INTERESTING NEWS Canada’s Oldest First Nations Newspaper - Serving Nuu-chah-nulth-aht since 1974 Canadian Publications Mail Product Vol. 44 - No. 10—October 19, 2017 haas^i>sa Sales Agreement No. 40047776
Judith Sayers voted in as next NTC president By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Port Alberni, BC - A new president has been voted to lead the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council, with Dr. Judith Sayers winning over incumbent Debra Foxcroft. The results were announced on Monday, Sept. 25 at Maht Mahs gym in Port Alberni. Sayers garnered 59 votes while Foxcroft got 24 from NTC society members during the hours leading up to the announcement of results by Electoral Officer Maureen Thomas. There were no spoiled ballots. “I am awed and I am humbled at the faith you have in me to lead the Nuuchah-nulth in this way,” said Sayers to the AGM delegation, recognizing the contributions of Foxcroft and outgoing Vice-President Ken Watts. “I have to thank Deb and Ken and all of the other leaders who have been building onto our Nuu-chah-nulth house and building us up over the years.” Sayers brings decades of experience advocating for First Nations rights to her new role over the next four-year term, in which she will serve the 14 Nuu-chah-
nulth nations based along the west side of Vancouver Island. There are nearly 10,000 registered Nuu-chah-nulth citizens, according to the NTC’s most recent count. “I’m going to promise to work as hard as I can for the Nuu-chah-nulth people,” said Sayers. “I am going to listen to our people, to our leaders, take your advice and direction and be a strong voice for Nuu-chah-nulth people across this country - and internationally if we have to.” For 14 years Sayers was elected chief of the Hupacasath First Nation, and has worked in international forums promoting First Nations rights and title. With 18 years of experience practicing law in Alberta and British Columbia, Sayers served on the Aboriginal Economic Development Board and was the political executive for the First Nations Summit. She is an adjunct professor at the University of Victoria’s Peter Gustavson School of Business and the School of Environmental Studies, and has recently worked as a strategic advisor to First Nations and corporations with Clean Energy BC. Continued on page 21.
Photo by Eric Plummer
On Sept. 25 Dr. Judith Sayers was voted in as president of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council, replacing Debra Foxcroft.
Photo by Bonnie Hayes
Ahousaht fisherman Tom Campbell, Hawilth Rocky Titian (Kanopit) and Arnie Thomas fish for community, home-use dog salmon (chum) in Ahousaht Ha-hulthi in October. A decision on how Canada will support the fishing rights of Ahousaht and four other nations could come by the end of the year. Story on page 4.
Inside this issue... Dr. Simon Lucas passes away.....................................Page 3 Bullfrog found near Long Beach................................Page 5 First Nations less likely to survive cancer..................Page 8 VIU gains $13.5 million for aboriginal supports..... Page 14 Phil Mack joins pro rugby team...............................Page 18
If undeliverable, please return to: Ha-Shilth-Sa P.O. Box 1383, Port Alberni, B.C. V9Y 7M2
Page 2— Ha-Shilth-Sa—October 19, 2017
Residential school survivors fundraise for Ottawa trip By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter
Port Alberni, BC - Surviving students of a 1958 -1960 Alberni Indian Residential School art class have been busy fundraising to attend an exhibition of their childhood paintings in Ottawa. According to AIRS survivor Jeff Cook, he, his colleagues and supporting family members were busy all summer working to raise about $20,000 so that the group could travel to Ottawa to view their paintings, which are now on display at the Canadian Museum of History. They made the trip to Canada’s capital from Oct. 11-14. The paintings were created in the late 1950s and early 1960s by First Nations children attending Alberni Indian Residential School. The art classes were taught by Mr. Robert Aller. Robert Aller was an accomplished artist in his own right, said University of Victoria Anthropologist Dr. Andrea Walsh. Some of his works are at Port Alberni’s Rollin Art Gallery. Dr. Walsh noted that he survived a difficult upbringing, impoverished and abused. He volunteered to teach the art class once a week at AIRS and would tell the children to paint whatever was in their hearts. They painted wildlife and landscapes, fishing boats and cultural symbols like hinkeets headdresses and thunderbirds. Aller asked only that they allow him to keep one of their paintings. He saved those and hundreds of other paintings for more than 50 years, until his passing in 2008. The Aller family eventually donated the collection to the University of Victoria where Dr. Walsh and some of her students began repatriation work. Two years later Walsh, with the help of UVic Anthropology students, began the work of identifying the child artists. The following years were devoted repatriating the paintings and following cultural protocols. In 2013 the commissioners for the TRC (Truth and Reconciliation Commission) requested that the paintings go on display at a national event in Vancouver as part of the Gesture of Reconciliation closing ceremony. In June 2015 the paintings were included in the official closing of the TRC in Ottawa. Dr. Andrea Walsh raised $30,000 to bring survivors to Ottawa for the final Truth and Reconciliation event. In Ottawa, survivors recorded their stories of the repatriation of their paintings. The recorded stories and paintings will be included in the Canadian Museum of History’s new Canada Hall, which opened
this summer. Cook says the exhibit opened July 1 but the survivors decided not to go for a variety of reasons. “July 1 was Canada’s 150th anniversary and everything was booked, it was too expensive and there was no dedicated time for us (to speak about the art),” he said. So the group delayed their trip, opting to go at a less hectic time in October. Cook says survivors would be paid for their speaking engagements, which will offset the cost of travel, but they won’t get the funds until they arrive back home. “Some of us could take care of our own trip but there are others who could not afford it, so we worked together to raise the funds so that everyone could go,” Cook added. The group has raised $18,500 through concession stands, raffles, auctions and generous donations. There were 17 people wo travelled to Ottawa for the exhibit; 14 AIRS survivors and family members along with three UVic students. Cook said 47 paintings, the works of about 35 AIRS students, were donated to UVic. Not all were Nuu-chah-nulth. Some have passed on, some couldn’t be located and some did not respond or were very reluctant to speak about their works. “We are sensitive to this fact, that many of them still have a difficult time talking about their memories of residential school, so we did not pursue them,” said Cook. “Hopefully, with stories like ours, more of the artists will be more comfortable telling their stories,” he added. The Alberni IRS paintings were collaboratively exhibited at the Legacy Gallery in Victoria in 2013, the Penticton Museum in 2014, the Alberni Valley Museum in 2014/15 and the Emily Carr House in 2015, according to Dr. Walsh. She went on to say that all of the exhibitions have an educational component for students. School groups attend the exhibitions and survivors from the repatriation project have given talks to students. Cook says the $18,500 they’ve raised for the trip will be enough to cover airfare and accommodation thanks to generous donations like the one from Dr. Walsh. She gave $3,000 from the $10,000 award she received for her work repatriating the paintings, which entailed engaging groups and communities with the survivors and their paintings. Other donations came from UVic’s Anthropology and Native Studies Union, Aboriginal Neighbors of Victoria and a group from Alert Bay. In addition, the survivors had vendor fees waived at the Port Alberni Toy Run,
Photos by Shayne Morrow
Jeff Cook the NTC Tlu-piich Games and received discounted rates at Port Alberni’s Pizza Factory and the Alberni Athletic Hall. Survivor Wally Samuel received a generous sponsorship that covered airfare and accommodations for up to six survivors from Aimia Aeroplan. If you wish to donate to the group, please email Jeff Cook at Jeff. Cook1950@icloud.com. He accepts e-transfers at that address.
October 19, 2017—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 3
Nuu-chah-nulth mourn the loss of Dr. Simon Lucas By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Port Alberni, BC - A powerful voice for Nuu-chah-nulth culture and aboriginal rights has gone silent. Dr. Simon Lucas, Hesquiaht elder, passed away peacefully in the arms of his wife, Julia, on Saturday, Sept. 16, at West Coast General Hospital in Port Alberni. Lucas was known for his impassioned speeches when fighting for the rights of his people. “I remain deeply touched with the passion and eloquence that Dr. Lucas used when advocating for the recognition and advancement of our rights, particularly our fishing rights,” said long-time friend Francis Frank. Lucas was born Nov. 4, 1939. His wife Julia said their wedding was the last of the traditional marriages, meaning it was arranged by her father and Simon’s grandparents. It was a marriage that lasted 58 years producing six children and another daughter Simon had from a previous relationship. The couple have 62 grandchildren, great grandchildren and great-great grandchildren. The Lucas’ were the go-to couple when it came to matters of culture and language. Linus Lucas said his father started working on rebuilding culture after the potlatch ban was lifted. “It was 1967 when there was a resurgence of cultural things; there were not a lot of potlatches going on,” said Linus. Julia said her father Joe Titian gave Simon a drum and advised him to visit Hesquiaht elder Alex M. Amos because he knows a lot. For three months Simon sat with Amos and his son recording songs. They gathered people together to share the knowledge and practised the dances. Lucas became politically active early on, starting with the West Coast Allied Tribes in 1958, working to increase the political influence of First Nations people. Simon was also instrumental in the launch of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council, which started out as the West Coast District Council in 1973. He was involved in the development of the various departments of the NTC including the Nuu-chah-nulth Economic
Photos supplied by Ha-Shilth-Sa Archives
Hesquiaht leader Dr. Simon Lucas was a strong advocate for Nuu-chah-nulth rights over his lifetime. He died on Sept. 16. Development Corporation, Usma Family Services, NTC treaty negotiations and the Nuu-chah-nulth fisheries court case. In May 2002 the University of British Columbia bestowed an honorary title and degree of Doctor of Laws in recognition of Lucas’ contributions to the university. In the application for the degree Lucas is described as a tireless advocate of aboriginal and non-aboriginal people working together to restore fisheries resources to once-thriving coastal communities. The application goes on to say that Lucas was declared an elder at the young age of 40, for his unique ability to draw people together for the common cause of rebuilding natural resources. “Dr. Lucas was an inspiration to me early in my life as a leader,” said Francis Frank. “My fondest recollection is when he stood up and told then Prime Minister (Pierre) Trudeau that we too had gone for a walk in the snow,” he continued, referring to a remark Trudeau made about his
decision not to run for office. Hesquiaht Ha’wilth Vince Ambrose recalls how his late father Billy would visit Simon in Port Alberni during the ‘60s. When Ha’wilth Billy Ambrose passed away in 1983, it was Simon who was there to help the family with funeral arrangements. “In 1987 Simon was at the forefront helping me prepare for my father’s memorial potlatch and traditional Ha’wilth seating; he was instrumental in teaching me my traditional roles and responsibilities as a leader,” said Ambrose. “Simon always spoke of our hereditary leaders and how our nation must never forget who they are,” said Ambrose. Though they had some political differences over the years, Ambrose said they always got things back on track. “I remain deeply touched with the passion and eloquence that Dr. Lucas used when advocating for the recognition and advancement of our rights, particularly our fishing rights,” said Francis Frank.
“On a personal level I will always appreciate how he and his dear wife Julia were always open to help me with language particularly when finishing songs I composed,” said Frank. “Dr. Lucas left a strong legacy and was a key contributor to elevating how people and governments view the Nuu-chah-nulth and I for one will be forever grateful.” Long-time friend Dr. David Suzuki said Simon was one of his early mentors in his own education, in terms of the indigenous perspective. “I filmed him for a number of shows – he had that ‘everything is interconnected’ concept,” said Suzuki. He went to say that he is grateful for all that Simon taught him. “Every time an elder is lost it’s a tragedy beyond comprehension; that indigenous knowledge cannot be duplicated. It is successful because it is based on thousands of years of trial an error,” said Suzuki. “It was a privilege to know him and my hope is that the young people engage in learning the language in his memory,” he said.
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Decision on fishing rights expected by the end of 2017 By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor
After years of stalled negotiations, progress has been made to allow five Nuuchah-nulth nations to harvest and sell fish found in their territories, according to the T’aaq-wiihak fisheries coordinator. Alex Gagne expects that a decision from the federal government on how Canada will support the nations’ access to their sea resources cold come by the end of the year. The update was given to Nuu-chah-nulth delegates during the Council of Ha’wiih Forum on Fisheries, which was held in Port Alberni on Oct. 2 and 3. In recent years a court ruling recognizing five Nuuchah-nulth nations aboriginal right to harvest and sell fish from their waters has been stalled by appeals from the federal government and a justification trial over why the nations’ rights were infringed upon. But since May discussions with federal officials have progressed, said Gagne. The T’aaq-wiihak case involves the Ahousaht, Mowachaht Muchalaht, Ehattesaht, Hesquiaht and Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations. “The amount of progress I’ve seen in the last six months is more than I’ve seen in the last five years combined,” said Gagne, who most recently discussed supporting the nations’ fisheries with officials from Indigenous and Northern Affairs and Fisheries and Oceans Canada in mid September. “They have agreed that the goal was to come to a point where they could bring forth a memorandum to cabinet this fall.” She added that T’aaq-wiihak’s lawyers are optimistic a decision will be made by Christmas, which would show a momentous turnaround of negotiations since
progress halted in 2016. “In September of last year – over a year ago now - the five nations respectfully asked DFO to leave the room, stop negotiations until they have a mandate to actually negotiate with the nations,” Gagne said, adding that this came after years of negotiations “that really didn’t go anywhere.” Jim Lane, Uu-a-thuk’s southern region biologist, noted that although a decision from Ottawa is expected by the end of the year, the nations involved will not see changes until later in 2018. “Once the cabinet decision and treasury board approval for funding to support the nations fishing rights is made, actual negotiations of how the fisheries will be implemented will begin,” he said. “Probably nothing until sometime in 2018 - and it will probably be done incrementally to allow for time for the nations capacity to harvest more fish to develop, and Canada time to acquire the fish access.” The T’aaq-wiihak case seeks to implement a ruling that originally came from the Supreme Court of B.C. in 2009. Canada fought the Nuu-chah-nulth right to harvest and sell fish from the nations’ territories in the B.C. Court of Appeal, but in 2011 this court affirmed the right of the five nations involved – with the exception of geoduck clams. The following year the Supreme Court of Canada refused to hear Canada’s challenge to the fishing rights decision, then in early 2014 the country’s highest court again denied Canada’s request to appeal the decision, thereby protecting the five Nuu-chahnulth nations’ rights under the Canadian Constitution. A justification trial has been underway since March 2015, additional legal
Photo by Keon Frank Sr.
