Huu-ay-aht First Nations Executive Council has decided to make things right in the discontinued 50th Birthday Program.
“In 1989, Huu-ay-aht received funds, when they were known as Ohiat Indian Band, as a result of the cut-off lands settlement,” explains Chief Robert J. Dennis Sr. “As is often the practice, at a Band meeting at that time, the 50th Birthday Program was created, granting $5,000 to Band members on their 50th birthday. We want to honour the decision of the band members.”
When the Nation received the funds in 1989:
- Band members who were over the age of 60 at the time received $10,000 from the cut-off lands settlement.
- If members were under 60 they received $4,728.89.
- It was also decided on June 4, 1995 band members would receive $5,000 when they turned 50.
- Band members who were minors as of June 4, 1995 received $5,000, which was put into trust until they turned 19.
When Huu-ay-aht implemented the Maa-nulth Treaty on April 1, 2011, this program was discontinued. As a result, there are a number of people who were adult members of Ohiat Band on June 4, 1995 who did not turn 50 before the program was discontinued. Executive Council views that the Nation has an outstanding obligation to those who were members at the time, who received only $4,728.89 from the settlement funds. Executive Council passed a motion in their meeting on April 4, to make a payment of $5,000 to each of those people (referred to as the “lesser compensated members”) in the motion, by April 30, 2018.
To be part of this “lesser compensated members” group, individuals must:
- Have been members of the Ohiat Band on June 4, 1995
- Not had their 50th birthdays before April 1, 2011
- Never received an additional $5,000 distribution from the cut-off lands settlement.
Each person who qualifies will receive $5,000, to an approximate total cost to the Nation of $680,000. Moving forward, Huu-ay-aht’s Executive Director will develop and implement a self-reliance plan to replace any further one-time payments to Huu-ay-aht citizens and other individuals.
Payments will be provided by April 30, 2018 in accordance with the Nation’s distribution policy. Direct deposits will be made for those whose banking information is already on file.