Ha Shilth Sa Newspaper November 17, 2022

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Province funds mothers centre, run by Huu-ay-aht

Construction on Oomiiqsu commences in early 2023, offering transitional spaces to help mothers and children

PortAlberni, BC - In an effort to keep more Indigenous children out of the foster care system, a transitional living facility is coming to PortAlberni to support mothers and their young ones.

For years the Huu-ay-aht First Nations have been working on developing a mother’s centre to better support those struggling with addiction, mental health challenges, abuse, poverty or other trauma that can interfere with parenting. Now such a facility is approaching realization, with a $5-million commitment announced by the B.C. Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation on Nov. 8 to cover the centre’s initial operating costs.

BC Housing has invested $10 million into a 17,900 square-foot, two-level facility capable of housing up to a dozen mothers and their children in separate units, complete with a day care and offices for the Huu-ay-aht’s Child and Family Wellness Department, which will run the centre with around-the-clock staff.

Construction is expected to begin as early as January, and operations are scheduled to begin by the summer of 2024.

Modelled after the VancouverAboriginal Mother’s Centre that opened in 2002, the PortAlberni facility will be called Oomiiqsu Mother Centre, using the word for mother in Nuu-chah-nulth.

Other funds for the project include nearly $800,000 from the B.C. Ministry of Education and Child Care and $1.4 million from the Huu-ay-aht First Nations.

“This partnership between the province and the Huu-ay-aht First Nations will make an important difference on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, where many communities are remote and provide few options for mothers and their children in need,” said Murray Rankin, minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, who spoke at the mother centre announcement in PortAlberni. “At Oomiiqsu, they will find stability, security and access to support in a way that works specifically for the Nuu-chah-nulth people.”

The announcement was emotional for several who spoke at the event, as the Huu-ay-aht have worked to improve a social issue that brought about a public health emergency for the First Nation in March of 2018.At that time 21 per cent of Huu-ay-aht children were in the foster system, but the 47 youngsters who were in care at the time have since declined to

the current level of 18-22, said Huu-ayaht Councillor Edward R. Johnson. He pointed to work the First Nation has undertaken to implement recommendations of the Social Services Project. Informed by a panel of experts tasked to investigate the large number of Huu-ay-aht children in foster care, the project relied heavily on input from Huu-ay-aht citizens.

“The movement of change is wonderful see, in knowing that change takes time,” said Johnson during the mother centre announcement. “In being able to enforce reconciliation - to be able to slow that momentum of colonialism - it’s an uphill battle.”

While the public health emergency was declared four and a half years ago, a young Huu-ay-aht mother was fighting in court for access to her newborn. The baby was removed by the B.C. Ministry of Children and Family Development from the mother while in a Victoria hospital just three days after birth. The newborn was put in the care of the paternal grandmother in Courtenay, while the 20-yearold mother, who lived in PortAlberni, was limited to two hours of access a day.

Contact was not granted on weekends, as ministry staff were not available to supervise the visits.

But by mid March a Provincial Court order reunited the mother and newborn, after supports from family and the Huuay-aht helped the case for the baby to live with the young woman.

Since then movement has occurred across Canada to better recognize the right of First Nations to determine the welfare of their own children.At the beginning of 2020 Bill C-92 came into force, affirming the jurisdiction of Canada’sAboriginal communities for child protection, giving opportunity for First Nations to choose their own solutions for children and families. More recently, amendments were announced to B.C.’s Child, Family and Community Service Act, recognizing the right of First Nations to determine their own child welfare services.

But while the number of B.C. children currently in foster care has declined to nearly half of what existed 20 years ago, Indigenous youngsters have not kept pace.As of 2021Aboriginal children comprised 67 per cent of those in care, according to the Ministry of Children and Family Development.

At the mother centre announcement Josie Osborne, MLAfor Mid IslandPacific Rim, spoke of the goal “to turn

the corner from a very dark history of separating children from families and culture, to one that is more generous, more humane in a culturally aligned way of keeping children and families together.”

“I’ve done hundreds of announcements in my riding in my seven years. I haven’t been to anything more important than today,” added Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns. “This project is going to save lives.”

Johnson said that Oomiiqsu is designed to prevent the traumas that many families have had to endure by providing a transitional home “where mothers and children will feel safe, healthy and connected.”

He shared that his mother would have benefited from such a place to help with her struggles when he was young.

“I have my mom to thank, because she’s my hero. It was her words that helped push me forward,” said Johnson. “Knowing that my mom and I could have benefitted from a mother’s centre; my cousins, my sisters, my aunties and uncles could have benefitted from Oomiiqsu. It’s not just Huu-ay-aht that’s going to benefit from Oomiiqsu Mother Centre, [but] all of Nuu-chah-nulth.”

Canada’s Oldest First Nations Newspaper - Serving Nuu-chah-nulth-aht since 1974 Vol. 49 - No. 22—November 17, 2022 haas^i>sa Canadian Publications Mail Product Sales Agreement No. 40047776 INTERESTING NEWS If undeliverable, please return to: Ha-Shilth-Sa P.O. Box 1383, PortAlberni, B.C. V9Y 7M2
this issue...
cold........................Page 2
Homeless struggle with November
Dirty drug leads to increasing deaths.............................Page 3 Retrieval of discarded fishing gear.................................Page 7 Ehattesaht opens recycling centre.................................Page 11 Safe space open for LGBTQ+......................................Page 15
Photo by Eric Plummer Murray Rankin, minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, speaks at an announcement for the Oomiiqsu Mother Centre, as Huu-ay-aht Councillor Edward R. Johnson listens at the PortAlberni Lawn Bowling Club on Nov. 8.

Homeless Nuu-chah-nulth-aht struggle with cold

A closed shelter, changes in provincial agencies results in more tents on Victoria’s streets, say front-line workers

Victoria, BC – It’s been more than two years since the last official homeless count in Victoria, and Herb Dick, an Indigenous outreach worker from Ahousaht, believes the number ofAboriginal people living in the streets is increasing - even in the face of weekly losses due to street drug overdose deaths.

“I don’t know the number but there’s been a real growth in tents, some people just in blankets and under tarps,” said Indigenous Outreach Worker Lacey Jones.

It has been more than two years since the last official Point-in-Time Homeless Count in Victoria.

“Pandora Street is like smaller version of East Hastings (Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside),” said Jones, who works with QomQem Coastal Connections, a Coast Salish harm reduction and health services agency operating in Greater Victoria.

Jones and Dick are part of a network of service agencies that deliver support to the unhoused community in Greater Victoria. Pandora Street is ground zero for Victoria’s unhoused population. But there are several encampments away from Pandora Street in greater Victoria and Saanich.

According to Jones, the IOW team is made up of about 15 Indigenous people from all over the island who deliver support and supplies to approximately 90 Aboriginal people per week in Victoria.

The IOWs come from several different non-profit societies and from Island Health.

The group meets every couple of weeks to coordinate their work and to plan for cultural events.

“We try to reconnect people with their foods, especially seafood,” said Jones.

She told Ha-Shilth-Sa that she is grateful to the Songhees for offering up free meals like fry bread and soup to warm the people in the frigid winter conditions.

In addition to the generous contributions from the Songhees Nation, the service agencies rely on donations and are always on the lookout for seafood.

“We brought out packs of smoked fish for the people and are jarring sockeye to give away,” she added.

The IOW worders deliver food and supplies on Pandora Street and also visit encampments to check on the people and provide support to them.

“We have a pop-up tent on Pandora two days week,” said Jones, adding that they deliver harm reduction supplies, hot or cold drinks, clothing and food.

On other days of the week they visit the various tent communities around the city, delivering the same service and checking in with the people there.

“Each site has five to 10 First Nations people living there,” said Jones.

She is proud of the cultural reconnection component of their work.

“So many of them are our relatives, we treat them as aunties and cousins,” she said, adding that they gain strength from culture.

In addition to the monthly seafood gatherings, elders come in to drum or to provide a friendly ear. Jones said she is grateful that Guy Louie Sr. and Helena Sam, both Nuu-chah-nulth elders, are always willing to come downtown to share cultural teachings.

“People on the street are often disconnected with their culture,” said Jones. But the weather went from summer

conditions to freezing temperatures very suddenly this year. In early November the first snow of the season arrived in Victoria.

“We’re missing winter shelters,” said Dick, noting that spaces at the Victoria Native Friendship Center and other places were not yet open when the cold snap hit in early November.

“They say there’s been more funding but it doesn’t seem that way,” said Dick, adding that there were no seasonal shelters opened in the city Nov. 8. “That’s pretty troublesome now that we’ve had our first snow.”

Changes in how Victoria’s Extreme Weather Response Plan is enacted has caused delays this year. In previous years a regional coordinator, hired by the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness, was responsible for determining when weather conditions met the threshold to activate an Extreme Weather Response. This year the position is vacant.

