Huu-ay-aht celebrates its graduates

On July 25, 2019, Huu-ay-aht Graduates gathered at Echo Centre to celebrate their secondary or post-secondary completions. (Pictured above.)

Huu-ay-aht would like to acknowledge, 2018/2019 graduates:

Talen Adair Dogwood
Michael Douangluxay-Cloud Master of Business Administration
Tia Frank Women in Trades
Lee-Ann Gurney Health Care Assistant
Simon Gurney Plumbing 3
Kenneth Joe Jr. Wildfire Crew Member Training
George Johnson Scaling
Jennifer Joseph Adult Graduation Diploma
Ethan Little Adult Dogwood
Tristan MacDonald Dogwood
Kalissa Montgomery Joinery/Cabinetry Foundation Certificate
Belinda Nookemus Joinery/Cabinetry Foundation Certificate
Tiana Peters Health Care Assistant
Andrea Pettigrew Esthetics Certificate
Destiny Stewart Education Assistant and Community Support Certificate
Cecila Thomas-Jules Dogwood
Dillinger Williams Adult Dogwood
Mercedes Williams Adult Basic Education

The day started off with a welcome and opening prayer, carried out by Edward R. Johnson. Following, was opening speeches and keynote speech from special guest Dr. Onowa Mclvor from University of Victoria.

Each graduate present was called to the podium, where Tayii Ḥaw̓ił ƛiišin (Derek Peters), Elected Chief Councilor Robert J. Dennis Sr., Executive Council members Connie Waddell and Edward R Johnson, wrapped each graduate with a blanket, gifted from Huu-ay-aht.

The education department did such a great job with making the room look amazing, the graduates had a backdrop and cedar arch where they could take photos of them and their family.

Images can be viewed on Uyaqhmis Huuayaht Facebook page.

Education Department

Education, Employment and Trades Manager – Brent Ronning  , 250-723-0100

Secondary/Post-Secondary Educations Administrator – Kelda Blackstone, 250-723-0100

Huu-ay-aht would like to acknowledge those who completed a program in 2018/2019

Environmental Technician Certificate Program – 5-week program

Amber Bowes
Crystal Clappis
(Elliot) Randle Holland
Alan Bruce Holland
Jason Jack
(Wilson) Thomas Joe
Heather Johnson
Andrea Lucas
Leanard Nookemis
Shannon Nookemus

RISC 1 and 2, Indigenous Archaeology and Field Skills Training Certificate – 2-week program

Amber Bowes
Crystal Clappis
Cheyanne Dick
Elliot Randle Holland
Cory Howard Jr.
Heather Johnson
Andrea Lucas
Victoria Nookemus
Shannon Nookemus
Karen Robinson

New Executive Council receives portfolios

The 2019 Huu-ay-aht Executive Council is less than a month into its term, and already the elected members are busy working for their Nation.

One of the first orders of business is assigning the portfolios for each councillor. This is the responsibility of the Chief Councillor, and earlier this month Chief Councillor Robert J. Dennis Sr. handed out the first of these. This is the initial list, and it is subject to change and may be adjusted as the council settles into their roles with the Nation.

Councillor Connie Waddell will continue with the Finance Committee and will take on the Citizen Development Committee. The Ḥaw̓iiḥ Council and Citizenship and LNG will be the responsibility of Tayii Ḥaw̓ił ƛiišin (Derek Peters). Councillor Trevor Cootes will continue to be responsible with Economic Development and External Affairs. Treaty Implementation, LNG, Cooperative Management Board (Parks Canada), and the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District still remains in Councillor John Jack’s portfolio. Councillor Charlie Clappis will take on the Infrastructure and Housing portfolio. Health, Lead Language and culture portfolios will go to Edward Johnson Jr. The Chief Councillor will be the Chief Negotiator and LNG and Huu-ay-aht First Nations Government Representative with other Indigenous Organizations.

The Executive Council will hold its first regular meeting in the Anacla Council Chambers on Thursday, July 11.

Huu-ay-aht Council sworn in

With an eagle flying over and waves crashing on the beach, the 2019-2023 Executive Council was sworn in on Thursday, June 20 in a ceremony at Kiix̣in National Historic Site.

Robert J. Dennis was sworn in as Chief Councillor, returning for his second consecutive term on Executive Council. He was Chief Councillor for the past four years, but prior to that he took one term off. He has more than 30 years of experience on council, serving both as a councillor and chief.

John Jack is returning for his fourth term as an elected councillor, after receiving the highest number of votes of the councillor candidates in the election. Trevor Cootes and Connie Waddell return for their second term as elected members of the executive council.

This Executive Council has two new member, Charlie Clappis and Edward R. Johnson. Charlie Clappis has previously served as a councillor between 2010-2014.

