Volume 10 . Issue 5
R EE R CA ram W g N E p ro DS m E L f ro W Y ate N u A TT grad I BR 18
GROWING, PADDLING & FEASTING
www.salishseasentinel.ca Salish Sea Publishing Editorial Inquiries: Cara McKenna, Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org (250) 753-0190 Advertising inquires: email@example.com (250) 510-9853 Publisher: Naut’sa mawt Tribal Council Gary Reith, Chief Administrative Officer (604) 943-6712 1-888-382-7711 The Salish Sea Sentinel is published monthly, eleven times a year by the Naut’sa mawt Tribal Council. NmTC was incorporated as a nonprofit society in 1983 and is governed by a board of directors from each of our eleven member First Nations. Our nations are located around the Salish Sea (see map on inside back cover). There are about 6,500 people who hold membership in our nations. The word Naut’sa mawt means working together as one. The NmTC mission is to support and strengthen the capabilities of our Coast Salish member communities by developing skilled leadership, strong governance, resiliency and self-sufficiency. NmTC is charged with providing advisory services in five delivery areas: • Economic Development • Financial Management • Community Planning • Technical Services and • Governance Cover photo: Brittany Wilson of Sliammon First Nation is looking forward to a career as a welder. Read more on Page 10.
This is qwi’lus (getting warm) in the Hul’qumi’num language, the month of June. This issue of the Salish Sea Sentinel is full of news about growth, for Naut’sa mawt Tribal Council and our 11 nations. Inside, you will find out about two new additions to our family. We are proud to welcome the first fulltime reporter in our 11-year history. You can read about Cara McKenna on page 3 and read her words over the coming months as The Sentinel expands its coverage of everything happening in our communities. On page 11, read about Valerie Cross-Blackett, NmTC’s governance advisor, who brings the skills she developed over more than a decade of working for
her Tsawwassen community. Even before the weather warmed, paddlers were out on our waters in their canoes, preparing for a season of races around the Salish Sea. Check out the calendar on page 3. Then, on page 5, read about the Malahat paddlers and the book that will result in their second Tribal Journey, this year going to Bella Bella. Speaking of books, Elsie Paul from Sliammon has just published her memoirs. Find out more on page 3. If you would like to receive a copy of The Sentinel every month, sign up for our online newsletter by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or call toll free at 1-888-382-7711 to receive a printed copy every month.
CONTACTS AT NmTC NATIONS 1. HALALT (250) 246-4736 email@example.com www.halalt.org 2. HOMALCO (250) 923-4979 firstname.lastname@example.org 3. KLAHOOSE Qathen Xwegus Management Corp (250) 935-6536 www.klahoose.com 4. MALAHAT (250) 743-3231 email@example.com www.malahatnation.com 5. SLIAMMON (604) 483-9646 firstname.lastname@example.org www.sliammonfirstnation.com www.sliammontreaty.com 6. SNAW-NAW-AS (Nanoose) (250) 390-3661 email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org www.nanoose.org 7. SNUNEYMUXW (Nanaimo) (250) 740-2300 email@example.com www.snuneymuxw.ca 8. STZ’UMINUS (Chemainus) (250) 245-7155 Ray.Gouthier@coastsalishdevcorp.com www.stzuminus.com 9. TSAWWASSEN (604) 948-5219 firstname.lastname@example.org www.tsawwassenfirstnation.com 10. TSEIL-WAU-TUTH (Burrard) (604) 929-3454 email@example.com www.twnation.com 11. T’SOU-KE (Souke) (250) 642-3957 firstname.lastname@example.org www.tsoukenation.com
SALISH SEA SENTINEL • 1
MEET CARA – A REPORTER AND A WITNESS This month marks a milestone for our magazine with the arrival of our first full time reporter. Here are her first words for us. My name is Cara McKenna and I’m proud to introduce myself as the new reporter for the Salish Sea Sentinel. I moved to Nanaimo from Vancouver last year, where I studied journalism, sponsored by the Métis Nation of BC. I worked for the Canadian Press and started an Indigenous news blog with the Vancouver Sun before landing in Nanaimo last year. When I arrived, I worked for the Nanaimo Daily News full time, covering a variety of stories and recently brought home an award from the BC & Yukon Community Newspaper Association. It was for a feature series I wrote about Stz’uminus First Nation opting out of the Indian Act to manage its own lands. More recently, I wrote about John Wesley’s return as Snuneymuxw chief following his battle with illness as well as a story about the Stz’uminus fight to regain rights to fisheries in its territory. As I get settled into my role with the Sentinel, I am looking forward to learning much more about all 11 nations under the Naut’sa Mawt Tribal Council
and telling many more stories. Although I am now a Vancouver Islander, I am originally from Edmonton, and am of Cree-Métis and Irish descent. My first encounters with Aboriginal culture came from my grandmother, who is an amazing woman and residential school survivor. Growing up, she would sometimes teach me about medicinal
SALISH SEA CALENDAR June 4 Sliammon Career Fair starts at 10 a.m. at the Salish Centre. Interesting presentations and information on careers. Also, door prizes, a network café and silent auction.
