The new facility replaces the old septic system that drained raw eﬄuent into the ocean, pu"ing seafood at risk
“The new plant will provide adequate wastewater collection, secondary (bio-
“Ahousaht Nation acknowledges the collaborative eﬀort that has been undertaken to accomplish the completion of the new wastewater treatment plant,” said Ahousaht Chief Councillor naasʔałuk (John Rampanen). “As an oceanic people, our marine ecosystem and aquatic food systems are integral and interconnected to our way of life. The improvements oﬀered through this updated wastewater treatment facility will not only sustain our eﬀorts to enhance and protect our environment, it will also greatly improve our quality of life. Thank you to former council, the Government of Canada and all of the workers that have made this possible.”
Canada’s Oldest First Nations Newspaper - Serving Nuu-chah-nulth-aht since 1974 Vol. 49 - No. 17—September 8, 2022 haas^i>sa Canadian Publications Mail Product Sales Agreement No. 40047776 INTERESTING NEWS If undeliverable, please return to: Ha-Shilth-Sa P.O. Box 1383, PortAlberni, B.C. V9Y 7M2Inside this issue... Bennet leads NIC college campus..................................Page 2 Relaxed COVID standards this school year...................Page 3 The need for safe supply of drugs..................................Page 6 Tseshaht brings new rendition to old site......................Pages 8 Drought level increased to Level 3...............................Page 11
The system will be under the management of Ahousaht’s Operations and Maintenance team.Thefacility is designed to last to the year 2036 whenAhousaht’s village population is estimated to be 1,300.
Ahousaht marks completion of $29M sewage project
At a ribbon cutting celebration held Aug. 24Ahousaht leadership thanked Indigenous Services Canada for the project funding, the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council for project management support, WSP Canada for contributions to the design of the facility and Tritech for the construction.Inaddition, they thankedAhousaht people who worked on the construction of the project, as well as both past and present elected chiefs, Greg Louie and naasʔałuk (John Rampanen), their councils for their leadership and support.
Submitted photo At a ribbon cutting celebration heldAug. 24Ahousaht leadership thanked Indigenous Services Canada for the project funding, the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council for project management support, WSPCanada for contributions to the design of the facility and Tritech for the construction. logical) treatment with disinfection and marine disposal while meeting both the federal Wastewater Systems Eﬄuent Regulations and the BC Municipal Wastewater Regulation,” said ISC in a media statement. “This larger infrastructure will have the capacity to support future population growth in the community and support seafood safety by protecting local marine ecosystems.”
The computerized system is equipped with alarms and will warn the two employees, Marceline Jack and Tommy Paul Jr., when there is a problem.
Former elected chief Greg Louie told Ha-Shilth-Sa the state-of-the art facility replacesAhousaht’s antiquated septic tank, which was installed about 40 years ago. Since then, the village of a few hundred residents saw astronomical growth with several new subdivisions, putting increased strain on the community’s septic system. There are now more than 1,000 Ahousaht residents with more housing under construction. “It never had ﬁltration,” said Louie of the old septic system. He went to say that the eﬄuent, almost raw liquid sewage, drained into the ocean through a pipe just oﬀAhousaht’s front beach, and out to the ocean, putting seafood at risk of contamination. “There were safety concerns – our beach was highly contaminated,” said Louie, adding that they received a notiﬁcation from a public health oﬃcer forcing them to close the beach until three consecutive “good readings” were recorded from water samples taken at the site. Ahousaht applied to Indigenous Services Canada for help funding a new system and was awarded $29 million.After researching various options, the nation settled on something that would ﬁlter and treat sewage from the village to the point that nearly clear water is dumped back into the ocean. Louie says that sewage is pumped through theAWTP where it goes through various stages of separation and ﬁltration. There are three sets of turbines that tumble and separate solid materials from the liquid. ButAhousaht is only using two of the turbines. The third will be used as the community continues to expand. In its ﬁnal stage of ﬁltration, solid waste is collected and stored until it can be barged out of the village while clear, treated water is drained into the ocean. “It is safe for the ocean at that stage,” saidTheLouie.largefacility is located on the north end of the village and employs two Ahousaht people full time. Louie said it came in under budget, with a savings of $25,000 even with the disruption caused by the global pandemic. Starting in 2019, the project took three years to complete.
By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Ahousaht, BC – The largest Nuu-chahnulth community on Vancouver Island’s west coast is celebrating the completion of its newAhousaht Wastewater Treatment Plant (AWTP), making the community’s most prominent beach safe for children to use.
“Indigenization requires recognition that Indigenous worldviews have been signiﬁcantly aﬀected or overlooked and therefore require restorative processes.”
