MHSS July 2022 Newsletter

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As of July 2022, this newsletter will be released following a new publication schedule. Effective today, letters will be released bi-weekly. This decision was made to ensure that information is relayed in a manner that is frequent and timely, so as to ensure transparency and continuous communication with the Ahousaht musčim.

Home-use Fisheries

ʕaḥuusʔatḥ Haw’ił will be meeting with our fishermen within the next few weeks regarding home-use fisheries, with plans to start mid-August. The logic behind this timeframe results from the size of our fish - which have been very small over the last few years - at the time of harvesting. We want to ensure that fish are given extra time so that they will be a good size when we deliver them to the musčim.

Certified Transportation Decals

Certified Transportation decals are now being issued to subcontractors through MHSS - Water taxis and chartering vessels will need to display these decals to be authorized to transport visitors.



On July 6th, ʕaḥuusʔatḥ Haw’ił were invited to participate in the swear-in ceremony of the newly appointed Elected Council and Chief Councillor, Naasʔaƛuk (John Rampanen), marking an important moment and the beginning of a new era for the ʕaḥuusʔatḥ nation.

Hašeʔukmis, Hanuukʷi, ƛakišwaya and ʔeʔqatiʔis all spoke, welcoming in the new Council. Each member was brushed with eagle feathers by the Haw’ił, a chant was performed, Uut Uustukyuuuku gave everybody traditional medicine, and sage was burned to clear the air. Hereditary witnessed Wally Thomas and Naasʔaƛak speak in and translate our language, and every council member spoke on behalf of their responsibilities and role before being sworn in by Rebecca Atleo. At the end of the day, a Nuu-Chah-Nulth Warrior Song was performed to give us strength moving forward as one, in the ʕaḥuusʔatḥ way.

An Interview with Naasʔaƛuk

MHSS: Can you briefly introduce yourself, including your family history and core values?

Naasʔaƛuk: ʔukłaas n̓aasʔałuk. histaqšiƛs ʕaḥuusʔatḥ, qiłcmaʔatḥ, manuusʔatḥ ʔuḥʔiiš ƛaʔuukʷiʔatḥ mułmumc. hiy̓atḥʔaƛs maackʷii ʔukʷink łuucmaakqs waakiitusis ʔaḥʔaaʔaƛna unaak ʔaƛakʷał t̓aatn̓eeʔis ʔuḥʔiiš qacc̓ap̓it wiiwiiʔuu. hisakustassa hašsaat. My name is n̓aasʔałuk (John Rampanen) I have Ahousaht, Keltsmaht, Manhousaht and Tla-o-qui-aht roots (Marshall, Seitcher and Louie families). I am living in Maatsquii with my wife Waakiitusis (Nitanis Desjarlais). We have eight children and three nephews (that we have adopted). I come from the house of hašsaat (m̓ukwina’s house)

I believe in the strength and power of our language, culture and way of life. For eighteen years I have lived on and off our traditional territory with my family. From 2012-13 and from 2020 – present we have lived on/in the ḥaaḥuułi fulltime and for the past eight years I have immersed myself in learning our language as well as teaching it through land-based and immersive approaches.

MHSS: What factors played into your decision to run for Chief Councilor?


Naasʔaƛuk: I do not consider myself to be a typical political person. In fact, I have adamantly stayed away from politics in the past because I honestly did not see the full value in perpetuating a colonially introduced system. I spent a considerable amount of time with elders and knowledge keepers focusing upon our hereditary governance system, as well as spiritual aspects related to ƛuukʷana, witwaak, traditional stories (himw̓ica), history, foods and medicines. I have also spent a lot of time in areas of drug & alcohol rehabilitation, child and youth counselling, family-based treatments, suicide intervention and trauma-informed practice. Over time, I grew to appreciate that there is a need to incorporate culture, language and healing into contemporary approaches to leadership. I am mainly driven by a recognition of the power and spirit found within our cultural identity as Ahousaht people. We share a long and proud history as whalers, warriors and providers. I firmly believe that the legacy of our ancestors and the intelligence that we have as a people are the key to overcoming many of the challenges that we face today introduced through colonialism.

MHSS: What work did you do prior to coming into this role?