Ed Little Jr. and Javon Hunger, both age 8 and from Ahousaht, fish in the First Nation’s waters. proceedings that have frustrated members As the nations await the result of of the five nations who would rather be negotiations, T’aaq-wiihak has operated on the water pursuing a livelihood than small-scale demonstration fisheries to awaiting the implementation of the 2009 support future development. This year B.C. Supreme Court ruling. On Oct. 3 of- a chinook demonstration fishery ran for ficials from Fisheries and Oceans Canada 79 days, entailing 262 fishing trips with were present at the Council of Ha’wiih 66 participants. The total chinook caught Forum. was 6,877, plus nearly 4,500 pounds of “Here we are eight years later,” said halibut, generating over $670,000 in revKiista (Keith Atleo) of Ahousaht. “I’m enue. Another smaller chinook demonhoping that, as our Ha’wilth said earlier, stration fishery in the Mowachaht Muchayou really consider following through laht territory brought in $150,000. with this.”
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October 19, 2017—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 5
Salmon farmers cite jobs, environmental protections By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor
An Atlantic salmon was caught in the Atleo River by an Ahousaht fisherman on Flores Island in med-September, following dozens of reports of other recent catches of the species at various locations around Vancouver Island. Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s Atlantic Salmon Watch program confirmed just three cases of Atlantic salmon that were caught off B.C.’s coast from 2011-17. But since a fish farm in Washington State collapsed on Aug. 21, releasing over 150,000 Atlantic salmon into the Pacific, numerous catches of the species have been reported, stretching as far north as Campbell River. The incident from the Cook Aquaculture facility has reignited debate over farming fish in the Pacific Ocean. Days after the net pen collapse in Washington State, a small group led by Ernest Alexandra Alfred, Hereditary Chief of the Namgis First Nation, occupied the Marine Harvest Salmon farm by Swanson Island, 17 kilometres east of Alert Bay. “The sheer amount of disease and wild herring in the pens is out of control!” said Alfred in a press release, stressing that the group will remain at the facility until the B.C. government cancels Marine Harvest’s licence. “We have no food fish again this year, our wild salmon runs are collapsing and the salmon farming industry is a herring fishery that no one knew about!” Days after the Namgis occupation members of the Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw boarded the Wicklow Point Salmon Farm 50 kilometres east of Port Hardy in protest. Then on Aug. 31 the B.C. Assembly of First Nations, the First Nations Summit and the Union of BC Indian Chiefs released a joint statement opposing fish farms in the Pacific. “B.C. must begin its transition from dangerously reckless open net-pen fish farms to the safety of land-based closed containment aquaculture,” read the statement. On the other side of Vancouver Island, fish farms continue to operate in Nuuchah-nulth waters under agreements aquaculture companies have made with First Nations. In Tla-o-qui-aht territory Creative Salmon simultaneously operates four fish farms, employing 55 people year-round to oversee the production of chinook salmon for markets in the United
Photo by Marcie Callewaert
This Atlantic Salmon was caught in the Atleo River in September, one of several found on the West Coast in recent months. States, Canada and Japan. After decades on Vancouver Island’s west coast, Creative Salmon finalised an agreement with the Tla-o-qui-aht in 2014 that prohibits underwater nighttime lighting and antifouling agents in the nets, with a fish density limit of one per cent of the total space in the pens. Elsewhere in Clayoquot Sound, Cermaq employs 250 people at its aquaculture facilities. Through an agreement the company has with Ahousaht, over 30 per cent of this workforce is First Nations, making Cermaq a valuable employer for the coastal community. Cermaq also offers training, educational programs, salmon enhancement funding and business opportunities to the First Nation, said Laurie Jenson, the company’s communications and corporate sustainability director. “The employment goal is to have 50 per cent employment from the Ahousaht community for the West Coast operations,” she said. “We are not there yet, but it continues to be a goal.” Like other West Coast aquaculture operations, Cermaq raises its salmon in land-based freshwater facilities for the first year of the life of a fish. Then the salmon are moved to net pens in the salt water of the Pacific, where they grow for another 18 months. Three per cent of the farm pen area contains fish, noted Jenson. “Farming them in ocean pens in low densities is the best way to keep them healthy and grow them into the best quality food,” she said. Jenson added that maturing the fish in land-based facilities is currently not feasible due to the space, electricity and infrastructure that would be required. “To grow the equivalent market-size fish on land will take large tracts of clear-cut land with a big power source,” she said. “That land would thus be closer to mar-
kets, so we would also lose the jobs and economic opportunities that ocean-based farming gives local communities.” As Atlantic salmon are not native to Pacific waters, criticism of farming the species on the West Coast continues. In a statement on Sept. 1 the Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde stressed his support for Indigenous communities who oppose aquaculture in their territories. “I stand with First Nations in B.C. in their long struggle with federal and provincial government to fully recognise and address the threat of salmon fish farms to wild salmon,” he said. “First Nations have long identified the threat of the fish farm industry to wild salmon that have sustained our peoples for generations.” According to Atlantic Salmon Watch, the farmed fish have not shown a threat to their wild Pacific counterparts. “If this non-native species became established in local waters, we would see them in their multiple life stages, particularly juveniles in our coastal streams,” stated the program’s website. The DFO has shown no evidence of Atlantic salmon colonising in B.C. over the last 20 years, according to the B.C. Salmon Farmers Association. This organization advocates for producers in the B.C. industry, which generated over half of Canada’s $907 million in farmed salmon sales in 2015. “Atlantic salmon take well to the farming environment,” said the association in an email to the Ha-shilth-sa. “Through years of animal husbandry practices and advancements in vaccines, populations are able to be kept very healthy and have a high rate of survival from egg to plate.” “Escapes from B.C. salmon farms are rare, and escaped fish pose little risk to Pacific salmon because they cannot
interbreed and cannot compete with the Pacific wild salmon when it comes to breeding,” added Jenson of Cermaq. “Our Atlantic salmon have been deliberately bred and raised as domesticated animals, similar to other domesticated farm animals.” The Union of BC Indian Chiefs states that aquaculture sites are focal points for hazardous levels of parasitic sea lice as a well as viruses and other diseases that afflict farmed fish, but the B.C. Salmon Farmers Association contends that salmon in net pens are healthy. “Farm-raised salmon are vaccinated against the vast majority of pathogens endemic to the North Pacific,” said the association. “This results in a very high degree of health of the population with over 90 per cent surviving through to harvest – compared with less than two per cent of salmon in the wild that survive from birth to return to spawn.” Since the 1970s the domestication of fish in B.C. waters has grown to nearly $500 million in sales, driven by $65 million in salaries and wages earned by those working in the aquaculture industry. Seventy per cent of B.C.’s farm-raised salmon are exported, and despite calls to remove net pens from the Pacific, the province’s economic reliance on the practice makes such a change to the industry unlikely in the near future. But as reports of Atlantic salmon continue to come in from fishers, federal authorities plan to monitor the extent to which the Cook Aquaculture escape could affect coastal water by monitoring B.C. streams this fall. Fisheries and Oceans Canada advises anyone who catches an Atlantic salmon to keep the fish and report it to 1-800-811-6010.
Bullfrog found near Long Beach raises concerns By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Pacific Rim National Park Reserve – A dead bullfrog found stuck to the grill of a tourist’s car at the Rainforest Trail parking lot has Dr. Barb Beasley concerned about the safety of the local amphibian habitat. The bullfrog is a large invasive species that was introduced to the province starting in the 1940’s by people hoping to farm them for their meaty legs. The dead frog discovered Sept. 20 measured 28 centimetres from tip to toe – nearly one foot long. According to Dr. Beasley, who is an ecologist studying, among other things, coastal amphibian populations, the dead bullfrog represents the first confirmed sighting of a Bullfrog on the west side of Sutton Pass. “The owners of the vehicle hadn’t seen what they’d picked up but they did recall hearing a thud as they were driving on the east side of the Island before heading
to the west coast,” Beasley said. They went on to say that bullfrogs, an invasive species, have spread throughout the Lower Mainland and southeastern Vancouver Island as far west as Sproat Lake near Port Alberni. The bullfrog’s natural range is the east coast of North America from Canada to Florida. The society hopes the bullfrogs never make it west of Sutton Pass because they are known to disrupt ecosystems where they have been introduced. “As effective predators and competitors, they are known to cause declines in populations of native frogs such as the Northern Red-legged Frog,” reads the warning from the Association of Wetland Stewards. Dr. Beasley has seen the frog. “I have confirmed that it was a female bullfrog, with an empty stomach, full of thousands of eggs,” she wrote. The Association of Wetland Stewards says there is a report that a live bullfrog was transported a short distance to a new site in Nanaimo after climbing into the
warm undercarriage of a car. The society asks that local communities keep their eye out for invasive species and do their part to prevent their spread to the west coast. “The main ways that bullfrogs move is not under their own steam, but by children and gardeners wanting them as pets in their backyard ponds... and, as we’re learning, by cars,” warns Beasley. According to the provincial Ministry of Environment, the bullfrog is quite distinctive in all its life stages. It is a very large, robust frog, green or brown in colour and with large golden eyes. Adult female bullfrogs may reach 20 centimeters in length not including legs and 750 grams (1.65 lb.) in weight. An adult bullfrog can leap as far as 2 meters (6 feet). Female bullfrogs lay up to 20,000 eggs in ponds of standing water. Bullfrog tadpoles can be up to 15cm (6 inches) in length. Bullfrogs can live up to 10 years in the wild but mortality is high for young bullfrogs. If you find a suspected bullfrog or
bullfrog tadpole, place it in a container with air holes and contact the Association of Wetland Stewards for proper identification. Dr. Beasley says while no live bullfrogs have been found in Clayoquot Sound, some suspected bullfrogs were later identified as Western Toads (which can grow large) and Northern Red-legged frogs. Both frogs are indigenous to the area and both are listed as species at risk, so it is important to have them identified before destroying them. Please report any local sightings of bullfrogs by sending a photo to email@example.com.
Page 6— Ha-Shilth-Sa—October 19, 2017
Sustainability requires ancestral lessons: Angel By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor
It’s time for Canada to take a different look at its connection to the land and water, says a historian and social scientist who began his post managing the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal council’s fisheries department in September. Eric Angel is now fisheries program manager of Uu-a-thluk - which means taking care of in Nuu-chah-nulth - a new role that comes after decades of studying First Nations history and Indigenous peoples ties to fisheries. He has worked as a historian on First Nations land claims for 24 years, served as an expert witness in court cases and environmental review processes. Angle founded and grew the research firm Public History, and with a PhD in natural resourResidetnial Schoo storyce management from Simon Fraser University, Angel looks forward to working closely with Nuu-chah-nulth communities to foster a sustainable and respectful stewardship of the hahoulthee. Fisheries management requires a more complex understanding than the perspective that commonly drives government policy in Canada, said Angel. “Our whole relationship is based on a very utilitarian view of nature: nature has resources that we extract to satisfy our needs. I think that as long as we have that attitude we’ll never have a sustainable relationship with nature,” explained Angel, who recently relocated from Vancouver to Uu-a-thluk’s south office in Port Alberni. “That’s not how First Nations see it, and it’s really difficult to try and get those conversations together, because the First Nations perspective doesn’t fit into a balance sheet or a cost-benefit analysis.” Angel’s experience studying fisheries includes four summers in Prince Rupert examining the Skeena River, where he
gained an understanding of how different stakeholders relied on the natural resource, including the United Fishermen and Allied Workers Union, the Northern Native Fishing Corporation, as well as the Native Brotherhood of BC. “I spent a lot of time hanging out with fishermen and hanging out with DFO managers in meetings, just watching how everyone is interacting,” he said, noting that the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline and LNG developments indicated common concerns among the different parties. “There’s a lot of long-standing historical conflict in the fishery, so I got to watch the brotherhood and the union try to find some common ground.” Angel belongs to the Canadian Fisheries Network, a group of scientists who have developed a framework for sustainable fisheries in Canada. By listening to the concerns of First Nations and coastal communities, Angel believes that this approach can be applied to the west coast of Vancouver Island. The main considerations are ecosystem dynamics, the well-being of communities, the future of women in fisheries, the role of government and social justice issues, like the effects of the Ahousaht et al. vs. Canada case. This brewed for several years in court until the aboriginal right to sell fish caught in traditional territory was upheld by the B.C. Court of Appeal. In 2014 the Supreme Court of Canada denied the federal government’s final request to have the case heard in the country’s highest court, thereby upholding previous rulings from B.C. “I would like to think that the rights that have been won in that case are eventually going to be extended to other Nuu-chahnulth nations,” said Angel. “These are fishing communities, these are fishing nations, these are fishing people. They need to be involved in the fisheries.”
Photo By Eric Plummer
In September Eric Angel began as Uu-a-thluk’s fisheries program manager. As he listens to the concerns of Nuuchah-nulth communities with an ancient connection to the waters, a big part of Angle’s role will be working with Fisheries and Oceans Canada. As a “vertically integrated” department reliant on the discretion of its federal minister, involving small coastal communities in the decision making process can be a challenge, said Angel. The DFO mainly focuses on the dynamics of fish populations more than the social impacts of fisheries, he added. “They don’t look very much into the economic impacts - they used to more back in the ‘70s and ‘80s - but they have largely dropped much attention to that, and they certainly don’t pay very much attention at all to the social impacts of fisheries,” he said. “If you have active, thriving fishing communities, you’ve got people who come into the community, their earning good money, they have viable livelihoods, they serve as role models for youth.”