PortAlberni, BC - This September, a group of Nuu-chah-nulth students began the Level 1 Carpentry course at North Island College’s PortAlberni campus, with possible opportunity awaiting to build an apartment complex forAhousaht residents in the small city. Meeting a dire need for urbanAhousaht members, the 35-unit, four-storey development from the Citaapi Mahtii Housing Society presents exactly the type of opportunity Marisa Bennett hopes to foster at the college’s PortAlberni location, where she recently saw her role expand from Indigenous and Regional Partnerships to encompass campus administrator as well. TheAhousaht member is the ﬁrst Nuu-chah-nulth person to take on the campus administrator role since the college opened in PortAlberni in 1976. Bennett reﬂects on 10 partnerships NIC has brought into First Nation communities since she joined the college a year ago, including a chance for trades sampler students to build smokehouses on the nearby Tseshaht First Nation reserve as part of their course work in 2021. “My goal is for community engagement,” said Bennett, emphasizing the importance of NIC responding to needs that arise from speciﬁc communities, rather than following labour market trends. “We always have to be fast and ﬂexible in what we can deliver, because needs come up, and we should be responsive to those needs.”Asthe new campus administrator, Bennett hopes to be a familiar face who can help students navigate through post secondary, while supporting them to succeed. She knows the challenges well, as her ﬁrst attempt studying in post secondary was abandoned, and she had to pay a semester’s tuition back to Malaspina College.“Iwasn’t wanting to be there, so I completely ﬂunked out,” admitted Bennett of the period after high school. After working for Parks Canada, she ended up taking courses at NIC while living in Ucluelet, making the 200-kilometre round trip twice a week to the Port Alberni campus. “I had my daughter, I was a single mom, and I knew that if I wanted a better life for her that I would need to go back to school,” she recalled. “It was the instructors there - because it was so small and it was just more personal, that they absolutely made me believe that I could do it.”University transfer courses followed at the College of the Rockies in Cranbrook, then Bennett continued pursuing her post secondary at Vancouver Island University, which was formerly know as Malaspina.Shedoesn’t regret what now appears to be a false start in post secondary. “It’s okay to have failure, it’s just learning,” said Bennett, looking to lessons from her home First Nation. “Ahousaht elders would say, ‘We make mistakes, and it’s okay to make mistakes, as long as we sit back and reﬂect and think about it.’”Inrecent decades North Island College, with its four campuses and one centre, has worked to better incorporate lessens from the 35 First Nations that call its service area home.Aplan published by the institution calls this process “Indigenization”, a “naturalizing” ofAboriginal
Photo submitted by North Island College
Page 2— Ha-Shilth-Sa—September 8, 2022
Benne leads NIC Port Alberni college campus
By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor
Ahousaht member becomes ﬁrst Nuu-chah-nulth person to take lead role at the North Island College location
On Sept. 1 Marisa Bennett began her new role as campus administrator for North Island College’s PortAlberni location, adding to her previous title as Manager of Indigenous & Regional Partnerships. knowledge systems into the classroom and campus environment. “This includes infusing Indigenous ways of knowing and being into course work and programs so that they may be seamlessly recognized, acknowledged, and respectfully treated as equal to all other perspectives reﬂected in campus curriculum,” stated the NIC document.
“I made the decision to come here, and it’s been a beautiful experience,” she added, noting that watching students grow during their studies is the most rewarding part of her job. “That transformation of that student is what carries me.”
Now 18.3 per cent of the NIC student population identify as Indigenous, and at the PortAlberni campus this proportion has grown to 28.2 per cent. Meanwhile 20 per cent of theAlberni-Clayoquot region, which includes PortAlberni and coastal communities to the west, identify as Indigenous, according to 2019 ﬁgures from Island Nuu-chah-nulthHealth.language classes are among those being oﬀered at the Port Alberni campus this fall, along with the Human Services Indigenous Focus Certiﬁcate, health care assistant, early childhood education, culinary studies, furniture design and joinery, as well as Level 1 Beforecarpentry.joiningNIC last year, Bennet worked for nine years at the Nuu-chahnulth Tribal Council, ending as manager of the Nuu-chah-nulth Employment and Training Program. She admits that it was a tough decision to leave the NTC. “My goals in life are always to work for our people,” she said. “Would I still be working for our people in a separate institution? Would I still be able to incorporate our Nuu-chah-nulth value systems into the work I do?”
September 8, 2022—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 3
Public health expects the virus to continue spreading, but say it can now be managed like many other illnesses
School year begins with relaxed COVID measures
According to the Public Health Communicable Disease Guidance for K-12 Schools released by the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC), COVID-19 is expected to continue circulating throughout communities across the province, and this will lead to students and staﬀ in K-12 environments being aﬀected.However, the document also states that transmission within K-12 school settings remains at a minority as far as cases are concerned. It also highlights that due to the high rate of vaccination within the province and treatments available for individuals that are considered high risk, the BCCDC believes that COVID-19 can now be monitored and managed like many other respiratory conditions.
By Konnar Oliver Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor It has now been nearly two and a half years since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and while life for many has been returning to a sense of normalcy, the novel coronavirus is very much still around.And with the 20222023 school year starting on September 6, it’s time for many parents to look at the provincial government’s COVID-19 plan for a return to schools. In lateAugust the Ministry of Health, the provincial health oﬃcer, and the Ministry of Education and Child Care released a joint statement reminding families how to stay healthy by reducing the spread as students get ready to return to“Measuresschool. for protecting students and families include staying up to date with all your vaccines, practising health awareness, and staying home when sick, including if you have a fever, cough, rash, diarrhea or vomiting,” they say in theNotably,statement.mask wearing will remain optional, continuing the decision made following spring break last school year. “Wearing a mask will continue to be a personal choice, and that choice will be supported and respected. Schools will continue to have masks available for those who want to wear one,” read the jointThestatement.government statement also highlights new guidance for childcare providers, detailing that “[a]s independent organizations, childcare providers are responsible for implementing their own health and safety policies to suit the needs of staﬀ, children and families.” Masks will once again be a matter of personal choice for staﬀ and children.
Cleaning protocols are advised to remain the same as they were following the return from spring break last year, with an emphasis put on cleaning high-touch areas frequently and routinely, as well as whenever they appear to be visibly dirty. School gatherings and extracurricular activities are allowed to be held as long as they fall within any other applicable provincial regulations.
