INTERESTING NEWS Canada’s Oldest First Nations Newspaper - Serving Nuu-chah-nulth-aht since 1974 Canadian Publications Mail Product Vol. 47 - No. 18—September 24, 2020 haas^i>sa Sales Agreement No. 40047776
Photo by Heather Thompson/Huu-ay-aht First Nation
Bamﬁeld ACRD Director Bob Beckett, Port Alberni Mayor Sharie Minions, Huu-ay-aht Chief Councillor Robert Dennis, Premier John Horgan, Head Hereditary Chief Derek Peters, and MLA Scott Fraser take a moment to remember the lives lost on the Bamﬁeld Road Nov. 14. Huu-ay-aht Councillor Edward R. Johnson and Hereditary Chief Jeﬀ Cook perform a prayer.
Province announces paving of Bamﬁeld road Huu-ay-aht reﬂect on eight members lost on rugged passage since 1970s, including Tyee Ha’wilth Art Peters By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-sa Reporter Anacla, BC – After countless motor vehicle accidents and many lives lost, the 90-kilometre logging road that leads to Bamfield will finally be paved. The announcement came Sept. 11 in a teleconference with Scott Fraser, minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, Huu-ay-aht Tyee Ha’wilth +iis^in (Derek Peters) and Huu-ay=-aht Elected Chief Robert Dennis Sr. Fraser stated in his comments that the announcement comes after years of pressure from the people of Huu-ayaht, Bamfield and other interest groups who came together to move the project forward. In September 2019 a coach bus carrying University of Victoria students heading to the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre left the road, careening down a steep embankment. Many were injured and two people died in the accident.
+iis^in himself said that he lost his grandfather, Huu-ay-aht Tyee Ha’wilth Art Peters, in an accident on the Bamfield road many years ago. Fraser said that safety improvements on the gravel logging road is an important issue for B.C. Premier John Horgan and that he has always supported the project. “We are pleased to announce this vital safety project to the people of Anacla and Bamfield,” said Fraser, referring to a road that’s claimed the lives of eight Huu-ayaht members and the two UVic students. “This road is a life line to the people of Huu-ay-aht and to other interest groups,” said Fraser. The road will be re-engineered and chipsealed (paved) over the course of two to three years. The improvements come with a price tag of $30.7 million; $25.7 to come from the provincial government and $5 million from Huu-ay-aht First Nations, plus in-kind donations such as gravel and other construction materials. The improvements, Fraser said, will
Inside this issue... Coalition pushes for COVID locations.......................Page 3 Orange shirt day continues with restrictions..............Page 7 Forest as a pharmacy..................................................Page 9 Tourism stretches Toﬁno’s resources........................Page 10 Shaunee Casavant on Island health board................Page 15
make the road easier, shorter and more safe. Chief Dennis said that Premier Horgan came to Bamfield in November 2019, traveling over the rough road and experiencing it first-hand. “When I heard him say ‘let’s form a working group,’ that’s when I knew he was committed to fixing the problem,” Dennis said. “By working in a respectful way with Huu-ay-aht to make upgrades to Bamfield Road a reality, we see that the province is ready to work on true reconciliation with First Nations and is honouring the importance of the safety of our community,” he continued. “This is about two cultures coming together to work on something,” He noted that in the last few weeks an HFN member, blinded by road dust, slammed into the back of a logging truck. Fortunately, both drivers were okay. Hereditary Chief =+iis^in said this was a big step for everyone involved. The road improvements, he said, will benefit not
only his people but also local business and industry, which, in turn, benefits all British Columbians in the form of a healthy economy. Plans are in the works for a celebration of this announcement and the project but dates cannot be set until the COVID-19 pandemic is no longer a threat. Provincial contribution to this project comes from the COVID-19 Re-start and Recovery program. It is not known when exactly the work will begin, but Minister Fraser said it will be very soon. Huu-ay-aht would like to acknowledge its partners that worked together on the project: the Province of British Columbia, the City of Port Alberni, Alberni Clayoquot Regional District, Western Forest Products, Mosaic Forest Management, Urban Systems, University of Victoria, Bamfield Marine Science Centre and the many residents and business owners who showed their support for the project.
If undeliverable, please return to: Ha-Shilth-Sa P.O. Box 1383, Port Alberni, B.C. V9Y 7M2
Page 2— Ha-Shilth-Sa—September 24, 2020
Coalition of nations push BC to share COVID locations Province says it will not say where infections are detected, out of concern this could discourage self reporting By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Port Alberni, BC - As the number of B.C.’s coronavirus infections continue to rise, First Nations are left with no idea of how close these cases are to their communities, a vulnerability that a coalition of Indigenous governments is taking to B.C.’s Information and Privacy Commissioner. The application was announced Sept. 15 by the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council, Heiltsuk Nation and Tsilhqot’in National Government in an eﬀort to gain information from the B.C. Ministry of Health on where new cases are – without disclosing a person’s identity. The submission lists Port Alberni, Bamﬁeld, Ucluelet, Toﬁno, Tahsis, Gold River and Campbell River as municipalities that could be identiﬁed if a COVID-19 case is detected. The application also asks that the government disclose if an infected person has travelled to the coalition’s First Nations, and that if a member is conﬁrmed with COVID, that this identity be shared with the nations for contact tracing. NTC President Judith Sayers noted that many Nuu-chah-nulth communities on Vancouver Island’s west coast are particularly vulnerable, with no hospital or access to respirators to assist someone struggling with the incurable respiratory disease. Ahousaht, for example, has over 1,000 residents who must take a 45-minute boat ride to Toﬁno for hospitalization. “The biggest fear is the spreading of the virus into the communities, and it taking oﬀ into an outbreak,” said Sayers. As of Sept. 22, there were 1,465 active COVID-19 cases in British Columbia,
with 61 patients hospitalized. But little has been disclosed on the speciﬁc locations of these cases, and how far away they are from towns that many Nuu-chahnulth members frequent. On Sept. 10 six cases were reported active in south Vancouver Island, while the central region had ﬁve and the north island had three, but First Nations have no idea what communities are currently carrying infections. On Sept. 2 the ﬁrst Nuu-chah-nulth on-reserve COVID-19 case was announced in the Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation’s community of Tsaxana – an infection that was declared over on Sept. 11, allowing the person free to return to public spaces. Then on Sept. 14 two positive cases were announced in the Heiltsuk Nation’s community in Bella Bella. The application to the Information and Privacy Commissioner cites Section 25 of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, which states that a health minister must disclose information about risk of harm to a group of people. “If COVID-19 proximate case information does not represent information about a risk of signiﬁcant harm to our communities, we don’t know what does,” stated Marilyn Slett, chief councillor of the Heiltsuk Nation, in a press release issued Sept. 15. “The idea that we need to have an outbreak – as we have just had in our community – before B.C. will share information, is reckless and colonial, and it goes against B.C.’s own laws and promises of reconciliation.” The push to share more information with West Coast First Nations goes back to June 9, when the NTC listed four conditions for its nations to open their territories to visitors, including support
Adrian Dix for culturally sensitive contact tracing, better availability of testing, improved screening and more open communication with the B.C. government. At that time the NTC proposed a conﬁdentiality agreement with the province to share the towns where COVID cases are detected. But the province wouldn’t agree to this, said Sayers. “They just kept to their position,” she said. “I certainly don’t want to interfere with anybody’s personal information, but I think that it can be done in such a way that we can protect that person.” In correspondence with the NTC over the summer, Breanna Chandler, executive director of B.C.’s Oﬃce of Indigenous Health, cited the need to protect an infected person’s conﬁdential information, in accordance with the Public Health Act. “The reason for not disclosing location of individual cases is that there is a risk that person who is ill could be identiﬁed as having COVID-19 if the speciﬁc
location is mentioned, thereby breaching conﬁdentiality requirements,” wrote Chandler. “To me it seems like critical information that should be out there,” responded Sayers. “If there are ﬁve cases in Port Alberni out of 20,000 people, how would we ever know who it was?” During a press conference on Sept. 15, Health Minister Adrian Dix commented that risking the disclosure of a person’s identity could discourage more people from reporting themselves as the province works to control the pandemic. “There are issues to balance here in terms of people’s right to privacy, which is closely connected to their willingness to engage in the process of the health care system. This has been a discussion from the very beginning with the ﬁrst cases,” said Dix. “We have seen examples in communities - it can be a challenge in small communities and big communities - who are being blamed for having COVID-19, and we want people to come forward. We want people to let us know who their contacts are.” But the coalition’s application cites the province’s duty to share the responsibility of managing the spread of the coronavirus by better informing First Nations. This is in accordance with the right to a First Nation’s self determination under B.C.’s Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People’s Act, argues the coalition. “The B.C. government gets to make their decisions based on that information, but we’re not, and we’re supposed to be government to government,” said Sayers. “They’re just treating us as if we’re not able to take care of ourselves, but we can.”
