Held at the Aboriginal Mother Centre in Vancouver on August 14, 2013
In attendance from Executive Council: Chief Councillor Jeff Cook and Councillors Tom Happynook, Jack Cook, and John Jack; Angela Wesley (Huu-ay-aht Development Corporation, Chair of the Board of Directors) and Stan Coleman (CEO of HDC)
There was a very good turnout for the Community Rounds that were held at the Aboriginal Mother Centre with 28 citizens present for the event with many questions and comments for the Executive Council and HDC.
Topics of discussion:
The HFN government has been working to preserve and grow the Huu-ay-aht language for a number of years, and early on contracted Dr Henry Kammler, a German linguist and specialist in our language. The linguists have worked closely with our Elders to ensure that the language will not be lost.
A few of the main concerns are:
- there are fewer than 20 people on the lower mainland who are able to speak the Huu-ay-aht language
- learning to speak Huu-ay-aht from non-native people
- no place in the Vancouver area to learn to sing and dance
- concern that the Huu-ay-aht language is being mixed with other nation’s dialects
It was noted that there are a number of ways to learn the Huu-ay-aht language:
- Researching online
- Contacting someone that knows the language and set up a meeting
- Contacting an Elder and perhaps using Skype for a lesson
- Attending classes offered at North Island College in Port Alberni through UVic
- Children in Anacla can attend Pawaats (the “language nest”) and learn from Elders
Chief Councillor Cook explained that HFN has now drawn down the administration of Education from NTC. This means that HFN will go through the application process internally for education funding. Citizens must contact the Port Alberni government office to submit their applications for post-secondary and occupational skills training funding. He noted that HFN can provide the tools for education but not the “DRIVE”. Citizens should contact the office directly to inquire about the Post -Secondary support program.
Councillor John Jack explained that the village of Anacla needs to have skilled trades workers living there and that there is funding available for qualified applicants.
Chief Councillor Cook explained that all BC First Nations and NTC are drawing down the Health authority from the Provincial and Federal Governments. More information will be coming to the citizens as it becomes available.
Citizens are concerned that there is no police presence in the Village. It can take as long as three hours to respond. This is alarming when it is a major crime.
John Jack explained the process for having a peace officer stationed in the Village. HFN has entered into an agreement with the local RCMP. They will increase their visibility but their presence in the village will not be announced prior to their arrival. Training a peace officer is being considered but extremely costly.
The halibut theft was questioned and Tom Happynook explained what has taken place. The RCMP was contacted and the theft was reported. This in an ongoing investigation and no further comments can be made at this time to ensure the process is not compromised. The Nation has offered a $1000 reward for information leading to the conviction of the person(s) responsible for the theft. Please report any tips to Crimestoppers.
The Public Works Department has changed the locks on all freezers and a very limited amount of keys have been distributed.
The purchase of the Fire Truck was questioned. John Jack explained that there are currently no volunteer firemen in Anacla. If there were a fire in Anacla the Bamfield Volunteer Fire Department would respond. The BVFD has no room to store the truck or the need to use it.
Stan Coleman was introduced; he made a short speech on the structure of HDC and its objectives and goal. The goal is to make money and employ citizens.
Market and Cafe
Citizens asked how the decision to purchase the Tides and Trails restaurant and market came about. John Jack explained that it was Executive Council’s decision to make this purchase for the investment of Huu-ay-aht’s future.
Stan Coleman explained that the HDC is looking for a long-term management team to manage the store, restaurant and liquor store. The store is currently managed by John Mass; John Mass sits on the Economic Development Committee as well as the operating board of HDC. Once a suitable applicant is identified there will be a possible two-year transition period.
It was asked if HDC would consider having a manager for each section of the business. Stan explained that that is not the best way to run this business and that one manager is needed.
One of the questions that arose was if someone moved from outside of the area would they have to go through a probation period if they obtained a job with the Nation. It was confirmed that everyone must go through this probationary process. Jobs are awarded on merit; there is no certainty on retention of the job.
A citizen asked if the market would be interested in a local artist. Stan explained that HDC is looking at a partnership with local artists.
In the near future, a presentation on the Micro Hydro project will be made to Executive Council, HDC Board and any citizen that would like to attend.
Citizens wanted information about the selling of the power to BC Hydro. John Jack explained that the energy would not be used to power Anacla or Bamfield, but will be sold to BC Hydro.
There were questions about the amount of water needed to produce power to make it economically feasible to invest this much money in the project. Studies indicate that there is enough water in the Sarita River to make this project feasible; 80% would be diverted to Micro Hydro while the other 20% would be free flowing. The water temperature would remain constant and there would be minimal impact on the local trout species. A citizen expressed concern about the ecosystem surrounding the Micro Hydro plant. Stan assured the citizens that all environmental studies have been done and there will be no major impact on the ecosystem.
Many citizens were interested in financial distributions.
A citizen asked why there is no longer a Christmas distribution; John Jack provided details on the financial implications of a Christmas distribution to the Nation. If the Nation were to provide $150 to each citizen that would equal $112 500 each year. After five years, that would amount to $562 500. This half million dollars would have to be made from interest accrued from investments.
Jeff Cook explained that the food fish distribution costs between $60 000 and $70 000 each year.
Tom Happynook explained that this is a balanced budget year for HFN; in the past, HFN would run on credit. This government is working on a balanced budget.
HDC is working on making money for the nation; this takes time and investments.
NEDC (Nuu-chah-nulth Economic Development Corporation)
Questions arose from citizens on how to get funding from the Nation to start a business.
Jeff Cook explained that First Nations people can apply for grants and start-up loans from NEDC.
The Executive Council members present thanked the citizens for coming to the August 2013 Community Rounds.