Negotiation team continues to update Huu-ay-aht leadership

Ḥaw̓iiḥ and Executive Council gathered at the House of Huu-ay-aht in Anacla July 20, 21 for an update on negotiations with Steelhead LNG.

The Nation is open to exploring economic development opportunities that align with its goals and principals and continue to work toward developing a process that creates mutually beneficial working relationships. Huu-ay-aht appreciates the citizens who also came out to learn about the negotiations.

While the meetings were not open to the public and citizens, we look forward to seeing everyone again at our next Community Engagement Sessions, which will be held in September. These upcoming engagement sessions will provide an opportunity for open and transparent dialogue between our citizens and government about what we are doing. Ask and we will answer.

PLEASE REMEMBER: If you have questions at any time, you can ask us and the government will respond. Send your comments or questions to or call 250-723-0100.

Investment in Bamfield by Huu-ay-aht appreciated by residents

In late January, the Nation purchased 11 properties in the Bamfield area. It took a lot of hard work to close the sale and even more to get the turnkey operations open and ready to accept visitors.

On April 23, 2016, Huu-ay-aht First Nations invited its citizens, dignitaries, and residents of Bamfield to join them in a celebration to mark this accomplishment.

The event exceeded all expectations, filling the Rix Centre for Ocean Discoveries for the luncheon and a large crowd gathered at The Hotel for singing, dancing, and a ribbon cutting. It was a chance for Huu-ay-aht to thank everyone involved in making it happen and welcome the community. It was also an opportunity for people in attendance to hear Huu-ay-aht’s vision for the future.

Following this successful event, Tayii Ḥaw̓ił ƛiišin (Derek Peters) and Elected Chief Councillor Robert J. Dennis Sr. received the following letter and a photo collage from the day. He wanted to share it with the community.

The letter follows:


I have been meaning to congratulate you both on your ribbon-cutting ceremony on April 23.

Bamfield needed a fresh start and you have been doing a wonderful job of being that catalyst and including the whole community in your plans.

Growing up in Bamfield in the 1950s and early 60s, I have watched the gradual decline of our community – first with the commercial fishing demise and then the stagnation of so much of the commercial property.

I feel a hope for Bamfield again, which I have not had for some time. 

Best regards and the best of luck on your venture,

Marc Phillips



Register now for the First Responders Program in Anacla

The Bamfield/Anacla First Responder Training Program will take place from April 25 to 30, 2016. The community expressed an interest in developing First Responder capacity recently. So, at this time, committed candidates are needed to fill 18 available spots .

Please note that nine of the spots are reserved for Huu-ay-aht Citizens, as per the Nations’ funding requirements. This five-day course will take approximately seven hours per session, with breaks for lunch and coffee. Food and beverages are going to be provided. There is a written and practical examination on the final day.

This is a great opportunity being delivered by the Nation, in partnership with the Justice Institute of B.C. (JIBC), as the first step in potentially offering a series of courses in Anacla that would ladder up to paramedic training in the long run. In the short term, it helps to build capacity to handle emergencies in the area.

Amelia Vos – Environmental Technician
Phone: 250.728.3414, Ext. 119

Huu-ay-aht residential school students will present their art in “Going Home Star”

Some former Alberni Indian Residential School (AIRS) students  will have their artwork on display in the lobby of the Royal Theatre in Victoria. They are also going to present their paintings before each “Going Home Star – Truth and Reconciliation”  ballet performance. Huu-ay-aht former Chief Councillor Jeff Cook, his wife Lavern, his brother Jack and wife Deborah are going to attend.

Performances: April 1st and 2nd, at 7:30 pm

Commissioned by Artistic Director André Lewis, the ballet explores the world of Annie, a young, urban First Nations woman adrift in a contemporary life of youthful excess. But when she meets Gordon, a long-haired trickster disguised as a homeless man, she’s propelled into a world she’s always sensed but never seen. Not only do they travel the streets of this place but also the roads of their ancestors, learning to accept the other’s burdens as the two walk through the past and toward the future. Together, both Annie and Gordon learn that without truth, there is no reconciliation.

