouraging harvest from meagre returns in the area during recent years. Snook said the eﬀorts of MMFN ﬁsherthem, passing on plenty of ﬁshing advice men this year are proof the society is on and cultural information. the right track with its capacity rebuildSnook was pleased to see a large ing. The fact more MMFN members and number of MMFN members sharing the boats were out on the waters this year is traditional Indigenous practice of ﬁshing also indicative of the fact capacity buildwith their children. ing is working. During a peak this year, “The biggest part of Indigenous ﬁsh15 boats from the MMFN were out on ing culture is sharing it and bringing it to the water, employing 21 people who were new generations,” Snook said. “You are ﬁshing. expecting ﬁshermen for generations and Also noteworthy is the fact many of generations which aligns with the values those who were ﬁshing were bringing of the Nuu-chah-nulth.” their children out onto the boats with
Page 8— Ha-Shilth-Sa—November 5, 2020
Changing the tide of justice for First Nations in C
The Canadian legal system is se•ing many Indigenous people up for failure before they even get a chance, say those working in th By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor With a landslide NDP victory behind him, Premier John Horgan has yet to name the next attorney general. But whoever takes on this critical cabinet position will be faced with an increasingly daunting crisis facing British Columbia: the overrepresentation of Indigenous people being incarcerated. In B.C. First Nations, Métis and Inuit people comprise just 5.9 percent of the population, but as of 2018 this minority accounted for 32 percent of custody admissions in the province. This rate grew from the 22 per cent tracked a decade earlier, and as 43 per cent of youth in custody or under community supervision identify as Indigenous, the statistics are showing signs the trend will continue to climb in the future. Doug White recalls a time in the early 1990s when a rate of around 10 percent led to government declaring that the number of Aboriginal people being sent to jails was a crisis. “We’ve got this very weird dynamic going on in this country, and I think it strikes at the core of the current high-proﬁle issues of systemic racism in Canada that plays out in every major institution of our country,” he said. “It has a pulverizing impact on our families and our people.” As chair of the First Nations Justice Council, White and provincial government representatives announced the B.C. First Nations Justice Strategy in March, days before the COVID-19 pandemic took hold. The strategy aims to change the tide currently sending Indigenous people to jails and prisons. It stresses the need to increase the number of Aboriginal people who work in various roles within the province’s justice system, from police oﬃcers to judges. It also set out a plan for 15 First Nations Justice Centres to open across the province over ﬁve years, which “will uniquely reﬂect the needs and approaches of First Nations in each region,” but the pandemic has stalled the introduction of these facilities. As courts operating under social distancing measures continue to rely heavily on remote connections for appearances, a proposal has been made for virtual justice centres to assist Indigenous people, but this initiative has yet to receive funding, said White.
Snuneymuxw elder Xulsimalt sings during the announcement of the First Nations Justice Strategy in Nanaimo on March 6. The strategy calls for justice system to reduce the growing number of Indigenous people being incarcerated. A ’pipeline’ to jail The justice strategy highlights another growing crisis in B.C. that’s undeniably tied to Indigenous overrepresentation in jails: the number of Aboriginal kids in foster care. Numbers from B.C.’s Ministry of Children and Family Development illustrate the trend since 2002, when 43 per cent of the over 10,000 kids in care were Indigenous. By 2018 children and youth in the foster system had declined to under 7,000 – but the number of Aboriginal kids had not, encompassing 61 percent of those in care. Patricia Barkaskas has seen the eﬀects of
the foster system in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, where she’s the Indigenous Community Legal Clinic’s academic director. “That system ends up being a horrible experience for folks, and often that leads them to engage in activities that they might not otherwise engage in,” said Barkaskas, who is also an associate professor of teaching at the University of British Columbia. “It’s a pipeline to the criminal legal system and jail.” The clinic serves as a training ground for lawyers and oﬀers pro-bono support for those who have fallen through society’s cracks into the early stages of the criminal
justice system. Staﬀ often work with young people collecting minor oﬀences, and try to divert them from an escalating cycle of being at odds with Canada’s law. Barkaskas sees a lack of resources to help Indigenous youth with trauma, posttraumatic stress disorder, the aftereﬀects of abuse in foster homes or dislocation from a home community. Often a judge’s conditions do little to help such underlying issues. “A person who is dealing with all kinds of trauma is not just going to be like, ‘Okay judge, thank you. If somebody offers me a drink I just won’t drink’,” said Barkaskas. “They have ridiculous lists of conditions on them that they cannot adhere to and that nobody else would be expected to adhere to…of course they breach them.” Courts faced with few alternatives
Provincial Judge Alexander Wolf serves Port Alberni and the region’s west coast communities. Growing up in the foster care system himself from the age of two, he has an intimate understanding of the challenges that many of the young people who stand before him in court face. He’s also a member of the Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis First Nation from Gilford Island, which is located North of Vancouver Island. “My mother was a sex worker on the Downtown Eastside,” said Wolf. “I don’t know my siblings, and I don’t know where they would be.” While he was a teenager, Wolf’s mother ended up in Oakalla prison, the same institution that housed people for practic-
November 5, 2020—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 9
tions in Canada
e, say those working in the court system
“In those days you were allowed to have some personal possessions, and a guard the morning of had commented on how pretty her scarf was,” said Wolf. “She thanked the guard and said it was her peace ﬂag. This is what she used.” Now on the other side of the bench, Wolf ﬁnds himself assessing if children at risk should be taken into care. He sees a great need for alternatives to removal, but in some cases the courts are provided with little options from the First Nations the children at stake belong to. “We used to send out a form to one of the bands letting them know that one of the children has been removed,” said Wolf. “We would say that we welcome input, but even to this day I get very little input in the courts, and that’s because there’s sometimes a lack of infrastructure on the receiving side of that form.” “I would rather there be a number of elders here, standing up and saying, ‘We will support this mom or this dad. We will support these children and take care of them until mom and dad are healthy enough to have them back.’ And you have some of that, but there’s probably not enough,” added Wolf. The First Nations Justice Strategy highlighted the need to focus on the plight of females, as statistics show that six of 10 girls incarcerated in B.C. are Aboriginal. “For me, I think the focus needs to be on providing supports to Indigenous women at a young age because the highest incarceration rates now for Indigenous people now are women,” added Wolf. A historic judgement
Eric Plummer photo
ch 6. The strategy calls for an overhaul of B.C.’s
ing potlaches during the Canada-wide ban earlier in the 20th century. “The theory was that she killed someone, then burned the place down to hide the evidence, but the family always believed it was her pimp for a drug deal or debt gone wrong,” recalled Wolf. While awaiting trial his mother was found hanging in her cell, just after being released from solitary conﬁnement.