Angel sees his new position as part of the widespread reconciliation movement to redefine how First Nations fit into Canada’s future. He believes that the last time the West Coast fisheries were sustainable was in the 19th century when First Nations were managing the waters. After generations of European-led development, it’s time to learn more from these ancestral practices. “Sustainability for me is a way of making wise choices about how we live in the world, and that includes how we manage our fisheries, how we manage our forestry resources, they’re all connected,” said Angel, noting that a different outlook towards natural resources is needed for the benefit of future generations. “I think it would be a wholesale change in how we view our relationship with nature. I really think that First Nations have been and will continue to lead the way in that shift, if it’s going to happen.”
NCN Ha’wiih demand continued closure of herring By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter
Port Alberni, BC - Concerned about continued low numbers in the herring population on the West Coast of Vancouver Island (WCVI), the Nuu-chah-nulth Council of Ha’wiih have directed Fisheries and Oceans Canada to keep WCVI closed to all herring fisheries, except food and ceremonial fisheries, for up to four years. The Council of Ha’wiih met Oct. 2-3 at Maht Mahs to discuss, among other fisheries issues, the 2018 commercial herring fishery. Despite DFO’s report that WCVI herring populations have increased from their low point of a few years ago, Nuuchah-nulth Ha’wiih want to see a total recovery before opening the commercial herring fishery. Kiista, Keith Atleo, speaking on behalf of Ha-wilth A-in-chut, said not only does Ahousaht want the commercial herring fishing shut down until the stocks show a significant recovery, but they also want the geoduck fishery closed until after the herring spawn. Herring require calm water in order to spawn. Commercial harvesting of geoduck requires the use of water jets to excavate the few feet of mud that is the giant clam’s habitat. The churning up of water and mud is disruptive and would prevent the herring from spawning in those areas. According to Living Oceans, an environmental group dedicated to the protection of the British Columbia coastline,
Photo by Eric Plummer
Keith Atleo of Ahousaht was among the deligates at the Council of Ha’wiih forum on fisheries in Port Alberni Oct. 2 and 3. the Pacific herring are one of the most the federal officials that they’ve received a period of up to four years or until there abundant fishes in B.C.’s coastal waters. reports about the 2017 herring returns. is agreement between Nuu-chah-nulth Herring directly support salmon, seals, “Based on reports and observations from Nations and DFO that the WCVI herring sea lions, whales and many seabirds, and fishers and members on the continued populations have recovered.” have been an important food source for lack of herring and herring spawn in The Nuu-chah-nulth Ha’wiih vow to coastal First Nations for thousands of our territories in 2017, Nuu-chah-nulth ensure that the 2018 commercial herring years. Ha’wiih direct the Department of Fishfishery remains closed on the West Coast In their meeting with DFO on Oct. 3, the eries and Oceans that only food and of Vancouver Island. Nuu-chah-nulth Council of Ha’wiih told ceremonial fisheries will be permitted for
October 19, 2017—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 7
Intergenerational healing by confronting the past By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Decades after the closure of Canada’s residential schools, the long-term effects of abuse have become a concern for Nuu-chah-nulth-aht on the west side of Vancouver Island, where a century of forced institutionalization continues to affect communities. To assist in the recovery process the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council’s Teechchuktl/Quu’asa team is hosting the Teechuktl Intergenerational Healing Gathering Nov. 7-9 at Maht Mahs in Port Alberni. The three-day event is being organized by the NTC to provide residential school survivors and their loved ones a chance to strengthen family connections as well as find comfort and empowerment through culturally-based healing. The Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council applied to the 2017/18 Group Independent Assessment Process Call for Proposals to host an intergeneration healing event and was successful. Sixteen Nuu-chahnulth Group IAP claimants provided their names for the application, and along with their families, continue on their journey towards healing to strengthen family connections lost due to residential school. Alice George is a residential school survivor whose experience is helping to inform planning for the gathering. She shared her story with the Ha-Shilth-Sa to hopefully empower other Nuu-chahnulth-aht in their healing. “I want our people to work on the core of their lives,” said George. At the age of 63, George looks back on a childhood when abuse was everywhere. Over the last five years she has found strength in praying to the Creator and her ancestors, a connection that has helped George in her healing. “It’s powerful, I got that gift from them and I’m not doing this on my own,” she said. “I pray for my children and my grandchildren, the people that I love I pray for.” As a child George was quiet and fearful. But as she works to break a cycle of pain she is now telling the story of her past. George grew up in the Tla-o-qui-aht reserve of Opisaht, a time that left her with dark memories, including witnessing sexual assault. “I didn`t know what it was, I was scared and I didn’t know what to do. I`d just stand there in shock,” she recalled. “I was taught to shut up, don’t tell, don’t stand up for yourself, don’t cry, don’t feel. I was controlled not to have feelings.” A lack of parental guidance worsened her vulnerability, said George. As an adult she sees a legacy of pain that was worsened by her parents’ time at the Christie Indian Residential School. George’s father Ned was at the institution for five years, while her mother Marie spent nine years there as a child. Run by the Catholic Church on Meares Island near Tofino, Christie was the last residen-
“I want our people to work on the core of their lives,” says residential school survivor Alice George. tial school in B.C. to close in 1983. “My parents were brought up in residential school and didn’t know anything else,” said George. “Our parents were not parents. They didn’t know how to be parents, so therefore we didn’t know how to be parents. It just passed on from generation to generation.” The abuse she saw on the reserve was also present in the Opisaht day school George attended. Lining up students to be hit before the class was a regular part of the morning’s activities, said George, and children were frequently molested at the hands of faculty. After a confrontation with her mother George was sent to the Alberni Indian Residential School at the age of 15. For two years she lived at the institution, which is known to have housed some of the worst cases of residential school abuse in Canada’s western provinces. In the 1990s ex-staff members were criminally convicted, including former supervisor Arthur Henry Plint, who was sentenced to 11 years in 1995 after 36 sexual assault charges surfaced. Evidence from the Alberni school led BC Supreme Court Justice Douglas Hogarth to declare in his ruling that “the Indian residential school system was nothing more than institutionalized pedophilia.” “I felt that there was lots of bad in that school when I first walked in,” reflected George. She attended the Alberni school in the late 1960s, and recalls students taking LSD while they were there. “I got introduced to it by one of the
young girls that I knew there. She said it cost only $2,” said George. The fourth time she took LSD George temporarily lost consciousness, then had difficulty moving. “I was crawling up the stairs trying to go to my room because I wasn’t feeling good,” she said. “You remember what happens when you’re on that acid, but this time I only remember trying to crawl up and, boom, then I was in the supervisor’s room all night.” George recalled a woman and three men being in that room, where she was sexually assaulted. “I couldn’t move, I couldn’t speak,” she said. George attended the Alberni Indian Residential School during the final years of its near century of operation on the Somass River. With approximately 300 students in 1969, the school’s management was transferred from the United Church of Canada to the Department of Indian Affairs. Enrollment sharply declined until the school was shut down in 1973. The multi-generational effects of the Indian residential school system have left a black mark on Canada’s history, as former students, communities and the country as a whole struggles to come to terms with over a century of the forced institutionalization of Indigenous peoples. In the 21st century this led to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, as well as settlements to residential school survivors through Common Experience Payments to all eligible former students and the Independent Assessment Process for victims of physical or sexual abuse.
Photo by Eric Plummer
For Alice George the healing has required far more than what the federal government or courts can offer. She has had to thoroughly reassess her childhood experiences, with a focus on not blaming herself for what happened. “I always hated me and blamed me. I’ve worked real hard on that, it’s not that easy,” she said. “I want to learn to like myself and love myself. I want it for my kids and grandchildren.” George has also ceased to blame her parents, who are both deceased. With love, she even speaks to them sometimes, and can now see that they didn’t have a choice but to be the way they were. “I forgive my dad…I forgive my mom because I want to heal and I don’t want to live with it anymore, that’s what keeps me down,” she said. “A kind, loving person, that’s the real me. You just have no choice, the way we were brought up. We weren’t taught the good ways.” As she reflects on the environment of her upbringing, George still sees the prevalence of abuse in west coast communities. “The chauvinistic is still out there, because our people haven’t healed,” she said. “I believe that we’re controlled, we’re still controlled by the government. I’m going to put it out there because it’s the truth. I’m scared but I’m going to say what I need to say, I don’t care what anyone says. It’s the truth and I’m not going to let myself be in denial anymore.” For more information about the Nuuchah-nulth Intergenerational Healing Gathering, contact Quu’asa staff at 250724-3939 or toll free at 1-888-624-3939.
NUU-CHAH-NULTH “Intergenerational Healing” Gathering Suw^aqsa%i November 7, 8, 9, 2017 Maht Mahs - 5000 Mission Road - Port Alberni, B.C. 9:00 am – 4:30 pm daily. Doors open at 8:00 am for registration.
For Residential School Survivors and their families v Cultural Ceremonies v Traditional Healing v Family Unity v Moving Forward v Strengthening Relationships
For more information please contact Richard Watts , Lisa Watts or Stan Matthew at 250-724-3939 or Toll free 1-888-624-3939
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Aboriginal people in B.C. less likely to survive cancer, according to study
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A joint report released Sept. 21 by the First Nations Health Authority and BC Cancer Agency has spelled out some of the disparities in cancer rates and survival rates between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples in B.C. In short, it’s a good news/bad news situation. Despite a perception that cancer rates are at epidemic levels in First Nations communities, caancer rates are actually somewhat lower than in non-Indigenous communities. But First Nations members are less likely to receive timely cancer diagnosis and intervention, leading to higher death rates (that is in 10 of the 15 cancer types examined in women and 10 of the 12 cancer types examined in men). Following the news conference, HaShilth-Sa spoke with two B.C. Cancer Agency spokespersons, Dr. John Spinelli, Vice President of Population Oncology, and Preston Guno, Director of Indigenous Care. Spinelli said the lower-than-expected cancer incidence rates were encouraging. “But the fact that survival rate is lower is of concern,” Spinelli said, noting that the study did not break down rates between urban, rural and remote populations. “But the survival was pretty consistent – lower in almost every type of cancer.” Guno, a member of the Nisga’a Nation, said the study also reflects the lingering social effects of colonialism, and more specifically, the residential school system, on how First Nations people perceive and deal with the health care system. The goal is to improve that relationship, in partnership with the First Nations Health Authority. “We know that wellness [programs], prevention, screening and distance care can all be improved on,” he said. “We need to work together to improve access to care.” Guno said the innovative TeleHealth program, which allows patients to consult with physicians by telephone, is one way to improve access to health care for people in remote communities. But much
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By Shayne Morrow Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor
Wikimedia Commons photo
Lung cancer, pictured in cellular form, is less common among aboriginal peoples - but rates are growing.
more support is needed, he said. The study was jointly conducted between 1993 and 2010, by the B.C. Cancer Agency and the First Nations Health Authority, and can be accessed in full on the Cancer Causes & Control website. Despite the generally similar cancer incidence rates, First Nations men and women experience a significantly higher rate of colorectal cancer than their nonAboriginal neighbours – 22 per cent higher for women and 39 per cent higher for men. Spinelli said the reason for the disparity is not fully understood, but BCCA has already taken steps to address it. “We have created a provincial colorectal screening program, but the program was only set up in 2013, after the study was completed,” he said. The screening technology is capable of detecting pre-cancerous tissues, Spinelli explained. When detected early, colorectal cancer can be treated effectively and less invasively. The challenge is to encourage First Nations people to seek out and undergo screening. Part of that is simply letting people know it is available. The disparity in rates for cervical cancer is disturbing – First Nations women are 92 per cent more likely to contract cervical cancer than non-Aboriginal women. “That’s another area where we can make improvements,” Spinelli said. Early vaccination for the HPV virus, which has been linked to cervical cancer, can drastically lower cancer rates, he explained.
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Early screening and testing improve detection and diagnosis, raising survival rates for those who go on to contract the disease. Again, the goal is to encourage more First Nations women to overcome any reluctance to engage with the health care community. “What really resonates with this study is the need for a more culturally-sensitive approach,” Guno said. It is well established that First Nations people are more likely to access care that respects their wellness beliefs and goals. The incidence of lung cancer is a picture that is currently evolving and not in a positive direction. While lung cancer rates are generally lower for First Nations people, the incidence is rising, while at the same time, rates for non-aboriginal people are declining. At some point in the near future, the incidence of lung cancer among First Nations people is expected to exceed that of the non-aboriginal population. Spinelli said the goal now is to expand the collaboration between BCCA, the FNHA and all health authorities within the province, and to continue collecting First Nations cancer data. “This is really only the first step,” he said. In a post-conference news release, FNHA Chief Executive Officer Joe Gallagher set out an ambitious set of goals to improve the health prospects for B.C. First Nations. “Our systems-wide response to improve the First Nations cancer journey must include working with communities to help prevent cancer before it starts; increasing access to colon, cervical and breast cancer screening; promoting cultural safety and humility in cancer care services; supporting First Nations cancer survivorship and end-of-life journeys; improving knowledge on the First Nations cancer journey; and nurturing partnerships between First Nations communities, the FNHA, and health system partners.” The FNHA, BCCA, the B.C. Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres and Métis Nation are working in partnership to complete an Indigenous Cancer Strategy to be released later this fall.
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October 19, 2017—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 9
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Photo supplied by Awaken the Spirit
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(Please see additional requirements, & information regarding cover letter & resume below) ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS: A criminal record check will be conducted. Knowledge of Aboriginal people, culture and traditions. Holds a valid First Aid certificate or willing to attend First Aid training. In meeting the objectives and philosophies of the Society, preference will be given to qualified individuals of Aboriginal Ancestry in accordance with Section 42 of the BC Human Rights Code. The successful candidates for Part-Time Cook and Casual Recovery Care Workers will have a willingness to role model and maintain an abstinent lifestyle and be two (2) years alcohol and drug free. Please address a Cover Letter and Resume to: Att: Personnel Committee, Tsow-Tun Le Lum Society PO Box 370, 699 Capilano Rd. Lantzville, BC, V0R 2H0 Fax: (250) 390-3119 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org On your Cover Letter: Please state the length you’ve been abstinent from alcohol or drugs; also, please state your aboriginal ancestry. Tsow-Tun Le Lum Personnel Committee will be accepting applications. Only those people selected for an interview will be contacted. The TTLL Personnel Committee thanks you for your interest.
