Huu-ay-aht invites you to join them for a pole raising happening in Bamfield at Hac̣as Inn on Thursday, September 30 at 11 a.m.
Devon Transport Ltd. announced today that Port Alberni based owner and operator Lady Rose Marine Services has accepted its Letter of Intent to purchase its operating business ensuring the continuity of ferry service to the Alberni Inlet and Barkley Sound on the MV Frances Barkley ferry. As a result of the difficulties presented by the COVID-19 pandemic Lady Rose Marine Services, which has been in business for 75 years, was due to close its’ doors by the end of this month. With its last sailing scheduled for August 31st this deal arrives just in time to save this much relied upon transport lifeline for the area.
View press release here: click here
On August 16, 2021, Huu-ay-aht First Nations (HFN) met with Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District (ACRD), and various community stakeholders to discuss the current state of the Lady Rose Marine Services and the announced termination of this vital service effective August 31, 2021.
The ACRD and HFN are optimistic that an announcement will be made later this week that will involve no disruption to this essential community service.
For full Press Release: click here
Sheila Charles has always been an advocate for Huu-ay-aht citizens. As an elected councillor for two terms, she was instrumental in making the Social Services Project a reality and improving so many lives through this process. She will now turn her attention to the housing needs of her Nation.
Sheila joined Team Huu-ay-aht and takes over the responsibility for housing for the Nation.
“I’m excited about the challenge this position presents,” she says. “I look forward to helping get our citizens into healthy living arrangements – ones where they will feel happy and safe and find a sense of pride.”
Her position is new to the Huu-ay-aht administrative team, and it is still a work in progress. Sheila says this will be a rewarding job as she gets to work with the team to ensure the new housing position is a “made in Huu-ay-aht” model. She plans to consult with other organizations, like the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council, to see what she can learn from what they are doing in housing. For the most part, Huu-ay-aht will be creating a position that will help address the specific needs coming from the Nation’s community. Prior to this change, direction came from the Housing Oversight Board.
In her new role, Sheila will oversee all the Huu-ay-aht rental properties. She will also be a contact for citizens who need help with their current housing or assistance finding a new place to live. She also sees ongoing maintenance and upkeep of the rental units as an important part of her job.
“We want citizens to know they are supported,” Sheila says. “It is important that we offer them security as we would like to see more citizens move home.”
Sheila acknowledges she has a lot of work ahead of her and lots to learn along the way.
“Learning as I go along is very familiar from the days I spent on Executive Council,” she explains. “I’m excited for the challenge and can’t wait to see more citizens getting into housing and moving home.”
Sheila will also offer help with the application process and other housing needs. She wants to remind citizens that information is available on Huu-ay-aht’s website (https://huuayaht.org/housing/) if they need to apply for housing or have other questions. She wants to remind citizens that the deadline for to apply for housing is March 1 of every year, as outlined in the Social Housing Regulation. Citizens can also email her directly at Sheila.firstname.lastname@example.org or call 250-731-5676.
The current pandemic is still a long way from over, but Huu-ay-aht First Nations is making progress in its fight against the virus.
In January, the Huu-ay-aht found out residents of Anacla would be among the first recipients of the Moderna vaccine. Within days of receiving the news, the first 70 vaccinations were administered in Anacla. That number has since increased to 85, and every member of the community has been vaccinated against COVID-19.
Chief Councillor Robert J. Dennis Sr encouraged residents of Huu-ay-aht’s remote village to get vaccinated to help protect the elders and people who could not get the vaccine.
“We want to lead by example,” he told the Hashilthsa. “If there’s something that we can do to stop the spread, we’re willing to be front and centre to ensure that it gets done.”
The chief also sees the vaccinations as a positive step and hopes that it will mean citizens will be able to gather again, and even host potlatches.
“That’s one of the big things people are missing,” he said. “Being able to get together with family, share a good, big meal and [enjoy] songs and dances. I’m extremely excited about that happening again.”
Although COVID-19 numbers in the province have leveled out, the numbers for First Nations communities are not looking promising.
As of the most recent update from the First Nations Health Authority on January 15, B.C had 2,761 cases recorded in First Nations people. Among these, there were 32 deaths related to COVID-19. As of this date, there are 416 active cases.
When you examine the demographics of the people infected in this group, 72% are under the age of 50. The majority, 54.7% fall between 20-49 years of age.
The statistics also indicate that First Nations people are becoming infected at a rate greater than the provincial average. The rate of positive cases was 1,700 per 100,000 people among First Nations versus 1,157 per 100,000 people in BC.
The good news is that First Nations communities, especially those in remote areas, are a priority in the new provincial vaccination plan. As of the end of the FNHA reporting period, 75,914 people in B.C. have received a COVID-19 vaccine. Here is the schedule for this year’s immunization plan. For more details, you can go to: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/covid-19-provincial-support/vaccines