September 24, 2020—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 3
Highway 4 closures begin for Kennedy Hill blasting Each weekday road closures from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. begin at the end of September for the behind-schedule project By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Kennedy Lake, BC – Travelers on Highway 4 between Port Alberni and the west coast can expect scheduled road closures as blasting resumes at the Kennedy Hill construction site. The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure said in their information bulletin, released Sept. 20, that it has revised the blasting strategy to bring consistent and predictable highway-closure times to the people of Toﬁno and Ucluelet. In late 2019 and early 2020 blasting mishaps caused prolonged and unexpected closures of the highway. The most notable incident occurred Jan. 22, 2020 when an excess of rock debris took out a section of the road, closing the only highway to the west coast for several days. Located about 14 kilometres west of the Toﬁno/Ucluelet junction, the construction site begins at the base of Kennedy hill. It was a narrow, winding road that snaked its way along a sheer rock face. Highway 4, a former logging road, is the only east-west connector from Port Alberni to the west coast communities. The $38.1 million project began September 2018 with a scheduled completion date of this month. In March, the Ministry of Transportation announced that the project would be scaled back in keeping with Worksafe BC advice during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since that time, the road remained open with single-lane alternating traﬃc through the construction zone. The new blasting strategy, starting Sept. 30, 2020, will mean that there will be daily road closures from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. as construction resumes. According to the ministry, the road closures are necessary so that crews can safely facilitate smaller blasts and remove the rock debris from the roadway. The closures will happen Monday
Photo by Melissa Renwick
The Kennedy Hill construction project powers on along Highway 4, on Tuesday, Sept, 15, 2020. through Friday, not on weekends. closures are expected to be required until the highway for their patience and under“Smaller and more precise daytime spring 2021. Next spring, after the bulk standing during construction. blasts, with suﬃcient time to clear debris, of the challenging blasting is complete, For the most up-to-date information on will help boost safety for people and will conditions will be re-evaluated to deterroad conditions, drivers are encouraged limit unplanned highway closures like mine if night-time blasting can safely to visit: www.DriveBC.ca those experienced by drivers in the early resume,” the ministry stated. Call 1-855 451-7152 to listen to the spring of 2020,” stated the Ministry of It is expected that blasting in the contravel information hotline message, upTransportation and Infrastructure in a struction zone will be complete in sumdated daily during construction. news release. mer 2021. General project information is available The statement goes on to say that the From now until Sept. 30 scheduled cloat www.gov.bc.ca/highway4kennedyhill new plan has been made following exten- sures will be from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m., noon Visit the project page on Facebook: sive onsite geotechnical investigations, to 1 p.m., and 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. Drivers https://www.facebook.com/eac.bc.ca. which have determined that the safest can continue to expect single-lane alterkennedy.hill/ time to blast is during daylight hours. nating traﬃc with up to 30-minute delays Follow @DriveBC and #BCHwy4 on This will allow for safe and eﬃcient all other times. Twitter. removal of loose rock after each blast. The Ministry of Transportation and “Daytime blasting and scheduled road Infrastructure thanks people who rely on
Paving begins in Ahousaht – but funding may be delayed By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Ahousaht, BC – The road to Happy Hill in Ahousaht just got a lot smoother thanks to a fresh layer of asphalt poured over the old pothole-pocked gravel road. Residents were pleased to see the section of newly paved road that happened in early September. But it may be a long while before more paving is carried out, thanks to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the federal budget. Elected Chief Greg Louie says the nation has been negotiating with the federal government for more than six years to get the road upgrades done in the rapidly expanding village. “A couple of years ago we had an agreement that the paving would take place in three phases, starting with Happy Hill,” said Louie. Ahousaht, located on Flores Island, is accessible only by boat or ﬂoat plane. Vehicles in the village are barged in. Happy Hill is a large residential neighborhood located near the school. The road starts west of the school ﬁeld heading uphill past homes. There is a cul-de-sac at the top of the hill, then the road continues southeast past a few more homes before looping back north to the
main road by the school. Chief Louie said a portion of Happy Hill was completed but there is no clear timeline for the resumption of paving. “Everything changed – instead of three phases of paving they (Indigenous and Northern Aﬀairs Canada) are suggesting it be done in 17 phases,” said Louie. He pointed out that doing the paving in 17 phases would mean that only small segments of road would be paved at a time. The result would be dramatically increased costs in transporting equipment and materials from Toﬁno to Flores Island by barge. The ﬁrst road to be paved in Ahousaht leads up to a residential neighborhood called Lot 363. Louie said that project used 2,000 tons of asphalt. The Happy Hill road requires 800 tons of asphalt. If the paving were to be done in 17 phases, that would mean additional costs associated with ferrying equipment and materials back and forth an additional 14 times. When asked if he thought COVID-19 pandemic costs impacting the federal budget caused the delay of the paving project, Louie agreed that it has had its aﬀect. “But we have been talking to Catherine Lappe, (Regional Director of Indigenous and Northern Aﬀairs) and we want to be optimistic,” he told Ha-Shilth-Sa.
Photo by Curt McLeod
Paving in Ahousaht has begun and speed bumps are installed at Happy Hill. A representative for the Government of this project,” said the representative in an Canada said it recognizes the importance email. “Indigenous Services Canada is of building safe and reliable roads to imcontinuing to work closely with provinprove the quality of life for First Nations, cial partners and First Nations to monitor and that Ottawa is committed to working and address COVID-19 related delays with Ahousaht leadership to advance this. and cost escalations to support communities in completing their projects.” “To date, Indigenous Services Canada Ahousaht leaders are conﬁdent the work (ISC) has provided $1.7 million for will eventually be completed. the paving of roads in Ahousaht and is “People are happy, the kids said it is so actively working with Ahousaht First Nabeautiful,” said Louie. tion to source the remaining funding for
Page 4— Ha-Shilth-Sa—September 24, 2020 Ha-Shilth-Sa newspaper is published by the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council for distribution to the members of the NTC-member First Nations, as well as other interested groups and individuals. Information and original work contained in this newspaper is protected by copyright and may not be reproduced without written permission from: Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council P.O. Box 1383, Port Alberni, B.C. V9Y 7M2. Telephone: (250) 724-5757 Fax: (250) 723-0463 Web page: www.hashilthsa.com facebook: Hashilthsa Ntc
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Photo by Melissa Renwick
Patches of clear-cut are seen across the valley from Edinburgh Mountain, near Port Renfrew, on Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019.
B.C. places immediate deferral of oldgrowth logging within Clayoquot Sound By Melissa Renwick Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Toﬁno, BC - The B.C. government is taking their ﬁrst step to protecting oldgrowth forests by calling for an immediate deferral of logging in nine old-growth regions across the province. These actions were taken following an independent panel report titled, A New Future for Old Forests, which is meant to steer an overhaul of forestry regulations. Developed by government-appointed panel members Garry Merkel and Al Gorley, 14 recommendations were submitted to the province. Clayoquot Sound is one of the nine identiﬁed areas, where 260,578 hectares of old-growth forests are being protected. Terry Dorward, Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks project coordinator, calls it “a step in the right direction.” Promising to engage the full involvement of Indigenous leaders and organizations is one of the initial actions government is taking in formulating an old-growth strategy. By breaking “from the divisive practices
of the past,” the province is aiming to conserve biodiversity, while supporting jobs and communities – especially on the coast and Vancouver Island, read a release from the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. Dorward hopes that this new process will create an opportunity to have “proper nation-to-nation dialogue with the province.” “In the past we’ve had concerns of the extinguishment of Nuu-chah-nulth title,” he said. “The language [the province is] now speaking is in tune with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples where it states that we can deﬁne who we are as a nation. We’re going into these discussions hopeful – hopefully there’s light at the end of the tunnel.” Old growth forests are being deﬁned as trees more than 250 years old on the coast and more than 140 years old in the interior of B.C. Around 60 per cent of B.C.’s land is forested and 23 per cent of those forested lands are old-growth forests. “For many years, there has been a
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patchwork approach to how old-growth forests are managed in our province, and this has caused a loss of biodiversity. We need to do better and ﬁnd a path forward that preserves old-growth forests, while supporting forest workers,” said Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, in the release. “Those who are calling for the status quo to remain are risking crucial biodiversity loss, while those who are calling for immediate moratoriums on logging are ignoring the needs of tens of thousands of workers. Our government believes in supporting workers, while addressing the needs of old-growth forests, and these values will guide our new approach.” Master carver Joe Martin said that only time will tell if the province fulﬁlls their promises. “Actions speak louder than words,” he said. “Indigenous people stewarded the forests for thousands of years and I think that it should be handled in a very similar way to how they managed the forests. They had respect for all the birds and creatures.”
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September 24, 2020—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 5
Photos by Port Alberni Shelter Society
The Port Alberni Shelter Society is planning for a therapeutic recovery community for approximately 10 women, using land by the Shelter Farm south of town.
Pandemic adds to complexities behind overdose crisis The Port Alberni Shelter Society is looking to a longer-term recovery community as the opioid crisis continues By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Port Alberni, BC - Since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic half a year ago, British Columbia’s other public health emergency has escalated, causing health oﬃcials to grasp at approaches to curb the crisis. After a year of declining deaths due to suspected fatal overdoses, B.C.’s fatalities have gone up since March, reaching three consecutive months of more than 170 beginning in May. The recent tally of 175 fatalities in July represented the worst month ever since the provincial opioid crisis was declared in 2016, a total that surpasses deaths from homicide, motor vehicle accidents, suicide and COVID-19 combined. In August another 147 deaths due to suspected drug toxicity were reported by the BC Coroners Service. First Nations have been aﬀected by this trend at a rate ﬁve times greater than the rest of B.C.’s population, and the First Nations Health Authority reported that illicit drug deaths nearly doubled among the province’s Indigenous people from January to May 2020, compared to the same period last year. Oﬃcials have pointed to the closure of the US border and the disruption of the pre-existing supply chain of illicit drugs as a factor in the increasingly toxic oﬀerings on the street. “Social isolation, disconnection from community and in-person supports, ﬁnancial pressures, growing mental health challenges, and a drug supply that is becoming more and more toxic, have all contributed to an increase in substance use and increased risk,” said Judy Darcy, minister of Mental Health and Addictions, in a statement issued in August. The province has emphasized access to a safer supply of prescription drugs as alternatives, while investing an additional $10.5 million to support supervised overdose prevention sites. But against the urging of its own provincial health oﬃcer and chief coroner, the B.C. government has also rejected calls to decriminalize the possession of illicit drugs – a stance that some believe isn’t helping people to come to safe injection sites while using. “One of the big challenges is the shame and stigma around substance use and people unwilling to access those sites for fear of being shamed,” said Chief Coroner Lisa Lapointe during an Aug. 25 press conference. Port Alberni’s overdose prevention site, which often saw over 100 visits a day, experienced saw a decline in traﬃc during the early months of the pandemic. But this doesn’t mean that fewer people in the community were using, said Wes Hewitt, executive director of the Port Alberni
“What may work for one individual, does not necessarily work for the next one. It is such a hard thing for the medical profession to work in” ~ Wes Hewitt, executive director of the Port Alberni Shelter Society
Shelter Society, which runs the site. “Our marginalised community I think has had an inﬂux of money,” he said, referencing the federal wage supplements introduced this year. “There were individuals staying in motels who would not normally have stayed there.” Besides protecting a person from a fatal overdose, the site also serves as a venue to introduce paths to recovery. Fewer visits this spring meant less referrals to treatment, said Hewitt. “Just the fact that people went away from the site for a while is worrisome,” he said. Traﬃc at the Port Alberni site has since returned to its pre-pandemic volume, and eﬀorts have been made to prescribe less harmful drugs to clients, such as hydromorphone. But Hewitt cautions that the shortage of medical professionals who can give such prescriptions remains a challenge. And it’s not easy to ﬁnd the right alternative for users, he noted. “What may work for one individual, does not necessarily work for the next one. It is such a hard thing for the medical profession to work in,” said Hewitt of prescribing less harmful medication. “We’ve got a few doctors that are. We’d love to have more, but do we take them away from the rest of society?” This year’s rise in suspected overdose deaths has pointed to a complex societal phenomenon that has fueled a surge in emergency calls, while many have held
their attention to the daily tallies of COVID-19 infection. The opioid crisis has aﬀected all walks of life, stressed Hewitt. “There are a lot of professionals, whether it’s doctors, lawyers, ambulance attendants, nurses, school teachers, that have substance problems that we as society don’t hear that much about,” he said. Now the shelter society is looking beyond one or two-month treatment programs to support those struggling with substance addiction. Plans for a therapeutic recovery community south of Port Alberni are in development, where residents would live and work on a farm for two and half years to undergo a longer-term transition from addiction than what is normally oﬀered in Canada. The project is based on an amalgamation of models from Europe and the United States – particularly Italy’s San Patrignano, which has housed over 25,000 people since 1978. On 650 acres near the Adriatic Sea, residents remain in the community for three to four years to progress themselves out of addiction. Each new resident is paired with a mentor, who lives and works alongside them for at least a year, engaged in one of the community’s many ventures, which include producing olive oil, wine, cheese or carpentry projects. These social enterprises support as much as 60 per cent of the community’s costs, the rest being covered by private and corporate donations. San Patrignano is sustained without government funding.
