INTERESTING NEWS Canada’s Oldest First Nations Newspaper - Serving Nuu-chah-nulth-aht since 1974 Vol. 46 - No. 17—September 12, 2019
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Discovery renews hope for family of missing man By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter
Photo by Eric Plummer
Manager Ron Kyle (right), Assistant Manager Tammy Lucas and Tseshaht Councillor Ken Watts stand in Orange Bridge Cannabis days before the store’s opening at the Tseshaht Market on Sept. 11.
Tseshaht opens cannabis shop By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Port Alberni, BC - The Tseshaht are Vancouver Island’s ﬁrst Aboriginal community to open a government-approved cannabis store, with a pot shop introduced this month at the First Nation’s market on the highway to Toﬁno. The 100-per-cent Tseshaht-owned Orange Bridge Cannabis formally opened to the public on Wednesday, Sept. 11 at 7583 Paciﬁc Rim Highway, located west of Port Alberni at the Tseshaht Market on the First Nation’s reserve. With a staﬀ of six employees - including ﬁve Tseshaht members – Orange Bridge Cannabis currently oﬀers a variety of marijuana buds, and plans to expand their selection of products once regulations allow. Named after the Highway 4 bridge across the Somass River that was once painted a memorable colour recalled by generations of Alberni Valley residents, Orange Bridge Cannabis have been in development for at least a year, after Canada’s Liberal government announced the legalization of marijuana for nonmedicinal use. The initiative began with direction from the Tseshaht community to explore cannabis retail, said Watts. After seeing presentations on the opportunity from federal, provincial and municipal oﬃcials, the First Nation opted to own the store entirely. “We could have partnered with a number of people but, at the end of the day, I think the nation wanted 100 per cent of the proﬁts and to determine the employ-
ment themselves,” explained Tseshaht Councillor Ken Watts. “Deﬁnitely our return on investment is going to pay oﬀ quite well, based on our projections.” The cannabis store ﬁrst opened for the Labour Day weekend, but waited until Sept. 11 to regularly sell products. As marijuana retail is now managed by B.C.’s Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch, red tape and government approvals have been extensive, including a detailed record check for employees and rules preventing the touching or consumption of cannabis in the store. “We decided to go through the licencing route for a number of factors,” said Watts, who expects that the tight regulations will discourage interference from organized crime. “The staﬀ have all been trained on the matters of percentages of THC and the other percentages that you require for each product.” After recreational marijuana use became legalized last October, B.C.’s regulators have received hundreds of retail applications. Port Alberni city council has approved nearly half a dozen stores, including a provincial branch expected to open later this year, but Orange Bridge Cannabis is the ﬁrst government-approved pot shop to operate west of Parksville. The Tseshaht Market location is an essential part of the shop’s viability, as one to 1.5 million travellers pass by the spot annually on the way to Vancouver Island’s west coast attractions, said Watts. The product will be provided to the store by the provincial government, which uses a number of licenced growers,
Inside this issue... Day school claims.......................................................Page 3 Government commits $100 million............................Page 5 Wild salmon decline...................................................Page 8 September is salmon smoking time......................... Page 10 Cops for cancer ........................................................Page 15
but the Tseshaht hope to eventually raise their own cannabis. “The community gave us direction to proceed as required – not just in the retail space, but also in the cultivation side,” said Watts. “The long-term goal is that we eventually become one of those dozens of companies that are going to be supplying the province with our own strain.” Although cannabis has been legally used for pain management and other medicinal purposes for several years in Canada, health authorities still caution the public about marijuana’s psychoactive eﬀects. Users are advised to avoid driving due to possible impairment. “The long-term eﬀects of cannabis on your brain can include an increased risk of addiction,” states Health Canada. “Long-term cannabis use can also harm your memory, concentration, intelligence (IQ), [and] ability to think and make decisions. Eﬀects appear to be worse if you start using early in adolescence, use frequently and over a long period of time.” “Whether it’s a legal product or not, addiction issues are an issue anywhere, especially in First Nations communities - but we’re making sure our staﬀ are fully controlling the product,” said Watts, noting that the economic potential of the store will allow the First Nation to reinvest proﬁts back into programs that attend to addictions and mental health problems among its members. “This is a chance for us to be preventative,” he said.
Clayoquot Sound, BC – A recent coordinated search of Bartlett Island has turned up no sign of Ahousaht’s Travis Thomas, who was last seen on the island Aug. 7, 2018. But the search, arranged by Ahousaht members, led to the discovery of sentimental items found deep inside a cave near Bartlett Island. Searchers found items that went missing from a tent that the Thomas family had set up on Bartlett Island in the hopes of tempting Travis to come home. Among the items were family photos sealed in plastic bags. Travis Thomas, who would now be 41, is one of Ahousaht’s leading athletes and youth mentors. The father of four was hit with family tragedy when his wife died suddenly in late 2017 and he struggled with the loss, turning to alcohol. The family has indicated that he also suﬀered from mental health issues, other than depression, leading them to believe that he is hiding somewhere on the island. According to a recently published First Nations Health Authority news release, Thomas, who was 40 when he went missing, was “banished” to the island due to an addictions problem. This follows a form of traditional correction aimed to keep the community safe and to help the banished person recover through introspection, free from the distractions of modern conveniences and the inﬂuences of others. In Ahousaht, people struggling with personal problems may spend time in solitude in the wilderness. With the support of their families, they are provided with food, supplies and equipment for their stay, which can range from a few days to a few months. Family members check on them regularly, restocking supplies. It was on one of these family checks that people noticed Thomas was gone. He was reported missing to the RCMP on Aug. 9, 2018. Bartlett Island is located northwest of Toﬁno and is about a 20-minute boat ride southwest of Ahousaht. It is small, about 1.5 kilometres long and less than a kilometre wide.
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RCMP ﬁnds nothing, unconﬁrmed sightings continue Continued from page 1. Its main feature is rock – towering stone walls jutting out of the open ocean. The rocks are covered at the top with dense shrubs and coniferous forest. At each end of the island are two sand beaches that small boats can approach in fair weather. There are no landing docks, no formal trails, no modern conveniences. It is uninhabited and wild. The family has pinned their hopes on Travis’ athleticism and known survival skills to keep him alive. Bartlett Island has no fresh water source but can provide sustenance in the form of berries, sea weed, and the sea creatures that cling to the rocky intertidal areas. In the 12 months that he’s been missing, the Thomas family has been at the island almost daily, in the hope of bringing Travis home. Bartlett Island is exposed to the open ocean, so landing on it during a storm is impossible – and there were severe windstorms in the region in late 2018. Never to be deterred, Jean Thomas brings comfort for her son in the form of shelter, warmth and food. The family set up a tent and stocked it with a sleeping bag, clothing, food and water. Jean posted some of her searches on social media as she hiked through the forest looking for her son. Sometimes she leaves a ﬁre on the beach when the weather is cold. There have been unconﬁrmed reports that searchers have spotted him at a distance, or heard him making noises. The family has posted a ghostly image of a man dressed in sweats; it’s Travis, they say, caught on an infrared trail cam at night. But two searches by RCMP with the assistance of search/cadaver dogs
have turned up nothing. According to Ahousaht’s search and rescue coordinator Curtis Dick, the RCMP searched the island again over the weekend of Aug. 23 and found nothing to indicate that Travis was there. Following the RCMP search, Ahousaht, with support from other agencies, carried out their own search over three days in late August. Curtis Dick helped coordinate the massive search, which saw up to 60 volunteers combing both the main island and the dozens of smaller islets just oﬀshore from Bartlett. It was on a search of one of the smaller islands that an exciting discovery was made. On Wednesday, Aug. 28, a small cave was searched. The cave was on a tiny island that, according to Dick, could only be reached by water from Bartlett Island, meaning one would have to swim to it if they didn’t have a boat. Some of the nearby islands are accessible by land at low tide but this one is a little further oﬀshore. The cave is narrow but searchers could see items at the back of the cave, about 10 feet in. Video footage shows that the cave tapers to a point at the back. On the ﬂoor, propped up against the back corner is a small brown cross. To the side of the cross is a red Catholic prayer candle standing upright. Scattered on the ﬂoor of the cave are Thomas family photos, each enveloped in plastic sandwich bags. According to Dick, the Thomas family left the photos and religious items on Bartlett Island, at the place they call “Family Camp”. They leave things like these there in the hope that Travis will come to them. A boy recording the video can be heard
Submitted video still
Family items were recently found in a remote cave near Ahousaht during a search for Travis Thomas, who went missing more than a year ago. describing what he was seeing, relaying But for the Thomas’ and Ahousaht, this the information to an adult behind him. ﬁnd rekindles hope that Travis Thomas Near the candle is a pile of long bones. is indeed alive. The Thomas family is The boy can be heard saying, “…and convinced Travis is there and they will there’s bones, holy crap, BIG bones!” continue to visit Bartlett Island for as The bones are long, like leg bones, long as it takes. possibly from an animal. Dick says he They are asking for ﬁnancial donations will seek permission to have the bones to continue the search. Donations may removed for analysis. be made to Julia Atleo at Ahousaht’s How the trinkets got into this cave is Chah Chum Hii Yup Tiic Miss, the local unknown. There are people searching the holistic health centre. The phone number area all the time and there are recreational is 1-955-670-9558, and email address is visitors…kayakers that have been known firstname.lastname@example.org. to disturb items at Family Camp.
September 12, 2019—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 3
Court decision triggers day school claims process A new se•lement acknowledges denigration, psychological abuse and violence over generations of operating By Mike Youds Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Day school survivors should be preparing claim forms soon through a long-awaited class action settlement with awards ranging from $10,000 to $200,000. The ﬁnal hurdle in litigation against the Government of Canada — which operated “federal Indian day schools” in roughly 600 communities across the country for more than 60 years —was cleared Aug. 19 in the form of a decision by the Federal Court of Canada. Justice Michael Phelan found that the settlement agreement as proposed in March is “fair and reasonable” and in the best interests of survivors. “Finally, it’s here,” said Richard Watts, resolution health-support worker with the Teechuktl program in Port Alberni. “The day has come.” Compensation claim forms will be made available through the class-action website, indiandayschools.com (a draft version only is currently posted). Forms will be accepted for the next four months, subject to appeals, according to Gowling WL, the law ﬁrm handling the settlement. “Don’t wait until the deadline to ﬁle,” Watts advised. There is a 90-day opt-out period for survivors who do not agree with the terms of settlement. Pursuit of justice was underway when Watts joined Teechuktl in 2011. Survivors are in their senior years. About 1,800 of them pass away yearly among a total of 120,000 survivors across the country. The original lead plaintiﬀ in the class action, Garry McLean, died of cancer only weeks before a settlement was reached last winter. Starting in the 1880s, day schools were operated on reserves by churches and were later taken over by the Canadian government. Day school students are different from day scholars, the name given
“The day has come” ~ Richard Watts, Resolution health support worker Teechuktl program
Richard Watts to students who attended but did not reside at residential schools. Watts said both day school students and day scholars were part of the residential school settlement process at the outset. “They wanted to go to court but were convinced to step aside,” he explained. “They didn’t want to hinder the (residential school) case.” For more than six years, the action by McLean and fellow Manitoban plaintiﬀs (Roger Augustine, Claudette Commanda, Angel Sampson, Margaret Swan and Mariette Buckshot) remained in limbo. Their counsel at the time had diﬃculty marshalling resources to continue the litigation and no other ﬁrms were prepared take it on until Gowling stepped up and launched the case three years ago. Lessons were drawn from the residential school process and hearings held by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Day school hearings were held by an adjudicator rather than in a courtroom. They were still diﬃcult for people, said Watts, who attended some of the sessions. “They wanted to make it less judicial,” he said. “They wanted to make it quicker. These people were passing away as we
went through the process.” Part of the intent was to avoid retraumatizing survivors any more than necessary to document their experiences of abuse, which were similar to those of residential school survivors. “These schools had profoundly negative eﬀects on many of their students,” Justice Phelan wrote in his decision. “The representative plaintiﬀs were exposed to a program of denigration, psychological abuse and physical violence often for such simple things as speaking their own language to others of their community at the schools. This experience had a deep and lasting impact on the representative plaintiﬀs, impairing their sense of selfworth and impeding their relationships with others and leading to personal issues with substance abuse among the many ills that resulted from that abuse.” The settlement agreement stipulates that a claims process must be “expeditious, cost eﬀective, user-friendly and culturally sensitive.” A $200-million legacy fund, recognizing the multi-generational impact of the experience, is part of the settlement. The fund is intended to support eﬀorts in commemoration, health and wellness, language and other cultural initiatives. To be eligible for compensation, individuals must have attended at least one of the day schools funded, managed or controlled by Canada. A list of the schools is included on the Gowland
website, indiandayschools.com. Five day schools that operated in Nuu-chah-nulth territory are included: Ahousaht, Yuquot, Kyuquot, Ucluelet and Opitsaht. Two other day schools located in Hesquiaht and Tseshaht territories did not meet settlement criteria. In the late 1940s and early ’50s, Marie Nookemus of Bamﬁeld attended the Ucluelet day school. Two of her nieces and a nephew attended at the same time. She recalls the embarrassment and humiliation. Children who knew only Nuu-chah-nulth were ridiculed for speaking their native language. “You felt ashamed when you were yarded down the aisle,” she said, recalling how one staﬀ member would remove his belt to threaten them. “I still live with it,” she added. At school, Nookemus learned to act as a “guardian” for her younger relatives, much like an older sister would, trying to protect them. Watts said survivors should be aware of the pending claims process and be prepared to provide testimony of their experiences. “They’re going to be having hearings again, probably using an adjudicator. People should be encouraged to sit down and start talking to other former day school students,” he suggested. This may help jog their memories of school experiences long ago. He also cautioned survivors not to expect settlement cheques anytime soon. “Don’t hold your breath … but here we are,” he said. The plaintiﬀs paid tribute to Garry McLean in a letter posted on the settlement site. “The settlement achieved through Garry’s determination honours the principles he and so many of us have fought for,” they wrote, listing the priorities of inclusivity, dignity, consideration of future generations and justice.