Run time
Act 1 – 53 minutes
Intermission – 20 minutes
Act 2 – 40 minutes

Act 1

Going Home Star is the story of a young contemporary First Nations Woman named Annie. She is confident and self reliant living in an urban city; and, she finds some creative satisfaction working as a Hair Stylist for upwardly mobile, chic, urban women. At the end of a typical day, Annie joins the fast paced activity of the city and the carefree encounters that come with it. Her nights often end with a line of cocaine and a random lover. Work, commute, clubs and random lovers are the highlights of Annie’s existence. Her restlessness comes from this meaningless life style. Annie feels strangely disconnected within her superficial urban loop.

Gordon is a homeless First Nations man. He was born on the reserves, but was scooped from his home as a young boy and forced into the Residential School system. Ultimately, Gordon fled this life to live on the streets not as a victim but as a true survivor. Gordon remembers and understands the teachings of Anishinaabe trickster. It’s this magical power and the deeper story of his people that is present when Annie and Gordon first meet.

In the bowels of the subway commute, surrounded by urban people, Annie and Gordon’s initial attraction is more than just physical. Annie has the sensation that Gordon knows something deeper about her being. Although Gordon struggles with his conflicted past he recognizes the disconnected spirit in Annie. Gordon becomes that being that teaches Annie about her people, her past and ultimately, her story.

One night after her random lover departs Annie lays motionless on the floor dreaming of her day. Gordon appears in her dream. He approaches and kisses her on the forehead. Dreaming she is flying through time Annie sees a nomadic First Nations woman pulling a great weight though blowing snow. Upon waking Annie senses her dream was more like a vision and the strange connection she felt with Gordon is somehow connected with this faraway image.

Annie begins her busy day at the Hair Salon. She feels out of place after her dream. All the urban women want highlights and coffee. Mistakenly, Annie gives one patron her measuring cup full of hair bleach to drink. Luckily the patron spits it out; but, Annie is mortified.

Closing the hair salon and escaping toward the clubs Annie finds a wallet dropped on the subway floor. When the owner returns he aggressively retrieves his wallet. Annie becomes aware that all the urban commuters are looking at her suspiciously.

Gordon, the trickster, enters. The mysterious cloth that Gordon usually carries (which Annie thought he used for sleeping) is now spread out upon the floor. Resting on top is a Reliquary (Shrine) model of a Residential School. Gordon pulls the cloth and the Reliquary in a similar manner to the First Nations woman in Annie’s dream. For Annie, Gordon’s burden (the Reliquary) and the burden of the nomadic First Nation’s Mother are both strangely familiar.

The Reliquary is an exact replica of the Residential School from Gordon’s past; and, like the Greek Sisyphus, Gordon is somewhat banished with this burden. Gordon is a story-telling trickster and his life experience is at the heart of his teachings.

Afraid of Gordon’s mystical power, Annie runs back to her lover. She has another dream of flying and this time a dream of urban people walking all over her. Upon waking Annie realizes that her life, thus far, has been spinning on the spot. When Gordon is near she feels part of something greater than herself.

Annie and Gordon are now separated from the urban world. Gordon stands behind the Residential School Reliquary, waiting for Annie’s attention. When she looks his way Gordon lifts the Reliquary over his head. The weight, the burden, is too great and crushes him. Annie comes to his aid. Now having Annie’s attention, Gordon begins to tell his story of the Residential Schools.

Moving back through time, towards a Residential School in a birch wood forest, Gordon’s story begins with two First Nations children, Niska and Charlie. They were forced from their home to be educated by a Clergyman. Abusing the power entrusted to him, the Clergyman subjects the children to corporal punishment and his religious zeal.

Annie is heartbroken over the treatment of the children but Gordon knows she must venture deeper into the story; that to know only a few surface details makes it easier to dismiss the truth. Gordon leads Annie to a dilapidated wall of an abandoned school. She has passed this wall many times but never even considered its origins. They climb and sit upon the wall. Staring at the night sky Gordon continues his story.

Moving back through time Annie sees Niska and Charlie in the Residential School. They sneak around looking for food and mischief. They are excited to be out of bed and even more elated at their ability to avoid the Clergyman’s detection.

