Ha-Shilth-Sa Newspaper September 22, 2022

Page 1

Cross-territorial canoe trip undertaken for marriage

PortAlberni, BC - Canal Beach was full of Nuu-chah-nulth-aht on Sunday, as about 300 witnessed a traditional marriage proposal that came after a 16-hour canoe journey from Tofino.

Wesley Frank ventured into Tseshaht territory on Sept. 18, landing at Canal Beach at the south end of PortAlberni to meet Kyra Sam and her large family.

Frank came with family and friends who paddled two canoes the day before down from Esowista and up theAlberni Inlet to China Creek Marina, which is located south of Canal Beach.

“It was a really good experience. It was sunny, we managed to get all the tides,” said Frank, who had been closely watching weather reports for Clayoquot Sound in the days leading up to the journey. “We didn’t experience a lot of fatigue through the journey, a lot of it was afterwards.”

The group brought three extra paddlers, and were accompanied by two speedboats and a commercial fishing boat owned by Wesley’s father, Elmer Frank. This helped to supplement the chilli and sandwiches the paddlers took with them.

“My dad’s commercial boat has a kitchen, and they were also fishing along the way,” said Wesley. “We also had fresh fish on the boat for lunch.”

The journey was guided by a close attention to Nuu-chah-nulth protocol, and the paddlers asked permission to pass through Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ territory as they headed south.

“As we were passing Ucluelet I was fortunate enough to have one of their fishermen out there, so we asked permission to go through their territory and told them what we were doing,” said Wesley.

“He got a hold of two more young men from his community and got them to join us, and then continued on as a support boat as well.”

Frank had proposed to Kyra Sam on Aug. 5, but chose to undertake the traditional journey from his Tla-o-qui-aht home to marry her according to Nuuchah-nulth culture.

“What I did was a full-on kliptwa, which means we welcomed her into our family,” said Wesley. “We handled business right in front of her parents’house, we gave her a name from my uncle’s household, which I’m from. It was a fullon traditional wedding that day.”

Frank, who is 25, recalls the influence of his grandfather, the late Ray Seitcher, in the decision to follow the traditional marriage.

“Alot of it had to do with what my grandpa told me when I was growing up,” he recalls. “If you have a woman in your life that’s being like your wife, you’re treating her like your wife, you should do it the right way and make it happen.”

Following Nuu-chah-nulth culture, Frank partook in various challenges

given by the family of his fiancée, before Kyra’s parents Samantha Gus and Richard Sam agreed to the marriage at their house.Adinner followed at Maht Mahs, with cooking provided by Kyra’s family, including fish her father recently caught in the Somass River. Kyra’s father said the family fed approximately 300 people at Maht Mahs, something that his new son-in-law didn’t expect would be offered.

“I feel really proud,” reflected Wesley of the experience. “My uncles, who hold seats in my nation, stood beside me to make sure I did it correctly.”

He said the necessary business isn’t finished, as a thank-you dinner for his paddlers will be planned.

“Culture is very important, strong and alive if you’re able to discuss with the right people,” said Wesley. “It is possible if that’s what you want to do.”

Photo by Eric Plummer Wesley Frank, seen standing in the canoe, paddled along the coast with family and supporters to marry Kyra Sam according to Nuu-chah-nulth traditions. Pictured are the travellers at the end of their journey, singing at Canal Beach on Sept. 18, awaiting permission from Tseshaht members to come to shore.
Young man paddled 16 hours through Clayoquot Sound and up Alberni Inlet to propose in Tseshaht territory
Canada’s Oldest First Nations Newspaper - Serving Nuu-chah-nulth-aht since 1974 Vol. 49 - No. 18—September 22, 2022 haas^i>sa Canadian Publications Mail Product Sales Agreement No. 40047776 INTERESTING NEWS If undeliverable, please return to: Ha-Shilth-Sa P.O. Box 1383, PortAlberni, B.C. V9Y 7M2Inside this issue... Huu-ay-aht and Parks Canada unveil plaque..................Page 2 Misplaced gravestone worsens grief...............................Page 3 Nations begin plan for invasive crab..............................Page 7 Joshua Watts solo art debut.........................................Pages 11 Event gives youth connection.......................................Page 15

Huu-ay-aht and Parks Canada unveil Kiix̣in plaque

Anacla, BC – Huu-ay-aht played host to dignitaries on a beautiful late summer day at their House of Huu-ay-aht to celebrate the unveiling of the official plaque that identifies their ancient village site, Kiixin, as a National Historic Site of Canada.

The event took place on Sept. 20, 2022.

The day started with a hike down the trail to the beachfront historic site on a clear, warm, late summer day. The 20-minute hike covers rugged, old growth forest. The trail is clearly marked and has boardwalks and staircases for the more challenging areas. There are benches along the way for hikers to rest and enjoy the peaceful sounds of the forest.

But the first thing visitors will see at the trailhead is a newly installed open-air shelter that visitors must walk through to access the trail. There, they may rest and find shelter from the sun or rain.

Trail guide Stella Peters said that there were two, forty-foot-tall welcome figures standing at the entrance of the Kiixin longhouse, but they were removed in the early 1900s and put on display at the Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria, BC.

Huu-ay-aht had 20-foot replicas of the welcome figures made for the entrance of House of Huu-ay-aht and they thought it would be fitting to have the same thing at the trailhead, welcoming visitors. The new welcome figure replicas are nine feet tall.

According to Parks Canada, Kiixin is the site of a 19th century village and fortress that exhibits evidence of continuous occupation of the area for almost 3,000 years.

“It is also the only known traditional First Nation’s village of more than 100 villages on the southern British Columbia coast that still features significant, standing traditional architecture,” reads their statement.

Kiixin was the traditional capital of the Huu-ay-aht. The village features standing First Nations architectural remains, rare in southern coastal British Columbia. It is estimated that the last longhouse remains at the site were built between 1800 and 1890.

The site is culturally and archaeologically important and has been vigorously protected by Huu-ay-aht. In fact, a sign along the trail advises visitors that they may only enter the area with an official guide. Huu-ay-aht First Nations offers guided tours of Kiixin, with traditional knowledge holders, to enrich and teach all who are interested in learning about the history, culture, and traditions of the first peoples of this land. Tours take place between May and September.

Chief Robert Dennis told the crowd that Kiixin was designated a Canadian Historical Site in 2002. He said the site was very important to Huu-ay-aht as most could trace their roots back to this place.

“I call it our place of origin, so it is good to celebrate where our roots come from,” said Dennis.

Stella Peters said her grandfather worried about potential damage to the site by visitors and, for years, Huu-ay-aht tried

to keep it hidden, to keep it safe. Now, Dennis says, in partnership with Parks Canada, Huu-ay-aht wants to welcome visitors and develop tourism opportunities for their people.

“We want to move toward small business and tourism and away from natural resource extraction,” said Dennis.

Ron Hallman, Parks Canada’s chief executive officer, thanked Stella Peters and Wišqii for their willingness to share Huu-ay-aht’s rich history and land with visitors.

“Today, Parks Canada is honoured to join with Huu-ay-aht First Nations in commemorating Kiixin Fortress National Historic Site,” said Hallman. “National historic designations are the most significant form of historical recognition that is bestowed by the Government of Canada.

Parks Canada has enjoyed a positive relationship with the Huu-ay-aht and this designation would not be possible, nor as meaningful, without this Nation’s commitment to preserving and sharing its knowledge and history.”

Former Deputy Prime Minister Sheila Copps was thanked for making the historic site designation during her tenure. She became emotional as she recalled hearing Stella Peters talk about the importance of the Kiixin site.

Copps shared that she attended her first potlatch as a young girl.

“I wondered why the world doesn’t know about these beautiful people,” she said through tears. “It was then that I began to understand the history and importance of this place and I was really overcome.”

The Kiixin National Historic Site contains four distinct archaeological locations, including the main village, fortress and two related archaeological sites.