As a judge, Wolf has the duty to balance the circumstances of the oﬀence with the circumstances of the oﬀender. In 1996 an amendment was made to the Criminal Code of Canada stressing the need for better consideration of alternatives to imprisonment “that are reasonable in the circumstances and consistent with the harm done to victims or to the community should be considered for all oﬀenders, with particular attention to the circumstances of Aboriginal oﬀenders.” Three years later, this amendment was tested by the Supreme Court of Canada with the Gladue decision, which advised that courts should consider an Aboriginal oﬀender’s background in sentencing. This determined the fate of Jamie Tanis Gladue, a 19-year-old Cree woman charged with stabbing her common-law partner to death
David Milward in Nanaimo in a drunken rage for his inﬁdelity. An appeal to the Supreme Court was dismissed, which upheld Gladue’s threeyear sentence. She was released after six months under controlled conditions. The decision from Canada’s highest court noted Canada’s dubious standing as having one of the world’s highest rates of incarceration for industrialized democracies, with 130 inmates per 100,000 people, second to the United States’ 600 per 100,000. “Canada is a world leader in many ﬁelds, particularly in the areas of progressive social policy and human rights,” reads the 1999 decision. “Unfortunately, our country is also distinguished as being a world leader in putting people in prison.” Indian Posse vs. Red Alert Twenty-one years later, it can be diﬃcult to see if such a statement from Canada’s highest court has inﬂuenced a system that increasingly funnels Indigenous people into jails. David Milward is an associate professor at the University of Victoria’s Faculty of Law, who has written extensively on the importance of the Gladue decision. He admits that British Columbia’s courts are still ﬁguring out how to interpret the 1999
decision. “Canadian sentencing law is fundamentally tilted towards deterrence and retribution and expressed through incarceration,” said Milward. “It’s not likely that judges can depart from those kinds of precedents and guidelines.” But in many cases, these precedents are continuing a cycle that does little to rehabilitate a person, argues Milward, who believes that the prison system often teaches someone how to be a better criminal. “Once a person ends up in a federal penitentiary, Indigenous gangs are already waiting at the gates to recruit them into their fold,” he said. “Often you will have Indigenous gangs who are rivals with each other, like Indian Posse or Red Alert or the Manitoba Warriors.” “They’re trying to enlarge their numbers, so they’re pretty much waiting at the gates for recruits,” added Milward. Restorative justice is one alternate to this system of incarceration and reoﬀences, whereby an oﬀender is rehabilitated through a process of reconciliation with the victims and community. Dozens of restorative justice initiatives operate in British Columbia, including in Port Alberni, Gold River and the Chim-an-ah program in Ahousaht. Although some might see this approach as more lenient, the 1999 Gladue decision concluded that this is no necessarily the case. “[I]n our view a sentence focussed on restorative justice is not necessarily a ‘lighter’ punishment,” reads the Supreme Court of Canada judgement. “Some proponents of restorative justice argue that when it is combined with probationary conditions it may in some circumstances impose a greater burden on the oﬀender than a custodial sentence.” With the cost of keeping an inmate in a federal prison estimated to be $115,000 a year, Barkaskas believes that public money could be better spent by returning the authority to individual First Nations to set things right among their oﬀending members. “If we looked at a reallocation of the funding along with a real recognition of Indigenous sovereignty and jurisdiction we, collectively as a society, could come up with all kinds of ways that Indigenous nations could be given the resourcing back to actually implement justice in their own nations,” she said. “Those justice systems worked for thousands and thousands of years.”