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Helicopter surveys for sought-after minerals By Eric Plummer Ha-Shitlh-Sa Editor Campbell River, BC - Those living in the territories of northern Nuu-chah-nulth nations might notice a low-ﬂying helicopter with a peculiar T-shaped device this month. Part of a wide-ranging survey being conducted through August and September to detect mineral deposits, the helicopter is collecting data for those with an interest in mining exploration across northern Vancouver Island. The survey covers 6,127 square kilometres - an area comprising one ﬁfth of Vancouver Island - stretching from Port McNeill to Tahsis and Port Alice to just west of Sayward. The helicopter ﬂies along lines that are 250 metres apart at a constant elevation of 80 metres, gathering magnetic data from the ground below through the use of three magnetometers attached to the aircraft. This data will help geologists to determine the structure of rocks below the ground. “Each [magnetometer] is looking at the magnetic response of the earth below,” said Ricard Truman, director of external relations for Geoscience BC, the nonproﬁt organisation behind the survey. “From that you can get an indication of where mineral deposits might be. The analogy that often gets used is the needle in the haystack. What this is doing is telling you where the haystack is.” Geoscience BC helps facilitate natural resource development, and will be releasing a map detailing magnetic responses in the area in January. This information will be publicly available and presented at a conference for the Association for Mineral Exploration British Columbia. The survey covers the traditional territory of the Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k’tles7et’h’, Ehattesaht and Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nations, all of whom have been in contact with Geoscience BC.
Harmen Keyser/Precision GeoSurveys photo
A specially equipped helicopter is currently surveying Vancouver Island’s north for signs of mineral deposits. Geoscience BC held an open house on the project Sept. 11 in Campbell River. Mowachaht/Muchalaht Administrator making the data public, it can help every- preparing to restart operations that were Kevin Kowalchuk said the First Nation is body who’s involved in that process – not suspended in 2015, and NorthIsle Copper gathering information on what the survey just the mineral exploration guys.” and Gold is developing a project south of will mean to the community, and has a The current survey follows a similar Port Hardy with claims covering 33,447 conference call with Truman scheduled in exploration project that took place over hectares. The open pit mine would operSeptember. 2012-13, covering territory directly west. ate for 22 years, producing an estimated “On the surface, there could be some A number of Indigenous groups partici1.4 billion pounds of copper, 2.8 million beneﬁt to MMFN to understand the pated in information sessions for that ounces of gold and 55 million pounds of nature of the minerals in the territory,” survey, including the ‘Namgis, We Wai molybdenum, which is used to produce said Kowalchuk in an email to Ha-Shilth- Kai, Kwakiutl, Nanwakolas and K’omoks steel alloy. Sa. “Any exploration eﬀorts would have First Nations. “As we all continue to use phones, our to come to MMFN through our referral In the early 20th century coal and coplaptops, our electric cars and whatever process and we will deﬁnitely have some- per mines helped to establish towns and else may be coming, the global demand thing to say about this.” railways across Vancouver Island, but in for these metals is forecast to grow sigAn open house was scheduled for the recent years mining has fallen from econiﬁcantly,” said Truman, noting that an public in Campbell River on Sept. 11 to nomic prominence, with the island’s last electric car motor uses a large volume of answer questions about where the survey coal mine closing near Campbell River in copper in its coils. “An electric car uses could lead. early 2016. four times more copper than a regular “If a nation wants us to come and talk to This could change if developments car.” them - if they want us to come and meet in the north prove to be lucrative. The with their lands manager, chief and coun- Myra Falls copper, zinc and lead mine is cil or whatever it happens to be - we’re more than happy to do that,” emphasized Truman. “What I would hope is that by
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According to the RCMP, shortly before 10:30 p.m. on Sunday a woman’s car collided with a pick-up truck, which struck the passenger side of the car. The accident happened on a sharp curve at Cameron Lake.
Head-on collision claims life of NCN woman By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter
Port Alberni, BC – Slick roads may have been a factor in a fatal head-on collision that took place on a windy section of Cameron Lake, on Highway 4 east of Port Alberni late Sunday night. According to the RCMP, shortly before 10:30 p.m. a woman’s car collided with a pick-up truck, which struck the passenger side of the car. The accident happened on a sharp curve at Cameron Lake. Oceanside RCMP Const. Pennington said that a woman in her 50’s was travel-
ling westbound when she crossed over the center line, causing the pick up to collide with her vehicle. “It was a two-vehicle MVA, road conditions were damp and traﬃc was light,” said Cst. Pennington. “She was heading west to Port Alberni and was declared dead at the scene.” Huu-ay-aht First Nation issued notice that their oﬃces in Port Alberni and Anacla would be closed Sept. 9 in the spirit of respect for the family. “We will not conduct business to acknowledge the loss,” reads the notice.
Save The Date Governments making things Right for Nuu-chah-nulth Forum At the Tsawout Community Centre 7728 Tetayut Rd, Saanichton, BC
This forum will be about reporting out on Community Input-and how we move forward. All Nuu-chah-nulth welcome!! Time: 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM For more information please contact the NTC oﬃce.
September 12, 2019—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 5
Feds commit $100 million to Clayoquot Sound Ahousaht and Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations are set to beneﬁt from a recently announced conservation program By Sam Laskaris Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Victoria, BC – It’s considered a major step in the right direction. But Tyson Atleo, the community economic development lead for the Ahousaht First Nation, believes more co-operation is still required. Oﬃcials from the federal government announced this past week that they would provide $100 million in funding, through the country’s Natural Heritage Conservation Program, to protect 120,000 hectares of land in Clayoquot Sound, on Vancouver Island’s west coast. This includes land on a pair of Nuuchah-nulth First Nations, the Ahousaht First Nation and the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation. “I think it’s a wonderful eﬀort,” Atleo said of the announcement from late August. “It’s meaning for us is that it suggests we’re doing something right. We’re on the right path.” The federal announcement was welcome as it indicates oﬃcials, at least at the national level, are keen to see Indigenous representatives develop and further their own land. Atleo, however, said Indigenous leaders are still waiting for political leaders from their own province to adopt a similar thinking. “We’ve been at it for years,” he said. “What we need is the B.C. government to come on board for this. What we’re trying to achieve is changes to forestry tenures. We’re looking for forestry tenure reform by 2022, or faster than that.” Oﬃcials from Nature United, a Canadian conservation organization, also believe the federal commitment announced this
Photo by Eric Plummer
Ahousaht, pictured, and the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation are set to beneﬁt from a recently announced federal commitment to protect their territory, but the amount each nation will receive is yet to be determined. eral government and Nature United for past week is a positive move. recognizing the importance of protecting “Indigenous nations are the best posiour Hahoulthee (lands and waters),” he tioned to protect and care for their lands said. “Our approach to stewardship of and waters, where they have lived for our Hahoulthee is critical for us not to thousands of years,” Hadley Archer, leave a negative footprint for the seven Nature United’s executive director, said in a news release. “This visionary federal generations that will follow us. Today is a wonderful day to celebrate Indigenous funding will support the Ahousaht and values.” Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations in protecting Atleo said the news is obviously sigClayoquot Sound and we are proud to partner with them to support their visions niﬁcant as it generated a response from George. for their territories.” “Lewis is a real inspirational leader,” The news about federal funding promptAtleo said. “He has the wellbeing and ed Lewis George, the hereditary chief of future of his people ﬁrst and foremost in the Ahousaht First Nation, to issue a rare his mind. It’s powerful for him to make a public comment. public comment.” “On behalf of the Ahousaht Ha’wiih Saya Masso, the Tla-o-qui-aht First (Hereditary Chiefs) and all of our Nation’s manager of lands and resources, Ahousaht membership, I want to express was also pleased to hear about the commy sincerest appreciation to the fed-
mitment from federal oﬃcials. “We’re very excited about the announcement and how it will facilitate improvements over land use plans,” he said. While the federal government pledged $100 million in funding for the local land protection, oﬃcials with both the Ahousaht First Nation and the Tla-o-quiaht First Nation are unsure how much of this money they will receive. Another announcement is expected soon to provide additional details. “We’re hoping to be hearing about the amount of the contributions in the next week or so,” Masso said. “We’re ready to get on with implementations. But we need implementation money to do that. And I’m not sure how much we’ve been awarded.” As a result, Masso said his First Nation cannot announce just yet what new land use plans it has. Atleo echoed this sentiment. “We applied for about $7 million,” he said. “But we don’t know how much will be allocated to us.” The funding announcement will also help federal oﬃcials in their quest to conserve 17 per cent of land and 10 per cent of oceans in Canada by 2020. According to a media release from Nature United announcing the federal funding, Clayoquot Sound is the last remaining great rainforest on Vancouver Island. More than three-quarters of the island’s old growth forests have been logged, stated the organization. Clayoquot Sound is also where the famous War in the Woods protests took place in 1993. Hundreds, who were trying to protect Clayoquot Sound from logging, were arrested for their protests.