June 5-6 Moving Towards Healing is the theme of a two-day workshop at the Best Western Plus Chateau Granville in Vancouver. Sponsored by the Red Road HIV/AIDS Network, the event is designed for sharing and learning in an
2 • SALISH SEA SENTINEL
environment of caring and acceptance. It is free with meals and nutritional breaks will be provided. Space is limited. To register, contact email@example.com.
June 13-15 Cowichan canoe Cowichan Bay.
plants in Alberta, how to make bannock or teach me the few words of Cree she recalled. I was never fully immersed in Indigenous teachings and still have much to discover, but feel lucky to have those ideas of where I came from. When I got involved in journalism, I became drawn to Indigenous stories as some of the most compelling, yet under-reported and misrepresented in the media. I am passionate about telling these stories properly. I am thrilled to have this opportunity to make steps in turning things around for the better. I feel lucky to learn from all of you and look forward to meeting many of you. I hope to bring the Sentinel to new heights as I work to make the publication the best I can with the rest of the team. I also hope to build partnerships moving forward with those who might want to contribute to the magazine — it belongs to you, after all. Contact me anytime! Cara McKenna, firstname.lastname@example.org
June 18 Grand opening of the Snawnaw-as Health Centre overlooking Nanoose Bay. From 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Neighbouring nations invited to the centre at 700 Capilano Road, Lantzville.
Lummi canoe Stommish, WA.
First Peoples’ Gallery. 675 Belleville Street. www.royal bcmuseum.bc.ca
National Aboriginal Day. Celebrate at events at many of our nations.
Squamish canoe races, Ambleside Park, West Vancouver.
Tsleil-Waututh festival, Wheya-Wichen (Cates Park), North Vancouver
A new exhibition – Our Living Languages: First Peoples’ Voices in BC – will open at the Royal BC Museum in Victoria. The First Peoples’ Cultural Council is a partner in the event that runs until 2017. It’s located on the third floor at the entrance to the
July 13-19 Qatuwas (People gathering together) Festival at Heiltsuk First Nation in Bella Bella. Over 100 canoes & 1,000 pullers. www.tribaljourneys.ca`
ELSIE PAUL REMEMBERS AS BOOK IS PUBLISHED A famous author came to Sliammon on May 24. But Elsie Paul just had to go down the road to the Salish Centre when her family hosted a launch of their matriarch’s book, “Written as I Remember It: ) from the Teachings ( life of a Sliammon Elder.” Published by UBC Press, the 488-page book is Elsie’s life story as well as a history of her people. The teachings she learned as a child were a guide for Elsie’s life and the challenges of colonialism and racism. Those teachings also guide the storytelling throughout the book. UBC Press says this kind of storytelling “has the power to transform relations between settlers and indigenous peoples in Canada”. Copies of the book were for sale at the Salish Centre and are available online. Go to www. ubcpress.ca and enter ‘Elsie Paul’ in the search field. Readers will discover a PDF sample chapter that includes part of the
From Elsie’s book
introduction by Paige Raibmon who is an associate professor in the department of history at UBC. The book is part of the Women and Indigenous Studies Series. Only hard cover copies are available now, but the book will be out in paperback near the end of the year.