Kiixin is managed by Huu-ay-aht First Nations. More information about Kiixin and the tours can be found at kiixin.ca.

Twenty years after being designated a Canadian Historical Site, the coastal village is recognized with a placard
Photos by Denise Titian New welcome figures await visitors to the trail leading to Kiixin (above), where an an informative placard now introduces people to the ancient village site.Areplica plaque was displayed at the House of Huu-ay-aht on Sept. 20 (below). The Kiixin site (below) contains evidence of continued habitation for nearly 3,000 years.
Page 2— Ha-Shilth-Sa—September 22, 2022 View more photos from this story at www.instagram.com/hashilthsanewspaper

Mother’s grief made worse over misplaced headstone

Cemetery vows to ensure Melissa Jack’s grave is in the right spot, after stone was placed in the wrong location

PortAlberni, BC – It’s been nearly a year sinceAgnes Jack, a Mowachaht/ Muchalaht grandmother, lost her 38-yearold daughter she affectionately called Queen. Melissa Jack died Oct. 7, 2021, leaving behind her mother, two children and spouse.

So,Agnes was excited when she was able to arrange to have a proper stone placed on her daughter’s grave atAlberni Valley Memorial Gardens.

In a barter arrangement, Jack had traded eagle feathers in order to have the stone made in Port Coquitlam. In a miscommunication, the stone was inadvertently sent to Kyuquot, where it was brushed then transported to Campbell River by a relative.Agnes picked up the stone and delivered it to the PortAlberni cemetery in lateAugust, 2022.

“I got a call from the cemetery worker, she was excited and told me that Melissa’s gravestone was installed, so me and my friend went up to look at it,”Agnes recalled.

To their surprise, there was no headstone at her daughter’s grave. They searched the area but couldn’t find anything.

“We saw the cemetery workers having lunch so we walked over to ask them about it,” said Jack.

Aworker ledAgnes to a newly installed headstone, several feet away from where she’d been leaving flowers all year. She immediately knew it was not where her daughter was buried.

“When I selected the plot, I picked a spot where there were no other graves nearby so that other family can be buried together, there,” she recalled.

In addition, she remembered the graveside service was on a rainy day, and the open grave was filling with water.

Jack recalls the pastor apologizing for the water and cemetery workers running a pump with a hose leading to a distinctive tree, nearby, at the edge of the forest.

At the graveside service, Jack recalls that mourners didn’t have to worry about stepping on graves because there were none nearby. So, when she saw that her daughter’s headstone was placed less than two feet away from an older gravestone, she knew something was wrong.

According to Jack, the cemetery worker told her that he installed the stone according to a map he was provided.

To remedy the situation, the stone was immediately moved several feet away to another plot, butAgnes is not certain it is the correct spot. She says the new location is closer to where she remembers the grave to be, but in the 10 months since the burial, the ground has dried and hardened, and it is hard to tell where the actual gravesite is.

Not knowing for certain where her daughter is buried has traumatized the still-grieving mother.

“It brought me right back to the first day of grieving – I’m glad my friend was there with me,” said Jack.

Donna Liberty of Yates Funeral Services acknowledges that there may have been a mix-up on the location of Melissa’s grave. She said that Melissa’s next of kin was her spouse and it was him that

selected the plot.

Liberty stated that the cemetery strives to work with Indigenous families who abide by the four-day cultural practice of laying loved ones to rest. Sometimes mistakes happen in the rush.

“We send the paperwork off to the cemetery workers who first probe the plot to make sure it’s empty,” said Liberty. She said theAlberni Valley Memorial Gardens cemetery is nearly 100 years old and sometimes records and maps don’t go that far back. Sometimes, she said, there’s problems with the selected plot. It could be tree roots, boulders, or underground springs. When that happens, Liberty says cemetery workers move on to the next available plot.

In this case, the employee that arranged for the burial has moved on from Yates

Funeral Services.

“We don’t know if our files are wrong and we can’t question the employee,” said Liberty.

Liberty said that the cemetery workers immediately moved the marker within an hour ofAgnes notifying them that it was in the wrong place. They placed the marker in the spotAgnes had been laying flowers a couple of rows away.

The cemetery will probe the area to determine the exact location of Melissa’s grave. Liberty says it’s on her list of things to do but there is no timeline, with a recent turnover in cemetery staff.

“I’m sorryAgnes is angry with us. We will find the correct answer,” she promised.

Outlook positive for COVID-19 restrictions in schools

It’s been a couple weeks now since the school year started with guidance on how schools in the province should be fighting the spread of COVID-19. Picking up with the same restrictions put in place following spring break last year, schools are required to have communicable disease plans in place, but many of the original restrictions are a thing of the past.

“Measures for protecting students and families include staying up to date with all your vaccines, practising health awareness, and staying home when sick, including if you have a fever, cough, rash, diarrhea or vomiting,” was the message from the government inAugust, just before schools reopened.Afar cry from the original return to schools, when

students were in small cohort groups and required to wear masks.

Educators are saying now that the current model is effective, and likely to be the standard going forward. Superintendent of Schools for School District 84 Lawrence Tarasoff says that it’s more akin to prevention measures than restrictions.

“Masks are a personal choice, and we don’t have the space between the desks, we don’t have any kind of cohorting,” said Tarasoff. “All that stuff is not part of the program now. We’re really just trying to be respectful that if people are choosing to wear or not wear masks, that’s a personal choice. In terms of ventilation, we’ve got [MERV] air filter systems in all of our schools.”

Precautions are in place should another serious wave of COVID-19 arise, but for

the time being the current guidance is to remain in place.

“We have the experience from the past,” explained Tarasoff. “We don’t make up our own rules through the school district. We wait and take our guidance from Public Health and the Ministry of Education. But if those restrictions do come back into place, we would be able to take care of those things quite quickly. We’ve got a supply of masks and cleaning products, we have our plexiglass shields. They’re not up right now, but we’re prepared in case we have to do that.”

Tarasoff also acknowledges that a large percentage of students at his schools are First Nations, and respects the autonomy of those communities within those schools.

Tarasoff says that morale is significantly higher amongst both the children and the

staff than it had been.

“I was just in our Gold River schools today actually, and it was really good. I think people are glad to be back to a sense of normalcy around life.As much as kids like a day off now and then, by and large I think kids like to be at school.

Lots of smiling faces,” he said. “It’s been a tough couple of years, but hopefully things get even more normal going forward.”

Last year did see a surge in cases as people began spending more time inside as temperatures cooled off, but officials say that with the further increase in vaccination rates among other prevention tactics taking place, province-wide mandates are set to be a last resort.

Photo by Denise Titian Agnes Jack sits by a gravestone for her daughter, Melissa Jack, who passed Oct. 7, 2021. The recently placed stone had to be moved after it was installed in the wrong location at a PortAlberni cemetery.
September 22, 2022—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 3

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Issues delay tiny houses for homeless

Municipal code requirements, site planning delay bringing homes to ‘The Ghe o’

PortAlberni, BC – Plans to build a tiny house village on lower 4th Avenue have been delayed due to planning and approval processes, according to PortAlberni Friendship Center Executive Director Cyndi Stevens. There have also been unforeseen cost overruns that are concerning to the PAFC executive director.

The City of PortAlberni announced that it is moving ahead with plans to provide better homes to people living in run-down trailers on 4thAvenue, known locally as “The Ghetto”. They partnered with BC Housing and the PortAlberni Friendship Centre to provide a safer housing alternative.

The illegal trailer park on lower 4th Avenue spung up after one of the two Wintergreen apartment buildings burnt down in the summer of 2013. Randy Brown subsequently purchased the property and began moving old recreational vehicles onto the vacant property, creating a RV park for the city’s hard to house population.

Since 2018 Brown has been repeatedly ticketed by the city to the tune of $120,000 for building and fire code infractions. He was slapped with a remediation order in 2020 and ordered to remove the trailers but he refuses to pay the fines and hasn’t removed the RVs.