Following a traditional brushing by Cory Howard Sr. and a prayer and welcoming by Wišqii, Tayii Ḥaw̓ił ƛiišin (Derek Peters) joined the elected council and together they swore the Oath of Office.

The next step will be assigning portfolios, which will take place at the Executive Council meeting on June 27, in Anacla.

Keeping the Nuu-chah-nulth language alive, numaqimyisʔaqsup ʔiš hinatinyis

Angie Joe (numaqimyisʔaqsup) is one of Huu-ay-aht’s last fluent Nuu-chah-nulth language speakers. She is passionate about ensuring the language lives on in the next generation of Huu-ay-aht.

Numaqimyisʔaqsup is often called on to help pass on her knowledge. Most recently, she has been working closely with hinatinyis (Brittany Johnson) as she navigates her way around her language teachings. Hinatinyis is the Nation’s Language and History Coordinator. Part of her role is to find ways to revitalize the language, but first she must learn it herself.

Hinatinyis has been taking the UVIC Language Revitalization Diploma Program since the summer of 2018, offered remotely at the North Island College. The program is designed to create language teachers, it is a full-time course load of four classes per semester, and covers many different learning styles varying from linguistics, immersion-based learning, mentor-apprentice, and self-directed study.

What started off as a get together, translating children’s nursery rhymes for the Pawaats daycare, turned in to a 700-hour mentor-apprenticeship. Hinatinyis and numaqimyisʔaqsuphave spent that time working together, travelling back and forth from Sarita (where numaqimyisʔaqsup lives), learning the Nuu-chah-nulth language.

After the first 100 hours in the program, the two applied for funding from the First Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC). They were approved and granted another 300 hours. After they completed with the funding from FNESC, they applied for another grant from First People’s Cultural Council and were granted another 300 hours.

With the support of Huu-ay-aht First Nations, hinatinyis has had the privilege of learning the language as part of her job. With that, she has been able to complete the first year of her program as well as completing the 700 hours with numaqimyisʔaqsup.

“For those who are hoping to make Nuu-chah-nulth their second language, you need to make time in your life for language,” she explains.

She was inspired by an elder who visited her class, who said, “You need to speak it everywhere and use it every day.” From then, hinatinyis asked her family and friends to call her by her traditional name instead of her English name Brittany. Her name was gifted to her by her grandmother, it means “she is always welcoming.”

The diploma program ends in December 2019, and Hinatinyis says that is not where her learning ends. It is a lifestyle choice.

She plans to teach Nuu-chah-nulth language in Port Alberni and share lessons on social media. She would like to run an adult immersion group weekly that is open to all Nuu-chah-nulth learners and run various workshops for youth and adults. In the meantime, she is working on creating a short curriculum for youth to use while they play online games like FortNite. You can also find a basics pronunciation guide created by hinatinyis online at

Huu-ay-aht moves forward with six modular homes

Huu-ay-aht wants to make its homelands a safe, healthy, appealing place where citizens choose to live. One obstacle to achieving this goal is a shortage of housing. This has been the main reason for a significant push to complete the first phase of the Upper Anacla Subdivision.

In last year’s budget, Huu-ay-aht First Nations Executive Council has established an Independent Housing Panel to explore what is needed within the Nation’s traditional territory. The panel’s mandate is to review Huu-ay-aht’s land use, housing, and related policies, legislation and programs, and recommend practical changes to ensure that the Nation meets its goal of a safe, healthy, appealing place to live.

The Housing Panel has been actively meeting with citizens to gather information, and on April 11 they presented an interim report to Executive Council. As a result of that report, Council approved $2.3 million to be reallocated in the budget to move forward on the first houses in the new subdivision.

Originally a six-plex was planned for the first build. Following feedback from citizens, the panel suggested purchasing six modular homes. These homes will be able to be constructed more quickly than a six-plex. Council approved the recommendation with an arrival date of July 31.

“The housing panel found individual houses are what the community wants,” explained Chief Councillor Robert J. Dennis. “Since this will meet the immediate housing need, we approved the recommendation.”

He explained that the Nation may still build the six-plex, but the modular homes will be onsite faster than they could build a six-plex. This will include construction of one four-bedroom, two three-bedroom, two two-bedroom, and one one-bedroom units. A final report will be reviewed by council once costing and other due diligence has been completed. Council must also make a decision on the policy for allocations of the units, including whether they will be owned by Huu-ay-aht citizens or available for rental.

Chief Dennis pointed out that offering the rental option would allow citizens to return to their home without it being a final decision that buying a home would be.

“Rentals allow people to come back and try living at home,” he said. “I think they will love it and want to stay, but this way it offers them that choice.”

Applications for housing can be made through the Huu-ay-aht website at: