Huu-ay-aht leaders represent initiative of interest to Nation at UBCM

A delegation from Huu-ay-aht First Nations will join other leadership at this week’s Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM) in Whistler this week.

UBCM is an opportunity for provincial leaders to discuss topics of interest on a local level. This year Chief Councillor Robert R. Dennis Sr., Councillor Sheila Charles, and Councillor Trevor Cootes will attend the meeting on September 12 and 13.

“Because we are a self-governing nation, Huu-ay-aht is one of the first First Nations to attend independently,” explains Chief Dennis. “We will be present at the table, sitting down as equals.”

The delegation has a number of meetings set up in advance. The Chief Councillor will sit down with the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Selena Robinson, to discuss our housing program. He will also meet with Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Claire Trevena to make a case for chip-sealing the Port Alberni-Bamfield Road.

“UBCM allows local government to coordinate with other provincial leaders on the initiatives that are important to us as a Nation,” Dennis said. “We have a unique understanding of what is important to our community and our citizens, and through this meeting we get to sit down, face-to-face, with the people making decisions that will affect all of us.”

Councillor Charles will meet with Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Families. This is an important connection for Huu-ay-aht given the ministry’s recent commitment to accelerate funding to implement the Social Services Panel Recommendations. This will be a chance for Huu-ay-aht to officially express its appreciation to the minister.

Councillor Cootes is meeting with Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, to share Huu-ay-ath’s ideas for revitalizing forestry in the Alberni. He will also share how our forestry guiding principles will guide our discussions with Western Forest Products.

Huu-ay-aht Councillor John Jack is also in Whistler for UBCM. He is there representing the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District as Huu-ay-aht representative on ACRD and its current chair.

Huu-ay-aht and Western Forest Products continue to work together pursuant to the Reconciliation Protocol Agreement

Huu-ay-aht First Nations and Western Forest Products Inc. (TSX: WEF) announce that they are working together to explore potential alternative ownership structures in Huu-ay-aht’s traditional territories pursuant to the Reconciliation Protocol Agreement. This collaborative effort may also involve other First Nations with traditional territories in the Alberni Valley over the next several years. Western and Huu-ay-aht both strongly believe that working together will benefit the community, region and forestry sector.

The shared vision of Huu-ay-aht and Western includes a framework for reconciliation and revitalization of the Alberni Valley forest sector. The framework includes increased participation of area First Nations through tenure ownership, employment and business opportunities, sustained domestic manufacturing, increased training and jobs, effective marketing and valued-added product innovation, and strong environmental stewardship.

For more details, see the Release or go to the Exploring Forestry Opportunities tab on our website.

Canada and British Columbia pledge significant funds to Social Services Project

Working with Indigenous communities and partners to improve the well-being of children, and keeping families together remains one of the federal government’s most important priorities.

Today, the Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Indigenous Services, announced $4.2 million in funding to support the Huu-ay-aht First Nations Social Services Project on child and family services. The Province of British Columbia is also providing financial and other support to this initiative.

“The federal government is proud to support Huu-ay-aht First Nations in their work to bring home Huu-ay-aht children in care,” said Minister of Indigenous Services Jane Philpott. “It is so important for children to be supported by their community and grow up in their own cultural environment.”

Federal funding will go towards community initiatives such as expanding current pregnancy support and parenting education programs, hiring family and protection support workers, and developing opportunities for youth engagement and cultural awareness.

Today’s announcement is in support of Huu-ay-aht First Nations’ Social Services Project and the 30 recommendations contained in their report titled “Safe, Healthy, and Connected – Bringing Huu-ay-aht Children Home.”

Four months ago, Huu-ay-aht First Nations declared the treatment of Huu-ay-aht children a public health emergency. Since the declaration, Huu-ay-aht Executive Council and staff have been working diligently to gain support from both the provincial and federal governments. Huu-ay-aht First Nations has committed more than $650,000 towards implementing recommendations specified in the report.