He has said that he charges $500 per month for a single person renting a dilapidated trailer or $375 per person if there are more people renting a single unit. He has argued that these trailers provide a roof over the heads of people that would otherwise be sleeping on park benches or in the streets.

The City of PortAlberni purchased three vacant lots adjacent to the WintergreenApartment property to be leased to the PortAlberni Friendship Center at a nominal cost of $1. In partnership with BC Housing, the city and PAFC plan to build a tiny home village complete with security and support systems for marginalized people. The Housing Task Force, which includes Tseshaht, Hupacasath, the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council and other local agencies, are also involved in the project.

In June 2022, the PAFC issued a statement saying, “The creation of this temporary housing development has been a combination of efforts in response to providing safe, alternative housing to several individuals unable to access safe, affordable housing who are currently residing in unsafe conditions and or living rough.”

The tiny homes, although small, would deliver secure, dry sleeping pods with electricity, a mini fridge, desk and chair. The tenants will have access to restrooms, showers, food, Wi-Fi and support services, including recovery referrals.

Earlier this summer the PAFC reported that they secured funding for 13 tiny house units and hoped to find funds for up to 30 units. They had hoped to begin moving tenants in by the end of summer or early fall, but there have been bumps in the road.

“We had hoped to have it done by Oct. 1 but that’s not happening,” Stevens reported.

She said there’s been some unforeseen costs having to do with code requirements and site planning.

“We didn’t anticipate some of the lease requirements and are working with the city to come to an agreement,” she added. The original plan was to build 30 tiny homes but added expenses, according to Stevens, may raise the price tag of each unit by $5,000. She is not sure there will

be enough to cover the 15 houses the PAFC committed to - let alone the 15 other units they had hoped to find funding partners for.

“The Friendship Center has no money to pay for those extra expenses,” said Stevens.

“Costs have gone up and there’s nobody else coming to the table with funding,” she said, adding that they are seeking contributions.

PortAlberni Mayor Sharie Minions stated that the city will contribute $140,000 to the project for utilities, fencing and security.

PAFC had been prepping the lot for construction and have begun purchasing supplies needed for the tiny homes.

The tiny houses will be pre-built on the mainland, according to PAFC specs. They will be assembled on site once city hall approves drawings for the tiny house village.

“The tiny house panels were to be here Aug. 29 but we had to hire an architect to draw a site plan, that caused delays,” Stevens said.

There will be a meeting with the city on Sept. 26, where Stevens will find out whether the new plans will be approved by the local government.

“Ideally, the village could open midOctober, but more likely it will be Nov. 1, 2022,” said Stevens.

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Photo by Denise Titian PortAlberni Friendship Center Executive Director Cyndi Stevens stands by land purchased by City of PortAlberni on lower 4thAvenue to provide the housing.
Page 4— Ha-Shilth-Sa—September 22, 2022

Long-term study delves into the trajectory of health

NTC is working with Simon Fraser University on an initiative designed to extend from conception to adulthood

PortAlberni, BC - Researchers and Nuu-chah-nulth communities are in the early stages of a longitudinal study designed to paint a picture of the complex factors that determine a person’s wellbeing – from conception into adulthood.

The Indigenous Healthy Life Trajectories Initiative proposes to be “Canada’s first long-term study following a large cohort of young children and their families over time,” according to an update by the project team. The study has completed two preliminary two-year phases, with funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Now a more extensive proposal has been submitted to the funder, totaling $14 million to support six years of study involving 14 Nuu-chahnulth nations as well as First Nations in Alberta that include the Cree Nations of Maskwacîs, and the Cree and Dene nations of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo.

With Lynette Lucas, director of health for the Nuu-chah-chah Tribal Council, as the principal investigator, the project update stated that “health and wellbeing are the result of long-term access to physical, spiritual, emotional, nutritional and social resources”. Topics of interest have been identified by the communities involved, with attention to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and mental health. If approved, the next phase of the study

entails women of child-bearing age volunteering to participate, answering to invitations sent across Nuu-chah-nulth communities as well as the First Nations inAlberta.

“The main goal for the project is to identify the factors that provide resilience to children to face life challenges, so that they can develop strong and be ready for all the challenges in life,” said Pablo Nepomnaschy, a professor of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University, which is working with the NTC on the long-term project. “Our findings will not only help Nuu-chah-nulth children, Cree children and Maskwacis children, but eventually be applied to other Indigenous children.”

“For the women who do give birth, we evaluate them in a number of ways during the pregnancy,” explained Jeff Reading, an SFU professor in Health Sciences.

“When they give birth, their children are enrolled into a study where we look at the long-term impacts of optimizing their health and wellbeing. We call it developmental trajectories; it goes through life stages.”

The intention is to gain a closer look into the various factors affecting pregnant mothers and their children. The latest proposal extends six years, covering pregnancy and the first five of a child’s life, but researchers and the First Nations

involved hope that the longitudinal study can eventually extend into adulthood.

“It’s more than just the mother’s activities, it’s the mother’s environment. Does the mother have the right nutrition? Does the mother have enough social support?” added Nepomnaschy. “Early exposures during development, even from conception onward, have huge effects on the health and wellbeing of the child. The earlier the exposure, the stronger the effect and the more effects there are.”

The initiative follows other health studies that have usually painted a grim picture of Indigenous people’s wellbeing.

Presented by the First Nations HealthAuthority and the Provincial Health Officer in 2018, the Indigenous Health and Well Being report presented an average life expectancy of 75 among B.C.’sAboriginal people, eight years younger than other residents in the province. That report also cited a suicide rate among First Nations youth that was triple that of others in B.C., with double the incidence of infant mortality and higher rates of diabetes.

For over two decades, Reading has worked to get a more extensive study off the ground that better involves and benefits First Nations.

“Alot of research done on Indigenous

people is a snapshot that talks about how unhealthy people are,” he said. “What we’re trying to do is a longitudinal study, which is sort of a video looking at how to model wellbeing, rather than modelling pathology.”

Reading referenced the damage done by what is commonly known as the “bad blood” scandal, in which over 800 samples were taken from Nuu-chah-nulth-aht in the 1980s with a promise to find better treatment for rheumatoid arthritis. But without the participants’permission or knowledge, it was later discovered that these samples were taken to the United States and elsewhere for genetic anthropology studies and other experiments.

“Now it’s a question of how we can do research led by Nuu-chah-nulth,” said Reading. “There’s no misuse of the data and the samples, so it’s under a very strong ethical framework.”

“We are here to do this because the community chose these goals. Everybody is invited to participate to the extent that they are interested in the study,” noted Nepomnaschy. “They can even decide that they don’t want their data used anymore, or their samples are to be destroyed, and that is absolutely revolutionary. It’s a type of research that has not been done so far.”

Since the study began planning and consultations in 2017 Geraldine Tom has

served as a Nuu-chah-nulth advisor. She hopes that the long-term project will help to break a cycle of shame among First Nations that was instilled in residential schools, but continues to be perpetuated by authorities and service providers.

“It is a big issue still,” she said. “Some caregivers, police, shame us. We want to break that cycle of that.”

“The elders have a central role in advising us of what kinds of interventions are going to be reclaiming health, because a lot of times, well-meaning people who are doctors and nurses, they’re focused on disease, treatment and care,” said Reading. “What we’re focused on is trying to understand the mechanisms. What causes diabetes in middle age or in your 30s? Part of that is what happens in very early life.”

Tom hopes that within five years the study will help to give service providers a better understanding of Nuu-chah-nulth ways so that they can more effectively help communities with their issues.

“We cannot move in reconciliation without understanding along the way,” she said.

More information about the Indigenous Healthy Life Trajectories Initiative can be obtained from Laurel White, the NTC’s project coordinator, at laurel.white@ nuuchahnulth.org or 1-250-724-0202.

