Historic moment as Councillor John Jack named regional district chair

The Alberni‐Clayoquot Regional District (ACRD) Board of Directors elected Director John Alan Jack as Chairperson of the ACRD Board for 2017.

Director Jack has represented the Huu‐ay‐aht First Nations on the Board since their treaty government joined as a voting member in 2012. This is the first time in history a formal First Nation representative has served as Chair on a Regional District Board in British Columbia. Director John Alan Jack is a third-term councillor with the Huu‐ay‐aht First Nations, a member to the Maa‐nulth Treaty, which grants his community self‐government, ownership, and authority over land, as well as access and control over resources.

Director Josie Osborne, the Mayor of the District of Tofino, was elected Vice‐Chair of the Board for 2017. Osborne served as Chair of the Board for the past two years. She decided not to seek re‐election of Chairperson for a third term.

“In the past years, the Alberni‐Clayoquot Regional District has led the way in pursuing meaningful reconciliation with First Nations. We will continue down that path in a focused and respectful manner,” Jack explained. “I look forward to seeking and creating new opportunities in cooperation with and for the benefit of all in the region.”

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 communications@huuayaht.org 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.


Citizens can now register for fresh food box

Eating well and staying active are keys to healthier living, and Huu-ay-aht First Nations wants to help citizens reach this important goal.

The Nations’ citizens in Anacla, Port Alberni and Vancouver can now register to receive free monthly deliveries of nutritious food through the new Fresh Food Box Program, which is being funded by an unconditional contribution from Steelhead LNG to the Generations Fund. The program is available to all citizens, but first priority will be to support families with children under 18, elders and persons on Social Assistance or something similar. The Fresh Food Box Program will work to help make eating right easier and more affordable.

The Fresh Food Box is a non-profit alternative fresh food distribution system that is paid for in part through the Generations Fund. The initial unconditional contribution to the Fund, provided by Steelhead LNG over the course of the Feasibility phase of the proposed Project, will pay for the first stages of the program, including the purchase of a refrigerator truck.

“The refrigerator truck will help us ensure that we have health and safety in transporting the food from community to community as top priority,” explains Kathy Waddell, Director of Community Services for Huu-ay-aht First Nations.

Many communities offer a similar food box, but they come at a cost of between $20 and $30. Huu-ay-aht is committed to offering this healthy option at no cost to the people it serves. The Nation will purchase quality produce and ensure variety, freshness, sustainability and affordability. They will prioritize locally grown produce, with a particular focus on fresh fruits and vegetables. The boxes will also include some basics, such as flour, oatmeal and pasta. The boxes will likely contain approximately $35 worth of food, which will be delivered monthly to Anacla, Port Alberni and Vancouver.

The goal is to supply 120 Huu-ay-aht families with fresh food, in addition to helping with the distribution of food fish to citizens. As the program grows, there is potential to include other seasonal foods, such as shellfish, wild game, berries, fruits and veggies. By doing this, the program will support the Nation’s Traditional Foods Program.

“One of the areas the Community Services Department will be working on this year is gaining a better understanding about traditional foods and medicines. We want to know where to get them, how to prepare them and what makes them healthy for us,” Waddell says. “We have a wealth of knowledge out there, and we need to gather it up and make it accessible to citizens.”

The program is available to all citizens but first priority will be given to supporting families with children under 18, elders and persons on Social Assistance or something similar.

In addition to providing healthy food, the program will also share knowledge. This could include information about the food, ways to process, cook and preserve it. It can also give participants nutritional guidelines for different age groups and offer details on other support programs that are available.

Citizens may fill out the request form for the program and drop it off at PAGO, Community Services, or AGO: Attention to Community Services. They can also fax them to 778-421-1024 or email them to Kathy Waddell, Director of Community Services, (kathy.w@huuayaht.org). The forms are available at http://huuayaht.org/2015/05/26/online-fresh-food-box-form/ , and there are printed copies available as well. If you would like more information on the program, call 778-421-1022.