Fred Anderson brought his Awaken the Spirit workshop program to the DAC Health Ability Fair in Port Alberni on Oct. 11.
Workshop delves into personal empowerment By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor After a childhood of moving through 21 different foster homes, an adolescence struggling with alcoholism and bouts of drug addiction in adulthood, Fred Anderson advises others to look beyond the problems of the past. Now sober for several years, this is part of the message the speaker brings to First Nations communities, with an emphasis on personal empowerment to affect positive change. “From going through those homes as a kid - not feeling that I really belonged in my community - you get torn, you lose your sense of identity about where you’re from,” recalled Anderson, who was born in Rivers Inlet and belongs to the Heiltsuk First Nation from British Columbia’s central coast. “I don’t have any regrets about that. I can go into our jails now and talk to our men, I can go into our communities and talk to our people who are suffering, who are addicts.” Anderson’s workshop, The Warrior in Me, took place Oct. 11 at the Alberni Athletic Hall. It was part of the two-day DAC Health Ability Fair hosted by the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council, marking the 20th year the event offered healthrelated information. As First Nations communities and the rest of Canada struggle to come to terms with a painful colonial legacy marked by banned potlatches, mismanaged resources and the residential school system, Anderson cautions about the perils of fixating on problems. “There’s billions of dollars put into our First Nations communities to keep our people stuck,” he said. “By doing that we keep our focus on the problems, not the solutions.” Anderson has travelled to numerous First Nations communities with his Awaken the Spirit programs, including
Nuu-chah-nulth reserves along Vancouver Island’s west coast. Now 51, he first trained to be a councillor at the age of 18. The speaker believes that the potential for positive change exists within every woman and man. “Self-esteem and confidence is not something that you find. You’ve got it, you’re born with it,” said Anderson. “Once we get to that stage, then our people can start to move forward. There are people all over the world that have gone through far worse than we have, and they prosper in our territories - and they can’t even speak English.” Anderson incorporates humour into his workshops, and has travelled with First Nations comedian Don Burnstick, who performed at last year’s DAC Health Ability Fair. He illustrates the effects of negative thought through a slide show about an experiment with water that was exposed to different spoken messages. The water was immediately frozen, and amazingly, the effects of the messaging can be seen in microscopic photographs of the crystallization. Water particles exposed to hate take a brown and shapeless form, while positive messages bring intricate designs. “It looks like a snowflake, and also a pentagram on the inside of the snowflake,” described Anderson. “Our bodies are 60-80 per cent water…we unconsciously say things to ourselves for 20 years, for 30 years, what is that doing to us? There are sicknesses coming into our communities that there never was before.” The Warrior in Me was followed by an open discussion, a closing summary, then dinner at Maht Mahs, DAC special recognition presentations and evening entertainment. On Oct. 12 a variety of social and health related presentations took place. The DAC Health ability Fair was open to everyone.
MEETING RENTAL SPACE AVAILABLE NOW Boardroom or large great room Tseshaht First Nation Administration Building 5091 Tsuma-as Drive, Port Alberni, BC Contact: Molly Clappis 250-724-1225
Page 10— Ha-Shilth-Sa—October 19, 2017
DAC Fair covers tough topic of elder abuse By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter
Port Alberni, BC - Elder abuse can be any of several forms of maltreatment on an older person by someone who has a special relationship with them. That is how Donna Brown, Quu’asa Clinical Counsellor, defined elder abuse at the 20th annual Disability Access Committee wellness fair on Oct. 12. Brown went on to say that abusers can be a spouse, sibling, child, friend or even care-giver; anyone with a close connection to the elder. There are many reasons people abuse. Brown said it could be about wanting power and control over another, it could be related to addictions or there may be mental health issues. “It could be ageism: some people believe that the older a person gets the dumber they are,” said Brown. Elder abuse has many forms including physical violence, psychological abuse or even sexual abuse. The more overt physical violence like hitting, kicking or rough handling anything that causes physical pain - may leave wounds. Brown advised that people watch for signs of unexplained bruising or other injuries in the elders. There may be black eyes or bruising of the wrists or ankles showing that restraints have been used. She noted that as people age, their skin becomes thinner and blood vessels break more easily, so there may be a reasonable explanation for bruises. According to Brown, nobody likes to talk about sexual abuse but it does happen, even to elders. Sadly, it can happen to seniors with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, to the most vulnerable ones with diminished mental capacity. Signs to look for include bruising of the breasts or genital area, unexplained genital tears,
Photo by Denise Titian
Quu’asa Clinical Counsellor Donna Brown speaks about elder abuse at the 20th annual Disability Access Committee wellness fair at the Alberni Athletic Hall on Thursday, Oct. 12. bleeding, infection, or sexually transmithealth care professionals for information. pressures you to borrow money. “It’s ted diseases. Torn, stained or bloody Another form of abuse involves financokay to be known as the person who bedding and night clothes are other signs es. “If someone is misusing or stealing won’t lend money,” said Brown. of sexual abuse. It is important to investi- money or property from an elder, that is In order to prevent theft, seniors should gate complaints of abuse by an elder. abuse,” said Brown. Another example conduct their own banking when posA less obvious form of abuse is neglect. of financial abuse is when cheques are sible. They should seek out someone they It may not be the care-giver’s intent to stolen, signatures are forged for financial trust to help where necessary. In addition, cause harm and they may be in over their gain or when someone moves in with an they should make sure they fully underheads, but sometimes it’s the elder that elder but doesn’t pay their fair share of stand any documents that they sign. pays. The elder may show signs of poor the household expenses. If you are an elder that is being abused, personal hygiene or have unattended Brown said people should make end-of- or you suspect an elder is being abused health problems. They could be underlife plans, write them down and store it you may report it to the RCMP or to Vanmedicated or even over-medicated to in a safe place. “Some people have been couver Island Health Authority. VIHA keep them quiet. They may be dehydrated known to destroy written wills because will send a nurse to do an assessment. or have bed sores. they don’t like what’s in them,” said There is help at the West Coast General Brown acknowledged that most people Brown. Financial abuse is less likely to Hospital with the Aboriginal Nursing love their elders, but, “if we can no happen if people call the family together Liaison, the NTC Quu’asa/Teechuktl longer do it (care for them) we need to to openly discuss end-of-life plans. offices and there is a Senior’s Abuse and allow someone else to do it – there is help Finally, when it comes to finances, know Information Line through the provincial available.” She advised people to talk to that it is okay to say no when someone government at 1-866-437-1940.
October 19, 2017—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 11
NCB artist’s work featured in TimberWest’s showcase
By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter
Nanaimo, BC – TimberWest Forest Corporation, operating for more than 100 years in British Columbia, is hosting a seven-week First Nation Cultural Art Showcase Program featuring the works of three first nations artists, one of whom is well-known Ehattesaht artist Vince Smith. The First Nation Cultural Art Showcase Program recognizes and supports the three artists, commissioning them to design, create and showcase their cultural art work at the The View Gallery at Vancouver Island University. Smith, who lives in Zeballos, is from Ehattesaht with family roots extending to Nuchatlaht and Mowachaht First Nations. According to a biography supplied by TimberWest, Smith began carving in 1977 with his late brother Gideon Smith. After graduating from Nanaimo District Senior Secondary, he attended Malaspina College, (now Vancouver Island University), where he took art classes for a few years. He went to the Royal British Columbia Museum, to study the art work of elders and also studied books on Nuu-chah-nulth art. After finishing college Smith worked for Theytus Books in Nanaimo from 1979 to 1980. Smith went on to learn from Hesquiaht master carver Tim Paul and artist Ron Hamilton of Hupacasath First Nation. He has done carvings that were erected around buildings for Ehattesaht First Nation in Zeballos and the Zeballos Secondary/Elementary School, where he has been teaching art for the last five years. The First Nation Cultural Art Showcase represents TimberWest’s contribution to
Photo supplied by TimberWest
Vince Smith is exhibiting his carvings in Nanaimo at the View Gallery in Vancouver Island University until Nov. 3. the celebration of National Aboriginal Day. The three artists, Vince Smith, Curtis Wilson, Kwakwaka’wakw and Richard Thomas of Tsawout represent three major Aboriginal language groups on Vancouver Island. Each artist was commissioned to create eight to 12 art pieces. These pieces will be added to TimberWest’s art collection and will go on display at their three office
locations in Campbell River, Nanaimo and Vancouver. The art may also be donated to auctions that support fundraising efforts of organizations that are supported by TimberWest like the Pacific Salmon Foundation, the Truck Loggers Association and Ducks Unlimited. “We are pleased to shine a spotlight on these remarkable artists and provide the public with a viewing experience that
will tell a story about Vancouver Island’s First Nation culture,” said Jeff Zweig, President and CEO of TimberWest. The exhibit opened on Sept. 14 with a reception and will run until Nov. 3. TimberWest is a member of the Canadian Council of Aboriginal Business. They have a history of supporting First Nations artists with the donation of logs and continue to provide this type of support.
Work underway on historic church in Yuquot By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Nootka Island, BC - A small crew gathered in the traditional home of the Mowachaht Muchalaht First Nation in mid-September to begin renovations on a church erected 61 years ago in honour of a Catholic pope. Work on the historic site was expected to last three to four weeks at the hands of a half dozen or so workers from the First Nation and Kinsol Timber Framing, a construction firm specializing in heritage rebuilds. Erected by the Mowachaht Muchalaht community in 1956, the church was originally dedicated to Pope St. Pius X, replacing another church in Yuquot that burned down two years prior. The structure was decommissioned as a Catholic church in the in 1990’s, but it’s use continued as a cultural gathering spot, a place for worship and a point of interest for visitors to Yuquot, which is located on the southwestern edge of Nootka Island, off Vancouver Island’s west coast. In the mid-1990s replicas of carvings belonging to the Maquinna and Jack families were installed in the church’s main hall. “A lot of nations choose to tear down their churches,” said Margarita James, President of the Land of Maquinna Cultural Society. “But because some of the elders go married there - there were a lot of nice community events there - elders at that time chose to keep it.” This fall the crew are repairing the structure’s windows, tower roof, steeple and its flashing as well as church floor, which contains tiles made from asbestos. “We’re going to change the windows and doors to its original configuration,”
Photo by Eric Plummer
Originally erected in 1956 in honour of Catholic Pope St. Pius X, Yuquot’s church now houses replicas of sacred carvings by the Maquinna and Jack families. said Robin Inglis, the cultural society’s executive director. “We’re preparing the floor to have tiling done in March.” A renovation to the old priest’s quarters is also in the plans to make this section better suited to Nootka Island’s wet and windy climate. “The building through that area doesn’t breathe properly,” said Inglis. “The insulation that was put in the ‘90s has proved to be a problem.” The work is being funded by a combination of grants from the First Nation, the provincial government and Parks Canada. The Land of Maquinna Cultural Society currently has $120,000 available for the project, comprised of a $50,000 provincial Canada 150 grant, $10,000 from the Frist Nation and $60,000 in matching funds provided by Parks Canada. The
federal department has approved up to $79,000 in support if more matching funds can be raised by the cultural society. As it sits on the ancestral home of the Mowachaht for at least 4,300 years, the church is owned by the First Nation. In an email to the Ha-Shilth-Sa, Parks Canada explained that the matching funds are designed to support local economies and encourage Canadians to explore the country’s heritage. Besides being the ancestral home of the Mowachaht, Yuquot was British Columbia’s first point of contact between Europeans and First Nations peoples when the site became a trading destination for the British and Spanish in the late 1700s. During the Nootka Sound Controversy of 1789-94, conflicting trading interests brought these two European superpowers to the brink of war. Since
1923 Yuquot, or Friendly Cove, has been designated as a National Historic Site. “By investing in the conservation of non-federally owned heritage places through the cost-sharing program, we are fostering lasting relationships with the community groups that operate them,” stated Parks Canada. The church still contains components given to the Mowachaht Muchalaht community by the Spanish government in the 1950s. These include elaborate stained glass windows at the front of the building, depicting European interactions with Yuquot residents in the 18th century. One caption reads: “Father Magin Catala preaching to the Indians.” “If you look at the content, the aboriginal people are always in the background,” commented James. “The community rather accepted the windows, because they were given to the community when the church was built.” Restoring the church to its original state is important, as it marks Yuquot’s history of being Spain’s most northerly garrison in the Americas over 200 years ago. “When people acknowledged the church, they didn’t really want that part of the community history to be rubbed out,” James added. “The government of the Spain always acknowledges those ties that we have with them.” “The church is one of the few remaining contemporary buildings found within the designated place,” stated Parks Canada. “It is now used as a cultural centre and museum by the Mowachaht Muchalaht First Nations and the proposed work will allow its continued use for years to come.”