Treaty nations sign ﬁscal policy with Canada By Andrea D. Smith Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Vancouver, BC - The night of Aug. 27 at the Bill Reid Gallery in downtown Vancouver marked a special occasion for many of B.C.’s First Nations, including a few speciﬁc Nuu-Chah-Nulth communities. In July 2018, the Government of Canada restructured the Department of Indian and Northern Aﬀairs creating two separate bodies, with the goal of more collaboration between the new departments and the First Nations citizens they work with. And to follow suit, on Aug. 27 they launched the new Collaborative SelfGovernment Fiscal Policy for Self-Governing Indigenous Governments, which has been in the works since 2016. A number of speakers present referred to this new policy as the “green book” and all were excited to move forward with it. “Huu-ay-aht is proud to have worked with Canada and its fellow Indigenous governments on an updated ﬁscal policy. We have engaged in meaningful work, necessary to guide the ﬁscal relationship between self-governing Indigenous governments and the federal Crown from this point onwards,” said John Jack, elected councillor of Huu-ay-aht First Nations and Director and Chair for Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District. “This process and the policy itself demonstrate the commitment of the government to active and continued reconciliation with Indigenous peoples in Canada,” he continued. “Huu-ay-aht looks forward to walking the path of reconciliation and
the strengthening of Confederation by further implementing this policy to its fullest.” The evening was carried out like a celebration including ceremony, prayers, drumming and dancing at both the beginning of the night and in closing it. Even a young spoken word artist was invited to share his profound insight using his gift for fast speaking and rhyming. Jack was one of a few speakers at the event who represented one of the twenty communities who are now signatories to this new ﬁscal policy. Five of the selfgoverning Indigenous Nations in B.C. are left. Each person who spoke was given ﬁve minutes to share a few thoughts, though not everyone nailed it within their time limit as Jack did. Jack spoke of his gratitude for this new way of working with the government around ﬁnances, and his hopes that it will help his community, as well as other First Nations communities like his, become stronger self-governing nations. Huu-ay-aht is one of the ﬁve Maa-nulth First Nations communities—all of which are in stage six of the Treaty process; The implementation of the Treaty Period. And four of which have now signed the renewed ﬁscal transfer agreements. Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ is still holding out. “These are the things that will provide for my nation the ability to help, not only catch up and keep up, but do the things we need to do, in the ways we want to do them, according to our own governance,” Jack said. He added that many of the Huu-ay-aht
John Jack council members and community leaders have worked hard to bring this day to existence, and he is particularly inspired by the memory of one past leader, also a B.C. treaty commissioner, who burned the Indian Act the day the community’s treaty negotiations went into eﬀect. “After burning the Indian Act on the effective date of the treaty, he said he ‘felt like he was more Canadian today than he was at any point in the past’,” said Jack. A number of other speakers also shared some key points, Nisga’a Lisims Secretary-Treasurer Corrine McKay, Grand Chief George Mackenzie of the Tłı̨ chǫ Government and Chief Warren Paul of the Shíshálh Nation. Not everyone was as praising of the new agreement. While Nisga’a Lisims
Nation Prseident Eva Clayton said she was happy that the agreement was being made, it wasn’t the end by any means, but only “a good start,” and a “step in the right direction”. Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, Carolyn Bennett, was also there to share what the negotiations and the agreement has meant from her corner. “Reconciliation and a true nation-tonation relationship requires Indigenous governments have the tools and resources they need to govern themselves and implement their vision for their communities,” she said. “The Collaborative Fiscal Policy framework is an example of what we can accomplish when we work together in true partnership with Indigenous people.” “Tonight is a celebration of a way forward,” added the federal minister. “I think we’ve heard pretty clearly that the adversarial approach is gone… It’s history. I don’t think it’s going to be possible for Canada to go back to that.” She reﬂected on how it has been in the past, with people being somewhat “grumpy,” she said, during negotiations around ﬁnances and funding, but understandably so, because of being bound by the Indian Act, while not having the funding to adequately run their own Indigenous governments, and care for the needs of the people. “It is about us starting with a clean slate and developing an approach that is actually based on data, evidence, costs and what you have done to explain what it actually takes to implement self-government,” she said.
Page 6— Ha-Shilth-Sa—September 12, 2019 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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Advocates spread awareness for MMIWG By Karly Blats Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Port Alberni, BC - What started as a conversation around a kitchen table between friends, has evolved into a successful advocacy campaign for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. In just one year, friends Carla Voyageur and Jeannine Lindsay have raised $10,000 through their Lil’ Red Dress Project that will go towards the costs of creating and installing missing person signage on Vancouver Island. The Lil’ Red Dress Project’s team of volunteers creates beaded red dress pins and earrings to bring awareness to MMIWG. Lindsay, Voyageur and some of the team’s volunteers were at the Teechuktl Mental Health oﬃce on Friday, Aug. 30 conducting a workshop for Nuu-chahnulth members, showing them how to make their own beaded “little red dress” pins. Voyageur said motivation for the Lil’ Red Dress Project stemmed from the belief that many Indigenous families would not be able to aﬀord expensive billboards for a missing family member. “There was some extensive signage in the Comox Valley where we live. There was a non-Indigenous woman who had been missing for 25 years and the family put out all these billboards everywhere, there was at least a dozen of them in the Valley,” Voyageur said. “We felt empathetic that this young woman was missing but it really kind of hit home to us that no Indigenous family we know could put up that much signage, never mind one sign.” Voyageur said her and Lindsay both enjoy beading and decided to create the little red dress pins. They posted them on social media and they quickly gained a lot of attention. “Within two days we ended up having to make a Facebook page because we were getting massive orders…it kind of just took oﬀ from there.” Voyageur said. “The money that we’re using from the sales are all going towards signage. So we’re going to create missing persons signage to be displayed on Vancouver Island and they’ll feature Indigenous women from the Island. Red dresses are intended to be a visual
Photo by Karly Blats
Earrings and red dress pins made for the Lil’ Red Dress Project and available for sale. Proceeds go towards missing persons signs on Vancouver Island. reminder of the more than 1,000 missgo into doing billboards and doing them ing and murdered Indigenous women properly. We feel that once the ﬁrst one’s and girls in Canada, whose cases remain up it will be a domino eﬀect from there.” unsolved. Lisa Watts, MMIWG family support Lindsay said the team of volunteers worker with the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal have been doing various workshops Council, said she was really inspired and around the Island to spread awareness impressed with the Lil’ Red Dress Project about the campaign and to teach others and wanted to bring the team to Port how to make the beaded red dresses. She Alberni for Nuu-chah-nulth members to added that they have been approached learn from. by educators with the idea of having “I have been working with families the beaded dresses and awareness about that have been aﬀected by [MMIWG] so MMIWG be part of school curriculum. when I saw what the ladies are doing and “We’ve been asked by many diﬀerent how far they’ve come…I said we need to teachers and groups who want to bring do something about this. It really touched this project to schools. After we ﬁnish my heart,” Watts said. “They put their our billboard we’re going to be looking at love into something that’s really worththat,” Lindsay said. while. It’s true there’s not enough signage The team is working with Nanoose First anywhere for an Indigenous woman or Nation to have their ﬁrst billboard set girl or man and rather than talk about it or up at the new gas station along Highway complain they did something.” 19A. Watts plans to go to other Nuu-chah“It’s pretty amazing to think that this nulth communities on the Island and all just started around a kitchen table bring the Lil’ Red Dress Project team to conversation about the fact that we know present their workshop. many of our Indigenous families are To order a Lil’ Red Dress pin or earmarginalized, they wouldn’t be able to af- rings, or to learn more about the project, ford to put a billboard up,” Lindsay said. visit lilreddressproject.ca or visit them on “It’s been a learning curve for us, we had Facebook at www.facebook.com/lilredno idea how much time and eﬀort would dress/.
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September 12, 2019—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 7
Fishery News Huu-ay-aht pushes for commercial ﬁshery resurgence Maa-nulth nations could invoke a treaty clause allowing them to beneﬁt from the Ahousaht et al court case By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Bamﬁeld, BC - At the age of 15, Jayson Nookemus is a fast learner while on the water. For years the teenager has accompanied his grandfather, James Nookemus, learning the details of operating a ﬁshing boat while not in school. “He learned how to work the gear, clean ﬁsh, ice ﬁsh, he learned about the electronics in the wheelhouse,” said James, who uses his boat to catch chinook salmon commercially, as well as harvesting ﬁsh for the Huu-ay-aht’s food, social and ceremonial purposes when the opportunity arises. “I just like being on boat with him,” said Jayson of his time with his grandfather. “My wife says, ‘If you teach him too much too soon, you’ll go down to your boat and your boat is going to be gone one day’,” chuckled James, who from a young age learned to ﬁsh from his father, William Cliﬀord Nookemus. James purchased his boat in 2014 with hopes to create economic opportunity for his family and tribe. “I was seeing my father missing ﬁshing, seeing him every day at the dock being bored,” said the lifelong ﬁsherman. But despite Jayson’s eagerness to learn how to operate his grandfather’s ﬁshing boat, it’s unclear how much opportunity his generation will have working on their territorial waters. As an Area G commercial troller, James has seen his quota cut since he bought the boat, with a shrinking period when he can harvest. This year has been particularly tough, with just six and a half ﬁshing days that were permitted in early August. In 2018 Area G trollers saw less than two weeks in openings, and James had to venture to the north side of Nootka Island oﬀ Vancouver Island’s west coast. “This year and last year it never opened for us in the spring in Barkley Sound, we had to go up to Esperanza,” he said. It’s a drastic change from the profession James grew up in. He recalls a time when the season opened April 15, lasting until the end of September. The Nookemuses
“The federal government needs to maybe even get out of it for the ﬁshery to survive.” ~ Ed Johnson Sr. ﬁshed seven to 24 miles oﬀshore, travelling as far north as Estevan Point at Hesquiaht, or 35 miles south of their home on the southern edge of Barkley Sound. Ed Johnson Sr. also grew up ﬁshing in the area, but like many First Nations ﬁshermen, he sold his commercial licence in the early 1990s when it was no longer a viable cost. He recalls a time his First Nation was even able to ﬁsh inside the surf line in February and March. “I’ve seen it where we were allowed to ﬁsh just about every day,” recalled Johnson. “Before you used to be able to gillnet and troll with one licence.” While regulations have tightened where and when commercial boats can ﬁsh, the number of licences has drastically shrunk
Photo by Eric Plummer
James Nookemus and his grandson Jayson operate one of the Huu-ay-aht’s three commercially licenced ﬁshing boats. In the 1980s the nation had 40. since the 1980s. Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s list of licenced commercial vessels in the Paciﬁc has declined from 6,690 in 1985 to 2,372 in 2017, with an estimated 5,000 ﬁshers currently working on the water annually. Amidst this decline came a recommendation from the Senate Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans in 1998 that DFO “more equitably distribute the resource to allow small-scale ﬁshers a better opportunity of participating in the ﬁsheries.” The drop has been even more severe for the Huu-ay-aht First Nations, with their commercial vessels falling from 40 in the 1980s to the current count of three. Ed Johnson Sr., who sits on the Maa-nulth ﬁsheries committee, believes his nation is feeling the eﬀects of generations of resource mismanagement on the part of Fisheries and Oceans Canada. “How many times did they ﬁsh out the herring? I think they’ve done it three times in my lifetime,” he said. “I really hope they don’t open it up because that’s a big food source for the salmon.” Herring are one of many factors that could point to the decline of Paciﬁc salmon stocks. This summer DFO released the State of Canadian Paciﬁc Salmon, a report that highlighted the eﬀects of global warming on the ﬁsh. The document detailed that chinook are declining throughout their range, as are southern coho, while some sockeye populations in southern B.C. face extinction. “DFO has to change the way they do things,” said Johnson. “The federal government needs to maybe even get out of it for the ﬁshery to survive.” With a federal election on the horizon, the Huu-ay-aht First Nations invited Courtney Alberni MP Gord Johns to Bamﬁeld on Aug. 21 to communicate the importance of pursuing a livelihood on their territorial waters. During the meeting several members of the First Nation wore caps with the names of their fami-
lies’ current or former ﬁshing boats. “Huu-ay-aht has some very serious and very urgent issues related to ﬁsheries,” stressed Chief Councillor Robert Dennis Sr., noting a discussion he had recently with a commercial ﬁsherman in his nation. “He described it as ‘I’m a step away from being homeless’. That’s sad when you consider where that family was 20 years ago. They were well oﬀ, they were making a good living from the ﬁshing industry.” It’s a diﬃcult state for the nation to face, considering the Huu-ay-aht’s long history of economically beneﬁtting from the ocean’s resources. This was documented by the Spanish in the late 1700s, and in 1874 Hudson’s Bay Company employee George Blenkinsop noted the “abundance of marine resources in Huu-ay-aht territory,” said Dennis. A federal census in 1891 listed 46 Huu-ay-aht members as ﬁshermen or sealers. “That’s a lot considering the population back then might have been 300 Huu-ayaht,” he said. “The important part was that our forefathers were boat builders. They didn’t stand idly waiting for handouts or anything. They said we need to build a boat, so we’re going to do it.” But being entrepreneurial can be daunting in a small coastal community like Bamﬁeld, which used to have four ﬁshing plants. Those closed long ago, and the closest processing facility is on the other side of Barkley Sound in Ucluelet. “Wealth starts in rural communities, wealth starts in coastal communities, but it leaves coastal communities,” said Gord Johns. “Reconciliation would be prioritizing Indigenous ﬁshers and ensuring that there’s adequate measures to bring our ﬁsheries back to abundancy.” Now the Huu-ay-aht eagerly await a ruling from the B.C. Court of Appeal on the scope of the Aboriginal right of ﬁve Nuu-chah-nulth nations to harvest and sell ﬁsh from their territory. In 2009 the Huu-ay-aht decided to step away from
“For the life of me I can’t understand why James can’t tie his boat down there and sell the ﬁsh.” ~ Robert Dennis Sr., Huu-ay-aht Chief Councillor the Ahousaht et al vs Canada litigation, after the nation decided that participation in the case was hindering its ability to concluded treaty negotiations with Canada. But a clause in the Maa-nulth Final Agreement allows the treaty nations, which include Huu-ay-aht, Uchucklesaht, Toquaht, Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ and the Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k’tles7et’h’ First Nations, to beneﬁt from the litigation. “Maa-nulth nations could negotiate a ﬁshery comparable to the ﬁve nations’ agreements with DFO, and then move those licences into the treaty where the ﬁshing licences and rights would be constitutionally protected,” stated a Huuay-aht document on the “me too” clause in the treaty. The hope is that this could empower Huu-ay-aht members to proﬁt from their resources near Bamﬁeld. “It would be really good if people that came to visit Huu-ay-aht said, ‘…I would like to have a halibut steak that was caught by one of your local ﬁshermen’,” said Dennis. “But instead what we have to do in Huu-ay-aht territory is our restaurant has to order the ﬁsh from Nanaimo. So the ﬁsh goes, loaded on the dock, goes to the processing plant, goes to the retailer that’s selling it and then it comes back to Huu-ay-aht. For the life of me I can’t understand why James can’t tie his boat down there and sell the ﬁsh.”