“The program is built upon the three main pillars of hard work, brutal feedback, and intensive community life that eﬀectively changes the underlying behaviours that led to the challenges in their lives,” wrote John Douglas, the Port Alberni Shelter Society’s special projects coordinator, in a report on therapeutic recovery communities. “To make a long-term change in a person’s life, you can’t do it in 30 days, you can’t do it in 45 or 60 or 90. It takes a year, two years, sometimes longer,” said Hewitt. A study by the University of Bologna found that 72 per cent of those who completed the program at San Patrignano remained free of their addictions ﬁve years later – a success rate that far exceeds what front-line workers are seeing in British Columbia, said Douglas. “What we want to talk about is the fragmented recovery approach, which is just totally pathetic. It doesn’t work at all,” he said. “We’re doing all these little band aids, but we’re not really providing a way for people to get out of their life of addiction.” To address the most pressing need, Port Alberni’s therapeutic recovery community would open for approximately 10 women, as such a facility does not exist in Canada. Two staﬀ members would be present, who could eventually be replaced by mentors. The operation would use land by the existing Shelter Farm south of town. “Both programs would ﬁt well together,” said Douglas. The shelter society expects that $2.5 million is needed to start the therapeutic recovery community, and is seeking funding from private donors, foundations and the provincial government. “Once you have your social enterprises in place, then the idea is that it becomes self-sustainable,” added Douglas. “We’d also want to develop other social enterprises that don’t involve agriculture.”
Page 6— Ha-Shilth-Sa—September 24, 2020
Nuu-chah-nulth-aht mourn loss of eldest elder Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k’tles7et’h’ member grew up on Aktis Island before se•lement was moved to current village By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Kyuquot, BC - Hilda Hanson, Nuu-chahnulth’s eldest elder and most treasured Kyuquot grandmother passed away peacefully at her home in Houpsitas on Thursday, September 10th. According to daughter Therese, Hilda was ’98 and three quarters. “I don’t think mom wanted to make it to 100, but she would sometimes tell people she was more than 100,” Therese said with a chuckle. Hilda was born Dec. 5, 1921 to Constant Harry (Nuukmiss) of Kyuquot and Frances Martin (Kwaakwatyiik) of Nuchahtlaht. According to Therese, Hilda was born into royalty with seats handed down on both sides of her family, but, she noted that some of these traditions were not honoured. “As a child, she grew up in a family rich with teachings and she exhibited these teachings all her life,” said Therese. “Our mother was h=aahuupc^u – well taught, a proper woman, proud, and respectful. Mom held that regally and decently, never boasting, brought up with dignity.” Hilda attended Christie Indian Residential School on Meares Island from the time she was nine to age 16. Shortly after returning home, Hilda married Mike Hanson and together they raised eight children: Ruth, Victor, Michael Anthony, Peter, Therese, Marilyn, Beverly and Kenneth. Hilda worked hard throughout her life from the ﬁsh canneries at Ceepeecee to the kitchen cooking meals for the children of both the old and new Christie Indian Residential Schools. Taking a job at the residential school allowed her to be close to her younger children who were attending there. When the family returned to their Kyuquot home, their entire village was being relocated from Aktis Island to Houpsitas. Kyuquot would have its ﬁrst formal
Photo by Denise Titian
Hilda Hansen, pictured with her daughter Therese, died on Sept. 10 in Kyuquot at the age of 98. school beginning 1974 when a doublewide trailer was brought in to serve as the community facility. Hilda Hanson became the ﬁrst SD84 trustee from Kyuquot and helped to grow the school to cover all grades so that the children of the community wouldn’t have to leave home for school anymore. “Education was very important to her,” said Therese, noting that some of Hila’s children, grandchildren and great grandchildren have gone on to earn university degrees and college diplomas. “Our mother beamed at these successes and had been supportive along the way,” said Therese. Hilda’s husband Mike was a ﬁsherman and so her sons followed in their father’s footsteps. Tragedy struck in the early 1980’s when Mike and his youngest son Kenneth died in an accident while out ﬁshing. Strong and proud, the grieving mother moved forward in life with the support of her family. Over the years she took in orphaned children and fostered others.
“She ran the receiving home, a place, a home for children,” said Therese, noting that not all children taken in were Quu%as, some were mamalthn’a (Caucasian). “Our mom had a big heart to care for others and still be called mom by her other children.” Hilda was known for the little store that she ran out of her home for more than 60 years. Therese believed that as Hilda got older, the hard labour of packing inventory from the dock up her stairs and to the shelves kept her in shape and busy. Many times, children would meet the weekly freight boat to help pack Hilda’s groceries up to her house and she would thank them with pop, chips and candy. In the summer Hilda would tend her garden, which she dug and prepped herself, growing raspberries so that she could make jam for her family. A ﬂuent speaker of the Nuu-chah-nulth language, Hilda made valuable contributions to several language projects, including the T’aat’aaqsapa Cultural Dictionary published by the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal
Council in 1991. Hilda was well known all over the west coast and loved to go to elder’s conferences. She looked forward to seeing her dear friend Susan Ginger. In the past few years, with her health declining, Hilda stayed in Tsawaayuus (Rainbow Gardens’ Senior’s Home) in Port Alberni. While there, she would sometimes attend language classes, guiding students in the proper pronunciation of Nuu-chah-nulth words and phrases. When more family moved back home to Kyuquot, Hilda was able to return home to be cared for by her loved ones. It was there that she quietly slipped away on Sept. 10. Nuu-chah-nulth leadership were saddened by the news of her passing. “It is with a sad heart that I hear of the passing of late Hilda Hanson,” wrote NTC Vice-President Mariah Charleson. “I remember going to Kyuquot as a child and going to her store often. She was always so kind and gentle. I know the community of Kyuquot and the entire nation of Nuu-chah-nulth will miss her dearly. I send my deepest and sincerest condolences to the family of late Hilda as well as the Nation and community of Kyuquot.” “Hilda Hansen was a strong, cultured Nuu-chah-nulth woman who knew our language, protocols and stories,” said NTC President Kekinusuqs, Judith Sayers. “She would come to tribal council meetings and gatherings and share her knowledge with the delegates. She was kind and knowing and attended many feasts throughout Nuu-chah-nulth territories. It is with sadness that we let her go and know that she takes so much knowledge, history, family relationships and stories. I am sure her family and community and of all Nuu-chah-nulth will remember her legacy and the knowledge she left with us.” Hilda was laid to rest in Kyuquot on Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020.
Tseshaht evict squa•er as RCMP ‘keep the peace’ By Melissa Renwick Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Port Alberni, BC - For days, residents within Tseshaht First Nation phoned in complaints to the Port Alberni RCMP, calling attention to a squatter who had set-up camp within their traditional territory and reserve. In an area called, “the boom,” oﬀ of the Paciﬁc Rim Highway, the trespasser was living out of his truck. A growing pile of garbage – sprinkled with drug paraphernalia – collected on the ground, trailing towards the Somass River, said Trevor Little. Resident’s complaints went unanswered as community members were told that it was simply out of the RCMP’s jurisdiction, said Ken Watts, Tseshaht First Nation councillor. “It just shows systems are broken,” he said, careful not to speciﬁcally point the ﬁnger at the Port Alberni RCMP detachment. “You could even say it’s systemic racism. If this were to happen in another part of town on somebody else’s private property they would act.” Cpl. Jay Donahue of the Port Alberni Indigenous Policing Services said “it wasn’t a case of the police not wanting to
do anything.” “We don’t have that authority to simply call a tow-truck and remove things oﬀ of private property,” he said. “When it comes to trespassing or evictions oﬀ of any reserve, our policy wants the nation to be the front runner. We don’t want anyone to get hurt, but because it’s their land, there’s that expectation of their involvement.” The community’s concern grew when residents witnessed the squatter on the highway at 5 a.m. stopping traﬃc and later, walking down private roads, said Little. It was then that the elementary school teacher knew something needed to be done. Taking matters into his own hands, Little invited community members – both men and women, young and old – to stand together and let the trespasser know that it was time to go. The RCMP supported their eﬀorts by standing back “to keep the peace,” said Watts. Much like any other private property, the RCMP’s ﬁrst level of response was to attend and support the landowner in asking the trespasser to move on, said Donahue.
Trevor Little As Little did just that, a group of around 15 community members were assembled behind him, standing in silence. “It really felt like the grandparents were there,” said Little. “They guide us if we pay attention. There have been lots of ﬁghts on our land in the past – a lot of stands where Tseshaht has gotten together to stand and become strong. It was nice to
have that again because it’s in our history of people.” While Little was glad that they were able to deal with the issue at a community level, “there’s going to come a time when we need more than that,” he said. Watts echoes this sentiment and questions where the lines are drawn, wondering, if matters got worse, would the RCMP step in? “We can enforce all the federal laws – so the criminal code, we can enforce the drug laws and we can even assist in enforcing local band laws,” said Donahue. “It’s not like we’re trying to dump things onto the First Nation. But nations have worked very hard to have the ability to deal with protecting their own and enforcing things and they’ve worked really hard to build up the fact that they have that authority. It’s really just putting it back to the nation so that they understand that they are a very powerful entity.” For Little, it meant more than just relocating a truck oﬀ of Tseshaht territory. “We’ve got to make this a safe tomorrow for the children,” he said. “I’m a school teacher, I coach in the community and I’m not a afraid to do things differently because our children need that stronger tomorrow.”
September 24, 2020—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 7
Orange Shirt Day continues this year with restrictions Residential school survivor leads walk to Harbour Quay, recalling eﬀects of conformist institutional practices By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Port Alberni, BC - Orange Shirt Day will be held again this year to honour residential school survivors, but in Port Alberni the event has adjusted to follow COVID-19 restrictions. On Oct. 30 the usual gatherings will not be held, instead a group of less than a dozen people will begin a walk from the Quu’asa oﬃce on Redford Street across Fourth Avenue, passing the Port Alberni Friendship Center to ﬁnish at the Harbour Quay. “We were trying to be creative as to what we can do - still being in this pandemic - and being able to acknowledge and honour our survivors,” said Vina Robinson, manager of Teechuktl Mental Health, whose staﬀ will be handing out packages containing a cedar branch and devils club to ward oﬀ bad spirits during the walk. Packages will also be delivered to elders at Tsawaayuus Rainbow Gardens and other locations. “We’re not going to be able to do the gathering at Maht Mahs because of the restrictions, so we’re just going to try and cover as much ground as we can this year,” said Richard Watts, a resolution health support worker with Teechuktl, who will be making the deliveries. Since it was introduced in 2013, Orange Shirt Day has become a national event to recognise those who attended Indian residential schools. The movement is inspired by the story of Phyllis Jack Webstab, who had an orange shirt taken
away from her on the ﬁrst day at the St. Joseph Indian Residential School near Williams Lake, B.C. The brand-new shirt had just been given to the six year old by her grandmother. In Port Alberni the Orange Shirt Day walk will be led by Kelly Sport, who attended the Alberni Indian Residential School from 1954-61. He recalls the drab attire students were required to wear at the time: denim pants, a grey top and half boots. “They wanted to make us look like one,” he said of the uniform. Sport ﬁgures that if the coronavirus were present 60 years ago, it would have had a devastating eﬀect on students at the residential school, where bunk beds were within inches of each other. “When we were in that school, we were sardined,” recalled Sport. Sport spent the ﬁrst few years of his life at the coastal Ditidaht village of Clooose, before moving to the Sarita River to be with his father. He recalls the ﬁrst day at the Alberni institution, when he was six and didn’t speak English. He can still hear the sounds of his lone footsteps echoing through the school’s hallway. “The ﬁrst thing that hit me was the loneliness,” said Sport. “There’s an expanse ahead of you, and it’s all foreign.” Sport recalls that the federally mandated residential school policy also had a strange eﬀect on his family members back home. He remembers them ceasing to speak their Nuu-chah-nulth dialect in his presence while he stayed there in the summers.
Photo by Eric Plummer
Residential school survivor Kelly Sport will be leading this year’s Orange Shirt Day walk in Port Alberni. lining up and being forced to conform left “They always did at home, but as soon a lifelong mark on the man, who is now as they saw us coming they would revert an elected councillor with the Ditidaht to English,” he said. Each September a boat would reach First Nation. “When I got out of that school my Sarita Bay to bring the children back to attitude was terrible,” said Sport. “Anyresidential school. “At the end of summer, you knew where thing to do with authority, I just told them you were going, and you’re crying all the where to go.” “I became who I am, partly because of way up that ladder, because you knew what’s in for you for the next 10 months,” that school, and partly because of me rebelling against that school,” he reﬂected. said Sport. “It did help me - if I’m doing something By puberty, Sport left the school to live to stay the course right until the end.” with his aunt on the Tseshaht reserve. At This year’s Orange Shirt Day walk bethis time he was no longer able to speak gins at the Redford Street Quu’asa oﬃce his ancestral language. at 10 a.m., where a handful of staﬀ wear“By the time I got out in Grade 7 it was ing masks will continue down Fourth gone,” said Sport. “I could understand Avenue to ﬁnish at the Harbour Quay it, but to put a sentence together is very with songs and drumming. diﬃcult for me.” He attended public schools, but years of
Page 8— Ha-Shilth-Sa—September 24, 2020
Rare gathering lifts elder’s spirits during trying times Terri Williams has lived on Nootka Island for all her life, carrying stories and language tied to a distant past By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Yuquot, BC - It’s been a very diﬀerent summer in Yuquot. The ancestral home of the Mowachaht normally serves as a popular summertime destination for members of the First Nation, as well as travellers from around the world hungry for adventure on the rugged coast of Nootka Island. But the COVID-19 pandemic has stringently restricted travel to the remote settlement oﬀ the northwest coast of Vancouver Island, limiting visits to only Mowachaht/Muchalaht members. With just one household and lighthouse keepers on the southern edge of the island, access to medical care is only possible by ﬂoat plane or a boat ride through Nootka Sound to Gold River – a situation that makes Yuquot as vulnerable to coronavirus infection as any other First Nations settlement on the coast. But this hasn’t helped Terri Williams, who has lived her whole life on Nootka Island, and for almost 60 years has shared her time in the ancient settlement with husband Ray. To be closer to services and industry, the First Nation relocated its reserve to near Gold River in the 1960s, but Terri and Ray stayed in the place that would always be home. Terri’s connection to Yuquot is documented in the 1994 ﬁlm The Washing of Tears, in which she serves as a prominent voice for the Mowachaht people. Terri appears early in the ﬁlm on Yuquot’s pebble-covered beach with her granddaughter, looking upon the incoming waves. “It makes me think of my ancestors, especially if I’m here by myself and I just come on this side and listen to the breakers and waves,” she reﬂected in the ﬁlm. “You can practically hear them talking, just the way they used to talk when I used to see them.” Terri recalled her father’s time as a whaler, when he would paddle for four days at time to hunt for his community. In the ﬁlm she spoke of the last whale being brought to Yuquot’s shore in 1948 or ’49. “When they got a whale, they would bring it to the beach and all the men would cut it up,” she said. It’s diﬃcult for the 75-year-old to speak these days; the words come out in a whisper. She underwent cancer surgery seven years ago, resulting in part of her lungs being removed. Ray has noticed her strength declining in recent months. “It’s an eﬀort for her to answer to us when we talk to her,” he said. “She can only get around on her wheelchair in the house here.” Concern spread to other family members who live elsewhere, including Margaret Amos. Before the community was moved to Gold River, Amos spent the ﬁrst 13 years of her life in Yuquot, recalling over 300 residents in 22 houses. “Auntie Terri has been going through a lot of health issues and her spirits were really low,” observed Amos. “She didn’t have strength of any kind and family decided we needed to help lift her.” And so, a group of approximately 20 family members came to the remote village on Aug. 14 to oﬀer a rare gathering during these trying times. The loved ones drummed and sang, oﬀering a blessing and lunch for both Ray and Terri. Since that visit Terri’s spirits have lifted. “She’s actually doing a little better,” noted Amos. “She was really sick, she wouldn’t even get out of bed and walk.