Photos by Eric Plummer Residential school survivors (above) were honored at theAlberniAthletic Hall on Sept. 16, for their contributions to the early stages of a longitudinal study on the determinants of health. Researchers and participants held an information session on the study (below), which has just submitted a multi-million-dollar proposal that would extend for six years.
“The main goal for the project is to identify the factors that provide resilience to children to face life challenges, so that they can develop strong and be ready for all the challenges in life,”
~ Pablo Nepomnaschy, professor of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University
Pablo Nepomnaschy
September 22, 2022—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 5

An aging school’s demolition officially breaks ground

Sproat Lake School is being cleared 19 years after closing, with hopes for residential development in its place

PortAlberni, BC - Since September of 2003, Sproat Lake Elementary School has been closed to the public. Now, in September of 2022, progress is officially being made to remove the rapidly deteriorating and graffiti-covered building from the land it sits on.

Through the benefit of federal funding, Tseshaht First Nation Chief Councillor Ken Watts is fairly excited for the opportunity that comes with this major step in his community. Tearing down the decrepit building opens up the opportunity to use the land for residential or commercial use. Watts says the decision is closer to being made on the matter after conducting a study.

“We’ve received federal funding to explore economic opportunities there and done a ton of various studies, feasibility studies and other matters on the land with the intent of doing some type of residential development there - whether it be for community members or out-of-market housing,” he explained.

Offering Tseshaht members housing on the land would have one obstacle to get around first: getting the property rezoned. The land Sproat Lake School sits on is currently part of theAlberni Clayoquot Regional District. Watts and the Tseshaht First Nation have reached out to the Regional District to see if rezoning the land to reserve land would be possible, and they’ve been receptive so far.

However, that presents a further obstacle to overcome according to Watts.

“The city doesn’t usually service off reserve property out of the city limits, and that’s what that is, that’s not in the city limits [or] within the regional district limits,” outlined Watts. “So, we’re worried now that we can’t run water and sewer there. We’re now discussing looking at adding it to reserve and still proceeding with some type of housing development there, and it’s clear housing is needed everywhere.”

Although a city-serviced sewer system may not be an option for the site at this point, other options are still possible. The former school’s land sits just past the Tseshaht reserve’s water and sewer limits,

but even though it isn’t something that’s usually done, the nearby Sproat Lake Volunteer Fire Hall was connected to water and sewer years ago. Some nearby residential areas closer to Sproat Lake run their sewer systems off of well-based water; it has yet to be seen if resident developments could follow suit. Obstacles aside, Watts is ready to make something happen on the Sproat Lake School site.

“I’m pretty certain that we’ll be doing some type of housing development and then we’ll kind of go from there,” he added.

The project itself provides a major benefit to the Tseshaht First Nation after over 20 years of owning the property.

The major issue holding back the demolition of Sproat Lake School for this long

has been funding. The building is full of asbestos and lead paint, which makes for an increasingly more expensive removal and demolition job, one that wasn’t easily affordable until the federal funding mentioned by Chief Councillor Watts was granted. The federal government’s funding comes with a training program through the project.According to Watts, the training program will lead to several jobs for Tseshaht members, who will gain skills to use going forward.

“I think there’s eight Nuu-Chah-Nulth or Indigenous people that are involved in the training program right now,” said Watts. “We’re able to tap into that and some economic funding and other areas

to really make it a reality. We had to be creative and work with the government to find ways to make it a reality. So, I’m really excited to be seeing the members, both Tseshaht and not, being trained and knowing there’s great employment opportunities for them after this. It’s exciting. It’s a new industry, but at the same time we’re tearing down a building that’s been an eyesore for a decade.”

Demolition of Sproat Lake School began on September 12. The project is run by Pro Pacific Hazmat in collaboration with an array of other companies and contractors. The demolition is expected to carry on Monday through Friday until the end of 2022.

Looking for......

Usma Nuu-chah-nulth Family and Child Services are looking for individual/s or families who are interested in caregiving for teens with high-risk behaviors.

The Caregiver(s) would provide 24-hour care in a culturally safe and suppor!ve environment, responding effec!vely to challenging behaviours.

Compensa!on would be built around the specific needs of the youth and the Caregiver, and could include both direct services and financial support to allow Caregivers to meet the needs of the youth.

For more informa on, please call Joni or Julia at 250-724-3232.

Photo by James Paracy The demolition of the Sproat Lake School, located on Highway 4 west of PortAlberni, commenced on Sept. 12, and is expected to last until the end of the year.
Page 6— Ha-Shilth-Sa—September 22, 2022
More stories at www.hashilthsa.com

Nations begin management plan for invasive crab

Brought over in the bilges of ocean freighters, species has reached 265,000 that were caught in Clayoquot Sound

Clayoquot Sound, BC – The biggest threat to wild salmon you’ve never heard of. That’s what the Coastal Restoration Society calls the invasion of the European Green Crab in Pacific coastal waters.

“Invasive European Green Crab are being found up and down the West Coast in larger numbers than ever. These crabs outcompete native species and destroy sensitive and ecologically important habitat,” they say.

With funding from the British Columbia Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund, a partnership was formed between the Coastal Restoration Society, BCSRIF, Fisheries and Oceans Canada,Ahousaht, Tla-o-qui-aht and T’Sou-ke First Nations to begin work to tackle the problem. Together, they have launched a project to study industrial trapping as a way to mitigate the impacts of European Green Crab on the West Coast of Canada.

European green crabs are a small, invasive species that are voracious predators of clams and juvenile Dungeness crab. They quickly destroy eel grass beds that serve as habitat for young salmon. They have been present on theAtlantic Coast of NorthAmerica for more than 200 years but have only been on the west coast Vancouver Island for about 20. It is believed that they arrived on theAtlantic coast in the bilge waters of trans-ocean freighters.

Crysta Stubbs of Coastal Restoration Society says the European Green Crab showed up in San Francisco, California in 1989. They believe larvae-infested seaweed used to package seafood from the Atlantic coast was improperly disposed of and, over the years, the larvae floated on the current north, up to Vancouver Island. It was 1999 when the invasive

species was first detected on the island’s west coast.

Local seafood harvesters in the Sooke Basin and Clayoquot Sound have been finding the crab on beaches and in traps, killing them as they find them. It wasn’t known how bad the infestation was, until the pilot trapping project began in November 2021.

According to Stubbs, two teams of workers began trapping the invasive crab last November. One team works in Sooke Basin and the other in Clayoquot Sound withAhousaht and Tla-o-qui-aht people. She said the teams of three or four people set 40 traps in four Clayoquot Sound sites over five days a week.

“The number one goal is removal of the green crab, but we are also collecting data,” said Stubbs. This is the first-ofits-kind attempt to control the green crab through industrial, commercial-scale trapping.

Workers, mostly local First Nations, also monitor the health of the eel grass beds as they work. They count the crab as they pull traps and euthanize them by freezing them.

The first trap set in Tranquil Inlet estuary in November 2021 yielded 500 green crabs.

“And that was supposed to be a bad time for green crab,” said Stubbs. In the first two weeks they trapped nearly 9,000 green crab in the Tranquil Inlet estuary.

“Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation has really lush crab grounds, large fans of eelgrass and mudflats, a lot of great habitat,” said Saya Masso of Tla-o-qui-aht. “To have an invasive species that comes in that has less marketability, less meat on the animal itself, is just a negative for everyone in the region.”

Ahousaht’s Tyee Ha’wilth Hasheukumiss, Richard George, said he had no problem signing off on the project, noting

his concern that more than a quarter million crabs have already been trapped in Clayoquot Sound.

“They’re everywhere, it’s kind of scary,” said Stubbs. They pulled 10,000 green crabs at the Cypre River estuary in one day, making that their highest count in one day.

But Stubbs says that the work that they’re doing has had a positive impact.

“The numbers are definitely coming down…Cypre went from 10,000 green crab caught in a day to 2,000 in one day, in a recent count,” she noted. “This is something that’s not going to go away, it’s not possible.”