Naasʔaƛuk: In my early 20’s I left university and became politically activated. This path led me to a variety of indigenous communities throughout the continent that were asserting their rights and title. Interacting with many amazing leaders, elders and knowledge keepers helped me become aware of the connection between our culture teachings and healing from colonialism. I became involved with drug & alcohol rehabilitation, suicide intervention, child & youth counselling, and family development. I used the history, stories, language, foods and medicines of our ancestors as a path forward from the challenges that we face as indigenous people. These experiences led me toward involvement in other areas: health governance with the First Nations Health Authority, education governance, language revitalization and land-based, cultural immersion. The proudest role that I carry is fatherhood. I have eight children, three nephews, and an amazing wife that help keep me grounded and connected to the most important and powerful source of strength: family.

MHSS: You were just sworn into the position recently - how did that go? How are you settling into the role thus far?

Naasʔaƛuk: It feels a lot like jumping into a č̓apac, mid-stream, in white water rapids. There are so many different facets of our administration. The first steps into this new role have come with amazing connections with many of the great people that are doing the day-to-day work that keeps our community moving forward. As I become more aware of all the pieces that are in motion I am feeling more and more confident and hopeful of the work ahead. We are in the early stages of forming our roles and portfolios for the new council. I see a lot of strength and diversity within our team. The Swearing In ceremony was an amazing experience. I am so grateful to the elders, community members, and hereditary chiefs that joined us as witnesses to our oath to work for our Nation as a whole.


MHSS: What are you hoping to accomplish during your time in this position?

Naasʔaƛuk: This is a tricky question. While I hold my own personal thoughts and ideas on the accomplishments that we can make… it is ultimately a team game. Our successes that we will experience and the steps ahead will reflect our efforts and ability to work as a whole council. I am a huge advocate of solution-oriented, community-based dialogue. I am excited to connect with as many of our community members as we can because I feel that the solutions to the challenges that we face as quuʔas people come from within. Courageous conversation leads to courageous actions and healing.

MHSS: What opportunities for change do you see?

Naasʔaƛuk: Change comes in many forms. Put simply, it either is introduced (for example: climate change, colonialism, diet/health, etc.) or it is self-initiated (overcoming addictions, learning and developing new approaches, etc.). Building off the idea that the solutions to the biggest issues impacting our people (intergenerational trauma) there is an opportunity for the best people and best ideas to emerge. Our ancestors have survived many catastrophes throughout our history: floods, famine, war. The key to their survival rested within their connection to our land and waters. Very literally, survivors in our flood stories tied canoes to long lengths of rope to strong trees atop the mountains, foods and fresh water were prepared in anticipation of the coming change. Our intuitiveness as quuʔas people comes from the survivability of our ancestors. That is why I believe that the answers exist within our people and recognizing and embracing that strength is the opportunity that I see for change.

MHSS: What are your top priorities and goals?

Naasʔaƛuk: My background is largely based on addressing social issues with a decolonial approach and revitalizing language and culture. These are passions that guide me in all that I do. My short-term and long-term goals are the same… to listen, to develop a deeper understanding and to respond in whatever way that I can to support and strengthen our Nation as a whole.

MHSS: Is there anything else you’d like to communicate to the musčim reading this newsletter?

Naasʔaƛuk: Communication is critical in all areas of life. The more effective that we are in developing strong and respectful lines of communication, the more likely we are to identify and develop strong and respectful actions that move us forward, together as one ʕaḥuusʔatḥ people. We all carry pieces of our ancestry, elements of our ancestral wisdom and we are all connected.



Deep within the heart of the Ahousaht haḥuułi, situated in beautiful Quait Bay is the Tofino Wilderness Resort, a stunning 126 acre property that includes a 16 room floating-lodge, a world-class spa, trails, lakes, staff accommodation and a breathtaking longhouse. Formerly owned by settlers on land appropriated by the government, the resort and land have recently been purchased back by the ʕaḥuusʔatḥ Haw’ił through the Maaqtusiis Hahoulthee Stewardship Society (MHSS) as part of their vision for the economic development and self-determination of the Ahousaht Nation. The purchase was made possible through funding attained through the nation’s protocol agreement with Cermaq Canada. “Tourism is the reason we went after it,” says Tyee Ḥaẁiiḥ Ḿukʷina; “it’s a tool for our people to get jobs and work in the tourism industry - and a means by which we can invite people to come and enjoy the pristine nature of the Ahousaht territory.”

This change in ownership means a number of important and exciting things for visitors and Ahousaht members alike. For members of the nation, there will be,


in addition to the creation of jobs, mentorship opportunities to take on these roles, which will range from cooking and catering to guiding and boat driving. This means that there will be a diversity of positions available and the training necessary to nurture and support members so that they may thrive in these roles. This means that there will be a diversity of positions available and the training necessary to nurture and support members so ththey may thrive in these roles. Within the broader context of ʕaḥuusʔatḥ’s land-use vision, the purchase of the resort marks a pivotal moment in striving towards the goals


of land-reclamation, re-occupation, and economic self-determination, paving the path forward for positive change. As Ḿukʷina emphasizes, “It’s not just about economic development - it’s also about putting back and stewarding our lands.” In addition to the economic and environmental benefits, the resort will also play a key role in the health and wellbeing of the ʕaḥuusʔatḥ nation: during the off-season, the property will function as the location of a wellness retreat program the aim of which will be to provide a space for healing with a focus on mental health. “It’s for the people,” remarks Hanuukʷi (Nate Charlie), “that’s the job of the Ḥaw̓iiḥ - to lift the people up and make sure everybody’s okay, and this will be a big part of that.”

Regarding visitors, the resort will be open to all guests beginning in 2023 and is presently welcoming corporate groups through 2022. Bookings can include overnight stays, meeting rooms, full catering - headed by celebrated chefs Tim May and Paul Moran - and team building activities that can include paddling in traditional Chaputs (canoes), made possible through MHSS’ acquisition of T’ashii Paddle School. Cultural experiences will primarily take place in the longhouse, wherein curtains can be hung, songs and dances can be performed, and salmon prepared traditionally around the fire pit. The new creative direction is such that the primary emphasis and focus of the experience will be firmly rooted in the cultural practices and traditional knowledge of the


people. “That’s a huge part of tourism that is not being done to this date,” notes Ḿukʷina. “People coming to Tofino are asking, ‘where can I see NuuChah-Nulth culture?’ Well, now we can provide that opportunity and we’re going to make it happen.”

For those who are interested in a more in-depth look at the purchase of the Tofino Wilderness Resort, there will be a twenty minute video available soon featuring interviews with ʕaḥuusʔatḥ Haw’ił and leadership on the subject, rigorously detailing the how and why of the purchase and also the use and future of the property.


Tin Wis Tribunal

On July 12th, ʕaḥuusʔatḥ Haw’ił met with Justices Grist and MacDonald as part of the proceedings of a Specific Claims Tribunal regarding land claims. Nine sitesPretty Girl Cove, Ahous, Kwatswiaht, Blunden, Bare Island, Opinit, Kut Coast Point, and Oinmitis - were the subjects of discussion, and six of them are considered to be contested territories. Of these territories, ʕaḥuusʔatḥ Haw’ił toured threePretty Girl Cove, Ahous and Kwatswiaht - with Grist and MacDonald.

At Pretty Girl Cove, Ḿukʷina asked Louie Frank Sr. to explain to Grist and MacDonald the history of what the rivers were used for and what family members were there. Andy Webster and Cliff Atleo also spoke, and Harold Little identified where the Louies occupied. Throughout, the justices listened very intently to the elders speak. At the second site, Ahous, Ḿukʷina called on Wally Thomas to do a chant, after which Cliff Atleo spoke at length about the significance of the village. Ḿukʷina also spoke and reiterated that this was (and is) his homeland - the place where his ancestors lived - emphasizing that this homeland comprised not just the designated “reserve” but the entirety of the adjacent beach. The day was finished off with our Warrior Song (as blood was shed in all of the spots in fierce defense during the 13 year war).

The next day, ʕaḥuusʔatḥ Haw’ił reconvened with Justice Grist and MacDonald from 9:30 am to 3:00 pm and listened to the summation of was presented the day before. There were plans to meet on Thursday and Friday but Honourable Grist made the call to cut the meeting then in what we view as a very positive sign that there was no need to go into any more detail over the matter. Thus, Haw’ił feel victorious for what was presented regarding Pretty Girl Cove, Ahous, and Kwatswiaht.