She learned to listen Long before she learned to tell stories like this, she learned to listen to them. The care and attention with which Elders taught Elsie to listen as a young girl is an important part of her skill at speaking now that she is an Elder herself. Chi-chia is a serious storyteller, and by this I do not mean there is any shortage of laughter or lightness in her words. She is a serious storyteller because she avoids conjecture, speaks with clear intention, and selects words with care. She does not tell stories to mislead or harm. She takes the power of words seriously, and so tells stories in order to impart helpful, potentially healing, knowledge.
-From the book’s introduction, “Listening to ʔəms tɑʔɑw,” by Paige Raibmon
SNUNEYMUXW, NMTC HOSTING ECONOMIC DEVELOPERS Aboriginal economic developers from across Canada will be coming to Nanaimo in September for their annual conference with Snuneymuxw First Nation and Naut’sa mawt Tribal Council joining forces to co-host the event. Over 400 delegates are expected for the 21st Cando (Council for the Advancement of Native Development Officers) conference at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre. Theme for the Sept. 22-25 event is ‘Collaboration: Realizing Opportunities’. Deadlines are fast approaching for a number of event participants. A call to
conference presenters has been issued with a June 30 deadline. Experts with tools and resources for everyone from beginner economic developer to the advanced practitioners are invited to present on issues from issues for urban, rural and remote communities that offer diverse perspectives. Youth will play a big part in the event. Nominations are open until July 31 for
the six people on the National Youth Panel who will share their stories at the conference. Three $2,000 National Indigenous Economic Education Fund scholarships will be awarded at the conference with a July 31 application deadline. July 31 is also the date for nominations for the Cando economic developer of the year award. Send in your picks for either an individual, community or private sector nominee. Details of all this and registration information can be found on the Cando web site at www.edo.ca SALISH SEA SENTINEL • 3
NEWS FROM OUR NATIONS
TWN councillors are a team.
ONE PERSON, ONE NATION, CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE Tsleil-Waututh elders teach: “When the tide is out, the table is set.” Tsleil-Waututh Chief Maureen Thomas talked about her sadness as she announced on May 2 that her community is going to the Federal Court of Appeal over the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. “It’s a sad day for me,” Chief Thomas told the gathering of media, community members and other supporters. Behind her were the green tanks at Kinder Morgan’s pipeline terminus across Burrard Inlet. After reminding the crown that Tsleil-Waututh means ‘people of the inlet’, she added: “Today it is with a real heavy heart that we are going to fight… the government had the opportunity to sit at the table with us, but they refused… We’re going to do everything in our power to make sure that our lands and waters are going to be protected… This is a decision of our people as a whole. “I feel the government has let us down again. They have not learned from past lessons… We have to stand up for what we believe is truly right… As for the chances of a small First Nation taking on both the government and a powerful industry in Alberta’s oil 4 • SALISH SEA SENTINEL
The announcement was made with Kinder Morgan’s Westridge marine terminal and tank farm in the background.
We’re going to do everything in our power to make sure that our lands and waters are going to be protected.
sands, the chief said: “One person can make a huge difference… We are trying to protect this area for our future generations. We have to be the ones who stand up… This area has been continually declining in providing our people with food… We have to find a way to stop that decline and rehabilitate to the best of our ability.” The decision by Tsleil-Waututh to go to court was forced when, on April 2, the National Energy Board set the terms of its review into the expansion of the 60-year-old pipeline. The nation said it was “commencing this legal action to ensure that the Federal Crown fulfills its constitutional and environmental statutory obligations to the nation and all Aboriginal communities with respect to resource and infrastructure projects in their respective territories.” And Tsleil-Waututh warned, “This legal challenge will demonstrate that Kinder Morgan’s new pipeline and tanker proposal is open to significant delay and uncertainty.” NEB review hearings on the project are expected to begin in September.
TRIBAL JOURNEY 2014
Paddlers and supporters at a recent planning meeting.
