INTERESTING NEWS Canada’s Oldest First Nations Newspaper - Serving Nuu-chah-nulth-aht since 1974 Canadian Publications Mail Product Vol. 43 - No. 10—October 20, 2016 haas^i>sa Sales Agreement No. 40047776
40th anniversary: Ain’t nothing to it, but to do it way, Watts stood up against the government, and the Nuu-chah-nulth people stood behind him. “He wasn’t afraid,” said Robinson. The old timers were the anchor— “keeping us true to our traditional values,” she explained, and the next generation was coming up with awareness. “It was a time when everything came together,” she said.
Durocher said he “was one of those the crowd. people who were fortunate enough to be “When you are on the right path, things included as one of those dreamers and move because it makes its own life,” said crazy people who said ‘Aboriginal people Robinson, “and you move with it, and Port Alberni—“The grass was dry, a fire have a right to that’s what was happening. was lit, and it went.” educate them“It was the right time. We were on the That’s how Anne Robinson described selves accordright path. Things were moving out of the the turbulent times of the 1970s in ing to their own way. That’s what happens.” Nuu-chah-nulth territories, and the priorities, and They started with an alternative school, circumstances that sparked the creation that we were gathering the Nuu-chah-nulth children of Haahuupayak School, celebrating its tired—sick and that had been rejected by the local school 40th anniversary this month. tired—of the system, as well as pre-school and KinderThat’s a phrase Anne had heard long failure rates in garten. ago about Pine Ridge, she said, and it the local school Durocher and Dave East were teachers aptly described the beginnings of Haasystem.” for the alternative school, which “was set huupayak and Nuu-chah-nulth control “We had a up for teenagers unsuccessful or unsatisover Nuu-chah-nulth education. terrible time fied with the public schools, Ha-Shilth-Sa “Everything was ready. Everything was in the public reported at the time. ready for that to happen … And when it school system,” Anne Robinson and April Thomas were started, there was no stopping it. It just said Robinson. teachers for the pre-school/Kindergarten. went,” she told Ha-Shilth-Sa. “Before that, A report to the Haahuupayak Society Haahuupayak, of the root haahuupa, our parents and from that year, as reported by Ha-Shilthwhich means “teaching with love” is a grandparents Sa, says the children were learning the Nuu-chah-nulth school on Tseshaht land, had a terrible alphabet, their numbers, “Indian phrases, Long Hot Denny Durocher born out of passion, discontent, and the time in residen- words and songs and dances. very heart of the people. Summer tial school… “Many of the things that the children are There was huge unrest on the West Denny Durocher had arrived on Vancou- And the people in that day wanted to learning are to make the children more Coast of Vancouver Island at the time of ver Island in 1973, the same year that the make a change. They wanted something aware of themselves as Indians or more the school’s creation, said Robinson. She West Coast District Council, the precurdifferent. … They wanted Nuu-chahaware of the Indian people.” was the organizer of the 40th anniversary sor to the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council, nulth [children] to have the same conSee Part Two of celebration held Oct. 8 at Haahuupayak had started to take over Nuu-chah-nulth cern, and love, as a way of preparing Haahuupayak Anniversary on page 11. School. concerns from Ottawa. them for the future. “Not only here, but all over B.C., probAt the time Durocher became close to “Our way is you teach ably all over the Nuu-chahwith love and then it Canada, and it nulth comgoes right in, and it was a motimunities and becomes a part of that vated time for soon, as an person. They never have to First Nations “outsider”, he look for it, because it’s in people. ... said, started there.” There was a working with Nuu-chah-nulth-aht said lot going on.” them to help ‘We’re going to take those A group of realize their kids who are thrown away by Nuu-chahaspirations. the local school system and nulth visionDenny’s job start to do some educational aries were was to orgastuff with them’, turning the nize with the Durocher told the people establishment unions and the gathered at the Haahuupayak on its head, churches on anniversary celebrations wrestling Chair of the Haahuupayak Board Martin Watts social justice There was an attitude at governance issues—abwith Anne Robinson, organizer of the the time, he said. for Nuu-chah- 40th Anniversary celebrations of the school Oct. 8. original people ‘Ain’t nothing to it, but nulth Nations reclaiming to do it.’ It meant that away from Indian Affairs, building the their own lives, their own natural resome things must be tribal council, establishing this very sources and their right to chart their own done “whether you newspaper, and starting to talk about tak- path into the future. are ready for them ing the education of their children back Two years later, in 1975, the year of the or not.” under their control. ‘long hot summer’ of Native unrest, Nuu“I’m not so sure we Late George Watts, a legendary figure chah-nulth-aht were making serious noise had all the answers to in Nuu-chah-nulth stories from that era, about establishing their own education the questions, but we was a core member of that group, which system. said, ‘We’re going to do included Simon Lucas, Charlie Thomp“Things were percolating quite a bit it anyway’ … The main son and the now late Nelson Keitlah, then,” said Durocher. thing we did was say among others. Back in those days, said Robinson, Nuu- ‘We’re here, and we are Watts “was very, very pivotal and chah-nulth people were demanding—not not going away’.” instrumental at that time,” said Robinson, asking—demanding a lot of change. That statement “and very passionate; very passionate. “And when the government needed to received a hearty He had had enough.” be squeezed,” Nuu-chah-nulth leadership round of applause from It was a time of push back against “got us out there to established colonial ways. The residential block roads. They got If undeliverable, please return to: Ha-Shilth-Sa school era was winding down, but its us to do the sit-ins P.O. Box 1383, Port Alberni, B.C. V9Y 7M2 replacement was a public school system when the government that was racist, dangerous, and demoralneeded to see that it izing for First Nations children, one that was no longer going continued to disrespect ‘Indian’ children, to be the way that their peoples’ ways, values and culture. they wanted it to be,” In his straight-forward and to the point she said. By Debora Steel Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter