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Huu-ay-aht declares a State of Emergency

In a special Executive Council meeting last week, members of the Executive Council agreed that COVID-19 and coronavirus present an immediate and significant threat to Huu-ay-aht citizens and staff and to the broader community. Following the lead of various levels of government that have taken extraordinary measures to protect Canadians, the Nation has decided to take more extreme measures.

In light of this step, Chief Councillor Robert J. Dennis Sr. has issued the following statement for citizens.
Letter to Citizens – State of Emergency

Huu-ay-aht Announces Aid Package for Citizens

The COVID-19 pandemic is causing a lot of unrest across Canada, and Huu-ay-aht First Nations wants to ensure citizens are supported during this difficult time.

Huu-ay-aht is offering financial aid in the amount of $500 to each citizen. The intention of this funding is to help citizens and their families ride the wave of uncertainty that is coming in the wake of COVID-19.

“Our ḥaw̓iiḥ leaders want you to know we take this very seriously, and we ask you to as well and please exercise and practise social distancing,” said Tayii Ḥaw̓ił ƛiišin Derek Peters. “We also want to reassure our Huu-ay-aht family that we are working hard, with all the proper professional supports internally and externally, so that we can serve our citizens accordingly. We rely on your direction as well, so we are all working together.”

The intent is to provide citizens with this assistance as quickly as possible. This $500 aid will be provided individually to each citizen over the age of majority, and adult care providers will also receive additional funds based on the number of minor citizens in their households.

Huu-ay-aht can offer this assistance because of the support the Federal Government has offered First Nations Communities along with Huu-ay-aht contingency funds. The Nation will continue to access all funding sources including, but not limited to, First Nations Health Authority and B.C. Emergency Management and any additional Federal funds that become available.

Direct Deposit

Please provide us with your banking information for direct deposit by 4 p.m. on Monday, March 30, 2020. This can be done by filling out the direct deposit form at https://huuayaht.org/how-do-i/ and email them to Colleen.s@huuayaht.org.  Direct deposit applications received after this deadline will be used for future disbursement of funds to you from the Nation. If you already have direct deposit set up, you will receive your funding this way.

Mailing Addresses

Please ensure your addresses are up to date by 4 p.m. on Monday, March 30, 2020 if you wish to receive these funds by cheque through Canada Post. Cheques will be mailed early the week of March 30. You can change your mailing address by emailing Vanessa.s@huuayaht.org or calling 250-723-0100. There is also a link on the website that allows you to change it online: https://huuayaht.org/how-do-i/change-of-address-form/

No cheque pick up

Because of the threat COVID-19 poses, cheque pick up will not be available this time.

Dependent Children To ensure that dependent children’s benefit is managed correctly, please call Shannon Zimmerman at 250-720-5797 or by email Shannon.z@huuayaht.org. Parents may choose to have their children’s benefit added to their Huu-ay-aht Trust Fund.

Click here to see complete policy Policy Guidelines for the Provision of Emergency Financial Aid During the COVID-19 Crisis
Direct Deposit Form
Change of Address

Huu-ay-aht reaches historic TFL 44 agreement with Western Forest Products

Statement from Huu-ay-aht First Nations

As a Nation, we are excited to announce that Huu-ay-aht has reached an agreement with Western Forest Products (Western) to purchase an additional 44% of tenure ownership of TFL 44 and a 7% interest in the Alberni Pacific Division sawmill (APD).

This deal builds on the Reconciliation Protocol Agreement we signed with Western in 2018 and the purchase of a 7% interest in TFL 44 in 2019. Huu-ay-aht and Western have demonstrated a track record of cooperation and a willingness to work together to achieve reconciliation and forestry revitalization. We believe by purchasing this additional tenure, which will give Huu-ay-aht a controlling interest in TFL 44, our Nation can create new opportunities for citizens on our traditional territory and revitalize forestry in the Alberni Region.