The trapping program only has funding to run to spring 2023 but Stubbs hopes federal funding will be extended to continue the work. Ultimately, she hopes that a program like this can grow and, with coordinated efforts, reduce the green crab population on the Pacific coast in both Canada and the US.

If not, Stubbs says we can expect to see negative impacts on eelgrass beds, which are important habitat for the already struggling salmon and herring stocks. In addition, the green crab will negatively impact Dungeness crab, clams and other bivalves through predation.

The European Green Crab have no economic value. The 265,000 green crabs caught in Clayoquot Sound are being stock piled in freezers. Stubs hopes that they can be composted and used as fertilizer but there are concerns that need to be addressed before that can happen. `

Stubbs says the Coastal Restoration Society is always on the lookout for funding to keep the project going. They hope that with their work and data collected, European Green Crab numbers will be decreased to the point that the ecosystem can function normally.

“This project needs to be collaborative and widespread as possible in order for it to be successful,” said Stubbs.

September 22, 2022—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 7

Chinook run yields healthy returns in Somass

Area 23 continues to a ract a high number of boats to harvest the largest salmon species, thanks largely to a hatchery by Great Central

PortAlberni, BC - In mid September Tseshaht and Hupacasath fishers were casting their nets in the Somass River, taking advantage of the last days of a large chinook salmon run.

In recent years Fisheries and Oceans Canada has stressed the growing challenges facing Pacific salmon. The department’s 2019 State of the Canadian Pacific Salmon report stressed the environmental impacts of a warming climate on the fish, which normally thrive in cooler waters. The report stated that chinook are declining throughout their range, while some southern B.C. sockeye populations face imminent extinction.

But this year the number of sockeye that returned from their ocean migration to Barkley Sound and the Somass River ended up being double the pre-season forecast, while approximately 135,000 chinook are expected to come back. The area’s chinook fisheries are heavily reliant on breeding the large salmon in a hatchery by Great Central Lake, which produces 90 per cent of what returns to the Somass watershed.

“All in all a decent season,” summarized Dave Rolston, fisheries manager for the Tseshaht First Nation. “The sockeye runs are doing reasonably well, for the most part, and this year was a good one.And the chinook is pretty steady. So all of those factors combined attract a lot of fishermen, a lot of commercial fishermen, a lot of rec fishermen, so it’s a very dynamic and busy fishing location.”

Area 23, which includes Barkley Sound and the Somass River, is managed throughout the season by weekly round-table meetings, with participation from the local First Nations, DFO as well as representation from the commercial and recreation sectors. On some days commercial openings attracted over 200 vessels on theAlberni Inlet, said Rolston, while 200 to 300 Tseshaht members took to the river to participate in the Somass fishery, representing as much as one quarter of the First Nation’s population.

The Somass fishery is shared with the Hupacasath First Nation, which had about 55 members on the water exercising their

rights this summer. Chinook fishing, which started in the second week ofAugust this year, brought more community participation than the earlier sockeye migration, said Graham Murrell, fisheries manager for the Hupacasath First Nation.

Murrell doesn’t expect that the two First Nations will reach their total allowable catch limit (TAC), which was set at around 37,700 chinook between Tseshaht and Hupacasath for the season.

“They did show up early, you would have thought they would have been slower with not much rain happening,” he said of the chinook migration up theAlberni Inlet and into the Somass River. “We’re ahead of the curve definitely, in terms of escapement.”

Rolston noted that chinook and coho “came in very quickly”, a dynamic he says could have been attributed to cooler water conditions this year. By lateAugust Vancouver Island entered a Level 3 drought

First Nations fishers pull in a net on the Somass River, after casting a circle set to catch the remains of the chinook run. The First Nations and Hupacasath First Nations, who partake in an economic ventured that usually generates over $1.5 million. By mid September the Stamp River was full of chinook, headed toward Stamp Falls and the fish ladder leading to Great Central. Alone salmon attempts in vain to jump up Stamp Falls. Fortunately route is available at the falls via constructed tunnels that thousands swim through, otherwise known as the “fish ladder”.
Page 8— Ha-Shilth-Sa—September 22, 2022

Somass River

stage, after reaching the severe Level 5 during the same period in 2021.

“They didn’t spend a lot of time in the harbour, waiting at the top end of the inlet,” said Rolston of this year’s chinook and coho migration. “That made it challenging to catch our TAC.”

A‘chess game’of co-management

As in most years, the First Nations harvested from the river under an economic opportunity agreement with DFO. Eighty to 90 per cent of catches were sold to two Vancouver Island companies: French Creek Seafood from Parksville and Hub City Fisheries of Nanaimo.Although he didn’t expect the Tseshaht would reach their total allowable catch, Rolston estimates the chinook run generated $1.5 million for the Tseshaht First Nation.

“There was opportunity for a number of our members to earn a living,” he said, noting that this is possible from the commercial, recreational and First Nations fisheries jointly coordinating a management of the area over the course of the fishing season.

According to the most recent Somass fisheries bulletin issued by DFO, over 69,000 chinook were estimated to be caught, including 23,224 for the Somass First Nations, 1,103 for Maa-nulth treaty nations, 11,224 for the commercialArea B seine fleet, 15,838 forArea D gillnet boats, 16,983 to be caught by recreational boats and 638 taken by a test vessel.

“It’s a chess game in movement all the time around numbers and around openings and closings,” noted Rolston.

“You don’t want to fish on top of another group,” added Murrell. “You want to make sure that the rec boats have safe passage

in and out of the marina during their busy times.”

Chinook averaged 13-14 pounds each this year, said Rolston, compared to the typical 18-pound fish from last year.

“We’ve seen a lot of three-year-olds,” added Murrell of this year’s chinook run. “They’re smaller, 10-12 pounds, sometimes less.”

The early-season price was $6 a pound, which lowered to $3 by the end of the chinook season. The market is affected when Alaskan chinook become available.

“AsAlaskan fisheries come on, particularly Bristol Bay, then the price drops dramatically,” explained Rolston. Ahatchery dependent system Ninety per cent of the chinook caught in the Somass River andAlberni Inlet originated from the Robertson Creek Hatchery, a facility by Great Central Lake, where many of the salmon are destined to return to die at the end of their multi-year migration to and from the Pacific Ocean.

These hatchery-raised chinook have the same genes as their wild-born counterparts, but they have the advantage of being released into rivers and estuaries at a larger size. Naturally born chinook usually enter the calm, nutrient-rich waters of estuaries weighing 0.5 to one gram, while the hatchery salmon are released at 4-8 grams, explained Jim Lane, deputy program manager for Uu-a-thluk.

“We don’t really know what happens in the first three or four months of their life,” he said of the species. “We assume a lot of the mortality happens in that time.”

“It’s a hatchery system, and that’s what’s keeping it going in the valley,” said Murrell

of fisheries in the PortAlberni area.

Fisheries managers are observing that chinook are coming into the Somass smaller than they were a generation ago. Lane has seen hatchery raised salmon return younger that those born in the wild.

“The age of fish when they return is generally younger than if it was a wild population,” he said. “You see a higher proportion of three-year-olds than you would see in the wild.”

But a number of other factors could be affecting the size of the fish, including ocean conditions that have brought higher temperatures in recent years.

Rolston also noted that commercial nets could be bringing in more large salmon, which can be sold at a higher price.

“Over the years people cream off the bigger fish because the TACs are a piececount, but you get paid by the pound,” he said. “Area D, for example, wouldn’t want to end up with a lot of small fish.”

Despite the 30 million eggs that fisheries managers expect will be deposited in the area’s rivers this year, Murrell admits that there is yet to be a “smoking gun” that reveals why more of the chinook born in the wild aren’t surviving to return.

“We have to figure out why we’re not getting that production before the next steps of what can we do to increase it,” he said.

“Why they’re not surviving now, while they did up to the early 90s, we don’t know,” said Lane. “That’s one of the things we’re trying to figure out.”

