Huu-ay-aht shares vision with new Strategic Plan

The 2016-2020 Strategic Plan is now complete.

The Executive Council believes that, “As a strong and self-governing Nation, this Strategic Plan is an important tool that will guide us along our path for the coming four years and beyond. It helps us connect where we have come from, where we are now, and where we want to go.”

The plan identifies:

1) The outcomes that the Huu-ay-aht government is setting out to achieve

2) The broad strategies the Nation will use to accomplish these outcomes

The plan builds off of the previous 2014-2017 Strategic Plan and reflects the input of citizens, Ḥaw̓iiḥ, and committee members who voiced their ideas in the creation of the preceding plan and through renewed consultation in the fall of 2015. The plan provides the foundation for the annual budget and will also be used as the basis for the more detailed roadmaps that will be used by council and administration.

Ḥaw̓iiḥ council says, “Our goal, as we the Huu-ay-aht, is Nation building. We wish to build capacity of our Ancient Spirit, always remembering ancestral teachings and looking for
opportunities where our language, culture and history can be shared in the modern day!”

Citizens are encouraged to read the Huu-ay-aht First Nations Strategic Plan 2016-2020 and offer their feedback. Community Engagement Sessions will be announced soon, so that Executive Council can open conversation on the plan with citizens. If you would like to offer your feedback prior to this, please email or in the comments section of the website.

The Strategic Plan 2016-2020 is also available, along with the previous strategic plan, under Our Government on the Huu-ay-aht website.


Specific Claims Tribunal wraps up following a three-day hearing

A three-day hearing of the Specific Claims Tribunal wrapped up on Thursday in Anacla.

The hearing was concerning a claim from Huu-ay-aht First Nations regarding the value of the compensation Canada owes Huu-ay-aht as a result of the way timber on former Numukamis IR1 that was sold to MacMillan Bloedel in the 1940s. The first phase of this hearing occurred in Anacla in November 2013 and a decision in 2014 found the Crown had breached its duties to HFN. The Crown and Huu-ay-aht’s counsel presented their final arguments in the second phase of the hearing before Justice Whalen on April 19, 20, and 21.


The Specific Claims Tribunal is a judicial body, like a court, that hears claims by First Nations against Canada regarding past wrongs, when no resolution to the claim has been reached through negotiations.

The HFN IR1 Timber Claim relates to logging that took place on IR1 between 1948 and 1969. In 2014, the Tribunal found that Canada had breached its fiduciary obligations in relation to the way the timber was sold. As a result, Canada owes Huu-ay-aht approximately $280,000 in 1940s/50s dollars (less the money received for the timber by Huu-ay-aht). This hearing deals with the present day value of the compensation owed to Huu-ay-aht.

The discussion over the three days focused on the difference between how the two sides calculated the compensation. The Crown argued that Canada owes Huu-ay-aht approximately $2.9 million. Huu-ay-aht’s counsel argued that the Nation is entitled to approximately $14.5 million.

The major difference between these two numbers is the value of compensation for the money Huu-ay-aht would have spent if it had received it. Initially, Canada argued that HFN should receive no compensation for the money it would have spent. Huu-ay-aht’s counsel argued that this is wrong at law – not only did the money owed to the Nation in 1948 need to be returned to Huu-ay-aht in 2016 dollars, but the loss that resulted from the inability to spend and obtain benefits for the money needed to be compensated for. On the second day of the hearing, Canada conceded that Huu-ay-aht should receive some compensation for the money that would have been spent, but the parties remained far apart in terms of what compensation is appropriate.

Huu-ay-aht’s counsel also pointed out flaws in the Canada’s expert opinion, arguing that it did not reflect how Huu-ay-aht’s historical spending patterns would likely have changed if they had received the money. They also drew attention to the fact that Canada held control over First Nations spending under the Indian Act and that the economic model used by Canada hurt poor First Nations and helped rich ones.

From these facts, Huu-ay-aht’s counsel concluded that Canada must take into consideration the impact not having the funds had on the poor Nations. This must include the long-term benefits that Huu-ay-aht would have received if they had the monies that were owed to them starting in 1948. Counsel indicated that consumption must be considered, along with the losses Huu-ay-aht suffered in investment and savings opportunities. As a result, Huu-ay-aht should be awarded $14.5 million.

Huu-ay-aht’s counsel concluded that Canada took advantage of a poor First Nations community when it accepted such a low payment for the timber rights to their land, and that wrong should be reversed fairly and equitably. They pointed out that Canada is trying to minimize the funds Huu-ay-aht would have received, and therefore continue to penalize a poor community.

At the conclusion of the hearing, Justice Whalen thanked both sides for their presentations and pointed out that he was impressed with how well they knew their cases. He said the decision before him would be a difficult one, and one he was not willing to rush.

Justice Whalen thanked Huu-ay-aht for allowing them on their traditional territory and for the warm welcome and generous accommodations. He said Huu-ay-ahts do indeed live in an extraordinary place. He expressed his confidence in the future that Huu-ay-aht is building and predicted exciting times ahead for the Nation. He wished the Nation the best of good fortunes.