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October 19, 2017—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 13
Young artist discovers roots through longhouse design By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter
Victoria, BC - A young Nuu-chah-nulth man who has grown up in the foster care system is learning about his Ditidaht roots through his love of art. A.J. Boerson, 16, says he got into art about five years ago with a passion for drawing cars. Not long after he discovered the award-winning comic book artist Andrea Sorrentino, known for his work for comics I, Vampire and Green Arrow. A.J. switched from cars to superheroes, practising the style of Sorrentino. With the support of his foster family, Boerson nurtured his artistic talents, eventually winning first place in a First Nations art competition for School District 62. While at Belmont High School he won the Top Grade 10 Excellence in Art award. “My main drive behind my art is that each of us has an inner warrior; no matter who you are, the fight is worth it,” he said. A.J.’s passion for art brought him in contact with Tla-o-qui-aht artist Hjalmer Wenstob, who was working on a longhouse art project in Victoria. Wenstob’s idea was to create four longhouse facades representing the styles of four indigenous language groups: Coast Salish, Kwakwaka’wakw, Nuu-chah-nulth and South Pacific. Each 25-foot-wide house front was designed by youth who were selected
through a design competition by a panel representing Pacific People’s Partnership. Wenstob’s vision went ahead in collaboration with the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations along with MediaNet and Pacific People’s Partnership. The finished house fronts were erected on the lawn of the Legislature on Saturday, Sept. 16 for the 10th Annual One Wave Gathering sponsored by the Pacific Peoples’ Partnership. The BC Legislature lawn was once an historic Lekwungen village site of the Kosapsum or Shweng’xwung peoples. The house fronts were designed to have canvas bodies, making them portable and easy to store. The four structures were erected over the weekend of Sept. 16 for the 10th Annual One Wave Gathering. The project went ahead with the consent and support of the leadership of Esquimalt Nation, Songhees Nation, the Province of British Columbia and the City of Victoria. Wenstob said that A.J.’s work impressed the selection committee and he mentored the young artist, helping him develop Nuu-chah-nulth context in his work. “He grew up in foster care and didn’t know his family and community and so I showed him Ditidaht designs from artists like the late Art Thompson,” said Wenstob. Thompson was a well-known artist who was a close personal friend of the Wenstob/Masso family. Hjalmer recalled a time before his 10th birthday when a film
youth and Hjalmer and his family again,” said Boerson. At the gathering he greeted people wearing a woven cedar and swamp grass hat that was given to him by Ditidaht elder Charlie Thompson. Boerson liked that all the longhouses and their traditions converged during the gathering, just as all sorts of people
“A big part for me was that everyone came together and that we all celebrated as one race, the human race” ~ A.J. Boerson came to join. “A big part for me was that everyone came together and that we all celebrated as one race, the human race; I hope that eventually more and more people come to each year and that soon racism and stereotypes end for everyone,” said Boerson, adding that the sharing of cultures is a big reason for his interest in the competition. With the support of his foster family, Boerson plans to go to Nitinaht Lake to learn more about his Ditidaht family and
Photo by Denise Titian
Hjalmer Wenstob and A.J. Boerson stand with the facade of a NCN longhouse that Boerson designed in Victoria on Sept. 16. Counter clockwise from the left: The facade was part of a village temporarily displayed on the lawn of the BC Legislature; The 10th annual One Wave Gathering included a dancing performance; In Huu-ay-aht First Nations territory a longhouse post still stands; A photo was taken of the Huu-ay-aht welcome figures in 1913 before their removal; The entrance to a Huu-ay-aht longhouse still stands. was being made at the Wenstob’s property on Tzartus Island in Barkley Sound. The film called for a traditional longhouse so the Wenstobs and Masso’s got to work building one. Hjalmer’s grandfather, Wayne Wenstob, is an architect. He consulted with Art Thompson on how to build the 60-foot-long structure. It was during one of those visits that Thompson drew a kingfisher design on a scrap of paper for little Hjalmer. The kingfisher design is a Masso family crest. According to Hjalmer, the plan was for
the family to build the longhouse and Thompson would come back to carve and paint the designs on the front. “Well, we waited and waited and he never came back so we decided to paint the kingfisher design ourselves,” Hjalmer recalls. He said they struggled for a while, trying to get the design right, and just as the last paintbrush stroke was made, they heard a boat approaching. Thompson had shown up just as they finished painting. “I was so excited to tell him we finished the front of the house,” said Hjalmer. He ran down to greet his
friend and could tell by the expression on his face that he was not happy about it. “I grabbed his hand and we walked up to the house and when he saw it he was like, ‘Wow! Good job’, he was so proud,” Hjalmer recalled. It was this experience that sparked Wenstob’s interest in longhouse design and First Nations art. “I still have Art’s drawing; he’s the standard I hold my work to,” said Wenstob. Through his work with Wenstob, A.J. learned that the Nuu-chah-nulth-aht were the only coastal First Nation to feature
stars in their historic art. A.J. settled on a whaler’s scene that included stars for his longhouse front design. A.J. says he is proud of his design and happy to have met Wenstob. “He changed my life in an awesome way,” said A.J., who mentioned the entire Wenstob family was great to him. “A big highlight of One Wave was that I made new friends and even more so family; I consider Hjalmer Wenstob and his family my family now,” A.J. shared, adding that it was an honour working with everyone. “I hope I get an opportunity to work with the other three
his culture. He also goes to powwows and other such gatherings, trying to keep the connection with his indigenous roots. Wenstob says as lead artist and creator of the project he owns the works. “I will look after them from now on and hopefully bring them up again if people want to rent or use them for events or gatherings,” he said. In a recent interview with Ha-Shilth-Sa, Wenstob said the Nuuchah-nulth house front went on display at Boerson’s Belmont High School in Langford for about two weeks. Wenstob’s next project is the installation of the Kingfisher house front that his family made on Tzartus Island at an Art Gallery of Greater Victoria exhibit. The Point of Contact exhibition will feature the works of Nuu-chah-nulth artists Tim Paul, Patrick Amos and Hjalmer Wenstob. The Masso/Wenstob family saved the boards from the Kingfisher longhouse and have already installed the house front in the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. The exhibition opens on Oct. 28. The One Wave Gathering is an international Indigenous arts and culture celebration hosted on Lekwungen Territory with permission of the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations. The event featured dance presentations by North and South Pacific groups, works by Indigenous artists, interactive displays and activities. This project is produced in partnership with MediaNet and Nuu-chah-nulth artist Hjalmer Wenstob.
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VIU gains $13.5 million for Indigenous students By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Nanaimo, BC - As the first person in her family to go to university, Justice Manson is driven to set an example. The 20-year-old Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation member is beginning fourthyear political science classes this fall at Vancouver Island University, with future aspirations of entering law school. A former foster child, Manson is interested in advocating for those who don’t have a voice. “If you want real change you have to be able to have an educational basis,” said Manson, who grew up in Nanaimo. As she pursues studies Manson often thinks of her three siblings, two of whom have been adopted. “I have a brother who is in a group home,” she added. “I try to be there emotionally and financially as much as I can because he doesn’t really have anyone advocating for him.” Miranda Hopkins is also the first member of her family to attend post-secondary studies. This month the 25-year-old mother of two begins her Bachelor of Arts courses, with an interest in criminology. “I’m really fascinated by the forensic analyst side of the police field,” said Hopkins, a Mowachaht Muchalaht member who lived in Port Alberni for the last 10 years. Now she has relocated to Nanaimo with her two sons. Coordinating her children’s transportation to elementary school can be a challenge, but fortunately help has come from family. “On the days I have class before they go to school my mom or my stepdad usually walks them,” said Hopkins. “If I have class that goes until after they’re done school my stepdad picks them up as well.” With approximately 2,000 Indigenous students attending, one eighth of VIU’s campus is aboriginal. But with additional support announced on Sept. 20, VIU plans to increase these numbers, doubling the capacity of some First Nations to send its members to the university. Through support provided by the Mastercard Foundation and Rideau Hall Foundation, VIU is dedicating an additional $13.5 million to help Indigenous students pursue studies over the next five years. Nine million of this funding will go into 250 new scholarships the university can now provide to Indigenous learners each year, said Sharon Hobenshield, VIU’s Director of Aboriginal Education and Engagement. “The No. 1 reason that students don’t access post-secondary is a financial reason: lack of funding. And so communities have opportunities to fund through the [Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada] funding, but it’s based on membership,” she said, noting that in some cases the university will now be able to match the number of students a First Nation can send to VIU. “For me the goal is creating access where there wasn’t access previously.” VIU already has supports in place for Indigenous students. A Gathering Place provides culturally appropriate environment, while nine elders in residence help aboriginal students adapt to university life. Now two more elders are joining the university and three educational navigators were hired over the summer to engage with First Nations across Vancouver Island. Another navigator is being secured for VIU’s campus in Powell River. “We’re already set to go to Ahousaht in
Photos by Eric Plummer
Members of the Wei Wai Kum and Wei Wai Kai First Nations perform at Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo on Sept. 20 after the announcement of $13.5 million in addition funding to support Indigenous students. a couple of weeks,” said Hobenshield. “The funding provides for that extensive travel.” As First Nations peoples are fastest growing demographic in British Columbia, the additional funding for aboriginal students represents an effort from VIU to keep up with the needs of Vancouver Island communities. This week Mastercard and Rideau Hall Foundation also announced $4.6 million in support for Yukon College, where 30 per cent of its students are aboriginal. When the funding was announced on Wednesday, Sept. 20 at VIU’s Nanaimo campus, the university’s President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Ralph Nilson noted how Canada is challenged by its past history with Indigenous peoples – but postsecondary institutions can help to provide a different future. “Education is the key to social change,” he said. It’s Miranda Hopkins’ hope that in her family she is setting a precedent for higher education. “I want both of my sons to know that when they’re finished with their high school…that door is open for them,” she said. “It is all worth it in the end, there are no limits for us - you just have to find those willing to help you get to where you need to go.”
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UVic launches plan as aboriginal enrolment increases By Andrea D. Smith Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Victoria, BC - For the first time in its history the University of Victoria has developed a strategic “Indigenous plan” for its First Nations students. The plan lays out a course of action for the next five years, and was developed over the past two years, by the associate vice-president of academic planning, the director of indigenous and community engagement, as well as various members of staff and students. UVic saw a 52 per cent increase in Indigenous student enrollment over the previous decade, making them about five per cent of the total student population - so the plan is both timely, and much needed. Over the past five years Indigenous enrollment has risen by 33 per cent. “It’s our first plan, and for me what it signals is our long-standing commitment to, and relationships with local Indigenous people, but also all Indigenous people in B.C. and Canada,” said Dr. Robina Thomas, the Director of Indigenous and Community engagement. “What I love about this plan is… We do cedar. We talk about cedar, which was so critical to coastal people… And the thing is, in and of itself, it’s not that strong, but when you weave it together you have something that is profoundly strong and sustainable,” she added. Dr. Thomas is referring to the symbolism which helped form the basis of the plan. The entire outline parallels what it is like to work with five strands of cedar, when weaving items such as baskets, for example. In the introduction to the full plan document—available online now— the university writes “working with cedar is working together, and knowing that at all stages we must work with a good mind and a good heart, always remembering our teachings, our birthright and our ancestors.” It then goes on to say, “pulling together” the strands of cedar is purposeful, and the university has “wo-
ven together” their plan using multiple angles and sources. The five strands of cedar within the Indigenous plan become five key areas which the university will address. Strand 1 is students, Strand 2 is faculty and staff, Strand 3 represents education, Strand 4 is research and Strand 5 is governance. And within each strand, there is anywhere from one to five key “goals and actions.” “So, we have this metaphor of weaving, and the other critical piece is the role of elders… elders are a part of every bit of the plan,” said Dr. Thomas. “Page nine starts with some teachings, because it’s really important we do the best we possibly can with Indigenous education - but it’s equally important how we do work the work.” Two of those foundational teachings are already mentioned in the introduction: “Remembering (Indigenous) ancestors and birthrights,” and “bringing in good feelings (to wherever the work is being done).” The other two are: “Working together,” and “Being prepared for all the work to come.” The university chose to use Lkwungen (Saanich dialect) to refer to these values, out of respect for the territory the university is on. According to Dr. Thomas, the needs of all First Nations students are important to UVic, however, and are similar across the board. “The one thing about our plan is we recognize the diversity of Indigenous people. I know that the Nuu-Chah-Nulth student population is quite high, and we have actively worked to have a NuuChah-Nulth Elder on our Elder’s Voices Committee. We have the three big nations around us… and we always try to make sure we have elders from those communities, and from the Metis communities,” she said. The actual Indigenous Plan document is lengthy—37 pages, which includes colorful photographs, graphs and charts. The most emphasized piece about “students”
Photo supplied by UVic
Dr. Robina Thomas, the University of Victoria’s Director of Indigenous and Community Engagement, hands out cedar flowers at the university in September. strand of the plan, says Dr. Thomas, is that the university will focus on recruitment and retention of Indigenous students, as well as creating a safe, culturally sensitive environment where they can thrive. In regards to the “faculty and staff” strand, the goals are similar in terms of recruitment and retention. This is not just for the comfort of Indigenous faculty and staff members or to level the playing field for Indigenous people in terms of work opportunities, but also because it’s important for Indigenous students to see Indigenous faces around the university while they are there. It helps the students feel more comfortable, and helps them feel more confident they, too, can succeed, according to Dr. Thomas. Within the “education” strand, the university will basically overhaul course materials to be more relevant to First Nations topics and issues. As per the research strand’s “goals and actions,” the university will expand intensively
on First Nations specific research; and for the governance strand, the university says they will ensure they’re continuing to consult with members of the First Nations community, as the plan rolls out. UVic has even pledged to have a twiceyearly reporting process, where they’ll submit progress to local First Nations communities, and receive feedback, said Dr. Thomas. “As an Indigenous faculty person, I always have to remind myself I have a job because we have Indigenous students, and so I can never forget that. I always have to remember when I’m doing things… ’What is the link to Indigenous students... How am I am making that link?’” said Dr. Thomas. “And I think our plan is not only the result of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, but it is quite consistent with the recommendations of the TRC,” she said. The full plan is available to view online at: https://www.uvic.ca/vpacademic/resources/indigenousplan/
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Photo by Denise Titian
The PAFC board includes Chairman Richard Samuel, Sharean Van Volsen, Kelly Sport, Executive Director Cyndi Stevens, Vanessa Sim, John Barney, outgoing youth rep Nancy Sam, Danielle Sam and Brittany Johnson.