Generations Fund support programs

Port Alberni - 05-08-15 - Huu-ay-aht First Nations Elected Chief Councillor Jeff Cook hands over the key to the new refridgerator truck to Director of Community Services Kathy Waddell. The truck was purchased through the Generations Fund and will be used to distribute fresh food to Huu-ay-aht citizens. [Heather Thomson, Huu-ay-aht First Nations]
Huu-ay-aht First Nations Elected Chief Councillor Jeff Cook is joined by Huu-ay-aht staff and citizens as they celebrate the arrival of the new refrigerator truck on Friday. The truck was purchased through the Generations Fund and will be used to distribute fresh food to Huu-ay-aht citizens. [Heather Thomson, Huu-ay-aht First Nations]
Huu-ay-aht citizens will have more access to employment, skills training and community services following the creation of a multi-year Generations Fund that will provide immediate funding for community health and wellness programs and long-term support for Huu-ay-aht culture, environment, capacity building and economic development.

The initial unconditional contribution to the Fund, provided by Steelhead LNG over the course of the Feasibility phase of the proposed Project includes immediate funding for a community food truck program, a walking trail between Anacla and Bamfield, and the initial stages of development of a new program for Huu-ay-aht Children in Care. As the proposed Project progresses, the Fund will grow to provide resources for additional Huu-ay-aht programs and initiatives.

“We’re pleased to have secured this important funding for our people through our participation in the proposed LNG Project,” said Jeff Cook, Elected Chief Councillor, Huu-ay-aht First Nations. “Through significant community consultation, Huu-ay-aht citizens have identified issues and initiatives that are important to our people. Through this funding, we can have a real and immediate positive impact on the lives of our children and families, and can free up much-needed resources to better support our Ḥaw̓iiḥ (Hereditary Chiefs).”

Huu-ay-aht child protective services program
Through community consultation, led by the Huu-ay-aht government, citizens have identified that the health and wellness of Huu-ay-aht children, and providing them with safe, nurturing environments in which they will thrive is of utmost importance. The
Huu-ay-aht government has identified this as one of its highest priorities. As a result, it will use resources provided by the Generations Fund to develop its own agency and programs to assume responsibility for the foster care and welfare of Huu-ay-aht children from the Province of British Columbia.

“Nothing is more important than the health and welfare of our children,” said Cook. “There are many historical and ongoing issues that affect our ability to provide the best for our children, and there is no easy or quick fix. The most important fact, however, is that these are our children, and the best way to ensure they have the brightest and healthiest future possible, is to provide a Huu-ay-aht approach to their care, with input from our Ḥaw̓iiḥ, our elders and our people.”

Huu-ay-aht Fresh Food Program
One of the first community initiatives to be unveiled will be a fresh food distribution system called the Huu-ay-aht Fresh Food Program. The program will support
Huu-ay-aht families and improve the health of citizens through the delivery of nourishing food and practical food information. Each month, the program will deliver one free box of fresh fruits and vegetables and basic staples to approximately 120 Huu-ay-aht families in Anacla, Vancouver and Port Alberni, with a focus on families with children under 18, elders, and people on Social Assistance. The deliveries will be made in a new refrigeration truck that was purchased for the program this week. The truck will also be used to deliver traditional foods and food fish to Huu-ay-aht citizens.

Anacla-Bamfield walking trail
Through community consultation, Huu-ay-aht citizens and area residents have identified concerns regarding the safety of people walking between Anacla and Bamfield. In response to this concern, the Huu-ay-aht government is leading the development and construction of a safe pathway, allocating portions of the Generations Fund for the project. At this time, work on the path is focused on determining the best route between the two communities and securing the rights of way required, which currently pass through numerous properties including some held by unidentified landowners.

Employment for Huu-ay-aht citizens
To help ensure that employment opportunities within the Huu-ay-aht government and with Nation-owned enterprises are filled by Huu-ay-aht citizens, funding from the Generations Fund has been set aside to support citizens to transition into such jobs. Where Huu-ay-aht citizens have interest in current and new positions, the funding will be used to support job shadowing and internships so citizens can learn more about the position and whether or not it’s the right one for them. If it is, funding could then be used to provide the education and training required to fill that position.