Meanwhile the future of theArea 23 fisheries, and how its salmon will be produced, rests on how much of a dependence will be placed on breeding fish in a facility.

“Are you going to have a river that’s predominantly going to be for enhancement fisheries, and the others are going to be more wild? Or are they managed to maintain a high percentage of natural influence?” asked Lane. “Those are societal questions.”

The chinook fishing season might be almost over, but the salmon will continue to migrate up the Somass River into the autumn, benefitting from cooler water when rains begin and the summer heat subsides.As many as 13,000 have been known to pass through the river in one day, said Murrell.

“Chinook are powerful swimmers,” noted Rolston. “Once they get adjusted to fresh water, and that doesn’t take long, they can boogie many, many kilometres in the run of a day if they wish to push through.”

Photos by Eric Plummer chinook run. The First Nations fishery is shared by the Tseshaht
“We have to figure out why we’re not getting that production before the next steps of what can we do to increase it”
~ Jim Lane, Uu-a-thluk deputy program manager
in vain to jump up Stamp Falls. Fortunately a passable falls via constructed tunnels that thousands of fish can otherwise known as the “fish ladder”. Commercial fishing vessels fill theAlberni Inlet in mid September, in anticipation of an opening for the regulated chinook and coho fishery.
September 22, 2022—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 9

Usma unveils newly named canoes at open house

The two chaputs will be used to give children in care more opportunity to participate in cultural activities

PortAlberni, BC –Apair of 36-foot fibreglass canoes purchased by Usma Nuu-chah-nulth Family and Child Services in 2021 have been officially named and decorated with Nuu-chah-nulth art, as they are now available to help children in care stay connected with their culture.

The canoes were unveiled at a Sept. 8 Usma open house held at their 6th Avenue location.

The canoes will be used for summer activities with children in care, so that they can take part in cultural activities like canoe journeys or paddles to their home communities. It is part of Usma efforts to help children in care stay connected to their culture and their communities.

Artist Georgina Haiyupis was commissioned to come up with a design for each canoe based on their names. She put much thought into both the designs and about the safety and well-being of the children that the canoes will carry.

Dozens of people were in attendance, including Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council President Judith Sayers, as tarps were pulled off of the beautifully painted canoes.

Haiyupis told the crowd that her designs were made based on the teachings and values of Nuu-chah-nulth culture. The colors were selected not only for their beauty, but also for their easy-to-spot brightness that will keep the children safe while they are on the water.

One canoe is named ʔiiḥcamisukʷin qʷameeʔitq taatna, meaning every child matters. Haiyupis painted an image of a mother bear and her cub, representing the strength of the protector, who has the courage to stand up for what’s right.

“They have the ability to keep fighting even if they’re wounded,” said Haiyupis.

The design also features swallows, a common bird that protectively cares for its young.

The salmon and their eggs represent resilience, as the salmon sacrifice themselves to lay their eggs, regenerating the next cycle.

The second chaputs (canoe) was named ƛuł–ik-yuk, or Sea Serpent. This chaputs features the Thunderbird, represent-

ing power, protection and strength, said Haiyupis. She also included images of whales and wolves representing everlasting family bonds and the protection of future generations.

Haiyupis thanked Usma for sharing this gift of canoes with the children.

“Investing in our children is what will restore their identity, their pride and their knowing where they come from – that’s important,” she said.

Illustration by Ivy Cargill-Martin Photos by Denise Titian One canoe is named ʔiiḥcamisukʷin qʷameeʔitq taatna, meaning every child matters. The second chaputs (canoe) was named ƛuł–ik-yuk, or Sea Serpent. Georgina Haiyupis
Page 10— Ha-Shilth-Sa—September 22, 2022
Phrase†of†the†week:†ʔumaḥsašiišʔał ƛapc’as ḥisit ʔuḥwałʔaƛquu ḥumiis Pronounced ‘Ohh math sis alth clup juss his it ooh walh alth koo alth whoom is’, it means, ‘I get a real hankering for barbecue sockeye salmon, cooked on cedar wood’. Supplied by ciisma.

Joshua Wa s debuts first solo exhibition in Victoria

Nuu-chah-nulth artist displays scuplture and prints, inspired by history, legends and traditional techniques

Victoria, BC - Informed by Nuu-ChahNulth histories, legends and traditional carving techniques, contemporary artist Ha’wilh Way’anis, Joshua Watts, has transformed the VictoriaArts Council’s main gallery to look like a longhouse as a way of honouring his cultural teachings, while commenting on current societal topics.

The VictoriaArts Council is commissioning this work for exhibition, along with an artist book created by Watts with his partner, Kwakwaka’wakw poet and activist Linnea Dick.

Acollection of silkscreen prints, wood carvings and video by Watts will be featured with additional programming taking place in-person and online throughout the exhibition. The exhibit will run until Oct. 30.

This is Watts’debut solo exhibition.

“Gifts from theAncestors is a show I’ve worked my whole career to be able to present. It shares sculpture and prints that through my years of studying truly share my love for the art,” Watts said. “I titled the show Gifts from theAncestors because the work I do and all Northwest Coast art are the gifts our ancestors give to us, and the future generations to help us in life and guide us on a good path in life.”

Watts is a Nuu-chah-nulth and Coast Salish First Nations professional artist and cultural carrier. He was raised in Squamish away from his ancestral territories of PortAlberni and Lake Cowichan.

“I am from the Tseshaht nation, and Tsuubaasaxt nation. I didn’t grow up in

my communities but was adopted in the Squamish nation when I was young,” Watts said. “I now return home to Port Alberni every year and make sure to visit my uncles, aunties, nieces and nephews as much as I can. I also have a current project in Lake Cowichan with the museum to do a totem pole, which is on the traditional territory of the Tsuubaasaxt Nation.”

When he was growing up, Watts had little connection with his ancestral culture, but after reconnecting, he realized the importance of culture and art.

“I grew up without culture for most of my childhood. I started canoe racing in my early teen years and that’s when I was reintroduced to my culture,” he said.

“I went home to PortAlberni every now and then, but it wasn’t until I received my traditional Nuu-chah-nulth name Ha’wailh Wayanis that I began to really take the time to learn my history, learn my genealogy and get familiar with my ancestors’art.”

Watts added that learning about his culture helped him through his healing journey.

“Growing up my family had a really hard time. Because of inter-generational trauma, residential school and just general poverty, growing up was tough,” Watts said. “But whenever I participated in culture, or contributed to ceremonies, or just spent time on the land I could forget about the troubles in life. Culture really was a huge part of giving me my most cherished memories and valued life lessons. I highly encourage the youth to participate where and when you can and just remember your ancestors love you.” Watts has studied under renowned art-

ists such as Ray Natraoro, WayneAlfred, Corey Bulpitt, and Linda Lindsay, as well as the late Chief and master carver Beau Dick. Watts said growing up he didn’t consider himself an artistic person, but more of a jock, playing every sport he could. But he felt he was creative and art was something he always appreciated.

“My mentor Ray Natraoro was the one who really introduced me to Northwest Coast art. We spent years together and when I moved in with him and his family I became a part of the family,” Watts said. “My style is influenced definitely

by the many teachers I’ve had. I would say I’m known mostly for my traditional Nuu-chah-nulth art. I carve traditional and non-traditional wood pieces, paint, as well as make my own silkscreen prints. However, I am also experimenting with contemporary art which can be seen throughout the show.”

Today, Watts has dedicated his practice toward youth development and mentorship programs and is an advocate for cultural revitalization amongst Indigenous youth and passing on traditional knowledge.

Submitted photos Nuu-chah-nulth artist Joshua Watts, back row, second from left, with his family in front of the longhouse he made for his exhibition at the VictoriaArts Council.A clay sculpture and two portrait masks (below) made by Watts are currently on display at the exhibit.
September 22, 2022—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 11

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

Hello everyone, hoping all is well with you, your families and communities and that your summer was filled with gathering food, enjoying the natural environment and spending time with family.