Photo by Natasha Amos
Terri Williams sits with husband Ray as loved ones gave a rare visit to Yuquot on Aug. 14 in their mid-40s,” said Ray. “They’re all Canadian artist Emily Carr observed A lot of it I think was depression and not buried here in Yuquot.” settlements for First Nations, Chinese, around people, not knowing that people But the 79-year-old reﬂects that the Japanese and Europeans around an opreally care.” bond between him and Terri grew stroneration that ran 24 hours a day. “It was very touching for us,” said Ray. ger after the age of 40. Ray credits her Terri is the last of 20 children in the “It tells us that somebody cares out there, for fortifying his connection to the words Dick family, who traversed a network of somebody thought of that and wanted to of his ancestors by clarifying dialects. walking trails to relocate to their other do that for my family.” home at Bajo Point, a site west of Yuquot Ray comes from a Mowachaht father and “We all care about each other - no a Huu-ay-aht mother from the Nookemis that carries the Nuu-chah-nulth name matter how bad things get, you still care family. of “E-as,” said Ray. Now some of these when they need you,” added Amos. “For many years I spoke two dialects, “Growing up I remember old people used walking trails that First Nations used for thousands of years are crossed each sum- two diﬀerent languages as I was growing to always do that. They used to always up,” said Ray. “Hearing both languages mer by hundreds of hikers who venture gather when there’s sickness in the famstuck in my brain over the years.” to the island to explore the Nootka Trail. ily. They would always bring food, they “My dear wife, one day she told me, Unlike many other Nuu-chah-nulth peowould sit around and tell stories.” ple from her generation, Terri has spoken ‘Ray, you know what? You’re speaking As time passes on, Terri’s legacy on her ancestral dialect all of her life, thanks two languages and you don’t realise it. Nootka Island is becoming an increasYou’re speaking Mowachaht and Huuto not being exposed to the assimilationingly valuable link to a distant time. She ay-aht at the same time’,” he continued. ism of residential school. grew up in a settlement by Nootka Can“Her late grandmother had hidden her in “I didn’t know that, but now I’ve bronery, a few kilometres east from Yuquot ken it up and separated it, and I speak the bushes when Indian Aﬀairs were colon the island’s coast. A ﬁsh processing lecting children to go to Christie school,” Mowachaht now.” operation was ﬁrst established there Editor’s note: Shortly before press time, said Ray. in 1897, and after the Nootka Packing the Ha-Shilth-Sa was informed by the Over their life the couple had seven Company purchased the site in 1917 the Williams family that Terri passed away children, two of whom still survive. cannery became a bustling hub for ﬁshon Sept. 23. “We lost four boys and one daughter. If ing boats oﬄoading sardines, razor clams they were all alive today they would be and herring. Accounts from the famous
September 24, 2020—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 9
Tla-o-qui-aht elder uses the forest as a pharmacy Traditional Indigenous herbal specialist looks to nature for treatment - and a pack of wolves to escort her home By Melissa Renwick Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Toﬁno, BC - From the moment Gloria Frank opened her eyes for the ﬁrst time, her grandparents elected her as the one they had to teach. Not even her mother was called upon for the responsibility. “They said there was something in my eyes when I was brand new,” she said. And so began her life’s study of traditional plant medicines. Now, it’s normal to catch Frank talking to plants. If she accidentally steps on one of their green stems, you’ll hear her apologize. It’s no laughing matter. “They’re all sacred to me,” said the Tlao-qui-aht First Nation elder. Treating everything from leukemia to eczema, Frank has been guided by her ancestors who paved the way for thousands of years. But the 66-year-old is slowing down. It has been six years since she has harvested or prepared any medicines. After developing degenerative disk disease and osteoarthritis, Frank is no longer able to deliver plant medicines. She fears transferring her illness to whomever she is trying to heal. The joint disease does not run in her family. She attributes it to not properly “shielding” herself before treating one of her relatives with arthritis. “I feel like my body betrayed me,” she said. “I always thought I was going to be active until I was 100 [years old.]” To pass her knowledge down, she has been taking her grandson, Curtis Tom, on “medicine runs” ever since he was a baby. Tom has pleaded with Frank to record her teachings so that they can be preserved, but citing an orally-transferred Nuu-chah-nulth tradition, she feels it would be a violation of her grandparent’s trust. That, and she doesn’t want any pharmaceutical companies getting a hold of them. If the knowledge got into the hands of the wrong people, it would lose its healing powers, she said – “my culture is not for sale.” And yet, Frank understands the value in recording it. “With everything to learn these days, there is a need for recording,” she said. “A big need for recording.” To meet in the middle, Frank has granted Tom permission to make recordings that will remain within their blood-
Photo by Melissa Renwick
Gloria Frank and her grandson, Curtis Tom near their home in Ty-Histanis, amid the forest Frank has gathered from.
“I feel like my body betrayed me” ~ Gloria Frank line. She hopes that the 25-year-old will carry on the traditions that have guided her through life. It’s a job that Tom takes seriously. Currently in his third year of Indigenous studies at Vancouver Island University, he is learning how to go through the proper channels to make the recordings. “You can’t just use an elder’s words and throw it on paper,” he said. He aims for it to be a collaboration with his grandmother, allowing her to decide how she wants the teachings told. “She’s one of the last people in our nation that knows exactly where to harvest each time of year,” he said. “She goes by our traditional rules and laws. Recordings are important more so now than ever because it is a vanishing tradition and
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culture. Even if its fragments of what we had, if it’s ever revived or continues on, at least we have something to go forward from.” Frank remembers her time in the forest with great nostalgia. After bathing in a nearby river, she would wait for the ﬁrst light on a new moon before picking any plants. “Dawn is the best time because it’s a new beginning of a new day,” she said. ”You’re going to be more in tune with nature. And it’s always been believed that new moons are the beginnings of new things.” After saying a prayer and sprinkling an oﬀering of either sage of tobacco in the forest, the harvesting would begin. Only taking what she needed, “never more, never less,” Frank was careful to make sure the forest would be plentiful for the next person who passed through. To strengthen the medicine’s power, she would wait to gift it on a full moon. “[My grandparents] always said if you stay in tune with nature, no harm will come to you – you can be in the forest with bears and cougars and they won’t harm you.” It is a teaching she has embraced and feels no fear when she is in the forest. Years ago, Frank brought eight children
down the beach, north of Schooner Cove. She showed them where to pick berries and which seaweeds could be used to prevent sunburns. They were gone for eight hours and the sun had fallen. As they made their way back home in the dark, a pack of seven wolves emerged and closely trailed behind them. When the children started to panic, she told them not to be afraid. “If they know that you’re fearful, it puts them on the defense and will make them want to attack you,” she said. They marched on and as they crossed over a creek near their homes in Esowista, the pack of wolves turned around and left. “They were escorting us home,” she said. While Frank is no longer able to walk through the forest or along the beaches like she once did, she continues to share her grandparents’ teachings with Tom. As they passed a snowberry bush on the side of the road, she told him that if you squish the berry to make a paste, it can help with arthritis. “I may not be familiar with the language,” said Tom. “But the heart and the idea is still there. I know that our forest can give to us as long as we do take care of it.”
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Page 10— Ha-Shilth-Sa—September 24, 2020
Toﬁno struggles to keep up with tourism demands By-law cuts and a resignation have left the municipality with li•le enforcement resources during busy summer By Melissa Renwick Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Toﬁno, BC - For years, a large piece of winding driftwood has been stationed on Chesterman Beach. It has become an iconic meeting place for residents, who can tell you exactly where it stands. Carved into it are the words “we are all one.” It has withstood countless wicked winter storms, but has been forever marked by a beach ﬁre gone rogue this summer. A black circle is now etched into the wood’s surface and its destruction serves as a daily reminder of the costs of Toﬁno’s tourism economy. As the province of B.C. transitioned into Phase 3 of its restart plan at the beginning of July, Tourism Toﬁno launched a recovery advertising campaign. With the loss of international tourism, which makes up 25 per cent of Toﬁno’s summer visitation, the organization was unsure what travel would look like in the wake of the pandemic. The campaign only lasted 10 days, as it became evident that there would be no shortage of bookings. Although resort bookings dropped just over 20 per cent in the month of July, occupancy levels for August are expected to be similar to 2019, said Nancy Cameron, executive director of Tourism Toﬁno. What many thought was going to be a soft opening, turned into a summer unlike anything they had seen before. A continuous convoy of tourists ﬂooded in from all over the country, leaving ashes from illegal ﬁres, along with empty beer cans, cigarette butts and toilet paper strewn in the surrounding forests. “People don’t have that respect for this part of the world,” said Terry Dorward, Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks project coordinator. “It’s going to take some educating. People who come into Tla-o-qui-aht territories need a constant reminder that they need to be respectful and leave it how it was.” When the District of Toﬁno (DOT) was budgeting back in March – at the beginning of the pandemic – they made the decision to cut back on by-law enforcement oﬃcers. That, coupled with one oﬃcer resigning at the beginning of the summer, meant that by-law enforcement was operating at half its regular eﬀort,
Photo by Melissa Renwick
Cox Bay Beach is busy with surfers despite being blanketed by wildﬁre smoke, on Saturday, Sept, 12, 2020. said Toﬁno Mayor, Josie Osborne. Unable to keep up, public sites like Cox Bay Beach became overrun, with parking spilling out onto the narrow highway leading into town. “It’s a matter of time before there are more accidents,” said Osborne. “I think a lot of people are familiar with the kind of congestion and safety issues that Cathedral Grove has experienced and that’s what we’re seeing this summer along the highway. It’s really important for us to work with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure on that. They have put in a little bit of new signage, but it doesn’t go far enough and I think we all realize that.” The ministry, which is responsible for the highway leading through Toﬁno, said that it is working with the DOT to identify areas of concern and has installed parking signs on the road near Cox Bay Beach entrances. A spokesperson said that they are “aware” of the challenges, but didn’t offer any further comment about solutions. While there are unaddressed safety concerns with the increase of visitors, there are also deep cultural and ecological consequences, said Julian Hockin-Grant, Tribal Parks Allies Coordinator. “I think there’s a very fair argument to be made saying the First Nations, more than anybody, bears the cost of tourism,” he said.
The traﬃc on the beaches makes it difﬁcult for First Nations to participate in cultural activities without a crowd gathering to take photos. “That has a psychological cost,” said Hockin-Grant. “And there are, of course, ecological costs to people walking all over the beach and trampling habitat for sand ﬂies, which feed herring.” With more boats in the water, the herring are scared away, and with more sewage in the water, the eelgrass has become an inhospitable place for herring to mate or lay eggs, he said. “It is overwhelming,” said Saya Masso, Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation tribal administrator. “I think everyone is surprised at the amount of tourism.” In eﬀort to try and mitigate some of its impacts, Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation established the Tribal Park Allies program. The program aims at partnering with local businesses to ask that their clients contribute one per cent of their sales. The funding will go towards the “ecological protection and restoration of the Tribal Parks ancestral gardens and the resurgence of Tla-o-qui-aht culture and governance,” according to the Tribal Park Allies website. “[Tourists] are coming here to see healthy watersheds and rivers and salmon runs and forests,” said Masso. “We think a penny on the dollar from a client is fair and that they would be more than willing
to pay that [to] see continued stewardship and better regional services.” With only 37 business operators signed up as Tribal Park Allies, Hockin-Grant is asking that more businesses, like the newly established Surf Grove Campground, to become an ally. Sitting just oﬀ of Cox Bay Beach, Hockin-Grant said that the campground is “very good illustration of the cost of these externalities of tourism.” “It doesn’t cost Surf Grove anything to put this new load on this public space,” he said. While Shane Richards, managing partner of Surf Grove Campground, acknowledges that the beach is public property, he said “we care for it as our own.” “Guests are reminded that ﬁres are not permitted on Cox Bay at the time of booking, at check-in and anytime they buy ﬁrewood,” said Richards. “We have added signs facing the beach and the campsite reminding people of this. We have an ambassador [and] guest services team member walking the property and interacting with our guests throughout the day to remind them to clean up after themselves. We have on-site staﬀ tour the property and beach at 9 p.m., 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. daily.” Choosing to operate as a tourism destination was a conscious decision the community of Toﬁno made three decades ago, as residents did not want to function as a resource extraction economy, said Osborne. “I think now we’re coming to terms with what that means to be dependent on a eco-tourism economy and it is time to make some big, hard shifts,” she said. “[The Tribal Parks Allies] is a more regenerative model, using the proﬁts of tourism to invest back into communities and into the environment.” As the summer comes to a close, the tourists are trickling back home. While residents can go back to enjoying Toﬁno’s beaches without all of the crowds, scarred logs and discarded trash now lines the coast – left behind for them to clean up. “We need to operate with our eyes open and make change for the better,” said Masso. “We want to implement a system that manages for abundance, not for sustainability.”