Trades training for Huu-ay-aht citizens
To maximize potential employment opportunities at the proposed LNG Project for
Huu-ay-aht citizens, the Generations Fund will provide funding for 12 red seal trades training seats to Huu-ay-aht citizens.

Ḥaw̓iiḥ support
By providing funding for a wide range of Huu-ay-aht government initiatives, the Generations Fund is freeing up much-needed resources that will be re-allocated to support the Nation’s Ḥaw̓iiḥ.

“For thousands of years, our Ḥaw̓iiḥ have guided our Nation and borne the tremendous responsibility of protecting our land and our people, and ensuring that our history, culture, traditions and values continue to thrive,” said Cook. “Thanks to this new funding, we can now provide an additional funding to ensure our Ḥaw̓iiḥ have the resources they need to carry out the important role they play in our Nation’s affairs.

“Through Treaty, we now have the freedom as a Nation to decide how best to manage our lands and derive economic benefits from them,” added Cook. “At this critical time, it is important for us to provide the training, education and funding our citizens need so they can develop their own individual capacity, pursue the careers they want, and support themselves and their families wherever they choose to live. The Generations Fund is an important part of that process.”

Together, Huu-ay-aht First Nations and Steelhead LNG are exploring developing an LNG Project with a land‐based natural gas liquefaction facility at Sarita Bay, 75 kms southwest of Port Alberni on Vancouver Island. At the Huu-ay-aht First Nations People’s Assembly in November 2014, Huu-ay-aht citizens voted in favour of continuing to explore the proposed Project, which is now undergoing feasibility studies.

“Over the past few months, the Huu-ay-aht government and Huu-ay-aht citizens clearly identified the conditions that must guide the proposed Project for it to proceed,” said Nigel Kuzemko, CEO Steelhead LNG. “The Generations Fund will help us address many of those conditions together and will help provide the Huu-ay-aht with the funding and internal resources they need to carry out their Nation’s strategic plan.

“In addition, as our relationship has developed, Huu-ay-aht citizens continue to honour us by inviting us into their homes and community events and sharing their traditions and culture with us. The Generations Fund will help support the development of community infrastructure and programs to ensure Huu-ay-aht cultural practices and events are recognized, respected and encouraged.”

Huu-ay-aht reps head to China

When the China LNG International Summit kicks off this week, Huu-ay-aht First Nations will be represented, along with the Nations partner Steelhead LNG.

Huu-ay-aht Councillor John Jack and Executive Director James Edwards will travel to Beijing to attend the summit. They will be gone from April 20 to 25, and the conference runs from April 22 to 24. It is an opportunity to gain more information about the industry, but also a chance to meet with some of the decision makers within the LNG community.

“It is the first in a series of conferences taking place around the world in the next year,” John Jack explains. “While there, we will attend information sessions, networking events and interface with companies and countries involved at all stages of the value chain of LNG.”

He says it also offers the opportunity to tour an LNG off-take and regasification facility near Beijing.

Steelhead LNG CEO Nigel Kuzemko will be joined at the event with other representatives from Steelhead, and he is one of the speakers on the first day of the conference. Kuzemko will join other industry leaders from around the world to offer a Global LNG Supply Update, called “Which Projects are Destined for Success in the China Market?” on April 22.

Huu-ay-aht representatives have no official role at the conference, but John Jack says they are there to observe, learn and aid Steelhead as it promotes the marketing plan for the proposed LNG Project.

“Huu-ay-aht has expressed a willingness and concerted effort to express our openness to development and trade to the business and wider world,” John Jack says. “This trip will be an opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to improving our economic conditions while retaining our distinct identity and honouring the values that make us who we are.”

He adds that this trip will also offer a chance to pursue connections and opportunities for the Port Alberni Trans-shipment Hub, export of forestry and fishery products, investments and tourism exposure. John Jack says, in general, the Nation is seeking a wider array of opportunities for economic development, and attending the conference is a step in that direction.

“We hope to come back with more knowledge and connections, as well as a higher profile locally, regionally, nationally and internationally,” he says.