The big world event the past week was the death of Queen Elizabeth at the age of 96 years. She lived a good long life and was loved by many. She was queen for almost 71 years. We send condolences to the family on the loss of a mother, grandmother, aunt and sympathies to the country on the loss of their queen.

That being said, we recognize that for 71 years she was the head of one of the largest colonizers in the world. She was queen of 32 states at one point and of 15 when she died, which shows the extent of English colonization. We have all lived with the effects of colonization and many requests to Queen Elizabeth were made to make things right in Canada and she did not. Treaty nations in particular felt their numbered treaties were with the Queen, but she did not and left Canada to implement the treaties, which of course they have not. She has been aware of the impacts of residential school and her doing nothing to resolve the horrendous impacts on our people. There are Indigenous peoples who are angry with the Queen and will not observe the day of mourning, others have sympathy but what is important is people need to understand the dark times of colonization and how our development was delayed due to things like the IndianAct through the years.

Her funeral was Monday, Sept. 19, which the prime minister declared a National Day of Mourning (this is not a statutory holiday but a one-time event).

First Nations people are wearing orange shirts to mark the day, to always remember those that attended residential school and those that died and those still living with the effects of the school.

We call on the new King Charles to work on getting rid of the Doctrine of Discovery as a way for Canada to claim our lands. We were here, and it was our land and that the colonizer arrived does not mean the land is theirs and they certainly did not beat us in war. We also call on the King to take action on supporting efforts dealing with the negative impacts of colonization.

I attended the grand Opening of Usma at their new building on 6th Avenue. They have made the space into a comfortable place to work. The day started off with the unveiling of two canoes that were commissioned for the use of youth in care. Designs were made by Georgina Haiyupis and are amazing looking. Curriculum will be developed around the importance of canoes to Nuu-chah-nulth as well as how to use them safely.

I had lunch with David Eby, attorney general and minister of Housing, and Josie Osborne, MLAfor theAlberni riding and minister of Land, Water and Resource Stewardship. The lunch was to meet David Eby, who is running for head of the NDP and would be premiere if elected. Other leaders were there, including Chief Councillors Brandy Lauder and Ken Watts, as well as PortAlberni Mayor Sharie Minions. We talked housing - lack thereof - and initiatives being worked on and clearly explained the needs here. We talked transportation and the need for improvements. We talked health and everything else that is impacting Nuuchah-nulth.

We held a special directors meeting and

Mariah Charleson was appointed the First Nations Health Council representative for Nuu-chah-nulth for a four-year term. The directors reviewed and accepted the audit. The audit was also be reviewed at the NTCAGM on the 19th for all the members. We have a Human Resource Committee where we have three directors and one alternate. One director from the Maa-nulth Nations. We have had a hard time getting directors to be on HRC due to their huge responsibilities. Our lawyer advises us we need to have directors due to all the legal liability. We reviewed that what is going to theAGM for consideration is that any director can be on the HRC whether they areARFAor Maanulth. There has to be a vote to make this change to NTC constitution and bylaws.

Our five-year funding agreement known asARFAis coming to an end as of March 31, 2023 and we must re-negotiate. This agreement is for eight Nuu-chah-nulth nations. Maa-nulth have their own funding agreements andAhousaht has a 10year grant. There are changes coming in education and we have other funding priorities we must address. Also, our health agreement for 12 of our nations also ends on March 31,2023. We have had preliminary meetings with Directors concerned on what needs to be changed in these agreements. There will be a lot of work to be done on these two agreements.

I continue to work on the issues around the Health Governance Committee and getting First Nations HealthAuthority to be more accountable to First Nations and to be community driven. I am also working on the gaming commission and working on getting more opportunities for First Nations in their communities. The province is also changing their gaming control act and we had input into their revisions. I also attended a one-day session of BCAFN on climate change plan and strategy.

I was appointed to the BC First Nations Justice Council and will use this opportunity to help promote Nuu-chah-nulth issues in justice and work at an upper strategic level to change the justice system in the province according to the BC First Nations Justice Strategy.

Remember that September 30th is the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation - formerly known as Orange Shirt Day. It’s a good opportunity to wear your orange shirt, bring attention to every child matters and educating people on the legacy of residential schools.

Respectfully, Cloy-e-iis, Judith Sayers


notice of annual general meeting

You are invited to the Westcoast Community Resource Society Annual General Meeting.

Thursday September 29th, 2022. 7pm at Best Western Tinwis, Port Alberni.

Option to join contact the admin@wccrs.ca

Page 12— Ha-Shilth-Sa—September 22, 2022
us online, please
or call @2507262343

Employment and Training

Port Alberni Friendship Centre Volunteers Needed

September 22, 2022—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 13
Need work experience? The Port Alberni Friendship Centre is looking for interested applicants for various positions. Call 250-723-8281 Events 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: aleesha_sharma1@hotmail.com

VIU Nanaimo campus holds All-Nations Feast

Nuu-chah-nulth, Kwakwaka’wakw, Métis and Coast Salish all give performances to start out the year

Nanaimo, BC - Vancouver Island University (VIU) hosted its annualAll-Nations feast at the Nanaimo campus yesterday, featuring dancers and speakers from the Nuu-Chah-Nulth, Kwakwaka’wakw, Métis, and Coast Salish, representing all four Indigenous groups from the Island.

Jennifer Christofferson is an EducationAdvisor in Services forAboriginal Students, who says that after this many years, organizing the event is like a welloiled machine.

“We’ve kind of got it down to a seamless thing, because we’ve traditionally cooked food and stuff.And so, we’ve actually farmed it out to the Serauxmen so that we actually give a donation and that goes on in kind back to the community,” explained Christofferson. “So that part is easy.And then it’s just the logistics of the office of Indigenous Education and Engagement Services forAboriginal students. We all kind of team together.And we also do outreaches to other people to see if they can help and it really is quite quick.”

TheAll-Nations Feast serves as a way to highlight the unique cultures seen by the four Nations that live on Vancouver Island, Christofferson says.

“[W]hat we have done here is we brought on an event to showcase those Nations to the institution, to all the students and the faculty,” she said. “To have them come out and to witness some of the traditions and protocols and cultural sharing, so dancing, singing, summer prayers, all those kinds of things so that they can be exposed to different things and know that the nations are different, and there’s different language groups on the island.”

The Nuu-Chah-Nulth were first in the lineup, being led byAhousaht member Wally Samuel speaking on his experiences, before picking up a drum and singing while the dancers danced.At the end of their time, they performed one final dance and invited anyone in attendance to join them.Alarge contingent of faculty and students did just that, following the lead

of the more experienced dancers.

“I just think it’s like a really awesome opportunity for people who are not familiar with the nations on the island or even culture traditions, dances, anything like that, because a lot of the groups that we get will actually explain like… this dance is from this person,” said Christofferson. “Recognizing that dances can’t just be danced by anybody, that they’re specific to families and all that kind of stuff. So I think it’s really important for people to recognize the differences in Nations and how that can be.”

Coffee, tea, and bannock were served in the morning before the show started, and the Serauxmen grilled burgers to be ready after the Kwakwaka’wakw finished their segment.And when the whole thing was over, Christofferson was not worried about clean up.

“When it comes to wrap up, we’re like, hey, if anyone can help put some chairs away, it really wraps up quite quick,” she said. “We really look at it like it’s a potlatch… when we have a potlatch, everybody’s hands on deck. So if you’re asked to do something, doesn’t matter what you are, you get up and you go do it and everything gets done in a timely matter.”

Nuu-chah-nulth Child and Youth Services

September is FASD Awareness Month

The FASD awareness initiative began on September 9th, 1999, a date specifically chosen to represent the nine months of pregnancy where a woman should refrain from alcohol use. FASD is caused by the use of alcohol during pregnancy. According to Health Canada, FASD is the leading known cause of preventable developmental disability among Canadians. It is estimated that FASD affects approximately one percent of the Canadian population. About 95% of people with FASD are also diagnosed with a mental illness. Most alarming, 60% of those with FASD have been charged with, or convicted of a crime.