MALAHAT PADDLERS REACH FOR THE STARS Paddlers from Malahat First Nation are preparing for this year’s Tribal Journey to Bella Bella. As they get their strokes together, watched by their community, a couple other pairs of eyes will be on them. A writer and a videographer will be documenting the preparations and the two-week journey from Campbell River to Heiltsuk First Nation. Writer Julie Domvile will write a book with the working title of Reaching for the stars - the Malahat journey with a publication date set for Nov. 1. That’s the date of the Malahat’s second annual ‘Shoot for the Moon, Catch a Star’ gala at nearby Brentwood College. The paddlers will be presented to the audience and will each receive a copy of the book. The book will document the challenges of the journey, some of it across the open waters northeast of Vancou-
Chief Michael Harry practices his stroke on Sannich Inlet.
ver Island. It will also mark the pride generated by the teamwork that makes such an accomplishment possible. Some of the paddlers experienced that sense of achievement in last year’s
voyage when they braved the open ocean waters in the Tribal Journey to Quinault Indian Nation on the west coast of Washington State. The Malahat paddlers, along with those from T’Sou-ke and other Naut’sa mawt Tribal Council nations, will celebrate their culture with an estimated 1,000 other paddlers aboard 100 canoes from tribes and nations from Oregon, Washington, BC and Alaska. Cost of writing the book and its publication will come from companies and organizations that are being asked to contribute $3,000 for the $15,000 in expenses. Those interested can contact 604-219-3903 or email email@example.com with sponsors acknowledged in the book. They will also receive two complimentary tickets to the November gala as well as a framed colour photo signed by the Malahat crew. SALISH SEA SENTINEL • 5
WATERS AROUND US
CLASSROOM ON THE CREEK AT HALALT
Students from a Chemainus school got some creek-side instruction from Halalt Chief James Thomas when they arrived for their Cedars and Salmon field trip recently. Before the children from St. Josephâ€™s elementary left for a walk along Bonsall Creek, the chief spoke to them about the importance of what they were going to see. He also talked to the students about their role in preserving habitat and safeguarding water from creeks and rivers to the ocean. Bonsall Creek is on the south side of the main Halalt reserve with the Chemainus River on the north. Before the children released Chinook salmon fry into the stream, Chief Thomas talked about how the creek and its side channels worked in protecting the growing salmon. Surrounded by large secondgrowth cedars, groups of students helped plant new trees while others investigated the many forms of life that thrived in the creek. 6 â€˘ SALISH SEA SENTINEL
WATERS AROUND US
THANK YOU CREATOR Creator, Great Spirit – Thank you for today. Thank you for all here in this circle on Siaosun beach. We are, as a community, thankful for all we have, all we enjoy, all we are blessed with… the beauty and power of the ocean, the majestic mountains, the creatures we share this land with, creature of the sky and ocean. We thank you for family, relatives, friends, mentors, our elders and our leaders. We thank you the four nations around the world. We ask you to bless everyone with love, peace and harmony. Hych-guh This was the blessing Shirley Alphonse gave at Siaosun on T’Sou-ke First Nation on May 16. Above: Digging for clams; Below: First touch of a Dungeness crab.
Above: A feast from the sea. Left: Even little ones were beachcombers. Below: Blessing the water.
SALISH SEA SENTINEL • 7
OUR LANGUAGES LIVE! Museum exhibit will showcase the diversity of the 34 First Nations languages in BC When the exhibit “Our Living Languages: First Peoples’ Voices in BC” opens at the Royal BC Museum on June 21, National Aboriginal Day, a lot of credit will be due to one of The Sentinel’s favourite people – Siemthlut (Michelle Washington) from Tla’amin (Sliammon) First Nation. She has been preparing the exhibition since last year in her job as languages exhibition manager with the First Peoples’ Cultural Council. The three-yearlong exhibition will showcase the diversity of the 34 First Nations languages in BC and will also celebrate communities
My generation is finally starting to see a time when traditional knowledge is acknowledged and accepted.
who are working to ensure languages continue to be vital. “Because of the efforts of so many, my generation is finally starting to see a time when traditional knowledge is
acknowledged and accepted on par with academic credentials,” Michelle wrote in an article titled ‘Finding the Words’ in the museum’s online quarterly publication “Curious”. The interactive exhibition, which runs until 2017, celebrates the resilience of one of the planet’s most linguistically diverse regions. There are 34 First Nations languages spoken in BC. Our Living Languages will be located on the Royal BC Museum’s third floor, at the entrance to the First Peoples Gallery.