Page 8— Ha-Shilth-Sa—September 12, 2019
Coming to grips with wild salmon in decline DFO has issued its ﬁrst State of Salmon report, an SOS for Paciﬁc stocks, with an emphasis on global warming By Mike Youds Ha-ShilthSa Contributor DFO scientists are drawing a direct line between climate change and ﬁsh population decline in what is shaping up to be one of the worst years on record for wild salmon. Normally sunny, pre-election announcements out of Ottawa have taken on a darker tone in recent weeks as the department grapples with an emergent threat at Big Bar on the Fraser River. None was grimmer than an Aug. 22 gathering that included release of the 2019 State of the Canadian Paciﬁc Salmon, the ﬁrst brieﬁng of its kind, delivered by DFO scientist Sue Grant. “The planet is warming and the most recent ﬁve years have been the warmest on record,” Grant said, repeating the nowfamiliar global scenario, a trend with a profound impact on an animals that thrive in cooler waters. Arising from a 2018 workshop among scientists, the report concludes Paciﬁc salmon and their ecosystems are already adapting to climate changes, some not as well as others. While there are multiple and complex factors contributing to the overall decline, the required remedy could not be clearer. “The extent that we are able to curb our CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions will determine the magnitude of future warming,” the report states. “There is still time to moderate climate change impacts on salmon and people.” Each of the ﬁve DFO-managed species of Paciﬁc salmon faces climate-related challenges: Chinook are declining throughout their range. Southern sockeye populations are dropping to a point where some face imminent extinction. Southern coho populations are declining. Pink are showing some declines in the south. Healthy salmon populations tend to spawn further north and spend less time in freshwater, but their freshwater habitats are relatively undisturbed, the report concludes. Another major factor is warm ocean temperatures that decrease production of larger, energy-rich zooplankton,
Photo by Mike Youds
Tseshaht members undertake their sockeye ﬁshery on the Somass River in 2018. contributing to poorer marine survival for for years and should have been addressed long ago, she said. salmon. “Why has it taken so long? They should The full report can be found in e-book be focused on strategies,” she added, notform at www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/species-esing that no First Nation input went into peces/publications/salmon-saumon/statethe report. etat-2019/ebook/index-eng.html “There is no question that climate “They need to be taking immediate change is having a signiﬁcant impact on action and adapt to climate change,” our salmon … 2019 has been a particushe said. “They seem to go about this as larly diﬃcult year for wild salmon,” said though it were business as usual.” Fisheries Minister Jonathan Wilkinson, Jim Lane, NTC southern region bisumming up the report. “Part of any ologist, said the report is noteworthy, realistic plan to protect and ultimately although not so much for its assessment restore key salmon stocks must include of the stocks. a comprehensive and aggressive plan to “I think it’s more signiﬁcant that they reduce carbon emissions,” he said. are starting to recognize that climate will Some of those in attendance were clearhave an impact on a number of populaly frustrated with the pace of government tions and that certain populations are action. probably going to be more vulnerable “We have declared a state of emergency to habitat changes,” Lane said. “As an with regard to the rock slide on the Fraser organization, they’re still struggling with River and it’s being ignored,” shouted how to deal with it.” Neskonlith Chief Judy Wilson, secretaryCiting the Somass as an example, he treasurer of the Union of B.C. Indian pointed to a gap in knowledge about the Chiefs. Wilson then questioned why the extent of pre-spawn mortality. In the federal government is pushing ahead past, there were multiple surveys taken with the Trans Mountain pipeline expanin the main tributaries of Sproat and sion given its conclusions about climate Great Central lakes. The practice ended impacts. not long after the ﬁrst warm-water event NTC President Judith Sayers said the re- in the Somass River in 2004. Only two port, a harsh wakeup call, represents the ﬁsh counts continue at Sproat Lake and ﬁrst time DFO has been so clear in attrib- Stamp Falls. uting species decline to climate change. “We don’t do that,” he said. “ConseWith warmer summers, temperatures quently, we’re not accounting for prehave been elevated in the Somass River spawn, sub-lethal eﬀects of warm water
on reproductive capacity of those ﬁsh.” Somass stock assessments have been cut back as well to a single assessment, a test ﬁshery by the seine boat Nita Maria. Despite steady declines in southern populations of Paciﬁc salmon, Lane is optimistic about the resilience and adaptability of salmon in general. “Salmonids are incredibly adaptive,” he said. “They can be generations distant from the home population and yet they adapt readily to location.” Wilkinson has been busy the last few weeks, re-announcing projects approved for funding through the Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund. The list of 23 projects so far approved does not include any on the Island’s west coast, an omission duly noted by Nuu-cha-nulth leadership. Uu-a-thluk, the NTC ﬁsheries department, made ﬁve applications to the fund. One was rejected and four were deferred to the next intake date promised this fall. What would top Lane’s list of measures to rebuild wild salmon stocks? “It would be getting a much better hold on what’s being harvested,” he said. “Much more resources directed at management and rebuilding of wild populations.” Along the west coast of the Island, a major opportunity exists to boost sockeye populations that, although relatively small, are important to Nuu-chah-nulth nations, he said. Rebuilding those ﬁsheries could provide greater ﬂexibility in allowing larger stocks to recover. He listed a few examples, including the Henderson Lake sockeye run, which has declined dramatically, or Kennedy Lake sockeye, once the largest among Island stocks. Sayers believes the State of Salmon report presents a clear call to action. “If we continue on with what we are doing with more greenhouse gases, I think it’s going to be diﬃcult no matter how healthy the stocks are,” she said. “The mitigation must be done sooner. There are just some conditions they just can’t live in.” The possibility of watching wild salmon stocks decline from endangered to lost is too disturbing to contemplate. “We’ve got to do more about climate change,” Sayers said. “This is integral to who we are.”
September 12, 2019—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 9
Response teams race against time at the Big Bar Some salmon make it through barrier on their own, millions to go after a landslide halts Fraser River migration By Mike Youds Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Lillooet, BC – Salmon are swimming through the Big Bar Slide in steady numbers, a hopeful sign months after ﬁsh passage was blocked during migration to Interior spawning grounds. The response operation’s “uniﬁed command centre” reported modest but steady progress over the last week of August at the canyon slide site despite naturally ﬂuctuating river levels, another hurdle in a race against time. By Aug. 31 the province reported that rock scalers were able to move large boulders from the river, a development which helped more than 30,000 salmon swim through the partly cleared passageway on the following day. By Sept. 6, ﬁsh counts showed more than 140,000 salmon were able to swim through the slide area along a cleared passageway. Those were in addition to roughly 50,000 sockeye, chinook, coho and pink salmon airlifted by helicopter or trucked around the slide since beach seining began in late July. This humanfacilitated transportation was paused on Sept. 4 “due to high numbers of natural passage,” according to the province. The latest ﬁgures are dwarfed by forecast spawning escapement. More than two million migrating salmon, including 628,000 sockeye — far below the pre-season forecast of 4.8 million — and well over a million pink, chinook, coho and chum, were expected to make their way upstream. The disaster has led four Tsilhqot’in communities to purchase salmon from Ahousaht, through a connection the interior nations have with
“It took a while, but you can’t have people charge in because it’s unsafe. For me, I think they’re doing just about everything they possibly can. Yes, it probably won’t be enough.”
~ Jim Lane, NTC biologist Ha’wilth Shawn Atleo. “This is understandably a crisis situation,” said Fisheries Minister Jonathan Wilkinson in a public update in late August. Fraser River returns were already predicted to be lower in this subdominant year, compounding the magnitude of the problem, he said. The impasse, a ﬁve-metre-high waterfall over slide debris, was ﬁrst reported June 23. After criticism from First Nation leaders, locally and at large, for not responding with appropriate urgency, federal and provincial authorities have tried to show otherwise. By the end of August about 100 staﬀ were stationed at a command centre in Lillooet, co-ordinating the eﬀort now referred to as Uniﬁed Command of the Big Bar Landslide, “a government to government to government response.” Another 58 staﬀ were working at the site in addition to 16 rock scalers, the people who normally work above highways to reduce slide risk. First Nations are now working
Beach seining teams transfer salmon into containers for helicopter airlift on the Fraser River in late August. shoulder-to-shoulder with federal and provincial staﬀ. This is not the ﬁrst time a rock slide has blocked the province’s most vital salmon waterway. There are echoes of the disastrous winter of 1914, when CN Railway blasting triggered the Hells Gate Slide. Water velocity through the gorge increased enough to prevent most salmon from swimming upstream. Indigenous alarm turned to outrage, fuelled by government mishandling of the response. River restoration eﬀorts from the outset were ineﬀective while Indigenous knowledge and advice were ignored. As a direct consequence, Indigenous communities along the river suﬀered years of famine. Downstream, a massive commercial ﬁshery carried on. Predictably, the Fraser salmon population plummeted to a fraction of its original strength. Indigenous ﬁshing rights were severely curtailed. Stocks began to recover only after ﬁsh ladders were built decades later. In early July, history seemed to repeat itself as local First Nations voiced grave concerns over the Big Bar Slide response. “Immediate mitigation eﬀorts, in consultation with impacted Fraser River First Nations, must be the top priority for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and associated provincial ministries,” said Cheryl Casimer of the First Nations Summit executive. “The blockage not only impacts upstream First Nations’ access to food sources for this year, it has the potential to severely impair future cycles of salmon stocks which will be cause for huge losses to First Nations, commercial and sport ﬁsheries in future years.” Much of the frustration stemmed from the initial response, said NTC President Judith Sayers. “I think it speaks to the overall management by DFO and the response to an emergency situation,” Sayers said. “It
A rock scaler’s view looking down at the Big Bar landslide into the Fraser River. really wasn’t handled quickly enough.” She feels there could have been more planning with First Nations from the outset. Nuu-chah-nulth peoples, too, have always ﬁshed Fraser-bound salmon. “From a Nuu-chah-nulth perspective, it seems that we always have a diﬃcult time getting DFO to respond and it seems we’re not the only ones,” Sayers said. Jim Lane, NTC southern region biologist, suggested a lack of communication and consultation earlier may have been a contributing factor at the outset. There are other complicating factors. “It’s a pretty remote area,” Lane said. “It took a while, but you can’t have people charge in because it’s unsafe. For me, I think they’re doing just about everything they possibly can. Yes, it probably won’t be enough.” He feels conﬁdent that an engineering solution will be found. If nothing else, the
situation may help to bring greater attention to broader challenges facing Paciﬁc salmon, he added. The Big Bar response has included testing of mobile ﬁsh ladders, though natural passage was recognized from the start as the most desirable outcome. Other strategies, such as dip-netting and truck transport, are being tested or expanded while road construction around the impasse nears completion. During the last week of August when the ﬁrst ﬁsh came through the passageway it was more than symbolic, exhibiting the resilience and power of an animal long held sacred by First Nations. “Our ﬁsh are pretty resilient,” Sayers said. “We just need more to get through. A few is not enough. Or four years down the line, there won’t be many salmon returning.”