The BCCDC also reiterates that individual First Nations have full authority over their schools, and the ability to “make decisions about the operation of First Nations schools in the best interests of their students, schools, and communities. This includes their authority to decide if and how to use this guidance to inform planning and if and how to reopen their schools.”Alsoreturning are reminders to follow proper hand washing techniques and to use hand sanitizer regularly. For those that are ill, the instructions are simple: “[s]taﬀ, children, or other persons in the school setting who test positive for COVID-19 should follow the guidance on the BCCDC website as to how long they should self-isolate. They can return to school when they no longer need to self-isolate as long as symptoms have improved and they are well enough to participate in regular activities.”
Photo by Denise Titian Grade 7 students attend a graduation dinner at Haahuupayak Elementary School in June in PortAlberni. Schools reopen this week, with minimal COVID measures compared to what youngster have face over the last two and a half years.
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Jolicoeur noted that there are many organizations oﬀering support to those in addictions or who are homeless, but the pandemic has had an eﬀect on some of these“Ourservices.citizens may not feel comfortable going to a crowded place for a meal or to access services,” said Jolicoeur. Many feel judged or discriminated against.
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Page 4— Ha-Shilth-Sa—September 8, 2022
Uchucklesaht receives $71,000 grant
By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter
The full-time harm reduction worker will provide support to those citizens who have diﬃculty accessing other services. Even with all the organizations that oﬀer support services, housing and food in PortAlberni, they just can’t keep up with the demand, according to Jolicoeur. He said there are complex needs beyond the basics of food and housing, like medical needs and mental health issues.
Aﬁnal component of the grant is a community-wide training program for harm reduction workers. Jolicoeur believes that by bringing together all of the outreach workers in one place, they can get a baseline of the work that needs to be done. In addition, it will get everyone on the same page of service delivery.
COVERAGE: Although we would like to be able to cover all stories and events, we will only do so subject to: - Suﬃcient advance notice addressed speciﬁcally to Ha-Shilth-Sa. - Reporter availability at the time of the event. - Editorial space available in the paper. - Editorial deadlines being adhered to by contributors.
“It’s really hard for people to ask for help because they feel ostracized,” said Jolicoeur.Butcoordinating services could ease the pressure.“Say,for example, a Uchucklesaht citizen goes to Bread of Life in need of food, the people at Bread of Life ask if they’re Uchucklesaht,” he explained. “They can then direct them to Uchucklesaht Tribe for support.”
“There will be cultural awareness training so that people know how to work with our citizens in a good way, said Jolicoeur.Thisgrant is one of 44 distributed by the B.C. NDP government, totaling $15 million invested in projects.
PortAlberni, BC – The provincial government has awarded Uchucklesaht Tribe $71,000 from its Building Community Bridges project. The grant will assist the treaty nation in its delivery of support and services to its unhoused citizens. Uchucklesaht Tribe Health and Human Services Manager Evan Jolicoeur is excited about the grant. He said the grant will be used to provide more addictions harm reduction services to Uchucklesaht citizens in need, and also to improve access to in-person support for people at risk in the larger community of PortAlberni. In addition, a portion of the funds will be used towards training service providers about culturally appropriate and respectful service delivery to those that need it. Harm reduction is an approach to working with drug users that focuses on reducing the destructive eﬀects of illicit use, while respecting the human rights of those involved.
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“We are best positioned to help our people when public services are stressed,” he said.According to MLAJosie Osborne, the provincial investment will allow Uchucklesaht Tribe to provide support services to unhoused people. “I am so pleased that a local community is receiving this grant to support services that help keep people safe and healthy,” said Osborne, MLAfor Mid Island-PacificAccordingRim. to a ministry statement, the grant will be used to support existing programs that respond to the impacts of homelessness.“Thisproject will improve the capacity for existing support programs, better coordinate the support eﬀorts of multiple agencies and organizations and provide cultural safety, harm reduction and trauma-informed practice training for those working to support unsheltered citizens,” stated the Ministry of Housing. On that note, Jolicoeur said a portion of the grant will be used to hire a consultant to coordinate services available in Port Alberni. In addition, the consultant will develop a protocol or set of policies for service providers to follow. “Our people have experienced racism, discrimination and disrespect when accessing services – it is important that service providers know how to treat our people right,” said Jolicoeur. Another important aspect of coordinating services is to be able to direct people to the best place to access them.
“This funding stream supports local governments and modern treaty nations in building additional capacity to address the needs of unsheltered people in their communities, while also keeping people safe and healthy,” reads the government statement.
Uchucklesaht Tribe had a part-time harm reduction worker who worked two days a week. With this funding, they will soon hire a full-time harm reduction worker on a one-year term contract. “It may be hard because everyone in town is looking to hire harm reduction workers – the need is so great,” said Jolicoeur.Theharm reduction worker will do outreach work, providing support and supplies to those in need. They will also work for the unsheltered and those who are hard to house.
The Uchucklesaht Tribe runs its human services programs out of their Nucii building, at 4th Avenue and Redford Street. From there, Uchucklesaht citizens, who are governed by Uchucklesaht tribe under their treaty, may access services related to harm reduction, health, mental health, education, training, child and family wellness, food security, culture as well as social Becausedevelopment.Uchucklesaht Tribe is selfgoverning under treaty, they have had more success in their applications to the provincial and federal governments for grants such as this one, said Jolicoeur. “Canada and B.C. are treaty partners and B.C. has really stepped up to support our government when it comes to the health and well-being of Uchucklesaht citizens,” said Jolicoeur. There are 110 Uchucklesaht enrolled citizens on Vancouver Island, most of them in PortAlberni. Of that, 16 citizens are unhoused, according to Jolicoeur.
