On behalf of Tayii Ḥaw̓ił ƛiišin (Derek Peters), Huu-ay-aht First Nations would like to announce that our Tayii Ḥaw̓ił has made the personal decision to enter a treatment facility at this time.
Irene, Olivia, Nora, and the rest of his family said he has made the very courageous decision to spend time focusing on his own wellbeing and taking care of himself. They said ƛiišin has recognized his need to slow down and focus on healing of grief, trauma, and addiction. He realizes he has not made good personal choices over a short period of time.
ƛiišin has expressed his desire to be stronger, most importantly for himself, but also to set a healthy example for his daughter and be closer to his family.
“Olivia and I are very proud of him and will be right here to support him. We are grateful that the Nation has moved so quickly to help,” explained Irene. “ƛiišin, you are important to all of us, Olivia and I are very proud of you. You are showing resilience and continue to uphold our teachings and the sacred values.”
She added that he lives these values:
- ʔuuʔałuk – In his desire to take care of himself,
- Hišuk ma c̕awak – That he is willing to share his journey with everyone as we are all connected, we are all one family. We have a strong nation we must walk together with one another, and
- ʔiisaak – To love and respect himself and to invest in himself.
“Our family has supported him every step of the way, with open arms and love,” She added. We wanted to let you know from our family that he is in good hands. Although, it has been just a little over a week, I can tell you he is sounding well and happy and putting in the work. He is utilizing all resources so he may be supported through his growth.”
In an email to Chief Councillor Robert J. Dennis Sr. last week, ƛiišin shared his wishes to seek addiction treatment at Edgewood Treatment Centre in Nanaimo. He expressed his wishes that his journey be shared with Huu-ay-aht citizens in hopes that others will be inspired by his example. He also asked that his speaker, Wišqii, stand in for him during this time to fulfil his duties with the Nation, as he understands the importance of this role.
Chief Councillor Dennis expressed his admiration for the bravery ƛiišin has shown, as often acknowledging you have a substance problem is the hardest step. He said by doing that and entering a treatment program, ƛiišin is showing citizens how important it is to take responsibility, focus on your health, and lead by example. Robert also said he is proud of ƛiišin for taking the extra step to make his decision public. He said this is a difficult journey, but by sharing it with others ƛiišin is also leading the way for more citizens to seek treatment.
“The example he is setting as our head chief will lead to a healthier Nation in the end, I hope others will see what he is doing and decide to follow his lead.” the Chief Councilor explained. “As a Nation, we have seen a wave of people going through treatment, and this for the betterment of the Nation.”
Executive Council respects and honors ƛiišin’s decision to have Wišqii fulfil the duties and responsibilities of Huu-ay-aht’s head chief until the time he feels he is ready to return.
“We are strong leaders, and because of that we can take on the extra work that may come our way as a result of ƛiišin’s absence,” Robert Dennis said. “We will do this to support him.”
If you or someone you know would like to seek treatment, please contact Rena Johnson at Rena.firstname.lastname@example.org or call 250-735-4326.