In addition, the City of Victoria has new emergency shelter agreements that divide services provided from two funding agencies. Last year Emergency Management B.C. funded both daytime and overnight warming centres.

In 2022 Emergency Management B.C. will still fund the daytime centres, but B.C. Housing now has responsibility for the overnight ones. For now, Victoria’s emergency program co-ordinator, Tanya Patterson, in consultation with service providers, shelters, Victoria police and others will be responsible for activating the city’s Extreme Weather Response.

Jones said that folks prepared as well as they could for the snow.

“They’re in survival mode. They’re asking for tents. They’re trying to figure out if emergency shelters are activated,” said Jones.

Both Dick and Jones acknowledged that the provincial government has opened up low barrier housing units when they purchased former motels, but Jones says they are barely liveable, and some people choose not to stay there.

She estimates there are about 300 to 400 people living in Victoria’s streets, not all Indigenous.

“What is needed, funding,” said Jones,

stressing the need for core support for these kinds of programs and staffing.

“It’s hard to chase funding every year,” she said, adding that there is a need for more culturally safe housing.

Currently, there are no supportive places for those returning from treatment or detox.

“They go back to a place where their neighbors are using,” said Jones. She pointed out that many subsidized housing spaces don’t allow guests.

“We sit with our family, we visit,” she said.

More cultural programing would allow them to reconnect with their roots and strength if they choose to get off the streets, she added.

Indigenous people are stigmatized for being homeless, addicted, and then again for being Indigenous, Jones noted. Hav-

ing First Nations support staff makes them feel safer.

Dick concurs. He says culturally supportive housing is needed.

“People need a home so they can start healing work,” he explained. “We’re being reactive, as First nations people. We need to focus on being more proactive, look to next year, to have someone here to help our people.”

He noted that there’s IOW workers but said it’s still just a drop in a bucket for what they need.

Dick says that he has reached out to the First Nations and to the NTC, raising awareness about the number of Nuuchah-nulth people living on the streets of Victoria. “I never got a reply,” said Dick.

“I think more needs to be done. Some of the larger tribes come here to look around and feed their people,” he added.

Page 2— Ha-Shilth-Sa—November 17, 2022
Photo by Denise Titian Herb Dick is an Indigenous Outreach worker in Victoria, who works closely with those who struggle with homelessness. He has seen the situation worsen this year, particularly on Pandora Street (below).

Dirty drug supply leads to ever-increasing death toll

Presence of benzodiazepine adds another challenge for those fighting the escalation of drug overdose fatalities

Victoria, BC – “It seems like there’s a funeral every week – having to do with overdoses,” says Indigenous Outreach Worker Herb Dick.

Herb, a member ofAhousaht First Nation, has been providing support to Victoria’s marginalized community for many years.

By nature, street drugs are unregulated concoctions that can contain unexpected, unwanted, even deadly substances. Without quality control in the manufacturing process, street drugs can have unknown potency and toxicity, increasing the risk of accidental poisoning, according to the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction.

“They just get tired, fall asleep, then stop breathing,” said Dick of people that overdose on street drugs.

When the BC Coroner’s Service counts fatalities due to the toxic illicit drug supply, they include deaths by:

• Street drugs (Controlled and illegal narcotics: heroin, cocaine, MDMA, methamphetamine, illicit fentanyl etc.).

• Medications not prescribed to the decedent but obtained on the street, from unknown means or where origin of drug not known.

For the month of September 2022 the province saw 171 suspected illicit drug overdose deaths, representing an eight per cent increase over the number of deaths in September 2021, according to the BC Coroner’s Service. The number of illicit drug toxicity deaths in September 2022 equates to about 5.7 deaths per day, they added.

According to Indigenous Outreach Worker Lacey Jones, there has been a recent spike in overdose deaths due to

tainted drugs.

“There used to be one or two (deceased persons) found in tents per year but now it’s worse,” she noted.

Earlier this fall in Victoria two 14-yearold Indigenous youths died in separate overdose incidents within five days of each other.

Street users are buying meth, crack and other unregulated drugs that are often laced with fentanyl or carfentanyl. But now there’s a new twist: benzodiazepine, which doesn’t respond to Narcan, is proving deadly.

Both fentanyl and benzo, as it’s called in the streets, are showing up in party drugs too.

“It’s become a whole other beast,” said


Dick spoke of how deadly fentanyl is. “Asmall amount can take you so quickly,” he said. “You don’t even know you’re dying; you just get tired, go to sleep and stop breathing. You don’t even know you’re overdosing.”

Narcan is used to reverse the effects of opioids and can save people from overdose. But when drugs are tainted with benzodiazepine, Narcan is ineffective.

“The drugs are always changing, always morphing, and now we need an answer for benzos and if we get that, we’ll probably have to find something new for the next additive,” said Dick.

Still, he and the 14 or more Indigenous outreach workers in Victoria continue to

help where they can.

“It seems like there’s a funeral every week having to do with overdoses,” said Dick.And with the weather now into freezing temperatures, people looking for warm, dry places to tuck themselves away are more often using alone, increasing the risk of death by overdose.

The BC Coroner’s Service reported there were no deaths reported at supervised consumption or drug overdose prevention sites in September 2022.

In addition, there is no indication that prescribed safe supply is contributing to illicit drug death

“But there’s a sense of community in the streets,” said Dick. “We work to support family and loved ones of those lost.”

Annual BC Elders Gathering at risk of being cancelled

Anearly 50-year tradition may not happen for what would be the fourth year in a row, though this year COVID-19 is not the culprit.

The first BC Elders Gathering was held 47 years ago in Sto: Lo Nation and hosted by the Coqualeeza Elders.Atotem pole was carved to serve as a record keeper, with the places and dates of each subsequent Gathering being inscribed at the base of the pole as they occurred.

The event ran annually until 2020, at which point COVID-19 restrictions meant that the Gathering could not happen.As the 2023 rendition approaches however, new problems have emerged.

The B.C. Elder’s Communication Center Society (BCECCS) was left in the lurch when the 2020 Gathering was cancelled, and it was not just COVID that has caused them issues.

“We were left $145,000 in debt because two sponsors bowed out a few months before the event was to take place,” explains Donna Stirling of the BCECCS. “Even though we had incurred costs leading up to this cancellation, these entities pulled their $100,000 and $50,000 in support because the actual event didn’t happen.”

This caused a snowball effect to take place. 2021 and 2022 were also cancelled due to the pandemic, and the BCECCS

still owes 20 groups’deferred registration fees, as they ran out of funds to provide reimbursement, and were left with no funds to provide a deposit on the next event.

The event will be cancelled Feb. 28, 2023 if not enough groups have registered to cover deposits, according to the gathering’s organizers. The next BC Elders Gathering is scheduledAug. 1416, 2023 at the Vancouver Convention Centre.

“Corporate sponsors most often do not feel that supporting the elders gets them their ‘biggest bang for their buck’so over the years keeping the Elders Gathering has proven to be a difficult task,” says Stirling.

Finances have not been the only problem plaguing the planning process for the 2023 event.

“Bands are incredibly slow at registering for the elders’most important cultural event in B.C. in an average year and the level of local organization for the elders, but since COVID-19 it is even worse,” continued Stirling.

She attributes this to likely be due to a lack of staffing, saying that many First Nations do not have elders workers.

Stirling says that they need more from the federal and provincial governments for the event to continue happening.

“We need provincial and federal support and we get hardly any anymore,” she said. “It is like the elders are off almost

The BC Elders Gathering provides an opportunity for older Indigenous people from across the province to exchange memories and knowledge, helping to unite First Nations.

“The [b]asic purpose of the Gathering is the need for Elders throughout the province to have inter-social and community links that bind them together as a Nation,” states the BCECCS website.

“It allows them to intermingle with likeminded, like-aged individuals and their families, to reveal common grounds that strengthen those links.”

Stirling says that anyone who wishes to help the Gathering happen in 2023 can email the BCECCS at bcelders@telus. net, and encourages any First Nations bands who wish to participate to register for the event as soon as possible.

November 17, 2022—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 3
everyone’s radar these days.”
Photo by Denise Titian Held at the Vancouver Convention Centre in the summer of 2019, the last BC Elder’s Gathering attracted over 1,800 attendees. Pictures are participants at the 2019 event. Photo by Eric Plummer Aman lies on the grass near a safe injection site on Victoria’s Pandora Street. Illicit drug use is common at the location, which front-line workers consider a miniature version of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

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School board pledges for reconciliation

First post-election board meeting welcomes new trustees, carrying seven motions

PortAlberni, BC - On Nov. 8 the Pacific Rim School District (SD 70) hosted the inaugural Board of Education meeting, bringing together community members and representatives from across the district.

The evening was woven with Tseshaht cultural protocol alongside the formal proceedings of the board, which carried several motions that signify SD 70’s commitment to Indigenous learners.