When Niska entered the School she managed to hide the tobacco pouch which her Mother placed around her neck for protection. Niska now retrieves the tobacco pouch from its hiding place for her and Charlie to enjoy. The smell of tobacco remind Niska and Charlie of home and the rituals practiced by their family. Although they cannot fully remember the details their desire to be with Mother and Father is too great. Homesick, Charlie lights a Votive candle for fire and Niska sprinkles tobacco in the flame. The kids recreate their parents’ prayer ritual.

The ever-watchful Clergyman discovers Niska and Charlie practicing their sacred ways. The Clergyman is bent on destroying their culture and assimilating these children into his way of life. His retribution against the children is severe.

Sitting upon the wall with Gordon, Annie learns of Charlie’s beating and of Niska’s hair shearing by the Clergyman. When she returns to her hair salon chair she understands that the antique chair may have a darker history. Searching through the hair on the floor Annie looks for the tobacco pouch. Gordon has inherited this artifact and he gives the tobacco pouch to Annie.

Continuing his story Gordon reveals the truth hidden in the cracks of the Residential School wall. Annie sees the loving moment when Niska’s Mother and Father gave her the tobacco pouch: the moment Niska’s parents said, “goodbye”. She then sees the moment that the Clergyman rapes Niska.

Annie is greatly distressed by this final story and Gordon moves to console her. Repulsed and angry Annie pushes Gordon away and exits.

Alone, Gordon remembers Charlie’s story. Charlie escaped the Residential School and the punishments of the Clergyman. He fled into the nearby woods looking for the railroad tracks that would lead him home. He also used the North Star, known by his people as “ the Going Home Star” to help navigate his course.

For Gordon the stars in the night sky are intuited as spirits or Star Children. In Gordon’s past these Star Children and his Mother and Father have acted as guides and helpers. Gordon’s hope is that they were there for Charlie on his frightening journey home.

Gordon holds the artifacts from the past and communes with Charlie’s plight. The Votive candle and matches were carried by Charlie for energy and strength. Charlie’s fate, his disappearance, is like the fate of many children from the Residential Schools. Gordon knows it could have been his fate as well.

Annie returns to console Gordon. Like the vision in Annie’s dream—the vision of the nomadic First Nations woman pulling the great weight—Annie now realizes she shares Gordon’s burden. Like the First Nations woman before her Annie picks up the burden of the past and begins her new destiny as healer for Gordon and potentially healer for her people. The “Going Home Star” is clear in the sky and Annie knows the direction of her future.

Act 2

Annie, having picked up the burden of the past, immerses herself fully in the healing of Gordon. Harnessing the ancestral power of the Sweat Lodge, Annie stokes the stone fire pit. The turtle shell mirror from her hair salon and the shallow vanity it represented is gone. In its place Annie has hung a large turtle shell. For Annie, the turtle shell has a deeper meaning. It is an inspiration to unite with her people’s Creation Story by building a new home for her and Gordon.

Mourning the loss of his own childhood Gordon’s every thought is with Niska and Charlie. He remembers the torture these young children endured and he knows there was more than just one abuser. Many Clergymen practiced corporal punishment and more. It was an approach to education unknown to his people. The abuses haunt Gordon’s thoughts. His body is present, but his mind is trapped with these children in the past.

Earlier Annie followed Gordon through the underworld to learn about the past. Now she follows Gordon to help him reconcile his own conflicted memories.

Gordon knows he has to “build his fire up” and Annie aids in this endeavor. In search of answers Gordon contemplates a time before the Residential Schools. He questions how European colonialism became a campaign of forced assimilation for his people. A comical image of Louis the 14th, Divine Louis, are imagined by Gordon. Gordon remembers the first contact with his people. He believes that Canada was not discovered by these Divine explorers, but was shown to them by his people. Their very survival depended it.

Gordon wants to laugh at these earlier explorers, but when he thinks of Niska being raped he only feels anger; and, his anger leaves him weak. He tries to remember a better time when Niska and Charlie were with their Mother and Father; but, the Clergyman’s abuses are difficult to forget.

Annie continues to make a home for Gordon and herself. Her hope is to commune with the Star Children without anger; to hold them in loving memory. Annie brings the turtle shell down as an idea of shelter for Gordon and herself; it is her way of unifying all the past lives under one beautiful idea, shelter…refuge.