Above: Cheeneh (Jeannie Dominick); Sxwaxwe (Chief Billy Mitchell); Pekultanaht (Rose Mitchell). Left: Siemthlut (Michelle Washington).
These people are my professors, mentors, and leaders in the inter-generational resurgence of culture and language. It is thanks to the courage and perseverance of so many others of their generation that we are able to still live our cultural teachings. They worked tirelessly during times of great hardship to preserve ancient practices for future generations. No matter which community we travelled to, I saw people volunteering their time and expertise with researchers from every discipline to document ways of life in anthropology, archaeology, history, linguistics, resource management, governance and education. -Michelle Washington in “Curious”
Practice makes perfect for our language The Hul’qumi’num language is having a resurgence in our schools and communities. That was in evidence at Spuptitul 2014 at Ladysmith secondary school in mid-May when about 100 students from Nanoose Bay to the Cowichan Valley showed their language skills under the watchful eyes, and ears, of elders. Only a few original speakers of Hul’qumi’num still exist on central Vancouver Island. But First Nations students, and their non-native peers, have more opportunities to learn 8 • SALISH SEA SENTINEL
the language in class. It could be as an elective course, such as at Ladysmith secondary, or it could be integrated into the curriculum as it is at Shxixnu-tun Lelum primary at Stz’uminus First Nation. The elders judged the young speakers on their diction, fluency and language knowledge. After the morning of friendly competition, everyone gathered in the gym to hear student present and sing songs. Elders raised their hands in thanks to the students and their teachers for keeping the language alive.
NEWS FROM OUR NATIONS
Chiefs Bob, Seymour, Elliott, Jack and Wesley stand together.
CHIEFS BACK STZ’UMINUS IN DFO DISPUTE Stz’uminus wants meaningful discussions and co-management of resources. An impressive display of solidarity occurred on May 12 when chiefs from central Vancouver Island came to Stz’uminus First Nation to show their support in the nation’s long-running dispute with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Attendees included Chief David Bob of Snaw-naw-as; Chief Chip Seymour of Cowichan; Chief Wilbur Jack of Penelakut; and Chief John Wesley of Snuneymuxw. Chief James Thomas of Halalt and leaders from other Naut’sa mawt Tribal Council nations have also supported Stz’uminus. “We all share the same frustrations and the other chiefs wanted to show their support,” Chief John Elliott said. “The work we’re doing is not unnoticed,” he said of his nation’s five-year fight for the right to manage fisheries on its doorstep, particularly in the abundant waters of Kulleet Bay. Elliott spoke after the meeting of fisheries personnel and leaders at the Stz’uminus elders centre. The meeting was called 10 days after Stz’uminus announced that it was closing the waters in its core territory to DFO and other government vessels as well as commercial harvesters. “We’ve had enough,” Chief Elliott
said. “Hopefully we will be able to move in a direction of being true managers and decision makers about what happens in our territory. If there is not true consultation with DFO, then we will be no closer to resolving these issues.” But, he said: “No one wants a fight... We are all looking for solutions and resolution.” The day after the meeting, Chief James Delorme wrote this on Twitter: “#DFO has little or no interest in seeing economic growth for #firstnations. Glad to see leaders coming together.” The economic argument was also high on Chief Elliott’s agenda. “We want to create an economy for our people,” he said. “Our fight is not with the commercial harvesters, but with DFO. The harvesters make their livelihood from these waters. And that’s all we want… our livelihood.” He said the nations were monitoring the commercial prawn fishery, which opened in early May, and will be doing the same for harvests of all other fisheries including crab, herring and the much-prized geoduck. The ultimate goal, he said, was for a comprehensive co-management agreement with DFO along with opening up economic opportunities for Stz’uminus members.