Tseshaht member Ed Ross (Nasimius), was in attendance at the meeting, and was one of the singers at the event.

“It was super important for us to come here today to be able to educate, to help people understand who we are,” said Ross. “It was so respectful of how School District 70 came knocking on our door wanting, wanting this, wanting our culture to be infused.”

Tim Davie, superintendent for School District 70, said that it was important that the district acknowledge the ha’houlthee its buildings reside on.

“This evening’s events really [are a] recognition in terms of exchange and learning of cultural traditions,” said Davie.

Davie said the evening also acknowledged SD 70’s commitment to the relationships they have and will continue to build with Nuu-chah-Nulth nations.

As formal proceedings of the meeting began, Lindsay Cheetham, secretary-treasurer, led elected trustees in their Oath of Office for Trustee Code of Conduct.

Trustees for School District 70 include Janis Joseph, Pam Craig, Christine Washington, Larry Ransom, Cherilyn Bray, Helen Zanette, and Cynthia Orr. The meeting nominated and elected official positions the trustees would assume for their four-year term.

During the formal proceedings several motions were carried that would direct Davie in his role as superintendent of schools.

These motions include working toward a district framework for truth and reconciliation inclusive of UNDRIP. The superintendent is also tasked with research and recommendations for co-governance with First Nations, the establishment of

an elders council, reporting on addressing the achievement rate gaps for Indigenous students, the development a board strategic plan to be implemented for the next four years, making a board work plan for the remainder of the school year, and development an enhancement agreement with local Indigenous partners. The enhancement agreement would also involve theAlberni Clayoquot Métis Society, Port Alberni Friendship Center, and the Ministry of Education and Childcare.

Many of these various motions are in collaboration with local Indigenous nations and representatives, organizations, and broader communities.

“The board is taking the right steps by looking at true collaboration and bringing our partners to the table with them in terms of decision making,” said Davie.

Tseshaht Elected Chief Ken Watts presented devil’s club to the former superintendent of schools and the board of education last spring. The devils club stick is symbolic of a commitment to do better for Indigenous learners in SD 70, said Davie.

When Davie assumed his role as superintendent of schools onAug. 1, he found the devils club on his desk. He now takes the stick with him to meetings with local nations signifying the continued commitment to Indigenous learners.

According to data collected by the school district,Aboriginal students have

shown marked progress in recent years – but results remain behind that of the general population of learners. In 2021 the high school completion rate, which is the proportion of students who graduate within six years of entering Grade 8, was 75 per cent for SD70’s Indigenous students. This rate has increased from the 56 per cent completion rate reported in 2016, but remained 10 points behind the overall completion rate of 85 per cent in 2021.

Literacy assessments before Indigenous students graduate have also improved over the last five years, rising from 43 to 55 per cent proficiency in 2021, while SD70’s overall rate was reported as 66 per cent proficient.

“We have to do more in terms of helping our Indigenous students in their achievements. We do have a gap within the district, and I acknowledge that as the Superintendent,” said Davie to the audience as he held a gifted devils club from the Tseshaht First Nation. “Particularly those students that are living on reserve.”

Davie said that the evening’s events were significant steps towards reconciliation. He noted that the board’s commitment to reconciliation was reflected in the motions that were carried during the evening.

“This commitment that was made tonight really signifies who this board is, and what the work is going to be over the next four years,” said Davie.

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Page 4— Ha-Shilth-Sa—November 17, 2022
Photo by Alexandra Mehl Pictured from left to right is SD70 Secretary-Treasurer Linsday Cheetham, with trustees Cherilyn Bray, Pam Craig, Christine Washington, Janis Joseph, Cynthia Orr, Helen Zanette and Larry Ransom, with Superintendent of Schools Tim Davie.

War vet remembered for knowledge keeper legacy

John Jacobson rarely spoke of time in World War II, but educated generations from a vast reserve of knowledge

Ahousaht, BC – “When you are a knowledge keeper you gotta share it at every opportunity, and don’t expect anything back except maybe a cup of tea,” John ‘Smitty’Jacobson advised his nephew, Dave Jacobson before his passing in 1986.

John Jacobson was born September 16, 1922, to George and Nellie Jacobson ofAhousaht. From an early age he was taught to be a knowledge keeper and he collected as much information as he could, from family genealogy, cultural teachings and songs to art and classical music.

While John was married to former schoolteacher, Joan, he never had his own children. He shared his knowledge with anyone willing to listen, many times with his nieces and nephews.

According to Dave, his uncle John chose to enlist in the CanadianArmy at a young age.

“He did his training somewhere on the mainland, the prairies,” said Dave.

When he was done training he was given two weeks to go back home before shipping out to Europe.

“I guess they were sending them home to say goodbye to their families,” Dave speculated.

The photograph of a young John Jacobson in uniform was taken at theAhousaht General Store during that two-week period when he was home.

“He didn’t talk about the war – he didn’t talk to family about it,” said Dave.

Instead, John had two trusted friends that would take his late-night or earlymorning calls.

According to Dave, he’d make those calls and talk about his experiences and the trauma. Those friends were the late George Watts of Tseshaht and a trusted friend from Hupacasath.

“There would be no goodbye, when he was done talking, he would simply hang up the phone. When the phone went dead, that’s when they knew he was done,” said Dave.

While Dave was never told about what his uncle went through, he acknowledged that there was some trauma. Back then, he said, there was no emotional supports in place for war veterans. Many turned to vices and addictions to cope – and for his uncle John, it was alcohol.

“He could go many months without drinking but when turned to alcohol, he could go for days,” Dave remembered. He believed it was during those binges

that his uncle was reliving and feeling his pain.

“Then he’d sober up and he’d be good for a while,” said Dave.

Indeed, there were far more good sides to John Jacobson than bad. He was an artist that carved small totem poles. The carving that hangs above the entrance to Maaqtusiis School inAhousaht was

made by John along with his friend Ron Hamilton in 1986.

“He wasn’t as much of a carver as he was a sculptor,” said Dave.

John saw sculptures of angels while in England and incorporated those designs into his carvings of eagle and thunderbird wings.

John was born in a time where it was important to commit to memory the things he learned, from family history to songs. He was the first one inAhousaht to own a recording device. It was a reel-toreel tape recorder that he used when he spoke to elders.

“He talked to elders a lot about mułmimc, family roots. No matter where he went on the coast, he could always tie people back toAhousaht through their family roots,” said Dave.

In addition to his genealogy knowledge, John amassed a huge collection

Nuu-chah-nulth songs. The tapes that he made of oral histories and songs are now at the Royal British Columbia Museum archives.

“Anybody can access them…late (Dr.) George Louie transcribed a lot of the tapes. His notes are on yellow legal pads at the museum,” Dave shared.

When John got back from the war, he and his fellowAhousaht veterans were no better off than they were before they left.

While mainstream veterans were given tracts of land in exchange for their service,Aboriginal war veterans were given certificates of possession for parcels of land on reserve, something they already had a right to asAhousaht members.

According to Dave, Phillip Louie, Frank Williams and John Jacobson were given certificates of possession for land on reserve inAhousaht, but away from the main village at the time. Williams traded his lot for one in the village while Phillip Louie gave an elder couple permission to build on his lot.

“The lots were too far away from the village for them to use,” said Dave.

Today, those parcels of land are along the shoreline, starting from Mattie’s Dock to a small house that belonged to Winona Thomas and her husband. The village has grown up around the lots.

Another difference in the treatment of Indigenous war veterans was access to grants to get started in life. Most veterans got grants but Indigenous veterans were offered loans, according to Dave.

“Uncle borrowed money to buy a fishing boat and he had to pay it back,” he said.

But John didn’t let anything hold him back. He took what he learned from abroad and brought it home toAhousaht.

He was one of the firstAhousahts to attend university, spending a year at the University ofArizona.

“He always sought knowledge and though he never had children of his own, he always talked to me,” Dave recalled. He was generous with his knowledge and reminded his nephew to be generous with his teachings.

“You gotta share it at every opportunity and don’t expect anything back…be grateful that you have the ability to share these things,” John told Dave. “So that’s what I do today, share what I know.”

For his many contributions to the preservation of history and his service in the military, John Jacobson was honored by Nuu-chah-nulth-aht and the Canadian Coast Guard when a new CCG patrol vessel John Jacobson was named in his memory back in 1991.

John’s wife, Joan, was there with Jacobson’s family and friends for the CCG dedication ceremony back in 1991. Joan passed away in PortAlberni in 2020.

The CCG vessel John Jacobson was stationed in Esquimalt and was in service until 1999, when it was sold and renamed Coriolis II. It is now in Quebec.

Dave said that the Jacobson family were grateful to the NTC and the Government of Canada for the honor bestowed upon their uncle, acknowledging that he and his contributions were important.