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Hesquiaht carver vows language pole will be completed ‘I am going to go the distance and ﬁnish what I started,’ says Tim Paul as he works at Port Alberni’s waterfront By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Port Alberni, BC – The Language Revitalization pole, commissioned by the First Nation Education Foundation, will be completed as a gift to the people, according to Hesquiaht master carver and elder Tim Paul. Original plans for the pole, which was to be a celebration of Aboriginal culture during the 2019 Year of Indigenous Languages, was that it would be raised on the grounds of the University of Victoria. But a series of setbacks forced a change in plans. The 800-year-old dead fall log was a gift from Huu-ay-aht First Nations. The log was trucked from its resting place near Bamﬁeld to the waterfront in Port Alberni, where master carve Tim Paul and his team got to work designing a 70foot pole that will be called hayu?akqin ?aayuushyums, or our ten relatives. But the design had to be modiﬁed after a closer look at the condition of the innermost parts of the log, which had to be hollowed out due to rot. Another problem was a shortfall in funding. The year 2019 was an extremely difﬁcult one for Paul with the loss of his brother in February. The following month his wife Monica was injured; she passed away last October. Paul’s mother passed away less than three weeks later. After taking some much-needed time to mourn his losses, Paul and his team got back to work on a voluntary basis. “I am going to go the distance and ﬁnish what I started,” he said. Paul said it was important to bring the teaching of the grandmothers forward. “The art of giving is the greatest gift in the world and we’re doing it,” said Paul. The pole, with its 10 relatives, speaks to the teachings and values in Nuu-chahnulth culture. There is Sky Chief who oversees all. Other imagery depicted on the pole are sun, wind, thunderbird, Mountain Chief, lakes, land and Sea Chief. “In our culture we are relative to nature; look at what’s happening in the world,” said Paul. He pointed out that there is climate change happening and lessened access to the food resources that Nuu-chah-nulth once enjoyed in abundance. Through the
Photos by Denise Titian
Work is being done voluntarily while material and supplies are running low, but Tim Paul and others are ﬁnishing the carving of a totem pole at Port Alberni’s waterfront. stories on the pole, Paul said he hopes to bring the teachings of the grandmothers forward. “I want to leave a good library of culture for our young people,” said Paul. He said there is rot they must deal with and they hope to make the ﬁnish as clean as possible. “We’re looking more at repairs because it’s so fractured,” said Paul of the cedar log. He credits his team, Josh Prescott, Peter Grant and Stan Lucas for their generous contributions to the project. “Stan, he never stops working,” said Paul of his relative. While the manpower and creative energy is given voluntarily, materials and supplies are running low and there are no funds for that. Paul mentioned that a Hupacasath elder visited the carving site on the weekend and said he would try to round up some donations for the materi-
als. But Paul is not worried about payment for his work. “I’d rather people come to talk to us and look at the pole – it will stand in Port Alberni because we will get it ﬁnished,” he vowed. The pole, said Paul, will be a representation of Nuu-chah-nulth cultural teachings, art and history. Paul said he wants the pole to be a positive thing; something to counteract all the unproper things that Nuu-chah-nulth ancestors endured. “We’re going into a new year and I want to leave something positive,” he said. “I do this art to make people feel good and to make our people happy.” Paul estimates the pole will be complete in the spring of 2021, depending on the weather.
Phrase of the week: Maa>aac^i>%a+is^ hiikwa>%is^ c^u%ic^h=c^i+ Pronounced ‘Ma lah child ish he qwalth alt ish’, this means, ‘It is getting cold now, becasue its almost winter time’. Supplied by ciisma.
Illustration by Ivy Cargill-Martin
November 5, 2020—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 11
Port Alberni shelter protest turns into homeless camp BC Housing commits to third-party review amid allegations against society, which provides housing supports By Karly Blats Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Port Alberni, BC - A protest that began at the Port Alberni shelter on Oct. 23 has turned into a camp for the homeless who have nowhere else to go. The protest was started by Port Alberni’s Graham Hughes, who is calling for an investigation into a broad range of allegations against the Port Alberni Shelter Society (PASS). Several tents remain erected on a grassy area beside the shelter on Eighth Avenue and supporters continue to visit the site to bring food, clothing and support to those now staying there. The protest eventually dissolved because BC Housing has committed to conducting a third-party review into the allegations and concerns towards PASS. Early on the morning of Oct. 30, Hughes was arrested for entering the shelter (Our Home on Eighth) and requesting a bed. Police were called and Hughes was taken into custody. He was charged with mischief but the charges were later dropped. In addition to numerous allegations against the shelter society, which operates the multi-service shelter, a sobering site on Fifth Avenue and a harm reduction facility on Third Avenue, Hughes says he began protesting for justice for his sister. Hughes’ sister Jessica died seven years ago. She was staying at the Port Alberni shelter at the time and when she began experiencing a medical emergency. Hughes says shelter staﬀ were delayed in calling an ambulance. Eventually a staﬀ member did call an ambulance and Jessica was transferred to the ICU. She died ﬁve days later. Hughes said an investigation into his sister’s death never happened and seven years later he only has more questions than answers. “I asked for an investigation into (Jessica’s death) earlier this year. I got an aﬃdavit that was actually evidence of it, but still didn’t hear anything back,” Hughes said outside the shelter on Eighth Avenue last week. Protesters allege that shelter staﬀ have abused their positions in working with the disadvantaged. They are also calling for a list of banned ex-shelter residents to be reviewed and the creation of an appeal process for those who are banned. On a banned list that Hughes was given anonymously, more than 100 names are listed with reasons for being banned that range from sexual assault, violence, threatening staﬀ and drug dealing to being unable to follow rules, clogging a shower, mental health issues or just not being welcome. Some names have “for life” beside them. Wes Hewitt, executive director of the Port Alberni Shelter Society, said himself or the other board members aren’t able to speak to media about the protest or any of the allegations because it’s going to litigation. He did say policies in place at the shelter are per WorkSafeBC standards for the safety of the residents and staﬀ. “I wish we could take everybody but we can’t,” Hewitt said. “We’re working with the city and other partners in the community to try and work something out so that those people are looked after.” Hewitt released a letter last weekend that states the recent conversation surrounding the shelter’s operations have been “disheartening to hear as it does not accurately reﬂect the way in which the PASS conducts its operations.”