The chief said his nation had been in talks with DFO since 2009, but the negotiations were fruitless with only a promise for a few, limited licenses. “There is no guarantee with licenses. We can’t have a sustainable business plan with them.” He said the only clear result of the DFO talks was they “pushed us further into frustration” and “put the onus on commercial harvesters” rather than clarifying fisheries policies. “Our fight isn’t with the sports fishery or commercial harvesters,” Elliott said. “What we want is for meaningful discussions with DFO and co-management of the resources. But the DFO is not willing to change unless it is forced to. They don’t like change.” He said the Stz’uminus community is wholeheartedly behind their leaders in the dispute. Support has also come from other nations throughout the coast and as far north as Haida Gwaii. “We’re definitely not going away on this,” Elliott said. “We’re in it for the long haul. We will definitely have to take some sort of action and will be out there on our waters. Other nations will be alongside us. “No one wants a fight... We are just looking for solutions and resolution.” SALISH SEA SENTINEL • 9
BRITTANY WELDS A NEW CAREER… AND IT ISN’T LAW FNES brings career opportunties to Aboriginal communities. When Brittany Wilson was pondering what was ahead for her after high school, she thought for a while about entering the legal profession. But then she decided she would rather be a welder than a lawyer. When The Sentinel last talked to Brittany on May 20, she was celebrating her 23rd birthday, taking time off before getting her résumés out to potential employers in the shipbuilding and other industries. “It shouldn’t be too hard,” she said of her job search. “Welders are very much in demand.” Especially welders like her. She was one of the best in the class in the seven -month Level C welding program for 18 participants from Sliammon and Sechelt First Nations. Walter Paul, a training advisor with the First Nations Employment Society (FNES), rated her highly despite the fact that welding is often considered work for men. “There are getting to be more women in non-traditional trades like welding,” he said. “Welders are in big demand. Women who do welding might not have the physical strength of men, but the industry is looking at different ways of doing things, like using lifts and other aids.” The FNES program was run in conjunction with Vancouver Island University at a building in Powell River that had classrooms on the main floor and welding facilities, complete with individual booths, in a large basement shop. The five-day-a-week sessions started in September and finished in mid-March. With her first level of learning behind her, Brittany will be working on building up the number of work hours before going on to the next two levels of training. After that she becomes a qualified welder. 10 • SALISH SEA SENTINEL
Welders in training in the shop.
Walter Paul said FNES was able to directly purchase 18 places in the program. “Otherwise, welding programs have a waiting period of over two years. I did an assessment on applicants and selected the final 18 based on their literacy, numeracy and other skills. That was important because welding requires math, document reading and other abilities.
Women who do welding might not have the physical strength of men, but the industry is looking at different ways of doing things, like using lifts and other aids.
“The literacy requirements are sometimes a scary thing for people, especially older ones going back to school. It can be difficult and strenuous. So, we have to think outside the box to make sure they are successful. We customize the training for every student.” FNES, along with the Vancouver Island-based Coast Salish Employment and Training Society (CSETS) and Aboriginal Community Careers Employment Services Society (ACCESS) are partners in the Coastal Aboriginal Shipbuilding Alliance. CASA recently signed a memorandum of understanding with Seaspan Marine, the company that won a $12 billion contract for building noncombat vessels for Canada. A similar agreement was signed with Meridian Marine and Aggressive Tube Bending, which will lead to career opportunities for Aboriginals in the greater maritime industry.