“We thank the Federal Government for its major financial contribution to our Nation. Canada is putting action to its words. These funds will go a long way towards bringing our children home and fully implementing the recommendations from Huu-ay-aht’s social services report,” Chief Councillor Robert J. Dennis Sr. said. “We look forward to continuing to work with Canada and British Columbia to bring an end to the public health emergency that Huu-ay-aht declared in March due to the removal of more than 40 children, or roughly 20 per cent of Huu-ay-aht children from their families.”

Indigenous Services Canada is providing $839,800 per year for five years to Huu-ay-aht First Nations for community initiatives such as expanding current pregnancy support and parenting education programs, hiring family and protection support workers, and developing opportunities for youth engagement and cultural awareness.

The Province of BC is providing $400,000 towards the implementation of the Social Panel report and is working with Huu-ay-aht First Nations to explore ongoing funding to support the Nation’s efforts to keep their children out of government care and safe in their homes and communities.

“British Columbia is committed to working alongside Huu-ay-aht First Nations to ensure Huu-ay-aht’s families have the supports they need to keep their children safe and healthy, and connected to their community and culture,” explained Scott Fraser, British Columbia Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation. “ With our federal and Indigenous partners, we are working to improve outcomes for all Indigenous people so families stay together and stronger communities are created, now and into the future.”

On July 31, 2018 there were 38 children connected to the Huu-ay-aht First Nations in government care.

The Government of Canada’s funding aligns with the provisions in Budget 2018, which provides $1.4 billion over six years to address funding pressures facing First Nations child and family service agencies, while also increasing prevention resources for communities so that children are safe and families can stay together. This includes supporting the government’s commitment to continue to fully implement the orders of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal and Jordan’s Principle.

In addition, Minister Philpott held an engagement roundtable with the Nuu-chah-nulth community leaders, including Huu-ay-aht leadership and administration, to discuss co-created options for potential Indigenous child and family services federal legislation.

Č̓iin̓uł (Pole-unveiling) Celebration POSTPONED

Due to structural challenges in the installation process, Huu-ayaht First Nations has decided to postpone the č̓iin̓uł (pole-unveiling) celebration

The 7,000-pound totem pole raising, scheduled for Friday, August 17 at The Motel in Bamfield, will be rescheduled for a later date, which is still to be determined. Huu-ay-aht wants to be sure that thorough engineering and proper procedure is followed before raising Master Carver George Nookemus’ latest work.

The cement has been poured and the engineering process has begun, however, this is a very large and heavy totem pole, and Huu-ay-aht First Nation does not want to leave any pieces to chance. Those involved in the raising of the pole have advised the Nation that an additional two to three weeks would allow enough time for the cement to set and for the engineers to ensure that once the pole is up it will remain standing for many years to come.

The free community event and unveiling of the totem pole will include a cultural celebration with speeches by Huu-ay-aht First Nations Hereditary and Elected Chiefs, recognition of the master carver’s work, cultural dance, and a beach barbecue. The Nation is currently waiting for confirmation from those involved in the structural aspects of the totem pole and will release a new date once it has been set.

Nation swears in Tribunal’s Vice Chair, Brent Mullin

On Wednesday, July 4, Tayii Ḥaw̓ił ƛiišin (Derek Peters) swore in a new member of Huu-ay-aht’s tribunal. Lawyer Brent Mullin took the oath and will begin his duties as the vice chair of the Tribunal immediately.

Mullin has 35 years’ experience as a lawyer and adjudicator with the province of British Columbia. Most recently, he served for 16 years as the chair of the Labour Relations Board of B.C., the province’s leading administrative tribunal. Prior to that, he served as vice chair on the board for six years.

He also brings to his position on the tribunal an extensive career in labour relations, where he focused on ensuring the timely and pragmatic resolution to disputes under the Labour Relations Code. He also uses this knowledge in his practice of law.

Mullin did his Bachelor of Arts at the University of Victoria and completed his Masters of Arts at Queen’s University. He then returned to B.C to complete his Bachelor of Laws at the University of British Columbia.

Mullen had a tour of Huu-ay-aht’s traditional territory with his son Zack on Wednesday, prior to taking the oath. After he took the oath he expressed his appreciation to the Nation and said he was looking forward to working with Huu-ay-aht on the Tribunal.