PA Friendship Center elects new board members By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter
Port Alberni, BC - The Port Alberni Friendship Center Society has elected four new board members at their Sept. 26th Annual General Meeting. The eightmember board with two appointed youth representatives serve two year terms. Elections are held every year, as terms end for half of the board members while the other four have one year left in their terms on the board. PAFC Society members and the community were invited to a roast beef dinner followed by AGM business. Nominations for PAFC Board of Directors were made followed immediately by voting. Outgoing PAFC Board members are Wally Samuel, who served as Vice Chair, Marie Samuel, Brittany Johnson and Kelly Sport. Wally Samuel and Marie
Samuel did not run in the election. Brittany Johnson and Kelly Sport were reelected for another four year term. Newly elected board members are Vanessa Sim and Danielle Sam. The PAFC Board of Directors will name two youth representatives to serve on the board at a later meeting. The 2017 PAFC Board of Directors is Chairman Richard Samuel, Brittany Johnson, John Barney, Violet Wishart, Sharean Van Volsen, Kelly Sport, Vanessa Sim and Danielle Sam. The Port Alberni Friendship Center, a non-profit society, was established in the mid-1960s providing services to urban Aboriginal people. Their services include addictions counseling, legal information, some public health services, daycare, as well as recreation opportunities, crafts, culture in a welcoming drop-in atmosphere
Photo by Eric Plummer
Audio-video technician Mike Watts was acknowledged for his years of service to the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council on Oct. 11 during the DAC Health Ability Fair’s dinner at Maht Mahs in Port Alberni. With his daughter Adrianna by his side, Watts was blanketed as a sign of comfort and appreciation for his dedication in providing audio and video services to the health fair’s 20 years of operation. DAC Chair Helen Dick stands next to Watts. This is the 20th year the DAC Health-Ability Fair was held, running for two days of informative sessions about health issues affecting Nuu-chah-nulth-aht.
henna artist By Aleesha Sharma
Book your henna session for community events, weddings, birthday parties, school events or any special event.
Phone: 250-730-1262 or 250-720-3096 E-mail: email@example.com
October 19, 2017—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 17
Leading examples honoured at NTC AGM By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Port Alberni, BC - Sept. 25 was a proud night for those in attendance at Maht Mahs in Port Alberni, as several individuals were recognized for the leading roles they took in progressing the lives of Nuuchah-nulth-aht. Eight people were honoured for their unique legacies and given plaques of recognition, as approved by the Nuu-chahnulth Tribal Council, during the NTC’s two-day Annual General Meeting in late September. “My father used to say there’s three types of people,” said co-host and former NTC vice-president Ken Watts. “There’s those who float around and don’t really do much, there’s those who push others down so they can stay afloat themselves, and then there’s swimmers - people who are willing to swim for their community and their people. I think that we need to make sure that we lift up those people.” Julia Lucas was the first to be recognized, days after the passing of her husband Simon Lucas, for a lifetime of sharing traditional teachings with fellow Hesquiaht and Nuu-chah-nulth people. Hesquiaht Chief Councillor Richard Lucas noted Lucas’s role in preserving the language of her ancestors, including a job she was given in Hot Springs Cove. “We hired Julia as a teacher in the school to teach language,” he said, adding that she has also been a reliable source of traditional knowledge for potlatches and fishing. “We need to save that. We’re hoping some of our younger ladies will grasp a little bit of what she has to help families go through what they need to go through.” Actor Duane Howard of the Mowachaht Muchalaht First Nation was honoured for his achievements on the silver screen and the inspiration he has provided to other Nuu-chah-nulth-aht. Howard is best known for his portrayal of an indigenous chief in the 2015 Hollywood film The Revenant, which sent him to attend the Academy Awards. “The very best thing was being proud to be Nuu-chah-nulth on that red carpet,” he said. “I look forward to the things I’m going to accomplish throughout the day. And when I accomplish something, I look forward again.” Howard noted his 31 years of sobriety; the last drink he had was at Main and
Photos by Eric Plummer
Charlie Cootes Sr.
Julia Lucas with family
Hilda and Benson Nookemis
Hastings Street in Vancouver’s notorious Downtown Eastside. “You have it in you to succeed,” he said. “You have all the support here, everything you want in life is right in front of you, but let go of those fears.” Dr. Don Hall was the only non-Nuuchah-nulth person honoured on Sept. 25, as the tribal council’s former fisheries manager headed into retirement after 25 years of service. Sayers commented on Hall’s years of advocacy for Nuu-chah-nulth fisheries. “It’s one of our most precious resources, and I think that Don has helped us maintain our right,” she said. Hall played a role in the Ahousaht et al. court case, which entails the rights of five Nuu-chah-nulth nations to catch and sell fish found in their territories. Ahousaht members gave Hall a fish plaque for his input in the extended court battle. “Deep down Don worked his butt off for Nuu-chah-nulth,” said Kiista (Keith Atleo). “One day you’re going to be a part of stories at the tribal council table.” “You also taught us some of the boring technical fishery talk,” he added.
Phil Mack of the Toquaht Nation was recognized for the example he has set over a career on the rugby field. Mack competed for years internationally representing Canada, and has also visited Port Alberni on numerous occasions to teach rugby to First Nations children. “Nuu-chah-nulth is about family, about community and achieving your dream,” said Sayers to Mack. “It’s great that you dreamed so high, and you achieved it.” Mack spoke of the importance of encouraging children to be physically active. “I do want to see more activity in our communities,” he said. “I think that’s a very important part, encompassing health and wellness.” The topic then turned to preserving the Nuu-chah-nulth mother tongue as Benson and Hilda Nookemis were honoured for their years of teaching traditional language. After speaking for a few minutes in Nuu-chah-nulth, Benson asked the audience how many people understood what he just said. Seven people raised their hands, leading Benson to recount when he listened to older people from across Nuu-chah-nulth territories speak during his childhood. “We knew where they were from because of the dialects that they spoke that’s how it was when I first came to this hall,” he said. “Our language is who we are and we really need to be rededicating ourselves to learning it.” Benson noted that when he first came to the Alberni Indian Residential School as a child he didn’t speak English. “It took me four years to learn English,” he said. “There’s no reason why you people here, four years from now, shouldn’t be able to speak your language.” For his role in promoting Nuu-chahnulth culture Tim Paul was granted a plaque. The Hesquiaht artist has created works that were exhibited internationally, and for years oversaw commissions of totem pole carvings at the Royal British Columbia Museum. “I’m sure there’s probably a Tim Paul piece in every one of our homes,” said Sayers. Paul credited his family for giving him strength in his life, starting with his grandfather and grandmother’s “insurmountable love.”
Photo by Eric Plummer
Elizabeth Gus sits in her office at the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council’s main building in Port Alberni with a collection of pictures of family members and friends, as well as gifts she received over the years. On Oct. 16 Gus was recognized by staff for her 28 years at the NTC. “I became friends with almost everyone who worked here,” said Gus, a mail clerk who began her time at the NTC as a filing clerk in 1989.
Tim Paul “She prepared me very well going into Christie Indian Residential School,” he said. “They gave everything they had to make sure they put themselves inside you so that you go to school well prepared and you can take anything on in a good way.” “If we begin to understand who we are, then we understand that the greatest art in the whole world is the art of giving,” added Paul. Charlie Cootes Sr. was the final person recognized for his legacy of leadership to the Uchuklesaht Tribe and Nuu-chahnulth-aht. Cootes is currently the Uchuklesaht’s legislative chief. Ken Watts noted Cootes’s role in negotiating the Ma-nulth treaty for the Uchuklesaht, Huu-ay-aht, Ucluelet, Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Chek’tles7et’h and Toquaht nations. “It wouldn’t have happened without Charlie’s involvement,” said Watts. “You’ve been a fighter for your people and you’ve moved your agenda forward,” added Sayers. Cootes recalled when he was asked years ago to take a leadership role in his community. “You have to love what you do in order to stick with it, but you also have to develop a thick skin along the way, because if you don’t you’re not going to last very long,” he said. Cootes noted that lessons can be learned from those honoured over the evening. “I’ve listened to all the people who were recognized,” he said. “They have an awesome bank of knowledge that our people and our young people can learn from and take inspiration from.”
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Health evaluation engages remote communities By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor
Phil Mack joins pro team in Seattle By Sam Laskaris Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Seattle, Wash. - Phil Mack already has a rather impressive rugby resume. And now the 32-year-old member of the Toquaht First Nation will soon be able to list another accomplishment. That’s because earlier this month it was announced that Mack has been signed by the Seattle Seawolves, a professional franchise that will participate in the inaugural season of the Major League Rugby (MLR) in 2018. Mack, who lives in Victoria, will not only play for the Seawolves but will also serve as the club’s assistant coach. He does not anticipate his dual roles with the Seattle squad to be a problem. “It’s all about the work you put in beforehand,” Mack said. Besides, he’s already proven he can successfully be a player/coach. This year he was a player and an assistant coach for the BC Bears. The British Columbia men’s amateur club had an undefeated season and ended up winning the Canadian Rugby Championship. Mack will be joined in Seattle by some familiar company. Tony Healy, who is also a Victoria resident and served as the Bears’ head coach this year, has been hired to be the Seawolves’ head coach. Mack is keen to take his talents to a new
professional circuit now. “I know I’m excited to get into something new,” he said. The first MLR season is expected to run from April until June. But Mack expects to relocate to Seattle at some point in January to find a place to rent and to prepare for the season. He will maintain his Victoria house that he shares with his fiancé and return home when his schedule permits. All seven of the franchises expected to compete in the MLR’s first season are based in the United States. Besides the Seawolves, those who have been accepted into the league are the Houston Strikers, Utah Warriors, Colorado’s Glendale Raptors, Texas-based Austin Elite Rugby, NOLA Gold from New Orleans and a club from San Diego, which has yet to announce its name. It is expected that clubs will play four home games and four away matches, resulting in an eight-game regular season schedule. That will be followed up by playoff action, which will consist of semi-final outings and a championship final. The Seawolves will be playing their home contests at Starfire Stadium, a facility located in Tukwila, which is about 15 kilometres south of Seattle. Adrian Balfour, who is the Seawolves’ CEO and team co-founder, is hoping the
team can average between 2,500 to 3,000 spectators per game for its inaugural season. Starfire Stadium has about 4,500 seats but can accommodate about 6,000 spectators if temporary bleachers are added to the mix. Balfour is also thrilled Mack has agreed to join the Seawolves. “He’s got a tremendous work ethic,” Balfour said. “And he has a focus and intensity beyond anything we’ve seen.” As a player, Mack has starred for both the Canadian men’s rugby (15 per side) team as well as the national men’s rugby sevens club. He’s appeared in 43 international contests with the former team and an additional 52 matches with the latter. Mack also has some brief pro experience. In 2014 he trained with Osperys, one of the top pro squads in Wales. Though he didn’t play in any games with Osperys, during his pro Welsh stint Mack did suit up for four matches with one of its feeder clubs, Neath Rugby Football Club. Since the Seawolves’ schedule for 2018 has yet to be released, Mack is not sure whether he’d be able to return to the Bears next year as well. The Bears’ season would run from late spring through the summer months. “If it lines up correctly, it’s something I’d consider doing again,” he said.
Drug addict on path to healing By Nora Martin Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Chilliwack, BC - A 34-year-old man who has struggled with addiction for nearly 20 years is crediting his elders for helping him sustain a recovery. Michael Titian, 34, of Tla-o-qui-hat First Nation began smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol at age 16. Ten years earlier when Michael was six his mother Cheryl died, which caused his life to spiral into an abyss. Michael and his seven siblings were placed into separate foster care homes in Port Alberni and Esowista, which he says attributed to his addictions. While in care Michael said he suffered from physical, emotional and sexual abuse from both men and women. As time went on he felt that no one cared or loved him, and Michael dropped out of high school at Grade 10 Michael started using cocaine and crystal methamphetamine at age 26 and then at 28 started using heroin and fentanyl. He said at first the drugs were cheap and ranged from $20 to $40 per day, but they steadily increased to up to $200 a day. To support his drug habit Michael became
a dealer and sold illicit drugs to people on the streets. Michael said being a drug dealer was the worst thing he did. He was constantly looking over his shoulder for
“My auntie is a real blessing” ~Michael Titian fear of being robbed or beaten by other addicts or arrested by the cops. Michael has been in and out of jail since he was 16 years old. He has been homeless, slept in alleyways in Vancouver and Victoria, and while homeless he said he felt lost and lonely. Drugs are an illusion of comfort where Michael “felt no sadness, no pain and no fear while high,” he said. Michael has attempted to stop his addictions for the past four years and this year he has managed to stay clean and sober for over 10 months. While he was in jail one of the workers told him one of his siblings was in treatment, so Michael decided then and there that he would go to the VisionQuest
Recovery Society treatment centre in Chilliwack, B.C. VisionQuest offers detox, individual and group therapy and relapse prevention. Today Michael works at VisionQuest as a house monitor and is responsible for ensuring people are in the right groups. He also provides smudging and ooshooms (bathing in the river) Michael credited Papa Ben, an elder at VisionQuest, for guiding him on the right path to healing and teaching him skills to help himself and others. Through his healing journey over these past few months Michael knows he is not alone, and fondly remembers his grandmother Evelyn, who loved and cared for him. Michael also would like to acknowledge and thank his auntie Christina Dawson for taking the time to look for him every day on Hastings Street. “My auntie is a real blessing,” he said. He also mentioned Grace and Eddie Frank, who took time to talk to him while on the street, and tried to take him home several times over the past few years. They told him he didn’t belong on the streets and that there are lots of people who to care for him.
An evaluation of health services is reaching out to Nuu-chah-nulth-aht on the west side of Vancouver Island – including those living in remote communities. This fall the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council is assessing the effectiveness of its health services through a series of surveys, interviews and community meetings. Every five years the NTC evaluates the strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for its health-related programs, and the upcoming evaluation is expected to guide the development of future health plans. The NTC’s health services include early child and youth programs, nursing services – which includes health promotion – Teechuktl mental health services as well as health benefits. The Nota Bene Consulting Group has been contracted for the evaluation, led by experienced First Nations nurse Marilyn Van Bibber, who is originally from the Yukon. With the goal of reaching approximately 10 per cent of the 10,000 Nuu-chah-nulth people, a report from the evaluation is expected in December. NTC Director of Health Simon Read said that past surveys have indicated the challenges faced by both remote and urban communities. “They bring out a lot of the issues that we have with remoteness and interruption due to weather,” he said. “Past surveys have also shown the gaps in culturally safe urban services for urban members, which NTC is not funded for.” The value of culturally-based healing is also expected to be highlighted, as this has been a foundation guiding the NTC’s health services in the past. “People talk about decolonisation now, that’s the current language,” said Read. “Underlying a lot of the health issues is a loss of identity and disempowerment in one way or another.” The evaluation is for those who have received NTC health services within the last 12 months. The health services survey is to be completed by Oct. 31, and is available online at https://www. surveymonkey.com/r/NTC_HealthServices_Evaluation.