VAL WILL HELP ON THE PATH TO GOVERNANCE Newest NmTC employee has a passion for blending modern and traditional governance. The newest employee of Naut’sa mawt Tribal Council was one of the people who helped guide Tsawwassen First Nation from governance under the Indian Act to self-governance under treaty. Now she will be doing similar works for all our nations as a governance advisor. The TFN member has worked in First Nation organizations for the last 11 years and has experience in most government departments as a supervisor. She has a passion for integrating culture, blending modern governance with traditional methods of governance. But let Val tell her own story. “Having been raised by my grandparents on the Tsawwassen reserve in the 1970s, I have a strong connection to our lands and to my people as well as a great respect and love for Elders. Perhaps that is why I ended up working for Tsawwassen First Nation. “Having worked for Tsawwassen First Nation for the last 11 years, I have gained experience in many aspects of both the day-to-day operations and yearly cycles of an Indian Band and a self-governing First Nation. From soup to nuts I have pretty much done it, directed or gave a helping hand. “This experience has also given me a rigorous, hands-on education and experience in governance. I have a strong passion for integrating culture, blending modern governance with traditional practices and listening to the teachings from our Elders on how to do that. “I have accomplished a lot and am
proud of the work I have done for my community, but feel it is time to move on to different challenges and responsibilities; to another organization where I can affect positive change and growth. Sharing lessons learned and best practices and helping others create something that is their own is my new calling. There is so much work that needs to be done in Aboriginal communities. I am honoured that I will have an opportunity to assist the members of the Naut’sa mawt Tribal Council in finding the path that provides them the tools to grow and improve on their existing governance systems. “These last 11 years have given me the ability to think on my feet to find innovative and reasonable solutions to issues and problems unique to First Nation organizations and I am excited to share that.” Val and her husband, photographer Gordon Blackett, live in North Delta with their two dogs. Both daughters are grown, one living in North Delta and the other in Edmonton with three Val’s grandchildren. “I have been known to run a few 5 km races and even challenged myself to one or two 10 km races. My toughest challenge so far has been the Tough Mudder last year in Whistler and I am pleased to say I survived it! If you see a nice pair of shoes, be sure to let me know as I love my shoe collection and am always looking for new additions, (but don’t tell my husband!). “There is more to me, but we can do that in person. Look me up!” firstname.lastname@example.org
Above: Val celebrated with a dance as Chief Bryce Williams sang and drummed. Left: The plaque that accompanied a feather for Val. Below: Colin Ward, TFN’s director of public services donned a Valerie wig.
SALISH SEA SENTINEL • 11
HERONS NEST WELCOMES HIGH-FLYERS Budding entrepreneurs invited to take advice from the pros in grassroots economic development project. There’s money on the table and, more importantly, some great advice for budding entrepreneurs from our 11 nations who want to take part in The Herons Nest. And the first advisors in the project have been announced. The Herons Nest is a Naut’sa mawt Tribal Council grassroots economic development project designed to help people, like you, to realize their dreams of running their own business and making a living by doing something valuable for themselves, their families and communities. Grants and low-coast loans and support from other resources will be available to deserving participants. The tribal council is contacting other organizations so that those business projects that need seed money can have it. Application deadline for the project is July 15, so put on your thinking cap, read through the information on this page and start to put together your plan. If you have any questions, contact email@example.com or call 250-246-3438.
Two of our advisors
Two successful small business people are among the several advisors that will help guide Herons Nesters over the next several months. They will be at a series of workshops through the autumn. Erik Blaney from Sliammon First Nation wears many business hats. He is about to hold the grand opening for the Tla’amin General Store that he operates with mother Gail and other family members. He also runs iHos Cultural Tours that takes visitors around the Desolation Sound area in canoes and 12 • SALISH SEA SENTINEL
Above: Darren Blaney with some of his latest work. Below: Erik Blaney
Zodiacs, introducing them to the traditional territories of the Tla’amin, Klahoose and Homalco peoples. For the artistically inclined, Darren Blaney from Homalco First Nation will provide advice from creation to selling. He is skilled in making fine quality jewelry in silver and gold, from rings, earrings, bracelets and pendants, as well as being a wood carver of totems, masks, paddles and drums. His company is appropriately called Darren Blaney First Nation Carvings & Jewelry, which can be found of Facebook. As well as producing fine work, Darren is constantly investigating new ways of marketing his art through social media. Everyone involved in The Herons Nest project believes there is an entrepreneur in many of us… we’ve just got to crack the egg! Participants will be guided through all phases of running a business. Special emphasis will be focused on businesses that operate with a respect for traditional values and for the lessons left to us by our ancestors.
To get into the Nest
Joining The Herons Nest is simple. There are no forms to fill out or lengthy interviews. Tell us about your idea for a business. What are you going to do? Who will be your customers? What do you need to make it work? Things like that… Once you have thought about it, just send us an email telling us all about it. Send it to heronsnest@nautsamawt. com If you aren’t good at putting things down on paper, the telephone 250-246-3438.