Photo by Eric Plummer
Graham Hughes led the protest outside of the Port Alberni Shelter Society’s residential units for over a week. On Friday, Oct. 30 he was arrested and later released. The letter says the PASS cannot comI was there that were dealing with resiour members.” ment publicly on conﬁdential issues as dential school trauma,” Sam said. “You Dick believes what Hughes and the they have contractual agreements with guys need to understand these people are other supporters are asking for isn’t BC Housing and the Vancouver Island coming from a place of trauma, they’re unreasonable. Health Authority. not coming from a place of wanting to “I think the main message that they’re “The Port Alberni Shelter Society’s disrupt.” looking for is transparency, accountabilvalues include no tolerance for insulting, In a City of Port Alberni press release, ity and making sure that all of our vulnerabusive and threatening comments aimed Mayor Sharie Minions says the concerns able people are taken care of,” she said. at an organization or individual,” the expressed against the PASS have dimin“[Mayor Minions] and I have also talked letter states. “We aim to be a model for ished conﬁdence in the service provider about other ways that we can support compassion and acceptance of everyone, in a signiﬁcant way. moving this forward in any way we can regardless of their circumstances.” “We applaud BC Housing for taking to ﬁgure out what exactly is needed.” The shelter provides 30 supportive a leadership role in addressing these After protesting for a week and a half, housing units, 23 emergency beds, one concerns and for their ongoing commitHughes says he thanks Port Alberni city family unit and 15 spaces during extreme ment to providing safe, aﬀordable and council for pushing the BC Housing weather. According to the society’s webaccessible housing to our community’s review forward, but that urgent needs site they also oﬀer a variety of supports homeless and under-housed populations,” for Port Alberni’s homeless population and services that empower individuals Minions said in the release. “In my caremain unmet. towards self-suﬃciency and a sense of pacity as mayor of Port Alberni I commit “[The homeless camp] is not somebelonging within the community. to remaining involved in this matter, to thing that should need to remain but it Shelter resident Ivy Nichols said issues supporting the third-party review and to tragically does need to stay until beds she’s experienced during her two years ensuring that all voices in our community are opened,” Hughes said. “The need for living at Our Home on Eighth include have the opportunity to be heard, espea youth shelter keeps being highlighted a lack of privacy, inadequate access to cially those of our vulnerable populaby the number of youth who show up for medical assistance and resources as well drugs or shelter at the camp. We have tions.” as a strict set of rules. nothing for them yet and it’s soul wrenchIn an emailed statement, BC Housing “They’re very strict and they kick ing to know it’s a growing problem.” said they were aware of the protest at the people in and out all the time,” Nichols A petition has begun to open the old Port Alberni shelter and are monitoring said. shelter facility on Eighth Avenue, just the situation. Although Nichols feels safe living at down the street from Our Home on “We are in regular contact with the Port the shelter, she believes residents aren’t Eighth, to house the homeless who have Alberni Shelter Society and community getting the resources they need to be suc- partners. BC Housing is committed to nowhere to go. cessful in life. Lisa George, homeless advocate and due diligence and following up on all and Resident Uttla Williams from Tseshaht director of operations at Port Alberni’s any allegations and complaints.” has been staying at the shelter for about New Leaf Supportive Housing, said in a Cynthia Dick, chief councillor of the a month. He said he was threatened to be Tseshaht First Nation, said the Tseshaht letter to the City of Port Alberni and other kicked out for washing his shoes in a sink don’t have any say on the operations at service providers that she would like to and walking around in his socks. He also oﬀer her knowledge and ability to work the shelter and that representation from disclosed a lack of privacy and respect collaboratively with any funding agencies the First Nation would be beneﬁcial. for personal belongings by staﬀ members. to facilitate the services required to get “Tseshaht needs to be involved more in A former support worker with PASS, hard-to-house individuals oﬀ the streets. diﬀerent services that are in our territory Alice Sam was working at the old shelter and our main values are taking care of the “I am hopeful this letter can be added to facility on Eighth Avenue about three the agenda and presented at the scheduled people within the territory,” Dick said. years ago and is still concerned with what “We’ve built stronger relationships with (Port Alberni) city council meeting this she saw occur there. the Port Alberni Port Authority, the City upcoming week and further discussion Sam believes some support staﬀ with of Port Alberni and the ACRD and it’s a can be scheduled with myself and some PASS are not trained properly to work matter of making sure that we do have of the advocates of our homeless commuwith people experiencing trauma. voices at the table when decisions are be- nity,” George wrote. “We had so many (clients) in there when ing made that aﬀect our community and
Page 12— Ha-Shilth-Sa—November 5, 2020
President’s message to Nuu-chah-nulth-aht Hello Everyone. Hoping this message ﬁnds you in good health despite the pandemic that is all around us. Hoping as well that you are working hard and preventing COVID from spreading in your home. Your lives are precious. We are just ﬁnished a provincial election though mail in ballots still need to be counted, it will be a majority NDP government. We hope that things will change under a renewed mandate of the NDP government and that there will be ministers that will be able to embrace the vision of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act. Scott Fraser has stepped aside and we thank him for his work, especially for ensuring that gaming revenue sharing was accomplished, which means money coming into our communities every year. The vice president and I have written a letter to Premier John Horgan to lay out our expectations as Nuu-chah-nulth on things we want to achieve in the next little while. This includes more inclusive eﬀorts on any proposed changes to existing laws, working together to eradicate racism, treating us government to government and providing information to us on proximate COVID cases. The NTC, Heiltsuk, and Tsilhqot’in’s application to the Information and Privacy