Have You Moved? If you should be getting a copy of the Ha-Shilth-Sa paper delivered to your home and you are not, please contact
Holly Stocking at 250-724-5757 or email holly.stocking@ nuuchahnulth.org
October 19, 2017—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 19
Photo by Eric Plummer Photo by Eric Plummer
Angie Miller dishes out some blackberry cake with her granddaughter Miriah Mottishaw, a Grade 10 student at Alberni District Secondary School. On Thursday, Sept. 21 the Port Alberni high school marked the start of another school year by hosting its annual welcome feast for students and families. With a dinner of hot dogs, hamburgers, salmon and bannock, the event was organized with a focus on getting new Grade 8 students who are coming from smaller schools more comfortable with ADSS and better acquainted with staff. As one third of the school’s 1,200 students are aboriginal, the welcome feast included a Nuu-chah-nulth presence, including the help of NCN education workers to hold the event.
Proposed Information Package Tree Farm License (TFL) 54 Information Package for Management Plan #5 available for review and comment. TFL 54, held by Ma-Mook Forest Resources Limited (Ma-Mook), is located on the west side of Vancouver Island in the Clayoquot Sound region and in the vicinity of Tofino and Ucluelet. It covers roughly 61,464 hectares, including 12,169 hectares of protected areas within the TFL established by the Clayoquot Sound Land Use Decision.
The Management Plan provides a general description of the TFL, a brief history of the TFL, a list of publicly available planning documents that guide Ma-Mook’s forest operations on the TFL, and a timber supply analysis that provides information to assist the Chief Forester of BC in determining a new timber harvest rate, or allowable annual cut, for TFL 54. The Information Package and reference maps are available for public review from October 4, 2017 until December 4, 2017 during normal business hours at the following locations (please call ahead to arrange an appointment to view): Ma-Mook Natural Resources Ltd. office 2777, Pacific Rim Highway Ucluelet, BC V0R 3A0, 250-720-1177 Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations, South Island District, 4885 Cherry Creek Road, Port Alberni, B.C., V9Y 8E9, 250-731-3006 You can also download the material from: https://maps.forsite.ca/ TFL54MP5 and view spatial information at: https://maps.forsite.ca/14141/ Please write or email comments by December 4, 2017 to: Zoltan Schafer, RPF, Forestry Manager Ma-Mook Natural Resources Ltd. P.O. Box 639, Ucluelet, BC V0R 3A0 firstname.lastname@example.org
Chris Day, a firefighter with Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt, displays his unique haircut at the Alberni Athletic Hall on Sept. 29.
Tour de Rock riders roll into NCN territories By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Port Alberni, BC - The Alberni Athletic Hall was filled on the evening of Friday, Sept. 29 to mark the arrival of Tour de Rock cyclists as they made their stop in Port Alberni. On their way to the west coast, 24 riders on the Canadian Cancer Society Cops For Cancer Tour de Rock spent the night in Port Alberni as part of their cross-island fundraising effort to support pediatric research and support for children affected by the disease. Half of the riders were RCMP members, with the remainder being other emergency personnel on the tour’s 20th year. Nuu-chah-nulth nations contributed to the tour by hosting a dinner at the athletic hall, raising nearly $10,000 from the Sept. 29 event plus two others that were
held over the summer. The Tseshaht and Hupacasath First Nations displayed their support by blanketing the riders after dinner was served. During dinner Island Health’s central medical officer Dr. Paul Hasselback spoke about the prevalence of cancer for Indigenous peoples. This follows a report released in September by the First Nations Health Authority indicating that aboriginal peoples are less likely to survive cancer than the general population in British Columbia. Cultural events energized the hall, including drumming and a paddle dance – plus a fashion show with Joyce Little’s Nuu-chah-nulth-inspired designs. Organizer Matilda Atleo thanks all of those who contributed and hopes that the Nuuchah-nulth communities can hold another event to support Tour de Rock next year.
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Federal compensation yet to come for debris cleanup By Shayne Morrow Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Ottawa, ON - The federal government continues to drag its feet in providing compensation for First Nations communities and businesses involved in cleaning up a massive marine debris spill on the West Coast, according to Courtenay-Alberni Member of Parliament Gord Johns. On November 3, 2016, 35 shipping containers fell off the Hanjin Seattle container ship near the entrance to the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Nearby beaches, including in Pacific Rim National Park, were soon covered in a mass of marine debris. Johns said Parks Canada staff responded quickly, but Ottawa failed to act. Hanjin Shipping had already filed for bankruptcy the previous August, leaving many of their ships in legal and operational limbo. “Parks Canada immediately petitioned the company for damages, and they were able to obtain $76,600. That didn’t take long. They had great success in getting the money to Ottawa,” Johns said. “But the money did not end up in the [affected] communities until May or June.” Johns said a full spectrum of community groups had already pitched in to help clean up the beaches, including the Tlao-qui-aht Tribal Park Guardians. The MP said Pacific Rim Surfrider took a leading role in the effort, along with Wild Pacific Trail. “Surfrider has done a great job coordinating with Tla-o-qui-aht,” said Tla-oqui-aht Natural Resources Manager Saya Masso. “We did participate on a number of occasions and helped out when we could. But not at the level we would have liked to. We had a major beach cleanup on Long Beach.” Johns noted that Flores Island, the home of Ahousaht First Nation, was hard hit. “Many Ahousaht members went out and worked with Surfrider. They helped on the beach, doing the cleanup. They also went out on the water in their boats,” he said. Masso acknowledged that the challenge was even greater on the many islands scattered along the coast and in Clayo-
quot Sound. “Many of our [cleanup] beaches were accessible by road, but for Ahousaht, theirs are more accessible by skiff,” Masso said. “There was a tremendous amount of debris, some of it on remote islands. People get dropped off and assembled all these bags that have to be helicoptered out.” Atleo Air provided helicopter service to lift bundles of debris off remote beaches. “Ahousaht really has a different sense of input for this project,” Masso said. Ahousaht resident and Keltsmaht Enterprises co-owner Marcie Callewaert said as part of the cleanup, her charter boat, Sweet Marie, was contracted to move volunteers, at a seriously discounted rate. “Sometimes we were bringing garbage back with us,” she said. “There was so much Styrofoam, but also a lot of fish farm debris. The funding was for the Hanjin debris, but they took out everything.” Callewaert said she was advised that most of the 35 containers that went overboard were empty, except for their foam liners. But the debris did include a number of massive refrigeration units, heavily lined and packed with styrofoam, which managed to float ashore. “And I heard one of them might have been filled with motorcycle parts,” she added. Styrofoam has proven to be a major portion of the debris field, along with other plastics. The Styrofoam has disintegrated with the wind and weather, scattering a potentially toxic crust along the coastline. Johns said Surfrider nearly exhausted their own bank account, rather than let the cleanup campaign die down. “Everyone rallied together. But the federal government has been invisible,” Johns said. “Within the first few days of the spill happening, I stood up in the House of Commons, calling on the government to assist with the cleanup. And they didn’t do anything. They haven’t used a federal dollar to date. “If this was in the Ottawa River, you can bet they would be right on top of it.” Masso confirmed that, to date, Tla-o-
Photo by Meredith Starkey
The new Sugarloaf Bridge, which connects Ehattesaht to the main Village of Zeballos is now open.
New Bridge Completed Zeballos, BC - The Village of Zeballos celebrated the opening of a new brige connecting the community to Ehattesaht on Oct. 12. Bridge renovations were budgeted at nearly $3 million. The old Sugarloaf Bridge was closed for demolition on June 5. The narrow
wooden structure was the main connection between Ehattesaht and the main village of Zeballos. The distance could be covered in a short five-minute walk. Over the summer residents were forced to take an eight-kilometre detour to the next nearest bridge to get to the other side.
MP Gord Johns qui-aht has not received a dime in federal funding. Ottawa did eventually allocate portions of the Parks Canada money to compensate community groups that spent their own money to pick up and haul debris. An ad hoc group known as Clayoquot Cleanup raised $90,000 to keep the cleanup going. “They went in with heavy equipment, with helicopters and barges. They did a massive removal of marine debris.” Throughout this time, Johns said he has raised the issue with the Prime Minister, the Minister of Transport, Minister of the Environment and Fisheries and Oceans Canada. “All of them are well aware of this issue. I talked to all of their parliamentary secretaries and their staff. Repeatedly.” The MP said what Ottawa discovered is that there is no mechanism, or any funding formula, to deal with marine debris. This in the face of one of the largest marine spills in decades on the West Coast. In response, Johns said PM Justin Trudeau vigourously defended his Ocean Protection Program in the House. “The next day, I reminded him that ocean plastics and marine debris are not even mentioned – not even once – in the Ocean Protection Plan. The Minister of Transport admitted there was a problem. Then, in September, they started making verbal announcements and photo-ops, but we still haven’t seen anything on the ground.”
In Question Period on Sept. 26, Johns continued to put pressure on the Trudeau government. “Last week, the government announced on Twitter that it signed on to the UN CleanSeas initiative, but today it is obvious that there is no funding and no plan to meet our obligations. Unfortunately, Tweets and selfies will not clean our coastlines,” he said, to introduce his question: “When will the government finally get to work and fund the cleanup of the Hanjin debris field?” In response, Minister of Transport Marc Garneau pointed to the federal government’s commitment to the coasts as part of $1.5 billion, 5-year Oceans Protection Plan. “As part of the Oceans Protection Plan, we made it very clear that we would be introducing legislation with respect to abandoned and wrecked vessels,” he said. “Part of the Oceans Protection Plan is to hold the ships that have lost some of their cargo responsible for cleaning up the cargo themselves.” Some of the debris collected thus far has been shipped to Vancouver for recycling and disposal, but most remains, in bags, on the beaches, awaiting pickup. Johns said with the increase of freighter traffic and the proliferation of massive container ships, it would be wise to impose a small eco-fee on each ship passing through B.C. coastal waters. The money accrued could be set aside to compensate communities and companies that step in to clean up after spills, major and minor. Masso said the current edition of (uniformed) Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Park Guardians was created in 2008, but the Nation has performed most of the associated workload for the past three decades. “Marine stewardship is something that is very important to Nuu-chah-nulth people,” he said, adding that the Guardians have taken on the task of training (and motivating) volunteers to maintain and watch over the environment. Masso said he is following the discussion in Ottawa with great interest.
October 19, 2017—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 21
HFN, TFN earn BC Aboriginal Business Awards By Shayne Morrow Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor
Two Nuu-chah-nulth nations have been recognized for Outstanding Business Achievement through the BC Aboriginal Business Awards. The BC Achievement Foundation announced Sept. 12 that the Huu-ay-aht Group of Businesses will be honoured under the Community-Owned Business (two or more entities) category, while Tla-o-qui-aht took the award in the Community-Owned Business (single entity) section for their Best Western Tin Wis Resort. In a statement to Ha-Shilth-Sa, Huu-ayaht Group of Businesses board chair Angela Wesley said the award reinforces the Nation’s long-term economic strategy. “The Huu-ay-aht Group of Businesses is very pleased to receive this recognition and award,” Wesley wrote. “It’s our job to support the strong vision of Huu-ayaht First Nations of creating an economy in our territories and providing employment for our citizens so we can see more of our people move home.” Trevor Cootes is an elected Huu-ay-aht councillor and holds the economic development portfolio. “The Huu-ay-aht Group of Businesses is separated into seven limited partnerships,” Cootes explained, adding it was specifically the Hospitality LP operation that drew the attention of the BC Achievement Foundation. “Within that is a number of tourism operations, combinations of food and beverage,” he said. In early 2016, Huu-ay-aht acquired a package of 11 properties in the Bamfield area once owned by the controversial entrepreneur Jack Purdy, Cootes explained. Most needed only minor repairs or restoration. All told, Hospitality LP now owns and operates a motel, two lodges, a campground, as well as a pub and restaurant.
“Four of these were turn-key operations, one of which was the motel, with a pub attached. The other was the Kingfisher Lodge, which had boat slips attached to it, and offered marine fuel. The Ostrom’s Lodge also has boat slips and marine fuel, and the airport,” said Cootes He explained that the “airport” is a rather modest operation. “It’s a landing field with some land and buildings on it. We actually do have some revenue generating from it.” Cootes said the growth of the Group of Businesses has been the result of “planning, things evolving and opportunities arising.” The Hospitality LP acquisition flowed from a group decision to expand Huu-ay-aht’s investment in the tourism industry. “Huu-ay-aht has laid out three priorities in our Economic Development Plan: forestry, fisheries and tourism,” Cootes explained. “In each of them, we have always had a stake, and have participated in those areas of the industry. The change over the last couple of years is our ability to be successful in all three [at once].” Forestry has been the standby for Huuay-aht over the years. In recent years, the Nation has become a stakeholder in the Nuu-chah-nulth Seafood Development Corporation, which, in 2015, acquired St. Jean’s Cannery. “It really speaks to the successful relationship among First Nations in being able to venture into purchasing a large company together,” he said. Cootes took on the Economic Development portfolio two years ago, as the Nation took a major stride into the tourism sector. “We have developed the Kiixin Tourism Strategy,” Cootes said, explaining that Kiixin is the historic Huu-ay-aht village site. “It’s the name of our tourism plan, and it’s also the name of the tours that we offered this summer as a pilot project.” Part of the strategy has included build-
Photo supplied by Huu-ay-aht First Nations
Elected Huu-ay-aht Councillor Trevor Cootes has worked to expand tourism opportunities in Bamfield. ing boardwalks and biking paths between and our plan is to continue to grow and Bamfield, Kiixin and the Huu-ahy-aht improve.” village of Anacla. That has made the area As a side note, Cootes added that Huumuch more safe and accessible for visiay-aht has also created a grant program tors. for budding entrepreneurs. “With all of our tourism offerings we “So often, our citizens have their own are able to be a big contributor to the tools and their own skill set, but they tourism industry in the Bamfield area. We don’t have that little bit of capital to have increased traffic quite dramatically,” get that approval from [Nuu-chah-nulth he said. “When you look at the number of Economic Development Corporation]. businesses, job creation... Huu-ay-aht is So what we offer is up to $5,000 for a now the largest contributor to the Bamcitizen that is trying to get into business field community.” for themselves.” Wesley said bringing the former Purdy Creating jobs and employment is part properties back into thriving operations is of a greater strategy to bring Huu-ay-aht all part of that long-term vision. members back to their home community. “We look forward to continuing to The goal is to have 600 members – half increase our presence and grow our busithe Huu-ay-aht population – living in the nesses for the benefit of Huu-ay-aht and traditional territory by 2033. the region overall,” she wrote. “There’s a lot of building to be done,” “Our team has worked very hard over Cootes said. the past two seasons to get these busiThe BC Aboriginal Business Awards nesses back on their feet and we’re proud will be presented at a gala dinner cerof the work they’ve done. We’re already emony on Oct. 26, 2017 at the Fairmont seeing the positive impacts in Bamfield Hotel Vancouver.
