A Look Back AT NmTC News From 2010
The past year was a very eventful one for all of the 11 member nations of Naut'sa Tribal council. There are many Klahowya memories that we will treasure and honour.From all the celbrations around the 2010 Vancouver-Whistler Olympic Games to blockades on highways and on the water, there are many things to remember.In words and photos from past issues of Klahowya, here are some of them.
Another historic event took place at Tsawwassen First Nation on Feb. 1 as the TFN Legislature sat for the first time.
TFN Legislature meets for first time
After a meal together, the first members of the Tsawwassen Legislative Assembly gathered for the inaugural meeting that was mainly ceremonial.
But after a feather made its way around the table and short comments were made, Chief Kim Baird used the occasion to talk with the legislators about the job ahead.
“We have done much, but there is so much to do… we have to remember that we have more than a century of colonization to overcome.
Elsie honoured with doctorate
Sliammon First Nation elder Elsie Qazustala’s Paul received an honorary doctor of letters from Vancouver Island University (VIU) in January. Assembly of First Nations Chief Shawn Atleo said the 78-year-old inspired everyone by her lifelong support for learning and higher education.
“Elsie’s commitment to creating healthy communities extends far beyond the context of first nations,” said Atleo who is also the VIU chancellor. “Through her life and teachings, she has demonstrated a quiet but very powerful form of leadership that is inspirational.”
New chief Doug carries on the White family legacy
In the 1970s, a young boy went fishing with his grandfather. As they fished, the boy listened as his grandfather talked about the Snuneymuxw people and about what qualities are required to be a leader. The grandfather was Doug White I – Tiqwup – chief of Snuneymuxw in the 1960s. The boy was Doug White III – Kwul’a’sul’tun – who, in December, was elected chief of Snuneymuxw First Nation.
Even though he has been trained and groomed to be a leader since boyhood, he did not imagine that he would be offered the sad opportunity late last year with the sudden passing of Chief Viola Wyse. “Our Nation suffered a great tragedy when we lost Viola. When we lost her, we had to figure out what we were going to do. We had lots of conversations in the family and other people in the community about what our approach was going to be.
Xwemalhkwu leaders plan strategically
A plan to stimulate all aspects of the nation is being put in to action by Xwemalhkwu (Homalco) leaders.
That follows a three-day strategic planning workshop held in February that was attended by Chief Richard Harry and councillors Robert Harry, Bill Blaney, Alison Trenholm and Maryann Enevoldson. The workshop was coordinated by Trenholm and Gary Reith of Naut'sa mawt Tribal Council.
Healthy forest income from Toba
The old tree farm license TFL 10 was converted to one of the largest community forest agreements (CFA) in BC late last year. And Chief Ken Brown was clear about what the 230,000 hectares around Toba Inlet meant for Klahoose First Nation in the years ahead.
“This is a major achievement for us as a community,” he said. “Converting TFL 10 allows us to utilize our own resources in the Toba Valley again for our sole benefit after years of others benefiting from what was rightfully ours for more than 20 years.”
Torch shines brightly at our Nations
The 2010 Winter Olympic Games torch traveled through the Nations of Naut’sa mawt Tribal Council since late October when it visited T’Sou-ke, Stz’uminus and Snuneymuxw. After its journey across Canada, it returned to the Salish Sea, visiting Sliammon, Tsawwassen and Tsleil-Waututh in the days before the Games began.
Perhaps Chief Justin George said it best:
“This is such a moment. It is time for Canada to unite and come together. That’s what the Olympic Games are all about.”
T’Sou-ke takes the path to sustainability
When the solar panels went up at T’Sou-ke First Nation last summer – generating hot water for homes and electricity for BC’s power grid – it was also an announcement of a new direction in the journey for the most western of Naut’sa mawt Tribal Council nations.
Three years ago, T’Sou-ke leaders saw that the community had to take important steps – to become transformed – so that it could adapt to climate change and other 21st Century challenges like oil depletion and economic insecurity.
The transformation began with the comprehensive community planning (CCP) process in 2007. Short and long-term goals were identified. Priorities were set and specific projects (like solar power) were started.
Halalt road blockade gets results from province
Chief James Thomas expects long-term and positive results from a two-week blockade of the highway that runs through Halalt First Nation. He addressed the BC First Nations Summit in late March to update chiefs about ongoing meetings arranged between Halalt and the District of North Cowichan (DNC) after intervention by BC’s aboriginal relations Minister George Abbott that ended the blockade.
Halalt community members called for action in late February over plans by DNC to pump water from the Chemainus River aquifer to supply the town of Chemainus seven kilometers away. They were worried about their own water supply, which also comes from the aquifer, as well as effects that extended pumping will have on the entire watershed.