Commissioner is now under consideration by the commissioner and we hope to have his decision soon. We need to know where there are COVID cases. We had our monthly directors meetings this week and the directors expressed the need for new ministers that can work with Nuu-chah-nulth so we can ﬁnd solutions to issues and that they will work to implement their Law, the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (DRIPA) and to work on getting rid of racism in all institutions of government. The directors also discussed a new law that B.C. passed in February. This law allows the minister of education to give every student from pre-school to Grade 12 a personal education number to follow their course through their education and get data on students. The directors likened this to residential school system with numbers they had there. In our letter to the premier we asked that the law on these numbers be repealed and not implemented. All the First Nations organizations have asked for the same. This law was passed without First Nations knowledge or consent while three other laws did not not pass. It’s contrary to the spirit and intent of DRIPA. I attended the Council of Ha’wiih twoday meeting to talk about ﬁsheries. One day is internal and the second day is meeting with DFO. Much was discussed and in particular the state of our salmon which are in crisis. The Ha’wiih asked DFO to work with them to help restore and rehabilitate their territories so that salmon would again return in great numbers as before. They also called on DFO to respect our need for food ﬁsh during the pandemic. No need for licensing, just First Nations ﬁshing to meet their members’ needs both oﬀ and on reserve. The Ha’wiih also want to work with DFO to get rid of racism in the ﬁshery and make positive changes. We saw the racism, hatred and violence with the Mi’kmaw ﬁshery with Sipekne’katik First Nation, who got tired of DFO working with them to deﬁne a
----Job Opportunity---Manager of Lands and Natural Resources Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k’tles7et’h’ First Nations (Kyuquot/Checleseht)(KCFN) is a modern Treaty FirstNation located on the West Coast of Vancouver Island with our settled community inKyuquot/Houpsitas. Approximately 1/3 of our Members live at home. KCFN Department ofLands and Resources is responsible for managing 6300ha of Treaty Lands, and managingKCFN Treaty rights on 149,000 hectares of land territory including 13 river systems and 846kmof shoreline. KCFN has oﬃces in Houpsitas and Campbell River. The Manager of Lands and Natural Resources is responsible for management of land andnatural resources on KCFN Treaty Lands and territories (Hahuulth) within the Department ofLands and Resources. The Manager reports to the Director of Lands and Resources. Key Accountabilities • •
• moderate livelihood, which is their right. They put their own ﬁshing plan in place and went out ﬁshing. We have the same frustrations with the ﬁve nations that won the right to a reasonable livelihood. The minister of ﬁsheries says she doesn’t know what a moderate livelihood is but it seems easy enough to ﬁgure out. They have had 21 years with the Mi’kmaw and 10 years with the ﬁve Nuu-chah-nulth nations to work this out. It is only political unwillingness and the reluctance to let First Nations get ahead in the world that keeps them from resolving this. Tla-oqui-aht chief and council have challenged every Nation to match their $1,000 donation to the Sipekne’katik. So far, we have raised $8,000. Mowachaht/Muchalaht have issued a press release, as they are contemplating a road blockade to Western Forest Products, who use a road through one of their reserves. The road was not properly taken by the province and WFP has been using this road and removing a lot of wood products from the forests in the First Nation’s territory without any compensation for use of the road to Mowachaht. Many First Nations in the province have had roads put through their reserve that were not properly taken and they have been working this out with the province. NTC supports Mowachaht/ Muchalaht in their eﬀorts to resolve this situation. I attended on the computer via zoom a two-day First Nations Summit Meeting. There were a variety of topics covering treaty and other agreements, ﬁsheries, education and old growth. There was also a lot of discussion on things that need to be changed by the provincial government on working with First Nations, especially with their new law in place. Doing our meetings on computer is the new way of doing business. It is how we do our directors meetings. We also have our NTC AGM coming up on November 24th, which we will need to do over the computer. It will not be the same, but it allows us to do the business we have to do. Our theme this year is on the pandemic: Facing New Realities in Old Ways. We will have presenters from the Central Health Authority and address mental health during the pandemic. Dr. Nel Weiman from the FNHA will speak to us. She is Anishnaabe from the Little Grand Rapids First Nation in Manitoba. We will also address the opiod crisis. Wishing all of you the best, take good care of yourself and your families and communities. Take all the precautions you can to stay away from COVID. -Kekinusuqs, Judith Sayers
• • • • • • • • •
• • • •
Manage and administer KCFN lands and resources in accordance with KCFN law andpolicy in the best interests of present and future citizens. Develop systems and policies to implement the Maa-nulth treaty, KCFN law and policydirection including the governance and oversight of activities in KCFN territories and on KCFN Treaty Lands. Development of key land management and environmental protection policies. Management of interests on KCFN Treaty Lands. Management of KCFN interests in lands oﬀ Treaty Lands. Ensure compliance with KCFN, provincial and federal law as applicable. Manage and administer land use planning, zoning and building authorizations. Supervise, train, coach, evaluate and support Department of Lands and Resources staﬀ. Development of responses to resource/cultural/land use engagements. Provide support to other KCFN government departments. Develop programs to implement functions under KCFN law or policy. Participate as a member of the Department of Lands and Resources management team by attending meetings, developing organizational strategic plans and goals, and working cooperatively with other Lands and Resource Management Team members on various projects. Develop funding proposals and negotiate contribution agreements for funding from private, federal and provincial sources. Communicate with community members, various agencies and partners. Perform duties and responsibilities as assigned under KCFN law. Carry out additional tasks as directed by the Director in relation to lands and/or naturalresources.