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Funds set to provide addictions support for unhoused members of the First Nation
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In fact, both shores of the river at the location were closed to the public as the RCMP divers conducted their investigation.“We are too early to determine if these bones are human or animal,” stated Constable Richard Johns in a release issued the morning ofAug. 25, “or if they have any relation to any historic or current investigations.”Butbytheearly afternoon police investigators, who were working closely with a forensic pathologist, determined that the bones were of animal origin. Before human remains were ruled out, the announcement heightened tensions among someAlberni Valley residents. Amber Manthorne, 40, has been missing from her Great Central Lake home in Port Alberni since July 8, 2022. Kristie St. Claire has been leading search eﬀorts for her missing friend since early“WeJuly.areaware and waiting to hear from the police,” she wrote in a message to Ha-Shilth-Sa. “Tseshaht has the area in their care, and it makes me feel better in my heart to know how much they care, and no matter who it is, if it’s a person, their spirit will be carried in the hearts of Tseshaht and all of us to the other side.” “The PortAlberni RCMP would like to thank the public for their understanding and cooperation during this investigation,” said RCMP spokesperson, Cst. Richard Johns in his last announcement on the matter.
“The RCMP are closely working with the Tseshaht First Nation and the City of PortAlberni to ensure that the interests of all parties are taken into account,” continued the RCMP release.
PortAlberni, BC – Papermill Dam, a popular PortAlberni swimming hole, was closed to the public on a hotAug. 25 as RCMP investigated the discovery of bones in the Somass River. The discovery, which turned out to be animal bones, was made by a civilian diver, according to an RCMP statement. “OnAugust 25, 2022 divers from the RCMP underwater recovery team were tasked by the PortAlberni Detachment to enter the Somass River near Paper Mill Dam to investigate and recover bones that were located by a civilian diver,” stated the RCMP. “The PortAlberni RCMP, Tseshaht First Nation and the City of Port Alberni are asking that the public stay clear of the area around Paper Mill Dam on the Somass River.”
September 8, 2022—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 5 250.724.7629 CYPRESS RESTAURANT & LOUNGE Road paving in Ahousaht soon to be completed
By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Ahousaht, BC – Residents ofAhousaht are seeing heavy equipment busy on their main streets as work crews ﬁnish paving the remaining 75 per cent of gravel roads over the last week ofAugust. “It was a health and safety thing,” said former elected chief Greg Louie. People in the community suﬀer from asthma and other respiratory conditions that are aggravated by road dust in the summer, or poor drainage and the mold it causes in the wet season. Ahousaht’s previous council applied to ISC (Indigenous Services Canada) for funding to improve the roads about four years ago, according to Louie. “They wanted to do in 17 phases,” he chuckled.Thatplan did not make sense to Ahousaht leadership. They pointed to the cost of barging heavy equipment and material to the remote Flores Island village for 17 return trips. “We went there and told them that was ridiculous and expensive. It would cost far less to do it all at once,” said Louie. With a population of more than 1,000, Ahousaht’s only paved road was in the newest Lot 363 subdivision at the south end of the Flores Island village. In September 2020 paving began in an older subdivision called Happy Hill, on the west side of the village near the school track. That, according to Louie, accounted for about 25 per cent of the village paving. The pandemic created delays in the project, but in lateAugust 2022, crews came back to the village and have been working furiously to pave the remaining 75 per cent of the village roads in just a fewUnfortunately,days. the last load of asphalt could not be sent toAhousaht. “Due to weather the last barge load of asphalt was unable to make it to Ahousaht. We are hopeful that paving will be complete by mid-to-late September,” said Chief Councilor naasʔałuk (John Rampanen) in an email. Residents have been complaining about the road dust kicked up by passing cars that not only aﬀect those with respiratory illness, but also reduce visibility, putting pedestrians at risk. In addition, the old dirt roads were not adequately drained, causing damage not only to the roads themselves, but also family homes and buildings that got moldy from standing water.Over the four years since news of paving was announce, crews have come in to install culverts and prep the existing roads for Accordingasphalt.toLouie, the cost of the project is about $8 million. People in the village are pleased to see the improvements. Those with mobility challenges will be able to move more freely and easily throughout the village.
Submitted photo Roads are paved in lateAugust, a multi-year project thatAhousaht leadership hopes will be completed by late September.
Photo by Denise Titian Police divers search the Somass River onAug. 25, after bones were discovered at the location by a civilian.