Phrase of the week: hu%acac^i+witas%is%a> tana%is +iis+iisaquwi> Pronounced ‘who ah cha chil we does ish alth Tat nah is Clees clees sa qu ilth’, this means, ‘let us look after our own trees’. Supplied by ciisma.
Illustration by Ivy Cargill-Martin
September 24, 2020—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 11
‘A delicate balance’ for school during seismic work Amid pandemic protocol, students returned to transformation of Ucluelet Secondary to withstand earthquakes By Mike Youds Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Ucluelet, BC - When classes resumed in Ucluelet for the ﬁrst time in six months last week students had to adjust not only to rigorous new health and safety rules but to a campus transforming under their feet. Long awaited seismic upgrades and renovations to Ucluelet secondary and adjoining Ucluelet elementary had not begun when COVID-19 forced the abrupt shutdown of school operations across the country in March. Demolition and construction work started in May, subject to strict pandemic work practices, progressing toward a spring 2022 completion. When B.C.’s seismic upgrade program was introduced in 2005, the goal was to have all projects done by 2020. Instead, government spending restraints limited progress in the early years of the program. Only about half of the 347 schools listed have undergone upgrading to meet earthquake tolerance standards, although there has been an acceleration in the last couple of years. Each project is diﬀerent, said Jim Alkins, project manager for the Ucluelet upgrades. Alkins has overseen school seismic upgrades around the province since the 1990s. “There’s a fair bit to this project because there are two schools on site and we’re often trying to deal with operating schools, which makes things a little more challenging,” he said. At a projected cost of $44.8 million, both schools are undergoing extensive structural strengthening while the secondary complex, with its oldest building erected back in 1947, will be partially replaced. While the elementary upgrade is fairly straightforward, the secondary component is more complicated, Alkins said. At Ucluelet secondary, lead contractor Unitech Construction Management is replacing four of the school’s ﬁve blocks, those containing classrooms, a library, music room and administration facilities. A new academic block and gym block will be linked by a breezeway to a new child care facility. Each component has its own unique design requirements, Alkins said. In addition, the site required blasting while the soil had to be compacted to improve seismic resistance then terraformed. “Phasing requires removal of the existing two-storey block to make room for the new gym block,” he explained.
Photo by Melissa Renwick
Ucluelet Secondary School is undergoing a $33.3 million seismic upgrade to prepare for a major West Coast earthquake. Elementary students, meanwhile, have been temporarily relocated to the secondary school’s second storey. “It’s a fairly complex process of being able to move students around,” Alkins said. “There’s lots of co-operation between the two schools to make this work.” An elevator is being added to the elementary school along with various other upgrades in three phases over a one-year period. The work includes doubling the size of foundation footings, adding what’s known as shear walls, using plywood to Fault subduction quake oﬀ the west coast and outlying rural areas. provide greater horizontal stiﬀness, and of the Island. As for day-to-day operation alongside installing a new roof that has more conAlkins sits on a provincial committee construction, “It’s a delicate balance nections to the walls. that includes the Ministry of Educabetween allowing education programs to “You have this continuance of patterns tion, UBC experts and the top structural continue and making room for construcof stiﬀness,” Alkins said. engineers in B.C. who consult with peers tion to take place because, obviously, The extent of construction requires in California. we’re in some of these spaces,” Sedgwick removal and rerouting of utilities in co“There’s quite an international comsaid. ordination with progress on the overall munity that deals with seismic events all They’ve had to adapt with scheduling project. around the world,” he said, adding that changes, temporary suspension of trade B.C.’s education ministry works the intent is to learn from earthquakes in programs and “a few other inconveniencwith the Engineers and Geoscientists other locations. “Obviously, engineers es,” but the overall project bodes well, BC (EGBC) to assess seismic risks to are interested in getting it right without she added. public schools and set standards. Upoverdoing it and spending more than “What an opportunity for our kids and grades are designed to meet the latest necessary.” future families.” B.C. seismic retroﬁt guidelines, last Demolition over the course of the sumReuniting with 200-odd students after revised in 2017. National building code mer included removal of the principal’s a six-month hiatus has been an experichanges ﬁve years ago reﬂect increased ence in itself, although about 20 percent assumptions for ground force motions. In oﬃce, so Carol Sedgwick is starting the year in a temporary setup. returned brieﬂy in June. other words, seismic upgrades are now “It’s deﬁnitely more challenging with “Oh my gosh, I’m going to get emodesigned to withstand twice the intensity the pandemic protocol, but we’re getting tional here,” Sedgwick said. “It was so of shaking previously assumed, the level used to it,” the principal said cheerfully a beautiful to see our kids back in school.” of intensity expected from a Cascadia couple days after reopening. Even if students were uneasy about Sedgwick and her staﬀ met repeatedly attending school, they wore big smiles, last year with school district, architect reunited with peers. Patrick May and the project management “Everybody has a level of comfort and team to develop an overall vision and anxiety going into this because this is all THE PACIFIC RIM design. May’s design bears a West Coast uncharted times … but fortunately, health theme. and safety is the pillar they’ve built ev“It’s been quite an experience and we’ve erything on,” Sedgwick said. been able to share with the students and The new neighbourhood learning and the community to get input from them as child care centre will bring with it a dual well,” she said. purpose as a community emergency shelThe school’s catchment area serves the ter, backed up with a generator funded by immediate community, ﬁve First Nations the District of Ucluelet.
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Toﬁno’s mayor to seek provincial seat in next B.C. election Josie Osborne looks to run for NDP on Oct. 24 when Sco• Fraser ends his 15-year career in Victoria By Sam Laskaris Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Toﬁno, BC – Josie Osborne is ready to make the leap into provincial politics. Osborne, who has served as the mayor of Toﬁno since 2013, announced that she will be seeking the NDP nomination for Mid-Island Paciﬁc Rim for the next British Columbia election. Osborne announced her intention to seek a provincial seat on Tuesday, Sept. 15. That was one day after Scott Fraser, the current MLA for the riding and minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, publicly declared he would not be running in the next B.C. election. “I’m in my third term as mayor,” Osborne told Ha-Shilth-Sa, in a phone interview on Sept. 16. “I knew early on in my third term that I would start to look at something else.” It remains to be seen whether others will also declare their desire to seek the NDP nomination for the riding. Fraser has been a provincial politician the past 15 years. Osborne said she was not surprised with his announcement that he is getting out of B.C. politics. “I’ve been talking with Scott the last few months,” she said. “I knew he had a diﬃcult decision to make.” Osborne has known Fraser since 1998, when she moved to Toﬁno to work as a ﬁsheries biologist for the Nuu-chahnulth Tribal Council. Fraser was Toﬁno’s mayor at the time. Osborne is the ﬁrst individual to announce she will be seeking the NDP nomination for Mid-Island Paciﬁc Rim. “I think it’s a natural step to take this lead,” said Osborne, who has also served as the Chair of the Island Coastal Economic Trust since 2018. Before being named chair for this group, Osborne, who was born in Richmond, B.C., spent the four previous years on its board of directors. Osborne also previously served as the chairperson for the Alberni Clayoquot Regional District from 2014-16. Osborne said Toﬁno residents shouldn’t be overly surprised with her intention to enter provincial politics. That’s because her constituents are aware she’s a huge advocate of the environment, being a former biologist. Plus, she’s also a big supporter of housing, child care and transportation. Premier John Horgan called an election on Sep. 21, over three years since the last B.C. vote in spring 2017. The thinking is Horgan will be looking to capitalize on the fact his approval rating has gone up during the pandemic and thus it might be wise to have an election sooner rather than later. “I have no insight into that,” Osborne said before the election was called. “But I know no matter what there will still be an election in a pandemic.” Osborne said she would continue to fulﬁll her duties as Toﬁno’s mayor until an election was called. Now a council
Josie Osborne meeting is scheduled on Monday, Sept. 28 to consider her request for an unpaid leave of absence. And if she does end up being successful and win a provincial seat, then she would be forced to resign as mayor. Osborne praised the work Fraser has done during his time in provincial politics. She is hoping she can continue on in his footsteps. “We need a strong voice for all the people in this riding, including First Nations,” she said. Should she indeed win the NDP nomination for her riding, Osborne believes she will be able to drum up plenty of Indigenous support. “I am conﬁdent I have great relationships with Nuu-chah-nulth leaders and members of Nuu-chah-nulth communities,” she said. “And I will be looking for their guidance.” Osborne said the province also has plenty of work it needs to do in order to improve the lives of its Indigenous people. “There’s a lot that needs to be done,” she said. This list includes improving basics such as housing, clean water, health care delivered in a culturally appropriate way and education. Osborne added improving relationships and conditions for Indigenous people is not something that can be achieved quickly. “I think reconciliation is a process, not an outcome,” she said. “It’s something we’ll be working on for generations.” As for Fraser, his statement that he would not be seeking re-election included the fact he’s been deliberating about the idea for some time. “Over the past year I have had many discussions with those close to me about my decision not to seek re-election,” he said. “It was a tough call to make because I love my job, but I realize it is time for me to spend more time with my loved ones and allow space for the leaders of tomorrow to step forward.” Osborne is hoping she is just that leader to do so.