Canoe launch for His Honour
Late last year, Klahowya readers saw the first photos of BC’s Lieutenant Governor Stephen Point working on a shovel-nosed river canoe.
In early April, Point was joined by friends and relations (including many from Stz’uminus and Snuneymuxw) in a traditional ceremony to launch the canoe, named Shxwtitostel, from the beach near his official home at Government House in Victoria. It was the same spot where Point found the log.
The art of three cultures
In the old A-frame building overlooking Kulleet Bay at Stz’uminus First Nation, members of the Marston family are creating Coast Salish artworks that are becoming known around the world. The family played host at the gala opening of a show called Art Jam: Pacific Rim Connection in a gallery on the Ladysmith waterfront in early July.
The Coast Salish artworks of Jane Marston and her talented children joined works from Japan as well as those exhibited by the Ladysmith Arts Council at its Waterfront Arts Gallery. The building is housed in the Comox Logging & Railway Company’s former machine shop. From there, one can see Shell Beach across the harbour at Stz’uminus First Nation.
Jane, a Stz’uminus member, and children John, Luke, Angela and Karen all had their works on display at the event. Other featured artists in the show include two from Japan who had hosted John and Luke in a 2008 cultural exchange.
Hunters and gatherers? – not a chance!
Historians were once defined as “people who mix up what we know”. Hopefully, they are already rewriting the history books when it comes to the Coast Salish Peoples.
A recent archaeology project in Tla’amin (Sliammon) territory in Desolation Sound is just the latest confirmation of what our Elders always told us. Whether it was using fish weirs, traps, nets and spears, building clam gardens or ‘grooming’ camas beds, our ancestors knew what they were doing and they did it well, using sophisticated, complicated and appropriate technologies that sustained them for millennia.
Victory at Kulleet Bay, but a long fight predicted
When Stz’uminus First Nation faced down the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the Underwater Harvesters Association on the waters of Kulleet Bay in early August, it was only one victorious round in a long and bitter battle over the high-value resources in First Nations waters.
Stz’uminus Chief John Elliott celebrated with his community the victory at Kulleet Bay in early August.
But he is mindful that a long hard road lies ahead before Stz’uminus gets control of its resources.
DFO eventually closed Kulleet Bay to commercial geoduck harvesting.
Our larders are well stocked after a record sockeye run
There have been lots of smiles on faces in the our communities as we enjoy the bounty from the biggest sockeye salmon run in almost 100 years. In places that had not seen food fish for a year or two, dozens were arriving at every home as canning jars got dusted off and smokers started up.
Crown land does a disappearing act for Snaw-naw-as
Snaw-naw-as administrator and councillor Brent Edwards could probably find a lot of things better to do than having arguments, often in the media, with people who say they love forests.
When Snaw-naw-as won the right to harvest logs from District Lot 33, the 60-hectare property was quickly identified as being near-perfect example of a Coastal Douglas Fir (CDF) forest and threatened species of things like the red-legged frog were highlighted.
Edward’s was quick to inform critics that Crown land in very short supply in the area around Nanoose Bay.
“The province of BC is rich,” said Edwards. “How did it get rich? From forestry, fishing and mining. And that is why so many people want to live here. People ask me if I feel guilty (about logging the CDF forest). I will not feel guilty. Where that guilt can be laid is at the feet of all those who logged before.”
New centre is made for, and paid for, by Klahoose
The $7 million New Relationship Centre at Squirrel Cove is nearing completion.
There are many unique things about the new centre including;
Its multi-use design incorporating everything from a health wing and fitness centre to a language lab and salmon processing facilities;
The estimated $1.5 million that was pumped into the Cortes Island community during construction; or
The 200,000 board feet of red cedar and Douglas fir that was milled on site.
However, perhaps what is most impressive about the 15,000-square-foot building is that it was all built with own-source revenues.
Creating wealth surrounded by riches
If there is one thing that Naut’sa mawt Tribal Council nations all have in common, it is the challenge of creating real, sustainable wealth.
This need of our communities comes just as the natural resources needed to develop our economies are increasingly in short supply. Often, once our nations identify potential sources of wealth, there is a fair bit of noise from politicians, residents and environmental groups.
All our nations have experienced this to some extent such as:
• Tsawwassen – Large-scale industrial, commercial and residential developments – alongside that of DeltaPort – have opponents complaining about loss of farmland, wildlife habitat and other negative effects of growth;
• Stz’uminus – Economic development of shellfish and other resources has created a major battle with DFO access to resources once claimed exclusively by commercial harvesters;
• Snuneymuxw – Pressures on the Nanaimo River estuary is a familiar story and recently Snuneymuxw threatened court action over the building of a cruise ship terminal; and
• Snaw-naw-as – The awarding of a five-year woodlot license from the province was to bring in revenues from logging, but first there was loud complaints from people who said a unique forest was threatened.