Come show your support at tribunal in Vancouver

It is time for Huu-ay-aht Citizens and members of the public to rally together by attending the Specific Claims Tribunal of the Huu-ay-aht First Nations next week.

The tribunal is regarding the value of the compensation Canada owes Huu-ay-aht as a result of the way timber on the former Numukamis IR1 was sold to MacMillian Bloedel in the 1940s. The first phase of the hearing occurred in Anacla in November 2013. More legal submissions will occur in Anacla at the Huu-ay-aht government office on April 19 to 21, 2016.

Next week, February 8 to 12, the tribunal will be held at the Canadian Industrial Relations Board, 300 West Georgia Street, Suite 501, in Vancouver. On Monday, it will run from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday to Friday, it will begin at 10 a.m. and run until 4 p.m. Huu-ay-aht citizens are encouraged to show their support.

On Monday, February 8, Huu-ay-aht experts will hit the stand. Elected Chief Robert J. Dennis Sr. will speak on Tuesday, February 9. Following that, it is time for the other side to take the stand. The Specific Claims Tribunal is a judicial body, like a court, that hears claims by First Nations against Canada regarding past wrongs.

For more information on this tribunal, see attached document (Tribunal hearing on timber claim). Once you are familiar with the case, come to the Canadian Industrial Relations Board next week to show your support.

Tom Happynook appointed Treaty Commissioner

Huu-ay-aht First Nations is proud to announce that Executive Councillor Tom Mexsis Happynook has been appointed Treaty Commissioner for British Columbia by the provincial government.

Happynook has been a member of Huu-ay-aht Executive Council since 2011 and served as the Huu-ay-aht Treaty Implementation Team Leader from June 2009 to March 2011. As an elected councillor, he was responsible for ensuring all the work that needs to be completed, following the effective date, is complete and there is a smooth transition into Huu-ay-aht self-government.

Happynook believes his extensive treaty experience was instrumental in landing him his new position. He spent 18 years working through the treaty process with his Nation and an additional six years on treaty implementation.

“I am thrilled to have been selected to be the B.C. Treaty Commissioner,” he says. “I have spent the last 24 years fully engaged in treaty negotiation and implementation. I think my experience over the past two decades is one of the major factors in them selecting me to fill this role.”

Happynook first found out the province was considering him for the position when Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation John Rustad approached him at a Liberal Leadership dinner on Feb. 10. Happynook indicated that he would like to be considered, and within two weeks he notified that he was selected over two other candidates.

Until a new council is elected in June, Happynook will continue to attend important Executive Council meetings and decisions, but he will be taking an unpaid leave of absence from his elected position. He said it is important that he focus on his new duties, while still honouring the commitment he made.

“We would like to offer our sincere congratulations to Tom on his appointment as a B.C. Treaty Commissioner,” Elected Chief Councillor Jeff Cook says. “During the many years you served
Huu-ay-aht, you have proven to be a very valuable asset to our organization. Although we will miss you as you move on to a new venture, we wish you well.”

In his new role, Happynook will act as the keeper of the treaty process and will facilitate treaty negotiations. Treaty commissioners do not represent the principals that appointed them, but act independently. The First Nations Summit appoints two commissioners and the federal and provincial government each appoint one. The chief commissioner is appointed to a three-year term by agreement of the three parties, and the four part-time commissioners serve two-year terms.

Although the position is a big opportunity for Happynook, he said the decision was a difficult one.

“The biggest thing that helped me make the decision to take this is my desire to help bring about successful conclusions to treaties in B.C.,” he says. “It was a difficult decision to move on, but I think I can still add value to our Nation building efforts.”

Happynook looks forward to sitting with Tla’o’qui’aht’s Chief Treaty Negotiator Francis Frank, as he was one of the appointees from the First Nations Summit.

Happynook will continue to live in Parksville, but the position is based out of Vancouver.

Happynook is the Hereditary Whaling Chief (Ḥaw̓ił) of Huu-ay-aht First Nations, which is part of the Nuu-chah-hulth Tribal Group, located on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. He has served as President of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribual Council, which is made up of 14 different Nations.

During the treaty process, Happynook was the Chief Treaty Negotiator for his Nation, until that process concluded in July 2007. He was also the Chairman for Uu-a-thluk, the Nuu-chah-nulth council of Ḥaw̓iiḥ (Hereditary Chiefs), and is Ḥaw̓ił (Hereditary Chief) for Huu-ay-aht First Nations.

He has been deeply involved in Huu-ay-aht’s efforts to become involved in the forestry industry and economy both nationally, internationally and closer to home. He has played a key role in fostering the cultural revival and rebirth of Huu-ay-aht, arising from the forest and fisheries restoration efforts of the Sarita River.

Happynook was the chairman of the Nuu-chah-nulth Seafood Development Corporation and co-chair of the West Coast Aquatic Management Board.

A firefighter for 16 years, Happynook retired as a Deputy Platoon Chief (Captain) in 1998. He has been married to Katherine Ann Happynook since 1979. They have two adult sons, an adult daughter, two grandsons and two granddaughters.

Thieves steal wood from Huu-ay-aht Treaty Settlement Land

Overnight on January 21, 2015, thieves made off with approximately two cubic metres of shake wood from the side of Harris Creek Road, around the 46 kilometre mark on the Bamfield Main Road.

The theft was discovered when Ben Bozak’s crew showed up for work on Thursday morning. The wood had been salvaged from Huu-ay-aht First Nations Treaty Settlement Land on Tuesday. Wednesday the crew began loading the wood and trucking it to the mill to be made into shake and shingles. Bozak is a contractor for Huu-ay-aht, who works with a crew that includes a number of Huu-ay-ahts.

The value of the salvaged wood, which amounted to about two-thirds of a cord, was estimated to be $800. The culprits also made off with two security cameras that monitored the site. These cameras were worth approximately $400 each.

Cst. Peter Batt, of the Port Alberni RCMP, is looking for more information on the crime. He is hoping someone saw the theft or have information that can help apprehend the culprits.

Paul Dagg is the Huu-ay-aht First Nations Forest LP Planning Forester. He says this kind of theft happens quite frequently and is frustrating to the crew.

“These guys work hard in the woods to salvage the wood,” he says. “Then someone comes along and steels it in the middle of the night. It gets them pretty upset.”

Dagg says the crime has been reported to the Compliance and Enforcement branch of the Ministry of Forests, as well as the RCMP. They will keeping their eyes out for anything unusual in the area.

On Thursday night, Bozak pulled his fifth-wheel to the site to offer a bit of security, and at approximately 1 a.m. he heard a vehicle. When he went outside he saw a pickup truck driving away, but nothing was stolen. Dagg speculates that the thieves probably returned the second night but left when they saw someone was there.

If you saw anything suspicious on night of January 21 or the early morning hours of January 22, please contact the RCMP at 250-723-2424 or the Alberni Valley CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-9477.