Education and Experience •
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Bachelor’s degree in natural resource management, biology, forestry, or geography, and at least 8 years experience in natural resource management or land management.; or, Master’s degree in natural resource management, biology, forestry, or geography, and atleast 3 years experience in natural resource management or land management. An equivalent combination of education and experience will be considered. Experience developing policy and interpreting laws and regulations. Demonstrated ability to research, consider options and make decisions based on complex considerations. Ability to research, analyze, and problem solve. Experience developing strategic goals, work plans, and policies and procedures. Experience managing complex projects to successful outcomes. Experience managing contracts. Experience working with First Nations governments or organizations. Demonstrated experience in an environment that requires conﬁdentiality and neutrality. Ability to function in a cross-cultural environment. Understanding of Nuu-chah-nulth culture. Excellent oral and written communication and presentation skills. Strong working knowledge of Microsoft Oﬃce software. Preference may be given to indigenous applicants.
Operational Requirements • • • • • • •
Position is based in Campbell River or Kyuquot (Houpsitas) with travel to both locations necessary. Valid Class 5 Drivers License. Preference for a Personal Watercraft Operator Card and VHF radio license. Able to travel, including overnight and weekends if required. Available to work extended hours, including evenings and weekends if necessary. Able to work outdoors in inclement weather if necessary. Successful background checks, including employment veriﬁcation, reference checks, and education/credential veriﬁcation.
We thank all applicants for their interest in this position; however, only those candidates selected for an interview will be contacted. Please email your cover letter & resume to jeﬀn@kcﬁrstnations.com. Please quote Manager of Lands and Natural Resources. Closing date for this position is November 17, 2020.
November 5, 2020—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 13
Editorial space paid for by Opioid Dialogues and PASS(Port Alberni Shelter Society) Our Opioid Crisis -------Bandaids versus Surgery Through working on Harm Reduction, Sobering Sites, Overdose Prevention Sites, Agricultural Market Gardening Programs, Housing and Food Distribution, and by utilizing contact methods to link clients into other organizations and services, some progress has been made in our current Opioid Crisis. This could be called the Bandaid versus Surgery approach. Bandaids help with superﬁcial bleeding. Bandaids help prevent infection. Overdose Prevention Sites and Harm Reduction programs help save lives and prevent disease. All of these programs are valuable, but they are only bandaids, and don’t provide the “surgery” that is needed. Surgery is needed for internal causes, Real Recovery Programs are needed for our Opioid Crisis. Real Recovery programs which actually have long term success, don’t drain the taxpayer and don’t bankrupt the families of those suﬀering in substance use. A Real
PASS has been doing research recently regarding substance use and our Opioid Crisis. PASS has been focussed on providing supports and prevention in our Community, but we are also focussing on the Recovery Sector, as this is one of the many solutions needed in what is currently a very fragmented network.
PASS has researched and visited several Therapeutic Recovery models currently in operation around the globe. Two Successful Opioid Recovery Models are: the Portuguese Model : 20 year track record the Italian Model : 40 year track record PASS has also visited and/or consulted with the following organizations: • Red Barn Academy, Utah • TOSA, Salt Lake City • TROSA, N. Carolina • Habilitat, Hawaii • John Volken Academy, Surrey, B.C., Washington, Arizona • Our Place Therapeutic Community, View Royal • Kristiansand, Norway
San Patrignano The Mission, the Values, the Mechanics of Operation San Patrignano is one of the largest and most recognized Therapeutic Communities, operating since 1978 near the city of Rimini in Italy. Several other facilities have modelled their practices upon this very successful model. SP is a remarkable organization located on 650 acres in the beautiful green hills overlooking Rimini, a beach resort town in central Italy on the Adriatic Sea. They are a recovery community that started in 1978 and now have 1400 recovering addicts and homeless who stay and work at San Patrignano at no cost to themselves for 3 to 4 years. San Patrignano takes no money from the government, but runs a series of social enterprises (or training schools) that cover about 50-60% of the costs of the community;they also receive private donations from some wealthy donors and corporations to cover the balance.
Strategies for sustainability 50 Social Enterprises Olive oil, Wine, Cheese, carpentry, leatherwork and textiles Corporate Services Events, Catering, TED Talks, Consulting, Communications Fundraising Individuals, Philanthropists, Charity Events, ...