Meeting with the Oblates

On July 18th, ʕaḥuusʔatḥ Haw’ił (Ḿukʷina, hašeʔukmis, ƛakišwaya,ʔeʔqatiʔis, and hanuukʷi), elders (Harold, Kathy, and Vera Little, Arlene Paul and Dave Frank Sr) Ahousaht members (Anna Atleo, Liz Little and Jacqueline Titian) and head guardian of MHSS Troy John met with Father Ken Thorston (head of the english-speaking Oblates) and Father Dean to engage in preliminary talks and to put in a formal request regarding the recovery of $2 million - the sum that MHSS paid to purchase back the land at Maatsqui that housed the Christie Residential School from 19001983. These funds would be used to pay off the existing mortgage, the repatriation of remains, ongoing healing for our community and musčim, and the rebuilding of our ability to participate in the economic opportunities that exist in our haḥuułi.

This land was originally transferred from the Crown to the Catholic Diocese of Victoria for the sum of $1. The original agreement was that the Diocese would use the property for schooling purposes and return it to the ʕaḥuusʔatḥ nation for the sum of $1 when they were finished. The property was then purchased by the Oblates, with whom Dave Frank negotiated. It was his understanding that since it was given for one dollar that we would get it back for one dollar. The head of the Oblates at the time agreed to this, and the deal was shaken upon. Then, a new head of the Oblates was appointed who decided not honour the original agreement, and instead determined the value of the property to be $2 million. In 2012, ʕaḥuusʔatḥ Haw’ił purchased this land and registered it to MHSS, and it was subsequently developed into the Lone Cone Hostel & Campground.Over the course of eight years, the Hostel & Campground was developed into a burgeoning eco-tourism business which ran up until the spring of 2020, when operations halted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Presently, ʕaḥuusʔatḥ Haw’ił are working to make certain that the site is properly surveyed using a ground-penetrating radar. This is to ensure that any human remains are excavated and honored with proper ceremony and burial so that the trapped spirits can finally be freed.

Regarding specifics, the decision was made to hold the meeting at the Tofino Wilderness Resort to show the Oblates that we purchased the property for tourism and mental wellness to heal our nation - you can throw millions of dollars at the people who went to residential school, but what they need most is true healing, and a plan for longterm, multigenerational care. The day began with a moment of silence for Chester John’s son, Skinner, as Chester had given us permission to move forward with this important meeting. Ḿukʷina had Harold Little speak on his behalf to open the ceremony, detailing the intergenerational trauma and fallout that Ahousaht is still experiencing to this day as a result of the Christie Residential School. Dave Frank Sr did an opening chant, and following these opening remarks, the elders spoke. Vera Little emphasized the pain caused by the school, and voiced that she was upset that we had to negotiate to buy back our property, suggesting that there should be interest. Dave Frank shared a lot of history in regard to the selling and loan of the property for $1 (as he was the one that negotiated the $1 agreement and the repurchase for $2 Million). Harold Little confirmed what Dave shared about the handshake deal, and then Arlene Paul spoke. All emphasized the harm and effect that Christie caused and how they tried to beat the culture, language and history out of us. Following this, Father Dean spoke, sharing that he first and foremost loves Ahousaht, and that he wants to make good on the wrongdoings of the past and commit to reconciliation, mentioning also that he has raised $500,000 to go towards building a new church in Ahousaht. Ken Thorston, on the other hand, was there to listen, pay respect, and to bring back information to a meeting he is going to have with the head of the Oblates. Next, Hašeʔukmis spoke about appropriated lands, the impact of residential schools, and how his generation was hearing the full extent of the impact for the first time, emphasizing that six generations later, the impacts are still being felt today. Lastly, Ḿukʷina talked about engaging other nations and hearing about how kids went into the forest and never came back. After the meeting ended, Ḿukʷina hosted the entire group at his home for dinner.



Fuel Station Upgrades

The Fuel Station has recently received a few new upgrades and improved infrastructure in the form of a new Fob POS System and new pipe fitting. Gas prices have been adjusted to correspond with market rates. Additionally, Stand up Paddle Boards will be available for rental at the station.