RCMP investigate bones found in Somass River Police conclude remains are from an animal, closing oﬀ the swimming hole for part of a day as many in the city stay vigilant due to a disappearance this summer
This summer crews ﬁnish the remaining streets in the village, where dust and poor drainage are a concern
By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter
By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter
‘Put someone special in your heart and pray for them’ 31 marked International Overdose Awareness Day, the ﬁrst six months of 2022 were the most fatal yet
PortAlberni, BC –Ayoung woman clutches a photograph to her chest as she lights a candle at a table decorated in purple. The sadness in her face is clear as she shares that she lost her father to a drug overdose less than a year ago. Right behind her is an elder woman called Dee. There are tears streaming down her face. She’s lost two younger family members, Ruth and Tommy, to the opioid crisis – one lost just a few days ago.These women were joined by dozens of other people who took part in the International OverdoseAwareness Day event hosted by the NTC’s Teechuktl Harm Reduction Team at PortAlberni’s Harbour Quay onAug. 31. Emcee Martin Watts invited the crowd to bring photographs of their loved ones to a memory wall that was set up. He reminded the people that the community cares.“This International OverdoseAwareness Day event is about raising awareness, education and to remember those lost,” heOrganizerssaid. oﬀered support to those needing it through their harm reduction team members and staﬀ from Tsow Tun Le Lum, a treatment facility located in Nanoose, BC. Trevor Little of Tseshaht was invited to oﬀer a prayer. He addressed the crowd by reminding them that all of us are, in one way or another, tied to someone that is struggling in life. “I ask you to put someone special in your heart and pray for them, because thoughts and prayers can bring them back to health, sometimes,” he said. Deb Foxcroft, an elected councillor with the Tseshaht First Nation, was there on behalf of Chief Councilor Ken Watts, who is on vacation. She told the people she was there to support them and asked for a moment of silence in remembrance of those lost. Guest speaker Rita Watts shared that she is eight years sober after a 22 year-long addiction to alcohol and crack cocaine. “I lost everything, I had nothing, and I didn’t care about anything,” she said, adding that, in her addiction, she allowed others to raise her children. Change for Rita came when the man in her life told her he had enough. “He packed my stuﬀ up, put it outside and changed the locks,” she shared. Watts’mother agreed to store the belongings but made sure Rita knew she wasn’t welcome there. “She told me to go ﬁnd myself,” said Rita.Rita wanted to know why she made the painful choices that led her to that day. She went to a few treatment programs and received counselling to ﬁnd those answers. She later learned that it was trauma she endured in her younger years that led her down that path. Unresolved trauma.Through counselling and support, Rita worked through her past pain.
On the last day ofAugust a gathering was held at PortAlberni’s Harbour Quay to recognise the opioid crisis.Ashiel Marshall, above, lost her father StanleyApsimik on Oct. 20, 2021. Martin Watts, below, speaks at the event, as Dee, bottom, Dee points to a memory wall with the names of Tommy and Ruth on it, two younger family members who she lost to overdoses.
Page 6— Ha-Shilth-Sa—September 8, 2022
Photos by Denise Titian
“I was ﬂoating when I got done,” she shared.Ritais back in her family and is a foster parent, raising a grandchild. She shared that her son and his partner are in addiction.“He’s not ready yet, but I pray to God that someday soon, he will be ready,” saidAccordingRita. to a federal NDP statement, 30,000 Canadians have died due to toxic drugs since 2016. “Last year there was an alarming 96 per cent increase in drug-related deaths,” they“Tragically,noted. in the seventh year of this public health emergency, as we are experiencing increasing numbers of deaths in July, our province has now lost more than 10,000 lives to illicit drugs since April 2016,” said B.C. Chief Coroner Lisa Lapointe. In the six months from January to the end of June 2022 at least 1,095 British Columbians have died due to the everincreasing toxicity of the unregulated, illicit drug market, according to the BC Coroner’s service. “Deaths due to toxic drugs in the ﬁrst half of 2022 have surpassed the number of deaths experienced in the same period in 2021, putting our province, once again, on track for a record loss of life,” saidTheLapointe.DeathReview Panel, experts tasked by the provincial government to make recommendations to alleviate the crisis, say access to safer drugs is what is needed.“Itisimperative that we urgently provide access to safer supply across our province. It’s only when we drastically reduce people’s reliance on the proﬁtdriven, illicit drug trade, that we will save lives and turn the trajectory of this crisis around,” they wrote.
Speaking about the impact on families losing loved ones to drugs, B.C.’s Representative for Children and Youth, Jennifer Charlesworth, said it has a devastating eﬀect. “This is especially pronounced for First Nations, Metis, Inuit and urban Indigenous young people,” she stated. “Government must prioritize a full array of mental-health and substance-use services for young people, including harm reduction. Nothing short of that will do.”
Ditidaht mother celebrates one year of sobriety Milestone falls on International Overdose Awareness Day for Jolene Joe, a former hard drug user of 26 years
“It’s people like me that will make the change,” she said.
“I’ve changed but nothing has changed here,” she noted. People party, “then you have 20 to 30-year-olds taking advantage of 17 to 18 year-olds – I still see it happening,” sheJoesaid.credits her children for her sobriety.
“If I didn’t do that, I knew they would take the kids anyway,” she shared. She began the hard road to sobriety, taking programs oﬀered by Kackamin and Tsow Tun Le Lum. It was at a grief and loss program that Joe began facing abuse she suﬀered as a teenager. Reﬂecting on the losses she suﬀered throughout her life after she quit drugs and alcohol, Joe said she didn’t know how to feel.
Recognizing that she was in trouble, Joe surrendered her kids to foster care.
Joe regained custody of her minor children and, with her Early Childhood Education certiﬁcate, works at the community daycare centre along with two other part-time jobs. She wants to help make change in her community so that her children and all the young people at home grow up safe. She hasn’t ﬁgured out exactly what she will do, but she imagines activities for age groups in the community that raise awareness about addiction.