November 17, 2022—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 5
Have You Moved? If you should be getting a copy of the Ha-Shilth-Sa paper delivered to your home, please contact: Holly Stocking at 250-724-5757
The photograph of a young John Jacobson in uniform was taken at theAhousaht General Store during that two-week period when he was home.

Alberni’s rivers and lakes remain low from li!le rain

Groundwater is being recharged, but rainfall was a third of typical level in region’s warmest October since 1900

PortAlberni, BC -Alberni Valley’s lakes and rivers still remain low after minimal fall rainfall following a severe summer drought across B.C.

TheAlberni Valley reached Drought level 4 last month, causing a risk of salmon die offs. The drought level for the area has now gone down slightly to level 3, which means adverse impacts to ecosystem values are possible.

Dave Rolston, Tseshaht First Nations Fisheries manager, said although he hasn’t been out to check the levels of lakes and rivers as much as he did during the drought, he’s noticed groundwater being recharged and tributaries flowing somewhat, but not flooding.

Rolston said Sockeye have moved up in TaylorArm and are spawning, although they’re about a month behind schedule.

“I haven’t been up the [tributaries] to check out what’s going on with the juvenile Coho in McCoy Lake watershed, but McCoy Lake outlet is flowing now,” Rolston said. “I’m assuming we’ve lost recruitment from last year as juveniles but also recruitment from this year.”

Rolston said it’s been an abnormal year with little rain occurring so far this fall.

“The Somass is still fairly low, the lakes are still pretty low, they’ve come up a foot or so since the rain but that’s about it,” Rolston said. “We really haven’t seen our fall rains yet, so hopefully other than Coho we haven’t lost too much fish this year, but it’s going to be hard to say.”

Rolston added that there’s “no normal” anymore when it comes to weather and

predictions around climate change. “We’ve got heat domes, we’ve got extended droughts, at this point we’ve got lack of heavy fall rains and the questions that we’re left with is how does that compare and what does that mean,” Rolston said. “The question is, what does that mean for our fish stock here… we just don’t know, we’re early.”

October in theAlberni Valley saw little rainfall, about 1/3 of the normal rainfall for the month. The first two weeks of November saw rainfall on six days totalling 46mm of precipitation altogether. Last November in theAlberni Valley, there was 314 mm of precipitation over the first 14 days and 504.8 mm for the entire month.

According to the blog alberniweather. ca, this October saw the high temperature average at more than 20 degrees Celsius, when historically the normal high temperature for the month would average around 14 or 15 degrees Celsius. This year was the highest in record since 1900.

Weather causes delay in migration and salmon spawn

PortAlberni, BC - In early October Vancouver Island reached a drought Level 4 which impacted wildlife across the coast. After a mass salmon die off in Bella Bella, concern grew regarding drought and a delayed salmon spawning season.

Currently east Vancouver Island is at a drought level of 3, which means adverse impacts are possible, while west Vancouver Island is at a drought level of 2 with less likely impacts.

Dave Rolson, Tseshaht First Nation’s fisheries manager, said, “Timing is everything, really, when it comes to fish and when it comes to environmental conditions.”

“With respect to this drought, it delayed a lot of things,” said Rolston.

“We’ve had some rain but we haven’t had enough, really, for things to recharge all the systems yet, so the smaller streams are the ones that really bear the brunt of low water,” said Graham Murrell, fisheries manager at Hupacasath. “Instead of a peak it kind of blunted the peak of the returns and kind of spread them out throughout the time.”

In the Stamp River, which leads to Great Central, the water level is controlled by a dam at the lake, which means they can help maintain minimum flows making Stamp River less of a concern for the salmon runs, said Murrell.

He added that they’ve noticed low water levels in Sproat Lake and Great Central, which might be a benefit to the Sockeye that spawn there. In a typical year, when

the water levels become high during the spawning season, salmon spawn on the beaches. When the water levels become low again, in the attempt to buffer against storms, the eggs on the beaches are dewatered and are less likely to survive, said Murrell.

“It’s definitely changed some of the behavior of the fish. There was…kind of a slower return,” he said.

Because of the lack of rainfall, Murrell saw pretty consistent water levels.

“Usually, with Chinook especially, you’ll see when the rains come, there’ll be a big flood of fish up the river,” he noted.

Murrell said that juveniles saw larger impacts with the creeks being de-watered.

“They’d be staying in the cold pools and the creeks, but many of those dried up, so we would have lost some juveniles for sure,” he said.

Rolston said that the McCoy Lake watershed was significantly impacted by the drought, as there was too much water withdrawal from the system.

“The [tributaries] running into the lake were running very, very little, but they were still running into the lake about a month after the outlet stopped from McCoy Lake into the Somass watershed,” said Rolston. “What that did is it made it very, very challenging for the juvenile Coho in the system to be able to survive.”

“The adults weren’t able to get up and spawn until probably about a week, week and a half ago,” he added.

Rolston said that Chinook and Sockeye had much better runs than predicted this year with Sockeye being double what had

been forecast.

“They got up into the lake early when the watershed had cooler and higher water conditions this year, which was quite different than last year,” said Rolston.

“The Sockeye, I noticed, about a week and a half, two weeks ago were starting to spawn at the bottom of where Taylor arm empties into Sproat Lake.And that’s about probably three weeks late,” continued Rolston. “They may or may not have been impacted.”

“There’s definitely going to be some impacts but being able to tell what those impacts are is always a challenge,” said Rolston.

He said there currently isn’t an intensive survey to understand the impacts of juvenile and salmon year to year.

“It’s likely that if there was any sort of a long delay, that probably would reduce some of the potential egg deposition within some of those areas,” said Rolston. “[And] less water means there’s more success for predators.”

Murrell said that it was an interesting year, but overall is pleased with the returns.

“Every year it seems to be getting a little bit more intense. These droughts and extreme weather conditions,” said Rolston.

“That was predicted some years back, with a lot of the fisheries people have been talking about the impacts to fisheries and fish for 20-plus years on global warming.”

Page 6— Ha-Shilth-Sa—November 17, 2022
Photo by Eric Plummer Chinook flood through the Stamp River in September, part of a run that proved to be better than expected for the species. Photo by Karly Blats Last summer’s drought led to extended warm temperatuires in October, conditions that continue to affect bodies of water around PortAlberni. Pictured is the Somass River on Nov. 15.

DFO prioritizes retrieval of discarded fishing gear

Ghost gear fund supports 43 projects this year, prioritizing Clayoquot Sound, Alberni Inlet and south Salish Sea

Considered “the most harmful form of debris to sea life”, the DFO plans to improve the reporting of lost and discarded fishing gear in the coming years, with millions set aside for collecting equipment left from commercial operations.

Termed “ghost gear” by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, this equipment is often lost due to rough weather, snags below the surface, or fishing lines being cut during marine traffic. The DFO sees ghost gear as “a major threat to healthy fisheries and fish stocks,” according to a presentation given in late October to the Nuu-chah-nulth Council of Ha’wiih Forum on Fisheries.

The remains of commercial operations are considered a major threat to aquatic life globally as well. The United Nations estimates that 600,000-800,000 tonnes of lost and discarded fishing equipment enters the ocean each year. Ghost gear is responsible for up to 30 per cent of fish population declines, according to the USA’s National Oceanic andAtmosphericAdministration.

“The concern with ghost gear is that it can remain fishing even after it’s lost,” said DFO biologist Kevin Conley, who delivered the presentation to the Council of Ha’wiih on Oct. 28.

Over the last two years a ghost gear fund managed by the DFO has supported the collection of 157 kilometres of rope across Canada, part of 2,911 units of equipment recovered, thanks to the $16.7 million in federal support. In the Pacific this has funded 603 sea and shoreline sweeps, including the cleanup of derelict fish farms. On the west coast of Vancouver Island the Coastal Restoration Society attended to nine abandoned aquaculture sites, collecting over 100,000 kilograms of debris, including rope, wood, metal and plastic barrels.

Canada’s budget for the 2022-23 fiscal year includes another $10 million to fund the collection of ghost gear. With 43 new cleanup projects underway, the Coastal Restoration Society secured another $600,000 in federal funds to support its operations. The CRS survey work “will be guided by First Nations partners and will prioritize sites of high cultural, food, social and ceremonial importance,” states the organization’s project description submitted to the DFO.

In recent yearsAhousaht has worked closely with CRS, which has conducted cleanups in Warren Bay, Oyster Island and the harbour by the First Nation’s village on Flores Island.

“OurAhousaht divers who have gone through our program are now letting us know it’s now time for another cleanup of the harbour,” said acting Tyee Ha’wilth Hasheukumiss during the October fisheries forum.

The Rugged Coast Research Society is also working in partnership with First Nations, removing gear from subtidal areas of Hesquiaht and Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/ Che:k’tles7et’h’territories. With almost $200,000 from the federal fund, Rugged Coast is using remotely operated vehicles to find ghost gear.

