Young Huu-ay-aht shares concern for future with chief

By Heather Thomson

Although still small in size, the message Davin Powell brought to his chief was not.

Davin came to Huu-ay-aht’s Port Alberni Government Office and asked if he could speak to Elected Chief Councillor Robert J. Dennis Sr. He had something on his mind, and he wanted to bring the concern to Chief Dennis’ attention and ask the leader of his nation for advice on how he can be part of the solution.

“We should only take what we need,” he explained, “If we take way more there won’t be any more for us in the future.”

His words were quiet but had the strength of a future leader. He explained to Robert that he is concerned about all animals and that it makes him sad to see so many killed.

“I want it to be peaceful between humans and animals. It makes me sad when it isn’t.”

He said, as a young native boy, he is concerned when he sees more animals being killed than need to be. He explained that this concern was the driving force behind his idea to go speak to the chief.

“Everything is one,” he said.

Chief Dennis was happy to receive such wise comments from one of Huu-ay-aht’s younger citizens. He said it was brave of him to ask permission to come voice his worries.

Robert explained that what Davin is describing is what his ancestors called Hišuk ma c̓awak – or Everything is Connected. He explained that Huu-ay-ahts for hundreds of years have shared similar concerns about the world that surrounds them.

Robert reassured Davin that he would take his concerns to executive council. He asked Davin why he was suddenly so concerned. Davin said he first started thinking about his connection to nature when his “Poppa Robert” (also the chief) explained to him that you must always return the bones of the fish back to the river.

“I thought, at that time, we need to take care of everything.”

His next question for the chief was “how can I help?”

Robert explained that the best way to help is to share his concerns with his fellow citizens. So if you see Davin and want to know more, stop and ask him what he thinks. You might be surprised by the answer.

Robert and Davin]

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