By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter
“We need a lot of structure for our parents, I want to see my community grow,” saidJoeJoe.admits she still smokes cigarettes and marijuana, saying she hopes to quit those.“Idon’t want to see cigarettes dangling out of the kids mouths,” she added. Juggling three jobs, Joe imagines being able to aﬀord a new truck in due time. “I want a life that I deserve. I am happy, my kids are happy, and I will never go back,” she vowed. “When I’m 80 I’ll be able to say that I’ve been sober 40 years!”Joesays even though she’s been through hell, she is proud that her sobriety anniversary, by coincidence, falls on InternationalAddictionsAwareness Day.
If you should be getting a copy of the Ha-Shilth-Sa paper delivered to your home and you are not, please contact: Holly Stocking at 250-724-5757 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
“I still felt the pain, but it was raw, I wasn’t numbing it anymore and I wasn’t hiding. I was really feeling it,” she added. She noted that not much is diﬀerent at Nitinaht Lake since she was a teenager.
“It wasn’t their fault…can you imagine what we’d be like if residential schools never existed?” she asked.
Have You Moved?
Nitinaht Lake, BC –August 31, 2022 marks the 21st annual International OverdoseAwareness Day. Few people knew about it, but considering the worldwide illicit drug epidemic and the lives lost, awareness is Coincidentallygaining.,itisalso a signiﬁcant day for Ditidaht’s Jolene Joe, 41, who recently celebrated her ﬁrst year of sobriety.Joe,asingle mother of four, has battled addictions from a very young age. It started with smoking cigarettes at age 12, then at the age of 14 she began using crack cocaine. It all started in Vancouver, where she split time between her parents, who were separated since she was nine years old. Joe said she was a born ﬁghter. She was due to be born around Christmas 1980 but arrived three months early weighing in at 3 pounds, 2 ounces. She had lung problems and a hole in her heart. But she survived.Joe’sfather was from Enderby, B.C., and her mother was from Ditidaht. Both struggled with alcoholism while Jolene and her siblings went in and out of foster care.There was one terrible day etched in Jolene’s memory. It was a time she was with an older relative on what should have been a fun family swimming trip. “My father told them not to bring us swimming,” she shared as she broke down in tears. “That was when my little brother drowned.” The little brother was only six years old. Jolene said she went into foster care when she was a baby and kept going in and out of care until she was 12. “I know what it’s like to be in foster care and I didn’t want that for my kids,” she said. In fact, Joe’s deceased sister left behind six children, and some of her other nieces and nephews are in foster care. “I wish I could just take them all,” she cried.Jolene said she began using crack when she was living in Vancouver at the age of 14. She used with her best friend and vowed she would never touch a needle. “And I never did,” said Joe, but her best friend did, and she died. At age 20, Joe began abusing alcohol and admitted she was drinking every weekend in Nitinaht for more than a decade.“Ihada 20-year alcohol addiction,” she shared.Theyear 2020 was an extremely hard one for Joe. That year she lost her older sister, who died of an overdose along with her boyfriend on the mainland. Joe’s father died that year, as well. “It was the hardest time of my life,” saidSheJoe.went to say that her brother has overdosed eight times and a younger sister is a chronic alcoholic. “It hurts so much, I can’t help them,” sheThroughsaid. her 26 years in addiction, Joe managed to function well enough to keep the bills paid and her children fed. But she was starting to lose control that ﬁnal year. She lost her vehicle and there wasn’t enough food to feed the family.
Submitted photo Jolene Joe, a single mother of four, has battled addictions from a very young age. Aug. 31 marked one year since she has been free from alcohol and hard drugs.
September 8, 2022—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 7
“My four kids are my angels, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without them,” she added. She said she doesn’t blame her parents for all that has happened in her life.
Photos by Facebook, Eric Plummer
Page 8— Ha-Shilth-Sa—September 8, 2022
The new Somass Hall, above, covers the same area as the old building, encompassing 7,000 square feet of space. Below:After serving the Tseshaht community for over 70 years, the old Somass Hall was closed in 2019. The building was torn down on Sept. 30, 2021. few changes, according to Foxcroft. The estimated 7,000-square-foot building will bring a more modern style while still holding onto the same charm and history that came with the original. In terms of fresh additions, the new Somass Hall will feature a basement with space for meeting rooms, oﬃces, and community programs.“Wewere only allowed to build roughly the same size of building as what was already there before,” explained Foxcroft. “We haven’t, you know, built a signiﬁcant infrastructure for a long time in our communities, most of our buildings are fairly old,” she added. “Alot of our community members have dance practices for potlatches and such, and there’s not really any space at this point for those kinds of things.And so, this is signiﬁcant project for our community.” The timing of the Tseshaht First Nation getting the ball rolling towards building a new Somass Hall is very signiﬁcant. According to Foxcroft, between pandemic related complications and dealing with some diﬃcult history, this is just the boost that the community needs. “Since COVID and the pandemic, we haven’t been able to gather like we used to,” she said. “And just in terms of working on some diﬃcult things with the Alberni Indian Residential School, what we’re doing now is very uplifting, because we now can see hope for ourselves in our Constructioncommunity.”onthe new Somass Hall doesn’t have a deﬁnitive completion date just yet, but it is expected that construction could take up to a few years.