“The subtidal surveys will locate ghost gear, such as crap traps, lines, sunken floats, and any other objects that pose a threat to the marine habitat and sea life,” describes the RCRS. “Following the survey work, a skilled team will be em-

ployed to collect, remove and transport prioritized ghost gear for disposal and recycling.”

Since 2019, federal regulations have required commercial fishers to report lost gear to the DFO, a system can enable the equipment to be returned to its owners after retrieval. Over the next five years the federal department plans to improve this reporting system, enabling the DFO to have a detailed map of sites where equipment has been lost in the ocean. Priority regions in the Pacific are Clayoquot Sound, theAlberni Inlet and the southern Salish Sea.

Additional capacity for the recycling of ghost gear is also being supported, including $626,767 awarded this year to the Ocean Legacy Foundation for centres that process plastics, polystyrene, rope, tires and nylon nets.

The retrieval of ghost gear is managed by Canada’s Wrecked,Abandoned or Hazardous VesselAct, legislation that limits retrieval to periods outside of fishing seasons. The act requires a permit to retrieve ghost gear, and collectors must specify the areas they will be exploring and what is found.

“That’s our opportunity to get into the specifics of the actual sites that they’re going to be doing,” said Conley. “That’s typically when we will send a notice to First Nations in the area, notifying them of that planned activity.”

Hasheukumiss stressed the need to make operators accountable for what is left behind, citing several barge loads that had to be removed from his territory after a fish farm tenure ended.

“When we’re looking at people who are having these operations, to make sure that they’re accountable before their departure,” he said.

The First Nation is awaiting approval to


“Right in front of our Tofino Wilderness Resort, there’s a couple dangerous ghost

gear sites that are derelict now,” said Hasheukumiss. “They’re just under the water line. They were left two years ago. We’ve applied for removal.”

November 17, 2022—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 7
gear from another site north of Tofino. Photo submitted by Coastal Restoration Society Aderelict fish farm lies on the west coast of Vancouver Island. From 2020 to 2022 the Coastal Restoration Society attended to nine abandoned aquaculture sites, collecting over 100,000 kilograms of debris, including rope, wood, metal and plastic barrels. Photo submitted by Shift Environmental Ltd. Acrab trap is removed from the ocean, one of the more than 3,000 pieces of discarded fishing equipment collected in Canada since the spring of 2020.

Jobs, biodiversity and culture: Future of old growth stirs diff

The area being cut in B.C. has declined by 42 per cent since 2015, says the province, but this is not necessarily a good thing

One year after an advisory panel warned that a large proportion of B.C.’s oldest forest is at risk, the province is reporting the lowest levels of old growth logging on record.

But how the provincial government protects trees that have stood since before the industrial era took hold has drawn dramatically mixed reactions across British Columbia. From forestry dependent families fearing how they will sustain themselves in the future, to those determined to risk arrest in saving what old growth is left, any policies on managing the province’s oldest trees are destined to bring controversy.

In early November B.C.’s Ministry of Forests released records showing a steady drop in old growth harvesting, from 65,500 hectares logged in 2015 to 38,300 hectares cut in 2021. The government states that the area logged last year represents 0.3 per cent of the 11.1 million hectares of old growth that still cover parts of B.C. Old growth is typically defined as trees older that 250 years old on the coast, and 140 or more years old in B.C.’s Interior.

“The latest numbers show that B.C. is on the right track as we work to develop and implement new long-term solutions for better managing, preserving and sharing the benefits of our forests,” said Minister of Forests Katrine Conroy in a press release.

Warning of economic devastation

One year ago a technical advisory panel of experts assembled by the province released recommendations on how to best manage old growth in B.C., citing that four million hectares of this forest is at risk of permanent biodiversity loss. The panel advised that 2.6 million hectares of old growth should be immediately deferred from harvesting.

Seen as another challenge imposed on a fundamental industry for British Columbia, news of the deferrals sparked protests across the West Coast. Hundreds of forestry workers and supporters held up PortAl-

berni’s main thoroughfare, outside of the office of MLAJosie Osborne, in a rally that was one of several held in Vancouver Island cities in late 2021.

The union representing many of B.C.’s forestry workers warned that economic devastation would hit communities.

“If even half of the 2.6 million hectares identified by the government are removed, jobs will be lost as multiple sawmills, value-added operations and pulp mills close permanently,” said United Steelworkers Wood Council Chair Jeff Bromley in

a press release from Nov. 3, 2021. “In the past three years, eight operations with USW workers across B.C. closed and 1,000 good-paying, family supporting jobs were lost. The impact from this process will almost certainly multiply across the province.”

Claiming a growing stake

The deferrals were contingent on consultations with First Nations in whose territories the protected old growth is situated, part of a vision that Indigenous communities be “full partners in sustainable forest management,” said Conroy.

In recent years the Huu-ay-aht First Nations have claimed a growing stake in the industry around PortAlberni, including the formation of Cawak ʔqin Forestry, a partnership between Western Forest Products and the First Nation’s Huumiis Ventures. Cawak ʔqin manages tenure over Tree Farm Licence 44, a 137-hectare section of Crown land south of PortAlberni and Great Central Lake. The company has committed to retain 96 per cent of old growth forest in TFL 44.

Maps provided by the province identified a total of 14,754 hectares in Huu-ay-aht territory to be protected, following guidance from the technical advisory panel. The First Nation agreed to the panel’s deferrals - except 645 hectares in which harvesting is needed to continue forestry operations.

Halting this cutting over the following two years would put the First Nation’s forestry operations in “serious jeopardy”, resulting in “significant economic harm” for Huu-ayaht citizens, Bamfield and the PortAlberni region, said the First Nation.

“These deferrals would have an impact on small portions of many different harvest areas in a variety of ways, including making entire harvest areas uneconomic or inaccessible or making the deferred portion subject to forest health concerns such as windthrow,” read a Dec. 1, 2021 statement from the Huu-ay-aht.

‘Strategically misleading the public’

As the majority of the deferrals are in place elsewhere in B.C., significant economic harm has become inevitable. The provincial budget released in March predicted a 12 per cent harvest decline over the following three years. With approximately 50,000 people still employed in forestry, this translates into a forecast of 4,500 lost jobs.

On Vancouver Island, this trend already appears to be taking effect. In November Western Forest Products shut down its Alberni Pacific Division Sawmill for six months, citing a shortage of timber supply and putting over 100 people out of work. Meanwhile, raw logs are shipped overseas from the port next to the curtailed sawmill, much of this harvested from privately owned land and

Page 8— Ha-Shilth-Sa—November 17, 2022
destined for manufacturing inAsia. Forestry workers protest recently announced measures restricting the harvesting of old growth on Johnston Road in PortAlberni on Dec. 9, 2021. Hundr for the rally, which was held by the office of MLAJosie Osborne. Photo from Facebook/Rainforest Flying Squad Pacheedaht elder Bill Jones speaks at an event in opposition to old growth logging on southwestern Vancouver Island. Pacheedaht’s Hereditary Chief Frank Queesto Jones (far Chabut Satiixub (Hereditary Chief Paul Tate) sign the Hišuk naht Lake on June 4, 2021. The declaration pledged that the

growth stirs differing viewpoints

A‘respected spiritual tree’

In September 2020 the province released the Old Growth Strategic Review, compiled from provincewide consultations held by two veteran foresters:Al Gorley and Garry Merkel. The review stated that B.C. is in the midst of a “paradigm shift” in how the public views ancient forests, a transition from a human-centric view of old-growth to a belief that these forests are valuable to all living things. The review stresses that Indigenous people are destined to be “key players” in how old-growth forests are managed.

The old growth review includes recommendations for how the provincial government manages B.C.’s forests in the coming years, including more involvement from Indigenous communities and “prioritizing ecosystem health and resilience”.

“There are some areas of the province where failure to act now could lead to the permanent loss of rare or unique ecosystem components contained in old and ancient forests,” stated the review. “[A]ny of these stands that are intended for harvesting or other significant disturbance should be deferred from development.”

Meanwhile, a movement on southwestern Vancouver Island was in the early stages of what would prove to be the largest act of civil disobedience in British Columbia’s history. SinceAugust 2020 blockades had been growing around the Fairy Creek watershed to block logging companies from accessing the area.Acontinual stream of supplies and volunteers fed the encamp-

old tree. “The road is going directly to a yellow cedar that a forester estimated to be about 1,500 to 2,500 years old. They are aiming the logging road right straight to the tree.”

Over the following months thousands joined the encampments, blocking access into the valley that Teal Cedar Products holds a Crown tenure over.Acourt-ordered injunction against the blockades was issued, and by May of 2021 RCMP descended upon the remote area to begin enforcement. By the end of year over a thousand arrests were made.