The loss of Charlie, his disappearance, is too painful for Gordon. He cannot so easily forgive this mistake. Gordon holds the Votive candle and says a prayer for Charlie. Gordon’s hope is to find reconciliation. He imagines both sides joining in a prayer for Charlie. He also imagines both sides coming together in prayer for all the survivors and the damage that’s been done…for the child taken, for the parent left behind.

Annie crosses the stage with her playful animal being. Gordon is at a cross-roads: his ancient path of animal tracks lead one direction and the difficulties of his more recent path, the railroad tracks, lead another. Annie invokes a new symbol for Gordon’s dilemma. She also invokes the healing power of the medicine wheel. Entering with ribbons representing the medicine wheel’s four colours, Annie begins hanging these ribbons on the trees. Recognizing the sacred ways of his people Gordon and Annie begin making a shelter for their Sweat by placing the glowing stones underneath the turtle shell.

Annie has prepared one more healing action for Gordon. She leads Gordon to the pyre that she has built. Resting on top of the pyre is Gordon’s ever-present burden: the Residential School Reliquary. Annie instinctively desires another realm for Niska, Charlie and Gordon’s past; a realm where the children no longer live trapped in the Residential School. Annie envisions a world where Niska and Charlie run free and happy as Star Children. Annie hands the flame to Gordon.

Gordon feels deeply the damage that has been done and the anger he carries inside. Following Annie’s lead, her hope, Gordon knows what he must do next. Gordon sets the pyre on fire. His gesture is a willing surrender to never returning moments. For a brief period, Annie and Gordon commune with Niska, Charlie and their Elders.

Gordon is weakened but feeling held only by love. Annie builds back his strength by braiding his hair. The future that shines in Annie’s youthful spirit unites with the dark past haunting Gordon. Annie and Gordon validate each other’s truth. Their journey has been like a dream and in their hearts are the words from their people’s Morning Song: “Sun finally here. Beautiful day. Just got back from a long walk in the forest”.


With information from Deborah Cook and

Watch the webinar: “First Nations Social Innovation and Social Finance; First Nation Access to Credit”

On Tuesday, March 22  at 1:00 pm (EDT) The Assembly of First Nations will be hosting a webinar entitled “First Nations Social Innovation and Social Finance;  First Nation Access to Credit”, with speakers from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) and Forrest Green, a Licensed Credit Bureau.  Highlighted are invited testimonials by partnering First Nations and First Nation financial organizations. The following have been invited: Pic River First Nation,  the Atlantic Policy Congress, Tribal Whi-Chi-Way-Win Capital Corporation (TWCC) and the Aboriginal Savings Corporation of Canada (ABSCAN)

About this Webinar:
Join us for this webinar as speakers discuss First Nation exclusion from the credit rating system, its impact on borrowing and the implications for economic development, employment, housing  and access to capital for First Nation individuals, corporations and governments.  A series of early adopters of the initiative will discuss First Nation community, political and corporate perspectives on this issue.

To join the webinar on Tuesday, March 22nd, click on the link below:

About the Speakers
Randy Jenkins  is a Senior Analyst with the Office of the Indian Registrar in the Department of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada.  He formally held positions as Senior Economic Analyst within the Community Infrastructure Branch and Senior Advisor within the Lands Branch where the credit initiative was first developed.

Blair McMurren is Director of Social Innovation in the Strategic and Service Policy Branch at Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), where he is responsible for policy development as well as outreach and engagement related to the Government of Canada’s commitments to explore the potential of social finance.  He has recently helped to launch an Innovation Lab that will develop and test innovative solutions to policy, program, and service delivery challenges across the ESDC portfolio, in collaboration with other emerging public innovation hubs and labs.

Murray Rowe Junior is the owner and President of Forrest Green registered credit bureau that is partnered with TransUnion a Consumer Credit Reporting Agency and Dun & Bradstreet a Global Business Credit Bureau.  For over 20 years, Murray has been supporting private and public sector clients by implementing technology solutions using credit reporting agency data, secure web portals, training, eLearning, automated workflow and intelligent documents. Murray has provided expert testimony to the House of Commons and Senate on credit issues impacting Indigenous Peoples.