by Ivy Cargill-Martin Phrase†of†the†week:†ƛułʔišʔał Tiičma ʕuḥʔiš łiimaqsti ʔuuʔipʔałqun Sačup ʔuuqwuł kiiƛuuk ʔuḥ satsaašt, ʕaakwaast ʔuḥ ʔupsqwii ʔuḥ tup’ałʔap ʔuuʔip sačup Pronounced ‘Tluth ish alth teach ma oohr tlee waaq sti ooh up alt koon saasuup ooh weil the alt koon saw coup ohh arr squst or upsqwii ooh tuupalt up ooh up saw stup’, it means, ‘Chinook Salmon! Our hearts and spirits are so happy when we get this wonderful food! To can, to smoke, to make ﬁsh jerky and to salt.’Supplied
By James Paracy Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor
PortAlberni, BC -Anew Somass Hall will be built by the Tseshaht First Nation just a few years after the last building was torn down. The original Somass Hall provided the community with an ideal gathering place for feasts, ceremonies, weddings and much more. The new project received $3.4 million in funding from the Investing in Canada Infrastructure program, covering about 75 per cent of the its costs, while the other 25 per cent is covered by the Tseshaht First Nation itself. Aside from the historical importance, Tseshaht Elected Councillor Deb Foxcroft says the new Somass Hall will ﬁll a major gap in the community. The original Somass Hall had been torn down in 2019 due to the building being deemed unsafe. In the time since the original building closed, gatherings weren’t as frequent or needed due to pandemic-related complications, but, in 2022 the need for a community space is back. “There were so many feasts happening there, and naming ceremonies and weddings,” said Foxcroft. “My parents got married there, even funerals, signiﬁcant historical meetings - not only with Tseshaht, but with the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council. I know the treaty negotiation actually started in that building with the 14 nations. It really was a hub for not only our (Tseshaht) community, but for Nuu-chah-nulth.”Whentheoriginal Somass Hall closed, a sizable ceremony was held to say goodbye to the building where so many formative memories came to be. Tseshaht First Nation councillors made sure to hold onto a few important items at that ceremony, so that one day they could bring them to the new building. “We made sure to take some signiﬁcant pictures that were on the wall and had been painted by an artist in our community,” Foxcroft added. “We plan on having those set up in the new building. We also kept the original Somass Hall sign, that will be put up in the new building.” The new Somass Hall is expected to be fairly similar to the original, but with a
Illustration by brings new rendition to old community site New Somass Hall planned for the reserve with basement space for meetings, oﬃces and community programs
September 8, 2022—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 9 Port VolunteersFriendshipAlberniCentreNeeded Need work experience? The Port Alberni Friendship Centre is looking for interested applicants for various positions. Call 250-723-8281 Employment Opportunities
The symptoms of dementia include: Memory loss, both short-term and Diﬃlong-term,cultieswith thinking, problem-solving or language that are severe enough to reduce a person’s ability to perform everyday activities, Changesand in mood or behaviour.
The symptoms forAlzheimer’s disease mostly overlap with other types of dementia, but there can be some diﬀerences.
The person in the late stage of Alzheimer’s will experience: Severe impairment in memory, processing new information and recognizing time and place, Losing capacity for recognizable speech and The loss of the ability to eat, walk and use the toilet without assistance.
In this stage, the person living with Alzheimer’s eventually becomes unable to communicate verbally or look after themselves. Nonverbal communication becomes increasingly important.
Tseshaht members play provincial tournament
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause for dementia, accounting for 60-80 per cent of all diagnoses.
PortAlberni players Thomas Dick, Josh Fred and Vance Sieber from the Parksville Redsox and Ivan Thomas from the Connaught Rangers all represented the Tseshaht First Nation at the tournament.
The Redsox placed ﬁfth out of 18 teams, and Dick said his team played strong throughout the tournament, only losing by three runs to the champions, the Steveston Canadians, in their ﬁnal game.
Parksville Redsox place ﬁfth out of 18 teams from across British Columbia at elite fastball competition
The Canadians took ﬁrst place at the tournament, the Surrey Rebels took second and the RichmondAthletics third.
“We had an alright season, win, loss, win, loss but it was a fairly good season,” DickDicksaid.said the Redsox had a busy weekend at the tournament, playing ﬁve games in front of a hundred or so spectators.
“It was exciting for me. It’s a pretty big deal,” Dick said. “It was the best fastball teams of B.C…. it was top-calibre ball.” Dick, who plays second base, said his teammates and him had to travel to Nanaimo weekly for the regular season games and practices since PortAlberni doesn’t have a fastpitch league.
“We played Friday night at 8 p.m., Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m., again at 4:30 p.m. and again at 8 p.m.,” he said. “Then Sunday morning at 8:30 a.m. We lost the (Saturday) 4:30 p.m. game so we had to come through the back door basically and we won our 8 p.m. game Saturday night to play Sunday morning, and then we lost thatDick,one.”who has played with the Redsox for the past four years, grew up playing baseball and loves the sport.
Early stage refers to people of any age who have mild impairment due to symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. Common symptoms DiﬃForgetfulness,include:cultylearningnew things and following conversations, Diﬃculty concentrating or limited attention span, Mood shifts, including apathy and depression and Mild co-ordination problems. These symptoms may not stand out at ﬁrst. The person in the early stage ofAlzheimer’s retains many of their functional capabilities and assistance may not be needed, or requested. However, problems may start to recur, like diﬃculty handling a task at work that the person is otherwise usedTheto.person may have insight into their changing abilities, and can inform others of their experience of living with the disease as well as to take steps to plan for their future care and ﬁnances. The middle stage brings a greater decline in the person’s cognitive and functional abilities. This stage often seems the longest and everyone involved will need help and support. Memory and other cognitive abilities will continue to deteriorate, although the person may still have some awareness of their condition. For families and caregivers, this is the point where:Their involvement in the person’s care increases Movingsubstantially,theperson to a long-term care home may be considered for the ﬁrst time, Programs and services in your community can be a big help, providing support in the form of adult day programs, respite care and Everyonemore,involved will need help and support because of the increasing challenges faced by those withAlzheimer’s disease and their family. The late stage of Alzheimer’s disease may also be called the “severe” or “advanced” stage.