Overcoming the stigma of FASD is important to ensure early diagnosis and intervention for the success of children affected by FASD in school, at play, and in the workforce. Providing a strong support system is important to prevent secondary difficulties related to FASD such as disrupted school experience, inappropriate sexual behaviour, substance abuse, problems with employment and mental health issues.

For more information online go to: http://www.fasdcoalition.ca/looking-after-each-other-project/mini-documentaries/

• Prenatal alcohol exposure is associated with an increased risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, prematurity and SIDS, as well as a range of lifelong physical, behavioral, and intellectual disabilities

• In general, many women can benefit from exploring the role their partner may or may not have in supporting their decisions around alcohol use during pregnancy. Increasingly, many fathers and partners are expressing interest in finding ways to support their partners.

Activities to support a healthy pregnancy

Ask family members, friends, co-workers and partners to take a pause from drinking to support you in a healthy alcohol free pregnancy.

According to new research, a man’s sperm could be responsible for ‘foetal alcohol spectrum disorder’ (FASD), this means it is just as important for a father to avoid alcohol if they are trying to start a family.

• join with her to support the changes she is making

• care for her, and keep a positive outlook—your strength and optimism can help her feel more positive and create a more nurturing environment for the growing baby

• go to prenatal check-ups to support her and ask your own questions

• enjoy mocktails with her as a healthy alternative

If you become pregnant, stop drinking alcohol. Every day matters. The sooner you stop drinking, the better for your baby. If you need help stopping, talk to your doctor, contact an addiction specialist or contact Alcoholics Anonymous.

Nuu-chah-nulth Child & Youth Services Offices

Southern Region

Unit B - 4835 Argyle Street, Port Alberni, V9Y 1V9

Ph: (250) 724-0202, Fax: (250) 720-3693

TF: 1-855-924-0202

Central Region

PO Box 279, 151 First Street, Tofino, V0R 2Z0

Ph: (250) 725-3367, Fax: (250) 725-2158

TF: 1-866-901-3367

Northern Region

PO Box 428, 100 Ouwatin Rd, Gold River, V0P 1G0

Ph: (250) 283-2012, Fax: (250) 283-2122

TF: 1-877-283-2012

Facebook Page Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council Child and Youth Services

Program Funders MCFD, AANDC, VIHA, PHAC

Photo by Konnar Oliver The annual event at Vancouver Island University began with anAhousaht performance (above), as well as a presentation led by Wally Samuel (below).
Page 14— Ha-Shilth-Sa—September 22, 2022

Event gives youth connection after COVID restrictions

Mowachaht/Muchalaht host a five-day gathering, aÅracting over 100 participants from northern First Nations

Tsaxana, BC -Although she was spending a week surrounded by over 100 people in the Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation’s big house, Haily John-Hansen didn’t have to think long to recollect the days her young family was under lockdown.

The young mother of three lives in the Ehattesaht Chinehkint First Nation’s reserve community of Ehatis, a remote village northwest of Campbell River that was hit by a COVID-19 outbreak in the final weeks of 2020. Over quarter of the village’s 102 residents got infected, bringing severe restrictions as the community struggled to keep the virus under control. Ehatis is located next to Zeballos, at the end of an inlet on Vancouver Island’s northwest coast.

“It was hard,” recalled John-Hansen, who is 22 and a member of the Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k’tles7et’h’First Nations. “My kids just wanted to go play out, but everyone was told to stay in their own homes for two weeks. That was really hard, my kids do like to play out every day.”

In an effort to continue encouraging youth to develop in ways not possible over the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Mowachaht/ Muchalaht First Nation hosted a youth gathering at their big house in Tsaxana Sept. 12-16, which is located near Gold River. The five day gathering was for the Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k’tles7et’h’, Ehattesaht, Nuchatlaht and Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nations, providing opportunity to share stories, reconnect and learn about issues prevalent among young Nuu-chahnulth-aht.

JohnAmos, a youth coordinator with the Mowahchaht/Muchalaht, has witnessed the transition among his First Nation’s youth as the community emerged from COVID-era restrictions. Like many First Nations, families were often discouraged from physically interacting with others outside of the immediate household.

“They had to re-learn everything, to be social,” saidAmos. “We had to regain their trust. We had to show them consistency. It took us a while just to get back on track with them.”

With several generations present, Amos saw the children, teenagers and young adults gain confidence, evident in how they spoke and interacted in the Mowachaht/Muchalaht House of Unity, where the youth gathering took place.

“On the first day, they were all like clams, clam shut,” observedAmos on the second last day of the event, when it was apparent that the supportive atmosphere of the gathering was taking effect. “By end of yesterday they were blossoming. They would come out of their shell - you could see it, the changes in the youth. They’re more open, they’re more social.”

John-Hansen found it particularly beneficial to hear other’s stories.At times she identified with the struggles of other people, as the multiple generations reflected on their upbringing, a process John-Hansen found both “comforting and sad, because it’s a really traumatizing experience.”

“I grew up with two alcoholic parents, very toxic,” she shared. “Always having parties at our place, I used to have to always watch my brothers.”

“We had to leave in the middle of the night too, just about any time they

drank,” added the young mother, who raises her six, three and one year old with their father in Ehatis. “I said to myself, ‘I don’t want to be how my parents were, and for my kids to grow up in an alcoholic home, a toxic home’. I changed quite a bit of things. I don’t drink, I’ve been sober for a while.”

Many elders came to offer their perspectives to the youth gathering, including Hesquiaht member J.C. Lucas, who lives in Nanaimo. He hoped that that gathering would encourage young people to be more open to others, interacting when the opportunity arose rather than just at a cell phone.

“Lots of these people say, ‘I don’t know my language.’But they’re kind people. That’s what the culture brings, and a lot of other things of course,” said Lucas.

He grew up in his ancestral home at Hesquiaht Harbour, before attending residential school.

“Alot of these people are already quite kind and loving. They understand our roots, a lot of them are getting to know these things more and more as we go,” said Lucas. “Hišuk ma c̕awak, everything is one, and when you start operating on principles like that, it’s a natural result.”

Topics for the gathering were selected by a group of Mowahacht/Muchalaht youth, including suicide, bullying, drugs, alcohol and setting boundaries while parenting.

Going M.I.L.E.S was brought in to lead workshops, a group of professional youth facilitators that includes Dakota House, an actor known for his role in the television series North of 60.

House ran a session focussing on how bullying can be present in social media.

“You can say something to someone, and it will crush them and they won’t even know,” he said during the session. “It could change the direction of their whole life.”

Ahousaht elder CliffAtleo also attended the gathering to offer his insights and knowledge.Atleo held a talk about the hereditary system of governance, which managed Nuu-chah-nulth Ḥahahuułi for thousands of years until Canada’s Indian Act enforced an elected structure in the

last 1800s.

“My dad said, ‘Mankind didn’t create that system. It’s gifted to us by the creator’,” saidAtleo, quoting the late MarkAtleo, whose Nuu-chah-nulth nameAh-ah-pwa-iik means ‘to say the right thing always’.

“The biggest challenge we have as Indigenous people is the stupid democratic system.”

Atleo added that a central problem is that elections put “power in the hands of commoners.”

“It can never be right if we allow the commoners to run the role and responsibility that belongs to the chiefs,” he said.

Photos by Eric Plummer Going M.I.L.E.S was brought in to lead workshops, a group of professional youth facilitators that includes actor Dakota House (above). Deandra Jack (below) undertakes an exercise at the House of Unity on Sept. 15, during an event held for children, teenagers and young adults, with input from older generations.
September 22, 2022—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 15
Page 16— Ha-Shilth-Sa—September 22, 2022 .....vintage uu-a-thluk article.....
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