Foxcroft ‘honoured’ Continued from page 1.
“I do believe that it is a new era. We have to go to the government with what we believe reconciliation is,” said Sayers at the AGM. “I want to call on all of you to work with me. We have a team and there’s so much expertise and knowledge in this room - we really do need to make some changes to make sure that our Ha’wiih have a strong role at this table.” After the votes were announced Foxcroft, a member of the Tseshaht First Nation, was recognized for her term as NTC president. Her work over the last four years includes successfully negotiating more funding for the family support agency Usma and securing backing from the provincial government for the NTC to host the Nuu-chah-nulth Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Gathering earlier in September. She spoke to the AGM delegation surrounded by her family. “I have been very honoured and proud to have represented you over the past four years,” said Foxcroft. “I didn’t do this work for myself. I did this work for my children and my grandchildren, your children, your grandchildren and our families and our communities. I did the
Debra Foxcroft best I could with the skills and knowledge I have.” A candidate has yet to step forward to replace the outgoing vice-president. Ken Watts opted to not pursue another term after serving as vice-president for five years, but will be in an advisory role for the next month. A byelection for the next NTC vice-president has been scheduled for Oct. 30.
Page 22— Ha-Shilth-Sa—October 19, 2017
Community&Beyond Tlaaqtuutla (Drying of Tears)
Port Alberni Memorial celebration for Wally and Donna Samuel’s late son Wally Samuel Jr. on October 21, 2017 at Alberni Athletic Hall. Doors open 3PM Memorial for Terri-Lynn Lucy Billy
Samuel Invitational Basketball Tournament
Campbell River At the Campbell River Sports Plex, 1800 South Alder St. doors open at 4pm, dinner at 5pm, finshed at 10pm. For more information conact Diana Dragon at 250287-7225 Chief Amos Memorial Potlatch
Nov. 4 - 5 Port Alberni
Nov 4 at 10 AM to Nov 5 at 12 AM at the Alberni Athletic Hall. Celebrating the life of amazing mitt Chief Andy Amos and Marlene Baker.
Jay Miller tends the giant clupchas (salmon barbecue) on the beach during the Clayoquot Biosphere Trust’s annual gathering on Sept. 17 in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.
Over 600 gather for CBT event By Carla Moss Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor
Ucluelet, BC - “Us sitting together is a form of reconciliation,” said Ahousaht Chief Councillor Greg Louie at the regional Hišinqʷiił or “Gathering”, Sept. 17. “We can sit across from each other, be respectful, knowing that yes, we do have differences, but respect them.” Over 600 people from the five First Nations, Hesquiaht, Ahousaht, Tla-o-quiaht, Ucluelet and Toquaht, plus the municipalities Tofino, Ucluelet and Area C turned out at the Kwisitis Visitors Centre in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve for the event. “In discussions recognizing Canada’s 150th anniversary, we have heard a need for ongoing healing and reconciliation within and between our communities,” said Clayoquot Biosphere Executive Director Rebecca Hurwitz. “As a UNESCO designated site, we see a link between this local need and the UNESCO mandate to build peace in the minds of men and women.” “The purpose of this event was to bring people and communities together to create opportunity for people to share what they felt needs to be said, share in food, culture and fun and laughter with kids actives like face painting, scavenger hunt and bubbles,” said Hurwitz. The Ucluelet Warriors tended clupchas (salmon barbecue) while the Ahousaht Soul Shakers warmed their drums over the hot fire on the Wickaninnish Beach. Meanwhile in the parking lot, the Ucluelet chefs dished out prepared sides and deserts to over 600 people. Ahousaht’s Tyee Ha’wilth Maquinna, Lewis George, spoke of history, present day political struggles with fisheries, con-
cerns about global warming, and pride in Ahousaht youth, including his grandchildren. His grandson, who just graduated from high school, created the logo and poster for the gathering. Mary Martin and her partner Art held a well-attended mini cedar bark workshop, while others painted children’s faces as giant bubbles floated lazily by. Julia Taffe and her Aeriosa dancers shared images of nature while suspended in the trees, as the centre stage was open for the communities to give histories, teachings, visions, thoughts and hopes. “The CBT has come a long ways in the last 14-15 years,” said Ha’wilth Muuchinink Bruce Frank of Tla-o-quiaht. Reflecting on the CBT’s origins in the early 2000s, Ha’wilth Muuchinink spoke of beginning a collaboration with the organization’s original executive director, Stan Boychuck, Tla-o-qui-aht. “With people like Moses Martin to remind we live together, there’s no way you or I are going away,” he said. “We might as well work together. That stays fresh in my mind at times like these.” CBT Executive Director Rebecca Hurwitz was thanked for her decision to listen to the communities that make up the organization and to act on their needs to celebrate regional relationships outside of Canada Day. “Knowing that the celebration was to coincide with Canada Day, we say thank you to you, Rebecca,” said Ha’wilth Muuchinink. “The nations that surround and make CBT wanted to have our own celebration and not celebrate Canada Day, we appreciate and respect that you made the decision…to have this event for today.”
Dec. 1 - 3 Port Alberni
This year’s tournament will be an Allnative Intermediate Men’s and Women’s Tournament. Athletes must be 21 & under, born in 1996. First paid 6 men’s and 4 women’s team will be entered in the tournament. Tournament date is December 1 - 3, 2017. Contact Richard Samuel for more information, cell number is 250.731.4736. Memorial for Leon Murphy
Mar. 18, 2018 Gold River
Celebration Photo by Carla Moss
We welcome all Nuu-chah-nulth 19 years and over to apply to this Community Wellness Training Program and who wish to support their communities in a crisis situation. Deadline to apply October 27, 2017. 20 seats available. For more information and to register: Please contact Stan Matthew (250) 724-3939 or 250-731-6645 email@example.com
Port Alberni Introduction of Clamhouse Curtain. At the maht mahs Gym, door open at 11am, lunch served at 12pm and dinner served at 5pm. everyone welcome. Call Norm or Rita at 250-730-2073 or 778-419-0033 for more information. Community Wellness Training
Nov. 27 - 29
Memorial for Leon Murphy will take place March 31,2018 at Wah-mesh gym in Gold River 1 pm. Suicide Peer Support Group
First Thursday, Monthly
Port Alberni The KUU-US Crisis Line Society hold a Suicide Peer Support Group Meeting on the first Thursday of each month at the KUU-US Office location. 4589 Adelaide
Photo by Eric Plummer
Deborah Cook collects lunch at the Huu-ay-aht First Nations People’s Assembly. Members of the First Nation gathered at the Best Western Barclay Hotel in Port Alberni on Saturday, Sept. 30. The day’s agenda included presentations and reports on developments for the First Nation’s members, with votes on citizens’ motions. Child care and cultural support services, such as brushing, were provided. The event was broadcasted to satellite locations in Anacla, Nanaimo, Vancouver and Victoria.
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October 19, 2017—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 23
Families dry tears at Carla Webster potlatch By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter
Ahousaht, BC - Four years after a motor vehicle accident claimed the lives of Carla Webster, 29, and two of her dear friends, the Swan family honored the memory of their daughter at a memorial potlatch held Oct. 7 at Ahousaht’s Thunderbird Hall. Carla was a well known and loved young woman in her community who enjoyed spectator sports and travel. She loved all young children and worked as a preschool teacher in Ahousaht. She had been at the Alberni District Fall Fair in September of 2013 and was on her way home that Sunday, Sept. 8 with two passengers, Arlene Titian and Edward John, when her car veered off the windy highway, rolled and burst into flames. All three died in the accident; their family and friends devastated at the loss. The John family held a >aakl’uu>a (memorial) potlatch for Arlene and Edward in Campbell River the following year. The event started at 10 a.m. with a packed house as people were seated in the old traditional style of women on one side of the hall and men on the other. Elder John Hudson Webster stood in front of the Swan ceremonial curtain to perform a prayer chant. Hosts Luke and Melinda Swan and their three adult children stood with Webster to welcome their guests. Elder Louie Frank Sr. spoke on behalf of the hosts. He thanked the people for coming to pay their respects to their daughter, Carla. “This is about Carla, we are releasing her and we pray that she may rest in peace,” said Frank. He said she had many relatives and was never one to seek the spotlight. “She only wanted to help people, especially the younger ones and the ones she loved,” he added. Carla, he explained, came from a Manosaht family, which is part of Ahousaht.
Luke’s brother Uukwa qum (James Swan) holds the set for Manosaht. Frank introduced the Swans, Louie’s and others, explaining that they are all connected to Manosaht. This is an important part of Nuu-chah-nulth culture because it demonstrates that we know who we are and we know where we come from, said Frank. Melinda Swan, her voice quivering, also thanked her guests for accepting their invitation. She asked that no videos or cameras be used during the dancing. “Put it right here,” she said, gesturing to her temple. She said that they waited four years to do this, because they had so many people to thank. “So many people were here to help us through some very dark days,” she said. The hosts started the potlatch with special gift presentations. Gifts are usually given at the end Photo by Denise Titian of a potlatch but Luke Sam Chester sings during a memorial potlatch for Carla Webster in Ahousaht. said they were going to do it differently because they knew the ily’s side, comforting them after they gratitude,” said Luke. He and his son potlatch would be a long one and some of received the terrible news of the accident. Luke Jr. presented carved wooden box The family performed the Yahts Yatsa, rattles to cultural leaders Joseph George their guests would have to leave before the end. a song and dance meant to indicate the Sr. and Wally Thomas, thanking them for their cultural guidance. They called upon Chief Councillor Greg releasing of the spirit and the drying of Louie, Russell and Martha Taylor, Terthe tears. Still, there were tears at the end The hosts performed dances from both rence Sabbas, Karen frank, Patsy Mack, of the dance. sides of the family for most of the day “Those are not sad tears, those are tears before the floor was opened to guests Hilda John, John Campbell, Michelle Campbell, Devin and Daphne Robinson, of joy that we had her in our lives,” said wishing to make presentations to the Louie Frank. “Our ancestors would say Swans. Special presentations carried on Harold Little, Bibianna Ancheta and Harvey and Doris Robinson to receive be thankful for the time we had her and throughout the night, ending at 10 a.m. special gifts. These were the people that thank the Creator for her life,” he added. the following morning. came immediately to stand by the fam“Grief is now over and it’s time to show
Quu’asa hosts Orange Shirt Day Walk By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter
Port Alberni, BC - The NTC Quu’asa staff led an Orange Shirt Day walk on Friday, Sept.29 in recognition of the harm the residential school system did to the children’s sense of well-being and selfesteem. Sept. 30 has been declared Orange Shirt Day, an annual event that started in 2013 after a residential school survivor, Phyllis (Jack) Webstad, shared her story of her first day there. Orange Shirt Day is a legacy of the St. Joseph Mission (SJM) residential school commemoration event held in Williams Lake, B.C., in the spring of 2013. It grew out of Phyllis’ story of having her shiny new orange shirt taken away on her first day of school at the mission. It has become an opportunity to keep the discussion on all aspects of residential schools happening annually. Phyllis was only six years old when she was sent to SJM. Money was hard to come by but Phyllis’ grandmother scraped together enough money to buy the little girl a bright orange shirt that she adored. But the shirt was taken from her upon her arrival at SJM, never to be seen again. The date for Orange Shirt Day was chosen because it is the time of year in which children were taken from their homes to residential schools, and because it is an opportunity to set the stage for
Photo By Denise Titian
Quu’asa staff held a walk to recognize Orange Shirt Day, which is in honour of past residential school students. anti-racism and anti-bullying policies for the coming school year. It also gives teachers time to plan events that include children, in order to ensure that they pass on Phyllis Webstad’s story for the next generations to learn. Quu’asa Outreach Worker Richard Watts shared Phyllis’ story to the crowd gathered for the walk. The small group gathered at the Quu’asa office building on lower Third Avenue, making their way for a short walk to Harbour Quay before returning for refreshments. Watts told the crowd that today’s walk is a reminder to lift our children up and
recognize the importance of self-esteem and self-worth. “Let help them to be proud that they are First Nations,” he told the crowd. Walkers carried a banner that had been made earlier that day by students of Eighth Avenue Learning Center taught by Nuu-chah-nulth Education Worker Richard Samuel. He said the activity brought opportunities to talk about residential school legacies and raise awareness of Orange Shirt Day. Orange Shirt Day is recognized by the provincial government. The government and the Orange Shirt Society joined
forces to highlight the intergeneration impact of residential schools. Together they delivered the message that ‘Every Child Matters’. Orange Shirt Day is also an opportunity for First Nations, local governments, schools and communities to come together in the spirit of reconciliation and hope for generations of children to come. On this day of Sept. 30, we call upon humanity to listen with open ears to the stories of survivors and their families and to remember those who weren’t able to survive.
Page 24— Ha-Shilth-Sa—October 19, 2017