Wildside Trail

The Wildside Trail has officially reopened to the public as of July 1st, following the recent completion of successful trail blazing by Guardians Troy, Cobern and Malcolm (who we would like to acknowledge and thank for their hard work trailblazing not only Wildside but Hot Springs and Lone Cone as well). This is an exciting moment as we are welcoming visitors back into the haḥuułi to walk the trail after a year of extended closure, and thus we will also be accruing visitor fees, which will in turn contribute to funding the Guardianship Program.

Hot Springs

The opening date for Maquinna Park is presently being determined as we are waiting on BC Parks - before which three danger trees will need to be removed. Once the park reopens, Cobern Webster will be the Park Operator, and we will be putting into effect a new protocol: permitted tour operators will be able to access the Hot Springs from 11am- 5pm, bringing a limited number of guests per day. From 7am-11am and 5pm-sunset the park will be open to the general public (non-commercial), local First Nation communities, and Ahousaht First Nation permittees.

Lone Cone

The Lone Cone Hostel & Campground will remain closed through 2022 due to protocols surrounding the investigations at the Christie Residential School. The Lone Cone Trail, on the other hand, will be reopening as soon as we have the docks reopened (the opening date as of now is TBD).


T’ashii Paddle School is no longer in operation as, beginning next year, we will be integrating the business into the Tofino Wilderness Resort (both in regard to tourism and wellness).



Hello, very first time to greet you all! My name is Ayumi, which means “Walking in Beauty.” I am a 31st generation descendant of Saneyosi Hojo who passed in 1263 Japan (according to my family record)and am a father of two 10 year-old twins.

Since 1995, I have been involved with Indigenous Rights movements with Ainu communities in Hokkaido Japan. I worked as a fisherman (salmon, clam, oyster, shrimp and shellfish) and a forest manager in Hokkaido for about 13 years total. Then I moved to Southern California and started working with Chumash Nations as an Environmental Technician in the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Government Environmental Department, and as a Traditional Ecological Knowledge Resources Specialist in Wishtoyo Chumash Foundation (non-profit) for 12 years total. Now, I have been appointed to work as a Lead Stewardship Biologist for the Maaqutusiis Hahoulthee Sterwardship Society. I’m very honored and pleased, and am hoping to have a long relationship with everyone in the community.

I love traditional cultural practices, like basket weaving, fiber arts, crafting, edible & medicinal plants culture, and traditional cooking.I am a newcomer to your beautiful homeland and want to learn anything related to your land and waters. Please feel free to drag me into your world, as I am very pleased to join your ancestral space in any way.

有り難うございます。(Thank you so much)

P.S. sorry I couldn’t find a good recent photo, but my son in the Chumash style cradleboard.

はじめまして。 日本から来ました中村歩(ナカムラアユミ) と申します。 末永くお付き合い宜しくお願いいたします。



Hi, my name is Gemma, and I am very excited and honoured to Maaqutusiis Hahoulthee Sterwardship Society and to meet you!

I was born and raised on the traditional territories of the Skwxwú7mesh-ulh Temíx̱w, səl̓ilwətaɁɬ təməxʷ and šxʷməθkʷəy̓əmaɁɬ təməxʷ people. I grew up spending much of my time exploring these territories. My summers involved spending time at a forest education centre, and I credit this for instilling me with a strong interest in ecology and restoration. I also recognize that engaging youth in experiential learning activities is key for fostering positive community and environmental changes, so I hope I can have a lasting impact on the youth in some way!

I studied environmental science, biology, and resource and environmental management at Simon Fraser University. During my studies, I worked in agricultural research, for a non-profit salmon hatchery, and even in Ahousaht territory for the Cedar Coast Field Station. Shortly after graduating, I became a PADI certified scuba instructor, and I moved to Ucluelet. Ever since, I have been working in fisheries (for NTC, as a creel surveyor, and as a dockside monitor), and in environmental education (for the Ucluelet Aquarium and for the Wild Pacific Trail).

I am very grateful and excited to be starting as a Stewardship Biologist for MHSS! I know I will be busy, but in my spare time I will be surfing, hiking, diving, fishing, and trying to learn my mother’s first language (Lithuanian).

Labai ačiū (thank you very much!)


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