Assertion of First Nation authority

As the protests on southwestern Vancouver Island escalated, local First Nations governments and hereditary chiefs became frustrated with the presence of encampments in their territories. In June 2021 the Pacheedaht, Ditidaht and Huu-ay-aht First Nations announced the Hišuk ma c̕awak Declaration, asserting authority over their respective territories on southwestern Vancouver Island.Along with the declaration, the three Nuu-chah-nulth nations called for an immediate two-year deferral of all old growth logging in the Fairy Creek and central Walbran regions, allowing the First Nations to assemble their own forest stewardship plans for the areas.

Since then the Pacheedaht have made a memorandum of understanding with Teal Cedar Products. Signed Sept. 8, 2022, the MOU entails exploring economic opportunities for the parties while managing resources in Pacheedaht territory. The First Nation owns a sawmill in Port Renfrew, and sees the MOU as progress beyond

being left out of forestry decisions in its territory for decades.

Further north on the coast towards Barkley Sound, the Huu-ay-aht have seen the number of its members employed in the forest industry grow from two in 1995 to the current 44. Forestry now accounts for up to three quarters of revenue generated annually by the Huu-ay-aht Group of Businesses.

As other forestry companies face layoffs and mill curtailments, Huu-ay-aht Chief Councillor Robert Dennis Sr. foresees exceeding 50 members in the industry in the coming years by encouraging training and job placement. The First Nation is planning community engagement sessions for members aged 16-35 to promote career opportunities, and is working on identifying a training program through North Island College.

“We’re getting some very encouraging feedback from Canada on this, so [we’re] excited about that possibility of having an educational institution to provide forestry job-related training,” said Dennis. “Our objective is to find the workers, identify what training needs to be done.”

Opportunities are expected in various areas, including administrative, forestry planning, harvesting and mill processing. And the First Nation continues to look at starting a new sawmill at Sarita Bay for hemlock.

“That is starting to become a reality, we’re getting down to the final nitty gritty details of developing a kiln-dried operation,” said Dennis. “We anticipate that we would probably employ six people, with the intent of growing it over time.”

On the other side of the island, Paper Excellence announced that paper operations at its Crofton mill would put on hold in December, while pulp processing continues.

The United Steelworkers fear that the government has listened too closely to the protest movement, as the union claimed that four of the five technical advisory panel members have direct ties to the Sierra Club.

necessarily a good thing for all involved in a foundational forestry industry deferrals are cant become inevitable. released in March harvest decline over With approxistill employed in into a forecast of this trend already ect. In November shut down its Sawmill for six of timber supply people out of work. shipped overseas curtailed sawmill, from privately for manufacturing

“Some of the environmental movement has been strategically misleading the public for years with false claims about the forest industry and it appears the government is now willing to cede forest policy to the very same groups,” said Bromley in a USW press release. “There has to be a better, unbiased approach that is based on the science.”

ments, as the “forest defenders” feared road building into one of few watersheds on Vancouver Island that remained untouched by industrial logging.

The Rainforest Flying Squad emerged as the group behind this coordinated movement, with Pacheedaht elder Bill Jones serving as a spokesperson for blockades in his First Nation’s territory. In an interview with Ha-Shilth-Sa fromAugust 2020, Jones recalled hunting in the Fairy Creek valley as a young man amid the massive stands of yellow and red cedar, while his uncles used the undisturbed area for prayer and other spiritual practices.

“There’s a lot of yellow cedar in the Fairy Lake watershed, which is a revered and respected spiritual tree for our people, along with the red cedar,” he said, noting that a road was being built towards a particularly

November 17, 2022—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 9
Photo by Holly Stocking Road in PortAlberni on Dec. 9, 2021. Hundreds showed up Photo by Eric Plummer editary Chief Frank Queesto Jones (far left), Huu-ay-aht Tayii Ḥawił ƛiišin (Derek Peters) and Ditidaht editary Chief Paul Tate) sign the Hišuk ma cawak Declaration at the Ditidaht Community School in NitiThe declaration pledged that the nations would take back authority over their territories. Photo submitted by Ancient Forest Alliance Old-growth timber is hauled along a logging road on southern Vancouver Island in 2022. Photo by Melissa Renwick Atree-sitter, who goes by Pony, said she spent four days in a hanging structure to delay the logging of old-growth forest near the Caycuse blockade, on May 20, 2021.

Tseshaht holds first baby welcoming since pandemic

Families gathered in Maht Mahs and the longhouse, welcoming young children with a new hope for the future

PortAlberni, BC - Maht Mahs gymnasium filled with family and friends late Saturday morning, Nov. 12, welcoming the new babies into the community.

Soon the gym was filled with the sound of drums and song, laughter and conversation. Some children chased each other playing tag while others played with toys and read books.

“It really comes from an old teaching of honoring the life of a person,” said Trevor Little (Nawe-thleet), teacher at Haahuupayak.

“There were stages…as a child grew up that we’d honor their growth, their moments, the transition to another step in their life,” continued Little. “This stuff used to be honored all the time, and so we’re honoring their arrival right now.”

“We call our children ‘usma’, and that means precious,” said Lena Ross (Nasgaadan), another teacher at Haahuupayak. “We need to treat them in that way, in everything we do.”

Ross said that it’s important to gather in community events to teach children that their community is behind them, cares about them, and supports them.

“We have such an investment in the future generations,” said Ross. “It’s a real investment”

Throughout the gymnasium community services were set up for families. Infant massage was provided by the Nuu-chahnulth Tribal Council Children and Youth Services department, the LiteracyAlberni Society provided books for little ones through to the teens, Pacific Rim Children and Families brought books and toys, and Pacific Care Family Enrichment Society was set up too.

Agnes Brown with Jordan’s Principle had a table set up to make families aware of the services that Jordan’s Principle provides in all 14 Nuu-chah-nulth nations.

Gail K. Gus, Tseshaht’s crisis and wellness coordinator, said the last Tseshaht baby welcoming happened in 2018.

“It’s well overdue, and it’s nice to be able to get together,” said Gus. “Learning about what songs that we can have, that we can sing to her babes.”

Michelle Colyn from the Gallic family said that it’s important that her children know their family roots and connection to Tseshaht.

“[It’s important] that they have a sense of belonging in this,” said Colyn. “Over the past couple of years, the pandemic, it’s been tough not having all the access to the cultural events we may have participated in.”

As the event began the mothers and female guardians were led in the construction of cedar headbands, while the fathers and male figures were led through the making of a drum. These were gifted to the children.

“The drum is our heartbeat,” said Gus. “Cedars are strength, and the women are our strength.”

After the drums and cedar headbands were completed, Trevor Little and the male figures made their way to the longhouse, where they would wait for their families. Little spoke to the group about commitment to their families, and the type of parent they want to be for their children.

Little said the female and male circles were to honor both spirits in the child. Once the mothers and children arrived in the longhouse, family by family, according to traditional practice the fathers and other related male figures would give their children the drum they made, declaring their intentions and hopes for their young ones, surrounded by witnesses.

Little said that it’s beautiful to witness the promises made by participating families.

“When I watch him now, hold his baby over there, it’s different, it feels different,” said Little.

“My hopes for those children are that they’re grounded. They’re grounded in their culture [and] they know where they belong,” said Ross.

Page 10— Ha-Shilth-Sa—November 17, 2022
Phrase†of†the†week:†wiiqsiwitas%is^ It means ‘it’s going to get stormy’pronounced ‘weeq see witas we tuss iš ish’Supplied by Stephen Charleson.
Illustration by Ivy Cargill-Martin Photo by Alexandra Mehl Mothers and children (above) walk from Maht Mahs to the Tseshaht Longhouse while Len Ross drums on Nov. 12. Trevor Little and Lena Ross (below) sit in a drumming circle at Maht Mahs.

Eha esaht opens recycling center for oil, antifreeze

First Nation has been working with BC Used Oil Management Association to bring a drop-off centre to Zeballos

Zeballos, BC- The Ehattesaht/Chinehkint

First Nation has been working with BC Used Oil ManagementAssociation (BCUOMA) to open a center so the remote community can recycle their used motor oil, oil filters, oil and antifreeze containers and antifreeze.

“We worked with the team at BC Used Oil ManagementAssociation to develop a facility that our community members could drop off used oil program materials easily and at no cost. This has been an important initiative for us,” said Ryan Foster, Ehattesaht Operations and Maintenance manager, in a press release.

In an interview with Ha-Shilth-Sa Foster said that in remote places such as Zeballos, residents would typically have to travel to places like Port Hardy or Campbell River to have access to oil and antifreeze recycling services. The distance makes it less likely for people to recycle, said Foster.

“Having this facility in the valley is a very environmentally responsible way of collecting that stuff here,” said Foster.

“We [are] removing it from potentially escaping to the environment.And as well, we get to clean up our current facilities [and] make them safer.”