“This is an historic step to gain more control over the ḥahuułi of the Huu-ay-aht Ḥaw̓iiḥ (traditional territory of the Hereditary Chiefs),” explains Tayii Ḥaw̓ił ƛiišin (Head Hereditary Chief Derek Peters). “We are proud Huu-ay-aht, and our sacred principles of ʔiisaak (utmost respect), ʔuuʔałuk (taking care of), and Hišuk ma c̕awak (everything is one) will guide us as we create more opportunities for our citizens and more wealth for our Nation in a way that protects those resources for present and future generations.”

Looking forward, this deal addresses key priorities for our Nation. It has the potential to create jobs, training, and business opportunities for Huu-ay-aht citizens close to home, including opening the door for our citizens to become entrepreneurs and operators on our own land.

“Being the majority owner, we will be able to advance Huu-ay-aht’s forestry principles and, over time, the deal will provide real benefits for Huu-ay-aht citizens, including the opportunity to diversify our economy and manage our forest resources in accordance with our sacred principles,” says Chief Councillor Robert J. Dennis Sr. “Through this deal, Huu-ay-aht will have increased revenues from the forestry sector to support further watershed renewal projects and programs and services for Huu-ay-aht citizens.”

This agreement has the full support of Executive Council, has been endorsed by the Ḥaw̓iiḥ Council, and requires the approval of Huu-ay-aht citizens.

“This is a positive example of the strong relationship that exists between leadership the citizens and the Hereditary Chiefs,” says Tayii Ḥaw̓ił ƛiišin. “We have a good negotiation team in place, and we have confidence that the agreement reached honours our ancient spirit and modern mind.”

We will continue to provide information, answer questions, and ensure citizens have enough information to make an informed decision when the time comes to vote on the deal at a future People’s Assembly.

Click on the links below for the full video statement, news release, backgrounder, and TFL 44 area map:

Video statement from Chief Councillor Robert J. Dennis Sr.

WFP/Huu-ay-aht Press Release
TFL 44 Map

Vancouver | Port Alberni | Anacla | Victoria | TFL 44 |

MP Gord Johns commits to helping on housing efforts

Huu-ay-aht leadership met with MP Gord Johns on Tuesday to discuss the Nations plans when it comes to housing in its territory.

The meeting was in part an opportunity to reconnect with the Member of Parliament since his re-election in the fall, but also to chance to update him on the progress Huu-ay-aht is making in housing. Chief Councillor Robert J. Dennis Sr. updated Johns on the work of the Housing Panel. Johns received a copy of the final report of the Housing Panel prior to the meeting, so he was familiar with how much work has recently gone into planning the future of Huu-ay-aht housing.

Chief Dennis explained that Huu-ay-aht is looking at ways to implement the 14 recommendations made by the Housing Panel. He also expressed his hope that Johns would help them make the right contacts to expediate their efforts to receive support and funding from the Federal Government.

Johns gave the Nation his word that he would connect them with the people who hold portfolios relevant to housing and infrastructure. He said the fact that Huu-ay-aht is contributing a significant amount of money will be well received in Ottawa. He said it shows Huu-ay-aht is willing to make a significant investment, and it should make them more successful in obtaining funds from other levels of government. He offered a few tips on who to talk to and where to look for funding, as well.

“You’re the best at presenting information, and I am always happy to advocate for Huu-ay-aht First Nations,” Johns said. “I can make sure you are talking to the right people and we just have to use the tools we have in Ottawa to move this forward.”

He added that Huu-ay-aht is already known in Ottawa as a Nation who leads the way and gets things done, due in part to the Nation’s success with the Social Services Panel recommendations.

The meeting wrapped up with a brief update on the work Johns has been doing in fisheries and an update on the Bamfield Road.

Request for Food Fish Contract Proposals

Huu-ay-aht is looking for fishers to fish our food fish contracts for the coming season. The Nation is looking to fill contracts for sockeye, chinook/coho, and halibut.

Please see the attached document for more information to submit a proposal for a contract. All proposals must be submitted by March 13 at 4 p.m.

Submit your completed RFQs, or for questions or concerns contact: Amelia Vos, Lands & Marine Coordinator amelia.v@huuayaht.org fax: 250-728-1222.

Click here for: 2020 Request For Food Fish Contract Proposals