Page 10— Ha-Shilth-Sa—September 12, 2019
September is salmon smoking time on the Somass Freezers are ge•ing ﬁlled after home-use ﬁsh distributions, leading many to use traditional preserving methods By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Port Alberni, BC – Summer is over; the kids are back to school and the salmon are returning home to spawn. For many Nuu-chah-nulth-aht late summer means home-use ﬁsh deliveries from their respective First Nations. If you’re fortunate enough to live in an area of Port Alberni that allows the use of smoke houses, this is the time of year to have your cedar and alder wood stocked and your knives sharpened for fresh incoming salmon. Ha-Shilth-Sa was invited to the homes of Tseshaht members that were busy smoking salmon in early September. Tseshaht elder Linda Thomas enjoys a stunning view overlooking the Somass River from her front room. From there you can see Tseshaht ﬁshermen in their small, open boats heading down river to set their nets for an upcoming FSC (food, social, ceremonial) opening. Her smokehouse is in the backyard. Stacks of ﬁrewood are nearby, waiting for the next batch of prepared salmon to be hung inside. “I don’t use sticks anymore to hang salmon because I was losing too much,” said Thomas, adding that her ﬁsh would fall oﬀ the sticks and onto the ﬂoor. She uses metal racks to smoke her precious salmon. Thomas demonstrated how she was
“I don’t use sticks anymore to hang salmon because I was losing too much” ~ Linda Thomas, Tseshaht Elder
Photos by Denise Titian
Tseshaht elder Linda Thomas demonstrates how to ﬁllet salmon at her home by the Somass River. taught to cut a spring salmon (chinook) for the smokehouse to Ha-Shilth-Sa. Armed with ﬁleting knives and a handmade 7aplthay’ak (roughly pronounced ‘up thlaya’), Thomas quickly went to work breaking down the 20-plus-pound spring salmon, explaining each step very carefully. The gutted and gilled salmon had been packed with ice for several hours. Thomas said allowing the salmon to chill on ice for a few hours - rather than cutting it up straight from the river - allows the ﬂesh to become more ﬁrm, making for easier cutting. The ﬁrst step was to remove the head,
complete with collar. It is important to make sure there is some meat left on the head so that there is something to eat. Placing the ﬁsh head with the lower jaw facing upward, Thomas sliced through the ﬂesh next to the spine using her 7aplthay’ak. Slicing through everything but the skin allows the head to open up like a butterﬂy. A stick would be inserted through the eye sockets and the heads would be hung near the door of the smokehouse, where there is less smoke. Going back to the body of the salmon, Thomas sliced through the skin alongside the spine. Using her 7aplthay’ak. With deft strokes of her knife she cut a ﬂeshy ﬁlet of salmon oﬀ, leaving plenty of meat on the spine. It is important to make sure your knives are sharp and that you avoid sawing back and forth as much as possible so that you don’t make a mess of the ﬁlets. Thomas sliced the white belly portion oﬀ of the side of salmon she had just removed. The belly part is fat and some people don’t eat it but, for others, it’s the best part. Thomas scored the belly meat. She explained that the belly strips will also go into the smoke house and slic-
ing the ﬂesh allows the smoke ﬂavor to penetrate the meat. Several long strips of ﬂesh were sliced oﬀ of both the skin side of the salmon and the spine side. The process was repeated with the other half of the salmon. Fins were cut oﬀ. “It’s important to use everything, let nothing go to waste,” she said. Besides the ﬂeshy skins and thin ﬁlets (which are dried to make upskwee/jerky), Thomas smokes the heads, the ﬂeshy pair of pelvic ﬁns, and the spine/tail. Spines and tails are boiled after smoking and can be made into a broth. The other ﬁns go into a pot to be cooked for the pets. Nothing goes to waste. Thomas is grateful to her mother for teaching her how to preserve salmon and to her father for his teachings. “Dad said we should always share, and not just the heads or spines,” she said. Long after her parents’ passing, Thomas carries on with the teachings, bringing some of her smoked gold to an elder in the hospital. After enjoying his gift of smoked salmon, the elder told Thomas a story of her parents from when they were young.
September 12, 2019—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 11
Jean Ignace checks her salmon with granddaughter, Belinda Frank, at the family’s smokehouse in Port Alberni. Linda Schulz-Pelech (below) and her husband Don stand by a salmon smoker they built at their home by the Somass River. It was a story that warmed her heart and smokehouse soon,” he says, motioning to one that she might never have heard if a small cedar shed that he says was once she hadn’t abided by her teachings. a chicken coop. Hesquiaht elder Jean Ignace lives next Pelech, a Métis man, says he is selfto the Somass River. She was busy taught when it comes to smoking salmon. checking her smoked salmon bellies with He’s been doing it for 30 years, experiher granddaughter, Belinda Frank. Inside menting with diﬀerent methods. the dark smokehouse were cedar sticks “I grew up next to the river and we’d draped with thin strips of salmon ﬂesh bring ﬁsh home,” he shared. and salmon bellies. Pelech oﬀered up some of his delicious “I’m just going to make half-smoked smoked salmon jerky (upskwee). It is salmon,” she tells Ha-Shilth-Sa, meaning translucent, mildly ﬂavored with maple that the salmon would not be completely syrup and salt and is gently smoked. dried but would have the delicious alder“I start oﬀ leaving the door to the smoked ﬂavor. “This is my granddaughsmokehouse open then start slowly closter’s ﬁsh.” ing it after a day,” said Pelech. Ignace said she was expecting ﬁsh from Cleaning, cutting and preserving salmon her nation the following day and would is hard, time consuming work but at the start her smokehouse up again over the end of the day, when you sit down to a weekend. steaming plate of smoked salmon and Further up the river lives Linda Schulzpotatoes, you know that it was worth it. Pelech and her husband Don. The couple For Pelech and others who employ traare do-it-youselfers living in a beautiful ditional methods with their ﬁsh, cleaning, home that Don is building from scratch, cutting and preserving salmon is hard, mostly using materials found nearby. He time consuming work. But at the end of uses YouTube videos for guidance. the day, when you sit down to a steaming So it is no surprise that his small smoke plate of smoked ﬁsh and potatoes, you house is made of scavenged pallets. know that it was worth it. “We’re going to move over to a bigger
Page 12— Ha-Shilth-Sa—September 12, 2019
Fishery News West coast oﬃcials hope to receive some federal funds It’s yet to be determined how much of the $8 million for ‘ghost gear’ cleanup will go to Canada’s West Coast By Sam Laskaris Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor Vancouver Island, BC – Gord Johns is pleased the federal government has announced more than $8 million in funding to help clean up some of the country’s coastlines. But Johns, the MP for the CourtenayAlberni riding, believes a lot more needs to be done. “It’s a good ﬁrst step by the government but it’s just a beginning,” he said. “They have to come up with a long-term plan.” The federal government announced in late August it would provide up to $8.3 million to help ﬁsh harvesters, environmental groups, Indigenous communities, the aquaculture industry, and coastal communities to ﬁnd and retrieve ghost gear from the country’s waters. The federal announcement followed the results of a three-day ghost ﬁshing gear retrieval program, which was held this past July in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. During that cleanup nine kilometres of rope and more than 100 snow crab traps were removed from the waters. Federal oﬃcials, however, have not indicated which parts of the country will receive some of its pledged funding. Those decisions are not expected to come until next year. That’s in part because Fisheries and Oceans Canada, which is also frequently called the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), is planning to hold a gear innovation summit this coming February. A site has yet to be announced. That summit will include discussions and collaborations for those interested in ghost gear removal and new technologies in the industry that will help prevent abandoned, lost or discarded ﬁshing gear, which is collectively called ghost gear. Communities and groups will then be able to submit applications to request funding for cleanups in their areas. It is estimated that about 640,000 tonnes of ghost gear enters oceans every year. Besides potentially being harmful to ﬁsh, whales, sharks and turtles, the ghost gear also threatens the environment when it is
left in the waters. Johns said a great deal of funds are currently required on Vancouver Island’s west coast to help with cleanups. “It’s a huge issue,” he said. “Local groups and organizations are working around the clock now trying to retrieve things. This is a coastal issue people know about no matter where you live in Canada.” Dianne Ignace, who has lived in Hesquiaht Harbour with her husband Dave for the past 44 years, is well aware just how much cleanup work is required locally. Last year during a six-day cleanup of the local beach about 80 tonnes of garbage was collected. This trash included countless plastic bottles, ropes, crates as well as gas and propane tanks. “We weren’t surprised,” Ignace said of the amount of garbage collected. “What was surprising though was the thoroughness of the cleanup. Almost everything was from the beach. You wouldn’t believe how much stuﬀ there was.” Having lived at her current location for more than four decades, Ignace is also fully aware of just how much garbage is in the local waters. “There is a lot of stuﬀ there but you can’t really see it now because there is this wild mustard growing and it’s covering up a lot of it,” she said. And it will not be an easy feat to dispose of remaining materials in the local waters. “They’ve got a long way to go,” Ignace said. As for Johns, who aims to retain his seat in this year’s federal election set for Oct. 21, he’s hoping local groups and organizations stay on top of this issue and apply for some cleanup funding. Johns is also hoping federal politicians realize the enormity of the cleanup required and commit to additional funding. “Of course we’d like to see more,” he said. “But we commend the government for this start. Coming from zero, it’s a start. We hope there’s much more investment after a strong plan is in place.” Canada has the longest coastline in the world. And its politicians realize they
Photo by Eric Plummer
Having lived in Hesquiaht Harbour for most of their lives, Dave and Dianne Ignace have seen growing masses of ocean debris wash up on their shore. “There is a lot of stuﬀ there, but you can’t really see it now because there is this wild mustard growing and it’s covering up a lot of it,” said Dianne this summer. need to be leaders in cleanup eﬀorts, economic resilience of Canada’s coastal according to recent messaging from the and rural communities,” Jonathan Wilkinfederal government. son, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans “Removing harmful ghost ﬁshing gear and the Canadian Coast Guard said in a from the oceans will support a healthy news release announcing the federal govocean environment and contribute to the ernment’s funding announcement.
Phrase of the week - naa%a+ suuh= saw c’up Pronounced nah-alth su-ha saw-tsoop, this means when the salmon head up the river. Supplied by c^iisma
Illustration by Ivy Cargill-Martin
September 12, 2019—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 13
T’aaq-wiihak ﬁsheries await fall court decision Summer ﬁshing season limited by weak runs and low allocations, but survey indicates the sea cucumber ﬁshery can expand By Mike Youds Ha-Shilth-Sa Contributor A long and frustrating struggle to reestablish Aboriginal access to west coast ﬁshery resources may ﬁnally bear fruit with an appeal decision expected in the T’aaq-wiihak rights saga. T’aaq-wiihak ﬁsheries represent the Aboriginal commercial right to ﬁsh by ﬁve Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations (Ahousaht, Ehattesaht/Chinehkint, Hesquiaht, Tlao-qui-aht and Mowachaht/Muchalaht), rights conﬁrmed by a 2009 B.C. Supreme Court decision. T’aaq-wiihak’s seventh consecutive summer season included ﬁve ﬁsheries, limited for the most part to chinook salmon and gooseneck barnacles. They are still classed as pilot or demonstration ﬁsheries pending the outcome of a case before the B.C. Court of Appeal. “The nations’ vision for these ﬁsheries has not been realized yet,” said Alex Gagne, T’aaq-wiihak ﬁsheries manager. “We’re still in that transition period.” She is, however, optimistic about the court decision scheduled some time this fall. Fishing, which opened May 24, was already limited by forecasts for a poor year for most salmon species. That was further restricted by low catch allocations and chinook conservation measures stemming from the Big Bar Slide on the Fraser River, Gagne said. “That did make ﬁshing a lot more challenging,” she said. Three-quarters of T’aaq-wiihak nations’ chinook were harvested during a twoweek opening in late July, she said. Unlike last year, when there were
T’aaq-wiihak Fisheries photo
T’aaq-wiihak activities this summer included a Conuma River suuhaa ﬁshery. has been an intervenor in the case. three weeks’ worth of Fraser sockeye allocations, there was none this sum“We’ve always been very conﬁdent in mer. There was, however, a consolation: terms of proceeding with the appeal,” said Cliﬀ Atleo, lead negotiator. “There a multi-species, hook-and-line ﬁnﬁsh were so many things wrong with this ﬁshery for halibut, salmon and ling cod. Halibut catches were signiﬁcant, though decision.” they don’t have ﬁnal catch numbers yet, Foremost among them was the judge’s characterization of Aboriginal ﬁshing, Gagne said. A Muchalat Inlet suuhaa (chinook) ﬁsh- which she described as a “small-scale, ery was held in Nootka Sound in August. artisanal” ﬁshery. The wording not only Other ﬁsheries included a Conuma River ﬂies in the face of economic viability and suuhaa chinook ﬁshery in July and a ling First Nation aspirations for self-reliance, cod ﬁshery that opened Sept. 4. Openit is also seen as a potential setback for ings for Clayoquot Sound sea cucumber all First Nations pursuing recognition of and red urchin are scheduled for early Aboriginal rights. October. “I, too, am optimistic about a positive The court appeal hinges on how the pre- decision on our behalf,” Atleo said. siding judges interpret Canada’s infringeHow DFO interprets that decision ment on the Aboriginal ﬁshing rights of remains to be seen, he added, describing the ﬁve T’aaq-wiihak First Nations. NTC past policies as racist.