As with the care of someone living with a terminal illness, the person’s physical, emotional and spiritual needs must be tended with care to ensure that they are as comfortable as possible when the time of passing comes.
By Karly Blats Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Vancouver, BC - Four baseball players from Tseshaht First Nation were in Surrey, B.C. last weekend for the Men’s Fastpitch Provincials at Softball City. Eighteen men’s fastpitch teams from around the province participated in the tournament at the renowned Softball City, where the national championships will be held next summer.
“My dad played it, I loved the sport, I watched him growing up,” Dick said. “I was a bat boy starting and I remember [my dad] saying just watch the game and study, so that’s pretty much what I did growing up.”
Overall, know thatAlzheimer’s disease is a speciﬁc disease, while dementia is a general term for a group of similar diseases, of whichAlzheimer’s is one. In other words, every case of Alzheimer’s disease is an example of dementia, but not every type of dementia isAlzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s disease is a chronic neurodegenerative disease that destroys brain cells, causing thinking ability and memory to deteriorate over time.Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of aging and isWhileirreversible.theterms “Alzheimer’s disease” and “dementia” are often used interchangeably, it’s important to know the diﬀerence between the two. Dementia is not one speciﬁc disease. Rather, it›s an umbrella term for a set of symptoms caused by physical disorders aﬀecting the brain.
Page 10— Ha-Shilth-Sa—September 8, 2022 Health Corner
Care may be required 24 hours a day. At this stage, it’s vital for families and caregivers to continue to support the person to ensure the highest quality of life possible. End-of-life The person in the ﬁnal months of dementia will experience increased mental and physical deterioration, eventually needing 24-hour care. When the person nears death, the focus shifts to palliative care and comfort. Still, it’s vital to respect the person’s wishes as they would have wanted.
Dick hopes that when others see him and the other Tseshaht members out playing fastball, it could help pick up momentum for a league to begin in PortAlberni. Submitted Photo Tseshaht members Josh Fred, Thomas Dick, Ivan Thomas and Vance Sieber played in the men’s fastpitch provincial tournamentAug 26-28 at Softball City in Surrey.
September brings World Alzheimer’s Month
Warmer water and lack of rain may aﬀect late summer ﬁsh-rearing in streams and timing of salmon spawning
By Karly Blats Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor
Several anglers ﬁsh in theAlberni harbour during the Salmon Festival on Sept. 5. Dry and hot conditions on the West Coast have increased the drought level to 3. Warmer water temperatures and the lack of precipitation may aﬀect late summer ﬁsh-rearing conditions in streams and can aﬀect the timing of salmon spawning migration.According to a government press release, there have been reports of ﬁsh mortalities and strandings within the past month following heat warnings.Angling closures due to high temperatures were in place for most eastern Vancouver Island streams and remained in place untilAug. 31.Last summer’s record-breaking temperatures and little to no precipitation had all of Vancouver Island in a drought level 5 during the same period. Jim Lane, deputy program manager for Uu-a-thluk, said droughts can become concerning for salmon habitats if the streams they’re in experience any dewatering and warm temperatures. “Really tiny streams that are getting dewatered, or the water levels get really low and their temperatures go way up, they have a higher impact than say the Somass where there’s tons of water going down there…[salmon] are still migrating through,” Lane said. Lane said right now he doesn’t see much of a concern for the migrating salmon around theAlberni Valley, but it depends on how long warm temperatures remain. He said the ﬁsh will generally “hang back” before migrating and look for thermal refuges—areas where there’s ground water inﬂuence where the water temperature at the bottom of the stream is quite a bit cooler than at the top.
Photo by Karly Blats
“Escapement levels right now are going in pulses, so we had that very small bit of low pressure system come through and things kind of cooled oﬀ a tiny bit and a bunch of ﬁsh went up,” Lane said. Lane added that Chinook are starting to “come into the system now” and they’ll generally wait for rain before migrating.
Dry and hot conditions on British Columbia’s West Coast have prompted the government to increase the drought level in the region to Level 3. The areas that have risen to Drought Level 3 conditions are eastern Vancouver Island, western Vancouver Island and Haida Gwaii. The high temperatures, consistent sunshine and lack of recent rain have increased water temperatures in numerous Vancouver Island and Haida GwaiiBritishstreams.Columbia ranks drought levels from 0 to 5, with Drought Level 5 being the most severe, with adverse eﬀects to socioeconomic or ecosystem values being almost certain.
Drought level increased to Level 3 on the West Coast
“They can hold for now and just kind of move back around, so right now it’s not too concerning,” Lane said. “But if we’re into October and we still haven’t gotten any rainfall that will be a problem, but we’re not there yet.” The City of PortAlberni and the Beaver Creek area are under Stage 1 water restrictions, which typically remains in place until September 30. Last summer the same areas were under a Stage 2 restriction.
September 8, 2022—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 11
Page 12— Ha-Shilth-Sa—September 8, 2022 What’s going on at NETP? Want to know more about NETP? Northern Region/Gold River: 1-877-283-2015 or 250-283-2012 Central Region/Coastal: 250-726-7347 Southern Region/PortAlberni: 250-723-1331