Sustainability of San Patrignano Some of the products which they make are being sold in supermarkets across Italy and their printing press has large printing contracts with Loreal, Ferrari, and other large Italian and European ﬁrms. They have a large agricultural sector, growing olives, producing olive oil and olive oil products, dairy products, cattle,pigs and subsequent to that cured hams, woollen and leather goods and resulting high end fashion accessories. People with substance use issues come to San Patrignano at no cost to themselves to learn how to change their behaviours so they can live and work a productive, fulﬁlling, sober life ﬁlled with honesty, accountability and love. The program is built upon the three main pillars of hard work, brutal feedback, and intensive community life that eﬀectively changes the ununderlying behaviours that led to the challenges in their lives. One of the remarkable things about San Patrignano is that they take such a holistic approach to help every segment within the drug culture. If you are living on the streets, they welcome you. If you are an addicted teen boy or girl, they have a place for you. If you are a mom who is pregnant or who has kids and struggling with addiction, you can come bring your kids and both will become part of the community. If the addict has HIV, they have a medical centre to help out. All of this at no cost to the participant. In a study by the University of Bologna, they found that 72% of the people they surveyed who completed their stay at San Patrignano remained drug free 5 years later. Drugfree.org states that only 10% of people who go through traditional rehabilitation programs remain drug free as a comparison. Rewards through work – All of the activities of the program are fundamental educational instruments because they can give gratiﬁcation but at the same time demand engagement in progressive responsibilities. While there are tremendous people at work in Canada attempting to address the issues and tragedies of substance use, the current programs of recovery...which we often mistakenly refer to as treatment – are routinely, due to ﬁnancial or capacity issues, too diﬃcult to enter into and too short to give long term help. Clients of our current “treatment” programs in Canada (if they manage to get into them) often just get cleaned up enough to return to the street, to their previous neighbourhoods and to their previous lifestyles. Therapeutic Recovery Communities (T.R.C.’s) have been evolving around the globe over several decades. PASS is planning to develop a Therapeutic Recovery Community on our Shelter Farm in the Alberni Valley. We are looking to our Community for dialogue and ideas. If you are interested in providing support, in contributing ideas, in fundraising, work , volunteer involvement, or in simply engaging in a dialogue, let us know of your interest in attending a virtual event later this year. See our follow up notices here, visit our Opioid Dialogue program on our website of pashelter.org. “One of the goals of PASS is to ﬁll the gaps that people fall through. One step to help do that is through dialogue. Please visit our website at.... pashelter.org
Page 14— Ha-Shilth-Sa—November 5, 2020
Indigenous businesses focus on domestic travel market As pandemic restricts international customers, tourism operators need to focus on Canadian visitors, says study By Sam Laskaris Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Vancouver, BC – Keith Henry certainly likes to practice what he preaches. Henry, who is Métis and lives in Vancouver, is the president and CEO of the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC). There’s no denying Henry’s workload has been compounded this year as ITAC has been dealing with the pandemic on several fronts. Many of its members are struggling since the tourism industry has been hurt especially hard. During a webinar he hosted online this past Friday, Henry discussed the results of a new report released by Insignia Marketing Research Inc. ITAC commissioned the marketing company to do a study and ﬁle and report on the current state of the domestic travel market. The report was titled COVID-19 Driven Interest Assessment of Canada’s Domestic Market For Indigenous Tourism & Cultural Experiences. The information compiled recommends Indigenous tourism businesses in the country need to alter their strategies and focus on attracting Canadian visitors. That’s because it could be a few years before American and other international travelers, who provided a substantial amount of business in the past, start returning with any degree of frequency. Henry was well aware that Indigenous tourism businesses in the country need to be supported. And that’s why a couple of weeks before Friday’s webinar, a group of 13 ITAC employees showed their support to a pair of Nuu-chah-nulth businesses. While working on a second phase COVID-19 recovery plan, ITAC staﬀ travelled to a pair of Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation businesses to oﬀer their support. During their two-day getaway, ITAC staﬀ stayed at the Best Western Tin Wis Resort in Toﬁno. And they also visited Clayoquot Wild, which provides whale watching and wildlife tours. ITAC employees did venture out to do some whale watching. And they also took part in some trail walking. “We wanted to support some local businesses,” Henry said of the ITAC staﬀ excursion. “We did a couple of fun tours. And it was really great to see the safety precautions they have in place now.” ITAC employees were ﬂown from Vancouver to Toﬁno via Iskwew Air. The company is owned by Teara Fraser, who is Métis and the ﬁrst Indigenous woman to start her own airline in Canada. “We’re trying to show our staﬀ we need to support our businesses,” Henry added. While conducting research for the ITAC report, Lydia Zorn, a co-founder and partner of Insignia Marketing Research, said focus groups were held in Vancouver, Yellowknife, Calgary, Toronto, Montreal and Halifax. “So much of this research we did was purely to understand what impact has COVID-19 had on tourism these days,” Zorn said. The research concluded that Canadians have changed their ways of thinking
Best Western Tin Wis photo
Staﬀ from the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada stayed at the Best Western Tin Wis Resort to show support for the Indigenous tourism industry. to concentrate on the Canadian domeswhen it comes to their own travel. BeHenry is aware action is required cause of the pandemic, many Canadians tic travel market. But they’d like to see though. And the sooner the better to assist are keen to stay relatively close to home, ﬁnancial support, both at the provincial those in the Indigenous tourism industry. usually within their own home province and federal levels, to make that happen. “The time is right,” he said. “But we’re during their travels now. “A lot of our members don’t have deep going to need to move fast, pivot very Zorn believes ITAC members need to marketing pockets,” Henry said. “ITAC fast. Canadians want to get away from take advantage of this new way of thinkhas limited resources. And a lot of our home when it’s safe and in parts of the ing. Indigenous provincial/territorial organiza- country it is.” “Now is the time to dig in and really tions have limited resources.” start thinking about how you can attack and really get into the domestic market,” Zorn said. While many Indigenous tourism businesses are struggling because of the pandemic, Zorn believes they can start to recover with a new approach. “I feel the world has changed and how people are thinking has changed,” she said. “And we’re at a very golden opportunity to be able to capture and embrace how people have changed. There’s been a paradigm shift. And because of that they’re looking at what you oﬀer now. They feel like they can learn, they can beneﬁt, they can have fun.” Henry also realizes those in the Indigenous tourism industry have to make changes in order to survive and thrive. “We know we’re going to have to rely on Canadians to stabilize revenues for our businesses over the next 12 to 24 to 36 months as we look to recover our sector,” he said. This includes all of those from the Nuuchah-nulth First Nations who operate Indigenous tourism businesses. In order to survive, however, Henry said these businesses must concentrate on attracting visitors from Canada. And in many cases they have to focus on providing appealing excursions to those relatively close. “We’re trying to make sure the domestic market is aware of these businesses,” Henry said. “They have some great travel opportunities right there in Nuu-chahnulth territories.” Both Zorn and Henry agree that ITAC needs to act swiftly to get its members
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November 5, 2020—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 15
Photo by Melissa Renwick
Barney Williams poses for a portrait inside his Campbell River home on Oct. 28. The elder had a leading role in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s ﬁndings.