“Government is generally opposed to Aboriginal participation,” Atleo said. “All of the government policies that were negative in the past have led us to where we are. We hope to be independent, selfsustaining communities.” The T’aaq-wiihak main table gathers in Port Alberni on Sept. 18 in the Tseshaht Great Room. Despite the delays, litigation and inadequate allocations, each year has brought improvements and greater revenues from T’aaq-wiihak ﬁsheries, Gagne said. Andy Webster, an Ahousaht ﬁsherman, said he chose not to participate in the chinook ﬁshery because of a requirement to release ﬁsh larger than 81 cm. Catching and releasing salmon taxes their ability to survive, he said. “To me, it’s criminal shaking oﬀ smileys,” he said, using the nickname for large chinook salmon. “Too much mortality.” Webster was thankful for several community food ﬁsheries that helped ﬁll the gap in his season. “If it weren’t for the food ﬁsheries, we’d be toast,” he said. Brion Robinson, a sea cucumber ﬁsherman who operates a commercial dive boat, took part in a mapping survey this summer in Nootka Sound and Esperanza Inlet. The mapping determined that seacucumber populations are suﬃcient to allow an expansion of the ﬁshery in those areas in the next year or so. He plans to be part of the ﬁshery in Clayoquot Sound in October. “You do pretty well,” Anderson said. “It’s one of the best if not the best of T’aaq-wiihak ﬁsheries.”
Commercial ﬁsherman dies on the job in Alberni Inlet By Denise Titian Ha-Shilth-Sa Reporter Port Alberni, BC – Worksafe BC and several other agencies are investigating after a commercial ﬁsherman in his early 60s drowned during a commercial gillnet ﬁshery opening on Sept. 4 in the Alberni Inlet. According to reports the lone ﬁsherman was seen going overboard with his gillnet by other commercial ﬁshermen in the area. A rescue attempt was made by the ﬁshermen in the area. The man was entangled in his net. Rescuers’ eﬀorts were hampered by the weight of the gillnet and its catch. The man was pulled from the water and CPR was administered. The Port Alberni Fire Department was called at 1 a.m. and assisted with lifesaving eﬀorts but the man did not survive. According to Dave McCormick of the Port Alberni Port Authority, the incident occurred between the Port Authority terminals and Hohm Island, which is within view of the city’s Harbour Quay waterfront. Mike Carter of PAPA was contacted at 1:35 a.m. by Search and Rescue. They alerted PAPA that they would be bringing the unmanned ﬁshing vessel to berth at their facility. According to Carter, Worksafe BC was at the vessel all day Wednesday. The B.C. Coroner’s Service and the
Photo by Eric Plummer
A ﬁsherman’s vessel was still docked at Centennial Pier in the afternoon of Sept. 4 after the man drowned across from the harbour early in the morning. RCMP are investigating. Worksafe BC is also investigating the incident, saying, “Our investigation is intended to determine the cause of the incident and any contributing factors, so
that similar incidents can be prevented from happening in the future.” “We at PAPA extend our deepest sympathy; our thoughts and prayers are with the deceased’s family and friends,” said Dave
McCormick. He went on to say that those who work on the water are a tight-knit community deeply aﬀected by something like this.
Page 14— Ha-Shilth-Sa—September 12, 2019
Nuchatlaht prepares for its next hereditary chief Seventy-year-old Tyee Ha’wilth Walter Michael looks to his son Jordan to soon lead the 164-member nation By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Oclucje, BC - After serving in the role for more than 30 years, the Nuchatlaht’s hereditary title is being passed on to the next generation. Tyee Ha’wilth Walter Michael, who has led his nation since 1988, began the process by passing the seat to his son Jordan last spring. Now as Michael continues in the role, the next hereditary chief is undergoing a transitional process of being prepared to lead his 164-member First Nation. “We’re preparing for the ﬁnal transfer,” said Nuchatlaht Councillor Archie Little. “It will be done culturally. We still have a ways to go before that happens.” The cultural transition entails teaching the necessary protocol to Jordan Michael. The nation plans to invite hereditary chiefs from other Nuu-chah-nulth tribes to witness the ﬁnal transfer in a potlatch. “The Ha’wilth’s family has to learn and gather their songs and dances,” added Little. “Jordan will start working with the other Ha’wiih.” Unlike most modern-day First Nations that have hereditary chiefs as well as elected representatives, the Nuchatlaht has retained its Tyee in the top government role. The nation also has four councillors appointed by the chief and community to represent the interests of diﬀerent families. “We understand that the Indian Act does not recognise the hereditary system, but that’s okay, we believe in it,” said Little. “When you have elections, they can change course after a new council gets in.” Tyee Ha’wilth Walter Michael is the direct descendent of Tacisa̓ th, First Chief of the Nuchatlaht, who led his tribe in the early 1800s. The Tyee’s sister Cathy Michael recalls when the seat was last transferred in the late 1980s from Ha’wilth Alban Michael, who was Nuchatlaht’s last ﬂuent speaker. This occurred back when the community lived in Nuchatlitz on the northern part of Nootka Island. “A lot of chiefs from diﬀerent places, like Tla-o-qui-aht, Ahousaht, Hesquiaht,
Kyuquot, a lot of them were called to Nuchatlitz,” she said. Little noted a long history of chiefs from other tribes living in Nuchatlaht territory. “We had the Tyee families from Ehattesaht, Muchalaht staying with us in Nuchatlaht,” he said. “They’ve always known what Nuchatlaht owned because they were chiefs.” In the late 1980s the nation was moved from Nuchatlitz, down the Espinosa Inlet to their current on-reserve home in Oclucje, which is located 12 kilometres from the Village of Zeballos. “We were actually moved from there to here because ﬁshermen pulled out our water line and for years we carried our water from the wells,” said Cathy Michael. “We were having problems with water, water and school,” added Little. “We felt we had to move closer to the communities so the kids could go to school.” Although winters are harsh, Oclucje resident Edgar Smith feels the beneﬁts of subsisting oﬀ the resources around him - rather than eating only what he can aﬀord, as he did while living in towns. “I moved back here because of my health. I live on the seafood that’s around here, I live on the vegetation that’s around me,” he said. “Every berry that comes out around here I pick.” With nine houses at the end of the inlet, the community’s population ﬂuctuates between 20 and 40 from the winter to summer. But on Aug. 24 dozens more could be found in the community to celebrate Walter Michael’s 70th birthday. With visitors from the nearby Ehattesaht reserve, Kyuquot, Port Hardy, Toﬁno and Port Alberni present, the current Tyee sat surrounded by family at the back of the Oclucje community hall watching the families he has seen grow over the last generation. Little noted that the Nuchatlaht’s continued practice of having its hereditary chief at the top of government is an important aspect of the First Nation’s land title case, which pertains to its territory across the northern part of Nootka Island. The case is expected to be heard in B.C. Supreme Court within a year or so.
Photo by Eric Plummer
Nuchatlaht Tyee Ha’wilth Water Michael sits with family outside the First Nation’s government building in Oclucje on Aug. 24, while the community celebrated his 70th birthday. Little said that history shows a long succession of the nation’s chiefs serving their people at home. “His work is not political, his work is at home,” he said, looking ahead to how Jordan Michael will prepare for this
Wednesday Thursday October
role. “He’s a fast leaner, he will do well. He has our support. We thank Walter for what he has done for the nation and ﬁnally seeing that it’s time for a young person to be in there.”
Save The Date The NTC Annual DAC Ability Fair At the Alberni Athletic Hall, 3727 Roger Street Port Alberni, British Columbia
The theme chosen by the committee is “Nah-shuk-sulk” it was explained by an Elder on the committee that it is important for us to address the whole person – mind, body and spirit. We will be working with Teechuktl to organize a health fair that will provide both information and support, to promote education and wellness, and be sure to have some fun while we are at it! *** Any donations of ﬁsh or seafood for the evening dinner will be appreciated. For more information please contact the NTC oﬃce at 250-724-5757 Photo by Eric Plummer
Colin Shaw receives halibut during the Nuchatlaht’s community ﬁsh distribution to its members in Oclucje on Aug. 24. The ﬁsh was caught the previous day further down Espinosa Inlet.
www.hashilthsa.com for more community events
September 12, 2019—Ha-Shilth-Sa—Page 15
Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock comes through Alberni Sept. 27 dinner is open to the public, as the police on bikes undertake their 1,100-kilometre cross-island journey By Deborah Potter Ha-Shilth-Sa Staﬀ Port Alberni, BC - The Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock is starting this month, and the riders and communities are preparing for the over 1,100-kilometre journey across the island. The tour will be running through Port Alberni on Sept. 27 and long-time supporter and four-year volunteer Matilda Atleo is looking forward to the event. When Atleo ﬁrst started volunteering alongside the Tour de Rock, she really wanted to include the local nations with the event. “I always used to see them pass by, right through the (reserve)…I thought, why couldn’t we get involved?” says Atleo. With the cooperation of local bands Tseshaht and Hupacasath, Atleo is helping arrange a dinner for the riders and the community. The dinner is by donation, and organisers hope to include everyone in the pediatric cancer awareness fundraiser. The Tour de Rock holds a special and emotional place in Atleo’s heart, as she had lost her nephew to leukaemia. “It’s deﬁnitely a journey, especially if you know some of the riders.” Atleo adds. The dinner is on the evening of the 27th, and is open to the public at the Alberni Athletic Hall by donation. The Port Alberni detachment has no
Photo by Holly Stocking
Cyclists are currently preparing for this year’s Tour de Rock. Pictured are participants in the 2017 event on Highway 4. riders this year, but that doesn’t mean the local police station isn’t supporting the event. “It’s important to get involved…anything helps,” Const. Beth O’Connor says to Ha-Shilth-Sa. Cst. O’Connor participated in the Tour de Rock in 2017, and she described it as an “eye opening, new experience”. Her training regimen started in early March, six months before the tour started. Each district had a police trainer who would assist with the schedule, and the riders would always train together. O’Connor says she would bike 60-80 kilometres a
day, four times a week in preparation for the long days during the tour. But the hard work pays oﬀ, and all the money raised goes to local families suffering from pediatric cancer, or to help kids go to Camp Good Times, a getaway for young people suﬀering from cancer to receive medical treatment, support, and
fun. To help support this event, Boston Pizza is hosting a burger night on September 23rd at 6 pm, and Matilda Atleo is searching for donations, volunteers, and a caterer. Those interested in helping can contact the NTC at (250) 724-5757.