The opening of the recycling center will eliminate any possibility of these products making their way into the environment, said Foster.

Foster said that having the recycling center will also be beneficial for fishing tourism during the summer.

The facility is located on 601 Mainline Road in Zeballos, BC. With a grant from BC Used Oil ManagementAssociation (BCUOMA), the Ehattesaht nation was

The new used oil and antifreeze recycling facility is located on 601 Mainline Road in Zeballos, BC.

provided with a 10-foot modified sea container, and a 1,100-litre intermediate tank where the recycling center now operates from.

Both Foster and his helper were trained by BCUOMAto identify the types of oils that can be recycled. The facility is now open by appointment only. This helps avoid any risk of contaminants in the collection drum, said Foster.

“[It] just all [came] together perfectly… It couldn’t have happened in a better time,” said Foster. “Everybody involved was really positive and excited.”

British Columbia Used Oil Management Association (BCUOMA), founded in 2003, provides easily accessible services to British Columbians to recycle used motor oil, antifreeze, oil filters, and oil and antifreeze containers.

In a press release Dave Lawes, CEO of BCUOMA, stated, “We’re proud to say that 98.9 per cent of B.C. residents currently have reasonable access to used oil recycling locations around the province.” Lawes said that their goal is to have 100 per cent of British Columbians within a 15 to 30-minute drive from a BC Used

Oil Recycling Centre.

According to the BCUOMAwebsite, a total of 49,483,469 liters of oil was collected by BCUOMAin 2021.

Foster welcomes community members and nearby settlements such as Fair Harbour and Kyuquot to use their recycling facilities located in Zeballos.

“It’s a really unique area, [and] a real sensitive area. So having really good oil collection, motor oil collection, antifreeze filters [and] containers, is super important,” said David Lawes.

Kyuquot residents will soon have high-speed internet

Houpsitas, BC – The small, remote village of Houpsitas will soon see improved internet thanks to the provincial government’s investments in improving highspeed service to rural communities in the province.

In a statement made Nov. 8, the Ministry of Citizens’Services announced that faster internet will be coming to 10 Indigenous, rural, remote island communities, including Kyuquot.

Accessible only by boat or float plane, Houpsitas, the main village for Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k’tles7et’h’citizens, has a population of about 400 with little to no cell phone coverage.According to FindInternet.ca, residents and businesses have access to cable, DSL or wireless internet services for prices ranging from $40 to $130 per month based on the package selected.

Improved internet service means residents can look forward to high-speed broadband internet unlocking better, faster access to digital services and opportunities.

“Reliable, high-speed internet access for rural, remote and Indigenous communities on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands will further bridge the digital divide and bring British Columbia closer to connecting every community in B.C. with high-speed internet access by 2027,” said Lisa Beare, minister of Citizens’


According a government press release, provincial investments of as much as $3.8 million for high-speed connectivity expansions will build new last-mile fibreto-the-home connectivity infrastructure, providing access to broadband internet speeds of at least 50 megabits per second (Mbps) for downloads and 10 Mbps for uploads. This means access to faster, more reliable broadband internet.

People in Telegraph Cove, Holberg, Houpsitas 6 of the Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/ Che:k’tles7et’h’First Nation, and Winter Harbour on northern Vancouver Island, as well as the communities of VanAnda on Texada Island, Galiano Island and Saturna Island, will benefit from faster internet.

Kevin Jules, Legislative Vice Chief, Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k:tles7et’h’First Nations (KCFN) and a board member for the Strathcona Regional District, said his community looks forward to closing the digital divide.

“Reliable high-speed internet will improve our ability to participate in online learning and health care and allow us to easily connect with family living elsewhere. This is a huge step forward and will enable our community to take advantage of new opportunities to build and grow,” he stated in a press release.

“We all know that internet is no longer a luxury in this day and age - it’s a necessity.Access to fast, reliable internet helps rural Canadians by levelling the playing

November 17, 2022—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 11
Submitted photo
field to access essential services, like health care and education, participate in the digital economy, or simply connect
with loved ones,” said Gudie Hutchings, federal minister of Rural Economic Development. Photo by Melissa Renwick Accessible only by boat or float plane, Houpsitas, the main village for Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k’tles7et’h’citizens, has a population of about 400 with little to no cell phone coverage.

President’s message to Nuu-chah-nulth-aht Events

Hello Everyone, hope you are all well.

I am saddened again this month with the passing of our precious Nuu-chah-nulth people, leaders, elders, and youth. My heart goes out to those of you grieving.

The NTC had an extraordinary members meeting and decided to have four directors on our human resource committee from any NTC nation. It was further decided that a working group would look at the committees of the NTC and their terms of reference and bring recommendations to a meeting of the NTC members. So the human resource committee will be given a further look. The working group will also look at any changes that may be needed in NTC’s bylaws and constitution. Each First Nation will be appointing members to this working group that is to meet monthly.

We had a meeting with Michael Lee, Liberal MLAand critic for Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation. He was interested in NTC and clean energy, transportation, as well as children and families. Opposition leaders have opportunities to ask questions in the legislature and comment on proposed legislation like the amendments to the Children and FamiliesAct andAdoptionAct. It is good to brief the opposition so they understand our issues and ask the government questions.

BCAFN held a session on Charter renewal which I attended virtually.AFN is looking to amend the Charter on things like financial accountability, committees, accountability bodies. There are some good amendments going forward that will spark debate and consideration at the December special chiefs meeting. With all the issues brought up this summer with the national chief and her concerns, motions were passed to address these issues and resolve them. B.C. is always working together to be united at these assemblies on important issues.

I spent two days with the Council of Ha’wiih on fisheries issues. One day is internal meetings and the second day is meeting with DFO, and we had Minister Josie Osborne speak to us. She is minister of Lands, Water and Resource Stewardship. The Council of Ha’wiih also agreed to the MOU with Haida, Quatsino, Pacheedaht and DFO on the Marine ProtectedArea off the west coast of Vancouver Island in Nuu-chah-nulth territories, and declared the area to protected. Many issues are discussed in these two days, including the survival of chinook, efforts at management of fisheries, restoration and rehabilitation of salmon and trying to improve the habitat of the salmon. Climate change is also a critical issue with respect to the survival of our salmon.

I attended the First Nations Summit meeting for two days as well. One thing of interest was that while modern First Nation treaty agreements negotiated to go back to no tax on former reserves, this has to be negotiated at every treaty table for it to become effective. Hoping those negotiations can happen soon so they can take advantage of this. Celeste Haldane had been appointed the chief commissioner of the B.C. treaty process for another three years.

We have asked three Nuu-chah-nulth people to help us tell the federal government what actions we want from them to change their programs and laws. Watch for their notices of meetings. Most will be done on Zoom but there may be in

person meetings. Those Nuu-chah-nulth are Nene Van Volsen, Michelle Corfield and Hugh Braker.

The federal government is putting together an action plan and they want to hear from First Nations across the country. We will put in a submission into the federal government as to what we want. Hugh is focussing on needed changes to laws and policies around fisheries and sea resources. Michelle will be working on women, violence and justice issues. Nene will be on other federal issues, like health, education and children and families.

There is much to be changed in the way the federal government operates and provides services and we need to have a say in what that is. So please, keep your eye out and join the conversation. Or even send emails.

The tribal council has three different kinds of funding. The Maa-nulth negotiate their own funding agreements under their treaty. Ahousaht has a 10-year grant. The other eight nations have a block funding agreement. The block agreement is up on March 31, 2023. We have begun negotiations with Indigenous Services Canada (ISC). We are trying to get ISC to look at things differently, holistically as Nuu-chah-nulth does. Our health agreement with FNHAis also up on March 31, 2022 and negotiations will begin soon.

The Province of B.C. will have a new premier as of November 18th. David Eby takes over from John Horgan and will be made premier at the Musqueam Community Centre. As part of the team to put together his government, he had Doug White, Snuneymuxw, and Carole James, Métis, and a former premier to assist him. He is also keeping Don Bain, Tleidl Tenneh, as hisADM. We are hoping that this premier will be more progressive and actually do more actions and achieve more things. Not just talk. David Eby did meet with myself, Tseshaht Chief Councillor Ken Watts and Hupacasath Chief Councillor Brandy Lauder during this campaign to ask us our issues.

The First Nations Leadership Gathering is happening at the end of the month. Every year the B.C. cabinet gets together with to discuss issues. Opportunities are given to have short 15-minute meetings with the ministers. David Eby will be premier so it will be interesting to see how he sets the tone for First Nations/ government relations. To give you an idea on how many meetings are held, there were over 900 hundred requests from First Nations to meet with ministers or their deputy ministers. It is a wellattended event and an opportunity to advocate on behalf of Nuu-chah-nulth.