Le!er to Editor Open Letter to Honorable Minister Bernadette Jordan, Fisheries, Oceans & the Canadian Coast Guard, Dear Ms. Jordan, Re: Immediate Removal of Discovery Island Salmon Farms to conserve and re-build Fraser River wild stock sockeye Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Letter of Dec. 13, 2019 lays out your mandate as Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard (DFO): speciﬁcally, “to sustain and rebuild the ﬁsheries, and ensure that they remain healthy for future generations” —a necessary goal given the forces coalescing to bring the Fraser River sockeye run to the lowest returns on record in 2020. A signiﬁcant cause of the precipitous drop in wild salmon stock returns is the continued operation of the open net-pen salmon farms located in the unceded territory of the Wei Wai Kum and the We Wai Kai First Nations (Discovery Islands) through which the wild salmon smolts migrate on their out-migration from the Fraser River. In his 2012 ﬁnal report, “Cohen Commission of Inquiry into the Decline of the Sockeye Salmon in the Fraser River” Justice Bruce Cohen recommended that: “On September 30, 2020, the minister of ﬁsheries and oceans should prohibit open net-pen salmon farming in the Discovery Islands (ﬁsh health sub-zone 3-2) unless he or she is satisﬁed that such farms pose at most a minimal risk of serious harm to the health of migrating Fraser River sockeye salmon.” Based on his three-year investigation into the Fraser River sockeye collapse, Justice Cohen foresaw (and predicted) the stock’s continued bleak future if these salmon farms were allowed to continue their operations. Justice Cohen unambiguously stated that removal of the open net pens in Discovery Islands is required if the wild stock is to have a ﬁghting chance against annihilation. Your biography makes clear the importance you place on conserving and restoring Canada’s natural resources, and your mandate underscores the critical work needed to align federal policy priorities with the protection of natural resources. But deeply concerning is the high probability that the perspective and voice (and the skewed sea lice data self-reports) of the salmon farm industry continues to be given greater priority at the expense of the wild salmon stocks and the ﬁshing communities that depend on them. While the open netpen salmon farms can relocate, the Fraser River wild sockeye have no option to relocate and have run out of time. One glaring example of DFO ‘acting in a manner that favors the interests of salmon-farming industry’ over the health of wild stock salmon is found in the policy reversal to remove restriction of sea lice numbers for Atlantic farmed salmon for six weeks—at the precise time when wild sockeye smolts migrate through the Discovery Island open net-pen salmon farms. As with open netpen ﬁsh farms around the world, the BC salmon farm industry is unable to control sea lice infestations, (due to increased resistance to delousing drugs) gravely endangering the wild salmon stock smolts on their out-migration from the Fraser River and through the Discovery Island salmon farms. Prior to removing the restrictions for sea lice on Atlantic salmon farmed in open net-pens, DFO’s policy required that numbers exceeding 3 sea lice trigger a remediation process as reduced sea lice numbers purportedly to protect wild stock salmon smolts on their out-migration. A prime example of the fox guarding the hen house, the salmon farm industry, charged with self-policing, persistently under-report their sea lice numbers to increase proﬁts by reducing sea lice mitigation costs. From this policy reversal, one would think that sea lice infestations have forever vanished, when with each passing year we see ever decreasing wild stock returns as your department continues to be in thrall to the sleight of hand inﬂuence of the salmon farm industry. We know that wild stock sockeye smolts were infected with sea lice this spring at levels that will impact their survival as they migrated through the cluster of salmon farms in Discovery Islands. Your department guarantees the extinction level impact on the wild stock sockeye will continue by granting the salmon farm industry immunity to sea lice restrictions during the wild salmon out-migration. We demand—for the sake of the Fraser River wild salmon stocks—the immediate closure of the Discovery Island open net-pen salmon farms. Sincerely, Dr. Laura Ann Cranmer
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September 24, 2020—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 13
Hupacasath woman serves on Island Health’s board Shaunee Casavant hopes her inﬂuence will change the health care system to be"er serve Indigenous patients By Sam Laskaris Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Kyuquot, BC – Shaunee Casavant is scaling back her commitments in the health industry. But the Hupacasath First Nation member was more than willing to accept an oﬀer to serve a two-year term with the Island Health board of directors. Casavant, who turned 65 this month, considers the position her most prestigious one to date. “It’s acting at the most senior level of health on the island,” she said. Casavant said a colleague, Robina Thomas, a professor at the University of Victoria who served on Island Health’s last board, recommended her for the position. Thomas, a member of Lyackson First Nation, was one of two Indigenous people on Island Health’s last 10-person board. Casavant’s cousin, Ken Watts, a Tseshaht First Nation councillor, was the other Indigenous member of the board. Like Thomas, Watts is no longer part of the new board. Joining Casavant as the second Indigenous representative on the new board, which was selected in late July, is Ron Rice. A member of Cowichan Tribes, Rice is the executive director of the Victoria Native Friendship Centre. Casavant was surprised that she was indeed asked to join the board. “They had talked to me last fall and then I didn’t hear from them again until this summer,” she said. “I was quite surprised.”
Dawn Thomas, Island Health’s executive lead for Indigenous Health, is pleased that both Rice and Casavant agreed to accept positions with the board. “Including Indigenous voices at every level of Island Health, including the board of directors, brings valuable perspectives to our organization’s decisionmaking processes,” Thomas said. “I’m thrilled to know that Ron and Shaunee are joining the board and I know they will bring important and valuable perspectives steeped in Indigenous ways of knowing and being.” Their appointments run until July 31, 2022. Their positions can be renewed after that for another term. Casavant believes her managerial skills and experience in Indigenous health will be an asset to her work on the Island Health board. She obtained a diploma in nursing from Cariboo College in Kamloops in 1983. She then earned her Bachelor of Science in nursing with honours from the University of Victoria ﬁve years later. Casavant’s work experience includes being the administrator and director of care for the Port Alberni-based Tsawaayuss Multi-level Care Facility from 1993-98. Then, from 1999 through 2003 she worked as the executive director of the First Nations Chiefs’ Health Committee in West Vancouver. Casavant also spent three years working as the manager at the renamed Tsawaayuss Rainbow Gardens from late 2008 until December of 2011. She then spent the next eight years as the facility’s
Shaunee Casavant has a two-year term with the Island Health board of directors. project coordinator for accreditation and tioned whether they are intoxicated or construction. have addiction issues. Casavant said she did not know Rice Casavant said she was troubled to hear beforehand but is keen to work alongside of alleged incidents at Saanich Peninsula him. Hospital where staﬀ played a game called “He seems like a competent and impres- The Price Is Right, guessing the bloodsive young man to work with,” she said. alcohol content of Indigenous patients. Casavant is now managing a family “I thought it was pretty disgusting but water taxi business in Kyuquot. And she not surprising,” Casavant said of this does plan to scale back her work commit- report. “I’m aware the health care system ments in the health industry. does not treat Aboriginal people very But she is still eager to continue doing well.” some contract work, including a current Casavant is uncertain when the provinevaluation project with the Nuu-chahcial investigation will be completed. nulth Tribal Council’s nursing depart“The whole board will receive the ment. reports and then we’ll decide what to do,” “I’m interested in taking on short-term she said. contracts,” she said. She added mistreatment of Indigenous As for Island Health, there’s no denying people who access the health care system its board can beneﬁt from some Indigis often not reported. She’s hoping Island enous guidance. One area in particular Health will make changes with this issue. that needs improvement is the way In“I’m hoping to see some signiﬁcant digenous people are treated by the health diﬀerences,” she said. “Island Health is system. The Ministry of Health opened working on a diﬀerent system to receive an investigation this year into racism in complaints. The existing one is not workthe health care system. Investigators are ing for First Nations people. They’re not looking into reports Indigenous people using it.” who seek urgent care are at times ques-
Correction: We’d like to issue a correction from the August 27 issue page 2, story “A ghost is there.” Janice JohnSmith’s age should have read that she is 58 years old.
Port Alberni Friendship Centre Volunteers Needed Need work experience? The Port Alberni Friendship Centre is looking for interested applicants for various positions. Hours per week vary. Call 250-723-8281
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Ray Williams would like to give a special thank you to Harvey Mark Jr. Harvey recently returned to his home in Campbell River after spending two months in Yuquot, during which time he helped the Williams family by cutting wood, cleaning, cooking and performing other tasks. Over his time in Yuquot Harvey showed a willingness to help other people, which was deeply appreciated by the Williams family. The Williams would like to extend another thank you to Hudson Savey Sr. and Jr. for their time helping the family in Yuquot.