The hearing was wrapped up by a blessing from Wišqii on behalf of Tayii Ḥaw̓ił ƛiišin. He thanked everyone present for their hard work, and stressed that Huu-ay-aht is rooted to its land and will never leave, therefore the decision before Justice Whalen is an important one for his Nation.

Looking for new committee members

The Huu-ay-aht Executive Council wishes to add one member to the Citizen Development – Social Services and Culture Committtee and one member to the
Treaty Implementation Committee to provide input, guidance and recommendations to the Executive Council, as required by the treaty and Huu-ay-aht legislation.

Honoraria will be provided for the successful appointees. Meetings may take place via conference call or alternate media.

For more information or to submit your name to be considered for an appointment, please contact the Deputy Law Clerk at or you can call Coraleah at 250.723.0100.

DEADLINE: FRIDAY, April 18, 2016 at 4:00 pm

Application forms are also available on this website under the Forms tab to the right of the page or follow this link: Huuayaht Committee Application Form.

Canada ordered to pay Huu-ay-aht more than $1.5 million in damages

The Specific Claims Tribunal, established in 2008, has issued its first award of compensation. On February 10, 2016, the Tribunal ordered that Canada pay Huu-ay-aht First Nations more than $1.5 million for damages flowing from Canada’s breaches of duty relating to an unlawful timber licence issued by Canada in 1948.

The Tribunal is a judicial body, like a court, that hears claims by First Nations against Canada regarding past wrongs, when no resolution to the claim has been reached through negotiations.

Huu-ay-aht filed a claim about logging that took place on former Numukamis IR1 between 1948 and 1969. In 2014, the Tribunal found that Canada had breached its fiduciary obligations in relation to the way the timber was sold.

Justice Whalen found that the timber company should not have been allowed to the harvest timber from IR1 over many decades. By allowing this unlawful and prolonged harvest the value of IR 1 was significantly reduced because regeneration of the timber was delayed and uneven. The Tribunal found compensation was owed to Huu-ay-aht for this
damage, but that it had to be brought forward to 2016 value.

As Chief Robert J. Dennis Sr. said, “This is an important case because the Tribunal ruled that compensation is owed for logging, allowed by the Crown that was not in the best interests of

Based on expert opinions, the Tribunal found that the present day value of compensation owed for damages caused by the prolonged logging of IR1 was more than $1.5 million in 2016. This is the first award issued by the Tribunal to a First Nation.

“It is rewarding, after so many years, to have the Tribunal settle on a partial payment amount,” Chief Dennis explained. “This is the first ruling for the tribunal, and hopefully it shows that the system works.”

Other aspects of Huu-ay-aht’s claim remain outstanding. More legal submissions will occur in Anacla at the Huu-ay-aht government office April 19 to 21, 2016. Following these submissions, the Tribunal will rule on the present day value of the compensation owed to Huu-ay-aht for the remainder of the claim.

Chief Dennis said he is thankful for all of the chiefs that kept this issue going through the decades, including Louie Nookemus, Jack Peter, Arthur Peter, Spencer Peter and Jeff Cook. He said it was rewarding to work with this team, and he is glad their hard work has paid off.

Councillor Connie Waddell

Connie Waddell (nee Nookemis, traditional name Nanaa-aqs) is the daughter of Rose and Clifford Charles. Her grandparents are the late Martin and Cecilia Charles, Edward and Mable Nookemis, and Joe Edgar. Her grandmother Frances Edgar still resides in the Ditidaht community.

Connie grew up in Bamfield, B.C. She left for high school and to further her education, plus gain some work experience. She has worked as a waitress, caterer, chambermaid, guide on a whale watching boat, dispatch for floatplanes and, finally, for the Department of Indian Affairs in their Health Department.

She returned to Bamfield in 1992, where she had her son Myles and purchased the Bamfield General Store. She became the sole proprietor in 1994 and sold it in 1999. That year, she became the Tourism Manager with Huu-ay-aht Natural Resources.

This job was mostly managing the Pachena Bay Campground and working on the plans for Kiixin. The Nations’ heritage site was a rewarding project that involved a great team of Huu-ay-aht citizens. This position took her through two summers before becoming the Director of Tribal Operations and then Executive Director for her Nation.

Connie participated in the administrative behind the scenes of the Treaty negotiations. It was a hectic, challenging and exhausting, but a very rewarding part of her career. The next step is as an elected Councillor, holding the Finance, Capital and Infrastructure portfolios.

“I have been very fortunate in my life, as many significant milestones happened for me in our community of Anacla. I graduated in 1987 and my family hosted a dinner at our old community hall, which the whole village attended,” she said. “I was the first person to receive the Eddy Bamfield bursary and it was also my very first speech.”

Her son grew up in his community with all of his family around him. Together they built a house there where they lived full time, until it was time to leave for Grade 7. Pachena beach is also where Connie married her husband Mark Waddell.

She is very proud to be a Huu-ay-aht Citizen working for the people.