Examining how the media covers First Nations issues By Karly Blats Ha-Shilth-sa Contributor Nanaimo, BC - For the next four months, a professor from Portland State University will be researching the similarities and diﬀerences between how Indigenous scientiﬁc and cultural issues are covered by the media in Canada and the United States at Vancouver Island University (VIU). Dr. Cynthia-Lou Coleman, a department of communications professor, was chosen as VIU’s 2019 Fulbright Canada Jarislowsky Foundation Visiting Research Chair in Aboriginal Studies. Coleman intends to examine how scientiﬁc and cultural issues are discussed - or overlooked - in various communication channels, such as news and entertainment programs, websites, public forums and social media. She will also explore how Indigenous peoples, policy-makers, journalists and community members feel about how these issues are covered. Her project is called Comparing Science, Culture and Discourse about Indigenous Issues in Canada and the United States. It will help inform her book Studies in Media and Environmental Communication, which summarizes two decades of her research on how scientiﬁc and cultural issues that inﬂuence American Indian communities are framed. “I’m really on a search mission to ﬁnd out from folks what they think is important for me to know, both from the receivers end of communication but also the folks that are trying to get information out,” Coleman said. Coleman admits her understanding of Indigenous communities in Canada is very limited, but she looks forward to learning about the Nuu-chah-nulth, their culture and issues they ﬁnd important during her time on Vancouver Island. During her research, Coleman said she plans to look for pointers from students and faculty at VIU for where to focus her attention. “I hope to extend my book…and that’s taking a look at environmental commu-
Dr. Cynithia-Lou Coleman nication but speciﬁcally cultural issues that Native Americans have faced in the United States, and I would love to be able to expand that to Canada,” Coleman said. “If I can learn enough about what issues are important and to be able to ﬁnd out from the folks themselves what’s important, I’d also like to see how that information gets covered in the press in public discourse.” Coelman said she ﬁrst became interested in Indigenous issues when she was in grad school in the 1980s. “When I ﬁrst started in grad school a million years ago I was really interested in politics and I was very interested in the United States and how Indians participated in voting,” she said. “I found out there is almost nothing written about it, this was in the 1980s and I thought well, what am I going to do?” Coelman has continued exploring Indigenous issues since the ‘80s with a focus on the social construction of science in mainstream discourse and the eﬀects of framing on bio-political policies that impact American Indigenous communities. During her time on Vancouver Island, she hopes to be invited into people’s spaces, whether it’s a classroom, their home or an art studio, and share their perspectives with her. “I look forward to working with and learning from Coleman,” said Dr. Carol Stuart, VIU Interim Provost and VicePresident Academic in a press release. “Her research will help us further our eﬀorts at VIU to ensure Indigenous voices and perspectives are present in academia.”
Page 16— Ha-Shilth-Sa—September 12, 2019
The president’s message to Nuu-chah-nulth-aht August started oﬀ in a big way with the Tlu-piich games. The games were well attended and there were various sports, family events and cultural activities. All were enjoyed. Thanks to all the staﬀ and volunteers that help make the game fun and successful. It is always good to see more Nuu-chah-nulth being admitted into the Sports Hall of fame and acknowledge all our athletes that have made a diﬀerence. I was honoured to attend a graduation ceremony at the Nuu-chah-nulth Employment Training program (NETP). They held a course called Foundations to Innovations and Technology. It had been a 12-week course that was held at the NETP oﬃce in Port Alberni. A proud moment for the grads. They can use what they learned in their current situations or they could go on and take the next level of courses being oﬀered. This was a partnership between NTC, NVIT and First Nations Technology Council. Working further with NETP, I travelled to Toﬁno to meet Melanie Mark who is Minister of Advanced Education and Training. She is from the Nisga’a Nation. Tla-o-qui-aht had a large team in the room including their workers that had been receiving tickets and red seal certiﬁcation. The Minister really wanted to know what the challenges are for our students in getting training. The students present at the meeting talked about how great it was that they could be trained at home and didn’t have to go out of town and away from families. It was a good conversation as the Minister listened to the challenges of remote communities. We also talked about the challenges of getting drivers licenses and ensuring our members were able to get to jobs or take jobs that include driving. She recognized this as a fact and mentioned that when she meets with chiefs, this is the top concern they raise. She is putting more money into driver training for Indigenous peoples and looking at other ways to get our members driving licences. The Industry Training Association (ITA) was also at the meeting with the Minister, and after she left we signed a Memorandum of Understanding about how NTC and ITA can work together to deliver training programs in community and get more members trained and certiﬁed. The ITA is a government program that works on training programs that lead to certiﬁcation. This is a real need in our NCN communities so that we have qualiﬁed people to build our buildings, ﬁx our water systems and other infrastructure needs. I would like to thank Ian Caplette, our Education Manager, and Marisa Bennett our NETP manager for their hard work in negotiating the MOU and promoting a good relationship that will help improve the lives of our members and communities. There is good progress being made at NETP in advancing the training of our members. I have also been working with the Quuquuasa Language Society (QLS). At last year’s AGM, we passed a motion to help them with their eﬀorts in revitalizing our language. We have been talking about processes on how we can get them recordings of our language as was agreed to in the motion. We have also been
Community&Beyond Governments Making Things Right for Nuu-chah-nulth Forum
details to come.
Homalco’s 4th Gratitude Day
Oct. 26 Campbell River
This forum will be about reporting out on Community Input-and how we move forward. All Nuu-chah-nulth welcome!! Time: 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM. For more information please contact the NTC oﬃce at 250-724-5757. NTC Annual General Meeting
Sept. 25 - 26 Victoria
working on proposals we can help with to get more money to put on more courses and equipment. We are also trying to assist in getting space for oﬃces and training rooms for the classes. Good progress is being made by the QLS, but they could do a lot more if they had more resources. Thanks to Victoria Wells and Jane Jones for their eﬀorts to work with NTC for the good of our language. Good news from our Pathways student success supervisor Judi Thomas. There have been changes to post-secondary funding guidelines. Child care is now an eligible expenditure. No limit on travel for how many times students can travel home. Part-time students will be eligible for living and travel allowance at a prorated amount. Check with NTC education staﬀ to see what you are eligible for. Everything is coming together for the Annual General Meeting that will be held on the Tsawout reserve on September 25 and 26th. The theme will be homelessness. There will be shuttles from downtown taking people out to the meeting place. We want to hear from our members who don’t have homes and ﬁnd out how we can help. We have some great speakers and panels put together so we can put a strategy in place to help our members who are without homes. Ahousaht is the host nation and is planning a dinner for the evening of the 25th. We will also be looking at amendments to the Constitution and by-laws of the NTC. Packages with proposed changes have gone out to all the Nuu-chah-nulth nations. These changes address having one person hold more than one proxy. What constitutes a quorum. These are issues that have made problems for NTC when we have our meetings. Please review these proposed changes so we can have good discussions. Remember we are doing a one-day meeting on the 24th of September at Tsawout as well, where we will be talking about reconciliation. What do we need the governments to do for the Nuu-chah-nulth nation (not the individual First Nations as they will do that on their own.) to make things right for us? We will have a draft report with main points to go through as we will be seeking more input for people who attend. All Nuuchah-nulth are welcome. Regional Chief Terry Teegee will be speaking to us on this day as well. Looking forward to more dialogue with you. -Kekinusuqs, Judith Sayers
Our theme for this year is on the subject of homelessness, as we have many NCN members who are homeless in several urban areas, including Victoria. Our Quu’asa team will be gathering items to help individuals who are in need, and delivering these items to Our Place Society while they are attending the AGM. NTC’s DAC Fair
Oct. 2 - 3 Port Alberni Held at the Alberni Athletic Hall. More
Theme: Journey to a new freedom Guest Speaker: James H. Admission by donation, please call to pre-register, registration 9 a.m. Meetings all day, starting 10 a.m., lunch and dinner provided. Culture & entertainment: smudging,cedar brushing, dance. *This event is open to everyone!* Location: Homalco Hall, 1218 Bute Cres. Contact: Glen 250-923-3976 or 250-204-0492 or Marilyn 250-923-3976 or 250-203-3406 Memorial Potlach
May 16 2020 Lake Cowichan We the Livingstone family are now planning a Memorial Potlach for our Father and Hereditary Chief Sha e’ Lum, Cyril Edward Livingstone. Bring your drums and regalia. All family and friends are invited. Location: Lake Cowichan Arena, 311 S Shore Rd, Lake Cowichan, Contact Lake Cowichan First Nation at (250) 749-3301 for information.
Le!er to the Editor Dear Editor: I have been following the progress of the Language Revitalisation Totem Pole being carved in Port Alberni, by master carver Tim Paul. The massive Nuu-chah-nulth carving is to deliver a message to the world that Indigenous languages are in grave risk of extinction, mostly caused by the cultural destruction in Residential Schools mandated by our governments. The 65-foot, 60,000-pound Pole being carved from a blowdown 800-year-old tree is to be raised in the fall this year, in the United Nations Year of Indigenous languages, erected at the University of Victoria. First Nations Education Foundation (FNEF), that helps community led Language Revitalisation eﬀorts, says the donations have now not met with operational need. They have raised over $100,000 of the $450,000 needed. The project is at risk of not meeting its next ﬁnancial deadline. University of Victoria requires money now for the structural engineering work and site preparation, and funds needed to resume carving. The Language Revitalisation Pole, eerily similar to the languages themselves, is in a ﬁght against time, to be raised in
2019 United Nation year of Indigenous languages. FNEF says the Language Pole would spread the word and help attract more resources, more organisations, and individuals to help solve and avoid the looming end result. To date, the governments have not ﬁnancially supported the Language Revitalisation Totem Pole project. It is important for all Canadians to acknowledge the damage done from Residential Schools and the Indian Act, both systems contribute to cultural genocide of the Indigenous people. The FNEF is an organization focusing on Indigenous people regaining their language. In addition, to having a language pole placed on University of Victoria campus. This is an opportunity for all Canadians to be a part in reconciliation, by donating to www. fnef.ca and by supporting our Indigenous people. Please participate in this journey and watch the video of the Poles progress! Please donate at www.fnef.ca – and watch the videos of the Poles progress! Thank you, Stephen Gaspard Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nations (SXFN) Williams Lake, BC
Klecko’s - +ekoo This comes from the bottom of our hearts: - A big thank you to Tseshaht First Nation for allowing us to have the funeral for late Mamie Charleson in your territory, THANK YOU. - A special thank you to Rick Lindholm for always being there when in need. - Thank you to all those who donated ﬁnancially, it was very much appreciated. - Thank You to all the people who came to oﬀer condolences when we gathered at Con’s place. - Thank you to the cooks who brought food to Con’s and the cooks who prepared the meal for after the funeral. - Thank you to the Pallbearers and the honorary Pallbearers. The Charlesons deeply appreciate everything done for our family. I, Pat Charleson Sr., want to especially thank my grandson, Paul Robinson, for stepping up and being such a great help, Thank You so much
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--JOB OPPORTUNITIES -Le•er to the Editor 27th Annual Yuquot Spirit Summerfest ƛakoo ƛakoo to all those who helped make this year’s Fest a success! This year’s theme honoured the 25th Anniversary of the documentary, The Washing of Tears “kutiḥsšiƛ”. Special thanks to hawiiḥ Yahtloah and his Mom, Gloria for attending and honoring Ambrose’s “c̓uxiit” legacy at this special event. ƛakoo ƛakoo to the ﬁlm’s producers, Gillian Darling and Cari Green who brought well-wishes from Hugh Brody, Writer and Director, unable to attend from the UK. SCREENING THE WASHING OF TEARS July 22nd, 2019 Many many greetings to everyone. I am sitting at a desk in England, looking at a computer screen; and I am imagining you there in Mowachaht/Muchalaht Territory about to watch your ﬁlm. I am full of disappointment that I was not able to get there to be with you to share this wonderful occasion. But I am so delighted that the screening is happening. 25 years have gone by much too fast. It seems like a large number of years. But time is so strange and complicated. In my mind and heart, it is no time at all since we were ﬁlming at Yuquot, alongside the mill in Gold River, on the river, Everything and everyone is so strong and vivid in my mind. Being there to make the ﬁlm was a wonderful ﬂow of experiences for me, for all of us who worked on the ﬁlm. We never forget how much wisdom and generosity and warmth we met and received. I know that Gillian and Cari, as well as Kirk the cameraman and all our team, remember that time as a joy and a privilege. I join with them in saying thank you for such an amazing opportunity to be there, to be in the land, in that history, with you, 25 years ago. The passing of time has meant the loss of very dear friends and relatives. I think so warmly and with great sadness of Ambrose Maquinna and Jerry Jack, both of whom provided such vital guidance and insight. And of Barb Cranmer, who worked on every part of the production. And our brilliant editor, Haida Paul, who loved the ﬁlm and everyone in it. Life, however brilliant and inspiring, ﬂows on. Yet there is one way in which time stands still: the ﬁlm itself. What we saw and heard, some of what we were told and given to understand, some of the stories people wanted to share, and those wonderful people themselves, are in the ﬁlm today just as they were when ﬁrst we worked there in 1993 and 1994. I realize that this brings grief as well as happiness. But I can only hope that as we see and hear them now they will once again be sharing themselves, their wisdom and insights, with all the new and future generations. In your ﬁlm, as in your memories, they are with us always. Everything in this project grew from what Mowachaht and Muchalaht people chose to share and explain. This was
always your ﬁlm; we the ﬁlm makers did our best to make the people’s voices and choices clear and alive. We worked with them and for them. So, this is more your ﬁlm than ‘ours’. Every time I get a chance to show the ﬁlm I oﬀer thanks to those who are in it, and explain to each audience that The Washing of Tears is an intimate and very special journey into how those in the ﬁlm wanted to share their stories, their view of their world. At the very end of the ﬁlm we put in a dedication - to the courage and wisdom of the Mowachaht and Muchalaht people. I oﬀer this again, as I write these words to you from far away: the ﬁlm is a celebration of life and wellbeing by people who knew that they must ﬁght every inch of the way to secure well-being and life. That is the inspiration, the courage. Thank you again, and again, for having invited me to be part of your life twentyﬁve years ago, and to be with you, at least in spirit, again now. Thank you. Hugh Brody Both of the ﬁlm viewings at caxana and Yuquot, were a fond remembrance of family members who have since passed on. Among those was Barb Cranmer, (Copper Woman), who recently passed, was remembered as an Associate Producer and honoured for this early production of her life’s work. ƛakoo ƛakoo to Eva Johnson and her qʷakuuc for sharing the bounty of the hahuułi with the barbecue salmon feast. ƛakoo ƛakoo to muuwačutḥ/mučƛaatḥ Elders and Language Department Staﬀ, (Michelle James and Fran Jack) and Jack Johnson, Resource Centre for the many hours spent on the event theme, Invitation and gifts which so reﬂect community commitment and Youth engagement. Many heartfelt thanks to the Council of Chiefs for their support and sponsorship. A special ƛakoo ƛakoo to Helen Davis and Joelle Montminy of Parks Canada for nurturing the partnership with the Nation, a truly unique relationship. We will continue moving forward with UNESCO, Niis’Maas, 2023 and “all things Yuquot”. In closing, ƛakoo ƛakoo to the many true Friends who over the years have honoured this day with your presence, Martha Black and Paul, John Price and family, Richard Inglis, Kevin Neary, Vivian Hermansen, Roger Dunlop and Lynn and Jerry West. In this digital age, we oﬀer the following gift: The Washing of Tears “kutiḥsšiƛ” is now available to stream at www.nfb.ca. The legacy of ﬁlms such as this will be for all time as Gillian Darling said in her ﬁnal words: In perpetuity. ƛakoo ƛakoo to all, Margarita James President, Land of Maquinna Cultural Society
View more job postings at: www.hashilthsa.com Updated daily!
Human Resources & Administration Manager Full Time Permanent Human Resources Responsibilities: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Oversee and support the recruiting and staﬃng of all positions; Ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements Provide employee onboarding, needs assessment, training and development; Responsible for Human Resource Policy; Oversee employee and community communications; Responsible for employee compensation and beneﬁts; Developing and maintain all work descriptions & job postings; Manage the inventory of supplies and equipment; Arrange for janitorial services for TFN’s facilities Oversee the process of establishing contracts and service level agreements with third party suppliers and/or service providers Establish, implement, and maintain policies, procedures; Prepare and distribute internal and external communication; Provide IT support to the Nation when possible; Maintain the TFN’s website with the Executive Assistant; Provide guidance and assistance to department managers Manage the ﬁnancial performance of the department; Represent the Nation and foster a culture that supports the Nation’s vision, mission, values, and objectives
Qualiﬁcations and Work experience • • • •
University degree or certiﬁcation in a business related, with a human resource or administration component 2 years experience in a Human Resources role 2 years experience in a Supervisory role Experience with First Nation funding and reporting Deadline for receipt of application: Friday September 20, 2019 by 4:30pm Submit your resume and cover letter to: Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation PO Box 18 Toﬁno, BC V0R 2Z0 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Fax: 250.725.3352 Or drop it oﬀ at the oﬃce in a sealed envelope at #1119 Paciﬁc Rim Highway, Toﬁno
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2019 marks the 74th for the Alberni District Fall Fair Photos by Denise Titian
The Alberni District Fall Fair came to a close on Sunday, Sept. 8, after four days of activity that attracted locals and visitors from communities across Vancouver Island’s west coast communities. In its 74th year, the fall fair attracted families to its midway, agricultural buildings and the many booths set up throughout the grounds. Several organizations were represented in the Glenwood Centre, including the some First Nations and the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council, which presented under the theme “Home Grown Family Fun”.
Going MILES for northern region youth in Tsaxana By Deborah Potter Ha-Shilth-Sa Staﬀ Tsaxana, BC – At the base of the many massive west coast mountains, in the traditional lands of the Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nations, around 25 tents were set up in the ﬁelds behind the band oﬃce for the very ﬁrst annual Northern Region Youth Gathering. Partnered with the Going M.I.L.E.S program, the Mowachaht/Muchalaht organized the ﬁrst youth gathering just for the northern Nuu-chah-nulth nations from Aug. 31 to Sept. 3. Alongside the Mowachaht/Muchalaht, there were Ehatteshaht, Nuchahtlaht, and Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/ Che:k’tles7et’h’. There were over 100 youth who attended. The event was sponsored by the First Nations Health Authority, and The Nuuchah-nulth Tribal Council’s Teechuktl Mental Health staﬀ had stepped up to help as well. “A lot of Nuu-chah-nulth youth gatherings happen more south,” says Brian Lucas, one of the wellness workers with Teechuktl’s Quu’asa program. “A lot of (our) youth can’t make it that far.” The last few Nuu-chah-nulth youth gatherings have been set in Nanoose and Nanaimo, which is at least a four-hour drive for the northern most nations. For its ﬁrst year, the NR Youth Gathering was able to provide almost everything for the youth attending. From meals to transportation, the only thing the youth needed was camping supplies. The event
Photo by Deborah Potter
Partnered with the Going M.I.L.E.S program, the Mowachaht/Muchalaht organized the ﬁrst youth gathering just for the northern Nuu-chah-nulth nations from Aug. 31 to Sept. 3. was open for youth 30 and under. for youth gatherings and conferences. North America with Going M.I.L.E.S, The four-day gathering had three days’ Ward and House captured the youth from Nova Scotia all the way to New worth of workshops, promoting wellness, with fun anecdotes, an introduction to Mexico. The pair usually does about two activity, suicide awareness, anti-bullying Ward’s skills in hypnotism, and magic to three conferences a month. and the eﬀects of drugs and alcohol. The tricks, and then followed with a swift “The best part is probably seeing the key speakers of the workshops were Scott delivery of the importance of wellness, kids have hope,” Ward told Ha-shilth-sa. Ward and Dakota House, both Indigenous anti-bullying, culture, and activity. Each northern nation will take turns and recovered addicts who work with Go“We are all gifted, every one of you… hosting the youth gathering, and while ing M.I.L.E.S (Motivate, Inspire, Lead, it’s been passed down, from generation to there is no date set, the second annual Empower, and Succeed), a leadership generation” House stressed to the youth. gathering is in the works, planned for program that does interactive workshops House and Ward have travelled all over 2020.
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Ancient Huu-ay-aht village site preserved in nature Tours of Kiix̣in reveal thousands of years of occupation, as well as sustained a•acks from neighbouring tribes By Eric Plummer Ha-Shilth-Sa Editor Bamﬁeld, BC - A century and a half after they were carved into a cedar tree, the knife marks are still visible at the end of a post that once supported a longhouse on the southern edge of Barkley Sound. The structure’s joint is still visible - although it’s gradually being overtaken by the tendrils of surrounding trees. “The sapling tree will grow and grow and grow until it actually covers the whole thing,” explained Stella Peters as she gives a tour of the ancient Huu-ay-aht village of Kiix ̣in, a settlement south of Bamﬁeld that hasn’t been occupied since the 1880s. It’s estimated that 300 people lived in there in in the 19th century, but unlike many of the other First Nations villages along Vancouver Island’s coast, people moved from Kiix ̣in before modern life took hold. This left behind the longhouse beams, tools and middens to the hands of nature. Frozen in time, these clues to the Huu-ay-aht civilization’s past have survived as the trees, roots and moss gradually incorporate the remains into the forest’s unceasing state of growth. “We still have a beam still standing; the only reason it’s standing is because of this tree behind you,” said Peters of one of the 10 homes that have been identiﬁed on the village site. “We’re one of the few First Nations that abandoned [its] village, so this village was pretty much preserved by nature, whereas other people continued to live in the villages. So they no longer had traditional homes, they had more modern homes.” For this reason Kiix ̣in is designated a National Historic Site of Canada. Parks Canada cites archaeological evidence of human occupation as far back as 1,000 BC.
“It is the only known First Nations village of the more than 100 villages on the southern British Columbia coast that still features signiﬁcant, standing traditional architecture,” ~ Canada’s Historic Places register “It is the only known First Nations village of the more than 100 villages on the southern British Columbia coast that still features signiﬁcant, standing traditional architecture,” states Canada’s Historic Places register, which notes the abundance of ﬁsh, shellﬁsh, and sea mammals at the site. “As a strategically located village, Kiix?in was central to coastal transportation, trade routes and shifting alliances of the Huu-ay-aht from approximately 500 B.C.E. to the late 19th century. By the 1880s, the Nuuchah-nulth had moved from the village, but the site has remained important in the lives of 1922 from Huu-ay-aht elders Sa’sawatin, Yima’uk and Hyna’um, who lived in Kiix ̣in as a young boy, the chief’s youngest son murdered his older brother. With the youngest son the next in line to inherit Huu-ay-aht’s most important title, this left other members of the tribe with a diﬃcult decision. “The young men therefore resolved that they had no choice: they would have to
Photos by Eric Plummer
Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns (right) stands with Huu-ay-aht Chief Councillor Robert Dennis Sr. at the First Nation’s Kiixin village on the southern edge of Barkley Sound during a tour in late August. kill Nasismis to prevent future troubles,” reads the account in Voices of the Elders. “It was a dangerously bold move to kill a future chief. But in their view there was no alternative.” With both of her sons murdered, the boys’ Clallam mother took this news to her tribe, who sought vengeance the following year as part of a 1,500-warrior raiding party comprised of tribes from the Nitinaht, Port Angeles and Lapush areas. Kiix ̣in was burned, but ƛiisin and a few others escaped the attack by hiding in a cave, which was accessible by a hole in the ﬂoor of a lodge that was situated atop the bluﬀ. “Twenty of our people survived that particular attack,” said Huu-ay-aht Chief Councillor Robert Dennis Sr., who credits the family of Bill Frank with saving the hereditary chief. “He was the warrior for the nation, but he was also charged with protecting the chief. If there was an attack, he would be the one taking the chief. That’s why they survived when they attacked here. Their family took the chief to safety. It’s kind of very similar to how you see the Secret Service protecting the president.” Nearly a generation later, ƛiisin and the surviving members of his tribe retook Kiix ̣in from intruders. Building at the site continued, with the most recent structural logs dated from the 1880s. “All of these posts and beams have diﬀerent dates,” explained Peters. “The oldest one goes back to 1540.” Over her years of giving tours of Kiix ̣in, Peters came to identify her family’s longhouse on the village site, which was the home of the nation’s hereditary chief. “We have genealogy for 11 generations here,” she said, standing where a roof once sheltered her family from the harsh elements of Barkley Sound. Tours of Kiix ̣in continue this summer into September, seven days a week, for visitors across the West Coast and around the world.
Stella Peters holds a shape carved from whale bone at the Kiixin village site.
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