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Huu-ay-aht Executive Council hears Citizen Motions

Huu-ay-aht Executive Council held a special council meeting on February 28 to address the People’s Assembly Citizen Motions.

Council invited citizens to come to the meeting to share their comments or concerns. Approximately a dozen citizens attended, and four additional citizens offered feedback through Huu-ay-aht’s community outreach worker. Council heard from everyone before making the following decisions.

Motion Action
Trust Funds for Huu-ay-aht Children – the Huu-ay-aht government invest $5,000 in an interest-bearing trust for each child born to a citizen providing that the child is registered to Huu-ay-aht within a year of its birth, to be paid out with interest on the child’s 19th birthday, and this motion applies to children born since April 1, 2011.   Motion referred to the Finance Committee
Distribution to Minors – Executive Council amend the Distribution Policy so that teenagers are given immediate access to distributions that are less then $500, rather than having those funds placed in trust.   Motion referred to the Finance Committee and the Law and Policy Committee  
Government Member Remuneration and Expenses – Executive Council make public the remuneration paid to members of Executive Council and the Ḥaw̓iiḥ Council and the expenses paid by government for each Councillor.   This will be included in the next audit
Distribution for Citizens over 60 – Executive Council reinstate distributions to Huu-ay-aht citizens on their 60th Birthdays and provide $10,000 distributions to all citizens who have turned 60 since the distributions were stopped.   Motion referred to the Finance Committee
Amendments to the Huu-ay-aht Constitution – Executive Council directs the Huu-ay-aht administration to undertake a study of the Huu-ay-aht Constitution with the goal of finding ways to make the government structure more accountable and cost efficient through Constitutional amendments; and that Executive Council directs that the study referred to in the previous paragraph be informed by community engagement and questionnaires mailed out to citizens and that it be completed prior to the next election.   Motion referred to the Law and Policy Committee
Elder Firewood Policy – Executive Council create a policy regarding the provision of firewood to Elders (the “Elders Firewood Policy”); and the Elders Firewood Policy include a requirement that the firewood to be stacked and accessible to Elders and that, where needed, infrastructure be put in place to keep the wood dry. Referred to the Finance Committee

Port Alberni’s new mayor visits Huu-ay-aht territory

Although nothing specific is planned, both leaders said they hope to stay in touch and build on the relationship they have forged.

Chief Robert J. Dennis Sr. gave Port Alberni Mayor Sharie Minions a tour of Huu-ay-aht’s Traditional Territory last week. It was an opportunity for the two leaders to discuss their communities and strengthen the relationship between the city and Huu-ay-aht First Nations.

The meeting was a follow-up to one Chief Dennis had last month with the Mayor in Port Alberni. Minions said it was important to her to also meet Chief Dennis in his territory. One of her goals since being elected in the fall of 2018 is to visit all area nations in the first year of her term.

“I’m reaching out to build relationships with leaders like Chief Dennis,” she said. “It’s about creating connections, and it is important to me to see the territories that are around our city.”

For the Chief, he was pleased that Mayor Minions took the time to come to the territory and see first-hand the projects Huu-ay-aht is working on and the successes the Nation must celebrate. In all his years as chief, he has never been asked to come to the city to meet the mayor. He believes the last mayor to make a trip specifically to visit their territory was Ken McRae.

“I was really impressed with her and the vision she has for the future,” he said. “We had a really good talk, and I can tell she is looking forward at what is possible instead of back at the past.”

He said that is important for both leaders to consider when planning for the future of their community. It made him reflect on Huu-ay-aht’s motto “Ancient Spirit, Modern Mind.” He said the past is important because it is who we are and we must respect and learn from it, but we must move forward as a Nation into a modern world if Huu-ay-aht wants to continue to be a leader among First Nations in British Columbia.

“If an old guy like me can understand that, then I think Mayor Minions can convince Port Alberni residents that her vision will help Port Alberni prosper,” he said.

Mayor Minions expressed her admiration for Chief Dennis.

“Chief Dennis and I had a great conversation, and I enjoyed my time touring his territory,” she said. “I really appreciate Robert’s approach to leadership – that it should be inclusive. He explained how the hereditary council works with the elected council. I can see that by being so inclusive his Nation can make real progress.”

She was also impressed by how Huu-ay-aht is showing in everything it does that they are stewards of the land.

“They are focused on leaving something for the next generation,” she said. “I hope to do the same.”

Mayor Minions was joined by CAO Tim Pley, Economic Development Manager Pat Deakin, and Manager of Planning Katelyn McDougall.

Executive Council will address citizen motions at their next meeting

Citizen Motions that were not heard individually at the People’s Assembly will be addressed at the Executive Council meeting on February 28, in Port Alberni. Citizens are invited to attend this meeting.

Any citizen who cannot attend in person and would like their questions, comments, or concerns recorded has a week to submit them. From February 13 to 20, we will be collecting this information. Once recorded, all feedback will be shared with Executive Council when they are addressing the related Citizen Motion.

If you would like to share your feedback, please call the Port Alberni Government Office at 250-723-0100 or email communications@huuayaht.org.

Executive Council meeting agenda – Thursday, February 28

Angela Wesley named Treaty Commissioner

Congratulations to Angela Wesley on her appointment to the BC Treaty Commission.

Scott Fraser, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, has issued the following statement to mark B.C.’s appointment of a new commissioner with the BC Treaty Commission:

“The Province of British Columbia congratulates Angela Wesley on her two-year appointment as provincial commissioner with the BC Treaty Commission.

“Angela brings tremendous experience and knowledge to the commission. She played a key role in negotiating the Maa-nulth Treaty on behalf of Huu-ay-aht First Nations and continues to work on the treaty implementation team with B.C. and Canada, as well as serving as Speaker in the Huu-ay-aht Legislature.

“Angela’s expertise and insight will provide valuable guidance for ongoing treaty negotiations throughout B.C., as we work with federal and First Nations partners to transform modern treaty-making to better support Indigenous self-determination and the recognition of inherent title and rights.

“I also want to recognize retiring treaty commissioner Tom Happynook, of Huu-ay-aht First Nations, for his dedication and energy in helping advance many negotiations over the past four years.

“A number of challenging negotiations have benefited thanks to Tom’s guidance and experience from leading the negotiations and implementation of the Maa-nulth Treaty.

“On behalf of the Province, I extend my deepest gratitude to both Angela and Tom for their roles in advancing meaningful reconciliation with Indigenous peoples in British Columbia, as part of the commission.”