‘Each of us has the strength to overcome anything’ Barney Williams reﬂects on decades of sobriety, national reconciliation and a dark chapter in Canada’s history By Melissa Renwick Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Campbell River, BC - Barney Williams has had a fondness for apples ever since his ﬁrst year at Christie Residential School. He spent most days with his hollow belly aching from hunger pangs, but on occasion, the school’s staﬀ discarded apple peels out of the kitchen window. Scrambling like dogs, Williams and his classmates would run out to collect them, savouring the sweet taste of the fruit. As a six-year-old boy, Williams was forced from his home in Opitsaht, on Meares Island, and transported to Flores Island where he boarded in a stale, white building marked with a cross. It took more than six decades for Williams to be able to tell his story. But in 2005, he faced a room full of strangers and gave his testimony during a hearing for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Despite being repeatedly told by school staﬀ that he was “too stupid” and “would never amount to anything,” Williams became one of 10 elders chosen from across the country to advise the commission’s Indian residential school survivor committee, providing spiritual and cultural guidance. The Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation elder has continued to inform policy in his previous role as chairman of the Elder’s Council for the Assembly of First Nations – a national advocacy organization representing First Nations citizens across Canada – as well as his current role on the advisory committee for the University of British Columbia’s Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre. When B.C. became the ﬁrst province to pass legislation implementing the United
Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2019, Williams was ﬁlled with hope. But despite this progress, he doesn’t feel like it’s enough. “It’s not over,” he said. “If I were to grade the government, I’d give them an F. They haven’t done much. There’s still a lot of work to be done.” While Williams has come a place where he is able to deal with his past, it has not been erased. Christie Residential School was surrounded only by the rainforest and the crashing waves of the Paciﬁc Ocean. It was neatly tucked away. Most neighbouring white families in Toﬁno and Ucluelet had no idea it was there, he said. It was only four months into Williams’ stay at the school when a man, who called himself a “brother,” sexually abused him for the ﬁrst time. To this day, the 81-year-old can be triggered by the sound of footsteps walking down a hallway. He never spoke of his abuse, hiding it from everyone he knew – including his wife – until he bared his soul to a set of strangers during his testimony. For six years, Williams dreaded those familiar footsteps that came to collect him when there was nobody else around. Eventually, the 12-year-old outgrew the pedophile who stopped coming to get him. By then, he was plagued, wondering, “What did I do? What have I done to create these things that are happening to me?” It was that same year when one of Williams’ friends stole a gallon of sacramental wine and hid it in the woods. He urged Williams to drink, telling him it would make him feel good. After taking his ﬁrst sip, Williams said he was ﬁlled with warmth.
“It made me feel like me,” he recalled. “It made me feel like I was OK.” Williams leaned into that “warm” feeling as he carried on through high school, where he attended Kamloops Indian Residential School and was abused by a nun. After he left high school, his addiction progressed. There were periods where he would drink for 90 days straight, waking up in a hospital bed or in a jail cell, unable to remember how he got there. The alcohol sent him into manic episodes of hallucinations. Images of snakes slithering across walls and entering through windows tormented him. At 27, he was directed to Alcoholics Anonymous. “It was my saving grace,” said Williams, who has been sober ever since. As the Tla-o-qui-aht elder looks back on his life, he continues to give thanks to the Creator. “Every day I remember to say ‘klecko’ – thank you to him. To say thank you for what I have now: life,” he said. While the guise of education was used to destroy Indigenous culture and identity, Williams said it is now being used to empower First Nations communities, who have watched their children go oﬀ to become doctors and lawyers. Now, it is the government’s responsibility to educate Canadians on its dark chapter in history, said Williams. “We’re still dealing with a lot of sceptics saying it didn’t happen,” he said. Only by keeping the government accountable for dealing with the 94 recommendations brought forward by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission will it begin to make amends, he said. Turning a page in his own story, Williams was able to face returning to school when he was 31 years old. He enrolled at the Malaspina College, now known as
Vancouver Island University, where he studied social work. Two years later, he walked out with a diploma. Williams began working with Indigenous and Northern Aﬀairs Canada in Nanaimo shortly after, where he remained for 17 years. Developing an interest in trauma and addiction, he began his journey of healing. “Not only trying to learn, but trying to understand my own story,” he said. “What it is that made me what I am and also what I could be.” His extensive experience as a social worker allowed him to challenge a fouryear undergraduate program. In 1988, Williams received his certiﬁcate as a registered clinical therapist in just 10 months. He was further recognized for his work by being awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Victoria in 2017. “I always try to tell people to be good to yourself,” he said. “Believe in yourself. Be who you are and always be really careful – always take care of yourself.” In May, Williams suﬀered a severe heart attack. Despite the fact that his heart only functions at 30 percent, he continues to council those who need help and acts as an elder advisor on various committees. In fact, Williams has so many meetings and Zoom calls that his wife, Trina, keeps a schedule. He lovingly calls her his “executive secretary.” For Williams, the work has been a calling. “I feel honoured that I ﬁnally found my place,” he said. “I know that each of us has the strength to overcome anything. I’ve done that – I’ve overcome a lot of things to be here today.”
Page 16— Ha-Shilth-Sa—November 5, 2020
This issue we are taking a look back to December 2012, at the origins of the Southern BC Chinook Planning Initiative. Uu-a-thluk staﬀ continue to be involved and are now focused on rebuilding wild West Coast Vancouver Island chinook.