Page 14— Ha-Shilth-Sa—September 24, 2020
Upgrades to campsite boosts Nitinaht Lake’s tourism Improvements to Ditidaht’s Caycuse Recreation Site are 80 per cent complete, with 52 additional camping spots By Karly Blats Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Nitinaht Lake, BC - Development at the Caycuse Recreation site at Nitinaht Lake is well underway, with the campground upgrade now 80 per cent complete. The site is a remote campground area on Ditidaht territory and adjacent to Nitinaht Lake—a world renowned destination for windsurfers and kite borders and the third access point to the West Coast Trail. Originally, the campsite oﬀered 65 sites and would operate at full capacity during high seasons, limiting tourists and development of new businesses. With more than $200,000 in funding from the Island Coastal Economic Trust (ICET), the Ditidaht Economic Development Corporation (DEDC) is able to expand the entire recreation site by adding 52 more camping spots, a parking lot, a washroom with shower facilities, sewer treatment, water, electricity, waste facilities, signage and a 5.1 kilometre multi-use trail that links to the Looper Creek Canyon. The campsite expansion took place in the summer of 2019. The restroom, trail and other works remain in progress, though slowed due to COVID-19. According to the 2019/2020 ICET annual report, approximately ﬁve local jobs and 14 construction jobs were created to accommodate the upgrades at the recreation site. “The Caycuse Camp is 80 per cent completed,” said Bryan Cofsky, DEDC CEO, “This fall to spring 2021 we will be upgrading the windsurf park side by providing new washrooms, proper ﬁre rings, tables and bring in a refuse/recycling program.” Cofsky said the campground was closed to the public over the summer due to COVID-19 but construction continued at the site. Being closed during tourist season, Cofsky said the DEDC utilized their income from the 2019-2020 season (an estimated
New structures are being built at Caycuse Recreation Site at Nitinaht Lake to better accommodate visiting campers. $200,000) for work at the recreation site. “Island Coastal Economic Trust and WorkBC (Job Creation Partnership) has allowed us to keep the work going with subsidies and grants. We have also utilized the CEWS (Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy),” Cofsky said. Cofsky said the campground expansion helped the 2019 tourist season see a 60 per cent increase in occupancy and revenue over the previous year but it has also “brought an abundance of visitors to the area this summer when there was no access, so security and signage was needed to prevent entry into the community.” It is ultimately up to the community to decide whether or not the campground opens for the 2021 season, Cofsky said. “Looking at the 2020 season elsewhere, there weren’t any campsite outbreaks, so if necessary we will keep the grounds open for Canadian residents only,” he said. Once open to the public again, total
spending to the area is expected to rise to $62 per day, per visitor. The annual report projects the improved
Mysterious diesel spill on Port Alberni waterfront dissipates without cleanup By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Port Alberni, BC – A ﬁsherman reported to the Port Alberni Port Authority (PAPA) that he saw a large sheen of diesel oil on the water near Port Alberni’s Harbour Quay on Saturday, Sept 12. Mike Carter, director of operations at PAPA, conﬁrmed the call, noting that at this time of the year, when rain is falling, oily sheen on the water is a common thing. Carter, who had been in Nanaimo when the call came in, reported it to Emergency Management BC but said they indicated that they needed to hear from the original caller. “I passed the information on to the ﬁsherman but I don’t know if he called them,” said Carter. PAPA then followed their own internal process to respond to the spill. “We had an international vessel and the FV Sunderoey of the Independent Seafood Canada Corporation (tied up at the deep-sea dock) and we talked to the captain; they said they didn’t see any issues from their vessels,” said Carter. In addition, PAPA staﬀ checked in with marina staﬀ at the various docks and
Photo by Denise Titian
A large sheen of diesel oil was reported on the water near Port Alberni’s Harbour Quay on Saturday, Sept 12. marinas in Port Alberni. products are toxic to plants and animals, it is a relatively light, reﬁned petroleum “They walked the docks to look for the product. source but none was found,” said Carter. According to the United States’ National “Rarely do we ﬁnd the source (for a diesel spill),” added Carter, but diesel dis- Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, small diesel spills will usually evaporate sipates quickly. “The sheen is long gone, and disperse within a day or less. This is it didn’t last long.” particularly true for typical spills from He went on to say that if anyone comes a ﬁshing vessel (500-5,000 gallons), forward with information about the source of a fuel spill, he would gladly fol- even in cold water. Thus, seldom is there any oil on the surface for responders to low up on it. recover, according to the NOAA. While diesel and other petroleum
amenities at Caycuse will expand the visitor market to include families and day-users, anticipated to be upwards of 5,000 people per year. New entrepreneurial activities within the community have already begun, including selling artisanal wares at the beach, providing guided tours and consigning First Nation branded t-shirts at the local store. As Caycuse Recreation Site continues to expand, more opportunities for exploring housing and accommodation will arise, states the annual report. The community would like to bring more of their people home, provide staﬀ housing and redesign the local hotel to provide additional visitor incentives. Ditidaht Chief Councillor Brian Tate said the expansions at Caycuse Recreation Site are an asset to the community. “It creates seasonal jobs for some of our workers from management down to maintenance departments…so it’s great for some of our community members,” Tate said. “Also, it brings in great revenue for our economic development corporation for our nation.” Tate said the campsite can accommodate a variety of campers, from those tenting to those bringing ﬁfth wheels and RVs. “We look forward to increasing tourism to our little community in the future,” Tate said. “We have a lot of eco-tourism opportunities available there. If any individuals or the band itself would like to increase those to whale watching, or sightseeing, or kayaking or paddle boarding, there’s various levels of eco-tourism and recreation abilities there.”
September 24, 2020—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 15
Aquaculture industry seeks certainty in new legislation Latest round of public consultations continues into 2021, as ﬁsh farm industry faces diﬀerent regulations across Canada By Mike Youds Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Public consultation has resumed as the federal government edges closer to enacting Canada’s ﬁrst speciﬁc aquaculture legislation. Bounded by three oceans, Canada remains the only country in the world with an aquaculture sector yet no comprehensive legal framework governing the industry. “The national association has been asking for an aquaculture act for probably 25 years, so it’s been a long time coming,” said Tim Kennedy, president and chief executive of the Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance. “We’ve been a lost child in Canada for some time.” Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan announced a fresh round of public consultations in August, the latest step towards drafting an aquaculture bill by 2022. Since aquaculture emerged as a new industry in the 1980s, the sector has been regulated through provisions in the Fisheries Act. There are three diﬀerent regulatory approaches across the country. In B.C., DFO bears responsibility for environmental regulation and licensing while the province governs land management and issues leases for shellﬁsh and other aquatic organisms. Aquaculture, however, has more in common with agriculture than ﬁsheries and is classiﬁed as such by the Canada Revenue Agency, Kennedy pointed out. The Fisheries Act doesn’t provide a regulatory framework for a growth-oriented sector, he stressed. “The most important thing is a statement in the act in terms of purpose, of federal government recognition of a future-oriented sector and that the federal government supports development of the sector,” Kennedy said. In theory, speciﬁc legislation that mirrors revisions made to the Fisheries Act in 2019 could beneﬁt First Nations as well as industry, said Eric Angel, Uu-athluk ﬁsheries program manager. NTC provided input into the revised Fisheries Act and is generally pleased with the results, he noted. “Presumably, the same could happen around aquaculture,” Angel said, although Fisheries Act revisions haven’t been in place long enough to judge effectiveness. Similarly, it could be several years before aquaculture legislation is tested, he cautioned. Industrial-scale ﬁsh farming has become an increasingly complex and divisive issue from the standpoint of First Nations on Canada’s West Coast. Some Nuu-chah-nulth nations oﬃcially support ﬁsh farming in traditional territories as a means of generating jobs and economic development, while others are ﬁrmly opposed, concerned that open net pens threaten wild salmon stocks. “We won’t take a collective position because everybody is diﬀerent,” said Judith Sayers, NTC president. “We have some First Nations that support ﬁsh farming and others that are totally opposed.” Then there is the Trudeau government’s promise to have ﬁsh farms transition to closed containment systems after 2025. Critics of the industry say that cannot come soon enough for wild salmon, yet the industry struggles with an uncertain future. While there is skepticism that new legislation would bring meaningful change, there is also a sense among First Nations that they should remain hopeful and con-
Photo by Eric Plummer
Fish farm net pens in Nootka Sound. The federal government has begun a ﬁnal round of consultations in development of Canada’s ﬁrst aquaculture act. the other aspects such as jobs,” he said. “Oysters seem to ﬁt.” He stressed as well that HGB focuses on economic development rather than engagement with DFO, a government-togovernment function. The engagement process may be familiar to anyone involved in aquaculture in recent years. A decade ago, DFO held consultations to draft Paciﬁc aquaculture regulations, part of a transfer of authority from provincial to federal jurisdiction. That change brought with it a legal obligation on the part of Ottawa to engage, consult and accommodate Indigenous peoples. In spring 2010, DFO formed an aquaculture working group with the First tinue to engage with the federal governNations Fisheries Council. A meeting was ment, Angel said. Judith Sayers held in November of that year with NuuEngagement — speciﬁcally Indigenous engagement and rights along with envition plan with ﬁsh farm operators and the chah-nulth nations. The change in authority took place ﬁve weeks later, leading ronmental and ecosystem management — provincial government. Seven ﬁsh farms some to question the short timeline and was a stated priority in consultations with will be closed over the next three years. adequacy of consultations, especially stakeholders over the last two years. About 75 per cent of all farmed salmon since First Nations did not see their input According to a discussion paper on the in B.C. is produced through impact/benproposed legislation, the goal is to create eﬁt agreements with First Nations. Within reﬂected in the results. They had major an act that respects federal, provincial two years, that will be required of all ﬁsh concerns about DFO’s intent to model and territorial jurisdictions and set longfarms operating within traditional territo- B.C. aquaculture management on an integrated ﬁsheries management model. term conditions for the development of ries, Kennedy added. Kennedy said the industry hopes the “a thriving, environmentally sustainable “I think there are some really exciting new legislation can be achieved despite a and competitive aquaculture sector that opportunities there as well,” he said. beneﬁts economic development of coastal Patrick Schmidt, CEO of the Huu-ay-aht possible spring election next year. “We’ve really encouraged DFO to move communities and Indigenous peoples.” Group of Businesses (HGB), noted that quickly,” he said, adding that the Liberals “An aquaculture act will provide a nathey have until Jan. 15, 2021 to provide tionally consistent and adaptable legislainput on the aquaculture legislation. They and opposition Conservatives have both committed to seeing the bill passed into tive framework, while also taking into are currently exploring the possibility of law. account regional diﬀerences,” said MP a new oyster farming venture and expect The public is invited to visit dfo-mpo. Terry Beech, parliamentary secretary to that will be a litmus test for the new act. gc.ca/aquaculture/act-loi/consultationsthe ﬁsheries minister. “An important step “For us, it’s ﬁrst and foremost what eng.html to participate in this round. in developing this legislation is engaging we think can generate returns and then with our Indigenous partners, stakeholders and Canadians to hear their views.” Kennedy said the legislation should help foster more engagement with Indigenous stakeholders and would probably incorporate language around traditional knowledge. “The industry across Canada is very supportive of enabling and providing additional opportunities for engagement with Aboriginal peoples,” Kennedy said, citing developments in the Broughton Archipelago. There, Namgis, Mamalilikulla and Kwikwastu’inuxw Haxwa’mi First Nations signed a monitoring and inspec-
“We have some First Nations that support ﬁsh farming and others that are totally opposed.”
~ Judith Sayers, NTC President
Page 16— Ha-Shilth-Sa—September 24, 2020
DISCUSSION TOPICS First Aid l Healthy Sexuality l Physical & Emotional Health l MMIWGM l Managing a Household l Job Skills l Substance Use Prevention
Youth Life Skills
Group Ages 15-25
09. 29 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm Sessions will run alternating Tuesday nights. Via Zoom, link to be given at time of registration.
‘N tiic’ aniiq h
To register call Nicole Rollans 250-724-0202 Line 4
Usma Family & Child Services
Child & Youth Services Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council