Garland Moses, a member of the Ojibways of the Pic River First Nation, is employed as a Capital Housing Manager and is charged with the responsibilities of Capital and Housing responsibilities. Over the past twenty years, Garland has brought improvement to a new Water Treatment Plant which is currently extracting its water supply from ground source that is being treated with slow sand with an ozonation treatment system. In addition, Garland has assisted in the development of a new Daycare centre located in the community which is now known as Children and Family Learning Centre.  To support the overall need in wellness of the community and the surrounding area, Garland has been instrumental in the capital development of the Holistic Treatment Centre, the Biibaaban Healing Lodge. His latest support to the community infrastructure is the completion of a new office to support the Anishinabek Police Service. With the assistance of the Housing Committee support by our leadership and management team, the housing program has grown up to 160 residential units which includes a Senior Complex as well as a Six Complex which was recently completed in March 2010.  With the completion of the Six Plex, the Housing Program has completed a major part of the Ojibways of the Pic River Ten Year completion which addresses the need to construct up to forty residential units. Today, along with the Home Improvement Program, which has completed renovations to nineteen of existing residential structures, another eighteen units are currently in process and are slated for completion by the end of March 2011.  Garland was involved in the genesis of this initiative and continues to work through access to credit in the area of housing in Pic River.

John Paul is the Executive Director of the Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nations Chiefs Secretariat in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.  Taking direction from the Atlantic Chiefs through frequent All Chiefs Forums and Executive Chiefs Meetings, Mr. Paul provides policy analysis and strategic advice on a wide range of policy issues facing First Nations in Atlantic Canada and Eastern Quebec. The APC Secretariat’s mandate is to research, analyze and develop alternatives to federal policies affecting its member First Nation communities. Mr. Paul has a Bachelor of Arts in Community Studies and received his Master of Public Administration in Financial Management from Halifax’s Dalhousie University in 1982. A dedicated advocate for First Nations, Mr. Paul has worked toward positive change for First Nations communities in diverse policy areas for more than 25 years.

Chief Shining Turtle has been the Chief of Whitefish River First Nation for 11 years and is family man with a strong desire to help his Community move forward. As an Engineer by trade, the Chief has helped his Community secure over 30-million dollars in new infrastructure funding; his drive and determination is extraordinary. Chief Shining Turtle’s education includes Bachelor of Engineering from Lakehead University, Diploma of Technology from Seneca College, a Technical Leadership Certificate from the University of Florida, and a Water Systems Supply Certificate from California State University.

Jean Vincent, is the Vice-Grand Chief of the Huron-Wendat First Nation.  For the past 22 years, Chief Vincent has been the President and General Manager of the Native Commercial Credit Corporation (SOCCA), which provides commercial financing to Quebec Aboriginal-controlled businesses in the start-up or expansion phase.  He is also President and General Manager of the Aboriginal Savings Corporation of Canada (ABSCAN) offering Aboriginal peoples corporate bonds adapted to their needs; and financing in the form of secured loans in the real estate, institutional and commercial sectors. ABSCAN was incorporated on October 21, 2005 under Part II of the Canada Corporations Act to serve as a fund-gathering medium offering Aboriginal peoples control over their economic development.

Brenda Zurba is the Vice President of Sales, Marketing & Development for Tribal Wi-Chi-Way-Win Capital Corporation (TWCC), a Winnipeg-based Aboriginal Capital Corporation. She brings 17 years of experience in marketing, sales, sales management and executive leadership as well as a post-secondary education in psychology, commerce and marketing. Brenda was employed with a publicly traded, multi-billion dollar organization for more than 10 years and led a nationally specialized team that consulted with small businesses across Canada to develop their annual and semi-annual marketing strategies. Prior to joining TWCC, Brenda served as the National Sales and Marketing Director for Telpay Incorporated, where she managed customer support, marketing operations, as well as multi-channel sales of 24 million transactions worth $14 billion annually. Brenda is a designated member of the Canadian Professional Sales Association, which is a national institute that provides guidelines and professional standards in the sales and marketing profession. At the 2013 Social Enterprise World Forum in Calgary, Brenda was a speaker on the “Building Indigenous Social Enterprise” panel.