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Employment and Training

Port Alberni

November 17, 2022—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 13
More job postings at www.hashilthsa.com
Friendship Centre Volunteers Needed Need work experience? The Port Alberni Friendship Centre is looking for interested applicants for various positions. Call 250-723-8281

Non-Insured Health Benefits - NIHB

Coverage – Travelling Out Side

General Principles

1. Prior approval is required.

2. The client must: a. Be eligible for the NIHB Program; and b. Be currently enrolled or eligible to be enrolled in a provincial or territorial health insurance plan and continue to meet residency requirements for provincial/territorial health coverage.

3. For Transportation to Medical Services: For transportation to medical services outside of the country the client must be referred for provincially/territorially insured medical services by a provincial or territorial health care plan for treatment Shaganappi Plaza: wage change for Building Maintenance and Superintendent Windspeaker.com http://www.windspeaker.com/news/sweetgrass-news/building-maintenanceand-superintendent/ ammsa.com http://www.ammsa.com/content/careers/shaganappi-plaza-ltd-calgary outside of Canada.

4. For Supplemental Health Insurance Premiums: Full-time students enrolled in a post-secondary institution to study outside of Canada must provide a letter of confirmation that tuition, which is not an eligible benefit under the NIHB Program, has been paid.

What is covered?

For Supplemental Health Insurance Premiums: -

The cost of privately acquired health insurance premiums for approved students or migrant workers and their legal dependents will be reimbursed.

For Transportation to Medical Services: -

Transportation benefits when eligible clients are medically referred and approved for treatment outside of Canada by a provincial or territorial health care plan.

For further information on coverage outside of Country you are encouraged to call First Nations & Inuit Health Branch (FNIHB), Vancouver BC toll free @ 1-800-317-7878

What You Should Know- “Before” Leaving British Columbia

If you are leaving the province, you should be aware that your coverage may not pay all health care costs.

Health services provided outside Canada often cost more than the amount paid by the Ministry of Health Services. Sometimes the difference is substantial; for example, the amount we pay for emergency inpatient hospital care will not exceed $75 (Canadian) a day for United States of exceeds $1,000 (US) per day and can be as high as $10,000 a day for intensive care.

In addition, some items/services that may be a benefit in BC are not covered outside the province; for example, prescription drugs and optometric services. Further, the Ministry does not subsidize fees charged for ambulance service obtained outside BC.

We advise you to buy additional health insurance to supplement your basic coverage before you leave the province, regardless of whether you’ll be in another part of Canada or outside the country – even if your company or travel agency can advise you about extra coverage to pay for any difference in fees and to provide benefits not covered by the Ministry. If you have a pre-existing medical condition, you must mention this when purchasing additional insurance as most policies will not cover treatment of that condition outside the province.

In some cases you may purchase an insurance policy where the insurance company has a signed agreement with the Ministry. This permits the company to pay physician and hospital claims and receive reimbursement on your behalf thus eliminating the need for you to handle your own claims.

NOTE: Ambulance – If you require ambulance service while in another province or outside Canada, you will need to obtain service from an ambulance company in that jurisdiction and will be charged the fee established by the-out-of-province service provider. Fees range from several hundred to several thousand dollars.

When purchasing additional out-of-province health insurance you are advised to obtain insurance that will cover emergency transportation while you are away and, if necessary the cost of transportation back to BC.

MSP Contact @ 1-250-386-7171 or fax 1-250-952-3427 – In case the number s have changed the web site is: www.healthservices.gov.bc.ca/msp

Seismic upgrades finished at Ucluelet Secondary

Provincial commitment of $44 million, improvements in case of an earthquake include elementary school

Ucluelet, BC -After three years, seismic upgrades announced for Ucluelet Secondary School (USS) have officially been completed.Asimilar project at Ucluelet Elementary School has also been finished.

Among the upgrades at USS include a new music room, administration offices, classrooms, a library, and a neighbourhood learning centre that can be used for additional child care space within the community.

“We know it’s vital that children have safe places to learn and grow, and I’m pleased that the seismic projects are complete at both Ucluelet Secondary and Elementary schools,” said Minister for Education and Child Care Jennifer Whi-

teside in a press release.

MLAfor Mid Island-Pacific Rim Josie Osborne added that “[s]chools are the heart of so many rural communities like ours, and Ucluelet and Tofino families have long advocated for improvements to Ucluelet Elementary school and Ucluelet Secondary school, which serve five westcoast communities.”

The project to upgrade the schools cost the Government of B.C. $44.8 million. Renovations were done on the gym and shop classrooms at USS to improve safety in case of an earthquake, and the entire structure of UES was replaced, along with giving the school all new classrooms.

The upgrades to USS come as part of a project from the B.C. government which has now provided seismic improvements to 59 schools across the province.

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Photo by Melissa Renwick Ucluelet Secondary School takes in high school students from Ucluelet, Tofino and the communities in between. Of Country

Tla-o-qui-aht provides safe space for their LGBTQ+


gatherings start in November at Tin Wis for those who were traditionally accepted in West Coast tribes

Tofino, BC – The Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation is hosting the upco ming Trauma and Resiliency, Two-spirit/LGBTQ+/ Indigiqueer workshop to address the compounded issues that members of the community face.

Diane Labelle, a researcher and trainer for two-spirit/LGBTQ+ issues and one of the facilitators for the workshop, said, “Colonization has really done a big number on us. I mean, residential schools, new ideas, new values, that have led us to move away from our central values, such as the inclusiveness of people.”

Norine Messer, Tla-o-qui-aht’s capacity building coordinator, said that traditionally two-spirit folks were welcomed and respected in Nuu-chah-nulth communities. The social norms that lack acceptance are accompanied with colonization and are what have created compounded oppression that LGBTQ+, two-spirited and Indigiqueer people face.

“What we’re doing is part of what’s called community intervention, meaning that we are addressing the issue of LGBTQ+ people living in the community, with community members at many different levels,” said Labelle.

According to Egale, Canada’s leading organization for 2SLGBTQI, Indigenous LGBTQ+ are more vulnerable to suicide.

“We just want to support that change so people understand…and feel that they belong and have a place and that we need them,” said Messer. “There’s love in the community and acceptance.”

Labelle said that a workshop like this will help two-spirit/LGBTQ+/Indigiqueer individuals identify where some of the struggles they’ve faced come from.

“For the individuals who are twospirited, [the goal of the workshop] is to provide a safe space to talk about issues, to have a sense of validation for who they are as members of the community and validating also their experiences,” she said.

“The idea of being able to dialogue openly about this is the beginning of the whole process of healing from these things that we’ve lived with,” continued Labelle, “and to see how identity as a whole has been affected by colonization.”

The workshop will also help community members and workers identify some of these issues and safe practices so they have tools for intervention, said Labelle.

Labelle said for the staff, the goal is to help them better understand how things have progressed to how they are currently.

“And [what it means] to bring in our relatives back into the community,” said Labelle. “These individuals who have either been excluded from the community or have excluded themselves.”

The workshop is broken down into four segments: the first day is for staff, the second day is for two-spirit/LGBTQ+/ Indigiqueer youth and adults, third day continues with families, community members, and staff, and the final day is planning, celebration and honoring of two-spirit/LGBTQ+/Indigiqueer youth and adults.

“We’re just trying to look at…what causes that trauma in individuals and how we can address it and provide interventions as allies and community members and staff and family members,” said Messer.

Chris Seitcher, Tla-o-qui-aht’s family cultural support worker, references a teaching from mentor Jane Middelton-

Moz called “rebuilding the circle”. At the very center of the circle is culture, values, teachings, ceremony, medicine, and children. Next the mothers, then grandmothers, then the men, said Seitcher. “Right in between, in that circle, are the Two-Spirited/LGBTQ+,” said Seitcher.

“The overall goal is to rebuild the circle. And to welcome our two-spirit friends and relatives into the circle to take their rightful place,” saidAnita CharlesonTouchie, a family counselor. “To let them know that we see, we see you, [and] that they’re not alone.”

“The importance of [the workshop] is creating connections. Not only to other participants, but they’ll see who in their community they can turn to for support,”

added Charleson-Touchie.

Labelle said that this workshop is just the beginning of the work that needs to be done to ensure two-spirit/LGBTQ+/ Indigiqueer have a sense of belonging in the community.

“How do we get to the point of making sure that everyone feels the same sense of belonging, the same sense of security and safety and the same sense of rights,” said Labelle.

Charleson-Touchie reflects on the poster of a rainbow flag made in the previous Trauma and Resiliency workshop.

“That really comes back to the Nuuchah-nulth values of love one another, help one another, respect one another, be kind, [and] that everybody has a place to belong,” she said.

November 17, 2022—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 15
Participants in the last Trauma and Resiliency workshop hosted by Tla-o-qui-aht. Chris Seitcher’s daughter helped create the poster and wrote, “we see you, you’re not alone.”
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